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Tony Coelho Resigns as Gore's Campaign Chair; Commerce Secretary William Daley Set to Step inAired June 15, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's been a wonderful chair, and he is a wonderful friend, and I wish him well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Ailing and under some political fire, Tony Coelho is exiting as Gore campaign chairman and Commerce Secretary Bill Daley is stepping in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM DALEY, COMMERCE SECRETARY, NEW GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIR: And I look forward to a very strong and vigorous campaign that will be successful in November.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Coelho brought political expertise and management skills to the Gore campaign, but he also brought potential problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Jonathan Karl reports on Coelho's tenure and his political troubles.
And the action in a different kind of drama: the young, the restless, and the former wrestler.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is off today.
Vice President Gore spoke about the turnover in his campaign a short while ago and cited Tony Coelho's health problems as the sole reason for his resignation as chairman. But Commerce Secretary Bill Daley prepares to take over the job after suggestions by some political observers that Gore needed a change at the top.
We begin our extensive coverage of this story with CNN's John King - John. JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, this shake- up, the result of some late-night conversations last night, after Gore heard from Tony Coelho, who has been hospitalized this week, that his doctors were saying that he could not stay on as chairman of the campaign; that he shouldn't be working such long hours; that he should not be traveling so much. Mr. Coelho telling the vice president he needed to step aside.
The vice president then waking up the Commerce Secretary Bill Daley, asking him to step in as campaign chairman. There had been conversations back a year ago and several times since about Mr. Daley joining the Gore campaign. He quickly agreed last night that he would step in. The vice president, Mr. Daley, all of those close to the Gore campaign saying Tony Coelho not being pushed out. But this comes amid other shake-ups, changes in the management of the campaign.
And it is no secret that Mr. Coelho and the campaign manager, Donna Brazille, have sparred repeatedly with the strategists closest to the vice president: Democratic ad and message consultant Carter Eskew. Eskew already in the past two weeks had brought Tad Devine, a veteran Democratic consultant, to Nashville to take over most of the day-to-day responsibilities of running the campaign. Now Bill Daley will come in as chairman. Gore officials saying that Mr. Coelho will continue to advise in an informal role.
But many of the Democrats who have been critical of the vice president in the three months since he clinched the Democratic nomination, saying his campaign has not had a consistent and effective focus, has not done enough to block Governor Bush from taking a lead in the national polls and, more importantly, a lead in most of the key electoral battleground states; they are now cheering, they believe Bill Daley is the kind of no-nonsense, well-organized leader that the Gore campaign very much needs -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King reporting from the White House on the Gore campaign.
Well, the news that Daley is replacing Coelho comes as Gore is trying to press ahead with a new economy-centered phase of his campaign.
Our Chris Black is traveling with Gore and she joins us from Cincinnati, Ohio -- Chris.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, Vice President Al Gore held a press conference just a few minutes ago to unveil the new leader of his campaign, and he admitted that he stole the commerce secretary away from his boss before he even told President Clinton. For his part, Secretary Daley said he didn't speak to President Clinton until he was on his way to the Washington airport to fly here to join the vice president.
And the vice president said even though the leadership of his campaign is changing, the campaign itself will not change course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GORE: No. We're not going to miss a beat, just as today's schedule is completely the same: the campaign's focus on progress and prosperity and how we can keep this economy growing and make sure no one is left behind is going to continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: The vice president made note of the fact that the commerce secretary, who is considered one of the best operatives in the Democratic Party, had actually recommended Tony Coelho to him more than a year ago when he first took the job -- when Coelho, that is, first took the job. And today, Daley said that he felt that there was no need to change the operations of this campaign, because the campaign is about the candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DALEY: No, I think this campaign is in very good shape, and I think we've got to implement the game plan that's been laid out, and we've got lots of time to do that. We've got a great convention coming up, and we've got important things between now and then. But right now, I just want to get together with the campaign team, very shortly, and make some judgments on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Those meetings will begin this weekend, according to the vice president. And one last note, Judy, the vice president said unlike Tony Coelho who served for free, Bill Daley will get paid -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Chris Black traveling with the vice president. Thank you.
And now we're joined by David Broder of "The Washington Post" and Viveca Novak of "Time" magazine.
Tony Coelho's health aside, Viveca -- and you helped to break the story. What does this change, say, about the health of the Gore campaign?
VIVECA NOVAK, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, the Gore campaign has been dogged for weeks if not months by persistent sort of rumors about Tony Coelho and sort of backbiting, he has not been popular within the Gore campaign, he has angered a number of staffers with his leadership style. And he's also under criminal investigation; there are a number of things that have been dogging Coelho.
And with Daley, at least Gore gets a clean slate and he also gets someone who can be a good surrogate for him out on the speaking circuit, somebody who can sort of be Al Gore better than Tony Coelho could with all these problems hanging over him.
WOODRUFF: David, does Daley coming in fix these problems?
DAVID BRODER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Not in itself. But I think the first thing we ought to say, Judy, is that the health problem is a real problem. Mr. Coelho has diverticulitis, which is a potentially serious disease and one whose treatment requires that you manage your diet, your schedule and everything with great care or it could turn into something very serious.
WOODRUFF: Inflamed colon?
BRODER: Exactly. So, it's a legitimate excuse, this is not something that they concocted just to deal with the thing. But Viveca is absolutely right that there were rumbles both inside and outside the campaign about public relations problems and internal management problems, and I would guess it's going to take Bill Daley a while to get his hands around those problems.
WOODRUFF: Does this fix those problems?
NOVAK: Well, it may fix some of those problems, it may bring other problems. I think one of Gore's main problems is with the Democratic base, core groups of the Democratic Party that aren't enthusiastic about Al Gore.
Now, Daley is very popular with the business side of the Democratic Party, he is not very popular with the labor side, which has fought him on NAFTA and the China trade vote, both of which he quarterbacked. And I think in certain battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, it is going to be difficult for Al Gore now, I think he's got some extra work to do if he is bringing Bill Daley onboard.
BRODER: I think I disagree mildly with that. I was told that among the very few calls that the vice president made today to prepare people for this were to some of the key labor leaders and I'm told that he got a quite positive reaction; they don't have any personal problem with Daley, they were on the opposite side on the NAFTA fight and the recent China trade fight, but I don't think they have any beef with Bill Daley.
WOODRUFF: David, how much difference does the person in this slot actually make?
BRODER: Can make a real difference, because you are dealing here with a fairly large temporary enterprise with a big budget and very important resource decisions that have to be made. Do you spend the money here or there, do you put the candidate here or there? Daley has never run a national campaign, but that doesn't make him any different than the people who are running Governor George Bush's campaign. He knows the Midwest battleground, which is likely to be the key battleground, very well.
WOODRUFF: Viveca, we keep reading these stories about Gore micromanaging the campaign, wanting to oversee virtually every medium- sized decision, not to mention the big decisions coming out. Is this a problem for the campaign and is it something they need to change, or can they change?
NOVAK: Well, this is something that Tony Coelho was supposed to change and to some extent did. There was a little less of that micromanagement, I think, after Coelho came onboard. To the extent that it's reappearing, that may show that, you know, there were problems with Coelho's leadership. But Daley is sort of a big-picture person and should be able to help on that front.
WOODRUFF: What about that, David?
BRODER: A couple of the people I talked to today said that because Daley is a big-picture person they still need somebody who will really sort of run the thing on a day-to-day basis and that's been a struggle within that campaign.
WOODRUFF: So who does that? I mean, we read so much about Carter Eskew, his close relationship with the vice president.
BRODER: I think you have to say at this point that Gore wants everybody involved in the thing, which means that he's going to end up making a lot of these decisions himself.
WOODRUFF: And is that good or bad?
WOODRUFF: We'll see in November.
I mean, is it -- is this something that they should worry about, or do they just accept it and move on, that the vice president is going to be involved with designing the logos on the bumper stickers and so forth?
NOVAK: It's obviously part of his character to do this, and I think they just have to work around it and work with it as best they can.
BRODER: The fundamental jobs, though, are the budget decisions, and there, I think Daley is likely to grab hold. He is -- Bill is very personable, will get a great press, because all of us have dealt with him over the years and like him. But he can make -- he is a manager, he can -- he will run the show if he is in charge.
WOODRUFF: What about this whole reinventing business? I want to ask both of you, Viveca. What about -- I mean, the criticism from the Bush campaign from the Republicans is that every other day we're seeing a different iteration of Al Gore. Is this something that may stop now with this change?
NOVAK: Well, I think they're going to try to make it stop or at least give the appearance of stopping, not make the changes seem quite so obvious. Gore came out this week with his progress and...
NOVAK: ... prosperity initiative, and he seems to have a new spring in his step this week. Although, even now he is being dogged by things like yesterday when abortion politics took over his health- care event.
WOODRUFF: And now this today.
NOVAK: And now this.
BRODER: This is not a story that they were looking for today. But, put it in perspective, this is spring training now for the general election campaign, and what happens at the conventions and after the conventions will be 10 times more important than anything that is taking place right now.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Broder, Viveca Novak, thank you both, appreciate it.
And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, a look at Bill Daley's career and the political pluses and minuses of the man he replaces.
WOODRUFF: President Clinton today called Bill Daley a terrific choice to lead Al Gore's campaign. There is no word yet on who might replace Daley as commerce secretary.
Our Gene Randall has more now on the cabinet member-turned campaign chairman.
GENE RANDALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): William Daley got President Clinton's nod for commerce secretary in December of 1996. Four years earlier, as his Illinois campaign chairman, he had helped candidate Clinton win that crucial state. Daley's nomination process began on a low note. At the White House that day, he fainted, the result, he said, of hot lights, no lunch and a hectic schedule.
A son of Chicago's legendary mayor, Richard J. Daley, and the brother of the current mayor, Daley brought a shrewd political sense to the Clinton cabinet.
BRUCE DUMONT, CHICAGO POLITICAL JOURNALIST: He brought a sensitivity of what plays in the Midwest, in big cities. He has the acumen of his father and probably one of the best political players that Bill Clinton ever put on his team.
RANDALL: Still, at his confirmation hearing, Daley clearly tried to distance himself from a late predecessor, Ron Brown, who, many charged, had politicized his department. Daley said: "There is a place for politics in public life, but there is no place for politics in the Department of Commerce."
But Daley's well-developed savvy has served the president effectively. Case in point: the way he orchestrated the House passage of permanent normalized trade ties with China. In Mr. Clinton's first term, as NAFTA czar, Daley led the effort to get the North American Free Trade Agreement though Congress. But those successes could prove costly to the man Daley now serves. Organized labor fought against both treaties, and William Daley, at Al Gore's side, could prove too much for some union leaders.
MIKE MATHIS, GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS DIRECTOR, TEAMSTERS UNION: We consider this appointment to be a real slap in the face to organized labor, and really to all of American workers.
RANDALL: Mathis says the Daley appointment puts his union another step further away from endorsing Gore for president.
(on camera): Perhaps among William Daley's major challenges as Al Gore's new campaign chief: finding doubters among organized labor that both he and Gore are on their side.
Gene Randall, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Like Daley, outgoing campaign chairman Tony Coelho is thought of as a shrewd political strategist. But Coelho's reputation has at times been tarnished by questions about his ethics.
CNN's Jonathan Karl takes a look back at Coelho's political assets and his liabilities.
KARL (voice-over): Coelho took over the Gore campaign a year ago, when the vice president was struggling, raising money slowly, spending it quickly, and facing a strong challenge from Bill Bradley. He demanded total control and got it, overseeing a transformation of Gore's image symbolized by the campaign's move to Nashville.
Shortly after Coelho's arrival, Gore's campaign manager, his chief of staff, and his pollster were gone, his top media adviser pushed aside. One of the people he brought in was Bob Shrum.
BOB SHRUM, GORE MEDIA CONSULTANT: Coelho did, in my view, a brilliant job of taking the campaign through a budget transition, so we're spending a lot less money, taking the campaign through a transition of personnel and leadership.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brothers and sisters, the next president of the United States, Al Gore.
KARL: Gore's allies credit Coelho with orchestrating the AFL-CIO endorsement, which came at a low point for Gore: his campaign seemed in disarray, he was trailing Bradley in New Hampshire. A senior Gore adviser says Coelho won the endorsement with old-style, hard-ball politics, telling union leaders that Gore was certain to beat Bradley. "If you want Gore to owe you," he insisted, "you better endorse him now."
Coelho brought political expertise and management skills to the Gore campaign, but he also brought potential problems. CHUCK LEWIS, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: He has been, in essence, a walking ethical cloud for the last decade, ever since he resigned in disgrace from the House of Representatives.
LEON PANETTA, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think Al Gore knew Tony pretty well. He knew what, you know, some of the stories might be. But he also knew that the trade off was for the kind of skills that very few people have other than Tony.
KARL: After less than five months at the helm, Coelho faced another ethical allegation: a State Department audit raised questions about his actions as the head of the U.S. mission to the Expo '98 World's Fair in Portugal. When news of the investigation broke, Gore stood by his chairman.
GORE: Tony Coelho is doing a terrific job. He's my close friend.
KARL: That audit led to an ongoing Justice Department investigation into Coelho's activities, but Coelho's lawyer has long said that they expect that Justice Department investigation to exonerate Coelho, and the Gore campaign insists that health concerns were the sole reason for Coelho's resignation -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jonathan, what about up there on the Hill, what are they saying about this change at the Gore campaign?
KARL: Well, Coelho had extremely close ties to Democrats up here, and Minority Leader Dick Gephardt placed a call to Coelho to wish him all the best today, but they're also very happy with Daley. They say Daley's a "classy-pol," and he's been around, knows people up here very well.
One footnote, though, it was Daley that was managing the effort to pass the Chinese trade bill up here. That bill is now in the Senate and Senate Republicans are saying it is not helpful to have the point man on Chinese trade now leave to go to the Gore campaign.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Jonathan Karl at the Capitol, thanks.
Much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
Still to come...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): His campaign seems to be floundering, not because it has no strategy, but because it has too many strategies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider on the changes, past and present, at Gore headquarters. Plus...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the vice president endures another change at the top, George Bush rebels in staff stability.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley on the GOP hopeful and staff loyalty.
And later, campaign finance maneuvers on Capitol Hill. A look at the latest efforts and alliances.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up. But now, a look at some other top stories.
President Clinton welcomes Palestinian President Yasser Arafat into the Oval Office. Mr. Arafat wants Mr. Clinton's help in the peace negotiations with Israel. Talks have run into snags over prisoner releases and Arafat's demand to establish a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. A White House spokesman says Mr. Clinton is trying to keep the talks moving along without judging either side.
The United States is welcoming the easing of tensions between North and South Korea. But the Pentagon says U.S. troops will remain in the region for a long time to come. The announcement comes at the heels of this week's historic summit between the leaders of North and South Korea. Both sides pledge to work toward reunification.
Federal agents bust open a multimillion-dollar black tar heroin ring operating out of Mexico. Hundreds of people are under arrest. Agents say the ring offered unusually purified heroin at low prices, undercutting Colombian traffickers. And it used young girls and older men to carry drugs to distribution cells around the country. Some packages were even shipped by FedEx and UPS.
High temperatures and wind gusts up to 70 miles an hour are fueling two Colorado wildfires. More than 13,000 acres have burned, and up to 50 homes have been destroyed. Nearly 1,500 firefighters are trying to combat the fires. The Hi Meadow fire is about 10 percent contained. The Bobcat fire is at least 15 percent contained. A third wildfire that erupted in Boulder yesterday is 99 percent contained and is said to be under control.
The Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez are asking the entire U.S. -- 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to grant the boy an asylum hearing. The relatives today appealed a ruling by three of the court's judges that said U.S. immigration officials have the right to deny Elian a hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENDALL COFFEY, ATTORNEY FOR MIAMI RELATIVES OF ELIAN GONZALEZ: Our concern is this child, and it isn't reading tracking polls, and it is a child who, if he goes to Cuba, faces irreversible consequences. In cases much less severe than this one, the courts have always recognized removal to a foreign country imposes grave and irreversible consequences. There is a finality to removing Elian to Cuba because no power in this government can bring him back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: U.S. immigration...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JANET RENO, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I would hope the matter could be considered and ruled upon promptly in that we can go forward. But, again, the processes should take their course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: U.S. immigration officials and Elian's Cuban father have until Tuesday to respond to the appeal.
Terry Nichols was back in court today. He appeared before a judge in Oklahoma, asking him to drop state murder charges for his role in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Nichols faces 163 state charges: 160 of them are counts of first-degree murder. Nichols' attorneys say the charges represent "double jeopardy." Nichols has already been tried by a federal court and sentenced to life in prison.
WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, a study in contrast. The change at the top of the Gore campaign versus the familiar faces in the Bush camp.
WOODRUFF: We continue with our lead story. Commerce Secretary William Daley is taking over as chairman of Al Gore's presidential campaign, after Tony Coelho resigned, citing health problems.
Once again, we go to CNN's John King for details and background.
KING (voice-over): The shakeup puts the Gore campaign in the hands of one of the Democratic strategist. Commerce Secretary Bill Daley is leaving the cabinet, effective July 15.
GORE: He will have complete charge of the campaign. Everybody on the team is excited about that. Most of all me. His decision to accept the post of national chairman completes the second major makeover of the Gore campaign in a year.
On the way out is current chairman Tony Coelho, and several sources tell CNN campaign manager Donna Brazille will see her role reduced in a shakeup orchestrated by strategists Carter Eskew. The new team will be lead by Daley and Eskew, and puts most day-to-day management responsibilities in the hands of veteran Democrat strategist Tad Devine.
Coelho is being treated for an intestinal inflammation and has had several epileptic seizures attributed to stress.
"In light of his doctor's advice and the rigors of directing a presidential campaign, Mr. Coelho has decided to step aside."
Coelho joined the Gore campaign amid criticism the vice president was taking former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley's primary challenge too lightly, and shifted Gore headquarters from Washington to Nashville was one of his big early moves.
But now, Republican George W. Bush leads in national polls and in many of the key electoral battleground states, and many Democrats complain that Gore has not had a consistent effective strategy in the three months since he clenched the Democratic nomination.
PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I think that Al Gore needs to kickstart this campaign one more time. But understand something, it all comes back to the candidate. It is not the people around him. Al Gore needs to understand himself and understand this message.
KING: Top Gore advisers say Coelho was not asked to leave and that he will continue to play an informal role. It's no secret Coelho and Brazille have sparred with Eskew, and there have been on and off talks with Daley for months. He is the brother of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and has been a key Clinton administrator troubleshooter on trade and other economic issues.
(on camera): Daley's resignation from the Clinton cabinet takes effect a month from now, but he says he'll quickly try to immerse himself in his new job, beginning with a round of campaign strategy discussions this coming weekend.
John King, CNN, the White House.
WOODRUFF: George W. Bush's campaign seems to be hoping that the Gore campaign shake-up will reinforce one of its leading lines of attack against the vice president.
Our Candy Crowley is on the road with Bush.
CROWLEY (voice-over): As the Bush campaign stayed the course through Maine into Massachusetts, communications director Karen Hughes wished Tony Coelho well, but could not let the moment pass without wondering if the staff changeover means another reinvention of the Gore campaign. While the vice president endures another change at the top, George Bush revels in staff stability.
Hughes, along with campaign manager Joe Alba and chief political strategist Karl Rove form what a reporter once called the "iron triangle," a referent to the solid protection they provide they're candidate. It could stand as well for the durability of those who honcho the Bush campaign for president. All three have been with Bush since his first campaign for governor in '94. They report to chairman Don Evans, a Bush friend and confidant since the '70s.
In the world according to Bush, the coin of the realm is loyalty, a basic tenet underscored for the governor when he watched the desertions from his father's failing bid for re-election in '92. Bush demands and receives fierce loyalty.
"I'm not in this because I want to be a political consultant," says Hughes. I'm in this because I want the governor to be president. I wouldn't do this for anyone else."
Staffers say Bush returns in kind. In New Hampshire, scene of the campaign's darkest hour to date, even before the polls closed on a huge and surprising primary defeat for Bush, rumors of a campaign shakeup flew. A top staffer laughed, saying at the time, the governor is bucking us up, making it clear we need to move on. No blame game.
The Bush hierarchy is Washington-free, and until now, without national campaign experience. Early on, Hughes offered to step aside if the governor wanted someone with national experience, but Bush said no.
Still, if New Hampshire solidified the inside of the Bush campaign, it horrified some on the outside, who complained experience was needed. Since then, some Washington pros have been added to the payroll. Additionally, the so-called "Gang of Six," a collection of pro-bono insiders, now advises the campaign.
(on camera): But the upper echelons of the Bush campaign remain all Texas, all loyal. And come what may, they expect to be in place -- in the same places -- this November. It is, however, a feeling easy to come by when things are going relatively well.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Boston.
WOODRUFF: People inside the Bush camp are not the only ones who've suggested that changes in the Gore campaign speak to ongoing problem for the vice president. Here's our senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Quote -- "I have become very impatient with my own tendency to put a finger to the political winds and proceed cautiously," Al Gore wrote in his book, "Earth in the Balance," adding, "When caution breeds timidity, a good politician listens to other voices." Now that's Al Gore's problem. His campaign seems to be floundering, not because it has no strategy, but because it has too many strategies.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Al Gore keeps reinventing himself, each time telegraphing a new Al Gore. As vice president, Gore knew what his job was. He was Mr. Cheerleader.
GORE: A man who I believe will be regarded in the history books as one of our greatest presidents.
SCHNEIDER: When Gore realized that Bill Bradley was becoming a serious threat in the primaries, he moved his campaign to Nashville and signaled voters that the buttoned-up Al Gore was turning into the dressed-down Al Gore. Meet Mr. Natural.
GORE: It's a new day, but coming here reminds me about an awful lot that I learned from you.
SCHNEIDER: A consultant told Gore that to beat Bradley, he had to become an alpha male.
So meet Mr. Fighting Man .
GORE: I want to fight for you! I want to fight for your family! I want to fight for the future of this country, and I need you to fight for me!
SCHNEIDER: In the primaries, he was Mr. Hatchet Man.
GORE: The word "comprehensive," I have argued and do argue is an inaccurate label for the proposal Senator Bradley has put forward.
SCHNEIDER: It worked against Bradley, so after the primaries, he tried it against George W. Bush.
GORE: Casino economics, a risky $2.1 trillion tax scheme.
SCHNEIDER: But a hatchet man looks too vice presidential. Lately, he's become Mr. Nice Guy.
GORE: Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey of course put forth some big ideas during the campaign last year, and I complimented him.
SCHNEIDER: Gore tried to distance himself from the White House on the Elian Gonzalez case, but instead of seeing him as his own man, a lot of voters saw him as Mr. Pander Bear.
GORE: I thought it should have gone to a family court.
SCHNEIDER: Just this week, a new Al Gore has emerged -- sunny, optimistic, buoyant about America's future.
GORE: I'm here today to tell you, you ain't seen nothing yet!
SCHNEIDER: If Gore starts talking about "a shining city on a hill," we'll know it's finally happened -- he's turned himself into Ronald Reagan.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: The Gore campaign may be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Bill Daley's new job is to find the one that works and to turn that one into Mr. President.
WOODRUFF: From your perspective, which one is the one that is most likely to work?
SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, Judy, it almost doesn't matter. Gore has to get two points across. One, I am my own man. Two, I am not totally driven by politics, because that's the impression created by these constant reinventions, that he would do or say anything to get elected.
You know, Clinton could to that and he could get away with reinventing himself many times, but that's the exact reason why Gore can't do it; it makes him look too much like Bill Clinton, and voters are tired of a president who's totally driven by politics.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
We are joined by former Gore chief of staff, Ron Klain. He is now an adviser to the vice president.
Ron Klain, thank you for being with us.
RON KLAIN, FMR. GORE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thanks for having me, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Is what Bill Schneider said a problem for the vice president, that he looks too much as if he's driven by politics?
KLAIN: I don't think so. I think that the press is still focusing on the process issues here. It's the early stage of the campaign. What the vice president is talking about is an agenda to bring progress and prosperity to our country. I think it connects with voters. I think as the campaign goes on, and more and more people focus on that and hear that, his agenda, his message and his record will prevail this fall.
WOODRUFF: But even the friends of the Gore campaign, Democrats who want the vice president to do well, are saying there's not a consistent and effective message coming from him, coming from the campaign?
KLAIN: Well, Judy, again, I just don't agree. If you look at what the campaign has gone through. The vice president won a historic victory in the primaries. A lot of credit for that should go to Tony Coelho, who I think we're all sad to see had to leave for health reasons today. But was the only candidate, either Democrat or Republican, ever to win every single contested primary. That message obviously worked.
He's moving to a general election message, focused on progress and prosperity. That's what voters really care about. It's really early. The voters haven't tuned in yet. When they do, they will see a choice between someone who has an agenda that will continue and build upon the record of the past eight years, and someone who will take this country in the wrong direction. And I know which one voters will choose.
WOODRUFF: But how do you explain the different images that the vice president has projected that we just saw laid out in Bill Schneider's report?
KLAIN: Well, again, I think that is more the obsession in the political press to focus on his clothes and all of these kind of process issues. What is consistent in this campaign from day one is that the vice president has been fighting for economic progress in our country, and trying to continue this prosperity.
Today, for example, Judy, he laid out a plan of tax cuts focused at middle class people, helping with health care, education, paying for savings. Compare that to the Bush plan, which loads up tax cuts for the one or two percent at the top. That's the kind of choice that voters are going to have in this election, and that's why Al Gore is going to win.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you another process question about the campaign.
WOODRUFF: At the same time, I realize you're trying to get away from this. Clearly Tony Coelho, as well as Donna Brazil, have had their clashes with Carter Eskew, who continues to play a key role in this campaign.
Is Bill Daley, the new campaign chairman, going to get along with Carter Eskew better?
KLAIN: I actually think the people inside the campaign are getting along very, very well, given the stress and strain that a campaign poses. Bill Daley is someone I've know a long time, the vice president has known a long time. He will be a great leader for this campaign.
And if someone, unfortunately, has to step into Tony's shoes due to illness, Bill is a great pick to do that. He not only has, I think, a great sense of politics, he also has a great sense of the policies that have built this economic progress. And he is the perfect person to lead the Gore campaign, focusing on the economic agenda, on continuing growth, and raising incomes for middle income families.
WOODRUFF: But would you acknowledge, at the very least, that this change at this moment, when the vice president is trying to focus on progress and prosperity, as it's been labeled, is a distraction? It takes the minds of the public off it. We're spending today and how many more days talking about it.
KLAIN: Right, of course it is. And of course it is a loss to the Gore campaign to lose someone of Tony's ability and talent, and to have make a change like this now. Obviously, I think all of us inside the Gore campaign are focused on Tony's health first and foremost, and wishing him a speedy recovery. But if we have to go through a change like this, I'm comforted by two things. First, Bill is a great leader and will do a great job as chair of this campaign. And secondly, campaigns for president are about the two candidates and their agendas, not their staffs, not the campaign shake-ups, not the campaign shuffles, but about the choice between Al Gore and George Bush. That isn't changing, and on that choice we're going to prevail.
WOODRUFF: What does Bill Daley bring that Tony Coelho didn't bring?
KLAIN: Well, I think what Bill brings -- again, not contrasting to Tony -- but I think what Bill brings, as I said before, is a unique combination of someone who's been part of the economic team for the past seven years. He understands how we built prosperity in the country. And also, an incredible grasp of politics and national politics. And I think when you put those two things together, you have the ideal person to lead the Gore campaign to victory this fall.
WOODRUFF: And finally, getting back again to the Bill Schneider theme, that what the vice president needs to do is pick one image, one theme that he wants to project and make that it.
Are we going to see that from the vice president, and if so, what is it?
KLAIN: I think what it is -- and I think we have seen it -- is a focus on taking the progress of the past eight years, building on it, to broaden prosperity, to increase progress on social issues, moral issues, and to make sure that no American is left behind as we expand the prosperity. Cutting taxes for the middle class...
WOODRUFF: And you're saying we're going to hear that between now and the election day?
KLAIN: We've heard it already. You're going to continue to hear it. We've talked this week about a Medicare lockbox, about cutting taxes, about health care. Next week, more progress on the issue of retirement savings accounts. The vice president is laying out an economic agenda that will make this country grow. And when you compare it to the Bush agenda, which would take this country back on all of theses issue, Judy, I really don't think it's a very tough choice for the voters.
WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Klain, adviser to the Gore campaign.
KLAIN: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you very much for being with us.
KLAIN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
And up next, the Democrats' latest ad in support of Al Gore. Plus, renewed attention for Senator John McCain's signature issue. The latest on campaign finance reform and the Senate when we return.
WOODRUFF: Forty-eight days -- or rather 46 days -- before the start of the National Convention, the Republicans have unveiled a new Web site: gopconvention.com. The site includes information about George W. Bush and the convention city, Philadelphia. For a virtual convention experience, visitors also can register as dot.com delegates and get access to special online interviews and videos.
Just in time for Father's Day, the Democratic National Committee is releasing a new ad on strengthening families. The ad, which will air through Sunday, features only music and pictures of Al Gore with his father and with his own children.
This is the second ad in the DNC's campaign on the vice president's behalf. The ad will run in 17 states, beginning tomorrow.
WOODRUFF: With soft money at issue in this election, Senate Republicans introduced another new campaign finance reform measure today. It goes further than legislation supported by Senator John McCain.
Jonathan Karl reports on this latest bill and its surprising sponsors.
KARL (voice-over): Look who's for campaign finance reform now.
SEN. GORDON SMITH (R), OREGON: The public has the right to know the identity of those trying to influence our elections and Congress must do whatever it can to make sure that organizations do not wrongfully benefit from public subsidy from tax-exempt status.
KARL: Smith was joined by campaign finance reform foe Mitch McConnell. They're proposing a variation of a measure John McCain pushed last week, over the objections of most of his fellow Republicans.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have the floor, Mr. President.
KARL: McCain's bill targeted so-called 527 organizations, political groups like Republicans for Clean Air, that ran ads against McCain in the Republican primaries.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, REPUBLICANS FOR CLEAN AIR AD)
ANNOUNCER: New York Republicans care about clean air.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Under current law, these groups don't have to disclose where their money comes from. McCain's measure would have required the groups to make their donors and their expenditures public. This Republican measure would go further, requiring disclosures by labor unions as well, a provision Republicans know will draw Democratic objections.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Every time, on the floor of the Senate, anything affects labor unions, the Democrats say it's a poison pill. What they're saying is, you can't do anything that affects organized labor and have us vote for it.
KARL: Democrat and leading campaign finance advocate Russ Feingold said he welcomed McConnell's newfound commitment to full disclosure, but questioned his motivation.
SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: What we have to be careful about though is that there isn't sort of a clunker in here, that it causes our good work to go down because he's purposely made it too broad. And given his complete opposition to campaign finance reform in the past, we have a right to be just a little bit suspicious and take a close look.
KARL: McConnell did not seem overly enthusiastic about his own proposal, predicting it could be struck down by the courts.
MCCONNELL: If litigation comes, and I'm pretty confident it would, it would be targeted at the whole issue of whether you can require this kind of disclosure of groups that may engage in issue advocacy.
KARL: As for John McCain, his spokeswoman, Nancy Ives describes him as -- quote -- "cautiously interested in the new proposal." Ives says that McCain has some problems with the proposal but hopes that they can be worked out -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jonathan Karl reporting from the Capitol.
In Florida, Republican leaders, including Governor Jeb Bush, have persuaded Education Commissioner Tom Gallagher to abandon his bid for the U.S. Senate in the interest of party unity. With Governor Bush at his side, Gallagher announced his decision to drop out of the race today. He had been in a bitter primary battle with Congressman Bill McCollum. But he will now reluctantly run for a job he previously held, state insurance commissioner.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM GALLAGHER (R), FLORIDA EDUCATION COMMISSION: I'm the best person for that. That doesn't mean that that's -- it's -- was where I wanted to be. I mean I wanted to be in the United States Senate. I'm willing to admit that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOVERNOR JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: It'll help in the sense that you won't have any negativity between now and September, negative ads amongst Republicans.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Gallagher's decision leaves McCollum unopposed in the Republican Senate primary in the race to replace retiring Republican Connie Mack.
Reform party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan put to rest today reports that he might be considering Dr. Laura Schlessinger as a possible running mate. Appearing in New York, Buchanan said he has not made a vice presidential short list, but if he had, the controversial talk show host would not be on it. Buchanan blamed a former staff member for speculation that he was considering Schlessinger.
Coming up next, as if his ups-and-downs with the Reform Party weren't enough, now Jesse Ventura has a role in a real soap opera.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS")
ERIC BRAEDEN, ACTOR: Governor Ventura.
GOVERNOR JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: Skip the formalities, Victor. To you, I'm always Jesse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: No stranger to theatrics, Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura taped a cameo yesterday on his favorite TV show, "The Young and the Restless." He says he got hooked on the daytime drama when he was a pro- wrestler and was working nights. Ventura's role wasn't a stretch; he played himself. Later, he was asked how he would rate his performance if he were a TV critic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VENTURA: I would assess it very good because as a reviewer, I wouldn't want to meet me later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you watch your episode?
VENTURA: I believe so. I believe I'll probably declare it a holiday. And encourage all constituents to watch, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: You have to admire his candor.
As part of his role, Ventura discussed a possible presidential bid with one of the soap opera characters. But the governor insisted again that in real life, he has no intention of running for the White House.
And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow, when our Charles Zewe will be on the campaign trail with Laura Bush in Texas.
And of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
This programming note: Congressmen David Dreier of California and Robert Wexler of Florida will be discussing the Gore campaign's change in leadership tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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