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Gore Blasts Big Drug Companies; Bush Keeps Progress of VP Search Close to the Vest; Selling a Symbol of Margaret ThatcherAired July 3, 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: They're price gouging, and you are having to pay the bill. Now I think that ought to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore blasts big drug companies, and accuses George W. Bush of being their accomplice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One thing is for certain, I'm not going to name person after the convention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Bush and the honcho of his vice presidential search play cards close to the vest.
WOODRUFF: Plus, selling, a symbol of the real Margaret Thatcher. Here's a hint: She's the one with the purse.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: Thanks for joining us. We begin with fireworks, of a sort, set to erupt at this hour at one of America's most historic battlefields.
Our man Bob Franken on the scene in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You the words out of my mouth, Bernie. I was going to suggest this was the first fireworks display of the July 4 weekend, and what a display it's going to be.
You can see in back of me the 307-foot high National Tower, privately owned. For the last 26 years, it has been, one, a place that people could pay money to go up and look at the entire vista of Gettysburg battlefield, the killing fields of the Civil War; and, two, the source of outrage for preservationists who've said that it's an eyesore. They've called it a monstrosity. Think of a pejorative adjective and it's been used to describe this tower. They say it's an intrusion into the most sacred history here, the history of the decisive battle in the Civil War.
Where we're standing is where the Union soldiers stood on July 3 on this date in 1863, and they fired a murderous, slaughtering fusillade on the advancing troops of General George Pickett of the rebel forces. Robert E. Lee believed that he could turn the Civil War around and, in fact, cause the dissension that would make the South win the war.
In fact, what he did is he suffered such losses that it really turned the war in favor of the Union forces, and that is what happened here on this day to tremendous casualties.
And right now, we are hearing the countdown as the tower goes down. I'm go to step aside let you watch.
What's going to happen in a just a moment is controlled demolition, explosives which are going to bring it down. What you've just heard there was not the explosive at all, but the canon fire from the reenactors.
There goes the explosion now -- there it goes.
That's it. You're hearing a cheer from these people who for so long have just despised this tower. They believed that it was quite an eyesore, a I mentioned a moment ago, that intruded on this battlefield. It's a large area where so many casualties were taken in this decisive battle of the Civil War. The way it was played out here was some of the reenactors fired their canons, and then what it was supposed to look like is when the cannonballs got the to tower, they knocked it down. Of course, there were explosives right there -- Bernie.
SHAW: Minus the tower -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, now, to the presidential campaign battlefield. Al Gore promoted his prescription drug plan today by trying to paint pharmaceutical companies and George W. Bush with the same negative brush. In the process, Gore used an attack line that he had been reserving as of late for big oil companies.
CNN's Kate Snow traveled with Mr. Gore to Missouri.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Gore began the day with a friendly game of kickball in a St. Louis suburb. But at the next stop, the vice president was playing hardball, attacking big drug companies for swindling seniors.
GORE: They're price gouging, and you are having to pay the bill. Now I think that ought to change.
SNOW: Gore says drugmakers are charging seniors between 96 percent and 156 percent more than other people for the same drugs. In a way, he was preaching to the choir.
GORE: How much does Prilosec cost now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It costs $4.02 a pill.
SNOW: The audience was filled with residents of a nearby retirement home, all between 75 and 95 years old, most paying dearly for prescription drugs.
GORE: You need somebody who is willing to fight for you and not the powerful drug companies. That's what this battle is all about. I'm for you, and I am not going to be on the side of the big drug companies the way the other side is. SNOW: Gore is promoting a voluntary prescription drug benefit for the 40 million Americans on Medicare. The benefit would pay half of a patients' prescription costs, up to $5,000 when it's fully phased in. Lower income seniors would get free prescription drugs.
It is Gore's third trip to Missouri since March, a swing state with eleven electoral votes. At his side, Missouri Congressman and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Gephardt has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Gore. Speaking to reporters on Air Force Two, Gephardt was asked if he'd prefer vice president to the possibility of leading a new majority in the House.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Harry Truman once said, "I don't answer iffy questions."
SNOW (on camera): Gore moves on to San Diego tonight, with an appeal to Hispanic voters, at the National Council of La Raza. Polls show Gore with a comfortable lead among Hispanics, but he can't afford to lose any ground. Latino voters may make up more than five percent of the vote this November.
Kate Snow, CNN, Clayton, Missouri.
WOODRUFF: Both George W. Bush and Al Gore made a point today of publicly congratulating the winner of Mexico's presidential election. Opposition candidate Vicente Fox's victory yesterday will bring the 71-year rule of Mexico's PRI party to an end.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I think it is a very interesting statement of how far political reform has come in Mexico. And that's a positive development.
GORE: I compliment the people of Mexico on an election that was apparently a model election in many ways. (END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: For more on the Mexican election and what it means, CNN's Harris Whitbeck joins us now from Mexico City.
Harris, this is an historic power shift. Tell us, is it likely to lead to dramatic changes for Mexico or for Mexico's relationship with United States?
HARRIS WHITBECK, CNN MEXICO CITY BUREAU CHIEF: Well, there is certainly going to be dramatic changes in the way the political game is played here, Judy.
WHITBECK: For the first time more than seven decades, the ruling party, the PRI, will become the opposition. So, Mr. Fox, when he takes -- when he becomes president in December, he will be governing with a majority Congress, that is in his favor, but he will be facing stiff opposition from the PRI, which is obviously very strong at the grassroots level, is virtually entrenched in virtually every aspect of Mexican society. So as far as changes go, I think there will be many dramatic changes, but I'm just not sure how fast they will be.
As far as relations with the United States go, Mr. Fox has said that relations with United States have always been very good. He espouses the same economic policies that Mr. Zedillo espouses, free market policies; he says he would like more international investment here.
He did say that he would like to try to reach an agreement with the United States that would allow for a more open border, that would allow for Mexicans who live in border area and work in the United States to be able to cross freely, because he says, in very pragmatic terms, that's the only way to deal with the border problem.
He says it's a fact of life that many Mexicans work across the border, and that those just should be opened up. It's a very pragmatic approach. It's very symbolic of the way he approaches things in general -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Harris, has Mr. Fox had any sort of contact so far with either Governor Bush or Vice President Gore?
WHITBECK: Not that I'm aware of, Judy. I know that he is meeting today with President Zedillo. That is the first time that we will be seeing him publicly today. Both of them announced that they will be working very closely in the next few months to make sure that this transition goes smoothly.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Harris Whitbeck, thank you very much -- Bernie.
SHAW: On the subject vice presidential prospects, George W. Bush wasn't especially forthcoming today, but he did pose for pictures with his VP searcher-in-chief, leaving reporters scrambling to fill in the blanks.
Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is with Bush in Texas.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wife at his side, dog in the back, the governor was all Texas, driving down a dusty road to stand on the edge of a hayfield for a first news conference at his ranch in Crawford.
BUSH: Welcome to our little slice of Heaven here.
CROWLEY: The camera-friendly occasion was prompted by a visit from Dick Cheney, pointman for the vice presidential search. Certainly it was not prompted by any desire to openly discuss prospects or possibilities.
BUSH: The list kind of grows and shrinks, depending upon what I look at and as well as what their desires are.
CROWLEY: Some tidbits: Bush has met with a few prospects. He mentioned only outgoing Florida Senator Connie Mack. A favorite among conservatives, Mack reiterated he's not interested. And a meeting with Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating seems to be just a matter of time.
BUSH: I have not yet -- I know him well, but I have not met with him in the context of the vice presidency.
CROWLEY: A Republican loyalist who knows both Bush and Keating say the two are pretty much policy soulmates, so-called "new model Republicans" willing to try different solutions to old problems. Keating's resume includes FBI agent, Justice Department prosecutor, counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, member of the Oklahoma state legislature. As governor, Keating got high marks for his handling of the Oklahoma City bombing.
BUSH: Frank's got a lot of supporters, as does most everybody else on the list.
CROWLEY: In recent weeks, Keating has become nom du jour supplanting Tom Ridge, the popular governor of electoral-heavy Pennsylvania.
GOV. TOM RIDGE (R), PENNSYLVANIA: My friend, our friend, Pennsylvania's friend, the next president of the United States, Governor George Bush.
CROWLEY: The two men are clearly simpatico on a personal level. People who know Bush think if he could pick anyone he wanted with no other consideration, it would be Ridge. But Ridge, a former congressman, has a voting record on the liberal side of the GOP. He is Catholic, but he supports a woman's right to choose.
BUSH: There are no litmus tests. The tests -- the main tests are can the person be the president, and will the person be loyal to the administration? Can the person bring, you know, some added value to a Bush administration. CROWLEY: Despite Bush's efforts to keep abortion out of the public part of these deliberations, a Ridge selection could prompt some activist conservatives to sit out the campaign.
Keating, like Ridge, is a Catholic. But, like Bush, he is anti- abortion.
BUSH: A fellow governor of a neighboring state -- no, seriously. I mean, he's a good fellow, but this...
CROWLEY: Several Republican sources outside the Bush campaign see Keating as Bush's most logical, strongest choice.
CROWLEY: In fact, one Republican who says he would support a Bush-Keating ticket says a selection of Keating would be a four-letter word: S-A-F-E. As the source explained, when you are winning and near the goal line, there is really no other play -- Judy.
SHAW: Candy, what two uppermost qualities are the Bush people underscoring when they think of No. 2 on the ticket?
CROWLEY: Bernie, you know, first of all, the -- George Bush says the vice president has to be able to be president right away, that he needs to be qualified to step in, should something happen. He also says that they must be able to make a contribution in some way, shape or form to a Bush administration. And thirdly, he wants someone who's loyal, which translates into someone who supports my policies, who trusts me as well as I trust them.
So he's looking for loyalty, a faithfulness to the Bush agenda, as well as someone who's ready to step into the presidency if needed.
SHAW: Candy Crowley on a beautiful Austin, Texas, day, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, back to presidential politics here in the United States with Karen Tumulty and Beth Fouhy.
Plus, Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile speaks out and reaches out to women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: Saudi Arabia is proposing to increase production by a considerable amount as part of the OPEC increase. I want to call on the big oil companies to let that pass through in the form of price reductions to the people who are filling their cars up at the gasoline filling stations.
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEENAN: Vice President Al Gore today in Missouri, responding to news that Saudi Arabia will increase oil production effective immediately. A Saudi spokesman says the move, which is in addition to the recent OPEC increase, is expected to bring some price relief to consumers.
Joining us now, Karen Tumulty of "TIME" magazine, and our own Beth Fouhy, executive producer of the CNN political unit.
Karen, to you first. Does oil news like this help either candidate, Bush or Gore, particularly?
KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME": Well, this was an issue that had a potential of being a problem for both of them. But the vice president has got to be relieved to see this development, because the last thing that you want when you're on a tour of the country that you're calling your "Progress and Prosperity Tour" is something out there that's making people feel uneasy about that economy, especially in those critical Midwestern battleground states, which is where the vice president is going to spending most of his time this week.
BETH FOUHY, EXEC. PRODUCER, CNN POLITICAL UNIT: Yes, but, you know, Judy, I think he also found his voice last week with his criticism of the oil companies. It was sort of a populist, David versus Goliath, we can take this on, I'm on your side, I'm going to stand up for consumers. And I think they think at least that they sort of threw Governor Bush off his stride, because at least they got a little bit of mileage sort of tagging him with the big oil label, since he's a Texas governor who very much supports the oil industry. And they really feel like they sort of grabbed an issue that at least put him off balance a little bit. And they may sort of regret that they, you know, they may not be having that quite so much anymore this week.
WOODRUFF: So maybe it's not a draw at this point?
TUMULTY: That's right, although the vice president had already moved on to his next opponent, the drug companies.
WOODRUFF: And that's what he was talking about today. Does he get mileage out of something like this?
TUMULTY: Well, you know, the one the one truth that has always been the case with Al Gore is that he steers his course best when he has a point of reference, when he has an opponent or an enemy of some sort. So we see him sort of finding his footing, once again, with an enemy, with a point of reference.
WOODRUFF: And appealing to seniors.
FOUHY: Right, and he's accusing the drug companies of price gouging, which is exactly the same term he used for the oil companies. It's a very effective sort of they're out against you, I'm with you, I can stand with you. And it's same thing. I mean, drug companies are another favorite whipping boy that everybody basically dislikes, especially this group of seniors. He was with them today, he's going to be with them a couple more times this week.
The problem is, what's very interesting, is most of the polling is showing that he still trails Governor Bush among seniors, which has been a very, very solid, for the most part Democratic, bloc for the past two couple of election cycles, even though he's the guy who, you know, is backing up the status quo on Social Security, where Governor Bush has gone out on this Social Security proposal that really is frightening to a lot of seniors.
WOODRUFF: Is it clear, Karen, why Gore isn't doing better with older voters?
TUMULTY: Well, the nature of the elderly electorate...
WOODRUFF: I mean, he's running behind among pretty much all age groups.
TUMULTY: That's true. And -- but the nature of the older voter has changed. It's -- there are fewer and fewer people around who remember the New Deal and Franklin Roosevelt and who really had their Democratic loyalties cemented during the Great Depression. This is an electorate that largely, you know, came of age in Dwight Eisenhower and even Ronald Reagan.
WOODRUFF: Let me quickly show you all something that Dick Gephardt, who, of course, is the House minority leader, had to say today. He was with the vice president, who was campaigning in Missouri. The subject of campaign finance came up, the vice president's problems in that area, and we're told that Congressman Gephardt stepped up to the microphone, and here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEPHARDT: His character, in my view, is unassailable. His integrity, is excellent, is perfect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Does the vice president, Beth, still need defending in this arena?
FOUHY: I think he does. I mean, just jumping on the point that Karen made, older voters are still the most offended by the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and particular older women, again a key constituency that Gore must have if he's going to win this election.
As long as he is very tied to President Clinton, which he is -- nobody thinks that he engaged in any of the same behavior -- and yet his loyalty, his attachment to him, just sort of brings up that issue of scandal, and of concern, that we'll just never get out from beyond those Clinton problems.
So, I think they just basically have to reiterate once again that he is a man of impeccable character, and that he's his own man. He can be loyal to the president and yet not have that same sort of tarnish, which is bothering him among some groups.
TUMULTY: And Dick Gephardt is a good person to have vouching for him in that regard, because his own reputation is as close to unassailable as people's get in Washington these days. Plus, he himself has had a very testy relationship with the vice president in the past.
WOODRUFF: Gephardt has.
TUMULTY: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you both about -- we saw Candy's Crowley's report from Texas: George W. Bush, looking -- thinking apparently -- from all appearances, very hard about his vice presidential choice.
Beth, what are we hearing right now about who is making sense? We heard Candy reporting about the governor of Oklahoma.
FOUHY: Well it seems like both Gore and Bush are being very, very careful to not start floating names out that will just get the sort of press mob, who's -- everybody's looking for a good story -- jumping on something that, you know, distracts from their campaign message. But I think it is clear that he is a fan of Governor Tom Ridge. He realizes that would be very daring choice, because governor Ridge is pro-abortion rights. He, Governor Bush, has very a unified base. That would basically, you know, divide or potentially explode the base.
So it would be a very daring thing to do. And being up this many points, does he really need to do that? Frank Keating's name was floated last week. I think there is a lot of sort of simpatico, as Candy called it, with him. They're fellow governors. They're from the same part of the country. But I think it's also true that we have been surprised, over many, election cycles now, by person that is ultimately chosen. So, it is all for anybody's guess.
WOODRUFF: And Karen, we have covered enough elections to know that this could very well be a name we haven't heard very much about.
TUMULTY: In fact, that may be one of the few surprises they can hand out this summer.
WOODRUFF: And what about on the Democratic side. Any hints at all coming out of the Gore camp?
TUMULTY: Well, I found it very interesting today that the vice president had out there speaking for him on this drug issue, and two seniors, the senator from Florida, Bob Graham. Not only is this somebody who carries a lot of weight in a crucial state and with a crucial voting population, but this could be, in essence, an off- Broadway tryout.
FOUHY: Yes, and he's said to really like him and to really admire the work he's done, both in the Senate and as governor of Florida from this big state, which they do still think is in contention for them.
WOODRUFF: Despite their disagreement over Elian Gonzalez.
WOODRUFF: We talked about a lot a few weeks ago.
FOUHY: Yes, you can put your differences behind you if you need to.
WOODRUFF: All right, Beth Fouhy, Karen Tumulty, thank you both.
FOUHY: Thank you.
TUMULTY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Great to have you -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you
Al Gore's sometimes outspoken campaign manager, Donna Brazile, has kept a low profile in recent weeks, preferring that the candidate make the headlines. Well, over the weekend, Brazile addressed a conference of the National Organization for Women, and she had a chance to speak out on Gore's behalf.
Pat Neal reports from Miami.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sister organizer, sister activist, sister Donna Brazile.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donna Brazile has made history and headlines; history, as the first African-American woman to manage a major party presidential campaign; and headlines, for being outspoken.
DONNA BRAZILE, GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I wouldn't talk about George Bush. I wouldn't waste my time with you.
NEAL: While tough talk like that has been her trademark, it's also caused cautious Gore operatives to reign her in a bit. But here at the national conference of the National Organization for Women, Brazile was in her element.
BRAZILE: My daddy taught the boys and the girls how to fix a car and how to, you know, repair the lawnmower. So I didn't know there was a difference. And I still don't accept any difference when people tell me what my glass ceiling is.
NEAL: She has broken barriers, but she's had collisions along the way. Early in the Gore campaign, she ignited a firestorm by questioning the Republican Party's commitment to blacks after saying -- quote -- Republicans bring out Colin Powell and J.C. Watts because they have no program, no policy. They'd rather take pictures of black children than feed them."
Al Gore was forced to call Powell and make amends.
BRAZILE: I try to spend my days by restraining myself because many of you know that I have more passion than most.
NEAL: A longtime civil rights activist, an ally of Jesse Jackson, Brazile has long been linked to the most liberal elements of the Democratic Party. Here among a generally like-minded crowd, Brazile pitched hard for Gore, who has been struggling to secure the votes of women like these.
BRAZILE: The choice should be clear and that choice is Al Gore.
NEAL: Without naming names, she questioned the so-called compassionate conservatism of Governor George Bush, in contrast with Al Gore.
BRAZILE: And he's been out there for the Family Medical Leave Act over 20 years. And no matter how compassionate you might be tomorrow, where were you 20 years ago when we needed you?
NEAL: She told the group assembled here that Al Gore needs them more than ever and added, he's comfortable with strong, opinionated women who are not afraid to set their own path.
Pat Neal, CNN, Miami.
WOODRUFF: And much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: Still to come: back on the road in New York, Senate hopeful Rick Lazio heads upstate once again.
WOODRUFF: Reaching Hispanic voters at home. David Peeler on ad strategy and spending.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: If I say the name Margaret Thatcher, what's the first thing that comes to mind?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: Our Bill Schneider, looking at a Thatcher trademark on the auction block.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories. The scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument is gone, a sign that a three-year renovation project is almost complete. A restoration celebration was held today, showing some of the structural repairs on the 555-foot tall monument. There is still inside work to be finished before the monument is reopened to the public.
Planners say there is a lot to look forward to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM MUDDY, NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION: Presenting back to the American people a newly restored Washington Monument, ready to welcome fireworks overhead, and hundreds and thousands of families underfoot tomorrow, as we celebrate Independence Day. And in a few short weeks, the monument will reopen for tours and millions of visitors annually who can enjoy the new interior, the new education exhibits...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The monument will close again in December. The final touch of the $10 million project is the installation of a new elevator cab.
Meanwhile, the ships are returning to New York Harbor. Planners call OpSail 2000 the largest armada of sailing and warships in history. President Clinton will head the nautical celebration of the Fourth of July from the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. Security will be tight, with 30,000 police, along with Customs and FBI agents in New York City.
SHAW: A BBC documentary says a computer hacker put the shuttle astronauts in danger in 1997. The report says a computer hacker put the shuttle astronauts in danger in 1997. The report says a hacker got into a NASA computer that monitors the medical condition of the shuttle crew. The incident happened during a docking with the Russian Space Station Mir.
The report says there have been more than a half million cyberattacks on NASA in the past year.
A rolling storm packing extraordinary winds tore up powerlines, flipped semitrailers, sent patio furniture flying, and toppled trees near Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Truck drivers say they saw twisters in the sky, but officials say they cannot confirm last night's damage was caused by tornado.
When INSIDE POLITICS returns, how close is it? Stu Rothenberg handicaps the New York Senate race and other key contests.
WOODRUFF: As Kate Snow reported earlier, Vice President Gore will be in San Diego this evening addressing the annual conference of the Hispanic advocacy group the National Council of La Raza. On Wednesday, George W. Bush will do the same. The appearances are part of the push by both campaigns to court Latino voters.
Recently, Jeanne Meserve talked with David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting about the ad strategies and this key voter group.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Both parties have ran ads aimed at Hispanic voters.
Let's take a look at those.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RNC AD)
NARRATOR: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, DNC AD)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (SPEAKING IN SPANISH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: OK, David, how much are the parties spending on ads like this?
DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Well, Jeanne, it's really more about tactics, media tactics, than it's about spending so far. You know, we've seen the RNC spend about -- we took a look at a few markets -- saw the RNC spend about $2,500 in Albuquerque. We saw the DNC counter that spending in Albuquerque to the tune of about $7,000. They've also spent $11,000 in the Chicago area, which people may be surprised to find has a very large Hispanic population, and as you know, Illinois is a swing state. So, that's a very, very important state to the Democrats and Al Gore.
In fact, the DNC has taken a tactic that we don't usually see in media around campaigns, is that they bought in Hispanic network television in order to expand the reach that they get. They bought Univision, which covers both Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and many, many other states. So there is a very concerted effort for the Gore campaign to get to the Midwest Hispanic vote.
You know -- you know, it's an important element when it gets down to the details. The Gore campaign made a point of showing that the Al Gore ad actually has Al Gore speaking in Spanish whereas the George W. Bush's campaign ad, the ad was dubbed. But you know, I think George W. Bush, who we've seen speak Spanish on many occasions, will probably do so in the future. In fact, he's even employed some of his family members to run some campaign ads for him targeted at the Hispanic community.
We saw here in New York, George T. Bush, his nephew, appear in an ad that ran over the Puerto Rican Day weekend when the Puerto Rican Day Parade ran to the tune of about $4,000. So as you can see, what's really important here is that this is the earliest we've ever seen campaigns come out with a very specific ethnic niche-oriented media campaign behind what they're going to try to do in the fall. So my suspicions are that we'll see a lot more of this as the summer unfolds and as we go into the fall campaign.
MESERVE: OK. Now on to Washington state where a new ad criticizes Al Gore for one of the administration's environmental positions. The ad by the Republican-leaning group Americans for Job Security also praises Republican Senator Slade Gorton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AMERICANS FOR JOB SECURITY)
NARRATOR: It's time to face the facts about the Snake River. Removal of the dams would add over 700,000 trucks to our highways with a price tag of over $300 million. Breach the dams and say goodbye to clean, affordable energy. Plan on adding more to your electric bill each month. No dams and more than 2,200 jobs evaporate, family farms fail, taxes soar, land values plummet.
Say no to Al Gore. Help preserve the Columbia River Basis. Support Slade Gorton and his fight to save Snake River.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: David, how much is this group spending on this campaign?
PEELER: Well, the group spent all of the $33,000 against this particular spot in Spokane. You know, it's really a two-fold tactic for them. They're able to attack Al Gore. The state of Washington is at this time still in a state of flux between Republicans and Democrats even though it's traditionally been a Democratic state. And it also goes to counter what the Sierra Club had run on the air against Slade Gorton earlier. So it's really a two-fold tactic and probably a pretty successful one.
You know, the Democrat in the race, Maria Cantwell, she spent a tremendous amount of money for the Democratic primary so far. It's the only spending that we've seen from the candidates so far. She spent over a million dollars in Spokane and Seattle. And while, you know, a million dollars is a lot of money -- and someone said to me today, well, it's -- "Spending a million dollars in Spokane and Seattle is like Jon Corzine spending in the state of New Jersey."
I'm not so sure it's quite that bad, but it's an awful lot of money to run for a primary in the state of Washington.
MESERVE: David Peeler, thanks so much.
PEELER: Thank you, Jeanne.
SHAW: And coming up on INSIDE POLITICS, day one of Rick Lazio's tour, bus tour, in New York. Plus analyst Stu Rothenburg with lots to think about, when we come back.
WOODRUFF: Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is in first lady mode for the 4th of July holiday, but she will get plenty of free publicity in New York State tomorrow when she and the president take part in independence celebrations there. That may help why her opponent, Rick Lazio, launched another bus tour today.
CNN's Frank Buckley is traveling with Lazio.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The "Mainstream Express" was on the road again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, would you please welcome a true New Yorker and our next United States Senator -- Rick Lazio!
BUCKLEY: The Long Island Congressman's rolling photo-op, providing fresh pictures for his future campaign commercials. Lazio hoping his name recognition will continue to grown among New York voters.
REP. RICK LAZIO (D-NY), SENATE CANDIDATE: I think they are increasingly coming to me, saying, gee, I like you, I trust you, you're the kind of person I think that people I am comfortable with in serving us in the Senate. I think people look at me as a good family man, frankly, as a good neighbor, as somebody who is trying to be a good friend and a good husband.
BUCKLEY: Polls continue to show, however, that many New Yorkers still don't know who Rick Lazio is. Nearly 40 percent of the voters responding to the most recent Marist Institute poll, for example, said that they didn't know enough about him to register an opinion on the four-term Republican congressman.
LAZIO: How are you? I am Rick Lazio.
BUCKLEY: A major theme of this campaign tour, say strategists, is to highlight Lazio's legislative accomplishments. At the Brentwood Family Health Clinic on Long Island, Lazio said he was the pointman on cancer issues in the House of Representatives, most recently offering the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act, which Lazio called on President Clinton to sign.
LAZIO: This is not about election year posturing; this is about looking at our respective records and what we've been doing, and they're one major foray into health care, we know what that was all about, both Mrs. Clinton and the president, what they supported. They supported a disastrous plan that would have limited patients' choices, would have undermined the quality of the care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN)
ANNOUNCER: The Senate just voted to kill the patients' bill of rights by two votes. Hillary supports it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCKLEY: Hillary Clinton has criticized Lazio for not supporting the so-called "patients' bill of rights," and has been running a series of critical commercials in recent weeks, as she attempts to define Lazio as too conservative for New York voters. Lazio says the strategy will not work.
LAZIO: They've been spending a lot of money on negative ads. They've had six negative ads now in about two weeks against me. That's obviously very costly. I think it's, frankly, a sign of some desperation.
BUCKLEY (on camera): In fact, both sides are desperate to cut through the clutter of a holiday week and summer vacations, when voters traditionally tune out of politics, because the side that gets voters to tune in could create lasting impressions of Rick Lazio that could carry through to election day.
Frank Buckley, CNN, Suffern, New York.
SHAW: Now Stu Rothenberg of "The Rothenberg Political Report" is here to talk about Lazio versus Clinton and other races. The point that Frank just made, both candidates very hard time getting voters in that state to focus?
STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, on one hand, this is a sexy race and everybody is talking it. On the other, they're not really focused on what the candidates are saying, in the case of Lazio, his backgrounds, his accomplishment. That's why he has to try to introduce himself now, Bernie.
SHAW: Take a page from the senator of Arizona, the "Mainstream Express."
ROTHENBERG: Yes. Well, I am sure that Lazio would like that apology.
What he's trying to do here, he knows Mrs. Clinton is going to try to demonize him and portray him as a radical right-wing Republican, and he's calling amongst the people to try to try to tell them what his real record is. If he succeeds, I think it helps him. But frankly, the race is still going to be about Mrs. Clinton 95 percent of the time.
SHAW: Is Lazio the candidate the Clinton's wanted?
ROTHENBERG: Well, I don't know who they wanted. I am sure that when the mayor got in trouble with the shooting, the Diallo shooting, the Clintons probably figured they had a vulnerable Republican. Now I think they started with a blank slate, and they're trying to sort him paint him in a certain way. But I think that Lazio is a difficult candidate for Mrs. Clinton. Actually, I think he's a more difficult candidate right now than the mayor would be.
SHAW: Let's come to Washington -- the House of Representatives, Republicans control it by five seats now. What does it look like?
ROTHENBERG: Well, Bernie, I continue to go race by race, state by race, and I still have the Democrats picking up anywhere from three or four seats at the low end to seven or eight seats at the high end. I think the contest is still going to come down to about 10 or 11 Republican open seats, four or five Democratic open seats, and probably somewhere around 15 or 20 incumbents. So that's going to decide who controls the House, those limited number of races.
SHAW: The key will be the open seats, because you assume the incumbents, being the incumbents...
ROTHENBERG: I still believe the incumbent losses are going to be relatively small. Two years ago in 1998, in the general election, only six incumbents went down. I wouldn't be surprised to see incumbent losses in the four to eight range this time. And so that means that the open seats are probably going to determine who controls the House.
SHAW: The vice president, both tickets?
ROTHENBERG: Well on the Republican side, it sure looks like -- at least if you consider the buzz in D.C. -- it looks as if Frank Keating, the governor of Oklahoma, has emerged as the front-runner here. I am not particularly thrilled with the choice -- not my choice to make, actually; it's Governor Bush's. But here's my reasoning, Bernie, look, the American public doesn't know a lot about George W. Bush. What they know so far, they like. They see him as a centrist. This is one of the few opportunities where they're going see about his decision-making process, and they're going to figure out why he's picked somebody. I think Frank Keating, it's not a bad choice. There is nothing that I know of in Frank Keating's background that is damaging. I just regard as uninspiring. Is it safe? Is safe important? Yes. But it looks to me as though the name Frank Keating just screams safe, and this is a guy, Geoerge W. Bush, we're told is a leader. The public sees him as a leader. I think he probably should be somewhat bolder. Does he have to go as far as Tom Ridge? I am not sure, but I think that some of the nervousness about Tom Ridge, frankly, is exaggerated.
SHAW: Al Gore?
ROTHENBERG: Well, the hot name we're hearing right now, of course, is Dick Gephardt. Two months ago, if someone asked me about Gephardt as VP, I would have just dismissed it, and said, no he's determined to be -- to try to become speaker of the House. He's going to try to stay in the House. But we're hearing a lot of talk about this. He fits the mold in a number of ways. Obviously, the selection would be greeted, I think, with great applause by organized labor and in a number of other Democratic constituency groups. There is some potential downside here. You know, you put the vice president of the United States and the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives on the same tickets, it reeks of Washington D.C. And while people are content at the moment, I am not sure anybody really loves Washington.
SHAW: Stu, let's go to the national campaign. For INSIDE POLITICS, covering a national presidential campaign is a labor of love. But a lot of people are going right now. You mentioned that what these candidates are doing right now, Gore and Bush, is important.
ROTHENBERG: Yes, I think that it matters a lot. It's funny, you have some, particularly academics, who say look, you can tell who's going to win the election by just looking at some economic numbers and presidential approval numbers. And other people say, no, it's just what happens after Labor Day.
After Labor Day is very important, Bernie. But in fact, that the campaign matters. It's not just a question of economic numbers. You put them in a little mixing bowl, you mix them, you can find out who's going to win. In fact, I received a paper by two academics -- mostly academics -- who write about how you just look at gross national product and you figure out who's going to be the president. These are academics from Colombia and the University of Houston. This is a paper they presented in April at the Midwest Political Science Meetings. They concluded after examining polls between 1944 and 1996, and I quote, "campaigns events do have meaningful effects." Wow, that's a shocker to me.
I think it matters whether or not candidates perform well in debates or poorly in debates. It's matters what kind of positions they take. I don't rule out the importance of these background circumstances -- the economy, presidential approval. Of course they're critical, but somebody can make a mistake, and a mistake can cost somebody an election.
SHAW: Indeed, Stuart Rothenberg, "Rothenberg Political Report."
ROTHENBERG: Thanks, Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you.
And when we return, an unusual political symbol takes center stage -- a look at Margaret Thatcher and her famous accessory.
SHAW: Today, the online bidding began for an unusual item with international and political significance.
WOODRUFF: For now, it belongs to Britain's first female prime minister. But our Bill Schneider, in London, explains how this simple accessory found its way into the spotlight.
SCHNEIDER: When I say the name Margaret Thatcher, what's the first thing that comes to mind? Her helmet hairdo, perhaps? Or maybe the object that became the symbol of her 11-and-a-half-year reign over British politics: her handbag. Well today, here in London, the "Iron Lady" put her handbag up for auction, all for a good cause.
(voice-over): Objects have often come to symbolize political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic. Winston Churchill's cigar symbolized his indomitable spirit. When the queen visited the White House, she became, for all the world, a talking hat. FDR had his cigarette holder. JFK had his rocking chair, Reagan his horses.
But Thatcher's handbag, now that was a very special object. Like the spear of Boadicea, Britain's first-century warrior queen, the handbag became the symbol of the Iron Lady's iron will.
MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: My handbag is the safest thing at Number 10. Things don't leak from my handbag.
SCHNEIDER: In fact, it went with her everywhere, when she visited American presidents, when she left Number 10 for the last time, when she saw herself enshrined at Madame Tussaud's.
The handbag contained remarkable things. Once challenged in parliamentary debate to recollect an essay by the renowned economist John Maynard Keynes, Mrs. Thatcher pulled the document out of her handbag.
"Handbag" actually became a verb in the British political lexicon. To handbag your opponent meant to treat him ruthlessly, to humiliate him -- like this.
THATCHER: When the right honorable gentleman's windy rhetoric has blown away, what are their real reasons for bringing this motion before the house? Because there were no alternative policies, there are just a lot of disjointed, opaque words.
SCHNEIDER: And so today, Lady Thatcher's handbag goes up for auction, along with those of other celebrities. You can bid for it, at Handbag.com.
Why did she decide to part with it? Read the note: "This black Ferragamo handbag belonged to me and was used for many special occasions. I would only let it go for a good cause."
The cause: breast cancer research. She is, after all, Lady Thatcher.
(on camera): As Shakespeare might have written, her handbag shows the force of temporal power, the attribute to awe and majesty wherein doth sit the dread and fear of Margaret Thatcher.
Bill Schneider, CNN, London.
WOODRUFF: Not too many handbags like that one.
SHAW: Absolutely not.
WOODRUFF: The online auction by Handbag.com ends on July 13th.
SHAW: And so far, there have been more than 20 bids, the latest for more than 450 pounds. That's more than $680 U.S.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We're going to see you again tomorrow on the 4th of July, when our Candy Crowley will be with Governor George W. Bush at a parade in Belton, Texas.
And, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
WOODRUFF: And this programming note: Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader will be the guest tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. I'm Judy Woodruff.
SHAW: I'm Bernard Shaw. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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