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Inside Politics

Gore Challenges Special Interest on Drug Prices, Fund-Raising Reform; New York Senate Race Shows Signs of Turning Negative

Aired July 5, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I bet you will find out that they're not citizens for a better Medicare, but citizens for higher big drug-company profits.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Two issues in one: Al Gore challenges a special interest group on drug prices and fund-raising reform.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: New York Republican Rick Lazio courts upstate voters while his campaign mailings take new shots at the first lady.



BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's one thing George W. really does want, and only you voters can give it to him. It's an office.


SHAW: Our Bruce Morton on the birthday wishes of the GOP hopeful.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

Al Gore is sparring with the nation's drug-makers. He issued a challenge today to an industry-backed group that has bought television ads opposing his plan to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare. TV spots are expensive, and Gore wants to know where the group gets its money. He hinted America's seniors might want to know as well.

CNN's Patty Davis is with the Gore campaign in Philadelphia.


PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice President Al Gore ratcheted up his war with pharmaceutical companies, attacking the industry-funded group Citizens for Better Medicare.

GORE: Millions of dollars right now are going into a phony coalition called Citizens for Better Medicare, which is polluting the public airwaves with special-interest TV ads designed to deceive the American people about a prescription drug benefit.

DAVIS: Gore called on the group to voluntarily reveal its donors -- donors, he said, who have helped fund $30 million in ads, such as this one, opposing Gore's prescription drug benefit plan for Medicare recipients.


NARRATOR: Yet some politicians want to import Canada's government controls to America.


DAVIS: Under a law recently passed by Congress, Citizens for Better Medicare will only be required to say who its future contributors are. A spokesman for the group, known as a 527, would only say the group's ad spending is, quote, "very significant," close quote, and that it would follow the law.

Earlier this week, the vice president accused drug companies of price gouging. His latest salvo came in the swing state of Pennsylvania, where he addressed the National Federation of Teachers. Gore has the union's endorsement and that of the National Education Association.

Both Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush are making education a top issue. The vice president is doing the same with health care.

GORE: I would a whole lot rather have affordable targeted tax cuts to help working families pay for health insurance than a massive tax cut that primarily benefits only the wealthy in this country...

DAVIS: Gore promoted his plan to expand health insurance for children and adults as well as a patients' bill of rights.

(on camera): It's a theme the vice president plans to push all week as he campaigns in key battleground states. The goal, supporters say, point out what they consider stark differences with George W. Bush.

Patty Davis, CNN, Philadelphia.


SHAW: And coming up, Candy Crowley on the campaign trail with Governor Bush and more of INSIDE POLITICS in a moment.


SHAW: For the presidential hopefuls, it's a big week for courting Hispanics. Al Gore made the pilgrimage first, and now George W. Bush has gone to San Diego to demonstrate support for America's fastest-growing ethnic group.

Winning over Hispanics is a challenge for Bush. Four years ago, they voted nearly three-to-one for Bill Clinton.

CNN's Candy Crowley is with the Texas governor, who spoke today to the National Council of La Raza.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, this is the fifth time the governor has come to California, and if memory serves me, most every time he has sought out a Hispanic group. This time he came in particular to talk to La Raza. It is his only stop here in California.

Bush, as you mentioned, is courting Hispanics heavily here and elsewhere. He admits it's a tough sell right now.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, we Republicans have got a lot of work to do here in the state of California. I like to be seen in neighborhoods sometimes where Republicans aren't seen! I like to fight that stereotype that somehow we don't have the corazon to hear the voices of people from all political parties and all walks of life.


CROWLEY: Corazon of course being Spanish for "heart."

Bush while before La Raza expanded on what he would like to do in improving the services of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. He says he would like to put money in so that people who make any application to the INS have that application processed within six months. Right now, says Bush, it takes three to five years.

Later, Bush held a news conference here in San Diego. He was asked a lot about various statements that Al Gore has made in the past couple of days: in particular, Gore's habit of tying George Bush both to the pharmaceutical industry, which Gore believes is gouging consumers, and to the oil industry, which Gore believes is of course responsible for high gas prices.

Asked about this, Bush was vehement in his -- both his denial and his opinions about Gore's tactics.


BUSH: The vice president has a tendency to want to spend time, precious time, diminishing, and for him to suggest at one point in time during last couple of weeks that I'm responsible for high gasoline prices -- he did. The gasoline prices have risen under the watch of this administration. There is no energy policy.

What he's trying do is shift the blame. He's trying to pass responsibility on. Doesn't want to take the blame during the course of a presidential campaign.


CROWLEY: From here, the governor heads back to Austin. Of course, he has a very big decision looming. Sometime within the next couple of weeks, we expect he will announce his decision for who will be the vice president on the Republican ticket -- Bernie.

SHAW: Candy Crowley with the latest on the Bush campaign in San Diego. Thank you -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And now to that Senate race in New York, which is showing signs of going sharply negative.

Congressman Rick Lazio has issued a letter attacking Mrs. Clinton and her husband, the president. Meantime, some of the first lady's supporters are about to launch an offensive on the issue of abortion.

CNN's Frank Buckley is with the Lazio camp, which is touring the state by bus.


REP. RICK LAZIO (R-NY), SENATE CANDIDATE: Rush me home to get my lunch, stamp my juice can, make it crunch.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While Rick Lazio was reading to children at a child and family facility in upstate New York, abortion rights activists were preparing to launch an offensive against the congressman in the New York Senate race.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have one question for Rick...


BUCKLEY: National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League, NARAL, part of a targeted cable TV buy, which will begin airing Thursday in the crucial swing suburbs just outside of New York City.

KELLI CONLIN, NARAL SPOKESWOMAN: What is at issue here is how our senator will vote on that nominee. And the future of Roe versus Wade, the future of legal abortion in this nation hangs in the balance.

BUCKLEY: NARAL endorsed Hillary Clinton in late May saying Lazio had frequently voted against abortion rights.

LAZIO: I'm pro-choice and my record reflects that.

BUCKLEY: Lazio says Clinton and NARAL are distorting his record but adds he does differ with NARAL and Mrs. Clinton on some forms of late-term abortion, which opponents call "partial birth" abortion.

LAZIO: What they're trying to do is to define me as anti-choice because I support the ban on partial birth. They're opposed to the ban. Mrs. Clinton is opposed to the ban on partial birth abortions. That's, I think, an extreme position.

BUCKLEY: Lazio would not say how he would vote on a Supreme Court justice nominee opposed to abortion rights.

LAZIO: I just don't think there ought to be any litmus test.

BUCKLEY: The Clinton campaign believes the abortion issue could help to persuade particularly suburban women voters to vote for Hillary Clinton, a chief Lazio strategist saying it's Hillary Clinton who's on the wrong side of the issue.

MIKE MURPHY, LAZIO CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: I think the Clinton campaign has made a mistake here, because the voters of New York support Rick Lazio on this position. Rick Lazio's pro-choice, but he opposes partial birth abortion. Mrs. Clinton doesn't. And that's the real abortion difference in the campaign, and the Clinton folks are desperate to smoke screen that. And that's what this is all really about.

BUCKLEY: The back-and-forth between the campaigns coming as Lazio crosses the state in a five day bus tour: Lazio also on the offensive in a fund-raising letter sent to supporters in which he writes: "Hillary Clinton and her husband have embarrassed our country and disgraced their powerful posts. She covets power and control, and thinks she should be dictating how other people run their lives."

(on camera): What neither side can know for sure is whether any of this is registering with New York voters during a holiday week in the middle of summer. That will not diminish the intensity of the campaigns however, and Thursday Mrs. Clinton comes upstate to begin the latest swing of her campaign, calling it the upstate economic tour.

Frank Buckley, CNN, Malone, New York.


WOODRUFF: Contacted late this afternoon, the Clinton campaign said the first lady could support a ban on late-term abortions if exceptions were broadened to include not only the life of the mother, but the mother's health as well.

Well, joining us now from New York, Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Rich Lowry of "The National Review."

Margaret, Rich, thank you both for joining us.

Is it my imagination or is this New York Senate race getting really nasty here in July?

Margaret, he's already saying the first lady's embarrassed the country. How much worse is it going to get?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": Well, the letter hit all her soft spots, including going to New York, using New York because it was there, and perhaps using it as a stepping stone to even more power, and then raising impeachment. He did it all in that letter.

The other thing that she did that was very smart was to get closer to his position on abortion. His is the better position at the moment. It appeals to more people, who have a moderate position on abortion: not one that embraces partial birth abortion. So her statement on that was very smart.


RICH LOWRY, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think this is a repeat of the Giuliani pattern, where you have the Republican candidates against Hillary being very sharp and tough in their direct mail fund-raising letters but not quite carrying that out more broadly in their campaign.

And I think when Lazio replaced Giuliani as a candidate, all the talk was about now this is going to be a race about issues, and I haven't seen that yet. I think Lazio's comments recently about how he opposes litmus tests for Supreme Court justices but he will want to know what the nominees' views on abortion are, but he won't tell us whether that will sway him one way or the other, that's just a mushy mess. And I think his campaign has been that way generally.

When he's tried to attack Hillary on the gas tax, he basically attacks her for riding in a motorcade. Well, he has a motorcade of his own. So what does that mean?

So I think he's proved himself a very attractive and energetic and good-looking candidate, but we haven't seen the substance from him yet that it's going to take to really beat Hillary I think.

WOODRUFF: Well, Margaret, do you think he's just holding off on the substance and holding off on getting more specific on these issues?

CARLSON: Well, one thing we know is that a candidate's direct mail is going to get covered by us, and so you can't really sharpen the issues there and not have it be out there, even though he gets to keep smiling and the letter snarls a bit.

You know, he has a big problem because coming in so late he needs both to establish his identity as a positive person, at the same time sharpen the issues. And that's a lot to accomplish in a few months. Rudy Giuliani had, you know, nine months before to do it.

But he's -- he is coming out on certain issues, like abortion, which I think are her weak spot, and on the fact he's not giving up -- and I think New Yorkers show that it's still a sensitive issue -- that she doesn't live in New York.


LOWRY: Well, I think he's banking on just not being Hillary being enough to get him through, which is basically what Giuliani was banking on, and I think that's a wrong calculation.

CARLSON: But not in his case as much in that I think the anti- Hillary vote can solidly go to Rick Lazio whereas there were some people who were anti-Hillary that were never going to be able to pull the lever for Rudy...

LOWRY: That's -- that's right. I agree with that.

WOODRUFF: Rich, let's move on to the presidential campaign. Can Al Gore make some headway here by taking on not only big oil but the big pharmaceutical companies and trying to tie them to Governor Bush?

LOWRY: It's really funny, isn't it? He sounds like FDR at times now. It's a real return to a kind of populist liberalism, and I think it's pretty shrewd tactics. I mean, the pharmaceuticals are very unpopular in this country. I'm not sure why, because they've done a great deal to increase the sum of human happiness.

But I think Gore's attack has two targets in terms of constituencies. One is what you might refer to as the Reagan seniors. It used to be we just had New Deal seniors who had voted Democratic all their life. Now we have a lot of elderly people who are very comfortable voting Republican, and Gore needs to get those people back. So this issue is aimed at the heart of that constituency.

And he's also going after a group that we haven't heard a lot about since 1994, which is angry white males. The Democrats have lost a lot of ground among white working-class voters over recent years. It's hurt them a lot. And this issue goes to them as well because a lot of these people are worried about their parents not being able to afford these drugs.

So I think it's very shrewd tactically.

WOODRUFF: Well, Margaret, if that's what he's doing, is it shrewd?

CARLSON: It is shrewd, and the reason that people, that the pharmaceutical industry is a good target that if you're not lucky enough to have health insurance, you can end up paying -- I was -- went to pick up a prescription for somebody without health insurance -- $246 for one round of Augmentin, an antibiotic. Now, imagine somebody on a fixed income facing that kind of payment. That's why it's a very good strategy.

And Gore's plan for prescription drug coverage has two great advantages over Bush's. One is it's simple -- it tags on to Medicare -- and it covers much more.

You know, somebody who's bringing in $13,000 a year under the Bush plan is still going to spend a third of their income on drugs before they get any help. And also it's a boon to the insurance companies, because you just have to go through the insurance companies, who are going to cherry pick the healthy seniors and leave the others uncovered.

LOWRY: And I think Bush has been a little tongue-tied both on the oil and the pharmaceuticals. He hasn't been very effective in rebutting Gore's attacks.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's quickly move to the vice presidential sweepstakes, Rich.

The flavor of the week on the Republican side seems to be Governor Frank Keating of Oklahoma. Serious contender?

LOWRY: Very much so. If you look at Bush and the campaign team he's put together there in Austin, they're not many outsiders down there. They're all friends of his, people he's extremely comfortable with, people who are extremely loyal. So Bush is going to look for that profile, I think, in a veep pick.

He knows Keating from his -- because they're both Republican governors, and Keating was extremely loyal during the primaries. So I think on those two grounds, Keating makes a lot of sense.

And he might just -- might not just be the flavor of the week. He might be the flavor of the year.

WOODRUFF: Margaret, any other names serious that you're hearing for Governor Bush?

CARLSON: You know, the point is the short list is actually a long list. We pick someone out every once in a while, you know, to discuss and then somebody else comes up. I mean, Dick Cheney was at the Bush ranch this week discussing a whole list of people. And while Keating doesn't have the Ridge problem -- and if you want a Catholic, Keating is a good Catholic to choose -- there is a lot of push not to take another governor, even though Bush's comfort level is high with them, but to look to the Senate for that kind of gravitas and bringing that kind of experience that Gore is going to suggest Bush doesn't have to the ticket.

And you still hear, you know, quite frequently, you know, Senator Chuck Hagel, Fred Thompson...

WOODRUFF: Fred Thompson.

CARLSON: Yes, and others like that. And the basis -- and remember this, Bush gets comfortable with people really fast. I mean, he's pinching your cheek after you're in the room for five minutes.

WOODRUFF: Rich, any thoughts on the Democrat side? We've got a half minute left.

LOWRY: Yes, well, I think what's most interesting on the Democrat side in the moment is the fight over abortion, in the form of Evan Bayh. If this were going on in the Republican Party, the press would be playing this up like it's Armageddon, where you have pro- choice groups attempting to impose a litmus test on Gore's choice, because Bayh opposes partial-birth abortions. So it's just -- I think it's very interesting how this plays differently when it's the Democrats having these kind of fights.

CARLSON: Gore would be wise to choose someone who is opposed to partial-birth abortion, because it would balance -- you know, Democrats do not want to be pro-abortion, they want to be pro-choice, and the partial-birth issue has really, you know, put Democrats on the offensive a bit. So that should not be the impediment to Evan Bayh. There may be others, but that shouldn't be it.

WOODRUFF: And as you pointed out when we started all this a few minutes ago, Margaret, even the first lady herself is looking at changing her position.


WOODRUFF: Or modifying her position.

CARLSON: Yes they never change, Judy. You know they don't change.

WOODRUFF: Sorry, I made a terrible mistake.

All right, Margaret Carlson, Rich Lowry, thank you both.

CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

LOWRY: Thanks for having us.


SHAW: A new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll shows Americans have more confidence in the armed forces than the nation's other institutions. The military ranked first, followed by organized religion, the police and the Supreme Court. Only 42 percent of those responding say they have high confidence in the presidency. Just over a third have a great deal of confidence in newspapers and television news. And only one-fourth say they have high confidence in Congress. Bringing up the rear, HMOs. Only 16 percent expressed a lot of confidence in those health maintenance groups.

There's much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come:


RON FAUCHEUX: Eight years ago people didn't think that Clinton would select Gore. So most vice presidential nominations in recent years have been surprises.


SHAW: Ron Faucheux checks the odds on who might be a vice presidential candidate.

Plus, what do musical choices say about the presidential hopefuls? We'll take a look at music and politics.

And later:


MORTON (voice-over): He turns 54, not a big birthday maybe, but you want to give something. Still, he kind of is the man who has everything.


Our Bruce Morton with a few gift suggestions for the Texas governor.


WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

President Clinton hopes to close a Mideast peace deal next week during a summit at Camp David. Mr. Clinton will meet Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat have shown they're ready to take risks to pursue peace. The rest of the world, and especially the rest of the region, cannot afford to be bystanders. For all those who are truly committed to the cause of peace, and to the well-being of the Israeli and Palestinian people, now is the time to lend their support to the peacemakers.


WOODRUFF: High on the agenda: Jerusalem's borders and the future of Jewish settlers in Palestinian areas. There is a September 13 deadline for a peace accord.

SHAW: Another night of riots in Drumcree, Northern Ireland as Protestants object to a ban on an Orange Order parade through a Catholic neighborhood. A 20-foot high steel barricade topped with razor wire has been erected outside Drumcree Church. Police tell CNN they were attacked with firecrackers, rocks and acid. The Orangemen have promised an entire week of demonstrations.

WOODRUFF: A piece of Cold War history dissolves in a puff of dust in the middle of a North Dakota wheat field. The missile silo, near Grand Forks, was once home to a Minuteman II nuclear warhead. It's one of 150 silos that must be destroyed under a disarmament treaty with Russia. Most of the implosion took place 92 feet underground. SHAW: Researchers say doctors should stop giving women fertility drugs to help them get pregnant. According to a study by the Center for Human Reproduction in Chicago, drugs that stimulate the ovaries carry a high risk of producing three, four, five and even six babies. The researchers say invitrofertilization is a better choice. It's more likely to result in a pregnancy and eliminates the risk of multiple births.

WOODRUFF: The PGA tour is trying again to keep disabled golfer Casey Martin from using a cart during tournaments. It's asking the Supreme Court to rule that the Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to athletes during competition. A blood vessel disease makes it painful for Martin to walk. He sued the PGA Tour and won the right to use a cart in a 1997 lawsuit.

SHAW: In a tennis first, sisters Venus and Serena Williams meet in a grand slam semifinal match at Wimbledon tomorrow. Both women won singles matches on July 4. After teaming up for a doubles victory today, the two told reporters that they'll try to keep their usual game faces.


QUESTION: Do you think you'll be able to smile tomorrow on the court or the tension will prevail?

SERENA WILLIAMS, PROFESSIONAL TENNIS PLAYER: I definitely think we'll be able to smile tomorrow. We're always filled with smiles, and we like to smile.



SHAW: The sister's father and coach, Richard Williams, says he won't watch the match.

INSIDE POLITICS returns in a moment.


SHAW: New national polls show a very tight presidential race. A "Newsweek" survey has Vice President Gore leading Governor Bush by one point in a two-man race, 46 percent to 45 percent. An Associated Press survey puts Bush on top by one point, 40 percent to 39 percent. And a Fox News poll has Bush up by four points, 44 percent to 40 percent. All three polls were of registered voters. Recent polls that measured likely voters have given Bush a slightly larger advantage.

Less than a month away from the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia, selecting a running mate is at or near the top of George W. Bush's list of things to do.

Analyst Ron Faucheux is laying odds on the search and, at the moment, he sees co-favorites. Our Jeanne Meserve spoke with Faucheux, editor in chief of Congressional Quarterly's "Campaigns and Elections" magazine.


RON FAUCHEUX, "CAMPAIGNS AND ELECTIONS" MAGAZINE: For the first time, Tom Ridge, the governor of Pennsylvania, has moved up to first place. We still have Elizabeth Dole tied up for first place, even a lot of politicos in Washington don't think much of her chances. She's still by far and way the most popular choice, of either the Democratic or Republican side when it comes to voters as a whole, with the exception of Colin Powell. She has very high positives, very low negatives.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN ANCHOR: Why did Ridge move up?

FAUCHEUX: Well, Ridge is a logical choice in a lot of ways. He is a governor. I think that is a plus with George Bush. Bush likes him. He likes Bush. They have shown an ability to work together. Of course, he's form probably from the largest truly swing state in the country, Pennsylvania, with 23 electoral votes. His position on abortion cuts both ways. On the one hand, it will probably offend some pro-life voters and pro-life advocates within the Republican matter. But on the other hand, it shows an ability for Bush to reach out towards the middle.

So there's a lot of pluses there.

MESERVE: Colin Powell, you mentioned. He is now No. 3 on the Republican side.

FAUCHEUX: Well, he is only considered No. 3 because he probably wouldn't accept an offer if it was made to him. But we still have him on the top list because he is one of those rare vice-presidential possibilities that, if he did go on the ticket, probably would measurably improve the chances of the ticket to win the election, because he is so incredibly popular.

But the chances now I think are more that, if the Republicans do win, he would probably be secretary of state as opposed to running for office as vice president.

MESERVE: OK, at No. 4, Richard Lugar, right?

FAUCHEUX: Well, we have Richard Lugar, the senator from Indiana. Then we have Chuck Hagel, the senator from Nebraska. And at this point, we really are starting to get into longer shots for the nomination. A Lugar would be a solid choice. Somebody once said that a vice-presidential candidate doesn't help the presidential candidate but it can only hurt the candidate.

If that's the case, you want somebody who is safe and solid. And Lugar would certainly be that kind of a choice. Somebody like Hagel is a new face, and there's more risk there than with somebody like Lugar. But he was a McCain supporter. He has sort of a non-partisan, independent flair, which I think would be very appealing to a lot of voters.

MESERVE: But both senators, and you mentioned before that Bush prefers governors?

FAUCHEUX: I would think that Bush would, because he doesn't want to tie himself to where the Republicans have been in Congress over the last five or six years.

MESERVE: Let's turn in and look at the Democratic side. Do you have a new number one?

FAUCHEUX: Well, Evan Bayh has been on our list in either one or two, in the top two slots now for over three years. He has been a logical candidate, particularly since his election to the U.S. Senate a couple of years ago. We now have him in first place. Dianne Feinstein, the senator from California, has a lot of problems as a candidate; one of which is that she has to run for reelection this year. And that is a difficult thing to straddle both the Senate campaign and the national campaign.

So because of that, most people don't think she would be picked. But, on the other hand, we are keeping her in a high position, because if Bush does in fact put a woman on the ticket, such as Elizabeth Dole, comes out of Philadelphia with a big, lead -- particularly with the lead among women -- then it's going add some new pressure and change the dynamics on Gore and his selection.

MESERVE: Are there very many women on the list, Republican or Democrat?

FAUCHEUX: Well, it's interesting that there aren't many. You know, you've have a lot of women get elected to office in the last seven or eight years, particularly since 1992. Forty percent of the male governors in this country now have female lieutenant governors, which is sort of showing where that is going. And I think eventually you are going to have a lot of women running for national office.

But there are very few once you get past Elizabeth Dole on the Republican side, and perhaps Representative Jennifer Dunn from Washington, and maybe one or two other choices, there just aren't many. Christine Todd Whitman, the governor of New Jersey, is one possibility, but I think a long shot. On the Democratic side, once you get passed Feinstein, who has some difficulties as a candidate at this point, nobody is much closer than about 100-1 or 200-1 odds right now.

MESERVE: So Dianne Feinstein's moved down the list, but Bill Richardson has really moved down the list.

FAUCHEUX: Yes, he is no longer on the short list. He is now on what we call the long list. The gasoline prices, plus the security problems at Los Alamos, have combined to sort of make him seem much more of a controversial figure than he seemed a few weeks ago. And as a result of that, it would be difficult for Gore to put him on the ticket. MESERVE: One of the big pluses with Richardson was that he was Hispanic. Are there any other Hispanics on the list, Republican or Democrat?

FAUCHEUX: Not at this point in terms of major candidates. I think what's happening, and what we will see in the next few weeks, is that both candidates on both sides, as they get into now a serious period, the long list is going to get even longer. And over the next couple of weeks, any new possibilities that might get on the list will probably find their way on the list. Now, remember four years ago, most people never thought Jack Kemp would ever run with Bob Dole, or that Dole would select Kemp.

And eight years ago, people didn't think that Clinton would select Gore. So, most vice-presidential nominations in recent years have been surprises.

MESERVE: OK, we have to get through the rest of the top five on the Democratic side. Who do we have replacing Richardson now?

FAUCHEUX: Well, we have Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut. He would be very appealing to swing voters and independent voters. He has a reputation of great integrity and that would be good for Gore at this point, given the investigations and scandals in the administration. We also have Senator Dick Durbin from Illinois. Illinois is a big state. It's probably a must-carry state for the Democrats. And many people within the Gore camp like Durbin and think he's a possibility.

And of course, we have Senator George Mitchell, who has just made our short list recently -- former Senator Mitchell, former Democratic Senate majority leader -- and one of these people who is able to be a tough partisan battler, but also maintains an image of being a wise, judicious statesman. So he would be the stature candidate.

MESERVE: When is Bush likely to make his selection?

FAUCHEUX: Well, I would think that both candidates are likely to make their selections at the last possible moment to give them time to talk to the candidate, to brief the candidate, so that the candidate has some days of preparation.

I don't think that anybody wants to go through what George Bush, the president, went through in 1998, when he picked Dan Quayle and Quayle was sort of thrust on the national scene without preparation. It was a bad start, a bad launch, and it has haunted Dan Quayle's career ever since then. I think most candidates would want to have more time to get ready for it. But on the other side of the coin, I think they are both going to probably wait until the end, unless Bush's selection prompts Gore to do something dramatic and do it early.

MESERVE: Ron Faucheux, thank so much.

FAUCHEUX: Thank you.


SHAW: Ron Faucheux, "Campaigns and Elections" magazine, speaking with CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

WOODRUFF: Question: What is behind the words of a campaign song? In some cases, a little more than candidates wish. Both Al Gore and George W. Bush are working on choosing theme songs for the fall campaign.

CNN's Jennifer Mikell examines some of the lyrics and what they may reveal about some of the presidential contenders.


BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE (singing): Baby, you just ain't seen nothin' yet.

JENNIFER MIKELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Gore launched his "Prosperity and Progress Tour" with a pump-it-up beat and lyrics that echoed his tag line.

GORE: But if you think the economy' been good, let me tell you, you ain't seen nothing yet.

MIKELL: A fitting campaign theme song? Perhaps, if you don't listen too closely.

BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE (singing): He said that any love is good love, so I took what I could get. Yes I took what I could get, and then she looked at me with those big brown eyes and said, you ain't seen nothing yet.

MIKELL: It could conjure up a certain image that Gore probably would like us to forget. Then again, the Gore folks didn't seem concerned voters would read between the lines of this tune.

THE O'JAYS (singing): Going on the love train, love train.

MIKELL: His campaign says the music at Gore events changes on a whim.

CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: He actually had a conversation with one of his daughters who recommended it.

The younger generation's input aside, Gore's themes, by and large, appeal to baby boomers. Wonder where he got that idea?

FLEETWOOD MAC (singing): Don't stop thinking about tomorrow.

MIKELL: The background music of the 1992 campaign said a lot about the contest: Clinton rock versus Bush country.

LEE GREENWOOD (singing): And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free.

MIKELL: This election year, you could say George W. Bush is a little bit country...

UNIDENTIFIED SINGER (singing): Time will tell.

MIKELL: ... and a little bit rock 'n' roll.

BACHMAN-TURNER OVERDRIVE (singing): Well I've been takin' care of business, every day, takin' care of business, every way.

MIKELL: Bush reportedly acknowledges he's not too up on pop culture. But the former baseball team owner apparently does prefer one song over the others.

JOHN FOGERTY, SINGER (singing): Put me in coach.

BUSH (singing): Put me in coach, I'm ready to play.

(speaking): No, I don't want to sing any further. Elsewise, I might not win the election.

MIKELL: A song that drives home the image of Bush as a rookie trying to prove himself might not help him win the election either. And so they keep searching for a tune that resonates with voters. A movie theme, a la McCain?

Maybe an oldie but goodie, that will earn...


MIKELL: The dance goes on.

Jennifer Mikell, CNN.


SHAW: Next on INSIDE POLITICS, Harry Browne. He's running for president yet again.


SHAW: Over the weekend, the Libertarian Party held its national convention in Anaheim, California. The party's nominee for president will be the same this election as it was in the last. He's Harry Browne, who got fewer than 500,000 votes in 1996.

I talked with Browne this afternoon and asked him to explain his party's point of view.


HARRY BROWNE, LIBERTARIAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, it's very simple. We want you to be able to live your life as you want to live it, not as Al Gore or George Bush thinks is best for you. We think that you ought to be able raise your children by your values, not the values of bureaucrats who are trying to create some brave new world. We think you ought to be able to keep every dollar you earn, spend it, save it, give it away as you think best, not as the politicians think that you should be allowed to do.

And it all comes down to we want to get government out of your life and give you back control over your life.

SHAW: Do you view yourself and your party as a major threat to the two major party presidential candidates? You mentioned them by name.

BROWNE: Not so much as they think we are. I mean, they're afraid of losing every conceivable vote, but none of them are talking in any way about how to reduce government. They're all talking about new government programs, whether in health care, education or whatever it be.

And, in fact, all the others, Pat Buchanan, Ralph Nader, Al Gore, George Bush, are all talking about which one is best qualified to run your life and make the most intimate decisions about your life, what kind of school your child should go to, what kind of health care you should get from your doctor or insurance company or from a hospital. We are the only ones, Libertarians, who believe that you know best what's good for your life and that you should be able to make these decisions for yourself with your own money, without having to send it to Washington and then to plead to get a little bit back for yourself.

SHAW: Aren't all those candidates from parties you just named going to siphon off votes from you?

BROWNE: Well, we're all competing for votes. I'm not sure I understand the question. We'll all be competing with each other for votes, but more of them are talking about the ways that they can make the world better by new government programs, one of them, me, Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate, is talking about how we can reduce crime in this country, how we can make health care better, how we can make education better by reducing dramatically the size of government.

SHAW: In 1996, you got how many votes? And how many do you expect to get this time?

BROWNE: We got about a half a million. But the party is more than twice as large now. It's much better financed. We will be much more visible this year, and I would be shocked if we did not get a million votes this year, although nobody can predict the outcome. But if I were to get 2, 3, 5 percent of the vote, it would change politics in this country forever, because they would no longer be able to take your vote for granted. They could no longer go ahead and propose and enact new government programs, knowing that they had your vote in your pocket. Now they would have to pay attention to us.

SHAW: Your convention selected Art Olivier as your vice presidential running mate. What does he bring to your ticket?

BROWNE: Well, he was the mayor of Bellflower for several years, and he actually implemented smaller government into Bellflower and reduced the tax burden on people there. He was able to get the government out of a number of businesses that it was operating, and he was able to do a little bit to try to ward off the terrible effects on the war of drugs. And he's a very good man in this regard and brings some credibility there.

SHAW: Harold Browne, a projected federal budget surplus of nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years. How would you handle that?

BROWNE: Well, first of all, it doesn't belong to the politicians, but they're going to spend it. We know that. They will it on wars, they will spend it on corporate welfare, they will spend it on anything that anybody can put pressure on them to do.

What I want to do is to get that money back in to your hands, so that you can decide what you think should be done with it.

It's not up to me to say whether it should go into education or health care. It should be decided by for your life and your neighbor for his life and the neighbor across the life for his life. We shouldn't be making decisions for each other, because then we are all competing for that pie, and we all argue each other, we all fight each other, we consider ourselves enemies.

SHAW: Social Security: What adjustments would you make to it?

BROWNE: I would get the government completely out of it. I think we should sell off the assets that the government should not be owning in the first place and use that to provide private, lifetime accounts for everyone dependent on Social Security today, and then free you immediately from the 15 percent Social Security tax.

SHAW: In your best judgment, who is going to win the White House?

BROWNE: I have no idea. All I know is that it's a longshot for me, but I'm going to be in there fighting all the way up until the end. And anybody who wants to know, just go to my Web site at

SHAW: Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.

BROWNE: Oh, thank you. I sure appreciate this.


SHAW: The Libertarian Party presidential candidate.

Up next, turning 54: a look at what friends and foes might give the Republican presidential hopeful on his birthday.


WOODRUFF: Tomorrow, George W. Bush will take a break from the campaign trail to celebrate his birthday at home in Austin, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we would appreciate it if you would blow out the candles for us.


WOODRUFF: During his speech in San Diego today, members of La Raza surprised bush with an early birthday cake and a portrait of himself. Bush was also treated to a song.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE (singing): Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday, Mr. Governor, happy birthday to you.

I know Marilyn Monroe did it better.


WOODRUFF: We'll not sure who was singing. We'll find out. Well, for those who might be wondering what to give a governor turned presidential hopeful, our Bruce Morton has a few ideas.


MORTON (voice-over): He turns 54, not a big birthday, maybe, but you want to give something. Still, he kind of is the man that has everything. Can't give him a baseball team; he had one of those. Although, if he got to be president, Washington would probably like a team, and maybe he'd bring it here. A helpful runningmate? What candidate wouldn't want that? Problem is 20 friends might give him 20 different running mates, each friend thinking his choice is best.

People like -- well, you pick. Oops, not him. He doesn't want to be a runningmate, birthday time or no. A friend might give him an Al Gore substitute, somebody he could practice debating with. No, he's probably already got one of those, too.

A friend who went to a lot of trouble might give him all the videotape of his visit to Bob Jones University, so those meanies in the press couldn't show him with people who forbid interracial dating and call Roman Catholicism a cult.

What would opponents give him? Well, they'd distribute that tape, of course. And a nice gift would be Pat Buchanan back in the GOP, giving one of those all-out war on social issues speeches, the way he did in Houston in 1992.


PAT BUCHANAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war as critical to the kind of nation we shall be as the Cold War itself, for this war is for the soul of America.


MORTON: Clearly, it's easy to joke about what friends and foes would give him. But what would he really like? A John McCain to beat Al Gore regularly during the campaign like a drum, as McCain used to say, a special prosecutor probing Gore's 1996 campaign shenanigans? But there's one thing George W. really does want, and only you voters can give it to him. It's an office -- oval, furnished, ready to use. The best gift for the guy with almost everything? As simple as that.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


SHAW: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff.

"WORLDVIEW" is next.



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