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Death Penalty Resurfaces on Campaign Trail; Pre-Convention Guide to Eating in Philadelphia; Are Gore and Gephardt Politically Compatible?Aired July 14, 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)
REV. JOSEPH GARLIC, ELIZABETH CITY, NEW JERSEY: That you missed an opportunity to show some of this compassion.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You and I must differ on the death penalty, because I support the death penalty.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The compassionate conservative under attack, as the death penalty resurfaces on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can you hear Al? Yes is yes.
SEN. AL GORE (D-TN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Dick Gephardt, for example, has changed one position after another.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was then. Would Gore and Gephardt make a good team now?
WOODRUFF: Dynamic duo or odd couple? Bruce Morton considers their political compatibility.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking forward to the Republican convention. We're going to make Italians out of everybody.
Democratic, Republican, whatever, it doesn't matter. We're going to make everybody a little bit of an Italian.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Solving bipartisan hunger: a pre-convention guide to eating in Philadelphia.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
Thank you for joining us. Bernie is on assignment.
We begin with George W. Bush and the job of selling himself as a different kind of Republican. His self-styled brand of compassionate conservatism confronted more skeptics today. They included a minister at an inner-city event in New Jersey, some hecklers in New York and a member of the Clinton Cabinet, who criticized Bush for the state of rural shantytowns in Texas.
CNN's Chris Black reports.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush is getting some heat about just how compassionate he's been in Texas.
A New Jersey community leader challenged Bush's decision to allow the recent execution of Gary Graham, a black man convicted on the testimony of a single eyewitness.
GARLIC: When you chose protocol and precedent and not setting precedent over a decision about a man's life, the ultimate decision that could be made about a man's life, that you missed an opportunity to show some of this compassion.
BLACK: Bush defended his support for the death penalty.
BUSH: I support it because I think it saves lives when its administered fairly and justly and surely.
BLACK: The answer did not satisfy Reverend Garlic.
GARLIC: While you may say to me that it was not a political decision, it definitely was not a moral decision.
BLACK: And later in the day, demonstrators protested Graham's execution while Bush spoke at a fund-raising lunch for the New York Conservative Party, two making their way inside briefly interrupting his speech.
At the same hotel, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo and Democratic Congressman Robert Menendez accused Bush of failing to improve the conditions in the shantytowns on the western border of Texas.
ANDREW CUOMO, HUD SECRETARY: The state of Texas has done virtually nothing to help the situation in the colonias. Governor Bush has not even visited the area, and it's in his state.
REP. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: If you are going to talk about compassion, then you have to look at Governor Bush's record. And for Latinos in Texas, that record is abysmal and is devoid of compassion.
BLACK: A Bush campaign spokesman dismissed the criticism as politics as usual. He said bush signed into law a program to help the colonias last year.
On a third front, the Washington-based Research and Action Center said Texas did not use $33 million in federal money last summer, leaving 1 million low-income Texas children without nutrition programs. Texas officials say they are addressing a distribution problem.
During his first joint appearance in New York with New York Senate candidate Rick Lazio, Bush defied his critics.
BUSH: I'm proud of my record as a leader of the state of Texas. I'm proud that we have set public education as the No. 1 funding priority and have met the obligations to the state. I'm proud that we have provided vital services for our state. I'm proud that we have cut taxes, and I'm proud that we have a surplus.
BLACK: As he reinforces a major campaign theme, that conservatives can be compassionate, George Bush is having to deal with a growing number of critics who say he's more conservative than compassionate.
Chris Black, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: The head of the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP says the civil rights group will sue the city over the videotaped police beating of a suspect. The group says the suspect's civil rights were violated. The beating has embroiled the city as it prepares to host the Republican National Convention.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in Philadelphia with the latest.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy.
Well, we're at police headquarters. Several blocks away at city hall a rally is going on, about 50 people there who are demonstrating to an end to what they say is police brutality. Now the NAACP, as you mentioned, is now getting legal counsel and gathering evidence. They plan to sue the city for what they say is excessive police force and abuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JERRY MONDESIRE, PRESIDENT, PHILADELPHIA NAACP: The criminal matter will proceed on one track, while we begin to gather evidence as to his civil rights being denied during the beating, the physical injuries that were sustained, so that once he's out of the hospital we'll get a medical report. We'll get a description from his doctors and to bring a claim against unjust, excessive police abuse and force in this case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FEYERICK: We were in two neighborhoods where this incident took place, spoke to several eyewitnesses. One of them said that she saw Thomas Jones running with something in his hand, something dark. But she said it did not -- or she could not vouch with any certainty that it was a gun.
A second eyewitness said he also saw Thomas Jones, but it appeared that there was some sort of a cloth, a dark cloth in his hand. Again, he, too, could not vouch there was a gun. Police have not found the weapon they say was used to shoot an officer in the hand.
Now where the video was taken, that was the the second location. We spoke to one man, and he said he saw Jones behind the wheel of a car about two blocks before it came to a dead stop. He said it appeared that Jones had slumped over to the left. He said it appeared that Jones had passed out.
All of these, of course, questions we're going to be asking the police commissioner and the mayor when they hold a 6:00 press conference. We do want to say that a source close to the mayor says they're very unhappy about the way the police department is being portrayed here in Philadelphia. They say back in the '80s a major effort was under taken in order to improve relations with police and the communities they serve, and sort of get away from the tough policing that marked the Franc Rizzo (ph) era.
Now the mayor and the police commissioner did meet up together today. I asked the commissioner when kicking is considered part of procedure, and he said, well, it's not something that's taught in the academy, but police make the determination when they're in a life-and- death situation.
Reporting live from Philadelphia, Deborah Feyerick.
Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Deborah.
And joining us now from Philadelphia with more on this story, including potential political fallout, Tom Ginsberg of "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and Jill Porter of "The Philadelphia Daily News."
Jill Porter, to you first. Are there enough facts in yet on this case to be able to make a determination whether the police were at all justified in what they did?
JILL PORTER, "PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS": I don't think there are, I think that if you look at the video, you can see that the police are surrounding the suspect. You can't see him. You can't see whether he's subdued. There are reports that indicate he was biting a police officer at time and wouldn't let go of his thumb.
And that's why I think that the police commissioner and the mayor have handled this quite well in saying, let's wait. We only see this videotape. And it's obviously very inflammatory, but let's see. Let's get all the facts before we make some conclusion about how the police acted, although I do agree that kicking in and of itself seems so barbaric that it's very difficult to find a way to rationalize that. But you have police officers who are in very high state of emotion and not necessarily going by the book.
WOODRUFF: Tom Ginsberg, how is the city reacting to this so far?
TOM GINSBERG, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": Well, the city seems to be riven really. The black community is enraged, and to a certain point people are taking very strong stands on both sides. As far as the convention goes, everyone has expressed anything from sadness to remorse that this is -- seems, they say, to be tarnishing the image just a few weeks before the convention.
WOODRUFF: And same question to you about how the city's reacting to this, Jill Porter. Is the city just split in half along -- or split along racial lines here?
PORTER: No, I have to say that I don't perceive it that way. I think that there's a certain certain number of people in the black community who feel as Jerry Mondesire, the head of the NAACP, that this rises to be a racial incident. Otherwise, I assume they wouldn't be filing the suit.
But I think that there's a certain amount of calm. I think that there is a respect for the police commissioner. There were African- American police officers involved as well as white police officers, so I think that there's a split as to whether or not it's perceived to be a racial incident. So...
WOODRUFF: I was going to, if you don't mind, interrupt here and get back to Tom.
Tom Ginsberg, what is the sense about the convention? You've been talking to people, Republicans planning this convention. Are they concerned that this could disrupt anything they're trying to do?
GINSBERG: Well, quite the contrary. The Republicans are putting out a concern but confident face, and I guess that's the way to phrase it. George Bush made -- George W. Bush made a comment about it yesterday, as did President Clinton, giving a very measured response, saying we have to wait for all the facts and expressing he's aware of it.
But the Republicans are really pointedly not talking about it, and don't seem to be thinking it will become an issue for them. It's different, however, when you talk about what's going to go on on the street. There are lots of protests that are planned, and from what I can gauge by talking to various organizers, this incident will, you know, at least energize them if not bring more people into Philadelphia. The idea that it would scare people away, I'm not finding that.
WOODRUFF: Jill Porter, what kind of protests are being planned?
PORTER: Well, there -- all of the people who were in Seattle and just every organization that you can think of are coming. And there are lots of planning, both on the part of the police and on the part of the protesters. And I think that -- clearly, I think that the potential for this happening during the convention is really going to be minimized by this. I think the police have been in a lot of training, they know what to anticipate, and that's a very different situation than happened down on the street corner this week.
WOODRUFF: Tom Ginsberg, is there something, is there anything that Governor Bush could say at this point? You did say that he's commented yesterday, but is there anything else he could say or the Republican Party could say to smooth the situation at all?
GINSBERG: I don't -- I don't see that that's the way things are going. It seems to be attention is focused on the mayor and the police commissioner and the police department itself, and I think that the protesters who are planning to come here, who were already planning to make a statement about police brutality, what they called police brutality and opposition to death penalty, and other things, they will just carry these further.
And I think it's a good point that Jill made that, in fact, their goal is actually to take the issue to the Republicans and not even necessarily to the police. So you may not -- we're talking apples and oranges as far as confrontations, in a way.
WOODRUFF: All right, Tom Ginsberg with "The Philadelphia Inquirer," Jill Porter with "The Philadelphia Daily News," we thank you both for joining us. And we will see you both in Philadelphia.
Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the Democratic hopeful: a look at how his latest campaign strategy is playing with E.J. Dionne and John Fund.
WOODRUFF: Green Party presidential nominee Ralph Nader met with Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura in Minneapolis today. There was no mention of an endorsement, but the two say they do plan to work together to get third party candidates included in those presidential debates.
Nader's name also came up at an Al Gore event in Michigan last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I would like to know why I should vote for you and not Ralph Nader. And don't tell me because I'll split the vote. That's not an answer I want to hear.
AL GORE (D), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's a good reason for me not to vote for Ralph Nader and for you instead?
GORE: The economic success that has come with the Clinton-Gore policies has helped working families far better than slogans, far more than rhetoric.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Last night in Michigan.
Joining us now to talk some more about how Nader's candidacy affects Gore and some other political matters, E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" and John Fund of "The Wall Street Journal."
Gentlemen, thank you for being with us.
E.J. DIONNE, "WASHINGTON POST": Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about Ralph Nader for a minute.
E.J., is this -- is Al Gore going to be confronted with these kinds of questions everywhere he goes?
DIONNE: I think he'll be confronted with those questions for quite some time. I think Nader is both helping and hurting Gore. I think he's helping him because Gore needed to be pushed some toward this kind of populist or quasi-populist approach he's taking talking more about issues like Medicare, drugs and the drug companies and the like. I think that's helped him.
On the other side, Nader is making an argument that is very harmful to Gore and plays right into George Bush's case. Nader is saying, basically, there is no difference between Bush and Gore, so liberals and lefties should vote for him.
There's a poll that came out today from the Pew Center on People in the Press that showed that Republicans and conservatives were much more likely to see some important things at stake in this election than were Democrats and liberals. And that's hurting Gore. And so to the extent that Nader in out there making that case, even if he doesn't take a single state away from Gore, he has the effect of hurting Gore.
WOODRUFF: John Fund, do you agree that Nader is both a help and a hurt...
JOHN FUND, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, he's...
WOODRUFF: ... to Al Gore? FUND: ... more of a hurt, because Gore wouldn't be spending so much time attacking Nader if he thought he was helping him much. You know, Al Gore's populism is interesting, because it doesn't ring necessarily true. It may be viewed as just another change of ideological clothes for him.
I mean, Al Gore grew up in Washington. His father used to take him to breakfasts with lobbyists when he was 10 and 11 years old. Part of Nader's critique of Gore is, you're part of of making the Democratic Party allied with the corporate state, allied with big business. And the Nader supporters are really bitter abd resentful. They also view Clinton-Gore as ethically tarnished.
One of Nader's top Hollywood supporters says privately that Al Gore is the bathtub ring of the Clinton presidency. Nader himself says that Clinton should not only should have been impeached, he should have been convicted and now disbarred. So there is a certain anger there that's not going away. It's not going to be dramatic, it's not going to hit 10 percent, but look at all these state polls that E.J. has seen, as well. Nader's taking enough votes away. Al Gore is going to have a tough time winning even solidly Democratic states like Minnesota and Connecticut if the election were held today.
WOODRUFF: Well, E.J., to the extent Ralph Nader is a problem for Al Gore, does choosing someone like Dick Gephardt as a running mate, if he were to do that, would that take some of the edge off of this?
DIONNE: Well, I think that is one of the reasons Gephardt is in the mix. I think it's going to be a fun period where conservatives who have never had a good word to say about Ralph Nader will be praising him to the skies for the next five months in hopes that he will take some votes from Al Gore.
I think the Gephard thing brings -- raises a lot of problems. The Democrats are in reasonably good shape right now in the House races. They're running about 8-10 points ahead of Gore nationally, and that Dick Gephardt has been a figure who's been able to bring together the moderate wing of the party with the liberal wing of the party.
WOODRUFF: E.J., I'm going to have to interrupt you.
Joe Lockhart, who is the White House spokesman, is about to talk to reporters just outside Camp David, Maryland. We're going to send our apologies to E.J. and to John Fund, and let's listen to what Joe Lockhart has to say.
(INTERRUPTED BY CNN COVERAGE OF A LIVE EVENT)
WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come: spinning the wheel of vice presidential possibilities. Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook will weigh in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): American politics isn't just for Americans. Other countries know how to play it, too, some of them very effectively.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider on a political "Play of the Week" with international flair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK NICHOLS, FOOD CRITIC, "PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER": It's what they call chipped beef and they put it over some home-fried potatoes with a side order of scrapple, which is not only, you know, everything and the oink. It's something beyond the oink in the pig.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Yum, yum. High cuisine in the City of Brotherly Love, a primer on convention dining in Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at another story.
In a courtroom in Waco, Texas, jurors concluded the government was not to blame in the fire that left 80 Branch Davidians dead near Waco in 1993. Branch Davidian survivors and relatives had sued the government for $675 million.
Joining us from Waco, Texas is CNN's national correspondent, Tony Clark -- Tony.
TONY CLARK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, the trial took about four weeks; the jury only two-and-a-half hours to reach its verdict that agents of the Bureau of Tobacco, Alcohol, and Firearms did not use excessive force during the initial raid at the Davidian compound, February 28, 1993; and that FBI agents were not negligent in the way they handled the final day of the siege, April 19, 1993, the day the compound was tear-gassed and the day it burned to the ground.
U.S. Attorney Mike Bradford said the jury's verdict is a vindication for the agents. He said the responsibility for what happened at Waco was that of sect leader David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who represented some of the Davidians, said he believes the jury's verdict sends a bad message to law enforcement; that it says it's okay to do what happened at Waco. And the lead attorney for the Davidians, Mike Caddell, voiced disappointment, but he said, for most Americans, this may close the book on Waco.
The jury's verdict is only advisory to Judge Walter Smith. Judge Smith will make a final decision in this case sometime next month. Tony Clark, CNN, Waco.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Tony.
And next on INSIDE POLITICS, the hunt for a running mate. Is Al Gore considering a former political rival?
WOODRUFF: Halfway into calendar year 2000, both the Democratic and Republican Party committees are boasting unprecedented fund- raising totals. The Democratic National Committee will report a record $35 million cash-on- hand when it submits its second-quarter report to the Federal Election Commission tomorrow.
The committee has now raised $108 million for the 2000 election cycle. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has $27 million cash-on-hand from a fund-raising of $49 million. And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which raises money for House races, reports $37 million in the bank from the $60 million raised this cycle.
The Republican committees are raking in the big dollars too. The RNC has more than $53 million in the bank from a total of $172 million raised for election 2000. The National Republican Senatorial committee has $21 million cash-on-hand. It has raised nearly $56 this cycle. And the National Republican Congressional Committee reports more than $22 million cash-on-hand from a total of $90 million raised this cycle. All these totals include millions of dollars in unregulated soft money.
Well, CNN has learned from Democratic sources on Capitol Hill that Al Gore has spoken with House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt about becoming his running mate. The sources say Gephardt has not said no, although he has maintained all along that his goal is to help Democrats take control of the House and for him to become House Speaker. Of course, other names are being bandied about in the veep sweepstakes.
But as CNN's Bruce Morton reports, in his "Campaign Journal," Gore and Gephardt would make an interesting pair.
MORTON (voice-over): House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt as Al Gore's running mate?
GORE: Dick and Jane, and Tipper and I have been wonderful friends for almost a quarter-century now.
MORTON: Not exactly -- not such good friends when they both ran for president in 1988.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
GEPHARDT: You're never going to win in 1988 by doing that. GORE: Was that bill fair?
GEPHARDT: You bet it was fair. It cut taxes for average families.
GORE: No, I just want an answer to the question: Was that bill fair?
GEPHARDT: Can you hear, Al?
GORE: Was that bill fair?
GEPHARDT: The answer is yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Gore, and others in that 1988 campaign, accused Gephardt of flip-flopping on issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
GORE: Dick Gephardt, for example, has changed one position after another. There's not just a few, but a long, long list.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: True. During his first four terms in Congress -- he was first elected in 1976 -- Gephardt supported a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, except to save the life of the mother. For years, he was for tax credits to help parents pay for private-school tuition. He once supported amendments to ban flag burning, stop bussing. Gore, back then, opposed federal funds for abortion and once voted to define the fetus as a person, a provision aimed at ending abortion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
GEPHARDT: This is our America and our America does care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: In 1988, Gephardt won the Iowa caucuses. Gore made his best showing in the South on Super Tuesday, but bowed out after losing New York to eventual nominee Michael Dukakis, despite the support of then mayor Ed Koch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1988)
ED KOCH, MAYOR, NEW YORK CITY: Hi!
GORE: I want to congratulate Mike Dukakis for a really impressive victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: That was then. Would Gore and Gephardt make a good team now? Gore is a free trader. Gephardt, allied with organized labor, voted against NAFTA and against permanent normal trade relations with China. In 1998, he voted to override president Clinton's veto of a bill banning an abortion procedure opponents call partial-birth abortion. And Gephardt on the ticket would set off a struggle in the House. Michigan's David Bonior, the number-two Democrat, is too liberal for many moderates.
Still, politics, like kickball, is a funny game. You never know who'll end up playing.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now: Stu Rothenberg of the "Rothenberg Political Report" and Charlie Cook of the "National Journal."
All right, gentlemen, in five minutes, we have got a lot of names to go through. Charlie, we are starting with Dick Gephardt.
Is it smart for Al Gore to be thinking hard about him?
CHARLES COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": It would make organized labor very, very happy. But it would make a lot of his House colleagues, I think, fairly unhappy, because they would be losing their field marshal going into the big fight; and that it would cause -- it would trigger a fight over succession, over who would be either the minority leader or the speaker of the House, if Democrats were to win. And I think it would be a distracting thing. So I am not sure it's such a great idea. But it would certainly -- labor would love to see it happen.
WOODRUFF: Stu, would the Republicans like a Gephardt choice or not?
STU ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, on the one hand, I think they could -- they feel like they could run against Washington, D.C., and against the Democratic Party pretty easily -- and maybe portray the Democrats as liberal. On the other hand, Gephardt does bring the Democrats together, mobilize the base. I think it's a good ticket for the Democrats.
COOK: One other thing is that Gephardt represents a very swing district in suburban Saint Louis. If he were to leave -- and there is a special election for that seat -- or open, I mean -- Democrats would have a hard time defending that seat.
WOODRUFF: Other names still out there, Bob Graham, Florida, Stu?
ROTHENBERG: Well, yes, we are hearing that still -- and maybe that shows that there is a lack of other names. Look, this is a message that Al Gore would send about the South and about moderation and essentially, where the Democratic Party is positioned. I think it's a reasonable choice. It's not a particularly flashy choice. It's not a particularly dramatic choice. And I don't think Bob Graham could help Gore carry Florida.
WOODRUFF: Do you agree?
COOK: Well, yes, but we are seeing Southern, rural voters -- small-town voters -- moving out of the Democratic column, moving towards George Bush, and it's forcing a situation where Gore may have to win Florida to win. And that's tough. To win the election, he may have to carry Florida. And that's a problem. And it's unclear, as Stu said, whether Graham would help him carry it or not.
WOODRUFF: So does that mean -- is that argument then, Stu, against somebody like a John Kerry from Massachusetts?
ROTHENBERG: Well, I mean, I think the problem with Kerry is, he might help define the ticket, the Democratic ticket, as too liberal. Gosh, a Massachusetts liberal: Where have I heard that before? So, while he has, you know, an interesting record, a war record, he's articulate, I think there's a problem with that. Although I have heard he's in the final two or three being considered.
WOODRUFF: Charlie, you are shaking your head.
COOK: I just don't see what that gets you. I really don't.
ROTHENBERG: It helps Gore carry Massachusetts.
COOK: Yes, by bigger.
WOODRUFF: Evan Bayh, his name still in there?
ROTHENBERG: I'm hearing it less, although I have to think he has been still under considerable consideration. Look, he's a good- looking, moderate, Democratic governor from the Midwest, who has been able to get Republican votes. I think the problem with Evan Bayh is, I don't quite see him in the attack-dog role that vice-presidential candidates usually involve.
WOODRUFF: And you said you hear two names. And what other names besides Graham? What are you still hearing?
ROTHENBERG: Well, I hear Gephardt an awful lot. Gephardt, Graham and Kerry are the three names I'm hearing most frequently, Evan Bayh sometimes.
COOK: But we're hearing some -- we're also hearing some Jim Hunt, governor of North Carolina, Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa. But, you know, I come back -- you know, there's not a home run hitter out there for Al Gore. There's not a triple, there's not a double. I mean, it's just safe picks. I think Evan Bayh is as good as anybody, but there's nobody out there that's really going to help him a whole lot.
WOODRUFF: Skip over to the Republicans, Frank Keating, we already heard you comment on him. ROTHENBERG: Yes, he's fine.
WOODRUFF: You still feel the same way? Not a bold choice?
ROTHENBERG: You know, he's brown. You know, he's great. He's -- yes, you know, he's vanilla ice cream. I think when you look at the numbers, there's no doubt in my mind Tom Ridge brings the most to the ticket. Is there some risk? Of course. But if there's no risk, there's no reward. I think most of these other names that are mentioned are really non factors. At the moment, I guess George Bush would be happy with that.
WOODRUFF: Catholic reaction then not such a concern, Stu?
COOK: Well, it's, you know, yes, there could be a Catholic reaction to putting a pro-choice or a nominally pro-choice Republican on the ticket. But the thing is, I have yet to meet a Democratic campaign strategist wasn't terrified of Tom Ridge on the Republican ticket. I mean, if Tom Ridge did nothing...
COOK: ... anywhere else, he delivers Pennsylvania. And if Republicans carry Pennsylvania, I don't see how Democrats get 270 electoral votes. It just doesn't happen.
ROTHENBERG: I have talked to conservatives who still haven't convinced me on this. I don't see why a conservative would vote against George W. Bush for president because of the vice president. I mean, it's rare that people vote for the No. 2 person on the ticket or against the No. 2 person.
COOK: You can argue over whether Ridge would make any difference at all in 49 states. I mean, really, maybe he helps, maybe not, but he probably wouldn't hurt that much, but -- and maybe help -- but one state would deliver.
ROTHENBERG: He carries Pennsylvania.
WOODRUFF: Chuck Hagel, senator from Nebraska?
COOK: If Bush is looking for a safe choice, one that -- you know the Hippocratic Oath, first do no harm -- if he is looking for a safe choice, you know, certainly Frank Keating's one. Chuck Hagel would be a little bit more interesting, more exciting because he'd be a little bit of a McCain play since he was a backer of Senator McCain.
You know, if I were Bush, if I didn't pick Tom Ridge, I'd probably go with Chuck Hagel.
ROTHENBERG: Charlie, he's personal, he's articulate, but he's no team player. And I think that ought to scare the bejeezus out of George W. Bush. COOK: But look at the team. Look at the team. I think he would say, this is not a team I want to be a team player on, talking about Senate Republicans but for Bush. But your point's very well taken.
WOODRUFF: Well you have a team that everybody would want to play on. Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenburg, thank you, both. You're great.
Up next, our Bill Schneider with a multi-national political "Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: SCHNEIDER: President Clinton remains at Camp David today for a fourth day of talks in the Mideast summit. The administration is keeping a tight lid on the negotiations, but one announcement this week from Camp David did make headlines.
Our Bill Schneider joins us from Los Angeles with more on that -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Judy, American politics isn't just for Americans. Other countries get to play, too. Some of them so it very effectively, as we can see in this week's political "Play of the Week."
(voice-over): Every American president has problems with Israel. It comes with the job. Presidents come and go, but Israeli governments rely on Congress to bail Israel out. Anything that endangers Israel's relationship with Congress endangers Israel.
Israel's plan to sell China an advanced airborne system did just that. Congress was steaming. Representative Sonny Callahan, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee, was threatening to cut military aid. Israel got the message, loud and clear.
JOSEPH ALPHER, SPECIAL ADVISER TO ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: We saw videotapes of pressures in the House Appropriations Subcommittee, I think it's Sonny Callahan's, which made a very strong impression on Israel. Because here we saw friends of Israel being very angry.
SCHNEIDER: So Tuesday night, Prime Minister Ehud Barak informed President Clinton that the sale to China had been canceled to protect Israel's, quote, "intimate relationship with the United States administration and Congress."
Congress is controlled by Republicans, and Israel is extraordinarily sensitive to the need to keep the peace process away from partisan politics.
Last week, word got out that Bush adviser Richard Perle had cautioned Israeli officials not to accept anything less than a comprehensive peace agreement because it might play into President Clinton's political agenda.
Bush quickly distanced himself from those comments.
BUSH: It's important for Republicans to wish the administration well. There'd be nothing better than a lasting peace in the Middle East.
SCHNEIDER: And the Israelis expressed gratitude.
ALPHER: I'm very happy with the comments we've seen today from Governor Bush and his team, who have obviously gone out of their way to contradict Perle and to note that they, too, wish to see this as a bipartisan issue.
SCHNEIDER: A summit in the middle of an election campaign is a political minefield. Israel deftly stepped around one landmine and defused the other, to the satisfaction of the administration...
JOE LOCKHART, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: And we are pleased to see that they have taken our security concerns into account in making this decision.
... and Congress.
REP. SONNY CALLAHAN (R), ALABAMA: And the objective that we have had has been fulfilled. There will be no need to discuss that reduction in the early dispersal account for Israel.
SCHNEIDER: Mazeltov. Israel has earned the political "Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER: Without Congress, there would be no Israel. There's more than a little bit of truth to that statement, which is why Israel is so attentive to its relationship with Congress and so skilled at protecting it -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
And next on INSIDE POLITICS, the lure of Philadelphia: Temptation awaits the Republicans.
WOODRUFF: With the Philadelphia convention just over a couple of weeks away, political circles are buzzing over the "veepstakes," the speeches and other strategic matters. Amid all that, we thought we would take a moment to analyze something equally important to convention-goers: the food.
While the party bosses and the fat-cat lobbyists may gravitate to the Four Seasons or the new restaurant at the Ritz, more adventurous convention-goers may prefer the traditional taste of Philly.
Here's our tour.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): This is the food that made Philly famous: white Italian bread, thin-sliced rib-eye steak, fried onions, and, of course, Cheese Whiz.
But beyond the cheesesteak, Philadelphia has a rich culinary history, thanks to the fine farmland surrounding the city and the European immigrants who settled here last century. Our guide to edible Philly: "The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine"'s food critic, Rick Nichols.
NICHOLS: This is the Reading Terminal Market. There's actually an old train shed above us that's been converted into a convention center now. This has been here for over a hundred years now. So as we walk around, we'll see butchers and fishmongers here and so forth.
And to me, this is the heart and soul of Philadelphia. We're right in the middle of the city. And very few cities anymore have an historic, indoor, all-year farm market.
You know, there's an old tradition in Philadelphia of pretzel making. Of course, from the Pennsylvania Dutch or the Pennsylvania German. Philadelphia seems to have gravitated to this softer, doughier style of soft pretzel that's typically eaten, unlike in New York, with mustard. These particular pretzels you have to eat fresh because they'll sort of -- they'll go stale on you in a Philadelphia minute.
That's what they call chipped beef, and they put it over some home-fried potatoes with a side order of scrapple, which is not only, you know, everything and the oink, it's something beyond the oink in the pig. If you really want to frighten someone about Philadelphia cuisine, you can just give them the recipe for scrapple.
Right now, we're in the heart of South Philadelphia in the Italian market. If you're a real resident of the area, you'll probably call it the Ninth Street Market. These places have been here since around the turn of the century, and this is a traditional stop for almost every politician that comes through town. It's sort of like so they can show that they're one with the people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We carry provolones and cheeses throughout the world, all different regions of Italy, all different regions of France and England and London. You'll find just about every olive in the world in here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking forward to the Republican convention. We're going to make Italians out of everybody. Democratic, Republican, it doesn't matter. We're going to make everybody a little bit of Italian.
NICHOLS: This is Sonny D'Angelo, who I am a great fan of. He is not just a sausage maker, he's a sausage maker to the stars. He doesn't just use pork and beef, he uses the most bizarre animal products available.
If you're a real South Philly person, you might even call water ice -- you might still call it lemonade, no? Don't some people still just call it lemonade?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, that's the old way, lemonade.
NICHOLS: That's the old way. They call it lemonade because it was always lemon. And, of course, now you can get -- well, I don't know how many flavors you have.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got the same thing I started 50 years ago.
NICHOLS: OK, so what do you got?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lemon, pineapple, cherry and chocolate.
NICHOLS: This is one of the real-deal hoagie places in Philadelphia. This is the assembly line where they're putting them together. And people have their, you know, their own preference how they want them. Everybody gets it made different. Some people want it with -- the traditional way is with oil, but some people might occasionally ask for mayo. That's how you know they're Republicans, for instance.
Right now, we're at the Sansom Street Oyster House, which has a lengthy pedigree. And it's in a tradition of old oyster house, oyster bars, what have you, that really were some of Philadelphia's original restaurants along the Delaware and in the colonial days.
Snapper in Philadelphia doesn't mean the fish, it means the turtle. And so for years, since colonial times, we've had a terrapin soup or a snapper soup in Philadelphia, and it's typically served with a little sherry. You want to dash it with maybe a little bit of sherry to your taste. And then you've got to do the very sophisticated cracker crush and get yourself some crackers on the soup. And then dig in. Now, that's a turtle.
WOODRUFF: Looks great. I always gain weight at conventions, and I plan to gain a lot of weight in the Philadelphia.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but of course you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com.
This weekend programming note, two potential vice presidential candidates, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and Democratic Senator John Kerry will be among my guests Sunday on LATE EDITION. That's at noon Eastern.
We leave you now with Governor Jesse Ventura singing take me out to the ballgame at last night's Cubs-Twins game in Minneapolis.
"WORLDVIEW" is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA (singing): Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks, I don't care if I never get back. So let's root, root, root for the home team, if they don't win, it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes you're out at the old ballgame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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