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Bush Plans to Make VP Decision this Weekend; Gore Makes His Case to Union Members; Bush Team Keeps Selection Process Well Under WrapsAired July 21, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm on the side of the people, he's on the side of the powerful.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush retires to his Texas ranch with assurances that his vice presidential selection is not far away.
Plus, Al Gore makes his case to union members.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Feel free to do so, except I'm going to tell you, the days of speculation are over as far as we're concerned.
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WOODRUFF: But will those union members look for the Gore label come November?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Politics has become a circus of speculation, clowns, high-wire acts, dancing elephants and braying donkeys. How do you keep a circus under control? With a ringmaster.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: And Bill Schneider with a three-ring political "Play of the Week."
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is on assignment. And we apologize about getting those pictures backwards at the top of the program.
Well, decision time has arrived for George W. Bush. After months of consideration, Bush said today that he hopes to decide on a running mate this weekend. With speculation swirling and advice pouring in, Bush has made plans to get away from it all. He says that he will make the big decision in seclusion at his ranch in Texas.
CNN's Jonathan Karl reports from Crawford, Texas.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush told reporters he will make up his mind about a running mate this weekend. Meanwhile, rampant speculation about his choice seemed to amuse him.
BUSH: I mean, I've been reading and -- reading, listening to your stories about all the different names being floated. And nothing surprises me.
KARL: Sources on all sides of the process are downplaying speculation about John McCain. Bush campaign manager, Joe Allbaugh, received a call from a senior McCain aide saying McCain does not want to be offered the job. Bush had this to say about his former rival.
BUSH: I will tell you this about John McCain. I think that, during the course of this campaign, he'll be a loyal soldier for my candidacy. I think that he is a man of duty. And he loves his country. And I welcome and honor his support.
KARL: Recently, McCain privately indicated he would accept the vice presidential nomination, but the senator insists nothing has changed since he told Bush three months ago he wasn't interested in the job.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I understand the frenzy associated with this particular time in the decision-making process. But, as far as I'm concerned, nothing has changed since my conversation with Governor Bush at Pittsburgh.
KARL: Bush took a group of reporters on a tour of his 1600-acre ranch outside of Waco, Texas.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can it balance?
BUSH: Kind of like the vice presidential search: It continues to expand.
KARL: He's building what he hopes will be the Texas White House. Construction is set to be completed on election day.
KARL: As Bush thinks about his decision in seclusion at his ranch this weekend, the names of those, the phone numbers of those, on his short list will be at disposal. The campaign has contacted those on the short list, as well as some who may not be on that list, so that Bush would be able to get ahold of them this weekend.
CNN has learned that those who have contacted for phone numbers include Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, as well as Senators Fred Thompson, Chuck Hagel and John McCain -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl, a lot of questions to ask. You said that Bush has their phone number. So he doesn't need to meet with them anymore, we assume?
KARL: Well, the governor will be going to Georgia on Saturday for the funeral of Paul Coverdell. And at that funeral, there will be several of those senators who have been under consideration, or reportedly under consideration, so he may bump into them. But Bush said he plans no more face-to-face meetings with any of those under consideration, and that, while he is here at the ranch, he will be taking no visitors whatsoever.
WOODRUFF: And Jon, from the looks of those pictures you just showed us, it appears the governor is enjoying all this vice presidential speculation.
KARL: Well, one thing that the governor clearly enjoys is the sense that he's got loyal staff members who will not leak this information. He seemed to take great pride in the fact he could bring all these reporters to his ranch, there were -- all his senior staffers were there -- campaign manager Joe Allbaugh, Karl Rove was there, Karen Hughes -- his top advisers.
And he has made it very clear that what he wants to have happen here is to be able the announce decision himself and not have word leak out ahead of time, something that would be quite unprecedented in a process like this.
WOODRUFF: Well, finally, Jon, are they going to be around this weekend, or is he truly alone going to be alone with his wife when this decision is made?
KARL: He insists that he will be alone at his ranch. He says there will be absolutely no visitors. That includes prospective candidates or even senior staff.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Jonathan Karl at Crawford, Texas, thanks very much.
Well, joining us now here in our Washington studio, Bill Kristol of the "Weekly Standard" and former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry. And from the newsroom of "Washington Post," veteran political correspondent David Broder.
Thank you, gentlemen.
And David Broder, I'll begin with you. What about all this renewed speculation about John McCain? DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think, Judy, that this is a kind of an offshoot of the campaign that's been waged by a number of House Republicans, including Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, who -- you remember -- was McCain's main man in the South Carolina primary. They have been trying to whip up a kind of a demand for McCain on the ticket. Tom Ridge, the governor of Pennsylvania, who made the call that triggered this latest outburst, is a former member of the House.
So, I think it's a bit of a conspiracy to push McCain forward, and to nudge Bush into that direction. But I don't think we have any indication that the plot is working.
WOODRUFF: Bill Kristol, is that how you are reading it: a little bit of conspiracy here?
WILLIAM KRISTOL, "WEEKLY STANDARD": I'm sure there's a conspiracy. The interesting thing, though, I think, in both the House and the Senate, is lots of people who were not McCain supporters -- House members and Senators -- lots of people who don't get along with John McCain, in the last 48 hours, have been telling their colleagues and telling the Bush campaign: Please reconsider John McCain.
He is simply strong -- he ads something in the polls in the way that no other vice presidential possibility does. So, there is a conspiracy, but it's a conspiracy that is motivated not just because people like McCain, but because they want Bush to win, and they want the Republican Party to do well. And the House Republicans honestly believe -- an awful lot of them -- about 50, apparently, have signed this private letter going to the Bush campaign saying that they want McCain on the ticket, not because they are all McCain supporters -- most of them aren't -- but because they think Bush-McCain is the strongest possible Republican ticket.
WOODRUFF: Well, Mike McCurry, I guess other than Colin Powell, is McCain the one that would strike the greatest fear into the hearts of Democrats?
MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER CLINTON PRESS SECY.: Well, no doubt Bill is right about that. He opens up an avenue to the independent voters. But, you know, I have been thinking back -- as we go into this speculation about what's going to happen -- back to 1988. There's never been a more of a mismatch on the vice presidential side of the equation than Lloyd Benson and Dan Quayle when they ran at the bottom of the ticket in 1988.
In the end, it really doesn't matter as much as what Bush and Gore do to advance their own campaigns. I think vice presidential candidates really only help at the margin, even someone who's got a national following like John McCain.
I think, by the way, that everything you hear about Governor Bush's interest in someone who is loyal, completely a team player, fitting in that culture that he's got around him, argues against McCain; but maybe for someone like Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska senator, who is independent, who's got very attractive qualities and has got foreign policy experience.
In the end, I think, particularly for Governor Bush, expertise, experience is probably going to count more than pizzazz.
WOODRUFF: David Broder, what about some of these other names -- Frank Keating's name has been out there, remains out there -- Chuck Hagel -- Fred Thompson.
BRODER: Well, I think all of those people certainly ought to be on Governor Bush's list. And there's one other name, Judy, that has come back today, at least in speculation, who we haven't heard for a while. And that's Elizabeth Dole. Bush has told people privately that when they hear his choice, their eyes will light up with excitement. And there aren't very many Republicans that kind of fit that description. She might be one.
WOODRUFF: Bill Kristol, what do you think? What do you...
KRISTOL: Here are the two things I know -- I believe I know -- and they are consistent with what David Broder just said -- one, President Bush who as been -- former President Bush -- has been more involved in this than people think -- has counseled his son: Take someone who has a national name-recognition, whom the national press are comfortable with and familiar with.
The choice of Dan Quayle in 1988 was a traumatic one for then- Vice President Bush it. It didn't go well. There was a feeding frenzy. That is always a possibility with a governor or senator whose career hasn't been thoroughly vetted. The national candidates, whom you can take, and you can be pretty sure they will be well received by the national media right away are, I think, Colin Powell, John McCain, Dick Cheney, and I think Elizabeth Dole. They're all figures of national stature, and I think Mrs. Dole is back in play for that reason, to the degree that George W. is perhaps taking his father's advice.
Secondly, I know that Bob Teeter, very, very close to former President Bush, a pollster and campaign manager of the '92 campaign, has been doing focus groups earlier this week, not so much on the national figures but on some of the senators and governors who are in play. And I am told two people were very well received, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, a physician, an attractive young guy who would be something of a surprise, and former Senator Jack Danforth, whose name was on the list earlier and he took himself off. I'm told he has privately told the Bush people that he would be willing to reconsider.
So I think if Governor Bush doesn't go to the national figures, the Powells, the Cheney, McCain, Mrs. Dole, list of people, I think the odds might be for someone like Frist or Danforth. But it is a big risk taking someone who hasn't been around the track nationally. You just never know what's going to come up, and you end up with a week or two batting down, you know, some allegations of why did the governor give this contract to this person in his state, or what did he do during Vietnam or all these kinds of questions that come up.
Someone that's been around the track nationally gets that better initial reception. And first impressions are awfully important in politics.
WOODRUFF: Mike McCurry, you've worked with those unpredictable press people a lot. Do you see it that way, that if Bush were to go with, you know, a Bill Frist or someone else, that the unpredictable could happen?
MCCURRY: Well, Judy, it's true. There has not been a lot happening in this campaign, even though the candidates have been trying to have a fairly substantive exchange on issues. But, of course, that -- I think the press corps is interested in the carnival- like atmosphere of the selection of a vice presidential running mate. And my guess is they're going to want someone and want to announce it and stage the announcement so it builds some excitement going into their convention, which is why I think it's going to be awfully hard to hold this story until mid-week or so, when they really need to pop it, because they need to use this to lend a little excitement to a campaign that's not been exactly anything but a snoozer so far.
So I think the press will, if it's a big name, there will be a lot of excitement. But it's not going to last all that long. And they need something to kind of energize this race at this point.
WOODRUFF: I want to come back to the name Elizabeth Dole, David Broder, because you're right, that's one that's been out of the mix. George Bush, if he were to pick a woman, what does that mean in terms of attracting women voters?
BRODER: Well, it certainly wouldn't hurt, and I think it would put some pressure on Vice President Gore, since the Democrats depend on women voters for any victory that they win, it would -- it would put Gore in an interesting position, because it's not obvious that the Democrats have a counterpart to Elizabeth Dole.
MCCURRY: David Broder is exactly right on that. In fact, I'm struck by the fact that of those names that we've been speculating about here, that's a very quality group of people. And on the Democratic side, we've got some obvious candidates that are out there, but probably not as deep a bench as they seem to have on the Republican side.
But the vice president clearly has been spending a lot of time think of his choice, too, and it's going to have to be something that in the end of the day advances the case that he's the right person for the presidency.
Let's remember that at the end, it really -- the picking of someone to run with you is someone who would be able to continue your policies, continue your presidency if that moment came.
WOODRUFF: Well let's spend the little bit of time we have left on Gore and his selection.
David Broder, what are you picking up on the Democratic side?
BRODER: Not very much, Judy. I think at this point there's a kind of watchful waiting on the Democratic side to see what Bush is going to do. Gore does have the advantage of going second, so he'll be able to poll on the Republican ticket whatever it turns out to be, and decide, for example, whether a Bob Graham from Florida would actually give him a shot at Florida, or whether Dick Durbin from Illinois would strengthen his chances in that state.
That's the one advantage of going second. You can poll on the other guy's ticket?
WOODRUFF: Bill Kristol, I know you come from the other side of the track, but what are you hearing about the Democrats?
KRISTOL: Not much. I just want to make one historical point. You know, we always like to speculate on whether they'll pick someone from a certain state because he would help in that state and it's a reasonable theory. It almost never happens. It has been decades since someone was picked because of the state they are from. On the Republican side, it hasn't happened since 1948 with Earl Warren, picked to try to help Governor Dewey carry California.
At the end of the day, these presidential candidates think hard. And I think when they think hard, they think, what will help complement my national ticket, my national message? And I think that will be the case on both the Republican and Democratic sides.
WOODRUFF: Did you mention Bob Rubin? That's another name I wanted to throw in the mix, Mike McCurry.
MCCURRY: Well, he's certainly very highly thought of. And I agree with Bill Kristol. I think that Vice President Gore was picked by a process run by Bill Clinton that was President Clinton's attempt to get someone who could really help him govern. And I think Vice President Gore is going to go about this task the same way.
I've been ruminating today on the prospect that as goes Maine, so goes the nation, that either former Senator George Mitchell or maybe even Defense Secretary Bill Cohen, a Republican, might offer an intriguing possibility to Vice President Gore, making a case about governing, about certainly knowledge of the congressional process in the case of former Senator Mitchell, a known peacemaker.
And guess what? We had the news earlier in the week that Bill Clinton, when he slyly mentioned to friends his choices, Graham, Mitchell, and I think Secretary Cohen all on that list.
WOODRUFF: Very, very interesting.
Well, gentlemen, we could go on for the rest of this hour, but we will have to move, and we'll have to leave it there.
I want to thank all three of you -- David Broder, Bill Kristol, Mike McCurry. We'll find out in the next few days whether anybody knows anything that turns out to be right. Thanks a lot.
For more on the vice presidential running mate possibilities, you can go to CNN's Web site, allpolitics.com. The site features profiles of many of the Republican contenders. Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS:
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GORE: I want you to know I am pro-union and pro-working family -- always have been, and I always will be.
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WOODRUFF: Al Gore outlines the reasons he should be the candidate of choice for labor.
WOODRUFF: With the Democratic convention less than a month away, Vice President Al Gore is trying to shore up support among the traditional party base. Today, Gore reached out to labor at a gathering of the transportation trade unions here in Washington.
As Chris Black reports, Gore underscored his support of labor charges, and he again criticized George W. Bush's record.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Al Gore says George W. Bush would drain the nation's Social Security system of cash, just as he spent most of the budget surplus in Texas.
GORE: He would turn Social Security into a program of social insecurity, burdened not only by debt, but also by doubt. He would take the trust out of the trust fund, and turn it into a borrow-and- spend approach.
BLACK: Gore used a friendly labor audience to tie bush's proposal to partially privatize Social Security to Gore's week-long assault on Bush's fiscal performance in Texas.
GORE: Well, draining all of the money out of the Social Security trust fund is similar to what he's done to the largest budget surplus in the history of his state, squandering it in one year.
BLACK: Bush would allow employees to invest a portion of their Social Security taxes in the stock market to try to get a higher return.
He answered Gore's criticism with some of his own, accusing the Clinton-Gore administration of failing to tackle the long-term problems of Social Security.
BUSH: This is an administration that has done nothing on Social Security. And I've laid out a plan to save and strengthen Social Security. I can't wait to debate the vice president on this subject. Gore received a warm welcome from the transportation trades, interrupted several times by standing ovations.
GORE: I am pro-union and pro-working family. Always have been, and I always will be.
BLACK: Although the vice president won the AFL-CIO endorsement last year, a few big unions, notably the Teamsters and United Auto Workers, are still holding back, unhappy with Gore's support for free trade.
The most recent CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll shows Gore carried union households with 52 percent, but Bush getting 39 percent. Since the Second World War, every Republican candidate who gets 39 percent or more of the labor vote in the general election has won. Gore needs a strong, unified Democratic base, including a strong labor vote in November. He compared the choices made by Bush in Texas to the choices made by the Clinton-Gore administration.
GORE: We need to keep going and not make a right-wing U-turn and go back to the old ways that failed so miserably before.
BLACK (on camera): Gore ended this week as he began it, attacking George Bush for his performance in Texas, and predicting this week will be viewed as a turning point in the campaign.
Chris Black, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
Still to come:
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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If choosing a running mate were a reality-based TV show, 55-year-old Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel would be hard to vote off the island.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Martin Savidge on one vice presidential possibility who could be a political survivor.
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SEN. BILL FRIST (R), TENNESSEE: As a physician, I took an oath to do no harm.
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SAVIDGE: Could George Bush opt for a running mate M.D.? A look at prognosis for Tennessee's Bill Frist.
Also, is the city of brotherly love ready for the Republican Party? Our Bruce Morton takes a look.
And later, our Bill Schneider with a level-headed "Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
After its near collapse, the Middle East peace summit is now in its 11th day. Negotiators met last night with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, then returned to the bargaining table today. They're said to be discussing some core issues other than Jerusalem. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher says both sides are working hard to try to settle their differences. There is word that President Clinton may leave the G-8 summit in Japan early in order to return to the Camp David talks.
Special counsel John Danforth says his investigation shows the federal government did nothing wrong in the 1993 siege and fire at the Branch Davidian Compound near Waco, Texas. Almost 80 people died in the fire.
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JOHN DANFORTH, SPECIAL COUNSEL: Government agents did not start the fire at Waco. Two, government agents did not shoot at the Davidians on April 19, 1993. Three, the government did not improperly use the United States military . And four, government did not engage in a massive conspiracy and cover-up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Danforth says the tragedy rests with Branch Davidian leader David Koresh and some of his followers.
Raids in Charlotte, North Carolina and Detroit, Michigan net at least 17 people, some with suspected ties to the Hezbollah Middle East guerrilla group. Charges include cigarette smuggling, money laundering and immigration fraud. North Carolina Representative Sue Myrick says investigators are looking for evidence the operation might have been a fund-raising activity for Mideast groups.
The body of Georgia Senator Paul Coverdell lies in state at the capitol building in Atlanta. The Republican senator died Tuesday of a brain hemorrhage. Members of Congress are in Atlanta to pay their respects, along with state politicians and constituents. Political sources say Georgia Governor Roy Barnes is discussing Coverdell's vacant seat with former Democratic Governor Zell Miller.
Stormy weather overnight left tens of thousands of people in the southern U.S. without power. High winds blew down trees and power lines in parts of Alabama and Georgia. The storms also caused damage in Florida. There were widespread power outages there, as well.
Lightning is blamed for starting a fire in Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. The fire has burned more than 1,000 acres. The park contains some famous Pueblo cliff dwellings and villages. Right now, they're said to be out of harm's way. There's 911 and 411. Now some new three-digit phone numbers join the list. The FCC has approved 211 for the use by community service groups to provide free information about their services. 511 will be used for travel-related information, including road construction. And 711 will be available to help the speech and hearing impaired.
And coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS, the looming choice of a running mate by George W. Bush. We'll have a closer look at two of the possible choices.
WOODRUFF: As we've reported, George W. Bush says he hopes to make his decision on a running mate this weekend. Among the potential contenders are several governors, some former cabinet chiefs, and current members of Congress. The latter includes the junior senators from the states of Tennessee and Nebraska.
We have a look at both, beginning with this report from CNN's Martin Savidge.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Anybody want to be George Bush's running mate?
SAVIDGE (voice-over): If choosing a running mate were a reality- based TV, 55-year-old Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel would be hard to vote off the island. Born in small-town America, Hagel's a Vietnam war hero, winning two purple hearts and saving his brother's life in the process.
His military record, plus stints as head of the USO and the Veterans Administration would likely appeal to veterans. A self-made millionaire in the cell-phone industry, he also could appeal to those daily doing battle in the trenches of private business. Hagel also has strength in an area where Bush has been criticized as weak: global affairs. With his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hagel is a ranking expert on international dealings.
He was also one of the Senate's biggest backers for giving China permanent normal trade status. But it's his links to former presidential hopeful and fellow Vietnam veteran John McCain that may most attractive to the Bush campaign. Hagel was one of McCain's earliest and most prominent backers, a fact that could draw in McCain's supporters.
MCCAIN: Chuck Hagel stands up for what he believes in. And people, I believe, place a premium on standing up for principals above party loyalty.
SAVIDGE: But that independence has some in the Republican Party wondering if Hagel is a rising star or just a runaway comet. Here's Hagel talking about the Bush campaign back in the days he was supporting McCain: HAGEL: It gives tangible evidence of the sense of desperation of the Bush campaign -- kind of flailing, swinging wildly, doing dumb things.
SAVIDGE: He has also been criticized from shooting from the lip, and going against Republican leadership in Congress, most notably on campaign finance reform.
(on camera): But voters just may like that frankness, which leads to what could be Hagel's biggest plus. He is a political insider, who thanks to his lack of name recognition, looks like an outsider.
(voice-over): In the tough, real-life drama of choosing a running mate, Chuck Hagel might just be a survivor.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.
FRIST: I have been here for six years.
PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Bill Frist's first term as a senator and his first public office. He didn't even vote until he was 36 years old.
SEN. JUDD GREGG (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: He is the true citizen legislator.
NEAL: He believes in term limits, and vowed to only serve two terms in the Senate. He is running for reelection now.
FRIST: I had the opportunity of doing the very -- among the very first pediatric heart transplants in the world.
NEAL: Frist is a renowned transplant surgeon. He still regularly volunteers at medical clinics in the Washington area, and annually goes to Africa to perform missionary medical work.
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R), NEW MEXICO: He's at everyone's beck and call with his medical expertise.
NEAL: It's that kind of experience that has made him a point person for Republicans on health care and a contender for vice president.
DOMENICI: He has reached a position where he is, for all intents and purposes, the spokesman for the Republican -- for all the Republicans on the issue of prescription drugs.
GREGG: The primary strengths he brings is that he has got a little different view of the world than most political people, because he is basically a doctor, a surgeon, and he cares for people.
FRIST: As a physician, I took an oath to do no harm.
NEAL: That's also been called the oath of a vice presidential candidate. But critics see some conflicts of interests. His father and brother founded what's now known as Columbia/HCA, the nation's largest health care company. The company was charged with Medicare fraud in 1997 and agreed to pay more than $700 million in penalties. Frist placed his own millions of dollars of company stock in a blind trust.
But critics say he has no business deciding on health care issues when his family could benefit. They point out Frist opposes broad rights for Americans to sue their health care providers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There would be some questions that the doctor would have to answer.
BUSH: Please welcome, Dr. and Senator Bill Frist.
NEAL: He and Governor George W. Bush agree on many issues. Frist is anti-abortion rights, supports tax cuts and the partial privatization of Social Security While in office, Frist has been called into emergency action. In 1998, he ran to the aide of two police officers, shot and killed at the Capitol. He then attended to the accused gunmen.
(on camera): Senator Bill Frist could bring Governor George W. Bush valued expertise with one of the nation's most challenging issues: health care. But experts point out Frisk is from a state with only 11 electoral votes, and it's the same home state as Vice President Al Gore.
Pat Neal, CNN, Washington..
WOODRUFF: Well, joining us now, a man who has been involved a previous, recent research for a Republican running mate: Scott Reed. He served as campaign manager for Bob Dole just four years ago.
Scott Reed, thank you for being here.
SCOTT REED, DOLE '96 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: What is going inside of the George W. Bush campaign right now in terms of this whole vice presidential business?
REED: Well, now Dick Cheney has presented all the background on all of the different candidates that George W. Bush asked him to check out. And as Cheney is leaving the room, Bush is saying: Is that it? Is there anybody we forgot? Is there anybody we should think about?
And it sounds like Bush is now holed up for the weekend to review a lot of that. And it sounds like he will be making some decisions by the end of the weekend. But it's a very interesting time, because, you know, four years ago, at this point, Jack Kemp was not on anybody's list. And Senator Dole told me, maybe we need to do something else. Let's talk to Kemp. And we started a process. And, in about five days, hopscotched all the two or three months of research, and reviewing forms and everything else that everybody goes through, and came up with another nominee.
So, Bush is really saying now: Is this it? And he is starting to get serious. The good news is, he has got a good, long list to look at, which is a little different than what Gore is going to go through.
WOODRUFF: A lot of names, and that is what driving us in the press crazy
WOODRUFF: Scott, what are the considerations here in picking a vice -- I mean, we know what he said. He wants somebody who could make a great president, somebody he feels comfortable with. What are the other considerations that are...
REED: Well, I think you have to look at how Bush has run his campaign. And I think one of the big considerations is compatibility. He runs a very tight operation. He has very loyal people around him. And obviously, you look for someone that's going to help you with a coalition or help your with a state or a region. One of the most important factors is someone that can handle a national campaign, someone that can stand up to the national press core, and the physical and the mental rigors of going through a 12 week -- which is a serious 12-week campaign.
So, that's a factor. It's not the factor, but I think it's something that the campaign -- and those running the campaign -- have to really take a look at, because, you really go from zero to 100 overnight once you choose this individual; and they have integrate well in with your campaign. And they have to go out and perform on a very difficult scene, where we're on a 24-hour news cycle. We're constantly going.
WOODRUFF: You say, compatibility and yet you know the name John McCain has surfaced here again...
WOODRUFF: ... at the end. There may be some other folks in the mix that may not be perfectly compatible with George W. Bush. Compatibility may be important, but so is winning.
REED: Well clearly, at this stable of the game, what George W. Bush will do this weekend is really reach down into his gut. And he has a will to win. He showed that last February and March when he was really on the map and came back to win the nomination. And he's going to reach in and come up with, you know, what do I need to do to win?
They're going to re-look at the electoral college map, look at the states that are in play. They've had a very good run here in the spring and the summer, but now's showtime, and now is the time when you really have to make the first of a very few difficult decisions. WOODRUFF: A name that came up earlier in our conversation with David Broder, Bill Kristol, Mike McCurry is the wife of your former candidate, Elizabeth Dole. Any reading on that? What sense do you have of that?
REED: I'm not in the know on that, but I will tell you she's an incredible asset to the Republican Party and would be a huge asset to George W. Bush.
The scenario's a little different, though, than it's been in the past. We do not have a gender gap anymore as we have. If anybody, Al Gore has a gender gap with men. The gender gap politics has changed to other party. But Elizabeth would be a big asset. They're going to have her speaking at the convention. I wouldn't rule her out. I'm under the belief that she has turned in her proper paperwork to be vetted.
And it's funny, this whole vetting process, I think we put a little more into it than that matters. Anybody that's on the scene nationally in politics gets vetted every day. You have hundreds of reporters checking everybody out every day, and I don't put as much weight into that. Obviously, you don't want any surprises. You don't want anything in the background, in your health care -- in your health records or anything like that. But vetting is a little overrated these days. It's about figuring out how you're going to win.
WOODRUFF: What about -- I mean, we just saw that given the Dan Quayle experience, much has been said about that, the two reports we just heard on Bill Frist, junior senator from Tennessee, Chuck Hagel, junior senator from Nebraska, is it safe to pick someone like that?
REED: Well, one of the big lessons from the Quayle announcement was how it caught the whole campaign off guard. I mean, I remember down in New Orleans, the Bush campaign was running around with "The Almanac of American Politics" and Xeroxing who's Dan Quayle and handing it out to the delegates and to the press corps. That was an extreme. That caught a lot of people off guard.
But again, I think the names you're seeing -- now Bush has a twinkle in his eye, and he says he's got some super-duper selection. Maybe we're all wrong, but you have to be careful. The element of surprise has a short-term bang, but it's a 12-week campaign and that's a long time. And you need to figure out how you're going to run the campaign, and how does this man or woman fit into this strategy?
WOODRUFF: Do you think it really could be someone none of us has thought about or a name that just hasn't been out there?
REED: I don't. I've been racking my brains for it, as everybody else has, and I think anybody he selects -- he's done such a good job of keeping this a secret and keeping everybody off guard. Anybody he selects is going to be special, and they're going to do it properly. They've run a very smart campaign so far, and they will continue to. And how they role it out and how they bring it into Philadelphia is important. I mean, it's important to come into the convention with momentum. That's why I think you'll see this decision closer to Wednesday than the beginning of the week. They'll announce it in Austin, and they're going to head east. And it's going to be an exciting, exciting time.
WOODRUFF: All right, well, we're going to be there for the whole thing. Scott Reed, thank you very much.
REED: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you again.
WOODRUFF: And next on INSIDE POLITICS, the host city for the GOP convention: Which of its faces will Philadelphia show the Republicans?
WOODRUFF: Ten days and counting to the start of the Republican convention. You're looking at preparations earlier today at the First Union Center in Philadelphia. And you can bet that they'll be working up to the very last minute. There's our sky booth.
They call it the City of Brotherly Love, but there's more to Philadelphia than a single slogan can possibly capture.
Our Bruce Morton looks at what awaits the Republicans when they do convene in that city 10 days from now.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Philadelphia sparkles in the sunlight, where the landmarks are all in place. The mayor is upbeat, as mayors usually are.
MAYOR JOHN STREET, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA: Come on down. We'll be ready. We have great food, great amusements, great attractions, and this is going to be a good time for the city and everybody who visits us.
MORTON: Still, some things have happened lately. Philadelphia police beat and kicked Thomas Jones, a suspected carjacker who had been involved in a shootout in which a policeman was wounded.
Amtrak police killed an apparently deranged man in the city's train station. Should the delegates, their families, the thousands of convention workers be worried?
ZACHARY STALBERG, EDITOR, "PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS": My own hunch is that the delegates aren't real worried because they don't expect to be -- the average Republican delegate probably doesn't expect to be carjacking a car and leading a chase through North Philly and shooting a cop.
MORTON: Another problem: The Municipal Employees Union, which includes garbage collectors, sanitation workers, civilian police department employees, 12,000 people in all, is threatening to go on strike next week. If they walk, is that a problem?
PETE MATTHEWS, PRESIDENT, AFSCME LOCAL 33: It's going to be a major problem. If garbage is not being collected, trash piles up, broken mains in the street as far as water running in the streets, it's going to be severe problems. But we tried everything possible. We want to avoid this.
MORTON: A number of people, including the mayor, think they will avoid it, will make a deal before the delegates arrive. If so, the visitors can admire landmarks, walk around a downtown full of neighborhoods in which people actually live, unless, of course, they're worried about protesters. No one is sure how many will be here.
We obviously don't control the weather, and we don't control all the events that will take place in a city of this size and magnitude, but we're ready for the logistics of handling 45,000 people and all the wonderful media people who are going to come here, and we think this city is going to shine in a very, very positive light.
STALBERG: I think the delegates can expect to come here and have a pretty good time, be surprised by the vibrancy of downtown and so forth. But there are wild cards in this. Ever since Seattle, we know we're in a different time.
MORTON: One other thing -- OK, all is calm, there's no strike. But those 45,000 visitors the mayor mentioned better come on foot. Just imagine all these tiny, historic, one-way, jammed-already streets with, 20,000 more cars or 10,000 buses, or -- well, you get the idea.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Philadelphia.
WOODRUFF: And we'll be right in the middle of it next week.
And another quick note, the chief spokesman for the Philadelphia police has had to retract an earlier statement in which she denied that groups planning convention-related protests have been under surveillance. The reversal was prompted by "The Philadelphia Inquirer," which traced the license plate of a car conducting surveillance to the city's police. Police spokeswoman Susan Slawson says her original statement was based on her own misunderstanding and was not meant to mislead. At the time of her denial, no one else in the department attempted to correct it.
Just ahead, still no winner in the veepstakes game. But someone did pick up the political "Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: Speculation about running mates has reached a near- fever pitch. We all have temperatures here, but some of those involved are keeping their cool.
Our Bill Schneider joins us to explain -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Judy, forget "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," we've got a better game going: "Who Wants to be Vice President." You know, politics has become a circus of speculation, with clowns, high-wire acts, dancing elephants and braying donkeys. How do you keep a circus under control? With a ringmaster? No, with the political "Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The candidates would like to maintain some semblance of decorum.
GORE: I'm trying to keep the process as private and dignified as possible.
SCHNEIDER: But it's hard.
BUSH: It's a joke. They want to know who the vice presidential candidates are. They're playing like they're interested in the Web page, but I know.
SCHNEIDER: The contenders don't know what to do. Some are coy.
GOV. FRANK KEATING (R), OKLAHOMA: I take things simply, not a sound in grass, so whatever works out, I accept, and I'm not waiting up at night.
SCHNEIDER: Others stay out of the spotlight.
HAGEL: Like I said, I don't speculate on it.
SCHNEIDER: Remember the Dick Gephardt frenzy last week? That's over.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I said, I don't want to do that.
SCHNEIDER: It's a circus, so send in the clowns -- make that the pundits.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OLLIE NORTH, "EQUAL TIME" CO-HOST: The favorite parlor in Washington today is "name that veep."
PAUL BEGALA, "EQUAL TIME" CO-HOST: Will Bush have the cojones to pick someone he hates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS, "HARDBALL": Who is he going to pick?
KRISTOL: McCain. He is going to pick John McCain.
I think Bob Rubin. I think a bold pick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: Oh, the devious calculations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": I think it's always the people who blabber on about I spoke to the contender the other night, and da, da, da, da, who doesn't have -- the people who talk like that don't have a chance. Well, we know that it's not Bob Graham.
WOODRUFF: Because we're talking about Bob Graham so much, that we know it's not him.
CARLSON: That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: How about this performer who got the hook months ago? He still craves attention.
MCCAIN: If Governor Bush called, I'd certainly like to talk to him about the weather and how good thing are going and how good a campaign he's running.
SCHNEIDER: Only two people besides the candidates really know what's going on. They're operating far away from the war of the grease paint and the smell of the crowd. One's not saying much.
DICK CHENEY, DIRECTOR, BUSH V.P. SEARCH: I'm not prepared to say anything at this point about what we've found on any one particular individual.
SCHNEIDER: The other's not saying anything. They're playing it cool. They've got things under control. Let others join the circus. Dick Cheney and Warren Christopher own the political "Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER: If there is anything a former secretary of state understands, it's diplomacy. And if there is anything a former secretary of defense understands, it's deterrence. The press, the pundits and the candidates know better than to mess with these guys.
WOODRUFF: And I'm glad you reminded us of that.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider -- while we're all running these high temperatures.
SCHNEIDER: Right. Exactly.
WOODRUFF: OK. That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But of course you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics. com. These weekend programming notes: House majority whip Tom DeLay will be the guest tomorrow on "EVANS, NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS." That's at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
And at noon Eastern Sunday, Karl Rove from the Bush campaign and Mark Fabiani from the Gore camp will be among Wolf Blitzer's guests on "LATE EDITION."
I'm Judy Woodruff. "WORLDVIEW" is next.
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