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Inside Politics

George W. Bush Prepares For GOP Convention Speech; Gore Looks to Shorten List of V.P. Choices

Aired August 3, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



CHORUS (singing): God bless America...

(END VIDEO CLIP) JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Yet another warm and fuzzy photo-op just hours before George W. Bush accepts the GOP presidential nomination.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... what I want to say. I know the tone I want to set. And I'm looking forward to it.


WOODRUFF: Which side will Bush show in his convention speech tonight: the uniter or the fighter?

Plus, Al Gore's short list of possible running mates. Insiders are naming names.

ANNOUNCER: From the Comcast First Union Center in Philadelphia, the site of the Republican National Convention, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks for joining us on this fourth and final day of the GOP Convention. Everything that has happened in this hall, up to this point, has, in essence, been a warm- up for George W. Bush's performance tonight. As Bush prepared for the crowning moment, so far, of his presidential campaign, he kept his public appearances to a minimum.

Texas Governor George W. Bush preparing for the big night tonight -- it was a day of minimal appearances. Let's get more from correspondent Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a hospital visit with Gerald Ford, who is recovering from a stroke, George W. Bush got some free advice about making the most important political speech of his life.

BUSH: He gave me some pretty good advice. He said: You better practice. I said: Well, I appreciate that advice. I'm going to.

I accept your nomination.

KARL: In fact, Bush has been practicing his speech for weeks, testing out the teleprompter in the convention hall, reading it aloud to staff, to family, to friends. It's the product of three months' work by his speech-writing team, more than a dozen drafts. After all that, Bush says he is ready for the big moments.

BUSH: I'm upbeat about my remarks. I know what I want to say. I know the tone I want to set, and I'm looking forward to it.

KARL: In a speech senior aides say will start with a tribute to his parents, Bush will present himself as a unique leader in a unique time. He'll say this era of economic prosperity and budget surpluses presents a chance to take on issues the Clinton-Gore administration has neglected: Social Security reform, education, prescription drug coverage for seniors, and rebuilding the military.

Expressing regret, he'll say the Clinton-Gore administration has squandered opportunities to tackle these issues.

BUSH: We've got such a positive, hopeful agenda that just give us a chance to work with people to get it done, so America's promise can reach its -- spread its wings throughout all our society.


Anyway, if you want to hear more of that, just tune in at 10:00 tonight.

KARL: Bush is also expected to attack Al Gore with humor, joking about the vice president's claim to have invented the Internet.


KARL: We have just received some excerpts of that speech. Bush will say -- quote -- "times of plenty, like times of crisis, are tests of American character." It's a test, he will say that the current administration has failed, saying -- quote -- "so much promise to no great purpose" -- going on to say: "We will seize this moment of American promise. We will use these good times for great goals. We will confront the hard issues, threats to our national security, threats to our health and retirement security, before challenging -- before the challenges of our time become crises for our children."

As far as specifics, he will go onto say "Now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to end the politics of fear and save Social Security together. Now is the time to make Headstart an early learning program, teach all of our children to read, and renew the promise of America's public schools." In conclusion, the governor will say -- quote -- "We are now the party of ideas and innovation, the party of idealism and inclusion, the party of a simple and powerful hope." And in his final line, echoing the statement of John F. Kennedy, he will say, "My fellow citizens, we can begin again."

Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John Karl. And let's look a little bit more ahead to that big speech with our convention floor correspondents, and first to Candy Crowley, who's been out on the campaign trail with Governor Bush -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, to call this a big night for George W. Bush is really an understatement. Tonight is one of really three pivotal moments in the campaign of any presidential candidate. Everyone believes that the selection of a vice president, the convention speech and the fall debates are the three moments that can and have made or broken candidates. So this is a big night for George Bush, and he has a task set before him. This is the first time he has addressed a national audience. but more importantly, this is the first time a national audience has gotten a chance to see him for this length of time.

What Bush aides know that he has to do and what he has been trying to do along the campaign trail is to show the substance of the matter, to show that he is up to the task that has been, if you will, the one complaint against Bush that one hears the most, which is, is he up to the task? Bush knows that tonight he has to show himself to be presidential and show himself to be up to the task.

We are told that this evening's speech will be subtler in tone perhaps than Secretary Cheney's was last night. We are told that the emphasis will be on one of Bush's main campaign slogans, and that is, that he is a uniter, not a divider. He very much wants to lead this campaign on a high tone, on a national basis of nonpartisanship, if that's at all possible in a political convention.

John King, over to you.


Well, there's a saying that when you buy a new car, you make your decision based on what you thought of your old car. Political strategists say the same thing in picking a president, that George W. Bush, as the voter's assess him, they will have their opinions of Bill Clinton in mind. And for all we heard last night from Dick Cheney about President Clinton's lack of morals and integrity in his view, even Republican strategists would concede, President Clinton has shown a grasp of the issues and has been able to keep his political standing high by convincing the American middle class that he is fighting for them. Republicans say that is the big test for Governor George W. Bush tonight, and the Democrats are actively trying to make sure he does not meet that test.

This, a five-page document released already by the Gore campaign, saying that Governor Bush tonight will promise to save Social Security. In the view of the vice president, his plan would not do that. This document also says the governor will promote his tax cut tonight. The Gore office says it would squander the federal budget surplus. There is criticism on health care and education as well. Vice President gore trailing in the polls.

This is George W. Bush's big night. The vice president hoping to aggressively counter what we hear from the Republican nominee tonight so that lead doesn't grow bigger.

Now across the floor to Jeanne Meserve.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson says George W. Bush has something to prove tonight. He has to prove that he's up to the presidency.

As Candy mentioned, this will be the first time that many Americans take a good, hard look at George W. Bush. And in Thompson's opinion, he has to convey three things: the impression that he is capable, he is visionary, and has a plan for the future. Thompson says he does expect Clinton-Gore to be mentioned, but he does not expect direct hits. That apparently the job of Cheney. Ohio -- excuse me, Illinois Governor George Ryan said to me, "That's exactly what vice presidents are for." He said, "Vice presidents carry the bows and arrows, and use them if they have to."

And now onto Frank Sesno.

FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jeanne, talking to some of the delegates, some of the ones who have drifted in here early this evening and others who we've talked to on the phone, pretty much say that they've come prepared to love George W. Bush, pretty much no matter what he says. But in the words of one, "I expect to hear a man who has a heart to demonstrate it and to communicate it to the American people." That, the reference to this compassionate conservatism that we've heard so much from George W. Bush through the campaign to date, and that we've heard from the podium here over the last couple of days.

On the other hand, over those last couple of days, I've also heard from some of the more conservative states and conservative delegates that they are a little bit troubled, or they were in the early going of this convention, that there was so much emphasis on diversity and inclusion, that maybe, just maybe, some of the bedrock principles of what they believe should be the cornerstones of this party have been kind of shunted to the side. So they'll be listening for that as well this evening.

I expect, however, that the artfulness of this speech will be in that the way it's written, will allow each of the delegates here to project success. They'll each see it through their own prism, and from what we understand, there will be no shortage of enthusiasm, at least based on the delegates we've spoken to so far.

Bernie, to you.

SHAW: Thank you, Frank.

And now to the prism of our Sr. political analyst Bill Schneider.

Bill, what should we be looking for in the governor's acceptance speech tonight?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Bernie, you know, his resume is kind of thin, not a lot of experience in national or international affairs, which is typical for a governor. It didn't keep Ronald Reagan, or Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter from getting elected, but they all had to resolve doubts about their knowledge and experience, and so does Governor Bush. Tonight's his first appearance before a national audience. And you know what your mother always said, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

This convention, as we've seen, has been a little light on substance. Well, that increases the pressure on Governor Bush to present himself as a figure of substance, to be presidential and not a president of a fraternity. But he better be careful about making specific pledges, because any pledge that he makes tonight will immediately call to mind his father's famous pledge in his acceptance speech in 1988. All together now, "Read my lips, no new taxes."

SHAW: What about this governor's style?

SCHNEIDER: Well, a little poetry might be in order. You know, Gov. Bush is not known as a thrilling orator, but neither was his father. Still, his father's acceptance speech in 1988 had some memorable phrases --"a thousand points of light," "a kinder, gentler nation."

Bush has one unfortunate problem: A lot of voters think he's cocky. It has to do with the way he smiles. Some voters see it as a kind of smirk. He can't do much about his facial expressions, but he can make sure that his remarks do not sound arrogant or overconfident.

SHAW: Content -- people will be listening, and the message.

SCHNEIDER: The message is the message of this convention: Gore and Clinton are totally driven by politics. Everything they do is politically calculated. Bush is saying, I'm real, I'm not driven by politics, I'm a straight shooter. John McCain discovered that message and became the biggest sensation of this campaign. Remember the name of his bus? "The Straight Talk Express." Bush's message is, it's us versus them, they're the politicians, we're real people, just like you. But please, governor, do not use the phrase "I'm you." Bad idea.

SHAW: Bad idea?

SCHNEIDER: You know who said that?

SHAW: I don't remember.

SCHNEIDER: Linda Tripp.

WOODRUFF: All right, more now on Bush's message from our Sr. analyst Jeff Greenfield.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Yes, let's talk a little substance about what the convention is trying to say.

WOODRUFF: You know, the dominant story here, apart from the cry that there's no story here, has been the effort to portray Governor Bush as a different kind of Republican, much as Bill Clinton called himself a different kind of Democrat. Well, if you're talking about atmospherics, that's true. The podium speakers are indeed diverse, and the entertainment is a far cry from the Johnny Mann singers "Up With People" offerings of the past. But here's the story I'm not sure we've reported all that well: In substance, this is a staunchly conservative candidate running on a staunchly conservative platform, and this is very different from what Clinton did with or to the Democrats eight years ago.

Now look at what Governor Bush has said and done. He said there would be no pro-life litmus test for his running mate. But Dick Cheney's voting record is uncompromisingly antiabortion, and it's more anti-gun control than the NRA. He said there'd be no litmus test for federal judges, but who are the supreme court justices he most admires? Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, the two most adamant dissenters for Roe v. Wade. But this goes far beyond social issues.

The tax cut plan, that risky scheme that Al Gore loves to attack, is a strong affirmation of the supply-side economic philosophy of Ronald Reagan. A keystone of his defense policy, the anti-ballistic missile defense. Call it the son of "Star Wars," a centerpiece for conservative thinking. His Social Security program calls for partially privatizing the system, letting workers invest a piece of the money on their own, and that's a bedrock conservative philosophy. Yes, the Republican education platform doesn't call for the end of the Department of Education, does call for progressively less federal involvement in schools.

And even the one area where he has moved on policy, a more pro- immigration stance, hearkens back to the ideas of Ronald Reagan.

Now contrast this with Bill Clinton. He took on some bedrock Democratic constituencies when he ran. The free trade policies, put them at odds with organized labor. Al Gore may wind up paying the price for that with Ralph Nader's help. His "end welfare as we know it" call angered some black Democratic leaders. They forgave him once Newt Gingrich emerged. His pro-death penalty, tough-on-crime notions angered some liberals, but where were they going to go?

Bill Clinton, in sum, had to change some key Democratic articles of faith to move to the middle. George Bush believes he can argue that core conservative beliefs can be made appealing to the middle, especially if they're presented with a softer voice and a more diverse set of messengers.

WOODRUFF: And do we have to wait until November to find out if he's right?

GREENFIELD: Yes. WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, you heard it here.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the Democratic hopeful's decision.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): ... his vacation, Al Gore is said to be narrowing his search for a running mate.


WOODRUFF: Chris Black with a look at who may be on Al Gore's short list.


SHAW: As George W. Bush prepared today to accept his party's presidential nomination, Al Gore's allies tried to steal some of his thunder by leaking the names on what they say is Gore's short list of potential running mates.

Our Chris Black is with Gore in North Carolina.


BLACK (voice-over): As he winds down his vacation, Al Gore is said to be narrowing his search for a running mate to someone he feels best personifies the future.

MARK FABIANI, GORE DEP. CAMPAIGN MGR. FOR COMMUNICATIONS: The public looking at these two tickets on the one hand will look at the future represented by the new guard of leadership of Al Gore, and they'll be looking at the other ticket, the Bush-Cheney ticket and they'll be looking at the past.

BLACK: Sources close to the Gore campaign say the list is down to six names. The top contenders are believed to include Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts; John Edwards of North Carolina; and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.

The telegenic Edwards is well liked by Gore and a favorite of some of his advisers, but given Bush's choice of the highly experience Dick Cheney as his number two, some Democrats are raising concerns about Edward's comparatively short resume. He has been in the Senate less than two years.

Lieberman is an orthodox Jew, and head of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. As the first Democratic senator to publicly chastise Bill Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Lieberman has a reputation for moral rectitude and independence.

Kerry, meanwhile, is a decorated Vietnam veteran who later rose to national prominence as a critic of the war. A Gore/Kerry ticket would pit two men with Vietnam experience against a GOP ticket in which neither man served there. Other names on Gore's list includes Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Governor Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. But sources close to the campaign say Bayh's support for a ban on so-called "partial-birth abortion" would raise serious problems with abortion rights activists. Gephardt has told Gore he would prefer to stay in the House, where he could be speaker next year if Democrats retake control. And Shaheen has said she is not interested in the job.

GOV. JEANNE SHAHEEN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, it's very flattering, but I'm interested in being governor of New Hampshire.

BLACK (on camera): Gore advisers say that after holding the job himself for eight years, Al Gore will make the decision himself about which candidate is the best choice. That means Gore could still surprise everyone and pick a name that no one now suspects.

Chris Black, CNN, Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.


WOODRUFF: And joining us now with his "Reporter's Notebook," Bob Novak of the "Chicago Sun-Times."

All right, first of all, what are you hearing about Al Gore's search for a vice president? And also, what are you hearing about the Democratic Convention?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Judy, the people here at the Republican Convention, the Democratic nominee they fear the most is Senator Bob Graham of Florida, for a very practical reason: he puts in play 25 electoral votes from Florida that otherwise would go to Bush and could change the election, could turn the election. And so they're delighted that he is not on the list, and my Democratic sources say he is definitely not going to be there. His magazines -- his diaries that "Time" magazine uncovered minute-by-minute have ruined that.

I also hear that there's a lot of debate going on in the Gore camp over how to respond to a convention that privately they admit has been very effective on the Republican side. The attack on Dick Cheney's voting record hasn't worked. And a different image of the Republican Party has come out, so do you come out with a lot of class warfare in Los Angeles, an attack strategy, or do you say, these are our issues and this is where we stand? My understanding is former is winning, it's going to be a very tough attack on the Republicans, but that is still being debated.

WOODRUFF: All right, back here to Philadelphia, what are you hearing -- what do you expect, Bob, from George W. Bush's speech tonight?

NOVAK: What I expect and what the delegates and some of the insiders in the Bush camp I've talked to expect is a speech that is very high on vision, looking ahead. Now, what's going to be very interesting is how much that vision relates itself into core Republican issues, which can be translated into public support. There is a real increase in activity and support for tax cuts.

The fact that the House of Representatives has taken that huge glot of a tax-cut bill and cut it up into small pieces, the estate tax repeal, the marriage penalty repeal, the fixing up of the improving of the individual pension plans, they feel that there is a new resurgence of support for tax cuts.

It's going to be very interesting how much Governor Bush gets specific and tries to use that as an issue. Remember, Judy, that the last two Democratic nominees, Bob Dole and his father, were miserable on tax cuts, while the last really successful nominee, Ronald Reagan was very good on it.

WOODRUFF: And whatever he says about tax cuts will surely be compared to some extent to what his father said in 1988?

NOVAK: Well, his father just says he wasn't going to increase taxes, that was a really different story.


NOVAK: This is -- these are tax cuts which are not -- we're going to cut your taxes -- these are specific proposals that the -- that may have some velocity and some support in very unusual areas such as the African-American community.

WOODRUFF: All right, and finally, what are you hearing in the way of reaction to Dick Cheney's speech last night?

NOVAK: You know, I was on the floor last night and people were just delighted by the Dick Cheney speech. They just thought it was terrific after two days of sweetness to have a little bit of sourness come out against President Clinton. But today, talking to some people and some of them very high up in the Republican establishment, they're a little worried that perhaps he went too far, that he was a little too hard on President Clinton. I don't agree with that, but this is what I'm reporting that Republicans are saying -- prominent Republicans.

And it just shows how much they have been sensitized by the attacks on Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay and Pat Robertson to any kind of political abrasiveness, fearing it could backfire, and they're all expressing hope, and I think it's going to be a hope that's going to be satisfied, that Governor Bush will not be that tough tonight. I think he's going to be much more on the positive visionary line.

WOODRUFF: It's interesting you comment about the Cheney attacks on President Clinton rather than on Al Gore, who is going to be the opponent.

NOVAK: Well, they want -- well, this was a conscious attempt to join Clinton and Gore at the hip so that Gore has the disadvantages of Clinton, but not the advantages. I don't know it -- whether that works or not. I think in the final analysis, they'll be choosing between Bush and Gore.

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, it's always great to peek inside that notebook.

NOVAK: Thanks.


And INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, including the health update on the former President Gerald Ford. Also a look at this hour, the spending with David Peeler. And later, Jeff Greenfield on what you won't see when George W. Bush takes the podium tonight.


WOODRUFF: Now an update on the other major story here in Philadelphia. Former President Gerald Ford's recovery from a stroke.

As CNN's Charles Bierbauer reports, Ford's condition was upgraded today, and he was feeling well enough to have a few visitors.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush, one of President Ford's first visitors, found an improved and even joking patient.

BUSH: He looked great. I said, "What can I tell the people?" He said, "Tell them that I'll be campaigning for you in a couple of weeks." And I think that -- I know it did my spirits good to see that he had good color, and alive, and active, and anxious to talk about the convention.

BIERBAUER: After a restful night, doctors upgraded Ford's condition from serious to fair.

DR. ROBERT SCHWARTZMANN, HAHNEMANN UNIV. HOSPITAL: He is walking. His balance is better. His left hand has returned to normal. He's still having some problems with the condition that brought him to the emergency room earlier, with his tongue and a little bit of slurred speech, but he's in good spirits and doing much better.

BIERBAUER: Ford's longtime friend, Peter Secchia, called the overnight change "wonderful."

PETER SECCHIA, FORD FRIED: He's a tough old codger. He knows he had a scare. We talked about that this morning. He said, "They really took me from serious to fair. I didn't know it was serious."

BIERBAUER: Doctors now say there is evidence of only one stroke earlier this week. They've switched Ford's blood-thinning medication.

DR. CAROLE THOMAS, HAHNEMANN UNIV. HOSPITAL: That is to prevent any further strokes or any further problems, and that needs to be adjusted for several days with blood levels, so he will need to be in the hospital a few more days, but we're very pleased with his progress and expect him to make a full recovery.

BIERBAUER: Ford first came to the hospital after Tuesday's convention session, complaining of sinus pain. He came back Wednesday morning and the stroke was diagnosed. A Ford aide says there was no hospital error.

CALVIN MCDOWELL, FORD FAMILY SPOKESMAN: It was the president's decision to go back to the hotel. He was encouraged to have a CAT scan that evening. He chose not to have it. And so I just want to put that to bed once and for all.

BIERBAUER: Ford was well enough by Wednesday evening to watch his former aide, Dick Cheney, to accept the vice presidential nomination.


BIERBAUER: And just a short while ago, former Senator Bob Dole dropped by the hospital to see the man who was once his running mate. He was once Gerald Ford's running mate. And they joked that he is hiding his calendar because he is eager to get out of the hospital and go back to work. But it will be at least six weeks to go back to the normal schedule.

WOODRUFF: And Charles, how is Mrs. Ford doing?

BIERBAUER: Well, she's handling the phone calls, examining baskets of flowers, and trying to stay as involved as possible. Aides say they're trying to keep her away from the public eye to keep as much stress away from her as possible, too, but describe her as "a rock" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Bierbauer. Thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you.

While the Governor was at the hospital visiting Ford, he spent some time with staffers as well. One of Ford's doctors says they talked about a top campaign issue -- health care.


SCHWARTZMANN: I was very impressed that you knew all of our issues. I think his doctor friends have been telling the governor the same thing, and he was very gracious, looked us straight in the eye, and gave us the answers.

QUESTION: This was a specific policy sample that you brought to his intention today?

SCHWARTZMANN: Our frustrations with aspects of managed care.


SHAW: Just ahead, a look at convention ad spending with David Peeler. Plus, Ron Brownstein and John Dickerson on the message of the Republican Party.


WOODRUFF: Some of the signs that you will see being waved tonight, no doubt, when Governor George W. Bush makes his acceptance speech.

The Democratic National Committee has released several ads this week, all targeting the GOP ticket of Bush-Cheney.

Well, joining us now to talk more about ad spending and the Republican Convention, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting.

WOODRUFF: Hello, David.


WOODRUFF: Tell us, how much is the party spending?

PEELER: Well, Judy, we have seen this week, the Republican National Committee and the Bush campaign pulled all of their ads as of Saturday and Sunday of this past week. Now, that's a pretty traditional practice. You would expect to see that, particularly this year, because, you know, as of about 10:00 tonight, when George W. stands up to accept the nomination, it will be official: This will be the longest-running infomercial in television history. So I think that they are pretty set with their media campaign so far.

The Democrats, on the other hand, have been spending quite a lot. We have seen since last Sunday and Monday, the Democrats spent an ad attacking Cheney, $200,000, attacking Cheney's voting record. And what's a new tactic for this convention, which we have never seen before, is that they have started to run, this week, 15-second spots. They have spent about $450,000 in money against these spots.

And what these spots do is they alert the voters in the 17-swing states -- those states that are going to be really combative in this fall -- what is going to come up on the Republican agenda that night at the convention, and they rebut those issues prior to the convention. So, this a very, very new tactic. You know, it wasn't too long ago that it was kind of taboo, you didn't advertise during the opponent's convention.

Well, you know, that was kind of an unwritten rule. And there are not too many unwritten rules left. What will be interesting to see is, how do the Republicans respond during the Democratic convention? Will they go off air or will they try and maintain a balance with media weight? My guess is, they will probably spend some money.

WOODRUFF: David, I heard you saying the RNC is off the air during the convention. We have seen some of their affiliated -- or sympathetic groups -- ads, for example -- the NRA has been running ads we have seen. But let me ask you, what about the ads on the air right here in Philadelphia?

PEELER: Well, Judy, as you said, there are independent expenditure groups spending money. We have seen the Sierra Club spend about $25,000 in the Philadelphia area. We've seen Planned Parenthood, Handgun Control, both independent expenditure groups, they have put a national cable buy in place in order to get attention during the convention to hit those voters and to hit you, the media, so that you can report on these spots.

So don't discount that the effect that the independent expenditure groups will have during this campaign election season, as the media portion of the campaign really starts to take effect.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Peeler, thanks very much. Good to see you.

PEELER: Thank you, Judy.


SHAW: Joining us more to talk more about the Republican National Convention here in Philadelphia, John Dickerson of "Time" magazine, and Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times."

Beginning with you, John, your assessment of Secretary Cheney's speech last night?

JOHN DICKERSON, "TIME": Well, Secretary Cheney's speech had a little bit of red meat for the folks in the hall and for the traditional Republicans. And that was really something delighted -- it's something they all delighted in here, because it has been such a sort a cotton-candy convention, pleasant images, but not very much for the Republican faithful.

But it's a problem for Governor Bush, because they had been able to obtain this notion that they were above the fray, that they were taking the high road. And Secretary Cheney changed that. He attacked the opponents, and that may give Gore an opportunity -- Ron.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, I actually thought it was a pretty good speech. I think that there is nothing wrong with a party drawing contrasts with their opponents, and in fact, that Republicans have to make a case for change. I mean, we have had -- we have a very strong economy. We have a lot of trends in the country moving in the right direction, and ultimately, they have to answer the question, why move in a different direction?

Cheney began to give their best shot at that. I suspect we'll see more of that from Bush tonight. A very interesting rhetorical construct last night in which they basically tried to separate the success of the country from Washington, in which they say: You know, these have been great news for the country, but bad years in Washington -- as if the prosperity was a almost a natural phenomenon in which the policy decisions in Washington haven't mattered. And that is something I think we are going to see more of from Bush tonight.

SHAW: John and Ron, in the your mind -- in the Republican mind, rather -- is Bill Clinton on the ballot?

DICKERSON: Oh, yes, indeed, whoever the titular running mate is that Gore picks, Bill Clinton is the running mate. And last night we saw Cheney rather eloquently lasso the two of them together. And they have been doing it all along, talking about integrity, restoring integrity and decency to the White House. These are all shots at Clinton, and all, by association, shots at Gore.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, Bernie, they really have two arguments they are banking on heavily here. One -- in terms much making the change -- one is this idea that people are exhausted with Clinton and also with the reaction of Clinton. You know, there is a line in the excerpts tonight, in which Bush says: "I have no stake in the bitter arguments of the last few years."

I want to know how Henry Hide feels about that. Because Bush, on the one hand, is saying he's going to restore honesty and integrity to the White House and thus play off the Clinton, but he is also playing off the voter backlash against the reaction to Clinton. It's a very sophisticated thing. And of course, the other argument is going be to essential in the this speech tonight was also in the Cheney speech, that prosperity gives us an opportunity to do bigger things than Clinton and Gore have attempted.

And I think that those two really bookends are the core of their case for change.

SHAW: Will it work? You mentioned a backlash against Clinton, yet we still have his high popularity rating.

BROWNSTEIN: We have this really unprecedented situation, you know, and one that makes it very confusing for the academics who have these models to predict what is going to happen in the campaign. We have a president with high approval ratings, but high personal unfavorability ratings. Clinton is very much of a mixed blessing. Here you are seeing the downside emphasized: the fact that most Americans were extremely disappointed in this behavior, don't look at him as a role model for their kids and so forth.

Next week, in Los Angeles -- the week after in Los Angeles -- you are going to see more of the upside: eight years of economic growth, crime, welfare, etcetera in the right direction. Again, I think that when Bush says tonight, so much promise to no purpose, I think the Democrats are going to say: Look, the prosperity is the purpose. The prosperity is the result of what we have done, our policy decisions. And we need to keep going in this direction.

So, you could have a very strong argument set up for the fall.

SHAW: Both of you, starting with you, John, what must Governor Bush have done when he walks way from that podium tonight after the speech? What must he have accomplished?

DICKERSON: He needs to come up with a rational for his candidacy. He needs to come up with a problem with which he is the only solution. And it's fascinating in these excerpts, he talks about times like this test the American character -- an important word: character -- because, he's been making the case that the current occupant in the White House and Al Gore have no character.

And therefore, he is the kind of person with the kind character to take advantage of this moment of prosperity. And he needs to have made that sale. This is his moment to reach those independents and moderates. He has taken care of his Republican base. He needs to reach across to those people who are still -- still don't know much very about him and whose support is very, very soft.

BROWNSTEIN: I would say that so far in the convention, it's been -- one note has dominated, which is basically testimonials to Bush, people saying: Look, he is someone who is capable of doing this job. He's centrist. He's bipartisan. He can handle foreign policy. I would say Bush himself probably has to do two things. One is to validate that. He has to cross the threshold himself, and be someone that Americans can view as president. And I think the other one is he has to make his case for change.

SHAW: OK, Ron Brownstein, the "Los Angeles Times," John Dickerson of "Time" magazine, thanks very, very much.

And up next, Jeff Greenfield with some thoughts on George W. Bush and tonight's speech.


WOODRUFF: Joining us once again, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.

GREENFIELD: Finally, if anyone's waiting for Governor Bush to fall on his face tonight, do not hold your breath. These campaigns know full well the pitfalls to avoid in an acceptance speech. For instance, the all-too-memorable phrase: In 1964, Barry Goldwater drew wild cheers when he declared that "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." What most of the country heard was: Hooray for extremism! In 1984, Walter Mondale was praised for his courage when he said, "Mr. Reagan will raise your taxes, and so will I." That promise swept him to victory in Minnesota and the District of Columbia. As for the promise you may not be able to keep, well, I don't think we'll hear the governor ask the Congress to "Read his lips."

Now here's another tip, though: "Don't butcher the name of a revered party leader, the way Jimmy Carter did in 1980, when he honored -- quote -- "Hubert Horatio 'Hornblower' Humphrey." And make sure the guy you want to pose with is willing: I can still see President Carter that year following Ted Kennedy around the podium like a freshman at a mixer trying to hit on the prom queen. One last point: We've already heard that Bush has to seem presidential. OK, I'd kill to see him come out tonight in a stovepipe hat and a beard and read his speech off the back of an envelope.

You can't get more presidential than that.

WOODRUFF: You'd kill for that, huh?

GREENFIELD: Perhaps maim.

WOODRUFF: Sort of.

Jeff, I have a slightly question. How detailed can George W. Bush be and still hold an audience?

GREENFIELD: Acceptance speeches are not State of the Union speeches. They are more like an inaugural. They set themes. Now you can mention certain promises, as long as you're not too specific, but it's not a policy agenda speech nearly as much as it is, this is the direction I want to go.

WOODRUFF: And people don't expect that from the nominee of the part these days.

GREENFIELD: I think to quibble at the lack of detail in an acceptance speech really is churlish. I mean, in the campaign, yes, he has an obligation to lay it out. But this a night not just for the delegates to cheer, but for him to say, follow me, and I think I kind of see where I'm going, but I can't draw you a blueprint.

SHAW: Very important for him to be himself tonight.

GREENFIELD: Yes, the worst that you can do is do an acceptance speech that doesn't fit him. Bob Dole did it in 1996, a speech written by a great novelist, Mark Halperin, but it wasn't him.

What does it mean? I mean, you're right, it's become a cliche. He needs to be a presidential. But what does that really mean?

GREENFIELD: To be very blunt?

WOODRUFF: To look presidential, what does it mean?

GREENFIELD: To be blunt, it means that the person saying that hasn't thought through what he really wants to say because it's so vague, but basically, it means stature, it means, you look at guy, the cut of jib, as they used to say, and say, yes, I think I'd follow that fellow. But beyond that, I mean, it's one of those glitches, it's one of those verbal ticks. It will never pass these lips, if you could read them or not.

WOODRUFF: I'm sure it's past these.

GREENFIELD: Not tonight. I'm taking a vow. How about that? None of that.

SHAW: Judy, let's take a vow..

WOODRUFF: All right, let's take it. SHAW: Well, tell him to say that's all for this convention edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But of course, you can go online all the time for all the convention news at

Bernie and I, along with the entire CNN convention team, will be back in 30 minutes for the start of our evening coverage. Join us.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: Can't wait. I'm Bernard Shaw.

"THE WORLD TODAY" is next.



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