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Democratic National Convention: Lieberman Prepares to Step Into National SpotlightAired August 16, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: From the Staples Center in Los Angeles, site of the Democratic National Convention, this is an expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS with Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon from the Staples Center here in Los Angeles. Al Gore is 17 miles from this convention floor and hours from the convention formality of officially receiving the party's presidential nomination. Just a short time ago, he arrived at the Burbank Airport and landed at the center of a political rally.
CNN's Frank Buckley is there, and he joins us now live with more -- Frank.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Wolf.
It is a very hot and sweaty Hangar 70 that we are in here at Burbank Airport -- and Vice President Al Gore still working the rope line here. He arrived on time as scheduled, just after noon and the program got under way here -- Vice President Gore sounding some of the themes that perhaps he'll be sounding during his speech tomorrow -- early on here, however, simply just welcoming and thanking the crowd for coming out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a wonderful way to arrive in California. I love California. I love your governor, Gray Davis, and your great first lady, Sharon Davis. And Mr. Mayor, thank you for being a great host. And Nancy Daley thank you for being right in here with us. We appreciate you. Tipper and Joe and Hadassah and I are so proud to have our families on stage here behind us. And we can't thank you enough for being a part of this effort to bring about positive change to America, continue the prosperity and progress, and build the kind of future that our children and grandchildren deserve.
Are you with us?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCKLEY: Vice President Al Gore having no problem with that question with this crowd. This is a crowd of all supporters. He is right now working the line behind us with Senator Joe Lieberman and meeting these supporters individually, shaking hands -- and again some of the themes sounded out during his presentation here perhaps themes that we will hear in his speech tomorrow, saying that he's going to give some specifics in his speech because the voters deserve it -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Frank, we know Senator Lieberman will be delivering his speech this evening. What is on the immediate agenda between now and tonight and tomorrow for Vice President Gore?
BUCKLEY: Vice President Gore, this afternoon, will go with Senator Lieberman. The two of them will be going to Warner Brothers Studio, which is just down the street here in Burbank. They will be going there for a party for their home delegations, the Connecticut and Tennessee delegations. After that meeting this afternoon, or after the party this afternoon, the vice president will eventually retire to his hotel room to watch Senator Lieberman give his speech at the convention.
It's likely that Vice President Gore, aides tell us, will continue to work on his speech, something that he has continued to do for the past to or three weeks -- Wolf.
BLITZER: OK, Frank Buckley, thank you -- a very important speech.
Joining us now here is Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst.
Bill, what did we just see formally at this arrival ceremony?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we saw Vice President Gore sound two themes that we are going to hear a lot more at this convention. He said: We are going to be specific, as frank just pointed out. You deserve exactly to know, to know exactly what the candidates are going to do on the issues. And he talked about guns and the patient's bill of rights and the environment. What is he saying? The Democrats, we have got the issues.
That's an odd thing say, because the Democrats are supposed to be moving toward the center now with Lieberman on the ticket. But what they're saying is the Republicans have a stealth agenda. And their agenda is on the far right. Second of all, he said: We're the new guard. They're the old guard. But wait a minute, they have been in power for the last eight years. How could be the new guard? He's making the same point Ronald Reagan made 1988 after eight years of his administration, when he said: We are the change. That's the point that Gore is trying to make.
BLITZER: OK. Bill Schneider will be with us for this entire hour. Standby.
Here at the Staples Center, the Democrats are hoping to send the message today that Al Gore is a principled fighter. In the next hour, we will preview today's convention themes and expectations. We will take a closer look at where Gore stands on taxes. And focus on swing voters. Who are they? And what sways them?
And once again, Jim Moret and Laurin Sydney of "SHOWBIZ TODAY" will cover the celebrity angles of this convention: their guest, film director and political activist Rob Reiner.
But first, CNN's Judy Woodruff on today's agenda.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Here's a look ahead to the third day of the Democratic National Convention, Wednesday, August 16th. At 8:00 Eastern, 5:00 Los Angeles time, the party presents a tribute to Vietnam veterans. Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam will speak alongside Senator Bob Kerrey, who lost part of his right leg in the fighting.
In the 9:00 hour, 6:00 local, everyday people will take the stage to discuss issues: first, health care, then crime and victim's rights. In the 10:00 hour Eastern, 7:00 Pacific, Gore running mate Joe Lieberman will address the convention. But the spotlight soon returns to the top of the ticket. Al Gore's life will be revisited by those who have known him best through the years, such as his college roommate, now actor Tommy Lee Jones and eldest daughter Karenna Gore Schiff.
A state by state role call will take up the 11:00 hour Eastern and push Gore over to the top to wrap up the third night of the Democratic National Convention.
BLITZER: They've actually convened this session today here at the Democratic National Convention. And they are about to go into some official business. This note: Coming up at 6:00 Eastern on "THE "WORLD TODAY," I will have an interview with vice presidential candidate Senator Joe Lieberman. But up next, we will go to Atlanta for some news headlines and check the action on Wall Street.
BLITZER: Welcome back to the Democratic National Convention. At the Staples Center here in Los Angeles, the gavel has now come down, the afternoon session has begun. Several Democrat candidates for the House and the Senate are now speaking. This is the early part of the session.
Now let's go down to the floor. Our floor reporters are standing by, Candy Crowley, John King, Frank Sesno and Jeanne Meserve.
Let's begin with Candy Crowley. Set up the Lieberman speech tonight, which of course is going be the main attraction, we're told.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The main attraction, and really the first time that this audience or a national audience has seen Joe Lieberman. Basically, he sprang on the national scene a little over a week ago, when Al Gore picked him as his number two. At that time, a lot of the attention was on the fact that Joe Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew. We are told that there will be less of that tonight in his speech as he addresses this convention. We are told that he will talk about his personal background, about his family. We are told that he will, in very definitive terms, talk about the differences between the Gore-Lieberman ticket and the Bush- Cheney ticket. And finally, we are told that he will talk about his long personal relationship with Al Gore.
Now to my colleague John King.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Candy.
Look, over the next few days for more biographical information about the vice president. His staff says, despite his eight years as Bill Clinton's partner, the American people don't know much about his life before he was vice president. One key element, they say, his service in Vietnam. Al Gore was 21 years old, just out of Harvard University, the son of a senator who opposed the Vietnam War, yet he voluntarily enlisted and served five months in Vietnam as an Army Journalist.
Some over the years have accused the vice president of embellishing his service. He makes clear now whenever he talks about it that he did not come in harm's way, that he believes that his service was a defining moment in his life, and it was one the most powerful things the Gore campaign says, when they do focus groups and other sessions with voters, when voters learns that about Al Gore, they tend to like him more personally. Now for more, over to Frank Sesno.
FRANK SESNO, CNN ANCHOR: John, on the premise that one reason Al Gore is trailing in the polls is that most Americans don't know who he is and don't know his story. Friends, confidants and colleagues are going to all be laying hands on here to include his daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff. She'll be introducing the vice president ultimately, and she is the one who's got a story to tell, we are told, about the vice president, about who he is, about how he's a family man, and her refrain, we are told, is, "We must decide," my dad wants to win the fight -- the fight for Social Security, the fight for budget, the fight for such items.
And you can hear some of the cheers going up here in state of New Jersey, where we're doing a little home setting, I think you could say. Let's go over to my colleague Jeanne Meserve.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Frank, one of the issues the Democrats will underline with a big, bold stroke tonight, hate crimes. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi will talk about the need for federal legislation and Al Gore's support of it, and she will be flanked by family members of some prominent hate victim victims, the parents of Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming college student who was lured from a bar, beaten and left on a fence and who later died from his injuries, will be with her. Also will be relatives of James Byrd Jr., an African- American man who was pulled behind a pickup truck for two miles and then died. The Democrats believe hate crimes is a defining issue for them. Al Gore has been avid in his support for federal legislation. Governor George W. Bush his taken no position on federal legislation, saying only that all violent crimes are hate crimes. The Democrats want to talk about it, and they will.
Now back to Wolf in the booth.
BLITZER: Thank you very much, Jeanne, and thanks to all of our floor reporters. John, Candy and Frank. Stand by, we'll be back to you of course as the stake continues.
Meanwhile, up here in the booth, joining us now is John Sweeney, the president of the AFL-CIO, which is a powerful union, of course.
Is it the most powerful union?
JOHN SWEENEY, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: It's at a federation of all the unions, 68 of them.
BLITZER: How enthusiastic are you about the Joe Lieberman decision?
SWEENEY: I am very enthusiastic about the whole ticket, and I think Joe Lieberman brings great qualities and compliments Al Gore. I think he'll be a credit to the Democratic Party.
BLITZER: And as you know, of course, better than most, a lot of your members, and including the AFL-CIO, are very disappointed in the position of the Clinton administration on free trade, the World Trade Organization, NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement. How do you reconcile -- that's an important gut issue for the American trade union movement, yet you're going ahead and endorsing this ticket.
SWEENEY: Trade is certainly an important issue, and it's probably the one major difference in the administration we have with both the president and the vice president. But no one spoke out louder on behalf of core labor standards, and human rights and environmental protection, and then the president himself in Seattle.
Unfortunately, he wasn't able to get much support from other countries. Al Gore has made a commitment that he will strive to include human rights and core labor standards, environmental concerns in any trade that he signs when he's elected president.
BLITZER: The AFL-CIO endorsed Gore early, the United Auto Workers only recently within the past few days. The Teamsters still have not endorsed anybody as far as I know. So there seems to be some split within the labor movement.
SWEENEY: We were confident last October with the majority of our unions in the process they had gone through, that our members really were enthusiastic about Al Gore, and that's why we moved to an early endorsement. The campaign had started. Bid Bradley was still in the race. There were several Republican candidates, and I think that entry into the race proved itself very responsible and valuable with the results of the primaries.
Al Gore has been a strong worker, working family-issue oriented throughout his whole public career and he deserved our support, and we're confident that he's going to strive to address the issues of workers.
BLITZER: How concerned are you that Ralph Nader who's showing some significant support in some of the states, like Michigan, for example, California, how concerned are you he draw votes away from Al Gore among your labor union members?
SWEENEY: Well, on the one hand, we're impressed with the vitality of the discussion of the issues around Ralph Nader's candidacy. On the other hand, the bottom line is that one of two major candidates will be the next president of the United States, and anything that distracts from that is really not helpful to the process, and we would hope that we would be able to, during the campaign, show workers how important it is to vote for Al Gore.
BLITZER: Since there isn't really much difference on the issue of trade between the Democrats and the Republicans, the two-party tickets. What is your biggest concern that you have with the Bush- Cheney ticket on labor-related issues?
SWEENEY: Well, the vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, has one of the lowest records during his years in Congress on issues that were important to workers. His -- he had about a 6 percent record. This was lower than Newt Gingrich. It was lower than Jesse Helms. He was anti many of the programs that working families were concerned about, and even his vote on Nelson Mandela is an indication, I think, of where he stands.
George Bush really in the six years he has been governor he has been anti-worker. He speaks out strongly against unions, and we believe that the contrast is very clear between the top of both tickets, and that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman really will make a great president and vice president.
BLITZER: Sounds like the AFL-CIO is going to try to get out that vote for this Democratic ticket.
SWEENEY: We certainly are, and really our strength is in our people power, the mobilization of our membership, and we're never going to be able to match the opposition with our financial resources, but we can certainly conduct a great grass-roots campaign.
BLITZER: All right, we have to take a quick look at the computer for a second, there seems to be something going on, but John Sweeney I want you to stand by for one second.
Let me just -- let's just take a look over here. Go in right here to our priority wire. There seems to be a story involving John McCain. I want to be very precise in this story and let me just go to the wire and tell our audience that the Associated Press is now reporting that John McCain has been diagnosed with a recurrence of skin cancer, according to Republican officials. Their quoted as saying that McCain planed a news conference on Friday to discuss his medical condition, they said he has canceled a number of campaign appearances. We, of course, are going to be covering this story.
We have independently now confirmed this from CNN sources. Once again, Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a recurrence of skin cancer and will be talking about this Friday, we are told, at a news conference. He has had a previous spot of skin cancer as well. You know John McCain.
BLITZER: So obviously we are all hoping for the best for John McCain.
SWEENEY: Sure, sure. That is too bad.
BLITZER: All right, John Sweeney of the AFL-CIO, thank you so much for joining us.
SWEENEY: Thank you.
BLITZER: We're going to take a quick commercial break. A lot more from the Democratic National Convention, including one issue where it's usually easy to see a difference between the two major parties, that issue, of course, is taxes.
We'll check out Al Gore's tax plan for campaign 2000 when this special edition of INSIDE POLITICS continues.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of the Democratic National Convention here in Los Angeles. We will get to this convention in just a few minutes, but we are now following an additional breaking story here.
CNN has now confirmed that John McCain has been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. That is a severe form of skin cancer on his arm and on his temple. Sources close to John McCain tell CNN that the 63- year-old former presidential candidate will undergo further tests Thursday and Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Possible treatments, of course, include surgery. This is not the first time that John McCain has been diagnosed with skin cancer. In 1993, according to medical records that were released during his presidential campaign, he also under -- he also came down with a form of skin cancer. At the time, his doctor at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. John Eckstein said, "We think he is cured."
But once again, we are anticipating that there will be a news conference, formal statements from John McCain coming as early as Friday.
I want to go down to Candy Crowley on the floor of this Democratic Convention. She spoke with John McCain recently -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Wolf, John McCain was, of course, campaigning with George Bush in California late last week. At the time when he came, he had a very noticeable bandage on his left temple and we asked him about it and he said, "I have to be tested every year," because of his previous problems for any signs of recurrence of cancer. At that time, he gave what he gave earlier, when he had had some treatments saying, "I have been out in that Arizona sun. You all have to wear a sunscreen." He was very adamant when -- after it, being asked about the bandage, he went on at some length about the dangers of being out in that sun. So I would assume that what we are hearing now is the results of the test that he told us about on Friday.
BLITZER: And we know, Candy, that -- as I said, this is not the first time he's come down with this kind of skin cancer and he was treated in the past on it. You covered his campaign. You spent a lot of time covering him. He's spoken openly about some of these problems in the past.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. I mean, the Straight Talk Express was also open about those sorts of things. And I don't know if you recall, but there was a time in the Senate, a couple of years ago, when he looked noticeably differently on the floor and as it turns out he had had, I believe, some kind of chemical burn, or some kind of chemical peel also relating to skin and cancer. So this has been actually one of his causes and, of course, coming from Arizona, he was also worried about those in his state and said the sun is so hot there. But they were very open about this and he was very open about what he considered to be, at least on Thursday and Friday of last week, as a routine test that he had to take because of the results of the problems he's had in the past.
BLITZER: And Candy, we do have some videotape of John McCain, if you take a look, there's a spot on his temple that we believe may be the spot that has now been diagnosed as a malignant melanoma, which is a severe form of cancer. I don't know if we could get that shot close enough to take a look at that. John McCain, we are also told now, is going to be taking a short vacation with his wife Cindy and his family on a houseboat in Lake Powell, Arizona. He has canceled several previously scheduled campaign events for GOP candidates around the country for the time -- for the time being.
Once again, recapping the story that we are just getting here at CNN, Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a malignant melanoma, severe form of skin cancer on both his arm and his temple, undergoing additional tests. We should be learning more about the possible treatment opportunities shortly.
We are going to be checking in with our medical unit to get some assessment, to get some perspective on what this means.
But we want to take a quick break. We'll be right back with more from the Democratic National Convention, and more on Senator John McCain's skin cancer.
(INTERRUPTED FOR BREAKING NEWS)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The future starts in California. The victory starts in California. With your help, we'll win. I need your help to fight for you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Al Gore makes his entrance in California as Democrats prepare to make him their presidential nominee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: A vice presidential candidate is not supposed to build bridges; he's supposed to burn bridges. Can Lieberman turn himself into an attack dog?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Schneider, on Joe Lieberman's convention speech tonight.
WOODRUFF: Here in the land of the stars, the cameras are ready to roll on the Democrats' feature presentations.
ANNOUNCER: From the Staples Center in Los Angeles, site of the Democratic National Convention, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw, and Judy Woodruff, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We' will have the latest on the Democratic convention and Al Gore's arrival in California in a moment. But first, this breaking story. CNN has learned that Senator John McCain has been diagnosed with a dangerous form of skin cancer, specifically a malignant melanoma on his arm and temple. Sources close to the former GOP presidential candidate say that McCain will undergo further tests tomorrow and Friday at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. He then will consult with doctors about the severity of the cancer, and of course of treatment.
Medical records show that McCain was treated for a melanoma on his shoulder in 1993, and there have been no signs of a reoccurrence, at least until now. Our Jonathan Karl will have a live report from Arizona just a little bit later. But right now, let's go to our Candy Crowley, who interviewed John McCain on Thursday, the same day he appeared, apparently received this diagnosis -- Candy.
CROWLEY: Judy, Thursday was the day that John McCain hooked up with the Bush campaign here in California for a two-day swing up the West Coast. Later, the two of them went onto Arizona, and Bush spent the night at the McCain ranch in Cottonwood. We sat down and interviewed John McCain. In fact, a bandage on his left temple was quite evident. At one point during the trip, McCain was asked about the bandage, and he said, because of previous problems, he had to get annual check of his skin. It's something that has been in McCain's medical history. It indeed was there when he released medical records during the primary campaign. He has spoken often of the problems that he has with it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Part of my youth I spent too much time in the sun. And every few months I have to go and have some basil cell removed from my old craggy features. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: This, of course, as we are learning is not a basil cell, but a melanoma, which we are told is more serious than the basil cell. McCain has always had this since having this problem, has always told reporters, has told his children. We did a profile with him a couple of years ago again at his ranch, and the first thing he did when he went outdoors was slather his children down with suntan lotion. Now again, on the train trip with Bush, when asked about the bandage, said, listen you all, you need to put things on your skin before going out, particularly the fair-haired people.
I will tell you also, just in terms of mood, that on the campaign swing with Bush, at least in the early days, there was some talk among reporters that McCain seemed a little off. Naturally, in the political look of things that was seen as maybe he wasn't all that happy to be there with George Bush, with whom he'd had a very tough primary fight. Looking back at it now, perhaps what we were seeing is a man who was involved in a much more deep and much more personal problem -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley, who, as we said, just saw John McCain last Thursday. And as we also said, we are going to have a report in a little while from our Jonathan Karl, who is in Arizona and will be able to bring us more -- Bernie.
SHAW: And on that point, Judy, Jonathan Karl has been talking to McCain sources. He joins us by telephone -- Jonathan.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Bernie.
McCain's top aides coming to Phoenix, Arizona here to be with the senator during this difficult and very critical time for him as he undergoes two days of testing at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. One of those top McCain sources saying that the senator is worried as a father, he's very worried about this condition, but he's a very resilient guy, he's a "tough bird," in the words of this aide, and you know, he's keeping a strong front on this going into this. They don't know how serious it is. They do know it's a serious condition. It's the degree of seriousness that will be determined at least two days of tests.
One thing that concerns them is that two separate places he had this malignant melanoma, one on of his left temple and the other on his arm. At the same time, they don't know that it spread anywhere other than the skin. That's what we'll find out at the tests of the Mayo Clinic.
SHAW: And, Jonathan, John King reported a short while ago that McCain himself would be issuing a statement shortly. Is that still in the offing?
KARL: That's absolutely true. As a matter of fact, the senator is in his car right now driving from their cabin near Yuma, Arizona to come here to Phoenix, and I do not expect to get out quite so soon, and they have been prepared to put out a statement. What they had hoped to have happened is find the seriousness of this. I mean, they know it is a serious condition. But how serious they don't know and they don't know exactly what the next course of action is. Obviously, surgery a top prospect here. It's the usual course of action, and they believe that may happen as soon as next week, but a lot of unanswered questions for John McCain. They will be issuing a statement shortly.
SHAW: Jonathan Karl by telephone in Phoenix -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right then, Bernie, now joining us from our Atlanta headquarters, Dr. Elizabeth Cohen. Tell us, first of all, the fact that the senator had this in 1993, it has now come back, does that, just the very fact of its reoccurrence, does that tell you anything about how serious this is?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't necessarily tell us anything about how serious it is, Judy. But what it does tell us is that theoretically, someone like Senator McCain, who has had this disease in the past, would be followed up very carefully, and with melanoma, the whole crux of it is, at what stage you catch it. If you catch it in an early stage, it is far more curable than if you catch it later on. At an early stage, it's at a top layer. At a later stage, it may have even spread to other organs or the lymph node.
So theoretically, it would mean that he's being followed closely, and they caught it early.
WOODRUFF: And what about the fact it is now in two locations on his skin, both on his temple, and we're told on one of his arms?
COHEN: What's really the most important thing, again, is how far, not so much on the surface of his body, but how far into the body. At the earliest stage, it's on the outer surface. Stages two, three, it's gone further into the skin, and at the final stage, at stage four, level four, it's actually gone through the blood into other organs or into the lymph system, so that's really the important part.
WOODRUFF: And what are the courses, the possible courses of treatment?
COHEN: Surgery is the first course of treatment. And then after that, again, depending upon what stage it's at, there are various approaches. There is chemotherapy. There is radiation. There is immunotherapy. There is experimental vaccine that's sometimes given to melanoma patients. So it depends what stage he's at.
WOODRUFF: All right, and, Elizabeth Cohen, just one final question. We're told he's going to be seen by the Mayo Clinic there in Arizona in the next couple of days. How long does it take after these kinds of examinations and tests for there to be a definitive diagnosis?
COHEN: It really depends, again, on where his cancer is at, and it depends how far it spread for them to determine what to do next.
WOODRUFF: All right, Elizabeth Cohen, joining us from Atlanta -- Bernie.
SHAW: Now to Vice President Al Gore's big entrance. When he landed here in California less than two hours ago, he ushered in the most critical stage of this Democratic convention, the two-day period in which he and his running mate, Joe Lieberman, will make personal appeals to the American people.
Our Patty Davis was in Burbank when Gore's plane touched down.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fresh off a swing through battleground states, Vice President Al Gore arrived in California where he was joined by his running mate, Joe Lieberman, and greeted by more than a thousand supporters.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The future starts in California. The victory starts in California. With your help, we'll win. I need your help to fight for you.
DAVIS: The Democratic Party's headliner is set to take center stage Thursday night when he gives his acceptance speech. First up, though, Lieberman, who speaks tonight.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Will you help me win this one for the Tipper?
DAVIS: Aides say Gore will talk about his plan for Social Security and a middle-class tax cut. The economy will figure prominently, and they say the speech will be entertaining.
With the pressure on to match Texas Governor George W. Bush's well-received performance at the Republican National Convention and catch up to him in the polls, Gore campaign aides say their boss knows just how important his speech is. As for his nerves...
GORE: No, I feel very relaxed about it. Maybe I shouldn't, but I do.
DAVIS: Gore says he's been writing, editing and tweaking Thursday's speech in between campaign stops.
GORE: This is a speech that I have written, and I will deserve the credit or the blame.
DAVIS: They're packing up now here at the Burbank Airport hangar where Vice President Al Gore was a short time ago. He and Joe Lieberman, his running mate, are now meeting with delegates from Tennessee and Connecticut -- Bernie.
SHAW: Patty Davis, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to go down to the convention floor here, but just before we do a brief statement has just been released by the office of John McCain.
And I will quote: "During a routine examination, two unrelated spots were discovered on Senator John McCain. One is on his left temple, the other on his left arm. The spots were confirmed to be melanomas after an August 4th biopsy performed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. This week Senator McCain will meet with a team of physicians and undergo further diagnostic testing. He will release any additional information, including the course of treatment, when the results of that testing are available." End quote.
And just to reiterate, CNN has been reporting that the senator will undergo testing at the Mayo Clinic located in Scottsdale, Arizona.
And now, let's go down to the convention floor, where many of these delegates here at the Democratic Convention are looking ahead to tonight's program, and so is our Frank Sesno -- Frank.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Excuse me, Judy. Convention organizers say tonight is the night that the page is turned from the party's past to the party's future, specifically Lieberman and Gore.
We'll be hearing from Lieberman tonight obviously. He'll be introduced by his wife, Hadassah. She will talk family. Lieberman will be dividing his speech into three main areas: principally his own biography, introducing himself to the American public, which may not know him very well; family, where he comes from, and how he and they all worked their way to where they are today; and finally, and the most substantive part of his address will be contrasting the positions of Gore-Lieberman with Bush-Cheney, touching on such issues as education, Social Security, health care, other places where the Democrats really want to make a contrast very sharply.
And finally, we're told, Lieberman will close his speech with a very personal reference point to his longstanding relationship with Al Gore and giving some light to Al Gore as a person: again, something that convention organizers say Americans don't fully understand or appreciate and part of the explanation for his poor showing in the polls.
So, that's some of what we'll be seeing and hearing tonight.
Back to the booth.
SHAW: Thank you, Frank.
Joe Lieberman's address tonight is likely to be compared to his Republican counterpart's convention speech, and already this gentleman, Bill Schneider, is wondering if there will be similarities. SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, Joe Lieberman has the same problem that Dick Cheney had in Philadelphia. Both men have made their reputations as bridge-builders, power brokers who can make deals and get along with the other side. Now they're running for vice president, and bridge-building is nowhere in that job description.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): A vice presidential candidate is not supposed to build bridges. He's supposed to burn bridges. Can Lieberman turn himself into an attack dog? Cheney did.
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're all a little weary of the Clinton-Gore routine.
But the wheel has turned, and it is time: It is time for them to go.
SCHNEIDER: Lieberman did that a little bit last week in Nashville.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are we going to elect the old guard...
LIEBERMAN: ... that created the problems or a new guard that will continue to work to solve American's problems...
SCHNEIDER: But in the matter of Bill Clinton's personal behavior, even attack dogs have learned to be careful. Better to make your point by insinuation.
CHENEY: We offer another way, a better way, and a stiff dose of truth.
SCHNEIDER: Here's Lieberman talking about Al Gore last week. Think he's insinuating something about Bill Clinton?
LIEBERMAN: He has never, never wavered in his responsibilities as a father, as a husband, and yes, as a servant of God Almighty.
SCHNEIDER: Everyone agrees Cheney brings stature to the GOP ticket. So in his Philadelphia speech, he played to his strength.
CHENEY: I have been in the company of leaders. I know what it takes.
SCHNEIDER: What does Lieberman add to the Democratic ticket? Moral tone. Tonight, he has to play to his strength.
LIEBERMAN: We must work, and we will work -- Al and Tipper, Hadassah and I -- to help renew the moral center of this nation.
SCHNEIDER: There's one big difference between the two candidates, and it has to do with each party's message. Republicans are trying to show voters George W. Bush can end the bickering in Washington. Cheney has the standing to make that case.
CHENEY: He brings people together, reaching across party lines to do the people's business.
SCHNEIDER: Democrats want to draw sharp and clear lines. Does a centrist like Lieberman have the standing to make that case?
LIEBERMAN: Yes, there's a lot at stake in this election, and as I say, there are real differences between the two parties, and we're going to talk about those differences from this day on.
SCHNEIDER: Guess we'll see tonight.
One more thing: A vice presidential candidate has to be careful about speaking in a language that means one thing to partisans in the hall but may mean something else to uncommitted voters.
CHENEY: Does anyone, Republican or Democrat, seriously believe that under Mr. Gore the next four years would be any different from the last eight?
SCHNEIDER: You know, Lieberman can turn that line around tonight: If the next four years are like the last eight, you know, a lot of Americans would be doing very well -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Bill Schneider.
And still ahead on here on INSIDE POLITICS, more on Joe Lieberman, Al Gore and this Democratic convention with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson. Plus, Jeff Greenfield on the effect of vice president choices on past tickets.
SHAW: This is the year 2000, right? Well, with this convention still in day three, the city of Denver is already lobbying for a chance at the 2004 party gathering. But the Mile High City has competition. Other cities, including Boston, are also interested in hosting the next Democratic Convention.
WOODRUFF: And joining us now to talk about the current convention, Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of the "Weekly Standard."
All right, Tucker, to you first. What do you think so far?
TUCKER CARLSON, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I thought it was fascinating last night that there was virtually no mention of Clinton, after the first night which was all, you know, deeply Clinton. Nobody said his name. And I think it will be -- I will be fascinated to see if Joe Lieberman makes reference to him in anyway. If he does, it will be an uncomfortable moment, I think. But if he doesn't, it will be sort of odd.
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": That's a good observation, Tucker. I hadn't noticed. But, you know, what surprised me was that liberal night didn't generate more excitement in the hall, given that in Philadelphia, the people in the hall were virtually, you know -- all of their people were stuffed away in the attic. They had no one on the stage that they related to. And the Democrats last night had everyone they related to, and yet there was a listlessness about it.
And it made me wonder if the -- if this trying to pull them back in this convention, not part of the goal is going to be met.
WOODRUFF: Tucker, do you agree, it was listless last night? I mean, from up in the skybox, people looked pretty excited. But I acknowledge I was not down there on the floor.
T. CARLSON: Wistful?
T. CARLSON: Right, no.
M. CARLSON: And wistful.
T. CARLSON: You know, I -- it's so hard to tell. I mean, my sense always with delegates is they're excited to be here. Some of them have been drinking. You know, they are just a very excitable group. And they seemed excited enough to me. I was -- I thought it was, as a general matter, kind of interesting that the Gore campaign seems to need to, you know, throw bones to, you know, the fabled base. I mean, it is -- it does seem a little late for that.
WOODRUFF: Margaret, go ahead, Margaret.
M. CARLSON: I was going to say, you know, the hall was emptying out as we went along. And the time that -- the person who attracted the most intense attention was Caroline Kennedy. And I was surprised that there wasn't a John F. Kennedy Jr. moment there. I mean, Tucker is surprised by the lack of a Clinton moment. I thought that the audience could have been, you know, brought to crescendo by doing that. And that opportunity passed by.
T. CARLSON: Well, it may be that even delegates to a Democratic Convention have finally had enough of the whole Camelot business. I mean, you know, it is possible to overdose on it. I mean, it really does becomes like a movie of the week after a while.
M. CARLSON: But this was their night. And it seemed to me, milk the moment. Isn't that what conventions are about?
T. CARLSON: Right, but the place was just stuffed, just packed with Kennedys. I mean, they were just everywhere. It was a Kennedy- rich environment.
WOODRUFF: Was it -- excuse me -- was it too liberal last night? I mean, was it -- to the point that it could hurt Gore in November, Margaret?
M. CARLSON: Well, you know, it was a set-aside night in some ways. And since -- you know, the party has -- Republicans are like Democrats, are like Republicans. You know, we need a new paradigm, but we aren't quite there yet. And the ticket looks like a new, new- Democrat ticket because of the addition of Senator Lieberman. So, a little bit of attention to the liberal base seemed to me to be in order.
T. CARLSON: Or a lot. I mean, here you had Lieberman, you know, running around trying to convince the Black Caucus that he's not a scary figure just because he said something mildly critical of affirmative action years ago. I mean, the Gore campaign really does seem to be making an effort to appease the left. I don't know if it's Ralph Nader that's making them feel like they have to do that.
WOODRUFF: What does Lieberman need do tonight, Margaret?
M. CARLSON: Well, the skirmish with the Black Caucus, you know, it may not be behind them. I mean, Joe Lieberman, who actually -- some people hold positions and he held a belief which he acted on by going to Mississippi, and in '60, he was a freedom writer. You know, some people lost their lives in that. And now they're going to pick him apart over this, I guess, moment, in which he said something vaguely nice about Proposition 209.
And the effort to get them back has to be, I guess, continued, because it seems to me, it's not that solid a rapprochement. So tonight, he has to show that he's a Democrat in the old sense of the word, but that he, like Clinton, has found a way to embrace independence and moderates in this Democratic big tent.
WOODRUFF: Tucker, how much does Lieberman need to say tonight about himself? How much does he need to set things up for Gore tomorrow night?
T. CARLSON: Well, I mean, to a great extent -- Clinton certainly didn't do it. He talked about himself the entire time. No, I think the biography part will be important. He has got a great biography. He is an appealing person. Traditionally, the vice presidential nominee spends a lot of his time slamming the other side. And he'll do that to some extent. But I think he has to be careful not to do it too much or he loses what makes his attractive in the first place, his Joe Lieberman-ness. So if he gets up there and starts foaming, you know, I think that probably could be self-defeating.
WOODRUFF: And just finally, a word about John McCain. Both of you have covered the senator, spent time with him. Does this diagnosis in any way affect what's going on here, Margaret?
M. CARLSON: Well, everyone -- certainly the press corps who got to know him better than probably we get the opportunity to know any presidential candidate -- or really any senator for that matter -- it feels personal. And all you can do is say a prayer.
T. CARLSON: I don't think anybody I've ever met will be sick with more dignity than McCain. He really is a tough character. So no matter what happens, he'll do it in a manly way, I think.
WOODRUFF: All right, Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, we thank you both.
M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.
T. CARLSON: Thanks.
WOODRUFF: And I'll see you again soon. Thanks a lot.
And with more now on the topic of vice presidential choices, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Judy, if you follow politics, you've heard it a hundred times: Vice presidential picks can't really help, they can only hurt. Or it's like the doctor's oath: First, do no harm. But is it true, that running mates almost never help? As that car commercial puts it, not exactly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My only vote will make the majority for Senator Kennedy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD (voice-over): 1960 is always listed as the great exception.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
SEN. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... who brings unity and strength to our platform and our ticket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: When John Kennedy picked Lyndon Johnson, it reassured the South about the New England Catholic, kept Texas and six other states Democratic in November, probably made the difference. But what about 1968, when Hubert Humphrey, nominated by bitterly divided Democratic Party...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HUBERT HUMPHREY (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is in this spirit...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: ... chose Maine Senator Edmund Muskie? The calm, measured Muskie campaigned well, talked with protesters, brought a welcome nose of grace into the jarring year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1976)
JIMMY CARTER (D-GA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My name is Jimmy Carter and I'm running for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: In 1976, Jimmy Carter, the Southern, relatively conservative governor, chose Walter Mondale, the liberal, Midwestern senator, a classic fill-in-the-gap choice, reassuring those who felt left out. One of the most underrated choices was Ronald Reagan's pick of George Bush in 1980, the man he'd beaten in the primaries. Reagan picked Bush because he couldn't figure out how to put former President Ford, which may have been providential.
Ford might have made Reagan looked weak, uncertain of his qualifications. With Bush, Reagan reassured moderates, got experience on the international scene, and proved he didn't hold grudges. And Bill Clinton's choice of Al Gore in 1992 ranks as one of the bolder, shrewder picks. It seemed odd at the time: men of the same generation, same politics, same region of the country. But apart from giving Clinton an experienced Washington hand, the sight of those two young men drove home the fresh-start, time-for-a-change theme that almost always works.
GREENFIELD: Now, it is certainly true a bad vice presidential choice is almost always more consequential than a good one. And it's also true that these battles are won or lost at the top, and that running mates usually don't move poll numbers. But politics is more than polls. And the right vice presidential pick can give a presidential campaign energy, optimism and a stronger case. And boy, do those things matter.
WOODRUFF: Right on. Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much. We'll see you a little later.
Well, much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
And we'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
SHAW: Still to come: Dick Cheney officially ends his career as a CEO.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After less than five years at Halliburton, he leaves with a golden parachute.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SHAW: Chris Black on the retirement package that makes the Republican vice presidential hopeful a wealthy man.
SHAW: Here at the Democratic National Convention, people are talking about Joe Lieberman and his speech tonight. But the vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party also is making news this day. At issue, Dick Cheney's retirement package from Halliburton Company. That story from CNN's Chris Black in Texas.
BLACK (voice-over): Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney spends his last day on the job Wednesday as chairman and CEO of Halliburton, the giant energy services company. Just last year, Halliburton had $14.9 billion in revenues and $265 million in earnings. Halliburton has made Dick Cheney a wealthy man, but critics now say his financial ties to the giant energy services company could raise questions about his independence.
PETER EISNER, CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY: He doubled their business over the five years at the helm of Halliburton, and he's being rewarded for his doing so by getting a massively generous package of retirement and benefits.
BLACK: After less than five years at Halliburton, he leaves with a golden parachute: a retirement package with a reported value of $20 million. A Halliburton spokeswoman says the package is routine for a senior executive taking early retirement.
Cheney, now 59, spent most of his life as a White House official, member of Congress, and then secretary of defense -- powerful, but not financially lucrative positions. Though retiring, Cheney's financial well-being remains tied to the success of the company. Since joining Halliburton, Cheney has earned nearly $12 million and acquired one million shares of Halliburton stock and stock options valued at more than $50 million.
In several interviews, Cheney has said he has no plans to divest himself of Halliburton's stock during the campaign, but will put his assets in a blind trust, if elected.
Halliburton's stock price is bound to the fortunes of the oil industry, and government policy can affect the price of oil and oil products like gasoline.
EISNER: One has to ask, as vice president of the United States, how separate will he be from that company and from other companies like it that do business in international engineering contracts.
BLACK: This has caused Democrats to dub the Bush-Cheney pairing the "all oil ticket."
JOE ANDREW, DNC NATIONAL CHAIRMAN: Well, clearly, Big Oil will be working out of the White House office, because they'll have two big oil advocates, CEO of an oil company, right there in the oval office. That's something that makes working families very uncomfortable.
BLACK (on camera): Bush campaign officials make no apologies for Cheney's ties to Halliburton. They say his compensation package is in line with industry standards, and they say, the public should be pleased the Republican vice presidential candidate has been a success in business.
Chris Black, CNN, Austin, Texas.
SHAW: And we're joined now by Republican National Committee chairman Jim Nicholson and Democratic National Committee chairman Joe Andrew.
Mr. Andrew, in your judgment, what is your convention trying to do here in Los Angeles that you don't think the Republicans did in Philadelphia?
ANDREW: We're trying to answer the fundamental questions that all Americans have when they see the political questions, which is, why should I vote for that candidate? Why should I support that party? And we're convinced what we are doing here today and what we have done over the past two days is make sure that Americans realize that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman are going to fight for the working families, that Al Gore is going to fight for the many, and George W. Bush would only serve the few. We talked about health care, Bernie, which is why I want to express on behalf of all the Democrats, our concern and good wishes for John McCain, a great American. You know, every family in America has been touched by cancer, and that's why we need to continue to fight for health care for our seniors and health care for all of Americans. We talked a lot about that last night, and we're very proud of our party continuing to bring up that important issue.
SHAW: Jim Nicholson.
JIM NICHOLSON, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I am surprised with Joe's answer. I appreciate his comments on Senator McCain, by the way, and I, of course, share them. But I think the truth be known, what they are trying to do here is to unify their base in this party. It's anything but unified to see today that only 75 percent of the Democrats say that they support Vice President Gore. They had Clinton here Monday night. I thought that he could have handed off the mantle of the president to the vice president. He didn't do that. He gave a pretty self-indulgent speech, I thought. And then last night, they took a real lurch to the left to try to gather up the left part of the base, which is not yet consolidated, and they started trying to appeal to people who opposed all of the things that Clinton was taking credit for on Monday night.
So I think you have a very confused Democrat Party in an environment that I find, frankly, quite apathetic. I noted Margaret Carlson a little earlier called it listless. But there isn't the spirit here that we had in Philadelphia. I've never seen our party so united and so excited behind our candidate, Governor George W. Bush. ANDREW: Well, I don't think anybody could have been here or could have been watching Monday night or last night and thought that in any way this was a dispirited crowd.
NICHOLSON: I was here, Joe.
ANDREW: There were people who were yelling and screaming on their feet. This hall was packed full. People truly love the president and the first lady, and they love all the Democrats who were here last night.
It's a party that's unified behind a simple message. You know, all these labels of liberal, conservative don't matter anymore. What Americans want is somebody who's going to try to reach out and solve the problems that they talk about when they're around their kitchen table, trying to figure out how to get to the 30th of every month. That's what we talked about here.
SHAW: Jim Nicholson, in the polls, do you regard convention bounces as mere snapshots?
NICHOLSON: Yes, I think they're rather temporary. And -- but, you know, more important than that, I think, is what happens to your party and its base at the convention. And I think that's the real purpose of the convention, is to bring your people together, to celebrate, and to congeal and join and become united. I don't think that's happening here in Los Angeles. They still have two days to go.
They brought in, you know, Senator Lieberman, I think to try to help Gore with that, and all that's done I think has confused the picture. We now have the controversy with the Black Caucus here on his stands on quotas and preferences and proposition 209. We've had the problem here with the "Playboy" Mansion and the hypocrisy that has become evident as a result of that, making a congresswoman cancer her fund-raiser there, but then finding out the people who forced the cancellation, Gore and Lieberman, are taking from Playboy Enterprises and from the Hefner family.
So I think the people here, the rank-and-file delegates, are pretty confused right now.
ANDREW: You know, Bernie, you know you're having a good convention when even the things that Republicans accuse you of being flaps or somehow a problem beforehand are really on-message. Obviously, the issue of the "Playboy" Mansion was on-message. We once again demonstrated that we are the party of the values of working families.
NICHOLSON: Well, if you had those values, Joe, you wouldn't take their money.
ANDREW: ... talks about this. You know, when people give money to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, they're endorsing our programs and our policies, not the other way around, and that's the important message in this process.
NICHOLSON: Well, is that the case with Senator Lieberman, who also went to a producer of a smut daytime television show that he criticized on the floor of the Senate and is now taking money from them? What does that say about him?
ANDREW: No, I don't think anybody has any question about where Joe Lieberman on how we need to fight to make sure that all the programs on television and radio, and entertainment needs to make sure that families can take control of what they want their children to watch. He's been an advocate for that every single day of the week.
SHAW: Joe Andrew, very succinctly, in the battle with Republicans over acceptance speeches, what must Joe Lieberman say tonight and Al Gore tomorrow night?
ANDREW: He's got to demonstrate that he's willing, and has, fought for working families. He's got to make sure that people know that he's going to fight for the many, why George W. Bush is going to serve the few. He's to make sure that Americans get a sense of that warmth, that enthusiasm that Joe Lieberman has and everybody who's known him know he has.
SHAW: OK. Very quickly, your response, Jim Nicholson.
NICHOLSON: Well, it seems to me what he's got to do is explain exactly where he is. I mean, he was a guy that had principled positions on a lot of things that Governor Bush has been campaigning on, like campaign -- like tort reform and like school reform and Social Security reform. And now, it seems that we're not clear about where Senator Lieberman is on these positions, because the left side of the Democrat Party is forcing him, it looks like, to a different position.
So is he going to stand on those principled positions or is he going to morph into Al Gore? I think that remains to be seen. We're watching.
SHAW: Gentleman, I'm sorry. We're out of time.
Joe Andrew and Jim Nicholson, thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.
ANDREW: Thank you.
SHAW: Quite welcome.
NICHOLSON: Thank you.
SHAW: Up next, this convention and Al Gore. Judy will talk with David Broder. They'll discuss what the vice president must do to make the Democratic show work in his favor. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: He was always there and he always told me exactly what he thought was right. Everybody knows he is thoughtful and hardworking. But I can tell you personally he is one strong leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: President Clinton praised Al Gore on Monday night in his speech to the Democratic convention, but were the president's words strong enough to help Al Gore? Joining us now with his thoughts on this and some other matters, David Broder of "The Washington Post."
DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Judy, good to see you.
WOODRUFF: Great to see you, David.
You write in your column today that the president really didn't do Al Gore a favor. What did you mean by that?
BRODER: He gave him I thought kind a short shrift. The president did a good job on defending the record of the last eight years against the Republican criticisms, but by the time he got around to talking about his vice president, first of all, he was passed primetime, as you know, and secondly, it became kind of cliched language, I thought.
I compared, went back and looked again at what Ronald Reagan had said about George Bush in the 1988 Republican handover from one to the other, and there's just no comparison. Reagan really went all out to tell people what a terrific vice president George Bush had been. I thought President Clinton could have done a little bit more for a man who's been very loyal to him.
WOODRUFF: Could it have been, David, that because George W. Bush was so effective in Philadelphia in skewering, or at least in trying to skewer this administration, that the president may be needed to spend a lot of time Monday night defending his administration track record and then set up Gore?
BRODER: That's certainly possible, and we'll see whether that is in fact the scenario. I have been told since I wrote that column that in fact the Gore people had asked the president to spend a lot of time on the record of the last eight years, and he did a good job on that part. But we also know that we've all been hearing, since we came to Los Angeles, that it's very important for Al Gore to step out of the sort of the pit that a vice president is in, just because he has that title in front of his name. I don't think the president built much of a platform for Al Gore to step out of that pit.
WOODRUFF: Well, before we hear from Al Gore, tonight the big main speaker, of course, is going to be Joe Lieberman. What does he need to do tonight? How much does he need to say about Al Gore? BRODER: Well, I am told that Senator Lieberman is going to talk a good deal and in personal terms about the Al Gore that he has known as a colleague and as a friend over the last 15 years. And I think he can be very effective in drawing that picture and beginning to let the American people get a much more rounded perspective on who this man really is.
WOODRUFF: Is tonight's speech that important? I mean, people are going to be voting for the person at the top in November. Why is the vice president's speech -- why does it matter?
BRODER: I think it matters, Judy, because there is plenty of evidence that the American people only know one thing about Al Gore: namely, that he's been Bill Clinton's vice president. And his life is much more interesting and complex and, in many respects, attractive than that. And this week, they have to begin to tell that story to the American people.
WOODRUFF: What about Thursday night, David? How hard is Al Gore's job tomorrow night?
BRODER: He has a hard job, but so did George W. Bush going into his Thursday night. Governor Bush stepped up to it. I would be very surprised if the vice president doesn't step up to it. These men know that these are big, important occasions. And you will remember that most of us in New Orleans in 1998 that thought that then-vice president George Bush couldn't give a good speech. He gave a hell a speech and the election was different after that night.
WOODRUFF: David, I know you are talking to a lot of people at this convention. What is your sense from talking to delegates here. Are they hopeful about the fall? Are they anxious or what?
BRODER: There is a good deal of anxiety here. They read the same polls. But more than that, if you go talk to them state by state, as I have been doing the last two nights, they realize in many of the battleground states -- whether you're talking about Oregon or even the vice president's home state of Tennessee -- that they've got a lot of work left to do.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Broder, "Washington Post," thanks a lot. Great to have you with us.
And more INSIDE POLITICS in just a moment.
WOODRUFF: Joining us once again, our colleague, Jeff Greenfield -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Judy, it occurred to me in the last hour how there is a real irony about tonight. Tonight, the Democratic Party is paying tribute to the Vietnam veterans -- specifically, Bob Kerrey, Nebraska senator, Medal of Honor winner, who lost part of a leg in Vietnam -- Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, a multiple amputee because of Vietnam. This war also did a lot of damage to the Democratic Party. In two straight conventions, 1968 and 1972, essentially, the party was ripped apart by Vietnam.
And as late as 1992, we remember that Bill Clinton's draft status became a major issue in that campaign. And now comes the news that another Vietnam war hero, a Republican, Senator McCain is facing this medical problem. You know, it is in large measure because of McCain's years in that Vietnamese hellhole and the graciousness with which he made peace with Vietnam War foes that gave him such resonance.
And I was particularly struck in thinking back about what McCain said in Philadelphia, really just days before he learned this. Remember, he said it was an inescapable and bittersweet irony of life that the older we are, the more distant the horizons become. The years that remain are not too few, I trust, but immortality, that was the aspiration of my youth, has, like all treasures of youth, quietly slipped away. Those words have such a different ring tonight.
WOODRUFF: A different meaning.
WOODRUFF: And of course, we don't know then -- he was not officially diagnosed until the next day, and even now doesn't know how serious it is. But...
GREENFIELD: And the one thing I do know from an association with personal experience, the fact that he has been monitored regularly since 1993 is a very hopeful sign, as our medical correspondent said.
WOODRUFF: I think we all know -- and we heard the party chairs reflect this, Bernie, a little while ago when you talked to him -- no matter how spirited the competition is at these conventions, in these elections, when someone is sick, it takes precedence over everything else. The humanity takes precedence over the politics, always. And it should.
SHAW: Unquestionably. Unquestionably. And Jeff quoting Senator McCain, it reminds us all that life is very, very temporal.
WOODRUFF: All right. And...
SHAW: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: And I am Judy Woodruff.
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