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Bush Attacks Gore's Conservation Record; Gore Touts His Education ProposalsAired September 13, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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GOV. GEORGE BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For eight years, this administration has talked of environmentalism while our national parks are crumbling.
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JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush gets out into the environment as he tries to get out from clouds over his campaign.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: On another school day for Al Gore, he officially moves to the head of the class in our new poll. Plus...
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JACK VALENTI, CHAIRMAN, MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION: Realistically -- I've been in politics all my life -- I know that when you trash the entertainment business your poll numbers go up.
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WOODRUFF: Hollywood leaders are on the spot in the Senate for marketing violent material to kids.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.
SHAW: Thank you for joining us.
On this day after George W. Bush was distracted by "RATS," he focused on "fish." As CNN's Jonathan Karl explains, Bush tried to get back on-message this day by challenging Al Gore on environmental issues in a state where those issues are of particular interest to many voters.
BUSH: We don't have a lot of salmon in Texas, but I understand how Texans think about our land.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Touring a privately protected habitat for Washington state's prized salmon, George W. Bush took on Vice President Gore's signature issue by accusing him of neglecting the national parks.
BUSH: For eight years, this administration has talked of environmentalism while our national parks are crumbling.
KARL: Recalling the legacy of Republican President Teddy Roosevelt, the founder of the national park system, Bush called conservation the tradition of the Republican Party and promised to spend an additional $3.75 billion on maintaining national parks over the next five years.
BUSH: I want our land to be as pristine as it possibly can be. See for me and others nature offers a place to relax and a place to think.
KARL: Bush made his announcement in Washington state and waded directly into a divisive local issue: whether to remove dams on the Snake River. Some environmentalists say the dams must be breached to save the salmon population, a move potentially damaging to the local economy.
BUSH: Here's what I believe: We do not need to breach the dams to save the salmon, and should I become the president, we won't.
These dams are vital to jobs and agriculture in the Pacific Northwest, and at a time of increasing dependence on foreign oil and rising concern about the quality of our air, the dams are a clean source of hydroelectricity.
KARL: Vice President Gore has called for further study of the issue.
BUSH: My opponent has refused to take a position on the issue of salmon and the dams. He's refused to say whether he would breach the dams or not. Before the good people of this state vote, I think you deserve an answer.
KARL: The Gore campaign accused Bush of playing politics, saying Gore has offered a more sensible approach: convening a summit to come up with a plan to protect both the salmon and the local economy. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has launched a new ad that criticizes Vice President Gore's prescription drug plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RNC AD)
NARRATOR: His prescription drug plan forces seniors into one HMO, selected by the federal government.
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KARL: Using the same visual technique as the controversial "RATS" ad, this one, which was created before the controversy, has the letters "RAL" appear in a single frame, not to send a message of subliminal gibberish, the RNC says, but because those happen to be the last letters of the word "federal." This the RNC calls proof "RATS" appeared in the previous ad inadvertently as the last letters in the word "bureaucrats."
KARL (on camera): From here, Bush goes to California, his first trip there in over a month. He insists it shows he will fight for the state even as Al Gore seems to be the clear favorite. But neither the Bush campaign nor the Republican National Committee has started spending any significant money in California on political advertising.
Jonathan Karl, CNN, Monroe, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Bush's opponent was on the opposite end of the country today. Vice President Gore spent much of his day at a high school in Maine. Our Candy Crowley was there, too, and she says she learned a thing or two about the pace and the style of Gore's campaign.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And now, class, today's question...
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To which vice president did Elvis Presley direct his letter about patriotism?
CROWLEY: Al Gore is a busy man, looking for answers and votes inside the classroom by day...
... fueling party campaign coffers beneath the klieg lights at night.
Entertainers poured it on and the audience poured it out for Gore Tuesday evening in Camden, New Jersey. With a total of three Hollywood headliner benefits this week. the Democratic nominee is expected to bring an additional $7 million to the DNC.
GORE: How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mr. Vice President...
GORE: Thank you. How do you do?
CROWLEY: Now about his day job, both presidential candidates have made classroom the venue of choice this election year, and Gore goes at it with a vengeance.
GORE: I think we ought to have universal preschool. I think we ought to have more child care and after-school care. We have to have more teachers. We have to treat them like the professionals they are. We have to reduce class size. We have to modernize the schools, new construction, federal help, more help with special ed, more teachers, better training and professional development -- and all of these things, and there's more. CROWLEY: Gore moves from classroom to cafeteria to the schoolyard, talking to guidance counselors and nurses, kids and parents, teachers and administrators, talking about all of these things and more.
GORE: Well, I've proposed that we try to establish a national expectation that on the first day of school, or one of the first days, and on the first week that all parents have to show up and be ready for them with a written agreement of what standard of discipline is going to be acceptable.
CROWLEY: Republicans say Gore infuses the classroom with too much federal bureaucracy and can't pay for what he promises. But this wasn't math class today; it was history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it's President Nixon. Is that what it is?
CROWLEY: At the end of the day and the night, what you have is a man who is part teacher, part listener, and all politician.
GORE: Let's win together. Thank you!
CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Lewiston, Maine.
SHAW: Gore now has an eight-point lead over Bush in our CNN/"USA Today/Gallup tracking poll of likely voters. The vice president has gained ground in the week since we began daily surveys. He now has 49 percent to Bush's 41 percent based on polling done over the last three days.
Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is here.
Bill, what can we say, what more can we say about this race based on a week of tracking polls?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Something important, something we've never been able to say before: Al Gore is in the lead outside the margin of error for the first time all year.
Now it's not a huge lead. Put together every interview we've done since the middle of last week and Gore's ahead by just six points. But given the large number of people we've interviewed over the week, we can say with confidence that Gore is now the front- runner.
You know, a month ago, George W. Bush was ahead by 17 points. This race has completely turned around in one month.
SHAW: But where did Gore's gains come from?
SCHNEIDER: Bernie, among all voters together he gained 11 points, but he's really made big gains in two constituencies. He gained 21 points among low-income voters. Now, that's populism: the people versus the powerful. I'll fight for you. He's gained 17 points among women: That's twice as big as his gains among men.
Why women? The safety net. He's promised secure the safety net for Medicare and Social Security, and not to put the safety net at risk on a big tax cut. Women are very responsive to safety net concerns.
SHAW: Think back to Los Angeles for a moment. What did Gore accomplish at the Democratic convention?
SCHNEIDER: Really, Bernie, two things. First of all, he secured his Democratic base. Now, Democrats are now as solidly behind Gore as Republicans are behind Bush. That's what conventions are for: solidifying your base. That is necessary, but it's not sufficient.
Gore made even bigger gains with independents, 17 points. Now, they're swing voters, and they've swung toward Gore, who now leads among independents.
SHAW: What can Governor Bush do to get back the swing voters?
SCHNEIDER: Well, nearly a quarter of the voters, 23 percent, are what we call swing voters, people who say they could still change their minds. Swing voters like both Bush and Gore: They believe that either Bush or Gore would lead the country in the right direction.
When asked, "Which matters most to them, the candidates' positions on issues or their leadership skills?" most swing voters say issues. Issues matter more to them than they do to voters who are firmly committed to one candidate.
What issues? Taxes, education, defense? Those issues haven't done it for Bush. Got any other issues, governor? Salmon?
SHAW: Bill Schneider, thank you -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Salmon, indeed. All right.
Well, echoes of the 1980s "Debategate" controversy today in Washington. According to the Gore campaign, a former congressman who had been helping the vice president prepare for the upcoming debates said that he received a package this morning containing a video and papers that appear to relate to George W. Bush's debate preparations.
Gore spokesman, Mark Fabiani, said the former congressman, Tom Downey, turned the package over to his lawyer as soon as he realized what it contained. The lawyer said it would be turned over to the FBI. Downey has decided to stop helping Gore with his debate preparations in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
Seventeen years ago, top aides to Ronald Reagan acknowledged that they got hold of Jimmy Carter's debate preparations before the 1980 face-off. The Reagan campaign used it.
Over on Capitol Hill today, the political heat was on the entertainment industry for marketing violent material to children. Vice presidential candidate, Joe Lieberman, and his opponent's wife Lynne Cheney took part in the hearing, underscoring its possible election-year implications.
More now from our congressional correspondent, Chris Black.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The graphic violence in the lyrics of rap artist Eminem can even make grownups wince. His lyrics were highlighted as Congress grilled the entertainment industry on why some violent material is aimed at children as young as 12.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), CHAIRMAN, COMMERCE COMMITTEE: Defending these market practices does not defend art or free expression, it defends the bottom line of your corporations.
BLACK: The Senate Commerce Committee is putting industry executives on the defense. The movie studios' spokesman admitted the industry makes mistakes.
JACK VALENTI, PRESIDENT, MOTION PICTURE ASSOCIATION: It appears from the report that some marketing people stepped over the line, where reasonable becomes unacceptable. And I'm talking specifically about 10- and 12-year-old in a focus group. That is wrong.
BLACK: Valenti said he will meet with studio heads and come up with ways to change marketing practices. The committee is looking for an industry response to a Federal Trade Commission report that found violent movies, music and videogames marketed to children through advertising and even toys.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here is the cross-marketed toy.
BLACK: The impact of violence on children is a top concern of women, a critical swing constituency in this election. Fresh from the campaign trail, Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman said the Gore-Lieberman ticket will seek new powers for the government to regulate marketing if the industry does not clean up its act.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What we're asking for today, again, is not censorship, but simply better citizenship.
BLACK: His rival Dick Cheney's wife Lynne, a conservative activist, opposed the Democratic approach. She also challenged the Democratic ticket to put its money where its mouth is on the eve of a Democratic fund-raiser co-sponsored by movie executive, Harvey Weinstein.
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF DICK CHENEY: Shouldn't people of stature go to Harvey Weinstein, who is the co-chairman of Miramax, for example, and ask him to pledge in the future he will not fund works that debase our culture and corrode our children's souls? BLACK: Weinstein and other studio executives did not attend the hearing, infuriating the committee chairman, who now wants 13 movie executives to come to Washington in two weeks for a second hearing.
MCCAIN: This is a sad commentary on corporate responsibility and an affront to American families whose children are so clearly in the crosshairs of hundreds of millions of dollars in movie violence advertising.
BLACK: With few exceptions, most lawmakers strongly oppose any restrictions on the entertainment industry, because it would be at odds with the First Amendment. But lawmakers do want the public to know that Congress is on the case. And they hope to put pressure on the industry to regulate itself -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, Chris Black, on the Hill.
And still to come here on INSIDE POLITICS: With Lynne Cheney testifying on Capitol Hill, her husband, the vice presidential candidate, is on the stump in the battleground states.
Pat Neal takes a look at Dick Cheney's campaign style -- just ahead.
WOODRUFF: With 55 days before the election, Dick Cheney campaigned in the battleground state of Michigan, touting his and running mate George W. Bush's plans for Medicare reform. He also took time to visit with former president Gerald Ford, whom Cheney served as chief of staff in the mid-1970s.
As CNN's Pat Neal reports, Cheney's straight-talking style is a hit among some voters.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAT NEAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the clock ticking and the GOP ticket struggling, the battleground state of Pennsylvania is a frequent stop for vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney.
GOV. TOM RIDGE (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I just want to kind of lay the groundwork...
NEAL: At his side, the state's popular governor, Tom Ridge. Many Republicans say, if George W. Bush had picked Ridge as his running mate, this state would be in the bag. Instead, polls show the Bush-Cheney ticket running behind in Pennsylvania. So, on this day, Cheney is courting elderly voters, a large critical block of the state's electorate.
He tries a one-two punch, touting the Bush Medicare plan that provides choices for seniors, while slamming Gore's credibility. DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And frankly, I think -- trying to say this in a statesman-like fashion -- but they have seriously misrepresented what is in fact in the program.
NEAL: Cheney then hammered at Gore's tax cut proposal, saying it was too tightly targeted to give most voters a break.
D. CHENEY: You know, you only get tax relief under his proposal if you've got a solar panel on your roof and you drive a battery- powered automobile.
NEAL: Unlike Bush's huge, $1.3 trillion across-the-board tax cut, Gore's plan would give breaks for child care, long-term health care, education and savings for the middle class. On the tarmac in Pittsburgh, Cheney introduced the Carrolls (ph), one of the so-called "tax families" the Bush-Cheney campaign says would benefit from their tax cut.
Cheney said the Carrolls would owe nothing to the IRS under Bush's plan, but would get no relief under Gore.
D. CHENEY: If you look at what the Gore proposal would do with respect to the Carrolls, the answer is zero.
NEAL: However, Gore officials say the Carrolls could receive up to a $550 tax break under Gore's retirement savings plan. The man who Republicans hoped would bring experience and stature to the ticket appears to be evolving as a campaigner, walking out from behind the podium to interact with the audience. Still, Cheney doesn't seem at ease on the stump, and often appeared to read from notes.
D. CHENEY: We'll provide total coverage. They'll be no premium and no cost for subscription -- for coverage.
Thanks for being here.
NEAL: He spends little time on small talk or shaking hands. But his straight, no-frills style does appeal to many voters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's real down-to-earth. And he's not a professional politician.
D. CHENEY: You must have an incredible family reunion.
NEAL: Though Cheney doesn't exude the personal warmth of Ridge, the governor says he doesn't need to.
RIDGE: And we're not looking for the chairman and vice chairman of the debate or the speech club. We're looking for individuals who have been grounded in experience.
NEAL (on camera): Cheney may not be the most natural politician, but the Bush campaign is confident his great resume and plane-spoken style will prove to be an asset.
Pat Neal, CNN, Pittsburgh. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SHAW: Another victory for Ralph Nader in his long-running battle with corporate America: this time in a fight over a Nader campaign ad that the credit card giant, MasterCard, was trying to ban.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NADER CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: Grilled tenderloin for fund-raiser, $1,000 a plate, campaign ads filled with half-truths: $10 million. Promises to special interest groups: over $10 billion. Finding out the truth: priceless.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: MasterCard said that parody of its famous ad campaign was causing the company -- quote -- "irreparable harm," and asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order against it. But yesterday, the judge refused, reportedly saying MasterCard's arguments were weak. The Nader campaign can now air the ad again.
But with the spot getting all kinds of free exposure because of the lawsuit, the campaign has no immediate plans to do so. Despite the setback, MasterCard says it will pursue the lawsuit.
And there's much more ahead here on INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Up next, we will set the stage for tonight's Clinton- versus-Lazio debate in the New York Senate race.
SHAW: Also in New York: After bailing out of the Republican Party, Democratic Congressman Michael Forbes suffers a primary embarrassment.
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JAMES PERKINS, SELMA, ALABAMA MAYOR-ELECT: Selma, it is time now for us to put our Civil War and civil rights history in the museum.
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WOODRUFF: Selma, Alabama celebrates the election of its first black mayor. It is part of our wrap-up of results from voting around the nation.
WOODRUFF: We will have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
Former Los Alamos nuclear scientist, Wen Ho Lee, is a free man.
As CNN's Tony Clark tells us, Lee made a deal with prosecutors in exchange for his freedom. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A smiling Wen Ho Lee emerged from the federal courthouse accompanied by his lawyers and his family, a free man for the first time in nine months.
WEN HO LEE, FORMER NUCLEAR SCIENTIST, LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY: I'm very happy to go home with my wife and my children today. And I want to say thank you to all the people who support me. I really appreciate very, very much. And the next few day, I'm going to fishing!
CLARK: In a plea agreement with prosecutors, Lee admitted to one count of the 59-count indictment of mishandling government data, nuclear weapons data. He said that he knew he was unauthorized to take the material from a secure area to a non-secure computer tape, and promised to work with authorities over the next few weeks, discussing why he took the material and what he did with it.
In exchange, he was sentenced to 278 days of confinement. He has already served 279, so he was freed after the hearing. In a scathing attack on the prosecution, Judge James Parker said that top Department of Energy and Department of Justice officials have embarrassed both him and the nation by the way they have handled this case.
He said that Lee was held in draconian conditions that he should not have been. And he apologized to Lee and his family for what he has gone through over the past nine months.
GEORGE STAMBOULIDIS, PROSECUTOR: When you steal our nuclear secrets, we are not going to let you communicate with anyone. And no American should expect that we would. And until you come forward and account for those -- that which you took and had no right and did unlawfully, as you admitted today -- and are remorseful -- until you account for those, how can we let you communicate with others about those?
CLARK (on camera): He praised defense attorneys saying that they had turned a battleship around with their defense of Lee. As for prosecutors, they said justice was done today and they had no apologies to offer Lee or anyone else.
Tony Clark, CNN, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
SHAW: On Capitol Hill, the House tried and failed to override President Clinton's veto of the marriage penalty relief bill. Today's margin fell 16 votes short of the required two-thirds majority. Congressional Republicans say the cut would have provided $1,400 to middle-income families. Mr. Clinton says the bill benefited wealthier couples.
WOODRUFF: Insurance researchers say the BMW sport utility vehicle is the cheapest to repair after a low-speed crash. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found the new BMW X-5 is the only SUV with acceptable results in a five-mile-an-hour crash-test. But even the high-priced BMW did not fare well in corner crunches. The worst performer: the Isuzu Trooper.
SHAW: There's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: When we return, Frank Buckley previews tonight's debate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio. And joining us, Clinton's campaign manager, Bill DeBlasio, and Lazio's campaign chairman, Congressman Thomas Reynolds.
WOODRUFF: Less than two hours from now, in Buffalo, New York, Senate candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rick Lazio are scheduled to debate for the first time.
As CNN's Frank Buckley reports, the face-off comes a day after Mrs. Clinton officially won her party's nomination.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First Lady Hillary Clinton emerged from her first election as a candidate a winner, handily beating a virtually unknown political neophyte in a primary election.
MARK MCMAHON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATE: Vote for Mark McMahon, running for the Senate.
BUCKLEY: Mark McMahon, a New York city physician, who hoped to tap the protest vote against Hillary Clinton. instead rode off into the political sunset.
Just in time for Mrs. Clinton's first-ever debate as a candidate, this evening against Republican congressman Rick Lazio. The Clinton campaign's Howard Wolfson asked questions of Mrs. Clinton as a moderator would in at least one practice session with the first lady. Beyond that, the campaign is not saying just how candidate Clinton is preparing.
HOWARD WOLFSON, CLINTON CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: We're hoping that we'll get a good debate on the issues. We want New Yorkers to see the real issue differences in this race. We'd like for New Yorkers to see the real Hillary and, obviously, we're looking forward to it.
BUCKLEY: Rick Lazio's preparation was not debate-style role playing, according to campaign manager Bill Dal Col.
BILL DAL COL, LAZIO CAMPAIGN MANAGER: We did it more as a rapid- fire type response situation. How would he respond to different types of questions different ways? He's worked at it intensively, seven to eight hours a day, quite a few days, to get up to speed with some of the tactics that may be employed by the Clintons.
BUCKLEY: The Clinton campaign has aggressively criticized Rick Lazio, attempting to define the congressman as a political wind- tester, whose mainstream rhetoric doesn't match a more conservative record.
Lazio's campaign has returned fire with ads.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Hillary Clinton, you just can't trust her.
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BUCKLEY: Attempting to focus the race on Mrs. Clinton's trustworthiness, which polls indicate is a weak spot for the first lady.
While the two candidates have crossed paths during the New York campaign, this evening's debate will be their first face-to-face clash, and some see the meeting as an opportunity for Lazio to help define himself to New York voters.
LEE MIRINGOFF, MARIST INSTITUTE OF PUBLIC OPINION: Most people don't really know him. That's why the debates are so important for Rick Lazio. Everything he does is magnified tenfold because people really don't know him yet.
They know him through some ads, both for and against, they know him in his home district in Long Island. They know him as the person running against Hillary Clinton, but they don't know what Rick Lazio is all about.
BUCKLEY (on camera): Lazio hopes to change that this evening, during the televised debate, presenting a positive impression of himself to voters.
Mrs. Clinton, intent on blocking his way. One poll showing nearly 80 percent of New York's likely voters will be watching every move.
Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.
SHAW: And we're joined now by Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, Bill DeBlasio, and I should tell you, our viewers, and Mr. DeBlasio that we had hoped to have congressman Thomas Reynolds, the campaign chairman for Rick Lazio; I said hi to him during commercial break, but we've lost our satellite connection in Buffalo, New York. We hope to get hem him back, of course.
First of all, how much has President Clinton helped his wife prepare for this debate tonight?
BILL DEBLASIO, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, he's given some very good advice, but the basis of the preparation has been Hillary studying the issues -- as you know, Bernie, she's a great student of the issues, she deeply cares about policy and she's, you know, spent the time getting ready to talk about the issues that concern New Yorkers; most principally: education, health care and the economy.
And particularly the upstate economy, which, as you know, the debate being based in Buffalo, that's going to be a great concern for a lot of people in the audience.
SHAW: Also in Buffalo, the campaign chairman for Rick Lazio, Representative Thomas Reynolds, thanks for coming back. We've got our technical problems squared away.
In one hour, congressman, how does Rick Lazio get New York voters to know him better?
REP. THOMAS REYNOLDS (R-NY) RICK LAZIO CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, first of all, Rick Lazio has a record. What he needs to do is be himself. There's nobody that knows the issues any better than Rick Lazio, whether it's about his record or his vision for New York. And I think he's going to be just fine as he just goes out there and talks about a record, about the issues and about his vision for New York.
And I'm from Buffalo, and I know Rick Lazio is connecting with the voters right here in Buffalo, let alone across the state. His challenges are no different than what Chuck Schumer's or George Pataki's were when they were first candidates statewide in New York.
SHAW: What does he...
DEBLASIO: Bernie, I actually think the problem for Rick Lazio tonight is going to be figuring out about how to be himself, because if you look at his voting record, it's so inconsistent over the years. It was very different when he was Newt Gingrich's deputy whip than it became later on, and he's going to have a hell of a time tonight trying to figure out what voting record to talk about and how to give a picture to New Yorkers that...
REYNOLDS: One thing about it, Bill, we know that tonight he's going to have to speak on the issues, versus your candidate, who will say anything to attract a vote to any audience that she comes across.
So, we have a real New Yorker tonight, going to talk about New York issues, and he knows New York issues, and I'm ready for this debate, I think Rick will be just fine talking about his record, talking about the vision of New York.
SHAW: Is the tone between the two of you the tone we can expect tonight on the debate stage?
DEBLASIO: Bernie, I think what Hillary wants to do tonight is get to the issues, talk about the real proposals that will help improve life in New York state. She's got a very detailed plan for the upstate economy.
Meanwhile, Rick Lazio seems to not understand that there's a real economic problem we're facing up there, and we really need more jobs. He seems to seems to sweep that problem under the rug.
She's going to talk about 100,000 new teachers nationally, she's going to talk about a real, enforceable, patient bill of rights. Rick Lazio's going to have a hard time talking about those issues because his vote record doesn't show a consistent pattern on those issues.
SHAW: Tom Reynolds.
REYNOLDS: His record's just fine. He's got a mainstream voting record for New York, he's going to be just fine talking about that record of the last eight years, what his vision for New York is.
And let's face it, Hillary Clinton is a national figure. She's been coached by one of the best, her very own husband, but also all the resources of the White House, both in prep and briefing; and I expect her to come out with quite a show.
Rick Lazio just needs to talk about his record, what his vision for New York is.
SHAW: Gentlemen I want to ask you a very simple question. Direct answers, please.
First, Mr. Reynolds, what does your candidate have to do to pull over those very crucial swing voters?
REYNOLDS: Well, I think, first of all, Hillary Clinton has had 18 months to try to attract voters to get over 50 -- it is clear she hasn't.
In the Lazio campaign in the last 90 days we have a neck-and- neck, within the margin of error, race. I think he just needs to be himself. People like him, they want to support him, and he just needs to convey that to New York's audience tonight.
SHAW: Bill DeBlasio.
DEBLASIO: Bernie, on your question, the most recent polls have shown Hillary at 48-49 percent, I think the context of his information is a little low...
REYNOLDS: No, it depends on what poll you're looking at, Bill, you know better than that -- for margin of error.
DEBLASIO: ... But let me say, Bernie, the key point here is...
REYNOLDS: You know better than that.
BEBLASIO: ... what Senator Schumer told us: issues, issues, issues. Hillary wants to come out tonight, define where she stands on the issues, show the real contrast with Rick Lazio. That's going to move more and more New Yorkers towards her.
REYNOLDS: I doubt it. She's had 18 months, she hasn't been able to move those undecideds yet. I think she'll have a tough time tonight.
SHAW: Last quick question.
DEBLASIO: ... yes, Bernie.
SHAW: The last quick question...
DEBLASIO: The point is, as New Yorkers have gotten to know the inconsistency in Rick Lazio's record, that's why his negatives have gone up, that's why the polls are favoring us now.
SHAW: Tom Reynolds...
REYNOLDS: The only thing that's been negative is the negative campaign that's been run by the Clinton campaign on distorting his voting record.
SHAW: I am determined to ask this last question.
REYNOLDS: OK, Bernie.
Tom Reynolds, what has your man done to prepare for this debate tonight?
REYNOLDS: Well, I think that we heard in the opener with Bill DePaul (ph), he has done a lot of issue discussions, quick answer responses; and Lazio is a very astute legislator, all he needs to do is be able to talk about his record and his vision and get prepped up a little bit on this debate format, which is specific to tonight's debate that was actually agreed upon by the Clinton and Lazio campaign.
SHAW: Congressman Thomas Reynolds for Rick Lazio, and Bill DeBlasio for Hillary Clinton, thank you, we'll be watching.
DEBLASIO: Thank you.
SHAW: You're quite welcome -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Nothing dull about that campaign.
And another New York race is getting added attention today. Congressman Michael Forbes' reelection bid is in peril after the former Republican's showing in yesterday's Democratic primary.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports on the results and the recount that's in the works.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The backing of Washington Democrats did not give incumbent Mike Forbes the votes he needed. The Republican turned Democrat falling 39 votes short in unofficial returns.
REP. MIKE FORBES (D), NEW YORK: The results of last night were clearly a surprise, but if you step back, it's almost a classic textbook primer on Democratic primaries. The national Republicans, with venom in their veins, clearly wanted to make an example of me, and they did a good job.
REGINA SELTZER (D-NY), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: If we put a cap on the amount of spending...
FEYERICK: Forbes' challenger, Regina Seltzer, a 71-year-old grandmother and environmental lawyer. She declared victory, criticizing Washington Democrats for backing Forbes.
SELTZER: They felt that he would have a very, very good chance against Grucci. That was a totally mistaken view, and it was based on the fact that they're in Washington, D.C. and don't know the constituents of this district.
FEYERICK: For that matter, they don't know Regina Seltzer either.
(on camera): When Seltzer first entered the race, her own party wrote her off, instead backing Forbes by running television ads. Seltzer sued the state Democrats, saying the ads gave Forbes an unfair advantage before the primary. A judge agreed and the ads were pulled.
(voice-over): "Newsday" political writer Rick Brand says Forbes made a tactical mistake, running a campaign focused on November's Republican candidate, Felix Grucci.
RICK BRAND, "NEWSDAY": For most of the campaign, they've been doing television ads aimed for the general election. Only in the last week did I start hearing talk that there were telephone calls and lobbying grassroots Democrats to turn out to vote.
FEYERICK: At the Suffolk County Board of Elections, workers were preparing for a recount. Only 12 1/2 percent of eligible Democrats voted, less than 12,000 going to the polls. Several hundred absentee ballots have yet to be counted.
NEIL TIGER, BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SUFFOLK COUNTY: We have had elections where there was a greater margin on the unofficial tally, and when they were officially tallied, the results were reversed.
FEYERICK: Forbes has raised $1.2 million. Regina Seltzer, just $40,000. So what are her chances in the largely Republican district?
BRAND: You have a fresh face, a senior citizen face, a savvy woman. And if she can raise the money, she may be a contender.
FEYERICK: Results of the recount will be announced sometime next week.
Deborah Feyerick, CNN, on Long Island.
SHAW: And up next on INSIDE POLITICS, the winner in Selma, Alabama. We will bring you the results of that hard-fought mayoral election, and a look at the outcome in some other state primary battles.
WOODRUFF: From a tough runoff election in Alabama to primaries in other parts of the country, this is a day of celebrations for some and soul searching for others. Voters went to the polls yesterday with their eyes on the past as well as on the November election.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Dancing in the streets of Selma, Alabama, where voters elected businessman James Perkins as the city's first African-American mayor.
MAYOR-ELECT JAMES PERKINS, SELMA, ALABAMA: Selma, it is time now for us to put our Civil War and civil rights history in the museum!
WOODRUFF: Perkins handily defeated Mayor Joe Smitherman, a reformed segregationist who has been mayor of this now majority black city since 1964.
MAYOR JOE SMITHERMAN, SELMA, ALABAMA: I guess it's a historical event that you've got the first black elected mayor in the city of Selma's history, which is 180 years old. I think he's a very fine man.
WOODRUFF: Smitherman was first elected a year before the famous Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights march, where police clubbed civil rights workers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
In Vermont, state auditor Ed Flanagan has won the Democratic U.S. Senate primary to become the first-ever openly gay major party Senate candidate. Flanagan narrowly beat State Senator Jan Backus. But Backus has not yet conceded, saying she wants to review the results. The winner takes on Republican Senator James Jeffords in the fall.
Primary day also revealed deep divisions on Vermont's same-sex marriage law. Five Republican state legislators who voted for the law were ousted.
In Minnesota, department store heir Mark Dayton won the Democratic Senate primary and the chance to go up against Republican Senator Rod Grams, who is considered vulnerable in the fall. Dayton finished 19 points ahead in a crowded Democratic field, but it cost him. He spent $5.2 million on the primary, most of it his own money.
And in Rhode Island, two-term Congressman Robert Weygand survived a tough Democratic Senate primary fight with former Lieutenant Governor Richard Licht. Weygand now faces Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee, appointed last year to succeed his late father.
SHAW: When we return, vote-rich Florida no longer a safe bet for George W. Bush. We will have results from a new poll, and Judy will talk with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson.
SHAW: Al Gore has surged to within two points of George W. Bush in the battleground state of Florida, where Bush's brother Jeb serves as governor. In the latest Mason-Dixon poll of likely voters, Bush received 45 percent, Gore 43 percent. In June, Bush led Gore 47 percent to 39 percent.
The poll showed Gore made most of his gains among women voters and Democrats.
WOODRUFF: Joining us now: Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard."
Tucker, Margaret, the poll in Florida: Gore is just two points behind. The CNN poll we showed earlier: Gore is eight points ahead nationally.
Is something real happening here, Margaret?
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": Well, perhaps, that Elian pander worked for Gore after all, the one that we criticize so much. I -- it may be the Lieberman factor. He has been down there a few times. He's -- there is a very big Jewish vote. He appeals to seniors. And that could be -- be the thing that just pushes Gore ahead.
TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, I mean -- and also, I think -- I do think the effect of having your brother as governor is overstated. I mean, you remember the -- you know, the Engler firewall in Michigan that was going to prevent from Bush from losing the primary. Of course, it didn't.
I don't think it's that surprising. Gore has been putting out a message that is tailored to elderly voters. And there is a sizable percentage of Florida voters who are elderly. It's no surprise he is doing well.
WOODRUFF: Florida, nationally -- Pennsylvania, Gore is doing better. We got name a few other states -- Missouri.
Is this because Gore is doing some things right, Margaret? Is Bush doing some things wrong? What is happening?
M. CARLSON: Well, ever since the convention, Gore seems to be -- he is the kind of person who does well when things are going well. Not surprisingly, we all do better when -- you know, when you are smiling back at me, Judy, I tend to do a -- be a little bit more sensible.
And Bush has had a couple of rough spots. And he really does not react well under pressure, in part because we forget -- you know, he is governor of Texas, but it's his first national campaign. Gore has been through this before. He seems to be better at riding the speed bumps.
T. CARLSON: I think -- I mean, I think at this point, a campaign has got to, you know, be putting little marks in boxes on the calender. Everyday, you either win or lose if you're running a presidential campaign. And I think Bush has essentially lost every day for the last two weeks. I think the surprise is that -- that Gore is not doing better against him.
I mean, Bush really, really has not done well -- and then the whole all of the "subliminable" ad was abominable. I mean, that's "undoutableble."
M. CARLSON: I picture, actually, Bush, like a prisoner crossing off the days, because if the campaign is ended a few weeks, he would have won.
WOODRUFF: Do we -- speaking of subliminal -- do we smell a rat, Margaret?
M. CARLSON: Oh, Judy. You are better than that.
WOODRUFF: Sorry. Sorry.
M. CARLSON: I know.
Well, this is another example of Bush not being ready to handle the inevitable -- and I think I said that properly.
T. CARLSON: Ba-ble.
M. CARLSON: ... things that come along in a campaign. One of the reasons they don't campaign in studios is that you learn something about them as they go out day by day and are battered by events. And this is a battering event. And he hasn't -- I don't -- not one word that has come out of his mouth has been good as far as this is concerned: from saying on "Good Morning America," he didn't even know it had happened, when most people had known for about 18 hours.
T. CARLSON: Yeah. I must say, I thought it was a big story yesterday. But really, looking back on it, it is hard to see how it qualifies as a huge news event. I mean, first of all, I think only one voter even noticed it. So it's knot like, you know, you can produce thousands of voters who were brainwashed by this deeply clever ad. I mean, there's want...
M. CARLSON: But it's not that it's not effective. It's that it happened.
T. CARLSON: And it's going to keep happening.
WOODRUFF: That somebody -- that it was there.
M. CARLSON: That it was there. It, you know...
WOODRUFF: If you buy the...
M. CARLSON: A gremlin didn't put it there.
WOODRUFF: And do you buy the explanation -- without beating a dead horse -- do you buy the explanation that it was an accident?
T. CARLSON: Of course not, no.
M. CARLSON: No.
M. CARLSON: What do you take us for, Judy?
WOODRUFF: Hillary Rodham Clinton debates Rick Lazio in a little over an hour from now.
What are we looking for in this encounter, Margaret?
M. CARLSON: He has to show he is a grownup and can handle the job. Like Bush, he's untested. She has to -- one of the things we know about Hillary is she is very smart. And she has to show she is human. There is an element of Hillary that comes across as a robot: the idea that you would go through what she went through in the White House and your reaction would be: Oh, let me go to New York, a state I have only visited as a tourist and run for the Senate, is -- doesn't ring true to people.
That is not what most people would do following your husband almost being thrown out of office and your marriage being exposed worldwide publicity.
T. CARLSON: See, but I don't think they are going to hit her on that. I don't think they are going to hit her as a robot. I think they are going to hit her as someone who is deceitful and not what she seems to be. Lazio has a new ad today that says, among other things, you know: Lazio sends his children to public school, and makes sort of the point in a subtle that a: She's in the pocket of teacher's unions, and b: You know, why is she running for the Senate in New York?
They think that's a successful message. Her message is -- and has been for some time -- he is just Newt Gingrich with a better hair cut.
T. CARLSON: I don't think that that is...
M. CARLSON: That is not working.
WOODRUFF: But you are saying the carpet-bagger thing is def -- is still very much an issue. T. CARLSON: Well, it is what they have and that because -- you know, that is just evidence of her phoniness and that she has another agenda. They have implied a couple times that she wants to run for president. It seems a bit unlikely, but, maybe...
M. CARLSON: Hey, who would have thought that she wanted to run for Senate from New York? I think it's plausible.
WOODRUFF: We'll have to leave it there: Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, thank you both.
M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.
But, of course, you can go online all the time at cnn's allpolitics.com.
And we'll see you again tomorrow when Al Gore will be on the campaign trail in New Hampshire and New York. And George W. Bush will be in California.
SHAW: And this programming note: The controversy over the Republican "rats" TV ad will be the topic tonight on "CROSSFIRE," with guests Bush adviser Ralph Reed and Democratic strategist Vic Kamber. That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
I'm Bernard Shaw.
WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff.
"WORLDVIEW" is coming up next.
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