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Morning News

Gore and Bush Campaigning to Get out the Votes

Aired October 30, 2000 - 9:33 a.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, as promised, eight days and counting now, the presidential race. A Monday morning look now at the political winners and losers from this past week.

Here's Bill Schneider with us live in Washington. Bill, good morning to you.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.

HEMMER: In the final push, let's start with each candidate. First, George W. Bush, eight days to go, he's headed West. What's his strategy?

SCHNEIDER: Well, obviously, he wants to try to drive out turnout of his own supporters. You know, this game is really not about undecided voters anymore. It is about turnout among your base, because the undecided voters are probably not going to vote at all. So he's looking for gun owners, Christian conservatives, suburban homeowners, the kinds of people who are most likely to vote Republican.

HEMMER: And for Al Gore, spending a lot of time in Wisconsin, then midweek it'll be in Florida. What's his strategy?

SCHNEIDER: Well, he's got a little bit more difficult problem, because he's facing a threat from Ralph Nader, which is not at all like the threat of Pat Buchanan, which, frankly, has never materialized. Nader is holding the balance of power in some key states. So Gore has to worry about not just competing for the center so that he can match those -- so the voters that are still undecided. He also is worried about competing with liberals, who may be tempted to vote for Ralph Nader.

HEMMER: You mentioned the name Nader. He gets your up arrow this week. Here's the winner. Tell us why.

SCHNEIDER: Ralph Nader is not going to win the election, but he holds the balance and power between Gore and Bush in a number of key battleground state, like Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Maine, and Michigan. Nader is forcing Gore to campaign heavily in those states where he stresses Naderite themes, like environmental protection and campaign finance reform.

And there are a lot of liberals who have been sent out to give the message that a vote for Nader in those states is really a vote for Bush.

Well, Nader's response -- quote -- "Their policy for the last six months has been to ignore me, so we welcome the enhanced attention."

HEMMER: Now for the losers, 34 seats up for grabs, 435 seats in the House. The loser this week goes to Congress. Tell us why.

SCHNEIDER: Well, it's the Republican Congress, because President Clinton has the Republican Congress over a barrel. He's forcing them to stay in Washington to keep the federal government from shutting down over another budget impasse. The president is threatening to veto a Republican tax bill that he claims does not provide enough funding for health care and education.

Now, congressional Republicans dare not risk another government shut down this close to election day. They are desperate to get home and campaign to protect their Republican majority in Congress.

But what's bad news for congressional Republicans may not be bad news for George W. Bush, because he's campaigning to end the bickering in Washington. Another budget battle in Washington could help Bush make his case.

HEMMER: How about the twist? This time, Jeanne Carnahan -- interesting issue in the state of Missouri.

SCHNEIDER: Well, what a turn of events we're seeing in Missouri. You may remember that the Democratic senate candidate, Governor Mel Carnahan, was killed two weeks ago in a plane crash, too late for his name to be taken off the ballot. Now, the conventional wisdom wrote that Senate seat off to the Democrats. How can a dead man defeat the incumbent, Republican Senator John Ashcroft?

But those oh-so-clever Democrats have figured a way to keep the campaign going. Missouri's new governor, who's also a Democrat, says if voters elect really, Carnahan's ghost, he will appoint Carnahan's widow to fill the Senate seat. And Jeanne Carnahan says she'll announce, probably today, whether she will accept that appointment. Experts wonder if it's illegal, or legal, to elect a dead. Women's rights advocates wonder if it's appropriate for a widow to allow herself to be used in that way.

The press is wondering how to cover a race with a grieving widow, who may be a real candidate. And Senator Ashcroft is wondering how to run against a dead man.

Before Governor Carnahan died, the polls indicated this was going to be a very tight race. Now that he's dead, Carnahan seems to be gaining an edge. So Democrats believe this campaign is still on.

HEMMER: We shall see, eight days and counting -- Bill Schneider. Thanks, Bill.

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