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Larry King Live
Presidential Race Too Close to Call Final Night of Campaign 2000Aired November 6, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, election eve, and the 2000 presidential race is still too close to call.
Joining us, a prime political panel. In St. Paul, Minnesota's one-of-a-kind governor, Jesse Ventura. Here in Washington, Congressman John Kasich, Republican of Ohio, who's leaving Congress after nine terms. In New York, the former three-time Democratic governor of the Empire State, Mario Cuomo. Back in D.C., Republican Alan Simpson, former senator from Wyoming, one of the it wittiest men ever to serve on Capitol Hill. Plus, Democrat John Glenn, former senator from Ohio, two-time man in space.
They're all next on LARRY KING LIVE.
We have an outstanding panel. We'll be including phone calls. We'll begin with Governor Jesse Ventura in St. Paul, Minnesota. His new book, by the way, is "Do I Stand Alone: Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals" is a terrific read, no matter what side of the political fence you're on.
Governor Ventura, what's going to happen in Minnesota tomorrow?
GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: Well, Larry, that's one thing great about the state of Minnesota. You never know what's going to happen in Minnesota, because bear this in mind: Two years ago, when I ran for governor, there wasn't one poll in Minnesota that had me winning. And, lo and behold, I did win.
So -- and also, if you look at Minnesota, we've elected to the Senate Rod Grams, who -- Senator Grams, who's as far right as you can possibly get, and Senator Wellstone, who's as far left as you can possibly get.
So as far as Minnesota voters go, you never know until about midnight tomorrow night.
KING: Senator Glenn, Ohio tomorrow?
JOHN GLENN (D), FORMER OHIO SENATOR: Oh, Ohio, all the polling indicates that Gore is going to have a tough time in Ohio tomorrow, It could come back. I think a lot of these undecided voters, I think when they finally want to vote their pocketbook, as Tip O'Neill used to say a long time ago, I think they're more likely to break toward Gore. So I think that's an edge he has going into this at the last part of it. But, it's very, very tight, and I just hope everyone gets out and votes tomorrow. That's the main thing.
KING: Governor Cuomo, is New York open and shut?
MARIO CUOMO (D), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: The great enlightened state of New York will be for Al Gore big time.
KING: And what about the other big race there?
CUOMO: Hillary Clinton. If Al Gore wins by 10 points, then it's a lock for Hillary. And he'll win by more than 10.
KING: Congressman Kasich, do you agree with Senator Glenn?
REP. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, I think Bush has been ahead in Ohio the whole time, and it's kind of funny. I don't know how Senator Glenn feels about this, but the Democrats have had their days in Ohio where they dominated: Glenn and Metzenbaum, the governor. It's been funny. Over time, it's swung the other way, and now the Republican Party dominates in Ohio, and it's trending Republican. But, you know, we're up today, and guess what? They'll probably come back and they're up tomorrow. But I think tomorrow will be George Bush's day.
KING: Funny game you guys are in.
Senator Simpson, I guess Wyoming is a lock, right?
ALAN SIMPSON (R), FORMER WYOMING SENATOR: We have three electoral votes. The power we have in Wyoming is extraordinary. And Cheney's going to carry the day in Wyoming.
KING: But you're also from Massachusetts. You were at Harvard. Massachusetts is Gore country, right?
SIMPSON: Yes, I was at Harvard. you don't have to worry about Massachusetts. I mean, there's only one Republican left in office up there.
KASICH: They counted those votes a week ago.
KING: It's the same question for all of you. We'll start this go-round with Governor Ventura. Why is this race so close?
VENTURA: Well, I think it's close because, first of all, you've only got basically two choices to choose from. Nader will be a factor in Minnesota, though. I think that Ralph Nader will probably get 10 percent or better in the state of Minnesota, because we are the Mecca of the third-party movement. We're very progressive in Minnesota.
As I traveled around the state, I saw a tremendous amount of Nader support in Minnesota. He drew 12,000 or 13,000 people to the Target Center for a rally there. If you go to college campuses, he's running very strong there. So it depends how many of those get out to vote. But will that have an -- affect the election? Probably not, because most of the people that vote for Nader probably wouldn't vote otherwise. So I think it's color close because you're only given the choice of Pepsi and Coke.
KING: Senator Glenn, why is it close?
GLENN: I -- you know, I think...
KING: I mean, why aren't your people way ahead? You've got a healthy economy, you've got no war?
GLENN: That's -- you know, I think they hit the wrong things early in the campaign. I think the issue all through this campaign should not have been Medicare and health care and all the rest of these things as much as how do we keep the economy going. We've had the best economic run we've ever had in this country, and I thought the big debate this time would be how do we keep it going. And Al Gore as an incumbent to me had a big advantage in that particular area with the lowest inflation, lowest unemployment...
KING: You think he got off track?
GLENN: Well, I think he should have emphasized the economy a lot later on. They've been doing it the last few days, but I think we could have got on that a lot sooner.
The rest -- you know, you can't -- you can't give a big tax cut and all this kind of stuff if there isn't any trillion dollar surplus out there to begin with. And the way you get that is to keep the economy going. Everybody else has been assuming there's a big surplus out there, and it just may be there or it may not be there.
KING: Senator Simpson, why is it close?
SIMPSON: Well, I think there just were gaffes. I think the debates, I think that everybody in America thought that Al Gore would just tee ol' George Bush up and blast him clear across the sea. And the expectations were high. The first debate, Al Gore now says that he was too hot. The second one, he said he was too cold. But the third one, he was just right, he said, like Goldilocks.
KING: So you think the debates helped Bush a great deal?
KING: Mario, why is it close?
CUOMO: I think Senator Glenn is exactly right. I think the big issue was the economy.
I said earlier this evening on another show, Larry, that they criticized Al Gore for not mentioning Bill Clinton. But I think more notable is the fact that George Bush never mentioned his father. And the reason for that is if he mentions his father, he has to talk about the Reagan/Bush years, 12 years in which they did what he says he's going to do: a huge tax cut. His father called that economic voodoo. He said, you know, this magic of supply side, the big tax cut's going to energize the economy and you're going to get your money back and more doesn't work. His father was right. And...
KING: The -- all right, the question is, why is so it close? Why didn't Gore call it voodoo?
CUOMO: Because he -- Gore didn't make -- Gore did not make enough of that issue. In separating himself from Clinton because he was concerned about the Lewinsky mess, he separated himself from the good as well as the bad. He should have made a distinction. You know: His personal life is his, and the American people are marking him low in the polls because of it. His work in making this economy great, I was there with him. I pushed him with Bob Rubin on deficit reduction, I was a leader, and there the American people are giving him over 62 percent...
CUOMO: ... and I deserve a part of that.
KING: John Kasich, why is it close?
KASICH: Larry, for some reason -- I mean, I think they're both good candidates to each others' partisans, and for whatever reason this election has been one where the partisans have lined up. Republicans are, I think, frankly, a little more energized than the Democrats.
I was in New Jersey today -- frankly, I have been all over the country -- and I have been amazed at the energy behind Republicans. Democrats starting to come home, which is what's made it closer, but the partisans have been the dominant feature this election, and the fight's been over those who are the independents. and Jesse may speak for these independents who sometimes wonder if there's enough difference between the two parties.
And I think...
KING: Can the truth be told, then, we don't know who's going to win tomorrow? Do we? Do we know? We don't "know" know.
SIMPSON: I do. I've been all over the United States...
KING: You know who's going to win?
SIMPSON: Yes, I do. And it will be George Bush. And he's going to win because of the tremendous zeal. And the real feeling is they don't care about the issues, they don't care about the economy, they don't care about guns and abortion. They care about the zeal of getting rid of the era of Clinton-Gore. And it's real, and it's out there, and Gore just happens to have the anchor around his neck.
KING: Even though Clinton-Gore has made people happy in many senses.
SIMPSON: Well, it's -- there are a lot of things...
KING: They want to get rid of prosperity.
SIMPSON: There are a lot of people out there who feel that these two have solid the system and soiled the White House.
KING: Gore as well.
SIMPSON: Yes, but he's tied to him.
KING: We'll have Senator Glenn respond.
We'll be back. They're our guests: Ventura, Kasich, Cuomo, Simpson and Glenn. It sounds like a law firm in Philadelphia.
We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's one day that's set aside in our Constitution that comes around every four years, a day when the people have the power to overrule all of the special interests. That day is tomorrow. I need your help. I need your vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE, election 2000. It's our 54th presidential election. We'll -- the winner will be the nation's 43rd president. It's the first election where both candidates were born after World War II.
Senator Glenn, you wanted to say something in response to Senator Simpson's zeal.
GLENN: Yes, I did. I think, you know, Alan says he's sure that Gore -- that Bush is going to win because people just want to escape Clinton-Gore. This has been a theme all the way through this thing. George Bush is not running against Bill Clinton, he's running against Al Gore. And the American people through all of this have showed, even through impeachment, showed that two-thirds of the people by polling in this country were in favor of the policies, the Clinton policies, that Al Gore was part of and helped put into effect.
KING: Then why isn't he way ahead?
GLENN: That's -- I think they should have been running on the things that got him there to begin with. There were things in the Clinton presidency, obviously, that the president and everybody in this country are sorry ever happened. But as far as trying to tie it up and make it a Clinton-Gore thing, which has been an objective of the Bush campaign all the way through, that doesn't sell. I don't think the American -- I think the American people are interested in the economy,and interested in this tax cut thing, whether it goes way too far or not, which I happen to believe it does, and things like that, that are issues important to the country.
So I disagree that it's just a repulsion against Clinton-Gore.
KING: John, Alan Simpson said it's not issues, it's zeal.
KASICH: I think, first of all, I was in New Jersey today, and I remember as a kid I told them up in New Jersey -- I remember my parents had a little White House under the Christmas tree, and people had that White House in various places of their house at times of the year. And it stands as a symbol of something that we teach our kids you can get there and you have to be a certain kind of a person to be there. And we went through this whole business of impeachment, and we heard from a lot of people that had strong feelings.
But there are an awful lot of Republicans and some independents who really want to have a clean sweep, and when they look at Gore and the fund-raising scandals and those kinds of things, they're such intensity -- I haven't seen intensity among Republicans like this since I was with Reagan around the country in his heyday.
The other thing is I think the unions have been somewhat depressed. I think that Al Gore's actions on free-trade agreements...
KING: Which you agree with...
KASICH: ... yes, which I agree with; I give them credit for that -- I think has undercut them, as witnessed by Nader's strength. And finally this: I think the debates were key. I think George Bush not only proved he was likable, but also could be a great commander in chief. And I think Al Gore is going to look back and say, "Why didn't I do better in these debates?" And he didn't come across as likable even though he comes across at times as being pretty competent.
KING: Governor Cuomo, by the way, what do you make of that analysis? Is -- is it a lot of zeal? Are the Republicans more energized than the Democrats, excluding New York?
CUOMO: I guess the most powerful emotion is hate, and there's no question how the Republicans feel about anything associated with Bill Clinton. They -- and I can understand their feeling. He beat them twice. He outfought them in the legislature. He got so much done out of the Republicans that the Republicans were criticized by their own party for giving into Clinton. They spent over $50 million trying to nail him or Hillary or Al or somebody. They failed everywhere.
He got caught with Monica Lewinsky, he got caught lying, and he's at 63 in the polls despite the Republicans. Of course, they hate him. Of course, they're salivating to get rid of him.
But the loser here, if Bush wins, in my opinion, very objectively, will be the United States of America, because the first thing that will happen is you'll have an all-Republican government for the first time since Eisenhower. And it'll be much worse than the Republicans of the Eisenhower era, because they're conservatives. And Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert are not going to let Mr. Bush be a compassionate conservative. They are what they are, very conservative. They'll bring back the Gingrich agenda, which Clinton vetoed. They'll pass a $1.3 trillion tax cut against a phony surplus, because there is no $4.6 trillion, and Kasich knows it.
KASICH: Come on, Larry. You can't do that. I want at him.
KING: The Kasich -- the Kasich-Cuomo battle...
CUOMO: Do you want me to take it all back?
KING: Governor Ventura, I just want to clear up something. Did you say Nader would get 10 percent in Minnesota?
VENTURA: Well, he's already polling in the high single digits right now, Larry, which means that you're not counting all those people out there on the college campuses, they're not counting the disaffected voters, which are roughly 50 percent in every general election.
The same thing happened during my election. They had me polling 27 percent; I ended up getting 37 percent. The secretary of state said there would be a 50 percent voter turnout. It turned out to be a 60 percent voter turnout, the exact 10 percent that came and voted for Jesse Ventura.
KING: Wouldn't that automatically mean that Bush would win Minnesota if Nader gets 10 percent?
VENTURA: No, not really, because Senator Rod Grams right now, the Republican incumbent, is trailing by about 10 points to Mark Dayton, the Democratic challenger. So it's very strong Democrat. In that Senate race, Dayton's had a substantial polling lead the entire election and Grams hasn't taken it down at all. And I find it very difficult to believe that people that are going to vote for Mark Dayton are then going to turn around and flip-flop and vote for George Bush, although stranger things have happened.
Let me add this, though, Larry: I think both of them should thank their lucky stars that John McCain didn't breakaway from the Republican Party and run as an independent or that Jesse Ventura didn't run as an independent, because had either McCain or myself run as an independent, you'd have a big-time three-way race we'd all be talking about right now.
KING: We'll be right back with the humble Mr. Ventura and the rest of the panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. We'll be including your phone calls. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's always important to consolidate the base, as they say. It's always important to have a place from which to run.
I, of course, come from Texas, and I plan on carrying my home state.
My opponent vows to carry his home state. But he may win Washington, D.C., but he's not going to win Tennessee!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I'm governor of our nation's second-largest state, which is bigger than every other state.
Also my father was president.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: (sighing)
BUSH: Well, now, when they asked me to help introduce tonight's special, I felt, frankly, ambilavent. Although I'm a big fan, I have seen some things on the show I thought were, in a word, offenseible.
GORE: Well, you know, I was one of the very first to be offended by material on "Saturday Night Live," and I'm glad to see the governor has joined with me in condemning it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: John Kasich, does this help, this humor, and the fact that both candidates would do this?
KASICH: Yes, I think it does, Larry.
KING: Humanizes both.
KASICH: People want to feel as thought the person who's going to be elected president is somebody that they would like, that they understand, who is in touch with what's going on in the country. And that's -- that -- "Saturday Night Live" is pop culture.
KING: By the way, in case you are comatosed or dead, that was on "Saturday Night Live" last night.
What do you think? You're a humor man. SIMPSON: Well, humor is the universal solvent against the abrasive elements of like. That's what my momma taught me. But humor is very important in a campaign, and Al Gore is short on humor.
KING: He's funny off the camera.
SIMPSON: Yes, but nobody sees that. There is a something, either a staff rigidity or something where they tell him not to do it.
KING: As they did with Dole.
SIMPSON: Yes, and which was taking away part of his personality. Bob Dole is a man of rare good humor. But back to what Mario is saying. He uses the word hate. I think that is very unfortunate. That is why Gore is going to lose. He said in the Memphis church, day before yesterday, that this was -- this is Gore saying it is a race between good and evil. Then he said.
KING: You don't think there are people who hate Bill Clinton.
SIMPSON: Well, sure there are, but not, I don't hate Bill Clinton. Well, sure there are people who hate Starr. How about the people who hate Starr? Bring that one up. How about the people who hate Clarence Thomas and who hate Anita Hill? Why do you want to waste time with those kind of people? Why breathe that kind of stuff?
KING: But are they effective, Jesse Ventura? Does hate play a part?
VENTURA: Well, I think that, you know, it's kind of ironic to hear Democrats and Republicans talk about anti-hate when you take a look at some of their negative ads that I have had the unfortunate good fortune, whatever you want to call it, of watching. Through their soft money ads, I don't think any of them got any business talking about love, hate or any of that when you look at these despicable ads that have been put out by the two parties. I have nothing against the two candidates, but I don't like the two parties, the Republicans and Democrats. After all, in a non-partisan election, they teamed up and called me the most dangerous man in the city.
KING: Senator Glenn, do you think that Cuomo is right? that hate plays a part in this? the energizing of Republicans is due to a hatred of Clinton?
GLENN: Well, hate may be a strong word and I don't know. But that Al bring in this good and evil, I heard Al describe what he was talking about, talking about good and evil in every single person. I don't think he was describing this as a good party and an evil party. No one describes the other party that way, I don't think.
And let me respond, too, to John's comments a minute ago about fundraising scandals. There have been plenty of that on both sides of the aisle. I can give you chapter and verse out of the hearings we had for almost a year in the Senate on things that went wrong on Republican fund-raising as well as things that were wrong on Democratic. It just points out the need for campaign finance reform. And I'm glad Al Gore said he is going to make that the number one issue. That could restore more faith in government than any other single thing.
KING: Isn't that something, Mario, Governor Cuomo, that everyone talks about and no one does?
CUOMO: Exactly, campaign finance reform. I think one of the issues here that we ought to talk about is, isn't it likely that if George Bush wins, Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert will also win? and that that will be the end of any chance for campaign finance reform because they are all three on the record against it. Isn't that a fact?
KING: Hold on Roe versus Wade. Isn't that true?
SIMPSON: Mario and I have done some of this before. If you want to trot up, you know, names like that, you can do that all day long.
KING: But would Hastert and Trent Lott stop campaign refinance reform?
SIMPSON: They are all going to do something with campaign finance reform because they are all getting burned this trip. Everybody's getting fried. They are going to...
SIMPSON: Gore said he did the McCain bill and he wasn't in even the Senate with Feingold.
KASICH: I don't know. I want to sit down sometime and talk to Jesse about this. But no, George Bush has said he would be for campaign finance reform but not -- but not putting the hands of business behind their backs while labor can do whatever they want to do. But frankly, I think the best campaign finance reform we can have in this country is to have instant disclosure and open up the system. Let people give what they want to give.
My biggest problem in running for president is I hadn't sucked up enough around this town. I didn't have a Rolodex. I could have found a couple hundred to give me money to be able to go out and have my message. I think we ought to have a great debate on campaign finance reform and if you want the mailman's son to be able to run and get to be president, the system ought to be opened, instant disclosure. Let me capture who's ever imagination I can. Let me get their money. I'll tell you who I got it from and let the voter be the judge.
KING: That's your idea. And there are 500 other ones.
KASICH: That's right, but George Bush is for campaign finance reform but his form of it not...--
KING: Let me get a break. We'll be right back. We'll be right back with -- we'll be right back with more, don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: Governor Bush would propose under his plan to spend more money on tax cuts to the top one percent than all of his new proposals for education, health care, and national defense combined. Now those priorities are wrong for America, but you have the decision right here in the Show-Me state. You have the ability to show him what you want in the way of America's future.
KING: Governor Ventura, your thoughts on campaign finance.
VENTURA: Well, first of all, Larry I'm glad I can get in a word, because I want to say that you don't have a problem with campaign finance reform from us third party candidates. Why? because we put it upon ourselves that we won't accept PAC money. We won't accept special interest money. Therefore, we can't compete on the level of the two parties. It is their corroded arteries.
I can't wait to see them come forward with campaign finance reform. I will be first to admit I'm wrong. It is not going to happen, because I'll tell you why. If there is campaign finance reform, they will be on equal terms with third party candidates and these two parties are not going to allow the rise of a third party, which is what would happen if there was campaign finance reform.
KING: Clinton and Gingrich shook hands, Alan Simpson, and nothing happened. Everyone says they are for it. Everyone on this panel. You are former senators, current congressman.
Everyone is for it, no one passes it, why?
SIMPSON: Bill Bradley and I were co-chairmen of Project Independence to do something with campaign finance reform. And the reason it doesn't pass is because the, quote. grass roots which are sometimes astroturf grass roots, come out and say there is the end of the First Amendment. There is the end. I don't believe that at all, not one wit. And it's a marvelous argument, goes right to the gut. You use emotion when fact won't work. Go to, say, the First Amendment will be destroyed if we do campaign finance reform. I don't agree with that one wit. The First Amendment has been distorted by a case that allowed a guy to blow every penny in his Fort Knox and run for office.
KING: Why has it never passed?
GLENN: What John mentioned a while ago, here, well, basically, all the Democrats in the Senate were for it and all the Republicans were against it.
KING: McCain-Feingold, except McCain.
GLENN: It is just a start.
KING: So why has it never passed?
GLENN: Well, because we couldn't convince enough Republicans to move...
KASICH: I voted for it from the beginning.
GLENN: But you were one of the few people on your side, you know.
VENTURA: How come our third party candidates don't have a problem with it?
KING: Third party doesn't have a problem with it. Does Jesse have a point?
KASICH: I'll tell you this, I happen to have a different view of how we have should do campaign finance reform as I have expressed. I think part of the reason it doesn't pass is because, I think Jesse is on to something, that both parties have a vested interest in the status quo and I will say this. There isn't any question in America that populism is on the rise as reflected by Jesse Ventura, reflected by John McCain, as reflected by Ralph Nader. And so the two major parties are going to have to be able to more directly hit people at the nerve center in order to get them more involved, more interested.
KING: Let me get a break. We will come to Mario. We will get a break. We'll come right back. We'll include your phone calls. We will talk about the Senate and the House. We'll reintroduce our outstanding panel. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: It's going to be a tough race, because he is a tough opponent. He's a man of a lot of confidence. After all, he claimed he invented the Internet. But if he is so smart how come every Internet address begins with W? Not one W, but three Ws?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's re-introduce our panel of disparate Americans. They are, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Governor Jesse Ventura of the Independence Party of Minnesota. He's the author of "Do I Stand Alone: Going to the Mat Against Political Pawns and Media Jackals" In Washington, Congressman John Kasich Republican of Ohio, he leaves Congress after nine terms, chairman of the House Budget Committee. In New York, the three-time governor of the state of New York, the former Democratic governor, Mario Cuomo. In Washington, the former United States Senator from Wyoming, Alan Simpson. And in Washington, the former Democratic Senator from Ohio John Glenn, who's twice made trips into space.
We're going to go to calls in a couple of minutes, but, Mario, you'll get another word here on campaigns.
CUOMO: Oh, just...
KING: It never passes.
CUOMO: No, no, just to make the point which I made in the beginning. I said you're going to have an all-Republican government if Bush wins, all-conservative...
KING: Why? Why can't the Democrats take the House and Bush win?
CUOMO: Well, because -- that's -- it's just not likely. If Bush has enough votes to win at the top, he's going to keep the Senate and the House the way it is. And I'm sure Republicans are proud of that and would like that. But I wish America would remember that as soon as you get an all-conservative government with no real voice against it in the Congress, you will not ever pass McCain-Feingold, although John McCain is a Republican. They're simply against it. And you've heard that said here this evening. Kasich has said it, they all have said it.
John Glenn's absolutely correct. It's the end of any chance for either McCain-Feingold, the end of Roe against Wade, the end of affirmative action, and you're going to have a new -- look, it's a big argument what the Supreme Court will look like, but if it's that all Nino Scalia and Clarence Thomas, this will be a different America, a very different America. And the voters should be aware of it.
KASICH: He's filibustering, Larry. He's filibustering.
KING: Yes, I know, OK.
KASICH: We might cut his taxes, too.
KING: Tampa, Florida -- hello.
CALLER: Yes, Larry. Thank you for taking my call.
My question for the panel is, what will it take for a third-party candidate to break the hold that Republicans and Democrats have had on the political process in electing a president for the United States of America?
KING: Jesse Ventura, that question aptly applies to you. When will a third party candidate, let's say, re-introduce '92, when Perot for a long time was leading?
VENTURA: Yes, and you saw what happened. He got one-fifth of the vote in the end. He got almost 20 percent, one out of every five votes, and yet in '96 he wasn't allowed to debate because the Republicans and Democrats gets to determine who gets to debate and who doesn't.
KING: So what will it take?
VENTURA: What will it take? It will take campaign finance reform to put it on an equal level, which is never going to happen as long as the Democrats and Republicans are there. They talk the talk, but they don't walk the walk.
KING: Why is the two-party system sacrosanct, Alan? Why is it the best? How do we know it's the best?
SIMPSON: Well, it's a sick idea but it works.
KING: Well, why can't a three party work?
SIMPSON: I don't think it can...
SIMPSON: ... It never has.
Look at other countries in Europe...
VENTURA: It's never been given a chance to work. You give us one more choice than Russia...
SIMPSON: Wait a minute.
VENTURA: One more choice.
SIMPSON: Wait a minute. Wait just a second. You want to go to what over countries do in the world where they have to go bargain themselves away to take care of little jerky...
SIMPSON: ... factions all over the United States...
VENTURA: No, no.
SIMPSON: ... or all over Israel or France or Italy?
VENTURA: No, I want a centrist -- hey, I want a centrist movement that represents me. I'm fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which is what most Americans are, in the center. They're not out on the far left, they're not out on the far right, but yet we're made to choose. As Jerry Garcia said, when you pick the less of two evils, you still end up with evil, don't you?
KING: All right, let...
SIMPSON: You're there because you're a popular guy.
KASICH: Larry, let me say something. Before we got into campaign finance reform and all this issues, early on in the history of our country we didn't have a problem with campaign money. This is been a country that's had a history of two parties. Thank god there have been progressive movements in the country, because the progressive moments have forced the major parties...
KING: Changed the parties. KASICH: to force issues that have never been issued.
KING: All right, but the caller's question was when will there be a serious third-party challenge? Why can't there be three parties?
KASICH: Well there can be. The problem has been throughout our history people have signed up, they've gravitated towards two parties, their parents have been there...
KING: Because it controls the system.
KASICH: Well, but, Larry, there wasn't controlling the system back in the early days, in the 18th century and the early 19th century. Take Teddy Roosevelt...
VENTURA: Let's talk about the year 2000. The heck with the 18th century.
KASICH: Well, what I'm saying is that it's not always been fixed against them. We've had a history of this.
KING: All right, John, your party and the other party didn't let Nader debate, right? It was your parties that controlled the commission that didn't let them debate. Why couldn't he debate?
GLENN: Well, both parties control the commission as far as that goes...
KING: That's right, and they don't want a third party.
GLENN: ... and I think that there was a certain threshold, a percentage of support, and they didn't meet that percentage.
VENTURA: And yet, it's only 5 percent to have major-parties status, but it's 15 percent to debate. Had that criteria been used in Minnesota, I would have never won governor because I was only polling 10 percent. Rest assured, they don't want another Jesse Ventura out there.
GLENN: You asked...
KING: Mario -- John, yes?
GLENN: You asked a question about when we thought there would be a viable third party. I think when there's some issue that people really are concerned about for the country.
KING: A populist cause.
GLENN: I think a populist cause or whatever it is. Whether it's the finance -- campaign finance reform...
KING: McCain would have been a strong third party candidate.
GLENN: He's a strong third-party candidate, I think. That's a big issue here. I think this tax issue here, something like that, if that went through and put us back into a deficit again, I think something like that might be a -- give rise to a third party.
Third parties don't just rise up because somebody says, hey I think we ought to have a third party. This one is cool...
KING: No, Perot rose off of deficits and budget, right?
GLENN: Yes, and so you have to have a basis of what the third party is all about before you form a...
VENTURA: I can give you the basis, it's called centrist.
KING: Mario, does it take a...
GLENN: Well, centrist is pretty much Bill Clinton's policy, too.
KING: Does it take a Quixote, Mario, to have a third party, or don't you think there should be a strong third party?
CUOMO: I think America is very hungry for some alternative to our two parties. I don't think there's any question of that. Ross Perot was at 33 percent. He blew it after that, but he was at 33 percent. That's -- Anderson ran an interesting race. The people don't show up for the Democrats and the Republicans. '96 was appalling in the turnout. The turnout tomorrow will be better than '96, probably, but it won't be good.
There's no question that -- look, George Bush ran in Texas as a Republican conservative. But he felt obligated to change the name when he ran nationally to compassionate conservative. Al Gore is not a Democrat, he's a new Democrat. What does that suggest to you? That the old names don't work for them. They had to mitigate them, they had to qualify them.
And so there's no question that this country would like a third -- now listen, wasn't Lincoln a third-party candidate? Wasn't Teddy Roosevelt a third party candidate? You know, this nonsense that it's -- historically's it's worked well, it is not working well. It does not meet the needs of the American people. That's why they don't show up to vote.
KASICH: They haven't won as third party. And one final thing, Nader should have been in the debates and it was wrong to have kept him out.
KING: We'll be right back with more calls for our panel right after this.
KING: All last-minute polls are close, anywhere from 2 to 3 percent. Only one poll, Zogby, has Gore ahead.
To Dallas -- hello. Dallas, are you there?
CALLER: Yes, I'm here. I'm sorry.
Yes, I wonder what difference would it have made if Clinton had been allowed to campaign?
KING: Aww. OK. What would it have meant? Let's ask Simpson. If Clinton would have...
SIMPSON: It would have hurt. It would have hurt Al Gore.
KING: Hurt you?
SIMPSON: It would have hurt Al Gore.
KING: Hurt Al Gore?
SIMPSON: It would have. It really would.
GLENN: I don't agree with that at all. Two-thirds of the American people have consistently, even through impeachment, favored Al Gore's policies.
KING: Clinton's policies.
GLENN: I mean Clinton's policies. And I don't -- I saw nothing wrong with Al Gore, who was party to that, was the most active vice president we ever had in the history of this country and was part of putting that whole thing together, taking credit for some of that. Instead, he -- I think he stayed too far away from it, frankly.
KASICH: Clinton has over 60 percent approval on policy, under 40 personally.
My -- my view is, is that I think they made a big mistake by not letting Bill Clinton go out on the road.
KASICH: I think it was a two-edged sword, but I think he would have energized a lot of people who right now are not energized. And some Democrats are probably not very happy that Al Gore didn't put him out on the road.
KING: Governor Cuomo, what do you think?
CUOMO: I -- I never ran a presidential race, obviously. But -- and I'm sure they have the best consultants and the best pollsters in the world. And I'm sure they consulted the pollsters, and the pollsters said, look, it'll hurt at this point. But I think the reason it hurts at this point is because of the way that you made the first judgment to separate yourself from Clinton and to say, I'm going to win this thing on my own, and to start the campaign by saying, forget about the record, it's only the future that counts, and I'm going to escape thee surrogacy syndrome.
So having taken that position, if they had brought Clinton in at the end, it would have looked like a contradiction of their original position. They would have looked bad.
So I think it's the first judgment...
KING: So the original position was wrong?
CUOMO: Well, wrong, you know, it's easy for me to say wrong, for any of us to say wrong. I think it was not a wise judgment as you look back.
Now, I can understand why they made it in the first place, but I didn't like it in the first place. I thought you could separate yourself from Clinton's bad aspects, if you want to call them that, and still take credit for the record. They saw it different.
VENTURA: Well, my view -- my view's like this, Larry. I think the Democrats made a mistake in allowing the Republicans to set the agenda out of their convention of tying Clinton in, but I will say this: If the Constitution would let Bill Clinton run again, he'd be the president again, and I believe that strongly.
KING: John Glenn is shaking his head. Do you think he might of won? Alan Simpson says yes.
SIMPSON: I think that could well have been. I mean, there would have been so many other dynamics, but this...
KING: A lot of it has to do with personality.
SIMPSON: Yes, and the debate between George Bush and Bill Clinton, but then you raise the specter again, and there's stuff down under there.
KING: Monica's in the race.
VENTURA: But then again, how could they have let three people into the debates? So, that would have been the dilemma you'd have faced.
KING: Good point. The governor is pretty sharp.
John, do you think Clinton would have run...
KASICH: My question is, is whether Bill Clinton is going to run for governor of New York. Think about that one for a while.
KING: Toronto, hello. Toronto, hello. Toronto, goodbye. We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.
KING: Don't forget CNN, starting at 5 o'clock Eastern tomorrow, around the clock we go until all of this is in. We'll be with you at various points through the evening with special interviews in all of the hours. And we'll be with you at midnight Eastern with a full kind of LARRY KING LIVE wrap-up session.
Decatur, Georgia, hello.
CALLER: Yes, I would like to know if the panel believes this is going to be another Dewey-Truman election.
KING: Meaning an upset? Well, Truman -- Dewey was considered way ahead in that election, so that wouldn't -- no one would be shocked if Gore won this election, right? It's too close. Kasich would be shocked.
KASICH: I would be kind of surprised, I really would, because of the intensity of what I -- I think what's going to happen is you have about four or five battleground states, and if Bush can break through in Florida, for example...
KING: Why does he have to break through in a state where his brother...
KASICH: Well, I think right now, frankly, he's ahead. I mean, if he can pull ahead and win Florida -- and so much of the map that is undecided right now is on the Democratic turf.
KING: You say Gore needs -- Gore needs a miracle of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Missouri or...
KING: Do you agree with that, Mario, that Gore needs a kind of a miracle in the states that are close and that he has to win four of the five?
CUOMO: Well, everybody is assuming all the polls are accurate and...
KING: That's all we've got to go on.
CUOMO: Well, no. Well, let's -- but it's not enough, because, as Governor Ventura points out, they're often very wrong. And the difference between the polls and tomorrow is tomorrow people are picking a president. All the rest of this time they were playing games and speculating. Now, they're picking a president.
Incidentally, the person who I think we should have used more in the Democratic campaign -- and there's still time -- there are two people we should have used over and over, Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Ronald Reagan, who said, look, the best test here is were you better off then than you are now. The answer to that would have been, no, we're better off now.
KING: Well, Gore...
CUOMO: And the other one -- well, that's good. I'm glad he's using it. And the other one was Governor -- President Bush, who said, if you're going to change horses midstream, make sure you get one going in the same direction. Those two instructions are all America needs to vote for Al Gore tomorrow.
KING: Do you need, Senator Glenn, does your side need tomorrow a kind of a sweep of the battleground states or close to it?
GLENN: Well, we'll take several of those, sure, but I won't say you just have to take every single one. Some of the smaller states, Alan...
... I don't think is likely to go Democratic.
SIMPSON: Oh, no.
GLENN: But you've got some smaller states that might combine to equal one. So I don't he has to take all of those, no. But I think he has to do very well in those, obviously.
KING: To Las Vegas, hello.
CALLER: Yes, Governor Cuomo, Bill Clinton signed 80 percent of the Republican contract into law and then claims credit for the ideas as his own. When are you going to quit running against Newt Gingrich? He's been gone for two years.
CUOMO: Well, I'm not running against Newt Gingrich, and I don't think anybody else is. But he'd be -- you're wrong about 80 percent of the contract. He signed some procedural things that were very good, and I applauded him on it.
KASICH: Oh, no, no, no.
CUOMO: Well -- excuse me. Excuse me, John.
Excuse me, John. You guys passed with Gingrich a whole agenda of bills in 1995, including taking -- what? -- $200 billion and more out of Medicare.
KASICH: Now, come on, Mario...
CUOMO: I'm afraid -- just a minute, let me finish, OK? Those were vetoed those bills? You know what's going to happen if Bush wins and you have Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert? Those bills will pass against unless Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert are somehow, you know, converted to a new enlightenment. And those bills are going to be devastating to Medicare and to the United States of America unless Bush mesmerizes Trent Lott and Dennis Hastert into being compassionate.
KASICH: Now, Larry, the Contract with America, let me tell you what was in it.
Line item veto signed into law: people liked it.
Balancing the budget: signed into law ultimately -- you know, it took a long time.
Welfare reform: Clinton vetoed it twice, signed it the third time. It was a charm.
Tax cuts: we passed them, he signed them.
I mean, the fact is the contract with America was a great success and I'm going have to send Mario a copy of that contract. He will want to sign up to it.
KASICH: I mean, Clinton is masterful politician, no question. But you know what? We have moved the agenda to the right. And frankly, when Al Gore is arguing in America that he favors smaller government than George Bush, you tell me what has happened to the Democratic Party. That is mind boggling.
GLENN: We have smallest civil service now we have had since Harry Truman, I think it is, and that's because Al Gore is reinventing government programs that I worked with him on when I was chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. I know what he did there.
KASICH: They are all out of Pentagon.
GLENN: You've got 120,000 less and those are figures.
KASICH: You've got five agencies and departments in the federal government that can't have their books audited and you tell me he's reinvented government.
KING: I've got to get a break. What you've just seen is why Ohio's a great state. We will be right back with our remaining moments, some final thoughts from each of guests after this.
KING: Jeff Greenfield will have a special edition of CNN "NEWSSTAND" coming up at the top of hour as CNN continues its around- the-clock look at Election 2000. Have about four-and-a-half minutes left. We have time for a final comment from each. We'll start with John Glenn. GLENN: Let me just say, well, I don't know what's going to happen any more than anybody else. But let me say that the importance of people participating. We'll elect the next president with only about 23, 24 percent of the vote of the people of this country. If we walk down the street to the archives building, we went in, walked in there and looked at the Constitution, there it is, the greatest document in governance ever put forward in human history. There it is with the real words right there.
And what politics is all about is not fussing back and forth like we do here tonight and calling each other all sorts of things and hate and this things, all sorts of things going on and in the campaign, too much of the negative ads and negative everything. Politics to me is the personnel department for that constitution. And if our people let fewer and fewer and fewer people decide what direction this country is going to go, we are turning back toward King George. We are turning back toward an oligarchy that this country should never have. Everybody should get out there and participate. A democracy depends on that, absolutely depends on it. We have to have that.
Politics is an honorable profession, in spite of all the bad things we see about it. There are bad things in every profession, broadcasting, whatever. But never, never, never, but the thing is politics is the personnel department for the Constitution and people better support it.
SIMPSON: Best definition of politics I give my students: In politics, there are no right answers only a continuing flow of compromises among groups resulting in a changing cloudy and ambiguous series of public decisions where appetite and ambition compete openly with knowledge and wisdom. That's all it is.
But the real thing about this campaign is that I'm surprised at the Gore campaign because if you look at it, it's just been a continual pattern and issuing of what will happen to the country if George Bush gets elected. All of it foul, bad, horrible. Come on. That's where they are going to go down. They have made it a campaign of being opposed to anything George Bush and if George Bush gets elected we will be filled with hate, racism back-alley abortions. Good lord, I mean what kind of a campaign is that?
KASICH: Well, it's going to be election day. Everybody is -- the partisans in both camps are out in the streets. I have seen some pretty good sized crowds. It is always exciting the day we pick a president, Larry. This is first time I will not be on the ballot in 22 years.
KING: What is that like?
KASICH: It's been fine. It's been great.
KING: Are you handling it emotionally, OK?
KASICH: You know, I don't look backwards. I want to say this, you know, my dad carried mail on his back and I got to grow up and fight and make a difference, particularly with balancing the budget. And my message to people, to all the kids and adults out there: You can get wherever you want to get in this country. You just got to plug at it and work at it and it's a pretty darn good system.
KING: Governor Cuomo, 30 seconds.
CUOMO: Yes, I agree with all the lovely sentiments about everybody should vote, absolutely right. But just really, one last attempt at the facts. The Republicans were in charge for 20 of 24 years before Clinton and Gore were elected. They left us the largest debt in our history, deficits as far the eye could see, very low employment, a terrible economy, and Al Gore and Bill Clinton made it the best economy in world history. I think you ought to remember that when you vote tomorrow.
KING: And Governor Ventura, your wrapup of the occasion as the only elected official -- as the only elected -- after Kasich leaves, you're the only elected official on the panel. You have clout.
VENTURA: Well, I'll tell you what. I hope this scenario happens: I hope that one of them wins the popular vote and the other one wins the electoral college, so that once and for all we can determine how we should elect a president. I don't know, maybe some of them like Senator Simpson probably think the electoral college is still good when we rode horseback. But I will tell you what, it should be a popular vote. It should be a popular vote. Lets get rid of the electoral college. That's why I hope the two of them split it because, boy, you will see whining and crying then.
KING: Thank you all very much. Governor Jesse Ventura, Congressman John Kasich, Governor Mario Cuomo, Senator Alan Simpson, and Senator John Glenn, a true American hero.
Stay tuned for Jeff Greenfield and a special edition of CNN "NEWSSTAND." We will see throughout the night tomorrow night.
We will be interspersed in all the hours of our coverage with special interviews and then right after midnight we'll have a full edition, hopefully, of LARRY KING LIVE. Who knows what is going to happen? We will be there watching it all for you on CNN.
Thanks for joining us. For all of our panel, good night.
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