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Country Artist Travis Tritt on the presidential campaign

November 7, 2000
4 p.m. EDT

(CNN) – Americans voted November 7 in the closest presidential election in decades between Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George W. Bush. Analysts speculated that Green Party candidate Ralph Nader would take votes from Gore. Pat Buchanan ran as the Reform Party candidate. Early voter turnout appeared to be moderate to heavy across the country on Election Day.

Travis Tritt has enjoyed success as a country artist since the 1990 release of his debut album "Country Club." He is a recipient of the Country Music Association's Horizon Award and a Grammy award. Tritt has appeared in films such as "Cowboy Way" and "Blues Brothers 2000." A Bush supporter, Tritt performed at rallies for the Bush/Cheney 2000 campaign.

Chat Moderator: Welcome to CNN Showbiz Chat, Travis Tritt.

Travis Tritt: Hello. It is certainly my privilege to be here today, especially with this being such an important day as far as our country is concerned. So thank you for having me.

Chat Moderator: Which issues have been important to you in this election?

Travis Tritt: Well, there have been a lot of things -- mostly the issues concerning education because I am the father of a 2-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. Obviously their education is an issue that has really come to the forefront for me, as I think it has for many Americans.

The other issues are about the death tax and the marriage penalty. I think these are things that a lot of folks have been paying a lot of attention to, especially lately. I think more and more people are really starting to pay attention to the differences in what politicians promise and what they actually deliver.

Question from T-Shurko: Do you think that the people who listen to country music are more liberal or more conservative?

Travis Tritt: Well, I can only speak for the entertainers that I know in country music. And while the entertainment industry in general seems to be more liberal, and mostly Democratic, the country music world seems to lean more toward conservative Republican.

Question from Raider: Travis, how do you feel about what each candidate could do to censor music, movies and the media?

Travis Tritt: Well, I think that censorship should come primarily from parents. I don't necessarily agree with the notion that the government should tell me or my children what they should watch or listen to. I do think the entertainment industry should be self-regulated with good judgment, but I think that censorship should be left primarily to parents. Parents should accept that responsibility and be the final word on what their children are exposed to.

Question from Raj: Travis, how did you come to be involved in the Bush campaign?

Travis Tritt: I have known the Bush family for several years now. I had the opportunity of spending some time with George Bush, Sr. and his wife, Barbara, a few years ago when we were touring in Maine. I actually spent some time at the Bush home.

Presidential race 2000

I first met George W. Bush when I performed at the Republican National Convention four years ago in San Diego. And I have a tremendous amount of respect for the entire family just as people, separate from politics.

But, in addition to that, many of my political views line up with Governor Bush. Therefore, last year I called and pledged my support to his campaign.

Question from GetPhilDonahueOffTV: Travis, do you think it really matters who wins this election? Aren't these candidates basically the same?

Travis Tritt: I don't think these candidates are basically the same. I think there are some very apparent differences as far as how much the government gets involved in your life as opposed to how many of your own decisions you get to make without the government's interference.

Recently, with the President Clinton veto of the abolishment of the inheritance tax as well as the veto of the abolishment of the marriage penalty, working class Americans are starting to realize that the party they elected eight years ago to take care of them has actually, in recent weeks, done many things that hurt middle class working Americans.

And I think George W. Bush will be the candidate who evokes change.

Question from NeckFan: Travis, why do you think Bush has such high support in many of the Southern states?

Travis Tritt: It seems to me that George W. Bush gives the impression of a guy that practically anyone, regardless of your social status or your income or your educational background, could feel comfortable sitting down and carrying on a conversation with.

Al Gore, on the other hand, strikes many Americans as being somewhat arrogant, cocky and condescending. I think most people would feel very uncomfortable sitting down for a conversation with him. Al Gore seems to be the kind of person that would look at you and think, "I'm a little smarter than you; I'm a little better than you." And I think Americans resent that, especially in the Southern states.

Question from Jjb103: What do performers see as the major differences between the candidates’ views on show business?

Travis Tritt: Well, I think that depends on which performers you are talking to. For example, on "Showbiz Today," I'm sure that Elaine Boozler’s and Paul Rodriguez’s opinions about politics in show business will be very different from those of Ben Stein and myself.

Question from MalcomX: How do you feel about a smart, qualified man, i.e. Gore, nearly being pushed out of the vote because he lacked "personality"?

Travis Tritt: Well, in the debates, there were some questions posed by many -- especially in the media -- as to how smart or qualified George W. Bush was. I think many people were actually surprised after the debates that he answered so articulately. He handled himself extremely well. I don't think the issue of "Is he smart enough to be the president?" was a valid argument after the debates.

Chat Moderator: Thanks for joining us today, Travis Tritt.

Travis Tritt: Thank you so much.

Travis Tritt joined the Showbiz Chat via telephone from Atlanta, Georgia. CNN provided a typist for him. The above is an edited transcript of the chat, which took place on Tuesday, November 7, 2000.

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