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Special Event

Iowa Caucuses: Bush, Gore Score Victories; Forbes, Keyes Surprisingly Strong

Aired January 25, 2000 - 1:00 a.m. ET


JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: GOP front runner, George W. Bush, finished first in his party's Iowa caucuses. He calls his competitors worthy and his victory record shattering.

On the Democratic side, Al Gore says he's extremely encouraged by his very solid win over rival, Bill Bradley.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Jim Moret in Los Angeles. Finally, the first official vote of the 2000 presidential campaign. Iowa, a state that's turned long shots into White House contenders and tripped up more than a few early favorites, held its presidential caucuses tonight. At stake, delegates to the national nominating conventions: 47 for the Democrats, 25 for the Republicans. Also on the line, momentum and maneuvering room going into the first primary state, New Hampshire.

Taking a look at who scored how much of the caucus vote in the two-man Democratic contest, we see Al Gore with 63 percent, Bill Bradley with 35 percent, two percent uncommitted. That is with 98 percent reporting.

Here's how the six-man Republican race shook out: 41 percent for George W. Bush, 30 percent for Steve Forbes, 14 percent for Keyes, nine percent for Bauer, five percent for McCain, who did not campaign in Iowa, and one percent for Orrin Hatch. That is with 96 percent reporting.

Iowans caucused at 2,100 precinct sites tonight. More on the results of what they did from CNN's Patty Davis.



PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was sweet victory for Vice President Al Gore.

GORE: My message to you this evening is very simple. We've just begun to fight.

DAVIS: Having waged a tough battle in Iowa against his Democratic opponent, Bill Bradley, Gore won by a large margin almost two to one. Gore was supported by voters who cited his electability, experience and stewardship of a good economy.

The big win denied Bradley the momentum he had been seeking going into the New Hampshire primary.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, I have a little more humility, but no less confidence that I can win and do the job.

DAVIS: Still, Bradley promised a tough fight in New Hampshire, where he has been doing well in the polls.

Texas governor, George W. Bush, solidified his Republican front- runner status.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, also, marks the beginning of the end of the Clinton era.

DAVIS: Bush did well among Republicans who cited moral values, education, Social Security and world affairs. Billionaire, Steve Forbes, who has been attempting to position himself as the conservative alternative to Bush, finished a strong second and took a shot at Bush and Arizona senator, John McCain, who are leading in New Hampshire polls.

STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks to you, they have finally met their match, and they're going to get their ultimate comeuppance in the days and weeks ahead.

DAVIS: Former Reagan State Department official, Alan Keyes, established his place in the race finishing third.

ALAN KEYES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... of Iowa, there are going to be a lot of folks who go home tonight, and they will look at the result we have achieved, and they'll be saying, "Gosh, I wish I had voted for that Keyes guy."

DAVIS: Trailing Keyes were Gary Bauer, McCain, who didn't campaign in Iowa, and Utah senator, Orrin Hatch.


DAVIS: Now with the nation's first big caucus behind them, the candidates now set their sites on the next contest, and that is the New Hampshire primary. Absolutely no guarantee that these candidates can repeat their successes in New Hampshire.


MORET: Patty, you witnessed the process. What is it like? For those of us who haven't been there, it's a mysterious process.

DAVIS: Very unusual. If you're used to walking into a voting booth and pulling the curtain, absolutely nothing like that. You have to publicly declare at the caucus who it is that you're going to vote for by physically -- this is the Democratic caucus at least -- by physically walking to one part of the room -- in this case, it was Gore versus Bradley -- declaring who you are voting for. And there's an opportunity to try to persuade, shout, to persuade the people on the other side to come to your side.

Now in the end, that did not happen at the caucus where I was attending. The final delegate count in this caucus was three for Gore and three for Bradley. Jim?

MORET: CNN's Patty Davis reporting live.

Perspective now on the outcome of the Iowa caucus and its implications for campaign 2000. Joining me from Des Moines, CNN's senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Bill, walk us through this, first of all, on the Democratic side with Gore versus Bradley. The victory, the level of victory, how significant is that?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN. SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's a pretty spectacular victory for Al Gore; it was nearly two to one over Bill Bradley. And Bill Bradley and Al Gore about equally matched in the effort they put into Iowa. At one point early in the campaign, Bradley was tempted not to make a big effort in Iowa. Then he decided it's a two-man race, he couldn't let Gore walk away with it.

That might have been a mistake, because as Bradley eventually said a few days too early before the vote, he said, "Iowa is a state that rewards entrenched power," and that's what paid off for Al Gore, the power of the party operation, the power of organized labor.

MORET: Well, to listen to Al Gore tonight, he seems to be redoubling his efforts. He talks about getting on a plane at midnight, landing at 3:00 in the morning in New Hampshire, and then at the crack of dawn, being out there and campaigning with full vigor.

SCHNEIDER: Well, he would like to finish off Bill Bradley in New Hampshire. If he wins anything like this kind of decisive victory in New Hampshire next week, it's not going to be this big, but if he beats Bradley by a decisive margin in New Hampshire, it's hard to see how Bradley goes on. He does have the resources to continue to campaign, but it's going to be another five weeks before the big primary day in March for the Democrats, including California, New York, Ohio, Georgia, and a number of other states. And Bradley will be limping along as he goes into those big primaries in March.

MORET: Well, if you're talking about five weeks, you're talking about a mini-marathon. You were talking about momentum. How does Bill Bradley fair after a night like tonight? He talks about being committed to staying in for the long haul, at least through March.

SCHNEIDER: Well, Bradley has the resources to stay in for at least the medium haul to the middle of March. The question is: Does he have the message? If he fails in Iowa as badly as he failed or even half as badly as he failed -- he fails in New Hampshire half as badly as he failed in Iowa, then he'll look like he's stumbling into these final primaries. And that's where he really will be finished off. He needs a different message, a stronger message. What he has failed to do is give Democrats a reason to reject Al Gore. Democrats like Al Gore because they like Bill Clinton. And, you know, so Bill Bradley can't run against Bill Clinton.

He got the anti-Clinton vote, but that was only about one in eight Democrats. There is a reason to vote against Al Gore, but Bradley hasn't said it. And the reason is the one that Pat Moynihan gave in September when he endorsed Bill Bradley. He said Al Gore can't be elected. But Bill Bradley hasn't said that yet, and I'm not sure Democrats really believe that once they took a look at George Bush and his performance in those debates.

MORET: Bill, turning to the Republican side, you have a six-man race as opposed to a two-man race, which is perceived on the Democratic side. George W. Bush coming in with 41 percent with 98 percent reporting -- 96 percent reporting. What does that mean? We've been hearing that it's called the biggest victory in the history of a contested caucus in Iowa. And how significant is that, if that's true?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Jim, you must be talking to the Bush people. That is correct, and that is the interpretation that they're promoting, because the fact is no one's ever won with more than 37 percent. But it's a little less than Bush was expected to do. He'd been running in the mid 40s. As usual in an Iowa Republican caucus, the social conservatives, Forbes and Keyes, did better than the polls they did predicted they would do. So it was a solid win for Bush but it wasn't nearly as spectacular as Gore's win.

The important thing, however, is that the social conservatives divided among a number of candidates. Keyes, Bauer, Forbes all got a lot of votes, and even Bush was the first choice among voters who identified with the religious right in the Republican Party. So that shows that Bush is perfectly acceptable to social conservatives.

MORET: Well, with Forbes garnering 30 percent, is that better than expected? And if so, how does he move now into New Hampshire?

SCHNEIDER: It is a little bit better than expected. The polls showed him getting in the 20s. He's going to come into New Hampshire as both a social and an economic conservative, because he has a strong tax message, which always resonates well in New Hampshire.

The problem is in New Hampshire, you've also got John McCain, who's kind of a sensation there. Like Bradley, he appeals to independent voters. He doesn't have the resources of a Bill Bradley, but he has a large reservoir of support.

And there is the possibility, of course, that Bush can get squeezed from both ends, from conservatives led by Forbes, who has the endorsement of the Manchester Union leader and possibly some momentum coming out of Iowa, and of course, from anti-establishment Republicans who are going to rally to John McCain. But McCain is really the bigger threat, and I think it's going to be tough for Steve Forbes to rally the entire conservative movement behind his campaign. MORET: Bill Schneider, I know you're catching a flight in a few hours to New Hampshire. Thanks for staying up late with us tonight.

SCHNEIDER: My pleasure.

MORET: Well, you know how the 2000 Iowa caucuses have turned out, and we've had a taste of how the politicos and pundits are accessing the results. What about the process that brought us to this point? First thing to know, Iowa Democrats and Republicans use very different methods to determine their caucus winners. A look at how the parties prep voters for today's exercise in democracy from CNN national correspondent, Bruce Morton.


JIM KURTENBACH, IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY: This is caucus raining for everyone in Story County, Iowa.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jim Kurtenbach, who's the Republican chairman in Story County, Ames, Iowa. Both parties have been holding classes for the temporary chairman who will be calling the caucuses to order and will probably end up running them.

When it comes to presidential candidates, Republicans give you a ballot to have a straw vote.

KURTENBACH: We do a presidential straw poll, if you will. We don't elect the presidential candidate, but we have a straw poll.

MORTON: Phone in the results to the state party, and that's that. The Democrats' procedure is very different. Paulee Lipsman explains.

PAULEE LIPSMAN, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Oh, and one thing: calculator. Bring a calculator that works. Bring two just in case one doesn't work, because you're going to need it.

MORTON: True, it's all about viability.

LIPSMAN: You have to figure out what viability is, you understand viability. If a group doesn't have enough people in it to be viable, they're not going to get any delegates.

MORTON: The Democrats don't take a straw vote, they elect delegates to their county conventions. Let's go to the jelly beans. If your precinct elects two delegates, viability is -- don't ask me why -- 25 percent. That means a presidential candidate would need 25 percent of the people who come to that caucus to be viable. So let's say 100 people show up, 70 for Gore, 24 for Bradley, six uncommitted. With just 24 percent, Bradley's group isn't viable. Gore would get both delegates.

But there can be negotiations. Say the Bradley people talk two of the uncommitted into joining them. With 26 people, they become viable and get one delegate. Gore, with 70 people, would also get one delegate. Is this one man, one vote? No. It's the Democratic caucus in action.

LIPSMAN: If you're electing three delegates, the formula is a little different. Don't ask me why. Trust me, it works.

MORTON: By the end of the evening, both sides will be reporting results, which will have very little to do with the make up of the delegations Iowa sends to the national conventions, but they like their system.

JIM MALONEY, IOWA DEMOCRAT: You have to go to a meeting with your neighbors and your friends, and people who have positions of influence, and you have to stand up on one side or the other, and that makes it a lot different than just walking into a polling place and voting your convictions and walking out.

MORTON: Bruce Morton, CNN, Des Moines.


MORET: CNN's comprehensive coverage of the Iowa caucuses will continue. Coming up, assessments from political analysts, Charles Cook and Stuart Rothenberg, and how the candidates are spinning tonight's results.


MORET: More insight now on the Iowa caucuses. Joining me from Des Moines, Stu Rothenberg, publisher of "The Rothenberg Political Report," and Charlie Cook, publisher of the "Cook Political Report" and writer for the "National Journal."

Gentlemen, what is the headline for tomorrow for each of you?

CHARLES COOK, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, for me, I would say that it -- it was a huge win for Vice President Gore. And for Governor Bush, it was kind of like kissing your sister. I mean, it was not a big win but it wasn't a loss. It was sort of in this sort of in between category.

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I certainly agree it was a trouncing by Gore of Bradley. On the Republican side, I think Governor Bush did pretty well. The problem is that the way the numbers fell, both Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes have now been encouraged to take the campaign to New Hampshire, possibly beyond. And when they go to the next stop, you know who their number one target is going to be. It's going to be Governor Bush.

MORET: Charlie, focus on this trouncing that Stu just mentioned. How surprised do you think the Bradley camp was and what kind of an impact do you think it will have if any?

COOK: Well, you know, I think they were surprised a little bit, but the thing is, things have been heading south for them both here and in New Hampshire for a while. And then you had the Des Moines Register endorsement come, and they had a last -- the last day they had on the road was a good one. And so they had some little encouragement, "Well, maybe things won't be so bad," and then the numbers came in just as, you know, as bad or worse than they expected. But they had hoped that that Des Moines Register endorsement would have helped some, and it clearly did.

MORET: And, Stu, what happens next? We heard from Bradley that he's in this at least through March. Do you think he's wounded going into New Hampshire, or do you think that it's a whole new ballgame?

ROTHENBERG: Well, actually, Jim, it's some of both. Clearly, he's wounded in that he didn't hit what he hoped to in this. He really hoped to be competitive here a number of weeks ago that put some big money into Iowa in the hope of either overtaking or coming close to the vice president.

But I think New Hampshire is a very different electorate. Senator Bradley starts off much better there than he ever was in Iowa. His outsider image is more appealing to New Hampshire Democratic voters. Independents in particular are going to participate. I think he has a chance to rebound. It's tough, but I don't think we should write him off at this point.

MORET: Charlie, the size of the Bush victory depends upon who you talk to. If you listen to the Bush camp, they're saying it's extremely significant, the biggest ever in history. You're saying maybe not.

COOK: Well, I mean, 24 hours ago when Stu and I were on, I was saying anything over 15 would be clearly a win for Bush, and that was still less than his margin in the polls going in. And then anything under ten would be a loss and comes in around 11. So it was -- And even some of Bush's own people were privately saying that they needed to win by ten. And now they're coming in at 11. So, I mean, they just barely pulled this out and avoided really an embarrassment.

Now I don't think their chances of winning the nomination have declined at all, but you know, they've narrowly averted a not-so-good story. And Steve Forbes is going to live to fight another day.

MORET: Stu, has this been just a win for the day, and you're still -- It's still a new race in New Hampshire, and we've been hearing all day from various analysts that New Hampshire is, in fact, a completely different arena.

ROTHENBERG: It's funny, Jim. We've paid so much attention here to Iowa. It's the first test, first delegates to be selected, zillions of members of the media here in Des Moines. And yet, in another week, Iowa could be easily forgotten, depending upon the results, depending upon what happens with McCain, a new factor in New Hampshire who didn't play here, and, of course, whether Bradley can turn things around. So, yeah, I think Iowa could be quickly forgotten, depending upon the results in New Hampshire.

On the other hand, if Bradley doesn't recover in New Hampshire, it's probably over for him. He may stay in the race, but two losses in a row would be severely damaging. And on the other hand, if Bush wins in New Hampshire, then you had New Hampshire and Iowa, and suddenly, George Bush looks unstoppable.

MORET: Well, Charlie, compare, if you will, the candidacy of George Bush and Steve Forbes. Both are trying to appeal to the conservative base. Who's winning here in that battle?

COOK: Well, I think one of the most impressive aspects of the Bush victory is that it's very, very broad based. I mean, there really aren't any demographic groups. I mean, we saw even among religious conservatives, Governor Bush did very well. And I think the thing that pulls Republicans together is the fact that, you know, they see that he's a guy that can win. And Republicans just want to win so badly. I mean, it just supersedes everything else.

MORET: Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, thank you very much for your insights tonight.

Now let's hear from the candidates. First, Al Gore. In claiming victory tonight, the vice president promised his supporters that he will, quote, "keep fighting."


GORE: Wow, thank you, thank you. My message to you this evening is very simple: We've just begun to fight. This evening at midnight, we'll take off for New Hampshire. We'll arrive at 3:30 in the morning. And at the crack of dawn, I'm going to hit the ground running and campaigning hard in the state of New Hampshire.

And I'm going to take with me the resolve that I have just stated to you that we've just begun to fight for our prosperity; for universal health care step by step, starting with all children for revolutionary improvements in education to treat teachers like the professionals they are.

You know, Senator Bradley is a good person and a tough competitor and he asked the question here in Iowa: Are you better off than you were seven years ago. And the answer clearly yes. But that's not -- that's not really the question that the American people are addressing in this election in 2000. The question is: Can we do even better? I believe the answer is yes and I ask you to join with me to fight for a better future.

Tomorrow morning bright and early, the final week of the New Hampshire primary begins. And the fight there is going to be, in some ways, similar, but it's going to be a new phase of this fight. And I pledge to you to do my utmost to take the trust and confidence that you have given me with this overwhelming victory here in Iowa, and take it, not only into this next week, but with the help of the people of New Hampshire onto New York and California and Ohio and Georgia and all across the United States of America, and with your help, we'll win the election in November, and we'll make this a better country. We'll fight for out future together.


MORET: In conceding his defeat in Iowa tonight, a much more subdued Bill Bradley gave no indication that he is having second thoughts about the race.


BRADLEY: Let me congratulate the vice president for his strong showing tonight. He's an opponent that is tough, and I know I'll be seeing a lot of him in the coming weeks to come.

I've always said that running for president requires a mixture of humility and confidence. Humility because you're only one person, you're running for the most powerful office in the world, confidence because you have to know that you can lead this country in a world that's still dangerous. Tonight, I have a little more humility but no less confidence that I can win and do the job.

I want to thank you for your commitment to our cause. And considering where we started, you've done extraordinarily well.


MORET: On the Republican side, Governor George W. Bush calls his estimated 43 percent of the vote a tremendous victory because no Republican has ever done better in a contested race in Iowa. The previous best ever was Bob Dole's 37 percent in 1988. In tonight's victory speech, Bush focused on the Democrats rather than his Republican opponents.


BUSH: Thank you, Iowa. I am humbled and I am honored by your outpouring of support. Tonight marks the first election night of the new millennium, the beginning of the process by which America would choose the president to lead us into the 21st century. And tonight also marks the beginning of the end of the Clinton era.

Tonight's record-shattering victory is the victory of a message that is conservative and is compassionate. A message that seeks to unite our country and offers hope to everyone who's lucky enough to be an American. Our message is one that resonates beyond Iowa, to New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and all across our great land.

These months have reconfirmed my belief that the strength of America is not found in the halls of government, but the strength of America is found in the hearts and souls of our people. And that our people deserve a government that respects and reflects their values. The Americans who began choosing our next president tonight took a stand for a leader who unites and an agenda that inspires, a messenger committing to bringing people together and a message meant for every American.

As I travel this land, I'm going to have this call to Americans: If you're tired of the bitterness that poisons our politics, come and join us. If you think that government should be less partisan and more results oriented, come and join us. If you're weary of polls and posturing, of scandals and alibis, come and join us.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORET: Two other GOP candidates are leaving Iowa with big smiles. Both Steve Forbes, who finished second, and third-place finisher, Alan Keyes, appeared energized by tonight's results.


FORBES: I want to thank a great campaign staff who never paid attention to the polls and pundits and realized that this was a campaign of principle and ideas, and your faith has been vindicated tonight. And thank you very much.

I want to deeply thank all of you and the people of Iowa who have made their own decisions, who listened to our message. And this is the real message, this is not a good night for the power brokers in Washington, D.C. Your days are numbered. Thanks to you, they've finally met their match, and they're going to get their ultimate comeuppance in the days and weeks ahead as we, the people, as we the people take back the politics of America and restore it to its dignity that it once had and they've betrayed.

With your hard work, you've earned the right to celebrate. But rest up, because remember, tomorrow, our journey has just begun onto New Hampshire. We've got our work cut out for us. The forces of the political elite are not going to rest now, but nor are we. We're going to go after them, and America's going to emerge the winner. Thank you very much.



KEYES: You want to know what the cause is that has moved so many hearts and moved forward so many people in this state as it will around the country that is turning this nation's heart back into the paths of its moral principles and its right and decent conscience? I say that the answer is clear. Attribute this success, attribute this victory for conscience and right to almighty God and God alone.

There are going to be a lot of folks who go home tonight, and they will look at the result we have achieved, and they'll be saying, "Gosh, I wish I'd voted for that Keyes guy. I really believed what he was saying, but I didn't think he could get anywhere."

We have all of these folks. You know, Rush Limbaugh has taken to calling Keyes supporters Keyesters. He calls us Keyesters. And I've kind of been amused by that. And Dan Gozitch (ph), my campaign manager, he has said that there are a lot of folks going around, and they say, "I believe everything that Alan believes. He stands for everything that's in my heart. He articulates it more effectively than anybody who's out there. But, but he can't win," but this, but that. Our goal in the months ahead is to do what we have already done started to do here in Iowa. We're going to turn all those buts into Keyesters.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORET: As for the other Republican, Senator John McCain did not campaign in Iowa for financial reasons and says he made the right decision.

Gary Bauer tonight told supporters he was not raised a quitter, but his campaign officials say Bauer is deeply disappointed with the Iowa results and is assessing the future of his candidacy.

And Senator Orrin Hatch plans a news conference tomorrow. An adviser tells the Associated Press Hatch will probably drop out of the race.

More coverage of the Iowa caucuses ahead. We'll get perspective on how tonight's results are playing outside the Heartland. Stay with us.


MORET: Continue our coverage of the Iowa caucuses. We get additional perspective now on the outcome with a partisan spin. With me here in Los Angeles, Republican Bruce Herschensohn, who waged a Senate bid against Democrat Barbara Boxer in 1992. He was also a member of the Reagan transition team. And Democratic strategist, Bill Carrick, who was national campaign manager for Richard Gephardt in 1988. His candidate won in Iowa that year, although he lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Michael Dukakis.

Thanks for being here tonight. Bill, first to you. Bill Bradley said a candidate needs humility and confidence. Do you suggest that he's entering New Hampshire with a little bit more of one and a little bit less of the other?

BILL CARRICK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I think clearly, he's got more humility than he's got confidence tonight. And he's got to turn it around pretty fast. I mean, it's a very short time frame between Iowa and New Hampshire, the one week, and you got to lick your wounds and get on the ground and really change the dynamic of the race very, very quickly.

The have a debate Wednesday night in New Hampshire, and that'll be critically important to Bradley's chances to revitalize his campaign.

MORET: From your perspective, how has the dynamic changed on the Democratic side?

CARRICK: Well, I don't know that it's changed so much from, let's say, a year ago when we would have all thought the vice president was a very formidable candidate and would most likely be the nominee of his party. But we've had turbulence in between, but we're about where we were when we started. The vice president has enormous assets. He's in very good shape. And he's poised to win this nomination unless something happens pretty dramatic.

MORET: Bruce, you can look at this race, not just from the standpoint of a strategist or an analyst, but you've been a candidate. Talk about your sense of how George Bush is looking at tonight's victory.

BRUCE HERSCHENSOHN, FORMER GOP SENATE CANDIDATE: I think that he's obviously very, very glad at the size of his victory. But by the same time, he has to be worried. For the sake of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I support Steve Forbes, and so I'm delighted tonight. I don't even have to do any spinning because the figures speak for themselves.

MORET: What do those figures say to you?

HERSCHENSOHN: The figures say to me this: Look back to 1980. And in 1980, George Bush, Sr. won the Iowa caucuses. There was a guy, Ronald Reagan, who was in the pack of Republicans. He only got 29 percent. Steve Forbes got 31, I think it is. There was a lot of people in the pack, and there's a lot of people in the pack right now.

When the other conservatives got out, that was just a real blessing for Ronald Reagan. It was a -- Remember Phil Crane (ph) from Illinois and, of course, John Connelly, there were others? And I think that right now, George Bush -- George W. Bush has to be at least thinking about that because if the votes for Alan Keyes and Gary Bauer weren't there, they would have gone to Steve Forbes for sure, because the conservatives would prefer Steve Forbes, which would have given not only a plurality, but a majority to Steve Forbes. Now sometime in the future, one or two of those guys are going to get out.

MORET: Bill, from your standpoint, from the Democratic viewpoint, how does the Republican race look to you?

CARRICK: I agree with those that thought it was a good night for John McCain. Now Governor Bush is going to -- regardless of the numbers game, he's going to New Hampshire with somebody on his right flank and somebody on his left flank. And he could get squeezed pretty hard in the middle. And I think Forbes is going to be a very well financed, formidable candidate in New Hampshire. He's going to...

You know, the one person he has to energize is himself because he's writing all the checks for the campaign. And he's got more confidence tonight than he did last night that he's a real viable candidate. And if he opens up the checkbook and bombs away with ads in New Hampshire, it could have a dramatic impact on the outcome of the Republican race. And I think it's all good news for John McCain, because now, George Bush has to fight a two-front war.

MORET: Bruce, do you agree with that assessment?

HERSCHENSOHN: I don't know. I think that John McCain may be in a little bit of trouble because he has everyone to his right...

MORET: But he clearly went into this with an eye toward New Hampshire, not the Iowa caucuses.

HERSCHENSOHN: I know he did. It doesn't necessarily mean that that's the way you walk out of a race, the way that you walk in it or with the intentions that you walk in it. Look at Bill Bradley. A month ago, boy, it really looked -- not even a month ago. A couple of weeks ago, it looked like he really -- he was really doing terrific in Iowa.

MORET: What's your assessment of the Democratic front from a Republican viewpoint?

HERSCHENSOHN: From a Republican viewpoint, I'd say that Vice President Gore is way, way ahead, much more ahead than I thought he would be at this point. I thought that Bill Bradley would be giving him a real tough race in Iowa and New Hampshire.

MORET: We're going to speak with both of you in just a second, so I'll ask you to stand by.

Ahead in this election special, what happened tonight, what happens next. A quick look at the numbers again from Iowa, a look ahead to New Hampshire right after the break. Stay with us.


MORET: If you're just joining us, the headlines from Iowa are on the Democratic side. Al Gore wins easily. On the Republican side, George W. Bush wins. But Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes do better than expected.

Here are the numbers. Well, the numbers are Al Gore with 98 percent of the votes reported, 63 percent of vote. CNN is estimating will end up being 64 percent to Bradley's 35 percent.

On the Republican side, George W. Bush with an estimated 43 percent to Steve Forbes's 30; Keyes, 13; Bauer, eight; McCain, five; and Hatch, one percent.

Speaking to their supporters tonight, both Gore and Bush focused on each other rather than their opponents in the remaining primaries.


GORE: I must say this, because I watched the Republican race tonight, and I truly believe that the irresponsible risky tax giveaway schemes that both George W. and Steve Forbes were proposing would be harmful to our economy and harmful to the people of this country.



BUSH: Thank you, Iowa. I am humbled and I am honored by your outpouring of support. Tonight marks the first election night of the new millennium, the beginning of the process by which America would choose the president to lead us into the 21st century. And tonight also marks the beginning of the end of the Clinton era.


MORET: Bill Bradley congratulated Gore but promised to stay in the race. Both Steve Forbes and Alan Keyes, who finished second and third in the GOP caucuses respectively, claimed moral victories and promised to do even better in the weeks ahead.

The importance of tonight's results will be debated for days to come, but the focus of the attention among the candidates already are shifting to New England, with several flying to New Hampshire tonight.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer now on how the Granite State's primary might affect the race for the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... sweatshirt, please. Put the date...

WOLF BLITZER, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They've been coming to New Hampshire for months, some even for years.


FORBES: Thank you.

DICK BENNETT, AMERICAN RESEARCH GROUP: It hasn't been a campaign of issues here. It's really been a campaign of personalities.

BLITZER: Pollster, Dick Bennett, has been tracking presidential politics here since 1980.

BENNETT: This race this year, it's the little stuff that has meant a lot. Some people said, well, for example, Elizabeth Dole endorsing Bush wouldn't really mean that much. It's only a few points. Well, he needs every point he can get.

BLITZER: On the Republican side of this state, the front runners are George W. Bush and John McCain. The Arizona senator has focused all his attention on New Hampshire, skipping Iowa. And it appears to have paid off.

BENNETT: McCain's here now, and when he's here, he does very well, a very positive word of mouth that really voters respond to him when he's here. When he leaves, his numbers get a little weaker.

BLITZER (on camera): One thing going for McCain is his appeal to independent voters who can cast ballots in either the Democratic or Republican primary. In fact, there are more independent voters in this state than either registered Democrats or registered Republicans.

(voice-over): On the Democratic side, Bill Bradley is searching for many of those same independent voters. They may be his last chance for a second chance against Al Gore.

But Joe McQuaid, the publisher of the "Manchester Union Leader," which has endorsed Steve Forbes, questions whether independent voters can be counted on.

JOSEPH MCQUAID, PUBLISHER, "MANCHESTER UNION LEADER": I don't think independents turn out that much or with that much force in either primary, even though they can. Typically, the committed party faithful turnout.

BLITZER: And those party faithful made a statement in '92 and '96 in the Republican primary with strong support for Pat Buchanan.

MCQUAID: I think in 1992 and 1996, Republican conservatives up here who voted strongly for Buchanan was saying Bush hasn't got a clue and Bob Dole isn't the guy you want either. New Hampshire says, stop and take a look. Maybe there's somebody else out there.

BLITZER: But that was Buchanan's high watermark. Wolf Blitzer, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


MORET: Our special coverage of the Iowa caucuses will continue. Up next, the Supreme Court makes a timely decision on campaign finance. The ruling and what it could mean to future campaigns when we return.


MORET: How Iowa's caucuses and virtually all political campaigns are paid for is the subject of a new decision by the Supreme Court. CNN's senior Washington correspondent, Charles Bierbauer, tells us the court may have added some encouragement to those who favor campaign finance reform.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Supreme Court said Missouri could impose a limit on contributions as a means of keeping corruption out of politics. Justice David Souter writing for the majority, "... the cynical assumption that large donors call the tune could jeopardize the willingness of voters to take part in democratic governance."

The other side of the political coin is the guarantee of free speech. Zev Fredman, an 1998 candidate for state auditor, complained Missouri's $1,075 limit on individual contributions prevented him from effectively getting his message out.

ZEV FREDMAN, FORMER MISSOURI CANDIDATE: I had no reasonable chance of winning without challenging the law.

BIERBAUER: Three justices agreed with Fredman. Justice Clarence Thomas leading the dissent wrote, "Political speech is the primary object of First Amendment protection." Justice John Paul Stevens replied sharply, "Money is property. It is not speech."

The court's decision strongly affirms its landmark 1976 ruling known as Buckley versus Valeo. That allowed a $1,000 limit on individual contributions in federal campaigns but said any limit on spending would be a free-speech violation. Soft money, the unregulated millions flowing to parties, not candidates, is the core of campaign finance reform efforts led by presidential candidate, John McCain. He called the opinion marvelous. Neither the Buckley nor the Missouri ruling, though, touches soft money, yet reformers say this gives them momentum.

SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: It's an opportunity for us to build on that with responsible reforms such as the elimination of soft money. So we've been given a chance. I just hope we take that chance up on behalf of the American people.

BIERBAUER: Conservatives in Congress have repeatedly blocked efforts to pass campaign finance reform laws.

(on camera): Those opponents were remarkably mute following the court of opinion, though the matter is not entirely moot. Three justices said the underlying Buckley opinion should be reexamined, and a fourth said, "Perhaps, but not at this time."

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


MORET: Ahead here on our special report, a look at where the road to the White House and the information super highway intercept.


MORET: Well, much of this day and the months ahead are rooted in tradition. The Internet is having an effect on election 2000. Many political analysts say this is only the beginning of the way that the World Wide Web is impacting the election process.

Here's CNN's Bernard Shaw.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time in a presidential primary contest, voters in some isolated communities will be able to cast their ballots by Internet in Alaska's Republican straw poll. It's a baby step with some major implications.

A prediction from John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems, a leading Internet infrastructure firm.

JOHN CHAMBERS, CEO, CISCO SYSTEMS: In 2004, the majority of states will allow Internet voting. And it wouldn't surprise me to see it'd be the vast majority of states. Secondly, the Internet by the year 2004 will, in my opinion, have as much impact on the outcome of elections and educating the populace as TV did in the Kennedy-Nixon era and since then.

SHAW: At a symposium at the Brookings Institution in Washington, leading authorities on Internet politics met to talk about the coming revolution. Not everyone was willing to predict an e-election in 2004.

PROF. ANTHONY CORRADO, COLBY COLLEGE: It's not just a question of getting the technology to be able to cast safe and secure ballots over the Internet, but it's also the problem of behavior and getting people interested in participating politically over the Internet. And that's a much more difficult problem to deal with.

SHAW: Bernard Shaw, CNN, Des Moines.


MORET: Rejoining me here in Los Angeles, two political activists from opposite sides of the aisle, Democratic strategist Bill Carrick. He's an adviser to Senator Dianne Feinstein and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Bruce Herschensohn, who served as a member of the Reagan transition team and lost the U.S. Senate bid against Barbara Boxer in 1992.

Gentlemen, what do you think about this comparison to the Internet with television, how it impacted the election process in the Kennedy/Nixon debates? Do you think that we're on the verge of a brave new world?

HERSCHENSOHN: I don't think it's quite the same. First, those are the two -- Those were the first presidential debates, regardless of television. But, of course, television really added a dimension to it. I think the Internet -- My god, the future of Internet is just beyond any horizon, and I recognize that. But I think you can also have a negative effect in terms of...

MORET: How so?

HERSCHENSOHN: ... in terms of voting. I don't think that you make it that easy or you get people to vote who don't know, have any idea what they're voting for. The very thought that you get out of wherever you work or live, and you go to a place -- I mean, it isn't much trouble I think is exactly right. When people talk about the low ratio of voters, I can never get upset about that. The people who are voting care enough to vote. I don't want someone in a household say, "Hey, all you, you know, we're all going to vote for so and so," and these people have absolutely no idea who that person is or that issue may be. I would be concerned about that.

MORET: Bill, what's your perspective?

CARRICK: I think this is an argument that is probably as profound as anything we've ever had in this country, and it's as old as anything in the country, which is how do we expand the universe of voters. There are people that don't believe, as Bruce quite genuinely does, that make it easy. I happen to think we make it much too difficult in this country to vote.

I think if we could get more people to vote using the Internet, it would be fabulous. I'm probably a little bit more skeptical. I think one part of the analogy about the 1960 debate they ought to be aware of is we had a debate in 1960 between Jack Kennedy and Richard Nixon. We didn't have another debate until 1976. Took 16 years.

The political process is not as quick to adapt to these technological changes as the overall culture is. So I think it will be slower than it probably should be. MORET: We have about 30 seconds left, Bruce. What about the ability for candidates, as we've seen with this election, to raise significant amounts of money via the Internet?

HERSCHENSOHN: Terrific. I think that's excellent, and that's already started. I see nothing at all wrong with that, because the person who donates money knows what that person is doing. It just has a new device to do it. That's excellent.

MORET: Bruce Herschensohn, Bill Carrick, thank you very much for joining us.


MORET: Recapping the results of the Iowa caucuses, the first vote test of the 2000 presidential campaign, here come the numbers. On the Democratic side, Al Gore handily wins with 63 percent at 98 percent reporting versus Bradley's 35 percent.

And on the Republican side, George Bush, 41 percent; Steve Forbes, 30 percent; Keyes, 14 percent; nine percent for Bauer, five percent for McCain, one percent for Hatch. That is with 96 percent reporting.

And that is all for this CNN special on the Iowa caucuses. Our next stop, New Hampshire. The primary there just one week away. Until then, stay with CNN for complete coverage of election 2000. I'm Jim Moret reporting from Los Angeles.


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