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Special Event

Gov. Bush: Sen. McCain is 'a Man Who Says One Thing and Does Another'

Aired February 17, 2000 - 10:20 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we want to take you live to Florence, South Carolina. That's where Texas Governor George W. Bush is speaking. This is the last two days before the South Carolina primary.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: ... nothing factual about this. It says I want to nationalize schools; there's nothing factual about that. It says I'm going to spend 100 percent of the surplus; there's nothing factual about that. So, the senator has got to understand if he's going to have -- he can't have it both ways. He can't take the high horse and then claim the low road. He's a man who says one thing and does another, and we'll continue to campaign on our differences. I'm going to do so in a respectful way, talking about things that are real and accurate.

And so I'll be glad to answer some questions. Yes, David.

QUESTION: There was a story in the local paper this morning about the new ads. It says the GOP rivals use adds (OFF-MIKE). It says, the Arizona senator, John McCain's, ads attempt to elevate him above the negative advertising war. Texas Governor George W. Bush is continuing to run attack ads. Whether or not you...

BUSH: I just disagree with that.

QUESTION: ... at one level, I want to know if you agree with that...

BUSH: No, I don't agree with that.

QUESTION: What do you think about the fact that local people picking up the paper in South Carolina, that that's the impression they're getting (OFF-MIKE)?

BUSH: I think most people don't necessarily believe everything they read in the press, and that's just not the way it is, Dave. I mean, this is a man who equated me to Bill Clinton, I'm going to run a positive campaign, we shake hands, and equates me with Bill Clinton. You were the one who, as I recall, got him to say that he's going to continue running this brochure. There is nothing factual about this. This is a man who evidentially says one thing and does another. He says he's going to take the high road, he said he's going to run positive campaign and distributes material that he first denied was his and then puts out stuff that's factually untrue. You can't have it both ways in the political process.

QUESTION: Governor?

BUSH: Yes.

QUESTION: If you're elected president, would you spend the taxpayer's money the same way you spent your campaign funds?

(LAUGHTER)

BUSH: I'm going to give people their money back, Andy. Nice to see you again -- Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) key primary state non-Republican voters can shape the outcome of the Republican (OFF-MIKE)?

BUSH: Not necessarily. Not necessarily. I welcome people who are philosophically in tune with our party. President Reagan attracted like-minded Democrats when he came to South Carolina, for example, in 1980, people who heard the tax-cut message, people who are interested in a limited role for the federal government. I am hearing, for example, in Michigan, where evidently the mayor of Michigan -- mayor of Detroit has stood up and said, let's go vote and teach George Bush and John Engler a lesson, or the state rep that showed up and said, in Columbia, let's vote for John McCain, he'll be easier to beat in the general election -- that's a Democrat state rep saying that. People who come into our primary and then intend to go back to the -- go back to the Democrats in the general election, it's hard to -- you can't prevent them from coming to open primaries if those -- if...

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE)

BUSH: Do I think it goes -- well, in this state -- I don't know if you've been following it that closely in the state, but for example the spouse of Al Gore's chairman in South Carolina announced that he was giving money to John McCain and intended to vote for him in the primary. This is Al Gore's chairman's spouse, a long-time Democrat activist, who I presume will go back to Al Gore in the general election and nothing I can do about it. Just be aware of it and remind Republicans that this could be happening and hopefully this will help turn out the vote.

But we do this in Texas as well. I think the open primary system can be used, if used properly, as a good system.

KAGAN: We've been listening a bit to Texas Governor George W. Bush, this in the last two intense days before the South Carolina primary. The governor today, at this moment, actually, campaigning in Florence, South Carolina, talking about, complaining about claims that he says Senator John McCain has made incorrect claims against him. Also talking about the open primary season that allows Democrats and Independents to vote for Republicans, and that could affect the outcome of Saturday's race.

In the interest of fairness, we did hear from Senator McCain just a little bit ago on MORNING NEWS. He talked with our John King out there in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

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