Election 2000: Michigan and Arizona Republican PrimariesAired February 22, 2000 - 8:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN's coverage of the Michigan and Arizona Republican primaries, with anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: The polls have just closed in Michigan. In one hour, they close in Arizona. We're concentrating on Michigan, of course, because it is close.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. And, Bernie, what we have to tell you right now is that we do not have enough information to call the race in Michigan; unlike South Carolina last Saturday night when we were ready to call it for George Bush right away, this is a different story. This is a race. There are exit poll numbers -- and Bill is going to talk about those in a moment -- that indicate that it is a close race, with a record turnout, but beyond that, we really can't say very much right now.
SHAW: Bill Schneider.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, sir?
SHAW: John McCain doing very well. Why?
SCHNEIDER: Well, this Michigan race looks like a humdinger. And here, Bernie, is why: Only about half the voters in Michigan's Republican primary are Republicans. Four years ago, 62 percent of the of the Michigan GOP primary voters were Republicans. Michigan Republicans look like they may be losing control of their own primary. Michigan's primary is open, just like South Carolina's was on Saturday, but over 60 percent of the South Carolina primary voters were Republicans. Eighteen percent in Michigan are Democrats, twice as high as in South Carolina. This is the lowest percentage Republican we have ever seen in a GOP primary, lower than in any GOP primary in 1996, and boy oh boy, is it having an impact. Two-thirds of Michigan Republicans are voting for Bush, which is just about the same way Republicans voted in South Carolina. But independents are voting 2-1 for John McCain. And look at Democrats: over 80 percent for McCain and just 13 for Bush.
If McCain wins in Michigan, the Bush forces are going to call this a hostile takeover. Hostile to the Republican Party? Well you know, not necessarily. Almost all the Democrats who are voting for McCain today in Michigan say he has the best chance of beating the Democrat in November. They're voting for McCain because they like McCain, and they are certainly hostile to George W. Bush. The outsiders are McCain enthusiasts and their votes are counteracting the preferences of Republican partisans in Michigan.
WOODRUFF: Bill, just to be clear, just to underline this point, what you are saying is that the percentage of the vote that George Bush is getting among Republicans is pretty much what it was in the state of South Carolina.
SCHNEIDER: It's almost exactly what it was in South Carolina. It's overwhelming. It's about two-thirds.
WOODRUFF: But the result here, at least so far, is different.
SCHNEIDER: The result is different because so many of these voters, a majority of them right now, come from outside the ranks of Republican partisans.
One could argue, and I'm sure if Bush loses today, he'll want to make the argument that their party has been invaded. He'll call it a hostile takeover.
SHAW: And this dynamic that we're seeing in Michigan tonight is precisely what McCain wanted, virtually lusted for, in South Carolina, but did not get.
SCHNEIDER: Didn't happen in South Carolina, happened here in Michigan. He said he was reaching out to Democrats and independents. He said he wanted the Reagan Democrats to come in and vote for him. These don't look very much like Reagan Democrats; they're not conservatives.
SHAW: Well, Bill Schneider alluded to the enthusiasm, at the situation in Michigan for the McCain camp. Presumably there's enthusiasm at the McCain headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. John King is there, and Candy Crowley is in -- I'm sorry, I was going say to you also Candy Crowley is in Southfield, Michigan. We'll get to Candy in a moment.
John, please go ahead.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, the Senator McCain in his home state of Arizona tonight, anxiously awaiting the results. Of course he expects a win here. Anxiously watching those results in Michigan. Aides say they're encouraged by what they hear, based on our reporting of the exit polls. It has been three weeks now since Senator McCain's big win in New Hampshire. He knows he's the underdog in this race. He knows he very much needs to get back in the win column.
KING (voice-over): One vote and one win might not be enough for John McCain.
MCCAIN: Everything is do or die in this campaign. That's why we're having so much fun. Every day is do or die. KING: The Arizona senator is banking on a big home state victory, but his long-term hopes could hinge on the results in Michigan.
SCOTT REED, DOLE 1996 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If McCain wins both Michigan and Arizona tonight, it changes the whole dynamics of this race. He'll be back on top. The Bush message of we can win will have been derailed much like it was in New Hampshire three weeks ago.
KING: McCain says he's in race through March 7 no matter what, and he promises to be more aggressive in drawing contrasts with Governor Bush.
MCCAIN: Arizonans know who the real reformer is. Arizonans know who wants to cut spending.
KING: Washington is McCain's must win state next Tuesday. He's taking a pass on campaigning in North Dakota, but campaign sources tell CNN McCain will increase his spending in Virginia if he wins Michigan. March 7 is make-or-break day for McCain. Thirteen states have GOP contests that day, and McCain knows he needs wins in California, New York and several others to keep going.
MCCAIN: We're a high wire act, an insurgency campaign, and we've had a great, great ride, and we're proud of the positive campaign we've been running.
KING: But pride alone isn't enough to keep a campaign running.
KING: Wins are important in any case, but one reason McCain knows he needs to be on a winning streak not only after tonight, but after those March 7 primaries, is because then the campaign heads South to states like Florida and Texas, two very big states with governors named Bush.
Now as Senator McCain's awaits the results here in Arizona, Governor Bush waiting in Michigan, CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley standing by at the Bush campaign headquarters in Southfield.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Actually, John, just a quick correction. The governor is not waiting for results here, although I am. He is off to Kansas City, where he will refuel his plane. There is of course a primary coming in Missouri, and then he heads to California. A primary coming up there, too.
But back to the race in Michigan, George Bush came out of South Carolina hoping for a bit of a bounce to put him over the edge in this dead heat race in Michigan, but what he relied on mostly was a little help from his friend.
GOV. JOHN ENGLER (R), MICHIGAN: His opponents flown away, but Governor Bush is here with us today, and I'd liked to present him to you, the governor of the great state of Texas: Governor George W. Bush and Laura Bush!
CROWLEY (voice-over): That's Michigan governor John Engler, the marshal in charge of setting up a political firewall for George Bush.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John and I were pleased with the rallies yesterday, large crowds of enthusiastic voters. Many of whom left from there to go back and continue working the grassroots effort to turn out the vote.
CROWLEY: Engler is popular and powerful in the Wolverine State and widely believed to have the best political machine in the Republican Party. As Bush was slipping in the snows of New Hampshire and resurfacing in the sunshine of South Carolina, Engler was cranking up to move Bush forward out of Michigan. Volunteers and Engler loyalists stuffed envelopes, made calls, worked the political circuit, greasing the skids for Bush's arrival.
BUSH: Thank you for what you're doing! There's still more calls that need to be made.
CROWLEY: With just two full campaign days between South Carolina and Michigan, there was no time to hone a message, much less change it, so Bush spent his time rallying the vote, traveling to mostly Republican areas.
As Bush worked the crowds, his ads went out over the airwaves and volunteers made the calls, more than half a million between Thursday and Tuesday. Like South Carolina, Michigan is an open primary state with a history of ballot crossover, quite capable of throwing a monkey wrench into the best of political machines.
CROWLEY: Just yesterday morning I asked the executive director of Bush's effort here what area he most feared. He looked at me and answered, not geographically, but politically, with one word: "Democrats." It's a fear that is apparently being borne out in those exit polls.
Now back to the anchor desk.
SHAW: Thank you, Candy.
WOODRUFF: I think what we're going to do is go to Kansas City, Candy, where Governor Bush, as you said, is making a refueling stop. Let's listen.
BUSH: Among the Republicans in the state of Michigan and among those independents who share our philosophy, our compassionate conservatism philosophy, among those two groups, there's no question who the winner is in Michigan tonight, and you're looking at him.
(APPLAUSE) BUSH: I like my chances here in Missouri. Yes, I like my chances. The people of this state want to embrace somebody who is compassionate and conservative. The people of this state are look for a reformer who has gotten results. I can't wait to come to your state, and say if you're sick and tired of the politics of division in Washington D.C., there's a home for you in this campaign.
BUSH: If you're tired of the politics of pitting one group of people against another, if you're looking for a uniter, not a divider, there's a place for you in the George W. Bush campaign.
BUSH: There's a home for you if you want to do what I want to do, and the Clinton era in Washington, D.C.
I can't wait to come to your state and talk about my record of bringing people together to do what is right: my record of reforming our education system so that all children get to learn; my record of reducing welfare but understanding we need to rally faith-based institutions to help the suffering which remains.
And I'm going to make this reform record one that I'm going to do in Washington, D.C. We've got a tax debate going on in the Republican Party, and we need to have a tax debate. We need somebody who's going to clarify the surplus. The surplus is not the government's money. No, the surplus is the people's money.
You're going to hear a plan that is realistic and doable, a plan that understands that if we're going to have a tax cuts, everybody has to get a tax cut, not one of these D.C.-targeted tax cuts.
This is a plan that says if you're a family of four in Missouri making -- or in Kansas, for that matter, Governor -- and you're making $50,000 a year, you get a 50 percent cut in your income taxes. Yes! It's a real tax cut.
WOODRUFF: Governor George W. Bush stopping off in Kansas City, Missouri on his way to California, having campaigned very hard the last few days in the state of Michigan.
Let's bring in now our colleague Jeff Greenfield, CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield.
Jeff, thinking back to what Bill Schneider was saying -- Jeff, you're in New York -- in Washington. JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Yes.
WOODRUFF: I want to get this straight. You're in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Thinking back to what Bill Schneider was saying just a moment ago about the kind of vote that has turned out today in Michigan, do you have any ideas at this point about why it is that George W. Bush apparently had a much harder time enlarging the Republican vote, turning out the Republican vote in the state of Michigan than he did in South Carolina?
GREENFIELD: Well, I think what happened was he turned out the Republican vote, but in Michigan the independent and Democratic vote, if these exit polls are right, just became explosive. And therefore, the share of the Republican vote as a total went down.
I can tell you what both camps are saying, because I've talked to both of them, and it's very interesting. This is one of those nights that reminds me of the old days when you actually had to count votes to see who was going to win instead of the exit polls. So already the two camps are laying out their markers, and I can tell you what they said, if I might.
The McCain camp is saying, you know, a narrow loss and we can go on, because it shows that in a big diverse state we almost held our own against the power of the Republican machine. If we win, the word they want us to be using is "backlash." And by that they mean backlash against the tactics that were used against McCain in South Carolina.
The Bush camp -- Bill Schneider is exactly right -- it's not that they're going to say it was a hostile takeover, if you will. They're already saying it.
One of the top Bush strategists is talking about coordinated efforts among Democrats in particular districts to get out the vote, letters. We're going to hear about Debbie Dingell, the wife of the longtime Democratic congressman, why she got a letter urging a vote for McCain. And they're going to argue to Republicans, I think, if it comes out that McCain wins, which we don't know, look, in the future states, protect your party against this invasion, we've got to elect the Republican that Republicans want.
So those are where the two camps are, and I think, you know, it's just really quite remarkable that in the first state where there is a sitting Republican governor, the state of Michigan that Governor Cellucci of Massachusetts called in New Hampshire the firewall of firewalls -- the state would absolutely stop McCain -- it's too close to call at this hour.
SHAW: Candy Crowley in Southfield, Michigan, give us a quick primer on what Governor Bush has been saying in Michigan for the last two days to independents and Democrats, that very courted group of voters. CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Basically, Bernie, what they did here, while they did campaign in some areas -- Macomb County, for instance, where there were independents -- the message was primarily the same. He did talk about what you heard him just talk about in Missouri: Look, you know, you don't want a targeted tax cut; everybody ought to have attacks cut. Look, I'm the uniter, not the divider.
But basically, what their entire focus here was, because they only had two full days to campaign, was to get out the Republican vote, because they knew that there were Democrats who were openly saying, hey, come on, let's, you know, let's meddle in this race. A lot of it was anti-Engler. You know, that kind of thing. So he did use that as a rallying cry as well.
But this was -- this was largely based, the rallying cry, at Republicans, and as George Bush called them, like-minded independents.
WOODRUFF: Well, I had a question for John King. I gather he's -- we've lost momentary contact with him. We'll come back to him in just a moment.
Now I understand he is ready. John, there you are, just the man we wanted to talk to.
Jeff Greenfield and Candy and others have been making this point, and Bill Schneider, about the Bush people saying a hostile take over, that people outside the Republican Party may be determining the outcome of the race in Michigan and maybe elsewhere, and they don't like that.
What do the McCain people say to counter that?
KING: Well, the McCain people say that if Republicans don't like it, then the state Republican Party shouldn't hold open primaries: that as long as they're open primaries, and Democrats and independents are allowed to vote, that it's fair game to court these voters.
And Senator McCain also makes the case that his support among Democrats and independents shows that he's the best candidate to go up against Al Gore or whoever the Democratic nominee is in the fall.
Now in Michigan specifically there has been some talk that Democratic activists who have a long-running feud with Governor John Engler were going to encourage Democrats to turn out to vote for McCain as a way of revenge against Engler. Senator McCain has criticized that tactic. But if wins Michigan narrowly tonight, he certainly won't -- he certainly will appreciate those votes.
So Senator McCain's line essentially is, one, if the Republican Party wants only Republicans to vote, it should change the rules. And No. 2, if every vote he gets from a Democrat and independent now is a vote that won't go the Democrats' way perhaps in November.
SHAW: OK, John King. A name, Engler, Engler.
We know that any state governor is the powerhouse in his or her state when it comes to political organization. In Michigan, question, is there an Engler factor in Michigan?
SCHNEIDER: Bernie, here's the answer: You bet there was. About half the voters today said John Engler's endorsement of George W. Bush did not have any effect on their vote, and they voted predictably for John McCain. But about one voter in Michigan in seven said Engler's endorsement had a great effect on their vote. Did they go heavily for Bush? Nope. Two-thirds of them voted for John McCain. They were anti-Engler voters. Engler's made a lot of Michigan voters angry, particularly in the Detroit area.
Some union and minority leaders urged voters to go out and vote for McCain just to embarrass the governor, and while the Democratic Party did not endorse that effort, we do see evidence here of anti- Engler backlash.
Now, only 5 percent of the Republican primary voters in Michigan, Republican primary voters, remember, were African-American. Over three-quarters of them voted for McCain even though John McCain, like Bush, refused to take a position on the display of the Confederate flag in South Carolina. Looks like an anti-Engler vote to me.
Among white voters in Michigan -- and they were 95 percent of those Republican voters -- Bush and McCain are virtually tied.
What an irony it would be if McCain carries Michigan because of the black vote. Take that, Governor Engler.
WOODRUFF: Well, as Candy just characterized it, Governor Engler is the marshal in charge of the firewall for Governor Bush: How's he doing?
SCHNEIDER: Well, right now it's touch and go. It depends on what the outcome is. But the firewall is not holding up very well, as Jeff said. I mean,to have the race this close where Engler is a powerhouse and led the governors in the endorsement of Bush, it's a bit of an embarrassment.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield has a comment here on the governor -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Well, it's a comment on what's coming down the road, because I -- you know, the way that the calendar shapes the reality of this campaign is truly astonishing.
In two weeks, we will be covering in effect a national primary on March 7th. In the biggest states, particularly New York and California, when it comes to delegate selection, independents and Democrats can't vote. And I will wager whatever is legal in whatever state I happen to be in that you're going to hear from the Bush campaign about this theme. And what that means is very quickly whatever happens tonight Senator McCain is going to have to start making his argument to Republicans. He can't invite independents and Democrats to join, because they won't be allowed in, in those key states down the road.
SHAW: I want to ask you, Bill Schneider, back in Michigan -- and Jeff and Judy -- is it good news that the man who wants the nomination, not that McCain doesn't, but George Bush, since he won South Carolina, is it good news that he's scooping up all the Republicans in the state of Michigan?
SCHNEIDER: Well, in the race for the nomination, I think it is good news, because as we go on in the calendar we're going to find more and more primaries that are closed -- to register Republicans, only they can vote. And they -- in all the states so far, South Carolina and Michigan, the have -- and Delaware -- they have preferred George W. Bush.
But it's also bad news in a way, because he has not shown much outreach to independent voters and to Democrats. He came in saying he wanted to expand the base of the Republican Party. He wanted to be open and inclusive. But the guy who's reaching out to those voters outside the Republican base is John McCain.
McCain is unlikely to win the nomination on the votes of those outsiders, but Bush is going to have a hard time getting elected if he doesn't have any appeal to those outsiders.
WOODRUFF: But Bill, I was just looking at the number of delegates who are going to be selected in the upcoming contest on March 7 and March 14, and out of almost a thousand delegates, more than half are going to be chosen in these open primaries, so McCain does have a shot, but it's not 90 percent, it's just a little more than half, and that makes a difference.
SCHNEIDER: And there's another difference between those votes in Michigan. On those primaries on March 7, they may be open to Democrats, but Michigan, there was not a Democratic contest today. So Democrats couldn't vote for Bill Bradley or Al Gore. They weren't on the ballot. In California, in other states that have open Republican primaries, there's also a Democratic race, and they may decide to stick with their own party.
SHAW: And what about the other factor? Where there are open primaries, the allocation of delegates is strictly held within the Republican ranks?
SCHNEIDER: Well, that's the case in California. I don't know of any other states. There may well be. But that's a crucial one, because California could have a split result, where most of the voters -- and anybody can vote in the Republican primary. Most of the voters could end up voting for McCain, but the registered Republicans are the only ones who count in deciding the delegates, and it's winner take all; all of the delegates go the winner, and that could be George Bush.
GREENFIELD: What's really interesting about what you guys are talking about, is even in the states that are not technically winner take all, like Texas, on March 14, I think even the staunchest McCain supporter would argue that Governor Bush has a pretty good chance to sweep up just about all of those delegates. I think it's 104. And Florida happens to be governed by a guy name Jeb Bush, and unless there's a Kane and Abel situation there, which there isn't, you kind of expect that Jeb can deliver Florida to the governor.
So one of the things that makes this so tricky and will make for a great political story, if I may be selfish about this, is you could see McCain winning a lot of primaries in states where there are allocated delegates, and in a couple key states George Bush grabbing all the delegates, and so you might wind up with a situation where McCain actually wins more primaries, possibly, and George Bush has more delegates. How's that for a story?
SHAW: All nice and legal, if that were to be the outcome.
SCHNEIDER: But very controversial.
WOODRUFF: For a change, this thing might not be settled in the month of March, early in the election year.
GREENFIELD: No more predictions, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We know you don't like to make predictions, Jeff.
John King is still with us.
John, we've all been talking about John McCain needing to figure out a way to appeal to people in his own party. What do the people around him say that they can do, that they'd like to do, that they haven't been able to do so far.
KING: Well, they view they as a several step process. One of the main appeals they home John McCain will have after a few more nights, assuming they win Michigan tonight, is electability. Remember back in 1992, Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas. Organized labor didn't like him to begin with, but when they thought he was the candidate who could win in November, suddenly he was their favorite.
So by beating George Bush a few times, and look for the McCain campaign to say, if they win Michigan tonight, well gee, the governor of Texas is a regional candidate. He can only win in the South. Winning, they think, will change the psychology within the Republican Party. If the Republican establishment suddenly thinks that George Bush is weak and John McCain is the stronger candidate, the McCain camp things that Republicans will come his way. Will Senator McCain court the Republican establishment? Absolutely not. His message is reform. He talks jokingly sometimes about a hostile takeover of the Republican Party, but mostly what he says is that the party has lost its way.
So they us understand the very difficult math that you've been talking about. They us understand that when the campaign calendar moves south, they will have difficulty. Certainly, they can see the state of Texas. They do think it's possible to compete in Florida, if he wins California, if he wins New York and Ohio, that he could go Florida, because on economics, remember, he wants to put budget surplus money into Social Security and makes the case that Governor Bush does not put any money into Social Security, so Senator McCain could court elderly voters in Florida, but this is not about math for the McCain campaign. It is about psychology. They think if they can beat Governor Bush enough, that the tide might turn.
WOODRUFF: John, they've obviously given some thought to this whole numbers scenario that we've been discussing here, that Bill and Jeff were bringing up, that John McCain could be winning some primaries, but George Bush, meanwhile, could be racking up large, prohibitive numbers of delegates.
KING: Absolutely. They see this -- one of the questions for McCain will become resources. Senator McCain always says this will be decided on March 7. And when reporters remind him that if and Governor Bush go back and forth by then, that we could go on late into March and perhaps even into April and May. He always says, no, this will be decided on March 7.
Again, they are hoping the McCain campaign that he wins Michigan and Arizona tonight, that he wins Washington State and perhaps Virginia perhaps next Tuesday, and then the Republican Party revolts revotes against the front-runner. That's a big thing to wish for, and it almost always doesn't happen. But when you're the underdog going up against the establishment, it is all you can hope for, and again, this is all about psychology when it comes to the McCain campaign: if they do the math analysis, and where the delegates come from and especially where they come from after March 7, they would be very discouraged. They don't want to think about that just yet.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King. See you in Michigan.
SHAW: Where the race is tight, a record turnout.
WOODRUFF: In Phoenix. I'm sorry, I misspoke. He's in Phoenix. Candy is in Michigan.
SHAW: And I have Michigan on my mind because of the situation there. If you're just joining us, the race is very, very tight in Michigan, a record turnout.
We've mentioned Governor John Engler's name. When we come back, the governor will speak for himself in an interview here on CNN.
Don't go away. We'll be right back.
SHAW: In the state of Michigan, all eyes on that great state, because the race between John McCain and Texas Governor George Bush is very, very tight, a record turnout.
These are some of the first returns we have, with four percent of precincts reporting. Still very fragmentary. We have a feeling this is going to be a long evening.
WOODRUFF: Bernie, I think no one is watching these numbers and looking at these exit polls closer than the governor of the Wolverine State: John Engler. He joins us right now from a place -- I assume this is Bush headquarters or a Bush rallying place there in the state of Michigan, governor.
ENGLER: Well, that's right. It's sort of our Bush gathering point tonight to watch some these results come in. And I must tell you, we're not paying a lot of attention to the exit polls, because this is such a weird model in the year 2000. It breaks all the old molds. It is, at least according to some of the national media reports, a Republican primary where the Republicans are in the minority of the votes cast. It's a Republican primary where George Bush won that primary but may not have won the Michigan primary: again, according to some of the national media, because of the influx of Democrats and independents.
So we've got a long night ahead. Nine -- 10 years ago, in 1990, we sat up all night as I won the governorship of this state by 17,000 votes. I must say, this has got that feel, and I still feel pretty good about the outcome.
WOODRUFF: Well, governor, how do you explain, at the same time, after all the effort you put into this campaign, all the troops you had deployed, that it very well be, even if Governor Bush comes out on top, it looks like it's only going to be by a slim margin, at least that's how it looks right now.
ENGLER: Well, some of the -- again, your data is saying as many as 20 percent of the total votes cast were cast by Democrats in the Republican primary. So, that's an odd-looking primary. And they went heavily, heavily, heavily for John McCain.
WOODRUFF: But why don't you think more Republicans turned out, I guess is my question?
ENGLER: We set a record, we think. We had Republicans that were calling for ballots. They had exhausted their supply in late afternoon and said, print more ballots, we've got too many people. So in one sense, we're sort of sitting around here saying, gee, we laid out a game plan and we executed it, it worked, we did what we wanted. And then they're saying, but the strategy -- and I'll take responsibility -- my strategy may not have been very good. We may not have had it figured out in terms of how many of these independents and Democrats were going to come trekking into the Michigan primary.
And certainly McCain encouraged that, so I give him give him credit for reaching out to the partisan Ds and saying, will you please help me win a nomination.
SHAW: Governor Engler, you know your state very, very well. You've got a very impressive...
ENGLER: Well, I thought so.
SHAW: Well, you have a very impressive political machine in your state. So tactically, tell us...
SHAW: ... if you are to be saved tonight, if Governor Bush is to win Michigan tonight, how will it be done? Where are the votes going to come from?
ENGLER: Oh, you just have to watch the vote totals I think in west Michigan...
SHAW: West Michigan.
ENGLER: Those will be very important. And I think that in the Macomb-Oakland area, as those come in, those are going to be very important.
So we're seeming to do very, very well, but we'll just have to let them be counted. And when they are, I think we're going to look pretty good.
Bernie, the other thing that's important is that the way we allocate the delegates, we're trying to take again some guesses based on what we know owe. But I would guess, if I had to right now -- and this would assume that even if John McCain could win the popular vote that we'd walk away with something like a 36-22 delegate win.
SHAW: Governor, very candidly, you've got a potential embarrassing situation on your hands right now in your state. In the plan...
ENGLER: You mean with the open primary?
SHAW: In the planning of this, did you blow it?
ENGLER: Well, I might have, because I didn't think we needed to go the air and confront the McCain campaign on their appeal to Democrats. I really thought, well, if we just get our vote out, we can probably withstand whatever Democrat participation they can encourage.
I think again -- again, this is all speculative -- but it would appear, if you took all of the independents and add them to Republicans, George Bush has still got a nice big win tonight. But with the Democrats in there, I'm afraid that's what's making it close. That's why it's too close to call.
And I think at the end of the day, or maybe the end of tomorrow morning, we'll see.
WOODRUFF: Governor, just step back, if you would, for a minute. I know that's hard to do on the night of your presidential...
ENGLER: Oh, hindsight is always perfect anyway.
WOODRUFF: Think back. We all think back some months ago when you signed on with George W. Bush, a number of other, most of the other Republican governors, members of the Senate, Republicans in the Senate, they all thought many -- you all thought that George Bush was going to take this away in a walk. It hasn't worked out that way.
ENGLER: Oh, it will. It will. Don't -- don't despair.
WOODRUFF: It hasn't yet. Let me put it this way.
ENGLER: Don't despair, because we've got all these elections coming up with just Republicans.
WOODRUFF: It's not a matter of my despairing.
ENGLER: Oh, OK.
WOODRUFF: I'm just characterizing what I think were you expectations.
ENGLER: I thought you were worried about George.
WOODRUFF: But seriously, governor, what -- what -- what was not part of your early calculation and the calculation of so many others, do you think?
ENGLER: We've never had a candidate -- I mean, Ronald Reagan used to go try to recruit Democrats to become Republicans. We've never seen a candidate like John McCain who went out to rent Democrats for a day to get himself a nomination.
He actually put out a piece of campaign literature which said, "You can vote in the Republican primary today, and then tomorrow you can resume your normal Democratic Party political activity." In other words, come with me today and then tomorrow go back and start beating our brains out again. I mean, that's unprecedented. And I actually think it's going to hurt him in some of these Republican states coming forward where only Republicans participate.
There are some -- I had one network that suggested that among Republicans, George Bush may well have beaten John McCain by 40 points.
SHAW: Governor Engler, what about Senator McCain's argument? Look, you Republicans, if you don't like what's happening, if you don't like independents and Democrats voting in open primary, don't have an open primary.
ENGLER: Well, he's got a point. I mean, we may have to look at that. We always in the past, we had an open primary, had Democratic activity, too, and the absence of that, and as I said, and the presence of a candidate who says, you know, I'm running on character and integrity but not to the point where my character isn't troubled by the fact I can abandon my party, go to the other party and borrow voters to help me.
Come on. We'll see. John McCain isn't party building; he's party borrowing, and there's a big difference.
SHAW: OK. I thought I heard something there where you said if -- let me just ask you very simply, if you lose tonight, will you go back and change this and close this...
ENGLER: Oh, I have no idea.
SHAW: ... and make it a closed primary in Michigan?
ENGLER: No. We will not make it a closed primary. We -- I think our people don't want that, and in Michigan we like to compete for independent votes. But the two parties have a lot of healthy competition. The Republican Party likes to go up against the Labor Party, and we do that effectively. And one of the reasons that maybe they're a little irritated at me is we've had a lot of success in the '90s, and this was a chance for some payback possibly. There's at least some around here saying that that's exactly what was taking place. We'll see.
WOODRUFF: Governor, we also want to bring into this interview Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, who joins us -- senator, where are you? In Washington?
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: I'm in Washington, thank you.
WOODRUFF: We'd like to know where everybody is.
Senator Hagel, you were obviously a supporter, one of the early supporters of Senator McCain. How do you respond when you hear these comments by Governor Engler saying that there's just been this unprecedented effort to reach outside the party, to have people who are not Republicans determine the outcome of the Republican primary?
WOODRUFF: And we're going to stop. We're going to halt. If you could just hold on just a second. CNN is prepared to say that John McCain will be the winner in the state of Michigan by a, what we are calling a very small margin. John McCain estimated to be the winner in the state of Michigan.
So there you have it, and I think on that, Bernie, we want to go back to Senator Hagel for his reaction.
SHAW: Yes, first. Hello, senator.
WOODRUFF: Senator, are you still there?
HAGEL: Yes, I am. I don't know what I -- what else I can say. I could just leave it right there. That's good enough. But let me respond, Judy, to your question.
First, I understand Governor Engler's frustration. You know, a couple of things need to be pointed out, which you have done. No. 1, John McCain didn't go into Michigan and invent the rules. We played by the rules that Governor Engler and the party establishment set down.
No. 2, it's interesting to me that John McCain had one paid staff member in Michigan, and the lonely leadership and the lonely vigilance and commitment of Senator Schwartz (ph). That's what we had. That was our organization, plus a lot of people. No. 3, my understanding is that about 30 percent of the people who showed up today in Michigan were first-time voters.
And No. 4, isn't it ironic that John McCain is being penalized for the unifier, the unifier being the one who can bring independents and new voters and Democrats and Republicans, and hence in the CNN poll today shows McCain beating Gore by 24 points and Bush barely getting by Gore by five points.
So I guess that's the way I'd respond.
WOODRUFF: Well, Governor Engler is still with us. But I just want to -- if you don't mind, I just want to pursue the point that he made. In effect, he's saying you are turning this -- the determination of your party's nominee over to people who are not Republicans, and by inference, who don't have the best interests of your party at heart.
HAGEL: Well, like I said I understand Governor Engler's frustration. But the fact is we didn't get in this to win a primary in Michigan and Arizona and New Hampshire.
John McCain got in this to get the Republican nomination for president and win the presidency. In order to do that, he must first get the nomination.
We've got a long way to go, absolutely. And these tough primaries ahead that are closed, we've got to compete and we have to show that we can win over Republicans, and we'll do that.
SHAW: Governor Engler, CNN estimates that, as you heard, that Senator McCain will have won the Michigan primary by a very small margin. Your reaction?
ENGLER: Well, "The Chicago Tribune" made Thomas Dewey the president as well. So good luck on that estimate throughout this night.
Let me just say to Senator Hagel, what he should be aware of, though, is that last night the 14th district Democratic committee, Congressman John Conyers congressional district, had 50 phones working for Senator McCain. We had other calls being made. We had Debbie Dingell, the wife of Congressman John Dingell, being recruited over the phone. And then we had mailings going out to these poor Democratic voters.
So, that's the campaign. And look, I congratulate him. It was a good strategy, and I wouldn't suggest for a minute they didn't play by the rules. They did indeed. They used them a little bit differently, and shame on me for not being smart enough to figure that out.
SHAW: Governor, one last question before you go. I want to be very, very clear. I hear you intimate that regardless of the results tonight, about five minutes ago in this same interview, in the allocation of delegates, you said that you thought that Governor Bush would get roughly 36 delegates with 22 going to Senator McCain. Michigan has 58 delegates at the Philadelphia convention. Is that still your idea of how this is going to shake out tonight?
ENGLER: I think so, because if -- let's just use your call. That would provide 10 of the 58 if win the popular vote. Ten go at- large. The rest are decided by congressional districts. The greatest activity in the Democratic ranks for McCain were in Detroit. There's two Congressional districts there. That's six more delegates, so now we're at 16, and we were speculating that if some of these numbers held up, it a would appear that they might have done well in the upper peninsula and the Saginaw Valley. That's another 12, and that would be it.
SHAW: You have been very generous with your time, and we thank you.
ENGLER: Thank you.
SHAW: You're quite welcome, sir.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, governor.
And, Bill Schneider, have we thanked Senator Hagel? Is he still with us. I just want to make sure.
SCHNEIDER: I hope so.
HAGEL: I never leave CNN.
WOODRUFF: We want to make sure you haven't gone completely away, but I know Bill Schneider has a point to make.
SCHNEIDER: Well, just this point. Alan Keyes -- he got 5 percent of the of the vote according to our -- well, we don't have an estimate of anything, but we are showing him 5 percent of the vote.
SHAW: Keyes 5 percent tonight?
SCHNEIDER: Well, we haven't estimated yet, but he's definitely coming in third with single digits, but it's interesting, because of course we said that McCain would win by a close margin, and he may have to thank Alan Keyes a bit for that margin if he wins by fewer than five points, because our exit polls shows that Alan Keyes does best among very conservative voters and among hardcore Republican voters, who are otherwise very strong for George W. Bush. Many of them may have voted for Bush in a two-man race between Bush and McCain. Some of would have stayed home, of course, but Keyes in there might have made the margin of difference.
SHAW: OK, I have a question when we come back. We're going to pause and come on back to our coverage have the primaries tonight in Arizona and Michigan.
If you're just joining us, CNN declares that Senator John McCain will win the Michigan primary by a very small margin.
Back in a moment.
SHAW: CNN declaring tonight, just a short while ago, that Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has won the Michigan primary. We estimate, based on exit polling, that when all is said and done tonight, this man from Arizona will have won, but he will have done so by a very small margin.
WOODRUFF: And, Bernie, one of Senator McCain's few supporters in the United States Senate. I believe there are just four of you. Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is joining us. Isn't that right? There are just four senators who have endorsed senator McCain?
HAGEL: Yes. It's a small but a mighty band.
WOODRUFF: Senator, my question is this: It's clear tonight that the senator did very well among independents, even among the Democrats who came over and voted in the Republican primary in Michigan, but among Republicans, he's winning just one-quarter of the vote, and the same percentage apparently we know now in South Carolina over the weekend. Doesn't the senator have to figure out a way to retool his message, come up with a new message or whatever in order to appeal to those Republicans to get the nomination?
HAGEL: Well, we are going to have to more clearly define John's message, his program, his relevant speech, really to not just all of America, but to Republicans, and I think we'll do that. Now let's not forget that we've been up against the party establishments by either current governor's or former governor's that have been very, very difficult to deal with in the three states where we have won or three where we've competed with Governor Bush. So with the open primaries that we've had to deal with, we've also had to move a strategy a little bit to appeal to all the voters, including Democrats, independents and Republicans.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, and I guess congratulations are in order. You can convey them to Senator McCain. We're not sure when we're going to get a chance to talk to him next. We hope it's very soon. But thank you very much for joining us.
HAGEL: Thank you.
SHAW: Our man John King is in Phoenix, Arizona at McCain headquarters.
And, John, we were talking to Michigan Governor John Engler, and Judy made the call on McCain winning tonight in Michigan by a very small margin, and Governor Engler said he's aware of that 1948 "Chicago Trib" headline: "Dewey Beats Truman," plan so he's holding out hope. Be that as it may, what's the reaction there where you are at ground zero?
KING: Only a very small crowd of McCain supporters here, because we're in Mountain Time, the polls still open in Arizona. But a cheer went up, the dozen or so here, when we called the race a short time ago and were told by a senior McCain campaign ad that he's at home watching the results, and he is now aware that we have called the race in Michigan. Obviously, they want to see the hard vote totals come in, too.
But let me raise a couple points based on my conversations tonight. Number one, you heard Governor Engler's criticism of Senator McCain reaching out to Democrats and independents. The McCain camp acknowledges that some of its its support today came from Democrats angry at their Republican governor, and the way the McCain camp response is that Governor Bush gets all the benefits of the establishment support. He's going to have to accept it when that support comes with baggage as well.
Now in his remarks tonight, Judy, just talking to Chuck Hagel about this, Senator Hagel, look for senator to stress, we were just told by a top aid, three key points: conservative reform, conservative reform and conservative reform. They understand that as the race moves on, if Senator McCain is to succeed and keep going, he needs to talk more about his conservative record. He believes -- he's complained about this repeatedly to the press in recent days -- that his record has been distorted by Governor Bush. They do understand, the McCain campaign, they need to stress conservative more often. They will do that tonight we're told, the senator will do that tonight.
Again, they're very happy with our prediction of a victory in Michigan, but they're looking for the vote totals as well.
SHAW: What's fascinating about all this, everyone, is that it's like being in a laboratory, watching through experimentation, something unfolding. What is going on here, Bill Schneider?
SCHNEIDER: What's going on here is the real unraveling of the of the Republican race, because you've New Hampshire, McCain, then South Carolina, Bush, now Michigan McCain; it's going back and forth. It looks like it's going to be a long, drawn out contest, but it's a real interesting race, because Bush does have an advantage, appealing to Republicans, but McCain also can claim that he can reach out beyond the Republican Party base, that he can be more electable than George Bush. And that's important.
We just heard Senator Hagel talk about it. He mentioned that in our poll today, which was taken after South Carolina, John McCain is running 24 points ahead of Al Gore in the polls. George Bush is just 5 points ahead, and that is too close to call. So if Republicans originally went to George Bush and endorsed him in large numbers because they said we got a winner, they've got to take another look at Bush and they've got to take another look at McCain.
SHAW: So the assumption tonight is that a lot of establishment regulars in the GOP are really going: hmm.
SCHNEIDER: They should be going that way. And it's interesting because in the poll among Republicans and even among Democrats they say, they think Bush would be the stronger candidate but the evidence is McCain would be the more electable Republican.
WOODRUFF: All right, there's a lot more to talk about in this Michigan race. As we said, the polls closed at 8:00 Eastern, and that was about 15 minutes ago. Ten more minutes from now, the polls will close in the state of Arizona. We may have -- may or may not have a call to make in Arizona.
When we come back -- we're going to take a break -- we're going to look at another aspect of this campaign: the so-called "shadow campaign," some of the phone calls, the letters. We'll talk about that in a minute.
SHAW: Texas Governor John -- Texas Governor -- Arizona Governor John McCain.
WOODRUFF: Senator, senator.
SHAW: Senator John McCain has won the Michigan primary by a small turnout. And what's fascinating about what's happening in Michigan tonight: the voter turnout. Well over one million citizens turned out, twice as many as turned out last time.
WOODRUFF: That's right, Bernie. In the last election, I think it was around 500 less -- Republican primary -- around a half million people. We're looking at maybe over a million people.
As you say, a win for John McCain small margin, but we're looking -- we estimate -- based on exit polls, based on sample poll counts of sample precincts that John McCain will win.
Bernie, one of the stories that we've been looking at in the state of Michigan: so-called "shadow campaign." A lot of phone calls, mailings that went out from people both associated and not associated with the campaigns. Happened in Michigan, happened in South Carolina.
Our own Wolf Blitzer's been looking into it. And Wolf is in Washington to tell us more -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Judy, it's one of the sordid aspects of an election day here in the United States. It's been going on all the time for many, many years. And it's a very hard story for those of us in the media to cover. But it went on in South Carolina, certainly going on right now, went on all day in Michigan as well.
This shadow campaigning: the sort of secretive, kind of, phone bank -- automated phone bank messages -- that are sent out by supporters of various candidates.
For example, in Michigan today, Pat Robertson, the president and founder of the Christian Coalition, he sent out a message to all of his supporters -- at least to many of them -- in Michigan, urging them to vote for George Bush, not to vote for John McCain. Here's a sample of that kind of automated phone message.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
PAT ROBERTSON, BUSH SUPPORTER: Tomorrow's Republican primary may determine whether our deem backs reality or whether the Republican party will nominate a man who wants to take First Amendment freedoms from citizens' groups while he gives unrestricted power to labor unions. A man who chose as his national campaign chairman a vicious bigot who wrote that conservative Christians in politics are anti- abortion zealots, homophobes, and would-be censors.
John McCain refused to repudiate these words.
(END AUDIO TAPE)
BLITZER: That's a reference to former Senator Warren Rudman who supports McCain. Now on the other side, McCain supporters, even though the McCain campaign disavows this, McCain supporters are sending out a message to Catholic voters in Michigan recalling George Bush's controversial visit to Bob Jones University in South Carolina.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO TAPE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a Catholic voter alert. Governor George Bush has campaigned against Senator John McCain by seeking the support of Southern fundamentalists who have expressed anti-Catholic views.
Several weeks ago, Governor Bush spoke at Bob Jones University in South Carolina. Bob Jones has made strong anti-Catholic statements, including calling the Pope the anti-Christ, and the Catholic Church a satanic cult.
BLITZER: Struck a big nerve in the George W. Bush campaign. In fact, the governor of Texas issuing a statement earlier today saying this:
"John McCain in South Carolina compared me to Bill Clinton and said I was just as untrustworthy, now he's paying for calls that call me an anti-Catholic bigot. This is shameful politics being practiced by Senator McCain."
To which the McCain folks say they didn't pay for this, they had nothing to do with it. But the Bush camp has a lot of nerve, they say, in going after them for doing, allegedly, what was done against John McCain --Bernie, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer.
Things are never exactly as they seem in politics. There's always a lot more going on beneath the surface than appears. SHAW: Absolutely. Once again, Senator John McCain, the winner in Michigan by a small margin. That's based on the exit polls and the votes from our sample precedes within the state of Michigan.
The polls close in less than two minutes in Arizona. We'll check in and see what's happening in that state. We have much, much more to come as we continue our coverage of these two primaries tonight.
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