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Inside Politics

McCain Blasts Leaders of Religious Right; Bush Accuses McCain of Divisiveness; Bradley Leaves Washington for California

Aired February 28, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are the party of Ronald Reagan, not Pat Robertson. We are the party of Abraham Lincoln, not Bob Jones.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: John McCain tries to under cut George W. Bush by blasting some of his allies from the religious right. How might it play in tomorrow's primaries, and beyond?


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator McCain is running a stealth campaign saying one thing and doing another. He's playing the religious card. That's not Reaganesque.


WOODRUFF: Bush accuses McCain of playing a divisive political game. But does he fear fallout?

Plus, Bill Bradley's big play for Washington state. Has he decided it's time to move on?

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Bernie is on assignment.

We begin with John McCain trying today to turn an undercurrent in the GOP presidential race into a full-fledged tidal wave. McCain condemned some elements of the religious right and accused George W. Bush of pandering to them. He did it in Virginia on the day before the primary there and where, as CNN's Jonathan Karl reports, McCain was essentially in what you might call the lion's den.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John McCain took on Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson, right here on the televangelist's home turf, Virginia Beach. MCCAIN: We are the party of Ronald Reagan, not Pat Robertson.

KARL: McCain accused Robertson and Moral Majority leader/founder Jerry Falwell of distorting his record.

MCCAIN: Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and a few Washington leaders of the pro-life movement call me an unacceptable presidential candidate. They distort my pro-life positions and smear the reputations of my supporters.

KARL: The McCain campaign is trying to portray George W. Bush as a captive of the religious right.

MCCAIN: Governor Bush is a Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore.

KARL: McCain's aides believe the religious right affiliation may help Bush in Virginia, but it will hurt him in New York and California, where the Christian Coalition is less of a force.

Robertson campaigned for Bush in South Carolina. And in Michigan, the televangelist taped campaign phone calls attacking McCain supporter Warren Rudman.


PAT ROBERTSON, FOUNDER, CHRISTIAN COALITION: The 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.


KARL: But McCain's aides say the campaign will continue to reach out to rank-and-file Christian conservatives. He's getting some help from that from Gary Bauer, one of the few religious conservative leaders to endorse his candidacy.

GARY BAUER (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any faith-based voter in the commonwealth of Virginia that cares about family issues, about life issues and so forth, can rest assured that a vote for Senator McCain is a good and reasonable vote to make.

KARL: But McCain's main target today was a different audience: Republicans who think the religious right is intolerant and has been a factor in their party's losses the last few elections.

MCCAIN: I will not padlock the Republican Party and surrender the future of our nation to Speaker Gephardt and President Al Gore.

KARL (on camera): In a single-frenzied day, McCain will campaign in Virginia, North Dakota and Washington state -- all places that have GOP contests on Tuesday -- before ending up with a late-night rally in California, which votes in now just eight days on Super Tuesday.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Virginia Beach. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Within the past half hour or so, Christian Coalition Executive Vice President Roberta Combs issued a statement responding to McCain's criticism and, quoting now:

"The Christian Coalition will rise above this transparent effort to divide one American from another on the basis of religion. Our pro-family message of faith and freedom will draw citizens to the polls in record numbers, as we encourage all people of faith to continue their active involvement in the process we call democracy."

George W. Bush responded to McCain's salvo by calling him, quote, "shameless" and a "finger-pointer." Bush is campaigning in Washington state, where he and McCain are in a tight race heading into tomorrow's primary.

CNN's Candy Crowley is traveling with Bush.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Having admitted he lost an opportunity to speak out against religious intolerance, George Bush hoped this was the week he would put Bob Jones University behind him. And then John McCain essentially accused Bush of being a far-right candidate.

BUSH: He's playing the religious card. That's not Reaganesque. That reminds me of the current administration.

CROWLEY: That McCain is trying to lay claim to the Reagan mantle seems particularly irksome to Bush, who prides himself on a Reaganesque tax cut and a Texas record of drawing support across party lines.

BUSH: Ronald Reagan didn't point fingers. He didn't -- he never played to people's religious fears like Senator McCain has shamelessly done by calling into states like Michigan. Evidently, he's doing it now in the state of Washington.

CROWLEY: The Bush campaign says some voters have gotten calls similar to those the McCain campaign put out in Michigan, suggesting but not directly accusing Bush of being anti-Catholic. Bush calls it a stealth campaign, and pointedly noted that McCain told news organizations he was not responsible for the Michigan calls.

BUSH: Looked you right in the eye and said, I don't know anything about it, and then yesterday in "The New York Times" admitted that he knew something about it and approved the scripts. It's important to have people who, you know, say one thing and do the same thing.

CROWLEY: Though his visit to Bob Jones may not yet -- maybe won't ever -- be totally behind him, Bush seems heartened by the response he's gotten from supporters since saying he regretted the impression his visit left? BUSH: They don't like this kind of politics, politics of personal destruction, politics -- the use of religion -- shamelessly using religion to get ahead.

CROWLEY: Calm, cool and collected, Bush never raised his voice, never got riled as he listen to questions about the McCain speech. You get the sense Bush strategists thinks, or hope, that McCain is overplaying his hand.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Casco, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk about Governor Bush, Senator McCain and the religious right as a campaign issue among other things.

We're joined now by McCain supporter and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer, and the governor of the commonwealth of Virginia and Bush supporter James Gilmore.

Governor Gilmore, to you first. John McCain today called George W. Bush a Pat Robertson Republican. He called Pat Robertson one of the agents of intolerance. What do you -- how do you react?

GOV. JAMES GILMORE (R), VIRGINIA: Well, you know, Judy, I just think that's sad. I think we're in a situation now where John McCain is down to just trying to divide one person from another, play upon people's fears. We've seen evidence now that 24,000 Roman Catholic families were telephoned in Michigan with an anti-Bush message. My congressman, Tom Bliley, a prominent congressman, today, has said that he has evidence now that's going on in Virginia.

We just, we should not be dividing one person from another. To do that is wrong politics. It's bad public policy, it's not the right thing to do. Instead, we've got to try to find ways to unify people. George Bush is a unifier. He's trying to bring people together. That's what we're doing in Virginia in my administration and you know, Ronald Reagan was never a divider like this, playing upon fears and people's religions. He was a unifier, not like this, nothing like this.

WOODRUFF: Gary Bauer, is John McCain dividing people and playing on people's fears?

BAUER: I don't think so, Judy, but I do think the campaign has certainly gotten very nasty from the year that I was in it, I felt like we were helping our party.

We had seven great national debates that I think people felt good about at the end of each of those debates. But in recent weeks beginning in so South Carolina things were aimed at Senator McCain that he obviously was deeply offended by. The professor at Bob Jones University that puts out an e-mail he's got two illegitimate children, and then came on INSIDE POLITICS to talk about something there's no evidence of. I think one other thing, Judy, a big part of the speech is being missed today. He has obvious, he's in the middle of a personal argument with a couple of national figures, and I'm not going to get in the middle of that, but this speech today was pro-life, pro-family, he praised other leaders.

WODDRUFF: But Gary Bauer, what is getting all the attention from this speech the criticism of Pat Robertson, the criticism of Jerry Falwell. And my question is, is this healthy for the Republican Party?

BAUER: Well, what's healthy for the Republican Party is to have Senator McCain today in his speech talk about his own deeply held faith, about the fact that he's pro-life, and pro-family. He said over the weekend he's committed to overturning Roe vs. Wade. He appealed today to Christian-conservative voters in the speech, while arguing with two individuals that he's gotten in a very personal dispute with in recent weeks.

WOODRUFF: Governor Gilmore, what about that?

GILMORE: Well, Judy, there's nothing, either Christian or even decent about anything like this. And you know, I think that you have to ask yourself what you can believe at this point from John McCain. He's made a big statement within his campaign that he's a person that will never lie to you at the same time he didn't tell the truth about the fact his campaign was calling into Michigan, and to Roman Catholic homes in Michigan, and now into Virginia doing these things. I think that the straight talk bus got tipped over.

WOODRUFF: Gary Bauer, what about that? I mean, is a fact that the McCain campaign originally denied and then later acknowledged after the vote, that they were involved in these kinds of calls?

BAUER: I am not an official part of the campaign, so I...

WOODRUFF: But you have endorsed Senator McCain.

BAUER: I have indeed, and both of the candidates have engaged in very tough tactics in recent weeks. Before we went on the air, I was saying to Governor Gilmore, if this keeps up, we may as well give an engraved invitation to Al Gore to be in the White House. But again...

WOODRUFF: Do you endorse these tactics...

BAUER: Well, of course not.

WOODRUFF: ... on the McCain campaign side?

BAUER: I don't endorse any kind of hardball tactics. I ran a year-long presidential campaign where I refused to engage in those things.

But it's just not factually correct, Judy, to suggest that what McCain did today was attack religious conservative voters. He did not do that. I was there. He praised people... WOODRUFF: But that's not what we're saying. I don't believe I said he attacked religious conservative voters.

BAUER: No, but I think Governor Bush came awfully close to suggesting that what Senator McCain is doing is attacking Christian conservatives. He's not doing that at all.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you, Governor Gilmore, is Pat Robertson a liability for the Bush campaign?

GILMORE: Pat Robertson is my friend, and he's supported me as I've put together broad coalitions to bring people together. And that's why I decided to be for Governor Bush, because he has that track record of proven leadership in Texas, of drawing people together. His vote in the Hispanic community, predominantly Catholic, is very, very large because of his caring and feeling reputation of working together on the issues that matter to working men and women and to families across the country.

BAUER: Governor, do you think it's fair to present Senator McCain as being pro-choice for not being good on abortion?

GILMORE: I think that what I saw today here with my own eyes on the television set in Virginia Beach was a candidate who was out there in a furious, sort of, intemperate, angry way, trying to divide one group from another. I've never seen anything like it.

BAUER: As you know, the campaign that you've endorsed has constantly, through various spokesmen, suggested that Senator McCain is not pro-life. Do you believe he's pro-life?

GILMORE: I am not interested in anything like that today, Gary. That's not what's under discussion here.

BAUER: What we are discussing is campaign tactics. And over the past four or five weeks, there's been an effort to make Senator McCain look like a liberal, when he's conservative, make him look like he's pro-choice when he's pro-life, and the man is obviously angry about it.

GILMORE: It's true that I think he has totally lost his temper.

BAUER: He hasn't lost his temper. That was a very controlled speech. When you have your record constantly distorted and smeared...

GILMORE: I get to say something too, you see. I mean, it will not do to just simply try to shout down opponents. The fact of the matter is, is that what we have seen today is a divisive type of conduct, and it is not the first time. We now know that calls were made into Roman Catholic households in Michigan in order to try to concern them about George Bush and call him intolerant. That was not true. And in fact, it was so reprehensible that John McCain denied it. It was not straight talk. And then of course, at a later time, had to admit it.

BAUER: There have been very conservative unacceptable phone calls made by both campaigns, and a campaign that has become very nasty and must be great comfort to Al Gore. But it's not on one side, it's on both sides, and I think everybody needs to take a deep breath unless we want to give up the chance of getting back the White House.

GILMORE: I don't agree with that, Judy. I think it will not do to try to justify John McCain's misconduct, today and last week, by just simply saying oh well, everybody on both sides of -- this is wrong, this is absolutely wrong, and should not be tolerated by Gary Bauer, by me or anyone else in this campaign.

BAUER: Governor, you thought the phone calls were made in South Carolina attacking Senator McCain on the fact that he's got a black child, actually an adopted child, from Bangladesh. Do you think those were appropriate calls?

GILMORE: I never heard anything like that. None of that has ever been...

BAUER: You should have gone into South Carolina, sir. Those calls were being made all over rural areas of the state.

WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, clearly, this is a subject generating strong feelings on both side.

GILMORE: Well, it's sad, Judy. It's not so much anger, it's just sadness that the campaign has degenerated down to this.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have leave it there, gentlemen.

Governor Jim Gilmore....

GILMORE: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: ... Gary Bauer, we thank you both, hope to see you both again. Thank you.

With the religious right becoming an issue in this race, our Bruce Morton takes a closer look at the tie between politics and religion, and the role of conservative Christians.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Americans have always been religious. Nine out of 10 say they've never doubted God's existence. Four out of 10 say they worship in a church or synagogue at least weekly, and there no strangers to politics. Ministers, black and white, marched and died in the civil right protests of the 1960s. The religious right probably started with the Reverend Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority in 1979.


REV. JERRY FALWELL, MORAL MAJORITY: He had been able to raise the consciousness, the moral consciousness of this country in a way that has made conservative and religious Americans realize that we're first-class citizens.


MORTON: The Moral Majority helped propel Ronald Reagan to his landslide victories in 1980 and '84. Falwell went back to a traditional ministry in 1987. Christian conservatism may have peaked in 1988 when Pat Robertson announced he was running for president.


PAT ROBERTSON, CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN COALITION: I am an official candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States.


MORTON: Robertson finished second in the Iowa caucuses, but that was as far as he got. Religious conservatives loved Ronald Reagan, who talked their talk, but he never did much about their issues -- abortion, school prayer, so on. Under Bill Clinton, the movement suffered: No gains on restricting abortion, no gains on school prayer and the effort to remove Clinton from office failed. The Christian Coalition itself suffered membership losses, went into debt. and its best organizer, Ralph Reed, left to become a political consultant -- one client, George W. Bush.

Prominent Christian conservative Paul Weyrich said Christians should get out of politics. And they've split, at least one: Gary Bauer backs McCain.

But today McCain attacked some who attacked him.

MCCAIN: Neither party should be defined by pandering to the outer reaches of American politics and the agents of intolerance, whether they be Louis Farrakhan or Al Sharpton on the left or Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell on the right.

MORTON (on camera): The religious right is a force in the Republican Party. It doesn't control the party, and it never has. Maybe that's because Americans are religious, but don't want the government telling them what's right and what's wrong.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the Democratic hopefuls. Is Bill Bradley abandoning his Washington State strategy in favor of California?

Plus, the vice president looks beyond March 7 and courts the voters of Colorado.


WOODRUFF: The GOP race in Washington State may be a squeaker, but polls show that Al Gore has a wide lead over Bill Bradley in the Democratic primary there. The contest in Washington State tomorrow marks the first time since the New Hampshire primary that open Republican and Democratic contests are being held on the same day. That only compounds Bradley's hurdles, since he finds himself competing for independent votes with John McCain.

CNN's Bob Franken has more on Bradley's uphill battle.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a "goodbye Washington" rally for Bill Bradley, a huge one, at the University of Washington. He had come to the state nearly a week ago, as he put it, to plant the foot. Bradley came here seeking new momentum. Now his campaign sees little indication of a big mo', or any mo' for that matter.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I knew we were against entrenched power. I knew it would be difficult, and it has been.

FRANKEN: So Bradley is moving on to California even before the Washington primary this Tuesday, which raises questions about the success of the Washington strategy and it certainly has been an uneven campaign in this state. There were events like this one at the controversial abortion clinic in Seattle where the security was heavier than the attendants, but there were also moments of high energy.

BRADLEY: Good morning, Spokane!

FRANKEN: By Bill Bradley's standards, he really let his hair down on occasion, at this rally Saturday morning in Spokane, when he served chili later in the day in Seattle's Old Time Cafe, and when he gave a basketball clinic Sunday at the Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue, Washington, the perfect metaphor for his long-shot campaign. His last day in Washington began when he greeted commuters on the Seattle ferry. Now he ships out for California and leaves behind a Democratic primary election that is only a popularity contest.

BRADLEY: There will be no delegates selected tomorrow. The delegates will be selected on March 7th, and that is the important day. That's the day that we're expecting to take off.

FRANKEN (on camera): But Bradley was hoping to take off in the Washington primary, his best chance for an upset on March 7th, perhaps his only chance.

Bob Franken, CNN, Tacoma, Washington.


WOODRUFF: For his part, Vice President Gore will be on his way to California late tonight. Earlier today, he stopped in Denver to talk to voters. The target of his remarks was the GOP hopefuls, not Bill Bradley.

Gary Tuchman reports.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hear it for the next president of the United States, let's give him a Colorado welcome.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Colorado doesn't hold its primary until March 10th, three days after Super Tuesday. But Al Gore felt confident enough to come here to the state's capital city, what he thinks is a capital idea.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want your vote. I want your support. I need your help. I want to be your next president.

TUCHMAN: Notably, the vice president never mentioned Bill Bradley directly or indirectly. Instead, he kept up his attack on George W. Bush, John McCain, and the Republican Party.

GORE: Both of them are against raising the minimum wage, both of them want to take away a woman's right to choose. I will fight to protect and defend a woman's right to choose.

TUCHMAN: At a big Western swing, Gore told supporters at this rally he still supports affirmative action and is against public school vouchers. And with the tragedy at nearby Columbine High School still fresh in people's minds here, he discussed gun control.

GORE: I believe it's time to ban the assault weapons and ban the Saturday Night Specials or junk guns. I believe it's time for a photo license I.D. for the purchase of a new handgun.

TUCHMAN: Al Gore has a solid lead in Colorado primary polls and he is picking up many Bill Bradley supporters who no longer think Bradley can win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to be realistic, and from the primaries so far going around the country, I think it would be sort of a waste of time and energy to invest in Bradley at this point.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Polls show Al Gore comfortably ahead in Washington State. If that weren't the case, it's quite likely he'd still be campaigning there and not spending this day in Colorado, Arizona and California.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Denver.


WOODRUFF: And INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: John McCain is viewed more favorably than the other top presidential contenders nationwide, according to our new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup Poll. But for the first time in the campaign season, Al Gore's favorable rating is higher than George W. Bush's. Bush's rating dropped a tick since last week, while McCain, Gore, and Bill Bradley all had increases in their favorable ratings in varying degrees.

There is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Still to come, playing the proposition game in California, Jennifer Auther on the measures and the issues.



TONY CLARK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the Donald dropping out, Jesse leaving the ring, and political factions shouting at each other, some members of the Reform Party are calling on Ross Perot to take the lead again.


WOODRUFF: Tony Clark on the petition drive to put Perot back on the top of the Reform Party ticket.

And later...


ED KOCH (D), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: With Giuliani, you're either a sycophant or you're an enemy.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In short, New Yorkers tend to love him or hate him.


WOODRUFF: Frank Buckley looks at a man of extremes, mayor and likely Senate candidate Rudy Giuliani.


WOODRUFF: We will have more of the day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

Dozens of protesters were arrested today outside the Supreme Court. They were demanding a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former radio journalist sentenced to death for the killing of a Philadelphia police officer.

As CNN's Charles Bierbauer reports, the protests come as several states thoroughly look at their own execution policies.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN SR. WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The justices are hearing Michael Wayne Williams' death penalty appeal that Virginia withheld information, weakening his defense for two 1993 murders. They had planned to hear a claim that execution in Florida's electric chair is cruel and unusual punishment.

RICHARD DIETER, DEATH PENALTY INFO. CTR.: The most recent one in which his whole chest was covered with blood indicating he was alive and bleeding during this electrocution.

BIERBAUER: The court dropped the Florida case after Governor Jeb Bush signed a law allowing execution by lethal injection. Of 38 states with a death penalty, three, Alabama, Georgia and Nebraska use only the electric chair. The death penalty is getting renewed scrutiny in the U.S.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes I wonder if it's going to hurt.

BIERBAUER: Death row inmates appear in new Benetton ads for the clothing conscious with a social conscience.

In Illinois last year, death row inmate Anthony Porter was freed after student journalists found flaws in his conviction. Governor George Ryan, though he supports the death penalty, ordered a moratorium on executions last month.

The justices seem more concerned about trial procedures than the death penalty itself.

(on camera): The court has heard death row appeals about ineffective counsel and jury instructions, yet denied appeals about executing a juvenile offender, or arguing that long years on death row amount to cruel and unusual punishment.

(voice-over): Executions in the U.S. are up, 98 last year, as appeals run out. But death sentences are down as juries consider options such as life in prison without parole.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: A protest is planned in front of the U.S. Justice Department Thursday against the acquittals of four New York City police officers accused of killing Amadou Diallo. Friday's not guilty verdicts prompted protests and vigils in New York. Jurors point out that they were instructed to a acquit if they thought police reasonably believed Diallo was armed.

New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani will join Larry King tonight beginning at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

In Austria, sources say that Joerg Haider is stepping down as head of the right-wing Freedom Party. Haiger is controversial for comments that appeared to minimize Nazi war crimes. And there was international outrage when his party joined the Austrian government this month.

U.S. envoy Dennis Ross returns from the Middle East empty handed. A week of shuttling between the Palestinians and Israel failed to produce an agreement. The peace process has been faltering over Israeli withdrawals from the West Bank. Ross says that he will talk with President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright about how to proceed.

Authorities in Chicago still don't know what caused a house to explode, critically injuring an elderly couple that lived there. Sunday's blast scattered debris more than a block and damaged neighboring houses. Three other people, including an infant, were injured.

And when INSIDE POLITICS returns, the GOP presidential battle over the influence of the religious right. Our Bill Schneider will offer poll numbers and perspective.



MCCAIN: We embrace the fine members of the religious conservative community. But that does not mean that we will pander to their self appointed leaders.


WOODRUFF: That was another sample from John McCain's broadside in Virginia today against Pat Robertson and some other Christian conservative leaders. McCain took aim at their political tactics, accusing them of trying to smear him. And he portrayed George W. Bush and some members of the Republican establishment as captives of the religious right.

Our Bill Schneider joins us now from Los Angeles.

Bill, how important is the religious right as a force in American politics?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, in the last two presidential elections the religious right accounted for one out of six voters, 17 percent of the electorate. In 1992, when president Bush got only 38 percent of the vote nationwide, the religious right gave him 61 percent. They were there when nobody else was. And in 1996, when Bob Dole got 41 percent nationwide, the religious right gave him 65 percent. Again, they were there when nobody else was.

WOODRUFF: Bill, what about in Republican primaries? How important are they?

SCHNEIDER: well, in the GOP primary so far this year, Judy, the religious right has ranged from 16 percent in New Hampshire to 34 percent in South Carolina. And, you know, in every GOP primary, they've voted for George W. Bush -- even in Arizona.

WOODRUFF: Is there an anti-religious right vote in the Republican primaries?

SCHNEIDER: Well, you know, there was in 1988, when Pat Robertson ran for president. That year, the party establishment held solid for Vice President Bush. But since 1988, something interesting has happened. Leaders of the religious right resisted the appeals of Pat Buchanan, and they succeeded in holding religious right voters in line for President Bush in 1992 and Bob Dole in 1996.

Now this year, the religious right is again making common cause with the GOP establishment against John McCain. Now we don't find much evidence that the religious right is either disliked or distrusted by most Republicans. For instance, in our national poll this weekend, we asked Republicans whether they think Bush is too close to the religious right. Only 20 percent said yes. Almost four times as many said no.

WOODRUFF: What about the controversy over Bob Jones University? Has that hurt Bush?

SCHNEIDER: Well, there is some evidence it has. Among Protestant Republicans nationwide, Bush has a two-to-one lead over John McCain. But Catholic voters may have a problem with Bush. Their vote is tied between Bush and McCain. And Catholics, as you know, are a very important constituency in New York, Ohio and California on March the 7th.

WOODRUFF: So in the end, Bill, what do you think will be the effect of McCain's attack today on the religious right?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it really depends on whether McCain's conservative credentials are strong enough to give him the standing to attack Pat Robertson and Bob Jones? We'll have to see. You know, McCain called Bush a "Pat Robertson Republican who will lose to Al Gore." and that may be the most damaging charge of all. Because McCain is saying, because of Bush's link to these guys, he's a loser -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider in Los Angeles. And I'll see you how there tomorrow.

As we reported earlier, the McCain camp hopes that Bush's ties to the religious right will hurt the governor in the big March 7th primaries in New York and California. A new Field poll shows McCain trailing Bush by 20 points in California among Republicans likely to vote in the primary. This will be California's first open primary, but only votes by registered Republicans will count towards selecting GOP delegates.

Although McCain needs to gain ground in California, he has withdrawn from Thursday's GOP presidential debate in the Golden State sponsored by CNN and "The Los Angeles Times." The McCain camp says that Governor Bush took so long to agree to take part in the debate that the senator made other plans for that day. The debate still is scheduled to take place, with Bush and Alan Keyes participating. And the offer for McCain to participate still stands.

More than any state in the union, California is known for the exercise in direct democracy known as the ballot initiative. The most famous of all was Proposition 13, the 1970s tax revolt that hinted at what was to come on a much larger scale.

From Los Angeles, CNN's Jennifer Auther reports on the latest crop of propositions, which includes a challenge to Prop 13.


JENNIFER AUTHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While it is best known for sunsets, beaches and earthquakes, in the political universe, California is famous for its precedent-setting ballot initiatives, so much so that at, there's even a song to help voters through the ballot.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER (singing): Oh, there once was a proposition, its number was 1A...


AUTHER: Probably the highest-profile initiative this year is Proposition 22, which, if passed, would mean gay marriages would not be recognized in California. Television ads don't tip toe around this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pete Knight, the California politician behind Prop. 22, may not like it that his son is gay, but he shouldn't make us vote on his private problem.



NARRATOR: Most people believe marriage should be between a man and a woman, but judges in other states are trying to overrule that.


AUTHER: Proposition 21 deals with juvenile crime. It would lower the age by which a child could be tried as an adult from 16 to 14. Remember the song?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES (singing): If we pass this proposition, more kids would be doing time.

AUTHER: There's an initiative to set fund raising and spending limits for campaigns and to publicly finance some campaigns. Prop. 25 could well be influenced by the GOP presidential primary dog fight, since it's John McCain's rallying cry.

(on camera): Statewide polls show Californians are evenly divided on Proposition 25, a campaign finance reform initiative. It is co-sponsored by Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who was also behind a 1998 initiative which banned bilingual education in California. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Instead of leveling the playing field, it makes it even more of a rich-man's game. It was written by a millionaire candidate to limit everyone except millionaire candidates.

AUTHER (voice-over): Unz describes it differently.

RON UNZ, CO-SPONSOR, PROP. 25: The initiative puts, for the first time, contribution limits in place in California. We also provide free air time for statewide candidates that agree to voluntary spending limits.

AUTHER: Proposition 26 would lower the threshold for voters to approve new school facilities from 2/3 to a simple majority. Its passage could signal an end to California's so-called Proposition 13, 1978's symbol of taxpayer revolt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would represent the first turning away from some of the structures that have been put in place by Prop. 13.

AUTHER: By far the most money, some $50 million is being spent by supporters and opponents of Props. 30 and 31. Both address whether consumers should be protected from slow payment of claims by insurance companies.


NARRATOR: Prop. 30 will make the guilty drivers' insurance company pay, and Prop. 30 will make the big insurance companies pay claims on time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thirty and 31 will increase your insurance rates about $300 a year, and that's no small change.


AUTHER: California has 20 measures in all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALES (singing): Pay attention and sing along. It's the proposition song, because the ballot is too darn long

AUTHER: Jennifer Auther, CNN, Los Angeles.


WOODRUFF: Pretty catchy.

Up next, drafting a Reform Party candidate. Might Ross Perot answer the call and make one more White House bid?


WOODRUFF: With all the recent fireworks in the Reform Party, Pat Buchanan is left as the only announced candidate for the party's presidential nomination, but some party members want to see another familiar face heading the ticket.

Our Tony Clark reports from Dallas.


CLARK (voice-over): With the Donald dropping out, Jesse leaving the ring, and political factions shouting at each other, some members of the Reform Party are calling on Ross Perot to take the lead again.

JIM MANGIA, REFORM PARTY NATL. SECRETARY: I think there's a lot of support for Ross Perot and there's a lot of support for political reform around the country, and I think we're going to begin to see that coming out.

CLARK: Jim Mangia, the Reform Party's national secretary, has set up a Draft Perot Web site with petitions urging Perot to run for president.

MANGIA: There's been a very, very tremendous response on the part of the grassroots of activists in the Reform Party and everyday ordinary Americans.

CLARK: But Perot is remaining noncommittal.

RUSS VERNEY, PEROT POLITICAL STRATEGIST: Well, at this point, Ross Perot has made no preparations to run for president. He has not said anything one way or another about his intentions for the future.

CLARK: If he wanted to, Perot could stop the draft movement in its tracks, according to Professor Dennis Simon.

PROF. DENNIS SIMON, SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIV.: By keeping his -- the possibility of a candidacy open, he becomes a player again.

CLARK: At present, Pat Buchanan is the only nationally known candidate actively seeking the Reform Party nomination. If Perot gets in the race, Buchanan says he'll fight him all the way to the convention and beat him. But former party chairman and Perot political strategist Russ Verney doubts that would be the outcome.

VERNEY: If Ross Perot ran for the Reform Party nomination, of course he would win the Reform Party nomination.

CLARK: Verney says Perot can even win the White House. As proof, he says, just look at the support John McCain is getting.

VERNEY: The issues that we're seeing brought forward by John McCain are verbatim the issues that Ross Perot brought up in 1992 and 1996. You could use the same speeches Ross gave back then and have John McCain delivering them.

CLARK: Others say Perot may not win, but with the Reform Party's $12.5 million in federal funds, he could shake up the campaign.

SIMON: You could think of that matching funds due the Reform Party as what you might call mischief money that could be used to go into major media markets and potentially, through their ads, tarnish whoever the major party nominees are and swing some votes one way or another.

CLARK (on camera): If Perot is going to jump into the presidential race, party activists say he needs to do it within the next few weeks.

(voice-over): The Reform Party is on the ballot in less than half the states. To get on all 50 state ballots, Perot would need to start circulating petitions by mid-March.

Tony Clark, CNN, Dallas.


WOODRUFF: Up next, the mayor of New York City, a look at his political career leading up to a likely Senate race.


WOODRUFF: In New York, city leaders are dealing with the social unrest caused by last Friday's verdict in the police shooting of immigrant Amadou Diallo. Politically, it remains to be seen whether the Diallo case will become an issue for Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Our Frank Buckley takes a closer look at the mayor, the man and the likely Senate candidate.


MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK CITY: I'm standing before you as the next mayor of New York City.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): He is the 107th mayor of New York City. His name: Rudolph W. Giuliani, the grandson of Italian immigrants, native son of the borough of Brooklyn...

GIULIANI: So help me god.

BUCKLEY: ... a Republican elected mayor in a city where Democrats outnumber GOP voters nearly five to one, a public servant who sees the relationship between a government and its citizens as a social contract.

GIULIANI: For every right, there's an obligation. For every benefit, there's a duty. If you want something, you have to give something back.

BUCKLEY: He is a hard-charging, speaks-his-mind, dyed-in-the- wool New Yorker, a Yankee fan all his life.

GIULIANI: Wearing this hat in the shadow of Ebbet's Field, I used to get thrown down, yelled at, thrown in the mud. So I guess it developed this fierce spirit of rooting for the Yankees -- my individuality.

BUCKLEY: Giuliani spent much of his adult life in the clash of a courtroom -- in the Reagan administration as associate attorney general, as a federal prosecutor in New York. He first ran for mayor in 1989, but lost to David Dinkins. But after a bruising rematch in 1993...

DAVID DINKINS (D), FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: The people have spoken.

BUCKLEY: ... Giuliani won the job.

Now, Giuliani's a two-term mayor who enjoys the supreme loyalty of supporters.

RADY MASTRO, FORMER NEW YORK DEPUTY MAYOR: Rudy Giuliani is a person who inspires others.

BUCKLEY: But Giuliani also provokes contempt from his many critics.

KOCH: With Giuliani, you're either a sycophant or an enemy.

BUCKLEY: In short, New Yorkers tend to love him or hate him.

BRUCE TEITELBAUM, GIULIANI CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I would say that Rudy Giuliani is a straight-forward, direct person. And sometimes people don't like to hear that.

BUCKLEY: Direct is one way to put it, confrontational another. Critics say Giuliani sues or fires people when they disagree with his policies or when they do anything that seems in any way disloyal.

RUTH MESSINGER , FMR. NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Rudy Giuliani is a man who actually fired his police commissioner because he was getting too much credit for the city's drop in crime.

MASTRO: To those people who say Rudy Giuliani was too tough, I say you can't be tough enough when you're fighting for New York City.

BUCKLEY: Randy Mastro was a deputy mayor under Giuliani -- before that serving with Giuliani at the U.S. Attorney's office. There, Giuliani targeted wall street, successfully prosecuting tycoons like Michael Milken and Ivan Boesky for insider trading. And he took on corruption in organized labor and the bosses of organized crime.


GIULIANI: Habitual criminals who at bottom are murderers, he put them in prison hopefully for the rest of their lives.

MASTRO: He had the courage to go into areas where prosecutors before him had feared to tread.

BUCKLEY: Giuliani is married to New York broadcaster and actress Donna Hanover, with whom he has two children, Hanover rarely seen in public with the mayor anymore.

(on camera): Giuliani is a Republican, but his positions on core issues like abortion, gun control, gay rights and immigration are sometimes at odds with the Grand Old Party. And his actions, independent of party leaders, have not always endeared him to party leadership.

GIULIANI: He's, I think, a hero to all New Yorkers.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Most recently, going against state Republicans in saying John McCain should be allowed on the March 7th presidential primary ballot, something the party was eventually forced to do. And in 1994, he angered many Republicans when he endorsed the Democratic incumbent governor, Mario Cuomo, in his run against Republican George Pataki.


GIULIANI: Mario Cuomo is so much better than the Republican alternative that I had to cross party lines in this case.


BUCKLEY: But Pataki would win, relations between the two strained ever since, the governor recently saying, however, that Giuliani has his support for a U.S. Senate race. But the fight ahead, all agree, will be one Giuliani will undertake on his own terms.

Frank Buckley, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: And that's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. We'll see you again tomorrow, when we'll have the latest on the primaries in Virginia and Washington state and the North Dakota Republican caucus.

And, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's

I'm Judy Woodruff. I'll be right back with "WORLDVIEW."


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