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CNN Today

Election 2000: McCain Holds Wall Street Rally as Mysterious Group Launches Large Television Ad Campaign

Aired March 3, 2000 - 2:04 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Now we got to the campaign trail. Today McCain and Bush are in New York, which votes next week on Super Tuesday.

CNN's Jonathan Karl has followed McCain to Wall Street. He joins us now -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Natalie, on a very windy Wall Street, where John McCain has just had a rally, the largest New York rally of his campaign, here on the steps of Federal Hall, which is the place where George Washington took the first oath of office as president of the United States.

McCain looking at New York as a major battlefield, one of the most critical states for his campaign. As a matter of fact, in Super Tuesday we have 13 states holding a Republican contest, the two biggest obviously being California and New York. The McCain campaign saying that they must carry one of the two states, and the Bush campaign, for their part, saying that they can sweep New York and California, the race is effectively over.

But coming into the fray here in New York is a mysterious group that's calling themselves Republicans for clean air. They're not revealing their funding sources, but they are spending a lot on television advertising here in New York, advertising that criticizes John McCain's record on the environment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, Republican for Clean Air Ad)

ANNOUNCER: John McCain vote against solar and renewable energy. That means more use of coal-burning plants that pollute our air. New York Republicans care about clean air, so does Governor Bush.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: The group that is running that ad is a group called Republicans for Clean Air, of which there is no previous record of this group even existing, is spending more than $1 million on that ad in the state of New York alone. To put that in perspective, that is more money than either McCain or Bush is spending on their own ads in New York. So the biggest media buy of all in the state of New York is by a group that nobody seems to know who exactly their funding source is. What we do know, though, is CNN has traced the group that actually placed the media buy. It is the same group that did the media buys for George Pataki's reelection campaign in 1998, George Pataki, the governor of New York and also the most prominent supporter of George W. Bush here in New York. The Bush campaign, however, saying they knew nothing about these ads and has nothing to do with them.

Natalie, back to you.

ALLEN: New York's certainly been interesting this campaign season. Jonathan Karl, thank you.

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