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  Transcripts

Special Event

Super Tuesday: Gore Sweeps Bradley; Bush Scores Decisive Victories Over McCain

Aired March 7, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET

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

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Welcome back to this, in effect, national primary.

In a couple of minutes, we'll be talking with Texas Governor George Bush and his wife Laura.

But we want to bring you up to date on the Republican primary in New York State, probably the most closely watched. We can not yet tell you whether Governor Bush or Senator McCain will collect more Republican delegates from New York State. What CNN can estimate is that more New York Republican voters cast their votes for Bush delegates than for McCain delegates.

The problem in New York is that in the Republican primary, voters cannot vote directly for Bush or McCain. They have to choose among delegates. And there are congressional districts, as in say, New York's Harlem, where there are relatively few Republicans. Maybe a few thousand will cast their votes for their three delegates. Out on Long Island, there may be a Congressional district worth tens of thousands casts. So trying to figure out the popular vote in New York will be very difficult. That's why we're measuring delegates.

Once again, we can't tell you whether Bush or McCain will get the majority of delegates, but we can estimate that more voters in the Republican party will have cast their votes for Bush than McCain. There will be a quiz to follow.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: That said, let's look at the winners and where they did it. For the governor of Texas, he has won Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Missouri and Ohio on this Super Tuesday night.

For Senator John McCain, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont.

And for Vice President Al Gore -- look at this -- Connecticut, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Vermont.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And joining us now from Austin, Texas is the gentleman who has won five of the 10 Republican contests we have been following so far tonight, Texas Governor George W. Bush. He joins us along with his wife, Laura Bush. Thank you both for being with us, and congratulations, governor. GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Judy. It's good to talk to you again. Just seemed like yesterday we were in Los Angeles.

WOODRUFF: It does seem that way.

Governor, I know you're going to be thinking about it. We have not heard yet from Senator McCain. We don't know how New York is going to turn out. We haven't had word yet, of course, on the state of California. They're still voting out there, but at this point, in your contest with John McCain, there's still some pretty tough words hanging out there, if you will. John McCain saying over the weekend he's not sure if you're ready for primetime because of those breast cancer ads that were run in New York State. We also have Senator McCain saying, your campaign is so Clintonesque, it's scary, again, a comment just a few days ago.

Can you heal the rift in the party with language like this still coming from your opponent?

BUSH: Well, first and foremost, Judy, I am honored that so many Republicans turned out -- and independents turned out to vote in our primaries. I think one of the interesting stories is how excited people are about my candidacy. We've had a big step toward the nomination. I take nothing for granted. I am looking forward to campaigning in my own state of Texas or my brother's state of Florida next week.

And yes, there's time, and there will be plenty of time for us to come together. Campaigns are tough. But this competition, I think has been good for me. I know it's made me a better candidate. I know it's made me sharpen my message. It's caused me focus on talking about education and strengthening the military to keep the peace ,and a message of reform and renewal.

WOODRUFF: But when Senator McCain says your campaign is so Clintonesque, it's scary, that it's sounds more and more like the Clinton campaign, there was point not so long ago you when you said that was just unacceptable coming from him.

BUSH: Well obviously, I don't care for that kind of characterization, but the good news is that the people who make the decision, the people that are showing up to vote don't agree with that, and the reason why the turnouts are so huge is because people know I'm optimistic about the future of our country, and I've got ideas that are going time improve education and strengthen the military.

One point of contention was whether or not we ought to should share some of the surpluses or how much of the surplus with the people who pay the bills. I feel strongly that we need to make sure people get some of the surplus back so the economy will continue to grow.

I understand politics. This campaign to me hasn't been any rougher than any other ones I've seen. The good news is that it's now time to start focusing on the main contest, which is winning the White House.

SHAW: Governor, this is Bernie.

BUSH: Hey, Bernie.

SHAW: Hi there. Congratulations.

BUSH: Thank you, sir.

SHAW: Quite welcome.

Clearly, you've excited your Republican base, but what can you do to realign the McCain supporters, the moderates, the independents, the Democrats? What can you do? What will you do?

BUSH: Well, that's a big challenge, and tonight, you're going to hear me talk about education. You see, I happen to think an education reform package appeals not only to Republicans and like-minded independents, when people hear me talking about education, say in a state like California, or any state for that matter, they're going to know I know what I'm talking about, I've got a positive record, and I've got a clear vision to make sure every single child gets educated. The other night on the debate in Los Angeles with Jeff and Judy, we had a good dialogue about education. I'm going to continue talking about it. In other words, ideas are what are going to attract people to this candidacy when it's all said and done.

GREENFIELD: Governor, it is Jeff Greenfield.

BUSH: Hi, Jeff. How are you?

GREENFIELD: I'm fine.

You know, I was thinking back to 1988, when a sitting president of the United States, you may remember him, about whom there were some questions about whether he could follow a charismatic president, faced off with a governor who had what appeared to be a good record and was able to win, in part, by presenting that governor as outside the mainstream. Now it's pretty clear I think already that one of the things that the vice president, this vice president, is going to do to this Bush is attempt to say to you you're a creature, whether you want to or not, of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, a fringe.

Do you think that one of your obligations is going to be to try to restate the themes of 1999, move more toward the middle now that -- assuming that you have this nomination?

BUSH: Well first, I appreciate your qualification there, because the nomination is not yet secure. There are other states, and I am looking forward to campaigning in them. My message is going to be the same today that it was in the beginning of the campaign. It will be the same next November, and that is the message of compassionate conservatism, a message of reform in key areas and a message of renewal of the spirit of America, Jeff. I think this country is anxious to have somebody who is not a part of this administration, somebody who can call upon the best of America. I look forward to the challenge. I know I've got a lot of work to do.

And step one is to excite the party and excite people who share our philosophy. And step two will be to reach out across our party lines and bring people into the fold. I am confident I can do that, and I look forward to the challenge against Vice President Gore.

WOODRUFF: Governor, just on the state of your campaign right now, you are evidently well on your way to winning the lion's share of the delegates tonight. But in order to get this far, you had to run a very, very tough campaign, some say a very negative campaign. You've spent, what, some say 65 -- $60 million to $65 million dollars. Jeff mentioned the independent vote has primarily gone to John McCain and not to you.

Are you at all concerned that you, if you're the nominee, you start this effort out in a weakened position?

BUSH: No, not really, Judy. As a matter of fact, I am enthused by the results. I think when you all tabulate who's voting in what primary, if you tabulate how significant the increases are in our turnouts -- and this is a credit to John as well as my campaign -- there is a really good chance for us to take the White House. There are a lot of people who aren't happy with what's going on in Washington D.C. People are hungry for a message of reform and a message of renewal. I keep saying that, but that's what I see and that's what I hear, and That's exactly what I am going to bring into this campaign.

SHAW: Governor, looking ahead to the California primary, the polls close in about 52 minutes. If you were to win the delegates in California but lose the popular vote to Senator McCain, can McCain make a credible argument for staying in, hanging on and fighting you?

BUSH: Well, that's going to be up to John, Bernie. Far be it from me to put words in my competitor's mouth. He's a man who's going to have to make the decision. I believe I'm going to win both. I believe I am going to win the delegates, and of course that's the main task. After all, that's the crux of the nominating process, but what I hear and what our people tell us in California, the enthusiasm is large enough so that I'll be able to win the popular contest at all, but we'll have to see when the polls close.

GREENFIELD: Governor, when we look at the state of the union, to coin a phrase, you've got an economy that's, by most measurements, the best anybody can ever remember, and certainly, most Americans think that, you have a crime rate that's plummeted, you have an abortion rate that's gone down, juvenile violence down.

Can you ever remember a time when Americans changed parties when conditions seem to be this stable? Isn't that a remarkably heavy burden for any challenger that you might be to bear?

BUSH: Well, there's to question, Jeff, if Vice President Gore's message is vote for me, I represent the status quo, and if people accept that, if they're happy with what they see and hear in Washington D.C., then I'll have a tough row to hoe. I don't believe that's the case. I believe there are a lot of issues that people are concerned about. You know, as I say in a lot of my talks, the Dow Jones may be up -- and I hope it continues to stay up, by the way -- but there are failed schools in our society, which diminish the hopes of many children and many parents. Education is a key issue in this campaign, Jeff, and I'm going to continue talking about it.

The good news is I've got a vision to improve our schools. You and I had a discussion about that the other night.

There are a lot of folks who are deeply concerned about the state of morale in our military. They recognize that if we don't have a strengthened military, it's going to be hard to keep the peace.

There are a lot of people who are -- who -- who understand that welfare reform is just more than moving people from welfare to work, that we must rally the faith-based organizations and charitable organizations to provide hope and care for people in need.

That's the kind of campaign I'm going to run. And we'll just see what happens when the people start filing in next November.

WOODRUFF: Mrs. Bush, Laura Bush, we don't want to leave you out of this interview at all. And I'm sorry if it seems that we've done that so far.

I do want to bring you in and I want to ask you about, you know, this has been a tough campaign, tougher than I think many people expected on the Republican side. I want to ask you how you're dealing with that, and in particular, lot of criticism about your husband with regard to these breast cancer ads in New York state. How does all of that go down with you?

L. BUSH, GEORGE W. BUSH'S WIFE: Well, you know, I know what politics is like. I've been involved with George in politics. We've had two governor's races of our own, and of course, been involved in presidential races before. So I know what politics is like. I know that there are charges and countercharges, and that's just a fact of life in politics. That's what we knew it would be like when we got into it.

I think it doesn't really bother me. I haven't been that disturbed by any of it. We have been in very tough races before, and you know, I knew what it would be like.

WOODRUFF: So when John McCain says your husband's campaign is so Clintonesque it's scary or when he says he's not ready for primetime, what goes through...

L. BUSH: Well, of course, I don't like that. I mean, who would? No one would like that. I don't like that. But I also know that's a part of politics.

SHAW: Governor Bush, final question.

G. BUSH: Yes, sir. Thanks, Bernie.

SHAW: Please put on your politician's analytical hat and consider this question.

G. BUSH: OK.

SHAW: We're going to go back to Connecticut. Now your grandfather, Prescott Bush, was United States senator from Connecticut from 1952 to '63. Your father, former President Bush, won the Connecticut primary three times: 1980, '88 and '92.

What happened to you tonight? How did you allow John McCain...

(LAUGHTER)

... to take Connecticut from you where you and your father went to Yale undergraduate school?

G. BUSH: It may have been the problem, I went to Yale. I don't know. I haven't had a chance to analyze the results.

Bernie, I'm the kind of guy that tries to look at the bright side of things. I'm looking at Ohio. It sounds like in Jeff's introduction that I've won the popular contest in New York. We'll see how the delegates go. I think we've got a great chance in California.

I know I'm strong in Texas and Florida. I hope my friends in Connecticut don't abandon me, but of course I wanted to win state. I just got off the phone with Governor Johnny Rowland, and I said, Johnny, I appreciate your fighting for me, I understand it was a tough row to hoe. But I'm not going to quit on Connecticut in the general election.

You know, my good grandfather, gosh, I'm sure he's rolling over in his grave wishing his grandson had won the primary. But I think he's going to be proud of the fact that I did win his native state of Ohio.

SHAW: Governor and Laura Bush, we thank you very much for all this time.

G. BUSH: Thanks.

L. BUSH: Thanks a lot. Thank you.

SHAW: Good to have them.

GREENFIELD: Indeed. Now we go out to Los Angeles to John King, who was with the campaign of Governor Bush's principal rival, Senator John McCain -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jeff, one example that Senator McCain is expecting a very tough night tonight, he is not doing interviews. He has done interviews on every other primary night. So far, the McCain campaign saying he will not speak tonight: that, we're told, because his campaign is having now a serious reassessment of what to do. Still waiting for the California results, of course. But as the New York results trickle in and as the McCain campaign sees that they will get at best perhaps a split of the delegates, one senior campaign official saying just a moments ago this night has just gone from bad to worse.

Now in his speech tonight, we're told, Senator McCain will certainly say that at least as of tonight that he's in this race. And we say -- they say that he will outline his major themes, that in his view the Republican Party is doomed to defeat in November if it does not adopt his campaign finance reform and other reform agenda, and also that it is doomed to defeat, in his view, if it does not separate itself from the controversial Christian right leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell -- Senator McCain saying the party risks running an image of intolerance.

He will make the case, we're told, if not directly, implicitly, that he believes that is why the party has lost the last two presidential elections.

But, however, we are told the senator will not be as confrontational as he was the night of the South Carolina primary, the McCain camp doing the math tonight. They believe Governor Bush is about to win more than 400, perhaps even more than 450 of the 600 delegates at stake tonight.

In the name of one senior McCain campaign official...

SHAW: OK, John King...

KING: ... he said tonight is about math.

SHAW: John King, let me interrupt you, because CNN wants to make a call in the Republican primary in the state of New York. It goes to Texas Governor George Bush. When it's all said and done, we estimate that the governor of Texas will have won more delegates than the senator from Arizona.

John, pardon the interruption.

KING: That's quite all right, Bernie. That makes again the point. Senator McCain came into tonight saying he needed to sweep New England. He has not done that. He came into tonight saying he needed to win New York and the majority of the delegates. He has not done that. He said he needed a surprise somewhere else, perhaps Ohio or Missouri: Both of those key November battlegrounds firmly in the Bush camp tonight. The last resort for the McCain campaign would be a victory in the popular vote here in California, beating Governor Bush anyway. Most McCain advisers believe that won't happen either.

Senator McCain looks like he might be shut out tonight in terms of accomplishing what he said was necessary to have a rationale to continue his campaign. He will head home to Arizona tomorrow. If California goes as the rest of the night has gone for Senator McCain, very tough decision ahead.

GREENFIELD: John, it's Jeff Greenfield. It seems to me that we now know why perhaps Senator McCain was not going to give interviews. The staff had said all along they had to see what was going to happen in New York, New England, Ohio, and the beauty contest in California. And having now lost New York, Ohio, and not swept New England, it's hard to imagine what rationale they have other than we have a message to take to the Republican Party. But the rationale to fight on, to actually try to win the nomination seems to be a glow (ph) and a glimmering.

KING: Senator McCain himself said this week he would not fight on to be a protest candidate or a message candidate. He would only fight on if there was a realistic scenario that he could win the delegates to win the nomination. Again, if California -- 162 delegates -- if they go Governor Bush's way, as most people expect, Senator McCain will have a very difficult night tonight.

More than 300 delegates up next week. Most of them expected to go to Governor Bush.

It takes 1,034 to win the Republican nomination. Governor Bush will be perhaps more than halfway there tonight, with next week coming. So a very tough night for John McCain.

SHAW: And John, very quickly, just to button this up, just a few moments ago here on CNN, Governor Bush said he not only expects to take the delegates, most delegates -- winner take all in California -- but to win the beauty contest, the popular vote.

KING: Many McCain aides would not dispute that. They hope they outpoll Governor Bush here in the beauty contest, but in the past few days they felt California slipping away. There's a great debate in the McCain campaign. Many believe he did not do what he should have done here in California after his victories in Michigan and Arizona.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King with the McCain campaign. Much more to talk about this evening, this day of the biggest voting in the year 2000 other than on November 7th, the day of the general election.

We're going to look at the delegates after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The polls have closed in all but one of the states holding a primary on this Super Tuesday. We've been telling you one who won in each state on the Democratic and Republican side.

What we want to focus on now is the all-important delegate count. Without delegates, you don't win the nomination.

For that, let's go to Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, let's take a look now, first of all, at the Republican delegate count nationwide as a result of the races this evening, the primaries that we have already called. First of all, on the Republican side, remember 1,034 are needed to nominate. Right now, we see George W. Bush with 459 to John McCain's 193.

On the Democratic side, Al Gore with 1.005 Democratic delegates to Bill Bradley's 280. More than 2,000, of course, needed for the nomination. In New York State, we are now estimating that Vice President Gore will pick up 148 of those delegates compared to Bill Bradley's 67; 243 delegates at stake in New York State.

In New York State on the Republican side, we are at this point estimating that George W. Bush will win more delegates in New York State than John McCain, although we don't have the precise numbers yet at this point, only that Bush will do better than John McCain.

Let's talk a little bit about New York State and what happened in New York State. Joining us is Scott Reed. He was the campaign manage for Bob Dole's campaign four years ago. Tell us about this convoluted system that the Republicans have in New York State.

SCOTT REED, FMR. BOB DOLE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The New York ballot access laws are the most convoluted in the country, and as you remember, the Bush campaign attempted to keep the McCain campaign off the ballots. It was not until after the big New Hampshire victory where they gave in and allowed to let him on the ballot.

But the secret of New York is to go out and recruit local, very popular politicians -- Congressman, state senators. But if you look at the ballot, that's the name on top. Nick Spano is a very popular state senator, and then you see in real small print underneath it "George W. Bush." It's getting folks like that to be the top of the ticket, and it's the positioning on the top of the ballots. McCain is down in the third portion. Bush is right at the top. It makes a huge difference in a state like New York.

BLITZER: And it seems to have paid off, at least we're estimating, for George W. Bush in New York State. David Peeler, the ad campaigns, the races that we saw unfolding in New York State, it was an important element in this contest.

REED: Well, Wolf, let's first look at the numbers, and then we'll talk about the factors. The numbers in the state of New York were that George W. Bush spent over half a million dollars in the last two weeks. John McCain spent about $400,000 in the last two weeks. Their tactics were to spend in the upstate markets. They did not spend any money in the New York City region. I think the exit polls show that George W. Bush has done very well upstate. John McCain has not. John McCain did better in New York City.

What's entered this race which is unique is, again, the independent expenditure groups. We've talked a couple times about how paid advertising can influence the debate. The Republicans for Cleaner Air weighed in last week and spent $1.2 million in the state of New York, $900,000 of that in the city of New York in support of George W. Bush's campaign. And what did that do? It caused John McCain to get off message. What he ended up having to do was to talk about all of the money that was coming into the state, that that was wrong, that he couldn't stay on his own message, so that hurt him.

The other thing that we saw in the state of New York, which I think is going to play well in the fall, is that negative campaign tactics work here. We now know that the George W. Bush campaign will use those tactics. We've seen Al Gore use those tactics against Bill Bradley, so I'd expect we that we'll see them used in the fall.

BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, coming into this evening, the conventional assessment was that John McCain does well in those open primaries. George Bush does better in the closed Republican-only primaries. That's what the assessment was until tonight.

STUART ROTHENBERG, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, that assessment may well be wrong, Wolf. Hold those horses there. Let's look at the numbers here. A couple of weeks ago, Republican insiders were suggesting that open primaries allowed Democrats and independents to hijack the Republican nomination. In fact, if you look at today's results, Bush won three open primaries in big states, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri, and John McCain won a closed primary in Connecticut. Let's look at New England again. Three New England states had semi- open primaries, that is that Democrats could not participate. George Bush won Maine. John McCain won in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, splitting those states. Maybe the easy explanations aren't always right.

BLITZER: All right, let's go to Dwight Morris. He's in our Washington bureau.

George W. Bush has spent a ton of money, Dwight. Tell us how much he's spent, how that breaks down, and obviously, it's begun a success so far this evening.

DWIGHT MORRIS, CNN CAMPAIGN FINANCIAL ANALYST: Well, through the end of January, which is the last point we have to measure absolute, hard numbers, Governor Bush spent roughly $50 million. We estimate that that figure has risen somewhere to between $62 million and $65 million at this point.

Now the television advertising and radio advertising accounted for about 13.5 million of that roughly at the end of January. It is now we estimate up in the $22 to $25 million range. That means there's a huge amount, roughly two-thirds of his money, that's going elsewhere.

And if you sort of tick off the major categories, one of the things that a lot of people overlook when they think about running a national campaign is that it takes bodies, and it takes phones and it takes offices to run those national campaigns. Roughly $18 million so far of Governor Bush's money has gone just to basic overhead -- paying salaries, a million dollars in phone bills, an astonishing amount of money. And for the past 10 -- eight weeks anyway, people have been asking, how in the world do you burn $70 million and be in the position you're in? Governor Bush has shown us tonight. He's been running a national campaign from day one.

BLITZER: All right, Dwight, you'll stay with us for the rest of the night, but for now, let's go back to the anchor desk for more.

WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf. We've been listening to the assessment on the Republican side. When we come back, we're going to take a look and go to those candidates who've come out tonight to talk to their supporters. We'll be right back with that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GREENFIELD: We've been talking a lot about the Republicans. We want to hear about the Democrats. We go first to Chris Black, who is with the Gore campaign in Tennessee.

Chris, is it your sense that the Gore folks thought, look, he was the vice president, it was ours to lose. There was really not much doubt, or did they think there was a period back last fall when things looked really shaky for them? Chris, can you hear me?

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, I'm sorry, Jeff, go ahead. What was the question?

GREENFIELD: My question -- I lose something in the original. I'll start again. My question is, do Gore people now look at this race, which is effectively over, and say, we had it in the bag all the time, or do they think that there were critical decisions that the vice president made that got them where they were now?

BLACK: Oh, they absolutely think there were critical decisions. I think they always thought that in the end the vice president would prevail because he had the benefits of being an incumbent vice president and they felt the candidate was stronger than he appeared to be.

But it was important for him to sort of get out of the shadow of Bill Clinton. It was important for him to move his campaign to Nashville. He had to sort of connect with the voters.

The vice president told me in an interview Sunday that he thought the most important lesson for him was to learn to stop being a good vice president in some ways and start being a candidate and start reacting like a candidate instead of trying to tow the party line and be a good member of the Clinton/Gore administration, because he had to emerge as a candidate in his own right.

Earlier today, he came down here actually almost two full hours before the polls closed in California, which is an unusual thing for this very cautious politician, but he wanted to be the first person on national TV to say the Democratic Party is the party of the mainstream. And he also said that his opponent, Bill Bradley, had called him earlier to offer his congratulations and he saluted his rival.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that anybody who has heard Bill Bradley throughout this campaign has come away from the experience moved and touched by the strength of his commitment to healing the divisions in our country, especially divisions based on race. He believes in this healing heart and soul. I share his commitment to it. I have learned from his passion for it.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight, I salute Senator Bill Bradley and Ernestine Bradley, his wife.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLACK: The vice president also said that he had learned from his own mistakes on campaign finance reform. He called for comprehensive reform, and he said that he hoped that -- that this campaign would focus on issues in the fall campaign -- Jeff.

GREENFIELD: Thank you. Let's take the other side of that story to Jeanne Meserve, who's with the Bradley campaign.

Jeanne, the reverse of that question is it was always such a long long shot to run against a sitting vice president in a popular -- in a president popular with his own party. But one of the Bradley folks said to me that they thought one of the most critical things that happened was when the AFL/CIO president John Sweeney and President Clinton kind of forced through an endorsement of the vice president.

As you look at the campaign, why was that so critical in terms of shutting off the Bradley campaign from the shot at the Democratic constituents?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you may recall, Bill Bradley worked pretty hard to get that AFL/CIO endorsement and that sort of sealed his fate. The labor movement being such a powerful force in Democratic politics, it added on to all those other advantages that Al Gore enjoyed as the vice president, including the trappings of office, the support of many elected Democratic officials, the support of the DNC, and so forth.

I want to tell you, Jeff, that a few minutes ago we tripped a few circuit breakers here in this hotel ballroom and it might be emblematic of this campaign. The lights aren't out completely but they certainly have dimmed a bit in light of what's happened here tonight.

I was told by an aide we would get an upbeat speech from Bill Bradley tonight, and we certainly did. He called this campaign a joyous journey. He said tonight, "We celebrate the beginning of a new politics in America." But he put his defeats tonight to Al Gore in the starkest of terms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just called the vice president to congratulate him on his victories tonight. He won. I lost.

And on one level I agree with Vince Lombardi when he said, "Winning isn't everything: It's the only thing."

(LAUGHTER)

Tomorrow I'll consult with supporters around the country to get their thoughts and advice, and I'll make my plans known shortly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MESERVE: But Bradley said he thought he had made some progress in transforming the nation, transforming politics, and particularly in transforming the debate.

He said he had brought to the floor some core Democratic values, issues like health care, and gun control, and child poverty. He felt that he had definitely had an impact here.

Embedded, however, in his remarks was one dig at the vice president. He said, "We don't ask where the wind is blowing and follow it to get quick approval. We begin," said Bradley, "with convictions."

The senator said today that he'll be consulting with his advisers tomorrow, and we will likely hear from him on Thursday. Given the length and depth of his defeat tonight, it's not too hard to define exactly what that speech will contain.

Bernie, back to you.

SHAW: Thanks very much, Jeanne.

Now is a good time to ask a basic question in our coverage. What did people like senators McCain and Bradley accomplish with their campaigns? What about the new voters? When we come back, we're going to check in with Bill Schneider to find out. Back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SCHNEIDER: ... some one does you a favor, you're supposed to do a favor back. So Pataki may end up on the list -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider. Jeff, you know New York better than any of us -- the three of us. How would you explain people giving Pataki credit for the -- for the Bush?

GREENFIELD: Well, he put himself -- he took the entire New York congressional establishment and put them on the line for Bush in a publicized endorsement months ago and put his machine out to work. And that's -- that's one of the reasons.

WOODRUFF: But that's something that voters are conscious of, I mean...

GREENFIELD: Well, apparently enough to make a difference in these polls. I would point out before we get too crazily speculating on tickets (a) John McCain is still in this race.

WOODRUFF: Absolutely.

GREENFIELD: Second, the last time -- the last time there were two governors on a Republicans ticket was 1948. It was Dewey and Earl Warren of California, and they didn't make it.

So history says that that's -- well, you often want a balanced ticket.

Having said we shouldn't speculate, you notice I just have.

WOODRUFF: That's right, that's right. Well, in talking about...

SHAW: You're forgiven.

GREENFIELD: Thank you.

SHAW: You're forgiven.

GREENFIELD: It's getting late.

WOODRUFF: And we're walking a bit of a fine line here, because we're reporting results to you. Obviously, some candidates are doing better than others, and yet they're still in the race. Alan Keyes is still in the race. We haven't spent very much time talking about his campaign tonight. He -- he obviously is showing in some of these races, but we don't have the raw numbers to give you.

You look like you want to say something.

GREENFIELD: Well, I just think before we pass on the Democratic race, which appears to be certainly effectively over, we should say something about Bill Bradley and what happened, because it was, after all, six months ago that he was out-raising Gore in Monday, the Gore campaign was in disarray, Gore was uprooting his campaign to Tennessee, Bradley was ahead in New York, ahead in New Hampshire, competitive.

And when you ask what happens, it seems to me that you have to look at two things, just quickly. One is a series of events, AFL/CIO endorsement for Gore, very important. The bad news about Bradley's heart condition, not medically serious, but politically damaging: at bad times, just before New Hampshire. And then you had to add to that the overarching question: When was the last time a vice president who wanted his parties domination didn't get it, Alvin Barkley, 1952, in the pre-primary era.

SHAW: And...

WOODRUFF: He was running against some pretty big odds.

SHAW: And stepping outside the White House and the Clinton administration, the economy...

GREENFIELD: Absolutely...

SHAW: ... in this universal sense of well-being by most Americans. Those are three, four tough pillars to knock down.

WOODRUFF: Not to mention John McCain and the oxygen being taken away by his candidacy. If you think we've got a lot to say about all of this, just wait. After this break, we're going to hear from some people who have even more to say, the "CAPITAL GANG." We can't wait. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Polls close in the Golden State, the state of California, in just about 17 minutes from now. We're going to have calls to make when they do close.

But for right now, we want to go to our to "CAPITAL GANG," and somebody I know well, Al Hunt.

AL HUNT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Thank you, Judy. George Bush's interview on CNN just a few moments ago, compassionate conservatism, Margaret, no hard right this guy. The rush to the center has begun, right.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, that scampering sound is Bush back to the middle. We haven't heard much about the compassionate conservative. I mean, of course we've never really known what it means. Does that, compassionate conservative, does that come with coke and fries? What is it? He's not defined it, because actually, Bush is going to want to fudge the issues, whereas Al Gore is going want to define them and stress the differences between them, because the issues favor Democrats.

As soon as Bush discredited, McCain for trying to get independents and Democrats, he now has to try to get them, and it's going to be hard, because he went further than he needed to probably in South Carolina. And now he's going to have to jerk back to the middle.

HUNT: Bob, you know compassion. Tell us what you think.

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well, I don't know. I mean, the cliche is how far he went to the right in South Carolina. Where did he go to the right in South Carolina? He went to Bob Jones University for an appearance. I didn't hear him say anything in South Carolina that he hadn't said in New Hampshire, that he hadn't said -- he didn't say later in Michigan. I think his campaign has been consistent. It's not a campaign I think he should be waging. I think he should waging a Republican reform campaign -- tax reform, Social Security privatization. But apparently, there's not the self confidence in the Republican Party to do that.

But I felt that, you know, the people, the news media, generally, will come down hard against anybody they think is the most conservative Republican candidate. And the most amazing thing out of this, Al, is that George W. Bush has ended up as the candidate of the conservatives. That is just amazing, because if you would have thought that if he had been rolling onto this nomination without opposition from a John McCain, he would have been sniped about from the right all the time, but as we saw in the interview tonight with Pat Robertson, he can do about anything he wants right now, because he is the candidate of the right.

HUNT: Kate, I think that's a really good point. He doesn't have any real ideological pressure on him now at all, does he?

KATE O'BEIRNE, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": John McCain committed him, very helpfully, to define himself as a conservative, because that's where the misgivings were in the base, and we see how conservative Republican primary voters are. I'm not at all sure they would have been as enthusiastically supporting George Bush if John McCain hadn't helped George Bush define himself by defending tax cuts, by talking small government, by having more conservative education reform proposal. So in that sense, it was helpful. But you could see tonight how gleeful he is not be talking about breast cancer and Bob Jones. He essentially laid out very thoughtful speeches all during the fall, trying to lay out both his record.

HUNT: Do you think the press cancer ad will come back to haunt him in the fall, Kate?

O'BEIRNE: It doesn't even seem to have hurt in New York, frankly.

NOVAK: That's the amazing thing.

O'BEIRNE: Yes, voters have -- the same number of voters thought both have been unfair. So it doesn't feel that John McCain's attack on that score resonated even in New York.

HUNT: Let me ask this, I talked to several of the prominent politicians supporting John McCain this afternoon, and they all told me that John McCain has looked them in the eye, and said he's not going to run as an independent. Now the California polls haven't closed yet, but it's clearly a bad night for John McCain. I'm convinced he believes that right now, but I would guess over the next couple days and weeks, it's going to be a lot more tempting. We had a poll out that showed a quarter of the people would support McCain in a three-way race.

NOVAK: I think there's a fight going on. I don't think -- I know there's a fight going on right in the McCain campaign right now, and we have Warren Rudman, former senator from New Hampshire, who is not somebody who wants to have a rapprochement with the Bush people. He wants to keep fighting in one way or the other. On the other side, you have Senator Chuck Hagel, Congressman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Fred Thompson, who want to bring these people together. So that's going to be an interesting tension in the -- because there's no question that John McCain is angry right now, and it's going to see whether in this case he's able to control his anger.

HUNT: He's very bitter at what he thinks are really, really unfair Bush tactics. Do you think that's going affect his decision, Margaret.

CARLSON: Well, one of the reasons he's not speaking tonight is that he probably doesn't want to get himself painted into a corner on this. At the moment, you're right, he doesn't picture himself being a third party candidate, and he's probably listening more to Chuck Hagel and Fred Thompson.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Yes, they are together. But as the days go on, his anger might be stoked by these other people, and he'll see, oh, if only I'd done this, if only I'd done that, I was so close, the momentum was going my way, and then, you know, human nature will kick in at its worst, and he may be pushed into something that could be disastrous for him.

HUNT: Kate, I suspect he won't do it, but if he should, he would, a, I think be formidable, because I think he could probably -- Ross Perot could hand him the Reform Party nod. One thing that would bring the Perot and Ventura factions together would be John McCain.

O'BEIRNE: I think that's probably true, and I think there are, given the issue and the moment, it's probably fairly favorable to a third party candidacy, a personality/biography candidacy like John McCain's.

HUNT: Not to mention that we want to keep it going, just so we have something to talk about.

O'BEIRNE: I was just going to say, in addition to staff and some supporters, who are really very angry and will be urging him to do this, you can bet his friends in the media just want this to go on and on. They dread a straightforward Gore-Bush race, so there'll certainly be destructive voices telling him to do it.

But it's not the first time that John McCain has been mad at the GOP establishment, and he seems to get over it, and he's pledged he wouldn't do it.

And secondly, Republican voters are not mad at John McCain. It's not a mutual admiration. He still has very favorable.

NOVAK: This campaign has changed John McCain. I heard a speech he was delivering in California in which he was saying that what are the issues we have today. Well, the issues are hungry children, the issues -- he listed a bunch of socially liberal Democratic concerns.

HUNT: Conservatives are against hungry children, Bob.

NOVAK: What I'm saying is that is not a Republican issue. It's a -- I mean, and I guarantee you, the old John McCain, who replaced Barry Goldwater in Arizona, wouldn't be using that issue.

CARLSON: Here's the reason it's not a good idea: You need more than journalists unhappy. You need the -- you know, a certain segment of the population to be unhappy and to tap into and there's just not enough of it for a third party to succeed.

HUNT: Well, all right, there you have it, Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Al Hunt and the "CAPITAL GANG."

This is certainly a group of journalists who are not unhappy. This is a big election night. When we come back, every minute that goes by we are closer to those California polls closing. We're going to look directly at the California primary when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GREENFIELD: In less than seven minutes the polls close in California, the biggest prize of them all tonight. In a moment we will be talking about that.

But we don't want to let this moment pass without mentioning something that may turn out to be as significant as any primary vote. In Arizona starting today the Democratic Party is letting people sign up, if you will, on the Internet, preparatory to letting people vote in the Arizona Democratic primary on Saturday via the Internet. This is the first time anywhere in the country that such voting has been permitted. When you think of the consequences down the line of registering via the Internet, voting on the Internet, it could could wind up changing politics root and branch in the years to come.

With that little footnote, let's talk about a more immediate issue, California, with the Wolf pack -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jeff, it's a huge prize, 162 Republican delegates at stake in California, but it's a little bit more complicated than that. Scott Reed, you used to manage the Bob Dole campaign four years ago, tell us about what we can anticipate, the complex nature of the voting process on the Republican side in California.

REED: California is the big enchilada tonight. There are really two votes to watch. One is the Republican-only vote, which all 162 delegates will go to the winner take all. But as important I believe is the -- what's called the beauty contest.

California is very important symbolically to Republicans across the country. They want a winner, Republicans want a winner. We've lost the last two national elections in California. In 1998, the state lost their governor's race hands down. That will be an important vote tonight to watch, because it will either give somebody momentum or it will stop all the momentum.

And the second issue to watch in California tonight is the important Latino vote. Both George Bush in Texas and John McCain in Arizona did very well in their re-election campaigns in 1998, getting 40 percent as Bush did in Texas, and close to 50 percent in Arizona. The Hispanic-Latino vote is crucial to the Republican party as we go into this national election.

BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, how important do you think the popular vote is going to be on the Republican side in California?

ROTHENBERG: Well, apparently I think it's a lot less important than Scott does. If tonight had gone a little differently, I think Scott might be right. But I think that when you look back, Iowa and New Hampshire certainly are as much about momentum and expectations a spin as anything else, of creating an atmosphere.

But right now I think it's all about delegates and when you see where Bush is carrying Ohio, Missouri, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, doing well in New York -- you see he's at around 460 delegates, was the last count I saw -- if he wins California's Republican delegates that takes him over well 600. Then you look next week, you see Texas and Florida, 200 delegates, two good states, more Southern states. If the fat lady isn't singing now, she's starting to yodel. I think it doesn't much matter whether or not the governor wins the popular vote, though of course he would much prefer to.

BLITZER: All right, those 162 delegates are coming up in the next few minutes. We should get a good sense of what's going on in California.

Back to you, Jeff.

GREENFIELD: Thank you, Wolf.

Well, Regis is losing Kathie Lee, but thank God Bill Press still has Mary Matalin on "CROSSFIRE."

WOODRUFF: Oh, Mary, don't take that sitting down.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Mary, you ought to slap him, I know.

All right, Mary, I just have to say, listening to these guys talk about the California primary, I mean, I hate to say I told you so, but in 1994 this initiative was on the ballot, I was Democratic state chair, opposed it, the Republican state chair John Harrington (ph) opposed it for this reason: because it's this crazy system where anybody can vote for any candidate, but only Republican votes count for the delegates.

So we could end up -- we'll know soon, right -- George Bush is going to win the delegates is pretty sure, but McCain could win the popular vote. Does that count for anything? Does it it give him more than bragging rights? I'd have to say if he had won Ohio and the beauty contest, maybe, if he had won New York and the beauty contest, maybe. But even if he wins the beauty contest here in California, which is unlikely, without winning those other states, I just don't think bragging rights take you very far.

MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I so loathe to agree with you, Bill Press, but of course you are right. These silly processes and front loading the process and opening up the process has done nothing but confuse the voter and de-energize them.

On the other hand, it has, as has already been noted tonight, really solidified early the base for Bush, which wasn't there for him, has energized the base, that everyone is toing and froing about how much money he spent, but he already has his structural base in place for the general election and he already has his general election in place, and by virtue of this primary, this hard fought primary, he's a better candidate. So no matter what happens in California tonight, absent McCain doing better elsewhere, I doesn't -- I don't think it really matters, and it will be confusing to voters. And anyway, the last polls we were looking at, Bush was coming up in the popular vote.

PRESS: Right. Well, I think both Bush and Gore are stronger candidates based on the primary contests that they've had and that they've won apparently. But you know, the other thing that I find significant tonight is that John McCain did not get as many Democrats tonight because the fact that Democrats -- look at Ohio and here in California -- stayed home. They stayed home I think because they're more energized by Gore.

I think it speaks well for the Gore campaign that they have been able to get the message out to Democrats -- by the way, organized labor deserves a lot of credit for this, for organizing those precincts, and they got the message out, don't go anywhere, we have the winning candidate, stay here, and it hurt John McCain and it helps Al Gore.

MATALIN: Where did you hear this first? They weren't crossovers, they were crossdressers. These Democrats are never going to vote for John McCain. Here's what John McCain is doing tonight, you got the Luke Skywalker faction saying let's fight on, all right, the alternative is, let's get pushed in the Reform Party. Then you have the statesman faction saying, you know what, John? You've always been about duty, honor, country. We can be a statesman now, and my prediction is that John -- knowing John -- he is a statesman and that's what he is going to do, take that role.

PRESS: Well, I have to tell you, having been a candidate once, the toughest spot -- and he's in it now and so is Bill Bradley -- is when you know you're the best, you know your message is the best, but you know it hasn't worked and you have to make that tough decision, and I'll tell you, John McCain is not going to become a Reform Party candidate.

That's it for us, Mary Matalin and Bill Press.

We're back to Jeff Greenfield in Atlanta.

GREENFIELD: Thank you, Mary. Thank you, Bill.

California is coming up in just a moment, stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: And now CNN makes the call for the big one, California. The polls have just closed and Texas governor George Bush has won, defeating Senator John McCain. On the Democratic side, Vice President Al Gore wins over Senator Bradley. And there is one other thing we want to report to you, Proposition 22 has passed in the state of California, that's proposition also known as the Knight initiative which outlaws same-sex marriage. The text of the proposed law, "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." The beauty contest, we just don't have enough information on that. We'll update you as soon as we get it.

Now let's go to Wolf Blitzer with more on the delegates.

BLITZER: Well, Bernie, let's take a look now and see how these calls in California translate to where it counts delegates. On the Republican side, George W. Bush with 460 delegates, 1,034 needed for the nomination, 213 for John McCain.

On the Democratic side, now Al Gore has 1,276 to Bill Bradley's 369, 2,170 needed for the nomination.

In California, we are now estimating that Al Gore will receive 263 of those Democratic delegates. Bill Bradley will receive 73. And we are also saying that with the California Republican race going towards -- the primary race going for George W. Bush. Those 162 California Republican delegates, of course, will be added to the George Bush column.

Back to you, Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you, Wolf Blitzer.

WOODRUFF: Giving Bush what, about 620 delegates, by rough count.

GREENFIELD: And this -- this is where the calendar...

WOODRUFF: You add 160 to 460, and at this point, you only need a little over 1,000.

GREENFIELD: And next week comes Florida and Texas and those Southern states, and those numbers begin to look very grim for John McCain.

WOODRUFF: They already do.

SHAW: Yeah, just very quickly, on Prop 22 that bans same-sex marriage -- John McCain, Alan Keyes supported it. Governor Bush did not take a position. And of course, on the Democratic side, Vice President Gore and Senator Bradley were against. But it has passed tonight.

WOODRUFF: And we were looking at that earlier, and what that was an amendment to the so-called "family code" in the state of California, which Jeff, we were discussing, is on the -- a statute on the books in the state of California.

GREENFIELD: Well, as you all know, California has one of these ballots that is the length of a football field, almost, because you -- anybody with enough petitions puts things on the ballot. They can amend the statutes. They can amend the state constitution. And in this case, the Democrats said, "No, we think this is just a political move," and that's what happened.

SHAW: And strategically, one of the reasons why supporters of Prop 22, which bans same-sex marriages, fought to have it passed was California did not want people of the same sex who were married in another state coming into...

WOODRUFF: Coming...

SHAW: ... California, forcing the state of California to recognize that union.

GREENFIELD: That's right. For more on California and other important issues, we go to Bill Schneider for some exit poll numbers -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: And we have some exit poll numbers in California, where for the first time this evening, we have a good sample of Hispanic voters, who have been very important for George Bush. How did he do among Hispanic voters? Well, he came in second. Al Gore got a majority of them. Remember, this is an all-party primary. Anybody can vote for anyone. Bush got 18 percent. He beat McCain among Hispanic voters in California. That's a respectable showing, given the fact that most Hispanics have always voted for the Democratic candidate.

We also asked the voters in California, including the Hispanic voters, how they would vote in a hypothetical match-up, which now looks more and more like the real match-up, between Al Gore, the Democrat, and George Bush as the Republican, with no other candidate on the ballot. Gore would get two thirds of the vote, 67 percent. Bush would get 29. Twenty-nine percent is a respectable showing. It's hardly a record. Hispanics did vote at one time as much as 40 percent for Ronald Reagan, but 30 -- 29 percent, just under 30 percent for George Bush would be a pretty good showing, and he intends to build on that with a campaign that's aimed a lot at Hispanic voters.

We also looked at Proposition 22, the measure that passed tonight that banned the recognition of same-sex marriage. There we found a big differential. Young voters in California did not vote for this. Only 42 percent did. Most young voters under the age of 30 voted against this ban. It was among the voters who are 60 years old and older, 70 percent of those voters voted for the ban. There was a very big generational difference in their view of same-sex marriage.

We found that 70 percent of Hispanic voters voted for the ban on same-sex marriages. Now, that's important because Hispanic voters are often portrayed correctly as having conservative social values, which could bring a lot of them to vote Republican. And that's what George Bush and a lot of Republicans are counting on, and we see evidence of it today in California. Seventy percent voted to ban same-sex marriages.

Finally, on Proposition 22, this was a war between the gay community and the religious right community. And what did we find? Eighty-six percent of gay voters in California voted "No" on Proposition 22, against the ban. And guess what? Eighty-six percent of religious right voters voted "Yes" on Proposition 22. Eighty-six no, eighty-six yes -- you don't get more polarized than that.

Unfortunately for the gay community in California, there are twice as many religious right voters as there are gay voters. GREENFIELD: Thank you, Bill. Those are probably two of the least surprising numbers we'll hear all night.

We want to go now to John King with the McCain campaign in Los Angeles.

We understand, John, the senator may come out and address his supporters shortly.

KING: That's right, Jeff. Senator McCain due here in about 10 minutes. We know he just a few moments ago wrapped up a call with Governor Bush. We're told it was a very brief conversation. Senator McCain congratulated Governor Bush on his victories tonight, did not say anything about his future. In his speech, we're told Senator McCain will promote his reform agenda and promise his supporters that his crusade will continue. But he will leave what one aide called, quote, "strategic ambiguity" as to whether his campaign will continue.

This adviser said tonight's delegate math is, quote, "devastating," and that he expects -- and another adviser echoed this -- for Senator McCain to leave the race on Thursday.

And on the Democratic side, I just want to tell you -- spoke to a Democratic congressman aligned with Bill Bradley just a short time ago who said he had been told Senator Bradley would leave the race within the next 48 hours. So it appears that March 7th is living up to its billing as the decisive night in the race for president.

Back to you.

GREENFIELD: Thank you.

Governor Bush is addressing his supporters on what was a very good night for him.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Phyllis (ph), thank you very much. Thank you for your dedication to our children. And thank you for doing one of the most important jobs in our state and our country, and that's being a great educator. I'm glad you're here, and I'm glad you all are here. God bless you all, and thank you for coming.

Tonight we have good news from sea to shining sea.

(APPLAUSE)

We were challenged, and we met the challenge.

(APPLAUSE)

We were tested, and we were equal to the test.

(APPLAUSE)

We promised a national campaign, and tonight we have a national victory. (APPLAUSE)

Republicans and conservatives from all across the country have said they want me to lead the Republican Party to victory in November, and I am ready, and I am eager to do so.

(APPLAUSE)

I commend two good men, and tough competitors -- Senator John McCain and Ambassador Alan Keyes.

(APPLAUSE)

This has been a spirited contest.

(APPLAUSE)

I congratulate John. We have had our disagreements, but I respect him. And I respect his commitment to reform. I respect Alan Keyes for the deep convictions he has held in his campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

Soon our party will unite and turn to the main task at hand, ending the era of Clinton-Gore.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight's victory is a test...

(APPLAUSE)

... tonight's victory -- tonight's victory is a testimony -- tonight's victory is a testimony to the power and energy of a new message, a message of reform, of renewal, called compassionate conservatism.

(APPLAUSE)

Tonight's victory -- tonight's victory is also the beginning of a great task. I'm not only asking Americans to vote for me, I'm asking Americans to join with me on a mission to reform and renew our great land.

From the first day, this campaign has had a cause. A vision of change for our party and our country. Republicans must expand our prosperity and extend it to those who still struggle. We must also be a strong nation that cares for the weak and the forgotten. We must welcome new Americans, Americans by choice, because legal immigration is not a source of national weakness, it is a sign of national success.

(APPLAUSE)

We are a party of principle.

We also must be a party of inclusion, a party with a generous heart and an open door.

Tonight in the other party Al Gore is celebrating victory as well. I congratulate him and look forward to the contest.

(APPLAUSE)

He is the candidate of the status quo in Washington, D.C. And he's a tough case to make -- he's got a tough case to make in the general election. For eight years, Clinton-Gore administration has had history's greatest opportunity to reform Social Security with a growing surplus and a willing public. But they've chosen to demagogue Social Security, not repair it.

America needs a president who will make Social Security a priority, not use it as a ploy. As president, I'll reach across party lines to strengthen and preserve Social Security not only for our greatest generation, but also for the generation next.

(APPLAUSE)

For eight years, the Clinton and Gore administration has multiplied the missions of our military while cutting its capabilities. As president, I will rebuild the strength of our military and the prestige and stature of America.

(APPLAUSE)

We will give the men and women in uniform the equipment they need and the respect they deserve.

(APPLAUSE)

For eight years, the Clinton-Gore administration has spoken of education as a matter of bricks and mortar and bureaucratic mandates.

But the real problem in education is politicians who never stop talking, and children who never start reading.

(APPLAUSE)

For the first time in decades we are going to dramatically improve the performance of our public schools in America. As president, I am going to rescue children from failure, and return excellence to American education, through high standards, local control and strong accountability.

(APPLAUSE)

After eight years of Clinton-Gore we have the highest tax burden since World War II, and yet we are told taxes are not an issue. Not an issue, while many families are punished by the tax code just for being families. Not an issue while single mothers can pay a higher marginal rate than the prosperous. This is an issue for Americans, and it will be an issue in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE) I will take down the toll gate to the road on the middle class. And I will cut taxes for everybody who pays taxes, because the surplus is not the government's money.

The surplus is the people's money.

(APPLAUSE)

The polls say cutting taxes is not popular. I'm not proposing tax relief because it's the popular thing to do. I'm proposing tax relief because it's the right thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

I will stand on principle and I will bring honor to this process and honor to the office I seek.

(APPLAUSE)

I will remind Al Gore that Americans do not want a White House where there is no controlling legal authority.

(APPLAUSE)

I will repair the broken bonds of trust between Americans and their government.

These are some of the issues I will raise during this campaign. We need to put behind us eight years of nightly polls and daily attacks, eight years of partisanship, gridlock and division. Eight years is a long time and eight years is long enough.

(APPLAUSE)

We are ready. And I believe this great country of ours is ready to return exiled honor to the White House.

SHAW: You know, the text of this speech that the governor's concluding now really constitutes a national campaign playbook.

GREENFIELD: No doubt.

WOODRUFF: That's right.

GREENFIELD: I think you've heard -- you've heard the basic theme of the Bush attack on Al Gore. You remember, I asked a while ago, how do you run against a vice president who helped preside over a very strong economy and good social indicators? Here's the answer. What they're saying is Al Gore is mired in the past. He's not taken advantage of these good times, he and Bill Clinton, to change things for the better. And he represents a White House that has coarsened the national fabric. And it's a very bold attack along the lines that, in fact, Bill Bradley would have used if he -- if a fellow Democrat could have made this tough an attack on another Democrat.

WOODRUFF: And in fact, just quickly, Al Gore in his speech tonight not only said, "Do you want to go back to the economics of the last administration?" which was Governor Bush's father, George Bush -- George Bush, but also he talked about campaign finance reform. "I've learned from my mistakes." And he called on the Republican nominee to reject soft money, all things that we're going to be talking about.

Let's go now to John McCain, who is talking to his supporters in Los Angeles, making his way now in a room full of his supporters on a night that has surely been -- he's seen some successes in New England, but it has not been the night of successes that he would have wanted.

GREENFIELD: You know, Judy, just to pick up on what you were saying, before we hear Senator McCain -- when you talk about Al Gore setting down a set of issues and George Bush talking about issues but then talking about a broader -- a broader concern, the honor and the status quo -- one of Bush's advisers said that if issues were what mattered, Gore would be doing much better. So they don't think -- they don't think that issues matter.

Let's go to John King now in Los Angeles, as we await Senator McCain -- John.

KING: Jeff, we have seen an advance text of the senator's speech here. He congratulates Governor Bush, says he will take a few days to take stock of his wins tonight but also his defeats. You will see in the first paragraph of the speech, the senator makes clear he's not sure he's in this race to stay. He says, quote, "We may meet again in primaries a few days from now" -- "We may meet again." We're told by senior McCain advisers he spoke to the governor a short time ago and that he wants to go home now to Arizona. But one of these advisers told us just a few minutes ago the delegate math is, quote, "devastating" and it's hard to see a rationale for going on.

Senator McCain here arriving up at the podium, about to speak to his supporters. He had been hoping. And his last hope tonight, really, is to try to out-poll Governor Bush here in the beauty contest.

Let's listen in.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you all for your wonderful welcome. Thank you. I know you all know my family. I thank you all for being here and welcoming them.

You know, we ride a bus called the "Straight Talk Express," so I have to tell you a little straight talk. We made a tactical -- we made a tactical decision that Cindy would go to Portsmouth, Rhodes Island, and to Burlington, Vermont, and I would go to Maine.

Well, we won Burlington, Vermont, and Portsmouth, Rhodes Island, and lost Maine. Now you figure it out who the best candidate was in this campaign.

(APPLAUSE)

Everybody said to me, Why isn't she the candidate? Excellent. Cindy -- Cindy.

(LAUGHTER)

But friends, we won a few and lost a few today. And over the next few days we'll take some time to enjoy our victories and take stock of our losses.

I want to congratulate Governor Bush and his family and wish him well as he takes time to enjoy the victories that he won tonight. We may meet again in primaries in a few days from now and we have both earned a little rest.

(APPLAUSE)

Tomorrow we will take a little time to reflect on the direction of our campaign. But I want to assure you -- I want to assure you all that our crusade continues tonight, tomorrow, the next day.

(APPLAUSE)

Our crusade continues tonight, tomorrow, the next day, the day after that and for as long as it takes to restore America's confidence and pride in the practice and institutions of our great democracy.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: We will never give up this mission my friends. I give you my word on that for that's the great purpose of public service, and we must never, never lose sight of it.

(APPLAUSE)

As is evident by the great numbers of voters who have rallied to our banner, so many of whom have been disaffected by politics in recent times, America needs and wants a thorough reform of the way we conduct our nation's business.

(APPLAUSE)

And the Republican Party -- the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Reagan need -- needs to recover its purpose to be as big as the country we serve. That's the purpose of our campaign and as I said, I have no intention of ever surrendering it.

(APPLAUSE)

For that's the only way, my friends, that we can revive the patriotism of all of the people of this beautiful, bountiful, blessed country and call them once again to serve in our great causes.

There is not greater satisfaction, nor one that gives our lives greater meaning, than to sacrifice in causes greater than our self interests, causes that encompass us but are not defined by our personal ambitions alone. America stands for something so much greater than the cynicism that sometimes afflict us. We stand, as we always have, for freedom and justice for all humanity. And I am so proud, so proud that this message has struck a chord in the hearts of so many Americans, of every race, creed and political persuasion in this vast and diverse country.

(APPLAUSE)

MCCAIN: We have come so far and we have so many to thank that my brief remarks cannot do neither subject justice. For now, let me simply say that I thank you, I thank you from the bottom of my heart, as you should thank yourselves for becoming a powerful force beckoning the country to service in a very worthy cause.

I am grateful and honored and humbled beyond expression for all the support and affection Cindy and I have received from all of you here tonight and from everyone who has rallied to our cause. You are the -- you...

(APPLAUSE)

You -- you -- you -- you are the best thing about our campaign and I am indebted to you, all of you, for the honor and the great blessing of your friendship.

So let's enjoy ourselves this evening, my friends, celebrate our successes and prepare to get back to work tomorrow. Thank you and God bless you. Thank you very much. Thank you all. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you and God bless. Thank you very much.

(APPLAUSE)

WOODRUFF: Arizona Senator John McCain telling his supporters in Los Angeles, "We won a few, we lost a few today," and saying that over the next few days he's going to take some time to reassess his campaign. As John King had pointed out before, Senator McCain's remarks -- he at one point said "We may meet again," referring to Governor Bush, whom he called tonight. "We may meet again in primaries a few days from now."

But the main thrust of these remarks, Bernie and Jeff and John King, if you're listening there in Los Angeles, was to say "No matter what happens, this mission -- I'm committed to this mission for as long as I'm around."

GREENFIELD: The interesting...

KING: Well, Judy, the confetti drop has become a trademark of McCain events, and this could well be the last one. As you noted, he did say in the speech that he may -- may, may -- meet Governor Bush in future primaries. We're told by senior aides, however, that they view tonight's delegate math as quite devastating. They will go back to Arizona to reassess, two senior advisers telling us they believe it is all but certain the senator will exit the Republican race perhaps as early as Thursday. However, they do want to await all the final results and take one more look at them tomorrow in Arizona.

His speech significant for what it didn't say as much as what it did say. Remember the night of the South Carolina primary. Senator McCain was very confrontational about Governor Bush, said that the country had to choose between a candidate of experience or a candidate of pretense. Tonight he was quite conciliatory, congratulating Governor Bush on his victory. And several times, as he said thank you to his supporters, it seemed as if he knew that perhaps this was the last hurrah of his campaign.

SHAW: John, I'm just curious. Is there any top strategist in this senator's campaign arguing for him to stay in?

KING: There are some who want him to fight on, who want him to make a stronger case for reform in this race. There are others, some here in California, who don't like Governor Bush, frankly, and think that Governor Bush deserves a longer challenge. Some candidates (ph) think it would help to stay on, but most of his advisers say the senator himself sets the tone for the campaign.

He has said consistently that he is a loyal Republican, that he does not want to hurt the Republican Party and that he does not want to stay in unless you can reasonably show him how he might win enough delegates to clinch the nomination. And after tonight's math is clear, it looks very unlikely that he could do so unless there were a total collapse of the Bush campaign. More than 300 delegate at stake next week, all in states in which Governor Bush is heavily favored, very difficult to see the match. And Senator McCain has made clear he will not stay in the race if he thinks it's hurting the party.

SHAW: Bill Schneider's watching all this as it unfolds.

SCHNEIDER: Well, Bernie, there's one interesting prospect that's been talked about, and I don't think it's realistic, but some people have mentioned the possibility that John McCain could be the Reform Party candidate. This has been brought up by some leaders of the Reform Party who are dissatisfied with Pat Buchanan. They say he's a real reformer. He could bring in people from both parties. And believe me, he would be a very strong third-party candidate. He has said all along he refuses -- he will not be a Reform Party candidate. He also says he won't be a vice president on the ticket with George Bush.

What's interesting here is McCain has said many times his personal hero is President Theodore Roosevelt in the early part of the 20th century. Theodore Roosevelt was president, as a Republican. He succeeded William McKinley when McKinley was assassinated, and then got elected. And then later, in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt did run for president as a third-party candidate, called the Bull Moose Progressive Party, and he actually came in second, beating the incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft. So there's a funny kind of precedent there. But of course the impact of Theodore Roosevelt's candidacy was to split the Republican vote and elect a Democrat, Woodrow Wilson, for the first time in many years.

I think John McCain knows that if he were to run on the Reform Party ticket, the greatest likelihood would be that he's split the Republican vote and end up electing Al Gore.

GREENFIELD: Bill, one think about -- if we're looking at history, one of the positions that John McCain finds himself in is a member of a party challenging his own party. And what history often says, is the first member of a party to try to redefine that party's direction doesn't make it, either loses the general election or doesn't even get the nomination. It's took 25 years for the Republican Party to become conservative, from Taft to Goldwater. Took another 15 for the party to actually win. So John McCain may be of that position of being a forerunner who's laying down a challenge that somebody else four or eight years now may actually succeed in it.

SHAW: Just one quick line, observation about John McCain. He's a man who stands by his word. Vin Weber, former Minnesota congressman and adviser, indicated that John McCain will always live by his word, and he's given his word that he would not bolt the Republican Party.

WOODRUFF: And once again, just quickly, John McCain underlining tonight, no matter what happens, he's committed to his mission. He said, "The purpose of our campaign is reform. I have no intention of ever surrendering that mission.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to take a look at the races we have called, including those just in the last half hour, in California. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Thirty-five minutes past the hour of 11:00 on the East Coast, and that makes it 35 past the hour of 9:00 -- 8:00 on the West Coast. Let's take a look now at the races we've called tonight. For George Bush, on the Republican side, the Republican primaries, George Bush has won California, the delegate vote, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New York and Ohio. Still among the Republicans, John McCain sticking to New England, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont. Two of those states, he pointed out, his wife campaigned in.

And for the Democrats, it's a clean sweep for the vice president, picking up every state coast to coast that was on the ballots tonight, from California to New York, a very happy night for the vice president, not so happy for Bill Bradley.

Let's look now to the delegates and to some other crucial questions with Wolf Blitzer at the other end of this studio -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Let's take a look first at the latest numbers for that all-important delegate count. The delegate count of course changing with the decision that CNN and other networks have made to call the elections in California. First of all, to the Democratic side, Al Gore we now estimate has 1,294 Democratic delegates out of the 2,174 needed for nomination. Bill Bradley with only 380 delegates. On the Republican side nationwide, let's take a look at those numbers,

WOODRUFF: Wolf Blitzer, we are having a hard time hearing you. There's a microphone problem over there. Can somebody give you their microphone so we can hear what you're saying more clearly. BLITZER: I'll get right back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer going over those numbers. You can see, even though we are just on March 7, that Al Gore is well over halfway to winning the nomination.

GREENFIELD: And probably all the way in a day or two. What we want to do, while we rehook Wolf Blitzer up, is to look at that watchlist we've been visiting time to time, and show how these questions were answered on the Republican side. Did the Religious Right turn out? Yes it did, and it voted heavily for George Bush.

Did McCain fulfill his hope of sweeping New England? Obviously, he did no not. Did Bush hold the Republican votes as he did throughout the campaign? He very much did. That's why he has won the lion's share of the primaries.

Did Bush carry Republican women over McCain? Yes he did. It was an important part of why he won the Republican vote in general.

Was there a Catholic backlash against Bush because of the visit to Bob Jones University? As far as our exit polls can tell, very little.

Now did McCain win enough crossover votes in a state like Ohio, a state they desperately wanted to win? No. Bush won Ohio handily. Democrats tended to voted in the Democratic primary.

What was the voter reaction in negative campaigns? Well, it was a negative reaction, but it seems to be much more negative about John McCain raising the issue than it was about George Bush putting on allegedly negative commercials.

And what about the Bush appeal to California Hispanics? Well, the lion's share of the Hispanic vote in that blanket primary went to Al Gore, 54 percent, no surprise because that's where Hispanics usually vote. Bush did beat McCain by a few points.

To Wolf, I believe you are audio-capable now.

BLITZER: If at first, Jeff, you don't succeed, try, try again. Let's take another look at the latest delegate counts, the numbers that we have right now. First of all, let's go first to the Democratic side. Excuse me, to the Republican side. George W. Bush with 660 delegates of the 1,034 needed for nomination. John McCain with 210 delegates right now, with California.

On the Democrat side, Al Gore with 1,294 delegates of the 2,170 needed for the nomination, 380 for Bill Bradley.

Scott Reed, you spent time four years doing the Bob Dole campaign. What happens now? John McCain, we just heard him. The next 48 hours, walk us through behind the scenes what's going through that McCain camp?

REED: Very split ideas. McCain needs to go spend time at home, with his wife, with his family, with some of his supporters. They'll reach out to his supporters and his leadership around the country. They need to make a big decision here in the next 48 hours. McCain is a man of action. He's a man that goes with his instincts. That's been his career for the last 18 years, a very successful career. I think you're going to see McCain make a very quick decision. I do not think he will let this linger on. He's a realist, he understands what he's up against, and the delegate count tonight is overwhelming Bush.

BLITZER: And if the numbers were bad for John McCain tonight, they could only get much worse next Tuesday.

REED: Well, you go into next Tuesday where there is six primaries, they're all Southern primaries, three of them are open, three of them are closed, states like Texas, Louisiana, which is part of Texas, Florida, those are going to be very difficult for him, another 300 delegates that could -- most of them could go toward Bush.

BLITZER: We did see George W. Bush tonight begin the process of trying to unite this Republican Party.

REED: It's crucial. It's the most important thing George Bush can do right now. He has to reach out to the McCain followers. Another very important thing is to look at the U.S. Senate, where 38 of McCain's colleagues were with Bush, they need to embrace McCain now that it's over, welcome him back to the Senate and understand that he's made a big contribution to this, because in a way he's helped George Bush, he's taught George Bush how to go out and run a campaign and how to win, and it's made Bush a better candidate for the fall.

BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, you've been looking at some of the non-presidential races, we have focused, of course, exclusively so far on the presidential contests, but there have been some non-presidential races that are of some interest out there.

ROTHENBERG: Absolutely, Wolf. Let's run right through them. Let's start in Ohio with two congressional races, embattled Democratic Congressman Jim Traficant represents a district in northeastern Ohio, the Youngstown area, he's faced a couple of credible primary opponents who felt he might be knocked off. He has won, he has won renomination. Democrats complained that he voted too often with the Republicans, he's been dogged by legal issues, but he won renomination.

Let's move south and west to Columbus, this is John Kasich's open congressional district, he is retiring. Republicans are concerned about the seat. Maybe they shouldn't be. This is a race where State Representative Pat Tiberi, the handpicked candidate of Kasich, just absolutely pummelled state Senator Gene Watts, Watts ran as sort of a John McCain political outsider and he did as well as John McCain did today, which is not very well. Tiberi's showing was so good it probably makes Republicans a bit more optimistic about his chances against the Democrat, in this case it's Columbus City Council member Mary Ellen O'Shaughnessy (ph), an articulate Democrat, a good name in the area, but Tiberi's showing was quite good.

In the Ohio Senate race, a Republican incumbent Senator Mike DeWine won renomination, he faced a one-term congressman, Frank Vermanes (ph), complained that DeWine wasn't conservative enough. DeWine is one of the handful of Republican senators who endorsed John McCain, but DeWine won renomination easily and he'll face Ted Celeste, a real estate broker, who won the Democratic nomination, he's the brother of former Governor Richard Celeste. The Republicans are favored.

And finally, in the California Senate race, of course the Democrats have renominated Senator Dianne Feinstein, she's been a proven vote getter. In fact, she's mentioned as a possible V.P. candidate down the road should the Democrats decide to turn to a woman. And the Republicans have selected their candidate, this is Congressman Tom Campbell, a moderate Republican, he lost one statewide Republican primary once before, he won this one. He is a very credible candidate, he is an underdog, but he has the credentials.

BLITZER: All right, Stuart -- and I just want to remind our audience that even though we are now estimating that George W. Bush will capture all 162 of California's Republican delegates -- as far as the so-called beauty contest is concerned, the popular vote, we don't know yet. It's still too close call in that important beauty contest, the popular vote in California.

I want to bring Scott Reed back into this conversation, we're talking about some of these non-presidential races. In New York state, a huge Senate race, Mrs. Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, how is this result tonight going to play out in that contest?

REED: There's a huge sigh of relief coming out of New York tonight and if you listen carefully it's coming out of Gracie Mansion where Rudy Giuliani lives. He was very awkward last Friday having to be out there campaigning with the rest of the Republican establishment against John McCain, you could see it in his body language, he did not like being there. He understands that if he is going to defeat Hillary Clinton he has to run his own campaign on his issues in his way and he cannot be involved in these other things. He's very glad this is over.

It's going to be a very tight race, one of the tightest races in the country, because Hillary Clinton has a problem, she never polls above 41 percent or 42 percent of the vote. She's never gotten above that, there's a reason. She's not getting women voters. That's her goal. Rudy understands that. And it's going to be a tight race.

BLITZER: Stuart Rothenberg, you've spent an enormous amount of time looking at the balance of power in the House of Representatives, the Republicans, of course, have a narrow majority right now. Any conclusions we can draw based on the results this evening how that will impact perhaps on the balance of the House of Representatives?

ROTHENBERG: Well, some very, very preliminary and tentative ones, Wolf. First of all, the Republicans are just happy I think that this presidential race looks likes it's over and that maybe their party can come together.

At this moment, it looks like the presidential contest is going to be close for November, it's hard to see any big partisan wave one way or the other for the Republicans or the Democrats. That means that House races will be fought out hand to hand combat, race to race, which should mean that the presidential race isn't a huge factor.

However, and this is the big but, the House is so close right now, the balance, that the presidential race affects one or two or three congressional districts, that could be enough to determine which party controls the House after November and that would be a big deal.

BLITZER: All right, Stuart Rothenberg, thanks.

Let's go back to Judy at the anchor desk.

WOODRUFF: And, Wolf, I have a question for one of your folks over there, Scott Reed. Scott, you make the point that the Bush people, the McCain people are going to be looking for ways potentially after the senator has a chance to think things over about how to come together, and yet John McCain also made a huge point tonight of reform, being that reform must be the wave of the future for the Republican Party. George W. Bush has completely rejected campaign finance reform. How do those two ideas come together?

REED: Well, I believe Bush has picked up on a small part of campaign finance reform, but look, McCain has been a big compliment to this whole race and I believe the Bush team in Austin recognized that he's contributed, that some of his issues have resonated, and they're going to be doing everything they can in the next couple weeks to unite the party, but a big first step of that is uniting with John McCain. There needs to be a visit, there needs to be a visit very soon. He needs to feel comfortable about how he's going to go through the next three weeks and I think the folks in Austin recognize that.

GREENFIELD: Question, if I may, for either Stu or for Scott, this seems to reinforce a great Republican tradition. They pick a front-runner, they beat him up early either in Iowa or New Hampshire and then they nominate him, that happened to Reagan in '80, Bush in '88, it almost happened to President Bush in '92, it happened to Dole in '96, and now it apparently has happened to Bush.

Can you -- either of you explain what is this -- is this like an anthropological dance of the Republican Party, hit him and then kiss him?

REED: There's always going to be a tough fight for the nomination. I don't think anybody ever expected it was just going to be a layup for George Bush. I think last fall they got a little ahead of themselves and they started believing these artificial poll numbers that showed that he was invincible.

Clearly, McCain came on at the time, he was the flavor after a number of the other candidates dropped out. But again, this has been a healthy process for the Republican Party, it's made us a stronger party. There have been huge turnouts in a number of these states, 100 percent larger than they were in 1996, and ultimately it will be better for us as we go into the fall. ROTHENBERG: Jeff, I would simply add that the fact of the matter is that the Republicans once again have ultimately decided to nominate the front-runner, that while the Democrats have in the past have gone for the insurgent candidate and picked the George McGoverns of the world, the Republicans have once again gone with the obvious person, the person who had a year before, and I think that's significant.

SHAW: Now, wait a minute, there's one element in all this discussion that we have not touched on. Stu, you alluded to the closeness of the general campaign affecting the people running for re- election in the House and whether that might tip the balance. But both to you, Stu and Scott, where does Governor Bush get coattails wide enough to bring these people in so that the Republicans retain control of the House and of the Senate for that matter? And, Scott, I notice you have a smile on your face.

REED: Well, the way that Governor Bush is going to get coattails and the entire Republican Party is going to have coattails is if Bush goes out and talks about issues. This has to be an agenda-driven campaign. Republicans in Congress, unfortunately, sat around in December and January and said, well, let's wait for there to be a nominee, then we will put together our agenda. That was a waste of a couple months.

It looks like there now is a nominee. He has an agenda, he talked about it last year, he got off track in New Hampshire, got caught up talking about campaign tactics and process and all that. I think they learned a good lesson. But again, the only way there are going to be coattails is if there's a strong Republican agenda that the American people can understand. George Bush is capable of doing that.

WOODRUFF: All right, Scott Reed, Stu Rothenberg, and Wolf Blitzer, we're going to hear from you all a little bit later.

Right now we're going to take a break, and when we come back, two of our favorites, Tony Blankley and Mike McCurry. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GREENFIELD: Just before we go to Tony Blankley and Mike McCurry, I want to put some, perhaps, meat on the table for them to chew with. Maybe one of those important numbers tonight we haven't reported is 550. That's the drop in the Dow just the last two days, and the point I think is on the table, is if people begin to lack confidence that this economic boom continues, that doesn't sound like good news for Vice President Gore.

Gentlemen, what do you think of that, or take it on in any direction you want?

MIKE MCCURRY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Jeff, you know that's a good point. Tony, we haven't talked a lot about the economy, the strength of it tonight, because that is, ultimately, peace, prosperity, the issues that define this tonight, but in a way, if you take what the snapshot of this whole long evening has been, it was the promise of the McCain, Bradley campaign, the reform message they had and what happened to it. It certainly did energize new voters, but in the end, the parties kind of turned back to institutional leaders, the people who were more in the center.

I think for Democrats that stock market drop was a very discordant note. I've got to believe for Republicans who want to move back to the center, it must have been very disconcerting to see Pat Robertson to be the first person out there declaring victory tonight.

TONY BLANKLEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, clearly the economy has been the premise of the Clinton presidency. It's the premise of the Gore election campaign. If the economy turns out -- and we all hope it doesn't -- then I think you have to completely recalculate what the Gore message is.

But I think this evening, we now have seen, basically, the candidates, and I think the most interesting event is that we now see the Republican electorate has for the sixth time since 1980 picked the same kind of a candidate. They had an opportunity with McCain to try to modify their strategy for winning an election. They're going to go for the sixth time with a right-of-center Reagan coalition, anchored with very strong social conservatives, sort of the grassroots and the troops for them, and they're going to see if they can win one more time.

I have a strong suspicion that if in fact that doesn't work in November, that the McCain formula, if not McCain himself, may well have another opportunity just as Clinton did in '92 after the Democrats lost three consecutive presidencies.

MCCURRY: I hate to agree with you, but there is an element of this electorate that still wants to see a new type of politics. I think Senator McCain was really right about that. And who claims that constituency, whether it's Governor Bush or Vice President Gore now really is going to tell the story of where we go in November. It is a long time now to the conventions and an even longer time to the national election. I've got to believe that Democrats are going to be happy to see that number. In the hypothetical race in California tonight, the vice president beating Governor Bush 50 to 43.

BLANKLEY: That wasn't much of a number for Gore, who's been out to California about, what, 87 times. But let just briefly me go over -- I was taking some notes during the speeches. And Bush's speech was interesting in a couple of points. He emphasized education, immigration, Social Security, three issues which have not traditionally been Republican issues, so there's a little bit of movement from the traditional issues. Education we, of course, hadn't talked about before. Immigration is a relatively new point, and I assume on Social Security that he's going to the accuse the Clinton/Gore administration of failing for eight years to solving the problem that we all need to see solved.

So you're seeing a little bit of assertiveness beyond the basic agenda, but you see the same theory of how you put together a coalition to win the election. MCCURRY: But you also see a strong party behind Al Gore. The Democratic Committee is ready to go with a lot of money. I think that we're going to see this thing play out in the days ahead.

Atlanta back to you to close it out.

WOODRUFF: All right, Tony and Mike, and you were right to put the economic question on the table, because it turns out that that is going to be something we are thinking about. We are going take a break. When we come back, a new hour of our election 2000 coverage, and a recap of where the vote stands at this hour.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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