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Special Event

Super Tuesday: Bush Swamps McCain; Gore Sweeps

Aired March 8, 2000 - 1:00 a.m. ET



GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Soon, our party will unite and turn to the main task at hand: ending the era of Clinton-Gore.


JIM MORET, HOST: Riding a wave of religious right indignation, Republican George W. Bush swamps John McCain. And in the Democratic Party, an Al Gore sweep produces a new battle cry.


VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you believe in using our prosperity wisely to lift our nation up, not wasting the surplus on a risky tax scheme, then join us now because our campaign is your cause.


MORET: Super Tuesday is over. So, apparently, are the contests for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.

I'm Jim Moret reporting from Los Angeles.

Across the nation, both Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore are tonight's big winners. Big enough, it seems, that both men will now become their party's presumptive nominees.

CNN's coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries and caucuses continues. We'll keep updating the numbers. We'll look closely at the trends showing up in our exit polls and hear what the candidates are telling the supporters. We also look ahead as an extraordinarily short primary season begins giving way to a uniquely long general election campaign.

First, the results.

In California, among Republicans only, George W. Bush with 60 percent of the vote, McCain with 36 percent. That's with 18 percent of the precincts reporting.

On the Democratic side in California, Al Gore -- there you see it -- with 80 percent of the vote, Bill Bradley with 19 percent. That with 16 percent reporting.

In Ohio, Bush over McCain 58 percent to 37 percent. Nearly all reporting, 97 percent.

On the Democrat side, Ohio, 73 percent going to Gore, 25 percent for Bradley.

In Missouri, Governor Bush, 58 percent with 274,000-plus votes. McCain with 35 percent. Keyes with 6 percent. Nearly all reporting at 99 percent.

In Missouri on the Democratic side, Al Gore 65 percent to Bradley's 34 percent.

In Georgia, Bush with 67 percent of the vote, McCain 28.

Also in the Georgia primary, Al Gore 84 percent of the vote to Bradley's 16.

In Maryland, Governor Bush with 56 percent, Senator McCain 36 percent.

Once again in Maryland, all reporting, 67 percent for Vice President Gore, 29 percent for Bradley.

In the New York primary, Bush with 51 percent of the vote to McCain's 43 percent. That with 49 percent reporting.

And in New York, 65 percent going to Gore, 34 percent for Bradley.

In Connecticut, McCain wins here with 49 percent to Bush's 46 percent with nearly all reporting. On the Democratic side, Al Gore with 55 percent to Bradley's 42 percent.

In Rhode Island, McCain again winning with 60 percent of the vote to Bush's 36 percent. Alan Keyes with 3 percent.

And in Rhode Island, Al Gore with 57 percent, Bradley capturing 41 percent.

In Massachusetts, also a McCain win, 64 percent, Governor Bush 32 percent, Alan Keyes 3 percent. That with 88 percent of the precincts reporting.

Massachusetts, Al Gore wins here, 60 percent, to Bradley's 38.

And in Maine, Governor Bush with 51 percent, Senator McCain 44 percent, Keyes 3 percent.

And on the Democratic side, Al Gore with 54 percent to Bradley's 41 percent.

In Idaho, the caucuses there, 33 percent for Gore, 63 percent for Bradley.

The numbers didn't look quite right there.

In North Dakota, 78 percent for Gore, 22 percent for Bradley.

In Minnesota, 63 percent for Bush, 20 percent for Keyes, 17 percent for McCain.

There you have the numbers.

Now for the candidates. John McCain tonight talked about his crusade continuing today, tomorrow, and the next day. George W. Bush, meanwhile, focused on Al Gore.

With more on both candidates, CNN's Jonathan Karl joins us from here in Los Angeles where McCain watched the votes come in.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, John McCain was hoping for a great surprise tonight. He knew going in to today's polling that he was behind in virtually all the Super Tuesday states outside of New England, but he was hoping for a surprise. Instead, he got a great disappointment.

The McCain campaign really thought they had a chance of pulling off a victory in at least one of those big three states voting today, either New York, Ohio, or California, but, on that score, John McCain came up empty handed.

Now, in his speech to reporters here tonight in Los Angeles, McCain congratulated George W. Bush and said that he will spend the next day reassessing his campaign, but, regardless of what happens to his campaign for the presidency, John McCain is saying that his crusade to reform the political system will continue.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We may meet again in primaries in a few days from now, and we have both earned a little rest. Tomorrow -- tomorrow, we'll 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 -- 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.


KARL: As for George W. Bush, he is celebrating the greatest victory of his political career tonight. His aides say that he now has enough delegates to make him the prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination.

In his speech to supporters in Austin, George W. Bush looks forward to his campaign, he says, against Al Gore in November. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: ... and I believe this great country of ours is ready to return the exiled honor to the White House.

Someone will make history this November. Either we will ratify the status quo, or we'll have a new beginning in American politics. I say America must not give Clinton-Gore four more years.


KARL: Now John McCain did not concede tonight. He is going to -- back to Arizona -- to his ranch in Arizona where he will reassess his campaign, his aides insisting that there has been absolutely no decision made about whether or not he will continue to fight on for the Republican nomination. McCain going back, reassessing for at least a day, before he makes a decision on that.


MORET: Jonathan, it appears that the Republicans certainly have the most in the terms of healing to be done. Was there a conciliatory tone tonight, in your view?

KARL: Well, John McCain and George W. Bush waged an increasingly intensely bitter battle over the last several days, really in the last week of this campaign. One thing that McCain is still upset about is an ad that was running in New York -- in New York State where George W. Bush suggested that John McCain was opposed to breast cancer research. This is something that is especially hurtful to McCain because his sister has suffered from breast cancer.

So, while there was very little said from McCain's side about George W. Bush besides a quick congratulations, there's clearly a lot of healing that needs to be done. McCain has also said that he will eventually support the Republican nominee, whoever that may be. He has long said that, but he has also in recent days suggested that, to support George W. Bush, he would need to see Bush renounce some of what McCain calls the negative and underhanded tactics he used to win this nomination.

MORET: Jonathan Karl reporting live from Los Angeles.

If John McCain had the most to lose on Super Tuesday, the Democratic underdog had lost the most heading into today's primaries and caucuses. In the Northeast, Bill Bradley's slip-sliding campaign had hoped to get traction.

CNN's Pat Neal is standing by in New York.



Well, Al Gore's sweep across the nation this Super Tuesday solidified his support, and it virtually wiped out Bill Bradley's chances of carrying on. Now Vice President Gore had a victory celebration in Nashville. The vice president savored his resounding wins in state after state after state.

Gore had gone from being a likely nominee last spring to see his campaign and his chances slump in the summer and fall by Bill Bradley's insurgent campaign and feelings of Clinton fatigue. He retooled his campaign, his look, and pegged himself the underdog.

Now victory was his tonight, and he moved to the issues of a general election. Gore challenged the Republican nominee to hold twice weekly debates on the issues and, secondly, he called on that nominee to ban soft money.

Gore led Bradley in endorsements and organization, trounced the former senator in support from all core Democratic groups, including minorities, women, and unions. But, tonight, Gore reached out to more people than just Democrats and called for others to join his campaign.


GORE: While we are here to celebrate great victories, I say to you tonight -- and hear me well -- you ain't seen nothin' yet. Our fight has just begun! Our fight for the working families of this country has just begun.

And, tonight, I invite all Americans who seek the best America, all Americans, regardless of party, to join us in this cause. We need to build. We need to build on our record of prosperity. We don't need to go back to where we were eight years ago.


NEAL: Bill Bradley came in to his crowd -- his supporters with cheers, but there weren't many numbers to cheer about tonight. Bradley said he lost, but he was not dropping out of the race tonight. He said he would take the advice of others on Wednesday and then announce future plans shortly. The campaign has told us to expect an advisory Wednesday as to what's to come Thursday and beyond.

Bradley started tonight by quoting legendary coach Vince Lombardi, saying winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. But Bradley also talked about issues beyond just winning.


SEN. BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We begin with conviction, talk with people, listen to their stories, and then propose what we think will make a difference in their lives.

Despite our lack of victory tonight, there is so much that every one of you who became a part of our campaign has to be proud of. We've shaped the national debate in this campaign. We've brought core Democratic issues to the fore.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEAL: Bill Bradley started his campaign 14 months ago on a platform of big ideas. They included universal access to health care for all Americans and sweeping gun control legislation, calling for registration and licensing of all handguns. But, tonight, the results just weren't in for him, and he will make an assessment and decide what to do perhaps tomorrow or Thursday.


MORET: Pat, regardless of what Bradley says over the next couple of days, it certainly appeared that Al Gore was focusing on the fall and facing Governor Bush.

NEAL: Well, that's exactly right. What Al Gore did was that he not only kind of shaped the way these issues went. He went on beyond that. When he saw the numbers looking good for him, when all the polling showed that he had those core Democrats groups behind him, he went on and started focusing not just on Bill Bradley. He went on to look into the general election, as you said, talking about the campaign against probable candidates George Bush or John McCain, talking about campaign finance reform and whether or not George Bush's tax plan is a good idea.

MORET: CNN's Pat Neal reporting live from New York.

With more on what the numbers revealed at the polls, let's go to CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

Bill, any surprises today?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, not a whole lot of surprises, but I have a rule for you, Jim. Now write this down. It's very hard to carry the Republican nomination if you can't win the Republican vote. That sounds pretty obvious, but ever since the New Hampshire primary, John McCain has been running way behind George W. Bush among Republicans.

Did McCain break into the Republican vote today? He did not. He lost it 2 to 1 to George W. Bush, and since Republicans make up about three-quarters of the voters in Republican primaries, it just meant doom for John McCain.

Now we asked Republicans around the country -- this is the combined exit polls from all the states that voted today -- whether McCain's attacks on Robertson and Falwell had any effect on their vote. Now this is among people who said that the senator's criticisms of those religious leaders had a great deal of effect. And what happened? They voted overwhelmingly for George Bush. Virtually nothing for McCain. That suggests that the voters who really cared about McCain's attacks on Falwell and Robertson were those who disagreed with him. In other words, that strategy clearly backfired.

Now what about the Democratic contest? What happened to Bill Bradley? He just couldn't cut into the Democrats' core constituencies, which are loyal to Clinton and, therefore, loyal to Clinton's man, Al Gore.

Take a look at African-American voters in the 11 primary states that voted today. Bradley's passionately committed to civil rights. He made a big appeal for black votes. He even got the endorsement of Michael Jordan, one of the most respected African-Americans in the country.

What happened? Well, bare -- Bradley barely registered. Just 15 percent.

Another core Democratic constituency union voters. Big problem for Bill Bradley. The AFL-CIO endorsed Gore last fall, and in this -- what you see here is they delivered, just like UPS, better than almost 3 to 1 for Al Gore.

Finally, one other problem, I think, for Bill Bradley that materialized, and that was John McCain. After New Hampshire, McCain became a national sensation, and he soaked up all the oxygen that was available for a political insurgency. We found in the exit polls that voters who like Bill Bradley also like John McCain, and that meant doom for Bill Bradley because McCain was the national sensation.

Bradley only lost the New Hampshire primary a month ago by 6,000 votes. Imagine what would have happened if McCain had lost the New Hampshire primary. Then Bradley might have beaten Al Gore, and we would have been talking about the Bradley phenomenon instead of the McCain phenomenon for the past month.


MORET: So when Bradley points to McCain as being his biggest problem, is he correct, do you think?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Gore was his biggest problem. McCain was an additional problem. But the fact is it's very difficult to defeat an incumbent vice president in his own party. The history shows that, if a vice president seeks his party's nomination, he almost always gets it, and the reason is that party nominations are controlled by party loyalists. The vice president's job is to be loyal, and they reward a loyalist.

Once the vice president becomes the party's nominee, he discovers something else. It's very hard to get elected as a vice president because a vice president doesn't have the image of a leader. His job isn't to be a leader. It's to be a follower. It's to be someone else's man, and that's Vice President Gore's problem right now.


MORET: Bill, if -- if you're not surprised at how -- how Bradley fared against Gore, how about Bush's performance versus McCain?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Bush's performance was a little stronger than I might have expected. He won Maine. He did -- he won New York. He won the beauty contest in California. I think what happened was, as I described it right out of exit poll, there was a negative reaction to McCain's use of wedge issues to divide the Republican Party. Even voters who agreed with his criticisms of Robertson and Falwell thought it was inappropriate, it was strident, and I think that, plus his use of the anti-Catholic telephone -- the -- I'm sorry -- the Catholic alert telephone calls calling Bush an anti-Catholic in Michigan and his attempt to explain them, which sounded a bit Clintonesque -- I think that spoiled McCain's image to some extent, and Republicans finally decided "We don't really want this guy. He's not the kind of politician we can go with."

MORET: Bill Schneider, thanks for your insights tonight.

SCHNEIDER: Pleasure.

MORET: When CNN's coverage of Super Tuesday continues, we'll be joined by a political insider who is no stranger to the political trenches. Stay with us.


MORET: For some perspective on tonight's results, I'm joined by Bill Carrick, Democratic strategist and Richard Gephardt's former campaign manager.

Thanks for coming in tonight.


MORET: Your overall assessment of -- of Super Tuesday.

CARRICK: Well, I think that the two front runners really blew out the insurgents, and it's -- I think we learned some lessons about the future from tonight's results. Obviously, Governor Bush is going to have a very tough time in New England. I mean, he didn't do well there against McCain. I think that bodes poorly for him for the fall. I also think, in California, we see a lot of the McCain voters, to me, look like pretty friendly territory for Gore. They're moderates. They're Bay area Republicans, a lot of the kind of Republicans we've seen in the last few years who've jumped fences and voted Democratic in statewide elections.

MORET: Now just focus on California. California was looked at as clearly pivotal for both parties, and there was a great deal of attention focused on this so-called beauty contest whereby McCain could win the popular vote, Bush could take the Republican vote. That does not appear to have happened. Is that a surprise?

CARRICK: You know, I think we would have all said two weeks ago that McCain had a really good chance at carrying the beauty contest, but I think the last week or two, his campaign fizzled, and as he had to compete across the country, he never quite had a California focus. He never was here spending the time moving around California like, obviously, he did in New Hampshire and the earlier places, and he just wasn't quite well enough known and his message didn't get out clearly enough.

And, of course, the famous or infamous, depending on your perspective, attack on the religious right got in his way. It changed sort of the disposition of McCain. Instead of being a sunny reformer, he became sort of a scowling, scolding candidate who's upset about the religious right and upset about negative ads. So I don't -- I don't think he ever portrayed himself in a positive context here.

MORET: As a Democratic strategist, are you surprised by the scope of the victories in the Gore camp over Bradley?

CARRICK: You know, it's -- it just blows me away. Some of the -- 80 percent is his total in California in the returns. It's just an enormous victory for Gore across the board. He won all the key Democratic constituencies. But even in the areas where we thought Bradley was going to do well, like New York where there were some very encouraging polls, Massachusetts where there were very encouraging polls, and Missouri which is Bill Bradley's home state, Al Gore really just blew him away. Very impressive.

MORET: Why do you think Gore apparently resonated so strongly with voters and Bradley did not appear to connect?

CARRICK: I think if you -- you know, if you step back from this, Gore was very strong from the beginning. Obviously, the popularity of the Clinton administration with Democratic primary voters rubbed off on Al Gore. His strength among minority votes and strength among union voters -- union households is a -- very powerful. Plus I think he was just a better candidate. He did a better job of articulating his message, staying on his message, was less distracted by the opposition than -- Bill Bradley was very distracted by the aggressive approach Al Gore took to him, and I think he just did a -- such a better job across the board.

MORET: Prop 22 as a California initiative gained national attention. It talked about a marriage would be valid and recognized in this state only between a man and a woman. It appears that that has passed. Focus on that briefly.

CARRICK: Well, the polls all along said it was going to pass. There's no surprise in that. I think the surprise here was the tone of the campaign on the yes side. They -- they went out of their way to say they weren't trying to suggest any discriminatory activity against gay and lesbians. It was a very, very tolerant campaign they ran. Now it may have been a fraud, but they certainly did not run an anti-gay campaign.

MORET: Bill Carrick, thank you very much for your insights tonight. Thanks for joining us.


MORET: Straight ahead on our election special, the road to the White House. What will it take? We'll hear from a supporter of the Republican front runner, Governor George W. Bush, when we return.


MORET: Now we'll look at what will -- what it will take for tonight's big winners to keep up their momentum. We begin with a supporter of Governor Bush. He's Congressman David Dreier who represents the eastern part of Los Angeles County here in California and serves as the Bush campaign's California co-chairman, joining us tonight from our Washington bureau.

Thank you for staying up so late, Congressman.

REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: Oh, well, I just got in from there, and I've got my "I voted" button on. I voted out there and caught a plane. So I'm actually on your time zone, Jim.

MORET: Talk about the -- the scope of the Bush victories. They did not appear as impressive in relation to the -- to the Gore-Bradley upset, clearly, but -- but they were impressive, nonetheless, weren't they?

DREIER: Well, frankly, John McCain was running a much stronger campaign than Bill Bradley was running, as you well know, and I think that the message of inclusion which George Bush has offered throughout the past several months is one which has resonated, and I believe that John McCain is a great man and has been a superb candidate, and I believe that he will clearly be part of the Bush effort as we move forward.

I think that it's very important to note that the work that George Bush has done so effectively in Texas really spills over very well into our state, reaching out to women, Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans, Native Americans, and at the same time focusing on independents and Democrats as Governor Bush has done so effectively in Texas.

That will, I believe, help us rebuild our effort in California, and the comments that have been made earlier are very clear. It is going to be tough, and -- but I think that George Bush is the candidate to do it.

MORET: Bill Carrick, the Democratic strategist we had on just a few minutes ago, said that Governor Bush appears to have some problems in the New England states. What do you make of that?

DREIER: Well, I think it was -- it was good that he carried Maine, and I think that it will clearly be challenge. But, again, remember reaching out is something that Governor Bush has done so effectively, and John McCain did well, and I'm convinced that, in the coming weeks, John McCain will be a very important part of this team, and I think that the message that Governor Bush offers also will resonate well in Maine and in other states in New England. But he did carry New York, which was a surprise to many and a very positive sign for us.

MORET: It also appears that he carried the overall vote among the -- clearly the Republican vote here in California. There was a question about this split vote, whether McCain could win the overall vote and Governor Bush carry only the delegates. That does not appear to have happened.

DREIER: Well, Jim, you and I have discussed that in the past, and -- and I'm pleased that -- that we were able to win the overall vote, too, and I think that that is an important signal again of -- of the Bush candidacy, but we -- we concluded that having Republicans choose the nominee was the right thing just as the Democrats concluded that having members of their party choose the nominee was the right thing. So I'm happy that Governor Bush was able to be victorious on both fronts.

MORET: Congressman, what do you think the challenges are in the immediate future?

DREIER: Well, Jim, there are loads of challenges, but focusing on education, which has been one of the strongest points for Governor Bush, will, I think, go a long way towards addressing one of the major concerns that the American people have, and it -- along with that, his question of trying to reduce the tax burden on working families, making sure that we strengthen our nation militarily, and focusing on trade and technology, which are two very important points for California.

Our economy has emerged because of trade and technology. Forty- five percent of our GDP growth has come from the technology industry, and George W. Bush is positioned with the strong support of the Silicon Valley and others in the technology industry in California to do just that.

So I think that there is an awful lot that we've got going for us. It's going to be a close election, and it's going to take an awful lot of work in the -- in the coming months, but I believe that, for the first time since 1952, we've got a great chance to have a Republican president and a Republican Congress.

MORET: Well, Senator McCain said he's going to take a couple of days to reassess the campaign, but he also said he's not going to go quietly. How -- how much of a factor do you think McCain will be over the next weeks?

DREIER: Well, of course, John McCain not only should not go quietly, he should continue with his strong message of reform as Governor Bush said in -- in his victory speech tonight. So, you know, John McCain should continue to be a very important part of this process, and we obviously welcome him, and he -- you know, he has every right to be involved, and I hope he is because I think that what he brings to the table is the role of having been a hero, a very strong United States senator, and someone who continues to focus on the issue of reform, and all of those things are compatible with the Bush team.

MORET: Congressman David Dreier, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

DREIER: You bet, Jim. Thanks.

MORET: We'll be back with more of our election coverage right after this.


MORET: Welcome back to CNN's continuing coverage of Super Tuesday and the resounding victories scored by Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore.

I'm Jim Moret reporting from Los Angeles.

Let's take a look at some of the numbers from around the country.

Here in California, among the Republicans, Governor Bush with 60 percent of the vote. Thirty-six percent for Senator McCain. That with 25 percent reporting.

Among the Democrats, Al Gore victorious -- here you see it -- with 80 percent. Nineteen percent for Bradley.

In Ohio, that primary, 58 percent of the votes going to Governor Bush, 37 percent for Senator McCain.

Also in Ohio, among the Democrats, 73 percent of the vote going to Al Gore, 25 percent for Bradley.

The New York primary, 51 percent for Bush, 43 percent for McCain. That with 99 percent reporting.

And in Al Gore victorious there, 65 percent of the vote, 34 percent being accumulated by Bradley.

The Idaho caucus, Al Gore defeating Bill Bradley there.

In many ways, tonight's victory speeches by George W. Bush and Al Gore were mirror images of one another. Both men began by congratulating their opponents, both making the case the country should not go backwards, Gore pointing to the Reagan-Bush area, Bush focusing on the Clinton-Gore administration.

Each candidate ended with similar appeals to voters, Gore saying "Join us now" and Bush "Join our cause." Both men were focusing on each other, even though their opponents within their respective parties had not dropped out of the race.

Here now more from both Republican speeches beginning with Governor Bush.


BUSH: 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 am 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.

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



SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.

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, 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.


MORET: With Super Tuesday results giving him a clear victory, Vice President Gore went before supporters to promise a vigorous fight in the general election and to extend an olive branch to rival Bill Bradley.


GORE: But, while we are here to celebrate great victories, I say to you tonight -- and hear me well -- you ain't seen nothin' yet. Our fight has just begun! Our fight for the working families of this country has just begun.

And, tonight, I invite all Americans who seek the best America, all Americans, regardless of party, to join us in this cause. We need to build. We need to build on our record of prosperity. We don't need to go back to where we were eight years ago.

They tried -- they tried their approach before. It produced a triple-dip recession and quadrupled the national debt. If you don't want to go back to that, then join us now. Our campaign is your cause.

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



BRADLEY: 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."

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

I decided to run for president to tap into that deep and abiding strand in our national character, for only by enlisting it can we create a new politics and do the great things that still need to be done, the things we can now afford to do in these unprecedented times of prosperity, the things which if we did them would make us all stronger.

We must remember that the fact that we've not succeeded in winning tonight's primaries makes -- makes the cause no less just, the fight no less honorable, the goal no less reachable. Despite our lack of victory tonight, there is so much that every one of you who became a part of our campaign has to be proud of. We've shaped the national debate in this campaign. We've brought core Democratic issues to the fore.


MORET: With more election coverage ahead on this Super Tuesday, don't go away.


MORET: What will it take to capture the big prize come November? For that, I'm joined by Gore supporter and chairman of the California Democratic Party, Art Torres, and Republican Bruce Herschensohn who teaches at Pepperdine University and is, incidentally, no stranger to this entire process having run for the Senate against Barbara Boxer.


MORET: First, each of your assessments on today from a national perspective.

ART TORRES, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN, GORE SUPPORTER: I think it's a tremendous day for the vice president. He's going to move forward now to the general election with a groundswell of support here in California. I think he's going to get a lot of the McCain voters. In the phone banks, we've been picking up in Central California, a lot of people don't like Governor Bush, saying they're going to move to Gore if they -- if they -- McCain doesn't win the nomination.

HERSCHENSOHN: A lot of them. How many of them were there?

TORRES: I would say...

HERSCHENSOHN: No, I'm kidding.

TORRES: Really there were hundreds in some of the phone banks we were getting back of people, moderate Republicans, people that don't see a -- a home in the Republican Party.

HERSCHENSOHN: Really? OK. I just know from the McCain supporters -- as you know, I've been supporting Senator McCain -- that, obviously, there's a sense of disappointment this evening, and I know that a lot of people are saying that, "Geez, is this all going to work out right?" There is so much of a rift between the two candidates.

I can only say this, that we know from Senator McCain's biography that number one to him is the duty to country and -- and loyalty, and I am positive that he not only will remain a Republican but that he'll be -- he'll be in the vice -- in George Bush's corner should George Bush be the nominee, and it certainly appears as though he will be.

MORET: Well, it does appear that the case is...

TORRES: It's going to take John McCain being in his corner.

MORET: But what about this rift that you talk about because, clearly, on the Democratic side, there does not appear to be much healing necessary.

HERSCHENSOHN: Yeah, I would agree with you that that's true, but I remember history. I mean, my God, JFK and Lyndon Johnson. Or you can even go back further than that. Or we can forward -- beyond that. But once a campaign is done and over and there is a bigger cause, winning over Vice President Gore in this case, there will be unity. I'm -- I just know it from knowing John McCain.

MORET: Art, talk about the importance of California and the importance of the tremendous number of people who came out to support Al Gore.

TORRES: I think it means a lot in terms of the issues, and I think that's what it's going to come down to. I think this election is going to be very much like 1960. It's going to be close like it was between Kennedy and Nixon, and you're going to have a number of issues, when it comes to a woman's right to choose, when it comes to the environment and, clearly, when it comes to access to education and health care and, clearly, the economy is going to be a major factor as we see with this administration.

HERSCHENSOHN: A right to choose what?

TORRES: Pardon me.

HERSCHENSOHN: A right to choose what?

TORRES: For a woman's right to choose in terms of what to do with her own body.

HERSCHENSOHN: Don't you mean a woman's right to choose abortion?

TORRES: Of course, that...

HERSCHENSOHN: I mean, it's the word that is never said, and it only bothers me -- look, I don't even say pro-life, and I don't say pro-choice. I say if -- for or against abortion.

TORRES: Well -- and that's why -- and that's why you're going to lose in November because you don't...


MORET: ... one of the definitive issues of this campaign.

TORRES: Oh, absolutely, and it doesn't matter what words you use. The issue is...


TORRES: Yes, it does. It makes a big -- a lot of difference to women out there in America who want to be able to do as they see -- in consultation with their priest, their rabbi, their minister...

HERSCHENSOHN: No, I understand -- I understand that. I just...


TORRES: ... deal with their issues...

HERSCHENSOHN: I -- all I'm doing is talking about...

TORRES: ... and that's the issue that's troubled you because, quite frankly, that's why moderate Republicans are going to come to the Democratic...

HERSCHENSOHN: Art, you don't even get my point.

TORRES: I get your point.

HERSCHENSOHN: No, my point is you say what it is. I say choice of school vouchers. It isn't that I want to hesitate to say just choice.

TORRES: Well...

HERSCHENSOHN: There -- I heard Madeleine Albright give a speech in which she...

TORRES: On my next visit, I'll bring the Webster's dictionary. We can go through all the words in the dictionary, Bruce.

HERSCHENSOHN: No, choice does not mean abortion.

TORRES: Choice means a woman's right to choose what to do with her body in consultation with her physician...


TORRES: ... and her minister or rabbi, and that's why you're going to lose in November because you don't sense the importance of that issue to women in America.


TORRES: That's why moderate Republicans are not going to vote for you.

HERSCHENSOHN: All I'm saying is -- is use the lang -- if you're proud of the way you believe, of what you believe, use the word. That's all.

MORET: I have a sense that you're going to resume this argument on an upcoming edition of CROSSFIRE.

HERSCHENSOHN: Not a chance.

TORRES: Not a chance.

MORET: However...

TORRES: Absolutely not. I love him too much. I don't agree with him, but I love him too much.

HERSCHENSOHN: We're friends. We're good friends.

MORET: Bruce, you talk about being a McCain supporter.


MORET: Clearly, McCain supporters were hopeful that McCain would win what was called a beauty contest here in California.


MORET: It does not appear that that's happening at all.

HERSCHENSOHN: It doesn't look that way, yeah.

MORET: Why do you think that McCain's message did not appear to resonate with voters?

HERSCHENSOHN: It's very tough for me to say. I think, by and large, people for -- were for McCain because they liked his character. I think, you know, he can talk about campaign reform, and he can talk about a number of issues. By and large, the people -- at least that I know who are for McCain -- just thought this was a marvelous man. That's exactly the way that I feel.

He -- every man hopes they would act under such circumstances that he was in in Hanoi in the way that he acted. Well, he actually did it. You know, we can hope, but, man, he did it, and there's something about that, and there was something about the fact that now this was an opportunity to get a guy who puts duty to country ahead of everything, and so that was the feeling.

And I -- I don't know -- I -- you know, I'm not one of these guys who can analyze how everyone voted and why they voted. I just don't know. All I do know is that it certainly appears that he didn't win the popular vote.

MORET: Bruce Herschensohn, Art Torres, thanks for your insights, and also for the brief sparring match.

HERSCHENSOHN: We both enjoy it.

MORET: Thoughts from CROSSFIRE co-host Bill Press on Super Tuesday. Stay tuned for more of our Election 2000 coverage right after this.


MORET: The question now, for all intents and purposes, has the current five-man race become a two-man race.

Joining me here in studio for more assessment of the Super Tuesday results, CROSSFIRE co-host Bill Press.

And, Bill, I want to mention you were former chairman of California's Democratic Party. You heard what Art Torres, the current chairman, had to -- what he had to say. What's your assessment first from the Democratic standpoint of California's election and then branch out from there.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": Well, first of all, I do want to agree that I think the five-man race has become a two-man race, with all apologies to Alan Keyes that nobody seems to be talking about tonight.

What I find interesting is that both parties had the option of going in a different direction. I mean, both were offered a different direction, and yet tonight -- particularly tonight -- and it's been happening as we go along -- both of them rejected the new direction and decided to go with the establishment candidate.

As former Democratic chair of California, I think it's risky strategy for the Republicans because I think the evidence is clear that there were millions and millions of Republicans and Democrats and independents who wanted somebody new, something new. McCain offered that option. They chose not to go in that -- in that direction and, I think, thereby rejected their strongest chance against Al Gore in November.

And if you look at California's results, I think it speaks well for Al Gore in California in November which is going to be a big piece of the national election.

MORET: So today, in your view, will reshape the strategies of both campaigns on the Democratic and Republican side? PRESS: Well, cer -- certainly, we have -- yes. Yes. We certainly have moved into the main event, you know. I mean, Gore already has stopped talking about Bill Bradley and was focusing on George Bush. I mean, the other day, he was talking about Bush's record in Texas, and when they were running -- Bush people were running this breast -- Bush campaign was running the breast cancer -- ugly breast cancer commercial in New York State, Al Gore was talking about the fact that, when it comes to spending money for women's health care in Texas, Texas ranks 50 out of 50 states. So he's already going after -- after the governor.

But I think you noticed tonight in the governor's conc -- or victory statement that he's really scrambling back now towards the middle after having veered very right in these early Republican primaries, and he's...

MORET: Well, do you see...

PRESS: ... talking about education. He was -- for ex. He hasn't talked much about education. So he's talking about education. I heard him using the words "cause" tonight. I mean,that's John McCain's word. So he's got to get back to the middle, and he's already starting that.

MORET: But do you see the campaign now shifting to a more personal attack from Republican to Democrat as opposed to within the parties?

PRESS: Well, I -- I'd call that not personal but partisan, Jim. I think it's going to be clearly dif -- you know, li -- pointing out the differences between the two candidates, the two parties.

But I don't think it's going to be a personality-driven race. For one thing, neither one of them has much of a personality. I think it's going to be an agenda-driven election. I think the issues are going to be education, they're going to be environment, there going to be the economy.

I mean, the big challenge to me for George Bush is to say -- let's forget the 500 points in the last two days -- but if this economy continues in the way it has for the last seven years, why make a change? If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say. He's got to convince people in good times we've got to change direction.

MORET: In a minute, we have to take a break. We'll see you again on CROSSFIRE tomorrow, right?

PRESS: You bet. CROSSFIRE with Mary Matalin tomorrow. Back in Washington.

MORET: Thank you, Bill.

PRESS: Good to be with you, Jim.


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