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CNN Late Edition

Congress Criticizes Richardson for Lax Security at Los Alamos; Gore Reshuffles Campaign Staff

Aired June 18, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET

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

WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 10:00 a.m. in Los Alamos, New Mexico, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 5:00 p.m. in London. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this 90-minute LATE EDITION. We'll get to our guests shortly.

But first our top story.

The two secret hard drive disks that disappeared six weeks ago from the Los Alamos laboratory and then mysteriously resurfaced on Friday are now in the custody of the FBI.

CNN national correspondent Bob Franken is following the story from Los Alamos. He joins us now live with the latest -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, out here you can't see much activity, but we're talking about a highly secure laboratory of course. Inside, FBI agents swarming all over what is called Division X, the highly secure area, which contains a vault where the hard drives are normally kept. Of course, though, they disappeared and then reappeared. Nobody is operating on an assumption that in fact they just had been overlooked. Everybody is operating on the assumption that they had been somehow misplaced, taken away, and then brought back.

The operative theory right now, is that it was not espionage involved, rather some employee who perhaps mishandled the disks, and then felt like he was going to get in trouble, so he secretly put them back. They're giving lie detector tests, and some of the employees, we're told, have given contradictory results.

Meanwhile, as the investigation goes on, the head of the energy department, Bill Richardson, who had been considered such a top choice as the possible running mate for Al Gore, has now gone from the political fast track to being very much on the defensive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL RICHARDSON, ENERGY SECRETARY: The lab culture needs more time to be changed. I didn't take into the human element. You know, I can do all these directives and security procedures and hire all these security experts. Almost do it all myself. But I can't get into human heads. And here, some individuals need to take personal responsibility. SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: Accepting full responsibility is not blaming others, as you've heard him do today. It is understanding that he was the one by his own choice who chose to accept and therefore he has to bear the consequences and I believe he ought to step down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: So Senator Kyl is not the only one saying right now that Richardson should step down. The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, Richard Shelby making a similar proposal. The Senate majority leader Trent Lott saying that the Clinton administration has had a really disastrous national security effort over the years you will note of course, Wolf, that all of these are Republicans.

BLITZER: OK, Bob Franken reporting live from Los Alamos, thanks.

We now get the view from the agency that oversees operations at Los Alamos lab.

Joining us here in Washington, Edward Curran, the director of counterintelligence for the U.S. Energy Department. He's been detailed to the Energy Department from the FBI.

Mr. Curran, welcome to LATE EDITION.

Bring us up to speed right now. Where does this investigation into these two missing, now found, disks stand?

EDWARD CURRAN, DIR. OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE, DEPT. OF ENERGY: As far as we're concerned right now, as soon as the secretary or department of energy was advised of the missing disks, we immediately coordinated our activities with the FBI. There's only a certain amount of people who have access to this vault. Despite what we heard last week about the Wal-Mart and library cards that went into pool. We know who has access to these vaults, that is the first place you look.

The FBI immediately came out with the sufficient resources, in depth interviews conducted of everybody who has access, polygraph examinations have been given. The only thing I'm able to say right now is that basically is that these people who we're looking at have provided contradictory statements and would appear to be involved in this particular situation.

BLITZER: How many people are there that you're looking at?

CURRAN: I don't want to go into exact number because the investigation is still continuing. But it's more than two and basically that's what we have to narrow it down.

BLITZER: So when you say they provided contradictory statements, is that to FBI agents?

CURRAN: Exactly. BLITZER: In terms of their polygraph as well?

CURRAN: Exactly. What the FBI did, the deal we did initially as the laboratory told us, they turned the place upside down. Apparently it wasn't sufficient enough. When the FBI came out, they did in depth interviews. We are conducting, they are conducting this as an espionage investigation. So no matter which way it goes, the investigation is going to remain on that track.

BLITZER: So you suspect a crime has been committed?

CURRAN: There's no question that, well, removing of these disks, not bringing it forward, we need legal interpretation. But yes, I believe there has been a crime involved. Whether it's mishandling of classified information, or whatever, somebody has to be held accountable. For instance, the secretary put forth many policies and procedures that have been resisted by many of these laboratories and it's taken tremendous courage on his part to get this thing done.

But one of those was a polygraph examination. We had recommended, I had recommended to them over a year and a half ago that the people who work in our most critical program need to be polygraphed. He received tremendous resistance from many of the people, the science community, that this should not happen.

CURRAN: The group of people in this X division were scheduled for polygraph examinations. They're also the people that signed a petition, over half the people in the X division signed petitions opposed to the polygraph. Those are the people that are wearing the buttons opposed to the polygraph, so I think we have to address this cultural issue that we've all recognized, the secretary has recognized, but he has signed off on my recommendations a year and a half ago, they are tough policies, he was under a great deal of pressure not to, and we're in a process of implementing them.

BLITZER: Are you convinced 100 percent therefore that these two disks were not simply there the whole time, all of these six weeks?

CURRAN: No.

BLITZER: At this Xerox machine?

CURRAN: Our first, obviously what we had said last week, our first objective is to get these disk back and find out where they had been. That -- we've gotten them back, now the FBI has to determine through forensic examination, are they the same disks, have they been copied, been used?

BLITZER: None of those questions have been answered yet?

CURRAN: They're being answered as we speak. What the initial -- they're treating the location of these disks as a crime scene, that means everything that's going to go into that is gathered for evidence purposes. Obviously they've told us several times they've turned the lab upside down and these disks have not appeared. Well, there's a question there in itself. But our first thing now is to make sure that they never got out of X division, they have not been copied and then go back after the people who are responsible for this.

BLITZER: On May 14, Bill Richardson said this, May 14, 1999, more than a year ago, I want you to listen to what he said when he was asked about security at the Los Alamos Lab.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARDSON: Our security at Los Alamos and all our nuclear facilities is very tight now. We've initiated polygraphs, we've initiated very tight security. We've taken a number of measures to strengthen security at the lab. We think that the main concerns have been addressed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The main concerns obviously were not addressed.

CURRAN: Well, Wolf, from account we don't know that yet. I mean, that remains to be seen. He had -- he had approved 46 recommendations that we implemented over a year and a half to strengthen the laboratory environment. What you're dealing with here, no matter how many rules or policies you have, are the people responsible are addressing those rules. I mean, for instance, it took them what, how many weeks to advise us --

BLITZER: A lot of people don't understand. He's the secretary of Energy, you're a head of counterintelligence. If you order employees at the Los Alamos lab to take a polygraph, don't they have to take a polygraph?

CURRAN: No, in this particular case, this is a criminal investigation, a polygraph is a voluntary process. You cannot force somebody to take a polygraph. What we're looking at is the overall broad range of people within DOE, not just Los Alamos who are working these sensitive programs that need greater security, need polygraph examinations, these people have to be monitored because they're working on such extremely sensitive information.

The fact that this is coming up indicates that the procedure that has been in place is working and I don't think it's a contradictory statement at this time. He is the first secretary in ten years to initiate more procedures within the last year than anybody has done in the last 10 years. So I think in that he has to be given fairness in saying he's taken this on and he's challenged it.

BLITZER: How long did it take for you, the director of counterintelligence at Los Alamos, the Department of Energy, to be informed that these two disks were missing?

CURRAN: The last sighting we had or confirmed sighting which again is in dispute, was that these drives were last seen on April 7. They told us that they went down to remove the disks right before the fire, which would have been May 14. The laboratory closed down for three weeks after that. We don't know what they did but they certainly did not notify anybody and it does not appear to be any degree of searching for these disks. We were notified late evening 6/1. We took immediate action on 6/2. The secretary was personally engaged in this. We coordinated our activities with the FBI, they were on the scene that Monday morning conducting these intense interviews. There's a serious problem here.

BLITZER: Based on your...

CURRAN: Why did it take three weeks for them to tell us that these things had been missing.

BLITZER: Based on your many years in counterintelligence, the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Energy, do you think the University of California, which supervises a lot of this work at the lab, should continue to have that contract?

CURRAN: That's an area where I don't get into. I think the University of California has to be held accountable for the policies and procedures that we establish for implementing that and ensuring that this stuff is protected and not everything we're trying to do to get this pushed back from the scientists who are completely new breed. These people -- some of these people were very vocal, because they're scientists, they should not be subject to any type of authority whatsoever, no matter how menial it may be. That is the issue we're addressing. That is the issue the secretary took on in saying we are going to have these policies. That accountability, In think -- I know the secretary, once this investigation by the FBI, there's going to be accountability, and the University of California has to be right out there in the front.

BLITZER: All right, Edward Curran, it was kind of you to join us today on LATE EDITION. Thanks so much.

CURRAN: Thank you.

BLITZER: And when we return, the view from the Senate, the Clinton administration's handling of security at Los Alamos is expected to come under more scrutiny on Capitol Hill over the next several weeks. We'll talk with two lawmakers who'll be asking tough questions. Republican Senator Richard Shelby and Democrat Richard Bryan.

LATE EDITION continues right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SEN. FRANK MURKOWSKI (R-AK), CHAIRMAN, NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE: What did Secretary Richardson know, when did he know it and why isn't the secretary here?

RICHARDSON: There's going to be disciplinary action. We must continue to improve our security so that this never happens again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: The chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee Republican Frank Murkowski and U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson speaking this past week about the Los Alamos Laboratory security breach.

Welcome back to LATE EDITION.

Joining us now with some Congressional perspective on the Los Alamos controversy, are two leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee. With us here in Washington, the committee's chairman, Alabama Republican Richard Shelby, and joining us from Las Vegas, is Nevada Democrat Richard Bryan, he's the vice chairman of the committee.

Senators, welcome to LATE EDITION.

Senator Shelby, you heard Ed Curran's explanation of what happened, what may have happened, they're still waiting for some forensic results.

Good enough for you?

SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R-AL), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Oh, no, not good enough at all, as a matter of fact, I have a lot of respect for Ed Curran, he's had a lot of experience, but he also led us all to believe that he doesn't know everything yet. We haven't gotten results of those tests. But Wolf, it seems to be very suspicious. I hope that the disks never left the lab, that no one tampered with them. That they were there all along, that they just didn't walk back. But it calls for common sense investigation. It should have been.

But what's bothered me all along, and I've said on it this show with you before a year ago, I said the labs were not safe a year ago, after Secretary Richardson told the American people they were. They're not safe today. Part of it's a culture. Part of it's a tone. But they're certainly not safe.

BLITZER: Senator Bryan, you agree that the security at the lab is not good?

SEN. RICHARD BRYAN (D-NV), SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE VICE CHAIRMAN: I do. I think what occurred is indefensible, and the reappearance mysteriously, of these hard drives is somewhat bizarre. I think Mr. Curran is right, we don't have all of the answers yet but I do think that there is, as pointed out by Mr. Curran, a deep-seated problem here, and that is a cultural clash, a clash between the scientific and academic community who either believe that they're above these more mundane security procedures or disdainful of them they've certainly resistant and the people who are charged with the responsibility of maintaining security. That's been a long history, Wolf, in the labs.

I believe what we need to do is to conduct a comprehensive review of security procedures, because I'm not satisfied that what's occurred at the lab protects our national security interests. And I would add another note. There's been a lot of partisan political theater here, obviously Secretary Richardson, the man at the top, bears the ultimate responsibility. But back in '92, President Bush issued a directive which relaxed the handling of secret as opposed to top secret documents, eliminating the need for register and handling. I think that was done in good faith because there is some cost when you have a highly classified information which requires a register to sign and sign out procedure, I think we ought to review that as well.

BLITZER: Well, that's a good point that Senator Bryan makes, Senator Shelby. In January of '93, just two weeks before leaving office, President Bush did sign this directive easing some of those restrictions at the Los Alamos Lab. These secrets were not top secret, they were listed as secret, which had a much more lax procedure than would have been the case if they would have been labeled top secret.

SHELBY: Well, that's true to a point. Top secret and secret, but the fact remains, they were still secret, they were very vital secrets. And what's dumbfounding to me, Wolf, is the way they treated the handling of these documents. You could get them out of the lab, no one knew what they were doing, as was said last week, the local library, the local tool rental company has a better inventory control than they did at the labs. Something's wrong and the secretary has said all along that he was responsible, that he was accountable and if he's accountable, we all know what President Truman used to tell us, that he -- the buck stopped there.

Well, I know the secretary, I've known him a long time, he's a good politician and that's basically what he's been doing. He was so busy the other day doing really nothing serious, that he didn't appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Energy Committee after we asked him to come but sent somebody else.

We're asking him now to come Tuesday to continue the second part of this hearing in a closed session. We think it's very important. I hope he's going to show up. He owes that to the American people.

BLITZER: Well, I want you to listen to what he said on that specific point earlier today on MEET THE PRESS. Listen to Bill Richardson, the energy secretary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARDSON: The Senate Intelligence Committee seemed to be more interested in having an empty chair. We didn't have information at the time. It was a very sensitive stage, we were doing the polygraphing, I wanted a closed session. They chose to go elsewhere. I'm ready to testify before any Senate, House committee.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHELBY: First of all, what's he saying just not true. He never requested a closed session. He never even responded to us. And the reason the chair was empty because he didn't come up. Yet he sends his deputy secretary, he sends the head of counterintelligence there, and he sends some other people from the Department of Energy. He didn't come up because he didn't want to be accountable to the people. But he is accountable. BLITZER: All right, Senator Bryan, I want to bring you back into this conversation in just a moment, but we have to take a break. When we return, your phone calls also for Senators Shelby and Bryan.

LATE EDITION will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.

We're talking with Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, and Nevada Democrat Richard Bryan, who's the vice chairman of the committee.

Let's take a quick caller from Newark, New Jersey. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Happy Father's Day.

BLITZER: Thank you.

CALLER: First off, as the head of the department, Secretary Richardson himself should he be subject to disciplinary measures? Why is the Department of Energy, in terms of nuclear research and development, still under the Department of Energy and not under the Department of Defense?

BLITZER: Senator Bryan, the thrust of the question is should Bill Richardson in effect resign because of what's happened?

BRYAN: I don't think so. I think clearly he was poorly served by his subordinates. For example as Mr. Curran pointed out, I think this is absolutely astounding. On May 7, we now know that at that point we know that the hard disk drives were not there. It took 24 days before they notified the lab director, that's Dr. Brown, the man that's on site, on location, and the Department of Energy in Washington wasn't notified until the following day.

So that's clearly, I think, a failure of the subordinates to notify promptly and part of that cultural problem that we've all talked about. Clearly I think what needs to be done is a comprehensive review. I think what occurred is indefensible. There's no excuse for it. The secretary is the man at the top and bears the responsibility, but I don't know of any basis for disciplinary action against Secretary Richardson.

BLITZER: Do you disagree with that?

SHELBY: In all due respect, Senator Bryan, we disagree on this. I agree the buck starts and stops at the top. Secretary Richardson is accountable, he has not done a good job as secretary of energy, he's lost confidence in the Senate and the House has basically lost confidence in him and his work. I think he should go. Will he go? I doubt it, but he should go. It is up to the president. I don't believe he served the president well. He's certainly has not served the American people well. BLITZER: Senator Bryan, do you think the University of California, which oversees these labs, that their contract should be terminated because of the academic environment, the so-called "culture," that is being blamed for a lot of these security lapses?

BRYAN: I haven't reached a judgment on that, but clearly that ought to be very carefully reviewed as well. This is a systemic problem. It is extraordinarily difficult to explain, because what occurred? As pointed out by Senator Shelby, myself, and others, there's greater procedures to check out a library book at a public library. There were 83 people who had access to these files in this X division within the vault. 26 of them could go in and out without logging in, logging out, could remove secret information. Now, I mean, that's just utterly astonishing to me.

BLITZER: Let's take another caller from Beijing, in China. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Yes, I want to ask the senators how American government can dictate to developing countries for the nuclear program when they are not able to protect their own secrets. In fact, they put the rest of us in grave danger.

SHELBY: Very good question, it goes central to all of this. How can we say they ought to protect in third world countries all their nuclear research and everything, and we don't do it. I think it goes to what we're doing. We don't have security in our labs.

BLITZER: Senator Bryan, you were reported as putting a hold on General John Gordon to come in and oversee security at the labs. He's been confirmed over the past few days. What was your problem with General Gordon?

BRYAN: No problem with General Gordon. I think he is a superb choice, and he was confirmed by the Senate, as you know, 97-0. I've had some concerns about the structural system out there at Los Alamos, their new legislation that's been passed that I think ought to be modified at least in some respect, and I've had the assurance by the majority leader we'll have a chance of at least offering an amendment if we care to do so, to make sure that whoever is the secretary of energy has the management control and ability. It is fair to say he's the fellow at the top, and bears the ultimate responsibility, but he also has to have the tools to get the job done. But no problem with General Gordon. I think we all agree he's a good choice.

SHELBY: This X division we keep talking about at the labs in Los Alamos, very important, very sensitive area. I wonder if the secretary of energy, Bill Richardson, has ever been in this most sensitive part of the lab. I don't know that he has or he hasn't. But I've been told that he hasn't been there. And if he hasn't been there, to see what, what's going on there, what are the procedures, then it just shows again, he's not in charge.

BLITZER: So you expect him Tuesday before your committee?

SHELBY: We expect him there. We hope he will come. If he doesn't come, we will have another empty chair, and it will be certainly filled by him, should be filled if he's accountable.

BLITZER: Senator Shelby, Senator Bryan, good to have both of you on our program, thanks for joining us.

SHELBY: Thanks very much Wolf.

BLITZER: Just ahead, the presidential race: Vice President Al Gore gets a new campaign chief. We'll ask Commerce Secretary Bill Daley how he plans to help Gore win with voters this fall.

LATE EDITION will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bill is a great leader and Tony was a great leader. Bill will bring his own style to the campaign. But as far as the direction and focus of the campaign, it will be the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Out with the old, in with the new as Vice President Al Gore welcomes William Daley as his campaign chairman. On Thursday, Tony Coelho stepped down as chief of the Gore campaign for health reasons. Commerce Secretary William Daley will leave the Clinton Cabinet in July to take over the Gore campaign full-time.

And joining us now to talk about what's ahead, is Secretary Daley.

Mr. Secretary, welcome back to LATE EDITION.

WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: Some people say that if the Gore campaign were ahead in the polls right now as opposed to being behind in the polls, Tony Coelho, despite health problems would still be the chairman of the campaign.

DALEY: No, Tony has real health problems, everyone who's known Tony knows this has been a very difficult period for him. He took a campaign that most of the wise people in this town were saying was not going to win the primaries. Came through the primaries to the point where for the first time in the Democratic Party's history, the vice president won every primary and it was an extremely successful year. He has been in the hospital for five days, he was released yesterday. And his doctors had told him that for a number of weeks, he would have to basically be out of the campaign. And it's too vital at this point for that to occur.

BLITZER: All right, let's look at the latest CNN/"Time" magazine poll out this weekend, among likely voters in the election in November. George W. Bush has 48 percent; Al gore 42 percent, Ralph Nader with four percent, Pat Buchanan with three percent. But take a look at this, when we ask is the candidate a strong and decisive leader as far as George W. Bush is concerned, 62 percent of the likely voters say that he is a strong and decisive leader, only 44 percent say Al Gore, who's been vice president for almost eight years, is a strong and decisive leader.

Why does he have that problem, the perception that he's not a strong and decisive leader?

DALEY: I think that strong and decisive are never words that are used for any vice president. A vice president's role is to play the second position. Presidents, governors, executives, mayors, are looked to as strong and decisive. The fact is, as people look at Al Gore as the next president of the United States, as he lays out his programs and as they look at him versus George Bush, as two potential presidents, people will begin to see the strength that's in Al Gore based upon his experiences, his knowledge and the years of public service.

BLITZER: Just as there was a correction in the midst of the primary challenge that he was facing from Bill Bradley, is there need now for another correction in the campaign structure as you go along?

DALEY: I don't think so. Other than the chairmanship because of Tony's illness, there's a good team again. We came through the primaries for the first time in the Democratic Party history, winning every single primary, and that's an incredible task and an incredible accomplishment.

So I think the team is good. Obviously we have to build upon that team because it's a general election and we have to work with the Democratic senators in congressional races, work with organized labor, reach out to constituency groups that in the general election are extremely important.

BLITZER: Donna Brazile the campaign manager, she's controversial in her own right. Do you expect that she will remain through November?

DALEY: Oh absolutely, Donna's vital to the campaign, she's been there the longest, one of the longest members of the team, she's the campaign manager, she has relationships. I've known Donna now for a great number of years and she's a real talent and the vice president has faith in her, I have faith in her and we need to have Donna working closely also with the DNC because of the coordinating campaign in the fall when real politics matter in September and October.

BLITZER: You know, a lot of labor leaders are not happy with you because you supported permanent normal trade relations with China. NAFTA, John Sweeney, the chairman of the AFL-CIO said on Thursday this, he said unfortunately his leadership of the president's campaign for NAFTA and for PNTR for China put him squarely on the opposite side of working men and women.

How do you plan to reassure labor, key constituency that Al Gore will need. How do you plan on reassuring them that you're being brought on board as campaign chairman is not going to negatively effect their bottom line interests?

DALEY: I've talked to John Sweeney and a number of other labor leaders, and I think I can give them the assurance as I work with them, that this campaign will be sensitive to their issues and their concerns, they're a major piece of this campaign. But more importantly than what I can do, they know that Al Gore represents working men and women.

They know that Al Gore's policies in keeping the economy strong so we create more jobs, so more union members and men and women can feel and understand that Al Gore is on their side, is what this campaign's about. It's not about who the chairman or who the people in the campaign is about. It's about who represents and fights on behalf of working men and women as president and Al Gore will do that as he has done on the issues of minimum wage, patients bill of rights, protecting Social Security and Medicare, all those issues that Al Gore has fought for that the working men and women of America care about.

DALEY: They really don't care about who is the chairman of the campaign; they don't care about who's the campaign manager. They care about who's going to be the next president.

BLITZER: You know, you were going to be leading the fight in the Senate to get PNTR, permanent normal trade relations, passed as it was in the House. In the Senate, a spokesman for Senator Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, said this this week, "It's not helpful to have the point-man on China PNTR leave in midstream to help Al Gore solve a problem."

DALEY: Well, look the votes are there in the Senate to pass this if the leader would call it. There's no question the votes are there. Plenty of Democrats and Republicans. And they shouldn't play politics with this issue.

BLITZER: So you're not worried about that?

DALEY: No, I'm worried that somebody may want to play politics with it, not worried about the final outcome.

BLITZER: What's the biggest challenge that Al Gore has right now in convincing Americans to vote for him?

DALEY: I think the biggest problem right now is the American people really aren't focused on this race. And the fact of the matter is, with the selection of running mates, with the convention, with the three debates, those are the events, those are the occasions where the American people really do begin to look at the two candidates and decide who they want to be the next president for four years.

And so I think that as we're moving to the selection of the running mates and moving to the conventions, the American people focus, the media's focus will once again come back to the two candidates. There are lots of other issues that people deal with, the Congress is fighting. But I think the biggest challenge is to make sure that the real Al Gore, the man who has been fighting for working men and women his entire career, not just as vice president, comes through to the American people.

BLITZER: You know, Margaret Carlson writing in the new issue of "Time" magazine just out today, had this paragraph. I want to read it to you and get your reaction.

She wrote this. She said:

"William Daley called his top aides into his fifth floor conference room at the Commerce Department and told them how excited he was the night before. For one brief moment, he thought that Al Gore had called to pop the question about the vice presidential slot. Why else phone after midnight?"

DALEY: Well, such is life.

BLITZER: So you were disappointed when he spoke only about the campaign chairman as opposed to being his running mate?

DALEY: If you look at the two, if you had two, either one to choose from, which would you choose from? I'm sorry the choice wasn't given to me.

BLITZER: But you did for a brief moment there think that maybe he was asking?

DALEY: Well, it was 12:20 in the morning, so you've got to give me a little slack for thinking that.

BLITZER: You know, you've done today what your predecessor Tony Coelho never did, to come on Sunday morning television programs and be asked a few tough questions. In fact, you've done today what only a few have ever done. You've done a full Bill Ginsburg. You've appeared on five Sunday morning TV programs. Is this going to be a new policy of yours?

DALEY: I hope not. I have better things to do on Sunday morning than spend them on the five talk shows. But I'll be more visible. I'll be out more. I'm not the spokesperson for the campaign. I don't plan to be. But obviously as chairman, you've got to go out and represent the campaign in all sorts of forums, whether it's television, whether it's speaking with our constituent groups, meeting with the key players in labor, in the political establishments around the country. And of course, on a day-to-day basis, staying in contact with the leadership of the campaign.

BLITZER: And that was something Tony Coelho did not want to do, to be that public spokesman.

DALEY: You know, we're all different. Not everyone is as good as you on television.

BLITZER: Well, you've done very well, Bill Daley. Thanks for joining us and we hope you'll be back often on LATE EDITION.

DALEY: I will. Thank you.

BLITZER: Thank you. And when we return, the political conventions.

With the presidential nominees already decide, will the summer gatherings be substantive or just political theater? We'll ask Democratic convention chairman, Terry McAuliffe and Republican convention chairman, Andy Card.

LATE EDITION will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1996)

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know if I can find a fancy way to say this, but I accept.

ROBERT DOLE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I accept your nomination to lead our party once again to the presidency of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: President Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole accepting the nominations at their party's respective conventions four years ago.

Welcome back to LATE EDITION.

Joining us now for their first television interviews as convention chairmen, Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Andy Card.

Gentlemen, welcome to LATE EDITION. Good to have you on our program.

Terry McAuliffe, there's been in some reports that you were brought on among other things, to help the Democrats get the financial house in order, for that Democratic convention in Los Angeles, that there's some money shortfalls. What's the financial situation over there?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION: The financial situation, the host committee has done a great job, Mayor Riordan and the head of the city council, John Ferraro (ph) and the governor, have all worked very hard to put finances together, we're in great shape. I'm not actually going out there to be a fundraiser, Wolf, for the first time in my life, actually going out going to work on the message and trying to put this convention together to make sure Al Gore comes out of this like a booster rocket ready to go to the Fall campaign and lead the Democratic Party.

BLITZER: Are you, Terry McAuliffe, telling me and our audience around the world that you're not going to be raising money for the Democratic convention?

MCAULIFFE: There's only, there's very insignificant amount of money that has to be left, that the host committee has to give us, and I was -- just finished my first week out there in Los Angeles, spent about five percent of my time looking at the finances, most importantly looking at transportation, housing and all the other things that go on to putting a convention together with 50,000 people coming in.

BLITZER: Andy Card, the assumption is the Republicans are in great financial shape going into their convention at the end of July in Philadelphia. Is that true?

ANDREW CARD, GENERAL CO-CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CONVENTION: We've had great cooperation between the host committee, the mayor of Philadelphia.

BLITZER: Who's a Democrat.

CARD: The Republican National Committee -- that's right, and we've done very well. The infrastructure is ready for us to accept the candidate and we've got a different kind of candidate running for president and Governor Bush will do a great job at this convention, he'll articulate a message that is important for America, standing on principles that will really provide real leadership to this country.

BLITZER: You know, there's some sense, though, that as much as the Republicans want that convention to be positive, upbeat, there still are some serious differences among Republicans, first and foremost, of course, abortion.

Let me read to you the so-called "tolerance plank" that Bob Dole wanted to have included four years ago at the Republican convention. He didn't get his way. What it says is this, "We also recognize that members of our party have deeply held and sometimes differing views on issues of personal conscious like abortion and capital punishment.

"We view this diversity of views as a source of strength, not as a sign of weakness, and we welcome it into our ranks all Americans who may hold differing positions on these issues and on other issues."

Do you think something like that should be included this time around?

CARD: First of all, the platform in the Republican convention is written by the grassroots organizations in the Republican Party. So we've listen to people around the country. There'll be two platform listening sessions conducted by the Republican National Committee: Dayton, Ohio on the 19th, Billings, Montana on the 23rd of June. And then there will be unprecedented access to the platform of the Republican Party through the Internet, and we're going to accept a lot of different views.

But this is not a top-down driven document. It's one that bubbles up from the grass roots in the Republican Party. And you'll see that there will be a lot of different voices heard in the process, but this product will come out of the convention delegates. It's really not directed by the candidate from Austin.

BLITZER: Terry McAuliffe, the Republicans go first. Their convention in Philadelphia is two weeks before your convention in Los Angeles. What if any differences should the American public expect from these two conventions? In other words, what's going to be the theme, the thrust of your convention? How do you see it differing from the Republican convention?

MCAULIFFE: The main difference is going to be -- and Andy is a fine gentlemen. He'll do a great job of chairing the convention, but he's at a severe disadvantage -- we can talk about what we have done for this country over the course of the last eight years, the tremendous economic prosperity that's gone on in this country, the record unemployment, all the great things that the Clinton-Gore administration has done. So we get to highlight that.

Poor Andy is stuck, they can't really talk about anything they've done over the course of the last eight years. So they have to talk toward the future. We can talk about what we've done, but more importantly, we can talk about the vision of the future, what Al Gore is going to do as president of the United States, so we're in a great position.

CARD: Of course, the foundation for the successes in this country came through a Republican Congress, and they helped bring discipline to the process, discipline in how the government spends its money, the reforms, the "R" in Republican is for reform, Terry, and it's the Republican Party that allowed for this economy to do what it's doing right now.

We'll be talking about the future, though. Governor Bush has a vision for America that includes strong leadership and leadership that will make a difference. We're going to find the prosperity will have a purpose coming out of this convention, and that we will talk about more than just the past. We're going to talk about the opportunities that come in education and the need to make sure that everyone has a chance to participate in our society. That's what you'll find at the Republican convention.

BLITZER: Alright. We have to take a quick break. A lot more to talk about when we return. In addition, your phone calls for Democratic Convention Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican Convention Chairman Andrew Card.

We'll also ask them about former candidates and what roles they will be playing at the conventions, including John McCain and Bill Bradley.

LATE EDITION will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL BRADLEY, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm giving him my support for the nomination. I will work for him, and that is what I'm saying.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush, I endorse Governor Bush.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Two former presidential candidates, John McCain and Bill Bradley talking about the current candidates.

Welcome back.

We're continuing our look ahead to this summer's political conventions with Democratic convention chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican chairman Andy Card.

Mr. Card, what role will John McCain have at the Republican convention?

CARD: Well, we know that he will have a prominent role at the convention. He will have a prominent role in the campaign as we move to the fall. He will be addressing the convention delegates and America Tuesday night and he's confirmed that he will participate in the convention that way. So we're excited to have him.

BLITZER: So he will be a prime time speaker?

CARD: He will be a prime time speaker.

BLITZER: What about Bill Bradley?

MCAULIFFE: Well, Senator Bradley has had conversations with the Gore campaign. He wants to be very active on the campaign. We're working out the convention role right now. I've just been out there a week. We're beginning to put all the speaking slots together and so forth.

The problem is we have so many talented people in the Democratic party, we've got to figure out how do we put them all in. Through the course of our four days, we have many Americans we want to show case out there who have been uplifted over the course of the last eight years by this administration. So Senator Bradley will have a very prominent role, the exact timing and so forth hasn't been determined, but he'll have a very prominent role. He has been helping us so far at the Democratic national headquarters. His people will be very helpful to us.

BLITZER: Will he be prime time you think?

MCAULIFFE: I think he will.

BLITZER: And do you think the fact he's sort of been invisible publicly these past few months is sending a signal that he's sort of lukewarm about Al Gore?

MCAULIFFE: I don't think he's lukewarm at all. I think after the campaign he wanted to -- these presidential campaigns are long, arduous activities, he wanted to spend a little time with his family getting rest, getting pumped up and primed up for the fall campaign. And that's what he's doing. And he's going to be there raring to go. BLITZER: OK. Let's take a caller from Ashland, Kentucky. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Good afternoon, Mr. Blitzer. My question is for both Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Card. Taxpayers do fund these conventions and my question would be, what the total cost of each convention is estimated to be and what percent of that the taxpayers will pay. But also, do taxpayers take care of the -- their salaries as well, Mr. McAuliffe and Mr. Card.

BLITZER: All right, Andy Card?

CARD: Well, the Republican convention has what they call a committee on arrangements, and that is funded through the federal government's largess, if you will, 13.4 million. It's capped. And that infrastructure for the convention has been in place for about 18 months. They've been working with the city and the state in Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, to make sure that the road networks, safety networks, the transportation networks are all there. And yes, it's about $13.4 million and that's capped.

In addition, there is a host committee that raises funds to compliment the activities of the committee on arrangements and that work is done through the private sector organizations, working in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and we expect their contributions to be significant as well.

BLITZER: Is that the same for the Democrats? I take it, it's exactly the same?

MCAULIFFE: Sure.

BLITZER: And either one of you getting salaries from the federal government? From taxpayer money as a result of your becoming chairmen?

MCAULIFFE: Wolf, first time I get a salary, I would like to know it. I do this all pro bono basis, everything I've done for the Democratic Party over the last 15 years has been on a pro bono basis.

BLITZER: Andy?

CARD: I am under a consulting agreement with the committee on arrangements.

BLITZER: The role that President Clinton, your good friend, your golfing partner, the man you raised fair to say hundreds of millions of dollars for over the years?

MCAULIFFE: Fair enough.

BLITZER: What role will he have at the convention?

MCAULIFFE: Very prominent role. He will be speaking in the early part of the week, and he will come in and talk about what he -- great accomplishments this team, the Clinton-Gore team has had over the last eight years. It will be his final, as you know, presidential convention that he will be at. But he will have a prominent role to come in and talk about all the different achievements and literally what the Clinton-Gore administration has meant to this country.

BLITZER: Monday night, is that the working assumption?

He would speak Monday night and leave then?

MCAULIFFE: That would be the assumption as we sit here today.

BLITZER: And Mrs. Clinton.

CARD: Also, she will Monday or Tuesday night she'll be at the first part, but Mrs. Clinton in addition to what she has done as a great first lady, as you know she is a Senate candidate, and we are going to highlight our women Senate candidates out there and Hillary will be involved in that.

BLITZER: All right, let's take another caller from Houghton Lake, Michigan. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: My question is, we keep missing Michigan in the Chicago and Milwaukee fuel price issue, is this going to be a serious campaign issue because of the very, very high prices and no apparent reason?

BLITZER: All right, let's ask the former Transportation Secretary Andrew Card.

CARD: Well, you know, obviously we're concerned about the cost of fuel and it's not alone. The EPA came out with regulations for cleaner fuel and that has contributed to the increase in cost, but I know the federal government has been looking into it, Congress has been looking into it. I'm not an expert on the fuel prices, I've been trying to put together the Republican convention for our next president of the United States.

BLITZER: All right, we have to take a quick break, but we have a lot more to talk about.

For our international viewers, world news is next.

For our North American audience, stay tuned, another 30 minutes of LATE EDITION. We'll take your phone calls for the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican conventions Terry McAuliffe and Andrew Card.

Plus, our LATE EDITION roundtable and Bruce Morton's "Last Word."

It's ahead when LATE EDITION continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.

We'll get to your phone calls for Democratic convention chairman Terry McAuliffe and Republican chairman Andy Card in just a moment, but first, here's Gene Randall with a check of the hour's top stories -- Gene.

(NEWSBREAK)

BLITZER: Thanks, Gene.

Now back to our conversation with the chairman of this year's Democratic convention, Terry McAuliffe and the chairman of the Republican convention, Andy Card.

Let's take another caller from Hendersonville, North Carolina. Please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: Yes, I have a question for Mr. Card. I would like to know what role Senator McCain's delegates will play at the convention.

CARD: Well, I talked with a number of Senator McCain's delegates already since I've been in Philadelphia getting the convention ready, they will take an active role, there will be members on the Platform Committee, the Rules Committee, the Credentials Committee, and I'm expecting Senator McCain to take a leading role in the convention and in the campaign. He's enthused about the Bush candidacy and I think you're going to find that his delegates are as well, so we'll have a good party in Philadelphia but this is all about picking the next president of the United States and Senate McCain's delegates will be part of that selection process.

BLITZER: Terry McAuliffe, the three broadcast networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, are planning a lot less coverage of the conventions this year than in the past. What, if any, argument could you make to them that they should be giving these convention a lot more attention?

MCAULIFFE: Well, the discussions are underway, the networks are talking maybe an hour a night or so forth. First of all, you've got to understand, what we are going to do both on the Republican side and our side is to highlight our nominee for president of the United States. We're going to talk about Al Gore. This whole convention is about Al Gore, his vision for the future of this country. What is he going to do as president of the United States? There's nothing more important that we're going to face as we move forward toward the November election.

So I would argue that the networks ought to be following all of it, or at least three or four hours a night. I know that several networks will be out there, I know that Wolf, he'll have 400 people out there. CNN, as always, will do a great job. But the Americans are not going to face a more important choice than who is going to be the next president of the United States. You will have four days of discussions about Al Gore. Who he is, what he's about, but most importantly, what does Al Gore want to do for the future of our country.

And it's of key importance to all of us, and it's very important that everybody participate, everybody understand it. We're in a great city, we're in Los Angeles, they're in a great town, Philadelphia, great history of our country, but we're talking the future, Los Angeles, with technology, the new economy, it's going to be very exciting and I would encourage everybody to come out and spend a lot of time.

BLITZER: Andy Card, you've read the speculation that the Republican convention is not going to be attack dog, it's going to be very high-level, they're going to try to be more compassionate, more positive in their message, are those reports true?

CARD: What we're going to do is, Governor Bush has run a very positive campaign, and you're going to find that the messages that he's bringing to the American people are important messages and he's providing leadership on things like education, Social Security reform, tax cuts, we're going to be accentuating the positive message that Governor Bush has been talking about. Yes, there are contrasts between what Governor Bush wants to do for America and what the Democrats want to do to America, and we're going to highlight that contrast. But this is about the future, Governor Bush's message for the future is very positive and we'll talk a lot about that.

BLITZER: Let's take another caller from Indiana, please go ahead with your question.

CALLER: I'd like to ask Mr. McAuliffe about the splits in the Democratic Party. We discussed the Republican splits.

BLITZER: Well, what about the splits in the Democratic.

MCAULIFFE: What splits you want to talk about sir?

QUESTION: Well, how about the labor split in the Democratic Party?

BLITZER: Good question.

MCAULIFFE: Sure, that's what's great about the Democratic Party. We are very broad-based, all inclusive party, we have disagreements in our party, and at the end of the day, we air those disagreements, we make our decisions and we move forward. Listen, the labor unions, America's working families out there are a key part of our Democratic Party, these working men and women out there make up an integral part of our party.

MCAULLIFE: We have splits on issues, we have fights all the time, but that's what makes us a great party. Republicans have splits too. Andy is right, they have to go positive because, listen, George Bush went so far to the right during the primaries, down in Bob Jones University, attacking Senator McCain for breast cancer research and all that, so they have to come back and be positive, that's what they need to do. But we all have fights, at the end of the day we come together, that's why Al Gore will be president of the United States.

CARD: I think the Republican Party is as unified as it has ever been. We are unified because of the alternative to the Republican leadership. Clearly Al Gore is not the kind of leader that America wants, and we'll be talking about that. But this is really about Governor Bush's vision for America, the kind of leadership he wants to bring, and he will bring it.

BLITZER: We only have a seconds. Will Governor Bush announce his Republican vice presidential running mate before the convention?

CARD: I'm giving Governor Bush all of the options in the context of the convention. We'll be prepared if he announces them, he or she early, or announce it is candidate during the convention. This is a choice to be made by Governor Bush and as you know, Secretary Dick Cheney is helping to lead the effort to identify the kinds of candidates that could run with Governor Bush. I'll be prepared to give them all of the options to make it work.

BLITZER: We'll see both of you, Andy Card, Terry McAuliffe, at the conventions. CNN, of course, will have extensive live coverage as all of our viewers know.

Just ahead, what is the political impact of the Los Alamos controversy? That and much more as we go round the table with Roberts, Page, and Carlson when LATE EDITION continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Time now for our LATE EDITION roundtable.

Joining me, Susan Page, White House bureau chief for "USA Today," Steve Roberts, contributing editor for "U.S. News & World Report," and Tucker Carlson, political writer for "The Weekly Standard."

All right, Steve. Trent Lott on ABC's "This Week," earlier today, speculating about Bill Richardson, the energy secretary's, political future.

Listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: Secretary Bill Richardson has been globe trotting, he's been going to political events, many think he's been running for vice president, he's not been paying attention to this problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Is Bill Richardson finished as a potential vice presidential running mate?

STEVE ROBERTS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think so. I think that's unfortunate in some ways. I think Bill Richardson is a strong political figure. Of course he is Hispanic, which is part of the reason he's been an appealing possibility. He's an energetic guy. He was successful as a globe- trotting ambassador. But the first rule of vice presidential selection, is do no harm. Like the Hippocratic oath. The last thing he needs is a target as vice president. I think he's out of the running now. I don't see how or why Al Gore wants that trouble.

BLITZER: Tucker, is all this criticism of Bill Richardson fair?

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, we'll find out. It may be these hard drives were just taken home by a scientist to use, and he panicked and didn't want to admit it, et cetera, et cetera. It may be no spying took place. Coming after the Wen Ho Lee business, it does sort of give the sense things are out of control at Los Alamos, and that Richardson hasn't been paying attention. I think it's a big shame, Bill Richardson is a great guy, probably the best guy who's on the list of possible vice presidents for Gore, and I just think it would be a shame if he allows this to keep him from picking him.

BLITZER: Some people say, Susan, that Bill Richardson was never really all that serious a candidate as far as Al Gore is concerned. You do a lot of reporting on this Gore campaign. Spent some time with him. Was he a serious candidate?

SUSAN PAGE, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think so, I think he was on the first tier list of about a half dozen names. This process has been kept pretty secret, so I can't claim any great, special, inside knowledge. I know he was contacted by Warren Christopher, who's running the process for the vice president. There are other names on that list though that I think continue to be serious contenders. But I would agree with Steve, I think it's going to be difficult to choose Richardson now and who now brings with him this new set of problems.

ROBERTS: You have, what Richardson did was highlight the role of the Hispanic vote in this campaign. It's going to be very important, it's a growing part of the electorate in some very important states. I was at a California state campus a couple weeks ago, 1/4 of the graduating class were Hispanics. That is the future in a state like California, 13 percent of the California statewide voter already latino. And so that's part of the reason why Richardson was very intriguing there. There are no other Hispanics that's are a possibility. But it would be sooner rather than later before a Hispanic is on the national ticket.

BLITZER: Tucker, let me ask you a question that I asked Bill Daley earlier in this program, if Gore were way ahead in the polls right now, would Tony Coelho still be the chairman of the Gore campaign despite his illness?

CARLSON: He does sound pretty sick, but boy, he was unpopular, really unpopular with a lot of people who work for Gore 2000. I think because of his personal style apparently, he's a screamer. But I think he's a good guy, but it seemed like it was inevitable ultimately.

PAGE: You like everybody today.

CARLSON: I do, I don't know, I sort of liked Tony Coelho. But very hard to work for, everyone says that.

PAGE: I think the theory was Tony Coelho was going to be on his way out with or without his illness. I think there was a feeling he'd done a good job getting the campaign on track after that rough start last fall, but that there were some hard feelings and a need for somebody new. Boy, you saw something with Bill Daley who did, as you mentioned, Bill Ginsburg today, was doing all five shows. Tony Coelho was not in position to do in that, in part because he's been the subject of some ethics investigation that complicated his role as a public spokesman. You saw Bill Daley do a good job. You saw him do something that almost nobody does on TV, politicians, and that is, you asked him a question, he gave an honest answer. When you asked him if he had hoped that call from Gore was asking him to be a running mate, he acknowledged basically that was true. You know, that was a true test of candor for him and he really passed that test.

CARLSON: But in the end it doesn't matter who the manager is very much, whether he's good on television, whether he's running the trains on time. In the end, the real problem with the Gore campaign is Al Gore. It's not Bill Daley, it's not Tony Coelho. I listened to him on the radio this weekend when he gave the kickoff to his peace and prosperity tour, progress and prosperity tour. I was listening to his speech on the radio.

For the life of me Vice President Gore sounded like a high school geography teacher reciting the main products from Argentina. I mean, it was that riveting. It was just deadly. And I think that, you know, all moving around the staff, talking about the staff problems, the bottom line is, Al Gore still is not a very good candidate and I don't know whether the manager will make a difference.

BLITZER: Can he reinvent himself again? Does he need to reinvent himself again?

CARLSON: Well, staff stories are always the measure of a flailing campaign. I mean, whenever you start seeing a lot of stories about staff, it's always -- notice, this is in such sharp contrast to the Bush campaign, where you never read anything about the staff. They don't leak. I wish they would I think they have an obligation to rat out each other to the press. And it's very irritating personally. But they don't do it. But the Gore people do. It's not good.

BLITZER: It's a much more disciplined campaign.

CARLSON: Oh, it's so disciplined, iron disciplined. Again I'm not in favor of that, but it works well.

BLITZER: If Al Gore does now try to reinvent himself, as the popular phrase is, what does he have to do?

PAGE: I think, and you heard Daley make this point, that he basically needs to introduce himself in a personal way to voters, in a way they find appealing. Nobody question that's Al Gore has the experience and knowledge to be president. It's whether they are going to feel good about voting for him. And that's a delicate or difficult thing to do. People think they know Al Gore, the campaign argues that they don't really know Al Gore and that that's the task ahead. And that's a task that can be done well during convention week when the public is really starting to pay attention.

BLITZER: OK. We have to take a quick break. When we come back, like father, like son. On this Father's Day, let's take a look at these two candidates and their fathers. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back to our roundtable.

This past week, George W. Bush and Al Gore released two new campaign ads, let's take a little sampling of both.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BUSH CAMPAIGN AD)

ANNOUNCER: George Bush knows that to keep our commitment to seniors, we must strengthen and improve Social Security now or the retirement of the baby boom generation will push it near bankruptcy. The Bush blueprint, better for seniors today, better for all of us tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Tucker, both sort of warm and fuzzy ads at this stage in the campaign.

CARLSON: Very, they're definition ads, you're almost required to run them at the beginning of the campaign. The Gore spot's good, visually it's very attractive, it's got Gore's family. Gore is very eager and always has been to use his family in political campaigns. Not very attractive, but I think it helps, it works, it helps humanize him.

BLITZER: And this week we also saw a headline in "The New York Times," Susan after George W. Bush spent some time with his father, President Bush, the headline reading, the silent senior partner in Bush's campaign, senior Bush advising the junior Bush.

PAGE: And the story went on to say that the senior Bush often talks to his son, offers a lot of advice. You know, Gore has a kind of father figure doing the same thing only his name is Bill Clinton, you're not so sure that he's always so eager to receive that advice. But you see Bill Clinton, I was thinking about this with the character, not the characters, but the people you had on the show this week, well Terry McAuliffe and Bill Daley have very close ties to Bill Clinton and I would think he'd be talking a lot to both of them as he plans the convention and Daley plans the campaign.

ROBERTS: You know, this is Father's Day, and it's interesting to contemplate the fact that both of these candidates for president, sons of famous political fathers, in one way they're both trying to emulate the values and the public service, in another way they're both trying to avenge defeats, after all, George Bush's father defeated by Clinton-Gore. I think that's part of the motivation, never really felt his father was dealt with fairly by the electorate or by history.

And Al Gore, many people don't know this, but of course his father was defeated after three terms in the Senate, very courageous man, very strong for civil rights, has driven Al Gore as well. You know, public life, I'm married into a political family, and public life can have different effects on different children. These two have decided to follow into politics, but they have brothers and sisters, you know George Bush has a sister in town who's a very private person not involved in politics at all. Kids in the same family can have very different reactions to the public life.

BLITZER: And you think, Tucker, that I mentioned Father's Day, it's an appropriate question, do you believe that the two fathers sort of hang over these two candidates, Bush and Gore?

CARLSON: Well certainly over Gore, I mean I don't think I've ever covered a politician who sort of brings out the temptation to psychoanalyze more than Gore does. I mean, on the day Gore was born, his father, Senator Gore, challenged a national Tennessean to put the birth announcement not only on page one, but above the fold on page one. I mean, this is somebody who is really was, I think, groomed from absolutely day one to go into politic, and so just it's very tempting to get Freudian.

BLITZER: After George W. Bush sort of late in life he decided that politics.

CARLSON: Sort of like very late.

BLITZER: All right, Tucker Carlson, Susan Page, Steve Roberts happy Father's Day to you. Happy Father's Day to you, happy Father's Day to you. Happy Father's Day to me. Just ahead, we'll ...

CARLSON: (OFF-MIKE)

BLITZER: We'll reveal what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines, plus Bruce Morton's "Last Word" with more on Father's Day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush may follow his father into the White House with only Bill Clinton having served between them. Al Gore, the Democratic nominee followed his father into the U.S. Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Which reminds us that following in a father's foot steps is not the only way to honor dad.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Welcome back.

Time now for Bruce Morton's "Last Word" on this Father's Day. Bruce shares some thoughts about Dads, kids, and what really matters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORTON (voice-over): Fathers and sons, fathers and daughters -- we love our kids, do they, do we want them to, follow us into the family business? Pretty automatic with dictators and kings.

Kim Il-sung of North Korea died. Kim Jong-il took over, and this past week did something his father never did, talked with the leader of South Korea.

Syria's Hafez al-Assad died and his son Bashar al-Assad succeeded. Same with Hussein in Jordan, Hassan in Morocco.

In democracies it's rarer. President John Quincy Adams succeeded President John Adams, though there were Jefferson, Madison and Monroe in between. And this year of course, George W. Bush may follow his father into the White House, with only Bill Clinton having served between them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This son of ours is not going to let you down. He's going to go all the way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORTON (voice-over): Al Gore, the Democratic nominee, followed his father into the U.S. Senate before becoming Clinton's vice president.

Russell Long of Louisiana followed his father, Huey "the Kingfish" into the Senate.

Evan Bayh of Indiana followed his father, Birch.

Christopher Dodd of Connecticut followed his father, Thomas.

Patrick Kennedy, Edward Kennedy's son, is in Congress.

Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Robert's daughter, is lieutenant governor of Maryland. Lots of second generation people in politics.

And in the media, Edward Fouhy, now with the Pew Foundation held important jobs at all the broadcast networks. His daughter Beth, senior producer and sometime on-air analyst with CNN's political unit.

Ted Koppel overseas "Nightline." His daughter covers the State Department here at CNN. Lots of second generation media people too.

Maybe it's true in any business, law, plumbing, whatever. The BBC had a comedy about a junk dealer years ago called Steptoe & Son -- they both drove the cart.

(on camera): Why children follow their father's footsteps is harder. I never recommended it. I said once to my daughter who does work in television news, so to be fair off camera, no, she said you didn't, but over conversation at dinner, you always sounded like somebody who enjoyed his work. I confess, it's true.

(voice-over): What trade they take up is not of course what matters. If you wake up some Father's Day morning when your kids are 25 or 30, grownups with their own lives, and say to yourself, as I have, you know, these are really nice people, interested in the world around them, kind, caring, good people. Their mother and I must have done something right. That's about as good as this day ever gets.

I'm Bruce Morton.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLITZER: Thanks, Bruce, and happy Father's Day to you.

Now a look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines. "Time" magazine has voyeur TV from "Survivor" to "Big Brother" to the real world, America likes to watch, on the cover.

"Newsweek" has Prince William, the making of a modern king on the cover.

And "U.S. News" has cool cars on the cover, as automakers rev up for baby boomers.

That's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, June 18th. Be sure to catch us again next Sunday and every Sunday at noon eastern for the last word in Sunday talk.

For now, thanks very much for watching, enjoy the rest of your weekend and a happy Father's Day, especially to my dad, in Florida. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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