|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
CNN Late Edition
Maureen Reagan Lobbies For Alzheimer's Cure; Senators Hagel and Kerry Talk Vice Presidential Politics; Rep. Dick Armey Rails Against GoreAired July 16, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: This is LATE EDITION, the last word in Sunday talk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAUREEN REAGAN, RONALD REAGAN'S DAUGHTER: This disease is a thief that sneaks into the brain and robs a family of everything that is dear as it takes the loved one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: For her father's sake, Maureen Reagan campaigns for a cure for Alzheimer's. We will speak to former first daughter, and to Secretary Donna Shalala about the disease and debate over funding research.
And Senators Chuck Hagel and John Kerry face off over the death of the estate tax, vice presidential politics, and more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: There will be on the sidelines looking irrelevant, desperate, and demoralized.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: House Majority Leader Dick Armey takes a stand against Vice President Gore and the House Democrats. We'll also ask the Texas congressman about his plans for keeping the GOP majority in the House.
Plus, our LATE EDITION roundtable, Steve Roberts, Susan Page, and Tucker Carlson.
And Bruce Morton has the "Last Word" on the treacherous road to peace, from Ireland to Vietnam, to the Middle East.
It is noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem, and 8:00 p.m. in Moscow. Wherever you are watching from around the world, thanks for joining us, for this 90-minute LATE EDITION.
I'm Judy Woodruff sitting in for Wolf Blitzer this week. We'll get to our guests shortly, but first this hour's top story.
We begin with the Middle East peace process at Camp David, Maryland where White House spokesman Joe Lockhart just finished a press briefing just a short time ago.
For more on the progress of that summit we are joined by CNN's White House correspondent Kelly Wallace. She's near Camp David in Maryland.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, there appears to be conflicting accounts of whether there is any progress at this summit. Sources close to the talks told CNN Saturday night, that for the first time since the summit began Palestinians described progress. Separately a Palestinian spokeswoman said the discussions on all the core issues are now quote "serious." But the Israelis seem to have a different take. A source telling CNN quote there are difficulties; the gaps are big; we don't see an agreement around the corner.
In keeping with the news blackout imposed on these talks, the White House will not comment on the substance of the discussions. Press Secretary Lockhart will only say that the issues are difficult and for that reason the atmosphere is sometimes tense.
The White House looking to intensify the talks on this sixth day of the summit, President Clinton hoping to help Israelis and Palestinians reach an agreement before he departs for Japan on Wednesday. Mr. Lockhart telling reporters every one understands the calendar and knows that an intensive effort is needed -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace reporting from near Camp David, thanks.
Now we turn to Tel Aviv where demonstrations are being held today against Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
CNN's Mike Hanna is in Tel Aviv. He has details -- Mike.
MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Judy, Israeli ministers here have been costing cold air to claims that any progress has been made at talks. Following telephone conversations with Ehud Barak, ministers say that there is no sign of any agreement. The foreign minister says in fact that this agreement is not possible at all at the moment.
We are here at Tel Aviv Square. The sign you are looking at says Barak is the prime minister of nobody.
People gathering here to demonstrate against the Camp David talks, this demonstration is being organized by settlers associations at the heads of organizations of Jewish settlers as well the opposition Likud Party. The (OFF-MIKE) thesis of the people gathering here is that the peace being made by Ehud Barak involves too many concessions, represents a great threat to the complete identity of Israel. Among the speakers here tonight, will be the Likud Party leader, Ariel Sharon who told CNN earlier, that he supports peace, but not the kind of peace that Barak is offering.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARIEL SHARON, LIKUD PARTY: There is the first time as a matter of fact that an Israeli prime minister agrees to give in, in Jerusalem, the first time that an Israeli prime minister agrees to have I would say another a government ruling speak about Palestinians in Jerusalem, and we have to take all the necessary steps in order to have a better and safer peace.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HANNA: This is a square where Yitzhak Rabin, the then Israeli prime minister was assassinated by an extremist Jew opposed to the peace process back in 1995. Well, this evening tens of thousands of Israelis opposed to the present Camp David negotiations are gathering here to make opposition to Ehud Barak clear, to make clear their belief that whatever concessions are being offered by Mr. Barak at Camp David are unacceptable and just giving an indication of how difficult it will be for Mr. Barak, should an agreement be reached at Camp David to sell that agreement to the majority of the Israeli public, something that he's promised to do.
WOODRUFF: Mike Hanna reporting from Tel Aviv, thank you Mike. To the United States now, people who watch the debate over smoking are still reeling from a record setting $145 billion verdict from a Miami jury that if allowed to stand, could virtually bankrupt the tobacco industry. The decision Friday was the result of a class action lawsuit on behalf of half a million sick Florida smokers. The tobacco industry is also facing lawsuits from the federal government.
Joining us now to talk about the fallout from that verdict as well as other issues, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala.
Madam Secretary, thank you for being here.
DONNA SHALALA, U.S. SECRETARY OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: You're welcome.
WOODRUFF: Will those Florida smokers ever see their money?
SHALALA: Well, I don't know that, and this is of course is a private lawsuit, but I think it's a very clear message to the industry. You've got to change the way do you business, we don't want you to infect our kids, we want you to be straight with us about the risks of tobacco smoking.
WOODRUFF: Is it a message that smokers bear no responsibility for their own health for their own lives?
SHALALA: Well, in this case, the suit and other suits have been very much about whether these companies misled people, and they continue to mislead people, the glamorization of smoking, the attraction that the children feel to start smoking, is part of industries responsibility.
WOODRUFF: Is this amount of money, Secretary Shalala, appropriate or is it excessive given the fact that the industry is saying it could be out of business?
SHALALA: I think that most people would say that you can't really attach a price to human life. In this case, this administration is focused on reducing the number of children who get started smoking in the first place. For us, that is worth billions of dollars in our future, and our investment is to get the FDA to be able to regulate cigarettes to make sure our children are not being affected.
WOODRUFF: So a $145 billion not too high.
SHALALA: As far as I'm concerned if it affects one child's life in this country, no number is large enough.
WOODRUFF: Let me turn to the question of prescription drug benefits for the elderly, this week in a surprise move the Republican chairman of the Senate finance committee Bill Roth of Delaware proposed that the Medicare recipients have included in their benefits prescription drug costs.
WOODRUFF: Does the Clinton administration like this?
SHALALA: Well, we certainly recognize the fact that Senator Roth has broken with the House Republicans. And said that there should be a prescription drug benefit in the Medicare package. Now, his proposal which we haven't fully analyzed requires Medicare beneficiaries to pay for some other things Medicare to be able to get the prescription drug package. But the most important thing is that he said should be in Medicare, that we should have a prescription drug benefit. And we certainly see it as a breakthrough in terms of what the House Republicans had done previously.
WOODRUFF: How much should Medicare recipients be asked to pay? If something like this were to work out, how much should they have to pay for their own prescription?
SHALALA: What we have suggested is 50 percent of the cost up to the first $2000 in the first year, plus a small premium each month. We've also suggested that they shouldn't have a high deductible. Seniors and poor people are very sensitive to deductibles. We want people to be able to use these drug benefits immediately. We want them to be affordable and accessible and of the highest quality. So cost sharing is absolutely a critical part, but getting it in Medicare benefit immediately is very important.
WOODRUFF: And what about Vice President Gore's proposal? Not exactly what you are describing.
SHALALA: Well, Vice President Gore certainly has some cost sharing in his proposal. He also has a catastrophic benefit which the president now has made a proposal in this area, so that for people who have very high costs, they are not forced into bankruptcy because they have very high costs. So I think that all of the Democrats have significant cost-sharing and certainly Senator Roth does, but he adds some cost-sharing to some other things like home health care that we are not so sure about.
WOODRUFF: That you're not yet comfortable with. Let's now move to Alzheimer's. This week the first ever international Congress on Alzheimer's was convened here in Washington. The projected number of cases -- in fact, let's look at some of those numbers right now, Secretary Shalala. Americans with Alzheimer's right now four million, but it's projected in the year 2050, 14 million Americans with Alzheimer's as the baby boomers age. Is enough being done to prevent this terrible ravaging disease?
SHALALA: The answer is no. And today the president announced a new Alzheimer's initiative. Fifty million dollars over the next few years to accelerate some of the vaccine development that we have heard announced this week. And that is something that would actually intervene, be a prevention effort to either reverse or prevent people from getting Alzheimer's.
WOODRUFF: There are Alzheimer's advocates including President Reagan's daughter, Maureen, who will be coming up after you on this program, who is asking for 100 million. What do you say to Maureen Reagan?
SHALALA: She should keep asking. As far as I'm concerned, we'll have a big increase in the National Institutes of Health budget this year. The president has made a significant commitment today to make sure that we accelerate the research that is being done. We are on the verge of perhaps some very important breakthroughs. We don't know yet, but we ought to make sure that we are doing the investment now. And I think the advocates should keep pushing us, keep pushing the Congress and the American people to make these investments.
WOODRUFF: And what about the perception that many of these increases in research funding have come because of the pushing of Republicans in Congress who have looked at the president's, in their words, small request for increases and have pushed through much bigger funding and increases.
SHALALA: Well, I actually think it's great because the parties have been competing with each other to put more money into basic research, into clinical trials, particularly into these prevention efforts. And as you saw from the AIDS conference, anything we can do in the prevention area both here and abroad makes a difference.
The Alzheimer's breakthroughs that have been announced are in fact talking about prevention. The possibility of a vaccine that will prevent Alzheimer's or reverse its current situation.
WOODRUFF: And that AIDS conference as you mentioned, another meeting -- global meeting this week, where we saw just some staggering figures in terms of orphans -- 44 million orphans projected just in the next 10 years. SHALALA: The fact that this administration started the buildup of the National Institutes of Health, started this extraordinary period in biomedical research in terms of sound investments in vaccines and basic science.
This will be the most important investment that we've made over the last couple of decades, and it will result, I think, in healthier lives, not only for us but for people around the world. If we can get prescription drug benefits so that people can afford to purchase it if we find a way for people around the world to be able to purchase drugs that are life saving.
WOODRUFF: We know you're advocate, Secretary Donna Shalala, Health and Human Services, thank you very much for joining us on LATE EDITION.
SHALALA: You're welcome.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it, good to see you.
And when we return, a personal mission against Alzheimer's. We will talk with former first daughter Maureen Reagan about the impact of the disease on her father and her crusade to find a cure.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY REAGAN, RONALD REAGAN'S WIFE: We learn each day, a different way to deal with the incredible pain and loneliness of this disease. And I'm struck by the lessons it teaches each of us as we try to find words of comfort to the questions of why.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Former first lady Nancy Reagan speaking to the Alzheimer's Association in New York in 1996. Her husband, former President Ronald Reagan has Alzheimer's disease.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Joining us now is President Reagan's eldest daughter Maureen Reagan. Thank you for being here.
M. REAGAN: You are welcome.
WOODRUFF: Your father is to many people the face of Alzheimer's. He is pretty much all they know for many Americans, all they know about the disease, and let me just show a picture, I think it was February of this year, your father was celebrating his 89th birthday, a picture here, your stepmother Nancy with him. How is he doing?
M. REAGAN: Well, he makes it very easy for us. He is -- you know, he goes for walks and does all the things that we encourage him to do. But the disease just gets worse every day. And it is it just it never gets better. So it is when I say not so good Alzheimer's families know what I'm talking about.
WOODRUFF: How do you describe to others who don't know the disease, how great a toll it has taken? How far has it progressed? M. REAGAN: Well, Alzheimer's is -- I refer to it as the hardening of the amyloid in the brain, like fat in arteries or tartar on your teeth. At some moment, this amyloid protein in brain we all have, turns to plaque and stops the neurons from firing. So what starts out as a kind of forgetfulness then becomes more physical forgetfulness -- the body. The brain stops telling the body how to stand up, how to walk. So you're constantly having to encourage those very necessary things and eventually it -- the brain stops telling you to swallow and stops telling to you breathe.
WOODRUFF: How is Nancy Reagan, your stepmother?
M. REAGAN: Well there is a special place in heaven for care givers. And she does an absolutely marvelous job, she is there 24 hours a day.
WOODRUFF: She is the main care giver and you have one nurse.
M. REAGAN: She and -- we have a wonderful nurse. The two of them are like sisters now. They do it all together. But she is the one who wakes up with it every morning, goes to sleep with it every night. And, you know I think in that moment before you wake up, I think for a second, she almost forgets, and then of course wakes up and realizes that we are where we are.
WOODRUFF: What would you say, Maureen Reagan that your family has learned from this experience?
M. REAGAN: We have learned that we are not alone. And that is the most important thing about the Alzheimer's Association. It is an organization that was formed by family members who had no place else to turn. And so over 20 years we have been able to bring together all the information that we have gathered, that everybody has experienced, and share it with everybody else. So we are one great big family.
What I was going to say about my father before is the reason that he is sort of the face of Alzheimer's is because when he wrote his letter he made it OK to talk about it.
WOODRUFF: This was back in 1994 when he first went public.
M. REAGAN: Yes, six years ago. And so in the six years, the difference between six years ago, if I would come to CNN, a reporter that I knew might come up and whisper in my ear that they had a family member who had succumbed to Alzheimer's. Now, people say it right on camera. And it is OK.
WOODRUFF: Your father was partly responsible for that.
M. REAGAN: Very responsible for that, I'm very proud of that. I really am.
WOODRUFF: What more -- we have been talking, just talking with Secretary Shalala. You just spoke to her about what more needs to be done. You are an advocate. You are out there all the time. Were do you want? What do other advocates want to see done? M. REAGAN: Well, the research in Alzheimer's is a triangle. What the government does is things like the clinical trials on Vitamin E, ginko biloba, all those things that are readily available. We want in five years to be able to tell you how much you should be taking to help protect yourself. And then the pharmaceutical companies are the other leg and they come up with the new treatments which we do have new treatments today that buy time for somebody who is diagnosed as early as possible.
And then we in the Alzheimer's Association will raise and contribute over 20 million dollars to research this year. And we do things like the transgenic mice that were talked about this week. Those were our mice; we paid for that research project.
So it all works together. And so I encourage the private sector to help us raise more research funds. I encourage the government to spend more on what are they doing, and of course the pharmaceutical companies to hurry up.
WOODRUFF: We heard Secretary Shalala say the president is going to -- wants to put aside $50 million. You have been asking for 100 million. Do you keep pushing as she said?
M. REAGAN: Well, we're asking for a $100 million this year. He's offering $50 million over five years. We'll take that and then add to what we've already got until we get more. A clinical trial, even on vitamin E or ginko biloba costs between $15 and 25 million. So, if we have to wait five years to finish one to then do the second study, we're (OFF-MIKE) about 10 years. We need to double and triple those studies, and that's why we need more money. In addition to that, in the Alzheimer's Association, we take care of the care givers.
WOODRUFF: Well, that's what I wanted to ask you, what do the care givers need.
M. REAGAN: None of this money, the money would go to research which is obviously very much needed.
WOODRUFF: What about care givers, what do they get support.
M. REAGAN: Well at our chapter level, that's what we do, we're part of the fiber of the community that the Alzheimer's families can come to. We have the support groups, we have the safe return bracelets, we have the outreach programs. We are constantly talking to psychiatric conferences and doctors conferences and service groups, explaining what to look for so that we can find this disease as early as possible. Because the treatments we have now will buy you some time. You can buy a level of cognitive health but it's only at the level at which we intervene so we have to find it early.
WOODRUFF: Maureen Reagan, please tell your family our thoughts are with your father, with your stepmother Nancy and thank you for all your efforts on behalf of Alzheimer's.
M. REAGAN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Great to see you.
M. REAGAN: Good to see you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.
Up next, we will turn to politics, as Vice President Al Gore, and Texas Governor George W. Bush, prepare to accept their parties presidential nomination. Attention shifts to whom they'll pick to be their running mates. We'll talk with two senators who could be tapped, Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry and Nebraska Republican Chuck Hagel.
LATE EDITION continues after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He offers more of the same, the same old sequel to a tired period of time. Four more years of a president at war with Congress.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Will Governor Bush take his direction from them, the powerful, or will he serve the people?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore on the campaign trail this past week.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Joining us now two senators who may be on the short list of possible running mates for two presidential candidates. In Omaha, Nebraska, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, and in Boston, Massachusetts, Democratic Senator John Kerry. We will talk presidential politics in just a moment, but first gentlemen let's return to the Middle East.
You both have heard, I'm sure, the latest word from Camp David the White House spokesman saying, were really not telling us very much, but around the edges we're hearing a little bit of optimism from the Palestinians but we're also hearing the Israelis saying they're not sure that anything can be worked out.
Senator Kerry are you optimistic, pessimistic or what?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I'm just hopeful, I'm very, very hopeful. When I was at the White House for the signing of the Vietnam agreement, I briefly asked the president about it and he obviously wouldn't say much, but he did say that it's without question the most intractable problem that he's dealt with in his entire presidency and I think every president has felt that way. It's exceedingly difficult, and I think the president, the secretary of state are to be applauded for taking the risks. Obviously, some shots can come their way -- political shots, if it fails but, I'm hopeful and the reason I'm hopeful is that I think you have players at the table, all of whom need to accomplish something. I think Arafat needs to do something, because time is running. The president would obviously like to get something at the end of his presidency, and I think it's the essence of why Barak ran to be prime minister and what he hopes to achieve.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hagel, should one be hopeful.
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Oh, I think so. John is right. This is a hopeful time. All three sides need to make progress. We need to show momentum and I think it's particularly important that the next president, the president that we elect on November 7, be handed over some high ground here. We're not going to solve all these intractable big issues regarding the Middle East, over the next 48 hours.
But, if we can if we can provide the new president some momentum to build on, and with two leaders in the Middle East, go back to their people and constituencies, not just symbolic but meaningful and bring all that together in something very tangible, then I think we have accomplished something and it's important that we do accomplish something.
WOODRUFF: Senator Kerry, as we know, Prime Minister Barak almost lost a confidence vote in the Knesset before he came to United States in order to reach any sort of agreement, Mr. Barak is going to have to make concessions on refugees with regard to Jerusalem.
Should President Clinton be pressing him to do that?
KERRY: Well, no. I mean first of all, no president in the United States should never press Israel to make an agreement that it can't make or isn't in its interest nor even the Palestinians, that's not our role, our role is to serve as an honest broker, and if you read the accounts of the Wye plantation meetings, and of prior meetings, genuinely progress has been made because people perceive the honesty of the brokering process. What I do think is important, also to think about, is not just in terms of concessions.
There are creative ways to deal with the issue of Jerusalem, that could build confidence on both sides, that can define borders in a creative way. Clearly Israel is not going to give up, anyway, Jerusalem as its capital or in the essence of what it currently controls. But likewise, Arafat can't go home with -- without some increased perception that there's movement on Jerusalem. I think there are ways to achieve that.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hagel, just quickly a question, this week one of Governor Bush's top foreign policy advisers Richard Pearl (ph) warned the Israelis not to make compromises at Camp David. Was that appropriate for him to do or not appropriate because he's a political adviser.
HAGEL: Well, I know Secretary Pearl well and he's a very accomplished skillful diplomat, but he probably crossed a line a bit there. We all know this is a very delicate issue and we must be very careful and I think John was exactly right. Peace will come in the Middle East because the Arabs and the Israelis will lead that and want that and need that. We can help broker that, so we all have to be very, very careful, and understand this is a very delicate balance as to what our role is.
WOODRUFF: All right senators, we're going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we will talk politics. We'll also take your phone calls. LATE EDITION will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Back now with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Senator Kerry, you are said to be on the short list of people Vice President Gore is considering as a running mate. Have you been in contact, have you talked to him or any of his intermediaries?
KERRY: Well, you know, Judy. I was thinking I have to laugh -- I listened to your introduction and you said he may be on a possible short list. I think that is about as precise as it can get right now.
WOODRUFF: Well, have you been in touch?
KERRY: Have I been in touch?
WOODRUFF: Well, have they been in touch with you?
KERRY: Phone home -- they have been in touch initially. Warren Christopher was in touch, but nothing's really -- I think it's all very speculative right now.
WOODRUFF: Have they asked you to turn over background information?
KERRY: No, Judy, no. Right now it is all in this incredibly sort of speculative, kick around stage and, that is about where I should leave it.
WOODRUFF: Senator Hagel let's turn to Governor Bush. You've been contacted by the Bush people, whether it is Warren Christopher or others. Where does it stand right now?
HAGEL: Well, I can assure you I have not spoken to Warren Christopher. I don't worry about it, Judy, and I don't talk about it.
WOODRUFF: They have they been in touch with you? Any intermediary of Governor Bush?
HAGEL: Like I said, I don't speculate on it. I think the governor is going to make a good decision in the next couple of weeks. And we'll wait and see what that decision is.
WOODRUFF: Would you accept if you were asked? HAGEL: Like I said, I don't talk about it.
WOODRUFF: Do you think you would be the right choice for a running mate, Senator Hagel?
HAGEL: I think that question is more appropriately put to Senator Kerry.
WOODRUFF: Well, let me ...
KERRY: I think he would be terrific candidate but probably it's more appropriately put to George Bush.
WOODRUFF: Possibly, so.
Senator Kerry, very favorable things said about you. One comment I heard was well he is a Massachusetts liberal. That wouldn't really help Al Gore. What do you say to that?
KERRY: I don't say anything.
WOODRUFF: You are not denying that you are a Massachusetts liberal.
KERRY: I don't think of myself as labeled in any way. I have been very active on a lot of different issues, on some liberal some conservative. And, I like to think that people respect me for my independence and for the fresh approach that I will bring to almost any problem rather than being stuck in some ideology or some labeled approach. I don't like labels.
WOODRUFF: All right, we can appreciate that. We have a caller with a question from College Park, Maryland. Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, Senator Kerry yourself and Vice President Gore and his supporters have been assailing Governor Bush's record as risky, particularly on education. I wondered if you had these same concerns when Clinton ran in 1992 when as governor his education record was worst in the nation? Thank you.
KERRY: Well it's a good question. Actually, President Clinton when he ran was known as the education president, as the education candidate and governor. And I think his principal focus when he was head of the governor's association was education. Moreover, the president has opened the doors of education to more students, to more college kids than any president in American history. He's proposed lowering the class size and putting 100,000 teachers out into our schools. And regrettably we can't even get a decent debate in the United States Senate and House, where we finish the job of education. This is the first time in 16 years of history of the elementary and secondary education act, that the Congress of the United States has not passed it.
And, I really do, I mean I hate to get into the partisanship but, I regret that our Republican friends have not left that bill on the floor, and let us, move forward to have an education system, that is second to nobody in the world.
WOODRUFF: Let me turn to the estate tax, something that the Senate dealt with this week, Senator Hagel. The criticism of what transpired is that it really -- this is something that really only two percent of people were being asked to pay anyway. People who had estates of over three-quarters or two-thirds of a million dollars: $675,000. Is this really something that helps most Americans?
HAGEL: Well, I don't think that is the question. I think the question is, is this a fair and relevant tax. I think it is a very unfair tax. Why should the government automatically get half of your estate if it is over that threshold number? You've paid taxes on that money you've earned. You have earned that money, the government hasn't earned that money. Why not allow those small farmers and small business people and small ranchers, future generations, to build on the wealth they've accumulated.
HAGEL: We should be incentivizing people to build estates and create wealth and encouraging that. Put that money into productive capacity, and investing in our future and investing in cutting edge technology. I just think it's a ridiculous unfair tax whether it's two percent, one percent or 99 percent.
WOODRUFF: Senator Kerry in fact a number of Democrats crossed over in supported that. That doing away with the estate tax.
KERRY: Well, very few number one, but number two, look, I'm for fixing a problem of either small farmers or small business people, not being forced to sell the family farm or sell their business because grandpa or grandma or their mother or father die. I'm for fixing that. But that is not the bill that is on the floor of the Senate. Less than point one percent of Americans are at the top end who pay the larger estate taxes, and they are now the Republicans have passed a piece of legislation, that will start at the very top and slowly work itself down and cost $750 billion dollars 10 years down the road.
You know, most Americans say help me with health care, help me with prescription drugs, help me send my kids to school. There are countless numbers of things we could be doing that come as a priority before we relieve the most wealthy people in the nation from some burden. So we can fix the small farmer, the small business person, that this is a give away to the most wealthy, and I think it is unfair.
WOODRUFF: And we should point out President Clinton is threatening to veto it. We are going to have to leave it there. Senator John Kerry joining us from Boston, Massachusetts. Senator Chuck Hagel joining us from Nebraska. Thank you both gentlemen, have a wonderful weekend.
HAGEL: Thank you.
KERRY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And just ahead, battles on the other side of the Capitol as congressional Republicans spar with Democrats in the White House over prescription drug benefits and tax cuts. What role will election year politics play? We will talk with House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas when LATE EDITION returns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: If hard-working families cannot count on Governor Bush today, then what would happen if the results in November were a Bush White House and a Republican Congress led by Lott, Armey and DeLay, all beholden to the same wealthy special interests. The do-nothing Congress could then become the do-the-wrong-thing Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: In a take-off on Harry Truman, Vice President Al Gore speaking out this week on what he calls the do-nothing-for-people Congress.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Joining us now, one of those names you just heard, one of the Republican leaders of that Congress, House Majority Leader, Dick Armey of Texas.
Mr. Armey, thank you for being here.
ARMEY: Well, thank you for having me.
WOODRUFF: So it's the do-nothing-for-people Congress.
ARMEY: Well, I got a kick out of that comment. You know, we paid down $300 billion in debt, and people all over the country benefited from that. We are doing our best to end the marriage penalty. We stopped the raid on Social Security. And, you know, Al Gore, as the inventor of the Internet, should certainly appreciate the fact that we stopped taxes on Internet.
WOODRUFF: Is it appropriate for him to be out there making these kind of comments?
ARMEY: Well, he's a candidate. Candidates do that sort of thing. His test is with the people. Is it credible? Quite frankly, I think when the American people say look what this Congress has done, they -- even the Washington Post called it one of the most active Congresses in the history of Congress. If the vice president is making an argument that doesn't hold water, then of course it hurts his credibility. And quite frankly, he already has a problem with that.
WOODRUFF: Well, one of your fellow Republicans over in the Senate has proposed to spend the government's money for the people in a way that many of you Republicans in the House have not before now agreed to. And I'm referring to Bill Roth of Delaware, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, coming out and saying, just in the last few days, that he thinks that Medicare recipients should be entitled to prescription drug coverage. Is this something that you and other House Republicans leaders would be willing to go along with? ARMEY: Well, I'm a little baffled by your question since he said that a day after the House passed a prescription drug coverage for all seniors, that...
WOODRUFF: But it's a very different plan.
ARMEY: A different kind than Senator Roth and a different kind than what the president proposed. The president said everybody must join the government program and the seniors rejected them. They said look, most of us are happy with what we've got.
We heard the seniors. And we said all right, we will make universal access available to everybody. If you are low-income seniors, we will give you a premium supplement. If you are high- income seniors and you're happy with what you've got, you can still stay with your own plan, but you can buy additional coverage to make sure you stop all losses that might bankrupt your family. And quite frankly, it is a good plan and a plan that is very responsive to the complaints the seniors raised against the president's plan about 18 months ago.
WOODRUFF: But, what Senator Roth is proposing does move closer to what the administration is talking about. Are you and other House Republican leaders prepared to move that far toward what the president and others would like?
ARMEY: Well, I think there are some essential ingredients of what we've done here. Listening to the American people, we want it to be voluntary. It's very important to seniors that they feel some sense of jurisdiction over their own lives. We want those seniors who are happy with what they have to have that respected and not be forced out of that and into some government program. We're anxious for the Senator to move his bill through committee, move it through the floor, and we'll go to conference and we'll work it out. As long as we sustain the essential ingredients of full coverage for all seniors, voluntarism, subsidy for the low-income seniors ...
WOODRUFF: And asking seniors to pay more than what Senator Roth would ask them to pay, correct?
ARMEY: Well, again that just depends on the structure of the program and we'll work it through. We'll be happy to work with Senator Roth, with the president and anybody else, as long as the essential ingredients of voluntarism and full coverage are there.
WOODRUFF: Another health question: Will the House pass -- will Congress pass HMO reform this session?
ARMEY: Well, we struggled with this and we work on it as hard as we can. Nobody is more of a leader than the Speaker. The formula is very simple: We Republicans say we've got to put the patient and the patient's family ahead of the lawyers, the right to a review by competent medical professionals and get you that answer -- is daddy getting the right health care? You need that answer now when you are worried sick about somebody you love in the hospital, you need to know now. And then we can follow up with a right to sue as a last resort. The Democrats keep wanting to make the right to sue the first resort and that, quite frankly, is not very, I think, compassionate toward the families need to know right now. I need to know whether my son or daughter or my wife, my mother, is getting the right care.
WOODRUFF: Majority Leader Dick Armey, they're so many areas we want to cover, so if you'll please forgive me as we jump around a little bit here.
There was a decision in a courtroom this week, having to do with the Branch Davidian fire, the disaster that happened seven years ago in Texas, Waco, Texas. You know that area very well. The jury ruled that federal agents were not responsible for the deaths of these cult members. Number one, do you accept the verdict? Number two, does this put this whole matter to a rest?
ARMEY: Well, obviously, the jury heard all the evidence. They made their decision. I have never been troubled about that as much as a lot of people have been. I do worry about whether or not the initial action, as taken by the Treasury Department, was necessary. But once it got into it, I think the facts dictate what -- who was responsible at what juncture. And if that's the jury's rule, I certainly will not quarrel with it.
WOODRUFF: So, end of the matter as far as...
ARMEY: As far as I'm concerned.
WOODRUFF: As far as you are concerned.
To the Republican Party platform, let me if you would, listen -- have you listen to something that Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson said yesterday, having to do with the anti-abortion plank in the Republican party platform, and his comment on whether or not Governor Bush, Governor George W. Bush, would accept this as the party's nominee, let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOVERNOR TOMMY THOMPSON (R), WISCONSIN: I think that's what he has to say and that's what he believes, and I think it's good for the party. And sometimes a candidate is not going to be able to embrace the Republican platform in all instances.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: In essence, Governor Thompson saying that Governor Bush should not feel -- does not have to feel committed to go along with the anti-abortion plank in the platform. Do you agree with that?
ARMEY: I think abortion is one of the issues that I call an issue of the heart. I think everybody who seeks a position of responsibility before the nation has to search their heart and come to a determination what do you believe about that. George Bush has done that. So, yes, his position will be made independent of a Republican plank, but it'll be a expression of where his heart is on this matter. And I believe his heart's with the unborn child and their safety and their security, and their right to life.
WOODRUFF: So what does the -- does the platform matter then, if the nominee is free to go off and do what he or she wants to do?
ARMEY: Well, in this case, I don't know how the platform will be written, but the fact of the matter is when you take these very, very serious issues, every one of us, I believe, as a candidate, has a moral responsibility to come to terms with the issue and speak as honesty as you can about where you are on this thing, what is your heart tell you...
WOODRUFF: Regardless of the platform.
ARMEY: ... regardless of the platform. Now take it, and then let your fates be decided by the voters. But this is too serious a matter to trifle with, and it's too heartfelt an issue. And I'll have to tell you right now, whether you're strongly pro-choice or strongly pro-life, you do not want to believe that anybody has a trifling attitude towards this. It needs to be a heartfelt expression of sound commitment, one way or the other. It can't be something that you think is incidental. It's very important to the people who care about it.
WOODRUFF: All right, we do have to take a break. Just ahead, your phone calls for House Majority Leader Dick Armey. LATE EDITION continues right after this.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back. We are continuing our conversation with House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
We have -- Mr. Armey, there is a call, I understand -- is that right from? -- from St. Petersburg, Florida. Let's go ahead and take the call now.
Go ahead. You are on.
CALLER: Yes, hi, welcome to everybody.
Mr. Armey, the Republican Party usually addresses issues like the wealth tax and the death tax that help wealthy people. What is it -- how is the Republican Party going to help working-class people with issues such as the decrease in wages over the past 20 years, as well as the increase in the number of hours that working-class people have worked within the greatest economic boom of our time? This greatest economic boom seemed to help people that are captured by you, the wealthy. What are you doing for working class people?
ARMEY: Well, the fact of the matter when you end the marriage penalty, you end it for all working families all across the income spectrum, and it's particularly important for low-income -- joint family income between, say, a schoolteacher and a policeman. When we pay down the debt and relieve your children of the burden of this debt to the tune of over $300 billion, that's a big boon for you. When we try to get more control over your children's education in your hands and your local school authorities that are accountable to you, that, I think, is a very important issue that helps all of us that are struggling with our families as we try to raise our families.
WOODRUFF: All right, Dick Armey, another call this one from Georgia. Go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, Representative Armey, do you have the votes to override President Clinton's veto if he does veto the death tax? And if you don't have the votes, will you bring it up again in the next session?
ARMEY: Well, we would have the votes to override his veto in the House of Representatives; I'm not sure they would have them in the Senate. But, clearly, we are committed to this. It's just wrong to steal a family's lifetime of earnings and accumulation away from their children. So if the president does veto it, which I don't think he will, then we would bring it up again in the next session.
WOODRUFF: You don't think he will, even though he said otherwise?
ARMEY: No, I don't think he will, I mean, I kind of laughed about that. Mrs. Clinton, of course, is running for the Senate in New York, and she's running on repeal of the death tax. I got to tell you, the last time I talked about vetoing something my wife was running on, I heard about it.
WOODRUFF: So you think she may have some influence.
ARMEY: I don't want to trifle with that. But the fact of the matter is, the American people feel very strongly about this. It is so wrong and the American people feel how terribly unjust that is.
WOODRUFF: But it still is just the top two percent of the people who have any sort -- the estates you are affecting are those that are over $675,000 dollars.
ARMEY: It can hurt in the worst ways. And I'll give an example, Judy. People don't realize this. The highest per capita rate of millionaire in America is the state of North Dakota. Now, there are no rich people in North Dakota, but those people that held the family farm together, hold it together, just eked a living off it all their lives, that the day they die, they're a millionaire, and the government wants to take it away from their children and deny their children the chance to hold it together. So people see how just grievously wrong it is for a man and woman to build a store, a small business, spend their lifetime on it, and then have the government come in and say to the children, "You got to sell it out."
WOODRUFF: Just quickly, the House majority, Republican House majority, very thin at this point. A shift of just six seats would turn control over to the Democrats. What's your projection right now?
ARMEY: I think that right now, and, of course, you know how the elections go, but I think right now we would expect to take a three or four seat increase. It's going to be a tough, close election, but if you take it race by race, there clearly is no reason to predict that Democrat gain in the House.
WOODRUFF: All right, we have to take another break. For our international viewers, World News is next. For our North American audience, stay tuned for another half hour of LATE EDITION. We'll take more of your phone calls for House Majority Leader Dick Armey.
Plus our LATE EDITION roundtable and Bruce Morton's "Last Word." It's all ahead when LATE EDITION continues.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back. We're continuing our conversation with the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Dick Armey of Texas.
And, Mr. Armey, we have a call now from Ontario, Canada. Go ahead caller.
CALLER: Hi there. My question is, are we treating the Palestinians like we treat the North American Indians, as we move in and we've taken over their land?
ARMEY: Well, you're talking about probably that part of the world with the greatest heartbreak. Of course, you know the Israelis, the Jewish people, have suffered for generations and generations and generations, and we created the state of Israel in 1948. Palestinians have had a difficult time, and we're all seeking an opportunity for peace and a chance for everybody to have a home there. And we're working so hard on that, and we want to encourage that as well as we can.
But I -- you know, one of the things we have to remind ourselves: We're all God's children, and all God's children should have a home, and we're going to try to make sure everybody does have a good place.
WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of trying to reach a peace deal, there are price tags associated with that. We're already reading, Mr. Majority Leader, that any agreement that -- could cost the United States anywhere between $5 and $15 billion. Is the Congress prepared to swallow peace at any cost?
ARMEY: Well, I think if we have a good peace that we believe maintains the safety and security of Israel, then I think we're willing to consider any number of things. I don't think we're willing to take any peace at any cost.
We're very anxious about this, and I have to tell you the safety and security of Israel is very important to us. Now, we're also concerned about the Palestinians. And we want them to be safe, secure and at peace as well.
WOODRUFF: But when you hear those numbers, $15, $5 billion, somewhere in that -- and is there a number that you and other House Republican leaders have thought this might work into the budget figures we know? ARMEY: I don't think anybody can make a premature judgment of that. We have to see what are the component parts of the agreement; we're going to have a look at what are going to be the security provisions that are going to have to be there.
WOODRUFF: Have you heard any numbers?
ARMEY: No, we've just -- I've just, again what I've seen talked about it in the press. But, I mean, it's like anything else, once you put it together you have to determine what does it cost to implement this. And if we think it's the correct process -- the peace process, and the cost components are correct, we'll probably vote on that. But otherwise, we may make our own suggestions. We'll have a chance to speak on that as a Congress, too, in terms of what we are willing to do on behalf of the American taxpayers. But America wants peace and safety and security in that region of the world.
WOODRUFF: All right. We have another caller now, this one from Buena Park, California, is that right?
CALLER: What I'd like to talk about, Mr. Dick Armey, is how come you people all talk politically about -- all -- everything else except veterans' affairs? Now, Togo West just left, and I'd like to know what happened. Did he get fired? Or somebody doesn't like him and he stepped out?
And another thing, none of you people are hardly in the Congress are veterans. I am a veteran and I'm 85 years old. Now what's going to happen to these veterans if you do not take care of veterans' affairs?
ARMEY: Well, let me just say first of all, whatever happened to Togo West would be something you'd have to address to the administration. I don't know...
WOODRUFF: He was a Secretary of Veterans' Affairs.
ARMEY: Yes, I understand that, but I don't know that there was any controversy around that. People do move on in life.
The veterans are a matter of great concern for us, and, as a matter of fact, we have some very distinguished veterans in the House and the Senate, and veterans concerns have always been a matter of paramount concern to us. Right now, we're looking at veteran's medical benefits, and there will be action taken on that before the year's up.
WOODRUFF: Why do you suppose this gentlemen is feeling, though, that veterans are overlooked? I mean, he is right from the standpoint that veterans are aging, there haven't been -- hasn't been a war that has left us with veterans anything like what we saw after World War II in the last -- there was Vietnam -- there was Korea, there was Vietnam, but increasingly generations are coming along where they don't know war. ARMEY: And that's a good thing and I think every veteran in the world said that's one of the things I fought for, was so my children and grandchildren wouldn't have to. Also, for the most part now, America's moved onto other issues. The veterans are still important to us, we have a committee in both the House and the Senate, we have an administration -- administrative agency that is Cabinet status, and we do, of course, pay a lot of attention to veterans.
The veterans are not, as it were, the circle of political activity that they were a generation ago, and I suppose in some respects that's a good thing, because benefits are more well-cared for than they were a generation ago. That does not mean that we feel like we've done everything can do and should do for our veterans, but we certainly are pleased to say that the veterans now are not the center of controversy.
WOODRUFF: Just one quick thing I wanted to raise, Dick Armey, before you go away. A story in the Texas newspapers in Dallas and Austin on Friday about a million low-income schoolchildren in Texas who qualified for federally funded summer nutrition programs but went unserved, the finger being pointed in the direction of Governor George W. Bush. What do you know about this? Is this a criticism that's legitimate or not?
ARMEY: Well, first of all, I think you'd have to find the facts of the matter. I don't understand that allegation. I've had no complaints in my district. Certainly, we -- and I think you could talk to members of Congress, because quite frankly families do not feel served well by their federal programs will contact their member of congress. I have had no contact, nor have any of my colleagues mentioned it to me.
This is a political season. All kinds of allegations can be hurled out there. I think you need to finally track it down, and it's a time of the year when more than other times you should check and double check. I quite frankly would want to look at that very, very carefully before I got too outraged over it.
WOODRUFF: I should have cited the source. It's a group called the Food Research and Action Center, but just wanted to bring it up.
ARMEY: I'd like to know a little bit about the group too and who's their funding and where do they come from and so forth. It sounds like one of those soft money groups to me.
WOODRUFF: All right, Dick Armey, House Majority Leader, thank you very much for joining us on LATE EDITION. Thank you.
ARMEY: Thanks for having me.
WOODRUFF: Have a good day.
Coming up, Vice President Al Gore finally wins the endorsement of his former challenger. Will it help his campaign? We'll go around the table with Roberts, Page and Carlson when LATE EDITION continues.
WOODRUFF: Time now for the roundtable. Joining me is Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today," Steve Roberts, contributing editor for "US News and World Report," and Tucker Carlson, political writer for "The Weekly Standard."
I hardly know where to begin. There is so much to talk about, but why don't we talk about the vice presidential choices. We had two potential potentials on the program, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, John Kerry of Massachusetts. You all heard them. They weren't giving much.
STEVE ROBERTS, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": You tried.
WOODRUFF: I tried. Where does all this stand right now?
Tucker, what do you think?
TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Well, I mean, I think the fact they didn't give much probably means they are in pretty good shape. I mean, it's always the people who blather on about, well, I spoke to the contender the other night, who doesn't have -- people who talk like that don't have a chance. I wouldn't be surprised if those were the nominees.
SUSAN PAGE, "USA TODAY": You had a lot of speculation this week about whether Al Gore might choose Dick Gephardt as his running mate. That's not a name we had heard much before. For one thing, they have been rivals for years and have had longstanding personal disputes. No love lost there. But it really shows some of the weakness Al Gore is facing now. He's got trouble with his Democratic base. That's where Dick Gephardt would help him. You know, you sort of see the difference between the two candidates. Gore is still worrying about his base. Bush is really trying in a very concerted way to reach out to independent swing voters, even Democrats.
ROBERTS: It shows another weakness in the Democrats, too. And that is the thinness of the Democratic bench. The Republicans have a strong set of governors from big states. They have some Congressional leaders like Chuck Hagel. Democrats have a much smaller pool to choose from. And I think one of the reasons people are going to Gephardt, he's one of the few Democrats with any sort of a national reputation. But it's possible.
I think it would be a stupid idea because I think Democrats have a real shot at taking back the House. I think picking Gephardt doesn't get you that much in terms of your base. It does disrupt the whole campaign for the House. But shows a certain anxiety in the Gore camp.
WOODRUFF: If not Gephardt then where does Gore go? You are saying you think Kerry is a potential, John Kerry is a potential, Tucker?
CARLSON: Well, we know it's not Bob Graham, and no, and...
PAGE: Because we're talking about Bob Graham so much we know it must not be him.
WOODRUFF: How do we know for a fact that...
ROBERTS: Well, we know because of this fabulous piece in Time magazine that talked about these diaries he keeps. And all week, if you talked to Gore people, they sort of chuckle in pretty dismissive way.
Gephardt also would be a problem because the seat would be lost, I think. I think it would probably go to Republican and the last thing the Democrats want is to lose another seat.
PAGE: Well, I think John Kerry is a possibility, lots of -- I mean, he doesn't come from state that's great. I mean, if Massachusetts is at risk, you aren't going to have much of a presidential race for the Democrats. But he brings some strength to the ticket. I don't know if Bob Graham is out of the running or not. Evan Bayh is another name you hear.
I mean, the trouble is, the only person who really knows is the candidate and maybe the candidate's spouse. And people who are speculating about it almost always are speaking from a position of being unencumbered by real information.
WOODRUFF: But we're not going to let that stop us.
The Republican side and George W. Bush.
Steve, Tom Ridge still very much in the running?
ROBERTS: Yes, I think so. You know, Ridge has gotten a lot of attention for all the obvious reasons: very critical state, he's a decorated war hero, he's a Catholic. He's one of the governors I was talking about who provides this kind of pool of bright young stars in the Republican Party.
The problem obviously is he is moderately pro-choice on abortion. Now Pat Robertson has said he's acceptable. Senators like Mitch McConnell, Republican from Kentucky, have said acceptable.
The real question, and we've talked about this before, does the right wing of the party, to whom Ridge is not acceptable because he is marginally pro-choice, do they get a veto? Does George Bush -- what does he decide? What are the costs and the benefits? Benefits obviously: Ridge would be very good with moderates, be very good in the industrial Middle West. But he could alienate some conservatives. I think in the end he might still pick Ridge, but a lot of people disagree with me and think that he is off the table.
PAGE: The trouble with picking Ridge is that probably makes the convention about the dispute between the religious conservatives who find him unacceptable. That isn't the kind of convention, I think, George Bush wants. He wants to have a convention that's focused on...
WOODRUFF: He wants no wrinkles, right?
PAGE: No wrinkles, focused on him, positive, outreach kind of convention and that, I think, really argues against Tom Ridge.
CARLSON: Plus he already made the point. By talking about Ridge as a possibility, Bush has made the point to pro-choice Republicans, "Hey, I'm not a scary, mean, right winger." But it's the pro-lifers who vote on the topic in the party, and if you were to pick Ridge, you know, it would cause some problems he doesn't need.
ROBERTS: Everybody fights the last war, and what Clinton did was turn vice presidential selection on its head. He didn't pick someone that balanced him out geographically or age-wise. He picked a teammate, someone like him in Al Gore, from an adjoining state.
If each of these guys does that, they pick their version of Al Gore, then Gore will pick Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana, who's a very similar kind of moderate Democrat. And I think for Bush, that choice would be Governor Keating of Oklahoma, adjoining state, similar age, similar political coloration.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to take a short break, a quick break, but much more of our roundtable when LATE EDITION continues.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the roundtable on LATE EDITION.
Finally this week, this is what Al Gore heard from a former rival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our party is strongest when we're unified, when we speak with one voice, when we work to guarantee a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president. I want to make it clear that I endorse Al Gore for president of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: So, Susan Page, what does this mean for Al Gore?
PAGE: It was a long time coming, but at least it was tepid when it got there. I mean, you know, I mean it was really had a grudging...
WOODRUFF: I thought it was pretty forceful.
PAGE: Well, but he said, I'm a Democrat and I prefer Democrats and so I'll endorse this guy. There wasn't the kind of, you know, personal, I thought, chemistry that would made it a more powerful endorsement. Of course, there wasn't really when McCain endorsed Bush either, so maybe that's more than...
WOODRUFF: You were there, Tucker, weren't you? CARLSON: Yes, I was. And that, the byte we just saw, that came in the 11th paragraph of a 14-paragraph speech, And it was deeply, deeply tepid. In fact, there was only one compliment Bradley offered about Gore. He said something along the lines of, well, Gore is good at technological things. He spends a lot of time playing with his computer, therefore, he'd be a good president. It was pretty lame, I thought.
ROBERTS: You know, but it doesn't really matter very much. The only problem for Gore was that the absence of an endorsement caused people like us to keep talking about it until it happened.
But Bradley never generated anything like the momentum, the enthusiasm that John McCain did. And so he doesn't bring much to the table because I don't think there are a lot of Bradleyites out there. There are people for whom McCain is a more vivid figure, but Bradley, you know, it's one small loose end, but not very important.
WOODRUFF: But not very much.
I want go to the New York Senate race. Some pretty tough language coming out of the New York state Republican chairman, putting out a fund-raising letter. And let's show the audience some of what William Powers has to say about Mrs. Clinton.
Quote: "In her ruthless quest for power, she claims to be a new Democrat. But she's a fraud, a phony and a pretender. She's a hard- core, hard-line, hard-nosed, ultra liberal who uses people and hates Republicans."
Why doesn't he say what he really means, Tucker?
CARLSON: Oh, it's wonderful. I mean, in age when everyone's, you know, compassionate and, you know, nobody says what he really thinks, it's so nice to see old Bill Powers up in New York getting purple. I love this guy.
PAGE: Not helpful, though, I think, to Rick Lazio.
CARLSON: Yes, probably not.
PAGE: Rick Lazio needs a million New Yorkers to vote for Al Gore and then vote for Rick Lazio. The people who hate Hillary Clinton are already going to be in the Republican camp. He needs some people who are either Democratic leaning or are even going to vote for the Democratic president...
WOODRUFF: In the middle?
PAGE: ... people who are in middle to vote for Rick Lazio. And this kind of rhetoric does not help with that kind of voter.
ROBERTS: And particularly with women, because I think a lot of women will read that and see an underlying sexism to that tone.
WOODRUFF: Yes, that's what I wondered about. ROBERTS: And I think this serves Hillary Clinton well, that -- say, see, these guys don't want -- don't like a powerful woman. They don't like to see someone like me who challenges their power.
WOODRUFF: But the Republicans would say, Tucker, some of them would say, well it's just a fund-raising letter. In fact, that's what Lazio said about that previous letter, which among other things said President Clinton, Mrs. Clinton have embarrassed the country.
CARLSON: Right, I think he said he hadn't even read it, and technically that's true. I mean, all fund-raising letters are pretty much like this, but that, you know, I don't know...
WOODRUFF: But you don't think this is over the line?
CARLSON: Oh, it's completely over the top. That's why I love it so much. I agree that it's probably not helpful, but what can he do other than disavow it?
ROBERTS: We do know that Mrs. Clinton is the best thing the Republicans have going in terms of raising money. That clearly is true. She's the new Teddy Kennedy. You know, all of those ads that we saw, the new Tip O'Neill, "Watch those liberals. You know, they really are liberals." Big Al on -- you know, and so that's what they're trying to do.
But you can't hide these things. You know, direct mail, it's one thing, but once it comes out, the kind of people Susan and I are talking about, can take offense umbrage at something like that.
WOODRUFF: All right. I would like to keep going another hour or two, but they're telling me in my ear we've got to stop. I want to thank all of you, Tucker Carlson, Susan Page, Steve Roberts, thank you all. Great to be with you. I know Wolf misses you all this week. .
ROBERTS: We miss him too, but you have been great.
WOODRUFF: I'll tell him. I'll tell him.
Just ahead, we will reveal what's on the cover of this week's major U.S. news magazines.
Plus, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Peacemakers have tried their craft in Ireland for generations. But just this past week, Protestants were marching, fires burned, rubber bullets whacked demonstrators, and, yes, at least one person died.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: From Northern Ireland to the Balkans to sub-Saharan Africa, the elusive goal of peace.
WOODRUFF: And, now, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
While ethnic and religious conflict plagues so many areas of the world, Bruce reminds us that peace between old enemies is possible.
MORTON: War and peace, hate and remembrance, past and present mix differently in different regions. Peacemakers from the region and from outside it have wrestled with the Middle East ever since Israel came into existence a half century or so ago, come to that even earlier.
(voice-over): Peacemakers have tried their craft in Ireland for generations. But just this past week, Protestants were marching, fires burned, rubber bullets whacked demonstrators, and, yes, at least one person died. Why celebrating a centuries-old battle is worth dying for may puzzle the rest of the world, but to the Orangemen who marched, it must make sense.
Tito kept a lid on the Balkans for years, but as soon as he died all those struggles roared back to life: Serbs versus Croats, a common language but different alphabets and religions; Serbs versus Kosovars; different religions again. Troops from other countries keep the peace there now, more or less. But who would predict when troops might leave Bosnia or Kosovo?
Hutus and Tutsis kill each other in and around Rwanda, and it is hard for outsiders even to know how many factions are fighting in Congo on any given day.
But in the face of all this gloom and doom, the United States and Vietnam have reached a trade agreement. The two countries exchanged ambassadors some years ago. American veterans are now tourists on battlefields where once they fought. And U.S. visitors come back musing, "They don't hate us," which sometimes does seem odd.
The Vietnamese are pursuing joint ventures. Communists in word, often free market, indeed, to the point one reporter who covered war mused, "It would have been easier if they just let us win." He was kidding. It is their country and the U.S. rapprochement is made easier by other things: The Cold War ended, so Vietnam isn't seen as a pawn in some bigger power game. It and the U.S. can talk one-on- one.
(on camera): And maybe healing is easier because the U.S. involvement was relatively brief. U.S. troops arrived after the Vietnamese chased the French out in the 1950s. The war ended in 1975. The Middle East, Ireland, the Balkans, all those enmities seem old as time, old wounds which may take much time to heal.
I'm Bruce Morton.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Bruce.
And now, a look at what's on the cover of this week's major U.S. news magazines. Time magazine has the new philanthropists, the hands on, they want results, who gives and how much on the cover. U.S. News and World Report unveils the mysteries of history with Stonehenge on the cover. And on the cover of Newsweek, the fate of Jerusalem, inside the fight over a sacred city's future.
That's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, July the 16th. Wolf will be back next Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk. For now, thanks for watching. I'm Judy Woodruff 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
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.