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Republican National Convention: Rep. Sue Myrick Discusses Party Platform

Aired July 31, 2000 - 2:31 p.m. ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our continuing coverage of this Republican National Convention. The session is now in recess.

Within the past half hour our senior White House correspondent, John King, was on the floor, and he managed to invite the Republican vice presidential candidate, Dick Cheney, over for a brief interview.

Here is an excerpt from that interview.


DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is great. It's fun being in Philadelphia, a beautiful setting for a convention. I think the hall looks great. It's the first time I've been in it, I've been in seven or eight conventions since 1972, and the feeling and the spirit here, the unity in the party is really something to behold. It's going to be a great week.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): One of the things people say a lot is that presidential elections are not decided based on vice-presidential nominees unless they make a grand blunder in the campaign...

CHENEY: Right.

KING: Surprised with the vigor with which the Democrats have come after your record? And talk to me, especially, if you will, this city, Philadelphia, the suburbs obviously very important to carry in this state, gun control, an issue the Democrats are trying to use against you and the governor in this campaign.

CHENEY: Well, I think the criticism isn't surprising. I mean, that's sort of standard tactics for them, they've run an essentially negative campaign and attack is what they know best.

The intriguing thing, of course, is when Al Gore was a member of the House of Representatives, his record on gun control was just like my record on gun control. He didn't switch until later in life.

So I don't think it has much impact, frankly, I really think the key here and the key to this campaign will be, which of us can do the best job of talking about the future. Governor Bush has got a fantastic track record in Texas, he's got a great program laid out, and the party is behind him, and so I think we'll do well, but things will be evaluated on what we want to do in the future, not debates over how I may have voted 15 or 20 years ago.

KING: A very close friend of yours, and of course your partner in prosecuting the Persian Gulf War, General Colin Powell to speak to this convention tonight. How important is he to the Republican Party in echoing Governor Bush's message of diversity, and have you spoken to him at all about his role in terms of day to day campaigning to help out the ticket in the fall?

CHENEY: Well, I haven't talked to General Powell. It's been a couple of weeks since we last talked. We talk frequently, we're good friends. I'm an enormous fan of his. I was the one who selected him to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs, we worked together for four years, so we're very close, personally and professionally, and I have enormous regard for him. I'm delighted he's going to be here tonight.

I think he's going to give a fantastic speech. I hear it's a great speech, and we're very, very glad to have him as one of the leaders in the Republican Party.

KING: We were down talking to your state delegation earlier. They said at breakfast this morning, you said the one bad thing about this is you won't be able to go home and go fishing in October?

CHENEY: Well, what I've had to do because of the campaign is cancel my fall fishing trips. I like to hunt and fish, and I'm not going to be able to do that this year because I'll be campaigning. But we'll make up for it later on.


BLITZER: The vice-presidential candidate here at the Republican Party, Dick Cheney, speaking only a few minutes ago to John King on the floor of this convention.

Meanwhile, Governor George W. Bush is continuing to wind his way to Philadelphia. He'll be arriving in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

Today, he's in the battleground state of Ohio, a critical state if he wants to be elected president of the United States. Those electoral votes in Ohio up for grabs, very much up for grabs right now.

At the University of Dayton in Ohio, earlier today, at a rally -- and you're seeing these pictures right now -- he spoke about his vice- presidential running mate.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm going to pick somebody who can be the president if he needs to. I found that man in Dick Cheney.

(APPLAUSE) I told the American people I was going to pick somebody who, should we become fortunate enough to become the president and vice president, somebody who would bring added value to the administration. somebody who would be my partner and work by my side for a better America.

I found that man in Dick Cheney.


BLITZER: Governor Bush praising his vice-presidential running mate, Dick Cheney.

Now joining us is Congresswoman Sue Myrick of North Carolina, who was very instrumental in putting this platform together.

Congratulations. I didn't hear much of a debate on the floor, no real rancor out there as far as the platform was concerned. How did you do that?

REP. SUE MYRICK (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, we spent a lot of time, ahead of time, talking with anybody who had any concerns about the direction we would like to go, and really, it was very beneficial because what you saw was the end result of that.

We had a great platform committee meeting, we had debate, and we had discussion, and we had some votes, but we ended up unified, because everybody senses this excitement that we really and truly, with our platform, can convince the American people to put Governor Bush in the White House.

BLITZER: Of course, abortion being one of the most contentious issues, there are Republicans who support abortion rights, a lot of Republicans who oppose abortion rights, of course, but this platform was categorical: no abortion virtually under any circumstance.

MYRICK: This was the same platform that we have had, it didn't change.

BLITZER: One of the criticisms that we heard from some women delegates from Oklahoma, very ardently anti-abortion rights saying that you included the minority statements, printed them in the document at the end. They were very upset that that was even included in this platform.

MYRICK: Well, what we did was the same thing that was done last time, and there were several votes that we had, decision votes that we had in there, on all issues, and we printed those in the back to show that these were decision votes. They were defeated. I mean, the platform is a pro-life platform.

BLITZER: And the message, though, that Governor Bush wants to project, you're satisfied it does come through in the platform?

MYRICK: It comes through in the platform beautifully and, you know, the plank on education is absolutely great. There's a good immigration plank in there. The part about, you know -- of individual responsibility and accountability and all, and really working through faith-based organizations -- this is new, you know, we've been trying to get it through Congress for a while, but it's so important, because those are the things that make government work, you know.

You -- government isn't doing a good job in all areas, and so, you know, it's necessary in some, but in other areas there are other local organizations that can do it better, and that's all part of this.

I mean, I'm excited about it, because, first of all, we are unified, as you saw on the floor. But the platform is one that reaches out to people of all cultures and races, religions, it's very, very inclusive.

BLITZER: All right, Representative Sue Myrick, former mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.


BLITZER: Thank you so much for joining us, congratulations on getting your platform approved.

MYRICK: Thanks.

BLITZER: Thank you. And our coverage will continue. We'll have extensive coverage, including "INSIDE POLITICS" at 5 p.m. Eastern. The Republican Convention prime time coverage begins at 7 p.m. The sessions actually begin at 7.30. Mrs. Laura Bush, the wife of the Republican candidate, will be speaking, as well as General Colin Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

I'll be back at 6 p.m. for a special edition of "THE WORLD TODAY." For now, I'm Wolf Blitzer in Philadelphia.

Stay with us. Lou Waters and the rest of the day's news is coming up next.



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