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Republican National Convention: Laura Bush, Gen. Colin Powell Address DelegatesAired July 31, 2000 - 10:00 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: Laura Bush in the speech of her lifetime makes the case for her husband.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: And Colin Powell will lay it on the line for party and country.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight from Philadelphia, the 37th Republican national convention: 2,000 delegates, 10,000 volunteers and 15,000 media members have converged on the cradle of American democracy for the nomination of the GOP candidates for president and vice president of the United States.
In this grand old city, the Grand Old Party of Lincoln, Eisenhower and Reagan starts its quest for the White House, led by a man with Texas roots and a president's name.
Now, from Philadelphia's First Union Center, here are CNN's Bernard Shaw, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Welcome back to the First Union Center in Philadelphia. While you have been away on the "LARRY KING SHOW," the delegates have been entertained by a variety of talent. Anyone from 50 years ago thinking they were looking at a convention would be very surprised.
But now to the principal business of the evening, a speech by Texas first lady, and she hopes America's next first lady, Laura Bush, and a speech by retired General Colin Powell.
Mrs. Bush will be introduced by Michael Feinberg. He is at a teacher at the KIPP Academy. That is a Texas charter school in Houston, Texas that deals with at-risk kids. These schools are a cornerstone of Bush's education policy and indeed this convention hall has been turned into a kind of a classroom from which Michael Feinberg will tell us about George and Laura Bush.
WOODRUFF: The KIPP Academy, KIPP standing for, the acronym for Knowledge Is Power Program, and as Jeff suggested, it is a charter school founded in 1994 by Michael Feinberg, whom we're going to hear from.
SHAW: There are lots of young people in this hall. I stepped outside for about 20 minutes, and they were coming through security, calling them the rally people and the rally teams: college students, high school students.
DAVID LEVINE, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER PROGRAM: Modeled after the life work of (UNINTELLIGIBLE), all KIPP students attend school every day from 7:25 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening, for four hours on Saturdays and for a month in the summer.
As our students like to chant...
STUDENTS: There are no shortcuts!
LEVINE: And by believing that there are no shortcuts, we have ensured that the slogans of our schools are not "All of us can learn" but rather "All of us will learn."
And we have learned to run schools free the bureaucracy of certification, budgeting and staffing, and infused with commitment, compassion and quality teaching.
These are the freedoms -- these are the freedoms and beliefs that Governor Bush has brought to the schools and people of the great state of Texas, and these are the freedoms that should be enjoyed by every school and every person in this great country.
Thank you, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Thank you, Matt. And now it is my pleasure to introduce to you the other co-founder of the KIPP Academy, Michael Feinberg.
MICHAEL FEINBERG, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER PROGRAM: Thanks, Dave.
Kids, teachers, parents, and students know that a quality education makes a difference, and we all know the role parents and teachers play in supporting our kids. Now, I would like to introduce a former public school teacher, librarian, and a mother who passionately shares our commitment to our students' future and a quality education, someone who has pushed for more resources to help children learn, and someone who launched an early childhood development initiative across the state of Texas to help children learn to read.
Together with her husband, Governor Bush, she's the best friend Texas children have.
Ladies and gentlemen, our favorite first lady of Texas, Laura Bush.
LAURA BUSH, WIFE OF GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH: Thank you. Thank you all. Hey, Jerry. Hey, Grant. Thank you all very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thanks a lot. OK.
Thank you all. Thanks a lot. OK. That's enough.
Thank you very, very much.
Thank you all.
I'm so thrilled. And I'm honored to be here. And I have to say I'm just a little bit overwhelmed to help open the convention that will nominate my husband for president of the United States.
You know I'm completely objective when I say you've made a great choice.
George and I have been blessed throughout our 23 years of marriage with many interesting opportunities. Our lives have changed enormously in the last six years. George was elected governor; we moved to Austin with our then 13-year-old twin girls. Since then, we've been through dating, drivers licenses and, just a few weeks ago, high school graduation.
Now, we're helping our daughters pack for college, and we're preparing for our next life crisis, empty nest syndrome.
They say that parents often have to get out of the house when their kids go off to college because it seems so lonely. Everyone deals with it in different ways, but I told George I thought running for president might be just a little extreme.
I'm grateful for my family, who are here tonight. My mother, Jenna Welch, our daughters, Barbara and Jenna, and a couple that you all know pretty well, my mother- and father-in-law.
I love them all dearly. Thank you all.
And now I want to thank Michael and the KIPP Academy students for that great introduction. I also want to thank them for very great education in Houston. Thank you all. (APPLAUSE)
I've never given a speech before this many people before, but I feel very at home in this classroom setting. Education is the living room of my life.
George's opponent has been visiting schools lately. And sometimes when he does, he spends the night before at the home of a teacher. Well, George spends every night with a teacher.
I first -- I first decided to become a teacher...
I first decided to become a teacher when I was in the second grade. Neither of my parents graduated from college, but I knew at an early age that they had that high hope and high expectation for me.
My father bought an education policy, and he always said, "Don't worry, your education will be taken care of."
Growing up, I practiced teaching on my dolls. I'd line them up in rows for the day's lessons. Years later, our daughters did the same thing. We used to joke that the Bush family had the best educated dolls in America.
George and I always read to our girls. Dr. Seuss' "Hop on Pop" was one of his favorites. George would lie on the floor to read this story and the girls would literally hop on pop, turning the story into contact sport.
We wanted to teach our children what our parents had taught us, that reading is entertaining and interesting and important. And one...
And one of the major reasons George is running for president is to make sure that every child in America has that same opportunity.
That's why he's proposed a $5 billion reading first initiative, with a great American purpose, to make sure every child in every neighborhood can read on grade level by the end of the third grade.
George led a similar initiative as governor with fabulous results. The highly respected nonpartisan Rand study released just last week found that education reforms in Texas have resulted in some of the highest achievement gains in the country among all racial, socio-economic and family backgrounds.
It happened -- it happened because George led the way, focusing state money and schools' attention on reading. We developed a rigorous research-based curriculum. We funded intensive in-school, after-school and summer-school reading intervention programs. We improved teacher training.
When I taught school in Houston and Dallas and Austin, many of my second, third and fourth grade students couldn't read. And frankly, I'm not sure I was very good at teaching them.
I tried to make it fun by making the characters in children's books members of our class. We saved a web in the corner for Charlotte. But I know many teachers will agree that we need better training in what works to teach children to read. And as president, George will fund improved teacher training.
Public school -- the public school reforms are crucial, but they aren't enough. Learning to read starts much earlier. Researchers have learned that parents should read aloud to their babies. Toddler's vocabularies are closely related to how much time adults spend talking to them. And importantly, listening to television doesn't help a young child develop language skills. It's just background noise.
As first lady, I'll make early childhood development one of my priorities. And George will strengthen Head Start, to make sure it's an early reading and early learning program.
I watched my husband make a difference as governor, not by giving one speech on reading, but by giving 100 speeches about reading, directing time, money and resources to our schools.
And that's the kind of discipline and commitment George will bring to the presidency. He'll set great goals, and he'll work tirelessly to achieve them.
George and I grew up in Midland, Texas, a small town in a vast desert, a place where neighbors had to help each other because any other help was too far away. Midland was a place of family and community, and it had a sense of possibility as big as the west Texas sky. Midland formed value reserves as deep and longer lasting than any of its oil wells.
And from that well spring of values, George developed the strength and the consistency of conviction. His core principles will not change with the winds of polls or politics or fame or fortune or misfortune.
I know -- I know, because I've known him through big legislative successes and a few defeats.
I sat by his side during some winning and many losing baseball seasons. But George never loses sight of home plate.
I was looking through some scrapbooks recently. The first year we married, George ran for Congress in West Texas. And as I thumbed through those old brochures what struck me is how the things George said then are the same things he believes now. That government should be limited. That local people make the best...
... that local people make the best decisions for their schools and communities. That all laws and policies...
... that all laws and policies should support strong families. And that individuals...
... and that individuals are responsible for their actions.
George stood on these principles as governor. And he worked with Republicans and Democrats to build consensus and to get things done. He shares credit and he doesn't cast blame. He sets a tone that's positive and constructive, a tone that's very different from the bitterness and the division that too often characterized Washington D.C.
Finally, George has a strong sense of purpose. To quote the hymn that inspired his book, he believes that all of us have a charge to keep, a responsibility to use our different gifts to serve a cause greater than self.
The president -- the president of the United States of America is more than a man, or a woman, as I hope the case will some time be.
BUSH: The president is our most visible symbol of our country, of its heart and its values and its leadership in the world. And when Americans vote this November, they will be looking for someone to uphold that honor and that trust.
You can see it in the pictures. The pictures are one of the most compelling stories of this campaign. We first saw them on our very first campaign trip. They are the pictures of America's future. Moms and dads and grandparents bring them to parades and picnics. They hold out pictures of their children, and they say to George, I'm counting on you. I want my son or daughter to respect the president of the United States of America.
... George -- George is a leader who inspires the best in others, and he'll bring out the best in our country.
George and I recently went to the high school graduation in Crawford, Texas, population 631. Like so many Americans, the people in Crawford are down-to-earth people with big dreams for their children.
This early summer night, the sky was huge and full of more stars than you could take in all at once. The graduation was especially poignant because one young man who should have been there wasn't. He died of cancer two years ago during his sophomore year. His parents were on the front row, and we all cried with them. The community embraced them on this special occasion that was so happy and so sad all at once.
As I watched George visit with the graduates and their families, I thought, "This is America." Down-to-earth people who work hard, who care about our neighbors, who want a better life for our children. And the people of America deserve a leader who lifts our sights, who inspires us to dream bigger and do more.
In the midst -- in the midst of this presidential campaign at our ranch outside of Crawford, George and I are building a house. It's a foundation to come home to with a big sky to look up to.
As we worked on the plans, I put a door between bedrooms that our teenagers will probably want to keep closed to keep us from hearing their conversations. But one day, we'll want to open that door so we can hear our grandchildren playing. One day, God willing, George will make a fabulous grandfather.
In the meantime -- in the meantime, he'll make a great president.
Thank you all. Thank you, and God bless you. God bless America. (APPLAUSE)
Thank you. Thanks, everybody.
SHAW: Of course, no one is applauding more forcefully than her husband, Texas Governor George Bush, who's watching from Dayton, Ohio.
WOODRUFF: I venture to say that this quiet, this soft-spoken former librarian, quite a school teacher package, if you will, has given a walloping political speech here, a very anti-Clinton, anti- current administration speech. Of course, never mentioned the name Clinton, never mentioned the name Gore. She says, "I want my son or daughter to respect the president of the United States of America."
GREENFIELD: It was the un-Hillary speech, without a single word of rancor. The closest we can to a political line, the biggest line of the night, "I want my son or daughter, people say, to respect the president of the United States of America." And some part at the end of that speech, the reference to the "big sky" of Texas, a couple of echoes of George Bush's 1988 acceptance speech, with a little bit of poetry thrown in. But a modest speech, a speech by a person not a skilled public speaker, sharp contrast to Hillary's speech in 1996, which was explicitly political, but I think a heck of a debut on the national stage.
SHAW: OK, and in one sentence, she told the American people if she goes to the White House, she will concentrate on early childhood development.
This lady has lots of friends. They go all the way back to her Midland, Texas, roots. Let's join John King with two of them.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, we're down here in the Texas delegation. As you can see, quite a celebration. The woman most here believe will be the next first lady of the United States just speaking.
We're with two long-time friends, Debbie Francis and Tom Craddock (ph).
Debbie, let's start with you first. You just heard Laura Bush speak. The country just getting to know her. What's your first memory of Laura Bush? How long have you known her? Tell us about her.
DEBBIE FRANCIS, TEXAS DELEGATION: I know Laura very well, and it's a thrill to talk about her any time. We actually first met when she was in the hospital about to have the girls. But then when she and George moved back to Dallas 12 years ago, she and I have been very, very close friends since then. Laura is -- as any of her friends know, she is a very intelligent woman. She is loyal. She is loving. And she is genuine. And I think she came across this evening showing those -- those terrific qualities that really are Laura Bush. KING: Now, Tom, if you can hear me, one of the big differences between perhaps the future first lady and the current first lady -- she was very short on policy. She did talk about her own commitment to education. Think of our current first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and your knowledge of Laura Bush and compare and contrast the two.
TOM CRADDOCK, TEXAS DELEGATION: Well, I think Laura's been very involved at the local level. She was very involved with her kids and has really done a lot for Texas. I'm in the legislature in Texas. She's been a real motivating force for the push that we've had in education in the state.
KING: All right, we thank you both. We need to go back up to the booth.
SHAW: Thank you, John. Thank you very much.
Texas Governor George Bush continues his trek toward Philadelphia, right now in Columbus, Ohio. And by satellite, he's going to introduce the next speaker of this evening.
WOODRUFF: That's right, General Colin Powell. This is one of those wonderful tricks of television and satellite that allows us to see one man who's all the way over in Columbus, and we're here in Philadelphia.
We're going to go to the podium now for the co-chair of this convention, Washington state Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn.
REP. JENNIFER DUNN (R-WA), CONVENTION CO-CHAIR: ... classroom at Westerville South High School, the next president of the United States, George W. Bush!
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you all very much.
I'm on my way to Philadelphia, and we are on our way to victory come November.
We've been working our way toward the convention, traveling through states the Democrats won in the last few elections. But not this time, not this year.
We've had rallies in Arkansas...
... and Ohio.
We've seen thousands of people. The crowds have been big and the enthusiasm even bigger.
Now I'm in Westerville, Ohio, and I cannot wait to stand before you on Thursday night and tell America how I want to use these good times for great purposes.
Tonight you heard from the best speaker in our family, my wife Laura.
Watching her speak tonight, seeing her grace and strength, reminded me just how much I love her. It also reminded me of a true story. When I asked Laura to marry me -- not on our first date, by the way, but pretty shortly thereafter -- she was a public school librarian, as you just learned. She knew I was getting ready to run for the United States Congress and she said she would marry so long as she never had to give a speech.
I know you're as glad as I am that she didn't hold me to that promise.
Laura's been a fabulous first lady of Texas.
One of the very best reason I can think of to vote for me for president is to have Laura Bush as first lady of the United States of America.
We've welcomed many distinguished guests to our home in Austin, Texas, during the last few years, including our next speaker, one of the most respected and admired men in America. General Colin Powell is working to open the door...
General Powell is working to open the door of opportunity to every child in America as chairman of America's Promise. He's rallying a new set of troops, the caring citizens of our country, and encouraging them to become mentors and role models for our young people.
General Powell served as Ronald Reagan's national security adviser and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George Bush. And I hope his greatest service to America might still lie ahead.
Please join me in welcoming General Colin Powell.
GREENFIELD: This is the man who five years many wished would run for president. He was leading in popularity polls. Many thought he might be on a ticket.
WOODRUFF: And there were even people who wanted him to be the vice presidential running mate this time, a lot of them. But he said, "No, no, no," just like he's saying no to the applause right now.
RETIRED GENERAL COLIN POWELL, FORMER CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF/CHAIRMAN, AMERICA'S PROMISE: Oh, thank you for that very, very warm, warm welcome. It's a great pleasure to be with you all this evening.
Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow Republicans, it's a wonderful evening here tonight.
And President and Mrs. Bush, a special, special good evening to you, sir. Good to be with you again.
And I'm very pleased to be here with my old boss, Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney. I used to call him Mr. Secretary, and soon I'll be calling him Mr. Vice President. I like that.
I want to thank Governor Bush for that very, very kind introduction. And I am deeply honored to again have the privilege of addressing a Republican National Convention. In San Diego in 1996, I followed former First Lady Nancy Reagan to the lectern, after her moving tribute to President Reagan.
I am delighted this time to follow Laura Bush, a lady of passion, dedication and grace. She will be a great first lady. Do you agree with me or not?
She'll be great.
During the almost seven years since I retired from the Army, I've traveled all across America. I've seen people hard at work providing for their families, giving of themselves, taking care of each other. I've seen them creating wealth for the nation. I've seen an economy transforming itself to seize the promise of the information revolution.
I've met so many of our fellow citizens who believe in America to the depths of their heart and who are doing everything they can in their communities to make our nation that more perfect union spoken of in our Constitution.
I've been moved yet again to stand in awe of the American dream, which was given birth in this city over 200 years ago, a dream that I have been privileged to live.
I've met so many young people who believe in the dream. They're on a road to success. They're being raised in strong families, going to good schools, filling the finest universities, graduating and then going on to find their place and fortune in this blessed land of ours. Even the youngest of them, still in elementary school, are getting ready for the future, using computers, logging onto the Internet, while still enjoying the magic of childhood by curling up with a Harry Potter book.
There is so much that is so good and right in America tonight, my friends, that we ought to be very, very proud of this wonderful country of ours.
And yet, I cannot ignore and we cannot ignore other things I've seen in my travels. I've seen poverty. I've seen failing communities. I've seen people who've lost hope. Tragically, I've seen too many young Americans who were overwhelmed by the daily struggle just to survive. I've seen kids destroying themselves with drugs, kids who see violence and crime as the answer to their hopelessness, kids who no longer believe in themselves and who don't see a reason to believe in America. I've seen kids in utter despair. I've visited kids in jail doing adult time for the crimes they've committed.
They are part of a growing population of over 2 million Americans behind bars -- 2 million convicts, not consumers; 2 million Americans who while paying for their crimes are not paying taxes, are not there for their children and are not raising families. Most of them are men and the majority of those men are minorities.
The issue of race still casts a shadow over our society. Despite the impressive progress we have made over the last 40 years to overcome this legacy of our troubled past, it is still with us.
So with all the success we have enjoyed and with all the wealth we have created, we have much more work to do and a long way to go to bring the promise of America to every single American.
And with all we have to do on our national agenda, I am convinced that to deliver on that promise, we must begin with our children. So many of the problems we worry about go back to how we raised our children. The problem is as simple and as direct as this: We either get back to the task of building our children the way we know how, or we're going to keep building jails in America. And it's time to stop building jails in America and get back to the task of building our children.
And listen, listen, listen very carefully. Our children are not the problem. They are our future. They are America's promise. The problem is us, if we fail to give them what they need to be successful in life. The burden is on us, not on our children.
That mission -- that mission of providing for our children has become the passion of my life because what I've seen over the last several years convinces me of the following truths: One, that if you want to solve our drug problem, you won't do it by trying to cut off supply and arresting pushers on the street corners alone. It will only be solved when we place into the heart of every child growing up in America the moral strength never to fall for the destructive lure of drugs. The strength...
We will only solve and cure this plague of drugs is when we have given to each and every one of our children the strength to just say -- and you've heard it before -- just say, "No. Not me. I won't do it. I've got too much to live for. I'll never do drugs."
And that's what we owe our children, to give them that strength to fight against the curse of drugs.
I believe that if you want to solve the problem of violence and crime on our streets, it begins with us teaching children to value life, their own and others, and to have respect for themselves and to have respect for others.
If you want young people to become contributing citizens and not convicts, then early in life we must give them the character and the confidence they need to succeed in this exciting new world that we are laying out before them.
(APPLAUSE) And it begins in the home. It begins with caring, loving parents and family members who pass on the virtues of past generation, who live good lives which serve as models for their children. Children learn from watching the adults in their family and their lives, and where the family is broken or the where the family is not up to the task, the rest of us must step in to help as mentors, tutors, foster parents, friends to kids who desperately need responsible adults to show them the way.
Tens of thousands of our neighbors have already stepped forward, tens of thousands who realize that our children are a gift from God, not only to their parents, but to all of us. They belong to us all. We are all responsible for them.
We need to provide a safe place for those kids to learn and to grow, more clubs and after-school programs to protect them from the dangers that exist in our society and our streets. We need to surround them with more adults in this clubs who will keep them in play.
We are obliged to make sure that every child gets a healthy start in life. With all of our wealth and capacity, we just can't stand by idly.
We must make sure that every child in America has access to quality health care. We owe them nothing less. It has to be done. It is our responsibility to do that for our children.
As we are giving these necessities and other necessities to our children, let's ask them to also give something back to the community of which they are a part. Early in life, help them learn of the joy that comes from giving to others, help them learn that through service to others, service to community, they will put virtues in their heart that will make them absolutely beautiful adults when they grow up; and that what's important in life is giving to others, not whether your sneakers cost more than someone else's sneakers. That's the kind of value and virtue we have to put into the heart of our children. Let our children be part of the solution.
With character in their hearts, with nurturing adults in their lives, our youngsters will be ready for the schooling that will give them the education needed to win those jobs of the future.
There is work for all of us here to do -- parents, aunts, uncles, teachers, the government at all levels, the private sector, our great non-profits, our houses of worship, all joining in the crusade to point kids in the right direction of life.
And tonight, we focus on education, the keystone to it all. Governor Bush has rightly made children and education the centerpiece of his campaign for president. You heard him say it earlier, we can't leave any child behind.
Every child -- every child deserves and must receive a quality education. Because when you give a quality education to a child who believes in himself or herself, then even with the bleakest beginning in life, that child can make it. And once that child makes it and gets out into the workplace and is earning a decent living, you have broken the cycle of poverty and failure for that family forever. Education is the key to breaking that cycle of poverty and failure.
So many, many of our public schools are doing a fine job preparing our youngsters. I have been given no greater honor than to have had four public schools named after me, an honor that is greater than any medals I have received.
In those four schools and so many others that I visited, you've never seen better facilities, you've never seen more dedicated teachers, you've never seen more involved parents. It makes your heart pound with pride to see those great schools that we have in America.
But I've also seen too many schools that are failing. They are trapped in fossilized bureaucracies -- bureaucracies that have low expectations for children and consequently set low standards for them. These schools are failing our children, and they must be fixed, and they must be fixed now.
You know, if we truly believe -- if we truly believe they are all our children, then all of us must be willing to spend more to repair our schools and spend more to pay our teachers better. But we must also be open to new ideas. Let's not be afraid of standardized testing for students. Let's not be afraid of testing teachers' qualifications. Let's not be afraid of charter schools.
Let's not be afraid of using private scholarship money to give poor parents a choice that wealthy parents have.
Let's not be afraid of home schooling. Let's experiment prudently with school voucher programs to see if they help.
(APPLAUSE) What are we afraid of?
Let's use innovation and competition, good old American innovation, good old American competition to help give our children the best education possible.
Why? You know, we invite skilled workers to come to America from all over the world to fill the good jobs that are waiting here. I think that's great. Immigration is part of our life's blood. It's part of the essence of who we are as Americans.
I am the son of immigrants. But I also want our kids here educated and trained for those jobs. We owe it to them, and we've got to get on with the task right now.
Governor Bush has shown in Texas in just a few short years what can be done for education. As governor, he ended social promotions for kids. He increased state funding by $8 billion. He put new textbooks in every school in the state of Texas. He strengthened standardized testing in all Texas public schools.
He insisted on teacher competency, and he expanded the charter school movement. Seventeen thousand Texas kids are now in charter school. Seventy-eight percent of those kids are minorities. Their parents had a choice, and they decided what was best for their children.
And the results -- the results in Texas have been dramatic.
The number of students in Texas passing all parts of the standardized tests since 1994, when Governor Bush came in the office, the number has increased by 51 percent.
Even -- even more exciting -- even more exciting, the number of minority students passing the tests has increased by 89 percent.
That's what we can do for our children.
He hasn't stopped there. He hasn't stopped there. To ensure a diverse college population, with the loss of affirmative action, Governor Bush has guaranteed acceptance at public universities to the top 10 percent of every high school graduating class in the state.
And above all -- above all -- he has insisted on accountability for results that will tell us whether we're getting our money's worth.
You see, Governor Bush -- Governor Bush has shown us that it works. It all comes together. Governor Bush doesn't just talk about reform, he reforms. And he as done it in Texas with education.
Governor Bush now offers the leadership that he has demonstrated in Texas to the nation. In pursuing education reform, as well as in all other parts of his agenda in Texas, Governor Bush has reached out to all Texans -- white, black, Latino, Asian, Native American.
He has been successful on bringing more and more minorities into the tent by responding to their deepest needs. Some call it compassionate conservatism. To me, it's just caring about people.
I believe he can do the same thing as president. I am convinced he will bring to the White House that same passion for inclusion. I know that he can help bridge our racial divides. I know that. Recently...
Recently, Governor Bush addressed the annual meeting of the NAACP. He spoke to the delegates about his plans for housing and health and educational programs to help all Americans. He also spoke the truth to the delegates when he said that the party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln. I talked with him again today and I know that with all his heart, Governor Bush welcomes the challenge. He wants the Republican Party to wear that mantle again.
But he knows and I know and all of you must know that it's going to take hard work.
He knows that that mantle will not simply be handed over, that it will have to be earned. The party must follow the governor's lead in reaching out to minority communities and particularly the African- American community.
And not just during an election year campaign. My friends, if we're serious about this it has to be a sustained effort, it must be every day, and it must be for real. The party must listen to and speak with all leaders of the black community, regardless of political affiliation or philosophy.
We must understand, my friends, we must understand that there is a problem for us out there. We must understand the cynicism that exists in the black community, the kind of cynicism that is created when, for example, some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education, but you hardly hear a whimper when it's affirmative action for lobbyists who load our federal tax code with preferences for special interests. It doesn't work. It doesn't work. You can't make that case.
Overcoming the cynicism and mistrust that exists, and raising up that mantle of Lincoln, is about more -- it's much more about than just winning votes, it is about giving all minorities a competitive choice.
They deserve that choice. And if we give them that choice, it will be good for our party. But above all, it will be good for America, and we need to work to give them that choice.
Good for America -- that must be the measure for all that we do. I believe that's the measure that Governor Bush will use to guide his actions as president. Whether it's economic policy or military strategy or seeing what we can do to make our American family more inclusive, he will always try to do that which is good and right for America.
Ladies and gentlemen...
Ladies and gentlemen, we stand at an historic turning point in world history. For the first time in almost a century, America does not face an enemy fueled by an ideology claiming to be superior to our beloved system of democracy, free enterprise and the rights of men and women to pursue their individual destinies.
We defeated communism. We defeated fascism. We defeated them on the field of battle, and we defeated them on the field of ideas.
The sick nations that still pursue the fool's gold of tyranny and weapons of mass destruction will soon find themselves left behind in the dust bin of history.
They are investing in their own demise as surely as the Soviet Union did by investing in the Red Army. They are of the past, and we are of the future. Count on it.
Today, we are the most powerful nation on earth -- militarily, economically, by any measure. We are that rarity in history, a trusted nation whose power is tempered by compassion, whose leadership is earned by example and whose foreign affairs will be guided by common interests and common sense.
The world is watching to see if all this power and wealth is just for the well-to-do, the comfortable, the privileged, or are we a nation that can make our dream real for all Americans so that all share in what we have been given by a generous God?
We must show to the rest of the world, the beauty and potential of democracy. Our greatest strength is the power of our example to be that shining city on the hill that Ronald Reagan spoke of and that the whole world looks up to.
To continue to be that place, we must all work together. We must reach down, back and across. All of us coming together to show the world what our American family can do. That is the challenge. This is the time. And in Governor George Bush, we have the leader.
Governor Bush -- Governor Bush is a man who believes deeply in this country. He is a man who comes from a family with a generations- long tradition of public service. He will bring character and integrity to the Oval Office.
He is a man of principle who will make partners and not enemies. He will use government to help where it makes sense and get rid of it where it doesn't.
He will win respect on the world stage by exemplifying the best ideals of America. He will not repeat the mistakes of the past and let our insurance policy, our armed forces, fall into disrepair. Ronald Reagan...
Let me tell you something, Ronald Reagan and George Bush didn't let that happen, and I know that President George W. Bush will not let that happen either.
At his side as vice president will be a man I have known and respected for many years and with whom I shared many difficult days and nights during Desert Storm and other crises. He was a loyal and faithful steward of the young GIs entrusted to his care by the American people. Dick Cheney is one of the most distinguished and dedicated public servants this nation has ever had. He will be a superb vice president.
The Bush-Cheney team will be a great team for America. They will put our nation on a course of hope and optimism for this new century. The century historians will look back on and record not that it was the American century or the European century or the Asian century, instead let us pray that when they look back, they will call it the century of democracy, a time when America led the world that wants to be free to an era of unprecedented peace and prosperity. For all our children's sake, above all, let us as a party strive from this moment on to make that century a reality.
Fellow Republicans, fellow Americans, let's elect George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Thank you very much and God bless America.
SHAW: This general has lectured his party troops, pointing the way to Governor Bush and Dick Cheney, and bringing these Republicans and convention to their feet.
WOODRUFF: Bernie, he said -- he quoted Governor Bush when he said, "The party of Lincoln has not always carried the mantle of Lincoln." And he went on to say that this is a party that has got to reach out to minority communities, and particularly, he said, the African-American community, and not, he said, just during an election year campaign. These are tough words coming from Colin Powell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... her rendition of "God Bless America."
GREENFIELD: What's going on now, folks, is a reach into the past and has local significance. The delegates are going to hear a tape of the late Kate Smith singing "God Bless America." In Philadelphia, when the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team had a particularly critical game, Kate Smith's version was played for them, and sometimes she actually showed up in person. That's what you're seeing now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE SMITH, "GOD BLESS AMERICA"
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: If they wanted to pluck at some heart strings with that, I think they succeeded, Bernie and Jeff. I don't think anybody would -- we were sitting here discussing whether we should carry the whole song. And in the end, there was no debate.
GREENFIELD: But I do just quickly want to go back to the most pungent line that Colin Powell offered when he said -- he attacked some in our party who loudly and rowdily condemned affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education but hardly a whimper was heard over affirmative action for lobbyists who load our tax codes with preferences for special interest. That is a John McCain line loudly and clearly. The message tonight: reform, moderation, reach out.
SHAW: I love the part where he brought this whole Republican Party full circle. When the Republican Party held its first convention in this city in 1856, the delegates were mightily against slavery. They pushed for that. And he talked about, as you mentioned, Judy, the party of Lincoln. He said the Republican Party will have to work hard to once again carry the mantle of Lincoln. And he said it must be done on a sustained effort.
WOODRUFF: And he acknowledge that's not going to be easy. And we want to remind our viewers, Bernie, that Colin Powell is going to be joining us here within the hour, in fact, in just a matter of minutes.
SHAW: I just cleared a place for him.
WOODRUFF: I think we do want to go now, though, to the floor. Candy Crowley has some thoughts about Colin Powell's relationship with the nominee -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN FLOOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, I'm afraid I'm going to toss it back up to you just for the fact that they're having the closing prayer here.
WOODRUFF: All right, we'll come back to you, Candy. We are sorry about that. We want to respect that, of course. I think, you know, when you look at Colin Powell, you really do see the embodiment of not only one of America's most popular politicians -- maybe the most popular politician in the country.
GREENFIELD: Public figure, yes.
WOODRUFF: ... but someone who could have run for president, Jeff, as you pointed out earlier tonight, could have had the vice presidential nomination, you know, just by the asking.
SHAW: But for two reasons: his disinclination and also that of his wife, Alma.
WOODRUFF: Right. Are we -- we're going to take a break. When we come back, Candy Crowley, Colin Powell and more.
SHAW: Tonight in this convention hall, we've heard some very important themes stressed. First Lady Laura Bush told the country, told the world that if she and her husband go to the White House, she as first lady would emphasize early childhood development. And she said, "George will strengthen Head Start to make sure it's an early reading and early learning program."
And we heard Colin Powell talk about education and Colin Powell himself and what he represents to the Republican Party.
Bill Schneider, what were you thinking.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was thinking that Colin Powell is hands down the most popular public figure in America, just as Jeff pointed out. And we can prove it. Let's look at where the voters are. He has an 81 percent favorable rating, higher than George W. Bush, John McCain, Dick Cheney, even Bill Clinton. Eight- one percent favorable. You know, an elected official would kill or at least pay a consultant a whole lot of money to get that kind of rating. Why is Powell so popular? Because he has a great story, the story of a kid who's the son of immigrants, who grew up in the South Bronx, who went to City College and made his career for 35 years in the greatest source of democratic opportunity in this country, the U.S. Army. And he's African-American. That is a crucial part of the story. Americans bought the story literally. His book, "My American Journey," became a national bestseller.
These delegates know that Colin Powell can help Bush get elected. He symbolizes Bush's message of inclusiveness, not just by endorsing him -- that doesn't mean a great deal these days -- but by possibly agreeing to serve in a Bush Cabinet, possibly as secretary of state.
Powell has the image of a reluctant warrior. That's a very powerful image in this country. What could be more compelling as an international policy image for a presidential candidate?
WOODRUFF: I was struck by how strong he was, how firmly he came down. With regard to health care, he said every child in this country should be guaranteed health care, every child in this country should be guaranteed an education. With somebody with as much political capital as he has, he can afford to make some statements like that that are going to cost some money.
GREENFIELD: He used two words together that you almost never hear at a Republican convention, Bill: spend more.
SCHNEIDER: That's right. He once described himself as a Rockefeller Republican. But, you know, he is a different kind of Republican.
No applause, you noticed, Jeff, when he said, "We need to spend more for schools."
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
GREENFIELD: What about the first speech? Laura Bush hit so heavily on education. What can you tell us from those mystical numbers you look at about how key this is to this election?
SCHNEIDER: Well, look, you know, George Bush claims education is his issue. He sponsored and supported a program of educational reform in Texas that we heard about tonight. Let's look at how he's doing. Where are the voters? We've got some bad news for Democrats. They may think they own the education issue but Gore and Bush are rated about the same when people are asked: Who would do a better job on education? In 1996, Clinton had a two-to-one better rating on this issue than Bob Dole.
This is not the year to talk about abolishing the Department of Education, and that's why it was just dropped from this year's Republican platform. Because for the first time since the Sputnik era of the 1950s, education has become a big national issue. What's driving it? The new economy. Low-income voters are worried about getting their children into the new economy. And high-income voters know how hard it is to keep up with a rapidly changing technological economy, and they're worried that their kids won't be able to make it. This is the ultimate suburban mom's issue and the place where Bush has departed the most and the most conspicuously from conservative orthodoxy, which wants the federal government out of the education business.
WOODRUFF: But, you know, Bill, for all that, I have to say, the one almost discordant note that I sense tonight, when we saw Governor Bush coming to us from Columbus, Ohio in a high school classroom. I don't remember the name of the school, but it was just something odd about that. I mean, he was there coming after his wife. He was introducing Colin Powell. But he was standing in front of a group of students who sat there with their arms on the desks in front of them and didn't move, didn't react.
SCHNEIDER: We wondered if that was actually a painted backdrop.
WOODRUFF: There was something discordant about it.
GREENFIELD: Well, I mean, clearly, they're using symbols here, and we're going to find out over the next few months if they've gone too far.
GREENFIELD: We'd like to go down to the floor now to find out what our correspondents think were some of the key points tonight. We're going to start at the podium with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN PODIUM CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, from the moment that George W. Bush introduced Colin Powell by saying that he still had service left ahead of him, it was clear that this was going to be a very important speech by the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He literally saluted President George Bush, and I saw President Bush as he was noticing that, he was obviously very, very pleased.
What General Powell did tonight has not only enthusiastically helped George W. Bush -- not only tonight but throughout the remaining days of this campaign. He also did something very important for the former defense secretary, his former boss, Dick Cheney, who is now, of course, going to be the vice presidential candidate. He went out of his way to praise Dick Cheney. They did have a close relationship during their days at the Pentagon. It was not always perfect. There were disagreements, there were serious disagreements from time to time during the Gulf War. I covered that war. I was at the Pentagon during those days. But by and large, a strong friendship did emerge, mutual respect. And in the end of the day, despite all the criticism that Dick Cheney has been getting from the Democrats these past few days since he got the nod from George W. Bush, Colin Powell went out of his way to praise him.
Remember, four years ago, Colin Powell went out of his way to make it clear he supports abortion rights. Today, he made it clear he supports affirmative action.
Let's go to Gene on the floor for some more reaction down there. JEANNE MESERVE, CNN FLOOR CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, I wanted to talk about two conversations I had here tonight during the remarks by Colin Powell. I was sitting next to Charles Evers. He is the brother of slain civil rights leader Medger Evers. He was one of the few people in this section of the floor to stand up and applaud when General Powell delivered his very strong remarks on affirmative action. I asked him if he thought there were other people in this room who disagreed with that viewpoint. And he smiled and said, "There certainly are." And I said, "Will they tell me?" And he said, "Absolutely not. They can't afford to lose any vote."
And that made me think of an earlier conversation I had with the Reverend Jerry Falwell. He and I talked about gays. There are more gays at this convention than at any other Republican convention. George W. Bush has met with some gay Republicans. I asked him about that and this is what he said: "This is a political party not a church. It has to embrace every kind of conservative. If I were running for office, I would want their vote, too." This from a man who has spoken out loudly and often from the pulpit against homosexuality. I couldn't help but consider his remarks in light of what Charles Evers had had to say. Now on to Frank.
FRANK SESNO, CNN FLOOR CORRESPONDENT: Jeanne, there's an utterly fascinating experiment going on here, really, at this convention, and that is an embrace, this inclusionary theme, as you spoke about, with your delegates that I spoke about over here. I was standing and listening to General Powell's speech with a man by the name of Dylan Glenn. He's a 31-year-old African-American. He's running for a congressional district in Georgia. He said this was a critically important speech for these delegates to hear, Colin Powell's speech, but also for African-American black voters to hear across the country, that coming from him, it carried special credibility.
I looked around, though, and clearly, there were some places, important places in that speech where people were just listening, other delegates, and not applauding. As you say, much is being glossed over here in the interest of unity.
And yet earlier tonight, when I was talking to Condoleeza Rice (ph), the African-American international policy adviser to George W. Bush, she said, "You know, if this all works, it's a little bit like Nixon going to China" on the subject of race. Over to Candy.
CROWLEY: Hard to avoid Colin Powell tonight as the highlight. Certainly, the delegates were enthused about Laura Bush. But the most fascinating was the speech by Colin Powell. A couple of points on that. The first, hard to believe that that speech was not given with the distinct approval of George W. Bush, the man of the hour.
The two men do know each other. Their ties date back to George Bush, the father's administration. That's when the younger Bush met Powell. The two of them have gotten involved in the project that Colin Powell is involved in, America's Promise, a mentoring program for America's youth that you heard him speak about so eloquently tonight. Governor Bush, as the governor of Texas, joined onto that. We know that they met at least three times over the course of the campaign between the primary and now. There were, of course, always those rumors out there that perhaps Colin Powell would join the ticket. There's nothing more appealing than a guy that's not interested in. Colin Powell told George Bush both privately and said publicly standing beside him at a news conference that he was not interested in public life.
And now, I believe playing wrap up, John, it's you.
KING: Thank you, Candy. We should remember this is opening night. Politics is often about margins. This is a Bush campaign that looks around the country, sees it has 30 Republican governors. Most of those governors govern just to the right of center. Two speeches tonight from Laura Bush and Colin Powell that with a few exceptions, could have been delivered by Bill Clinton or somebody in the Clinton administration. That part of the Bush philosophy here, to try to stay ahead in the big key battleground states like this one, Pennsylvania.
About the margins, Colin Powell's appeal to African-Americans. George W. Bush will not win that vote in November. We know that even now at the convention season. But if he can do a little bit better than Bob Dole did here in Philadelphia, for example, in Detroit, in Chicago, perhaps he can carry those battleground states.
Education, the number one issue among women. Laura Bush directly appealing, as General Powell did, directly appealing on the education issue, the issue Bill Clinton has used for eight years to try to paint the Republicans as a cold party, a party that did not care about women and children. So opening night clearly addressed to the key voters that this campaign is targeting especially suburban women and parents. Bernie, back to you in the booth.
SHAW: Thanks, John.
Bill Schneider, tactically, what is Governor Bush trying to do with all of these competing and disparate currents?
SCHNEIDER: Well, I think what we saw tonight exemplifies the central principle of what I might call Bushism. Have you ever noticed how George Bush deals with conservatives? He endorses their positions and then he embraces their adversaries. He opposes the hate crimes bill but he embraces gay Republicans when they come to the ranch to visit him. He endorses a hard-line abortion plank in the party platform, but he makes it clear that supporters of abortion rights are welcome in the Republican Party. Well, tonight, that's exactly the way this convention dealt with Colin Powell.
They oppose, they differ with his views on abortion and on affirmative action, but they embraced him as an honored guest at this convention. That's Bushism, that kind of graciousness and inclusiveness.
WOODRUFF: Can George Bush have it both ways? SCHNEIDER: So far, it's working.
WOODRUFF: So far.
GREENFIELD: Walt Whitman, "I contradict myself very well. I contradict myself." Worked for him. We're still awaiting Colin Powell. He will be with us momentarily. And we will be back momentarily.
ANNOUNCER: On day one of the 1888 Republican National Convention in Chicago, noted abolitionist Frederick Douglas spoke eloquently of the nearly 200,000 black soldiers who had fought on the union side during the civil war, black men, he said, now stripped of their constitutional right to vote.
He told Republican platform writers, a government that can give liberty in its Constitution ought to have power to protect liberty in its administration. The speech got the audience on its feet and got him one vote for the Republican presidential nomination. That made Frederick Douglas the first black man to get such a vote from a major party. Most Republicans went with Benjamin Harrison and picked a winner.
WOODRUFF: As we watch this convention hall rapidly empty, the fastest emptying I think any one of us has seen of any convention that we've covered -- we heard from Laura Busy tonight. She's but one of several women who played a big role in getting George Bush to where he is today. Let's listen.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Much of George W. Bush's relationship with his parents is based on, of all things, the game of baseball.
JOE O'NEIL, CHILDHOOD FRIEND: Around my table, our dinner table, we discussed the old business and Notre Dame football. Around the Bush table was discussed baseball and politics.
WOODRUFF: It was his father, George Bush, who was an outstanding ballplayer, much better than young George would ever be, who set a standard of excellence that was hard to live up to. Yet, while George W. was growing up in the oil town of Midland, Texas, it was his mother, Barbara, who made sure she went to every single little league game of her son's.
FRANK ITTNER, LITTLE LEAGUE COACH: I remember one time she was in the stands and I was pitching some balls to him hoping that I could get him to be a better hitter. But possibly, if he'd had a better coach, he had have been a better hitter.
WOODRUFF (on-camera): How present was his mother in his life when he was younger?
JOE O'NEIL: Well, very present. You knew who was in charge. There was no question of that. She was warm but stern. You knew where you stood behavior wise. We didn't get into a lot of trouble but when we did, there was hell to pay and you didn't do it again. If you know Barbara, you didn't -- you don't cross Barbara. She never had to say, "Wait till your father comes home.
WOODRUFF: I think we know what means.
JOE O'NEIL: Yeah, we all know what that means.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): George W. Bush has been known to say that he got his daddy's eyes but his mother's mouth. They both have rapier wits, and by many accounts, even sharper tempers.
BARBARA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I have a great son. And like his mother, maybe he was a tad of a late bloomer.
BILL MINUTAGLIO, AUTHOR, "FIRST SON": Barbara probably is a little quicker to have anger arise than former President Bush. If young George's temper flares a little, that probably comes from his mother.
EARL CRAIG, JR., BUSH FAMILY FRIEND: I think he's very fearful of his mother. They have an interesting relationship. It's a cajoling and needling kind of a relationship. And, you know, if you hear Barbara Bush and hear the stories about her, you can see a forceful presence in his life.
WOODRUFF: It was a presence made all the more forceful by tragedy. The family was growing. George's brother, Jeb, had just been born. But at about the same time, they noticed his 3-year-old sister, Robin, who had always, as her father would say, fight and cry and play and make her way just like the rest, was now fatigued and apathetic. She was diagnosed with leukemia.
CRAIG: It was very sudden when the discovery was made. Robin had been a healthy, happy little child up until that point.
MINUTAGLIO: They delivered the news that he had almost virtually been unaware of, that his sister was dying and had died.
JOE O'NEIL: I remember when she died, there was a big vacuum in his house. I wasn't in the house to see the dynamics, but you could see from the outside, you know, it hit him very hard. Hit Mrs. Bush extremely hard.
WOODRUFF: The death of his sister taught young George how to use humor to allay his family's pain and discomfort.
MINUTAGLIO: He would be at a baseball game with his father and he would ask if it seemed that Robin maybe had a better view of the game from where she was, presumably in heaven.
WOODRUFF: And with his father traveling so much, he became, at the age of seven, the man of the house and ever closer to his mother.
MINUTAGLIO: A friend came over, knocked on the door and said, "Can George W. come out and play?" She kind of leaned in to listen to the conversation between the two little boys and she heard him say, "No, my mom's kind of lonely. I think I'll stay here."
WOODRUFF: And George W. stayed there until he was 15, when it was in his parents' eyes, time to leave Texas and follow the path blazed by his father. First, Andover for prep school, and then onto Yale University. Like his father, he was engaged at the age of 20, but unlike his parents, it didn't lead to marriage. In fact, it would be almost a decade later after he moved back to Texas and the oil business that he would settle down.
JOE O'NEIL: It was just a natural thing just to kind of spend your 20s as a bachelor trying to establish yourself in business before you got married.
WOODRUFF: Laura Welch was a librarian who lived in Austin, but like George W. Bush, had grown up in Midland. They had attended seventh grade together but did not know each other. Joe O'Neil, a childhood friend of George's, and his wife, Jan, who had shared an apartment with Laura, introduced the couple.
JOE O'NEIL: Laura would come to town, oh, about once a month to see her parents and we were always trying to get her dated, get her to go out with George.
REGAN GAMMON, CHILDHOOD FRIEND: They were both 31 years old, so it just seemed perfectly natural. There was obviously a chemistry, so what else do you need?
JOE O'NEIL: I don't think there was any intent to match them up for life like what happened, just to get them a date that night was the intent. But they hit it off a lot better than we thought.
JAN O'NEIL,CHILDHOOD FRIEND: We were very surprised. George did stay at our house past 9:00 and that was probably...
JOE O'NEIL: He stayed till midnight that night so knew he was smitten right away.
JAN O'NEIL: Yeah, that was a first.
WOODRUFF: And what about Laura? What was she saying about all this? Was she talking about it?
JAN O'NEIL: She wouldn't.
JOE O'NEIL: She was pretty quiet. She keeps it to herself. But she was obviously interested. They got engaged in six weeks.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): And in another six weeks, George W. Bush and Laura Welch were married in Midland. Three years later, they had twin daughters, Jenna and Barbara, named for their grandmothers. This made a strong marriage even stronger, even though Laura and George's personalities are very different.
JOE O'NEIL: That's why they get along so well. You know, it's the old opposites attract. There's no question about that.
WOODRUFF (on-camera): What does she add to him?
JAN O'NEIL: Ground him.
JOE O'NEIL: Yeah, ground him. She steers him by minor adjustments.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): One major adjustment happened at the Broadmoor hotel in Colorado, when Laura and several of the Bush's closest friends, including Jan O'Neil, turned 40. The celebration went late into the night, and George W. woke up the next morning with a hangover.
JOE O'NEIL: He probably was reflecting that he wasn't drinking well or maybe drinking too often. And he just -- typical of George, just gets up one morning and says, "Well, I won't drink again," and he didn't.
MINUTAGLIO: That had put an enormous strain on their relationship. And she essentially laid down the law and in essence said, you know, "It's drinking or me."
WOODRUFF (voice-over): And she has influenced most major decisions since then. At every step of his political career, she has been consulted and stood by his side...
BUSH: I, George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...
WOODRUFF: ... including when he decided to run for governor.
(on-camera) Was it a tough adjustment for her to be thrust into that?
JOE O'NEIL: I don't think so. I think she enjoyed it very much and she got good at it awfully quick.
JAN O'NEIL: She's such an independent lady that it's -- you know, she -- but she doesn't need that limelight. You know, George is free to take all he wants.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): And as the presidential election approaches, the glare of lights on this couple will only grow brighter and hotter.
JAN O'NEIL: She made it very public that it was very -- she was a little reticent to take on this campaign.
WOODRUFF (on-camera): Did she want him to run for president?
JAN O'NEIL: Yeah, I think so. You know, it's a big decision for their family to talk about, but once they talked about it and their whole family made the decision, that this was good and it was timely and it's what they wanted to do.
WOODRUFF: When you say whole family, you mean... JOE O'NEIL: Laura and the girls.
JOE O'NEIL: There was some reluctance on the part of the little girls to run for politics, run for the presidency because of the exposure. You know, who wants that?
WOODRUFF: And yet for him, it was...
JOE O'NEIL: It was the next step.
BUSH: George Bush.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Hoping to be the next president, George W. Bush is again following a path forged by his father. But like so many years ago on the little league baseball diamonds of Midland, it is the women in his wife: his mother, his wife, his daughters, even his late sister, Robin, who are always there helping guide him forward and keeping score.
WOODRUFF: And Laura Bush, formidable person in that -- in his life today.
WOODRUFF: As we heard her tonight, this is really her debut on a national political stage and she did darn well.
GREENFIELD: I have a hunch that while we've been focusing on General Powell's speech, a lot of the country that may have been tuning in for the first time may have been more struck by this very new face on the national scene. We still await General Powell, but when we come back, since the delegates have left, we think it is safe for the "CAPITAL GANG" to take the floor.
GREENFIELD: The "CAPITAL GANG" will wait because when the general wants to talk, the general talks.
GREENFIELD: We're joined by General Colin Powell.
I want to begin by cutting right to the chase. The most provocative line of the speech, I think, is pretty clear, was when you talked about some in your party who loudly and rowdily condemn affirmative action while barely whimpering about affirmative action for special tax preferences.
GREENFIELD: Now with all due respect, general, those lobbyists are going to be taking these delegates tonight on every yacht.
POWELL: That's why I was speaking to them.
GREENFIELD: But do you think they're going to listen? I mean, the Republican...
POWELL: I hope they do. I'm going to keep making the point -- and it's not the lobbyists I'm talking to. It was the leaders of our party, and frankly, the Congress, because it really did strike me over the past few years how we could go after, in this case, affirmative action and preferences. And I kept looking all around Washington and everybody is looking for preferences of one kind or another. And people would be quick to jump on a preference or an affirmative action program that would benefit a few kids trying to get ahead, but all kinds of other things, whether it had to do with agricultural products, got by. You wouldn't get the same kind of attention if it had to do with racial profiling, if it had to do with red and green lining on lungs. You wouldn't get the same kind of attention to the issue when it was something that was affecting minorities. And I think it was something that the party needed to hear, and I was glad to have the opportunity to do so.
GREENFIELD: But Judy's husband, one Al Hunt, has asked Governor Bush a number of times, "Can you name a single tax preference in the code you would cut?," and he says he's yet to get an answer from your candidate.
POWELL: Well, if he'll give me a chance, I will be happy. And I know one senator that comes to mind that would be happy to help me identify for him a number of preferences that I think exist.
GREENFIELD: Senator from Arizona by any chance?
POWELL: Oh, yeah. John speaks about this all the time. It isn't a secret. The reason the thing has all the thousands of pages it does is because it does have many of these things. And it's not that a preference is bad. It's not that a preference is bad or good. If it serves a useful, social purpose, then that's what government's exist for. And I submit that if you are that outraged at what I believe was a usual -- a useful, social preference served are affirmative action programs, if that outrages you, then let me show you a lot of other similar programs that should outrage you.
WOODRUFF: But are you arguing that this party ought to accept affirmative action?
POWELL: I didn't say that. I'm saying if you...
WOODRUFF: But you believe that...
POWELL: Yeah, if it was left to me, I would say yes. But right now, it is something the courts are dealing with. You haven't heard much from the party in recent years. It was a big issue in 1996 when we had Prop 209 in California. But you have not heard many of the leaders, and I think you've heard Governor Bush go after affirmative action the way party was going after it in 1996 and 1995. WOODRUFF: Have you talked to him about that?
POWELL: Talked to him today.
POWELL: And he...
WOODRUFF: About affirmative action?
POWELL: Well, in the case of Texas, it was in the courts. It was something that happened in the court system. It was a suit.
WOODRUFF: But if it weren't in the courts, where would he be?
POWELL: That I haven't talked to him about. Well, I know where he would be if he set aside affirmative action when, as I said in my speech, when they lost the ability to use affirmative action for racial considerations in the Texas school systems, higher education. He adopted that model that California was using and said, "Let's just let, you know -- since either are public high schools, let's just let the top 10 percent of every class in." It's another form of inclusion and affirmative action. I don't think it's as good as allowing administrators of college to do it, but at least it will get more youngsters into universities. Whether they are the right youngsters and not whether it has as much as equity, say, doing it another way, is an open question.
But I think he will not allow his energy to dissipated and arguing whether affirmative action is bad or good. He will do things that people will see are good for minorities. That's what he's been doing in Texas. I mean, Texas is now number one in African-American kids reading in the fourth grade. That's pretty remarkable. So the state is coming up. And it's not just what Governor Bush has done, although that's noteworthy, it's what Ann Richards did before him or what Ross Perot started when he had that commission down there that said, "We've got to teach our kids to read." It went back to those basics.
SHAW: Step back and tell us what were you telling the Republican Party?
POWELL: What I was telling the Republican Party is that you talk about inclusion a great deal, and you say you want to be the party of Lincoln, but listen to what Governor Bush said at the NAACP. He said, "We don't carry the mantle of Lincoln." That's the truth. And so I was picking up what he said. He was essentially advertising the problem and advertising the challenge. And what I wanted to do tonight was to pick up on what he had said. And I talked to him about earlier today. I'm going to challenge the party to help you pick up that mantle because that's what you said to the NAACP." And he got polite applause. It wasn't any overwhelming applause. But he really talked about was, "And I'm going to do it through health programs, through education programs, through housing programs" because those serve the needs of those of our citizens who are the least fortunate.
So I was telling the party that just don't think that because you've got a Colin Powell and a J.C. Watts and a couple of others, and that once every four years, you have a dinner somewhere where you say -- everybody says inclusion, that's going to do it. That isn't going to do it. You've got to do things like J.C. Watts said recently with the new program where the Congress is going to be working with the United Negro College Fund, with historically black colleges and universities. They've got to spend a lot of time working with the Urban League, with the existing leaders of the African-American community as the African-American community has anointed them, not who you think would be a nice black leader to have for the Republican Party.
SHAW: If the party is extended along a football field, where is your party now?
POWELL: I would say that the party as a whole is approaching the 15-yard line going toward the goal in the other direction. That Governor Bush in Texas, with what he has done, is passed the 30-yard line. And I think we have the potential of reaching the 50-yard line over the next four or five years.
GREENFIELD: If I could come back to this point about the lobbyists, because I think it's so critical. It's -- nothing that's been said at this convention will have been said without Governor Bush's, in some sense, tacit or explicit approval. And the question I want to ask you is as blunt as I can make it. To what extent are you comfortable that Governor Bush, given where he's raised his money and his complete lack of ever talking about this issue isn't saying, "Look, let's get General Powell out there. He's the most popular public figure in America. He'll get the message to the moderates. But folks, those guys in the corporate suites all around the -- you got nothing to worry about from me." Are you a little concerned about that?
POWELL: Of course, I'm a little concerned about it. I hope that when he comes to Washington as president, he will see that we have a tax code that is not the best it could be. I hope that all of our political leaders will realize that the amount of money that is being raised for such things as conventions, as such things as what it takes to run a national level campaign has to be brought under some level of control. And what you see here tonight, you will see in Los Angeles next month. It's become the nature of American politics. Somebody has to pay for it. Now we can have the taxpayers pay for it.
WOODRUFF: A lot of speculation about Colin Powell in a George W. Bush administration. Would you like to be secretary of state or name the position?
POWELL: No, I wouldn't. I would never do that.
WOODRUFF: Have you talked to Governor Bush about that?
POWELL: No. Two points: Governor Bush and I have not discussed this.
WOODRUFF: How about the people around him?
POWELL: No, I don't...
GREENFIELD: No game.
POWELL: We haven't talked about this. I'm sure we will at some point. If he thinks I could play a role in his administration, I would never tell him what position he should put me in. That would be presumptive of me. And so we haven't had that conversation yet.
The one point that was made a few moments ago. I was kind enough, I thought, to let members of the campaign team see my speech earlier today, but nobody approved it or cleared it or felt a need to do so. And, frankly, it was me saying, "Guys, you know, you might want to have a look at what I'm saying because there are one or two things in here that the governor should be aware of because maybe he'll pick up on it later in the week in his speech."
And then I called the governor to make sure he was aware of perhaps the sharpness of some of my comments.
SHAW: One last thing before you leave us. You saluted Dick Cheney today. He's under fire for his House voting record. Your feelings?
POWELL: My feelings is that he took a number of votes back in the '80s that I would have advised him not to have made that way. And he will have to explain those votes, and he's been spending a lot of time doing that. But the man I know is a man who is a solid leader, who is a good manager, who is very, very loyal. He will be a good vice president. He will be someone that the American people can trust. He is someone, who I think you will find is -- has -- would vote on many of these issues quite differently today than he did when he was the minority whip in the Republican Party in a very conservative period in the 1980s. And so we'll let Dick explain himself to the American people in the months ahead. And I think he'll do a pretty good job of it.
GREENFIELD: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: General Colin Powell, we thank you very much.
SHAW: Thank you very much for coming up.
WOODRUFF: For coming by. Thanks a lot.
POWELL: It's always a pleasure.
WOODRUFF: Great to see you.
SHAW: Take care.
POWELL: Do I have a lights on?
SHAW: Yes, you do.
WOODRUFF: As we say goodbye to Colin Powell, we are going to take a very short break. When we come back, our very own "CAPITAL GANG."
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