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CNN Today

Gore Ponders V.P. Choice

Aired August 3, 2000 - 2:03 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore continues to consider vice presidential possibilities for the Democratic ticket. He's vacationing with his family in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

CNN's Chris Black is there and joins us with a status report on the search for a Democratic running mate -- Chris.

CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, hello, Natalie.

Al Gore has been thinking over his choice of a running mate this week as he nears the end of a one-week respite from the campaign trail. And his campaign aides say that he's narrowing down the list.

A list of six names suffered surfaced today that is believed to reflect the thinking of Al Gore as he thought over his choices this week. That list includes: John Edwards, the senator from North Carolina. Dick Gephardt, the House Democratic leader, and Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. There are also three New Englanders on the list: John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, and Jeanne Shaheen, the governor of New Hampshire.

But sources close to the campaign say that the list really may be closer to three names. That's because two of the possible contenders, Dick Gephardt, and Jeanne Shaheen, have basically asked the vice president not to consider them. Dick Gephardt would like to stay in the House and be speaker next year if Democrats retake control of the House of Representatives. And Jeanne Shaheen, the governor of New Hampshire, who's running for reelection, says she wants to stay home and work on some of her state problems.

Also, sources close to the campaign say that Evan Bayh has been ruled out of contention because of his support for a ban on so-called partial birth abortion, an issue that is very important to abortion rights supporters who are critically important supporters for the vice president.

So who's left? John Edwards, a very attractive new face, the senator from this state. But he's only been in the Senate two years. Democrats say that that may open the vice president to criticism that Edwards is not ready to take over the job of president in the event something happens to him.

So who's left after that? Joe Lieberman and John Kerry. Lieberman is the leader of the New Democrats, the moderate Democrats in the Senate and very close to Al Gore philosophically. John Kerry is a Vietnam vet, as is Al Gore, a decorated vet who provides a contrast to Dick Cheney, who did not serve in that war.

But in the end, Democrats say that this is Al Gore's decision. And one he's going to make on his own. And he'll make it official next Tuesday in his native Tennessee -- Natalie.

ALLEN: And we'll have to see if it leaks out before then. Chris Black, thanks so much.

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