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CNN Late Edition
GOP Upbeat Leaving Philadelphia; Gore Ponders VP ChoiceAired August 6, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9 a.m. in Los Angeles, 6 p.m. in Paris and 8 p.m. in Moscow. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this 90- minute LATE EDITION.
We'll get to our guests shortly, but first the hour's top story.
With the Republican National Convention wrapped up, attention is now shifting to Vice President Al Gore and his still to be named running mate. The Democratic presidential candidate plans to formally announce his choice Tuesday.
CNN senior White House correspondent John King is in Nashville, Tennessee, with the latest on where the selection stands.
John, what do we know right now?
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we know the vice president is checking in periodically with senior aides helping him with the search. He said late last night that he still had not made a final decision.
But we do know, from sources close to the campaign, the vice president is looking most closely at four members of the United States Senate. They are John Edwards of North Carolina, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, and Evan Bayh of Indiana.
A lot of talk in the past 24 hours about Mr. Edwards. He is 47 years old. His first run for elective office was just two years ago. The vice president is known to have asked several close associates what the reaction would be in the political and in the media community if he chose someone with so little Washington experience.
Senator Kerry and Senator Bayh both viewed as safe picks. Ed Rendell, the chairman of the Democratic Party, saying yesterday that he was not sure the country was ready for Senator Joseph Lieberman because Senator Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew.
KING: Now, very careful here, it's hard to read the vice president's mind. He's discussing this with very few people. On one of the morning talk shows this morning, one of his senior advisers, Bob Shrum, wouldn't get into who the vice president was thinking about, but did shed a little light on what kind of a person he was looking for.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT SHRUM, GORE SENIOR ADVISER: Al Gore has been very clear about what his criteria are: someone who can be president, someone who is going to fight for people not the powerful, someone who is talented and can really go out there and do the job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now the Republicans, obviously, watching this very closely. They are upbeat after leaving Philadelphia, a double-digit lead right now. But with the vice president about to name his running mate, the Democratic National Convention coming up, senior Bush campaign strategist Karl Rove says it's nice to have a double-digit lead, but he doesn't expect it to last.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KARL ROVE, SENIOR BUSH CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: The Democrats are going to get a bounce out of their convention. Gore is going to go on the trail. President Clinton has already hit the trail for Albert Gore. And it's -- the race, we ought to just plan on it being very close by Labor Day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The vice president due here in Nashville later this afternoon for a meeting with senior aides. This morning, he's up in Long Island, New York. He attended church this morning; his main duty there the past two days, raising money for the Democratic Party, more than $1.5 million taken in. That money to help the Democratic National Committee fund an ad war against Governor Bush who, of course, has the big lead right now -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John King in Nashville, thanks for joining us.
And joining us now to talk about the vice president's thinking on a running mate and much more is the chairman of the Gore campaign, the former commerce secretary, Bill Daley.
Thanks for joining us.
Let's talk a little bit -- I know you're not going to tell us, unless you want to make big news and tell us who that person is going to be.
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I would like to, Wolf, but I really don't know. If I knew, I would tell you and no one else.
BLITZER: But you don't know?
DALEY: I don't know.
BLITZER: The vice president is not talking to you? DALEY: I talked to him yesterday, talked to him last evening, and I know he's going through a deliberation that is most serious to him. But I firmly believe that he has not made a decision. He will make it, I would assume, within the next 24 hours. But this is an important one, and he's got a very good group of people to choose from.
BLITZER: We just heard John King's list, and it's a list a lot of reporters are hearing from sources close to the Gore campaign.
Let's talk a little bit about Senator John Edwards of North Carolina -- not a very familiar name outside of North Carolina. He's only 47 years old. It's his first term. He's only been in the Senate for about a year and a half. Why would he be qualified to be a heartbeat away from the president?
DALEY: Well, he's been in government just a little less than George Bush has been in government.
BLITZER: But George Bush has been governor for almost six years.
DALEY: That's right, with no foreign, no national experience whatsoever. But John Edwards has proven to those who worked with him an incredible amount of talent in the Senate and an ability to grasp difficult issues, and his entire life fighting on behalf of people who have had difficulties and fighting against powerful interests.
That is a profile of somebody that, as the other candidates have done, in a different life experience, have shown as they've been in elective office and in state-wide office as John Kerry has.
So I think John Edwards' strengths are pretty obvious. They were to the people of North Carolina. It's only in Washington that one says the resume or the length of the resume is the important issue, and especially in today's economy as you see successes out there, it's not about the resume or the pedigree, it's about what people stand for, what they fight for, and what their life experiences are about.
BLITZER: Karl Rove, the chief strategist to Governor Bush, was on CNN on Thursday from the Republican convention, and we asked him about the possibility of someone like John Edwards. I want you to listen to what Karl Rove said Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROVE: I thought it was odd. For the last six or eight months, Governor Bush has been pummeled as being inexperienced by the Gore campaign. And yet they've got a man on there who has served in the United States Senate for less than two years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You heard him take that swipe at John Edwards. I assume that would be a theme if, in fact, the vice president picks John Edwards to be his running mate. DALEY: Again, I don't know who the vice president's going to pick. John Edwards has proven competence. You know, Abraham Lincoln was a one- term congressman from Illinois before he became president of the United States.
BLITZER: Sounds like you've done some homework on some talking points.
DALEY: No, I just know Illinois politics. I just know Illinois politics, and I know history from one of our famous sons from Illinois. But the fact is, John Edwards, Senator Lieberman, John Kerry, Evan Bayh are four unique individuals who would bring tremendous strength and vision for the future.
Well, this isn't a retro -- this isn't going to be a retro ticket about looking back 12 years ago or 15 years ago. This is about the future. And I think you'll see that with any one of these candidates that Al Gore picks.
BLITZER: Your implication being Dick Cheney is a retro pick. Is that it?
DALEY: Well, I think if you go back to the convention of last week, they talk about the great times of -- and how somehow the last eight years have been squandered.
The last eight years -- if you talk about lowering crime, lowering welfare, getting rid of a trade -- pardon me, a budget deficit that was to be $600 billion by the end of the so-called Clinton-Gore administration, we have done -- this administration has done a phenomenal job, not only with the economy, with the host of issues that were ignored for the 12 years before.
So, contrary to what was tried to be stated last week, this has been a good eight years for the American people, but it can be much better in the next four years.
BLITZER: All right. Let's talk a little bit about these three other names you mentioned. John Kerry, he's 56 years old. Three-term senator from Massachusetts, former lieutenant governor, a Vietnam veteran, obviously someone who is not lacking in experience, although there is a Republican governor of Massachusetts who presumably would name a Republican to succeed him. I know that Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate minority -- the minority leader is not happy about that prospect.
DALEY: Well, I think John Kerry has been a tremendous patriot, his experiences in the military and his heroics in the military. And then has moved into public life and has been a star ever since.
The fact that the seat would be possibly with a Republican for a few months, there's no question that the Democrats would win that back in the Senate race that would probably take place very early in 2001 if John Kerry was chosen and then elected.
BLITZER: How much of a factor in Joe Lieberman is it the fact that he's Jewish and there's never been anyone who's Jewish who's been on a presidential ticket.
Is the country ready for an American Jew to be the vice president?
DALEY: Well, I absolutely believe so. If you look at the members of the United States Senate from California, both senators. You look at Minnesota, the Jewish senator is someone highly capable. The two senators in Wisconsin, the senator in Pennsylvania; it's -- those times are past.
There are some people, no question about it, who would have difficulty with that. But I'm sure those people who would be anti- Semitic are not looking at Al Gore -- to vote for Al Gore right now.
BLITZER: And Senator Evan Bayh, you know, the freshman senator from Indiana, the son of Birch Bayh, who is former senator from Indiana, only 45 years old. But he opposes partial-birth abortions, the so-called partial-birth abortions, the late-term abortion procedure. NARAL, other abortion rights advocates say, that's not good for a Democratic candidate.
DALEY: Well, they may feel that way, but Al Gore believes he's a solid person who proved as governor in a state that's highly Republican, that he could not only win, but he could govern, and then win that Senate seat and leave that state to a Democratic governor. And that Democratic governor in his re-election is in a very strong shape.
Evan Bayh has proven that he understands what the people of Indiana want in elected officials. And the sort of character that he brings, it would be a major benefit to Al Gore. And I think he's one of the stars of the present and the future of the Democratic Party.
BLITZER: Now you're speaking glowingly about all four.
BLITZER: So we're not getting really any hints.
DALEY: Give me a fifth, and I'll do the same with the other four.
BLITZER: Give me a little body language just to give us a hint but I know you're not going to do that.
BLITZER: CNN has a new poll, CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll, being released right now. These are the first time these numbers are being released.
I want to show you what the post-Republican convention numbers are right now. First of all, in a two-way race, take a look at those numbers; you can see them on the screen.
Right now, George W. Bush at 56 percent, Al Gore at 40 percent. Looks like two points, compared to the numbers we had in the same poll among likely voters going into that Republican convention. But take a look in the four-way race when you add Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan, the numbers 54 percent for George W. Bush, 37 percent Al Gore, Ralph Nader with 4 percent, Pat Buchanan still at 1 percent. What do those numbers say to you?
DALEY: Look, he's getting a little less than the average bounce. When Mike Dukakis came out of the Democratic convention in 1988, he was 17 points up. Bill Clinton came out with the largest amount of boost out of a convention and then ended up in a fairly close election in 1992.
So these conventions today, they really generate a lot of excitement and notoriety with very, in my opinion, very shallow sort of long-term -- as Carl Rove said, this is going to be a close election. People know it. It's going to be made -- they're going to be made aware of the importance of the selection. This is not just a -- another ho-hum election.
This -- we have an opportunity, as Al Gore has said, with the surplus that was created over the last number of years, with some difficult decisions by this administration and issues that Al Gore was involved in, we have an opportunity to charter a new course for America that we didn't have in the last part of the last century because of the tremendous deficit that was left to this administration. We have a chance to address some of these issues.
That has to be discussed and debated and gone through over the next 11 months. This is not just a show as we saw last week, but this should be a serious discussion of serious issues and debated by the major candidates between now and the election.
BLITZER: You know, Governor Bush, in his words, needled Vice President Gore somewhat in his acceptance speech Thursday night. Listen to this little excerpt because I would be anxious to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not need to take your pulse before I know my own mind. I do not re-invent myself at every turn. I am not running in borrowed clothes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DALEY: That's typical.
BLITZER: Relatively good humor, though?
DALEY: Well, I think there's an edge to a lot of his attacks, and not as direct as Mr. Cheney. But these are people who run around and say, you know, we're for civility, we're for all getting along, we love everyone.
Politics has become nasty. If you go back to the primary, when John McCain -- George Bush stood next to veterans who said John McCain was a traitor to America when he was Vietnam, that's pretty nasty, OK? Now we're into everybody gets along and everyone loves each other. But they give you a kick in the shins and then tell you that they're slapping you on the back. And I think they're as tough as any politicians I've ever seen in the many years that I've been involved in politics.
BLITZER: There's some suggestion that the Bush-Cheney campaign is going back to the Bill Clinton-Al Gore '92 campaign and their playbook, looking for some similarities, looking for the way they beat an incumbent president at that time, obviously George Bush.
BLITZER: I want you to look at some of the words that were said by Dick Cheney on Wednesday night in his acceptance speech and something your boss, Al Gore, said in 1992. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They came in together. Now let us see them off together. Ladies and gentlemen, the wheel has turned, and it is time. It is time for them to go.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1992)
SEN. AL GORE (D-TN), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The time for a new generation of leadership for the United States of America -- to take over from George Bush and Dan Quayle. And you know what that means for them: It's time for them to go.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
DALEY: It's pretty close to it. I would say that whoever wrote that for Secretary Cheney should probably send whoever wrote those words for Al Gore either a note of thanks or maybe a small check.
BLITZER: Oh, you added "New Democrats." They have "New Republicans," and we'll see what...
DALEY: Yeah, but let's look at the record. Al Gore, if you want to talk about New Democrats, he was a New Democrat. He helped to form that. He was always a moderate, voted for the use of military force in the Persian Gulf.
You go back and look at Dick Cheney's record. He's not a New Republican, unless the Republican Party has suddenly changed its name to the Democratic Party. His voting record in those things, as he said last week -- he is very proud of those votes, and that is truly him. And George Bush said he picked him because he believes what his conservative philosophy is, as exemplified by his voting record. So, you know, you can call yourself something else, but if your background and your record and what you say is different, American people see through that.
BLITZER: All right, Bill Daley. Now onto Los Angeles and the Democratic Convention. You were there in 1960 as a little boy.
DALEY: Right, it was a great experience to see John Kennedy nominated and then go on to win as the first Catholic; it was great.
BLITZER: The last Democratic convention in Los Angeles; thanks for joining us, Bill Daley.
DALEY: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll see you in Los Angeles.
And coming up, what's ahead for Gore versus Bush? With the Democratic convention approaching fast, we'll get two perspectives on campaign 2000: Former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta and House Budget Chairman and Bush supporter John Kasich.
LATE EDITION continues right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GORE: I am not going to go along with a huge tax cut for the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.
BUSH: Given the choice between families and bigger government, Al Gore chose bigger government. It's time for a change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Vice President Al Gore and Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush arguing about tax cuts on the campaign trail.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Joining us now to talk about the race for the White House as it heads into this next phase, our two guests: In Columbus, Ohio, House Budget Chairman and Bush supporter John Kasich, and joining us from Monterey, California, the former Clinton White House chief of staff Leon Panetta. He's also a former chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Gentlemen, always good to have both of you on LATE EDITION. Thank you for joining us, and let me begin with Leon Panetta.
I thought this was a very nice tribute to you last week on this program, Mr. Panetta, Haley Barbour, the former Republican National Committee chairman was on, and he had this to say about you. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HALEY BARBOUR, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: If the Democrats pick Leon Panetta, he is a first-rate, high-class, smart, respectable, fine civil servant -- I mean, citizen. He's -- that would be a great choice for Gore. He's a first-rate man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Haley Barbour endorsing Leon Panetta for the vice presidential running slot. I take it that's not going to happen though, Mr. Panetta.
LEON PANETTA, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I don't expect it will, Wolf, since it's an honor to have people say nice things about you, but I think, like John Kasich, I'm not sure they're ready to have a former budget chairman become the vice president; we're too tough.
BLITZER: So you're not waiting -- you're not waiting at that phone of yours for the call from Al Gore. That's a fair statement, right?
PANETTA: Not at this point. I don't have any information one way or the other.
BLITZER: All right, John Kasich, tell us what you think about this. ..
REP. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), BUSGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: I'm for Leon. I'm for Leon for vice president; that's who I'm for.
BLITZER: I'm sure he would have supported you as well, but since neither one of you looks like you're going to become the next vice president of the United States, let me ask you, Congressman Kasich, John Edwards, he seems to be -- there's a lot of buzz about him, freshman Senator, less than a year and a half in the U.S. Senate. Is he qualified in your opinion to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office?
KASICH: Well, I don't really know the man, and I -- it's not my job today to trash this senator. I understand that he's a very attractive, very good speechmaker, a trial lawyer -- I think, could work against him.
But I think what I've heard today in the debate back and forth is he's only had a couple years of elected experience and, you know, that's not a positive thing, and I'm not sure they'll go that way, but I understand he has a lot of assets, is all I can tell you, that's what I hear.
BLITZER: What do you think about that, Mr. Panetta? About John Edwards.
PANETTA: Listen, I -- no, I think that someone who, you know, has gone through elective office, who's now serving in the United States Senate is young, has gone through and fought on some of the issues both in his home state as well as at the national level certainly is not someone just to be discarded because he doesn't have a long experience in Washington.
So I think it's good for him to be on the list, and I hope the vice president considers him and others. But, look, the most important thing for the vice president is to pick somebody who he trusts, who's loyal to him, and who can become president of the United States. Those are the most important qualities.
BLITZER: John Kasich, you were at that Republican convention, and obviously when Dick Cheney got the phone call from George W. Bush, there was a week almost of a barrage -- a very forceful Democratic assault on his voting record, and I think you probably will acknowledge the Bush campaign was not fully prepared to deal with some of those controversial votes.
KASICH: Well, Wolf, I've got to tell you that I don't think that those attacks really did any good, and I don't know how Leon feels about this. I think the Democrats have a real challenge going into the convention.
If their convention is only going to be about attacks and negativity, I'm not sure it's what people are going to listen to.
KASICH: This morning I heard somebody saying that whenever the Republicans got negative, people turned off their television sets. In other words, I think it's going to be incumbent on the Democrats to have to get out and paint a vision. And I'm not quite sure how they're going to do it, but they need to paint a vision that in their own way is positive, and I think these attacks don't work. The reason they didn't work on Cheney, frankly, is because when people look at him and listen to him, they just don't believe he's a mean guy.
BLITZER: Leon Panetta, had you a pretty good relationship with Dick Cheney when he was a member of the House, didn't you?
PANETTA: Dick Cheney is a good man, and I respected him a great deal and had a chance to work with him during the time that I was in the Congress. And there's no question that I think he is an honorable person. He has a conservative voting record, he was voting his Wyoming constituency.
But, you know, look, I don't think the focus ought to be on Dick Cheney. I think it's going to have to be on George Bush. George Bush, basically, took a page out of Bill Clinton's playbook by trying to move the Republican Party to the center. He's talking about bringing down the walls between the rich and poor, protecting Social Security, advancing education.
He can talk the talk. The real question is, can he walk the walk. And that's something we're going to have to find out in November. Who can fight for those positions? Al Gore and Bill Clinton have been fighting for those positions for the last eight years. Will the American people now trust George Bush to put up a equal fight?
KASICH: Hey, Wolf, let me make one other comment. I got to tell you, Leon, you should have been there at the convention. I haven't ever seen anything like it. People left there so pumped up. When you took a big dose of positives throughout the week and inclusivity, and then you mixed a couple jabs in there, and then Bush's final speech. I mean, it was amazing how effective that convention was.
And I think Leon is exactly right. It's going to get down to the debates between George Bush and Al Gore, and I think in this case, because of the strong economy and George Bush's accomplishments, he is going to have a very positive record to talk about in terms of Texas. So, it's going to be very interesting.
BLITZER: All right. Gentlemen, we have to take a quick break. Up next, your phone calls for House Budget Chairman John Kasich and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're talking about the race for the White House with House Republican Budget Chairman John Kasich and President Clinton's former chief of staff, Leon Panetta.
Let's take a quick caller from Fresh Meadows, New York. Please go ahead.
CALLER: Yes, Wolf. I'd just like to know why the Republicans and Democrats are both so afraid to let Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan into the debates.
BLITZER: Well, let's ask Leon Panetta that question first. What do you say about that?
PANETTA: Well, you know, obviously it's based on the rules that have been established for these debates. And the ones that are allowed into these debates are ones that have had the opportunity to get a percentage of the vote, a certain percentage of the vote in the last election.
But, you know, I have to agree with the caller. I'm a little concerned that when somebody is getting as much attention as Ralph Nader is and when somebody's getting as much attention as Pat Buchanan has always gotten, the reality is the American people, I think, are entitled to hear all of these candidates debate.
You know, it would be healthy for the country and healthy for the discussion of the issues that are going to confront this country if you have all of those key players involved in a debate.
BLITZER: You agree with that, John Kasich?
KASICH: Yes, Wolf, I really do. I think Leon's really hit it and that's a fact. What are they -- you known, we shouldn't be afraid to hear other people's opinions and these are legitimate candidates. Now, maybe they shouldn't be in all the debates, but they ought to be included in at least one, so that they can get their ideas out. I just think it makes total sense.
BLITZER: Well, let's talk a little bit about some of the Republican strategy that we saw this past week in Philadelphia. And I'll begin with you, John Kasich, you were there. George W. Bush seemed to be attacking President Clinton even more than he was attacking Vice President Gore. And President Clinton, as far as I can tell, is not running for reelection right now.
Listen to what president -- what Governor Bush said about President Clinton in Philadelphia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Our current president embodied the potential of a generation. So many talents, so much charm, such great skill. But in the end, to what end? So much promise to no great purpose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is that smart politics, Congressman Kasich, given the high favorability, job approval rating that President Clinton still has largely because presumably of the strong economy?
KASICH: Well, I think, Wolf, that part of that is appeal to the Republican base who have been, you know, very frustrated with Bill Clinton. But I don't think that's the gist of George Bush's speech. Frankly, I thought -- you know, I think the most important part of his speech was not just his talking about Social Security and education, very important. But I think the message of the fact that we need to reignite our hearts and souls in this country and tear down walls and to give people hope and leave nobody out.
I think that's such a wonderful message. And I think that if we can hear it at the Democratic convention, maybe it will actually give some hope to people who have been left out and who don't have much hope. And I think that his speech was by and large, I mean overwhelmingly positive and inspiring.
BLITZER: Leon Panetta, President Clinton is obviously going to be handing over this job or at least the outward portion of the Democratic Party to Al Gore, fairly soon.
Is he more of a burden or a benefit to Al Gore? Within the Democratic party, he certainly is still pretty popular.
PANETTA: Well, he certainly is, and for good reason. I think one of the things that I was concerned about in George Bush's speech, and make no mistake about it, I thought he gave a pretty good speech. But he said he frankly didn't give enough credit to Bill Clinton for what he's done for this country. Bill Clinton in '92 praised his father for what he did in the Persian Gulf. I don't think it would have been too much to have George Bush at least acknowledge some of the accomplishments that this president has made.
We do have the strongest economy in our history, we have a balanced budget, we have a surplus, he passed welfare reform, he put money into education and student loans, he passed trade bills that were very tough, he's passed crime bills that have helped bring the crime rate down. And we have world peace.
I mean that's a pretty good record for any president to have after eight years. I think, you know, that will be part of the argument Al Gore has to make to the American people. This was about leadership and it was about these issues and if you're going to bring walls down, by God, you have to fight to bring those walls down, and that's what Bill Clinton and Al Gore have both done.
BLITZER: All right.
We have to take another quick break. Just ahead, more of our conversation about Bush versus Gore with White House, excuse me, with John Kasich and Leon Panetta.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back.
We're continuing our conversation with House Republican Budget Chairman John Kasich in Ohio and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta. He's out in California.
Let's take another caller. From Albuquerque, New Mexico, please go ahead.
CALLER: Hi, I've been watching the race so far, and I think that Bush has really gotten a free ride. Three points, I have. His dad kept him out of Vietnam by getting him into the national guard when we were in need of F-14 pilots. He was running sorties over the Gulf of Mexico. He bought a $35 million baseball team with $65,000 of his own money. Some of the profits that he had from that sale he used $100,000, he bought stock in a company. Five days before that company --
BLITZER: Well, what's the question?
CALLER; The question is why -- when are you going to start looking at his real record?
BLITZER: I think we've all looked at that record. But I'll let John Kasich answer the question. I think the news media has exhaustively looked at all those points, haven't we?
KASICH: I think that's a question for Wolf to answer. But honestly, our caller needs to -- you know, it's a nice Sunday. He needs to take a chill pill and get an attitude adjustment, and let's go and look at George Bush in terms of what he's saying, what he's done, and what he's going to do.
BLITZER: All right.
Leon Panetta, the president yesterday vetoed the marriage penalty tax cut that the Republicans have been pushing. Is this going to -- and Al Gore has endorsed the presidential veto. Is this smart politics at this stage? It seems pretty popular notion, why not eliminate this penalty that forces people who get married to pay more taxes than if they lived separately and didn't get married?
PANETTA: Wolf, it's the difference between what's politically popular and what's right in terms of leadership for this country. You know, one of my concerns, and maybe John shares this, is that people talk about this surplus as if it's money in the bank. And I have to tell you, the $1.9 trillion that they're talking about is over 10 years. It's based on projections, and the hope that the economy will do well. And, yet, it seems to me both parties, to some extent, are very anxious to spend that which is not in the bank.
If you look at it, these tax cuts, whether it's the marriage penalty or the estate tax, plus where the spending levels are right now in the Congress and the way it looks for September, they're blowing right through that surplus. And it's not even in the bank. So I think it's irresponsible. I think the president did the right thing for the country.
BLITZER: And John Kasich, let me predict. You disagree?
KASICH: Well, the reason is, is that the president was willing to sign the marriage penalty if we would go along with his prescription drug program. So it was he was looking for a deal. The fact is, is that I don't see how you can say that you're not for eliminating a penalty on people just because they got married. I think it's -- first of all, it's terrible policy and, secondly, it's crazy politics. I don't understand how the president could do it.
Secondly, let me just make this case. This economy is gangbusters. It is remarkable. Productivity going through the roof, and with information technology, biotechnology, Wolf, it is amazing. I think we have enough money not just to dramatically reduce taxes, but also to fix Social Security and fix Medicare. It is remarkable to me, and I don't think anything stands in its way.
BLITZER: All right. Let's take another caller. From Westville, New Jersey, go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Yes, sir. I have a question for Mr. Panetta. When Al Gore is using Air Force II on his political campaign, is he using it for his political gain and using taxpayers' money?
PANETTA: When he uses that plane for political purposes and for the campaign, they have got to provide, obviously, a reimbursement to the taxpayers for the use of that plane when it's done for political purposes. If it's done for official purposes, then obviously we do pay for it in the role of vice president. But if he's going to be using Air Force I to go around the country and campaign or Air Force II, rather, to go around the country and campaign, then their political campaign is going to have to reimburse the Treasury.
BLITZER: John Kasich, you you were in Philadelphia. I was in Philadelphia, and the House Republican leadership was in Philadelphia, as well. We did see Dennis Hastert, the House speaker. But Tom DeLay, Dick Armey, the other major leaders of the House Republican Caucus, as some pundits were saying, were in the witness protection plan up in the sky boxes some place.
What happened to them?
KASICH: Well, had you Henry Bonilla, and you had J.C. Watts and Jennifer Dunn, and as you know, Wolf, I delivered a prime time speech. So there were some of us. But you know, this was a Bush decision, and I just think that they just decided they wanted to go with a group of people who they thought would deliver, you know, a better message.
But I don't think you can say we were missing in action. Some of our people were not there, but that was a decision the Bush people made, and I don't think they were very uptight about it. Of course they would have liked to have spoken, but they weren't asked. That's life.
BLITZER: Mr. Panetta, was that smart politics on their part?
PANETTA: Well, it was very smart politics, but it also raises the question. Again, who is going the fight for the positions that he argued for in his speech? He's going to have to take on, if he becomes president, he would have to take on a lot of the leadership of his own party that have fought against a lot of these positions in terms of bringing the walls down, protecting Social Security, education. And I think what he wanted to do was to kind of move them to the side.
But let me tell you something, if he becomes president, he's going to have to take them on if he really wants to accomplish what he says he wants to accomplish for the country.
BLITZER: And very briefly, Mr. Panetta, what's the most important thing the Democrats have to do at their convention in Los Angeles?
PANETTA: I think the most important thing is that they do have to say to the American people, what is the vision that Al Gore wants to bring to the presidency. I think we have eight years of very important accomplishments that this administration has achieved. We've got the strongest economy, as John has pointed out, in our history.
Let's not gamble that with somebody who is an unknown quantity. Let's stick with somebody who has worked at it and can provide the leadership necessary for the country. I think that's the tone of what has to be presented to the American people.
BLITZER: All right, Leon Panetta and John Kasich, always great to have both of you on LATE EDITION. Thank you so much for joining us, and Mr. Panetta, I assume you'll be in Los Angeles at the Democratic convention. I'll see you out there.
PANETTA: We'll see you, Wolf, thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, another White House contender. As the Reform Party prepares for its convention later this week, we'll talk with the man hoping to behind the Reform Party nomination, Pat Buchanan.
LATE EDITION continues right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT BUCHANAN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have written five books. I've spent eight years in the White House.
I have three ACE awards, I've written presidential speeches, I've spoken at conventions, I've written platforms. How many of these things has George W. Bush done?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan speaking to reporters about his campaign.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
The Reform Party opens its convention on Thursday in Long Beach, California. Pat Buchanan will be there, and he expects to win the party's nomination. But he faces roadblocks.
BLITZER: Joining us now to talk more about what Pat Buchanan is up to is none other than Pat Buchanan.
Mr. Buchanan, welcome back to LATE EDITION.
BUCHANAN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, you don't have this nomination sewn up yet, do you?
BUCHANAN: I think we do. The decisive event will be the national committee meeting. As long as we get a fair chairman of the credentials committee and you seat all the delegations, we win it.
BLITZER: Well, Russ Verney as you know, who was one of the main aides to Ross Perot, the founder of your party, the Reform Party, he says there are all sorts of irregularities in the way you came up with names, the way you did all the procedural things that you had you to do to get to where you are right now.
BUCHANAN: Whine, whine, whine. Russ Verney, quite frankly, was rejected as chairman of the Reform Party when he ran again in February at Nashville. He was dismissed as national committeeman in Texas; he is not a member of -- not a member of the Reform Party national committee at all.
He has not gotten a single signature to get anyone on the ballot. He does not control the national committee; he does not control the executive committee; he does not control the convention. Wolf, he's -- I admire his perseverance, he invited us into the party.
BUCHANAN: I don't know why he's trying to derail our nomination. I don't think he really has an agenda or a candidate he really would like to run with. I think he simply wants to stop us, and they don't have the troops to do it.
BLITZER: Well, there is an opponent that you have, John Hagelin, who is a physicist. He's running for the nomination as well.
BUCHANAN: Right. And we've run into John in about 30 conventions, and I've beat him in every one.
BLITZER: So you have no doubt that when all is said and done at the -- after the Reform Party convention in Long Beach, you will be that party's nominee?
BUCHANAN: I believe I'm going to win the ballots that have been cast, and I think the ballots are going to be approved, not challenged. I believe, then, I'm going to win the overwhelming majority of the delegates at the convention.
Now the other side may file a lawsuit and suggest that the FEC not give me money but, you know, that's not democratic, small D politics. That's the old politics of disruption and trying to dump things over and keeping people off-balance. And so I think eventually they're going to give up out there.
We're going to run an energetic, fiery campaign, Wolf, that builds a new institution, a new party in America which is not interventionist abroad, which defends America's borders, which is truly -- believes in downsizing government, getting these departments shut down, which will close the Department of Education, which will reorganize, reshape the Supreme Court into a much more conservative and constitutionalist court. And that's what we're building, and we're going to succeed.
BLITZER: You acknowledged earlier today on another program that you're having trouble finding a vice presidential running mate.
BUCHANAN: Well, there's no doubt -- we've had some who were very close to it. And the fact that you're down in the polls -- and I mean no Democrat or Republican wants to risk a rising career if he figures he, you know, that this is going to go down the chute. So you got to go outside that. And frankly, that's the way any new party is going to be built.
BLITZER: When do you have to name your -- assuming you get this nomination?
BUCHANAN: Well, you would have to name the -- you would have to name them after you get the nomination, sure.
BLITZER: But normally at a convention, the presidential candidate and the vice presidential candidate are there together. And they're raising their arms with their families. BUCHANAN: Well, we will -- we expect to have that, but I don't think you can be announcing your vice presidential running mate until the convention has confirmed what I've told you, which is Pat Buchanan is going to be the nominee in this race.
BLITZER: So are you vetting a certain number of potential -- do you have a certain short list right now or a long list?
BUCHANAN: Well, there's no need to get it into it, but we're just looking at a couple of folks.
BLITZER: Why -- and you saw these numbers; we showed them on our screen earlier and maybe we'll show them again, this latest CNN/USA Today/ Gallup poll. Take a look at the numbers. Right now, it shows you down still at 1 percent, Ralph Nader at 4 percent. You were at 1 percent at the end of July as well.
Pat Buchanan, who is well-known -- he's got high name recognition, and he's doing that poorly in this kind of four-way race.
BUCHANAN: Well, there's been a media blackout. I don't think the American people...
BLITZER: Not today there hasn't been a media blackout.
BUCHANAN: No, there's certainly not today. But no, I don't think that people even know I'm running. But what those numbers tell me is what I just what I told Dick Daley. The country doesn't want Bill Clinton. It's had enough of him, enough of his personal misconduct. It doesn't want Al Gore. He has failed to make the sale with the American people.
It looked at the Republican convention. It says, you know, Bush and Cheney; we can go with these fellows. We can live with these fellows, and it might be a good change. And so that's what the people are focused on right now, on the two-man race, and Gore is losing it, and Mr. Bush is winning it.
What we got to do, Wolf, in the time I get that nomination on the 13th of August, up until about the 25th of September, we got to show them that there is a party in America which offers America a real choice between these two Clintonized parties, you know, both of which embraced Clinton's politics, neither of which wants Clinton the person.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to take a quick break.
BLITZER: With reference, in case some of our viewers missed it, to the media blackout when I said there wasn't one today, this is the fourth Sunday TV program you've been on.
BUCHANAN: Fourth show, right. There's only about seven more up here, Wolf.
BLITZER: Pat Buchanan not being blacklisted on this Sunday.
BUCHANAN: Blackout, not blacklisted.
BLITZER: That's right. We have to take a quick break. Your phone calls for Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan when LATE EDITION continues right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're continuing our conversation with the Reform Party presidential candidate Pat Buchanan.
BLITZER: Mr. Buchanan, let's take a caller from Dallas, Texas. Go ahead with your question, please.
QUESTION: My question for Mr. Buchanan is, don't you see yourself and your party as a spoiler? Why don't you guys join with one or the other, preferably Bush, and maybe put your efforts toward just one of the parties instead of being a spoiler?
BUCHANAN: Well, I think, you know, I don't believe we're what you call a spoiler. I left the Republican party of George Bush's father and son, because I believed that it had become very much a Clinton party. For example, it supported Clinton on this trade deal with China that I think's not in our interest. It supported his unjust, unconstitutional war in the Balkans. You got a bleeding border down there with Mexico. The Republican party of George Bush won't even talk about that issue.
And you have a variety of issues that I've been fighting for for a long time, foreign policy and trade policy, stop selling our jobs abroad. And frankly, the Republicans in Washington basically agree with Democrats in Washington, so I think we need a genuine new third party which can become a dramatically different second party in America, and that's what we're trying to build, Wolf.
BLITZER: You know that some Democrats are now saying, you heard Leon Panetta say it earlier, that it might be a good idea for you to be in the debates. I guess they're thinking would you beat up on George W. Bush so much it would be bound to help Al Gore.
BUCHANAN: Well, you know, I'm not in this because I want to beat up George Bush or beat up -- Cheney's a good man, I've worked with him. What, we want to offer America a different party, a different agenda, Wolf. You know in foreign policy, I wrote a whole book, I believe we ought to get our troops out of Bosnia, Kosovo, Korea, Okinawa, they're not needed, not wanted. Bring them back to the United States, use that savings to build up your Navy and Air Force, restore a constitutional republic where never again do we go to war unless the Congress declares war. This is what I think we're losing, is an American republic, and that's why we're building this party.
BLITZER: This is the first Republican convention you've missed.
BUCHANAN: Since 1968 when I was writing speeches for Mark Hatfield, if you can believe it, helping write Nixon's speech, and helping work on the platform in '68.
BLITZER: How do you feel sitting there where you're just watching it on TV, all your pals, your long-time buddies in Philadelphia and you weren't there. You were known for so many years as Mr. Republican.
BUCHANAN: You know, Wolf, if I'd be up there, they had had me quarantined with Quayle and Pat Robertson and Alan Keyes and Bauer and all of the rest -- where were the House managers, the heroes of 1999? You know, the Republicans have got all those congressional medal of honor for doing battle, they swept them off the stage. It is a new party, it's like the old Rockefeller party, it's a Rockefeller-Bush party. It is not a Buchanan party or a Reagan party or a Goldwater party or even a Nixon-Agnew party which was fighting populist grass roots. And so, I really don't belong there any more you.
BLITZER: You know, you heard earlier on our program John Kasich and Leon Panetta agree that maybe you and Ralph Nader should be in those presidential debates. But listen to what Jesse Ventura, who was an outspoken critic of yours, the governor of Minnesota, he seems to agree as well. Listen to what he said on "Meet the Press" earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: His polling results right now are as bottom as they can be, but I suppose he should be if you're going to have a Nader who leans more far left, maybe you need a Buchanan there who leans ultra far right to balance it off and put all four of them up there. I see nothing wrong with all four of them being able to debate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCHANAN: Why didn't he say ultra extreme far right, you get them all there.
BLITZER: Next time he will.
BUCHANAN: But look, 64 percent of the American people believe our party, which is funded by taxpayers, should be in the debate, Wolf. It is a serious matter. Are we going to have a genuine dialogue, which is only between two or are we going to broaden that to have a real debate and discussion on the future direction of this country?
I'm the only candidate in this race that holds the views I do on foreign policy, and trade policy and life and a new Supreme Court. And if we don't get in there, there's going to be tens of millions of Americans who are unrepresented and you know, I can't really blame them for dropping out of politics.
BLITZER: Pat Buchanan, I've interviewed you many times, first time I've seen with you earth tones on, tell me is this a Naomi Wolf kind ...
BUCHANAN: I've been secret calls to Naomi Wolf, I'm not in borrowed clothes, Wolf.
BLITZER: Pat Buchanan, very dapper, beautiful new suit, thanks for joining us, good luck to you on the campaign trail.
BUCHANAN: All right.
BLITZER: We have to take a quick break.
For our international viewers, world news is next.
For our North American audience, stay tuned for another 30 minutes of LATE EDITION. We'll check the hour's top stories, then our LATE EDITION roundtable, Roberts, Page, and Carlson give their take on the GOP convention and what lies ahead for the Democrats.
And as always, Bruce Morton's "Last Word." It's all ahead, when LATE EDITION continues.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. We'll hear from our roundtable in a moment.
But first, let's go to Andrea Hall in Atlanta for a check of the hour's top stories -- Andrea.
BLITZER: Time now for our LATE EDITION roundtable.
Joining me, Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for "USA Today", Steve Roberts, contributing editor for "U.S. News & World Report" and Tucker Carlson, political writer for the "Weekly Standard."
Let's talk a little bit, Steve, about these Democratic vice presidential potentials, beginning with John Edwards of North Carolina, who is not well-known outside of North Carolina.
STEVE ROBERTS, CNN COMMENTATOR: I'll be honest with you, if he walked in the studio this morning I'm not sure I would recognize him. He's only been a senator for 18 months. They're intrigued by this guy because they think that he'll be energetic. He'll be attractive on television. He'll bring some buzz and pizzazz, all those words you hear. But I don't see how they can plausibly say to the American public, this guy is qualified to be president after 18, not just 18 months in the Senate, he didn't serve in any public office before then. And he was a trial lawyer before that.
Now, the Democrats will say, oh well, Abraham Lincoln was a one- time House member, but I'm not sure that's going to make an effective argument.
BLITZER: Is he going to be -- if he were to get -- and we don't know, obviously. But let's say John Edwards were called by Gore to get that vice presidential running mate slot, what would happen?
TUCKER CARLSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, he looks like a TV weatherman, just in case you ever run into him, that's exactly what he looks like.
It would be very weird. I mean, I covered that race a couple years ago, he beat Lauch Faircloth by four points. I mean, I could have beat Lauch Faircloth. Lauch Faircloth didn't even go on the air that year.
So you know, there's not a lot of political wizardry that comes with John Edwards. I'm sure he's a nice guy. He's well-spoken, very handsome. But please, I mean, I don't think there's any chance. I think Joe Lieberman is the clever choice, which means that Gore won't pick him, but he should.
SUSAN PAGE, CNN COMMENTATOR: If he chooses John Edwards, he gives away one of his best issues against George Bush, which is that he has the experience to be president and George Bush doesn't. Compared to John Edwards, George Bush has, you know, more extensive experience.
So, it's been interesting. It's obvious -- it's obvious that Al Gore himself has kept John Edwards on this list. And he is intrigued by the possibilities. But it would be a surprise if that's the one he ends up choosing.
BLITZER: Because I know, Susan, you've been spending a lot of time with your team of reporters at "USA Today," just like all of us at CNN, we're trying to get -- narrow this -- what are you hearing?
PAGE: Well, I hear that John Kerry is the likely choice. But of course, this is entirely up to Al Gore. And if he chose Lieberman, that wouldn't be a stunning surprise. But I think John Kerry has emerged as the person we expect to get it.
ROBERTS: I do think, though, that they're hearing some negatives about John Kerry, as they should, actually. He has a reputation as being a show horse, not a work horse, as a self-promoter. He is seen in the Senate and certainly by the Washington press corps as not a particularly solid guy. And I think they are hearing that, some negatives about John Kerry.
PAGE: Positives about John Kerry too, and there are several people among Gore's inner circle who have worked on John Kerry's campaigns believe he's a good campaigner, a dynamic figure, a Vietnam Vet. We've talked about that before. A former lieutenant governor in Massachusetts to none other than Michael Dukakis, someone who is accustomed to some of the limitations of being in the number two role. So there may be disadvantages with each of these guys. There's some advantages with John Kerry as well.
BLITZER: Tucker, you want to tell us about those advantages of John Kerry?
CARLSON: He looks like a vice president. I think that's probably the biggest advantage. No, I mean, you know, he's made huge efforts in the last, about 10 years to move to the center. He was identified with the Democratic left for a lot of the '80s, and he's now thought of as sort of a centrist-type character. That's probably good. But I'm sort of struck by how weak the field appears to be, again, apart from Lieberman, who I think would be intelligent. And keep in mind that if Kerry does get picked, that's a lost Senate seat for the Democrats, and that doesn't help.
ROBERTS: And of all states.
BLITZER: Lieberman, too.
ROBERTS: But here you got -- I mean, to pick another Massachusetts Democrat -- I mean, maybe because they thought Michael Dukakis was such a wonderful candidate that they're going back to Massachusetts. Teddy Kennedy has been the embodiment of Democratic liberalism. I think they can repeat the word Massachusetts to good effect with John Kerry. He brings them nothing politically. Massachusetts is a solid Democratic state.
I think they're likely to pick him. I think it would be a mistake. I think Lieberman is a better choice. I think he brings some weight and heft to the ticket. He's an Orthodox Jew, and there is a lot of question is this country ready for a Jewish vice president? I am Jewish myself. I would like to believe that, in fact, the country is ready for a Jewish vice president. And I think anybody who would vote against Joe Lieberman on religious grounds is probably not going to vote for the Democrats anyway. And I think he is a much more solid figure than John Kerry in terms of his moral positions and where he is in the Party.
PAGE: You know, Lieberman would be an interesting choice, and we would all be in favor of that, to have -- to see what would happen with the first Jewish person on a major party ticket. It wouldn't be exactly like the first woman, but I think it would be one of those things that would kind of test the country in a interesting way.
But I wonder if Lieberman's association with -- he has very moral person, and a person who really spoke out during the Monica Lewinsky affair, might underscore that issue instead of answer it. I wonder if it would create that as a bigger issue than it would be otherwise.
BLITZER: And he is a leader in the DLC, the Democratic Leadership Council, which is a very new Democrat, centrist, more moderate Democratic position. Well, we'll know soon enough, I'm sure that story is going to be out there very soon.
Let's look back a little bit at this Republican convention. We have a graphic over here, some videotape of the new faces of the Republican Party. Look at this, we have General Colin Powell up there. Tucker, you're not paying attention. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser to George W. Bush. Down at the bottom, George P. Bush, the nephew and Jim Kolbe -- he's an openly gay congressman from Arizona. Those are the pictures, Tucker, that the Republicans wanted to present to the American people.
CARLSON: Well, you left off Bo Derek speaking in Spanish, which, to me, former Playboy centerfold Bo Derek. Sure, and -- but keep in mind, the Bush campaign swears that Kolbe was invited to speak purely for his views on trade, nothing to do with the fact that he was gay. No, clearly, I mean, it was not light-handed.
PAGE: It was inclusive night at the GOP.
CARLSON: Well, every night was inclusive night, and I think it was, you know, probably very good and helpful for the party, you did feel, gee, this is a bit heavy-handed, but they made the point clearly and cleanly.
ROBERTS: I must say I thought there were moments when I was at the Democratic convention.
BLITZER: Or the Rainbow Coalition.
ROBERTS: I mean, it's not just those figures, all of whom are legitimate and political figures in their own right. But listen, I was sitting there listening to George Bush's speech, and all this talk about money for Headstart, and we're going to save Social Security, and we're going to tear down the walls of bigotry and poverty. I mean, this was a Democratic speech in many ways. There were certain things which were not.
But, and then a day after the Republican convention, Al Gore out there campaigning with police chiefs, you know. And there was a flip- flop of these two parties is fascinating, but for the same reason. They're both trying to steal each other's good issues, and they're both running to the middle.
PAGE: But, you know, it was interesting, at this point, this is not a reflection of the real Republican Party, the people who were on stage who were the public face of the Republican Party. If George W. Bush manages to win the election, there will be some expectation, I think, among the swing voters who elect him that he deliver on some of the implicit promises with the staging that was done at that convention. And that's where you might see some friction. There was no friction at this convention last week. There will be some friction if he has to govern and decide whether money goes to Headstart, whether he follows through on some of the promises he made.
ROBERTS: Leon Panetta was making that very point, that a lot of those Republican leaders who were quarantined, they were incarcerated, you didn't see them anywhere near -- they're still going to still be in power, and there's a significant gap between the way George Bush is campaigning and the way the Republican leaders approach politics.
BLITZER: All right, we have to take a quick break; a lot more to talk about. When we come back, more on Bush versus Gore. LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our roundtable.
I think most people thought, Steve, that Governor Bush delivered a excellent speech on Thursday night, his acceptance speech.
But we asked in our new CNN/"USA Today" Gallup poll, which is just being released, first time these numbers are being released on our program, LATE EDITION, what the American people thought of the Bush acceptance speech.
Look at the numbers on our screen. Nineteen percent thought it was excellent, 32 percent thought it was good, 17 percent just OK, 3 percent poor, 1 percent terrible. What did you think?
ROBERTS: Well, I thought it accomplished a lot of what he wanted to do. I think it was disingenuous because there he is talking about money for head start; his own vice president candidate -- he voted against it, but, hey, you know, let's not be picky.
I think that he put Gore in a very difficult position because he was basically positive, he was basically upbeat, he moved toward the middle, and Gore is now faced with a problem of going negative against Bush.
He's got to say, this is not really the guy you saw, he's really much less experienced and much less competent. He's not really a moderate, he's really a conservative. And he's not really going to do the things he says he's going to do. That puts Gore in a position of having to be negative. I think Bush is absolutely right, the country wants positive, upbeat messages. I think he has painted Gore in a bit of a corner that way politically.
BLITZER: Tucker, Bush's speech, excellent, good, just OK?
CARLSON: I think the people polled have never seen Bush speak before. I mean, this, I think, for an ordinary politician would be a good speech. For George W. Bush, I thought it was excellent. I mean, it was just excellent.
BLITZER: It was the best one I ever heard.
CARLSON: By far, I mean, it really was. He looked great. I thought parts of the speech were beautifully written, which is always heartening, those of us who try and write. And, I don't know, in every way I thought it was great. It was so much better than I thought it was going to be.
PAGE: I thought he failed to do one thing that's important to do for this election, and that is build the case for changing the White House at a time of great prosperity and peace. And that's a theme you're going to hear at the Democratic convention. It's a question the Republicans have to answer for him to maintain this lead he's got right now. CARLSON: This is a very good point, because this was -- you know, he's caught in a difficult position. He's arguing for change, but he's not up there saying, I'm going to create more jobs, I'm going to bring down inflation, I'm going to restore America's place in the world. All of that's happened.
So he's got to say, basically, the Democrats are not responsible for prosperity; prosperity's going to continue no matter who's in the White House. It's not a "risky gamble" as Leon Panetta said. But anybody can do this, and I'm going to let you keep more of the money you've made from the Democratic prosperity by lowering taxes, and I'm going to use the prosperity to shore up things like Social Security. So -- but that's not quite as clear and ringing a message as I'm the man who's going to pull the economy out of the ditch.
PAGE: You know, they keep comparing this election to 1980, but in -- when a president was ousted, an administration was ousted. But then people were mad about the economy; they were mad about the Iran hostage crisis. There were reasons why people were ready to change horses. That to me is -- Al Gore is behind right now. He's got a long way to make up, but that to me is his biggest advantage.
BLITZER: You know, one of the subplots at this convention was the exchange between President Clinton and former president George Bush over the whole criticisms that they've been leveling. I want you to listen to these two exchanges.
First, President Clinton, followed by President Bush, in which they talked a little bit about what was going on in this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, how bad could I be. I've been governor of Texas, my daddy was president, I own a baseball team. They like me down there, everything's rocking along hunky dory. Their fraternity had it for eight years, give it to ours for eight years, 'cause we're compassionate, humane, and we're not like what you think about us from watching the Congress for the last five years.
GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I'm going to wait a month and then you give me a call -- I'll give you the home number. And if he continues that, then I'm going to tell the nation what I think about him as a human being and a person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Susan, how unusual is that kind of...
BLITZER: ... (OFF-MIKE) change.
PAGE: Well, you know, that's the -- one underlying factor in this whole election, and that is a kind of blood feud from 1992. You know, it was George W. Bush's father who lost to a ticket that included Al Gore, and the Republicans have felt ever since then that was wrong. It shouldn't have happened. There is a kind of grudge- match tone to this. Both sides try very hard to minimize that, because Gore doesn't want to emphasize Clinton because George W. Bush doesn't want to look like he's trying to inherit the presidency, but what you saw there were their honest feelings about one another.
BLITZER: Interestingly enough, all right, let's all of us go around the table one time quickly: your own personal highlight of this Republican convention.
ROBERTS: Well, certainly one of them was George P. Bush. George Prescott Bush. You can't get a WASPier name. His grandfather -- great-grandfather was a senator. His grandfather was a president. His father's running for president, and there he is speaking Spanish and appealing to the Hispanic vote...
BLITZER: His uncle, his 24-year-old nephew.
ROBERTS: Is this a great country, or what?
CARLSON: On Wednesday night, the Rock, the professional wrestler, gave a speech and watching, I had this epiphany: I'm voting Libertarian.
The next night, George W. Bush speaks, wins me back. That was the highlight.
BLITZER: All right, Susan?
PAGE: It's parochial, but my 13-year-old son Will worked as a runner for "The Dallas Morning News" during this convention. It was exciting for me to see him get excited about doing things like running into Jim Nicholson, the Republican National Chairman.
BLITZER: Tucker, you hinted at my personal favorite moment covering this convention. I want to show our audience what that was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Could you come over here? We want to talk. You introduced Mr. Moganotto (ph). I want you to look at our camera up there. Tell us why you got involved in supporting George W. Bush?
BO DEREK, ACTRESS: I've been a big fan of his parents, obviously, and President Bush, and watching what he's done as governor has really convinced me that he can solve our biggest problems.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Bo Derek. Hey, a personal moment of Zen.
CARLSON: That's what's scary.
ROBERTS: Maybe you'll be a Playboy centerfold one day.
BLITZER: Everybody has to take advantage of ...
CARLSON: But where did she get that accent is the question. You should have asked her that, Wolf.
BLITZER: That British accent, having grown up in California?
BLITZER: You know, that's what happens when you live in Santa Barbara, I guess.
Our roundtable -- Tucker, Susan, Steve -- you'll be all in Los Angeles with me next week. We'll have a few laughs.
CARLSON: We'll be there.
BLITZER: Thanks for joining us. And up next, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
BLITZER: Time now for Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
With Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader fighting to draw voters to their independent candidacies, Bruce remind us that third- party political -- third political parties have a long history in U.S. politics.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Republicans just ended. The Democrats are getting ready. But the next convention, in fact, is the Reform Party's, which starts this coming week in Long Beach, California. With a reform, nobody knows of course, but historically third parties in American politics haven't lasted very long, nor done very well.
Back in 1912, Theodore Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Party ticket. He got 88 electoral votes, more than William Howard Taft, the Republican who had followed Roosevelt into the White House, but not nearly enough to beat Woodrow Wilson, the winner. Robert LaFollete ran as a Progressive, no real relation to Roosevelt's party, in 1924 and got just 13 electoral votes, all from his home state of Wisconsin.
In 1948, Harry Truman was the Democrat, Thomas Dewey the heavily favored Republican. Against them States Rights' segregationist, Strom Thurmond -- yes, that Strom Thurmond -- got 39 electoral votes. He carried four southern states plus one runaway electorate from Tennessee. Thurmond only got about 2 percent of the vote. Progressive Henry Wallace, no relation, again, to the earlier Progressive Party ran to Truman's left, got almost as many popular votes but carried no states. And Truman won in an upset, of course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been no response from either of the parties which would show the American people that they are heeding the growing disillusionment with what amounts to a one-party system in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: In 1968, George Wallace ran a campaign like Thurmond's 20 years earlier based on states rights and segregation and electorally did about as well as Thurmond had. He carried five states to Thurmond's four, all southern plus one rogue elector. But he did much better in the popular vote, 14 percent.
Which brings us to the Reform Party. In 1992, on his first outing, Ross Perot carried no states, but got 19 percent of the popular vote, which isn't bad. In 1996, Perot ran again, different running mate but that probably didn't matter much and got only 8 percent of the vote.
Third parties tend to dwindle. But if the Reform Party nominee is Pat Buchanan that may not apply because it will be a different party, made in his image, fervent on social issues like abortion. Going in, some people who never voted Reform before, perhaps driving away some who did. One thing we know about Buchanan is he loves a good fight, a good campaign. He'll make it interesting, assuming of course that he is the nominee.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks, Bruce.
Just ahead, we'll reveal what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines.
Stay with us.
BLITZER: Now look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines.
"Time" magazine has an exclusive Tiger's tale with Tiger Woods on the cover, how the greatest golfer in the world risked it all in his quest to become the greatest golfer in history.
"Newsweek" has RFK, the untold story: Robert Kennedy's secret role in the Cuban Missile Crisis on the cover.
And on the cover of "U.S. News & World Reports," runway rage: Who's to blame for long lines, long waits and short tempers.
That's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, August 6.
Be sure to join us again next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk, next week, from the Democratic convention in Los Angeles.
And I'll be back tomorrow night at 8 p.m. Eastern on "THE WORLD TODAY."
Coming up next, CNN.com profiles the women of Silicon Valley and why some in the tech business call it the "Valley of the Boys."
For now, thanks very much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
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