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Inside Politics

Gore's Plans Biographical Acceptance Speech; Bush Presents Gore with Convention Challenge; Buchanan Running Mate Reflects Message of Inclusion

Aired August 11, 2000 - 5:00 p.m. ET


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Al Gore heads to Los Angeles with a convention script that might be titled "This Is Your Life."


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If Al Gore's got differences with the president, he ought to say them loud and clear what they are.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: George W. Bush presents Gore with a convention challenge.



PAT BUCHANAN (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first black lady ever to run on a major party ticket in the United States of America, Ezola Foster.


SHAW: His party divided, Pat Buchanan chooses a running mate who sends a message of inclusion.

From the Staples Center in Los Angeles, site of the Democratic National Convention, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff, and analysts Jeff Greenfield and Bill Schneider.

JIM MORET, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Jim Moret at CNN's Los Angeles bureau. We're experiencing some power problems at Staples Center. We hope to bring you our programming from there. Meanwhile, INSIDE POLITICS will come from here. Thank you for joining us.

Less than 72 hours before the gavel goes down, the Democrats still are nailing some of the details at their convention.

That process is playing out in the convention hall, where workers have been putting finishing touches on the convention stage. Last- minute planning continues at the highest levels of the Gore campaign. Al Gore said today the convention will look like America and be like America. To a great extent, it will also be a reflection of Al Gore.

Jonathan Karl has the latest on the Gore camp's convention strategy.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Gore has just had what one senior aide called one of the best weeks he's ever seen in American politics. If the latest polls are to be believed, next week better be monumental. Down by double digits in the polls, Gore's problem, aides say, is that although nearly everyone knows his name, America still doesn't know the man.

Now is the time to change that.


ANNOUNCER: This is your life.


KARL: Step one, turn the convention, in the words of one aide, into a version of the classic television show "This Is Your Life." He'll be introduced by his wife, Tipper. Oldest daughter Karenna will give a nominating speech.


TOMMY LEE JONES, ACTOR: Stand by for a 15-second burn.


KARL: So will Tommy Lee Jones, not as the Hollywood star of "Space Cowboys," but as Gore's college roommate.

Also speaking, some who knew Gore during his Vietnam days and when he was a reporter for "The Nashville Tennessean."

CHRIS LEHANE, GORE CAMPAIGN SPOKESMAN: The conventions are historically the times when the presidential candidate really steps out on his own. Al Gore will be talking in his own voice, talking about his own agenda, talking about his own life experiences. And, particularly for vice presidents who have always faced a challenge of stepping out from the shadow of the vice presidency into their own person, it's a major moment.

KARL: President Clinton may be the star of the convention's opening night, but one of the Gore's major unspoken convention goals is pushing his boss off center stage.

Clinton will symbolically hand the baton to Gore at a joint appearance Tuesday in Michigan, and then, in the words of an aide, they go in opposite directions -- Gore to L.A. and the convention spotlight, Clinton to Washington and vacation.

Unlike George W. Bush, who at this point had already practiced his acceptance speech several times before a wide range of staff, family and friends, Gore is quietly working on his with a small group of senior aides, including his message team of Carter Eskew and Bob Shrum.

Aides say Gore's speech is heavy on biography, talking about his service in Vietnam, the disillusionment he felt when he returned, the battles he fought in Congress and his family. Although not like his last two convention speeches, which centered on family tragedies, this speech is billed as optimistic and forward looking and restrained in its attacks on the Republicans, although a central theme of the speech is presenting the election as a choice between the old-guard Republicans who presided over recession in the early '90s and the new- guard Democrats aides say have presided over prosperity ever since.

One issue highlighted in the speech is health care, something the Gore campaign says was ignored at the Republican convention.


KARL: The Gore campaign will seek to hammer home the message of the convention with a new advertising campaign that will seek in part to tell Gore's life story. It's a tactic the Gore campaign used in the early primaries, when they ran ads touting aspects of Gore's life ranging from service in Vietnam to his climb up Mount Ranier.

Jim, back to you.

MORET: CNN's Jonathan Karl reporting live from Detroit.

Governor Bush did his part today to underscore one of Al Gore's biggest convention dilemmas: his Clinton problem.

Our Chris Black is traveling with Gore in the Midwest.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush is challenging Al Gore to divorce himself from President Bill Clinton and condemn Clinton's past behavior.

BUSH: If he's got any problem with what went on in the past, he ought to explain what it is.

BLACK: While the president says Gore is not to blame for his personal failings but deserves credit for the policy successes, Bush is blurring the distinctions.

BUSH: You're either part of an administration or you're not part of an administration, that's how I view it. And if Al Gore's got differences with the president, he ought to say them loud and clear what they are. He ought to let us know where he differed from the president on policy matters as well as everything else.

BLACK: And Senator John McCain, Bush's primary rival, is introducing Bush with an implicit jab at Bill Clinton.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Thank you for your very warm welcome to the man who will restore dignity, honor and respect to the White House.

BLACK: And another jab at Hillary Clinton when he praised Bush's wife Laura.

MCCAIN: She won't be running for the United States Senate.

BLACK: With McCain by his side, Bush is spending the days before the Democratic National Convention in California and the Pacific Northwest, a region favorable towards Democrats but independent- minded. Gambling swing voters are ready for a change.

Republicans spent much of their national convention lashing Bill Clinton to his vice president. Bush has never said Gore is to blame for President Clinton's personal failings, yet he ends his stump speech with an implicit reminder.

BUSH: When I put my hand on the Bible that day in January 2001, I will swear -- I will swear to uphold the laws of the land. But I will also swear to uphold the honor and the integrity of the office to which I have been elected, so help me God. Thank you all for coming. God bless.

BLACK (on camera): Bush ends this campaign swing in Oregon and Washington, states that haven't voted for a Republican president in 16 years. But this Republican is hoping that voters are so tired of Bill Clinton they're ready for a real fresh start.

Chris Black, CNN, Portland, Oregon.

MORET: Still ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. have Democrats reached an impasse with California Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez? The latest on the controversy over her scheduled fund raiser.

Plus, the Los Angeles police prepare for protests and increased detention, the Democratic convention just a weekend away.


MORET: As the Democrats prepare for the L.A. convention, a controversy over a sold-out Democratic fund raiser Tuesday at the Playboy Mansion has become an irritating distraction. Today, Al Gore got dragged in.

Judy Woodruff has more.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): In an interview in Philadelphia, Gore said he agreed with the party's decision to ban the fund raiser's host, Democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, from speaking at the convention, but said he hoped the dispute could be worked out. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and his daughter have both contributed to the Gore campaign. Asked if it were hypocritical to accept the cash but to reject the fund raiser, Gore said the comparison is apples and oranges.

Initially Sanchez refused to move the fund raiser, but this morning she softened her stance.

REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ, (D), CALIFORNIA: It's never been about the Playboy Mansion. It is about putting on a good event and it's about raising money. And so if someone can find a different venue, and they can guarantee that it will have that kind of cachet that people will come and donors will come and we'll continue to be able raise the money that we need for those efforts, then it's quite possible that we could put it someplace else.

WOODRUFF: The response:

JOE ANDREW, DNC CHAIRMAN: We have offered to have the event at the same time at the Grand Wilshire, the Democratic National Committee headquarters hotel. It may not be a comparable site, but then again nothing's comparable to the Playboy Mansion. That's the very point. We don't want a site that's comparable to the Playboy Mansion.

WOODRUFF: The Democratic National Committee says it will give Sanchez a speaking role at the convention if she agrees to switch the venue. But Sanchez has not yet responded to Andrew's offer.

Magnifying the controversy, Sanchez's high national profile. In 1996, she was the toast of the party, knocking off one of the most conservative Republican Congressmen, "B-1" Bob Dornan, in the one-time bastion of California conservatism, Orange County. She is now a vice chairwoman of the DNC, which plans to meet August 18, the day after the convention ends. It could then decide to strip her of that office if the Playboy fund raiser is held as planned.


MORET: The DNC is also threatening to cut funding for her re- election, but Sanchez may not need the help. Her district is becoming more Democratic. Sanchez already has $1.5 million in the bank. Her Republican opponent has $67,000.

With protests expected outside the Democratic convention, the Los Angeles Police Department is making its own preparations.

As Charles Feldman reports, the department is keenly aware of the scrutiny it will face in the coming week.


CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Its reputation badly tarnished by ongoing corruption scandal, the LAPD is leaving little to chance during the Democratic National Convention.

The department is still smarting from accusations that it was slow to call for help during the 1992 riots that stemmed from the Rodney King beating. This time, if trouble erupts, the LAPD says it will not hesitate to call upon the county sheriff.

CMDR. DAVE KALISH, LOS ANGELES POLICE: We'll dispatch resources from throughout the county of Los Angeles, either his own resources from the county sheriff's department or other municipal police departments.

FELDMAN: Now, if things get real ugly, the LAPD can ask the governor to call in the National Guard. Units of the guard are training nearby, but not in the city of Los Angeles.

The U.S. Secret Service is responsible for security inside the Staples Center and around federal officials. Otherwise, it is the LAPD that will call the shots.

The LAPD has carefully been studying recent events in Seattle, Washington and in Philadelphia and says it has learned some valuable lessons.

KALISH: We learned a lot about the tactics of some of the demonstrators who were intent on causing problems. We learned that there was a very high level of violence directed at police officers.

FELDMAN: And while the LAPD continues to gather intelligence info from Philly on those who may be bent on causing trouble here in L.A., one national lawyer's group says it is training attorneys to accompany protesters to protect their rights.

CYNTHIA ANDERSON-BARKER, NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD: We are putting the LAPD on notice today that we are out there, we are on the streets, and we also have an arsenal to combat the violation of First Amendment rights, human rights.

FELDMAN (on camera): Publicly, the LAPD is confident. Privately, it is nervous. It can't come across as being too weak or too strong, and finding that middle ground may be one of its biggest challenges to date.

Charles Feldman, CNN, Los Angeles.


MORET: As we told you at the top of this broadcast, we have been experiencing some electrical problems at Staples Center site of the Democratic National Convention. We're told those problems have been fixed, and coming up out of this break, Bernie Shaw and Judy Woodruff will have more of INSIDE POLITICS.

Stay with us.


SHAW: We're back, live and in color, inside the hall -- Judy, Jeff Greenfield. WOODRUFF: And Bill Schneider. And we've actually been here all along. But a fuse blew, we are told, and those things happen. It's nice to know we're not indispensable.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: You've got to pay those electric bills. We keep telling the company.

SHAW: Exactly.


WOODRUFF: OK, you...

SHAW: We're in the field, and let's continue with this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Texas Governor George W. Bush is holding on to a sizable lead over Gore, as the vice president heads to this city of the angels.

Our new CNN/"TIME" magazine survey of likely voters nationwide shows Bush 14 points ahead of Gore in a four-way matchup including Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan. Now that is a slight change from July, when Bush was up by 16 points.

Our Bill Schneider is here now, and, Bill, what's behind Bush's continuing lead in the polls?

SCHNEIDER: One word: leadership. You know, voters continue to see Bush as a strong and decisive leader, and they do not see Gore as a strong and decisive leader. As long as the spotlight is on Clinton, voters will not see Gore as his own man.

Almost half the voters still say Gore is too close to Clinton. Gore cannot make the case that he is a leader until Clinton steps aside. That's what this convention is for.

SHAW: Does Gore have to separate himself from Bill Clinton?

SCHNEIDER: Well, personally, yes. But not necessarily on the issues. Surprisingly, Gore still doesn't get the full advantage of Clinton's record. When we asked, Do you think Gore will be effective in managing the economy? Only a bare majority say yes.

Does Gore agree with you on issues you care about? Well on that one, voters are split.

This convention has to sell Gore on the issues. Most voters say Gore is not a person they admire. They're split over whether Gore is someone they can even trust and over whether they would be proud to have Gore as their president.

This convention has to break the personal link between Gore and Clinton. And, you know, Clinton's remarks to those ministers yesterday sounded like the first step in making that case.

SHAW: OK, Bill Schneider, thank you. And joining us now here in Staples Center, Marcia Hale, the Gore convention 2000 manager.



SHAW: What do you hope to do with this convention in terms of image and focus?

HALE: Oh, I think for several weeks now we've known exactly what we want to try to accomplish here, and that is that we intend to talk about the issues that are clearly on our side in this campaign. We need to identify who Al Gore is and how he has, for years and years, worked on issues that he cares about and that the country agrees with him on. It is very important that we get that message across, and we think we have found some very creative ways to do that.

SHAW: Bill Clinton and Al Gore will never appear on this stage behind us or at that podium. Is that an intentional effort to begin to separate Gore from Mr. Clinton's shadow?

HALE: Well, I think you saw with the announcement of Senator Lieberman, which has been met very, very well across the country with a great deal of enthusiasm, that the vice president will be out and now running his own campaign, and along with Senator Lieberman as their ticket, in a very positive step to campaign. The president will be here Monday night. We're looking very forward to that. I am certain that his speech will show all the accomplishments of the Clinton-Gore administration, and I think it will be a very emotional and a very uplifting speech.

SHAW: You mentioned the fact that the vice president chose and announced Mr. Lieberman from Connecticut, but the fact that the two men will not be together here publicly in terms of pictures, that is also part of your thinking, part of your calculus.

HALE: I think way too much of that has been made of that either in the press or around here. It just so happens that we believe that the president should have the spotlight on Monday night, and then Senator Lieberman can come to town, and then the vice president will be here. I think that people may be reading too much into all this.

SHAW: But what about the real grumbling among the vice president's advisers about the fact that the president of the United States is going to be in this city raising money, they hope $10 million for his presidential library in Little Rock, and the first lady will be in this city raising money for her New York Senate campaign. This all the while you're having the vice president's convention.

HALE: First of all, I don't think there's been as much grumbling as that -- as some of the newspaper articles may have portrayed. It just is perfectly natural. They're here, they have a constituency where they may want to raise the money. I also will tell you, I think the $10 million figure is greatly inflated. And the president will be raising considerably less than that here at a very warm and terrific event for his library in the future.

SHAW: But, Marcia Hale, coming full circle now, you're convinced in your heart of hearts and mind of minds that when Al Gore finishes his speech on this podium Thursday night, there will be no doubt in the delegates mind as well as the millions watching that this is Al Gore's party?

HALE: Absolutely. We know by the time Senator Lieberman gets his speech and outlines his agenda for the future and after Al Gore gives his speech, that we absolutely will have identified we want to take this party, and we want to build on the accomplishments of the last eight years, and that this election is important, and the American public has some choices to make and some important decisions to make. And Al Gore will be better known and better identified with the issues after it.

SHAW: Marcia Hale, the Gore 2000 convention manager, thank you very much.

HALE: Thank you.

SHAW: We'll be following your show all week long.

HALE: Good.

SHAW: Judy.

WOODRUFF: We will.

And now to our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, on some of the questions raised in this presidential campaign -- Jeff.

GREENFIELD: You know something, Judy? This campaign is getting interesting. And one of the reasons is a whole new series of questions that have arisen about the boundary between a candidate's private and public life.

Example: Senator Joseph Lieberman's religion. As an Orthodox Jew, he keeps kosher and he observes the sabbath, but he can work on Saturdays when urgent public business is at stake. So far, private.

Now, an Orthodox Jew, he prays in synagogues that forbid men and women from praying or sitting together. And unlike reform or conservative branches, women cannot become orthodox rabbis. So one writer on "The Wall Street Journal's" conservative op-ed page asked this question: If a conservative Republican invoked God and the Bible and came from a church where men and women couldn't sit together, would the press's reaction be the same? In other words, is Lieberman getting a break because he's not part of the religious right, or given Lieberman's stand on women's issues in the Senate, are the dictates of his faith best left to the private arena? Another example: Republican vice-president Dick Cheney has a daughter who's openly gay. This is hardly a secret. Until May, she worked as a liaison between Coors Beer and the gay and lesbian communities. The Cheneys don't talk about this. They simply say they love all their children. OK, but is it relevant that the Republican platform would forbid Mary Cheney from adopting a child or from serving in the military? Or that the law in Governor Bush's state makes private consensual sex between same-sex couples a crime? Is this, as one liberal columnist in "The L.A. Times" wrote, "hypocrisy," or is this a family matter best left in the private arena.

Another example: Bill Clinton's extraordinary monologue yesterday talked about what the scandal and impeachment had done to him, and he talked in intensely personal ways. He did not, as he has done in the past, attacked his political opponents, just reflected on how it had changed him. OK, but is it relevant that in making this statement he cleared the decks for his last major political speech this coming Monday, and that it left him free to ignore the worst moments of his administration and absorb the cheers of the faithful Monday night?

Can we take these deeply private words, in other words, as the heartfelt comments of a man who's gone through fire, or should we cast a more skeptical eye on the motives for those words? You know, these sorts of questions rarely, if ever, came up in earlier political times, but they are part of the national conversation now. And the fact is answers to them may determine who becomes the next president -- Judy, Bernie.

WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, thank you.

SHAW: And there is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Still to come:


BUCHANAN: I think this lady will be a tremendous benefit to our cause and our campaign and our movement.


WOODRUFF: Pat Buchanan fills out his Reform Party ticket, as the battle for party control continues.



SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Not one, but two Democratic conventions are about to take place here in Los Angeles, one after the other. Can this town cope with both of them?


SHAW: Bill Schneider on whether this city of angels is up to the political "Play of the Week."

And later:


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He had nine good excuses we got from his press people about why he is not here tonight.

Lost track of time while sitting on dad's lap playing the "what's it like to be president" game.


WOODRUFF: A look at the lighter side of Joseph Lieberman.


SHAW: This is our position in the hall at Los Angeles.

Now the convention that already is under way here in California, the Reform Party's political slugfest in Long Beach. Today, presidential candidate Pat Buchanan announced his running mate. In the process, he struck themes he is not especially known for: inclusion and diversity.

More now from CNN's Gary Tuchman.


PAT BUCHANAN (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me introduce to you the first black lady ever to run on a major party ticket in the United States of America: Ezola Foster.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pat Buchanan is on the brink of one of the two presidential nominations the fractured Reform Party will put forward. And he has a running mate.

BUCHANAN: She is a lady who does not cut her conscious to fit this year's fashion.

TUCHMAN: Ezola Foster is a former Los Angeles teacher and administrator who lost an election to the California State Assembly. She has backed Pat Buchanan since the 1996 election. She also says she shares his philosophies, even on issues that are quite sensitive to many in the African-American community.

EZOLA FOSTER (REF), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Confederate flag represented a side. It is part of our history. It is to be honored as part of our history, and not used as some excuse to make a racial issue out of it. It is not a race issue.

TUCHMAN: Buchanan-Foster will be nominated tonight, but this is just one of two Reform conventions in town. In the same convention complex, but in a different room, a severed wing of the party is preparing to nominate physicist John Hagelin. A fight will soon ensue over $12.6 million in matching funds. But Buchanan is doing his best do ignore Hagelin, and says Vice President Foster will be the head of a Buchanan domestic policy council and will be a key advocate for education and other issues.

FOSTER: We want to do what's right for all Americans. And to do that, we have got to stop with all these different groups, and stop appeasing one group after another.

TUCHMAN: African-American faces are few and far between among the Buchanan delegates, but the campaign insists this is a ticket for all Americans.

FOSTER: There's only one race we're interested in, and that's the race to the White House, one we intend to win.

TUCHMAN: Buchanan was asked: Would Ezola Foster be ready to step in as the nation's commander-in-chief?

BUCHANAN: I think Ezola's foreign policy experience, I would agree, is about roughly comparable to that of George W. Bush, who is currently being home-schooled by Ms. Condoleeza Rice.

TUCHMAN: Buchanan vows he'll take Foster under his wing, a wing she seems glad to be under.

FOSTER: If you're too leftist, you might not want to be with us. But the thing is, we are here to do what's right for all Americans and we are here to support a man who recognizes America is a republic, and not an empire.

Thank you very much.


TUCHMAN: Tonight was to be a big evening for a united Reform Party. It was the night they would nominate a presidential candidate who they could all rally around. Well, it's still a big night for this party, but it's a bit deluded, because this room tonight will nominate Patrick Buchanan, and the room across the way in this very same convention center will nominate John Hagelin, two men who will both speak tomorrow night to the respected delegates, who both claim to be the sole presidential nominee of the Reform Party.

Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Gary Tuchman in Long Beach, thanks very much.

And we are now joined by E.J. Dionne of "The Washington Post" and David Brooks of "The Weekly Standard."

E.J., to you first, is Pat Buchanan going to be a factor at all in this campaign?

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": At the moment, he looks like a limited factor. I was watching that piece before, and an old professor of mine called Nathan Glazer wrote a book called "We're All Multiculturalists Now," and when Pat Buchanan decides to play diversity politics, I think he proved the title of that particular book.

At the moment, with the split in the Reform Party, he is not gaining traction. If he can get his hands on some of that money, he hopes to try to bump himself up in the polls. But right now, it doesn't look like he's making much of an impact.

WOODRUFF: David Brooks, what do you think? Will have any influence on the outcome of this convention?

DAVID BROOKS, "WEEKLY STANDARD": Yes, looking at this convention is like the ghost of convention past, like real politics, real conflict, people walking out. But I actually do think he'll have an impact. He's like at 1 percent in the polls right now. But listen, there is a real group of people who are hurt by globalization, who are hurt be free trade, and they tend to be working-class people who are being displaced as jobs move overseas. And Pat Buchanan is the only one on the conservative side who represents that group, the people who don't like open immigration. So I suspect eventually, they will rally to him. I mean, the guy won the New Hampshire primary four years ago. The guy has an audience. The guy has a personal style which is more exciting than anyone else on the scene. So eventually, I think he's going to get 2 or 3 percent, which is going to be enough to influence everybody else.

WOODRUFF: But, E.J., I was just going to say, isn't this entirely dependent on him getting that $12 million?

DIONNE: I think that a lot depends on that. And who knows how long that will be tied up in court. I think that the other striking thing is that while David is entirely right, there is a constituency out there that is kind of like an anti-globalistic constituency. Right now, Ralph Nader seems to be doing a much better job of picking that up. He does have some money to spend, Nader does, and so I think one of the surprises of the year is how much of that potential Buchanan support has gone over to Nader.

WOODRUFF: David Brooks, let's switch over to this other convention that we're about go cover here. And I want to ask you about President Clinton's comments yesterday. Has he now said everything he needs to say about his own problems, and in effect, absolving Al Gore of any responsibly, or does he need to say more when he comes here Monday night?

BROOKS: He needs to say less. He needs to say less than six months ago. I mean, the problem with Clinton is not Lewinsky scandal; it's that he's got to always involve us in his personal Baby Boomer pyschodrama -- you know, I disgraced the presidency, but it was a growth experience. You know, that was essentially the message that he gave us.

And the problem for Gore is to say, I am not going to play that game if I am going to distance myself from Clinton, it's not going to be on policy; it's going to be on style. It's going to be on Baby Boomer narcissism. I'm not going to get the country involved in my soap opera for the next eight years. I'm going to give you good policies, but I'm not going to emote the way Clinton does and drag you into this, what many people feel is sort of a sordid, monthly exercise, the state of Bill Clinton's soul.

WOODRUFF: E.J., do we know whether the president is going to talk about it again here at the convention?

DIONNE: Well, I think that the general view is that the Clinton side did not want the president to have to use the convention speech to let Al Gore off the hook. I think he did owe it to Al Gore to say something like what he said, not necessarily go through the whole personal exploration, as David talked about, but to say, look, Al Gore can not be blamed for this personal scandal.

I think that the problem for Al Gore is that he is involved in a really torture relationship with Bill Clinton -- political, not personal, I should add quickly. Tortured in the sense that he wants credit for the success of the administration. He broadly agrees with the policies, which are popular. So he wants to grab Clinton and let him go at the same time. And I think that one of the interesting psychodramas at this convention is how he will be able to pull those off at the same time, and that's I think there's going to be more interest in this convention, because that's going to be one of many somethings.

WOODRUFF: David Brooks, does the choice of Joe Lieberman make it easier or harder for Al Gore to do that?

BROOKS: Much easier. It was the first home run of the race, and if the Bush people's overconfidence is not punctured by the Lieberman pick, then nothing will puncture it. The poll lead is down to the single-digits. Lieberman as a pick just continues to grow and grow because one of the things that it does is it shows us that this race is going to be steeped in religion and religious talk.

But also it goes to the heart of the American quandary that Bush was trying to address at his convention, which is, we're a rich country, we've got these nice rider movers, we've got big kitchens, but what's it all about. What's really important? Are we being corrupted by all of these riches around? And Lieberman really says there's something higher. There are values higher, which are religious values, and that -- so Gore has really tapped into the essential question.

To me, the thing to look for in the race, is will Joe Lieberman attack Hollywood? Will he attack that culture, which has really been a centerpiece of his whole political career?

WOODRUFF: And just quickly, we only have about 15 seconds, E.J., what do you think? Will Lieberman carry on this anti-Hollywood, anti- entertainment industry campaign?

DIONNE: I got a call this afternoon from Bill Bennett's office, Bill Bennett the moral czar, who said that -- his office said he and Lieberman together at the Democratic convention are going to go after Hollywood. So you talk about a great party. On the one side, the Democrats are fighting over whether to have a party at the Playboy mansion later in the week. Lieberman and Bennett against Hollywood. It's going to be a great week.

WOODRUFF: In more ways than one.

E.J. Dionne, David Brooks, thank you both. Great to see you.

DIONNE: Thank you.

BROOKS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. And we'll see you on you out here in Los Angeles -- Bernie.

DIONNE: I'll see you there.

WOODRUFF: All right, great -- Bernie.

SHAW: The Bush campaign's press plane has quite a reputation among the traveling media. Reporters have griped about dripping oil, loose rivets, even onboard fires. But at least the engines have worked, until now. In Philadelphia today, seventy reporters covering the Gore campaign watched Air Force Two take off before them and without them. The press charter was grounded because of an engine problem. Reporters were herded to a hotel. For the next Gore event, they are flying commercial.

Still ahead: a running mate and a comedian? A look at why some are calling Joseph Lieberman one of the funniest men in Washington.


SHAW: After days of discussion of his Orthodox Jewish faith, Joe Lieberman is set tonight to observe one of its most important rituals: the Jewish Sabbath, or Shabbat. Traditionally, Orthodox Jews begin Sabbath Friday at sundown with the woman of the home lighting candles. The man of the home then recites the Kiddush, or blessing over the wine.

The family then sits down to Sabbath dinner. From sundown Friday until sundown Saturday, Orthodox Jews may not drive, use a telephone, or even flip the light switch. Senator Lieberman will stay off the campaign trail during that time.

WOODRUFF: Lieberman's careful observance of Jewish law, along with his crusade to clean up the entertainment industry, have earned him a somewhat dour reputation. But there is another side to Joseph Lieberman which was shown last fall at a for-charity competition at Washington's Improv Comedy Club.

Here's part of his standup routine, beginning with the reasons, he said, Governor George W. Bush did not take part.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LIEBERMAN: He had nine good excuses we got from his press people about why he is not here tonight. Are you ready? Reasons George W. Bush could not be here tonight:

No contest is more important than honoring his commitment to be home on tuna casserole night -- all right -- lost track of time while sitting on dad's lap playing the "what's it like to be president" game.

No. 6: Finishes negotiations with J.H. Hatfield for a biography on John McCain. You remember that one. All right.

Seven: Laura Bush was feeling not especially conservative, but especially compassionate. You know what -- you get that -- you know what I mean.

All right, No. 8 -- hey, that's about as risque as a guy who hangs around with Bill Bennett can get, you know -- still fine-tuning his plan to sabotage the wedding of Ross Perot's other daughter.

And No. 9: George W. is not here because he couldn't think of anything funnier to say than President Steve Forbes.

All right, now I have saved the last about presidential politics for the best, the best campaign. And that is the Al Franken for President campaign. Obviously none of you know this, but in it -- and this is the truth -- he chose me has his vice presidential candidate. And he did, he said, because he wanted a balanced ticket. He is a reformed Jew and I am an Orthodox Jew. That was the whole deal.

Anyway, you may laugh -- and I thank you for laughing -- but Al takes this very, very seriously. And while this is still alive, I have been working on some campaign slogans for us. This is it, folks, the final list of the night. And here is a few we're batting around -- let me know what you think -- for the Franken-Lieberman all-Jewish ticket.

With malice toward none, but a little guilt for everyone. Tippecanoe and two Jews too. This is one of my favorites. Can you see it on a bumper sticker? Franken and Lieberman, no bull, no pork. All right. This one is a special bumper sticker for the angry, white male vote: lox and load.

All right. And finally, my favorite: Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your mother.

Thank you very much. Good night.


WOODRUFF: Senator Joe Lieberman -- he won that contest and the title "Washington's Funniest Celebrity."

When we return, Bill Schneider says the Reform Party is not the only one holding two conventions -- the explanation and the "Play of the Week" coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: President Clinton arrives in Los Angeles today. He will be in this hall on Monday -- Mr. Clinton arriving for a weekend of fund raisers before the convention opens.

Joining us once more again with more on the impact of the president's visit, our own Bill Schneider -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Bernie, here is something you might not know: Not one, but two Democratic conventions are about to take place here in Los Angeles, one after the other. Can this town cope with both of them? That would certainly be the political "Play of the Week."


(voice-over): Al Gore and Bill Clinton, two political figures, two different cities. The Clinton convention will take place in Hollywood. You know how Bill Clinton likes to hang out with movie stars, how he'd like to be a movie star.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Ever since I was I was a little boy, I have wanted to be a real actor.

SCHNEIDER: It all starts Saturday with a glitzy fund raiser for the first lady -- then Sunday, a fund raiser for Bill Clinton's presidential library.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four more years everybody. Good night.

SCHNEIDER: The fact is, Hollywood loves Bill Clinton. He's got star quality, and he's provided what matters in Hollywood: good entertainment value. And so, for the next three days, Hollywood will celebrate and honor and reward the president and the first lady for it. But when Gore finally comes to town for his convention, it will be a different city that celebrates him.

His convention will take place in the Los Angeles of the new economy, the self-described "Capital City" of the 21st century. After all, Gore's not a Hollywood kind of guy. Hollywood loves Clinton because he's the first president to come out of the culture of the '60s. Gore and Lieberman are critics of that culture. Tipper Gore once crusaded against offensive rock lyrics: how un-cool. Lieberman has made common cause with Bill Bennett to demand that the entertainment media promote virtue. Where's the percentage in that?

LIEBERMAN: As Tipper Gore said so well, and she said it when it was so difficult to say, we are going to stand with parents across this country who are working so hard to raise PG kids in an X-Rated society.

SCHNEIDER: Gore's Los Angeles is bustling, teeming center of the Pacific Rim economy, a city not of glitz, but of muscle, a magnet for immigrants, a booming trade center, a thriving high-tech economy. Sure, the entertainment industry is one of the largest in town. But with Gore, the emphasis is on industry, not entertainment. This town isn't big enough for both of us, they used to say in Western shoot-'em-ups. Oh, yes it is: Hollywood for Clinton, L.A.'s freewheeling, new economy for Gore. Two conventions, one party. Two cities, one "Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: Now, when President Clinton passes the torch to Gore on Tuesday, he won't be passing it to a new generation, he'll be passing it to a new stage in the life of his own Baby-Boom generation. They've put sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll behind them, and moved on to family, work and responsibility.

SHAW: Bill Schneider, thank you.


SHAW: Let's pass the torch to Judy and Jeff.

WOODRUFF: All right. And joining us once again with some final thoughts, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.

GREENFIELD: Rock 'n' roll behind us, not a chance.

Finally, with all of the talk about what television has done to politics, it might be useful to look back and see what the broadcast pioneers thought was going to happen. There's a book called "From Whistle Stop to Sound Bite," and in it, Sig Mickelson, a long-time CBS news producer, recalls a heady sense of optimism.

He wrote that he and most of his colleagues believed that, quote, "The nation was at the dawn of a new day in political campaigning that would inevitably bring better candidates, better-informed voters, great voter participation, the end of sham charlantanism in campaigning. Sloganeering would seen be a lost art. From now on," they thought, "reason would prevail over emotion."

They also believed that television would lead to shorter campaigns and lower costs for the candidates. One of the dissenters from this rosy view was a Connecticut senator name William Benton. A one-time advertising executive, he thought the cost of television ads might actually distort the political process. He was only a senator for two years. In 1952, he lost his Senate seat to Prescott Bush, father of President Bush, grandfather of Governor Bush, whose primary campaign this year spent more money than any other campaign in the American history.

As Yogi Berra once said, predictions are tricky, especially about the future.

WOODRUFF: So, we will try not to make any.


WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, you have a special tonight. Tell us what's going to be on? GREENFIELD: It's 10:00 Eastern, that would 7:00 Pacific time, and apart from a political panel -- journalists -- Mike Kramer of the "News," Rich Lowry of "National Review," and Tamala Edwards of "Time," we have got non-political people, including novelist Anne Rice, screenwriter Andrew Bergman and novelist Francine Prose. I figure that any novelist who writes about vampires could conceivably have something to say about this process.

So, I think it is going to be a different kind of conversation. And I hope everybody will watch.

WOODRUFF: Much to look to forward to. Jeff Greenfield, thanks.

GREENFIELD: Thank you.

SHAW: Well, before we go, I want to say an appreciative applause to all of our technical people who really scrambled to get us back on the air once we had power problems here.

WOODRUFF: And to our good friend Jim Moret for filling in for the first quarter-hour of this program.

SHAW: Absolutely.

That is all for this convention edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but of course, you can go online all the time at

WOODRUFF: And these weekend programing notes. Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman will be among Wolf Blitzer's guests Sunday on a special two-hour "LATE EDITION." That's at noon Eastern.

And we'll be back with a one-hour special INSIDE POLITICS on Sunday night at 8:00 Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: I am Bernard Shaw.

"WORLDVIEW" is next.



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