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CNN Late Edition
Democratic National Convention Set to Begin in L.A.Aired August 13, 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 9 a.m. in Los Angeles, noon in Washington, 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 special two-hour LATE EDITION.
We'll get to our interview with Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman in just a few minutes, but first let's check in with CNN reporters covering the hour's top story.
We begin here in Los Angeles, where Democrats this week are gathering to make their case to voters and to officially name Al Gore as their party's presidential nominee.
CNN senior White House correspondent John King joins us from outside the Staples center here in L.A. with the latest -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE COTRRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, Al Gore's convention, the Democratic National Convention opens tomorrow. The vice president, though, still a few days away. He is down double digits in the polls right now, spending the next few days, campaigning in key battleground states that will decide the November election.
Yesterday, it was Cleveland, Ohio. Ohio, a state Republicans know they need to win, to win the White House, a state Bill Clinton carried twice. Al Gore is trailing now, trying to make up the deficit there.
And as the vice president makes his way to Los Angeles, some grumbling that the man already here is stealing a bit of the spotlight.
President Clinton came into town over the weekend. He has been raising money for his presidential library, raising millions of dollars for his wife's Senate campaign, making his way about Hollywood stars, some grumbling in the Gore campaign and among other Democrats that perhaps the president has not figured out how to cede center stage to his vice president, but on the Sunday talk circuit this morning, the chairman of the Gore campaign, a close friend of the president, as well, the former Commerce Secretary Bill Daley said he is convinced that too much is being made of this, and that both the vice president and the president will handle this delicate transition just fine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: President Clinton is here to thank Democrats who have supported him over the last 8 years. After tomorrow night's speech, which is an important speech for the president, for the campaign, for Democrats, this is Al Gore's convention, it's Al Gore's campaign, and it's Al Gore's election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Now inside the White House, senior aides say way too much is being made of this. They made note of the fact that the president has taken the lead in raising millions of dollars for the Democratic National Committee. That frees Al Gore up to campaign.
They also say the Gore campaign is relying on the president to help frame the issues debate in the coming budget battle with congressional Republicans. The president will try to draw Governor Bush into some of those disputes.
And in the fall, the Gore campaign already making plans for the president to take a lead role in campaigning to turn out the Democratic base, especially African-American voters.
Still, though, everybody watching to see how the president, the man who very much loves to campaign, loves to be in the spotlight, how does he step back and allow his vice president to step forward? A symbolic hand-off will come Tuesday in Michigan. Then Al Gore comes to Los Angeles to take control of his convention and what will then be his Democratic Party -- Wolf.
BLITZER: John King, reporting from here in Los Angeles. Thanks.
The man challenging Vice President Al Gore, Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush, spent part of this weekend campaigning in Arizona. CNN's Chris Black is traveling with the Bush campaign. She joins us now live from Sedona -- Chris.
CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, George W. Bush spent the days leading up to the Democratic national convention with Senator John McCain, the Republican from Arizona, who was his rival for the Republican nomination, but more important, a man with proven appeal to independent voters.
With McCain by his side, Governor Bush campaigned in three states that have not voted for a Republican president since 1984: California, Oregon and Washington. Bush campaign officials say that polls show Governor Bush is within striking distance of Vice President Al Gore in those states.
Then McCain brought Bush home to Arizona, took him straight to the steps of the granite courthouse in Prescott, Arizona, where a conservative icon, Barry Goldwater, launched his presidential candidacy in 1964.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Barry Goldwater didn't win, but his spirit of independence, of conservatism, of an inclusive party, of a nation that has not begun to realize his greatness, is here with us today, in the person of the next president of the United States of America, George W. Bush.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACK: Now, in just a few minutes, Governor Bush is going to fly home to Texas. He intends to wait out the Democratic National Convention at his ranch in Crawford. He's going to leave any task of responding to Democratic attacks to the Republican National Committee and to his surrogates.
He'll have a few campaign meetings while he's up there in Crawford, but he says he doesn't intend to watch too much of the Democratic convention, because there is no cable service at the ranch. Why is that? Well, he's decided not to install a satellite dish until the new ranch house is completed. Why? He said because, quote, this is a direct quote, Wolf, "I'm a fiscal conservative" -- Wolf,
BLITZER: OK. Chris Black, I guess you couldn't pick a nicer backdrop in beautiful Sedona, Arizona. Thanks for joining us.
Vice President Al Gore made waves and history this past week with the selection of his vice presidential running mate. Connecticut Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman is a lawmaker who enjoys a reputation for working well with both Republicans and Democrats. He's also the first Jewish candidate to run on a major national ticket.
Joining us now from Washington to talk about his candidacy and the campaign ahead is the Democratic vice presidential candidate, Joseph Lieberman.
Senator Lieberman, welcome back to LATE EDITION, good to have you. And congratulations on this very historic moment in your life.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you, Wolf. It's great to be back.
I still have a sense of wonderment about what's happened and an awful lot of gratitude to Al Gore for making it possible. So I'm going to try my best to get him elected president, because he deserves it.
BLITZER: All right. Now, when did you first realize that this was a realistic possibility, that he was going to ask you to be his running mate?
LIEBERMAN: Well, honestly, the weeks before the announcement, last Monday, were up and down, a roller coaster of emotions, because the truth is the vice president kept it very close to himself. He did this in a very thoughtful private, dignified way.
Every now and then, somebody would suggest to the media which way they thought it was going. Frankly, my wife and I went to sleep Sunday night, for various reasons, convinced that I wasn't going to be chosen. And we woke up Monday morning to turn on the TV and find that apparently I had been.
So it has been a thrilling week. I hope this selection actually helps the American people get to know Al Gore more and better, as I know him, as a family friend and a fellow public servant. He's a guy with a lot of guts, with a real commitment to his family and his faith, and with a lifetime commitment to public service. He's really made a difference.
BLITZER: Senator Lieberman, as you know, the Republicans are trying to make a major issue of some of the disagreements you have with Vice President Gore.
Let's briefly -- I know you've been asked about this before, but let's briefly go over some of those points, just to try to nail down precisely where you stand on some of those disagreements right now.
For example, on the issue of raising the retirement age for recipients of Medicare and Social Security, it's 65 right now. In the past, you've said you would be open to increasing, to raising that age, whereas the vice president says that is off the table.
LIEBERMAN: Let me make two quick preliminary statements. The first is that the Republicans have said that there were disagreements in some areas where there just are not. And maybe that is why they were surrounding me with love when my announcement -- the announcement of my selection occurred, to somehow say that I changed my mind. On some of these, there are facts were not correct.
However there have been some differences of opinion between Al Gore and me. And I think it is a mark of his strength as a leader that he didn't look for somebody who agreed with him on everything. And he has encouraged me to continue to share my point of view, quest for new ideas, better solutions to problems. But of course, I understand, Wolf, how it works. And when the president decides, the vice president supports it.
On the question of raising the retirement age, I think what you may be talking about is a vote that occurred -- this is for Medicare, I believe -- a vote that occurred in the Senate in 1996, I think it was. It was on a resolution, a sense of the Senate, to think about this as way to save Medicare.
Medicare then was projected to have only four years before it went into bankruptcy, so I thought we had to at least discuss some controversial responses. And therefore I voted not to table the sense of Senate. It wasn't a bill to actually make it happen. It was just to discuss it. And I said, too important, let's not keep anything off the table.
Today, the Medicare trust fund is in great shape. It is not only well beyond the four years. It is now projected to be stable, because of the great economic times and surplus, probably 20 years. So I would say, fortunately, we don't have to consider raising the retirement age. But, you know, keep it on the table? I mean, there's very little that you take off the table, if you want to be an honest public official. BLITZER: All right, let's move on to next issue which is privatizing part of Social Security. As you know, Governor Bush says this is a good idea; Vice President Gore says this is a bad idea. Let me read to you what you said in a 1998 interview on this subject.
You said, "A remarkable wave of innovative thinking is advancing the concept of privatization. I think in the end that individual control of part of the retirement Social Security funds has to happen." Is that still your position?
LIEBERMAN: No. Here is what happened. That was a point at which there was a lot of talk about privatizing part of Social Security. I was intrigued with it.
LIEBERMAN: And I went through several months meeting with experts on all sides, and I concluded in the end there was no "there" there, that to make the privatization of Social Security possible, you had to do one thing that would really hurt Social Security, which is the minimum guarantee that we give to all senior citizens in our country: You had to take a trillion dollars out of the fund which would have put the fund in jeopardy 10 or 12 years earlier than otherwise.
Secondly, the privatization accounts end up being subtracted from your Social Security benefits, so you don't gain anything. So three different times, '98 and '99, colleagues came to me and asked me to co-sponsor privatization proposals, and I said no. In fact, in 1999, there was a specific vote about privatizing accounts, and I voted against them because I thought it wasn't in the best interests of senior citizens, and I still feel that way. I think Social Security is the floor that we provide for all seniors. We shouldn't tamper with it.
Vice President Gore has a great proposal to use tax incentives to allow middle-class Americans to save some more money for their retirement. I think that is the way to try to put the stock market at the call of more senior citizens in our country.
BLITZER: What about on this issue of individuals' rights to sue their HMOs, the patients' bill of rights. In the past, you have said that perhaps there should be some limits. That is a position the Republicans are taking, whereas most Democrats, including Vice President Gore, are much more determined to avoid those kinds of limits on suing HMOs, health-care providers.
LIEBERMAN: Right. Wolf, tort reform, including for instance product liability and something called biomaterials, is an area I have been very interested in. And there are some points of disagreement here between Al Gore and me. But on the specific question of the patient bill of rights, I have supported -- I voted for the exact same proposal that the vice president has. And I have done that because under the current state of law, a person who feels that they have been badly treated by their managed care company or insurance company has no right to sue. The doctor has lost control too often to the bureaucrat, and I think that is an injustice. In that case, I'm foursquare with the vice president for a patient bill of rights. BLITZER: What about on the controversial issue of school vouchers. In the past, you together with Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, John Breaux of Louisiana, a few of the so-called DLC, Democratic Leadership Council, Democrats, the New Democrats, have been open to that. I take it your position has changed. Has it changed in the last few days?
LIEBERMAN: No, and there is a lot of -- misconceptions, I think, out there, mostly from the other party. I supported school scholarship vouchers for poor kids to allow their parents to take them out of failing schools. And that was, in my opinion, a kind of a temporary lifeline to allow parents who couldn't afford to do what most parents can afford it would do if their kids were in a school they didn't think was educating them, to take them out. It was also a test. It was never my full education program. Vice President Gore and I agree on so much else that is part of his education program, including more funding, more accountability. And he has the money to do it because he is not giving the whole surplus away in a tax break for the wealthy, as Governor Bush is.
So bottom line? If you ask me personally, I'm still for a test of vouchers. But I understand how this works when you are vice president. And Al Gore has encouraged me to continue the search for new ideas, to be open in conversation with him privately. But when he decides, he will have my loyalty and support.
I feel that it is a mark of his strength of leadership that he didn't look for a running mate who agreed with him on everything. I think the public gains from that kind of free expression of ideas, which has been part of my relationship with Al. And I hope in that way maybe the public gets also a clearer view of this good and strong man who should be our next president.
BLITZER: Senator Lieberman, I want to play a sound bite from Vice President Gore on July 21. He was addressing the AFL-CIO. And he spoke critically of the Bush campaign, specifically of Governor Bush.
BLITZER: I want you to listen to what he said, and I want to get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our opponents in this election may have a lot of powerful interests on their side. They do. They may have the big insurance companies and HMOs, the drug companies and the oil companies, those who can't wait to pry open new tax loopholes for the wealthy...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What the other side is pointing out -- the Republicans -- is that you have been the recipient of extensive campaign contributions from the insurance companies, perhaps understandable given the fact you represent Connecticut, and Hartford is the headquarters of so many insurance companies, as well as pharmaceutical companies. On this issue, is there a disagreement between you and the vice president?
LIEBERMAN: Not really. I mean, as you fairly point out, Wolf, we have a load of insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies in Connecticut. Tens of thousands of my constituents work for those companies, so when I've been able to help them, I have.
But, believe me, I have felt free to go my independent way when I have not agreed with their position. And for instance, the insurance companies do not support the patient bill of rights that I support, but I just respectfully think they're wrong. They wanted alterations in Superfund, toxic dump reform, and I didn't support them because I didn't think they were right.
The pharmaceutical companies are not for the administration's program of Medicare coverage for prescription drugs. I think that's critically necessary and the right way to do it, so I've separated from them, and as anything else, in the best part of the post- Watergate campaign finance system is that, before the soft money and stealth PACs, it not only provided limited contributions, but made them public, and then the public and our opponents can judge us based on our votes.
And I think my votes have shown that I've been independent. A final word on this: Between the two tickets, Gore-Lieberman and Bush- Cheney, there's only one ticket, our ticket, that's supporting campaign finance reform and I got a kick out of seeing John McCain with George Bush in Arizona, but George Bush is not supporting John McCain's campaign finance reform. Al Gore and I are.
LIEBERMAN: And Al says it will be the first proposal he will make to the Congress in January. Ought to be.
BLITZER: All right, Senator Lieberman, we have to take a quick break. Just ahead: Senator Lieberman has never been shy about his personal spiritual values, but what role will religion play as a vice president?
We'll ask him about the delicate balance of keeping faith in political life. This LATE EDITION from Los Angeles will continue in just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LIEBERMAN: Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, beginning his remarks with a prayer after being officially introduced as Vice President Al Gore's running mate last week.
Welcome back to this special two-hour LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention here in Los Angeles. We're continuing our conversation with Senator Lieberman.
Senator Lieberman, on international affairs, one of the hottest issues right now is a proposed U.S. missile defense shield. As you know, the allies in Europe are opposed to it, the Russians are, the Chinese.
Only this past week, the U.S. intelligence community concluded that there would be an escalated arms race, that China inevitably would go ahead build more nuclear warheads that potentially could reach the United States if the U.S. went ahead with this estimated $70 billion proposal that may or may not even work at this point. In the past, you've supported it. Is it too controversial? Is it, perhaps, time to reconsider your position on that issue?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I think we've got to follow the facts here, as I have tried to follow them as I have gone along. I mean, I got into the idea of a missile defense not out of any sort of fantasy interested in "Star Wars" but because the intelligence community and then the Rumsfeld Commission, which you know about, Wolf, made clear to the United States that we faced a ballistic missile threat, not just from great powers, that's not what's worrying us, but from rogue nations, perhaps even from sub-national groups like terrorists or drug cartels.
And that, in the exercise of protecting our national security, we ought to try to provide some defense against a limited missile attack. I'd hate to be around if, God forbid, in the future such an attack occurred and we were unable to stop it. So, the administration, I think, has gone very methodically ahead responding to those same facts and now is on a course to develop a limited land-based system.
The report that came out this week, I have seen referenced, I haven't had a chance to read it, but the reaction of our allies and others is obviously worth considering as we balance whether we go ahead. But I still think that the technological work should go forward, and I'm convinced that we will be able to do this. Of course, we have to make sure to do everything possible to see that, as we do it, we bring countries like Russia, particularly, in as a cooperative partner in it. I think that is a very important part of it.
BLITZER: All right, Senator Lieberman, this past week President Clinton, once again, in some very open, candid comments apologized for his behavior during the Monica Lewinsky matter. I'm anxious to get your reaction. I want to play a quick sound bite from what the president said this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I feel much more at peace than I used to. And I think that as awful as what I went through was, and humiliating as it was, that more to -- more to others than to me, even, sometimes when you think you have got something behind you, and then it's not behind you, this sort of purging process, if it doesn't destroy you, can bring you to a different place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: You were the first major Democratic senator to speak up against the president's behavior on the floor of the Senate. Is this adequate, what the president is doing, on the eve of this convention here in Los Angeles?
LIEBERMAN: Wolf, to me, the timing seems coincidental. I mean, I thought the president was being very sincere. He was at a meeting of Evangelicals. I frankly have had similar conversations with him about this whole episode, and, you know, I think he is dealing with it and trying his best to make up for it.
And, as I said when I made my speech on the Senate floor, which was very difficult for me because I'm so proud of so many things the president has done to make life in America better, I've known him for 30 years, but I said I was commenting on his behavior, but ultimately, you know, only God can judge.
And when I spoke to the president, actually right afterward, when asked about my remarks, said he agreed with them. So I think this is just a continuation of that. And you know I wish him well.
I appreciate what he said, and I appreciate, particularly, that he said Al Gore shouldn't be blamed for what he did.
LIEBERMAN: I mean, the Republicans, George Bush seems to want to run against Bill Clinton who's not on the ballot this year. They are not running against the Clinton-Gore record, because it has been so good, so it's not really fair to Al Gore to hold him accountable for President Clinton's personal troubles, that's not right.
BLITZER: Senator Lieberman, on the issue of your being the first Jewish American to be on a major national ticket, and you're speaking openly about it, this past week the prayer that we earlier heard in this segment, I want to read to you an excerpt from "The Washington Post," editorial in which it said this. It said, "It's one thing to disclose conviction, a very different thing to flaunt and exploit it; that's the wispy line that a candidate ought not to cross."
The question is this: As you well know when American Jews hear Christian politicians speaking very, very thoroughly about their Christian attitudes, many of them oftentimes get nervous, given the fact that the Jewish community is a minority in this country.
Should the Christian community, the Christian majority be nervous when you speak so openly about your Jewish values and your Jewish traditions?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I hope not, and I don't believe they do. And I must say that I don't get nervous when I hear Christians speaking about the role of faith in their lives. My faith in God grounds my life, as it does Al Gore's life, as it does the lives of most Americans, and that's quite different from the separation of church and state, which of course we all support.
But at that moment in Nashville, frankly, I had such a sense of miracle, that I was there, that that prayer just came out of me because I was grateful to God for having brought me to this moment and, of course, grateful to Al Gore for having made it possible. So, you know, I think it's in the tradition of this country, going really back to the founders who were religious people, who said that -- I remember George Washington said, in his farewell address, "Don't indulge the conclusion -- the supposition that this democracy of ours can go on without religion as a source of morality."
And so I think religion plays an important role in the lives of individual Americans and in the general life of our country, and if there is a line, you don't want to do it too often, but it seems to me that if people in public life feel moved to talk about the role that their faith plays in their lives, then they have a First Amendment right to do so as well.
BLITZER: Senator Lieberman, it's always great to have you on LATE EDITION. You've been a frequent guest in the past and we hope you'll be a frequent guest down the road as well. Thank you so much, and once again congratulations on your getting that telephone call from Vice President Gore.
LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Wolf. I look forward to being with you often in the future.
BLITZER: Thank you, sir.
And coming up next: The Bush response. What's the Republican presidential candidate's game plan for facing the Democratic ticket?
We'll talk with the Bush campaign's chief strategist Karl Rove. LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a campaign that is going to be writing new chapters in the twenty-first century. We're moving forward. But Americans want to be assured that the next administration will bring honor and dignity to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Republican presidential nominee Governor George W. Bush taking on Vice President Al Gore on the campaign trail this past week.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION, coming to you this Sunday from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Joining us now from Austin, Texas is the Bush campaign's chief strategist, Karl Rove.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION, Mr. Rove.
And I want to get right to your reaction to what we just heard from Senator Lieberman. He says it should be a badge of honor that the vice president of the guts to pick someone who disagrees with him on several of these important issues. What's wrong with that?
KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, it shows that you can't believe what Al Gore says because he attacked Governor Bush as being unworthy of being president for having some of the same views that he now compliments his running mate for having. I guess it's risky if you are a Republican to have those views, but it's courageous if you are Joe Lieberman. It just underlines why Al Gore just simply can't believe -- be believed when it comes to issues in policy.
BLITZER: Do you accept the explanations from Senator Lieberman, the nuances on those sensitive issues like privatizing part of Social Security, the school vouchers, the tort reform, the legal reform, the ability to sue HMOs? Are those resonating with the Bush campaign?
ROVE: Well, let's take those one at a time. But can we start with patients bill of rights?
BLITZER: Well, let's do it very quickly. We don't have a lot of time.
ROVE: Patients bill of lights the Lieberman-Gramm-Chafee bill is very similar to the HMO patients' bill of rights that we passed here in Texas. In fact, I want to correct the record. The vice president and the president opposed Senator Lieberman's proposal. Their -- and he in turn opposed theirs. Their proposal was embodied in an amendment by Senator Daschle. And it was brought before the Senate. Senator Lieberman stood up and opposed it, saying it would lead to a flood of lawsuits and helped defeat the administration's proposal for its patients' bill of rights.
And, again, I repeat. his proposal -- Joe Lieberman's proposal, is very close to what we have here in Texas. And Vice President Gore has attacked Governor Bush for holding to that position.
BLITZER: Would you accept the notion that a debate between Senator Lieberman and Dick Cheney, the Republican vice presidential nominee, is going to be a formidable challenge, I guess for both of these candidates. But for Dick Cheney in particular, given the experience, the legislative experience, the positions taken by Senator Lieberman?
ROVE: Oh, I think Dick Cheney is going to do great. Because he is going to have a debate not only with Joe Lieberman, but with, for example on Medicare reform, Cheney and Lieberman supported the bipartisan commission on Medicare reform; Al Gore opposed it. On Social Security privatization, encouraging private personal retirement accounts, Cheney was for them. Lieberman has been for them until recently. We now understand there was a private op-ed which he wrote in June which nobody picked up and ran with, in which he backed off that position.
But again, he had a position that -- or had until recently a position very similar to Governor Bush's for which Vice President Gore said Governor Bush was risky and unsuitable for president by holding that position. Same on school vouchers. Cheney and Lieberman will have a similar position on school vouchers. Vice President Gore said Governor Bush was reckless and radical and reactionary for proposing it and unworthy of being president for having advocated it.
So there will be an interesting sort of three-way debate there when Cheney and Lieberman meet.
BLITZER: You heard Senator Lieberman also say based on what came out of the Republican convention in Philadelphia, the Republicans seemed to be running against Bill Clinton rather than Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. In fact, Bill Daley who is the Gore campaign chairman was on "Face the Nation" earlier today made a similar point.
Listen to what Bill Daley had to say.
DALEY: I think it is unfortunate that some people want to -- the opponents of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman -- want to go back and have a fight with President Clinton who won two elections. Maybe they are trying to re-litigate an election that took place eight years ago. We are talking about the future.
BLITZER: Is that is a fair criticism of your campaign?
ROVE: No, not at all. That is just laughable partisan rhetoric. Look, Clinton-Gore has set a tone in Washington which we failed to seize the moment to reform Social Security. Failed to seize the moment to reform Medicare. Have done nothing to close the achievement gap between students in poor schools and students in wealthy schools.
ROVE: There are lots of missed and squandered opportunities by this administration. What we're running against is the failure of this administration to seize those opportunities and the tone that they have set in Washington. The tone involves how they treat Congress, and the tone involves, also, how they view the office of the presidency.
I will remind you, at the time that Clinton was going through all of his difficulties, his biggest cheerleader was Al Gore. Al Gore, in fact, stepped up his activities in defense of the president, did not -- was not critical publicly or privately, stepped up his support for the president, said he was proud of him, called the whole impeachment affair a disservice to the country, defended the president at every opportunity he had, called him the greatest president -- one of the greatest presidents in American history.
And that's the tone we want to change. You cannot -- you cannot have an air of responsibility, and you cannot have a civil atmosphere in Washington if you are to have somebody who has those kind of highly partisan views.
BLITZER: Mr. Rove, as much as you and the Democrats try to the accentuate differences between the two major parties, Pat Buchanan is accentuating the similarities.
Listen to what he said this morning on "Meet the Press," as far as the Republicans and the Democrats are concerned.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK BUCHANAN (REF), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Republican Party has been Clintonized in this sense. Frankly, with a couple changes in policy, say on taxes, George Bush's speech could have been given at a Democratic Convention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Well, what do you say about Pat Buchanan?
ROVE: There is not much worth saying about that. I mean president -- Governor Bush's speech would not be -- was a great speech, but I doubt that anybody at the Democratic Convention is going to be giving anything similar to it.
Look, Pat Buchanan has become increasingly marginalized, this comic show in Long Beach with the split in the Reform Party, it is laughable. And Pat is going to be saying all kinds of extreme things in order to try to get some attention for himself in next couple months, but the third time's not going to be the charm for Pat Buchanan in his bid for the presidency.
BLITZER: What is the governor going to be doing over the next four days? We heard Chris Black say he doesn't have cable TV on his ranch. He's got to be following this Democratic Convention somewhat though, isn't he?
ROVE: Well, a little bit. He will turn on Waco TV, I guess, and watch a little bit of it. But he's going to be resting and relaxing. Look, he doesn't need to focus on the Democratic Convention in order to know what he feels and what he believes and what his agenda is.
I loved how Al Gore interrupted his a vacation to sort of fixate on the Republican Convention, watch it gavel-to-gavel. But Governor Bush is running because he knows in his heart what he wants to do and his convictions are not going to be changed by what happens at the Democratic Convention.
BLITZER: Karl Rove, thank you so much for joining us on LATE EDITION. We hope to have you back, as well, and I'm sure you'll be back on LATE EDITION frequently. Thanks for joining us.
ROVE: Whenever you want me to, Mr. Blitzer, whenever you want me to.
BLITZER: I'll be wanting you. Thank you for joining us
ROVE: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll want your boss as well.
And still to come on this two-hour LATE EDITION, an interview with Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. But up next, an L.A. showdown. We'll talk Bush versus Gore with two men who have never been shy about going toe-to-toe on LATE EDITION: California Republican Congressman David Dreier and New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel.
LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Welcome back to this special two-hour LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
Joining us now to talk about Bush versus Gore are two veteran members of Congress: California Republican Congressman David Dreier. He's serving his 10th term on Capitol Hill. he's also the California co-chairman of the Bush campaign.
And the New York Democratic Congressman Charlie Rangel, he's in his 15th term. He is the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee and a supporter of Vice President Al Gore.
Congressmen, always good to have you both of you on.
REP. DAVID DREIER (R), CALIFORNIA: Let me welcome both of you and say that, contrary to rumor, I have not short-sheeted Charlie's bed bringing him here into Los Angeles.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: That's one thing you Republicans have not done.
BLITZER: This is David Dreier's first Democratic convention. You're in the heart of the enemy right now.
DREIER: No, not at all, I mean, I don't see it that way, in fact, I always feel welcome being with two of you, and I think that we're very proud to he be hosting this convention in Los Angeles, and I just want to extend a very warm welcome. I hope it's a good convention, not a great convention, but a good convention.
RANGEL: You look a lot better in this surrounding though, where people are smiling. I mean, you really brings out the humanity in you, David.
DREIER: Well, we're compassionate conservatives, Charlie, you know that.
BLITZER: Congressman Rangel, you heard our interview with Senator Lieberman, you've been hearing some of the differences between Senator Lieberman and Vice President Gore. How comfortable are you, a liberal Democrat, a proud liberal Democrat representing your district, Harlem in New York City, with some of his positions, for example, on experimenting with school vouchers?
RANGEL: I am really surprised of the time that's spent outlining the differences that Joe Lieberman has with Vice President Gore. The reason is that the tent of the Democratic Party is so diverse that we've been able, in the minority as well as hopefully in the majority, to bring those from the liberal point of view, the very, very conservative point of view, to really do what is best, not just for our party, but for the country.
Those small differences or nuances, as the senator calls them, are nothing compared to what I have to do every day on the Ways and Means Committee to bring Democrats together on Social Security, on Medicare, on paying down the national debt. And so I think it's exciting to have a president and a vice president that don't read from the same page, but rather broadens that constituency to include all America. What's good for us is that they got Dick Cheney, and Dick Cheney doesn't agree with the left or the right of the Republican Party. He's with the far-out right.
BLITZER: All right, Charlie.
DREIER: You guys continue to try and paint Dick Cheney as some kind of extremist. You know that he was a great member of Congress, and you know that our colleagues in the Senate, when he was up for confirmation as Defense secretary, including Al Gore, spoke very, very highly of him.
The fact is, if you look at where Joe Lieberman stands, and I think the world of him, I co-chaired a CSIS task force with him that ended just a few months ago on international trade, he's a great guy, but as "The L.A. Times" pointed out a few months ago, he has really -- what we've seen is we've seen George Bush embracing the DLC position more closely than Al Gore has. This race is between Al Gore and George Bush and the visions...
RANGEL: Explain what the DLC is so the people know what it is.
DREIER: Well, it's the Democratic Leadership Council, and you're not a member of that, Charlie.
BLITZER: It's the New Democrats.
RANGEL: No, I just want you not to talk you know Beltway talk; you've got all these viewers here.
DREIER: Yes, I mean, I'll tell you the LATE EDITION audience knows what the DLC is. The fact is if you look at this campaign, it's between the vision that George Bush has and the one that Al Gore has, and I do believe that it's very true that Joe Lieberman, I know he's trying to discount this now, does on the issue of school choice, on the issue of allowing people to establish personal savings accounts, on the issue of affirmative action, has more closely aligned himself with George W. Bush than he has with Al Gore, and so I think that the vice presidential debate will be very, very interesting to see, as we look at the prospect of Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman agreeing more on issues than Al Gore and Joe Lieberman. RANGEL: Let me say this, first of all, I think we all agree that it's going to be a race between Vice President Gore and the governor from Texas. Second, I may not have made myself clear, I didn't mean to make any negative remarks about former Congressman Cheney, I said, "Thank God we got him," because one of the things...
DREIER: We agree on that, we thank God we got him too. We think he's a great running mate.
RANGEL: Listen, one of the things that we have a problem with is that every time we talk about a member's record or talk about the governor's record, it appears as though we're being negative.
There is a dramatic difference, even though we may use the same words, between what they call saving Social Security, saving Medicare, paying down the national debt, patient bill of rights. You can use all these wonderful terms, but in the House of Representatives, where you and I are privileged to serve, you know that we are ...
DREIER: The difference is, Charlie ...
RANGEL: ...we are miles apart on agreement.
DREIER: But, Charlie, you know the difference is that Dick Gephardt and many in your party, and you're occasionally part of it ...
RANGEL: Would you explain who ...
DREIER: He's going to be minority leader come January 2, we know that. But the difference here is the fact that we, as Republicans, have been doing our darnedest on Social Security, on Medicare, on a patients' bill of rights, on prescription drugs, to reach out, and yet your team has unfortunately stood in the way of ...
RANGEL: You have majority you have -- you have the majority.
DREIER: A very narrow majority, but we need Democrats to be able to bring in ...
RANGEL: Every bill that you pass, you make certain that the president is going to veto it. You've never cooperated with --
DREIER: That's not true.
BLITZER: All right, all right.
DREIER: That is not true, and you know we've worked together on a lot of things.
RANGEL: You and I have.
DREIER: I've worked with the president too, Charlie. Not as much as I did with you.
RANGEL: Then why don't we have a Social Security plan?
DREIER: Well, because the president hasn't come forward with a responsible one, and we ...
RANGEL: I just thought you had a majority ...
DREIER: Listen, if we could have a Bush-Lieberman party, I think we could do well on it.
RANGEL: Is there a House Republican Social Security plan?
DREIER: We very much are looking forward. I think we could ...
BLITZER: Let me interrupt this excellent conversation the two of you are having. Congressman Rangel, you have seen all the latest poll numbers. Al Gore seems to be deep in the hole right now. In fact, the CNN-"Time" magazine poll, among likely voters, has Bush at 53 percent, Gore at 39 percent, Ralph Nader at 4, Buchanan at 2.
Why is Al Gore, who has been so well-known to the American people over eight years, who is part of an administration that has helped strengthen this economy -- eight year economic bonanza, really -- why is he so deeply behind George W. Bush right now?
RANGEL: I haven't the slightest idea. I don't know why this wonderful country, during a time of prosperity for a lot of people, why we only have less than 45 percent of our people that are eligible to vote, participating. I gather that it's total indifference with the whole process that we are going through, and with (pundits), they say that people are not focusing, and they're not paying attention.
Take the CNN poll that had a 17 point difference between Vice President Gore and Governor Bush. And then he nominates, or selects, Joe Lieberman for the vice president, and that gap closes to 2 percent. Obviously, we are talking about very soft data.
BLITZER: Volatile numbers. We're going to have to take a quick break. David Dreier, I know you want to get into this. Let me just take this quick break.
When we get back, we will test Congressmen David Dreier and Congressman Charlie Rangel's political IQ with a test that our interactive viewers are taking today.
Here's one of the questions -- get ready for this, congressmen: Franklin Roosevelt chose whom as his second vice president? Was it A: James Cox; B: John Nance Garner; C: Henry Wallace; or D: Harry Truman?
LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to this special two-hour LATE EDITION from Los Angeles.
We're talking Bush versus Gore with California Republican Congressman David Dreier and New York Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel. But before we get back to our conversation let's test their and your political IQ with a quiz from our cnn.com interactive viewers. they've been taking this test all day today.
First question: Congressman Franklin Roosevelt chose as his second vice president? Was it A: James Cox; B: John Nance Garner; C: Henry Wallace; D: Harry Truman.
DREIER: OK. We're going to come together on these answers and we've decided that it's Wallace.
BLITZER: That is correct. OK. Right Charlie?
RANGEL: We did. I remember. Matter of fact I couldn't --
BLITZER: Question number two.
Who is the longest serving Democratic U.S. Senator in history? Was it A: Robert Byrd; B: Carl Hayden; C: Richard Russell; D: John Stennis?
RANGEL: I go for Russell.
DREIER: I was going to say Carl Hayden.
BLITZER: Carl Hayden it is
Third question, from 1860 until 1932 Woodrow Wilson and this man were the only Democrats elected to the presidency. Was it A: James Buchanan; B: Samuel Tilden; C: Grover Cleveland; D: William Jennings Bryan?
RANGEL: I will go for Cleveland.
BLITZER: From Buffalo, New York, Grover Cleveland. He's the man. Good answers. You have good political IQs.
DREIER: OK, but who won, Wolf?
BLITZER: We all won, OK.
Stand by. We have to take another quick break. For our international viewers "World News" is next. For our North American audience, stay tuned for another full hour of LATE EDITION. We'll check the hour's top stories and take your phone calls for Congressmen David Dreier and Charles Rangel.
Then a special conversation with a niece of President John F. Kennedy, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. We'll also talk with the host of the Democratic convention, California Governor Gray Davis and two leading Senate Democrats, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.
Plus, our LATE EDITION roundtable and Bruce Morton's "Last Word." It's all ahead in the next hour of this special LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles.
BLITZER: Live from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles, this is the second hour of LATE EDITION.
We'll have more from the 43rd Democratic National Convention including our debate between two congressmen, Democrat Charles Rangel and Republican David Dreier.
Then the last great Los Angeles Democratic convention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
SEN. JOHN F. KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I accept the nomination of the Democratic Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend reflects on her uncle John F. Kennedy's historic 1960 Los Angeles convention.
And does the Democratic party come to Los Angeles united? We'll speak to California Governor Gray Davis, Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, and Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone.
Plus our LATE EDITION roundtable, Steve Roberts, Susan Page and Tucker Carlson, and Bruce Morton has the last word on Democrats and the city of Los Angeles: same city, very different party.
We'll take your phone calls for Congressman David Drier and Charlie Rangel in just a moment, but first let's go to Gene Randall in Washington for a check of the hour's top stories -- Gene.
BLITZER: Thanks, Gene.
Now back to our conversation about the race for the White House, with California Republican congressman and Bush supporter David Dreier and New York Democratic congressman and Gore supporter Charlie Rangel. Let's take a quick phone call from Fort Lauderdale, Florida; please go ahead with your question. CALLER: Hi, Mr. Dreier, how do you explain Mr. Cheney's position about our military being spread too thin when he's partly responsible for not completely taking out Saddam Hussein for which we now have to keep a sizable amount of troops in that area?
DREIER: As you recall, there was a very fragile 28-nation coalition that was put together to deal with the insurgence of Saddam Hussein into Kuwait, and the goal that was set forward was clearly a goal that was established by that coalition that President Bush and Secretary Cheney put together.
So it seems to me that the goal was met, and Dick Cheney obviously is strongly committed to the defense of this country, and I think his expertise and having overseen the largest military mobilization in recent history is a great plus for him.
BLITZER: All right, let's take another caller.
RANGEL: Great answer, but that wasn't the question.
BLITZER: Well, let's...
DREIER: You got the answer, Charlie?
BLITZER: Let's take another caller from Cleveland. In the meantime, please go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Hello, I was wondering if Rangel would say that Louis Farrakhan is not welcome in the Democratic Party given his recent and past anti-Semitic remarks.
RANGEL: Louis Farrakhan and anyone like him should not be welcome in the Democratic or the Republican party, and I think that the nomination of Joe Lieberman is not for the Jewish people, but for a stronger America.
BLITZER: You know, Congressman Rangel, there's been occasionally some tensions between some in the African-American community. We saw that surface this week in Dallas when an NAACP official, he was kicked out, Lee Alcorn, by Kweisi Mfume for remarks that were seen as anti- Semitic talking about Joe Lieberman.
How does the Joe Lieberman decision play in the African-American community?
RANGEL: There has been such overwhelming support because we consider that when you make a breakthrough with someone that doesn't have broad-based support as someone that has been the subject of bigotry, and they break through, that means that you break through, and other groups break through.
The problem we have -- that we have professional Jewish people that make a living out of searching out anti-Semitism, and they find it easier to reach out and to get some black that's out of step with the rest of the black community, and to point that out as being black anti-Semitism when they know throughout our country we have anti- Semitism coming from whites that are more powerful, that can do more damage, but they don't single them out.
RANGEL: So in a sense, I'm glad that Alcorn, this racist in Texas that did come out, so that all of us could come together and reject that. And I hope the American people do the same thing, black or white. Because when they reject it, I don't think that is a pro- Jewish statement. It is a pro-United States statement.
DREIER: Clearly we universally decry the kind of anti-Semitism which is out there. And we are in total agreement on that. I will tell you the thing that is interesting to note is, why people talked about the Republican convention, we had a great degree of solidarity there, as you know. And we have seen lot of division that has come out just within the Democratic Party here in the last couple of days.
And I will tell you one of the reasons in response to your earlier question about the issue of seeing the level of support for George Bush as high as it is. I this week went on this train trip, Wolf, up the coast of California. And I will never forget seeing this Latino construction worker, all alone, as we were going through sort of a desolate area. A hand-made sign held up, saying Bush for president. The level of enthusiasm from African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians is very, very broad based.
And the reason is that -- and I will acknowledge in the past in the Republican Party there has been a perception -- it has been misplaced because I haven't changed my views -- a perception that the Republicans don't want to welcome people who have not traditionally been part of the party. But I'll tell you, it is very, very sincere and it is very, very successful.
RANGEL: You know why I don't believe this. In the entire Republican Congressional delegation, they got one black person and one Jewish person.
DREIER: We are going to have ...
RANGEL: And now he's talking about diversity.
DREIER: Joan Johnson is going to be elected in New York as your neighbor.
RANGEL: Talking about what's happening. I mean the Republican Party does not make ...
DREIER: I'll acknowledge there are more members of the Black Caucus who are in the Democratic Party now, but you know what ...
RANGEL: Well, there are 78 of us ...
DREIER: Don't you want to see more Republican African-American members of the Congress?
RANGEL: But you have to open up your doors.
DREIER: And you know we have done that.
RANGEL: The convention you gave, it could have been the NAACP stage to a European audience.
DREIER: Us versus them, Charlie.
BLITZER: Before you get into this one, Hillary Rodham Clinton running for Senate in New York state. Joe Lieberman they say, presumably will bring out a big Jewish turnout.
How does this play in her campaign against Rick Lazio?
RANGEL: I think it helps tremendously, not just with the Jewish community, but I think that Lieberman brings excitement to our whole ticket. So we are looking at Gore; we are looking at Lieberman; we are looking at Clinton. And so again, I can't overemphasize that the Lieberman selection should not be considered as something to just attract the Jewish vote because if we were to do that, we would be losers nationally. But I think as Kennedy was selected, that just wasn't for the Catholic vote. It is to let every American know that in this great republic you can make it.
BLITZER: Charlie Rangel, David Dreier. We are all out of time, frequent guests on LATE EDITION.
DREIER: Spend money here in Los Angeles while you're here.
RANGEL: That is what we plan on doing.
BLITZER: Just ahead, 40 years ago in this very city, John F. Kennedy won and accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. We'll talk with a member of the next generation of Kennedys, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
LATE EDITION from Los Angeles continues right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1960)
KENNEDY: I will be worthy of your trust. We will carry the fight to the people in the fall, and we shall win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: John F. Kennedy, delivering a speech here in Los Angeles back in 1960, after accepting the Democratic nomination for president of the United States.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
Joining us now is another Kennedy, who is becoming a force in the Democratic Party and national politics in her own right. She is the late president's niece and the daughter of the late senator, Robert Kennedy, Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.
Lieutenant Governor, thank you so much for joining us.
LT. GOV. KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND (D), MARYLAND: Good be with you.
BLITZER: This is going to be a historic week for the Kennedy family. I know you will be here, Carolyn Kennedy Schlossberg will be here, the daughter of President Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts. Look back and give us your thoughts what this means, this week, coming back to Los Angeles, for the Kennedy family.
TOWNSEND: Well, on one hand it is very exciting. Because it recalls 1960, the first Catholic president was nominated here. Brought a new sense of hope and confidence to the country. But also, as you know, it is where my father's campaign ended in 1968. So in one sense, it is also a memory of the sadness that we felt.
BLITZER: And the Kennedy family, as it comes here to Los Angeles, how do you combine that bittersweet sadness with the happiness? How do deal with that?
TOWNSEND: Well, what I think my family believed in is in public life and public service and that you go on. And 1960 was a bringing people together with the new energy. After 1968, there is, I think, the country would have clearly been better off if my father had lived.
BLITZER: You were obviously a very little girl at that time.
TOWNSEND: Well, I was 9 years old in 1960. But what I think we have seen in the last eight years under this Democratic administration is a revival after a period that was pretty tough in American life. When you didn't believe that government could solve problems, and we didn't trust our ability to reduce crime or reduce poverty or reduce teen pregnancy or reduce the welfare rolls, and we've seen over the last eight years that we have been able to do it.
And I think we come back into this convention, or to this city, with renewed hope about what we can do in our country. And so in that sense, I'm very confident, and I feel good about what's going on.
BLITZER: How significant -- are we in the news media overplaying this whole religious aspect, the fact that Al Gore has selected an American Jew to be his running mate? Is that -- are we going overboard with that whole aspect, given the fact that your uncle was the first Catholic to be elected president of the United States?
TOWNSEND: But there was a difference. When he was running for president, he had his go in front of the ministers in Texas, and say, don't worry, I'm not going to pay attention to the pope. I'm going to be an American president. There was a lot of questions, there was wondering how he was going to do in the West Virginia primary.
With this nomination, as you could see, there was a lot of joy and excitement and pleasure that we, in the Democratic Party, could nominate a Jew. That is a different feeling than 40 years ago. There was a question 40 years ago. Today, there's a sense of celebration.
BLITZER: Is there -- you have heard some American Jews express fear of a backlash, an anti-Semitic backlash. Is that a fear that you may have, given the fact that Joe Lieberman is an observant Jew? TOWNSEND: No. I think, in fact, that the fact that he's an observant Jew helps to underscore the deep religiosity from many different faiths. And that it really is part of our American tradition. You know, George Washington said over 200 years ago, "We want to welcome people to this country of any faith -- Jew, followers of Mohammad, any sect of Christians," that that really goes back to our deepest traditions. And here in Los Angeles, a city that is so diverse, it's great that we can say we are continuing that.
BLITZER: What about on the substantive issues, you and Joe Lieberman. Do you agree with him on all these new -- you've been hearing the differences, some of the positions he has expressed as opposed to Al Gore. How do you -- do you feel very comfortable on the substantive issues, like perhaps experimenting with school vouchers?
TOWNSEND: I'm a big believer you have should you have dialogue and new ideas, that the Democratic Party has always been the party that says, we have to renew ourselves. Just because we did well yesterday doesn't mean we're going to do well today. And I think it is exciting that Al Gore has chosen somebody who is willing to look at new ideas, look at things and ask what solutions are going to work. How we going to solve this problem differently?
We're not going to always agree, but if you only end up with what you have done in the past, you will never go forward. And I think that's what John Kennedy brought with the Peace Corps. It's what my father talked about with the Bedford Stuyvesant or making sure that we could reform welfare. That's what this party stands for.
BLITZER: What's going to be your role at this convention?
TOWNSEND: I'm going to work very hard with my Maryland delegation to make sure Maryland ends up in the Democratic column in November. And I'll be speaking to the convention on Tuesday.
BLITZER: If Al Gore can't carry Maryland, he's going to be in big trouble.
TOWNSEND: He is going to carry the rest of the country as well.
BLITZER: All right. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the lieutenant governor of my adopted state, Maryland. Originally from New York state.
TOWNSEND: We welcome you.
BLITZER: But I've been living in Maryland a lot longer than I ever lived in Buffalo, New York.
TOWNSEND: Thank you.
BLITZER: Thank you so much for joining us.
TOWNSEND: Good be with you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Thank you. And just ahead, are the Democrats heading into the fall campaign as a united party? We'll ask the host of the Democratic National Convention, California Governor Gray Davis. We'll also hear from two Democratic members of the Senate, Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Paul Wellstone of Minnesota.
This special LATE EDITION from Los Angeles continues after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If a candidate won't trust the people enough to tell them the truth if the campaign, how will the people trust the candidate enough if he's president to tell them the truth?
GORE: You're sounding a little desperate because you're trying to build yourself up by tearing everybody else down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Vice President Al Gore and his former challenger for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bill Bradley going at it in the early stages of the primary campaign.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Did the Democratic primaries leave some ill feelings within this party?
Joining us now are three guests: California Democratic Governor Gray Davis, Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd, and Minnesota Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone, who was a supporter of former Senator Bradley's candidacy.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us, and let me begin with the host of this convention, Governor Davis, you have to admit there were some ill feelings between these two wings of the party, the Bradley wing and the Gore wing, is the party united now completely behind Al Gore?
GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: Oh, I believe so, there's an awful lot of stake in this race. Al Gore believes in a woman's right to choose and Governor Bush does not. Al Gore believes in sensible gun safety laws, Governor Bush does not. There's too much at stake to continue a squabble that's long since ended. Bill Bradley's totally behind Al Gore, the party's united and we'll win in November.
BLITZER: Senator Wellstone, you supported Bill Bradley.
SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D), MINNESOTA: I did.
BLITZER: And now, no hard feelings?
WELLSTONE: And now I'm supporting Al Gore. No, I don't think so. I mean, I agree with the governor, I mean the differences make a difference. I mean in some ways as I listen to George W. Bush, at the convention, I appreciated the words, but when I think about what he really stands for, it's like repealing the 20th century.
I mean, abortion becomes -- it's a matter of conscience, but it becomes criminal act under him, there's a whole question of wanting to privatize Social Security, not a commitment to Medicare for people, no where to be found on affordable child care, living wage jobs, all the bread and butter economic issues. How you earn a decent living, how you support your children, this is the dividing line. I think Al Gore needs to speak strongly to those issues, that we have to make sure people in the country aren't napping, we need turnout but no, we're I think quite united.
BLITZER: Senator Dodd, your former chairman of the Democratic party, how united is this party right now going into what's obviously, a tough, tough election.
SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I chaired the party, general chair of it '96 and I'd say it's as united as we were in the reelection of Bill Clinton, there's a strong sense here both the governor and my colleague Paul Wellstone have identified, that there's a real awareness within this party of the stark differences here.
This sort of plastic surgery that the Republican Party went through in Philadelphia, is seen for what it is this. This was a make over that doesn't hide the stark differences on health care, on children, on crime, on guns, on choice, you go down a long list, there are just differences here, and I don't think American public and the Democratic Party certainly the Democratic Party are going to walk away from that or sit back and watch my colleague, Paul Wellstone used the words, repeal the 20th century in four years under a Bush-Cheney administration.
So we are very united, we're enthusiastic, we're tremendously enthusiastic about the addition of my colleague Joe Lieberman on this ticket. This has been a -- ignited the jets, if you will, of this party in the last week, and I commend Al Gore for the choice. Joe Lieberman's a great choice for this ticket and I think we're going to leave this convention even more united than we are today.
BLITZER: We'll get to Joe Lieberman in a second, but I want to ask Governor Davis obviously if Al Gore can't win California, it's probably over for him, and we have a new poll, it's not a CNN poll, it's a California poll put out by the public policy institute of California. In California, look at this, Al Gore 40 percent; George W. Bush 37 percent; Ralph Nader eight percent, and Pat Buchanan one percent. This could be a close contest in California, especially if Ralph Nader siphons off a lot of Democratic votes, that would help George W. Bush.
DAVIS: That poll was taken in the midst of the Republican convention, obviously they ran a good convention they papered over the differences and so it was taken at the absolutely best time for George Bush. You take a poll a week or so after our convention, its will be seven or eight points. Nothing is for sure in life, but the issues just cut Al Gore's way and his task, Wolf, at this convention is to tell people who he is, remind them that he served in Vietnam and then show the differences, you can do it politely, you can do it deferentially but there are differences in this race, and I think if there's one state you can put in Al Gore's column it's California.
BLITZER: Senator Wellstone, you know Ralph Nader. On many issues you agree with him on trade for example.
WELLSTONE: That's right.
BLITZER: If he's getting eight percent in California, and he's going to do well in states like Michigan, maybe Pennsylvania, that's a big, big, ...
WELLSTONE: Minnesota, Wisconsin.
BLITZER: That's probably going to hurt Al Gore a lot.
WELLSTONE: I think -- I think it would be a big mistake for the vice president to take Ralph Nader lightly. I think Ralph's speaking to a lot of important issues. I spoke to the national convention of steel workers, 3,000 steel workers. I think all these issues again about how to earn a decent living and support your family. About minimum wage jobs, health security, affordable child, who's on our side. Are the Democrats on our side, we don't hear enough in terms of our family, we want a politics that speaks to us and includes us. I think the vice president's got a ways to go yet, I'll be very honest about it, but I think that you will see him do that, and I think he will get the support, but Ralph is saying some important things about the issues.
BLITZER: And you know, he's got a new ad, Senator Dodd I want you to listen to this set. a very clever ad that he's going to be playing, I don't know how much he has to play it, but listen to this ad that Ralph Nader is now running.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Campaign ads with half-truths: $10 million.
Promises to special interest groups: over $10 billion.
Finding out the truth, priceless. There are some things money can't buy.
Without Ralph Nader in the presidential debates, the truth will come in last.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He is a major headache for your party isn't he?
DODD: I thought that was a credit card ad. I'm surprised Ralph is now in with the credit card companies. Listen, this is -- we have seen it before and, we all -- I respect what Ralph Nader has done over the years. But look this is -- people who are supporting Ralph Nader and think this somehow going to be a viable way of expressing your choice, if a vote for Ralph Nader means an effective vote for George Bush and Dick Cheney on that ticket. Then the issues that Paul and Governor Davis have talked about here, on gun safety on health care, on education, on the environment, issues that that constituency cares about are lost. We will find, ourselves really fighting a rear action here watching gains made being reversed in that administration. So I'm hopeful that those constituents in California, Connecticut, Wisconsin, that they are going to see over the next 12 weeks that casting a ballot for Nader would be a major blow to the things they care most about. It would be really voting against their own self-interest.
WELLSTONE: Here's our challenge -- I agree with Chris, but I'll tell you something, that ad speaks to, I think, the sort of feeling that people have, both parties are controlled by the same investors, too much money has taken over politics. We feel like if you don't pay, you don't play. And, again, our party has to be strong on reform. We have to be strong on issues that are important. We have to speak to people and include people, and we've got a ways to go. I mean that is a challenge that we will meet and we will win.
BLITZER: Governor Davis as you know, President Clinton is going to be speaking here tomorrow night. Republicans have been going after him pretty big on the whole Monica Lewinsky, impeachment issue. Is he an asset to the Gore-Lieberman ticket or a liability?
DAVIS: Well in California he is a huge asset. He's immensely popular in this state. As you know, Wolf, we didn't come out of the recession until 1995 and we remember how it was with record bankruptcies and high unemployment and inflation. So he is a big star in this state and he's going to he be a big asset. And does he deserve a curtain call on Monday? Absolutely. And then he's getting out of town and leaving the stage to Al Gore, as he should.
BLITZER: Senator you know Joe Lieberman probably better than anybody else over here. You have worked with him. You're the senior senator from Connecticut ...
DODD: I remind him of that all the time.
BLITZER: He is junior senator.
DODD: He's going to be the vice president and I'll be in second status.
BLITZER: Did he ever have a problem combining his Jewish traditional values, his observance as an orthodox Jew with his responsibilities as the Attorney General of Connecticut ...
BLITZER: ... senator?
DODD: Not on a single occasion. I have known Joe for 25 years, and he -- his faith is very important to him, but as he would point out to you here, his faith also dictates that you must fulfill your public responsibilities. Be you a physician, a lawyer, or a public servant. So, Joe won't campaign on the Sabbath, but if there are votes or issues that would come up or matters of public concern that he must address then he will be there and do it. So he has been a wonderful balance. In watching him in Connecticut as state senator, as attorney general, as my colleague for 12 years in the Senate, United States Senate, has just had a wonderful sense of balance about that.
While he is a person of deep faith, he doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve. I hope people understand when I say that. There are people who constantly remind you of that. Joe doesn't remind you. It's something he feels deeply inside, reflects it deeply in his personal conduct and his actions, but does not, is not proselytizing in a sense.
And I think those qualities really make him an excellent candidate. People of faith in this country, Christians, Muslims will be attracted to Joe Lieberman because he is a person of faith as they are.
BLITZER: Senator Wellstone you are one of 11 Jews in the United States Senate. What does it mean to you?
WELLSTONE: It is very moving to me. I mean I'm the son of a Jewish immigrant from Ukraine and it's very moving. I think Joe helps the vice president and Democrats in one very important way, which is he combines his spirituality with how he conducts himself in public office. And people are yearning for people they can believe in and trust.
There is another important way where I think the Democrats still have a ways to go with Joe on the ticket. And that again is on the sort of bread and butter economic issues that are very important to people lives. We need to galvanize people; we need to have people turning out. And we need to make it crystal clear the differences between Democrats and Republicans on those issues. That's the void only the vice president can fill that. The sooner the better.
BLITZER: We only have a few seconds, Governor Davis. How concerned are you about demonstrations in Los Angeles along the lines of what happened in Seattle at the World Trade Organization meeting?
DAVIS: Well, law enforcement has been training for 14 months. They know as we know that everyone has a right to have their say whether they are inside the convention or outside. They can say anything they want, but we expect everyone inside and outside the convention to operate under and within the law. And I believe that will happen. I believe it will be a great convention and a great platform for Al Gore to kick off his campaign.
BLITZER: Governor Davis, we're thrilled to be in Los Angeles.
DAVIS: Our pleasure.
BLITZER: I love California; I always love to come out here. And Senator Wellstone I'm sure agrees. And Chris Dodd likes to be in California as well, right?
DODD: I was here 40 years ago. I was a page at the Democratic convention.
DAVIS: Welcome back.
DODD: So it is nice to be back.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens this time. You got John F. Kennedy elected that time. We'll see if you can do it for Al Gore.
DODD: We're going to do it this time.
BLITZER: Thank you so much for joining us. And just ahead: Can Vice President Al Gore stage a come back in the polls. We'll go around the table with Roberts, Page and Carlson from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles when LATE EDITION continues.
BLITZER: Time now for our LATE EDITION roundtable. Joining me here in Los Angeles: 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."
All right, Steve, let's talk a little bit about this decision to pick Joe Lieberman. All of a us, I think, were pretty surprised. We were pretty skeptical that Al Gore would do it last week, but give us your thoughts.
STEVE ROBERTS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, we were skeptical, but both Tucker and I said he would be the strongest choice, and I think that it's proving to be a good choice on several levels. He really does help on the ethical question. He is a man of impeccable background. And of course, very well-known by now, the famous speech he gave, condemning Bill Clinton.
But also on issues, he is not an orthodox liberal. He is willing to think through issues, school vouchers being a very good example, as you elicited from him an admission that he does disagree with Al Gore. He is a flexible centrist. He has lot of friends on other side of the aisle, and one of the most striking things, this week, has been how many Republicans have fallen all over themselves to say nice things about him, because he is a true legislative professional. Ten years in the Connecticut legislature, works a lot with Republicans. I think he's proven so far to be a good choice.
BLITZER: Tucker, you were saying nice things, very nice things, about him last Sunday on this program, but you were skeptical that he would be picked.
TUCKER CARLSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yeah, I mean I, you know, he definitely wins the great guy award. Everyone likes him, and I do think that is important with Gore. Chris Dodd was saying, you know, nobody likes to admit it, but that is important. But I think it is.
The one, sort of, bit of phoniness in all of this, that I must say sort of bothers me, is this idea that, you know, it was necessarily a courageous choice. It was good choice. I think it can be a good and thoughtful choice and politically helpful choice, and there's nothing wrong with that. But this idea that, you know, he was picked in spite of being Jewish, I mean, it's clear that the Gore campaign saw that correctly, I believe, as a good thing. People like that.
BLITZER: Susan, how much of a problem is there, though, for Al Gore in that Joe Lieberman does disagree with him on some key important issues?
SUSAN PAGE, CNN COMMENTATOR: I don't think it is a big problem. I think it's probably a help. It makes Al Gore look a little more centrist. It does mean that Al Gore is the person who -- I'll tell you the way I think it creates problems. I think it creates some modest problems with the Democratic base. I think there's some liberals like Paul Wellstone who are not happy about the choice because of his policies, not because of his religion.
I think it puts more pressure on Al Gore to do some things to energize the base, to bring the party together. If you look at the way Al Gore has lagged George Bush in the polls so far, one of the big reasons is that Democrats are not solidly behind him yet.
BLITZER: So, politically, this was astute for Al Gore. In hindsight, it seems like it was a brilliant move. If he would've picked John Edwards, the junior senator from North Carolina with a year-and-a-half experience who was apparently number two on that short list, the reaction could have been very, very different.
ROBERTS: Well, I think one of the -- you look back on it, and you see that the the short list was very weak. And Joe Lieberman emerged at the top. I think one of the reasons why both Tucker and I thought he was the strongest of the six was that the other five were pretty weak.
I mean, there was no plausible way they could've, with a straight face, trotted out John Edwards at this convention, and say, after 17 months, this guy was qualified to be president. There is no way you bring in John Kerrey, the other finalist, liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, you know, the home of the Kennedys, the home of Dukakis, and say we're a centrist party aiming toward the middle.
So I think, in some ways, Lieberman won it by default. I do think that your point is right that some of the base is not happy with Joe Lieberman, including the unions. The teachers union is furious with this choice, in part, because he has been in favor of school vouchers. But I think that helps Gore in the end, because I think Gore has a tendency to pander too much to the Democratic base, and you're going to see that on the platform. You're going to have every interest group represented in one form or another on the platform.
CARLSON: But, I mean, they sold the unions down the river,I think, a long time ago. I mean, Clinton, basically, for the past seven years has, I think, lessened the influence of the unions on the Democratic Party, and I think that's probably a good thing.
BLITZER: But on the trade issue...
CARLSON: That's right. But on the one issue that the Democrats will brook no opposition on, none -- abortion -- Lieberman is every bit as left on that issue as Gore. I mean he is --
BLITZER: With the exception of parental notification. There's a nuanced difference there.
CARLSON: Pretty nuanced. I mean, he took a position that is not the position of most Americans, against Congress' action against partial-birth abortion, that's consistent with Gore's, and I don't think he could have nominated somebody as vice president who didn't share that position.
PAGE: You know, I do think that this is a selection you're more likely to make when you're behind. It's kind of an interesting selection. It gets you a lot of good press that first week, shakes things up a little bit. You saw George Bush make the choice of a vice president that you would make when you're ahead. Dick Cheney doesn't do him any great electoral help, but he'll probably be, you know, a good choice if they make it to the White House. So, it's interesting in that way too.
BLITZER: So, Lieberman, is the hail Mary pass?
ROBERTS: Hail Moses pass. I don't think it's a hail Mary,but I have heard one Democrat -- a very well-placed democracy -- say the Gore campaign was moribund, was the word he used. And that he had to do something to get some energy back, to get some buzz back.
ROBERTS: In that sense, it has been a reasonably good week for Gore, but the polls still show him way behind.
BLITZER: The "Weekly Standard," a publication Tucker is very familiar with, has an editorial in the new issue. Let me read to you from that editorial. "Lieberman's Jewishness was inconsequential to Gore's calculations about a running mate. Bill Clinton, not Pharaoh, was the principal demon to be exercised, the biggest electoral liability Gore thought had to be addressed. Lieberman was selected because he is a man of honesty and probity," this coming from a conservative publication.
CARLSON: Sure, I mean, it is true. And even that sort of publication can admit things when they are true, and that is.
BLITZER: Not something you wrote, though.
CARLSON: No, it was not. No, but I think it goes on to make the point that Lieberman has an awful lot of credit for being a centrist but in fact he's no more conservative than, I think, maybe your average Democrat in the Senate.
PAGE: Isn't it incredible, though -- we're on the eve of Al Gore being nominated to be president, and Bill Clinton continues to get more press than Al Gore, excite more interest, more polarizing, people more for him than more against him. What a big frustration that must be for Al Gore.
BLITZER: We will pick that up, but we have to take a quick break.
Just ahead: Is President Clinton stealing the spotlight from Vice President Gore? The roundtable weighs in when LATE EDITION from the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles continues.
Welcome back to our roundtable.
BLITZER: Tucker, there's a CNN/"TIME" magazine poll just came out. Look at this. It asked the question, Has the Clinton administration -- eight years of the Clinton administration been a success or failure. Look at these numbers. Sixty percent say it's been a success, 34 percent say it's been a failure. So the question is this: Why are the Republicans trying to bring President Clinton into this campaign as much as they are, if the American people think it's been a success?
CARLSON: Well, I mean, success you know, that's a pretty broad question. I think when you look at more focused poll questions, you know, what sort of a person is Bill Clinton, what do you think of his behavior. I mean, there are a lot of ways to judge this. I don't think the Republicans are doing a lot to bring Clinton into it. I mean, I think they ought to go with ...
BLITZER: You don't think at the Republican convention in Philadelphia, the nuances...
CARLSON: Oh no, the nuances, sure. I mean, for the criminologists among us, sure, every time they said integrity -- oh, Bill Clinton, but I mean, I felt they should have gone up with, like, a Bill Clinton video: Remember what he did.
ROBERTS: But they -- remember what he did. The Democrats, of course, come back. Dow broke 11,000 this week, you know, and there is -- and the question that Gore's going to ask over and over again, Are you better off with 60 percent, answer that question. The real fascinating thing about this election is that, with that kind of question and with the health of economy, Al Gore is still sputtering, and it's just a disconnect for everything we should expect to be seeing.
PAGE: But, you know, what the Gore people thought would happen a year ago or two years ago when they were strategizing this campaign, was that Al Gore would get the credit for the achievements and not the taint from the scandals, and in a funny way the reverse has happened. Voters do not give Al Gore credit for the good economy. They do seem to hold him responsible for some of the unseemliness of the administration. It's as though he's gotten the worst of all worlds.
BLITZER: Are they legitimately concerned, if they are concerned, the Gore folks, about Bill Clinton overshadowing Al Gore at this convention? PAGE: I think there is some concern that Al Gore will -- this speech for Al Gore could not be more important on Thursday night, needs to be a great speech. Will it get the same reception that President Clinton gets on Monday night? Will it be -- will he have the same ability to connect with the audience both here in the hall and also the larger television audience? So yes, I think there's some concern about that. Will we still be talking about Bill Clinton on Thursday night as we are on Sunday night? They hope not.
BLITZER: We'll probably be talking about Bill Clinton for a long time, no matter what happens.
CARLSON: Well, part of the problem here is that Gore is not in Bill Clinton's class as a political campaigner. I mean, no matter how hard he tries, no matter he tries to make himself over in the new Gore and this, he's just not in his class, and Bill Clinton by definition just by being here is going to -- by comparison, I think, is going to make Gore a little pale.
I talked to a Democrat today who said, "Clinton has a ability to be actor," a quality that Ronald Reagan had. He said, "Gore doesn't have it, he doesn't have the ability to project these emotions and connect with people that a great politician does," and this is a Democrat saying that.
BLITZER: You know, Tucker, on Tuesday, there's supposed to be, after the president's speaks Monday night here at this convention, I'm sure it will be enthusiastically received, on Tuesday he goes to Michigan for the so-called symbolic hand-off to Al Gore, but can Bill Clinton really hand-off, step out of the way and let Al Gore take charge?
CARLSON: Apparently not, I mean, not only is he, of course, speaking here, but he's also running around town doing fund-raisers, sucking up money that the Gore people could use. I mean, it's evidence, I think, of a deep narcissism, and I just don't think Bill Clinton will ever go away, and I do think the Gore people, from all evidence, are irritated about it.
PAGE: You know, one funny thing was the Gore people were very determined to get Clinton out of town on Tuesday, so ..
PAGE: ... they didn't want him to speak Tuesday night, they wanted him to speak Monday night. And they finally achieved that, but then the Clintons went ahead and arrived on Friday, so they just moved back -- the Clintons still spent more time in town for this convention than the Gores will.
ROBERTS: You know, I was looking at a time line of "Newsweek," happened to be "Newsweek" polls going back to early '99. Al Gore, in a head-to-head matchup with George Bush in maybe 20 different polls, has never broken 46 percent. And he seems stuck there and he still has not made the sale to that middle ground, to that group that's going to decide this election... CARLSON: It's a mess.
ROBERTS: ... stuck at...
CARLSON: ... and he's never going anywhere with men. Men don't like him.
ROBERTS: There's a huge gender gap that's working against him.
PAGE: The only thing to remember is, we're often wrong and we're often early when we make predictions, and if you look at the '88 race, this would have been a very, very negative time for the elder George Bush as well.
He didn't look like he was a winner at his convention. He ended up winning, so it's a little early to decide the election is over, but it's clear this has been a tough couple months for Al Gore. This is a really important week for him.
BLITZER: Well, speaking about fund-raisers, Tucker, you know, Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez was going to have a fund-raiser at the Playboy mansion here in Los Angeles. She decided under an enormous amount of pressure to move that. Maureen Dowd, writing on the Op-Ed page of the "New York Times" today writes this -- let me read it to you -- "You can't fix your problem with women voters by bashing bunnies. The president did something lecherous in a staid place; the congresswoman merely tried to do something staid in a lecherous place."
CARLSON: Amen! Free Loretta Sanchez, I say. I mean, you know, she's not some shining star of a congresswoman; she's very nice and they just landed on her and, sort of, humiliated her in public.
CARLSON: I went to the Playboy mansion for a party last night, didn't seem very threatening to me, you know, and I'm not...
BLITZER: You're not running on family values, Tucker, I mean, you know, that would...
CARLSON: But they've been taking money from the Playboy Foundation; the Democratic Party takes thousands and thousands of dollars from Playboy magazine. It's so hypocritical.
BLITZER: All right. Let's ask a woman, here. Is the Democratic Party going overboard, the Gore campaign, on Loretta Sanchez because she wanted to have this fund-raiser to raise money for Hispanic political caucuses at the Playboy mansion?
PAGE: In the end, it matters not a bit. I think Al Gore has bigger problems than this, and this is, you know -- this was the fun of a pre-convention-week story.
BLITZER: Susan Page, Tucker Carlson, Steve Roberts, in Los Angeles. We'll all be back in Washington next week. Thanks for joining us on our roundtable.
And just ahead, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Voters were a little restless as they often are at the end of a two-term presidency. Democrat John Kennedy promised to get the country moving, criticized Eisenhower for a "missile gap"...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Democrats, then and now. How much has the party changed in 40 years?
BLITZER: Time now for Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
As we mentioned before, it was 1960 when the Democrats last met in Los Angeles to choose the presidential nominee of their party and, as Bruce Morton reminds us, what a difference 40 years makes.
MORTON (voice-over): The last time the Democrats met here, the world and the parties were very different from what they are now. The Democrats were the out party. War hero Dwight Eisenhower had been a popular Republican president for eight years. Voters were a little restless, as they often are at the end of a two-term presidency. Democrat John Kennedy promised to get the country moving, criticized Eisenhower for a missile gap. The Cold War was in full cry. The Soviets had launched the first satellite. Americans were worried.
In fact, the missile gap turned out not to exist. The Democrats still talked about the solid South. Most major House and Senate committees had Southern chairmen. And Kennedy who picked Texan Lyndon Johnson as his running mate was the last Northern Democratic presidential candidate to win the South.
Beginning with Barry Goldwater in 1964, the Republicans went south, and it is their strongest region today. The Democrats, because of the South, had to appeal to divergent delegates, white Southerners who whole-heartedly believed in racial segregation, and blacks and whites in the North who despised it. Dixiecrats led by Strom Thurmond walked out of the 1948 Democratic convention, but nobody walked in 1960.
Now the Republicans are the outs, and their nominee is preaching inclusion, not on anything as regional as racial segregation, but on equally emotional issues like abortion and school prayer. And it will be the Republicans who hope the country is weary of eight years of Democrats, led by a president whose policies are popular, but whose character many deplore. And it will be up to Al Gore as it was to Richard Nixon to say, we'll keep the good stuff going and make the other things even better.
But in one respect, 1960 and now are quite alike. Then, the Democrats were innovators in that Kennedy was only the second Roman Catholic to be nominated for president. Now, the Democrats are innovators again because Joe Lieberman is the first Jew to be nominated for vice president.
LIEBERMAN: God bless America!
MORTON: So history, as usual, is an imperfect guide. Gore isn't Kennedy; Bush isn't Richard Nixon; Lieberman and Cheney aren't Johnson and Henry Cabot Lodge. One truth, thanks to cable television, thanks to the Internet, the voters have more access to candidates this time than probably ever before and, to judge by how many of them bother to vote, care less.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks, Bruce.
Just ahead, we'll reveal what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines.
Now a look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines.
BLITZER: "TIME" magazine says the Democratic ticket has "Chutzpah", with Senator Joe Lieberman and Vice President Al Gore on the cover.
Almost a mirror image of Gore and Lieberman on the cover of "Newsweek": With a Leap of Faith, Al's Bet on the Un-Bill.
And on the cover of "U.S. News and World Report", Jefferson's Party. Two hundred years ago, Democrats were called Republicans and sounded more like Reagan than FDR.
And that's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, August 13. Be sure to join us back in Washington next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk.
And stay with CNN this evening for a special night of programming live from the Democratic convention here in Los Angeles. It begins with "The CAPITAL GANG," 6:30 p.m. Eastern. That's followed by "CROSSFIRE" with Bill Press and Mary Matalin at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Then at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, it's "INSIDE POLITICS" with Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff.
And I'll be back here again tomorrow for "The World Today" beginning all convention week at a special time, 6:00 p.m. Eastern. For now, thanks very much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Los Angeles.
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