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CNN Today

Al Gore Trailing Bush Among Likely Women Voters

Aired August 14, 2000 - 2:47 p.m. ET

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

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: We're back in Los Angeles, host to the Democratic National Convention. We're looking at Sunset Strip, the street of dreams here in this city of angels, where aides hope that the president's address this evening will help give Al Gore a boost in the polls.

A CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll of likely voters shows that Gore trails George W. Bush by 16 points, 56-40. That's unchanged from earlier this month. Among women voters, Bush also leads: The Republican nominee with 51 percent; Gore comes in at 42 percent. Green Party candidate Ralph Nader trails with 2 percent.

Four years ago, when President Clinton ran, a CNN exit poll showed that 53 percent of women backed him. As you saw, Gore does not have that kind of support from female voters.

Will it have a big effect on election day? Joining me here at the Staples Center is United States Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana. In 1997, she became the first woman ever elected from the Senate from her state. She was appointed to the Armed Services Committee last year. We appreciate you taking the time to spend a little of it with us.

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Well, it's exciting to be here, and it's already off to a great start and we haven't even started yet.

WATERS: You're speaking tonight?

LANDRIEU: I'll be speaking tonight with the other women senators, outlining all of the great accomplishments in this administration. But we're not resting on our laurels, and looking to a Gore-Lieberman ticket to lead our team.

WATERS: You just heard the numbers: Al Gore has a problem with women. What's the problem?

LANDRIEU: Well, Lou, I wouldn't say it's a problem. It's a challenge, because as more people get to know who Al Gore really is and his commitment to this nation, to his longtime service, to his commitment to look for new ways to solve old problems, and for fighting for working families -- and you know, women are struggling out there. When government doesn't work, women do more of the work. So it's important for us to not be anti-government but to be pro- effective and limited government and smart government. And that's what Al Gore is about.

So I think women are going to really warm up to him. I know they will in my state and around the nation.

WATERS: So you still think that Al Gore needs to be introduced to the American public?

LANDRIEU: Yes, I do, because being a vice -- and all vice presidents have this problem, or have this challenge, either because they are, appropriately, having to be loyal to the president. Even Joe Lieberman, who has different ideas than Al Gore, but many similar philosophies, has said (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the vice president should be, and I think that's what people expect. But once you come out as the leader, then you can, you know, stand up and let yourself be more known. So, that's what our convention's all about.

I'm going to be highlighting tonight the great victory on welfare reform, rolls cut by 50 percent, and what we're going to do next to help American families build security in their working life and in their retirement life for themselves and their children.

And when women hear this message, Lou, I think they're going to be very motivated to support the Democrats.

WATERS: What does Al Gore have to do? Right now, Gallup poll shows numbers -- I hate to keep referring to polls, but it's all our guide. It's a flash poll saying that George Bush has the edge on issues. Al Gore's job, according to our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is to come in here and convince the American public that he is the man for these issues. That's a tough job for a vice president who's been a follower. That's -- that's the job title, follower.

Now, he's got to be leader. What does he have to do?

LANDRIEU: But everyone -- but everyone that knows Al Gore well knows that he has been a leader all of his life: I mean, a leader on fiscal discipline, balanced budgets, reforming government. We've cut government bureaucracy. We have made a real commitment to paying down the national debt. We are for responsible tax cuts for hardworking American families. But he's been leading on these issues.

It's just that the spotlight has been rightly on the president, and now this is a shifting of power to a wonderful, outstanding leader.

And let me say that Joe Lieberman brings a tremendous amount of strength to this ticket. And I think people, when they're introduced to them at this convention, are going to be just really enthusiastic, emotional.

And you remember the Hope, Arkansas video that introduced President Clinton. We knew him well in Louisiana, but many people did not know him. And the same, I think, is true of Al Gore.

WATERS: I hope you get your voice back. LANDRIEU: Thank you. Well, I'm so excited I'm speechless in L.A.

(LAUGHTER)

I've lost it, but I'm getting it back.

(LAUGHTER)

WATERS: We're going to have to get you up to speed for your speaking engagement tonight. U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu from Louisiana, we appreciate you being here very much.

Natalie, it's back to you.

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