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Democratic National Convention: Democratic Party's Liberal Wing Gets a Chance to Speak OutAired August 15, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats settling in to hear a Kennedy call for a new frontier. A keynote speech to rally the party, and Bill Bradley's warning about the choice at hand.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: But all eyes will first focus on the best-known living Kennedy, the sole survivor of Camelot, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg speaks in just a moment.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight from Los Angeles, the 43rd Democratic National Convention. The party of Jackson and Roosevelt is back in the city that launched the 1960 campaign of John F. Kennedy. For 5,000 conventioneers, the task is tradition, nominating candidates for president and vice president of the United States. But their goal is transition: a transfer of the White House keys won by Johnson, Carter and Clinton to yet another Democratic son of the South.
Now, from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, here are CNN's Bernard Shaw, Judy Woodruff and Jeff Greenfield.
SHAW: Welcome back. And if President Clinton last night rallied them, tonight the Kennedys will make them reflective as will Bill Bradley.
WOODRUFF: That's right, and while we were taking a break for an hour and Larry King was on, Jesse Jackson was wowing these people. In fact, at one point, we were told they had to prevent any more people from going onto the floor, because the floor was packed with people cheering on Reverend Jackson.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: That's absolutely right. And in just a few moments, one of the most private of all the Kennedys, Caroline Kennedy, will introduce one of the most public of Kennedys, Ted Kennedy, a 38-year veteran of the United States Senate. And one thing we should be looking for right away, 12 years ago in Atlanta Ted Kennedy gave a red-meat, rip-roaring partisan speech punctuated by the needling of the vice president. Remember "Where was George?"
So we should see tonight whether or not the Democrats mean to keep to their promise that this will be a relatively acid-free evening.
SHAW: And one of the reasons for the congestion on the floor was vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman was on the floor walking around. As soon as the delegates sensed -- they didn't announce it -- but as soon as they sense -- there you see the white mane of hair there moving through the right of your screen. As soon as they saw this man, you hear the reaction.
WOODRUFF: And it just spread throughout the -- throughout the hall here.
GREENFIELD: And the reason Hadassah, his wife, wasn't with him was that she was with Judy, who will have an interview with her shortly.
WOODRUFF: That's right. We taped an interview just about 30 minutes ago, and we're going to air that in the coming moments of this program after we hear from the Kennedys.
You know, it's interesting about the Kennedys -- we're waiting for Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg to be introduced. Ted Kennedy has been a polarizing figure at times, because he has been the standard- bearer for the left wing of the Democratic Party. And yet, when the Democrats come together, there's nobody they'd rather hear from than Ted Kennedy.
GREENFIELD: That's right, and it's striking how the history of Democratic conventions is punctuated by Kennedys: Jack Kennedy in a fight for the vice presidency in 1956, the nomination in '60. Bobby accepting the tribute to the murdered Jack. Lyndon Johnson petrified that Bobby would the convention away.
In '68, people hoping Teddy would step in for the murdered Robert and be the nominee.
Time after time after time, the Kennedys defined the conventions, and here's Caroline Kennedy now to add to the story.
SHAW: She is receiving a standing ovation.
GREENFIELD: And the music, the theme from "Camelot," immortalized by Teddy White (ph) in that post-assassination interview with Jacqueline Kennedy.
WOODRUFF: We believe this is the first time she has spoken at a convention. So when we interview her, after she and her uncle speak, one of the questions I want to ask her is why did she choose this one.
GREENFIELD: And Judy, unlike John Kennedy Jr., who was instantly recognizable, an electric figure, you could literally, because it's happened to me a couple of times, you could pass Caroline Kennedy on the street and not a head turns. She actually has managed to lead a very private life as the daughter of perhaps one of the most famous people who ever lived.
SHAW: And she is very comfortable with that.
GREENFIELD: Not only comfortable, she craves it.
WOODRUFF: She's also the author of two books having to do with the First Amendment, a student of the law. She knows the Constitution. She's written about the right of privacy not once but twice. It's a passion of hers.
GREENFIELD: If any passion is honestly come by, it's a passion of privacy for Caroline Kennedy. Here she is.
CAROLINE KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Thank you.
I feel a special sense of -- of kinship here tonight. You see in more ways than one, I wouldn't be here if it weren't for the Gore family, for nearly half a century ago, when my father and mother were first getting to know each other, two of the helpful matchmakers were Al Gore's parents, Albert and Pauline.
Al Gore and I share something more than that happy circumstance. Both of us were raised to believe that we can make the world new again if only we try.
That is what my father sought to do 40 years ago in this city when he stood before you and declared the opening of the new frontier. It was not a set of promises, he said, but a set of challenges -- challenges of the mind and heart and spirit, the challenge of giving of ourselves, of giving to our country.
And I know that when my brother, John, and I were growing up, hardly a day went by when someone didn't come up to us and say, your father changed my life. I went...
I went into public service...
I went into public service because he asked me. I take great pride in knowing that one of those that he inspired to enter public service is the next vice president of the United States, Joe Lieberman.
So as I look out across this hall and across this country, I know that my father's spirit lives on.
And I thank all of you.
Now, it is our turn to prove that the New Frontier was not a place in time, but a timeless call.
Now, we are the New Frontier. And now when many of us are doing so well, it is time once again, to ask more of ourselves. As much as we need a prosperous economy, we also need a prosperity of kindness and decency.
We need a president who will work to create an America where our parents and grandparents feel secure, our children are cared for, and Americans grow up believing that each one of us is necessary to make our democracy work.
We need a president who is not afraid of complexity, who believes in an open and tolerant society, and who knows that the world can be made new again. And that president is Al Gore.
When I was writing a book on the Bill of Rights, I spoke with a woman who has spent 15 years fighting for the First Amendment. When I asked her how she had given up so much of her life to do this, she said, "It is up to each of us to create a government that is close to our heart's desire, because if we don't do it, somebody else will."
It is up to each and every single one of us to leave this convention and work as hard we can to help Al Gore create the America of our ideals.
Because let me tell you, that somebody else's government is not what we want.
If we believe in civil rights and human rights and closing the racial divide, then it is up to us. If we believe in clean air and clean water, then it is up to us.
If we want a Supreme Court that will protect the freedoms in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, including the right to privacy, that will keep our personal, financial and medical information from being up for grabs and will guarantee the right to make our own reproductive decisions, then it is up to us.
And if we believe -- if we believe that we have seen enough gun violence in our land and in our lifetimes, that guns should no longer take the lives of those we love, then it is up to us.
If we believe in these things, then it is up to us to elect Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.
I was lucky enough to grow up in a world where adults taught by example. They dreamed impossible dreams, yet they fought hard each day to make those dreams come true. They taught us the importance of faith and family and how those values must be woven together into lives of purpose and meaning.
That is what my husband Ed and I want for our three children. That is what Al and Tipper Gore want for their children.
And that is what we all want for America's children.
Now I believe -- I believe that is what my father wanted for us as he stood here four decades ago; not only to make better the world that surrounds us but to dream of something more.
I thank all Americans for making me and John and all our family a part of your families...
... for reaching out -- for reaching out and sustaining us through the good times and the difficult ones, and for helping us dream my father's dream.
"Our call is to the young at heart regardless of age," he said. "The whole world looks to see what we will do. We cannot fail their trust. We cannot fail to try."
Now it gives me great pride to introduce to you a man who has never stopped trying, who has worked harder than anyone for the world my father envisioned, whose public service is an inspiration.
The nation knows him as a courageous fighter for working families, a voice for the elderly, a champion of all who have been left out or locked out of America's promise. For his mother, his brothers and sisters, his children, for me and my cousins, he has always been there when we needed him.
My father was his godfather and he's godfather now to my daughter, Rose.
To my children, he's like a godfather and a grandfather rolled into one, so much so that the stuffed bear my daughter sleeps with at night is not called Teddy. His name is Uncle Teddy!
No uncle could be better, no senator has ever achieved more. Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
SHAW: This man loves a hall that's packed like this. And Jeff, you alluded to some of his great speeches years ago.
GREENFIELD: Forty years ago, this man not yet 30 stood at the Wyoming delegation when his brother was put over the top. Twenty years ago he declared at the end of his campaign against Jimmy Carter "The dream shall never die." He is as big a fixture at the Democratic National Convention as the placards.
SHAW: The applause and the yelling were instantaneous the moment that Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg announced her uncle's name.
GREENFIELD: And Judy, how many of the delegates and for that matter how many people who cover politics for a living were first attracted to politics by John F. Kennedy 40 years ago?
WOODRUFF: I venture to say not just the delegates in this building and the people who love politics, but a number of journalists.
GREENFIELD: That election against Richard Nixon, the highest turnout in American history.
SHAW: They're still on their feet.
SEN. EDWARD "TED" KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you, Caroline. I love you. I love you so much. And thank you for all the difference that you've made to our entire family, and to millions of Americans everywhere.
I see in you the poise and the strength of purpose that belonged to your father, and the dignity and grace of your mother that inspired a nation.
I remember Election Night in November of 1960, the results were so close that my brother went to bed still not certain that he had won. It was nearly dawn when victory finally became clear.
And here is how Jack learned about it: from 3-year-old Caroline, who woke him up by jumping on his bed and shouting, "Good morning, Mr. President."
It was the first time he ever heard those words from anyone. How proud he would be of Caroline this evening, and of the magnificent woman that she has become.
How proud -- how proud he would be of Al Gore and our party and the new barrier of bigotry we are breaking down with the choice of Joe Lieberman as the next vice president of the United States.
This truly is a homecoming for me. It was here in this City of Angels on a warm summer night 40 years ago that America first looked across the New Frontier -- a New Frontier, as my brother said, where there were unsolved problems, unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice, unanswered questions of poverty and surplus.
We were given just a thousand days on that journey of hope.
Yet the challenge of those days and the resonance of my brother's words are still with us, because today our generation faces its own New Frontier, and we are called upon to address our unresolved problems, our problems with unanswered questions and unconquered prejudice, while we dare to dream of a far horizon, or we will look inward, backward or lower our sights and narrow our vision.
That is the choice we face in the election of 2000. If you believe that prosperity is a challenge to do better, that we have to seize this extraordinary moment to make progress in providing decent quality health care that all Americans can afford...
... if you believe that we must provide access to health care for all our children, that we must provide access to prescription drugs for all our seniors, that we must assure for all our citizens that medical decisions be made by doctors and nurses and not by HMOs that put profits ahead of patients' health...
... if you believe all of that, then this is your convention.
This is your cause. And I ask you to dedicate yourself to elect Al Gore as the next president of the United States.
There has only been three times in my life that I have supported candidates for president as early and as enthusiastically as I have supported Al Gore. Two of them were my brothers.
I support Al Gore for president, not solely because he has helped lead us to the strongest economy in American history, as important as that is. I support him with my whole resolve because I know from his record, and not just from his words, that Al Gore will not stop fighting, Al Gore will not stop striving until we have quality, affordable health care for all Americans.
Two weeks ago, at the convention in Philadelphia, we heard a partisan negative attack on the past eight years as a time of lost opportunity and stalemate. Well, I've been there on the front lines for working families and I can tell you, we weren't coasting. We were seizing an opportunity. When Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Orrin Hatch to pass landmark health care coverage for children, and now two million more children have health care coverage...
... that is called progress, not partisanship, and that is Al Gore's way.
We weren't drifting. We weren't drifting. We were moving ahead. When Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Nancy Kassebaum to see that a family doesn't health lose health coverage just because a parent loses a job or changes jobs. And today, we are working with Republicans and Democrats alike to make it even stronger. That's called progress, not partisanship, and that is Al Gore's way.
We weren't gridlocked.
We were rising up our nation when Al Gore and I worked with Republican Senator Jim Jeffords to make sure that people with disabilities can keep their health care when they join the work force. And today, more and more of disabled are putting their abilities to work for themselves and for America. That's called progress, not partisanship. And that is Al Gore's way.
I've been a Democrat all my life, and I'm proud of it.
But I say to you, there is no Democratic or Republican way to heal a sick child. There is no Democratic or Republican way to make the right medical decision; no Democratic or Republican way to fight cancer or ease the pain of HIV and AIDS. This is not the time to play partisan games with human health.
Let there be no mistake about it. Let there be no mistake about it, there is a profoundly deep difference between the Democratic and Republican nominees on this issue, this life-and-death issue of health care for all Americans.
Al Gore is the only candidate committed to moving this country step-by-step to universal health, starting by covering every child by the year 2004. He believes in it in his heart and in his soul.
So I say to all Americans, regardless of party, if you believe we should use our prosperity to make our children healthy and whole, fight for Al Gore because he's fighting for you.
Al Gore will put Medicare in an iron-clad lockbox where politicians can't raid it or cut it. He will veto any effort to use money from Medicare for anything but Medicare.
So, if you believe in quality health care for all our seniors as a matter -- that no matter what the politics, fight for Al Gore because he is fighting for you.
Al Gore believes that no senior citizen in America should ever have to choose between the food on their table and the medicine they need.
So if you believe in prescription drug coverage for our seniors, then fight for Al Gore because...
Al Gore -- Al Gore has been leading -- Al Gore has been leading the fight for a real patients' bill of rights. He's been working with the leaders of both parties to do it. So if you believe medical decisions should be made by doctors and nurses on the basis of sound medicine and not by accountants and number crunchers sitting at computer screens hundreds of miles away, then fight for Al Gore because...
KENNEDY: The fight for health care has been the driving dream of my public service, starting with my bother's crusade to pass Medicare into law. In my first term in the Senate, I was proud to support Al Gore's father, Senator Albert Gore, Sr. of Tennessee, when he sponsored -- when he sponsored the very first version of Medicare to pass on the Senate floor.
And now I believe we have the greatest chance in my lifetime, and the lifetime of our nation to secure the promise of health care for all. Let us make the most of our great moment. On the issue of health care, on all the great issues of our time, we must heed my brother's words here in Los Angeles, which echo now across the years.
He spoke of a choice between the public interest and private comfort. And that is our choice today: Will we comfort the comfortable, or will we strengthen the fabric of this country for all Americans? Our capacity to better has never been greater. Let us not turn back to old policies and old ways that favor the few at the expense of the many.
This nation has always been a work in progress, and it always will be. You have it in our power, we do, to take America to new heights, to make this new century a new progressive era of high achievement for working families, a time in which all Americans advance together.
That is our challenge. That is our New Frontier. Cross it we can, and cross it we must. And 40 years from this night, may a future generation look back on this time and this convention and say, it was here under the leadership of Al Gore that we set forth to secure for all citizens the fundamental right to health care, that here -- that here, we kept the faith on the journey of hope, and America dared to dream again.
MESERVE: I'm standing in the Massachusetts delegation: that, of course, a home to Ted Kennedy. He's running there for his seventh term in the U.S. Senate. They were good and ready for this speech, especially that call (UNINTELLIGIBLE) where they yelled back, "Because he's fighting for you," and the person yelling the loudest in this delegation, it appeared, was Max Kennedy. He's one of Robert Kennedy's sons, cupped his hands around his mouth and really belted it out. He's sitting here next to the state's other senator, John Kerry, who of course was a contender in the veepstakes.
Now we're going to go back up to the booth.
SHAW: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) take that, the George Bush line saying that we not coasting, we weren't drifting, we were gridlocked, referring to the last eight years of the Clinton-Gore administration in these times of prosperity.
GREENFIELD: Ted Kennedy, the Boston politician, praising bipartisanship, citing Republican senators. Nowhere was George. One wonders if this is a mellower Teddy, or the Gore campaign said, Ted, a little vegetarianism, please.
WOODRUFF: But don't you think, Jeff, he was trying to remind George Bush that, hey, Republicans worked with us Democrats on some of the issues, that hasn't been us-against-them situation all these years?
SHAW: And notice, we did not hear the name Bill Clinton once in this speech.
WOODRUFF: Last night was his night.
GREENFIELD: I he's on his way home, and the Gore campaign -- excuse me, we are momentarily awaiting the appearance of Senator Bill Bradley, who challenged Al Gore for the nomination. Later, we're going to hear from Senator Bob Kerrey, who is one of Bill Bradley's biggest supporters. He is with us now. But since he wanted Bill Bradley to be president, I'm assuming he'd like to hear from the candidate before he weighs in.
Let's -- well, if we have a minute, Senator Kerrey, what did you think of Senator Ted Kennedy's speech? Characteristically Kennedy or not?
SEN. BOB KERREY (D), NEBRASKA: I think it really is more a vegetarian speech for Ted. But I think what he's saying does confront I think the misrepresentation that the Republicans made in Philadelphia. I mean, this administration has worked very carefully with Republicans to enact legislation, that has all the marks of progress. They've made progress. They have seized the opportunity.
WOODRUFF: Strategically, what is the most seminal thing that Bill Bradley can do for the Gore-Lieberman ticket, nuts and bolts?
KERREY: He's got to come, as I expect him to do this evening, and say, first of all, I'm enthusiastic, we have shared values, I want Al Gore to be president of the United States, and he's got to make it believable, and I expect that Bill Bradley, as he always does in these kinds of cases, will do just that.
WOODRUFF: But when I interviewed Senator Bradley today, I asked him about Joe Lieberman and the concern among African-Americans here at this convention about whether he's been enthusiastically supporting affirmative action. Bill Bradley said, he has not, I do, and he said, I'm waiting to see what he has to say about that.
KERREY: Well, I think Joe Lieberman, when he was both physically and politically dangerous was on the front lines of civil rights. He did not make him a leader and an advocate of civil rights when it was politically popular as many people have done of late. But he's been on the front line. He's got a long record on civil rights. He's questioned affirmative action. You have to be blind not to see problems of affirmative action. He's not calling for the elimination of affirmative action. He supported affirmative action. He knows that it's endangered unless we make certain that when we have problems with it we correct it.
GREENFIELD: You were known in the Senate as an independent sort of fellow. Bill Bradley ran as an insurgent. You are leaving the Senate now. That's how independent you are. But can Bill Bradley persuade those people who are very skeptical about the insiders in politics that Al Gore, a consummate insider, really has their interest at heart?
KERREY: I think he can, although I think the person that's more likely to do it is Al Gore himself. You were commenting earlier, I think it's very important for the president and the first lady -- she's running for Senate, so she can talk all she wants -- but I think it's very important for the president to move to the sidelines and allow the vice president the independence that he needs to tell the American people, here's my story, and here's the story of my life, here's what I've done, here's the string of integrity and decision- making, and here's my vision, here's what I want to do, and some of it is different than what Bill Clinton would have done.
SHAW: We were observing a few moments ago that there was not a lot of red meat in Teddy Kennedy's speech, and that's my lead-up to asking you this question: How directly should Al Gore and Joe Lieberman attack the Bush-Cheney ticket?
KERREY: I don't think they should attack the Bush-Cheney ticket. I think what they should do is carefully delineate the real significant policy differences, and there are. On guns, on choice, on health care, and lots of other issues, they need to say, here are the differences, and here's our vision and here's what we do.
And, Bernie, I think the strongest thing that both Lieberman and Gore have going for them is that typically Democrats aren't trusted on the economy, they aren't national security, they aren't trusted on public safety. And Democrats delivered in all three areas. What we have to have and I think we're going to see as this week rolls on is an independent strong voice coming both from Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, that people both are going to trust in life.
WOODRUFF: We're watching your dear friend, Bill Bradley, make his way up to the podium there. How hard is it for him to do this tonight, do you think?
KERREY: I think it's -- you know, when he told the delegates they were at least a day before yesterday watching him lose a third time, so there is some difficulty. He's a guy who likes to win.
GREENFIELD: We're going to listen now to the man who has been thought of as a potential president from the time he was an undergraduate at Princeton University 45 years ago.
BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me get right to the point. We're all here to elect the next president of the United States, Al Gore.
For 15 months I ran for president. It was a joyous journey and I have the scars to prove it. Ernestine and I have met so many wonderful people along the way who gave so much to the effort. We'll never forget you or the hopes that we shared. And I promise we'll stay true to the causes that bound us together.
Thank you very much.
But now we're in a general election, and it's absolutely essential that we get behind Al Gore.
I support him. I endorse him. I'll work hard for him. Our country needs a Democratic president, a Democratic Congress, and most important, a Democratic conscience. Electing Al Gore and Joe Lieberman is the right thing to do for our country.
When you run against someone, you get to know him very well. I learned that Al Gore is a man of wide-ranging intellect with a deep desire to serve, profound preparation for the job, and a strong sense of loyalty and a life view infused with tolerance and rooted in religious faith.
What strikes me is that we share so much more than what we disagree on. We fight for the same Democratic values, and we will fight for them together in the fall.
With the Supreme Court at stake, Social Security at the crossroads, the use of our budget surpluses up for grabs, we all know the importance of this election, and it will not be easy. So join the fight with me tonight, my fellow Democrats, with all of our resources and energy, so that we can elect the man whose leadership will make America a better place.
But this election is not merely a choice between two individuals. It's a choice between two philosophies of leadership. It's a choice between a Republican Party that's determined to give the fruits of our hard-won prosperity to those who don't need the help and a Democratic Party that promises to use this great opportunity to provide care for the ill, to lift up millions from poverty, to heal the racial divide and to ensure that every child has a decent public school.
It's a choice. Are we going to go back to the politics of the haves and have-nots, or are we going to invest in the future of America?
Democrats can do great things, because we're the party of hope, we're the party of change. Democrats don't shy away from opportunities and difficulties that are the new age, we respond to them with new ideas and new actions. We don't window dress diversity; we are the party of diversity.
We don't declare ourselves compassionate; we've been acting compassionately for decades.
We don't just talk about prosperity; we make it happen. (APPLAUSE)
Don't read my lips; watch what we do.
Watch what we've always done. Watch what the values of our parties has always been, the convictions that Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson stood for, that Jimmy Carter lives for even now, that Bill Clinton still fights for; the ideals of Jack and Bobby and Martin, the ideals they died for.
As Democrats, we look where there's triumph and progress, but also where there's suffering and neglect. We know that in our hearts that compassion is a necessary ingredient of a just society. But as Democrats, we're not conservative with our compassion.
At our best, we give it generally -- we give it generously. We give it in civil rights. We give when we raise the minimum wage. We give it when we protect the beauty and purity of our mountain streams and great wilderness. We give it when we open ourselves to the dreams of new immigrants who are expanding the dimensions of our identity once again.
My grandfather was an immigrant. And he never got tired of telling his grandson -- me -- what America meant to him. And he said America was great because it was free and because people cared about each other. That's also why the Democratic Party is great -- we push forward the boundaries of freedom and turn caring into action.
I believe initiative deserves its reward.
Wealth is an appropriate reward for effort. We should always have our eyes on our dreams, but I also believe that the task of leadership is to make sure that all Americans have a chance to fulfill their dreams.
Tonight there are 44 million Americans without health insurance. That's 44 million Americans who can't take their sick baby to a doctor, who don't have anyone to attend to their dying parents, who can't get medical help so they can stay on the job. So let's think again, 44 million Americans. That equals more than all the people living in 12 of our states, from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains.
Whether your Democrat or Republican or independent, can we be so insensitive to say that their plight is of no concern to us? Would we write-off the health of all the people living in 12 of our 50 states? AUDIENCE: No.
BRADLEY: Unlikely. Unlikely.
Yet, because the uninsured are not concentrated in any one area, they seem invisible to us. But the Democratic dream must include them and fulfill the promise of health care for all.
My friend, Senator Paul Wellstone, tells the story...
... about a fourth-grade teacher in a poor area of Minnesota. The teacher walked into the classroom one day and said, "How many of you in here had a big breakfast today?"
And 10 of the 20 kids raised their hands. He said, "How many of you in here had any breakfast today?" Six more kids raised their hands. He said, "What about the other four, what about you?" Silence. Finally, one little girl, somewhat self-consciously, raised her hand and said, "It wasn't my turn to eat today."
When the founders of our republic said that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were the unalienable rights of all Americans, they didn't say anything about taking turns.
They didn't say that it was your turn today to have life and liberty, but not tomorrow, that it was your turn tomorrow to pursue happiness, but not today. The whole point of the American ideal is that opportunity is always present for all of us. Yet the chance that this chance is being denied to millions of working families who are trapped in a prison of poverty.
Tonight, one-fifth of the children in this country are ill-fed, ill-housed and ill-educated. When there's a natural disaster -- a hurricane, a flood -- we don't talk about repairing a roof here, a window there, a house here, a bridge there. We make an enormous investment in restoring things the way they were before the disaster struck. Child poverty is such a disaster.
Most of us would never turn our backs on a starving child. Yet every day we ignore 13 million poor children in this country. If all of them were gathered in one place, it would create a city bigger than New York, and we would then see child poverty for the slow-motion national disaster that it is. If we don't end child poverty in our lifetime, shame on me, shame on you, shame on all of us.
But our ability to end child poverty and provide health care for all depends on our will to defeat the special interests and return politics to the people. Democracy, from it's very beginnings, has always been a vulnerable form of government: vulnerable to armies from without and tyrants from within, vulnerable to the complacency of citizens and the secret maneuverings of powerful groups, and vulnerable to the influence of money.
Every generation has to fight for democracy in its own way. Our fight is campaign finance reform.
Let the Democratic Party take up the torch of reform and once again return politics to the people.
WOODRUFF: We would only interrupt the speech of Senator Bill Bradley for something very important. But we believe we do have something very important here in the CNN Skybox. Joining me, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg Kennedy, and her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy. Thank you both very much for being with us.
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Quite a reception out there.
Senator Kennedy, an emotional time for you to be in this place?
TED KENNEDY: Well, very much so. As both Caroline and I mentioned, it was 40 years ago the president had gained the nomination. It was a very contested nomination, but it was also here in Los Angeles. He talked about the new frontier and challenged America. He always believed that people in the country does best when it is challenged, and I think people were responding at that time. And now, and the country is going now under the last eight years, and I think now is really the opportunity for Al Gore to keep the prosperity going, but as President Clinton mentioned, to find prosperity, meaning decency and fairness, dealing with our problems that we're facing in health care, and education and other issues.
WOODRUFF: Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg, you've come here to introduce your uncle. You mentioned, of course, your father. You mentioned your mother, your brother. Is this is a difficult thing for you to do, to be here?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: No, it's not difficult. I mean, it's a great thing to be here, it really is. I mean, I feel that all of them are with me. So it's nice.
WOODRUFF: You -- this is the first national convention you have spoken at, is that right?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Right, that's right.
WOODRUFF: Now why did you choose this one?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Teddy asked me, so.
WOODRUFF: Is that right?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: That's right. Couldn't have a finer, a more wonderful presenter.
WOODRUFF: And what was the argument that you made? What did you say?
TED KENNEDY: Very interesting. You're rewarding and satisfying. You really...
WOODRUFF: But seriously, why was it important for you, for her to be here this time?
TED KENNEDY: Well, I have enormous both love and affection for Caroline, but I have incredible respect for her concern about many of the things that father was concerned, mother was concerned, and I am concerned, about children. She's written a book on privacy, on the Bill of Rights, and the Supreme Court is going to be in play in the next election, so she cares about these thing. And I was honored to have her join me.
WOODRUFF: And you could have said no?
TED KENNEDY: Sure.
WOODRUFF: You wanted to be here to say these words?
TED KENNEDY: No, it's really a great opportunity, and I do care a lot about these issue, and I think this is a really important election, and I think as many people have said that there are differences between the two candidates, and I'm really happy to be able to help Al Gore if I can.
WOODRUFF: To you, why is this election so important?
TED KENNEDY: Well, I think the Supreme Court is one of the reasons. I think that the justices that this administration has appointed have been outstanding, and I think that there will be opportunities in a number of areas and important decisions, and I think in health care, as Teddy has been talking about, education, so many things that affect children. So there are many important issues, and we have a lot of opportunities to do something.
WOODRUFF: You also mentioned reproductive rights. How important is that for you, to you?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Well, I think it's part of just a larger picture of individual rights, which goes, of course, with responsibility and public service and giving back. And so all these things, I think, in the importance of the individual are really so important as we move into the 21st century, where things are getting more complicated.
WOODRUFF: Senator Kennedy, you talked about -- you mentioned health care. That was the main theme of your remarks. Is this ticket so different from what George W. Bush is talking about? He has spent some time on the subject as well. Why is it so important that it be Gore-Lieberman and not Bush-Cheney?
TED KENNEDY: Well, I served in the Senate, and this is where some of these battles are being fought now, on the Patients' Bill of Rights, for example, and on prescription drugs. And we'll have an opportunity in these next four weeks to see whether the -- our Republican friends are going to support that Patients' Bill of Rights, which we'll do, as I mentioned here tonight, that the doctors decide, and not accountants that are working for HMOs and whether we will get a good prescription drug program. Those have not been priorities for the leadership in the Congress and the Senate. And if George W. feels strongly about that, and if he would urge that we have the kind of bipartisanship that I talked about this evening, where we made progress in other areas, then you could say, what difference does it make? But they have resisted those kinds of efforts, people ought to understand it. This is why this election is important. We have to get beyond cliches, slogans and speeches, and find out what the real record is.
WOODRUFF: We just heard Bill Bradley say that we don't want window-dressing diversity, we offer real diversity in this party. But is it possible to congratulate the Republican Party, to applaud their efforts to reach out, to be more diverse?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: I think it is. I think it was even more impressive what the women senators did last night. I thought they were really great.
TED KENNEDY: Maybe they would help us to get the judges through, you know. It takes three times longer for a woman be approved in the Judiciary Committee to be a judge, and four times longer for men and women of color to get approved as a judge in the federal courts.
Now if they want real diversity, Bill Lann Lee, who is an outstanding leader in the Justice Department, head of the civil rights division, they wouldn't give us a vote on it in the United States Senate. These are just some of the examples that some of us who are working in the Senate would like to see. Now if this all sort of happens, then you've got some good points there.
WOODRUFF: How do you make this come alive for the American people, though? In the last election, fewer than half the people who were eligible to vote went to the polls and voted. How do you make -- certainly by being here and speaking that's one way -- but what is it that Al Gore and Joe Lieberman and people like you and your uncle have to say to get Americans?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Well, I think if people believe that something is really important then they will make an effort. And I think that that is the job of everybody here, to make people understand that this election really is important and there are really important things at stake.
WOODRUFF: As you look around -- you talked about when you were growing up, people would stop you on the street and say your father changed my life. He brought he into public service -- as you look around now, is there anything like that?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Well, I think a lot of -- I mean, I people got really energized in this campaign during the primary season. And I think that that was great. And I think, as it goes forward, I hope people really will realize that each one of us really makes a difference. And participating, once you again involved, it feels good to give something back. And I think the people that do get involved really like it.
It's just that initial effort that you have to make.
WOODRUFF: Any other involvement on your part between now and November?
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: I don't know. We'll see.
TED KENNEDY: She did awfully well tonight, I tell you.
WOODRUFF: You both got a great reception. We thank you both very much. Senator Edward Kennedy...
TED KENNEDY: Thank you very, very much.
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Thank you.
TED KENNEDY: It's good that CNN is covering this, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, we...
TED KENNEDY: We really -- it makes a big difference in terms of the people understanding these issues. Congratulations.
WOODRUFF: We wouldn't miss it. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.
KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thank you very much. We appreciate it.
And now to the keynote address, Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford.
REP. HAROLD FORD JR. (D), TENNESSEE: ... the Kennedy family and Reverend Jesse Jackson for your enduring commitment to our party and to our nation. You have made our party better and our nation stronger. We say thank you.
(APPLAUSE) But I also stand here this evening representing a new generation, a generation committed to the ideals of the past but inspired by an unshakable confidence in our future. In every neighborhood in my home town of Memphis and all across this nation, I see young people tutoring and mentoring, building homes and caring for seniors, feeding the hungry. I also see them using their entrepreneurial spirit to start companies, to start nonprofits and to drive this new economy that has produced this record growth.
America, we stand at a magnificent moment, with the ability to unleash an amazing amount of imagination. I say to all of those in my generation and I say to all Americans who share our spirit -- if you want a future that belongs to you, if you want a future that is for everyone, then join with us to make Al Gore our next president and Joe Lieberman our next vice president.
We know -- we know that there are some who understand the future. But too often as they gaze into the distance, they fail to know how to make sure that it serves all of the people. Then there are others who fight tirelessly for the people, but they don't see beyond the horizon.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, Al Gore is that rare leader, who both has the vision for the future and understands that we can only realize its full promise when all of our people share in it.
I remember meeting Al Gore for the very first time. It was across my kitchen table at my family's home in Memphis. My mom and dad, and Jake (ph) and Isaac (ph), whom are here this evening.
As often was the case, my brothers, Jake and Isaac, and I were right where we wanted to be -- next to my daddy, as he and my mom and Al Gore discussed the issues of the day.
It was a time when on the heels of Vietnam and Watergate, that most young leaders and young people turned away from public service, but Al Gore didn't turn away. He jumped feet first into public life and was elected one of Tennessee's youngest congressmen ever. That's when he became my role model, I might add.
As a young congressman, he wasted very little time. He held some of the first hearings investigating the effect of global warming on our health, our environment and our economy.
At the height of the Cold War, when both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Atlantic were stuck on how best to bring peace and security to America and to the world, while keeping us safe and strong at home, Al Gore, at the tender age of 34, offered a comprehensive strategy to reduce the threat of nuclear arms while keeping America safe and strong at home.
Both superpowers took notice, and Al Gore helped change the debate.
More than 20 years ago, Al Gore called for serious campaign finance reform. You know, I was only 4 years old when my dad first ran for Congress and won. He didn't have very much money when he was running the first time. So I cut his very first radio ad. I said to the people of the 9th District of Tennessee that if you want a congressman that believes in better jobs, better housing and lower cookie prices, go to the polls and vote for my daddy for Congress. He won that election.
But what I learned then, as I know now, that political advertising costs then as it does now. While I recognize the importance of political adverting, I feel passionately that the people of this great nation and certainly my generation, in order to get us more engaged, we have to reform our campaign finance laws.
... some may pose for reform in photo ops, but Al Gore will sign a campaign finance reform bill his first day in office, when this Democratic Congress sends it to him.
America and Democratic delegates, the choice before us -- a choice that in many ways weighs heavier on my generation than any other -- is not what kind of America will we have in the next four years, but what kind of America will we have in the next 40? Will the amazing advances in science and medicine of tomorrow be fenced off for the few, or will there be tools for all of us to build better lives with?
At this critical time, America needs a leader with the intellect to understand the complexities we face, a leader with experience who can grasp the challenges of our world. At this critical time, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike, America needs Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.
I remember the fear many of my college classmates in Pennsylvania faced, some eight years ago, when we graduated from college and were searching for jobs. For many of us, finding a good job was a tough task. Well, eight years later and 22 million jobs later, the future of America is back where it ought to be -- on the up for young people in Pennsylvania, in Tennessee and all across this great nation.
But you know, some in the other party would have us go back: back to a past where prosperity only touches the well-off and well- connected; back to a past where children learn from outdated text books and parents can't scrape together enough money to send them to college; back to a past where polluters write our environmental laws; back to a past where politicians run up enormous deficits, run factories out of business and run the economy into the ground.
Well, America, our vision is far different than theirs. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman believe the future is for everyone.
Imagine if you will for a moment, a debt-free economy strong enough that every American can share in the American dream. Imagine a health care system where every American receives the medicine he or she needs, and where no senior is forced to stay up late at night deciding whether to buy food or fill a subscription.
Imagine a society...
Imagine a society that treats seniors with the respect and dignity they deserve, and where Social Security and Medicare are strengthened not only for our parents and grandparents, but for our children and grandchildren.
Imagine a nation of clean coastlines and safe drinking water, pristine parks and air that our kids can breathe as they play in the back yard and even those parks.
We all recognize, as Democrats and as Americans, that no issue is more critical to our nation's continued success than how and where we educate our children.
If we can find the will and resources to build prison after prison after prison, then surely we can find the will and resources to build new schools...
... to hire new teachers, to connect every classroom to the Internet. Surely...
... surely, we can pay teachers what they're worth and hold schools just as accountable for results. America, surely we can do better by our children.
Imagine a world where we give all children a first-class education. Well, America, it is time to stop imagining. Tonight, I call on all of my reform-minded Republican and Independent friends to join us in our crusade, to join us in making this bold imagination a reality.
You know, when I first decided to run for Congress four years ago in 1996, I, like most candidates -- and I've met so many since being here over the past few days -- was hoping and excited about all of the invitations that I might receive to speak at various events. I was so excited that I was waiting by the phone for those invitations.
But as you young candidates and new candidates certainly find, that isn't always the case. But there was one forum and one place where I was often welcome, where I was welcomed with great smiles, where I was able to gain my footing as a candidate and develop my momentum as a candidate, and that was at Kindergarten graduations.
I spoke at more kindergarten graduations than anyone in my district ever knew existed.
As a matter of fact, the very first school I visited, Ms. Velma Louis Jones (ph), who's here from our great state, the head of our teacher's association, she invited me.
But as I spoke at those graduations -- and I continue to do so -- I was struck by the pride in the eyes of those 5-year-olds and the eyes of their families. In may ways it was magical. I couldn't help but think about the horrors we hear about kids when they grow up joining gangs and bringing guns to school. For when they're 5 and 6, they're still ours.
For those children and their families, America, we must continue working for a better life and a better world. As we turn our attention to the choice at hand, let us remember those children in kindergartens in Memphis and all across this nation, and remember in the end what this election is really all about: them.
Yes, there will be talk throughout this campaign about budget surpluses, tax cuts, reform on a whole array of fronts, but in the end it's really just all about them.
And so with those 5-year-olds in mind, our first step in encouraging their dreams and unleashing their imaginations is by electing Al Gore the next president of these United States.
For their sake we can't go back. For their sake we must go forward. For their sake we must build a future for everyone.
Thank you, God bless you, and good night.
SHAW: Harold Ford, Jr., 30 years old, the youngest member of Congress, finishing his second term on the Hill, representing most of Memphis.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson is here, our floor reporters are in position, and when we come back to Los Angeles, we're going to visit with them all.
Back in a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Within our party, we can fight for the right to do what's right. We can change. We can challenge. We can agree to disagree. We can agree to be agreeable. But we're a family. When I look at these two teams and these two choices, Papa Bush gave us Clarence Thomas. Baby Bush gave us an end to affirmative action and women's right for self- determination in Florida. George W. will not stand against -- for hate crime legislation. I say, America, stay out the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes. Stay out the Bushes.
Stay out the Bushes. Stay out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAW: And here in his seat, the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
GREENFIELD: Well, obviously, in this -- in this era of no -- no language with any edge at all, you know, nice, sweet pasta, nobody tells Jesse Jackson not to use language that has a little bit of a flavor to it.
JACKSON: Well, you know, when you communicate, there are choices, consequences, but it must be clarity, and part of my message was to say the Republicans have suffered a kind of fusion where there is no difference, but the distinctions must be made, and that's Al Gore's challenge, is to make distinctions, what you do with the tree of knowledge.
When one team says, "Give back the top 20 percent," another team says, "Invest it in health care, education," or something, then you at least must make that distinction, and I think at this point that part of the problem of the Democrats has been the Republicans have been playing kind of huggy bear. I mean, we count them alike.
Well, philosophically and prioritized, budget-wise, we're not alike, and we must make that distinction.
SHAW: You watched the Republican convention in Philadelphia. Anything there inspire you?
JACKSON: Well, what I was impressed with was all of the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) people of color on the stage, even though there was a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) amount in the audience.
Thirty-five years after the Voting Rights Act, what one is beginning to see is that one party -- one party cannot take the former disenfranchised vote for granted, the other cannot write it off, because the vote of the disenfranchised 35 years ago will determine by its action or inaction the next president, the next Congress, and the next course. That's -- that's a long way to come in 35 years.
Even Pat Buchanan had to put a person of color on his ticket because now that -- no politician can afford to start off a campaign minus 12 million votes.
WOODRUFF: Is there a little dissension at this party -- in this party right now among liberals, among African-Americans, because they're not sure that Joe Lieberman is as supportive of issues like affirmative action?
JACKSON: There may be some disconnection because what you really have -- you have a kind of DLC head connected to a Democratic Party body, and the DLC head is a bit distant from this convention. In other words, you have 40 percent labor delegates. They're not inspired at all by the -- by the China trade deal. You have a thousand African-American delegates, a thousand Hispanic and Asian delegates, half female, half male, and so that head must connect with that body. That's happening, but when that does happen, you'll have a powerful operation, but there is a gap there.
GREENFIELD: You said...
GREENFIELD: I'm sorry, Judy.
WOODRUFF: I was just going to say what else does Al Gore, what -- and what does Joe Lieberman need to do to...
JACKSON: Well, it seems to me that the bold move that Al Gore made, maybe the most exciting thing, was to put Lieberman on the ticket. It gives people something to talk about. It's a very short campaign. There wasn't much to talk about. There's a lot of states that were no contest in, so there was a kind of non-connection until now.
But, to me, the idea of -- of breaking down the invisible barrier by putting an Orthodox Jew on that ticket with a Southern Baptist could not -- that with the historical base is -- is -- it's a new frontier, and I feel that when the barrier comes down for one, it opens doors for all. There's a lot of talk about that means -- what that means, but what it really means is that the quota of zero on Jewish people was broken with a bold act of affirmative action, and the barrier is down.
GREENFIELD: But that -- OK, but moving aside from that symbolism, it's always seemed to me that people, because you -- you are a powerful African-American voice, miss the other message you have about social policy. You have been very clear. You are in the progressive wing of the party. You once called the DLC Democrats for the Leisure Class.
You've got two former chairmen of the centrist group that was trying to move the Democratic Party away from what it considered excessive liberalism. So when it comes to issues -- and you have people who -- who presided over the globalization, the rich getting richer even in this time of prosperity. Joe Lieberman's for tax breaks. He wants to expand with the vouchers. Are you content that this is the direction both members of this ticket go?
JACKSON: Absolutely -- absolutely not. President Clinton was successful in connecting the DLC, the Democrat base in '92 when we won, unsuccessful in this convention in ' 94 and Gingrich won, and so you send -- the DLC may be a group of -- of idealogues. They don't have the numbers to win big elections unless they -- in fact, there's a connection.
But what I think we do in our maturity is, within the big tent, we -- we can (UNINTELLIGIBLE) out these positions and keep expanding. I mean, to a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) budget, we say the issue is not just debt reduction. It is, in fact, 40 million Americans have no health insurance, a coal miner dies from black lung disease every six hours, or more public schools and fewer -- fewer new jails.
Now that is a -- is a direction, and it may not be that the Gore and Lieberman may inspire the base so much as the base may inspire and challenge Gore and Lieberman, but it will be under one bit tent.
SHAW: Our floor correspondents are listening to every word we're saying here, and I want to ask John King -- is what Reverend Jackson's outlining a possible fault line for this party here in Los Angeles at convention time?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, most Democrats on the floor today think Senator Lieberman did an effective job addressing the black caucus and answering the questions about affirmative action, although if you look at everything he said at the time back in March, 1995, he did not run through a full explanation in his speech today. Back then when he first became active in the DLC, he said, quote, "When we have such policies, we have the effect of breaking some of those ties in civil society that have held us together because they're patently unfair."
One leading black Democrat on the floor tonight, when I showed him the big transcript of Senator Lieberman's complete remarks, rolled his eyes, said that he did not think that matched up with the explanation he had given to the black caucus. Indeed, this official said he thought that explanation was, quote, "Clintonesque," and the official did not mean that as a compliment at all.
JACKSON: Well, really what it means is that -- is that Lieberman must not only make clear to women, Hispanics, and blacks where he is on affirmative action because it is a majority not a minority issue, but I think the other challenge he has, which I think he will meet, by the way, is, just as Kennedy had to convince the Catholic -- the Protestants and the Jews and the Southerners to believe that rooted in his faith he could be fair, the -- Lieberman must now convince the -- the Catholics, not just the blacks -- convince the Catholics and the Protestants and the Southerners that "Rooted in my faith" that "I can be fair operating under the Constitution." That is a bigger challenge than just getting a nod out of a black caucus group. WOODRUFF: Well, let's turn back to our correspondents.
Candy Crowley -- Jeanne Meserve, let me ask you -- all of you to weigh in here. You've been talking to these delegates for the last two days. What are they saying about this?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I get the sense, and I -- perhaps Reverend Jackson is a better judge of this -- that they're torn. I mean, frankly, this is a group that wants both to win with Al Gore -- they're -- they definitely are against George Bush, so they're sort of caught because Al Gore's already picked this man. So, you know, are they happy with it? No. I've talked to a lot of people on the floor today who did question whether this was an adequate explanation. Will they live with it? I -- my sense is absolutely.
JACKSON: But, you know, Candy, the good news is that we're moving away from the issues of race and religion to resources and opportunity, and that's where this battle must be fought, in the arena of shared opportunities, and what affirmative action has meant for women and people of color -- you know, in many ways, there was a quota for Jewish people on the national ticket. Gore with a bold act of affirmative action put Lieberman on the ticket, just like Colin Powell, because of affirmative action, got him on to the -- on to the role (ph) with Carter and Alexander. So here Lieberman himself ironically is a product, the beneficiary of an affirmative action act.
WOODRUFF: We're going to continue all this with Reverend Jackson, with our floor correspondents.
We'll be right back.
SHAW: Democrats closing out their second night of the convention here in Los Angeles, and as they file out, CNN continues its expansive coverage.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson with us, and we're going to get down to Frank Sesno and also to Jeanne Meserve in this context.
In the first question I asked you, you said -- you used a word that was very interesting, and you choose your words carefully. You said there is a, quote, "disconnect" between the Democratic Leadership Council and the Democratic Party. What do you mean?
JACKSON: Well, the DLC appoints by invitation -- invites its constituency, and labor is not in the DNC -- DLC, and this -- 40 percent of this convention -- only a smathering of blacks in the DLC or Hispanics in the DLC, and so it's in some sense a privatized version of Democrats that they sought to suburbanize the party. My point always was if they are the right of center, it takes two wings to fly, and you must connect them to have the expansive Democratic Party.
But Lieberman does not know this convention that well. He will get to learn it. Gore knows it better, but this -- but this leadership must connect with this body, and when it does, you have a different combination.
SHAW: Are you saying that Joseph Lieberman has got to be a bigger, a wider, a broader Democrat?
JACKSON: No doubt about it, because the idea of the DLC was to reach out for the Democrats that it had lost, but it could not afford to trade off the news one for the other ones or the older ones. It has to be expansive and not a tradeoff. There are not enough DLC members to win a national election.
GREENFIELD: If we could bring Frank Sesno and Jeanne Meserve in, your sense of the floor and how this conversation plays out with the folks you've been talking to.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think the...
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The...
SESNO: I'm sorry. Go right head, Jeanne.
MESERVE: I just wanted to bring you a quick news flash, I guess. Kevin Bonn (ph), one of our producers, just waylaid Maxine Waters on the -- on the floor here and asked her her reaction to Lieberman's comments this afternoon. She said she's satisfied. She's backing this ticket, and she says no pressure was brought to bear on her.
Excuse me, Frank.
SESNO: Oh, it's quite all right.
I think the point I was going to make, and it's very interesting because -- I'd be interested in the Reverend Jackson's response to this. What really was going on here tonight -- and a lot of the delegates know it -- is - sure there was an address to those assembled here, but an effort really, just as in Philadelphia with the Republicans, to go out to America and to talk to those very important independent voters, those swing voters, and it's why there has been very little red meat here.
It's why there has been very little attacking here. It's why Teddy Kennedy was up there talking about health care principally and primarily. I've spoken to many strategists here and beyond who are saying that this is a very deliberate tactic and that attack politics don't work, especially with independents, and that the Democratic Party has to seem like a bigger party, if a more centrist party, in the process.
GREENFIELD: And in fact...
GREENFIELD: In fact...
Oh, go ahead, Jeanne. I'm sorry. MESERVE: Well, I was just going to say I spoke to Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts just before I came over here about this -- this issue of appealing, and he said he thinks it's working here in the hall, but their real concern is how it's playing out in America. They're well aware that the networks are not giving this convention much coverage, that we have a lot of people talking when their presentation's going on on the stage, and he's worried about just how the American public is receiving the message that they're trying to send out from this convention.
SESNO: And if I could -- and maybe the reverend wants to respond to this. You know, you look back at some of the speeches from four years ago and certainly eight years ago. You hear much harsher rhetoric. Teddy Kennedy then attacking the Republicans as education- cutting, environmental-trashing, Medicare-slashing, choice-denying Republicans. That kind of rhetoric is absent.
GREENFIELD: And, in fact, the reason -- the reason why we want to mention this, Reverend Jackson, is the Gore campaign, which is pretty much vetting these speeches, present company excepted...
JACKSON: They didn't vet mine.
GREENFIELD: ... present company excepted, has pretty much said, "We really don't want that tone," and the question is can you lock this convention, can you put this DLC head that is talking bipartisanship, smoothing out the differences to a party that -- that wants to be in combat.
JACKSON: Well, you (UNINTELLIGIBLE) two things. It does not necessarily want to be in combat. It wants to be included. So let's say include all, leave none behind. Leave none behind the budget. There's been a lot of focus on race, on religion, but the issue is about resources. It is about, while we have the surplus, what will you do with it?
One team says that you should use it to reduce the debt primarily. The other says, "But what about the 42 million Americans without health insurance? What about the coal miners? What about public education? So the struggle's about a broader resource issue, which is -- that's not a tradeoff between the suburbanites and their -- and the historical Democrats. It must be an -- an expansion, not a tradeoff.
CROWLEY: Reverend Jackson?
CROWLEY: It's Candy Crowley. Let me ask you a question. Just yes or no if you can do it. Does Joe Lieberman lose any liberal Democrats in the fall?
JACKSON: Well, I do not think so. And I think that you have a combination of reasons why. Number one, he's going to address in a greater measure labor at the convention, that he will be committed to a fairer trade agreement that has some accountability mechanism. He's going to convince them of that. He's going to try to convince women, Hispanics and African-Americans that he will affirm Affirmative Action. That will address that in some measure.
But I think that his real big challenge is to convince Protestants and Catholics and the South to get beyond their religious anxiety about his being an Orthodox Jew, that he has the capacity and the will to be fair to all Americans. Of course, unsaid in all of this is the historical anxiety about the breakthrough that he represents. I think it's a huge breakthrough, but we must not short- shrift his real challenge.
GREENFIELD: Reverend Jackson, I know you have to go. You've been generous with your time. We appreciate it. We appreciate also the fact that in this era of toned-down rhetoric there's a little bit of a sense of humor and a little bit of twinkle in the eye when you get up to the podium. It's your fifth straight convention, so...
GREENFIELD: ... you're the Lou Gehrig of these things.
JACKSON: ... what excites me about -- about -- again, when I look at this convention -- briefly -- in 1948, there was one African- American on the stage of either convention, Bill Gray's (ph) father.
SHAW: In 1940?
JACKSON: Prayed in 1948. He became a real, huge African- American preacher because he spoke at the convention. He prayed. But now, by year 2000, you see whether it's the Democrat, Republican or even the Reform Party, all are trying to show that they are connected to the recently enfranchised vote. That is a new and exciting thing.
Lyndon Johnson said when the Voting Rights Act does take place, we'll lose the South maybe for 25 years. But last year, Barnes won for governor in Georgia with 67 percent of his vote was black. That was new. Musgrove in Mississippi won, a third of his vote was black. So there's kind of a new black-white vote emerging that's taking the edge off of the kind of trade-off. There's a kind of movement toward that vote because no one can win without it.
I'm convinced Republicans would like to at least neutralize 10 percent of it. That's the kind of Atwater theory. And the charge of Democrats is to keep the edge on. You can't trade off all the edge or you'll lose the enthusiasm margin.
GREENFIELD: OK, thank you so much. We're losing our brand-new political analyst, but we're going to stay with our floor reporters in just a moment when we come back.
JACKSON: It's one of my ambitions, man!
WOODRUFF: All right.
SHAW: When you are a floor correspondent at a convention for CNN -- Meserve, Sesno, King and Crowley -- you hear a lot, you see a lot. Let's go back to our intrepid four to find out what they think about this second session.
KING: Well, I'll go first, I guess, in the moment of silence. Republicans already criticizing tonight as proof of the Democratic Party's true liberal leanings, in their view -- Jesse Jackson at the podium, Ted Kennedy at the podium. The Gore campaign will rebut that with speeches by Senator Lieberman and the vice president himself.
But let's be honest. The vice president needed this night. If you look at the polling, if people are Republicans, 90 percent-plus say they are going to vote for Governor Bush. Among Democrats right now, the vice president gets only about 70 percent. So he has a problem with the Democratic base, and it's exacerbated by the fact that Ralph Nader is running, stressing environmental issues and consumer issues, health care issues.
And Pat Buchanan might be running, if the Reform Party tangle is worked out, and he appeals to many blue-collar voters, traditional Democrats. So Al Gore needed this night to remind the Democratic Party that while he is a new Democrat, he has the support of the old Democrats.
CROWLEY: Well, and let's face it, regardless of how mellow these speeches were, you put Jesse Jackson up there, you put Ted Kennedy up there, and they don't have to open their mouth, you think liberal. I mean, they are from that era, and they didn't need to come out and do red meat. They just needed to come out and get here. And you saw the reception for the Kennedys and for Jesse Jackson. It was enough that they were there.
SESNO: They issues they chose, though, were very interesting. They are issues that are designed to play to the center -- health care, in particular. That's been tested, tested and tested again. Education. These are the kinds of issues that not only go to the kinds of folks we've been talking about, voters we've been talking about earlier, but as you find out from talking to these delegates, they play well to women. And Al Gore has something of a gender problem, especially...
CROWLEY: But I got to tell you...
SESNO: ... among men, but among women, as well.
CROWLEY: ... I think -- I find it very hard to believe that Ted Kennedy plays to the middle, no matter what he says. I find it very hard to believe that Jesse Jackson plays to the middle. It was for these people in this hall tonight. They weren't playing for the -- they didn't want to alienate the middle, but they sure weren't playing for it, I don't think.
MESERVE: And meanwhile, they're putting out brushfires. They've had this Loretta Sanchez dust-up, and also today the Lieberman problem. So...
SESNO: The other...
MESERVE: ... (INAUDIBLE) all fronts.
SESNO: The other interesting angle, of course, is the connection of Clinton to Gore. And we started this evening on the floor talking to delegates about what they expect to see, what they want to see, what they'd be comfortable seeing from Bill Clinton with respect to Al Gore, how close he should stand. And I found an awful lot of delegates who very much want to see Clinton out there, but they're very concerned that he just overshadows, dwarfs Al Gore. I heard that again and again.
KING: And when the president ran late last night, the president's remarks on late, one of the floor whips said "Democrats and discipline don't go in the same sentence." They had the same problem again tonight. The keynote address by Harold Ford, 30-year- old congressman from Tennessee, out of primetime. Most of the nation doesn't know him.
Al Gore wanted him to speak in primetime because of another problem, young voters. If you look at the polling, among 18-to-29- year-olds, Governor Bush 58 percent, Al Gore 37 percent. Those 30 to 49, Governor Bush 60 percent, Al Gore 35 percent. A convention designed to address his problems. Again the scheduling difficulties making it perhaps a little bit harder.
CROWLEY: I think one of the other things that -- that -- the Kennedys' speeches were nice. I guess what I expected was more -- some more poignancy, some more sort of reveling in that legacy. We saw very little of that. It was, "You know who I am. You know where I came from. Let's talk about Al Gore." I thought that was an interesting way -- I mean, obviously, they -- they sort of get emotionality from this crowd just by appearing, but I thought it was interesting that there wasn't a lot of kind of wallowing in the JFK legacy.
MESERVE: I was sitting in the Massachusetts delegation, where I would have expected to see the emotion, and I saw none. And I contrast that with last night, when the president spoke, and there were people weeping -- weeping in the seats here. A completely different mood set here tonight, I thought.
SESNO: It's still Kennedy territory. I ran into Robert Kennedy, Jr., after he'd done an interview up in our booth, though, and I said to him, "By the way, is your sister, Rory, here," the youngest of the -- of Robert Kennedy's children. He says, "I don't know. There are so many of us, I can't keep track." So -- and there were a number of them here. This was family night. This was Kennedy night. Struck by the family resemblance here, as at the Republican convention with the Bushes.
MESERVE: Can I jump in with a quick word about Bill Bradley, who spoke tonight? I want to tell you that his delegates who were here -- there are 359 who he released yesterday -- were very happy with his speech because he, unlike John McCain, talked about the things that had motivated his campaign, things like campaign finance reform and health care and the income gap in America.
CROWLEY: One thing that I did notice about Bill Bradley is that I didn't think, at least if you were going to go on with the McCain comparison, that there was that kind of passion. McCain had such passionate followers, who wept when he showed up on the -- you know, Bradley was still the professor. He was -- he was still the guy up there. I mean, it was a good speech for Bradley, but still, I didn't get the sense that the delegates had a hard time letting go of him, so...
Listen, if you're wondering, all of you out there, where Wolf Blitzer is, he is currently doing an interview with Senator Joe Lieberman, the number-two man on the ticket, and you'll be able to see that tomorrow on The World Today, depending on where you are.
Back to the booth.
WOODRUFF: And thank you, all, for your trenchant comments.
And speaking of Senator Joe Lieberman, in just a moment, a woman who knows him better than anyone in the world. We'll have an interview with Hadassah Lieberman.
WOODRUFF: A week ago yesterday, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, his wife, Hadassah, were leading about as normal a life as you can lead, being a United States senator and spouse. That all changed when they found out that he had been named Al Gore's running mate.
Just a little while ago, I sat down with Hadassah Lieberman, and I asked her if she'd come down from cloud 9 yet.
HADASSAH LIEBERMAN, WIFE OF JOSEPH LIEBERMAN: No, I haven't. And it's starting to sink in, but I haven't come down yet.
WOODRUFF (on camera): This has been a dramatic change in your life. The wife of a senator is a big deal, the wife of a vice presidential nominee a much bigger deal. Has it been a hard adjustment, an easy adjustment?
LIEBERMAN: Well, I think it took us by such surprise that I've just been moving with it. I don't even know if you can call that adjustment yet. It's a thrill of a lifetime. It's a thrill for my husband and myself. And we just love Al and Tipper Gore. They're wonderful, really excited.
WOODRUFF: What has surprised you about this process, if anything, or -- if anything?
LIEBERMAN: I guess the most surprising part is that there's an initial vetting process, and there's this whole period of secrecy, and you're not allowed to speak to anyone. And then all of a sudden, overnight -- I mean, you go to sleep, and then at 5 to 7:00 in the morning, I saw it on TV. So it's just that there's -- it's a real quiet process. The way that Al Gore did it was really, really good. But it took us by surprise nevertheless.
WOODRUFF: The overwhelming initial reaction to the announcement of your husband as Al Gore's choice very positive.
WOODRUFF: In the last few days, some liberals in the Democratic Party, some African-Americans in the party are saying, "Wait a minute. We're not sure about his commitment to Affirmative Action." Today he spoke before members of the Black Caucus here at this convention.
WOODRUFF: What do you say to those liberals, to those African- Americans, anyone who questions that? What do you know about your husband's beliefs?
LIEBERMAN: Well, this morning he had a wonderful meeting with the Black Caucus, and they were just thrilled. Apparently, it was positive. All these groups -- look, we're all very different. We've all had different views on things. Joe's a loyal Democrat. He's been in politics for a long time. He's an honest man, a man of integrity. And he's with the people. He's been the people's attorney general and the people's senator, and he's going to be the people's vice president. And I just think that every -- we've just got to come together, talk about issues, and we're all in the same -- in the same place.
WOODRUFF: To African-Americans, in particular, what do you say?
LIEBERMAN: Well, what I say is that -- what I talked about the other day is that we all have differences, and we all want to respect each other. We want to learn about one another and strengthen our families and strengthen our communities in order to move forward and make this country stronger. And I'm just thrilled that Joe's going to be there working with all the different groups, and together I think we can really build a very strong democracy.
WOODRUFF: Another issue question.
WOODRUFF: Your husband is seen as a centrist on a number of issues.
WOODRUFF: Including abortion rights. You have done volunteer work with an organization in Washington called the Best Friends Foundation...
WOODRUFF: ... which promotes abstinence for adolescent girls. Where are you on the question of (INAUDIBLE)...
LIEBERMAN: Well, I've always been pro-choice. That's always been -- and that's Joe has always been pro-choice, and his voting record shows that. Best Friends is an excellent group that works with young women, trying to teach them abstinence and trying to have girlfriends reinforce each other and empower each other. And I don't think that those are conflicting views at all. I think we want to help our kids, you know, abstain when they're young and figure it out slowly. At the same time, we want to have the ability to choose left intact. So we're all together on that one.
WOODRUFF: Last but not least, some concern among Arab-Americans, some Arab nations overseas, can your husband, if he's elected vice president, be even-handed when it comes to Middle East policy?
LIEBERMAN: Absolutely. He's friendly -- he's befriended several Middle East nations' leaders, and he's really always spent a great deal of time in the Middle East with all kinds of nations' leaders. And he's definitely a fair-minded person. He understands that peace is what we need to have in that region.
WOODRUFF: The speech tomorrow night...
WOODRUFF: Your husband's giving it. Is it done? Is he ready?
LIEBERMAN: Well, these speeches are always in a process form. That's what I'm learning. Not that I've known it in the past. I don't want to speak like an authority. So we're in the process of doing the speech. He's working on his. I'm working on my introduction. I think it'll be a great one. I think it's going to introduce Joe Lieberman to the country, and I think that the ticket is really going to be a strong one. We're really lucky to be together. And Tipper and Al could not have been nicer to us and just so helpful. It made me feel really, really warm and -- and OK.
WOODRUFF: Hadassah Lieberman, we thank you very much for being with us.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
LIEBERMAN: It's a pleasure.
WOODRUFF: And lest you doubt, she said they absolutely learned about her husband's selection by watching it on television. They didn't get a call from Al Gore first.
When we come back, the Capital Gang. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
GREENFIELD: Last night, we presented you the discount version of The Capital Gang, 60 percent off, because three of the five members could not make it to the floor in time. We believe tonight it's retail, all five members.
To you, lady and gentlemen on the floor and The Capital Gang.
MARK SHIELDS, CNN "CAPITAL GANG": Thank you very much. The full Capital Gang is here. I'm Mark Shields, with Robert Novak, with Kate O'Beirne, with Al Hunt and with Margaret Carlson.
Here we are on the Staples Center floor, second night of the convention, "Bring home the base" night, the Democrats evoking memories, golden oldies. The question is, did it work, Al Hunt?
AL HUNT, CNN "CAPITAL GANG": Well, they needed to do it. It was fine. I thought probably the most important thing for the people out there were not the various human rights speakers and Jesse Jackson and all that, but it was the Kennedys. The Kennedys still are a magic, all-American family, and I think Caroline Kennedy, who was a very shy person -- I think her speech tonight probably evoked a lot of -- a lot of interest and empathy among -- among Americans.
SHIELDS: Bob Novak, you were here in 1960 when Jack Kennedy was nominated. Did it evoke memories for you?
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN "CAPITAL GANG": Yes, the same city. It -- this is a very different political party than it was 40 years ago. It was -- it was really a diverse, ideologically widespread spectrum then. This is a party of the left. The -- the theme of this convention has been "waiting for lefty," and lefty arrived tonight.
Elizabeth Birch, the gay rights advocate, gave a big speech. It was carried in full on CNN. Jesse Jackson gave a -- I think not quite as effective a rendition, a reprise of his Atlanta speech of 1988. May be good for the base. I'm not quite sure that that's what's needed to beat George Bush in getting that centrist vote that's going to decide the election.
SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, there was more electricity in '88 when Jesse Jackson gave his speech, having been a challenger, more electricity in 1980, when Ted Kennedy had been a candidate, than there was tonight. There just -- there seemed to be echoes rather than electricity.
MARGARET CARLSON, CNN "CAPITAL GANG": Echoes. And there was a listlessness in the crowd, despite the fact that this was done for the crowd tonight. There was Jesse Jackson. There were Kennedys. There was Harold Ford, the great young rising congressman. And yet, playing to the base and playing to this crowd here, it was listless. When you think about Philadelphia, where they weren't playing to the crowd at all, the crowd was more enthusiastic when they were being dissed by what was going on on the platform.
NOVAK: By Colin Powell!
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, could I just ask you one thing? It struck me that the Democrats at least brought out their supporters here. The human rights or labor or what -- they were all out in front, unlike Philadelphia, where it was just a George Bush one-man performance, and we never saw Pat Robertson or the Congressional leadership.
HUNT: They hid them.
SHIELDS: They hid them, yeah.
CARLSON: In the attic.
KATE O'BEIRNE, CNN "CAPITAL GANG": The Gore campaign is clearly persuaded that this is what they have to do for their liberal base. I'm not sure that is true, frankly. In fact, one poll overnight last night showed following Clinton's speech, yes, the liberal support ticked up, but George Bush's support among independents went up by 4 points.
But it seems to me that what they're trying to tell the left, what some of these figures tonight are trying to tell the left is, "Hang in there with us. We know that Clinton and Gore have adopted Republican positions on Welfare reform, on free trade. They now favor capital punishment. They're in favor of balanced budget and tax cuts. But we're still the Democratic Party, and we just have to win." And I think Kate Michelman on abortion and -- and Elizabeth Birch on gay rights was reminding liberals -- still there are two non-negotiables, gay rights and abortion rights. And so tonight, I think the Democrats would have been happy or the Gore campaign would have been happy if tonight was narrowcast.
HUNT: This is not a party that's waiting for left, Mark. This is a party that's waiting for Al -- Gore, that is -- and Joe Lieberman. They know it. They have -- the liberals have been bought off, as the conservatives were bought off in Philadelphia, and they are -- they are content with it. You go around this hall, and this is a hall that's very unified behind this ticket.
SHIELDS: It's united, but I don't -- I'm not sure it's excited, Al, for my...
HUNT: Well, that's different.
HUNT: Tuesday night you don't' expect that. SHIELDS: OK.
HUNT: You see if it's excited by Thursday night.
SHIELDS: No, if it isn't, then there's trouble. I will say this. George Bush said 10 years ago, "We had more will than we had wallet." I thought Bill Bradley's speech tonight was good in the sense that it reminded the Democrats we have more wallet than we have will right now and reminded us that all of us would never turn our back on a single starving child, but 13 million starving children become...
NOVAK: Yeah, but I think the delegates were bored by the -- by the Bradley speech. I think they were bored by most of it. See, I think one of the problems is a party of the left -- and these are left-wing people here, mostly. They have to have something...
NOVAK: No, they are! They have to have something that they really can commit to, like "Give peace a chance" or -- or -- or a real -- a real Civil Rights fight or some kind of a remaking of the economy. But to go over and over again on "patients' bill of rights" and health insurance -- I mean, that is just boring! And it can't stir the emotions.
CARLSON: Not to people who can't take their child to the doctor. It's not at all boring.
O'BEIRNE: Look, these delegates here are here to support Al Gore, but there is restiveness on the left. And I think if Al Gore continues to trail in the polls, you'll see more of it. Why sell your soul on all of these issues if you're going to lose in November? So I do think they have problems showing up the left, Al.
SHIELDS: OK, I will say this. I think we've concluded tonight, on the second night of the convention, that Bob Novak is not one of the 45 million people without health insurance.
HUNT: Hey, by the way, Mark, I checked. Bob Novak told me last night -- and we missed you all -- that he said that Bill Clinton got it wrong, that the longest peacetime expansion before Clinton was in the Reagan years. I checked today, Bob. Bill Clinton got it right, Bob, and you got it wrong.
NOVAK: He got it -- he got...
HUNT: We'll check the facts afterward.
CARLSON: Twenty bonus points to Al!
SHIELDS: Last word Al Hunt, 20 bonus points. Now back upstairs to our distinguished team.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mark Shields. Once again, the gang is capital. Whatever you all think, I think all of us think both conventions are exciting.
WOODRUFF: Tonight was a big night, tomorrow night an even bigger night. Let's look ahead to what's in store Wednesday evening.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Here's a look ahead to the third day of the Democratic national convention, Wednesday, August 16th.
The afternoon session comes to life in the 4:00 o'clock hour Eastern, 1:00 Pacific. Many Democratic office holders, such as San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, will speak. At 8:00 o'clock Eastern, 5:00 Los Angeles time, Stevie Wonder headlines a medley of the national anthem. Then the party presents a tribute to Vietnam veterans. Senator Max Cleland, who lost both legs and an arm in Vietnam, will speak alongside Senator Bob Kerrey, who lost part of his right leg in the fighting.
In the 9:00 o'clock hour, 6:00 local, everyday people will take the stage to discuss issues. First health care, then crime and victims' rights. In the 10:00 o'clock hour Eastern, 7:00 Pacific, Gore running mate Joe Lieberman will address the convention. But the spotlight soon returns to the top of the ticket. Al Gore's life will be revisited by those who've known him best through the years, such as his college roommate, now actor, Tommy Lee Jones, and eldest daughter Karenna Gore Schiff.
A state-by-state roll call will take up the 11:00 o'clock hour Eastern and push Gore over the top to wrap up the third night of the Democratic national convention.
GREENFIELD: Our work here his almost done. Just let's pause for one thought for Bill Bradley, a man who a year ago could have believed that he was going to have a real shot at this nomination, out-raised Al Gore with money, a potential president from his high school and college days, now looking at life in a very different way.
WOODRUFF: He's had a little bit of time to adjust to it, but it's still hard. He said he expected to have a lump when he was standing up there. I think one thing about this convention, last night they had Bill Clinton, one of the greatest political orators around. Tonight it was tough to pull it all together, but they did. They had the Kennedys. They had Bill Bradley.
SHAW: They did. Well, because we believe these conventions are important to the Democratic process in our great country, we'll be back again tomorrow.
But coming up next, "LARRY KING LIVE."
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