|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Democratic National Convention: Al Gore Prepares to Accept His Party's Presidential NominationAired August 17, 2000 - 7:00 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: Al Gore prepares to get a lot off his chest tonight. Delegates, his party and the nation are waiting to see how he does it.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Gore will declare America's whole future is at stake in this election and will pledge to fight against what he calls powerful forces, powerful interests, and a culture of too much meanness and not enough meaning.
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. Your eyes, your ears, ours, and all in this hall will be focused on that podium tonight on Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: This is -- Al Gore, they say he's been working on this speech for two months, if not longer, and Jeff Greenfield, we're going to find out in three hours.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: We actually have found out already because the Gore campaign has released excerpts for our use, and one thing is absolutely clear: Al Gore is determined to be his own man, to separate himself and step out of the shadows from Bill Clinton.
He has lifted directly a line from George Bush's famous 1988 acceptance speech in which he says: "I stand here tonight as my own man and I want you to know me for who I truly am." That's almost word for word.
And he also says, trying to turn what is seen as a liability into an asset: "I intend to talk seriously about the issues because you deserve to know where a candidate stands."
If he doesn't have the poetry, he's saying, I'm going to give you all the prose to tell you who I am.
WOODRUFF: That's right, and we hear, this refrain we've been hearing out of the campaign trail: "I want to fight for you. I want to fight for families. We're going to stand up and fight the powerful forces and powerful interests."
This is not a new theme, Bernie, but he's going to embellish.
SHAW: And he'll be introduced by none other than Tipper Gore.
WOODRUFF: That's true. She...
SHAW: Well, at this hour, the Gore campaign is questioning the timing of this day's disclosure of new a new, a new investigation into the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
CNN's John King has more on the investigation and the reaction.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has learned that Independent Counsel Robert Ray impaneled the grand jury five weeks ago with a mandate to continue the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
By itself, the move is no surprise. Ray is the former federal prosecutor who succeeded Ken Starr as independent counsel. He immediately pledged to continue the investigation with an eye on deciding whether the president violated any federal laws, and prosecutors use grand juries to gather evidence and hear testimony from witnesses.
ROBERT RAY, INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: The process serves to vindicate the principle that no person, even the president of the United States, is above the law.
KING: The president testified before Starr's grand jury exactly two years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Mr. Clinton was impeached by the House but acquitted by the Senate. The continuing criminal investigation centers on whether the president tried to obstruct justice. Ray has said he wants to wrap up as soon as possible and that if he did decide to bring charges, he would wait until after Mr. Clinton leaves office.
RAY: My job as a prosecutor and as head of the office is to make a reasoned and responsible judgment promptly with regard to that conduct.
KING: Sources close to the president's legal team tell CNN they have received no new subpoenas or requests for documents from the new grand jury. And these sources say the president's team always expected Ray to convene a new grand jury as he moved toward concluding the investigation.
But the timing sparked outrage at the White House. Deputy White House Press Secretary Jake Siewert told CNN -- quote -- "The timing of it absolutely reeks, but given the past conduct and record of that office, it is not surprising."
Democrats gathered in Los Angeles for Gore's shining moment reacted with a mix of horror and anger.
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I thought I was beyond being surprised by the outrageous tactics of that gang of law enforcement desperadoes, but this one astounded me.
KING: The vice president is eager to escape the cloud of the president's personal conduct. Mr. Clinton himself last week tried to help out.
CLINTON: He doesn't get enough credit for what we did together that is good, and surely no fair-minded person would blame him for any mistake that I made.
KING: Gore already faces his biggest political test tonight, and key allies insisted the vice president and the party faithful would not be distracted.
JACK QUINN, FORMER GORE CHIEF OF STAFF: They don't want to hear about Monica Lewinsky. They don't want to hear about President Clinton, and what he and she may or mar not have done outside of his public life. It is just irrelevant to what's going on here, and that's how it should be treated.
KING: Now Gore aides voicing disbelief at the timing of all this. Still they insist the American people see it what they believe it to be, a political smear. Yet, behind the scenes, the Gore campaign privately conceding that the last thing the vice president needed on the night he will lay out his plans for the future to the American people, more focus on the personal misconduct in the president's past.
Back to you in the booth.
SHAW: John, is it likely the Democrats will call for federal investigation of this leak?
KING: Well, you might see that once the Congress comes back. You might see that as well from the president's attorneys. Robert Ray's office, we should mention, in the last hour or so has issued a statement, the spokesman of that office saying that the office could not comment on this because of grand jury secrecy. But in that statement Mr. Ray's office denying it was the source of this story today. This recalls, of course, back to the days of the Ken Starr investigation. Mr. Starr's former spokesman, Charles Bakaly, currently on trial. He's been accused of being the source of leaks in the past. Look for the political controversy to continue as the legal investigation gears up again -- Bernie.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff, John. Is there any hint that Robert Ray has any new evidence that was not looked at two years ago, three years ago, a year ago?
KING: Very difficult, because our sources telling us very little about the grand jury. But they do say that they are not aware of any new witnesses. And it has been considered likely all along that he would use the grand jury as he moves toward issuing a final report. And you would gather information there, if you needed new documents, if you wanted to take new testimony. Again, though (ph) significant to those close to the president's legal team (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that they have received no new requests for information. So they view this more as a fact-finding effort right now.
They're only surprised really by the timing. They thought Mr. Ray would convene this grand jury in the fall because he has said he would wait until the president leaves office to issue his final determination. So it's the timing more than the actual impaneling of the grand jury that caught everybody off right here by surprise -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King down on the floor. And joining us here in the skybooth, CNN legal analyst Roger Cossack.
Roger, we hear John King saying no new witnesses that they're aware of. The White House so far hasn't been asked for any more documents. What is it that the independent counsel, Mr. Ray, is working with then?
ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, he could easily be working with the transcripts of prior investigations and things that have gone on and just having them read to the grand jury. That is evidence.
Grand jury -- the rules of evidence in a grand jury are not like the rules of evidence that we see in a courtroom. They're much different, much more relaxed, if you will. What you're usually asking a grand jury is, is there probable cause for an indictment, not is there probable cause or proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
You do not -- this grand jury, by the way, has been convened since July 11th. You know, the irony is that it's two years to the date that President Clinton testified that this leak comes out.
But you usually do not convene a grand jury and have facts and evidence read to a grand jury unless as a prosecutor -- unless you are thinking seriously about an indictment.
WOODRUFF: Roger, help us understand what exactly is the independent counsel still looking for here. COSSACK: Well, the question the independent counsel is asking and will be asking this grand jury is simply this, assuming that he wishes to go forward: Have we produced enough evidence to you to show that there is probable cause to indict the president? Not a question of, you know, can we convict him beyond a reasonable doubt? And that is certainly a question that every prosecutor should think about, and think about seriously, before they even ask for an indictment. You don't just go ahead and say, I'll get the indictment, and maybe I'll win, maybe I'll lose. You should believe you're going to win.
So this is evidence that's going before a grand jury, and I suppose, if it was like any other person that was being investigated in this country, at the end the prosecutor gets up and says, "Mr. Foreman of the grand jury, we would like you to return an indictment and this is the reason why."
WOODRUFF: But my question is what's different about what he's doing now from all the time that was spent on the previous grand jury.
COSSACK: Well, we're talking about now a criminal indictment as opposed to getting evidence for impeachment, which we had. Now we're talking about the notion of the criminal law, and obstruction of justice and perjury are criminal -- are charges under the criminal law that, you know, conceivably carry time in prison.
GREENFIELD: Roger, thank you very much.
As you might imagine, this story has hit the floor of the convention like a bag full of dead cats being thrown into a garden party.
We're going to go down to the floor now and Jeanne Meserve for some reaction.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jeff, with me is Congressman Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Congressman, you're as well acquainted with the facts of this case as just about anybody. Are you surprised at the timing of the impaneling of this grand jury?
REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, I'm not surprised that there is an impaneling or there was one on July 11th. What's really outrageous to me is the fact that they leaked it to the press on the day that Al Gore gets ready to make his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.
That in and of itself is really unfortunate, but it's what we've become used to with the independent counsel law. That's the reason why we've let the independent counsel law expire, because of the abuses of this.
This is old news. It should be over with. If the prosecutor has something legitimate that he wants to do, he should do it within the secrecy of the grand jury proceedings. MESERVE: Just how long a shadow does this cast over Al Gore tonight, the night he gives his acceptance speech?
MEEHAN: You know, it is funny, I don't think it casts a shadow at all. I think the American people when they see this kind of abusive leak sit back and say: What a terrible abuse of the justice system. So, you know, I think it backfires. It backfired the way Republicans played this with Newt Gingrich back when they decided to come forward with him impeachment. I think the American people see through this. It makes a joke of the whole entire independent counsel and justice system.
MESERVE: Congressman Marty Meehan, thanks so much. And now to Candy Crowley on the floor.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Jeanne.
The Bush campaign has absolutely no interest in getting involved in either the facts of this leak or the leak itself. Karen Hughes, the communications director, called it wrong, said it was inappropriate for this news to come out on Al Gore's big day. More than one Republican has been brought down by the trials and tribulations of Bill Clinton. They are not interested in getting involved. Having said that, Hughes did say that from the viewpoint of Austin, it seems that Bill Clinton has dominated this convention.
On to some news of their own: The Bush campaign did announce today that George Bush would agree to five total debates, that is three presidential debates and two vice presidential debates. They will entertain some 40 offers of debates in the coming month. Now, what this means for the Presidential Debate Commission is they will have to stand in line just like everybody else. As one Bush source said, they need to negotiate, too.
This may, of course, put a severe damper in the Presidential Commission, which heretofore has been the be-all end-all in setting up those vice presidential and presidential debates. Back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, Candy Crowley on the floor, thanks very much,
Joining us here in the sky box, Senator Evan Bayh of the state of Indiana, former governor of that state, also on the short list of people who were being considered for vice presidential running mate for Al Gore.
Senator Bayh, while we're on the this story of what has come out today, the announcement about the independent counsel, is this casting a damper, to put it mildly, over this convention tonight?
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: I doubt it, Judy. You know, I think the reaction of the country out there beyond the hall is going to be a collective "enough already." I think this is going to be a classic example of a Washington focusing on Washington rather than the issues that affect the American people in their daily lives. And I think most delegates understand that. There may be some frustrations, some anger about a potential leak casting some shadow, but this is not going to affect the election. I think most people will understand that.
WOODRUFF: And what do the delegates in Indiana say? I mean, you've been talking to people from your own state.
BAYH: Well, exactly what I said. I think people are ready to move on. I think they realize what the president did was wrong. I think they realize that the Republicans trying to remove him from office for doing what he did was wrong, and I think that they're ready to put this behind us and go on to focus on things that really matter in people's daily lives.
WOODRUFF: Are they nervous about Al Gore tonight?
BAYH: Well, you know, this is the main event. Everybody's going to have a little butterflies before something like -- there's a lot at stake tonight. He needs to connect personally and he needs to lay out significant policy differences that will frame this election.
So, nervous I don't know, but anticipation yes.
GREENFIELD: The -- go ahead, Bernie.
SHAW: What are the vice president's and Senator Lieberman's chances of winning in Indiana?
BAYH: Well, Bernie, you know our state. It's always a little bit uphill. It's not out of the question, but let's say it's challenging.
GREENFIELD: The worst thing you can do in politics, it's said, is to underestimate your opponent. I had the sense in January and February, when Governor Bush was floundering a bit, that Democrats were thinking we can take this guy. Has there been a change in the assessment of your opposition? Is he a tougher guy than you might have thought?
BAYH: Jeff, I can tell you first hand the vice president is not underestimating him. When I met with the vice president as a part of the whole vice presidential speculation, he told me directly, he said, you know, it would be a big mistake to underestimate this guy. I think he has a very high appreciation for George Bush's political skills.
So, I don't think we're going to underestimate him at all.
WOODRUFF: And --
WOODRUFF: But you say you're not going to underestimate him, and yet right now, Al Gore is running behind in the polls. There's so much riding on this speech tonight. What do Democrats do coming out of this convention? BAYH: Well, I think we need to focus upon the substance that's at stake in this campaign, Judy. I think it may be a late-breaking campaign. We're in a period of prosperity where people aren't focusing on politics. We've got the World Series, the Olympics coming up.
I think in the last two or three weeks, when people are really focusing upon what's at stake here in terms of Social Security, Medicare, education, continuing the prosperity, they'll break our way. And those are the themes that the vice president needs to lay out tonight. Those are the themes we need to emphasize from now until November because, after all, that's what matters to the American people.
What's in it for them? That's we need to emphasize.
GREENFIELD: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, son of a former Senator from Indiana, we thank you for coming.
When we come back, we are going to continue this discussion of just how anxious these delegates are about prospects in the fall, in a moment.
NARRATOR: On day four of the 1932 Democratic Convention in Chicago, delegates began to choose a candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1932)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I give to this context the name of Albert E. Smith of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Smith, a former New York governor, had already lost one presidential election in 1928.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1932)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Franklin Delano Roosevelt of New York.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: New York's current governor would need all night and four ballots to win the 1932 nomination. Then, Roosevelt would make an unprecedented in-person appearance the next day to set his campaign theme.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I pledge myself to a new deal for the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: He would win four presidential elections .
GREENFIELD: And not a single journalist or photographer in that time would have pointed out that President Roosevelt needed a wheelchair to get around, an interesting way to measure how journalism and politics has changed.
Now, you have been hearing all this convention week about the real Al Gore. Who is the real Al Gore? How can he show himself to us? One way he did this to invite Spike Jonze -- not the old musician -- but a 29-year-old film director who made "Being John Malkovich" to hang with him for a couple of days and make an extraordinary short subject, one of the most intimate and unusual portraits of a major candidate I think that has been produced maybe ever. We want you to take a look at a excerpt of that short.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, my dad is fanatic with group movie-watching. No one can leave the room at all.
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is not true.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is true.
TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: If you leave the room he stops the movie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He pauses it.
A. GORE: That's courtesy. I mean, when I was in a little kid, I saw what my dad did. And he was a hero to me. I remember the jingles and the campaign excitement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What were they? Let's hear some of the jingles.
A. GORE: Vote for Gore, vote for Gore, he is wise and able and he is just 44.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that my dad doesn't feel entirely comfortable in today's contemporary political culture in terms of kind of the whole kind of celebrity of it and lights, camera action, and, you know, sound bytes.
A. GORE: That is the guy who has been standing motionless on stage behind the president for eight years. What in the hell makes you think he could be president? One of the strains on my relationship with Tipper since I have been in this job is that she insists on going barefooted quite lot. You know, it's very, very hard to be stiff when your wife is going barefooted. It just completely messes up my image.
TIPPER GORE, VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE'S WIFE: That is job.
GREENFIELD: You moviegoers will remember that the plot of "Being John Malkovich," where people were able to climb literally inside his head. I don't think we'll see that tonight, but what we will be seeing is the reaction of these delegates and the Democratic Party to Al Gore's prospects, and for that, we're going down to floor, beginning, I believe, with John King.
KING: Well, hey, Jeff. Al Gore's speech tonight, obviously, a huge moment for him as he tries to reintroduce himself to the nation here. We have some excerpts from the speech. We can tell you a little bit about it. A lot of focus on the economy and how to spend the federal surplus. Al Gore recalling that when the Clinton administration took office, there were -- quote -- "the biggest deficits in history. We now have the biggest surpluses ever, the highest home ownership ever, and the lowest inflation in a generation." Obviously, his effort to get some of the credit for the economy, and also a bit of a populist touch in this speech: "So often, powerful forces, and powerful interests stand in your way, and the odds seem stacked against you, even as you do what's right for you and your family."
So the vice president trying to make a connection here tonight to working families. He will emphasize the issues critical to independent swing voters -- education, health care, the environment. In doing so, many here looking for the performance of lifetime from the vice president, but questioning whether he is such a performer, especially when judged against his current boss, President Clinton. They note that President Clinton came into the hall at 1992 Democratic convention, flirted with delegates, if you will, on several occasions.
The vice president, though, when he came to the hall last night for a surprise, but a scripted visit to greet his daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, after her speech, they said the vice president had an opportunity to bring down the house if he simply walked up to the microphone and said something like, "Wasn't she great. I love her. See you tomorrow." Instead, the vice president walked off stage without saying anything.
Those who know this is big speech for him tonight looking for him to be a much better performer.
Back to you in the booth.
FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, even if president doesn't do -- the vice president rather doesn't turn in performance of a lifetime, his aides are saying he has to turn in a performance that will define his life, eight years as vice president, define him in shadow of Bill Clinton, not his own man. And so, These aides say, they want to address the two l's tonight: likability and leadership. In many ways, the most important one is leadership. He's got a big deficit in the polls. When people are asked who is a strong and decisive leader, our most recent poll showed Bush with a 60 percent affirmative answer on that one, and Gore just with 28 percent. People close to Gore say there are some reasons for that.
They believe that his waffling, their words, on certain tough issues such as the president's standing, Elian Gonzalez, and in fact, fading away and letting the campaign story, that is to say a somewhat muddled campaign, define him over the past year and a half, is largely to blame.
Now over to my colleague Jeanne Meserve.
MESERVE: We've talked a lot about Al Gore's relationship to Bill Clinton's problems. You also have to talk in relation to Bill Clinton's successes, specifically his success as a politician. Bill Clinton is an acknowledged grandmaster. He can turn phrase, he can work a crowd like few others. We saw it here Monday night, where he held this crowd in awe.
The problem for Al Gore, how does he match it? Does he have the political skills to do so? Should he even try? Or will he only suffer by comparison?
Now on to Wolf Blitzer.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Jeanne, they're rocking 'n' rolling here at the convention floor. They've been in a musical interlude now for almost a half an hour, everybody getting very excited for the day's events, but in the meantime, sort of dancing on the floor to rock 'n' roll music. One thing is clear, according to Gore supporters and advisers, the vice president has been carefully reviewing what Vice President -- then vice president -- George Bush did in 1988 when he got the Republican nomination in New Orleans. They have been carefully looking at the speech that he delivered that night to try to emerge from the shadow of a then very popular president Ronald Reagan. How he did it is a gameplan of how Al Gore hopes to succeed tonight. And one of the points he wants to make is, yes, the economy is very strong right now. If you want to keep it going, you can't change horses in midstream. That's one of the lines, of course, that George Bush had to say in 1988. It worked for him then, and hopefully, the Gore people say, it will work for them tonight.
Now to Candy Crowley. She's on the floor.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Wolf.
There is anticipation, excitement about this speech tonight, but overall, over the past four days, there has also been a lot of anxiety. This is very different from convention four years ago, when the Democrats knew they were sailing for another four years of Clinton in the White House. Now they are not so sure. They have seen polls like all of us have. They are not as certain about this candidate's ability to pull ahead and to move into the white house, so there is a lot of anxiety and a lot of wishful thinking. More than one delegate has talked about a third Clinton term. That is something, of course, the Constitution doesn't allow, but there is some nostalgia down here for Clinton, particularly given the strong performance on Monday. But I don't get the sense that in fact this is about the speech tonight so much as the road ahead.
Bernie, back to you.
SHAW: Thank you, Candy. Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider has pulled up a chair.
Bill, on that floor, the delegates mood here in Philadelphia -- what do you see?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it's very different here than in Philadelphia. You know, in Philadelphia, I would go around the arena, and delegates would come up to me, and they would say, oh, Mr. Schneider, Mr. Schneider, how many points are we up today? I was like their hero, because I kept bringing them good news. Well, it's different here in Los Angeles -- here nervous delegates come over to me say oh, Mr. Schneider, Mr. Schneider, do you think Al Gore can make it? And they're kind of furtive about whole thing. They're hopeful; they're not confident. Now that is reflected among Democrats around the country. Where are the voters? We asked rank- and-file Democrats who they thought would win in November. Half said Bush. In fact, more of them said Bush than said Gore. It sounds like this party needs some confidence boosting.
Gore is going to do his part tonight. And a message to all you nervous Democrats: stop tugging at my lapels. Tune in to "LATE EDITION" with Wolf Blitzer on Sunday morning, and I will let you know how this played.
WOODRUFF: Mr. Schneider. Mr. Schneider!
SCHNEIDER: I can't afford a new suit.
WOODRUFF: Seriously, Bill, when do we when do we treat the polls seriously after these conventions? SCHNEIDER: Well, I always say beware pollsters bearing false bounce. There are a lot of polls bouncing around, but people have to digest the information. They have to watch the speech. Our privileged viewers, of course, all these good people are watching this tonight, and a lot of people may not be watching. They've got to talk about it, they've got to read the newspapers, they've got to digest it. Over the weekend, we'll be asking people, where -- how they thought the convention went. Who are they for? Gore or Bush? And we'll get a pretty good read over the weekend and report it on Sunday.
GREENFIELD: Does that suggest, though, that once that solidifies, once the filtering process takes place, and people talk to each other -- did you see it? I heard he said this. Papers are one way or another. That then, does it begin, like a piece of cooking, does it begin to harden? Or does the -- in other words, does the campaign over the next day eight or nine weeks then become essentially less relevant to the debates?
SCHNEIDER: Well, until the debates. That's the critical point. I think people are going to make a provisional judgment after the conventions, and then they're going wait. You know, the debates are not until October, because we've got an interlude called the Olympics in Sydney. The debates will come in October, and then I think people will close the deal.
WOODRUFF: Although the Bush people are saying today, that they're sort of throwing the debate question up in the air. The commission on presidential debates have recommended October, but the Bush people are saying, we may do it...
SCHNEIDER: I think there will be debates. There will be debates.
WOODRUFF: But when is the question?
SHAW: Thank you, Mr. Schneider.
SCHNEIDER: Don't pull on the lapels.
SHAW: Speeches tonight: Tipper Gore, Al Gore, and much more. Here now, a look at tonight's schedule.
SHAW (voice-over): Here's a look at final evening of the Democratic National Convention, Thursday, August 17. One of the main items of business after the evening session kicks off, the formal nomination of vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman. Around the 9:00 hour Eastern, 6:00 local, the spotlight returns to the top of the ticket. Friends and family of Al Gore will share their memories of his life, his childhood, his college years, his military service, his beginning in politics.
A drum performance led by Mickey Hart will then set up Tipper Gore, who will introduce her husband Al Gore.
The man of the hour addresses the conventions the party's presidential nominee. His acceptance speech will stretch deep into the 10:00 hour and kickoff a celebration that closes this fourth and final day of the Democratic National Convention.
WOODRUFF: And when we come back, a look at the man of the hour last night, Joe Lieberman. It's the next day. What are people saying about what he told these Democrats?
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NARRATOR: On the last night of the last Democratic convention in Los Angeles in 1960, nominee John Kennedy spoke for the second time. Two days earlier, the young senator from Massachusetts, who had very narrowly been Adlai Stevenson's No. 2 in 1956, had chosen his convention runner-up, Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas, as his own running mate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Carry the fight to the people in the fall, and we shall win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Convention organizers wanted a bigger audience for formal acceptance. On short notice, they got 80,000 people into the Los Angeles coliseum to hear Kennedy talk of the new frontier and praise onetime rival.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KENNEDY: A distinguished running mate who brings unity and strength to our platform and ticket, Lyndon Johnson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Johnson would become president himself three years later when Kennedy was killed in Dallas.
WOODRUFF: Setting the stage for tonight's all-important appearance by Al Gore, last night it was Joe Lieberman who stepped up to the podium. He used warmth and he used cutting wit to go after the Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two weeks ago, our Republican friends actually tried to walk and talk a lot like us.
LIEBERMAN: Did you notice? Yes.
But let's be honest about this, we may be near Hollywood tonight, but not since Tom Hanks won an Oscar has there been that much acting in Philadelphia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Even the Bush folks must be acknowledging that was a good line.
All right, for some reaction a day later, let's go down to the floor and to CNN's Frank Sesno -- Frank.
SESNO: Well, Judy, don't look for any public daylight between Joe Lieberman and the delegates in this hall. You know, there have been some friction, a little bit of standoffishness with Maxine Waters, the delegate congresswoman from California and Joe Lieberman over affirmative action and some other things. From the podium today, she talked about her new best friend, her best new friend Joe Lieberman, and that's what we're hearing from other delegates here. A black, white, and everything, all those who are in attendance. They say he touched themes of family, education, Social Security, very much what they wanted to hear, at least that's what they're saying publicly.
Over to Candy?
CROWLEY: The fact is after Joe Lieberman's speech, there were many people we talked to that didn't know much about Joe Lieberman, but it hardly mattered. What they did know was that Lieberman provided a spark to a ticket that badly needed one at that point. But a cautionary note from history, recent history -- in 1996, Bob Dole also trailing when he headed into his convention, needed what they called a long ball, and he turned to Jack Kemp. That ignited a convention that thought that perhaps Kemp could bring to the top of the ticket some of the magic that was lacking. That lasted through the convention and maybe a week or so after that, but soon enough, the polls settled back to where they were before the convention.
Now we turn to Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: Thank you, Candy. Both Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman in recent years have had a reputation of trying to work with the other party, respected by the other party, and both supposedly seemed rather uncomfortable in the new role they have as the so-called attack dogs, attacking the other party. But remember this, Joe Lieberman was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1988 because he attacked an incumbent moderate Republican, Lowell Weicker. Here's an example of an ad he ran in that campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Lowell Weicker is like a big bear -- on things that matter to him personally, he'll always growl. But sometimes, when it matters, he's sleeping. The official congressional record reveals that Weicker has one of the worst congressional records in the Senate, missing more than 300 votes on jobs, defense, fighting drugs, making the tax code fairer, votes that mattered to people.
Could it make a difference for Connecticut if Joe Lieberman were fighting for us in the Senate? Do bears sleep in the woods?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Expect more of the same from Joe Lieberman in this campaign. Now to John King on the floor.
KING: Well, Wolf, when Senator Lieberman was first selected by Senator Gore, the Gore campaign obviously had to start thinking, where could they best use him in the fall campaign? Initially, the thought was you would use him to shore up any weaknesses in the Northeast, New York and New Jersey, in particular, where there is a high percentage of Jewish voters, perhaps in Florida as well.
But campaign chairman Bill Daley calls the reaction "Liebermania," and the Gore campaign for now says it's going to try sending Joe Lieberman all over the country. When the ticket was first unveiled, there was a stop in Atlanta, Georgia. The reaction there was so positive, they say they will send Senator Lieberman separately on a trip to the South pretty soon. Also, they say, as he called around to answer these questions about his record on affirmative action, many members of the Black Caucus asked him to campaign in their districts. So for now, they say Senator Lieberman will break away from the vice president, campaign everywhere. After a few weeks, they'll look at polling data and decide where to use him where that makes the most sense.
Back to Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, John. Matalin and McCurry -- not a law firm, when we come back.
GREENFIELD: Joining us now as they have each night, Mike McCurry, former White House press spokesman for Jimmy Carter, Mary Matalin, co-host of "CROSSFIRE."
WOODRUFF: Bill Clinton.
GREENFIELD: Oh, hoh-hoh-hoh. Talk about the quiz.
MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You already lost -- you already lost the quiz.
GREENFIELD: Mary Matalin, former aide to George Bush in 1992, who lost to Bill Clinton, and now an informal adviser of the Bush campaign, thank you. I guess what I was distracted about, Mary, is remembering that Lawrence Walsh just before the 1992 election issued, the special counsel, issued a blistering comment about President Bush. Some of you thought it cost him the election.
In that context, how much do you think this leak about a new grand jury is going to have -- is going to affect this convention tonight?
MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": Well, clearly, Lawrence "The Leak" Walsh was political. The DNC had it out on a press release predated the day before it happened. No doubt about it. But as you know that was political, what is the political motivation?
Let me tell what you I'm outraged about, that the White House immediately and automatically implied that this was leaked by the Republicans. That's why people hate politics. That's why they're cynical about politics, and that's what George Bush wants to change, these kinds of tricks and that kind of tone.
MCCURRY: Well, it wasn't necessarily leaked by -- quote, unquote -- the Republicans but it may have come from the office of independent counsel, which would have been a violation of law. And I think that is a serious matter.
Look, there couldn't be anything that looks more curious and more worse, to see something like that happen. This apparently was something decided back in July and all of a sudden it shows up today of all days.
Look, on the other hand, I think the political significance of this I think we could probably overstate. Remember -- and I remember well -- four years ago this very day I was sitting in Chicago dealing with a story about the president's political adviser...
MATALIN: Dick Morris. Would you like to elaborate on that?
MCCURRY: ... and his encounters with -- well, his encounters with prostitutes. Now, that was a big story that could interfere with message.
MATALIN: Did we do that? Did we do that?
Yes, you accused of us of being complicit in that.
MCCURRY: No, but my point is -- my point is President Clinton's message drove out from that night and trumped anything that was in the news during the day. I predict the exact same thing will happen with Vice President Gore's speech tonight.
This is about Vice President Gore. It's not about Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, events of the past, and I don't think the vice president is going to have any trouble getting over that.
MATALIN: I just want to make this final point about it, because the suggestion is, the implication is that the Republicans had something to do with this, that Ray's office has denied having anything to do with it. And if wanted the big "I" to be the big issue, we would have paraded those impeachment managers across the stage, which we did not in Philly, which you all made a big deal about.
MCCURRY: Do you understand how Democrats feel? They feel like now for eight years the Republican-inspired investigations over and over again have gone after President Bill Clinton. And there is a fair reason to feel a little suspicious, Mary. You've got to just give us the reason why we feel that way.
MATALIN: Do you understand how America feels that those investigations were spawned of activities at the president's hand? But you know, it is not...
MCCURRY: I think -- I think the American people would like to see the whole matter over...
MCCURRY: ... and probably would like for us to stop talking about it.
MATALIN: Correct. But let me say this, the issues with Al Gore that he has to address tonight -- the likability and leadership quotient, honesty and integrity -- are not -- are not problems driven by the long shadow of Bill Clinton. They are his own, and they are -- they've grown out of his behavior and the campaign so far, from waffling to his wardrobe to eviscerating Bradley, distorting his record. That's what people have seen, and it's why they don't like him.
MCCURRY: The vice president of the United States is probably the only person on Earth who gets a second chance to make a first impression, and that's what tonight is about. He gets to come out and really step out of that long shadow of Bill Clinton and tell us what's in his heart and what things mean to -- matter to him and what he would do as president.
I strongly suspect you're going to see a very powerful speech from the vice president tonight. I know he's capable of giving it. You know, from my personal experience in having worked with him, I know he would make this country a very, very good, and I hope the country sees that vice president tonight.
MATALIN: You're a very good and loyal Democrat, but I've been wandering around here, and you know what it feels like? San Diego, the last go-around. We all loved Senator Dole, we all were having a good time, but we were dispirited about our chances. And according to "The New York Times," only about a half of these delegates here believe that this man -- their man is going to make it all the way.
MCCURRY: But I think -- I think public opinion about this presidential race is far less frozen than it was then. I think people are still willing to take a second look. I don't think a lot of people have made their final choice of the presidential candidates tonight, and tonight Al Gore opens that door and he gets the chance to take another look at the campaigns.
GREENFIELD: OK, folks, for the last time -- and I know how much you regret this -- we will be producing our political quiz. Having mislabeled, Mary Matalin, I should probably not even do this, but we're going to forge ahead, and this time we want a little in order in this classroom. One at a time if you please.
So first, he declared: "I am not a member of any organized party. I'm a Democratic." It wasn't James Carville, but was it Al Smith, (b) Will Rogers, (c) Eugene McCarthy, (d) Morris Udall.
MCCURRY: That's one of my favorite lines from Will Rogers.
MATALIN: But James does often say that and he means it.
GREENFIELD: Anchors agree?
WOODRUFF: Will Rogers.
GREENFIELD: You've got it.
Second, this president appointed Associate Justice Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to be named to the Supreme Court. Was it Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy or Lyndon Johnson?
WOODRUFF: Lyndon Johnson.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Shaw?
MATALIN: We agree...
MATALIN: ... with the esteemed and brilliant anchors.
GREENFIELD: Depressing consensus, like Stalinist Russia.
The third and last questions -- but they're right. The first of Senator Joseph Lieberman's five books, "The Power Broker," is a biography of this former Democratic National Committee chairman: Was it Larry O'Brien, Ed Flynn, John Bailey, Jim Farley? Don't tell me the Irish guy.
MCCURRY: Because I once worked at the Democratic National Committee, I'm pretty sure it's John Bailey, who was from Connecticut, which would make sense.
GREENFIELD: Ms. Matalin.
MATALIN: That is correct.
GREENFIELD: Mr. Shaw.
SHAW: I have to recuse myself because I did a profile on Senator Lieberman, and I know.
GREENFIELD: Ms. Woodruff.
MATALIN: And that's how I know. WOODRUFF: It's Bailey.
GREENFIELD: It's Bailey.
GREENFIELD: It's Bailey.
MATALIN: But we know from watching CNN. That's how the whole country knows.
MCCURRY: Well, fair is fair, and a turn of events, and the revenge question comes from Mary.
MATALIN: And we know you've been loving this. And we should point out that Jeff Greenfield is a genius. But nonetheless, we're going to give him a clue when we ask him: The only person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize while serving as United States vice president is -- and here's the clue -- he got his prize for being the chairman of the Allied Reparations Commission. Your choices are...
MCCURRY: Charles Fairbanks in 1906, Charles Dawes in 1925, Henry Wallace in 1941, Theodore Roosevelt in 1901.
GREENFIELD: I think Roosevelt didn't get one. I'm going to go with Charles Dawes.
MATALIN: We're so proud of you.
MCCURRY: We thought you'd guess that Teddy Roosevelt's Nobel Prize is on the mantle in the Roosevelt...
GREENFIELD: For the Sino-Russian War, but he was -- after president.
MCCURRY: You're right. But the extra credit, Jeff, is who was Dawes vice president, too?
GREENFIELD: Well, it had to have been Calvin Coolidge.
MCCURRY: You have to be right.
MATALIN: Very good!
MCCURRY: I'm not going to try to stump...
WOODRUFF: All right. We are going to interrupt all this fun and knowledge, and go to the floor, because "The Pledge of Allegiance" is under way with Christie Brinkley.
Was under way, and now the national anthem.
(MUSIC, PLAYING OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEM) The Democrats let us know before tonight that Boyz II Men would be involved in this national anthem, so we're going to stick around for a second and see if they show up. We did see Christie Brinkley and a group of Boy Scouts.
GREENFIELD: And while we are waiting, we do want to point out two things. This is live television, and we just had that quote from Will Rogers. I'm a member of no organized party. I'm a Democrat.
WOODRUFF: Living proof.
GREENFIELD: The Republicans do these things to the second. The Democrats, well, 5:00-ish maybe we'll have "The Pledge of Allegiance."
One other thing while we're looking at the floor, where these state delegations sit tells you a lot about the campaign. Connecticut and Tennessee, the home states of the ticket, are up-front. But so are states like California, Arkansas, battleground states, while states like Nevada, which will probably not go Democratic, are up in the nose-bleed sections.
WOODRUFF: We are going to take a break. There's no Boyz II Men. But there are two guys and a woman, and we'll be back in a minute.
SHAW: Clearly for all these people on the floor, the focus will be at the podium. Vice President Al Gore, delivering his acceptance speech. But for many of these delegates, still the thought about the Republican senator from Arizona, John McCain, who once again is battling cancer.
Let's go out to Phoenix and our man Jonathan Karl for a late update -- Jonathan.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, Senator McCain underwent 3 1/2 hours of testing at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. Afterwards, he simply said, "I'm fine," got in his car, went back home to Phoenix. He returns to the Mayo Clinic tomorrow with his wife, Cindy McCain, to examine the results of those tests and determine a course of treatment.
Now, a source very close to the senator tells CNN that McCain will likely go in for surgery on Saturday, surgery to remove those two melanomas, the one on the side of his face and the one on his arm.
Now, McCain after that would likely have to stay at the Mayo Clinic, this source says, for two or three days recovering from that surgery. His doctors, McCain's doctors are described as cautiously optimistic, because they believe they may have got this early enough to have successful surgery, but cautious because they do not know for sure -- they do not know the results of those tests yet.
As for McCain himself, he is described as being his joking himself and making jokes with hospital staff, also making jokes with his own staff and with his family. One close aide said that he is cantankerous as usual, perhaps even less -- a little bit less cantankerous than usual.
He's using up his time returning phone calls. He's had a long list of phone calls from a number of prominent political figures, including Nancy Reagan, Joe Lieberman, Bob Dole, and President Clinton, who called him last night.
McCain just now returning from a movie. It's kind of a McCain tradition. Election night, every day of his career, he has gone to a movie to wait for results to come in. And indeed, that's what he did today, went to a movie waiting for these very important results obviously.
Back to Los Angeles and the booth.
SHAW: Thank you, Jonathan Karl.
GREENFIELD: You will remember that perhaps two weeks ago we went out to Kansas City, Missouri before Governor Bush's acceptance speech to find out from some voters -- some Democrats, Republicans, undecided -- what they wanted to hear, and then we went back to them after the speech to find out if they'd heard it.
We're going to do the same thing tonight. Gary Tuchman is at KC Masterpiece Barbecue Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri talking to citizens in that battleground state that's voted with every winner but one in this entire 20th century -- Gary.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right, Jeff. They are firing up the baby-back ribs here at the KC Masterpiece Bar and Grill, and we are here with ordinary Americans who were here two weeks ago, most of them. We talked to them about George W. Bush's speech. Now we're going to talk to them about the big night for Al Gore.
We have three people who are Democratic or leaning Democratic, three people Republican or leaning Republican, and one neutral person.
We are going to start with Nelsey Sweeney (ph). Nelsey is a stay-at-home mom. She is a fervent Republican. She said that George W. Bush hit a home run during his speech two weeks ago. How does Al Gore hit a home run?
NELSEY SWEENEY: Well, I don't think he can with me, but I do want to hear him talk about some issues. You know, I'm actually kind of looking for some firepower here so that when I do discuss his record and what he stands for I want to know what -- you know, so far I haven't heard him talk about any substantive issues.
TUCHMAN: You told me you've never voted for a Democrat for president. Any chance you'd change your mind?
SWEENEY: No way. OK.
Larry Coleman (ph), a trial attorney. He leans Democratic. He said the speech was a good speech by George W. Bush, but saying and doing are two different things. What do you want to hear from Al Gore tonight? LARRY COLEMAN: I want to hear Al Gore speak the truth to the American people, tell them that he will pull upon the great values that he is based upon and that this nation is based upon, and I want to hear him be Al Gore and not anybody else but Al Gore.
I think Lieberman hit a home run being Lieberman. I think if Gore is Gore he'll do likewise.
TUCHMAN: A lot of baseball analogies here, the home run. Maybe we'll get some football analogies before we're done.
Sean Boykin (ph), insurance underwriter, also leans Democratic. You said it was a good speech, too, George W. Bush, but not enough substance. Do you want to hear Al Gore talk about substance or do you want to hear him talk about his personality?
A lot of people say they know a lot about Al Gore's substance but don't know a lot about Al Gore.
Again, I want to hear him talk about what he's going to do, how he's going to do it. I didn't like the attacks I saw the last time. I don't want him to attack Bush. I want him to talk about what he's about.
TUCHMAN: OK. Justin Myer (ph) works at the Harley-Davidson plant on the assembly line building motorcycles. That sounds like a fun job.
JUSTIN MYER: It is.
TUCHMAN: Leans Republican. OK. You said you liked the speech also two weeks ago. What would you like to hear Al Gore say tonight?
MYER: Well, I definitely expect to hear a lot of policy talk and I definitely expect to hear him trying to sell himself as a likable person to the American public. I want to hear his views on the hard- pressed issues, though, and I'm really interested to see whether or not the American public will walk away feeling good about what he says.
TUCHMAN: OK, Teresa Laura (ph) is a City Council member of the Kansas City Council. She's a Republican. Totally impressed, you said two weeks ago, by George W. Bush's speech. Are you prepared to possibly be totally impressed with Al Gore's speech tonight?
TERESA LAURA: Well, I'm open-minded and I'm anxious to hear what he has to say, particularly on women's issues, because that's of great concern to me. I also want to hear him address child care, health care for the elderly. Those are issues that are important to women my age.
TUCHMAN: When you say open-minded, possibly open-minded enough to vote for Al Gore in November?
LAURA: Oh, I'd be hard-pressed, but let's see what he has to say tonight. TUCHMAN: OK. Sara Jo Shuttles (ph). She's retired. She used to be in the magazine advertising business. And you're a strong Democrat, Sara Jo. You said last week that it was a great speech, but he was, George W. Bush, a Republican in Democrat's clothing. What would you like to hear -- what would you like to hear Al Gore say that George W. Bush didn't say?
SARA JO SHUTTLES: That George W. Bush didn't say?
SHUTTLES: I would not like to hear Gore say anything George W. said from his speech. I think Al Gore...
TUCHMAN: But you said -- you said two weeks ago that you thought George W. Bush gave kind of a Democratic speech?
SHUTTLES: Well, he did, he did give a Democratic speech only because he stepped out of the Republican role and snatched all the Republican ideas to put them out across the nation as his own. So my feeling is that he had to borrow from the Democrats to even have a platform to go on.
So tonight, you're going to see what a real Democrat's speech is.
TUCHMAN: Would you ever consider a Republican for president?
SHUTTLES: I have in the past. In this particular election, absolutely not. And in the last election, absolutely not.
TUCHMAN: OK. Now we go to Ken Warren -- thank you. And we're going to talk to you a little bit later, I promise. We're going to talk to Ken Warren, a professor at St. Louis University, says he's neutral. What do you expect to hear? What do you want to hear tonight?
KEN WARREN: Well, I think it's all about image, and so what I would expect hear not -- I think what's not going to interest me are the issue, because I think most people know the issues surrounding the two candidates. I think what we want to see is whether or not Al Gore can take that coat hanger out of his jacket, hang loose, appear very warm and credible, and be more likable than George W.
TUCHMAN: Didn't hear football analogies, folks -- maybe later when we come back.
And that's one of the things I want to talk about. Tens of millions of people will watch the speech tonight, including the seven people sitting here at this table with me eating their baby-back ribs. We will come back after the speech to see how they feel about it.
Back to the booth.
WOODRUFF: That we will. We will come back and hear what they had to say, Gary Tuchman. And based on what they are saying, I would say Al Gore has a tall order before him tonight. As we wait for Al Gore's remarks, we're going to take a break. When we come back, we're going to take stock of where both of these campaigns are headed after the convention.
SHAW: Here at the Staples Center, you can sense the anticipation on the floor among the delegates and the guests, all waiting for Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: That is right. They heard from Joe Lieberman last night. The reaction has been mostly favorable. Tonight, though, the big hour comes up not very long.
And, Jeff, we wonder what Al Gore is -- do you think he is pacing? Do you doing think he is tapping his fingers on a table somewhere?
GREENFIELD: Well, he could be playing with his palm pilot. He's a high-tech kind of guy. But this much I can tell you: I think it is important to note the different atmosphere. We have heard about this before. Eight years ago the Democrats came to Madison Square Garden. Perot had withdrawn. Clinton had picked Gore. There was a tremendous surge of optimism that they might get the White House back.
And Mary Matalin, now of "CROSSFIRE," said at the Republican Convention that year: We are sailing against the wind. Just a couple of hours ago, I ran into one of Clinton's most important advisers. And he said, of Gore's people, the wind is not at their backs this year. That is why tonight is so significant, I think.
WOODRUFF: That is right. Well, we want to look. Al Gore, as all of us know, has built a political career very steadily. Along the way, he has mastered the issues. He has done what he needed to do at every step. But still, as he faces this crucial night in his quest for the presidency, some are still asking: Is he ready?
Our John King takes stock.
KING (voice-over); First, it was his famous father, Senator Al Gore Sr. -- these past eight years, a charismatic, often controversial president. The story of Al Gore Jr.'s march to the Democratic presidential nomination is the story of a man always fighting to emerge from the shadows.
GORE: If you are ready for America to choose the good once more, then let us lead this nation together. Come with me toward America's new horizon.
KING: Gore won every primary, yet his path to the nomination was hardly smooth. Challenger Bill Bradley raised millions and provided an early scare. A nervous Gore moved his campaign headquarters from Washington to Nashville in search of a fresh start.
GORE: Are we ready? There we go. KING: Gore aides privately suggested additional symbolism, that the vice president was taking another step away from his often controversial boss.
GORE: I understand the disappointment and anger that you feel toward President Clinton. And I felt it myself.
KING: Bradley was gone from the race by March, but not before raising doubts about Gore's character.
BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If a candidate doesn't trust the people enough to tell them the truth when he's a candidate, then why should the people trust the candidate who becomes president to tell them the truth when he's president?
KING: It is a line of attack that Republican George W. Bush was quick to carry on.
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now that the political heat is on, he's changing his tune. He's changing his tune.
KING: As winter gave way to spring, Gore's reservations about being close to the president melted away as part of another campaign makeover.
GORE: I have been able to undertake a lot of challenges because we have worked as a team. And I'm more grateful to you than I can tell you.
KING: The economy was humming along, the Federal Treasury projecting a trillion dollars more in surplus funds. Prosperity and progress became the vice president's new slogan.
TAD DEVINE, GORE STRATEGIST: Fundamentally, this a whole new debate, unlike any that we have ever had, I believe, in American history. We have never had an election which revolved around the choices that government would make about a surplus.
KING: Gore adopted a more populist tone, cast Governor Bush's big tax cut as a risk to the boon and a threat to Social Security and Medicare.
GORE: I'm on your side. I want to fight for the people. The other side fights for the powerful.
KING: But Gore made little headway as the spring gave way to summer. Governor Bush arrived at his convention with the lead and a new partner.
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Gore will try to separate himself from his leader's shadow. But somehow, we will never see one without thinking of the other.
KING: Gore responded with a choice that personifies his delicate political challenge. Senator Joseph Lieberman is a steady supporter of the Clinton-Gore policy agenda, but he's also the first major Democrat to publicly condemn the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
AL FROM, DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: I think that what Joe Lieberman will allow Vice President Gore to do is to run on the great achievements of the Clinton-Gore administration and put behind him some of the baggage that the Republicans would like to make the centerpiece of the campaign.
KING: Lieberman is both running mate and character witness.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), VICE PRES. CANDIDATE: He has never, never wavered in his responsibilities as a father, a husband, and yes, as a servant of God almighty.
KING: The new look brought new energy to a struggling campaign.
AUDIENCE: Joe, Joe, Joe, Joe!
LIEBERMAN: Thank you.
KING: And it guaranteed Gore a place in history. Lieberman is the first Jew on a major party political ticket.
GORE: When we nominate Joe Lieberman for vice president, we will make history again. We will tear down an old wall of division.
KING: The polls remain a source of frustration. Governor Bush leads in most of the big battleground states and is viewed by voters as more trustworthy, more of a leader.
PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: For Al Gore, there is no doubt about his experience. There is no doubt about his ability to handle the job. They don't relate to him well. And Al Gore has to be able to relate to the American people a lot closer and better than he is at this stage.
KING: Even Gore critics say some of the problem comes with the territory, with the job that means you fly Air Force Two.
RON KAUFMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You have to come from being No. 2, the loyal No. 2, to become the strong No. 1. By definition, that is a problem with anybody.
KING: Vice President Bush, for example, was way behind in the polls when he came to New Orleans for the Republican National Convention in 1988.
KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: Ronald Reagan was about to depart on Air Force One for Santa Barbara and the Ranch, and the two of them had their ceremonial hand-off. And Reagan took off, and Bush saluted and then emerged as his own person, building on the shoulders of Ronald Reagan for his run for the presidency.
KING: Back then, 12 years ago, Gore was a footnote in the presidential campaign, a young senator who failed in a bid for the Democratic nomination. But this is his convention. It's his party now, his opportunity to finally emerge from the shadows. (END VIDEOTAPE)
KING: And that opportunity now less than two hours away, the vice president's acceptance speech to this convention and the nation. It is a speech two months in the making. He says he's written most of it himself. Because of that, he says, if it's a success, give him the credit, if he bombs, give him the blame -- Bernie.
SHAW: Thank you, John.
From the "Rothenberg Political Report," Stu Rothenberg.
Do you see any analogies between this campaign and past campaigns?
STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Well, Bernie, we certainly heard a lot about 1988 as analogy. We had a big state governor running, has an early lead over a sitting vice president, trying to take the step up to White House, allegedly a nonideological campaign, and the sitting vice president comes back and discredits the challenger, and so that analogy seems to fit. But let me propose 1060 as an alternative analogy. We've heard a lot about John F. Kennedy and California here, but there are some differences. 1960 was another case where a sitting vice president tried to step up to the White House, Richard Nixon. In this case, though, the challenger is the -- this year, the challenger is the Republican, George W. Bush.
In addition, Bush is talking about things like military and defense. Those are the issues that John Kennedy talked about a number of years ago, and we may have actually have a fight over that. And in 1960, many people said that was issueless campaign, that the candidates moved to center more about personality and charisma. And in this case, maybe it's George W. Bush who actually has the charisma advantage. Certainly, there's no charisma gap the way it was with Richard Nixon.
And the other thing to consider was there is, there was then, and I think there still is now, a Republican bias in the electoral college. You know, we saw how well Bill Clinton did last time, and I think we kind of exaggerate his strength. But if you at the base Republican electoral vote around country -- I went back 25 years -- the core Republican vote, the bottom, the worst Republicans did was 159 electoral votes. You know the worst Democratic vote in last 25 years in terms of electoral college, 13 electoral votes. The Republican base is just bigger, it's at least 150, maybe as many as 200 electoral votes. They need 270. It doesn't mean Republican lock, Bernie, but it means that the Republicans begin with a bigger reservoir of electoral college votes. That's significant.
SHAW: And that has the Gore people worried.
Stu Rothenberg, thank you -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Well, we're going to talk about electoral votes, we're going talk about battleground states, because what Stu has indicated I think is this, basically, the Republicans start out with the South and the Mountain West, Democrats start out with New England, they hope California, and a couple of Mid-Atlantic states.
So these battleground states in the Midwest, largely but not exclusively, and in near South, are the states that people think are going to determine the election. We want to show you how important the Democratic Party thinks those states are, in just a moment.
GREENFIELD: We mentioned a few moments ago the battleground states. There are 50 states in the Union, but this election, as of now, may well welcome down to about 10, and if you don't think the Democratic Party doesn't know it, we want you to look at the convention floor and see where some of these delegations are seated. For instance, look at Pennsylvania, with 23 electoral votes, Florida. If Gore can take that away, that's a major takeaway in the South. And look where Florida is. Michigan, where Reagan Democrats are born, and where Bill Clinton got them back. Missouri, voted with winner every time but one 20th century, a key state. California, the big enchilada, 20 percent of which you need be president of the United States. Illinois. Ohio, not since 1960 has it not voted with a winner. Georgia, a Southern state that could well be in play. New Jersey, once the Republican base in the Northeast. Clinton took it away. The Republicans want it back. And the state of Wisconsin, with 11 electoral votes. They are seated pretty much in nice locations.
Now to floor, Wolf Blitzer, in at least one of the battlegrounds.
BLITZER: Jeff. the most important state being California, the state that we are in right now, 54 electoral votes out of the 270 needed to become the next president of the United States, 20 percent right here. That's why Al Gore has been spending so much time in California over these past eight years, following in the lead that Bill Clinton took. Bill Clinton used to come here at least two or three times every few months. He was frequent visitor. Al Gore, of course, a frequent visitor, as well. He's going to be trying to spend some time here.
The polls show in California, Al Gore is ahead of George W. Bush, but not by much, within the margin of error. As a result, Bill Daley, his campaign chairman told me just this evening, that Al Gore is going to have to spend sometime working in California, not take it for granted.
Now to Candy Crowley on the floor.
CROWLEY: Thanks, Wolf. I'm with Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa, one of the bright stars in the statewide Democratic Party.
Listen, what's wrong in Iowa? You've got a close race there on the presidential level. Why is Gore not further ahead than he is?
GOV. THOMAS VILSACK (D), IOWA: Well I'll tell you, Al Gore is coming to Iowa this weekend, and that's going to make all the difference in the world. As people get to know what his farm policy is, his support for education and his health care plan, they're going to be supportive. CROWLEY: Let me interrupt you, Al Gore has been to Iowa plenty times. What is it they don't know about him?
VILSACK: Well, Al Gore focuses his attention in Iowa on the Democrats, on the Democratic activists. There was not a broad message or effort to get to Iowans all across the state. We begin that this weekend. It's going to make a heck of a difference.
CROWLEY: Governor, as you well know, Iowa was one of those places that went for Dukakis, and not many states did in '88. What -- this is a very slow in coming, so there must be something wrong that's not connecting.
VILSACK: No, I don't think so. I mean, the reason for Dukakis was that we were going through a very tough farm economy. The farm economy is tough now, but it's not anywhere near as tough as it was in the '80s. This is a process where people are not engaged in this election at this point. This convention, Al Gore's trip this weekend, is going to begin engaging Iowans. And as soon as they're engaged, I think we're going to see good things for Iowa.
CROWLEY: Governor Tom Vilsack, Iowa, thanks very much.
Frank Sesno in Kentucky.
SESNO: Candy, the border states are battleground states bigtime. Kentucky went for Bill Clinton narrowly last time, went for Clinton in '92. But the polls show that George W. Bush is well ahead now. He's out campaigned to Al Gore there.
I'm with Governor Paul Patton.
There are many issues that are hurting Gore in your state, among them, position on tobacco. What does he need do if he's going to regain momentum there?
GOV. PAUL PATTON (D), KENTUCKY: Well, he needs to relay to tobacco farmers what he relayed to me, about his concern for their economic plight, and I think he'll do something about it, but there are many issues in Kentucky that are issues in the nation, and, if Gore carries the nation, he'll carry Kentucky, or least that's been the case for the last 40 years.
SESNO: You have a Congressman, Ken Lucas, who didn't come. He's a delegate here. He didn't show up because he's so opposed to Al Gore's positions on choice, on tobacco. Does that reflect the state?
PATTON: Most Kentuckians aren't one or two issue people, we look at big picture, we look at what's going to affect us and our children, things like Medicare, prescription benefit, things like paying down the national debt, things like looking after our children's education, Social Security. Those are big issues and that is what Kentuckians will look at.
SESNO: Governor Patton, thanks very much.
Now over to Jeanne Meserve in Pennsylvania.
MESERVE: Frank, Pennsylvania has almost half a million more Democrats than Republicans. It has a million members of the AFL-CIO. Only Florida has a higher percentage of senior citizens. But Al Gore is not doing well here. One recent poll showed Bush at 48 percent, Al Gore at 33 percent.
Joining me, Terry Rarick, a member of Steelworkers union.
Why isn't Al Gore doing better in the state of Pennsylvania?
TERRY RARICK, PENNSYLVANIA DELEGATION: Well, it is a tough state anymore for Democrats. I think he is going to win, but it's going to be difficult. It's going to be battleground due to the Republican governors and senators, and...
MESERVE: Why difficult though?
RARICK: Well, the economy has been such that the industrial base has taken a big hit. And a lot of traditional Democrats are disenchanted with the NAFTA and the loss of jobs. And it's something we have to overcome. The labor movement is supporting Al Gore wholeheartedly, but the membership is not 100 percent on board yet. And we're going to have to sell it to our membership, because the Democrats in Pennsylvania can't win without labor.
MESERVE: Terry Rarick, thanks so much. And now on to John King.
KING: Twice, Bill Clinton carried three Midwestern battlegrounds, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio. The vice president now trailing in all three of those states.
Standing with me, Jim Ruvolo, former chairman the Ohio Democratic Party.
Why is it Bill Clinton so successful in the Heartland, Al Gore losing three critical states right now?
JIM RUVOLO, OHIO DELEGATION: Well, I think -- we go back to 1992. The Midwest was the Rust Belt. Bill Clinton's policies have lifted it out of the Rust Belt and now we are booming. You know, we have to remind people that it is those policies the last eight years which has caused us to be in such good shape. They have forgotten it. They have forgotten how tough times were. Part our job is to remind them and to make sure they understand they don't want to go back.
KING: These are three states where organized labor is critical. If you look at the polls right now, Governor Bush getting in some polls as much as 40 percent of the labor vote. Why is that?
RUVOLO: Well, I'm not sure I know exactly why it is, but I know this. Mike Dukakis was ahead by 17 points at this point before. I know that we are going to make up those polls. We are going to make them up because we are going to remind people about the economy, about the policies that have brought the prosperity to the Midwest. And Ohio and Illinois and Michigan and those states are going to elect Al Gore because of that.
SESNO: All right, Jim Ruvolo, thanks for your time.
Back to Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King down on the floor.
Well, if there is anybody who needs to worry and has already been thinking about the kinds of things we are hearing from these delegates, she joins us right now.
DONNA BRAZILE, GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Her name is Donna Brazile. She is the campaign manager...
WOODRUFF: ... for Al Gore. And Donna Brazile, we want to thank you for being here.
BRAZILE: Thank you for having me.
WOODRUFF: We just heard from these five delegates an extraordinary list of mountains that this vice president has got to climb if he is going elected president. We have heard these are battleground states. From Iowa, we are told that he has got to reach out to all voters. In Pennsylvania, he has got to reach out to organized labor, and on down the list. Where do you begin?
BRAZILE: Well, first of all, let me just say thank you once again to the allow me to be on this panel. You know, Democrats start every election behind, behind in the polls and behind in raising money. But we are right on the issues. And I think we will be right on time with our message when it comes out of this convention this weekend. And it will begin to resonate with the American people.
And I think over the next couple weeks, you will see a surge in support for Democrats across the country. Al Gore and Joe Lieberman will fight for working families. That message will resonate with Democratic voters across the board. And I believe we will be able to pick up strong support from independents and Republicans.
WOODRUFF: But isn't the vice president starting out even further behind because he is coming out of this convention still not having coalesced the Democratic base, the base that he should be able to count on?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, you know, every election, there are new dynamics in this election. And I think the new dynamics is that we are now living in a time where there is great prosperity. And people really have really taken their time to figure out what they want and where they want to go in the next couple years. And I think Al Gore is going to lay out an agenda tonight for the American people. He is going to talk about the future, not the past. He is going to present a real agenda for America -- for the American working families. And I think when people hear that agenda, the base will consolidate around Gore and the base will provide the momentum and the surge and support that we need to win on election day. But we need more than just the traditional Democratic voters. We also need swing voters. We need Midwestern voters. And of course, we need a couple of Southerners like myself.
SHAW: Donna Brazile, we have excerpts of the vice president's remarks. Quote -- "I stand here tonight as my own man. And I want you to know me for I truly am."
SHAW: After all his years of public service in office, why does he feel compelled to have to say that?
BRAZILE: Because most people know him as the vice president. They don't know Al Gore. They don't know the man. They don't know his story. They don't know the compelling and inspiring journey that he's had in public life. They don't know that he has taken on the powerful and supporting, you know, everyday people. And this an opportunity tonight for Al Gore to present his story to the American people. And this is a great night for Al Gore, a great night for Joe Lieberman as well, because he will also accept the nomination.
And, you know, tomorrow we are going to crest out of here, go down to Mississippi, and the tidal wave is going to begin.
GREENFIELD: If you're going to make that tidal wave happen, a lot of people think you are going to have to take Governor Bush and put him somewhere else. You rarely, among political people, do not mince words. In fact, sometimes perhaps the words have been even too clear. You were quoted a while ago as talking about, in the Gore campaign, a slaughterhouse operation to look at the record of Governor Bush.
How hard do you have to take down his record and his image for Al Gore to win?
BRAZILE: You know, I think my job -- and you are right, I do tell -- I don't mince words -- I shouldn't mince words -- I believe my job and the job of the campaign starting tonight is to begin to present Al Gore's story, his vision, talk about where he intends to take this country, talk about his fight for the people, not the powerful. And I think that story, what we are going to tell the American people will convince them that Al Gore should be the next president of the United States.
But look, I'm a political operative like most people in this country. From time to time, we'll have to point out the other guy's record. And if he distorts our record, we'll have to correct the facts. But, by and large, this is going to be a very positive campaign, because I believe the issues are on our side. And I believe Al Gore will serve as an example of what a presidential campaign and candidate should look like.
SHAW: Do you think you can ever get Gore to loosen up?
BRAZILE: I don't have a problem with Al Gore.
SHAW: I didn't say you did, but...
BRAZILE: I think Al Gore...
SHAW: You know what I'm asking. You know what I'm asking.
BRAZILE: You know what -- well, I know, I mean, the "s" question: Is he stiff? He's not stiff. I think Al Gore has rhythm, but it's a different kind of rhythm.
SHAW: Explain that.
BRAZILE: Well, you know, some people in -- and I think he is in the studio -- has style and he has grace and he has fire. Al Gore has a different kind of rhythm that speaks quietly and gently, but still moves people where they need to go. And that is something that people don't understand, you know. I don't know why Al Gore is being compared to other people. I think Al Gore -- I think people like Al Gore the way he is.
And if he is good enough for Tipper, well, he's good enough for me.
WOODRUFF: Last question, Donna Brazile: We talked to Karen Hughes, communications director for the Bush campaign a couple hours ago. She said her sense is, coming out of this convention, it was a big mistake to have Bill Clinton speak the first night. He stood up there, he wowed these Democrats, and it is a very tough act for Al Gore to follow. People still can't stop talking about, thinking about Bill Clinton.
BRAZILE: It is clear that Ms. Hughes didn't take any vacation time, because what she missed this week was that Bill Clinton was one of many Democratic bosses that came to this hall to inspire and lift us up tell why Al Gore should be next president. I'm proud of our president. I'm proud of what he did on Monday night. And I'm proud that our vice president, Al Gore, tonight will take center stage and begin to lead this party into future.
GREENFIELD: Thank you, Donna Brazile, campaign manager for Al Gore.
BRAZILE: Thank you.
GREENFIELD: And when we come back -- and it deeply pains me to put it this way -- we will hear from a younger generation of political journalists.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NARRATOR: On day four of the 1972 Democratic convention in Miami Beach.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 1972)
GEORGE MCGOVERN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I accept your nomination with a full and grateful heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: George McGovern planned to do it in prime television time on day three, but a very long vice presidential nominating process delayed the speech to almost 3:00 a.m. Opposition to the Vietnam War had prompted McGovern's candidacy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCGOVERN: I will halt the senseless bombing of Indochina on inaugural day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Just before the election, the Nixon administration announced it was close to ending the war. McGovern would win only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, and get less than 38 percent of the popular vote.
GREENFIELD: Some of us remember that convention fairly well. We're going now to four people who were not yet in kindergarten during that convention, younger journalists. They are Tamala Edwards of "Time" magazine, Jake Tapper, Salon.com magazine, Tucker Carlson of "The Weekly Standard" and Michelle Cottle of "The New Republic."
Ladies and gentlemen, it's all yours.
TUCKER CARLSON, "THE WEEKLY STANDARD": Let's talk about the "Al Gore as a really human being" campaign now being waged by the DNC. Last night, we had Al Gore's roommate, we had his daughter, and then we had the movie. Al Gore invites this moviemaker, Spike Jonze, over his house, has him film the family while saying prayers, has him film his wife barefoot, his unmade bed.
JAKE TAPPER, SALON.COM: Loved the unmade bed.
CARLSON: I loved the unmade bed. But Tamala, who is this pitch too?
TAMALA EDWARDS, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, the pitch is pretty much to everyone. I mean, the campaign likes to argue that nobody knows Al Gore, he was just that guy standing behind Bill Clinton for eight years, and tonight's their to really put him out there, and they know that this is a guy that needs to be a little bit more likable, and they think their best shot at that is his biography. And you see lots of Tipper, you see lots of Karenna, his eldest daughter, and now you're starting to see Kristin, the second eldest daughter, who until now, didn't actually...
EDWARDS: I feel like I've met him a lot, though. Up on the Hill, the thing that people say to you, is all that blond hair, they really need to get all that blond hair out there, it's much more attractive than Al Gore on his own.
CARLSON: Isn't there something pathetic about it?
MICHELLE COTTLE, SENIOR EDITOR, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Specifically, I think, their going for those women who flocked to Clinton the last two elections and gave the Republicans such a problem with the gender gap. I mean, these are the people who really want to know, is he a good person, does he, you know, deal with kids well? That's the specific target.
EDWARDS: I think nobody doubts that Al Gore is competent. In fact, some people may think he's overcompetent. The thing that they're trying to get out there is that this is somebody that you'd like, somebody that you'd trust, and tonight is their best shot. I think if they don't pull it off tonight, it's going to be really hard to pull it off.
CARLSON: I mean, Jake, do you think it's important, the likability? I mean, ultimately, who cares? Has nothing to do with being president.
TAPPER: Yes, of course, it doesn't have much to do with being president, but it has a lot with getting elected, since the advent of the television age. With the exception of Richard Nixon, the warmer candidate has always won. And in this case, George W. Bush is the much, much warmer candidate. Therefore, you do see tipper. I mean, one of the things I got from the film last night is I looked at Al and Tipper together, and said, this is an actual couple, not what I'm used to seeing in the White House for the last eight years, these people actually hold hands and kiss.
CARLSON: Well, they sit on each other's laps, as we learned from Tommy Lee Jones, and smooch.
COTTLE: Too much effort, seriously. But it is an issue. I mean, because the president has so much to do with convincing the American people that his agenda is the right one, he has to come across well on TV. I mean, it sounds horrible to say that personality really, really matters, and it matters more than issues and things like that, but I'm sorry, in the television age it does.
EDWARDS: And I think visuals matter. I think it doesn't hurt Al Gore that he's got Joe Lieberman, who has that big, squishy face with that big funny smile, and he creates this great visual for Gore. And tonight is just as much about visible as it is about substance.
CARLSON: But wasn't there is a point not long ago unseemly, unattractive to paw your family in at every opportunity, and in some sense, exploit them for votes? COTTLE: Like the Kennedys?
CARLSON: Yes, exactly, good point.
TAPPER: Karenna Gore, it seems, is probably a more eager to hit the campaign trail than her father, it seems to me. And you know, there are a lot of -- one of the interesting things from last night when Karenna Gore spoke, it sat differently with a lot of different people. A lot of focus groups thought too much personal information, I don't care that he's a dad. But then, as you were saying earlier, Tucker, that when you thought that Al Gore came out and supposedly surprised Karenna, although the band certainly seemed to know about it, surprised Karenna, that you said you a little vahklemped (ph), right?
CARLSON: Yes, there was some vahklempness going on. But I mean, just the fact that she -- I mean, my kids won't eat Snickers for breakfast, but I don't let them, do you see what I mean? And at some point, you have to say, well gee, they're participating this with the complicity of Al Gore, and at some point, it's a calculated political decision. I mean, that's unattractive.
EDWARDS: Her father's running for president. I mean, if your father was running for president, wouldn't you want to do everything you possibly could?
COTTLE: And George P. is certainly out there yukking it up with the ladies, and you couldn't get that Ricky Martin off the stage.
TAPPER: But he's a nephew, he's a nephew, he's not one of the Gore daughters. Barbara and Jenna, the Gore daughters, who are 18 years old.
EDWARDS: So he's exploiting extended family members. That's better.
TAPPER: Right, it's different, because it's actually, you know, directly your blood. And so it's your brother's.
CARLSON: Right. Sort of the William Kennedy Smith of the whole Bush group.
COTTLE: Let's not go there.
CARLSON: Speaking of scandal, though, impeachment -- Monica Lewinsky turns out to be the gift that keeps on giving. Apparently today it leaked.
COTTLE: Oh, Tucker.
CARLSON: Well, that is true in some ways. Turns out that the latest of the many independent counsels has convened the grand jury. How did this -- who leaked this?
COTTLE: Well, let's see, five weeks ago it happened, and it just becomes public today?
CARLSON: The second anniversary.
COTTLE: What a shocking coincidence.
TAPPER: What is it Clinton said when Gennifer Flowers said when she reared head -- "When you come across a turtle on the top of a fencepost, it don't take much to figure out someone put it there."
CARLSON: Yes, but the question is, who? I mean, doesn't it help the Republicans?
CARLSON: But truly, how does this help?
COTTLE: It distracts. It distracts people.
CARLSON: I think it does.
Let's ask Jeff Greenfield to figure this out.
GREENFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you, Tamala Edwards, Jake Tapper, Tucker Carlson, Michelle Cottle.
And now we are going down to the floor where, to no one's surprise, I hope, Senator Joe Lieberman is being nominated for vice president on the Democratic ticket by acclamation.
KATHLEEN VICK, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE SECRETARY: All in favor of the nomination of Joe Lieberman as the vice presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, please say aye.
VICK: All opposed say no. The ayes have it...
... and we have selected by unanimous consent Joe Lieberman as the 2000 vice presidential candidate of the Democratic Party.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you. Thank you.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so very much. Thank you, my dear friends, John Breaux, Ellen Tauscher and the best colleague anybody ever had in the United States Senate, Chris Dodd of Connecticut.
And while I'm at it, thank you, dear friends and neighbors from Connecticut, without whom I would not be standing here tonight.
I am humbled and I am grateful for the confidence that you have expressed in me, and I am proud to accept your nomination to be the next vice president of the United States.
Thank you. God bless you. Thank God.
WOODRUFF: We're watching the motorcade in the upper-right hand corner of your screen bringing Al Gore to the convention center, the Staples Center, making its way along the many, many freeways of Los Angeles. At the very moment, his chosen running mate, Joseph Lieberman, accepts by acclamation the nomination of this party.
GREENFIELD: And we will be back in just a moment.
NARRATOR: On day four of the 1976 Democratic convention in New York City, delegates nominated four candidates to be Jimmy Carter's running mate. One of them, alternate delegate Fritz Efall (ph), had been living in London for nearly a decade to avoid the military draft. On his way home, voluntarily to face federal charges, the nomination gave him and disabled Vietnam veteran Ron Covic, who seconded him the opportunity to plead for amnesty for draft resisters. Efall and two other candidates withdrew in favor of Carter choice, Walter Mondale. President Carter would pardon draft resistors a day after taking office, and Efall would become an economics professor.
SHAW: Delegates in this hall behind me are pumped with anticipation of Vice President Al Gore's arrival and, of course, his acceptance speech tonight from the podium. But they are not pumped with overconfidence about the chances of their man posed by the threat from Governor Bush of Texas. We want to get an idea what our people on the floor are finding out.
Let's check in with Wolf Blitzer.
BLITZER: You know, one thing, Bernie, that I'm hearing from some of Gore's advisers and supporters is it's almost ironic the way they feel about George W. Bush, that he's inexperienced, only been governor for a few years, compared to Vice President Al Gore, who's got 30 years of government experience, in effect. The way they feel about him is almost the way that then-President George Bush in 1992 felt about the Arkansas governor, the Democratic presidential candidate, Bill Clinton. Almost ironic that they think that these two candidates -- Bill Clinton in '92, George W. Bush, governors, little international experience, not really ready for primetime. It's ironic to see that.
Let's go down to Jeanne Meserve on the floor.
MESERVE: Wolf, there's no question that for some voters, style and personality are a big factor. There's also no question that in those categories, George W. Bush has the upper hand. He may not always connect with the big audience, but one on one, he has a real knack for putting a hand on the voters' shoulder, looking them in the eye, making a wise crack, and possibly winning their vote. Al Gore's been trying to loosen up a bit, but hasn't quite succeeded yet. One observer said to me, it looks like George W. Bush is learning more from politicking than Bill Clinton than Al Gore has.
Now onto Candy Crowley.
CROWLEY: If you talk to many of those in the delegations, what you hear is a little grudging respect for the campaign of George W. Bush. This is a man who after all in March was seen and described as running a far-right campaign, a scary far-right campaign, who by June, had become a moderate, had moved his campaign into the middle, where everyone knows that this election will be decide. Credit to the Bush campaign for a very focused campaign, as well as what many people see as a disciplined candidate, has often been said of George Bush. He is harder to turn off message than a freighter.
The results of polls, many people feel, is not so much that Al Gore has run a bad campaign, but perhaps that George Bush has run a good one.
Now to my colleague John King.
KING: Well, Candy, one thing key Democratic strategists say over and over again, they underestimated, not only George Bush as a candidate, but the impact of his decision to opt out of the federal- financing decision. During the primaries, Governor Bush decided not to take matching funds. He raised $100 million. So even when he faced the tough challenge from Senator McCain, he was able to raise even more money, and they say he took the most of his opportunity in the four months after clinching the Republican nomination to move back to the political center. They give him great credit as a candidate. They say the vice president squandered those past four months -- Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Well if they're giving the campaign of George W. Bush credit, we're about to talk to the man who helped shape that campaign. In Austin, Texas, we're being joined by Karl Rove, one of the governor's top, if not the top, strategists.
Karl Rove, you heard a lot of grudging respect given from the Democrats to your campaign and your candidate. As you look at the Democrats, anything there that makes you nod your head and say, "Not bad"?
KARL ROVE, BUSH CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Well, I'm not certain what that question means, but I wish they wouldn't give us begrudging respect. I wished they'd continue to underrate Governor Bush because we've waited the most of the last five and a half months, in part, because the Democrats did underestimate us.
GREENFIELD: What I mean is, is there anything that you've seen at the Democratic Convention that gives you pause, the Lieberman selection for instance, something that says to you, the Gore campaign may be on to something here.
ROVE: No. The guys who do all those great signs every night, I've got a begrudging respect for them.
Look, Joe Lieberman was a good choice for Al Gore, but it was clearly in response to Governor Bush's convention and Governor Bush's selection of Dick Cheney. Warren Christopher said as much in the New York Times. It sort of astonished me.
But look, they're going to be a tough, competitive campaign in the fall. This is a -- this is after all the incumbent party with all the power of the White House and the administration behind it. And we've seen what kind of campaigner Al Gore can be. He's savaged Bill Bradley. We anticipate he'll come hard after Governor Bush. And we know it's going to be a close contest, but we're ready for it.
SHAW: Karl Rove, word today out of Washington, the independent counsel has convened a federal grand jury in connection with President Clinton's involvement with Monica Lewinsky. Many Democrats openly saying this is a Republican plot.
ROVE: Well, look, apparently according to the news reports, the grand jury was convened on July 11. I think it's sort of suspicious about the timing. It stinks. It doesn't add to the process.
People are sick and tired of scandals, investigations. But we've got to remind them as the best way to end the scandals and investigations is to send a new team to Washington to change the tone and that's George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
WOODRUFF: Karl Rove, we've had an advanced peek at some of the things that Al Gore is going to be talking about tonight. He's been talking throughout the campaign, he'll say again tonight, "I'm going to fight for the people who don't have a voice. I want to fight against the powerful interests, entrenched interests." Is he talking about George Bush when he says this?
ROVE: I don't know who he's talking about. He's had seven years to fight these powerful unnamed interests. You'd think he would have had great success if he were a strong leader in overcoming them.
Look, this is just Mr. Populist peering back again. We saw this earlier this year when he ran against sort of unnamed evil, powerful interests. This -- if this really is the speech, I don't think Al Gore is going to serve himself well tonight.
People want to know what's in his heart and what his convictions are. And the idea that somebody is going to get out there and pound the rostrum and talk about fighting powerful interests, if he hasn't convinced them of that in the last seven years, I'm not certain he can convince them tonight.
GREENFIELD: Karl Rove, we appreciate you taking time out from Austin and joining us here at the Democratic convention. And when we come back, you're going to meet one of the youngest folks on the convention floor, who is actually also a delegate.
NARRATOR: On day four of the 1980 Democratic Convention in New York, President Jimmy Carter was again the party's nominee, and Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and his faction were not happy about it.
Kennedy, the president's only real party rival that year, had lost the first-night fight over a rule change that could have given him the nomination if delegates had been free to disregard the primary. The two camps had fought hard over the party platform as well.
On the last night, the nominee directly asked Kennedy for help during the fall campaign. He got a handshake but not much more and would lose his bid for re-election.
GREENFIELD: Now as part of our continuing introduction to you of the delegates to these conventions, we're going to show you a young man from Florida who little more than a year ago wasn't old enough to vote for president. Last night he helped to nominate one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASHLEY BELL, GEORGIA DELEGATE: 17 1/2 years to be able to vote in the state of Georgia. Are you guys registered to vote? There you go, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
BELL: Changed your life right there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: You all need to register to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD (voice-over): High noon in Valdosta, Georgia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: So if you register to vote now, you're ready to vote in Atlanta in November.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: I tell you this heat is something else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: The thermometer says it's 94.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Are you guys registered to vote?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: For 19-year-old Ashley Belle, it's how he's spending the summer vacation...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: I'm Ashley Bell. I'm student body president of (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nice to meet you.
BELL: Nice to meet you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: ... handing out voter registration forms occasionally to an underwhelming response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Hey, are you guys registered to vote?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
BELL: Are you guys registered to vote?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: No, I'm not going to walk past a young person, hand them a voter registration form and change their lives. You know, they're not going to all of a sudden, whoa, I love politics. That's not going to happen.
GREENFIELD: For sheer doggedness...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: Yes, help us get people to register to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP) GREENFIELD: ... it's hard to find anyone who can match this young man. He is class president at Valdosta State University in south Georgia,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: ... having two meetings. There's one tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: ... president of Georgia College Democrats, vice president of Young Georgia Democrats. He's already met the president, and at 19, he's one of the youngest delegates at the convention.
Ashley Bell was born and raised in Gainesville, Georgia. Both of his parents are public employees. His political appetite was whetted at age 8 when he watched Jesse Jackson speak to the 1988 Democratic Convention.
BELL: And I know that it was a big thing in my community that, oh my god, Jesse Jackson, he's African-American and he's running for president. I started paying more attention after that, I would say.
GREENFIELD: Paying attention is what helped Bell get a summer job as a congressional intern. He saw that his local congressman, Sanford Bishop, was coming to a political event and scrounged up $50 to attend.
BELL: So I went to the event and I made my way through the crowd, and I rushed him. I'm like, you know: Hi. Congressman Bishop, I'm Ashley Bell. I know that you're making a decision Monday. I just want to let you put a face to that name." And I got the word two weeks later that I got the internship.
GREENFIELD: He's old beyond his years in other ways as well. He's married, the father of a 19-month-old daughter, and has his eyes on a far horizon.
BELL: A lot of it has to do because I'm very mature for my age, so I kind of look ahead, you know, and I look at this country and I see where it's going. And getting involved, I kind of feel like I can kind of have something to say about, you know, where it's going.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: So, that's your No. 1 issue, gun control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BELL: I see that now is the time for me to get involved, because in 20 years, from now I'll be in my mother and father's positions, and I don't want to miss an opportunity to say what I could have changed.
GREENFIELD: But the chance to go to a national convention does bring out a sense of youthful exuberance. BELL: I can't even fathom that right now. Right now, it's almost -- it's not even real yet. It's not going to be real until we all get on that plane, the one delegation, to fly out. I can't even fathom being there myself, you know, and standing, and just being there with -- it's wild. You'll have to ask me that question when I get there.
GREENFIELD: Frank Sesno is on the convention floor with very young Mr. Bell -- Frank.
SESNO: And a very impressive young Mr. Bell it is. You've been telling me you've been very busy here, rubbing some shoulders and looking ahead. What have you been up to?
BELL: I've been tagging along basically, with some good mentors in our delegation. I've been with my congressman mostly, attending receptions and following him around. There's a lot of great mentors in our delegation as far as elected officials go, and I myself, with elected-official aspirations, kind of hang around them and see how things go, and just meet a lot of the people here.
I also was able to go to a caucus meeting with Maxine Waters and Congressional Black Caucus when Lieberman came. Some very good issues were discussed there, and I think some good points were brought to the forefront. I'm glad, very glad Mr. Lieberman was able to address those.
SESNO: Did he address them to your satisfaction?
BELL: Yes, he did. I really -- I like what he said yesterday.
SESNO: Ashley Bell, appreciate it.
BELL: Thank you.
SESNO: Fascinating. Back to the booth.
WOODRUFF: I think he looks like a future politician.
GREENFIELD: Oh, yes.
WOODRUFF: Glad to see that young man.
We are just half an hour away from Gore daughter Kristin, who will introduce her mother, who will introduce Al Gore. But for right now, we turn you over to Larry King. We'll be back.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.