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Election 2000: Karenna Gore Schiff Discusses Her Father's Campaign and Courting the Youth Vote

Aired September 15, 2000 - 2:23 p.m. ET


LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The vice president's eldest daughter, Karenna Gore Schiff, is, as you know, a vocal supporter of her father's campaign. She's in New York today, and joins us now.

You are there working to get the young people's vote. Before we talk about that and your dad, I would like to talk about you and how perhaps your life has changed since that moment on the podium out there in Los Angeles when you appeared before millions and millions of Americans. Has your life changed in any way because of that?

KARENNA GORE SCHIFF: Well, my life hasn't radically changed. I think that there's a lot of excitement and momentum and enthusiasm in the campaign, which is a great thing. And I just -- I am really enjoying being a part of it.

WATERS: Just the celebrity of politics. You appearing there with your dad and the hugs and the squeezes and you become a celebrity yourself I would imagine.

GORE SCHIFF: Well, it doesn't really feel that way, but there are people who recognize me occasionally now, and it's great to have people come up on the street, or in the park, and say: Great job. Your dad is going to be a wonderful president. I feel that enthusiasm a lot out in the streets.

WATERS: While we are on the podium here. Let me ask you, like everyone must be asking you, about the kiss. Now, I've seen it on the covers of magazines, I've heard political people saying the kiss turned it around for your dad, getting more women on his side. What do you make of the kiss?

GORE SCHIFF: It's pretty funny that there is so much commentary. I don't know. I didn't really register at the time that it was anything unusual because I'm just kind of used to by parents being that way. I got over being embarrassed about it a long time ago.

WATERS: So this wasn't a planned event. This is something that happens in the Gore family.

GORE SCHIFF: No, no, no, I think you can tell it wasn't planned. It was pretty spontaneous, but it was a really exciting moment. And I think that we all felt like both my parents had worked hard together to get to that point, and it was very exciting and emotional. WATERS: Now, yesterday, I saw you sitting in the audience at the fund-raiser at Radio City Music Hall. I imagined you stayed up late to watch Letterman; did you?

GORE SCHIFF: Yes. I even stayed up past Letterman. I stayed up way too late last night because we had a lot of fun parties after the concert, which was, itself, a tremendous tribute to the leadership of my dad and Joe Lieberman. So many wonderful artist came out and performed for the causes of health care and education and the environment and civil liberties. So it was a really great night.

WATERS: What do you think of those who say it is hypocritical of your dad to, on the one hand, condemn the violence in the popular culture, and then go and collect last night, I believe, $6 1/2 million from the entertainment industry?

GORE SCHIFF: Well, I understand why people ask the question. I, myself, don't see a contribution at all. Because I really think that my dad and Joe Lieberman have made clear from the beginning that what they want to do is to respect artistic freedom, and not censor anything, but give parents the tools to protect their kids from material that they find inappropriate.

And I think, actually, it is great they are having a dialogue with the industry. They've made it clear how they feel about it even to the leaders of the entertainment industry. And they are having a dialogue and the solution, because of the First Amendment, needs to come from within that industry as well. So I think it is very productive.

WATERS: Let's talk about your focus in the campaign, the young voters. I imagine the appearance on Letterman and Leno is part of the equation there. But what's in this campaign for the young voters? What would energize a young voter in this election?

GORE SCHIFF: Well, I think that my dad's message is really resonant with young voters. Unfortunately, not that many young people have been voting in the past elections. In 1996, it was only one- third of all 18-24-year-olds who voted. So we really need to change that.

And I think that when you focus on the issues, I mean, young people are kind of sick of all the spin and the cynicism, and they don't trust the political system, really. But when you talk about issues like student loans, like making college more affordable and available, and like protecting the environment, and getting guns off the streets, these are things that really, really resonate.

And so, I think that because of those issues and because of getting to know the candidates and seeing the contrast, young people really are rallying to my dad.

WATERS: You think we will see more young people voting in this election?

GORE SCHIFF: I sure hope so. I'm counting on it. I'm really excited that we're actively reaching out. Yesterday we had this event -- a kickoff event, "Youth at the Table." And we are going to be doing this throughout the campaign. Because campaigns haven't tended to really court young voters as much as they should. So we really want to change that. My dad wants to change it. And we invited people to come to a coffee house and talk about the issues.

My dad and mom, the Liebermans, and actually Matt and Rebecca Lieberman and my sister are also going to be doing "Youth at the Table" events throughout this entire campaign. So we are making a real effort to reach out.

WATERS: And when the campaigning is done, and if your dad should get elected and become president of the United States, are there any political ambitions in Karenna Gore Schiff's future?

GORE SCHIFF: Not as a candidate myself, I don't have that ambition. But I really do love being active in politics. I think it is an exciting, vital thing. And I also really look forward to supporting other candidates in the future. I hope more young people will be attracted to running for office because we need them.

WATERS: Well, thanks for stopping by. It was nice to meet you.

GORE SCHIFF: Thank you so much.

WATERS: Karenna Gore Schiff in New York today.



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