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Bush and Gore Face off in a Kinder, Gentler DebateAired October 11, 2000 - 8:50 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The first lady of the state of Texas, Laura Bush, coming into the Wait Chapel there. She was just hugging Colin Powell, former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. She's there. It looked like Jeb Bush, although I'm not sure about that.
The wives of the candidates are arriving. We've just been watching the moderator, Jim Lehrer, there on stage giving some last- minute instructions to the audience. This crowd, there at Wake Forest, no doubt excited because we are just minutes away, a little more than 10 minutes away from the start of this debate.
And now for more on what we can expect from candidates Bush and Gore at the top of the hour, we're joined by two veterans of past presidential campaigns: former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry and the co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" Mary Matalin.
All right, you two, I don't -- I want you to assume that you are part of the campaign staff and you are giving these guys the best advice you can. Mary, you're whispering in Governor Bush's ear. What are you saying to him, and what are you worried about just before tonight's debate?
MARY MATALIN, CO-HOST, CNN "CROSSFIRE": I don't think that they are worried. The burden of proof, if you will, has shifted back to Gore. It was in the first two debates on Bush and to a large extent on Cheney. Now tonight, that burden -- Gore has got to show that he can get through 90 minutes, through an hour and a half devoid of arrogance or self-aggrandizement or gratuitous negativity. And here -- there's been no display of that in the primaries or going back to '88. So the burden tonight is more on Gore.
What Bush has to do is to just continue breaking through on the bigger picture, which is there's a philosophical divide here, and he has to break through. And he is starting to break through, the polls are showing, on this notion that Gore wants to expand government at three times the rate that Clinton did.
WOODRUFF: So Mary has no worries whatsoever. Mike McCurry, you're advising Al Gore. Any worries if you're on his staff?
MIKE MCCURRY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, Judy, the first thing I'd do is make sure that absolutely nobody is whispering in the candidate's ear right now, just give him some time to be by himself. But you know, this is about electing a president of the United States. It's not a personality contest. And at the end of the day, what's going to help the vice president is to stick with the substance of the proposals that he's putting forward.
We know that the American people think more highly of the positions that he's put forward on so many issue: health care, education, retirement income security, the things that I think really matter to the voters that we've been talking to even in this hour. And if he sticks with substance and not spin, he'll do fine.
He's been in the public light for 25 years. Right now, he should not try to do a personality makeover on stage tonight.
WOODRUFF: We've just been watching -- both of you, we'll keep talking, but we do want to point out that Tipper Gore, the vice president's wife, and I believe that's Karenna Gore standing there next to her, she's just come into the chapel. They're at Wake Forest University.
Mary, so if they stick to substance and stay away from spin, that's all she wrote?
MATALIN: But you know, it's not a personality contest. Mike is right. But voters want to see a comfort zone, they want to know that these men are comfortable with themselves. And the reason all the embellishment and the exaggeration has stuck to Gore is because he's displayed throughout this campaign a discomfort with himself, from changing his clothes, to the alpha male business. And people -- voters understand that. When these guys are going to under enormous pressure, they have to reach down to themselves. And they don't know who Gore is. Bush is comfortable with himself, comfortable in his own skin. And to that extent, it is a personality contest.
MCCURRY: Judy, I think the voters also want to know that these guys are comfortable with the demands of this awesome job, and I think Governor Bush has got some work to do tonight to demonstrate to the American people that he's up to the task. I mean, he looked a little bit lost on some of subjects in the first debate, and this is a format, frankly, for all the talk about what Gore has to prove tonight, this is not an easy format for Governor Bush, even though it's the one that he picked for his own choosing.
He's got to really sit there and be able to engage and show some depth on issues that I think Jim Lehrer will want to explore tonight. So there's a lot riding on this for Governor Bush as well.
WOODRUFF: All right, Mike McCurry, Mary Matalin, and we'll be checking in with you all a little later this evening. Thank you both -- Bernie.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: And CNN's live coverage of the Bush- Gore debate begins just moments from now, and this reminder: During the debate, you can join the real-time spin room at cnn.com.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SHAW: On the stage, moderator Jim Lehrer of PBS. He's awaiting the candidates, Vice President Al Gore and Texas Governor George Bush.
I have sat at this table, and one of the themes these candidates worry about is that they never know where the camera's going to be or what the camera will show. So really, the candidates can either look at their opponent or the moderator, but not looking off into the audience, Judy, Jeff and Bill.
WOODRUFF: Bernie, I have a question. What is that little black piece of furniture...
SHAW: To the right.
WOODRUFF: ... to the right of Jim Lehrer's chair? And did you get one of those...
SHAW: I got one of those.
WOODRUFF: ... in Kentucky...
SHAW: That's a very handy item. This is the identical desk. It's a handy item to put papers in, water on. But...
WOODRUFF: Which our crucial in a 90-minute presidential or vice presidential debate.
SHAW: And Jeff, you were talking about this table here. My experience is that this setting allows for intimacy. It's hard to really bang your opponent over the head either verbally or physically in this setting. But this is really conducive to conversation. I think that voters are going to be surprised at the level of conversation at this table tonight.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: And I'm -- what I have seen is that when the candidates are trained and ready to combat themselves -- and here is -- here are the candidates -- they will do it. And I just want to put one quick thing on the table. What I'm most interest in the first minutes of this debate, as we see them shake hands, is whether Vice President Gore, who has done this in the past, will come out and try to make some kind of humorous reference to his performance in the last debate, whether he sighs humorously or has some quip about exaggerations.
It's something the vice president has done, and if he does it, the question is, will it be seen as charming or a contrivance?
WOODRUFF: I think -- you look at the distance between those chairs right there -- and we're right now about a minute and a half away from Jim Lehrer's introductions -- they're hardly right next to each other, Bernie. I don't know if this is exactly the way it was with the vice presidential nominees last week.
SHAW: They're farther apart.
WOODRUFF: But this is not -- they can't really reach out even. They can't even reach each other, if you would. And they look to me like they're farther apart than they were.
SHAW: Indeed, they are farther apart. Cheney, on the left, and Lieberman, on the right, looking at me, the moderator, last Thursday night in Danville, Kentucky, they were closer.
SCHNEIDER: I remember the Ross Perot-Al Gore debate in 1993 on NAFTA. They were sitting right next to each other, and they really had at each other. That didn't create intimacy. It created a lot of squabbling.
GREENFIELD: You'll notice the -- that Vice President Gore has adopted the blue tie tactic of vice -- of Secretary Cheney. We'll see whether that has any cosmic implications.
WOODRUFF: But not the blue shirt.
GREENFIELD: Not the blue shirt.
WOODRUFF: Not the blue shirt.
GREENFIELD: He's being cautious.
WOODRUFF: We should point out that everything -- and we said this at the last debates -- everything has been negotiated here: the desk, the distance of the chairs, the fact that the chairs apparently -- Jon Karl reported earlier -- wouldn't swivel as much as you might expect, the temperature of the room, 65 degrees, and so forth.
It looks like Jim Lehrer is telling the audience.
GREENFIELD: Something happened.
SHAW: There's something unusual going on here. We'll have to look at the transcript, but he turned around to say something.
Actually, these final seconds are just spent sitting here and getting your thoughts together.
SCHNEIDER: Well, I've got Al Gore's line. How about if he sings, "You must remember this, I gave my wife a kiss, but a sigh is just a sigh."
WOODRUFF: Jim Lehrer is about to open this debate. Let's listen.
JIM LEHRER, MODERATOR: Good evening from Wait Chapel at Wake Forest University at Winston-Salem, North Carolina. I'm Jim Lehrer of "The NewsHour" on PBS.
Welcome to the second election 2000 debate between the Republican candidate for president, Governor George W. Bush of Texas, and the Democratic candidate, Vice President Al Gore. These debates are sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates. The format and the rules are those negotiated by representatives of the two campaigns.
Only the subjects tonight and the questions are mine.
The format tonight is that of a conversation. The only prevailing rule is that no single response can ever, ever exceed two minutes.
The prevailing rule for the audience here in the hall is as always: absolute quiet, please.
Good evening, Governor Bush, vice president -- Vice President Gore.
At the end of our 90 minutes last week in Boston, the total time each of you took was virtually the same. Let's see if we can do the same tonight or come close.
Governor Bush, the first question goes to you. One of you -- one of you -- is about to be elected the leader of the single most powerful nation in the world -- economically, financially, militarily, diplomatically, you name it.
LEHRER: Have you formed any guiding principles for exercising this enormous power?
BUSH: I have. I have.
The first question is what's in the best interests of the United States? What's in the best interests of our people?
When it comes to foreign policy, that'll be my guiding question: Is it in our nation's interests? Peace in the Middle East is in our nation's interests. Having a hemisphere that is free for trade and peaceful is in our nation's interests. Strong relations in Europe is in our nation's interests.
I've thought a lot about what it means to be the president. I also understand that an administration is not one person, but an administration is dedicated citizens who are called by the president to serve the country, to serve a cause greater than self. And so I've thought about an administration of people who represent all America, the people who understand my compassionate, conservative philosophy.
I haven't started naming names except for one person, and that's Mr. Richard Cheney who I thought did a great job the other night. He's a vice presidential nominee who represents -- who I think people got to see why I picked him. He's a man of solid judgment, and he's going to be a person to stand by my side.
One of the things I've done in Texas is, I've been able to put together a good team of people. I've been able to set clear goals. The goals are to be an education system that leaves no child behind, Medicare for our seniors, a Social Security system that's safe and secure, foreign policy that's in our nation's interests, and a strong military. BUSH: And then, bring people together to achieve those goals. That's what a chief executive officer does. I've though long and hard about the honor of being the president of the United States.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore?
GORE: Yes, Jim, I thought a lot about that particular question. And I see our greatest natural -- national strength coming from what we stand for in the world. I see it as a question of values.
It is a great tribute to our founders that 224 years later this nation is now looked to by the peoples on every other continent and the peoples from every part of this Earth as a kind of model for what their future could be.
And I don't think that's just the kind of an exaggeration that we take pride in as Americans. It's really true, even the ones that sometimes shake their fist at us, as soon as they have a change that allows the people to speak freely, they're wanting to develop some kind of blueprint that will help them be like us more -- freedom, free markets, political freedom.
So I think first and foremost, our power ought to be wielded to -- in ways that form a more perfect union. The power of example is America's greatest power in the world.
And that means, for example, standing up for human rights. It means addressing the problems of injustice and inequity along lines of race and ethnicity here at home, because in all these other places around the world where they're having these terrible problems, when they feel hope, it is often because they see in us a reflection of their potential.
So we've got to enforce our civil rights laws. We've got to deal with things like racial profiling.
GORE: And we have to keep our military strong. We have the strongest military, and I'll do whatever is necessary, if I am president, to make sure that it stays that way.
But our real power comes, I think, from our values.
LEHRER: Should the people of the world look at the United States, Governor, and say -- should they fear us? Should they welcome our involvement? Should they see us as a friend to everybody in the world? How do you -- how would you project us around the world, as president?
BUSH: Well, I think they ought to look at us as a country that understands freedom, where it doesn't matter who you are or how you're raised or where you're from, that you can succeed. I don't think they ought to look at us with envy.
It really depends upon how our nation conducts itself in foreign policy. If we're an arrogant nation, they'll resent us. If we're a humble nation but strong, they'll welcome us.
And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power. And that's why we've got to be humble and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom.
So I don't think they ought to look at us in any other than what we are. We're a freedom loving nation. And if we're an arrogant nation, they'll view us that way. But if we're a humble nation, they'll respect us as an honorable nation.
GORE: I agree with that. I agree with that.
I think that one of the problems that we have faced in the world is that we are so much more powerful than any single nation has been in relationship to the rest of the world than at any time in history -- that I know about anyway -- that there is some resentment of U.S. power.
GORE: So I think that the idea of humility is an important one. But I think that we also have to have a sense of mission in the world. We have to protect our capacity to push forward what America's all about. That means not only military strength and our values, it also means keeping our economy strong.
You know, in the last -- two decades ago, it was routine for leaders of foreign countries to come over here and say, "You guys have got to do something about these horrendous deficits because it's causing tremendous problems for the rest of the world," and we were lectured to all the time.
The fact that we have the strongest economy in history today -- it's not good enough, we need to do more -- but the fact that it is so strong enables us to project the power for good that America can represent.
LEHRER: Does that give us -- does our wealth, our good economy, our power, bring with it special obligations to the rest of the world?
BUSH: Yes, it does. Take, for example, Third World debt. I think -- I think we ought to be forgiving Third World debt under certain conditions. I think, for example, if we're convinced that a Third World country that's got a lot of debt would reform itself, that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few, but would go to help people, then I think it makes sense for us to use our wealth in that way.
BUSH: Or do you trade debt for valuable rain forest lands? Makes some sense.
Yes, we do have an obligation in the world, but we can't be all things to all people. We can help build coalitions, but we can't put our troops all around the world. We can lend money, but we've got to do it wisely. We shouldn't be lending money to corrupt officials. So we got to be guarded in our generosity. LEHRER: Well, let's go through some of the specifics now.
New question, Vice President Gore, the governor mentioned the Middle East. Here we're talking at this stage of the game about diplomatic power that we have. What do you think the United States should do right now to resolve that conflict over there?
GORE: The first priority has to be on ending the violence, dampening down the tensions that have risen there. We need to call upon Syria to release the three Israeli soldiers who have been captured. We need to insist that Arafat send out instructions to halt some of the provocative acts of violence that have been going on.
I think that we also have to keep a weather eye toward Saddam Hussein, because he's taking advantage of this situation to once again make threats. And he needs to understand that he's not only dealing with Israel, he's dealing with us if he is making the kind of threats that he's talking about there.
The use of in this situation has already -- well, it goes hour by hour and day by day now; it's a very tense situation there.
GORE: But in the last 24 hours, there has been some subsiding of the violence there. It's too much to hope that this is going to continue, but I do hope that it will continue. Our country has been very active with regular conversations with the leaders there. And we just have to take it day to day right now.
But one thing I would say where diplomacy is concerned, Israel should -- should feel absolutely secure about one thing: Our bonds with Israel are larger than agreements or disagreements on some details of diplomatic initiatives. They are historic, they are strong, and they are enduring. And our ability to serve as an honest broker is something that we need to shepherd.
BUSH: Well, I think during the campaign, particularly now during this difficult period, we ought to be speaking with one voice. And I appreciate the way the administration has worked hard to calm the tensions. Like the vice president, I call on Chairman Arafat to have his people pull back to make the peace.
I think credibility is going to be very important in the future in the Middle East. I want everybody to know, should I be the president, Israel's going to be our friend. I'm going to stand by Israel.
Secondly, that I think it's important to reach out to moderate Arab nations like Jordan and Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
BUSH: It's important to be friends with people when you don't need each other so that when you do, there's a strong bond of friendship. And that's going to be particularly important in dealing not only with situations such as now occurring in Israel, but with Saddam Hussein.
The coalition against Saddam has fallen apart or it's unraveling, let's put it that way. The sanctions are being violated. We don't know whether he's developing weapons of mass destruction. He'd better not be or there's going to be a consequence, should I be the president.
But it's important to have credibility and credibility is formed by being strong with your friends and resoluting your determination. It's one of the reasons why I think it's important for this nation to develop an anti-ballistic missile system that we can share with our allies in the Middle East, if need be, to keep the peace; to be able to say to the Saddam Husseins of the world or the Iranians, "Don't dare threaten our friends."
It's also important to keep strong ties in the Middle East, credible ties, because of the energy crisis we're now in. After all, a lot of the energy is produced from the Middle East.
And so I appreciate what the administration is doing. I hope you can get a sense of, should I be fortunate enough to be the president, how my administration will react in the Middle East.
LEHRER: So you don't believe, Vice President Gore, that we should take sides and resolve this right now? There a lot of people pushing, "Hey, the United States should declare itself and not be so neutral in this particular situation."
GORE: Well, we stand with Israel, but we have maintained the ability to serve as an honest broker. And one of the reasons that's important is that Israel cannot have direct dialogue with some of the people on the other side of conflicts, especially during times of tension, unless that dialogue comes through us.
GORE: And if we throw away that ability to serve as an honest broker, then we have thrown -- we will have thrown away a strategic asset that's important not only to us but also to Israel.
LEHRER: Do you agree with that, Governor?
BUSH: I do. I do think this, though. I think that when it comes to timetables, it can't be the United States timetable as to how discussions take place. It's got to be a timetable that all parties can agree to, other than -- like the Palestinians and the Israelis.
Secondly, any lasting peace is going to have to be a peace that's good for both sides, and, therefore, the term honest broker makes sense. Whether it -- this current administration's worked hard to keep the parties at the table. I will try to do the same thing. But it won't be on my timetable; it'll be on a timetable that people are comfortable with in the Middle East.
LEHRER: People watching here tonight very interested in Middle East policy. And they're so interested that they want to make a -- they want to base their vote on differences between the two of you as president, how you would handle Middle East policy. Is there any difference?
GORE: I haven't heard a big difference right -- in the last few exchanges.
BUSH: Well, I think -- it's hard to tell. I think that, you know, I would hope to be able to convince people I could handle the Iraqi situation better. I mean, we don't...
LEHRER: Saddam Hussein, you mean?
LEHRER: You could get him out of there?
BUSH: I'd like to, of course. And I presume this administration would as well. But we don't know. There's no inspectors now in Iraq. The coalition that was in place isn't as strong as it used to be.
He is a danger.
BUSH: We don't want him fishing in troubled waters in the Middle East. And it's going to be hard to -- it's going to be important to rebuild that coalition to keep the pressure on him.
LEHRER: Do you feel that is a failure of the Clinton administration?
BUSH: I do.
LEHRER: Mr. Vice President?
GORE: Well, when I got to be a part of the current administration, it was right after I was one of the few members of my political party to support former President Bush in the Persian Gulf War resolution.
And at the end of that war, for whatever reasons, it was not finished in a way that removed Saddam Hussein from power. I know there are all kinds of circumstances and explanations. But the fact is that that's the situation that was left when I got there. And we have maintained the sanctions.
Now, I want to go further. I want to give robust support to the groups that are trying to overthrow Saddam Hussein. And I know there are allegations that they're too weak to do it, but that's what they said about the forces that were opposing Milosevic in Serbia.
And, you know, the policy of enforcing sanctions against Serbia has just resulted in a spectacular victory for democracy just in the past week. And it seems to me that, having taken so long to see the sanctions work there, building upon the policy of containment that was successful over a much longer period of time against the former Soviet Union and the Communist Bloc, it seems a little early to declare that we should give up on the sanctions. GORE: I know the governor's not necessarily saying that. But, you know, all of these flights that have come in? All of them have been in accordance with the sanctions regime, I'm told, except for three where they notified. And they're trying to break out of the box, there's no question about it. I don't think they should be allowed to.
LEHRER: Are you -- did he correct you -- did he state your position correctly? You're not calling for eliminating the sanctions, are you?
BUSH: No, of course not. Absolutely not. I want them to be tougher.
LEHRER: Let's go -- move to Milosevic and Yugoslavia. And it falls into the area of our military power.
Governor, new question, should the fall of Milosevic be seen as a triumph for U.S. military intervention?
BUSH: I think it's a triumph; I thought the president made the right decision in joining NATO in bombing Serbia. I supported them when they did so. I called upon the Congress not to hamstring the administration and -- in terms of forcing troop withdrawals on a timetable that wasn't in necessarily our best interests or fit our nation's strategy.
And so I think it's good public policy. I think it worked. And I'm pleased I took the -- made the decision I made. I'm pleased the president made the decision he made, because freedom took hold in that part of the world.
And there's a lot of work left to be done, however.
LEHRER: But you think it would not have happened -- do you believe -- do you think that Milosevic would not have fallen if the United States and NATO had not intervened militarily?
LEHRER: Is this a legitimate use of our military power?
BUSH: Yes, I think it is, absolutely. I don't think he would had fallen had we not used force. And I know there's some in my party that disagreed with that sentiment, but I supported the president. I thought he made the right decision to do so.
I didn't think he necessarily made the right decision to take land troops off the table right before we committed ourselves offensively, but nevertheless, it worked. The administration deserves credit for having made it work.
It's as important for NATO to have it work. It's important for NATO to be strong and confident to help keep the peace in Europe. And one of the reasons I felt so strongly that the United States needed to participate was because of our relations with NATO. And NATO is going to be an important part of keeping the peace in the future. Now, there's more work to do. It remains to be seen how or whether or not there's going to be a political settlement to Kosovo. And I certainly hope there is one.
I'm also on record as saying, at some point in time, I hope our European friends become the peacekeepers in Bosnia and in the Balkans. I hope that they put the troops on the ground so that we can withdrawal our troops and focus our military on fighting and winning war.
LEHRER: Mr. Vice President?
GORE: Well, I've been kind of a hard-liner on this issue for more than eight years. When I was in the Senate before I became vice president, I was pushing for stronger action against Milosevic. He caused the deaths of so many people. He was the last Communist Party boss there. And then he became a dictator by some other label, he was still essentially a communist dictator. And unfortunately now, he is trying to reassert himself in Serbian politics already.
GORE: Just today the members of his political party said that they were going to ignore the orders of the new president of Serbia,and that they question his legitimacy. And he's still going to try to be actively involved. He is an indicted war criminal. He should be held accountable.
Now, I did want to pick up on one of the statements earlier. And maybe I have heard -- maybe I've heard the previous statements wrong, Governor.
In some of the discussions we've had about when it's appropriate for the U.S. to use force around the world, at times the standards that you've laid down have given me the impression that if it's -- if it's something like a genocide taking place or what they called ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, that that alone would not be -- that that wouldn't be the kind of situation that would cause you to think that the U.S. ought to get involved with troops.
Now, have to be other factors involved for me to want to be involved. But by itself, that, to me, can bring into play a fundamental American strategic interest because I think it's based on our values. Now, have I got that wrong?
BUSH: OK, yes. I'm trying to figure out who the questioner was.
If I think it's in our nation's strategic interests, I'll commit troops. I thought it was in our strategic interests to keep Milosevic in check because of our relations in NATO, and that's why I took the positions I took. I think it's important for NATO to be strong and confident. I felt like an unchecked-Milosevic would harm NATO.
BUSH: And so it depends on the situation, Mr. Vice President. LEHRER: Well, let's keep -- let's stay on the subject for a moment. New question, related to this. There have been -- I figured this out -- in the last 20 years, there have been eight major actions involving the introduction of U.S. ground, air or naval forces. Let me name them: Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Haiti, Kosovo. If you had been president, are any of those interventions -- would any of those interventions not have happened?
GORE: Can you run through the list again?
LEHRER: Sure. Lebanon.
GORE: I thought that was a mistake.
GORE: I supported that.
GORE: I supported that one.
LEHRER: Persian Gulf.
GORE: Yes, I voted for it, supported it.
GORE: Well, of course, and that, again -- no, I think that that was ill-considered. I did support it at the time. It was in the previous administration, in the Bush-Quayle administration, and I think in retrospect the lessons there are ones that we -- that we should take very, very seriously.
GORE: Oh, yes.
LEHRER: And then Kosovo.
LEHRER: We talked about that.
Want me to do it with you? Go through each one?
LEHRER: ... be Lebanon.
BUSH: No, I'm fine. I'll make a couple of comments.
LEHRER: Sure. Absolutely. Sure.
BUSH: Somalia. Started off as a humanitarian mission then changed into a nation-building mission, and that's where the mission went wrong. The mission was changed. And as a result, our nation paid a price.
And so I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation-building.
BUSH: I think our troops ought to be used to fight and win war. I think our troops ought to be used to help overthrow a dictator that's in our -- and it's in our -- when it's in our best interests.
But in this case, it was a nation-building exercise. And same with Haiti, I wouldn't have supported either.
LEHRER: What about Lebanon?
LEHRER: Obviously, the...
BUSH: Well, some of them I've got a conflict of interest on, if you know what I mean.
LEHRER: I do. I do.
LEHRER: The Persian Gulf, obviously.
LEHRER: And Bosnia. And you've already talked about Kosovo.
LEHRER: But the reverse side of the question, Governor, that Vice President Gore mentioned -- for instance, 600,000 people died in Rwanda in 1994. There was no U.S. intervention. There was no intervention from the outside world. Was that a mistake not to intervene?
BUSH: I think the administration did the right thing in that case, I do. It was a horrible situation. No one liked to see it on our -- you know, on our TV screens. But it's a case where we need to make sure we've got a, you know, kind of an early warning system in place in places where there could be ethnic cleansing and genocide the way we saw it there in Rwanda.
And that's a case where we need to, you know, use our influence to have countries in Africa come together and help deal with the situation. The administration -- it seems like we're having a great love fest now -- but the administration made the right decision on training Nigerian troops for situations just such as this in Rwanda. And so I thought they made the right decision not to send U.S. troops into Rwanda.
LEHRER: Do you have any second thoughts on that based on what you said a moment ago about genocide and...
GORE: I'd like to come back to the question of nation-building. But let me address this question directly first.
LEHRER: We'll do that later.
We did actually send troops into Rwanda to help with the humanitarian relief measures. My wife, Tipper, who's here, actually went on a military plane with General Shalikashvili on one of those flights.
But I think in retrospect we were too late getting in there. We would have saved more lives if we had acted earlier.
But I do not think that it was an example of a conflict where we should have put our troops in to try to separate the parties for this reason, Jim: One of my -- one of the criteria that I think is important in deciding when and if we should ever get involved around the world is whether or not our national security interest is involved, if we can really make the difference with military force, if we've tried everything else, if we have allies.
In the Balkans, we had allies, NATO, ready, willing and able to go and carry a big part of the burden. In Africa, we did not. Now we have tried -- our country's tried to create an Africa crisis response team there, and we've met some resistance. We have had some luck with Nigeria, but in Sierra Leone. And that, now that Nigeria's become a democracy -- and we hope it stays that way -- then maybe we can build on that.
But because we had no allies and because it was very unclear that we could actually accomplish what we would want to accomplish by putting military forces there, I think it was the right thing not to jump in, as heartbreaking as it was, but I think we should have come in much quicker with the humanitarian mission.
LEHRER: So what would you say, Governor, to somebody who would say, "Hey, wait a minute. Why not Africa? I mean, why the Middle East? Why the Balkans, but not Africa when 600,000 people's lives are at risk?"
BUSH: Well, I understand. And Africa's important, and we've got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. And there's some -- the vice president mentioned Nigeria. It's a fledgling democracy. We've got to work with Nigeria. That's an important continent.
But there's got to be priorities. And the Middle East is a priority for a lot of reasons, as is Europe and the Far East and our own hemisphere. And those are my four top priorities should I be the president. It's not to say we won't be engaged nor trying -- nor should we -- you know, work hard to get other nations to come together to prevent atrocity.
I thought the best example of a way to handle the situation is East Timor when we provided logistical support to the Australians, support that only we can provide. I thought that was a good model.
But we can't be all things to all people in the world, Jim. And I think that's where maybe the vice president and I begin to have some differences. I am worried about over-committing our military around the world. I want to be judicious in its use.
You mentioned Haiti. I wouldn't have sent troops to Haiti. I didn't think it was a mission worthwhile. It was a nation-building mission. And it was not very successful. It cost us billions, a couple of billions of dollars, and I'm not so sure democracy is any better off in Haiti than it was before.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore, do you agree with the governor's views on nation-building, the use of military, our military to -- for nation-building, as he described it and defined it?
GORE: I don't think we agree on that. I would certainly also be judicious in evaluating any potential use of American troops overseas. I think we have to be very reticent about that.
But, look, Jim, the world is changing so rapidly. The way I see it, the world's getting much closer together. Like it or not, we are now the -- the United States is now the natural leader of the world. All these other countries are looking to us.
Now, just because we cannot be involved everywhere, and shouldn't be, doesn't mean that we should shy away from going in anywhere. Now, both of us are, kind of, I guess stating the other's position in a maximalist, extreme way, but I think there is a difference here.
This idea of nation-building is a kind of pejorative phrase. But think about the great conflict of the past century, World War II. During the years between World War I and World War II, a great lesson was learned by our military leaders and the people of the United States. The lesson was that in the aftermath of World War I we kind of turned our backs and left them to their own devices, and they brewed up a lot of trouble that quickly became World War II.
And acting upon that lesson in the aftermath of our great victory in World War II, we laid down the Marshall Plan, President Truman did.
GORE: We got eminently involved in building NATO and other structures there. We still have lots of troops in Europe.
And what did we do in the late '40s and '50s and '60s? We were nation-building. And it was economic, but it was also military. And the confidence that those countries recovering from the wounds of war had by having troops there -- we had civil administrators come in to set up their ways of building their towns back.
LEHRER: You said in the Boston debate, Governor, on this issue of nation-building, that the United States military is overextended now. Where is it overextended? Where are there U.S. military that you would bring home if you become president?
BUSH: Well, first, let me just say one comment about what the vice president said. I think one of the lessons in between World War I and World War II is we let our military atrophy, and we can't do that. We've got to rebuild our military.
But one of the problems we have in the military is we're in a lot of places around the world. And I mentioned one, and that's the Balkans. I'd very much like to get our troops out of there. I recognize we can't do it now, nor do I advocate an immediate withdrawal. That would be an abrogation of our agreement with NATO; no one's suggesting that. But I think it ought to be one of our priorities, to work with our European friends to convince them to put troops on the ground. And there is an example. Haiti is another example.
Now, there are some places where, I think, you know, I supported the administration in Colombia; I think it's important for us to be training Colombians in that part of the world. Our hemisphere is in our interest, to have a peaceful Colombia.
LEHRER: If you're just going to -- you know, the use of the military, there's -- some people are now suggesting that if you don't want to use the military to maintain the peace, to do the civil thing, is it time to consider a civil force of some kind that comes in after the military that builds nations or all of that? Is that on your radar screen?
BUSH: I don't think so. I think -- I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I'm missing something here. I mean, we're going to have kind of a nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.
Our military's meant to fight and win war. That's what it's meant to do. And when it gets over extended, morale drops.
And I'm not -- I strongly believe we need to have a military presence in the Korea Peninsula, not only to keep the peace in peninsula, but to keep regional stability. And I strongly believe we need to keep a presence in NATO.
But I'm going to be judicious as to how to use the military. It needs to be in our vital interest, the mission needs to be clear, and the exit strategy obvious.
GORE: Well, I don't disagree with that. I certainly don't disagree that we ought to get our troops home from places like the Balkans as soon as we can, as soon as the mission is complete.
That's what we did in Haiti. There are -- there are no more than a handful of American military personnel in Haiti now. And the Haitians have their problems, but we gave them a chance to restore democracy. And that's really about all we can do.
But if you have a situation like that right in our backyard with chaos about to break out and flotillas forming to come across the water and all kinds of violence there, right in one of our neighboring countries there, then I think that we did the right thing there.
GORE: And as for this idea of nation-building. The phrase sounds grandiose. And, you know, we can't be -- we can't allow ourselves to get overextended. I certainly agree with that. And that's why I've supported building -- building up our capacity. I've devoted in the budget I've proposed, as I said last week, more than twice as much as the governor has proposed.
I think that it's in better shape now than he generally does. We've had some disagreements about that. He said that two divisions would have to report not ready for duty, and that's not what the Joint Chiefs say. But there's no doubt that we have to continue building up readiness and military strength, and we have to also be very cautious in the way we use our military.
LEHRER: In the nonmilitary area of influencing events around the world, in the financial and economic area, World Bank President Wolfensohn said recently, Governor, that U.S. contributions to overseas development assistance is lower now almost than it has ever been. Is that a problem for you? Do you think -- what is your -- what is your idea about what the United States' obligations are? We're talking about financial assistance and that sort of thing to other countries, the poorer countries?
BUSH: Well, I mentioned Third World debt.
BUSH: That's a place where we can use our generosity to influence, in a positive way, influence nations. I believe we ought to have foreign aid, but I don't think we ought to just have foreign aid for the sake of foreign aid. I think foreign aid needs to be used to encourage markets and reform.
BUSH: I think a lot of times we just spend aid and say we feel better about it, and it ends up being spent the wrong way. And there's some pretty egregious examples recently, one being Russia where we had IMF loans that ended up in the pockets of a lot of powerful people and didn't help the nation.
I think the IMF has got a role in the world, but I don't want to see the IMF out there as a way to say to world bankers, "If you make a bad loan, we'll bail you out." It needs to be available for emergency situations.
I thought the president did the right thing with Mexico and was very strongly supportive of the administration in Mexico. But I don't think IMF and our -- ought to be a stop-loss for people who ought to be able to evaluate risks themselves.
And so, I look at every place where we're investing money; I just want to make sure the return is good.
LEHRER: You think we're meeting our obligations properly?
GORE: No, I would make some changes. I think there need to be reforms in the IMF. I've generally supported it, but I've seen them make some calls that I thought were highly questionable. And I think that there's a general agreement in many parts of the world now that there ought to be changes in the IMF. The World Bank I think is generally doing a better job.
But I think one of the big issues here that doesn't get nearly enough attention is the issue of corruption. The governor mentioned it earlier. I've worked on this issue. It's an enormous problem. And corruption in official agencies, like militaries and police departments around the world, customs official -- that's one of the worst forms of it.
And we have got to, again, lead by example and help these other countries that are trying to straighten out their situations find the tools in order to do it.
GORE: I just think, Jim, that this is an absolutely unique period in world history. The world's coming together, as I said, they're looking to us. And we have a fundamental choice to make: Are we going to step up to the plate as a nation, the way we did after World War II, the way that generation of heroes said, "OK, the United States is going to be the leader"? And the would benefited tremendously from the courage that they showed in those post-war years.
I think that in the aftermath of the Cold War, it's time for us to do something very similar, to step up to the plate, to provide the leadership: leadership on the environment, leadership to make sure the world economy keeps moving in the right direction. Again, that means not running big deficits here and not squandering our surplus; it means having intelligent decisions that keep our prosperity going and shepherds that economic strength so that we can provide that leadership role.
BUSH: Let me comment on that.
BUSH: Yes, I'm not so sure the role of the United States is to go around the world and say, "This is the way it's got to be. We can help." And maybe it's just our difference in government, the way we view government. I mean, I want to empower people, I don't -- you know, I want to help people help themselves, not have government tell people what to do.
I just don't think it's the role of the United States to walk into a country, say, "We do it this way, so should you." Now, I think we can help, and I know we got to encourage democracy and the marketplaces.
But take Russia, for example. We went into Russia, we said, "Here's some IMF money," and it ended up in Viktor Chernomyrdin's pocket and others. And yet we played like there was reform.
BUSH: The only people that are going to reform Russia are Russia. They're going to have to make the decision themselves. Mr. Putin is going to have to make the decision as to whether or not he wants to adhere to rule of law and normal accounting practices so that if countries and or entities invest capital, there's a reasonable rate of return, a way to get the money out of the economy.
But Russia has to make the decision. We can work with them on security matters for example, but it's there call to make.
So I'm not exactly sure where the vice president is coming from. But I think one way for us to end up being viewed as the ugly American is for us to go around the world saying, "We do it this way, so should you."
Now, we trust freedom. We know freedom is a powerful, powerful -- a powerful force much bigger than the United States of America, as we saw recently in the Balkans.
But maybe I misunderstand where you're coming from, Mr. Vice President, but I think the United States must be humble and must be proud and confident of our values, but humble in how we treat nations that are figuring out how to chart their own course.
LEHRER: Let's move on. All right -- no, let's move on.
GORE: Far be it from me to suggest otherwise.
LEHRER: First, a couple of follow-ups from the vice presidential debate last week.
Vice President Gore, would you support or sign as president a federal law banning racial profiling by police and other authorities at all levels of government? GORE: Yes, I would. The only thing an executive order can accomplish is to ban it in federal law enforcement agencies.
GORE: But I would also support a law in the Congress that would have the effect of doing the same thing. I just -- I think that racial profiling is a serious problem.
I remember when the stories first came out about the stops in New Jersey by the highway patrol there. And I know it's been going on a long time. In some ways, this is just a new label for something that's been going on for years. But I have to confess that it was the first time that I really focused on it in a new way. And I was -- I was surprised at the extent of it.
And I think we've now got so many examples around the country that we really have to find ways to end this. Because -- imagine what it -- what it is like for someone to be singled out unfairly, unjustly and feel the unfair force of law simply because of race or ethnicity.
Now, that runs counter to what the United States of America is all about at our core. And it's not an easy problem to solve, but I -- if I am entrusted with the presidency, it will be the first civil rights act of the 21st century.
BUSH: Yes. I can't imagine what it would be like to be singled out because of race and stopped and harassed. That's just flat wrong, and that's not what America's all about. And so we ought to do everything we can to end racial profiling.
One of my concerns, though, is I don't want to federalize the local police forces.
BUSH: I want to -- obviously, in the egregious cases, we need to enforce civil rights law. But we need to make sure that internal affairs divisions at the local level do their job and be given a chance to do their job. I believe in local control of governments. And obviously if they don't, there needs to be a consequence at the federal level. But it's very important that we not overstep our bounds.
And I think most people -- most police officers are good, dedicated, honorable citizens who are doing their job, putting their lives at risk, who aren't bigoted or aren't prejudiced. I don't think they ought to be held guilty, but I do think we need to find out where racial profiling occurs and do something about it. And say to the local folks, get it done, and if you can't, there'll be a federal consequence.
LEHRER: And that could be a federal law?
LEHRER: And you would agree?
GORE: I would agree. And I also agree that most police officers, of course, are doing a good job and hate this practice also.
I talked to an African-American police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts, not -- not long ago -- who raised this question and said that in his opinion, one of the biggest solutions is in the training, and not only the training in police procedures, but human -- human relations.
And I think that racial profiling is part of a larger issue of how we deal with race in America.
And as for singling people out because of race, you know James Byrd was singled out because of his race, in Texas. And other Americans have been singled out because of their race or -- or ethnicity. And that's why I think that we can embody our values by passing a hate crimes law. I think these crimes are different.
GORE: I think they're different because they're based on prejudice and hatred, which is -- which gives rise to crimes that have not just a single victim, but they're intended to stigmatize and dehumanize a whole group of people.
LEHRER: Do you have a different view of that?
BUSH: No, I don't really.
LEHRER: On hate crimes violence?
BUSH: No, I -- we got one in Texas, and guess what? The three men who murdered James Byrd, guess what's going to happen to them? They're going to be put to death. A jury found them guilty and I -- it's going to be hard to punish them any worse after they get put to death. And it's the right cost; it's the right decision.
And secondly, there is other forms of racial profiling that goes on in America. Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what's called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we got to do something about that. My friend, Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan, is pushing a law to make sure that, you know, Arab-Americans are treated with respect.
So racial profiling isn't just an issue at the local police forces. It's an issue throughout our society. And as we become a diverse society, we're going to have to deal with it more and more.
I believe though -- I believe, sure as I'm sitting here, that most Americans really care. They're tolerant people. They're good, tolerant people. It's the very few that create most of the crisis. And we just happen to have to find them and deal with them.
LEHRER: What -- if you become president, Governor, are there other areas, racial problem areas, that you would deal with as president, involving discrimination?
LEHRER: Again, you said Arab-Americans, but also Hispanics, Asians, as well as blacks in this country.
BUSH: Let me tell you where the biggest discrimination comes: in public education, when we just move children through the schools.
BUSH: My friend Phyllis Hunter's here. She had one of the greatest lines of all lines. She said, "Reading is the new civil right." And she's right. And to make sure our society is as hopeful as it possibly can be, every single child in America must be educated -- I mean every child.
It starts with making sure every child learns to read; K-2 diagnostic testing so we know whether or not there's a deficiency; curriculum that works, and phonics needs to be an integral part of our reading curriculum; intensive reading laboratories; teacher retraining.
I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children. We can do better in our public schools. We can -- we can close an achievement gap. And it starts with making sure we have strong accountability, Jim.
One of the cornerstones of reform, and good reform, is to measure because when you measure, you can ask the question: Do they know? Is anybody being profiled? Is anybody being discriminated against? It becomes a tool, a corrective tool.
And I believe the federal government must say that if you receive any money -- any money from the federal government, for disadvantaged children, for example, you must show us whether or not the children are learning. And if they are, fine. And if they're not, there has to be a consequence.
And so to make sure we end up getting rid of a basic structural prejudice -- is education. There's nothing more prejudiced than not educating a child.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore, what would be on your racial discrimination elimination list as president?
GORE: Well, I think we need tough enforcement of the civil rights laws. I think we still need affirmative action. I would pass a hate crimes law, as I said.
GORE: And I guess I had misunderstood the governor's previous position. The Byrd family may have a misunderstanding of it in Texas also.
But I'd like to shift, if I could, to the big issue of education.
LEHRER: Well, no, hold on one second. What is the misunderstanding? Let's clear this up.
GORE: Well, I had thought that there was a controversy at the end of the legislative session where the hate crimes law in Texas was -- failed and that the Byrd family, among others, asked you to support it, Governor, and it died in committee for lack of support. Am I wrong about that?
BUSH: Well, you don't realize we have a hate crime statute...
GORE: I'm talking about the one that was proposed to deal...
BUSH: Well, what the vice president must not understand is we got a hate crimes bill in Texas. And secondly, the people that murdered Mr. Byrd got the ultimate punishment...
LEHRER: But they were...
BUSH: ... the death penalty.
LEHRER: They were prosecuted under the murder laws, were they not...
LEHRER: ... in Texas?
BUSH: In this case, when you murder somebody, it's hate, Jim.
LEHRER: No, but...
BUSH: Crime is hate. And they got -- and they got the ultimate punishment. I'm not exactly sure how you enhance the penalty any more than the death penalty. Well, we happen to have a statute on the books that's a hate crimes statute in Texas.
GORE: May I respond?
LEHRER: Sure. GORE: I don't want to jump in.
I may have been misled by all the news reports about this matter, because the law that was proposed in Texas, that had the support of the Byrd family and a whole lot of people in Texas, did in fact die in committee. There may be some other statute that was already on the books, but certainly the advocates of the hate crimes law felt that a tough new law was needed.
GORE: And it's important, Jim, not only -- not just because of Texas, but because this mirrors the national controversy. There is pending now in the Congress a national hate crimes law because of James Byrd, because of Matthew Shepard, who was crucified on a split- rail fence by bigots, because of others. And that law has died in committee also because of the same kind of opposition.
LEHRER: And you would support that bill?
LEHRER: Would you support a national hate crimes law?
BUSH: I would support the Orrin Hatch version of it, not the Senator Kennedy version.
But let me say to you, Mr. Vice President, we're happy with our laws on our books. That bill -- there was another bill that did die in committee.
But I want to repeat, if you have a state that fully supports the law like we do in Texas, we're going to go after all crime, and we're going to make sure people get punished for the crime. And in this case, we can't enhance the penalty anymore than putting those three thugs to death. And that's what's going to happen in the state of Texas.
LEHRER: New subject, new question, another vice presidential debate follow-up.
Governor, both Senator Lieberman and Secretary Cheney said they were sympathetically rethinking their views on same-sex relationships. What's your position on that?
BUSH: I'm not for gay marriage. I think marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman. And I appreciate the way the administration signed the Defense of Marriage Act. I presume the vice president supported it when the president signed that bill and supports it now. But I think -- I think marriage is a sacred institution.
I'm going to be respectful for people who may disagree with me. I've had a record of doing so in the state of Texas. I've been a person that would -- been called a uniter not divider because I accepted some -- I accept other people's points of view. But I feel strongly that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore?
GORE: I agree with that. And I did support that law. But I think that we should find a way to allow some kind of civic unions. And I basically agree with Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. And I think the three of us have one view and the governor has another one.
LEHRER: Is that right?
BUSH: I'm not sure what kind of view he's ascribing to me. I can just tell you, I'm a -- I'm a person who respects other people. I respect their -- I respect -- on the one hand, he says he agrees with me and then he says he doesn't. I'm not sure where he's coming from.
But I -- I -- I will be a tolerant person. I've been a tolerant person all my life. I just happen to believe strongly that marriage is between a man and a woman.
LEHRER: Do you believe in general terms that gays and lesbians should have the same rights as other Americans?
BUSH: Yes. I don't think they ought to have special rights, but I think they ought to have the same rights.
GORE: Well, there's a -- there's a law pending called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. I strongly support it. What it says is that gays and lesbians can't be fired from their job because they're gay or lesbian, and it would be a federal law preventing that.
Now, I wonder if the -- it's been blocked by the opponents in the majority in the Congress. I wonder if the Governor would lend his support to that law?
BUSH: The questioner coming around again?
LEHRER: Yes. It's a logical rebuttal.
BUSH: Well, I have no idea. I mean, you can throw out all kinds -- I don't know the particulars of this law.
I will tell you I'm the kind of person -- I don't hire or fire somebody based upon their sexual orientation. As a matter of fact, I'd like to take the issue a little further. I don't really think it's any of my, you know, any of my concerns how you conduct your sex life. And I think that's a private matter. And I think that's the way it ought to be.
BUSH: But I'm going to be respectful for people. I'll tolerate people. And I support equal rights, but not special rights for people.
LEHRER: And special rights, how does that affect gays and lesbians?
BUSH: Well, if they're given -- if they're given special protective status. And that doesn't mean we shouldn't fully enforce laws and fully protect people and fully honor people, which I will do as the president of the United States.
LEHRER: New subject, new question.
Vice President Gore, how do you see the connection between controlling gun sales in this country and the incidence of death by accidental or intentional use of guns?
GORE: Jim, I hope that we can come back to the subject of education, because the governor made an extensive statement on it, and I have a very different view than the one he -- than the one he expressed. But that having been said, I believe that -- well, first of all, let me say that the governor and I agree on some things where this subject is concerned. I will not do anything to affect the rights of hunters or sportsmen. I think that homeowners have to be respected and the right to have a gun if they wish to. The problem I see is that there are too many guns getting into the hands of children and criminals and people who for whatever reason, some kind of history of -- of stalking or domestic abuse, really should not be able to get guns. I think these assault weapons are a problem.
So I favor closing the gun show loophole.
GORE: In fact, I cast the tie-breaking vote to close it. But then the majority in the House of Representatives went the other way. That's still pending. If we could get agreement on that, maybe they could pass that in the final days of this Congress.
I think we ought to restore the three-day waiting period under the Brady Law.
I think we should toughen the enforcement of gun laws so that the ones that are already on the books can be enforced much more effectively. Some of the restrictions that have been placed by the Congress in the last couple of years, I think -- in the last few years, I think have been unfortunate.
I think that we ought to make all schools gun-free. Have a gun- free zone around every school in this country.
I think that measures like these are important, child safety trigger locks on a mandatory basis, and others.
BUSH: Well, it starts with enforcing law. We need to say loud and clear to somebody, "If you're going to carry a gun illegally, we're going to arrest you. If you're going to sell a gun illegally, you're going to be arrested. And if you commit a crime with a gun," there needs to be absolute certainty in the law.
And that means that the local law enforcement officials need help at the federal law, need programs like Project Exile where the federal government intensifies arresting people who illegally use guns. And we haven't done a very good job of that at the federal level recently. And I'm going to make it a priority.
Secondly, I don't think we ought to be selling guns to people who shouldn't have them. That's why I support instant background checks at gun shows. One of the reasons we have an instant background check is so that we instantly know whether or not someone should have a gun or not.
In Texas, I tried to do something innovatively, which is that, you know, there's a lot of talk about, you know, trigger locks being on guns sold in the future. I support that.
But I said, listen, if you want a trigger lock to make your gun safe, come to -- come and get one for free. BUSH: And so we're distributing in our state of Texas for free. I think we ought to raise the age at which a juvenile can carry a handgun from 18 to 21.
I disagree with the vice president on this issue: I don't -- he's for registration of guns. I think the only people that are going to show to register or get a license -- I get licensing, like a driver's license, of a gun -- the only people who are going to show up are law-abiding citizens. The criminal's not going to show up and say, "Hey, give me my ID card." It's the law-abiding citizens who will do that. And I -- I just -- I don't think that's going to be an effective tool to make the -- keep our society safe.
LEHRER: All right. So on guns, somebody wants to cast a vote based on your differences, where are the differences?
GORE: Well, I'm not for registration. I am for licensing by states of new handgun purchases so that...
LEHRER: What does that do? What's that's mean?
GORE: A photo license ID, like a driver's license, for new handguns. And, you know, the Los Angeles...
LEHRER: Excuse me. You would have to get the license -- a photo ID to go in and before you could buy the gun?
LEHRER: All right.
GORE: At the time.
LEHRER: And who would issue -- who would issue the...
GORE: The state. The state. I think states should do that for new handguns because too many criminals are getting guns. There was a recent investigation of the number in Texas who got -- who were given concealed weapon permits in spite of the fact that they had records, and the Los Angeles Times spent a lot of ink going into that.
But I am not for doing anything that would affect hunters or sportsmen, rifles, shotguns, existing handguns. I do think that sensible gun safety measures are warranted now.
GORE: Look, this is the year -- this is in the aftermath of Columbine and Paducah and all of the places around our country where the nation has been shocked by these weapons in the hands of the wrong people.
The woman who bought the guns for the two boys who did that killing at Columbine said that if she had had to give her name and fill out a form there, she would not have bought those guns. That conceivably could have prevented that tragedy. LEHRER: Back to the question about the differences on gun control, what are they, Governor, from your point of view, between you and the vice president?
BUSH: Well, I'm not for -- I'm not for photo-licensing.
But let me say something about Columbine. And listen, we've got gun laws. He says we ought to have gun-free schools. Everybody believes that. I'm sure every state in the union has got them. You can't carry a gun into a school, and there ought to be a consequence when you do carry a gun into a school.
But Columbine spoke to a larger issue, and it's really a matter of culture. It's a culture that somewhere along the line we begun to disrespect life, where a child can walk in and have their heart turn dark as a result of being on the Internet and walk in and decide to take somebody else's life.
So gun laws are important, no question about it, but so is loving children and character education classes and faith-based programs being a part of after-school programs. Somebody -- some desperate child, it needs to have somebody put their arm around them and say, "We love you."
And so there's a -- this is a society that -- of ours that's got to do a better job of teaching children right from wrong.
BUSH: And we can enforce law. But there seems to be a lot of preoccupation on, not necessarily in this debate, but just in general on law.
But there's a larger law: Love your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself. And that's where our society must head if we're going to be a peaceful and prosperous society.
GORE: I also believe in the Golden Rule, and I agree with a lot of the other things that the governor has said.
We do have a serious problem in our culture. Tipper and I have worked on the problem of violence and entertainment aimed at children. She's worked on it longer than I have, but I feel very strongly about that. And if I'm elected president, I will do something about that. But I think that we -- I think we have to start with better parenting.
But I don't think that we can ignore the role played by guns. I mean, the fact is that even though no states wants them, there are guns in some schools. And the reason it's so difficult for schools to control that is because in recent years there has been a flood of cheap handguns that are so widely available that kids are finding ways to get a hold of them.
And I think that if you look at the situation as it exists here in the United States compared to any other country in the world, it seems to me pretty obvious that while we respect the rights of hunters and sportsmen, we do need some common-sense gun safety steps to stem this flood of guns that are getting into the wrong hands.
BUSH: Yes. No question about that, but there's also needs to be strong enforcement of the law. Some kid who feels like they can -- it doesn't matter where the gun comes from; it can be a cheap gun, expensive gun. What matters is, something in this person's head says there's not going to be a consequence.
BUSH: So in my state, we toughened up the juvenile justice laws. We added beds. We're tough. We believe in tough love. We say, if you get caught carrying a gun, you're automatically detained. And that's what needs to happen.
And we've got laws. If laws need to be strengthened like instant background checks, that's important.
LEHRER: New question.
BUSH: New question, as I was saying...
LEHRER: Both of you, Governor, both of you have talked much about Medicare and health care for seniors. What about the more than 40 million younger Americans who do not have health insurance right now? What would you do about that?
BUSH: Well, I've got a plan to do something about that, it's to make health care affordable and available, this way: First, there's some who should be buying health care who choose not to. There's some...
LEHRER: Some of the 40 million?
BUSH: Some of the healthy folks.
BUSH: Healthy young kids say, "I'll never get sick, therefore I'm not going to have -- I don't need health care right now." And for those what I think we need to do is to develop an investment-type vehicle that would be an incentive for -- for them to invest, like medical savings accounts with rollover capacity. In other words, you say to a youngster, it would be in your financial interest to start saving for future illness.
But for the working folks that do want to have health care that can't afford it, a couple of things we need to do. One, we need more community health centers. I've developed -- put out money in my budget to expand community health centers all around the country. These are places where people can get primary care.
Secondly -- and they're good. They're a very important parts of the safety net of health care.
BUSH: Secondly, that you get a $2,000 rebate from the government if you're a family of $30,000 or less -- it scales down as it gets higher -- that you can use to purchase health care in the private markets.
It'll be a huge down payment for a pretty darn good system if you allow -- also allow -- convince states to allow -- allow states to allow the mother to match some of the children's health insurance money with it to pool purchasing power.
And to make health care more affordable, allow business associations like the National Federation of Independent Business or the Chamber of Commerce or the National Restaurant Association to write association plans across jurisdictional lines so that small business have got the capacity of national pooling to drive the cost of insurance down.
I think that's the very best way to go. It empowers people. It trusts people. It makes -- it -- and it's a practical way to encourage people to purchase health care insurance.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore?
GORE: It's one of my top priorities, Jim, to give every single child in the United States affordable health care within the next four years. I'd like to see eventually in this country some form of universal health care, but I'm not for a government-run system.
In fact, I'm for shrinking the size of government. I want a smaller and smarter government. I have been in charge of this reinventing government streamlining project that's reduced the size of government by more than 300,000 people in the last several years.
And the budget plan that I've put out, according to the Los Angeles Times, again, the way these things are typically measured as a percentage of the GDP, will bring government spending down to the lowest level in 50 years. So I want to proceed carefully to cover more people.
GORE: But I think that we should start by greatly expanding the so-called Child Health Insurance, or CHIP, Program to give health insurance to every single child in this country. I think it's intolerable that we have so many millions of children without any health insurance. So it's one of my top priorities.
Now, I know that we have some disagreements on this, and I'm sorry to tell you that, you know, there is a record here, and Texas ranks 49th out of the 50 states in health care -- in children with health care, 49th for women with health care, and 50th for families with health care.
So it is a priority for me, I guarantee you. I'm not aware of any program -- well, I'll just leave it at that. I think it ought to be a top priority.
LEHRER: Governor, did Vice President -- are the vice president's figures correct about Texas?
BUSH: Well, first of all, let me say, he's not for a government- run health care system. I thought that's exactly what he and Mrs. Clinton and them fought for in 1993, was a government-run health care system. It was fortunately stopped in its tracks.
Secondly, we spend $4.7 billion a year on the uninsured in the state of Texas. Our rate of uninsured, the percentage of uninsured, in Texas has gone down while the percentage of uninsured in America has gone up.
Our CHIPs program got a late start because our government meets only four months out of every two years, Mr. Vice President. May come for a shock for somebody's been in Washington for so long, but actually limited government can work in the second largest state in the Union, and therefore Congress passes the bill after our session in 1970 -- '97 ended. We passed the enabling legislation in '99. We've signed up over 110,000 children to the CHIPs program for comparable states our size. We're signing them up fast as any other state.
And I -- you can quote all the numbers you want, but I'm telling you, we care about our people in Texas, we spend a lot of money to make sure people get health care in the state of Texas, and we're doing a better job than they are at the national level for reducing uninsured.
LEHRER: Is he right?
GORE: Well, I don't know about the -- all these percentages that he throws out. But I do know that the -- I speculate that the reason why he didn't answer your question directly as to whether my numbers were right, the facts were right, about Texas ranking dead last in families with health insurance and 49th out of 50 for both children and women, is because those facts are correct.
And as for why it happened, I'm no expert on the Texas procedures. But what my friends there tell me is that the governor opposed a measure put forward by Democrats in the legislature to expand the number of children that would be covered, and instead directed the money toward a tax cut, a significant part of which went to wealthy interests. He declared the need for a new tax cut for the oil companies in Texas an emergency need. And so the money was taken away from the CHIP program.
There's a -- you don't have to take my word for this. There is now a federal judge's opinion about the current management of this program, ordering the state of Texas to do some -- and you should read that judge's language about this.
GORE: They're -- I believe there are 1.4 million children in Texas who do not have health insurance, 600,000 of whom -- and maybe some of those have since gotten it, but as of a year ago, 600,000 of them were actually eligible for it but they couldn't sign up for it because of the barriers that they had to surmount.
LEHRER: Let's let the governor respond to that.
BUSH: Well, I...
LEHRER: Are those numbers correct? Are his charges correct?
BUSH: If he's trying to allege that I'm a hard-hearted person and I don't care about children, he's absolutely wrong. We spend $4.7 billion a year in the state of Texas for uninsured people, and they get health care. Now, it's not the most efficient way to get people health care.
But I want to remind you, the number of uninsured in America during their watch has increased. And so he can make any excuse that he wants, but the facts are that we're reducing the number of uninsured as a percentage of our population and as a percentage of the population is increasing nationally.
But somehow the allegation that we don't care, and we're going to get money for this interest or that interest, and not for children in the state of Texas, is just totally absurd.
And I -- let me just tell you who the jury is: the people of Texas. There's only been one governor ever elected to back-to-back four year terms and that was me. And I was able to do so with a lot of Democrat votes, nearly 50 percent of the Hispanic vote, about 27 percent of the African-American vote because people know that I'm a conservative person and a compassionate person.
So we can throw all those kinds of numbers around, I'm just telling you, our state comes together to do what's right.
BUSH: We come together, both Republicans and Democrats.
LEHRER: Let me put that directly to -- to you, Vice President Gore. The reason you brought this up is that -- are you suggesting that those numbers and that record will reflect the way Governor Bush will operate in this area of health insurance as president?
GORE: Yes. Yes. But it's not a statement about his heart. I don't claim to know his heart. I think -- I think he's a good person. I make no allegations about that. I believe him when he says that -- that he has a good heart. I know enough about your story to -- to admire a lot of the things that you have done as a person.
But I think it's about his priorities. And let me tell you exactly why I think that the choice he made to give a tax cut for the oil companies and others before addressing this -- I mean, if you were the governor of a state that was dead last in health care for families, and all of a sudden you found yourself with the biggest surplus your state had ever had in its history, wouldn't you want to maybe use some of it climb from 50th to say 45 or 40 or something, or maybe better? I would.
Now, but here's why it's directly relevant, Jim, because by his own budget numbers, his proposals for spending on tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy are more than the new spending proposals that he has made for health care and education and national defense all combined, according to his own numbers. So it's not a question of his heart, it's -- as far as I know, it's a -- it's a question of priorities and values.
GORE: See, you know...
LEHRER: Let me just ask -- let me ask...
BUSH: First of all, that's simply not true, what he just said, of course. And secondly, I repeat...
LEHRER: What's not true, Governor?
BUSH: That we spent -- the top 1 percent receive $223 as opposed to $445 billion in new spending. The top -- let's talk about my tax plan. The top 1 percent pay -- will pay one-third of all the federal income taxes, and in return get one-fifth of the benefits because -- benefits, because most of the tax reductions go to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder.
That stands in stark contrast, by the way, to a man who's going to leave 50 million -- 50 million -- Americans out of tax relief.
We just have a different point of view. It's a totally different point of view. He believes only the right people ought to get tax relief. I believe everybody who pays taxes ought to get tax relief.
Let me go back to Texas, for example -- for a minute. We pay $4.7 billion -- I can't emphasize -- tell you how much. I signed a bill that puts CHIPs in place. The bill finally came out at the end of the '99 session. We're working hard to sign up children. We're doing it faster than any other -- than any other state our size, comparable state. We're making really good progress.
And our state cares a lot about our children. My priority is going to be the health of our citizens. These folks have had eight years to get something done in Washington, D.C., on the uninsured; they have not done it. They've had eight years to get something done on Medicare, and they have not got it done.
And my case to the American people is, if you're happy with inactivity, stay with the horse, the horse that's up there now. But if you want change, you need to get somebody who knows how to bring Republicans and Democrats together to get positive things done for America.
LEHRER: New question, new subject.
Vice President Gore, on the environment, in your 1992 book you said, quote, "We must make the rescue of our environment the central organizing principle for civilization and there must be a wrenching transformation to save the planet." Do you still feel that way?
GORE: I do. I think that in this 21st century, we will soon see the consequences of what's called global warming. There was a study just a few weeks ago suggesting that in summertime the north polar ice cap will be completely gone in 50 years. Already many people see the strange weather conditions that the old-timers say they've never seen before in their lifetimes. And what's happening is the level of pollution is increasing, significantly.
Now, here is the good news, Jim. If we take the leadership role and build the new technologies, like the new kinds of cars and trucks that Detroit is itching to build, then we can create millions of good new jobs by being first into the market with these new kinds of cars and trucks and other kinds of technologies.
You know, the Japanese are breathing down our necks on this. They're moving very rapidly because they know that it is a fast- growing world market.
And some of these other countries, particularly in the developing world, their pollution is much worse than anywhere else and their people want higher standards of living, and so they're looking for ways to satisfy their desire for a better life and still reduce pollution at the same time.
I think that holding on to the old ways and the old argument that the environment and the economy are in conflict, is really outdated. We have to be bold. We have to provide leadership.
Now, it's true that we disagree on this.
GORE: The governor said that he doesn't think this problem is necessarily caused by people. He's for letting the oil companies into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Houston's just become the smoggiest city in the country, and Texas is number one in industrial pollution.
We have a very different outlook. And I'll tell you this, I will fight for a clean environment in ways that strengthen our economy.
BUSH: Well, let me start with Texas. We are a big industrial state. We reduced our industrial waste by 11 percent. We cleaned up more brownfields than any other administration in my state's history, 450 of them. Our water is cleaner now.
LEHRER: Explain what a brownfield is, for those who don't know.
BUSH: A brownfield is an abandoned industrial site that just idly in some of our urban centers, and people who are willing to invest capital in the brownfields don't want to do so for fear of lawsuit. I think we ought to have federal liability protection, depending upon whether or not standards have been met.
The book you mentioned that Vice President Gore wrote, he also called for taxing -- big energy taxes in order to clean up the environment. And now that the energy prices are high, I guess he's not advocating those big energy taxes right now. I believe we ought to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund to -- with half the money going to states, so states can make the right decisions for environmental quality. I think we need to have clean coal technologies. I've proposed $2 billion worth.
By the way, I just found out the other day, an interesting fact, that there's a national petroleum reserve right next to Prudhoe -- in Prudhoe Bay that your administration opened up for exploration in that pristine area, and it was a smart move because there's gas reserves up there.
BUSH: We need gas pipelines to bring the gas down. Gas is a clean fuel that we can burn to -- we need to make sure that if we decontrol our plants that there's mandatory -- that plants must conform to clean air standards, to grandfather plants. That's what we did in Texas, no excuses. I mean, you must conform.
Now, those are practical things we can do, but it starts with working a collaborative effort with states and local folks. You know, if your own the land, everyday is Earth Day. And people care a lot about their land and care about their environment. Not all wisdom is in Washington, D.C., on this issue.
LEHRER: Where do you see the basic difference, in very simple terms and two or three sentences, between you and the governor on the environment? If the voter wants to make a choice, what is it?
GORE: I'm really strongly committed to clean water and clean air and cleaning up the new kinds of challenges like global warming. I -- he's right that I'm not in favor of energy taxes; I am in favor of tax cuts to encourage and give incentives for the quicker development of these new kinds of technologies.
And let me say again, Detroit is raring to go on that. We differ on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as I have said. We differ on whether or not pollution controls ought to be voluntary. I don't think you can -- I don't think you can get results that way. We differ on the kinds of appointments that we would make.
LEHRER: But you say it's a fundamental difference.
GORE: I think it's a fundamental difference and let me give you and example. He...
LEHRER: Hold on one second.
GORE: OK. Sure.
LEHRER: We've talked about -- I just want to know, could somebody, because we're running -- we're getting close to the end of our time here. I was wondering, does somebody want to make -- wanted to vote on the environment, how would you draw the differences, Governor? BUSH: Well, I don't believe in command and control out of Washington, D.C. I believe Washington ought to set standards, but I don't -- you know, I think we ought to be collaborative at the local levels. And I think we ought to work with people at the local levels. And I -- by the way, I just want to make sure we -- I can't let him just say something and not correct it.
LEHRER: All right.
BUSH: The electric decontrol bill that I fought for and signed in Texas has mandatory emissions standards, Mr. Vice President. And that's what we ought to do at the federal level when it comes to grandfathered plants for utilities.
LEHRER: Do you...
BUSH: I think there's a difference. I think -- I think, for example, take the -- when they took 40 million acres of land out of circulation without consulting local officials, I thought that was...
LEHRER: That's out in the West.
BUSH: Out in the West. You know, on the logging issue, I didn't -- it's not the way I would have done it. Perhaps some of that land needs to be set aside, but I certainly would have consulted with the governors and elected officials before I would have acted unilaterally.
LEHRER: Well, do you believe the federal government still has some new rules and new regulations and new laws to pass in the environmental area? Or do you think...
BUSH: Sure. Absolutely, so long as they're based upon science and they're reasonable, so long as people have input.
LEHRER: What about global warming?
BUSH: I think it's an issue that we need to take very seriously, but I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet. And I don't think we've got all the facts before we make decisions.
I tell you one thing I'm not going to, is I'm not going to let the United States carry the burden for cleaning up the world's air, like the Kyoto treaty would have done. China and India were exempted from that treaty.
I think we need to be more even-handed as evidently 99 senators, I think it was 99 senators, supported that position.
LEHRER: Global -- global warming, the Senate did turn it down.
GORE: I think that...
BUSH: Ninety-nine to nothing.
GORE: Well, that vote was exactly...
BUSH: It's a resolution.
GORE: A lot of supporters of the Kyoto treaty actually ended up voting for that, because of the way it was worded. But there's no doubt there's a lot of opposition to it in the Senate.
I'm not for command and control techniques either. I'm for working with the groups, not just within industry, but also with the citizens groups and local communities to control sprawl in ways that the local communities themselves come up with.
But I disagree that we don't know the cause of global warming. I think that we do. It's pollution, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals that are even more potent but in smaller quantities, that cause this.
Look, the world's temperature's going up. Weather patterns are changing. Storms are getting more violent and unpredictable. And what are we going to tell our children?
And I'm a grandfather now. I want to be able to tell my grandson, when I'm in my later years, that I didn't turn away from the evidence that showed that we were doing some serious harm. In my faith tradition, it is written -- it's written in the book of Matthew, "Where your heart is, there is your treasure also." And I believe that we ought to recognize the value to our children and grandchildren of taking steps that preserve the environment in a way that's good for them.
BUSH: Yes, I agree. I just -- I think there's been some -- some of the scientists, I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven't they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming? A profound scientist recently made an -- made a...
LEHRER: Both of you -- both of you now have violated...
GORE: But the point is...
LEHRER: Excuse me. Both of you have now violated your own rules.
Hold that thought.
GORE: I've been trying so hard not to.
LEHRER: I know. I know. But about -- you're not -- under your rules, you are not allowed to ask each other a question. I let you do it a moment ago. And now you just...
LEHRER: Twice, sorry. OK.
BUSH: One I thought I...
GORE: That's an interruption, by the way.
LEHRER: That's an interruption. OK.
But anyhow, you just did it. So now we're...
BUSH: I'm sorry.
LEHRER: That's all right. It's OK.
BUSH: I apologize, Mr. Vice President. But...
LEHRER: And you're not allowed to do that either.
I'm sorry. Go ahead, finish your thought.
LEHRER: People care about these things, I've found out.
BUSH: Of course, they care about it. Oh, you mean the rules.
LEHRER: Right, exactly right.
LEHRER: Go ahead.
BUSH: I -- of course there's a lot of -- I mean, look, global warming needs to be taken very seriously, and I take it seriously. But science -- there's a lot of -- there's differing opinions. And before we react, I think it's best to have the full accounting, full understanding of what is taking place.
And I think, to answer your question, I think both of us care a lot about the environment. We may have different approaches. We may have different approaches in terms of how we deal with local folks. I mean, I just cited an example of the -- of the administration just unilaterally acting without any input.
And I remember you gave a very good answer in New Hampshire about the White Mountains, about how it was important to keep that collaborative effort in place. I feel very strongly the same way. It certainly wasn't the attitude that took place out West however.
LEHRER: New question.
LEHRER: Last question for you, Governor. This flows out some -- flows somewhat out of the Boston debate. You, your running mate, your campaign officials have charged that Vice President Gore exaggerates, embellishes and stretches the facts, et cetera. Are you -- do you believe these are serious issues -- this is a serious issue that the voters should use in deciding which one of you two men to vote for on November 7?
BUSH: Well, we all make mistakes. I've been known to mangle a syl-lable or two myself, you know. But...
If you know what I mean.
I think credibility's important. It's going to important to be -- for the president to be credible with Congress, important for the president to be credible with foreign nations. And, yes, I think it's something that people need to consider.
This isn't something new. I read a report or a memo from somebody in his 1988 campaign, I forgot the fellow's name, warning then-Senator Gore to be careful about exaggerating claims. And I thought during his debate with Senator Bradley, saying he authored the EITC when it didn't happened, he mentioned in the last...
BUSH: Earned income tax credit. Sorry.
LEHRER: That's all right.
BUSH: A lot of initials for a guy who's not from Washington, isn't it?
Anyway, I -- he co-sponsored McCain-Feingold, and yet he didn't.
And so I think this is an issue. I think -- I found it to be an issue in trying to defend my tax relief package. I thought there were some exaggerations about the numbers.
But the people are going to have to make up their mind on this issue. And I -- I'm going to continue to defend my record and defend my propositions against what I think are exaggerations. Exaggerations like, for example, only 5 percent of seniors receive benefits under my Medicare reform package. That's what he said the other day and that's simply not the case. I have every right in the world to defend my record and my positions. That's what debates are about, and that's what campaigns are about.
LEHRER: Vice President Gore?
GORE: I got some of the details wrong last week in some of the examples that I used, Jim. And I'm sorry about that. And I'm going to try to do better. One of the reasons I regret is that it -- getting a detail wrong interfered several times with a point that I was trying to make. However many days that young girl in Florida stood in her classroom however long, even if it was only one day, doesn't change the fact that there are a lot of overcrowded classrooms in America, and we need to do something about that.
There are seniors who pay more for their prescriptions than a lot of other people, more than their pets sometimes, more sometimes than people in foreign countries. And we need to do something about that. Not with a measure that leaves the majority of them without any real basic health until the next president's term of four years is over, but right away. And that means doing it under the Medicare program.
I can't promise that I will never get another detail wrong. I can promise you that I will try not to anymore.
But I will promise you this, with all the confidence in -- in my heart and in the world, that I will do my best, if I'm elected president, I'll work my heart out, to get the big things right for the American people.
LEHRER: Does that resolve the issue, governor?
BUSH: That's going to be up to the people, isn't it?
LEHRER: Does it resolve it for you?
BUSH: It depends on what he says in the future in the campaign.
LEHRER: But I mean, your folks are saying some awful things.
BUSH: I hope they're not awful things.
LEHRER: Well, I mean...
BUSH: ... his own words.
LEHRER: No, no, what I mean is, you calling him a serial exaggerator.
BUSH: I don't believe I've used those words.
LEHRER: No, but your campaign has.
BUSH: Maybe they have.
LEHRER: Your campaign officials have.
And your campaign officials, Mr. Vice President, are now calling -- now calling the governor a bungler, a...
BUSH: Wait a minute.
LEHRER: I mean, is that -- no, my point is, should this -- is this... GORE: I don't use language like that. And I don't think that we should.
LEHRER: It's in your commercial...
GORE: I understand.
GORE: In my commercial?
BUSH: Have you seen the commercial?
LEHRER: In your...
GORE: I think -- I think that what -- I think the point of that is that anybody would have a hard time trying to make a tax cut plan that's so large, that would put us into such big deficits, that gives almost half the benefits to the wealthiest of the wealthy, I think anybody would have a hard time explaining that clearly in a way that makes sense to the average person.
BUSH: That's the kind of exaggeration I was just talking about.
GORE: Well, I wasn't the one having trouble explaining.
LEHRER: Gentlemen, it's time to go to the closing statements.
And Vice President Gore, you have two minutes.
GORE: Jim, one of the issues that I would like to close with in my statement is education, because it's an example of the overall approach that I think is important. This race is about values, it's about change, it's about giving choices to the American people. And education is my number one priority because I think that it's the most important big, major change that we can bring in our country.
I agree with Governor Bush that we should have new accountability. Testing of students, I think that we should require states to test all students, test schools and school districts. And I think that we should go further and require teacher testing for new teachers, also.
The difference is, while my plan starts with new accountability and maintains local control, it doesn't stop there, because I want to give new choices to parents to send their kids to college with a $10,000 tax deduction for college tuition per child, per year. I want to reduce the size of the classrooms in this country for one basic reason, so that students can get more one-on-one time with teachers.
And the way to do that is, first, to recruit more teachers. I have a plan in my budget to recruit 100,000 new, highly qualified teachers, and to help local school districts build new schools. GORE: I think that we have to put more emphasis on early learning and preschool.
Now, here is how that connects with all the rest of what we've been talking about. If you have -- if you squander the surplus on a huge tax cut that goes mostly to those at the top, then you can't make education the top priority. If the tax cut is your number one, two, three and four priority, you can't do education. You can't do both. You have to choose.
I choose education and health care, the environment and retirement security. And I ask for your support.
LEHRER: Governor Bush, two minutes.
BUSH: Jim, thank you very much.
Mr. Vice President, thank you very much.
And I'd like to thank the folks here at Wake Forest. I want to thank you all for listening.
I'm running to get some things done for America. There's too many issues left unresolved. There's been too much finger-pointing and too much name-calling in Washington, D.C. I'd like to unite this country to get an agenda done that will speak to the hopes and aspirations of the future.
I want to have an education system that sets high standards, local control of schools and strong accountability. No child should be left behind in America.
I want to make sure we rebuild our military to keep the peace. I worry about morale in today's military. The warning signs are clear. It's time to have a new commander in chief who will rebuild the military, to pay our men and women more, and make sure they're housed better, and have a focused mission for our military.
Once and for all, I want to do something about Medicare. The issue's been too long on the table because it's been a political issue. It's time to bring folks together, to say that all seniors will get prescription drug coverage.
I want to do something about Social Security. It's an important priority because now is the time to act.
BUSH: And we're going to say to our seniors: Our promises we've made to you will be promises kept.
But younger workers, in order to make sure the system exists tomorrow, younger workers ought to be able to take some of your own money and invest it in safe securities to get a better rate of return on that money.
And finally, I do believe in tax relief. I believe we can set our priorities. I don't believe like the vice president does in huge government. I believe in limited government. And by having a limited government and a focused government, we can send some of the money back to the people who pay the bills. I want to have a tax relief for all people who pay the bills in America because I think you can spend your money more wisely than the federal government can.
Thank you for listening. I'm asking for your vote. And God bless.
LEHRER: And we will return next Tuesday night, October 17, from Washington University at St. Louis for the third and final debate.
Thank you Vice President Gore, Governor Bush. See you next week.
For now, from Winston-Salem, I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
WOODRUFF: And so ends the second presidential debate, this one at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina -- another kiss there on the part of Vice President Gore and his wife.
This was a much more civil encounter on the part of the governor and the vice president. Much of it was serious. It was on the issues. There was some humor, especially there at the end. There were no -- was sighing on the part of the vice president. And at the very end, we did hear Jim Lehrer, the moderator, get right to the point, that much of the Gore campaign has been focused on for the last few days. And that is the alleged exaggerations on the part of the vice president.
And it -- it was the one moment in this debate, I think, when we saw -- we saw the politics of this -- of this encounter, of this campaign interject itself.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I would like to see a count of how many times each of these two candidates said, "I agree with you." That would be a very interesting scorecard, because each man seemed to go out of his way to say: We don't disagree on these -- this issue.
Especially in the area of international policy, they seemed to agree on a great many things. And I think the agreement on world policy, in many ways, works to Governor Bush's advantage, because that's the field in which he has less experience, less knowledge. And for Gore to say, again and again, "I agree with the governor on this issue," I think, in many ways raises Bush's stature on the world policy front.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: This was an interesting debate in which both parties knew what they wanted to do, both did it, and the question that we are going to find out in the next 48-72 hours is: Who did it benefit?
That is, Gore was not rude. He was not sanctimonious. He was not smug. He was a little rueful about saying: Yes, you know, of all -- certainly, I don't want to be the one to ask for more time.
And it was George Bush's job to say to -- prove to the country: You know, I can stand on the stage with the vice president, a clearly more experienced man, and talk about international matters.
It was no accident, I believe, that time and time again, Governor Bush would make sure that he mentioned specifics: This is what we did in Nigeria. This is the Sierra Leone story. This is East Timor. A man who sometimes got the names of foreign leaders wrong tonight was at pains to say: I know the world.
SHAW: Our White House correspondent is -- well, John King is there, as is Candy Crowley.
First to you, John King.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Bernie, I thought one interesting point, in a hangover from the first debate, the vice president's campaign very sensitive. Governor Bush makes the case -- rightly so, in some cases -- of the philosophical divide here. He wants to make this an old-style Republican-Democrat, liberal- conservative race. In answering a health care question, the vice president said that he had led the reinventing-government initiative, had cut the government payrolls by $300,000, that his budget would reduce spending to historically low levels.
The vice president clearly sensitive here to the liberal label Governor Bush tried to attach on him in round one. The vice president's team, I think, will come away from this wishing they had more time to talk about education, health care, and tax cuts. Those were the issues they wanted to talk about coming in. They came up a little bit at the end. They wanted to do more analysis of the governor's record in Texas. That really only came up in the health care discussion.
SHAW: Candy Crowley.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Bernie, one of the things that was interesting to me was just, I mean, how far we have come from the primary season. What struck me really is, particularly when we got to the cultural issues, both men were almost smack in the middle on issues that appease the wings of their parts. Al Gore, on the issue of guns, began by saying: I think hunters should have their guns. I think people have the right to have guns.
And in fact, he said that twice during his answer about gun control. On the issue of gays and lesbians and lifestyles, George Bush said: I think everybody ought to be able to do what they want. I'm opposed to same-sex marriages, but I'm a tolerant person.
What's interesting to me is just that on those two cultural issues, both those men are sort of right in the middle, which, of course, is where this election is going and where it will be decided. I thought their closing argument -- statements were also aimed at that middle swing vote: Gore on education, which is known to be a suburban parent issue, and something that can turn the election; and Bush returning to his bipartisan nature, how he could get to Washington and get something done, because he could end the bickering that so many people -- again, particularly those swing voters in the suburbs -- don't like.
So both of them -- it was so obvious to me -- I guess I was just thinking back to the primaries, where they were both going for the core of their party. And now they're going, of course, for those voters that can swing this election.
SHAW: Well, two points, it seemed to me tonight -- it seemed that the vice president and the governor walked onto that stage determined to appear presidential tonight. And also, if they were to disagree, to disagree without being disagreeable.
GREENFIELD: I wonder, John and Candy, if you take the primary goals of each of the candidates you've been covering for what must seem like decade -- John, maybe first to you, do you think that the Gore campaign felt that it was able to paint George Bush as less knowledgeable and experienced than the vice president tonight?
KING: Oh, I don't think they've been able to do that. You saw the vice president in the area of international policy. They did not disagree much. That's one of the areas where the vice president hoped to make experience his trump card. And as you discussed, Governor Bush naming specifics, I think carried his own pretty well.
Hard to understand why Governor Bush so much fought these nationally televised debates at the beginning. After two of them, he's held his own pretty well.
The Gore campaign wanted more specific policy questions. They think that is the way to flesh him out: How many people would be covered under your prescription drug plan through the Medicare program as opposed to mine? What would the impact of public school vouchers be on public education spending? Those are the kinds of exchanges we were told the vice president would like to get into in this more conversation format.
I don't think they will be happy with the number of occasions they were able to do that.
SHAW: Well, time and again during this debate, moderator Jim Lehrer tried to get these two candidates to delineate their differences to assist American voters.
Right now, as he's been throughout the evening, Wolf Blitzer's out in Lemay, Missouri with some voters -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Bernie, we've assembled 26 people here in Missouri, 26 people who say there were not completely persuaded going into this debate who they were going to vote for. Some were leaning one way or another.
Let's quickly get some immediate reaction from these voters how they feel after this 90-minute debate. Let's begin with you, sir. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This debate was everything the first debate wasn't. It was civil. It was substantive. It was thoughtful. Both these gentlemen appeared presidential. There was very little tap dancing around issues.
Bush is clearly more comfortable in this format than he was in the previous debate, and I think that showed. He seemed very knowledgeable generally on foreign affair, which he's been criticized for. I thought Mr. Gore scored some points criticizing his record in Texas. Bush tried to answer that criticism; I don't know if he was entirely successful with that.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get another opinion. Hand the microphone over to the gentleman behind you. What's your immediate reaction?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I think they took some lessons from the vice presidential debate. I think they both showed up thinking, let's be cordial, I want to be the one associated with the good feelings that at least I heard that a lot of people got from the vice presidential debate.
As a result for us, I don't think that there was much of a debate at all. I think that in what I wrote down in my notes I saw no real differences within the first hour.
BLITZER: Did you make up your mind?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the most part, yes.
BLITZER: Who are you going to vote for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I rather not say to the whole country, but I pretty much have my...
BLITZER: All right. Let's move over here. Did you make up your mind? Did you get some sense who you're going to vote for?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm still undecided, but I'm leaning heavily in one direction. I was a bit outraged by Governor Bush's comment that healthy children don't need insurance, and I'm sure that his children have insurance and his grandchildren have insurance. And what he really meant was that poor children don't need insurance. I think that it showed an insensitivity and kind of canceled out that leave no child behind cliche that he's been using.
BLITZER: But he did say he would encourage young healthy people to go ahead and get insurance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, but he said that he felt that healthy children, all healthy children didn't need insurance, and that the money could be put into some kind of other plan. And all children need insurance. There is no healthy child that does not get ill at some point or the other.
BLITZER: So you're leaning toward Gore now? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I am.
BLITZER: What about you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came disillusioned here sort of disillusioned with the voting process. I think we've made it too simple. You make two choices when you go: where to park and which line to vote. And that's -- that's the way the majority of the United States goes.
We have two second-generation career politicians here, and I just wanted to make sure that they wanted the position, they wanted to talk about the issues that I wanted to hear. And Governor Bush talked about the military, overcommitting the military, and he seems to have a clue as to what's going on with its readiness right now.
BLITZER: All right. We're going to have a lot more to talk about this. We're going to go through a lot of detail, ask these people who they're leaning toward now, Judy. But for now throw, we're going to throw it back to you and get some more reaction elsewhere.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf Blitzer, that's right. That was just the very early pass that we're going to take with those voters you're talking to there in the suburbs of St. Louis.
Joining us now from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the site of the debate, the manager of the Gore campaign, William Daley.
Secretary Daley, you just heard these voters say this format, it was almost too civil. Two of them, in fact, said I didn't really hear enough differences between the candidates.
Was this a format that was designed, or was this a debate that brought out the differences sufficiently for your purposes?
WILLIAM DALEY, GORE CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Oh, I think there were differences identified, Judy. First of all, it was ironic that the governor talked about foreign policy and basically supported every foreign policy endeavor of the Clinton-Gore administration.
He didn't, when Kosovo was going on, say anything of support until after all his primary opponents had stated their support for the Kosovo war. He basically agreed with the administration on everything with foreign policy.
When he had to defend his Texas record, he couldn't, on health care and a bunch of other things.
But to answer your question, this was the format the governor wanted. There are three debates, as you know, and I think the American people are going to make a decision after they see all three formats, the next one being a town hall meeting where citizens of America will get a chance to ask questions.
WOODRUFF: But what about -- the first gentleman Wolf talked to said Governor Bush seemed, he almost said surprisingly knowledgeable about international affairs. That being the case...
DALEY: Well, all he did was agree with Al Gore.
WOODRUFF: I'm sorry?
DALEY: All he basically did was agree with Al Gore. So, that's pretty easy to know something about foreign policy when you agree with the other guy all the time.
WOODRUFF: But if he came across as knowledgeable to these people who were looking for some clue, these are undecided voters who are trying very hard to make up their minds.
DALEY: Well, I think that it is encouraging that people think that people running for president have some knowledge. Obviously, Al Gore has proven that over the years and I think when it comes to foreign policy has a unique understanding of the difficulties around the world because he has worked on many of those issues. As I say, Governor Bush basically just agreed with everything Al Gore said today and everything this administration's done for the last eight years in foreign policy.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield, Mr. Daley.
DALEY: Yeah, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Apart from the -- we can phrase that any way, I guess, that we wanted. There were questions Governor Bush raised about overcommitment, in particular, particular use the force. But in the notion that he seemed according to some of the people we already talked to able to stand or sit on the same stage with the vice president in an area that is not his strength, and have a civil, reasonable conversation, isn't this a case where the tie may go to the challenger?
DALEY: Well, I think, as I said, the American people are going to look at all three of these formats, and they're going to look at what they're saying outside of these debates.
No question, Governor Bush has studied well, and he has come to these debates prepared in an area of policy that he has had very little, if any, experience. But the fact of the matter is, when the American people go to the polling place, they're going to make a judgment who's the most qualified to deal with these issues. And as we've seen over the last week, whether it's the Middle East, whether it's the Balkans, we've got to have people who understand these issues and don't have a large learning curve.
WOODRUFF: To some extent -- last question, Bill Daley -- was the vice president on the defensive tonight in the sense that he was trying very hard not to, first of all, not to make any errors in fact and statement and anecdote, but also not to just to not come on too strong?
DALEY: Well, again, the format called for a civil discussion. It is not a debate behind a podium and it is not a competitive situation. It's more of a discussion, which is what it was. And obviously, Al Gore has done this before, has done the table formats on a whole host of different shows on television. So he's very comfortable with it and very direct, and I think he contrasted his positions with the governor but in a different format. And I think the next format, in a town-hall meeting of undecideds and nonscreened people from the campaigns, I think it will be very interesting to watch the two candidates once again.
I think these are healthy for democracy. I think they're healthy for the process, and I think it was an informative discussion this evening. And that's what we all say we want in campaigns today, not just sound bites and 30-second advertising.
WOODRUFF: You are right about that. Bill Daley, campaign manager for Vice President Al Gore, thank you very much for being with us from Winston-Salem.
DALEY: Thank you, Judy.
SHAW: A key adviser to Governor Bush of Texas, former Army general and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Colin Powell joins us now.
General, I don't know whether you heard Secretary Daley's interview with Judy Woodruff, but I want to quote to you specifically a claim he made. Referring to Governor Bush, Secretary Daley said the governor "basically agreed with administration foreign policy for the last eight years." Do you see it that way?
COLIN POWELL, FORMER CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: No, I don't see it that way at all. I think the governor said that he supported what the president decided to do in Kosovo last year with respect to the bombing, but it was also clear the governor as president would have handled that slightly different with the use of all manner of force and not just aerial bombardment. I think he touched on that.
I think the point he made -- and I'm quite impressed, as were some of the earlier viewers that you had on television, that he showed his knowledge of these foreign policy issue. He was solid on all of the issues. He had command of the facts, command of the region, and I think that's -- regions, and I think that's going to impress a lot of people.
But what he said, if you're going to use the armed forces of the United States, you ought to make sure that your national interest is involved. And your national interest doesn't have to be narrow. It can be your overseas interest, the interests of your allies as well. And I think he made that clear. And I think he said that he would be very careful in the use of those forces.
And when he did he use them, he would them for decisive purpose. And he would make sure he had a way of getting them out, and not leave them in various places around the world without getting an opportunity to restore their readiness, to give them the equipment they need. And there are serious problems in the armed forces right now. And it's not just a political claim on his part, or my assessment as a retired general.
The troops are telling this to us. And we see it in all the surveys that are being made.
SHAW: Do you think Governor Bush's performance tonight on that stage there in the hall behind you will lay to rest some of the contention of some people that the governor is a -- quote -- "foreign policy lightweight" -- unquote?
POWELL: Absolutely. I mean, he went with the vice president toe to toe for, I counted, close to 25 minutes, on the various foreign policy issues that are before the nation and before the world. And I think he showed command of the facts and command of the regions.
GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield, General.
POWELL: Hi, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Your current passion is children -- kids. You heard Vice President Gore say that Texas ranks last or next to last in health care for kids, women and families, and that money was diverted for a tax cut instead of for health care, to which Governor Bush did not give a specific answer. Do you think Governor Bush now has to address that specific charge soon to lay to rest that charge about the governor's priorities?
POWELL: If I were him, I would, in order to make sure that there are no misunderstandings about this. I think his answer was good, however, even though it didn't go to that specific charge, in that $4.7 billion a year is going into that program. And there's no question that he is committed to children. He has done a lot for children with respect to education.
He described, I think, quite accurately, the difficult legislative process they have in Texas, where there will always be a lag, where children are being signed up at a very rapid rate now. And I have no question. I have worked with Governor Bush in my work with youngsters. And he has been committed to the programs that I'm working with for the last several years.
So I know his heart is not only in the right place, but he'll have programs in the right place. And, of course, he has made education of young people as one of the priorities of his administration in Texas. And it will be one of the priorities of his work as president of the United States.
SHAW: General Powell, you were a key person in the early days of the Clinton administration. The governor implied, if not stated, tonight, in showing his differences with the vice president, he said, "We can't be all things to all people." Did President Clinton use the U.S. military internationally to try to be all things to all people in your judgment? POWELL: I don't know that I would go that broadly, but in the time that I was with the Clinton administration, the one difficulty we had was in Somalia, and that was touched on this evening. And when we went into Somalia at the tail end of the Bush-Quayle administration, it was for a simple purpose, and that was to stop the starvation.
We accomplished that mission, and then in the beginning months of the Clinton administration, the mission shifted to something that we really didn't have the capacity to do, and that was to try to create a democracy where one didn't exist and never had existed. And we lost our way. And while we were trying to extricate ourselves from that situation, we faced the loss of a number of great soldiers on that terrible day in October of 1993, when we had the incident where the Somalians killed about 18 of our soldiers.
And so we have to be careful when we go in situations like that. That's the point that the governor was making, that we have a clearer understanding of what we can accomplish and what we can't accomplish. And we shouldn't try to build nations, or if you want to call it that, as the vice president tried to characterize it, suggesting it was a pejorative discussion or a pejorative term. But we shouldn't try to do things that are beyond our capacity to do.
And that's what the governor meant by we can't be all things to all people. In those cases where we can be all things to all people and try to solve a problem, let's do it. And in the four years I worked with President Bush, we involved ourselves in some 28 crises around the world trying to do what we could to help people. But we can't do everything, and and that was the point the governor was making.
SHAW: General, thanks for joining us.
POWELL: Thanks very much, Bernie.
SHAW: Good to see you again.
POWELL: Take care.
SHAW: You too now -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: We're going to take a short break. When we come back, another strong supporter of George W. Bush: his running mate. Richard Cheney will join us. We'll also begin to get the results of a Gallup Poll done with viewers right after this debate.
WOODRUFF: About 23 minutes ago, the debate between Al Gore and George W. Bush concluded.
Joining us now, Richard Cheney, who is, of course, the vice presidential nominee for the Republican Party.
Mr. Cheney, we just heard commentary about how Governor Bush did when it comes to international affairs. What I want to ask you about were the questions that were posed, the statements that were put by the vice president, about the record in Texas when it comes to health care and children, women and families.
It didn't seem as if Governor Bush addressed this. What will he say about the Texas record on these issues?
DICK CHENEY (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think the Texas record is a very good one, Judy. I thought -- I thought he did do a good job. Vice President Gore was talking about a lawsuit that had been filed, but it was filed in 1993 when Ann Richards was still governor of Texas and the basic circumstances have altered significantly since then.
There has been significant progress. There is no question but what -- as Governor Bush said, Texas is a large industrial state with a rapidly growing population, and we have not solved all the problems in Texas, but we've certainly made major progress. And the record is a good one.
WOODRUFF: But we heard Vice President Gore say it's not -- he said I'm not questioning his heart, I am questioning his priorities. It was a time of surplus in the state of Texas and these were decisions that he made.
CHENEY: Right, but the governor also made it clear that he had expended $4.7 billion, I believe was the figure, on health care for children, that we've in fact reduced the number of uninsured in Texas over the last several years, while at the same time the number of uninsured at the federal level, where presumably Al Gore has some responsibility, has actually gone the other way, has been going up. So if you could make that claim with respect to Texas, you could make an even more stark claim with respect to the lack of federal action on an important priority.
WOODRUFF: Do you take the vice president at his word when he says I may -- he says I can't promise I will never get another detail wrong, but he said I will promise you that I will work my heart out to try to get things right if I am elected president.
In other words...
CHENEY: Well, I thought...
WOODRUFF: Go ahead.
CHENEY: I thought the statement he made tonight that he did not support higher taxes on fuels is just wrong. It's not true. In his book "Earth in the Balance," which he reaffirmed, he has recently reissued in connection with the campaign, he calls for higher taxes on all fossil fuels. He was the big advocate of the BTU tax back early in the Clinton administration. He's the one who cast the tie-breaking vote to raise gasoline taxes in '93.
And for him to say that he has not supported higher taxes on fuel, on energy, is just not true. GREENFIELD: It's Jeff Greenfield, Mr. Secretary.
CHENEY: Hi, Jeff.
GREENFIELD: Hi. Is it clear to you now though that the -- based on what Vice President Gore did tonight, that the governor is going to have to specifically and clearly defend his record in Texas as governor with respect to health care, pollution and other issues?
CHENEY: Well, I think he's done a good job of that, will continue to do that. The ultimate judgment, if you will, on his performance of governor of Texas is the people if Texas. In the last election, after four years in office, they gave him an overwhelming reelection mandate, some 68 percent of the vote. He was endorsed by the top Democrat in the state. The Democratic lieutenant governor endorsed the Republican candidate for governor. Received a very significant vote in the minority, the Hispanic and African-Americans communities. That's the ultimate judgment on the kind of job he's done in Texas.
And I don't think there's any question but that he's been a very effective governor.
WOODRUFF: Finally, Mr. Cheney, the Gore point that he made in the debate last week, that in your and Governor Bush's proposal there is more money put into a tax cut for wealthiest Americans than money that goes into improving education, health care and improving the national defense.
CHENEY: It's not true. And the governor cited the figures tonight. If you take the amount of money that's generated for that group of people by cutting the top rate, which is the only direct benefit they get from 39 percent to 33 percent, it's roughly half of what is being recommended for new spending in those programs. So for him to make that claim, it's just simply not valid.
WOODRUFF: All right, Richard Cheney, vice presidential running mate for Texas Governor George W. Bush. We thank you very much for being with us.
CHENEY: Thank you.
SHAW: Senator Joseph Lieberman's fellow senator from Connecticut joins us now, Christopher Dodd. He's out there at Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Senator, welcome, and tell us, what was Vice President Gore trying to do?
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: At what point, Bernie?
SHAW: Generally, overall. His debate comportment, how he looked, he spoke slower, more conversational, et cetera, et cetera? DODD: Yes, I think the format is a pretty good format. I'd be interested in how the American public reacts to it. But I think it was a get away sort from sort of the podium approach of punch- counterpunch, and you get a better sense of people, I think, in more of this sitting down and having a conversation where you get beyond that sort of bumper-sticker, quick 30-second media campaign response.
You get to find, as you did here with the vice president tonight, of a deeper historical appreciation of the role of the United States as he went back and related, I think accurately, about the mistakes made between the two great wars of the 20th century and the response by a responsible United States with a Marshall Plan and other such efforts. That gives people, I think, a deeper understanding -- this vice president has a fuller understanding of the role of the United States, not only historically, but what it should be in the future.
Secondly, he had a chance really to get into this Texas question. Now, this is a very legitimate question. I run for public office. I run for re-election, and the voters of my state, as the voters of this country, have every right to know what I've done: not just what I've promised to do, but what have I done during my previous tenure.
And when you rank 50th in the country after six years as the governor in children's health, women's health and family health -- and I assume those numbers are correct because the governor was asked twice tonight to respond to those statistics and refused to challenge them -- that is a record on health care which the American people should know about when you're going to be looking at this person to lead the nation on a very critical issue, if not the most -- one of the two or three most important issues on the minds of the American voters and the American public.
So there is a record here on the environment, on health care and education, which the American public have every right to know about. That's not personal. That's not mean-spirited. That's the kind of factual information that I think issues -- voters want to have as they walk into that voting booth and make a very, very important decision about who will lead this country for the next four years.
SHAW: Senator, please sip on a glass of water for just a moment. We're going to turn to our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, and we're getting the first blush of polling numbers.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, we are. The Gallup organization has polled people who watched the debate and asked them, "Who do you think did the best job in the debate?" And you see the answers right here: Bush 49 percent, Gore 36 percent. A clear margin for Governor Bush.
This is precisely the reverse of the kind of result we got last week in that first debate when the voters -- the viewers who were polled afterwards said that they thought Gore won the debate. I hasten to add, however, that although all the polls indicated that Gore won the first debate it didn't do him a lot of good, because the polls starting shifted in Bush's direction. Winning the presidency is not always the prize for winning the debate. They are different competitions. SHAW: Senator Dodd, your first-blush reaction to that and impression?
DODD: Well, I'm always -- I think it may have been Jeff, maybe you, Bernie, who said this, and maybe it was Judy, that making quick decisions about this -- I think people over the next several days will be thinking about this, and sometimes the opinions you draw over 48, 72 hours are better than just the flash reactions to all of this. And I think both did very well, but I think the vice president did a better job tonight.
SHAW: Well, I've got to ask you: For swing voters, was this a good debate?
DODD: I think so. I think it was for those people, again, you didn't have much on education tonight, and to the extent there was a lot of time was spent on foreign policy -- and I -- I was -- frankly, it was an opportunity for the governor to show some real differences. But yet when it comes to Bosnia, Serbia, the Middle East, debt relief for poor nations, I didn't hear much distinction here.
Colin Powell was very much involved with President Clinton in Haiti. I'd be interested to know whether or not Colin Powell thought the Haiti policy was a bad decision and disagree with George Bush on that. But I saw very little difference here.
The governor seemed to agree with Al Gore's foreign policy and this administration's foreign policy initiatives, at least on the ones that were raised tonight.
But on health care, the one area where they did spend some time on a domestic issue, again, I think the record in Texas is -- I don't say this in a pejorative way about Texas. But here was a governor who has a chance to make some priorities or have an agenda with a list of priorities, and decided that health care for children and families was not going to be at the top of his list. That's something I think voters want to know.
So it was informative, I think, for the swing voters where health care is very important, that was very -- that was an important exchange.
SHAW: Well, on the question about the use of troops overseas, I asked General Powell about in a general question, and he said, of course, Somalia was a mistake. I did not specifically ask him about Haiti. But it occurs to me, as we all know, if the commander in chief makes a military decision, the generals in the Pentagon tend to comply with it.
DODD: No, I agree with that, and I don't mean to suggest -- I would be just curious about now, in retrospect, as General Powell looks back on that, since he was so involved with Sam Nunn, you may recall, they were going down, trying to resolve that before President Clinton set in force. It was just that that was the only area where I thought that Governor Bush said he disagreed on the use of force.
SHAW: OK, thanks very much for pulling up a chair.
DODD: Thank you.
SHAW: You're quite welcome -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, we've just heard some early polling numbers, but we're going to hear from some real people, those voters near St. Louis, Missouri. Our Wolf Blitzer has been with them throughout this debate. When we come back, he's going to talk to them once again.
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