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Did the Presidential Debates Make up the Minds of Undecided Voters?Aired October 18, 2000 - 11:54 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Press and Tucker Carlson have acquired quite a following with their program at Midnight Eastern time following these debates, "THE SPIN ROOM."
Let's check in and see what's coming up.
BILL PRESS, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Thank you, Bernie.
We're ready to spin in "THE SPIN ROOM" and for everybody out there you've been hearing what the professional spinners have had to say and the undecideds. Well, now it's time for you to weigh in tonight's debate. you can reach us again, remember, by calling 1-800- 310-4CNN or join us in the CNN chat room at CNN.com. And Tucker Carlson and I we've already heard from a lot of you, believe it or not, via e-mail.
Tucker, look at this one. Here's one,
Jason from Maryland: "I'm a registered Republican who has already cast an absentee ballot for Bush, but he kept avoiding substance and it really turned me off. I'm embarrassed and ashamed that I voted for him." Think he's going to try to get his vote back?
TUCKER CARLSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: There's no warrantee on that vote, Jason.
CARLSON: Gary in South Carolina says,: "Why does Mr. Gore always have to have the last word? Do we want somebody running this country who can't understand simple debate rules?"
Or who instead subverts them. Gore was Gore tonight, and I think as he has before, he reminded people of the kindergarten teacher who frightened you."
PRESS: I like people who break rules. I thought Gore did it well tonight. OK, this is Charles from Vermont. I love these. These are not the undecideds, these are just the opposite. "Bush seemed to stumble when speaking and used generalities. Do you think he was less prepared tonight?" I think he was or else at least he said I'm going to tone down tonight.
CARLSON: He was thematic guy. he stuck to the theme. Joan in Vermont says: I think this was..."
PRESS: He was asleep, Tucker.
CARLSON: He was thematic guy, Bill. "I think this was an exceptionally uncomfortable format," says Joan in Vermont. "Everyone looked miserable rather than able to focus on the substance of the debate."
I think there's a lot truth in this. Standing up doesn't make you feel comfortable. In great contrast to "THE SPIN ROOM" at the Cable News Network in Washington, D.C., where we are comfortably ensconced in chairs. No uncomfortable moments here.
PRESS: I loved that format. They didn't have to stand up, they could have sat down. They could have walked around. I though Gore looked very loose in the format. I liked the town hall. I really thought it was the best format of the three debates.
CARLSON: Loose in the sense you are when you're in a boxing match. Loose like you're filled with anger at your opponent and you're about to hit him. If that was Gore at loosest then I think Al Gore would be debatable.
PRESS: I think, really, it's certainly better than standing at those two podiums, right, or sitting across the table there with just Jim Lehrer.
OK, Paul from Illinois. Love it. "This is two rich guys born on third base who think they've hit a triple. Final thought after watching these two giants, if this is the best we've got, I'm not going to vote."
Paul, don't say that. You've got to vote. There are others out there. Vote for one of these guys or vote for somebody else but vote!
CARLSON: Don't Paul. Don't waste your vote. If you don't like them, don't vote. That's the beauty of democracy, Paul, there no read to vote.
PRESS: Oh, don't please don't listen to that.
We'll be back at Midnight with our spin room -- Tucker.
PRESS: You can sound off in "THE SPIN ROOM" coming up at midnight Eastern, 9:00 Pacific by e-mail, by phone. We'll be here for you. Back to you Bernie in the studio.
SHAW: Thank you, gentlemen. We thank you. Our bewitching moment and hour are approaching, fast approaching. Bill Schneider.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST Well, I thought that Gore took a risk. He was running behind, he took a calculated risk. What was the risk? He chose to try to demonstrate capability and to sacrifice likability to do that. I think what he decided was he may look like a know-it-all, the smartest kid in the class, eager to answer all the questions, but he was bound and determined to show I can do this job, this other guy can't. I made the choice. I know what I'm talking about. I have substantive knowledge even at the risk of some likability. Well, I'll tell you, it may be a good bet because Americans have elected presidents they don't particularly like.
I don't think they really liked Lyndon Johnson or certainly not Richard Nixon, but they thought they could do the job. That is the risk that Gore is taking, trying to prove he's capable even if he's not likable.
WOODRUFF: And it is a risk because right now, even if it is ever so slightly, George W. Bush has been ahead. We'll see what happens after this.
Three weeks from tonight, we'll all be back here. Election night, November 7th. Of course, we'll see you a lot between now and then, but that's the big night.
SHAW: That's the big night, and of course from this point on starting at daybreak tomorrow, from now until November 7th when Americans coast to coast go to the polls, it is a flat out sprint by these two tickets. And please remember, CNN is your network for the most thorough, fairest, and complete coverage of Campaign 2000. Good night from Atlanta, "THE SPIN ROOM" is next.
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