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The Spin Room: Scary Scenarios on Both Sides of the Aisle

Aired October 31, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: From CNN, Washington to our Atlanta newsroom and all over the United States, THE SPIN ROOM is open.

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Good evening. Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM. Thank you for joining us. Thank you for joining the spin doctors. I'm Bill Press.

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: And I'm Tucker Carlson and this is the Halloween edition of THE SPIN ROOM, where we know what scares you. Just think, a week from tonight, it could be president-elect Gore and speaker-elect Gephardt.

PRESS: Or, even scarier unless it's president-elect Bush and vice president-elect Cheney, scary.

CARLSON: Or the most horrifying possibility: Ralph Nader. Tonight, we want your spin. Nader, lions, tigers, bears and Nader. We want your spin on all sorts of things that go bump in the polls. You can lurk in our on-line CNN chat room at You can send a ghostly e-mail to Or you can get your disembodied voice on the air by calling toll-free: 1-800-310-4CNN.

PRESS: So, please, whether it's by phone or by e-mail or in the chat room, join us in THE SPIN ROOM. It's your chance to sound off on today's hot political events.

Now, we're going to start by escaping this scary environment of Washington, D.C., get outside of the Beltway, check in first with our Joie Chen down in Atlanta.

Hey, Joie, happy Halloween.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Happy Halloween to you guys, too.

Bill and Tucker, this is just a way station. We're going out into the unknown to that vast, mysterious place outside the Eastern time zone, where Washington seems just hopelessly far away, or maybe just it's hopeless. For Halloween, Al Gore and George W. Bush both went trick or treating out west.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All right, let's get some pictures. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have one for you, you know, when it comes to major league ace, you get number one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It'll make it tougher to forget the journalists.

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Happy Halloween to everybody. You know, some people have tried to make the case that the national press corps is sort of out of control these days. I don't -- I don't -- is this on? -- I don't think that for one minute. And I don't know why anybody would think that. You know, I just don't understand why they would think that the national press corps has gotten out of hand.

What do you think?


CHEN: Do these guys know how to have a good time or what? Now, watch very carefully here for some subliminal signs. Now, Vice President Gore, today, worked his way down the West Coast. Got that? Down, from Oregon to California. Right about the same time, Governor Bush was working his way up the coast, from California to Oregon to Washington. Follow geography here, note again, going up? Coincidence, or not? Guess which way the candidates are going in the polls?

Even in California, which just about everyone always assumed was a sure thing for Gore, Bush is closing the gap and says he thinks he's got a chance. Does he? and was Gore out west running scared? My question to you, tonight, Tucker. Is George W. Bush really as confident as all that? or is this one of those fake it until you make it strategies?

CARLSON: Let me just say that was deep reading of his campaign itinerary. I was impressed by it. I think it's probably a little bit of both. You know, he's down ten points in the polls in California. Bush is a little bit like the guy working minimum wage who buys a Porsche on credit on the theory, you know, I will be rich someday. He's spending a lot of money on ads and I think that's a bold strategy.

PRESS: I think it's a total fakery. I think that it is a total fakery. Joie just showed "The San Francisco Examiner" poll 49 Gore, 39 Bush with Nader getting five percent in California. There is just no way, I'm telling you Tucker. Believe me, 30 years in California, no way that somebody who is anti-choice, pro-oil and pro-gun is going to carry California. He's wasting his money.

CARLSON: You know why he's going to win? And I'll tell you this, too, Joie. Watching that tape, it dawned on me that Bush is a grabber. He grabs people at rallies. Americans like grabbers. That's one of the reasons they elected Bill Clinton twice. That's one of the reasons they won't elect Al Gore. He doesn't grab people. Grabbing, that's the key. CHEN: Yes, but Bill, look at this. You say there's no way in California. But look at the rest of the West Coast. I mean, who would have thought that we would be sitting here now one week away from the election talking about slugging it out for Oregon and those big seven electoral votes in Oregon? Come on.

PRESS: Well, I think, Joie, that that has to more do with Ralph Nader. We're going to be talking about Ralph Nader in little bit, later in the program in the next segment actually. But it has to do with Ralph Nader than with George Bush. But look at Florida, I might say. Who would have thought that Florida would be up for grabs when George's baby brother Jeb is the governor down there, right? So, I think...

CHEN: He's got to get out of the West, Tucker.

PRESS: I think Bush should, no, back to the West.

My point is, I think Bush should have spent that money that he spent in California -- he would have been better off spending it in Florida. He isn't going to win California.

CARLSON: Well, I don't know. If you talk to the down ticket candidates in California, all the Republican House members, they're grateful and if Bush does win, they're going to owe him quite a bit and the NRC for spending all that dough out there. I still think he's not getting credit for the boldness of it. Ten points down, spending all this money. And keep in mind, those ads are not being answered by Gore ads. Gore is not up in California. And so, it's potentially...

PRESS: Here's what I want to point out. OK, Joie, just listen to this, now, OK. The Republicans have spent $8 million in California, the Democrats have spent zero. They have spent their money in Florida. If Gore ends up winning California and winning Florida this is going to be the most brilliant campaign strategy of all time. If it doesn't work, guess what?

CHEN: This is how the West was won, Tucker.

CARLSON: This is a little bit like the charge of the light brigade, honorable.

PRESS: We have invited the phone calls and the e-mails and THE SPIN ROOM chat room. So, we're going to start off with a phone call. This is Gloria (ph) checking in from Michigan.

Gloria, good evening, welcome to THE SPIN ROOM.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I'm happy to be here. I love your show. I'll tell you what frightens me also. I'm an independent voter here in Michigan that is going to vote for Gore. I find it mind- boggling when I hear someone say Gore is smarter -- people that are interviewed, I'm talking about -- Gore smarter but I'm voting for Bush because he has a better personality. I can't even imagine Bush speaking in the Rose Garden, answering reporters' questions, when his advisers can't stand next to him to help him answer or he can't have a teleprompter. I can't imagine this. I can't imagine that people would vote this way. Also, I think Nader is a factor.

PRESS: Could you explain that, Tucker?

CARLSON: I think the caller sounds old enough to remember the Ford administration. It has happened. Truly, there are -- clearly people are using other criteria to evaluate these presidential candidates and the ability to speak fluidly is not necessarily at the top of the list.

PRESS: But you know, somebody said and I steal everybody else's lines, so why not? Right? I think the conundrum here is with the undecideds, if there are still undecideds -- we'll be talking about that tonight too -- is that they like Bush's personality, but they don't respect him, his intelligence, or lack of, on the issues. They respect Gore on the issues but they don't like his personality. So, you know, neither one of them has both and that's kind of where we're stuck.

CARLSON: Well, it's stuck. And a little bit later in the hour, we'll be talking with actress Sharon Lawrence, whom you know is Mrs. Sipowicz from "NYPD Blue." She is a decidedly decided voter.

PRESS: She's going to be joining us later. We have got a question also, Tucker, coming in now.

Question from Dan Singleton (ph) is, "Can Gore do anything to overcome the grassroots gap?"

Well, Dan, let me tell you, the first thing he's going to do is bring out the master campaigner of all time, certainly of our lifetime, the guy who can do more than anybody else to stir up the grassroots, to motivate the base, because. I think you would agree, Tucker, turn-out now is going to be extremely important. Both Bush and Gore have to work on turn-out. The guy who can get Democrats out better than anybody else is Bill Clinton. He's on the road Thursday. He'll be on the road Thursday through Monday night. And I think that's the best thing Gore can do.

CARLSON: He's very good at turning out the grassroots, but he is really good at turning out the Republican grassroots. You put Bill Clinton on the stage and Republicans just flock, they flock to the polls.

CHEN: Where is the president going later in the week?

PRESS: We know for a fact that he's going to spend two days in California, Joie. To my knowledge, at least I don't know, I don't think we've been told to what other states he may be going after California. But he's going to Los Angeles for big rally there, and then he's going up the next day to Oakland for a big rally in the San Francisco Bay Area.

CHEN: So, try to reaffirm things out in California.

PRESS: Yes, and he's also going to be bringing in the congressional candidates like Adam Schiff against Adam Rogan and Jane Harman against Steve -- James Rogan -- Jane Harman against Steve Kuykendall. He's going to be bringing those Democratic congressional candidates in the north and in the south along with them.

CARLSON: These are not congressional districts that Bush is in danger of winning in the first place. And you'll notice it's a pretty limited tour. I mean, this is not to the swing states.

PRESS: But the important thing is there may be some -- there could be maybe four, five pick-ups among Congressional seats for the Democrats in California.

By the way, Tucker, as you know, there has been a lot of other news today. It hasn't just been politics today, so we're going to interrupt right now to check in on the other news of the day -- the important news of the day. And again, Joie Chen, at Atlanta to tell us all about it.

Hi, Joie.

CHEN: Hi, Bill. In our look at the news without the spin, here.

First, what we know about that Singapore Airlines Boeing 747 that crashed on take-off from Taiwan today. At least 69 people died. Flight SQ-006 was on its way to Los Angeles, burst into flames after it apparently hit an object on the runway. The weather was very bad. There's a typhoon in the area. The plane had a maintenance check just about six weeks ago. While 68 people went to the hospital, 16 people were able to walk away from that fireball you saw. Singapore Air has never had a fatal accident before. It is a big, big favorite with the business travelers.

Washington is so concerned about another terror attack that it's put U.S. forces and diplomats in two more Gulf states on what is called Threat Condition Delta. That is the very highest state of alert, and it now applies to military and diplomatic personnel in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. That's about 10,000 Americans in countries that are usually quite friendly to the United States. In Bahrain, Qatar and Yemen, they were already on high alert. This mostly keeps U.S. personnel from going off base in those locations.

Another day of deadly clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinian stone-throwers. The Israeli army says the Palestinians, who are usually armed with just rocks and fire bombs, today added machine gun and antitank missiles to their arsenal. In Gaza, four Palestinians were killed during street battles near a crossing point into Israel.

Now here's a point near and dear to us here at CNN. One of our correspondents, Ben Wedeman, was among those who was injured today. He was shot at that crossing we were talking about. He was covering fighting there. His injuries, though, are not said to be life- threatening.

That is the news that we didn't want you to miss in all of the spin that we're getting from Tucker and Bill -- guys.

CARLSON: Thank you, Joie.

PRESS: Thanks, Joie.

CARLSON: Thanks. Up next: newly-married political activist and Gore supporter Gloria Steinem and singer and Nader supporter Patti Smith. Here on THE SPIN ROOM.


CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. We're easy to get a hold of. So get a hold of us. Join our live, online chat at Send us e-mail. The address is Or call us, toll free, at 1-800-310-4CNN.

PRESS: And Tucker, the e-mails are already rolling in. I just want to take the most important one here from the very top, if I can. This comes from Verage Pattel (ph). The e-mail, quote: "Tucker looks sexy tonight."

CARLSON: Oh, thank you, Verage. It is -- you're scaring me, Verage.

PRESS: I though you'd appreciate that.

CARLSON: I do. I do. I deeply appreciate it.

PRESS: And thank you, Verage, for saying that I look sexy, too, by the way. Thank you very much. That's the last time you'll get into the chat room.

CARLSON: That would have spooked me had you said that. Well, I've got one from Michael from New Jersey. He writes: "Everyone knows that Ralph Nader campaigns on the platform of campaign finance reform, saving the environment, and women rights. Does anyone know where he stands on other key issues such as education, Social Security reform, taxes, gun control, et cetera."

PRESS: Good question. I happen to know, because I looked at the Green Party platform, that the Green Party calls for a 100 percent income tax for all Americans making more than ten times the minimum wage. Figure it out. I did. That's $11,000. So $110,000. Anything over $110,000, if you remember the Green Party, a hundred percent goes to the federal government. Tucker, I find even that to be a little too radical.

CARLSON: Well, you know, Bill, I must have as much free time as you do because I also read the Green Party platform, I'm embarrassed to admit.


PRESS: What did you find?

CARLSON: Well, they're for nationalizing the railroads, for grabbing the utility companies. They're also for something called industrial hemp. And what the difference between industrial hemp and a dime bag of marijuana is, I think we'll have to ask our guest. The Green Party's very infavorable.

PRESS: I may be for that hemp proposal.

CARLSON: Oh, you can tell us about it.

PRESS: But what could be scarier, movie fans, than Freddie Krueger meets "The Blair Witch 2" in "The House on the Haunted Hill?" Two words -- Ralph Nader.

Joie, that's you cue. Take it away. Tell us about Ralph Nader.

CHEN: Oh, I'm a little scared here and now, Bill.

This is how I know things have just gone over the top. Our resident lefty, Mr. Press, now thinks Ralph Nader is scary? What's going on here? And what is it with Ralph Nader, anyway?

If he just wants to make a point to the Democrats, but not really hurt Al Gore, what state would you figure he would go after, now? Say, Massachusetts? That's locked up in the Gore column, but Nader could still make a message heard. That is not, however, where he is.

Now look at this. Nader is raiding the states where Gore is already in trouble. Those are the blue states on your little map there: the West Coast plus New Mexico, Minnesota and Wisconsin. That's 98 electoral votes where Gore sure could use them. If they go to Bush instead, well, you can guess who's going to start measuring curtains for the Oval Office?

So Mr. Nader, what is it that you want?


RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the next few days we're going to keep campaigning hard, reaching out to the independent voter in particular. To those independent voters who voted for Ross Perot, John McCain, Bill Bradley and Jesse Ventura for one central common reason, which is to reform our electoral practices, get dirty money out of politics, and make government respond to the will of an informed citizenry rather than to power drive of avaricious corporate establishment.


CHEN: Oh, that's a lot of words. Avaricious corporate establishment. Do you like Nader's strategy? Do hate him for it? Do you buy his politics? Do forgive him for that little incident with the Corvair? Well, whatever you think of Ralph Nader, you got to love his new commercial.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTOR: When I grow up, I want the government to have the same problems is has today.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTRESS: I want to vote for the lesser of two evils.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTOR: I want to be apathetic.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTRESS: I want tax breaks for the very rich.



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTOR: I want to be disillusioned.



UNIDENTIFIED CHILD ACTOR: When I grow up, I want politicians to adore me.

NARRATOR: Is this what you want from your government or do you want something better for yourself and the next generation? Vote Ralph Nader for president.


CHEN: You've got admit, guys, that's one that's going to get plenty of that free media. We'll probably replay it a couple more times tonight. Honestly, guys, could you have imagined it's a week before the election, we're out here talking about the Nader factor? I mean somehow, I thought maybe we'd be talking about the Buchanan factor, but the Nader factor?


CHEN: And what do you think? I mean, will they really get into those voting booths next week or those voters actually going to be able to say to themselves, hey, it's easy to be green?

PRESS: I think you're right that some people next week may have second thoughts, the Nader people, when they actually get into the booth and think about the possibility that they're helping elect George Bush. But it is interesting. I never thought a year ago that we'd be sitting here talking tonight about Ralph Nader and no word about Pat -- who?

CARLSON: But it isn't true that kamikaze candidates have the best ads?

PRESS: Oh, they do. That was a great ad. A cool ad.

CARLSON: He's going to get the humor vote. Well, joining us now to talk more about the Nader factor: political activist and famed feminist Gloria Steinem, who's in Milwaukee, home of Harley-Davidson, hoping to persuade Nader supporters to vote for Al Gore. And in New York, singer Patti Smith, who used to support Bill Bradley, and is now fully behind Ralph Nader.

PRESS: Good evening. Thanks both for joining us.



CARLSON: Thank you.

Now, Gloria Steinem, a couple of weeks ago, Nader held a rally at Madison Square Garden in New York. Thousands of people came, all of them enthusiastic. It seems to me the Democratic Party at this point is intent on ignoring them, taking away their voice. Sort of almost subjugating them to use language that is popular in the feminist movement. Why is it doing that, I wonder? Why isn't it listening to the voice of the people when it comes to Nader supporters?

STEINEM: Well, I think there is a tendency to go after the people you think you don't have, and to think others are captive, and that's certainly a mistake if the Democratic Party is doing that. I'm just advocating voting out of self-respect and self preservation and that means voting for Gore because there is such a huge difference between these two candidates.

I think one of the most problematic things that Nader has been saying is that the candidates are just alike. Nonetheless, if he had kept with his apparent tactic of just asking for votes in states that were safe for Gore, it would have been fine. But, of late, he has turned to this very destructive and dangerous tactic of really saying that if Bush got elected, it would be so bad for the country that the country would rise up. And behaving as if he actually wants that to happen. And that's a danger.

PRESS: Patti Smith, let me ask about that very point. As someone who supported Ralph Nader for a long, long time. I mean, when I hear Ralph Nader say there is just no difference between Gore and Bush, and it doesn't make any difference which one of them gets elected. Patti, you can't believe that really, do you?

SMITH; I can't say that I completely believe that, but that's not why I'm here. I am not for Mr. Gore nor Mr. Bush. I'm supporting Ralph Nader and my real concern here is that citizens like myself are being disrespected, our vote is being dis-empowered, and we are being merely looked upon as people who are taking a vote from Al Gore.

Many of us, and I would say most of us, never intended to vote for Al Gore. We have our voice, we have a desire to build a new political party for the future. We have desire to be proud of our vote and to vote for someone who is moral authority.

PRESS: OK, can I ask you, though, a very basic question, and I respect your vote, and respect the fact that you're voting sincerely for Ralph Nader because you believe in him. What makes you think that Ralph Nader is in any way qualified to be president of the United States? what executive experience, what foreign policy experience, what experience about affairs of this country does Ralph Nader have? I mean, to lead this nation?

SMITH; He's an honest man. He can't be bought. As far as I'm concerned, our whole -- our whole structure is the very fiber of it, is so corrupt that it has to be -- it has to be systemically cleaned. It has to -- We have to start somewhere. And I think that he is a man that can't be bought, who can't be sold, who drives his ideology from our organic law, just as Abraham Lincoln did.

And I believe -- I believe in him. I believe that we, as a people, could do this together. I'm not a politician, I can't.

CARLSON: That's all right. Gloria Steinem, let me ask you, Patti Smith seems to be saying that Ralph Nader is sort of high colonics for the body politic. He is going to be guy who cleanses the system. I wonder what's wrong with that. That may be right you, and you said: Well, you know, people ought to cast a vote that is a vote of self-respect. But wouldn't it be self-respecting to vote for the man who you think is right rather than the one who sort of fulfills a Machiavellian end game?

STEINEM: Well, you know, I think that if Nader had been in the White House, instead of Clinton and Gore, I doubt very much that he could have done any better. Much of what is blamed on them by the Nader people is actually attributable to an ultra-right-wing controlled Congress.

And, in addition, Nader is somebody who in my view narrowly defines economic issues so that he does not include, for instance, reproductive freedom, which happens to be the issue which is most important to the female half of the country. It is not a single issue, it is a basic human right, whether or not you have children is the greatest determinant of whether you are poor or not. Whether or not you could control your reproductive life is the greatest determinant of health.

And yet, Nader said yesterday, that it was more or less OK if Roe v. Wade were overturned because the question would just go back to the states.

I'm sitting here in Wisconsin, a state that has on the books a preexisting law that would criminalize abortion and jail both the doctor and the woman in the absence of Roe v. Wade. It is sort of like saying, and there are many worse states. I mean, it is kind of like saying: I'm willing to put civil rights back into the Mississippi, Georgia whatever state legislatures.

CARLSON: I wonder if it's fair to compare Ralph Nader to someone who would overturn civil rights laws, I mean, don't you think that's bit rough.

STEINEM: No, wait a minute, reproductive freedom for women is a fundamental civil right. And also at stake here...

CARLSON: Well, I think Ralph Nader believes that. He says that all the time. STEINEM: Well, you know, he has not included that in his -- he focuses on economic issues, and doesn't recognize others. So that as Toby Moffett has said, you know -- first of all, even on the issues he focuses on, they will be in such trouble if Bush wins. So if you care about the issues that Nader cares about, then you have to vote for Gore. That's what the Nader raider, you know, Toby Moffett said, and I agree with that.

PRESS: Patti, just a quick follow-up to you on that very point. As an American woman, if your vote for Nader ends up electing, helping elect George Bush president, and we end up with choice, the matter of choice being decided state by state so women are free to have an abortion in some states and not in others, we go back to where we were before Roe v. Wade, would you be comfortable with helping bring that about?

SMITH; First of all, I don't believe that would happen. I am a widow, I have two children, and my basic concern is the health of my children. I'm concerned with the water they drink, I'm concerned with the air that they breath, and I'm concerned with the health of the -- our living children.

And as far as the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I think this is a scare tactic. I don't believe that it's going to happen or that it would happen, and I think that the strength, the collective strength of American women would reverberate so loudly in our land that we could take can of that. American women can take care of themselves. We want pro-choice in our body but also in our vote.

PRESS: All right, Patti Smith and Gloria Steinem, thank you both very much for joining us tonight to talk about the Nader phenomenon. Another phenomenon when we come back in THE SPIN ROOM: undecided voters. Are there still any out there? How can there be?

CARLSON: It's a phenomenon a minute here in SPIN ROOM. We will be back.


PRESS: And welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. It's only our second night, folks, but believe it or not, we have something new we're going to start tonight. Tucker, only the second night and we are getting into new change. We are reinventing ourselves.

CARLSON: We are like Hillary's haircut. It's unbelievable. We are changing all the time and today's change is called the spin of the day. It's very hard to define. It's like the Supreme Court defined pornography. It's you're not quite sure what it is, but you know it when you see it. And the spin of the day is the moment when you feel like throwing a bottle at the TV, when you see something that is so completely and obviously untrue, spinning so hard, it's like the girl in "The Exorcist," her head just turns all the way around -- that's the spin of the day.

PRESS: You know, we are all hearing Bush, we hear Gore, we hear Nader, no matter who it is, maybe some local candidate, something that just makes your head spin, that makes you groan out loud, that's what it is, spin of the day. By the way, before the end of the show, Tucker and I are going to have our own nominations for spin of the day and you can get your spin of the day in, we'll get your spins, your nominations later in the show. Don't forget, it's or you can e-mail us at or phone us right away at 1-800-310-4266 with your spin of the day.

CARLSON: While you're making up your minds about what the spin of the day ought to be, here is Joie Chen again in Atlanta with our next topic.

CHEN: Decisions, decisions, that's right guys. Remember that slogan for the United Negro College Fund, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. We can't figure out who to give the credit to, but somebody later twisted that into a wonderfully perverse and it's also pretty true, observation. A mind is a terrible thing to make up, which goes exactly to the voters in this presidential race.

As a fair warning here, there is no science or stats involved in this little segment. We sent a guy with a camera down the street outside CNN Center today to harass those folks who are those still undecideds and ask them why.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't believe in George W. Bush and I don't believe for his code of ethics and Al Gore, I just think he's evil as Bill Clinton is, pretty much, basically.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really haven't decided who I want to vote for. I have not been thinking about it much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am going to look over some more issues and decide by Tuesday on who to vote for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not happy with either candidate. It's a choice of Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee.


CHEN: Are Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee running in this one? OK, here is the science part of all this. Today's magic number from the CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup tracking poll is five, as in five percent, undecided. You know who you are. Campaigns only have one week left to win you over. But guys, you know, we got that comment from Al Billings (ph) just a couple of minutes ago. Do you really think these people haven't made up their minds? I mean I wonder here if they haven't made up their minds or they don't care very much about anybody who is available.

CARLSON: Well, I like the guy who said he's going to make up his mind by Tuesday. I recommend that if you plan on voting.

PRESS: I can't believe there are any undecideds still out there. We are going to have to talk about that after we come back, Tucker. We are going to have to take a break. And don't forget folks, when we come back, we are going to be talking to Hollywood actress and Gore supporter Sharon Lawrence and conservative columnist, Ramesh Panuru (ph) from "The National Review." More SPIN ROOM coming up. Right after this.


CARLSON: Welcome back to SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press on the 11th floor of the CNN bureau in Washington, taking your calls at 1-800-310-4CNN. Also accepting your e-mails at We have a caller on the line, John from Texas.

Hit us with it.

PRESS: All right, John, how are you doing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm doing fine, how about you?

PRESS: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I was just wanting your opinion on something.

CARLSON: You came to the right place.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Bush has kind of made this an issue of exaggerations and stuff with Al Gore and I'm just wondering what you think, if a Democratic Congress was elected, Ralph Nader issues were brought up, just how Bush would, you know, who would be a better friend of these Nader voters, Bush or Gore?

PRESS: Well, I would have to say I think on the issues, clearly, Al Gore is a lot closer to Nader and to the Nader people than George W. Bush is. I mean let's not kid ourselves.

CARLSON: And I think, John that that's one of the reasons you sense this bitter tone in the attacks on Nader and his supporters by a lot of Al Gore people because the differences are fundamentally small. There is, you know, the line about the bitterness of small differences. Basically, they're sort of deviant cousins that the Gore people are very mad at, so I don't think they get along.

PRESS: There's such a vast difference. You know, I think the honest answer is vote for Al Gore or vote for George Bush. One of them is going to be the next president. Pat Buchanan is not going to be and Ralph Nader is not going to be. And there's a big difference between the two. But, you know, maybe that's why there are so many undecideds out there. I find it myself hard to believe that anybody with any intelligence today, who has been following this thing for the last year could not have made up their mind. I mean, who are these people? In fact, let's hear from them undecideds.

CARLSON: Shall we?

PRESS: I mean you've got the numbers and the chat rooms. But who are they? Who do you think they are? CARLSON: I think they are people A, who are lying to pollsters or B, who don't like Al Gore.

PRESS: Or George Bush.

CARLSON: Well, but the going theory among pollsters is that if you haven't made up your mind about somebody who has been in office for eight years, you probably don't like him. So, I think the Bush -- and the Bush people believe this -- can count on 50 percent or more of the votes of undecided voters.

PRESS: I certainly agree that they're lying to the pollsters. Then the big question is, let's say you are, with all due apologies to those I just insulted by calling them stupid, but let's say you really are honestly, legitimately undecided. When you get to election day, do you vote or do you just it out?

CARLSON: I think probably what really happens is you wake up on Wednesday and trudge down to the polls to find them closed.

PRESS: Was that the hemp formula?

We're back on Nader for just a second here because he sort of figures with these undecideds. Ralph was on "LARRY KING" and he gave, this was sort of his reason for running and what he's really all about, and here is how he put it to Ralph Nader last night, let's listen up. I mean to Larry King.


RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRES. CANDIDATE: We are coming through November with the third largest party in America, millions of voters and we are going build a progressive political movement and if the Democratic Party wants to respond, fine. If it doesn't, it's going to shrink down. We are not going on our knees anymore.


PRESS: So here's the premise, Ralph Nader's premise, that if Bush wins, Democrats will join the Green Party because he has helped elect Bush, so there is going to be this massive defection from the Democratic Party to the Green Party. You know what this is? This is pure hallucination.

CARLSON: You know, there ought to be a psychological term for this, delusions of candidacy or something. I mean, this is what happens when you spend a lot of time driving around the country, in a small rent-a-car, eating organic food, as Ralph Nader has. All of a sudden, you imagine yourself to be part of some huge, huge movement.


CARLSON: And speaking of movement, we have something from Floyd Knight, a viewer, who writes in to say: "Anyone that is not informed by now, shouldn't vote." This is an unpopular point of view, Floyd. But let me commend you for it. Amen, if you truly don't know who you're going to vote for this far out, then the responsible thing to do is stay home, or wake up on Wednesday.

PRESS: No, I would say, make up your mind and vote. But, you know, back to Nader for a second. I admire the fact that he's trying to build this third party. I think we need a third party in this country. But for me, voting to build a third party is not enough of a reason to vote for somebody. I think there's got to be more than that. That's where I think Ralph Nader falls short.

PRESS: And the reason that Ralph Nader says is get the 5 percent and get U.S. matching funds for the party next time.

PRESS: That really motivates me. That really turns me on.

CARLSON: The matching funds candidacy. It really is idealism at is best. We are going to be getting into things at their best and more idealism when we come back.

PRESS: With Sharon Lawrence and Ramesh Ponnuru from the "National Review." Sharon Lawrence, of course, the actress, on THE SPIN ROOM, coming up right after this break.


CARLSON: Welcome back to SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. We've been itching to get to our spins of the day all day.

PRESS: Your nomination, Tucker.

CARLSON: My nomination, well, you know, Al Gore has been hit again and again as being a neo-populist. He is a very clever man, and recently he turned it back on George W. Bush. Listen to this.

PRESS: Spin of the day.


GORE: What he is actually proposing, lets be plain about it, is a massive redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthiest these few. It is, in fact, a form of class warfare on behalf of billionaires.


CARLSON: So Al Gore accusing George W. Bush of class warfare. I mean, this is post-post-modern. This is good.

PRESS: I think one of the qualifications you need for running for president is to be brazen. Nobody said Al Gore was not brazen.

CARLSON: If that were the qualification, he would be king, emperor and sultan already. He's got brazen down. PRESS: And he may be. Now here's my nomination for spin of the day. It comes from Dick Cheney. There's been all this talk about George Bush and Cheney, particularly Bush, is not experienced enough to be president. So here's what Cheney said. It is quoted in the "New York Times." Cheney says that, "If there's some ticker lacking in experience, it seems to me its those guys, who have spent virtually their entire careers in elective office, getting paid by the government, never having met a payroll, living inside the Beltway in Washington D.C."

Now, you know what, that takes chutzpah from Cheney's part, who lived inside the Beltway, as congressman and as White House chief of staff and as secretary of defense, and just moved to Houston to attack the ones who are still living here.

CARLSON: Take the rhetoric of your opponents and use it against them. That is spin at its highest level.

PRESS: Spin of the day.

CARLSON: They are Picassos of spin.

Now, Joining us to talk more about this, about Bush and Gore staking out ground in California, from Hollywood, actress Sharon Lawrence, member of the Creative Coalition. She is full of spin coming directly from an Al Gore for President rally. Also with us, from New York, Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of the "National Review.

PRESS: Sharon, let me ask you first, you just came from this Gore rally. I mean, people are saying that George Bush is confident everywhere he goes. So is Al Gore looking depressed tonight because he knows it's not in the bag for him?

SHARON LAWRENCE, GORE SUPPORTER: Not for a second. As a matter of fact, there were, I would say, close to probably 3,000 people joined up at the area where the UCLA campus is, And it was an exciting, powerful rally. I don't think that they are taking anything for granted, as they said, but there is certainly no lack of confidence.

CARLSON: Let me ask you this, Sharon. At the rally, did anybody stand up and say: Wait, hold on, Mr. Gore. Aren't you the one who threatened to drag movie executives by the hair in front of the FTC if they didn't stop putting smut on television? did anybody say that?

LAWRENCE: No, not at all. I think that there's a fallacy in assuming that people in Los Angeles or Hollywood are only concerned about that particular issue. Not at all. The people that were there were speaking up specifically about the Supreme Court, about the environment, about the fact that -- and I will be specific, it was Rob Reiner who spoke pretty eloquently, as he always does, and spiritedly, about the tax cut, and the fact that Bush's tax cut in essence would benefit somebody like Rob Reiner, who is one of that top tax percentile.

But as he says, and as a lot of people in Los Angles, in Californian, and in even the Hollywood upper echelons feel, is that they don't necessarily feel that that tax break is going benefit them, if children aren't being educated, if children don't have health care, if the environment isn't taken care of, and if the Supreme Court is put at risk.

PRESS: All right, Sharon, so now we know that Meathead is a one- percenter.

CARLSON: Rich people, take my money, please. I love that.

PRESS: Ramesh Ponnuru, let me ask you the same question about, but turn it around, about this confidence, because every time I read these stories that say that George Bush is confident, you know, he is swaggering across the stage, that the Bush people think that November 7th is just a formality, I think of the little guy in the mustache, Tom Dewey, right, and Harry Truman holding up the banner, Dewey wins the election.

A little bit too much cockiness there, Ramesh?

RAMESH PONNURU, "NATIONAL REVIEW": I don't think so. I think this is Bush's bid to be the alpha male, as Naomi Wolf said the candidates should be.

No, I think actually, one of the reasons Bush is in California is because it projects confidence to Republicans all across the country, and also because, you know, he wants to be able to tell voters who may just be focusing on the campaign in its closing days that he does, you know, he's running a 50-state campaign, he wants to be a president who will lead the whole country. He is, as he says endlessly, a uniter and not a divider.

CARLSON: So basically, you are describing what is a symbolic visit, but it's an awfully expensive symbolic gesture. I mean, they are spending over a million dollars in the state.

PONNURU: Well, before the campaign began, the Bush campaign promised California Republicans that they weren't going to use the state as a cash register, money raised in California was going to be spent in California, and Bush is keeping his promise. He had to go out to California to do the Leno show, and why not make a couple stops to help some vulnerable Republican congressional candidates.

I think it's a good move actually on his part.

PRESS: I'm glad you admitted that the campaigns on both sides are being driven by the late night comedy shows.

CARLSON: That is really the deep of campaigning.

PRESS: Sharon, my question to you, knowing California, the fact that Gore had to come back to California when he hadn't planned to, doesn't that indicate, you know, a relative weakness on the part of his campaign, not being able to lock in California a long time ago?

LAWRENCE: Well, Gore is actually on "Leno" tonight, so that might have been the reason for the visit. In terms of his having to come back, I think we have to recognize how strong California is as a state and governor Gray Davis is working hard and looking hard to be able to deliver the state. And he's a strong governor, and I think that shows a lot of support for the party and from the party.

CARLSON: Now, Sharon, let me ask you a question that may be hard to answer. When you think of the entertainment community, the creative community, I guess as it calls itself, do you think if people who would be attracted to flamboyant politicians, people with character, with a salty essence. Al Gore just seems like exactly the opposite of that, not the guy who actors would like naturally. Why do you like him?

LAWRENCE: Well, again, you're assuming that people who work in the industry are only swayed by charisma. That's not true. The fact that this man stands on the right side of the issues for me and for many of us in the Democratic Party and many people who have spoken out who were in this industry, I think is what's more at effect here. It's not about charisma for this particular industry.

Yes, Bill Clinton was popular because he carried a lot of people's interest on his charisma, but that's not what we are voting with or from.

PRESS: All right, Sharon, just thank you. A quick last question for Ramesh here in New York. I have to ask you about this other race that people are always talking about. Are the polls right? Is it all over for Rick Lazio?

PONNURU: Oh, I thought you were talked about Felix Grucci's congressional campaign.


CARLSON: That's tomorrow night, Ramesh.

PONNURU: No, it's not all over. And I think actually Bush getting Gore's lead down to 11 makes it a little more winnable for Lazio, but it's a Democratic state particularly in presidential years. He's going to have an uphill climb.

PRESS: All right, thank you.

CARLSON: Thanks and thanks, Sharon Lawrence. Up next, we will read your choices for "Spin of the Day," and there are many and they're almost all good. Stay with us at THE SPIN ROOM.


PRESS: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson. Just a couple minutes left here. As promised, we're going to bring you your nominations for "Spin of the Day." Tucker, I want to point out there have been over 1500 e-mails we received this hour alone.

CARLSON: Head spinning. PRESS: That is a new record for THE SPIN ROOM. Of course this is our second night, but we're already setting new records. But first, here's our nomination for "Spin of the Day" by phone from Rich in New Jersey.

Hello, Rich, welcome. What's your spin of the day, Rich?

CALLER: Hi, guys. In the last 15 presidential elections, when the Washington Redskins played at home the week before the election...

PRESS: Oh-uh.

CALLER: ... when the Washington Redskins won, the incumbent or vice president has won. When they lost, the challenger has won. The Washington Redskins lost on Monday.

PRESS: Well, there's one more game.

CALLER: Well, that means -- the week before the election. So that means Bush will win the election.

PRESS: Oh, my.

CARLSON: Rick, that sound you hear is the odds in Vegas changing at this very moment. I've -- political -- I mean, sports statistics are almost always right.

PRESS: All right, other nominations.

CARLSON: Well, we have one from Nelson from Dallas, who says with all the noise being made by the Democrats over Bush's lack of experience, why has no one brought up Bill Clinton's lack of experience in 1992. Good question, Nelson, and the answer is because it didn't matter then and it doesn't matter now.

PRESS: Dan, from Gainesville, Florida, nomination for "Spin of the Day," the NRA infomercial narrator by Chuck -- Chuck, Charlton Heston says a vote for Al Gore will means that Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer will be the next Supreme Court justices.

If that's not a spin, I don't know what is. Of course, that is a spin, but you know, when Moses speaks, people tend to listen. I hope not.

CARLSON: Amen, and Aiesha points out that Rick Lazio on "The Today Show" refused to refute campaign dirty letters stating that Hillary Clinton was in cahoots with a radical Muslim group who called for terrorist activities against the USS Cole. Lazio's accusation today rule him out as a serious Senate candidate.

That may be true, but they rule him in as a very good campaigner. It's an excellent tactic in New York State. Hats off to Rick Lazio.

PRESS: I would have to say, Tucker, I think Rick from New Jersey gets the award for "Spin of the Day." I think we should send him a mug. What do you say? CARLSON: If we had one, we would.

PRESS: All right, Rich, and that's all the time we have for tonight, unfortunately. Join us tomorrow night in THE SPIN ROOM. And here's our topic: the U.S. Constitution list just two requirements for somebody to be elected president, but what does it take to do the job of president?

CARLSON: And Jeanne Moos will be back with her look at the political life line, the political rope line. Lots of lines. For Joie Chen in Atlanta and Bill Press and I here we'll see you tomorrow in THE SPIN ROOM.

PRESS: Good night, everybody.

CARLSON: Good night.



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