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Special Event

THE SPIN ROOM: Will George W. Bush's DUI Make Him DOA on Election Day?

Aired November 3, 2000 - 10:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

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

BILL PRESS, CO-HOST: Good evening and welcome to THE SPIN ROOM and our way after Halloween scary special tonight. Suddenly, everybody's looking for skeletons in George W. Bush's closet. I'm your spin doctor, Bill Press, here with spin doctor...

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST: Tucker Carlson. But are reporters looking in the right closet? Where did this story come from? Could it come back to haunt the Gore campaign like a home-sick boomerang?

PRESS: Yes, guys, we've got to tell you thank you, thank you. Our e-mail boxes were so stuffed last night that Tucker and I were spinning. We received more than 10,000 messages from you. That's a record here at CNN. And guess what? We want a lot more. More tonight, we want your take on what Tucker and I calling Beergate.

So get with it. Now is the time. Please give us a call at 1- 800-310-4CNN. Or you can join our live online chat at cnn.com. Or send in your e-mails to spin@cnn.com.

And yes, we're going to try still one more new thing tonight. We call it THE SPIN ROOM story minute.

CARLSON: Every night a new thing. Here with a tale that even George W. Bush wouldn't tell his own daughters until yesterday. Here in Atlanta is our favorite storyteller, Joie Chen.

PRESS: Hi, Joie.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Miss Storyteller to you, gentlemen.

CARLSON: Miss Storyteller.

CHEN: OK, here's story for tonight. Now be quiet and listen.

Once upon a time, there was a man who had some indiscreet adventures. And after one of them, he had to go to court on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge where another man saw him. They went their separate ways and many, many years passed.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHEN (voice-over): Some years later, that man who was in court that day saw the light and changed his ways. He became a governor and he wanted to be a president. He was on TV a lot.

Now the other man who was in court that day recognized the candidate and told his chiropractor about it and the chiropractor told some other people about it and one of them was Tom Connolly. He's a Democrat and the story made him very, very excited. He says it's important for lots and lots of people to hear the story.

TOM CONNOLLY (D), FORMER MAINE GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: My motivation is that this is -- I believe it to be the truth and I believe it to be important to the democracy.

CHEN: Pretty soon, somebody told some TV reporters this story. Now TV people like to repeat juicy stories. They get paid to do it. And before you know it, this story was on television. And other reporters heard it. Some are reporters for big networks and big newspapers. Last night, lots and lots of them wanted to hear the candidate's spin on the story.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a regrettable incident that I find interesting that four or five days before the is coming to the surface.

CHEN: Today, the nice lady who talks for him spun.

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think the American people are tired of this kind of gotcha politics.

CHEN: And the next thing we knew, just about everybody was spinning along.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I think it's much ado about nothing.

GOV. TOMMY THOMPSON (R), WISCONSIN: This thing has happened 24 years ago and I don't think it's going to have an impact.

GEORGE BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I didn't ride in here on a watermelon truck, something like this four days before an election, give me a break here.

CHEN: But guess who's not getting on the truck. He didn't even want to sigh.

AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have no comment on this. I want to talk about the issues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CHEN: Really? Well, the problem with our little tale here today is that we haven't quite figured out what the moral of the story is. Maybe guys, it's something like never do anything you wouldn't want a total stranger to tell his chiropractor.

PRESS: Especially, Tucker, if you are running for public office. Or if you're in public office.

CARLSON: That is an important moral for anybody suiting up to join a presidential race, I'd say absolutely. But the question is where does it go from here? Is it a big story tomorrow and the next day and the next day and then on election day? Does it move numbers?

PRESS: I think that depends on how many people just came in on the watermelon truck. Where did that come from? I mean, George Bush, the watermelon truck. The last time I heard it was the turnip truck. Maybe for George Bush it should be the broccoli truck.

CARLSON: They are such wonderfully charming nonsequiturs, you've got to admit. But I'll tell, the one thing that makes me think that this is all going to blow over like a spring storm...

PRESS: OK, yes,,.

CARLSON: ... is the following, and I think you can call it an endorsement. It comes from Candace Lightner. You may not have heard of her. She is the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Here's what she head today about George W. Bush. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDACE LIGHTNER, FOUNDER, MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING: It was 24 years ago. He has since quit drinking. He no longer drinks and drives, obviously. He stated he's learned from his mistake. He has talked many times about the fact that he had problems he had in the past. It would not affect me at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARLSON: What do you make of that?

PRESS: As you see, I'm stunned. Not that it affects me at all. Here's -- I never heard that before. Here's an organization who's purpose is to get the message out that drunk driving is wrong. Driving and drinking, right, is wrong.

CARLSON: Says it right in the name.

PRESS: And to go for legislation to get the limit down to make sure this doesn't happen. People are punished for it, and then something like this happens with other people in the car. The guy's 30 years old. He waits 10 more years before he stops drinking. And Candy says, oh, it doesn't really matter. I don't care. It's like PETA, you know, endorsing McDonald's or something. It doesn't fit.

CARLSON: But you don't think all the other angry mothers out there are going to take a look at this and say, gee, if Candace Lightner's not against it, then I guess I'm not either.

PRESS: I think they're going to say let's get a new president. The e-mails have been coming in already tonight, I think over 1,500 so far. Here's one, Tucker, from Jeffrey (ph). Don't know where he's from. Jeffrey. "George W. Bush is right to keep his youthful indiscretions private. What makes the media think Americans want to know about every mistake a man or woman makes in his life."

My question to you and to Jeffrey is why is that when Democrats do something, it's like mortal sin. But when Republicans do something, it's always a youthful indiscretion. Isn't a little...

CARLSON: Well, I think that's more of a theological question, Bill.

PRESS: I have my degree in theology.

CARLSON: That's a great question. I'm not sure I can answer. Democrats tend to get into seedier, more interesting scandals.

PRESS: Certainly, the truth is if the Bush people thought this things was going to go away today, they were wrong.

CARLSON: Well, they may be and that's why a lot of people are irritated by the media coverage of this.

We have an e-mail from no name submitted, who says: "I'm very disappointed about the way your company," that being CNN, "exploited an incident that happened years ago and has nothing to do with the campaign. The media has reached a new low" -- they reach those all the time, I notice -- "and is a disgrace to the once fine profession of journalism. I hope you can separate yourself from the rubbish and instead try to educate the public on meaningful things."

Lecture over. But that is a lecture we're hearing a lot. A lot of people are e-mailing that message, to which I say the press is at fault to some degree, but we can't help ourselves. It's five days before an election. What do you expect? The story drops right in the middle of the most intense scrutiny of politics in four years. What do you expect? There's going to be a frenzy and there was.

PRESS: Absolutely, and I want to reassure no name submitted that we have not yet reached the lowest low that we can get to.

CARLSON: We can get lower?

PRESS: We are capable of getting to a new low.

CARLSON: Subterranean? Let's go there.

PRESS: But you know what this reminds me of? This reminds me of when Gore was ahead in the polls for that very brief period, about 9 points, I got lots of calls and lots of e-mails from people saying CNN was clearly on Gore's side, that's why we're reporting those polls. Since the polls for the last three weeks have shown George W. Bush ahead, I haven't gotten one angry letter or one angry mail. I think this is in the eyes of the beholder. I would say, no name submitted get a life. If this happened to Al Gore, he would have nominated CNN for the Pulitzer Prize.

CARLSON: For the record, no name submitted, I have some sympathy for your point of view. PRESS: OK, we've got lots to say. Lots more to say, and lots more time. Also tonight, we're going to be joining again Robert George of "The New York Post." Yes, he's still in that same bar in New York.

CARLSON: It's been almost all week.

PRESS: There they are.

CARLSON: Oh, my gosh.

PRESS: This time joined by Jake Tapper of "salon.com" at our favorite New York City restaurant, maybe we can find out the name of it again tonight. They'll be giving us their spin on today's news and the to give tonight's spin the continuing Beergate news, Tucker. And also they'll be talking to some real people in that bar up there.

CARLSON: And probably a beer taste test. And if that's not enough fun, comedian Will Durst checks in with us later with his twisted take on it all. And we promise you, it is twisted.

But before we go any further, let's get an update on today's top stories and go back to Joie Chen in the newsroom in Atlanta -- Joie.

CHEN: All right Tucker and Bill. Well, here are some of the stories you might have missed today while you were spinning.

Singapore Airlines admits today that the only crash in its company history was caused by a wrong turn. The L.A.-bound plane took off on the wrong runway of Taipei's airport Tuesday. It hit some construction equipment then crashed and burned. No one's figured out how the pilot made that mistake. Eighty-one people died. Singapore Air officials say they are deeply sorry.

An attempt to link the deaths of four U.S. citizens to two former Salvadoran generals fell short today. A federal jury in Florida cleared the men in the 1980 rape and murder of three nuns and a church worker. Five soldiers of El Salvador's military are serving 30-year sentences. They said they were acting on orders, but a smoking gun never materialized.

Their mission and their ordeal over, more than 200 members of the USS Cole were at home in Norfolk, Virginia today. Their ship is being towed back to the home port for repairs to the damage done in last month's terrorist attack. Seventeen sailors died in that attack.

That's keeping you up on the news. Let's go back to Bill and Tucker -- guys.

PRESS: Thanks very much.

CARLSON: Stay with us. We'll be taking your phone calls and reading your e-mail. We have thousands and thousands of e-mail. We can't read them all, but we'll read some.

PRESS: And we'll be going to Robert George and Jake Tapper coming up next. Plus the people eating with them in that Le Marchelier (ph), we understand it's called, this New York City restaurant.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: You're in THE SPIN ROOM with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson. We will be right back with all of you and your comments and your e-mail and your phone calls coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PRESS: Welcome back, thanks for joining us. You're in THE SPIN ROOM this Friday night with Bill Press and Tucker Carlson.

CARLSON: You can get in touch with us, and please do, by phone. That's 1-800-310-4CNN, 1-800 indicates it's a free call. Or get into the chat room at cnn.com, or e-mail us spin@cnn.com. And I think people have been e-mailing us. We have a note from Mike Glazer: "Bush must be a slow learner. He got arrested for a DUI in 1976 and decided to stop drinking in 1986."

Well, Mike Glazer, not everyone who gets pulled over for DUI stops drinking. But I think it's notable that he wasn't pulled over and arrested after that.

PRESS: But if you drink a lot it sort of slows down your mental faculties.

(CROSSTALK)

PRESS: We also have a phone call.

Jeff calling from Utah, hello, Jeff. Welcome to THE SPIN ROOM. What's your take on all of this?

CALLER: I just think this whole thing is a joke. I just want everybody to know that I'm planning on running for president in 30 years and I got a speeding ticket last month.

CARLSON: Are you a drunk driver, Jeff?

CALLER: No, I am not but I do get speeding tickets and one for not wearing my seat belt.

CARLSON: Well, you are set for the Libertarian ticket then if you're riding without a seat belt. Good work.

PRESS: Thank you for the call. Before we go to Robert George and Jake Tapper, here's a quick e-mail, Tucker. This is from Brian, Houston, Texas, Bush country.

Brian says, I thought the professional and personal records of presidential candidates were something voters should know about. That's what Republicans demanded of the Clintons and Al Gore. Why should George W. Bush be treated differently? I think for the record we ought to say that you and I both agree, we should all be equal opportunity offenders.

CARLSON: I agree, but I think that note has it exactly backwards. For two years, and I lived here in Washington, it was Democrats who were saying, you know, the personal pecadillos of politicians ought be off limits. I'm against that point of view then and now.

PRESS: Well, it has either got to be one way or the other for both sides.

CARLSON: So, I think there is a difference between saying you ought not to go uncover facts about people's backgrounds -- a difference between saying that and saying that all of them are significant. And I think the press, of course, has a right to look into the backgrounds of candidates.

PRESS: I am feeling a little thirsty. Should we go to the bar?

CARLSON: Deeply thirsty.

PRESS: The virtual bar. All right, Robert George, "New York Post," back in his favorite New York restaurant, which I think is Le Marchelier, if I have it right this time.

ROBERT GEORGE, "NEW YORK POST": That is correct, Le Marchelier and little did we know that CNN would be so prescient as to put me in a bar all week right before this story breaks.

CARLSON: And to bring with you Jake Tapper of salon.com, fresh in from the road.

Jake, how's the bar?

JAKE TAPPER, SALON.COM: It's nice. It's nice. I got to say it's a lot of New Yorkers.

CARLSON: This is odd couple 2000.

PRESS: Jake, I read your story in salon.com today where you say Wayne Slater says that this story may be a little bit more complicated because, according to Wayne Slater, he talked to George Bush about this a couple of years ago. Tell us about it.

TAPPER: Wayne Slater is the bureau chief for "The Dallas Morning News" in the Austin bureau. And "The Dallas Morning News" is certainly not an anti-Bush newspaper. It endorsed him and generally it's a booster of whoever the governor is.

In any case, Wayne Slater said that he interviewed Governor Bush two years ago and him asked if he had ever been arrested after 1968, which was the date of a different time he was arrested for a college prank. And Governor Bush said no. And then he said, well, what about before 1968? and Governor Bush said, well. And Slater thought that Bush was about change the lie he had just told a second a before, but his communications director Karen Hughes put an end to the whole thing. The point is Governor Bush, according Wayne Slater, has lied about this DUI, which is a little different than just having a DUI.

GEORGE: I was a little bit confused by that story because if Bush says, well, it sounds like he might have been arrested before '66. But Slater sounds like he thought that Bush was going the clarify what happened after '68. So, I don't know. It sounds a little bit fuzzy there.

TAPPER: And speaking of fuzzy, this is the same logic we heard from Karen Hughes on the tarmac today. She was saying because Wayne Slater left that conversation pretty sure that Bush had lied to him, therefore Bush had told him the truth.

CARLSON: Let me ask you this, I mean, this sounds like, I think it's an interesting story, but then I'm interested in media stories. I'm wondering if this is the kind of story that is going to penetrate. I mean, really, there are four days left, four to be charitable, three, really.

I mean, is this going to go anywhere, do you think? And what does the Bush campaign think?

PRESS: And what is the New York media saying, Robert?

GEORGE: Well, speaking for the New York media, I have to show you the headline, our headline of my fine, fine paper here, which is, if you can see it, is D-Dubya-I, which we believe...

CARLSON: Excellent.

GEORGE: I have to give props to my paper here. It's a crazy media frenzy. But I don't know if there is like a real -- another leg to it. If there's greater proof or evidence that Bush was intentionally misleading or it was a complete and bold faced lie and there's a follow-up on what Wayne Slater says. maybe. But beyond that, I don't know.

TAPPER: I think the question is.

CARLSON: Go ahead.

TAPPER: I just think one of the questions is Karen Hughes came out and said that Governor Bush has always been, you know, has always completely disclosed everything, which is, of course, not the case. But the point of fact is since 1976 when this DUI took place, Governor Bush has, no doubt, filled out dozens of forms and been asked plenty of times when, you know, running Arbusto Oil or whether as a managing partner of Texas Rangers, has probably been asked a number of times on questionnaires, have you ever been arrested? a pretty standard question. If the Bush campaign is truly going to disclose everything, as Karen Hughes said, then we need to see these documents. And then I think the story will go away.

GEORGE: I think, Jake, I think it's the responsibility of the media to find those documents. I mean, if they find those documents and they say he clearly lies on the documents, there you've definitely got a story. But I don't think the Bush Administration, excuse me, premature, campaign, the Bush campaign.

TAPPER: By the way, this was not his position when it came to Hillary Clinton's billing forms.

CARLSON: We're going to get back to you and in the time that we are gone, if you all wouldn't mind finding those documents and also mingling around the bar and we will be back to you in just a minute.

GEORGE: We will be more than happy to mingle around the bar.

PRESS: Now when we come back we want to talk to some of your fellow minglers there at the bar. It sounds a little more lively tonight than it did the last time, Robert, because, after all, it's Friday night in New York. And also, people are on the phones, not just in the bars Friday night.

So, here is Rich from New Jersey with his take on this.

Hello, Rich, good evening, thanks for your call.

RICH: Hi, Bill. Hi, Tucker. Come on, I know you guys are smarter than this. This was dropped for two reasons. First, to draw, you know, the polls away from Bush. But second, this is a pattern of the administration. Clinton's on the West Coast campaigning. He's not going to get any press for this and this way Gore can stay in the spotlight with his message.

PRESS: I see. So it's a lest-wing -- a vast, left-wing conspiracy is that sort of what it is?

RICH: No, it's the regular White House communication.

CARLSON: Well, I'm sort of on your team, Rich. I mean, I don't believe in a vast, or at least small left-wing conspiracy. The leftist are a little too disorganized to get anything vast together.

PRESS: Thanks for the call, Rich. Got a -- whoops.

CARLSON: David Whitzel (ph) writes to ask: "Do you really believe that the Gore camp had nothing to do with this." David Whitzel, I don't really believe that. But I must say the question is does it actually help Gore. I mean, this story may be obscuring Gore's message for the last couple of days.

PRESS: Well, first of all, I want to point out -- I'd ask David of you, but just a rhetorical question: What's the evidence the Gore camp had anything to do with it?

CARLSON: Oh, none. That's just right off the top of my head.

PRESS: There is no evidence. Number two, I like to point out that the story about Monica was leaked to "Newsweek." It didn't help Bill Clinton that an enemy of his leaked the story. He still had to take responsibility for it, which he never did. In the beginning at any rate.

CARLSON: No, that's an excellent point.

PRESS: So no matter who leaker it, Bush has to take responsibility for it.

CARLSON: But it matters if it can be shown that Democratic operatives were involved. Because it could rebound to the detriment to the Gore campaign. But it doesn't change the fact he was arrested, of course.

PRESS: If, if, if. But it hasn't been shown. So anyhow, the thing -- the new thing that we started the other which is such a success...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: There are so many new things.

PRESS: The "Spin of the Day." "Spin of the Day," guy, we want your nominations for "Spin of the Day." Remember, this is the most outrageous thing that you heard any politicians or one of their spokespeople say. the thing that just made your head spin. How can they get away with that?

That's what we want to hear about. Tucker's got his tonight. I've mine. Here's how you get them in again. Phone 1-800-310-4CNN or you can join our online chat room with your nominations, cnn.com or e- mail your nominations for "Spin of the Day" at cnn -- spin@cnn.com

CARLSON: So send them to us. They are everywhere. Pick them out of the air and send them our way. When we come back. we'll have more with Robert George and Jake Tapper. They'll be talking to real people. At least as real as they can round up.

PRESS: There's one.

CARLSON: And we'll be back with comedian Will Durst. He'll join us later in the hour.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: We're back in THE SPIN ROOM. And actually thousands of you are here, at least your words are in the e-mails and the chat comments we've gotten. I'm Tucker Carlson her with Bill Press reading many of the comments you've sent in.

PRESS: Our e-mails and all this stuff coming in fast and furious, Tucker. Here's one from Carol in Vermont. Actually, this is the question I've heard most often today from people who are talking about this. Carol in Vermont say: "Does Bush think hiding the truth about his DUI sets a good example for his daughters."

I've got two sons. You've got kids. I've go to say when I was talking -- our sons are in their twenties -- when I was talking to our sons about, you know, don't drink and don't drive, you know. We'll drive you or get a friend you or whatever. If I had had a DUI in my past, which I don't I think only because I was lucky, frankly, I would have said, don't be like your old man. Don't do something stupid like I did rather than hide the fact that I did have a DUI. Wouldn't you?

CARLSON: Well, for me this is obviously a purely theoretical question because there's nothing embarrassing I've done in my life. But let's just say for the sake of argument I had done something embarrassing I would never, ever, ever admit it to my children. I think phoniness and deceit are much more effective on this subject with you kids. Your kids looks up to you so it's such a confusing mixed message to say on the one hand this is bad behavior. On the other, I did it. I don't think kids can comprehend it.

PRESS: But you wouldn't say you would lie to you kids. I'm not saying he lied to his kids. You wouldn't say you would lie to your kids.

CARLSON: Well, there's a difference between lying and just not bringing it up. Or, you know, there's a certain amount of tact. you know, there are a lot of euphemisms for it. But you don't need to tell your kids you were arrested for DWI.

PRESS: I'm not trying to be judgmental because it's up to each parent to do their own thing the way that works best for them and their family, but I would've done it differently. I would have been up front with them about what had happened to me and I think that's the best way to handle it.

CARLSON: Interesting. Well, actually, speaking of families let me just get to one e-mail that addresses another family question that we hear all the time. And this from Ben who says: "I think it's funny Bush accuses Gore of living in Clinton's shadow when Bush himself has his dad campaigning for him." Which is a valid point and people often point that out. But in the interest of fairness, the entire Gore family travels along.

PRESS: Well, he should be.

CARLSON: I don't have a problem with.

PRESS: And also, he's got his daddy campaigning with him, don't forget, from the melon truck.

CARLSON: That's true, but Gore has his daughters along.

PRESS: Speaking of some of the strange things that candidates do, here's another activity that gets a lot of candidates into a lot trouble: taking their clothes off.

CARLSON: But what better way to prove you have nothing to hide? Here's Jeanne Moos on what politicians have up their sleeves.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A lot's been made about Al Gore's changing image. But why look at how he dresses when you can watch him undress?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GORE: It's getting hot up here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: You can watch them both undress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I may just take my jacket off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Their clothes aren't tight but the race is. When the candidates start stripping in public, AL Gore even has a favorite line.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE: It may be a little cold outside, but I feel hot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE: It may be chilly out here, but I feel hot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: The presidential race has become a series of hot flashes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Thanks for coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Actually, George W. takes off his jacket a lot less than Al Gore.

JOHN MARINO, FORMER NEW YORK DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Democrats are traditionally better taker-offers of jackets.

MOOS: Public relations executive John Marino, appearing jacketless, used to be an adviser to former New York governor Mario Cuomo who only rarely appeared in his shirt sleeves. Marino says peeling off a jacket is usually premeditate.

MARINO: You've got to look like you're closer to the people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORE: I'm going to take my coat off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Doesn't take much to make some people cheer. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I going to talk a little policy. I'm going to talk a little politics. First, I'm going to take my coat off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Marino says strategist really do discusses such things as they did in the season finale of "The West Wing."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE WEST WING")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: How do you feel about him taking his jacket off?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: No.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I like it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: It'll look staged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But the president in "West Wing" winged it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE WEST WING")

MARTIN SHEEN, ACTOR: Can I trust you all to read nothing into it other than I've been talking for two hours and it's a little hot under these light? Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: Two hours. In real life, candidates disrobe in two minutes. And then there's the matter of who holds the jacket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Only in America, where the most popular governor in Pennsylvania history will hold my coat.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But not all candidates take it off. Hillary Clinton kept her jacket on even when she went bowling.

At the opposite end of the scale is Bobby Kennedy, who appeared on campaign posters in shirt sleeves.

MARINO: There is another strategy, which is to keep the jacket on because you don't want to show the sweat stains in the back.

MOOS: But once the jacket is off, can the sleeves be far behind.

(on camera): I'm calling this "The Full Monty" strategy.

(voice-over): Since full frontal nudity was such a crowd-pleaser in "The Full Monty," let's hear it for full frontal campaigning.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CARLSON: I want to see him toss the coat into the crowd, link an Engelbert Humperdinck concert.

PRESS: I just hope we never get to "The Full Monty" candidate. I don't know. But I'm glad -- I'm glad she ran that story.

You know, I was just thinking, I don't know whether I'd take my jacket off. I think I'd like to take my shoes off.

CARLSON: Bill, you're like Mr. Rogers. You're scaring me, man.

I think we've got to go back to the bar. I hope you all are clothed.

Jake, Robert, are you there?

TAPPER: Yes, we are. How are you doing?

PRESS: Hey, Jake.

CARLSON: Terrific. Who do you have with you, Jake?

TAPPER: This is Jeff Carldiero (ph) from Park Slope, Brooklyn. He's a Republican. And he is actually the definition of the kind of voter that Rick Lazio running for Senate here in New York wants. He is a Gore voter and a Lazio voter both.

CARLSON: A ticket-splitter.

TAPPER: Exactly, and a Republican, I'd like to add. First of all, why are you voting for Lazio?

JEFF CARLDIERO: He's from New York. I feel he knows the city and he knows the whereabouts, and he's done an excellent job, his seat right now in Congress, and I feel we should continue this flow of positive energy that he's generating.

TAPPER: And the same thing with Gore, I imagine, as well, right?

CARLDIERO: One of the things you want to look for when somebody is taking on a new job is his training. Now, he's had the training, he's had the background, and I feel Gore's an honest man.

TAPPER: And Jeff is one of the voters here who also feels that...

PRESS: Jake.

TAPPER: Yes.

PRESS: I'd like to -- if you could ask a question there of your guest, does he -- is he still for Gore even though Ross Perot has endorsed George Bush?

TAPPER: Yes, Ross Perot, everybody's talking about it here in New York. It's on everybody's tongue, Ross Perot. Who's Ross backing this year?

One other thing, Jeff has an opinion about the DUI incident with George W. Bush.

CARLSON: I bet he does.

TAPPER: It does have you concerned.

PRESS: Very quickly. Go ahead, Jeff.

CARLDIERO: Most definitely. We've had a campaign with Clinton here where he's lied, and I question now with George Bush with the DWI, did he lie on applications saying he wasn't arrested? So this is an issue now. We have a case here where this man maybe he lied.

TAPPER: So anyway. Thanks, Jeff Carldiero, and we're hoping he's going to take a cab home as well.

CARLSON: Yes, take the subway, Jeff.

PRESS: All right, thank you, Jake, and thank you, Jeff.

CARLSON: Good advice, Jake.

PRESS: No doubt Jeff has been there a little bit of time. Hey, when we come back, you know, you've got to admit, Tucker, there's been a lot of material this year for the stand-up comics looking at these candidates and looking at the president. When we come back, one of the best stand-up comics in the business, Will Durst is going to be joining us with his laugh of the day in THE SPIN ROOM.

CARLSON: And we're waiting for more of your votes for the spin of the day. Send them to us. Call us with them. Put them in the chat room. We'll read them. It's THE SPIN ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. It's Friday night. Bill's taking his shoes off, so it seems like a good time...

PRESS: I put them back on. I figured I didn't want to lose my job...

CARLSON: Well, I -- for a moment you did. It was...

PRESS: This is such a close race, Tucker. Do you realize how close this race is?

CARLSON: So close your feet were sweating. It's that close.

PRESS: It's such a close race, "The Wall Street Journal" says -- this is Jay Leno in this morning's "Wall Street Journal." This race is so close that Dick Cheney may even vote in this election.

CARLSON: But in what state is the question.

PRESS: In what is the question. All right, Robert George...

CARLSON: Speaking of states...

PRESS: ... is rounding up people in the bar there in New York. Robert, who do you have there?

GEORGE: Hey there.

PRESS: What's up?

GEORGE: We have Nicole (ph) here, who is a lawyer in the wonderful state, the wonderful city of New York, and you are -- you're mixed I believe. You're voting -- well, tell me. Tell the viewers who you're voting for presidential.

NICOLE: I am voting for Gore most likely.

GEORGE: Why do you like Al Gore?

NICOLE: I don't love Al Gore, but I've always been a registered Democrat. I've always voted Democrat, and I don't feel like it's the time right now on this ticket to go to Bush, because I don't -- I don't think -- I just don't trust him enough. I don't think that he's ready enough, and I also, being pro-choice and being a lawyer, the Supreme Court is a huge issue and I don't think that he'd put on the judges that I feel would be appropriate.

GEORGE: OK, and over here we also have Rich, who is an undecided voter. What are the issues you're looking at, Rich?

RICH: Well, I'm really concerned about entitlement programs, Social Security. I think we've had generational profiling going on in this country, and it really, really bothers me. The candidates are really targeting senior citizens and they're paying no attention to young people at all.

GEORGE: Well...

CARLSON: Robert, he sounds like a suspiciously well-informed undecided voter. It gives me a sense that maybe -- maybe we should stop beating up on them. Maybe they do know what they're -- do know what they're talking about.

GEORGE: Well, he -- he says he's undecided. He's just looking at the issues, and he doesn't feel like the candidates are addressing them right now.

PRESS: Well, Robert, we've got to wrap here. Let me just say thanks to you and to Jake Tapper for joining us tonight. And you're there for the rest of the weekend, the rest of the evening, or whatever, Robert George and Jake Tapper.

CARLSON: They'll be there next week.

PRESS: Thank you, guys.

GEORGE: No controlling legal limit, guys. Just remember that.

CARLSON: Time to close out that tab, Robert.

We're going to go back -- we're going to go back to Atlanta, to Joie Chen for news -- Joie.

CHEN: All right, guys. We want to look at the stories you're going see in your newspapers tomorrow. The United States is still trying to mediate an end to Israeli-Palestinian clashes. So far, Washington has failed to pin down a cease-fire.

In the West Bank and Gaza, two more Palestinians died in clashes today. Among the more hopeful signs, though, Palestinian police today pulled stone-throwers away from flash points.

A gay rights victory in California. The tax board there says a lesbian who financially supports her partner and her partner's child can be recognized as head of the household. That gives gay and lesbian parents the same tax benefits as unmarried heterosexuals who support family members.

And is it a reason to be very, very afraid? Well, there is something out there. It is pretty big, as long as a basketball court, and maybe two, and it is headed toward Earth. Scientists say they spotted what may be a small asteroid coming right this way, though they say it isn't very likely to hit us, about a 1 in 500 chance, and that's about 30 years from now.

But then again, they warn they can't rule it out, guys. So watch out. Keep an eye out.

PRESS: OK. Thanks, Joie. Thanks very much. We'll be back to you in just a -- just a little bit.

As we were saying earlier, lots of fodder for the stand-up comics these days. One of the best joins us now. He's here in Washington with us -- Will Durst.

And Will, let's start out by -- thanks for joining us, by the way.

WILL DURST, COMEDIAN: Oh, for sure. Thanks for having me. How are you doing, Bill?

PRESS: Good to see you.

DURST: Tucker?

CARLSON: Hey.

PRESS: I mean, here's something serious now. On the DUI with George W. Bush, I mean, do you think this is going to help him or hurt him, Will? How do you think it plays?

DURST: That, I don't know; only the people can decide. But what a fanciful script. I mean, can you imagine -- I think "West Wing" would reject this. Four days before the election, a 24-year-old DUI conviction, and nobody's going to buy that.

He just keeps saying that he made mistakes. Well, I think we all made mistakes, you know, that's what we're worried about. We did Nixon-Nixon, Carter, Reagan-Reagan, Bush, Clinton-Clinton. We just don't want to go nine for nine. I think that's our big problem.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Now, you ran for office. Is that right, Will Durst?

DURST: That's right, Tucker.

CARLSON: And for mayor of San Francisco?

DURST: I ran for mayor of San Francisco.

PRESS: Was that a mistake?

CARLSON: And what came out of your past, I mean, right before an election...

(CROSSTALK)

DURST: No, no, no. I held a press conference. I introduced my mistress right to the press so they didn't have to go digging. I got 2 percent of the vote. I came in fourth out of 11. I spent $1,500. The guys who beat me each spent a million-dollars a piece. So on a dollar-per-vote basis, I am mayor of San Francisco.

CARLSON: Do you still have the mistress?

(LAUGHTER)

DURST: Well, now that I'm not running, I don't have to actually divulge all that.

PRESS: Hey Will, don't you have to admit you're going miss Bill Clinton? I mean, talk about material, right?

DURST: Yes, and I don't want him to quit. The heck with the 22nd Amendment, four more years. I mean he's only going to be 54. What's he going to end up doing, get appointed ambassador to "Baywatch"? Teaching a college course in situational ethics?

CARLSON: He really is like a full employment act for all of us. How much of your material comes from Clinton?

DURST: Well, I've been cutting down, but a couple of years ago...

CARLSON: Weaning yourself off? DURST: Yes, I have a Clinton patch.

PRESS: Well, looking ahead, which of the two, Bush or Gore, from a comedian's point of view, right? the guy that you can have the most fun with, right? not your political policies, your comedian's point of view, which one would give you better material?

DURST: There is absolutely no -- it's Bush. It is Bush. I can bring back my Quayle material. Do you realize that if he gets elected, it will be Bush-Clinton-Bush, right where Clinton always wanted to be.

PRESS: You know what? Be careful what you wish for is all I've got to say.

CARLSON: Bill, please.

We will be back in a second. More with Will Durst. We are going to ask him lots about Bush. We're going to substitute lots of other names for Quayle and Bush here when we come back. And we're also going to get into "Spin of the Day." So, if you've seen anything particularly egregious or head-spinning, toss in an e-mail, call us on the phone. We would like to see it. We will be back. This is THE SPIN ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. We've been advertising all night our notably toll-free telephone number. So we hope you're taking advantage of it, including someone we have on the line right now. Helen in Philadelphia.

Helen, are you there?

CALLER: Hi, I'm here.

CARLSON: What do you think?

CALLER: Well, I think one thing is that I'm tired of hearing people say this is something he did in his youth. He was 30 years old. He was fully grown man. And as far as the drinking part, you know, the presidency holds a lot of pressure and tension. Who is to say he won't take a drink to relieve some of the pressure? That's my spin.

PRESS: Well, I remember that movie about Nixon. There was another president who drank in the White House. You never know.

CARLSON: Youth is a state of mind and sometimes a blood alcohol content.

PRESS: Absolutely, OK, we are going to get to THE SPIN ROOM nominations in the next segment. But here's an early one I've just got to read very quickly from Nick. Nick says the DUI is a non- factor. If he becomes president, he will never have to drive again. It will be the job of the Secret Service to drive him everywhere. Now, that is spin. That's really spin.

CARLSON: I think Nick means that in a dead-serious way.

PRESS: I'm afraid Nick is not saying this tongue-in-cheek. By that way, Ross Perot called in. He's very jealous. We have had so many e-mails. So, Ross Perot wants everybody to know that you can also e-mail him. If you would like his e-mail address, of course, is www.loonybin.com.

CARLSON: I think that's an adult site, actually.

PRESS: Will Durst standing by.

Will, we were talking about George Bush. You said you think Bush gives you more fodder. So, who do you think is going to win?

DURST: Well, my prediction is that Bush wins the popular vote and Gore wins the electoral vote. And how would you like to be the guy who had to explain that to George Bush? No, you actually won, but not really. You don't get to do the job, but you're still the governor. CARLSON: Do you think the DUI business, does that make Bush more or less appealing to you? Are you more inclined to vote for him or less?

DURST: You know what he said was, you never asked. Well, we didn't ask if you suspended a burlap bag full of kittens from a tree limb and beat them with gaffing hooks either. I mean, how many things do we have to ask? It's the same thing that Clinton got caught on. You know, Clinton lied about cheating on his wife but that's why it's called cheating on your wife. You have to lie. It's in the book.

CARLSON: But the difference is that Bush didn't say, as Clinton did, I am not drunk driving.

DURST: But Clinton said I never had sexual relations with that woman, he was actually pointing at Helen Thomas.

PRESS: Will Hurst -- Durst, I'm sorry.

DURST: I wish.

PRESS: Right, you have not mentioned our own Pat Buchanan. I mean, why isn't Pat part of your monologue?

CARLSON: Bill is tossing you a the softest of softballs, smack it.

DURST: I may vote for Pat Buchanan just so he gets enough votes that he won't come back on "CROSSFIRE."

CARLSON: Let me actually, before we run out of time, let me ask you a personal question. I was reading your bio tonight and I noticed that you're actual name, and correct me if I'm wrong, is, I am quoting now, William Tell Bruce John Henry Durst Junior. Did your parents really name you that and why?

DURST: Well, it was an accumulation of names, including Catholic confirmation. But yes, that's the whole name and that's why I went to Will Durst, nine letters, very simple.

PRESS: I don't blame you. You did the right thing by that.

CARLSON: That is a rational decision. You're a smart man, Will Durst.

PRESS: You did the right by joining us tonight, Will. Thanks very much for being with us.

DURST: You guys are so sweet and you are actually much funnier than I am, which ticks me off.

PRESS: Now the big question is whether or not, Tucker, this story is going to continue or whether we've seen the last of this DUI story.

Joie Chen, let's go back to Atlanta.

Joie, do you think this thing is now done or is this going to percolate over the next couple of days?

CHEN: Well, I'm not a very reliable predictor of anything, Bill. I'd probably rather just listen to Will for the next few minutes. But in any case, I was over visiting with the folks who take our complaint calls here at CNN. I guess you didn't know that there is somebody who actually does that. My friend Jim is over there answering phone calls all day. And please stop yelling at him. It is not his fault.

But in any case, he said that on the CNN public information line today they had something like 830 calls just before 10:00. An on a big news day that's normally 400 calls. So, you know, for all the people who say they don't want to hear about this, apparently they actually still do want to talk about it all the time.

PRESS: But Joie, were they complaining that we were giving it too much coverage or not enough coverage? Did he say? Did Jim say?

CHEN: Complaints, complaints, complaints. All on the complaint line here. Yes, and there were some other complaints as well. There were complaints about why we had Ross Perot on TV and all the people who didn't care to hear what Ross Perot had to say.

CARLSON: That's a valid complaint.

So, does this mean that because so many people are mad that this story is getting play that it's going to continue to get more play?

CHEN: Well, you guys have to have jobs this weekend, don't you? I mean...

CARLSON: That's a great point. CHEN: I mean, you know, we -- you know, we all need full employment here at CNN, and so, you know, I suspect there's going to be a little bit of leg on the story, at least until Tuesday.

PRESS: And we have to have something to talk about.

Joie Chen, thanks very much.

CARLSON: Thanks.

CHEN: See you guys. Have a good weekend.

PRESS: All right. See you again soon.

CARLSON: See you, Joie.

PRESS: Thanks, Joie. Very good.

And spin of the day, it's time for it. Tucker's spin of the day...

CARLSON: Oh, yes.

PRESS: ... my spin of the day, and your spins of the day, coming up next in THE SPIN ROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CARLSON: Welcome back to THE SPIN ROOM. I'm Tucker Carlson here with Bill Press. We've...

PRESS: Hi, everybody.

CARLSON: ... come to the part of the program we reserve for the spin of the day: ours, yours. We've got a lot by e-mail, and I think we have one on the phone.

Wade from Wyoming -- Wade, are you there?

WADE: Yes, I am. How's everybody?

CARLSON: Great.

PRESS: All right. Spin of the day, Wayne.

WADE: My spin of the day is, hey, we're only human. I don't know anybody who hasn't made a stupid mistake or two in their life. Let the guy go.

PRESS: All right, Wayne, thank you. Here's my -- here's the spin of the day from Gabriel in New York, New York.

"I think the spin of the day was when former President Bush said it is outrageous that this story is surfacing four days before the election." Gabriel says, "So why didn't he tell us sooner?"

CARLSON: Not a bad point actually.

PRESS: Not a bad point.

CARLSON: Susan (ph) from (UNINTELLIGIBLE), Washington says: "Democrats are asking us to believe their hands are clean in this latest bit of dirty politics."

PRESS: That is asking a lot.

CARLSON: Well, it certainly is.

(LAUGHTER)

The bigger question, Susan, is, who believes them?

PRESS: And here is Bill. Not me Bill, another Bill. Spin of the day nomination. "Quote: 'I did it for my daughters' -- end quote. That line really did it for me," says Bill.

CARLSON: Yes...

PRESS: It was a little bit of a stretch.

CARLSON: Well, and not just a stretch. While it may be technically be true, it did have that kind of -- it's a tone I recognize. I did it for the children, for future generations.

PRESS: I've got it.

CARLSON: Yes.

PRESS: You've got a nomination.

CARLSON: I do have a nomination. This is a particularly egregious one. By definition, they tend to be egregious. This is pretty bad.

It turns out recently someone has been calling voters in a couple of states, including Michigan, claiming to be from the NAACP and saying that those voters ought to vote for George W. Bush. Now, this outraged the head of the NAACP, Julian Bond, and he issued this statement, which you can put up on the screen.

He said: "This is especially damaging to us because we so" -- sorry to start laughing in the middle -- "because we so jealously guard our nonpartisan status."

(LAUGHTER)

This from the head of the NAACP, the kamikaze wing of the Democratic Party, the same group that's putting up millions in ads against George W. Bush. They put up the worst ad of the season, the James Byrd ad, accusing basically Governor Bush killing of this guy. Calling themselves nonpartisan, they've never supported a Republican ever.

PRESS: Are you not -- you are not telling me that the NAACP leans Democratic.

CARLSON: There are so many negatives there.

PRESS: Shocking.

CARLSON: Pretty stunning.

PRESS: OK, my spin of the day -- first of all, I just -- I just have to say this would get the spin of the day if it weren't for the next one. When George Bush said yesterday -- quote -- this is George Bush. "They want the federal government controlling the Social Security, like it's some kind of federal program." Duh. Guess what...

CARLSON: And you know what they're coming for next? It's Medicare.

PRESS: Medicare...

(CROSSTALK)

But here's my spin of the day. It's Karen Hughes yesterday when she was asked about the DUI. Here was Karen Hughes' defense. Let's listen to it again. Spin of the day, Karen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAREN HUGHES, BUSH COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think the American people are tired of this kind of gotcha politics. They're tired of this kind of last minute dirty tricks. And I think the Democrats owe the American people an explanation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PRESS: Now, that was today. I stand corrected. But I have to tell you, when I saw that, you know who I thought of? I must say, I thought of Hillary Clinton talking to Matt Lauer, saying this was all a vast right-wing conspiracy.

I mean, come on, Karen, it doesn't work.

CARLSON: Yes, and I'm not sure how sick people are...

PRESS: Anyhow, and we're out of time, folks. I'm sorry. End of THE SPIN ROOM for this week. Thanks for joining us on THE SPIN ROOM.

For Joie Chen in Atlanta, for Tucker Carlson and me, Bill Press, right here in Washington, thanks so much for joining us.

CARLSON: We'll be back, and the minute we know when, we'll tell you.

PRESS: So just stay tuned.

CARLSON: The mystery lingers. Keep watching.

PRESS: Who knows when. Thanks, guys.

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