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Election 2000: Presidential Front-Runners 'Undress' for Success

Aired November 3, 2000 - 1:55 p.m. ET

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

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: As election day nears, the campaign's heating up, Lou.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, maybe that's why the candidates are dressing down.

CNN's Jeanne Moos takes a look at the strategy of undressing for success.

(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?

VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Getting hot up here.

MOOS: You can watch them both undress.

GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I may just take my jacket off.

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

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

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

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

BUSH: Thanks for coming.

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

JOHN MARINO, FMR. 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 Gov. Mario Cuomo, who only rarely appeared in his shirtsleeves. Marino says peeling off a jacket is usually premeditated.

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

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

(CHEERING)

MOOS: Doesn't take much to make some people cheer.

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

MOOS: Marino says strategists really do discuss 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?

ROB LOWE, ACTOR: No.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I like it.

LOWE: It will look staged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MOOS: But the president in "The 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 that I've been talking for two hours and it's a little hot under these lights?

(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.

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

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 shirtsleeves.

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's 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)

WATERS: So if you're talking coattails this election season, you have to check with the guy holding the coat.

ALLEN: Ah, good one, Lou.

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