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Radio Talk Show Takes Listeners' Calls on Expected Party Switch of Senator Jim Jeffords

Aired May 24, 2001 - 08:39   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COLLEEN MCEDWARDS, CNN ANCHOR: We want listen to voice of the public a little bit right now on the story about Senator Jeffords and his expected switch of parties.

Our affiliate WNG, in Chicago, is broadcasting a radio talk show right now on this expected announcement, taking calls from viewers.

The host is John Williams.

Let's have a listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... voted for him. Granted, they voted for him as a Republican, but it's hard to get elected in other than in a particular party. I guess in Vermont, they have an independent member of the House of Representatives, so you can get elected as an independent.

JOHN WILLIAMS, WGN TALK SHOW HOST: Are you a Democrat or a Republican?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm neither, really, you know. Neither, really. I vote for people, and I think a lot of people vote for people.

What I'm thinking is that Jeffords had a unique opportunity, just like any of the other 100 people in the Senate had a unique opportunity to make a decision to make a difference.

WILLIAMS: I understand.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he leveraged his power at this historic moment in time. Maybe he made the right decision, maybe he didn't, when he comes up for reelection, he'll find out.

WILLIAMS: Dave (ph), thanks for the call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, bye.

WILLIAMS: Speaking of that, though, that power sharing, or switching, Stu (ph) had something to say about that too.

Hi, Stu (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

WILLIAMS: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My comment is that right after the election, when it was a such a close vote in the Senate, the Democrats were complaining that they should share the chairmanships of the committees.

WILLIAMS: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I'm wondering if they're going to live up to their word.

WILLIAMS: Yes. How much do you want to bet they're not going to remember that? Remember, they even wanted at least some representation in the Cabinet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. Exactly.

WILLIAMS: And I believe one Democrat is in the Cabinet. But they said you can't ace us out completely. I bet you they're not going to offer the olive branch now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It should be brought up, maybe, to our Senator Durbin. Maybe he could comment on that.

WILLIAMS: It's a good point. Thanks, Stu (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.

WILLIAMS: Have a good morning.

From there, though, let's go back to Karen (ph).

You're on WGN Radio. Hi, Karen (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good morning, how are you?

WILLIAMS: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good.

I wanted to ask whatever happened to voting for a person based on their beliefs, not based on their political affiliation?

WILLIAMS: That's the other side of this coin. We were keeping score early on, and we said that's 0-3, Jeffords -- if you're listening, people see you as maybe being manipulative or power hungry. But by the same token, we so frequently say that we want some of these people to get rid of partisan politics and think with their own brain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Exactly. You can fall somewhere in the middle. What does that make you, a Republican or a Democrat?

WILLIAMS: Good point, Karen (ph), thanks for the call.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, thank you.

MCEDWARDS: A little bit of flavor for you of what people are saying out there this morning.

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