tv Race for the White House CNN April 10, 2016 9:00pm-10:01pm PDT
democratic presidential candidate bill clinton is denying allegations he carried on an extramarital affair with a former nightclub singer. >> you're under attack, labeled a draft dodger, a womanizer. >> someone offered her a lot of money, and she took it. >> your presidential campaign is collapsing. dreams of the white house receding. who can you trust? your friends? family? strategists? when you're on the edge of the political abyss. >> not a good night.
combat operations. this war is now behind us. >> american forces arrive home victorious from the gulf war after evicting saddam hussein from kuwait. george h.w. bush is now the most popular president in modern history. >> went down on constitution avenue, when the army of desert storm marched up. and it was something like rome when the legions were coming back. i was so awed by it. >> at the conclusion of the war his approval rating was 90%. that was a halo effect from the war. it looked like maybe a good position to start a successful re-election. >> but with 16 months until the
election, bush is reluctant to start the campaign engines. >> his first responsibility is to remain as president. you can't give up the fourth year of a presidency just because you have to run for president. >> bush is number one in the polls. he fears no democrat. >> most of the front-runners looked at those numbers and decided i'm going to keep my powder dry and wait four years, this is not a good year to run. >> but one man is considering a run for president. bill clinton has won five terms as arkansas governor. but he is still relatively unknown outside his home state. with little political backing he flies to california to see his lawyer. >> we sat at the airport in santa monica for a long, long time, a couple of hours, and discussed it.
he said wow, everybody's afraid of george bush. they don't want to run. he pretty much said i'm going to do this. he asked me would i be involved. i said of course, i'll do whatever you want. >> fresh from running a successful senatorial campaign in pennsylvania are top guns james carville and paul begala. >> there's a hotel two blocks from the capitol building and carville and i went in there and we sat there in the bar, drinking iced tea and talking. he said my daughter is going to come of age in the year 2000. and he talked about the kind of country he wanted to leave to her. >> however smart and ability to connect with people that you think bill clinton has, you have no idea. he's like so much better in person than you think he is. >> so often with these guys they're kind of an empty vessel into which we have to pour some content.
he was passionate about how to empower people more, give them dignity and skills and training and child care and work. >> james said my only question is this guy too good to be true? >> i'd like never met anybody like that in politics. >> carville and begala sign up to run his campaign. >> together we can provide the leadership that will restore the american dream. >> clinton has a mountain to climb. since 1968, the democrats have taken the white house just once. >> we were a traumatized political party. it was accepted that we had fallen outside the mainstream of america. >> that's why today i proudly announce my candidacy for president of the united states of america.
>> in washington, d.c. bush still hasn't declared. leaving his campaign team to fend off calls from eager republican donors. >> we would convey the urgency that was being conveyed to us from the state and the donors and the supporters and such. and we were met with resistance from the white house. >> i think he really wanted to work you know, the presidential stuff. >> that's what he enjoyed, that's what he excelled at. he wanted to wait as long as possible. >> he is yesterday and we are tomorrow. >> we will put america first. >> his guard down, bush gets blindsided. >> so i am today declaring my candidacy for the republican nomination for president of the united states.
>> when buchanan announced, we were caught down with our pants down completely. >> pat buchanan is a monolith of the republican party. a social conservative and key member of the reagan administration. >> i felt we could not allow the election of 1992 to go forward without having our different views from president bush represented in the primaries. >> and the first primary is in new hampshire. bill clinton is up and running, he's pitted against lawyer and former massachusetts senator paul tsongas. >> what's your name? good to see you. you been doing this? >> yes. >> clinton really knew how to talk to the good old boys, the pickup truck people. >> how long has this pig been on?
>> he could sound like america. and he understood what they cared about and how to get to them. it wasn't for nothing that they called him bubba. >> by mid january, clinton has edged in front of rival paul tsongas. but his world is about to come crashing down. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> the phone call was from bill clinton. >> he told me what was being published, what was coming out the next morning. at that moment i was scared to death. it's intelligent enough to warn of danger from virtually anywhere. it's been smashed, dropped and driven. it's perceptive enough to detect other vehicles on the road. it's been shaken, rattled and pummeled. it's innovative enough to brake by itself, park itself and help you steer.
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yes, i was bill clinton's lover for 12 years. >> democratic presidential candidate bill clinton is denying allegations he carried on an extramarital affair with a former nightclub singer. >> he said it wasn't true. if it was true, it's hardly a disqualifying thing to run for president. >> not a good night. >> when the story hit, the option was what is the most vigorous response that we can give to deal with this? you knew you had to be aggressive. >> bill clinton and his top advisers have taken great pains to select a tv forum for the candidate and his wife, hillary, to refute the tabloid charges, finally settling on a special
edition of "60 minutes" on cbs. >> carville and begala write a memo outlining a strategy for the "60 minutes" interview. critical to clinton's defense is his wife, hillary. >> january 24th, 1992. hillary, she's our ace in the hole. like you, she needs to be calm, confident. unlike you, she can leap to your defense. >> we thought if somebody this impressive is in love with him and going to stick with him, maybe i can stick with him. >> tonight presidential hopeful governor bill clinton and his wife, hillary, talk about their life, their marriage and the allegations that have all but stalled his presidential campaign. >> carville and i were in the adjacent room watching on monitors. and as is my habit, i took furious notes. just to keep myself occupied. >> are you prepared tonight to say you've never had an extramarital affair?
>> i'm not prepared tonight to say that any married couple should ever discuss that with anyone but themselves. >> you know, i have acknowledged wrongdoing, i have acknowledged causing pain in my marriage. >> i think most americans would agree that it's very admirable that you have stayed together, that you worked your problems out, that you seem to have reached some sort of an understanding and an arrangement. >> wait a minute, wait a minute. wait a minute. you're looking at two people who love each other. this is not an arrangement or an understanding. this is a marriage. that's a very different thing. >> you know, i'm not sitting here as some little woman standing by my man like tammy wynette. i'm sitting here because i love him and i respect him and i honor what he's been through and what we've been through together. and you know, if that's not enough for people, then heck, don't vote for him. >> she was so strong, she was so steady, she was so able.
and that sent a big message to a lot of voters. >> whew. whew. >> one of these lights fell. huge, hot light. and he scooped hillary off that sofa and pulled her over and she just clung to him. it could have knocked her block off. and that was the authentic moment. >> whoo, i'm all right. >> somehow "60 minutes" never put that on the air. >> even without the authentic moment, the interview has worked. in an abc news poll, four out of five americans say clinton should stay in the race. >> once we did "60 minutes," then that allowed us to say look, i've dealt with that. now let's don't deal with my problems, let's deal with your problems.
let's have an election about you, not about me. >> the campaign heads back to new hampshire. the democratic primary is now just three weeks away. so, too, is the republican primary. with george bush still in washington, his republican rival pat buchanan has new hampshire all to himself. >> the walls of washington, d.c. are shaking right now. >> buchanan has a simple message. the president's word can't be trusted. >> we believed george bush when he promised -- >> read my lips. no new taxes! >> then george bush hit us with the largest tax increase in history. bush betrayed our trust. >> i went from 15% gradually up and he kept coming down. >> the state of new hampshire is in deep trouble, and george bush is in deep trouble. which is exactly where he ought to be.
>> new hampshire is a state that punishes candidates for not earning the votes. if there's any plausible primary opposition, you had to go up there and campaign. ♪ >> goaded into action, bush heads north to fight it out with pat buchanan. >> and i believe that when it comes tuesday i will carry this state. i hope substantially. i believe i will go on to have another four years as president. but i need your help. >> bush has finally entered the race. but clinton's campaign is about to go into a tailspin. >> once again, democratic presidential candidate bill clinton has been put on the defensive over questions about his character. the arkansas governor denies a report that suggests he schemed to dodge the draft during the vietnam war. >> allegations of womanizing are one thing. draft dodging is a far bigger problem.
>> people want their politicians to have served, to be loyal to the military, to stand up for the country. >> and so when that hit, we dropped precipitously. we collapsed. >> like so many people in my generation, i felt a profound ambivalence. >> the new hampshire primary is one week away. >> i love my country. but i hated the war. >> stan greenberg, our pollster, had the new numbers. and he said it's over, we lose, we're going to be below 10%. maybe 5. we don't have a chance. we lose. it's more than a network.
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though the facts remain jumbled, the 1992 news about clinton's 1969 draft status is that it has for the moment distracted his campaign. >> two scandals in less than a month have left bill clinton lagging behind his democratic rivals in the key new hampshire primary. >> bill clinton said look, my own fault. i caused the problems. but i'm going to deal with them. we're going to win this. let's all get some sleep and let's go get them tomorrow morning. >> i just have one thing to say about the next eight days. i'm going to fight like hell.
>> hi, folks. >> he started going to duck pin bowling alleys, he started going to shopping centers, he went anywhere, anywhere he could find people. >> how are you? >> but he just thought every moment, every second i've got to try. >> good to see you. >> hang in there. >> i'll do it. >> i think things will turn around for you. >> i do too. >> it was the most remarkable thing i've seen in politics. literally we're watching a guy literally fight for his life, for his political life. >> good luck. >> thank you, i need your help. >> then the hour of reckoning. >> the atmosphere in the room before the results came in was very tense, kind of gloomy. a lot of gallows humor. >> then the first exit polls come out. >> and we were shocked. >> we were at 5%. 25. it's not a win, but it's time to make it look like one.
>> i sat there on a little crummy laptop and banged out a statement that said new hampshire, tonight you make me feel like the comeback kid. [ cheers and applause ] >> i think we know enough to say with some certainty that new hampshire tonight has made bill clinton the comeback kid. [ cheers and applause ] >> george bush has won his primary as well, beating pat buchanan. but two days later there's a new challenger in town. >> number one, i will not run as either a democrat or republican, because i will not sell out to anybody but to the american people. >> ross perot has made his fortune in technology. now he wants to use his business acumen to balance the federal budget. >> ross perot was a credible, successful business guy who
built a gigantic company, and so he had a lot of street cred. >> to his opponents, perot is a quicksand, sucking in both bush and clinton voters. >> he was trying to run on a conservative message, which certainly would take away from president bush's vote total. >> anybody who starts out with nothing and makes $6 billion, you have to assume they know something. >> by june bush has defeated pat buchanan. and clinton's sweep of his primaries guarantees him the democratic nomination. but nationally both lag behind perot in the polls. >> if the election were held today, ross perot might be president. >> clinton's campaign needs a fix of adrenaline. hillary comes to the rescue, again. >> she said bill, you need to go
on the arsenio hall show. so of course, we did. >> arsenio hall is huge with young americans. >> so clinton goes to the arsenio hall show. carville and i were sitting in the dressing room with him. i pulled my sunglasses and i said, you've got to wear my sunglasses. and he took them, but he looked at me really skeptically. so he turned to james, who is 17 years older than me. same age as governor clinton. and he said james, what do you think? carville had the greatest line. he said, "governor, everything before the beatles, i decide. everything after the beatles, paul decides. and this is definite lei post-beatles call." ♪ [ cheers and applause ] >> he put those glasses on and went out and played and created one of the iconic images of the campaign.
>> not only did we not see that coming, we couldn't compete with that. can you imagine putting president bush on arsenio hall? youth vote loved it. it spoke to change. it was really, really brilliant. >> so the candidate has rocked the youth with his saxophone. but is that all there is to bill clinton? america still isn't sure. >> people wanted to know more about where he came from. he burst on the scene. he's got like a different way. he's smart, he seems to have a lot of controversy around him. who in the hell is he? where did he come from? why don't i know anything about him? >> i was born in a little town called hope, arkansas three
months after my father died. i remember living in that old, two-story house where i lived with my grandparents. i remember going -- >> what are the three things you want people to know? he worked his way up, he was born poor, he's one of you. and that was the start of telling you the story, the central story of the man from hope. >> i end tonight where it all began for me. i still believe in a place called hope. god bless you. and god bless america. >> clinton tells his story and america is buying it. >> he's chosen his running mate, fellow southerner al gore. >> two blonde wives, everybody looks young. perfect day. don't stop thinking about
tomorrow. okay, i was gagging. but in terms of the visual reinforcing your message, it was the most perfect roll-out announcement i've ever seen. >> and the three-way race becomes a two-way race as the candid businessman ross perot quits. >> now that the democratic party has revitalized itself, i have concluded that we cannot win in november. >> is this real? did it really happen? am i stoned? >> so therefore, i will not become a candidate. >> he had actually dropped out. one minute you're the $6 billion man who is going to get under the hood and fix it. and the next minute you say the hell with it. i mean he saw the clinton/gore and said it's over. >> i wish you all the best. i hope you have a chance. >> i was thrilled, we did not need a third party in there and we did not need a third party that was attacking us. >> it's great.
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>> bush drags behind clinton by more than 20 points. the republican convention is his chance to scramble back. >> well, now pat buchanan is going to come out here tonight and endorse george bush. >> with pat buchanan out of the race, the bush team need to corral his conservative supporters. >> what a terrific crowd this is. >> and so the decision was made to ask pat to speak. he agreed. that he was going to be totally loyal and supportive of bush. >> the first thing i want to do tonight is to congratulate president george bush and the buchanan brigades are enlisted. >> but buchanan goes off script and straight into social conservative rhetoric. >> there is a religious war going on in this country. it is a cultural war as critical to the kind of nation we shall
be as the cold war itself. >> one of my colleagues said what the hell is this guy doing? i said, well, he's screwing us, that's what he's doing. >> it allowed the press to portray us as both a divided party and pandering to the right-wing social conservatives. >> buchanan's speech risks driving republican voters away from george bush. rattled, the president tries to deflect by going after clinton. >> my opponent says america is a nation in decline. well, don't let anyone tell you that america is second rate, especially somebody running for president. >> but bush still isn't convincing the voters. so with 11 weeks until the election, he calls a trusted
ally. >> mr. secretary, are you the new chief of staff? >> i was scared to death when i heard james baker was coming back to the white house. he is as able a political hand as there is. >> james baker had been the architect of ronald reagan's landslide victory in 1984. >> i've asked secretary baker to resign as secretary of state, to join me as chief of staff effective august 23rd. he's the sort of man you want on your team. >> ten points ahead and all of a sudden you know, here comes joe montana trotting on the field. uh-oh. >> he will help me build on what we've started by developing an integrated second-term program. >> the clock is ticking for the bush team and baker is their hail mary pass.
>> james baker, he knows how to parachute into chaos and bring focus, bring a strategy and execute. >> literally, when baker took over, it was night and day from a clown car disaster to decisions were made and that was it. >> what a wonderful welcome. >> governor clinton insists on cutting america down. well, i am focusing on the future. we're moving toward a better recovery. but we must not set it back by more spending and more taxes. >> immediately the messaging got crisper. the president was much more confident. >> governor clinton -- >> governor clinton -- >> governor clinton promises the moon to america, while the sky is falling in on arkansas. >> the polls narrow. in little rock, carville creates a command center to hit back at the republicans. it's called the war room. >> they made sure that no attack
wasn't answered within the immediate news cycle. >> and he wants to raise taxes by $150 billion just to start. >> when bush would say you raise taxes, clinton's answer was -- >> on agriculture, on taxes, on jobs, on defense, you name it, he just makes it up. >> bill clinton has promised to increase government spending $220 billion. >> you knew what the attacks were going to be on. you prepared for them. you were ready to go. >> bill clinton has accused george bush of lying about his record. >> we had trackers, we knew what bush was doing, where he was going to be. >> mr. bush is in tennessee once again. grossly misrepresenting my record and positions. >> carville has circled the wagons around his candidate. >> with a month to go, bush knows he has to knock clinton out in the upcoming presidential
debates. >> president bush was talking about debates, talking about his record, talking about what he had done, talking about issues. >> the two sides meet to hammer out a format for the debates. >> mickey kantor gets a call from clinton. he has an idea that plays to his strengths and highlights bush's weaknesses. >> he says look, why don't we try a town hall type debate. have people ask the questions. i said oh, they'll never agree to that, they'd be nuts. he said well just try it see what they'll do. and they said yes. and i nearly fell out of my chair. >> i thought oh my god, these people have no idea what they've gotten themselves into. they're going to walk into a town hall debate with bill clinton.
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>> 70 million americans tune in to watch the live presidential debate. >> the candidates are the republican nominee, president george bush. >> he's authentic and he's real and he cares and it all comes out in a debate. so it was a good opportunity. >> independent ross perot. >> after ten weeks ross perot is back. apparently america does need him after all. >> we just knew ross perot would be a problem. vet for bush, you vote for clinton. now you have a third choice. >> governor bill clinton, the democratic nominee. >> presidential debates are not only a show. they're a series of moments. the key is dominating a moment that can then be put on the morning shows, the evening news, recycled. nowadays it would be going viral. >> clinton's team are leaving nothing to chance. >> we got stools. you know, like the ones they would have to sit on.
and we practiced setting up like a runner in a starter's blocks. don't sit back. sit up like this, one leg on a rung, one foot on the floor, and as soon as you can spring out of the chair, spring out and go engage that audience member. >> we said there will come a time where you can walk up to somebody and really relate to them and that's exactly what you want to show the american people. >> we were so obsessed that -- sorry to admit this now. we stole those stools. >> that's right. they stole the stools. >> when we got to the debate hall, we took the ones that we were going to use and we put our stools out there. so that even his rear end would be comfortable in the same stool that he had practiced in. >> let's get it on. and i think the first question is over here. >> yes, i'd like to direct my question to mr. perot. >> and you know, there's a tv wheeled in on a stand. and we're all like coiled springs. carville is pacing, he can't sit
still. his mother used to call him a toaster, pops up every three minutes. >> then bush is asked a question out of left field for him, anyway. >> how has the national debt personally affected each of your lives. and if it hasn't, how can you honestly find a cure for the economic problems of the common people if you have no experience in what's ailing them? >> well, i think the national debt affects everybody. obviously it has a lot to do with interest rates. >> she's saying you personally. >> how has it affected you? >> the question, which was somewhat convoluted, and i really do think it confused president bush. >> i'm sure it has. i love my grandchildren. >> how? >> i want to think that they're going to be able to afford an education. i think that that's an important part of being a parent. if the question -- maybe i'm getting it wrong. are you suggesting that if somebody has means, that the national debt doesn't affect
them? i'm not sure i get it. help me with the question and i'll try to answer it. >> we were sitting back in the green room, like game over. clinton leapt out of his chair and walked over. >> tell me how it's affected you again. you know people who've lost their jobs, lost their homes. >> uh-huh. >> instead of answering he began asking her questions. i bet you know somebody who's been laid off. she's like, yeah. >> well, i've been governor of a small state for 12 years, i'll tell you how it affected me. when people lose their jobs, there's a good chance i know their names. when their businesses go bankrupt, i know them. i've been out here for 13 months in meetings just like this ever since october. with people like you all over america. people that have lost their jobs. lost their livelihood. we were in that holding room cheering and throwing our hands in the air. just great. >> we've gone from first to 12th in the world in wages. it is because we are in the grip of a failed economic theory. >> clinton gave her an answer which didn't really answer her
question but made her and the audience watching on television that this was a man that was truly empathetic to the plight of americans. >> control the american health care costs and bring the american people together. >> thank you, governor clinton. >> it was one of those moments, very few ever happen in life, where you knew you had seen, you had seen something extraordinary happen. >> the government is not serving you. >> the debate has only been going on for an hour. for george bush it must feel like a lifetime. >> in the middle of the debate george bush is caught on camera looking at his watch. >> it obviously was an unconscious move. he was getting a lot of negative questions, and he looked at his watch. >> you're paying for that. those schools belong to you. >> in other words, he knew he wanted out of there. >> ladies and gentlemen, this concludes the debates. >> president bush just couldn't wait for the debate to finish.
[ applause ] >> the republicans are out of time and out of ammunition. almost. >> in his 12 years as governor, bill clinton has doubled his state's debt, doubled government spending and signed the largest tax increase in his state's history. yet his state remains the 45th worst in which to work. >> the message was bill clinton was not trustworthy to be president. there's no way that the country would select this guy if they knew anything about his record. >> and now bill clinton wants to do for america what he's done for arkansas. >> if people just knew about it, our theory was that, you know, we would win. i mean, clearly. it's more than the cloud.
xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. i want to give you the greatest president of the united states, george bush, ladies and gentlemen! >> lagging behind the democrats, team bush devote the remaining days of the campaign hitting clinton where they hope it hurts. >> the question is who has the character and the trust to lead the united states of america? >> you can't trust clinton economics. it's wrong for you. it's wrong for america. >> if we cannot believe anything he has said about his past, how can we believe anything he's saying about the future? >> we wanted to hammer home that you couldn't trust his judgment. >> 100 leading economists say his plan means higher taxes and bigger deficits.
>> infuriated, clinton calls his campaign chief. >> he said he's called me untrustwort untrustworthy, i can't let this sit out there. and i said, look, governor, keep yourself focused on what we're about. we're really effective on this economic message, on change. >> clinton ignores his advice. he rips up the script and goes for bush. >> the very idea that the word "trust" could ever come out of bush's mouth after what he has done to this country and the way he has trampled the truth is a travesty. >> well, guess what you've just done. you've just crapped all over your message. >> and governor clinton says i want to do for this country what i've done for arkansas. no way. >> i did not get into this race to run my opponents down. i got into this race to build america up. >> my dog millie knows more about foreign affairs than these two bozos.
>> the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll shows bill clinton's lead down to 5. >> lift this country up. move this country forward! that's what this election's about! don't let them take it away from you. >> and so i'm not done yet. and i ask for your support on the basis of character and trust. thank you very much. >> on the thursday night before the election we had the race tied dead even. 11:37 a.m. somebody walked into my office and handed met a.p. wire. >> the day before halloween the ghost of an old scandal has arisen to haunt george bush. newly released notes made in 1986 by then defense secretary casper weinberger appear to contradict bush's assertion he was out of the loop on the arms for hostages deal with iran. >> they just went -- it was like
hitting a brick wall. >> the 1986 iran contra scandal had nearly broken the reagan-bush administration. now conveniently for the clinton campaign it's back. >> today's disclosure not only directly contradicts the president's claims. it diminishes the credibility of the presidency. >> that guaranteed bringing iran contra to the top of the news for the last four days of the campaign. >> wounded, bush lashes out. >> being attacked on character by governor clinton is like being called ugly by a frog. don't worry about it. >> good morning. george bush, bill clinton, ross perot. americans go to the polls and select a president today. election day. november 3rd, 1992. >> oh, boy.
nervous. as anyone would be in that situation. everyone was. >> there are a number of very close races in the south. indeed we expect a great deal of drama in this region throughout the evening. >> i was scared. thinking the difference in my life between us winning and losing. >> most of the polls are now closed in north dakota and in the senate race there. >> we were in houston, which was where president bush liked to celebrate election nights. >> let's look at the national numbers now so far. >> they had us wait way down, like 15 points down. >> electoral map is look lopsided in favor of bill clinton. >> and the afternoon wave wasn't much better. had us like 12 points down. >> the democratic presidential nominee's swept the east including the big electoral prizes of new york and pennsylvania. that brings his electoral vote total to 265. that's but five away from the magic number and 64 for george
bu bush. >> in little rock clinton's people realize they've won. >> it woz the most delirious feeling you can imagine. and all you want to do is go around and hug everybody. >> i just called governor clinton over in little rock and offered my congratulations. he did run a strong campaign. i wish him well in the white house. >> ross perot has failed in his bid, too, but he's taken nearly 20% of the vote. >> god bless you. thank you very much. >> had perot not been in that race, you would have had a very close race between bush and clinton and bush might well have won. >> may god bless the united states of america. thank you very much. >> he deserved to lose. the president didn't deserve to lose but those of us involved in the campaign deserved to get crushed. >> after 10:00, the 270 number
was reached. >> the big thing is the relief. son of a bitch. >> my fellow americans. >> backed by a surge of support from the young and the old, clinton has trounced george bush. >> on this day with high hopes and brave hearts and massive numbers, the american people have voted to make a new beginning. >> there's a strong sense in the country that with the victory in the cold war we needed to turn our attention back home. >> this election is a clarion call for the country to face the challenges of the end of the cold war and the beginning of the next century. >> he represented something e e else. else. youth, change, energy, progress.
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