thumbnail of The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
Hide -
MR. MacNeil: Good evening. I'm Robert MacNeil in New York.
MR. LEHRER: And I'm Jim Lehrer in Washington. After our summary of the news this Tuesday, David Gergen, Mark Shields, and Peter Hart examine the remains from the Democratic primary in New York, Charlayne Hunter-Gault talks with two turned off voters in Denver, and Jeffrey Kaye reports from Los Angeles on the latest in Japan bashing. NEWS SUMMARY
MR. LEHRER: Today was Presidential primary day in New York, Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota. The polls are now closed. The television networks are projecting a Clinton victory over Jerry Brown in the big New York Democratic race. Bill Clinton is also the projected winner in Kansas. Minnesota has a Democratic primary, but it does not count toward the allocation of delegates. On the Republican side, there was no primary in New York, but President Bush was the projected winner everywhere else. We have some early results from Kansas, Clinton 52 to Brown's 14, Tsongas 15 percent; that's with 23 percent of the vote counted. On the Republican side, President Bush 63 percent to Pat Buchanan's 15 percent, that's also with 23 percent of the vote counted. Paul Tsongas, remember, dropped out of the race, but his name remained on the ballot. We'll have full results and analysis later in the program.
MR. MacNeil: An underground gas pipeline exploded in Texas this morning. The fiery blast killed at least one person and injured sixteen. It happened in a rural area just South of the East Texas town of Brennam. The force of the explosion was felt as far away as Galveston, more than 90 miles to the Southeast. The blast flattened and scorched homes in the immediate vicinity. Livestock lay dead in the fields. Officials at Rice University in Houston said it registered about four on the Richter Scale used to measure earthquakes.
MR. LEHRER: President Boris Yeltsin told the Russian congress today a strong Presidency was needed to push through free market reforms. He warned against reducing his powers. He also issued a decree reasserting Russian control over the Black Sea Fleet. Ukraine's president did the same thing yesterday, blaming the entire force for his republic. We have a report from Gabby Rado of Independent Television News.
GABY RADO: It is a day during which congress deputies' anger at the unilateral seizure of the Black Sea Fleet continued to rise. Finally this evening the commander in chief of the commonwealth armed forces announced that President Yeltsin was retaliating with a decree of his own.
MARSHAL SHAPOSHNIKOV, Russian Commander in Chief: [Speaking through Interpreter] The flag of Russia will be raised over the ships of the Black Sea Fleet in accordance with the orders of the commanding officer of the commonwealth armed forces.
MR. RADO: The Black Sea Fleet is based in the Crimean Port of Sevastapol, which is on Ukrainian territory, though most Naval personnel are Russian. A possible compromise deal giving the Ukraine over a fifth of the fleet's ships seems to have collapsed.
VLADIMIR LUKIN, Ambassador Designate to the US: Ukraine violated this deal and it is very bad thing. It is enforceable so leave peacefully, we leave in coordination with the country which violates its own signatures, three, four, five days after the signature.
MR. RADO: Earlier in the day, President Yeltsin confirmed that Russia was to set up its own armed forces, a warning that she would from now on be standing up for her rights.
MR. LEHRER: Sec. of State Baker said today Ukrainian leaders should still ship battlefield nuclear weapons to Russia for dismantling. He spoke at a satellite news conference with reporters in Europe. He said U.S. aid could be curtailed if Ukraine tries to maintain its own nuclear force. The United States today officially recognized three Yugoslav republics as independent states. They are Croatia, Slovenia, and Bosnia-Hercegovina. Yugoslav warplanes launched attacks on Bosnia today. Six people were reported killed in a raid on a town near the capital. A Yugoslav army statement said it had targeted a military installation, not civilian targets.
MR. MacNeil: In Peru, most opposition leaders were arrested today as President Alberto Fujimori expanded his crackdown. He dissolved congress and suspended the constitution on Sunday, a move that was sharply criticized by the U.S. and other nations. We have a report narrated by Vera Frankel of Worldwide Television News.
MS. FRANKEL Demonstrators who took to the streets of Lima felt the full force of the crackdown. Sen. Ralph Herrera Cusno, one of Fujimori's main opponents, was manhandled and pushed to the ground by police outside the law school, while others received harsher treatment. And if more proof were needed of the security force's resolve, live rounds were fired over the heads of the crowd. Volleys of tear gas finally sent the protesters into retreat, the day's only act of defiance conclusively suppressed. The President's troops were standing firm against any other acts of dissent. In the corridors of power, President Fujimori was being equally assertive. He's already sworn in a new cabinet and Fujimori adopted a new law which justifies the goals of his authoritarian government. Fujimori says the crackdown is aimed at stamping out corruption and terrorism, at modernizing and improving the standard of living of Peruvians. Whatever the intent, his grasp on power is no longer in question.
MR. MacNeil: The Bush administration today cut off all military and economic aid to Peru. White House Spokeswoman Judy Smith said the U.S. was consulting with its allies to determine a possible further response to the situation there.
MR. LEHRER: A plane carrying Yasser Arafat is missing over Libya. That was the report tonight from the official Libyan News Agency. It said contact with the airplane was lost at about 2:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time over the desert in Southeastern Libya. Arafat is the longtime chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. A PLO official in Cairo confirmed Arafat was en route from Sudan to a Palestinian guerrilla camp in Libya. The Libyan News Agency report said Libya's civil aviation department had called for international help in locating the plane. Iraq today agreed to destroy buildings and equipment at what is believed to be the center of its atomic weapons program. The Al-Alfir complex is located 25 miles South of Baghdad. A team of U.N. inspectors are on their way there. They hope to begin destruction tomorrow.
MR. MacNeil: America's teacher of the year was honored at the White House today. He is Thomas Fleming, a 59-year-old history, government and geography teacher from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thomas was a high school dropout who went on to earn a high school equivalency degree and later a master's degree in special education. He has taught twelve to sixteen-year-olds at a one-room school house in a juvenile detention center for the past 20 years. The teacher of the year is selected by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Encyclopedia Britannica Company.
MR. LEHRER: The Pulitzer Prizes were awarded today. In journalism, the major ones went to the Sacramento Bee, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, and the Kansas City Star. The commentary prize went to columnist Anna Quindlen of the New York Times. In the arts, Jane Smiley won for her novel, "A Thousand Acres," Daniel Yergin for his non-fiction book "The Prize: The Epic Quest For Oil, Money And Power," and Robert Schenkkan for his play "The Kentucky Cycle." And that's it for the News Summary tonight. Now, it's on to some discouraging words from voters, what now for the Democrats, and Japanese bashing. FOCUS - '92 - PRIMARY OUTLOOK
MR. LEHRER: Today's Presidential primaries are our lead story tonight. All polls are now closed. The networks have projected Bill Clinton the winner over Jerry Brown in New York, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Gergen & Shields are here to examine the outcomes. David Gergen is editor at large of U.S. News & World Report. Mark Shields is a syndicated columnist. He's with us tonight from Atlanta. They are both joined by Democratic pollster Peter Hart. Mark, in Atlanta, does this mean Bill Clinton's troubles are finally over?
MR. SHIELDS: I don't think it means Bill Clinton's troubles are finally over by any means, Jim. It does mean that winning is coming in first and Bill Clinton apparently has done that across-the-board and this is the stage in the primary season where there are no moral victories. You either win or you don't win. And he's won, but I think the problems will continue to nag him.
MR. LEHRER: What kind of problems?
MR. SHIELDS: The problem is that according to one report, half the Democratic primary voters in New York still had doubts, were unsatisfied about Bill Clinton's own honesty and integrity. That continues to be a problem for him and as the potential nominee in the fall a problem for Democrats.
MR. LEHRER: David, how would you rate the importance of these victories tonight for Bill Clinton?
MR. GERGEN: I think it restores Bill Clinton's status as a presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. It's a solid series of victories for him and you have to give him credit. He took an enormous battering not only from Jerry Brown, but from the press in New York, and he seems to have come through with a comfortable margin, a margin perhaps as much as 10 points. I totally agree with Mark, on the other hand, that his problems haven't disappeared. Jim, what we know about the New York primary suggests for instance right now that he perhaps has gotten around 40 percent of the vote there. So far in all of the states North of Washington, D.C., he has never gotten more than 40 percent in any Democratic primary. This is a nominee of the Democratic Party who's clearly vulnerable and has weaknesses in a part of the country which is absolutely crucial for the Democrats if they hope to win in November.
MR. LEHRER: But, Peter, he did, in fact, win in New York. What is your analysis of what he did that caused him to win?
MR. HART: Well, I think more than anything else, he figured out exact strategy and what he had to do. He put Jerry Brown on the defensive early in terms of the flat tax. Jerry Brown was further hindered by the fact that with Jewish voters who had abrased Jesse Jackson, both those things helped Bill Clinton with important groups of voters. But more importantly, Bill Clinton now can turn that corner. I agree with what David said. He is the presumptive nominee and at this stage, we're halfway through the process. It allows him to turn the corner and to be able to start to address some of those problems, erase some of the doubts and uncertainties. And that's how he has to be able to use the second half of the season.
MR. LEHRER: But Jerry Brown's still going to be there, Peter.
MR. HART: Jerry Brown is going to be there, but one of the interesting facts is if Jerry Brown is locked in a very tight race with Paul Tsongas for third place, Paul Tsongas, who did not campaign at all, it's telling Jerry Brown a lot. And so my sense is that Bill Clinton is best when he doesn't worry about his opponent or spend all of his time in terms of the debates. I hope that he takes advantage of the victories today to be able to turn and say, this is what the Presidency is about, this is what I need to do. That's how he needs to use today.
MR. LEHRER: Is that what -- do you agree with that, Mark, that he's got to do that and he'sgot to do it now, he can't wait any longer?
MR. SHIELDS: Yes. I agree totally with what Peter said. I would add to it though, Jim, that what Bill Clinton won in New York, he won a tactical victory, as Peter pointed out. He picked up strong support among Jewish voters because, in fact, Jerry Brown had announced his first choice of Jesse Jackson, the man who in 1984 referred to New York as "Hime Town," and that is still a cause of suspicion, distrust, and dislike among many New York Jewish voters toward Jackson. And secondly, I think we'll probably find out tomorrow that Bill Clinton did better with older voters and I think we'll find out because the flat tax argument that was used against Jerry Brown was particularly -- had a particular resonance with those voters concerned about Social Security. And Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, probably Social Security's greatest architect, engineer, and defender in public life, said that Brown's ideas and proposals represent a threat there. My point is that these were tactical victories. They were not -- there was not great vision of where Bill Clinton wanted to take the party, the country, the kind of Presidency. It was just, I'm going to out point Jerry Brown and that's what he did. He still has a major task. He's got to resolve an awful lot of doubts. He's a guy that started off as the right, as the conservative candidate, the most conservative, moved to the left in Florida against Paul Tsongas, and, you know, kind of has been nimble afoot and in New York beat Jerry Brown and Jerry Brown's own defects.
MR. LEHRER: David, what does he do? What does Bill Clinton do now about this honesty and trust issue which is all -- it doesn't matter when he wins and where he wins -- the exit polls always show those negatives about him on those issues.
MR. GERGEN: I honestly don't know, Jim, because even as his fortunes have risen again in the Democratic primaries, I think his national stature is declining. And I think his problems only were exacerbated by the revelation this weekend that, in fact, he did receive a draft notice, a call to report for duty back in 1969, something which he had steadfastly in the past -- certainly had never told us and evaded that kind of question. And I think it's raised all sorts of questions once again about his credibility and we've never had a situation quite like this. I'm not sure how one would advise a candidate, how do you overcome your problems if people doubt your honesty and credibility. Even in New York State, in the exit polls, we find at least half the voters are doubting this, that he has the honesty and credibility to be President. So, you know, at first we thought if he just went ahead and won a series of victories, that would take care of the problem. It's clearly not solving the problem to continue winning. So that I think that he is going to have to in some time frame present, in my judgment, some addresses on the question of honesty in office and accountability to the people, and what he thinks the Presidency is all about. He has done very, very well, in my judgment, in presenting his positions on issues. I think he's been extremely good on that. I think he now has to be a little more elevated to talk about the Presidency as a moral force for the nation and what leadership is all about.
MR. LEHRER: Peter, how does a guy go about convincing somebody else that he's honest, that he doesn't lie?
MR. HART: Well, I think one of the things you have to recognize is that the rules are all different in 1992. And Bill Clinton has to recognize that. And part of that is to just level with the people straight out, look at the answers and give it firmly, because obviously whether the question was, did he inhale marijuana or the draft question as David talks about, these are things that he can answer fully and frankly and the problem is, it's his answers that's getting him into difficulty.
MR. LEHRER: In other words, it's not the issue of the marijuana smoking -- not even the issue of the draft thing, you're saying?
MR. HART: I think that it's much more the question of understanding that the rules are different. Everything that's happening in the Congress and on the Hill and in the Executive Branch really says, level with us, tell us the truth, the good and the bad, and for Bill Clinton he's going to get a second chance, because the one thing that hasn't happened during this primary season is that we've suddenly said we like George Bush and George Bush deserves a second term. So Bill Clinton will get his day but he's going to have to take advantage of it. And I hope that tonight becomes a turning point for the campaign, because it's no longer good enough to blame the press. It has to be what can I do.
MR. LEHRER: So he would have to go -- we have lost Mark in Atlanta and when we get him back, if we get him back, we'll bring him back into the discussion -- but does this mean, David, that literally or figuratively, Bill Clinton's got to look the voters straight in the eye and go back through these various issues and say, hey, look, I said the following about the draft thing and here I made a mistake, I should have said this, and here's why I did it, I said this about the marijuana -- he's going to have to do it that way, or just prove it in another way?
MR. GERGEN: Well, I have to go back to what Peter said. I think he's absolutely right. I think he has to adopt a new philosophy of presenting who Bill Clinton is to the country and that is he has got to let it all hang out, for good or for bad, and if he's got bad things, then let it go, because this evasiveness is driving people crazy and he right now is a very vulnerable candidate. So I think he first of all has to change his whole style of answering questions, so he's straight up about everything. And secondly then I think he has to probably go back through a couple of these episodes and walk the country through in a way -- you know, other politicians have done this, have dealt with what was perceived to be the vulnerability, not in the same way, but, you know, Jack Kennedy when he a problem about his Catholicism, he went down to Texas, as you well remember, in 1960 and talked about his religion in a way that made people respect who he was.
MR. LEHRER: But Peter's point is that if he does that, he's got to do it a new way; he can't --
MR. GERGEN: Absolutely.
MR. LEHRER: I mean, the old days of people like us sitting around saying, oh, boy, you really handled that question really well isn't going to get it anymore; he's got to answer that question directly and to the point, is that right?
MR. HART: I think that's part of it and I think the other thing is there are periods of time in a campaign where voters allow sort of a reevaluation and he needs one of those periods. And as soon as it happens, and I don't know what will be the event, but he has to be able to seize it and he has to be able to say something different than what he did on "60 Minutes," which was, how do I get through with this interview. He has to answer the question, I want to be President and how do I become President, and that's the difference so far. He can do it, but he hasn't done it up to now.
MR. GERGEN: I agree with that and I think, Jim, the fact is there are a lot of Republicans celebrating tonight, as Bill Clinton won this election apparently in New York. They want to run against Bill Clinton because they feel that for the very reasons Peter is citing he has not learned how to deal with the new realities of the new politics, and until he does that, he's going to be an extraordinarily vulnerable candidate. You know, we haven't even talked about Paul Tsongas now may enter this race and become another factor that he's got to deal with.
MR. LEHRER: Tsongas got where he was on this issue alone, didn't he, not on message along, but largely on that --
MR. GERGEN: People perceived Tsongas telling the truth and you know the door may open any day now and Ross Perot's going to come running through there, saying he's telling the truth about things and leveling with people. Bill Clinton has got to be seen as a more honest candidate if he has any hope of winning this.
MR. LEHRER: But, Peter, back to your point about George Bush, some would suggest that this is also a George Bush problem. Remember that he's there -- there's a long trail of statements that were kind of curved around the edges that could come back to haunt him in this kind of contest.
MR. HART: I think George Bush has a long way to go before we reach November and we make a mistake to look at this period of time and say the race is over. We've got too many bends in the road and for George Bush, there's one question he hasn't answered, and that is, "Read my lips." And he can't make the pledge in 1992 the same way he did in 1988 and get the voters to believe it, because that's one of their doubts and suspicions.
MR. LEHRER: Mark is back. Mark --
MR. GERGEN: Where'd you go, Mark?
MR. LEHRER: Sorry, Mark.
MR. SHIELDS: I know Gergen's responsible for this.
MR. GERGEN: I've been trying for years to get this done.
MR. LEHRER: I'm sorry. Actually, it's Hart who's responsible for this, but it's okay. And I apologize. Mark, you were able to hear, we just weren't able to see you and hear you, but do you think -- what do you think of their evaluation of what Bill Clinton's problem is from this point on, what he must do and should do?
MR. SHIELDS: I think two things, Jim. First of all, I think the draft thing, David, is absolutely right, the draft thing for men - - certain American men of a certain generation -- forget your first good night kiss, forget the first prom, that moment -- the searing personal experience was when that greetings came with the full authority of the Western world and the United States of America telling you that they wanted you in the service. And for Bill Clinton to say that he didn't get called, it was a fluke that he didn't get called is just unbelievable. And it comes back to that - - he's almost like the teenager who wants to get caught. I mean, you tell -- the parent says, I went to bed at 11:30 last night, and I went to sleep, what time did you get in, and the teenager says, I got in after midnight, and actually the teenager got in at 4:30. And that's what Bill Clinton is doing. What he has to do, I think Peter's right, he has to be absolutely forthcoming, but he also has to switch the subject. He has to switch the subject off of his own character defects to, in fact, focus upon where he wants to lead the country, how he differs from George Bush. And he's got to get - - introduce that factor into the equation.
MR. LEHRER: Speaking of switching, Mark, we have to go. You have been terrific tonight. Thank you. Thank you very much. Peter Hart, thank you. David, thank you. FOCUS - BALLOT BOX BLUES
MR. MacNeil: On this primary night, we have one of our periodic special reports using polling data from the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press. In 1987, Times Mirror developed a voter classification system based on political and social values, as well as party identification. This topology divides the electorate into nine groups, identifying several core Republican and Democratic constituencies, as well as three basically independent groups. In their latest national survey, the Times Mirror found 66 percent of the voters said they were dissatisfied with all the Presidential candidates. That dissatisfaction is reflected in one of the independent groups considered key swing voters this year. The group are the so-called "seculars." They're considered more politically informed than most people and the Times Mirror pollsters have found them increasingly disdainful of the political process. In Denver, Charlayne Hunter-Gault talked to two representatives of this group, both members of the same family.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Meet Scott and Martha MacCormack, married seven years, so far no kids. The MacCormacks fit the Times Mirror profile of secular voters, the only group in America that possesses no religious belief. Like the MacCormacks, seculars are well educated, white and mostly independent. Only a minority of them think of themselves as Democrats, and in most cases, they are not as politically active as some other well informed and sophisticated groups. But in this family there are some exceptions, she being religious, he not, just as there are differences between the two. Scott MacCormack is 32 years old. He is a self-employed computer consultant for architects and engineers. Unlike his wife, he's a registered Republican who voted for George Bush in 1988 and still leans toward the Republicans, but unhappily.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: The world's changed. When I was born and grew up, I always assumed that I'd have a better life than what my parents had. I always assumed that we'd have a cold war in Europe. I always assumed that there'd be plenty to eat and that the economy would be great. Now, things have changed. All those sort of issues have flip flopped and I think they're vital that we look at them.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Are you personally affected by those things, like the state of the economy?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Well, I think things happen on a local level. As a small business, I feel like I'm out there daily trying to contribute to the economic well-being. Every small business that's out there, every entrepreneur that's out there is adding a layer of diversity to the economy. And I'm frustrated that I have so many things in my way to making it go, local taxes, state taxes, federal taxes. I'm not looking for a loan or a handout. I'm just looking for a little less bureaucracy at really all scales of government.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: You voted for George Bush in 1988, but you now don't feel you can support him. What happened?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I don't necessarily feel that I won't vote for Bush, but I'm -- I'm disappointed that the economy isn't better off. I'm disappointed with the results of the war. I'm disappointed --
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Meaning what?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: That I think there was a lot of unfinished business. I think that the issues with the Kurds is terrible, what's continued to happen there. And I think it's a difficult issue for Bush. I'm not sure a lot of the blame for this can be placed on Bush,but we got into it and it just seems to be unfinished. I think genocide is being practiced on the Kurds right now and I can't tolerate that anymore. There are some things that are worth fighting for.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: But if you could summarize the main problem you're having with George Bush, it would be what?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: He's missed a great opportunity. The new world order just -- it seems to be slipping right through our fingers and I don't know how much of that we can contribute to and how much we should, but it was a chance for leadership, and I think good leadership. And it seems like we did nothing.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What about the Democratic side?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: My problem is at heart I would love to be a Democrat and I have voted back and forth ever since I started voting when I was 18.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Why would you like to be a Democrat?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I think the Democrats are ethically on the forefront of ethical issues, and Republicans seem to be lagging a little bit, a little more conservative, a little less willing to change. That's a good, sort of a good give and take.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Like ethical issues -- like what?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Environment, family --
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Any value system that you look at, quality of life. The one issue that I think the GOP has always been better on has been terms of strong economics. I think we've needed that, but now there's a few other issues that need to come in. If the Democratic Party were able to begin a little more aware of this - - and I think they are as a group trying to build in better sensitivity to issues of economy -- I think their planks would be a lot stronger in their platform.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What about the candidates specifically, Clinton and Brown?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I'm very disappointed, as I have been in most of the elections with the Democratic leadership. I have a very uneasy feeling about Clinton; it's hard to put my finger on. I think as the debates continue and the information comes out, it's getting clear why I feel that way. The business with not inhaling, it's a blatant lie and --
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Not inhaling the marijuana?
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Honesty's important to you?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I think incredibly important and I just don't trust that. There's something that's not very trusting in what I see there. I'm interested in someone that can run the country. I could care less if he has a divorce, if back in the seventies he smoked a little marijuana. I'm not -- that's not the issue.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What about Jerry Brown in terms of the values that are important to you?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Jerry Brown -- I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder which is kind of like going to Berkeley, I guess, and Jerry Brown reminds me a lot of the professors that I saw there, and the kind that made you buy their books. The line Jay Leno had the other night about Jerry Brown's aspiration is beyond the President, he wants to be a Jeddi knight -- I think that's who Jerry Brown is all about it. And I would really like to vote for him. I think it would be interesting to see what would happen. And maybe that's my old Boulder days coming through. I'm not sure we want to trust the country to Jerry Brown just yet.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: And what about Ross Perot?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Well, everybody keeps laughing about Perot and I think he's really easy to say, yeah, let's vote for him, but we don't know where his values are. We know that he's a "can do" guy, he's an interesting person, but we haven't heard what he has to say yet on a lot of issues. And I'm very interested to see a little bit more about Perot. I'm also interested to see if things deadlock with the party if Cuomo comes up out of New York. I think there is a candidate I'd be real interested in hearing and real interested in understanding and that could definitely entice my vote.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Can you imagine not voting?
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: That's important to you?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Yes. I'll vote. As I mentioned, I have -- I was the first group that got to vote when the voting was changed to allowing 18-year-olds to vote. I was 18 when Carter was elected. And I don't understand why people don't vote. I never understood that. I enjoy it. I can't be very cynical about that. I guess I'd like a little honesty. I'd appreciate a politician saying, these are hard issues, they haven't ever been solved. We've had trouble in this region. We always will have trouble in this region and it's difficult. And I'm not going to walk out here and say I have all the answers. When people vote, they're voting on ethics, whether they know it or not. You walk in and vote for a candidate because you think he's better looking than another candidate. You're really voting on an aesthetic issue, maybe not the best issue to judge a candidate by, but it's -- nonetheless, it's an ethic. I think that's where I'm at. I've had this chance to see things change in this country and in the world and it has formed my opinions.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: And your generation.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I think I'm an in-between generation, between a generation a few years younger than me that's sort of a lost generation of rebels without a clue or rebels without a cause. I don't know which.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Is it the conflict between idealism and pragmatism?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I had I think much more radical views on a lot of subjects when I was younger. I don't know the exact Russian proverb about as you get older you become more conservative and when you're younger, you're supposed to be more liberal, but a lot of my values have changed and gotten more conservative. But it's interesting, because now I'm --
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Give me an example.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Economy is a great example. I would say I'm a very strong believer in capitalism, free enterprise. I couldn't have said that, I don't think, in 1977. And yet, other issues that I may have been conservative on have become -- I have gone back around again -- I've come full circle on.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Give me an example.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Environment's a great example. I'm very strongly aware of what was happening. It sort of slipped by the wayside as I got busy with career and other things and now I think about it all the time. And it's becoming a very major issue. I think in my mind the No. 1 issue in this election will be environment.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: You said that you felt the GOP was losing touch with young people like yourself.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I think that's a definite danger. I think they've gathered a lot of strength. A lot of people have come their direction, but I think that their planks in their platform, they're really trying to hang onto a very strong, I would characterize it as maybe an older right wing, conservative, very right wing, conservative group. And I think it's very difficult for them to pull into some of the middle values, but if they don't, they're going to lose people.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Middle values like what?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Some of those tougher issues on environment and on -- some of the issues on human rights and so on. I think if they -- abortion I think is a very touchy issue. Even for myself I'm divided on it and I think they're pulled very strongly to the right. I think it scares a lot of would-be younger Republicans back to the Democratic fold.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: And you've put yourself almost --
SCOTT MacCORMACK: I'm right -- I'm strongly sitting right on the fence there, I think, and really some of these issues are very difficult for the nation. They're very difficult for the parties. They're very difficult for individuals. It's hard to get off that fence. Abortion is a great example of that. I have a very difficult time with that issue. I value life. I've studied it and looked at what happens with a growing embryo, a fetus, and it is life. And yet, I have an awfully hard time telling people what to do with their bodies. A woman who's been raped, for example, and who's pregnant from that, how can I tell her not to get an abortion? What right do I have to do that? So it, to me, is an ethical issue that I don't have an answer for. And it's a terrible dilemma. The country's very split on it and I'm very split on it.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: If you had a strong candidate taking a position on this issue, would it matter to you?
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Getting back to what I said earlier, I'd appreciate a President who came out and said this is a very difficult issue and I'm, I'm not resolved on it, our party's not resolved on it, and I think we need leaders that are decisive, but it's okay not to be. These are complex problems. They're interrelated problems. And to just simply have answers to have answers scares me.
SCOTT MacCORMACK: Martha MacCormack is a registered Democrat and comes from a religious family. She is 27 years old and an eighth grade teacher who's been working in the Denver public school system for the past five years. She voted for Dukakis in 1988, but is unable to make up her mind this year because she is unimpressed with both candidates so far.
MARTHA MacCORMACK: My current position on the whole thing is what it's been since I've been 18 and I get real discouraged, because since I've been able to vote, I feel that the only people to vote for are the lesser of the two evils, and I'm always fighting the fact that I don't want to vote against someone, I'd rather vote for someone.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: But based on what you've heard so far, who do you think is the best candidate to beat George Bush?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I don't feel that I can say. I can't intelligently say. I don't feel that I've got the ammunition to back up who I would choose at this point. If I chose Jerry Brown, I don't think that he could win if he went against George Bush. So, therefore, I lean towards Clinton. But then again I'm looking at the lesser of two evils. I feel that a lot of politicians manipulate language so that they can make you feel comfortable. And when he says something to protect his character, he's trying to make you feel comfortable. And since I am smarter than that, it's not a comfortable feeling.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Why is honesty so important for you?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: My parents brought me up to be honest. My husband at times has said that I'm too honest, because it can get you into trouble sometimes to be real honest.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Does that come from your religious background, do you think?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I don't think so. I think -- I know people who are not necessarily religious that are just as honest. I think it's just how your parents or your family deals with a situation in the house of, you know, who broke this, and honesty is the best policy, you might as well get it out and over with. And if you broke it, the consequence is done with quicker.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Is that likely to be the cutting edge issue for you in deciding, honesty?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I would say so. I think the more honest they are, the less politically snaky they are. So honesty is, yeah, would be very important to me.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Where do you see the country heading?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I think this country is going downhill. I think we as Americans have -- we have this idea about ourselves that is -- that is false. It's a facade.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What idea?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: That we are "the" best, that we have the only way that's right, that what worked 20 years ago or 50 years ago is going to work today. And I think that as an honest person, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and as an American citizen or as a country, we need to look at ourselves and say, look, it's not working. The fact that we have so many people on welfare, the fact that we have so many people unemployed, and the fact that we have people that have to live on the streets, we need to look at ourselves hard and say, things need to change. And the politics are not allowing us to do that.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What is it about the values that the Democratic Party holds that are consistent with your own?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I would say woman's choice is very important. That's one of the values. The -- I think there's a different work ethic in the Democratic compared to Republican.
MARTHA MacCORMACK: That you can, if you have the education, that you can go where you want to go, you can make of yourself what you want to make, and that having -- being born into money or having the right job or the right clothes is not necessarily important. And I guess part of that -- and that's a funny line to draw between Republican and Democratic, but that's the line that I draw for whatever reason. I just feel that the Democrats tend to take people for who they are and not what their face value is, not what they, what they drive, what they eat, or how they dress.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What do you feel about the two candidates?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I don't feel that Clinton or Brown uphold the fact that, that we are who we are, and it's not who we pretend to be. So they don't follow what I feel is Democratic at all.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Do you wish somebody else would get in the race?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I do, but I couldn't tell you who.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: What is important to you?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: My husband looks at how they act internationally, how they work overseas. Where my -- where I look at their -- where I weigh them is on their ability to look at their own backyard and solve some of the social issues that we have going on in the United States.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: You're a classroom teacher. Do any of your attitudes flow out of that?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I haven't heard them say much about what they would do for education. George Bush, on the other hand, what I've heard him say four years ago hasn't really amounted to much. It's been a lot of lip service. I don't feel that he's supporting education as he thought he would. He has done a couple of things where he's put together some programs, but for the most part, I don't feel that as a local classroom teacher he's including me. I think he tends to look at the top, at the administration, and not at the people who are directlyin contact with the students to make those decisions. So he is the only one that I know of that has said anything out loud that has tried to follow through, and I don't even see him doing it. I would like to hear them talk more about how to make things work in the classroom. Research tells us that we need to have smaller classrooms, that we need to have a smaller teacher-student ratio, and right now we're looking at budget cuts federally and locally that are going to force me to have more students in my classroom. And if I'm going to be preparing young people for the future, for a competitive, computerized society, I can't do it if I have thirty to thirty-five students in my class. It's hard enough to do it with twenty-five to thirty. And we're looking at families that are changing. We no long have a nuclear family. We no longer have a mother that can stay home and work with the children when they get home from school. We have two parents working. We have a single parent working. And so the overcrowding in the classroom is a negative effect on the child because as a teacher when I have a child come into my classroom who has no family at home when they get home because mom or dad is working at night or both parents work or the single parent works, they don't have that support system. And so with the overcrowding, I could give him the support system if I didn't have 30 students to deal with. But if I had fewer, I could give that one-on-one attention, I could give the tutoring that is needed to help that child.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Why is this so important to you?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: It's important to me because it's my business, it's my job. I am an educator, my profession, my choice. It is also important to me because I look at the fact that someday I'm going to be old, someday I'm going to need a young person to support me in some way, be that person a nurse, be that person someone who runs this country. As an educator, I really depend a lot on these children and I teach them hoping that they can become the American citizen that will support me when I'm old. So it's selfish in a way, but it needs to be done.
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Are you so frustrated by the fact that you're not hearing what you think you want to hear from the candidates that you might not vote?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: No, I would never not vote. I would --
MS. HUNTER-GAULT: Why is that important to you?
MARTHA MacCORMACK: I think the biggest thing with that is because I hear a lot of people complain and I get tired of people complaining a lot, so what I do is I figure if I vote, then I don't have a reason to complain, because I gave my voice. I did what I needed to do as an American citizen. If I don't vote, I have no right to complain anymore. FOCUS - SCAPEGOATING
MR. MacNeil: Next tonight, Japanese American bashing. Civil rights groups report that hate crimes directed against Asian Americans, especially those of Japanese ancestry, are on the rise. They say trade tensions with Japan and the ongoing recession are to blame for this increase in racism. Correspondent Jeffrey Kaye of public station KCET-Los Angeles prepared this report.
MR. KAYE: The public smashing of Japanese made cars and electronic products has become a familiar image to many TV viewers. This demolition in February was part of an American Pride Day sponsored by a labor union in Flint, Michigan. Japanese American activists view such stunts with alarm.
DENNIS HAYASHI, Japanese American Citizens League: To me, their message is a violent one.
MR. KAYE: Dennis Hayashi is national director ofthe Japanese American Citizens League.
DENNIS HAYASHI: The only thing you pick up from that is that Japan, products associated with Japan, and by association Japanese people and by further association, Japanese Americans are becoming the enemy. Since the 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor, we have seen a steady increase in the level of racial intimidation and in the number of incidents reported to our offices of racial harassment.
MR. KAYE: Recently, vandals trashed a Japanese American cultural center in Norwalk, California. Racist slogans were painted on the windows. At a Claremont, California college, a sign supporting Asian American studies was defaced to read Asian Americans die now.
DENNIS HAYASHI: What concerns us more is that it's moved beyond just racial taunts or epithets. It's moving into threats of physical violence or actual acts of physical violence. So, for example, in the month of January, there were two different incidents involving bombs placed at Japanese American restaurants, where they just blew out the windows. In San Leandro, California, there were molotov cocktails thrown at the home of an elderly Japanese American couple.
MR. KAYE: Many in the Japanese American community say these incidents remind them of the hatred Japanese Americans experienced during World War II. Today in Los Angeles, a museum exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the internment of some 120,000 Japanese Americans.
FILM SPOKESMAN: Japanese evacuated from strategic West Coast areas show little apparent regret. They seem relieved and some say it's like a holiday.
DENNIS HAYASHI: Many of the members, you know, of our organization who were interned at the time have remarked to me how similar they feel the atmosphere is. They're seeing the same type of signs, sort of the same legitimization of the term "Jap," and it seems to be becoming an almost acceptable part of dialogue. It's no longer a racial slur.
MR. KAYE: While many in the Japanese American community are reluctant to speak out, activists feel they have an obligation to counter what they see as a rising tide of racist sentiment. At a recent Los Angeles meeting of the Korean American Coalition, a group of young professionals, Japanese Americans appealed for solidarity among Asians.
JIMMY TOKESHI, Japanese American Citizens League: Now that there are more Asians in the United States I think that all of us become, become targets in terms of the American confusion about what all the different Asian ethnic groups are about. Most folks can't tell the difference, you know, by looking at you guys out there, by looking at us up here.
RON WAKABAYASHI, LA City Human Relations Commission: I have some buttons at home. One button says Chinese American. And they're buttons that were worn during World War II by Chinese saying, well, we're not them, we don't want to be associated with them, because, you know, what you did to them, we don't want that to happen to us. Well, I was going to bring it tonight -- I have another button that says Korean American, because the few Koreans that were around, they got, they said, well, that's a pretty good idea, I'm going to get me one of those buttons, so those buttons existed as well. That's not going to happen this time and it can't happen.
MR. KAYE: But some members of this Korean American audience expressed suspicion and mistrust of Japanese Americans. They recalled the longstanding animosity between Koreans and Japanese.
MEMBER OF AUDIENCE: And how can we support, you know, American Japanese here when we see our Koreans in Japan suffering.
JIMMY TOKESHI: Well, you need to understand that as a third generation Japanese American, my relationship with Japan is about as distant as yours in terms of what I can do to impact what's happening in Japan.
MEMBER OF AUDIENCE: But I don't see that as true, because you're here working for Japanese ideology.
RON WAKABAYASHI, LA City Human Relations Commission: I'm an American. I was born here. I was raised here. I think that's something that's important not to get confused. That's part of the problem that goes on with the Japan bashers and that's where our interest stems from -- like, if Japan is unfair, that's fine. We ought to deal with that issue. And that's my interest as an American to deal with that. If there's a trade imbalance that's not fair, I know which side of that I'm on because my interests are on the American side of that. But if they're going to beat up anyone who looks Japanese, my interests are not with that. And I think you have to separate those two things.
ANOTHER MEMBER OF AUDIENCE: What I was wondering was, do you get any support from Japan with respect to this? What kind of relationship do you have as Japanese Americans to the Japanese government?
JIMMY TOKESHI: In terms of I guess my organization's role, I mean, if that's what you're asking, is that we don't have one. The JACL is a domestic organization.
MR. KAYE: Members of the JACL, the Japanese American Citizens League, are also criticizing the "buy American" movement. They say it is tinged with racism.
DENNIS HAYASHI: We found out that a 6th grade elementary school teacher at a South Central elementary school here in Los Angeles assigned to her class the project of drawing what they thought the "buy American" campaign meant. Many of the drawings came back with explicitly racial themes. They would show a caucasian child kicking a slant-eyed child in the butt, saying, no to Japan. A couple of the drawings had, bomb, bomb, bomb the Japanese. One child had drawn a Bart Simpson who said, yes Americans, no Japanese.
MR. KAYE: Cartoons drawn by professionals, like this one from the Seattle Post Intelligentsia, are lampooning the perception of Japan as America's new enemy. "Mr. President, we are retargeting the missiles as ordered," says a military commander. The instruction goes out, "Switch from the air base at Minsk to the Mitsubishi plant in Nagoya." Mitsubishi Electric America headquartered in Cyprus, California, is starting to feel the fallout on the "buy America" movement. The Japanese-owned company has received letters from American customers promising to boycott its products. The chairman of Mitsubishi Electronics America is Tachi Kiuchi. He would like to see a better understanding of Mitsubishi's contribution to the U.S. economy.
TACHI KIUCHI, Mitsubishi Electric America, Inc.: My message is always this is Mitsubishi Electronics America.
MR. KAYE: And many of your products are made in America.
TACHI KIUCHI: Yes. And not only that engineered here, some parts -- some parts are developed here.
MR. KAYE: What percentage of the products that Mitsubishi America sells in the United States is actually made here?
TACHI KIUCHI: About 45 percent I think, yes. We have six production facilities and 45 percent of what we sell are made here locally.
MR. KAYE: Kiuchi is also president of the Japan Business Association of Southern California, the JBA. He feels Japanese businesses must do a better job of convincing Americans that they are good corporate citizens. His is a view shared by another JBA member, Norris Hattori, president of Makita USA, the tool manufacturer. Makita employs 1,000 American workers. 50 percent of Makita's domestic sales are of tools made in the USA. Like other Japanese corporations, Makita is stepping up its involvement in community affairs. Recently on behalf of the Japan Business Association, Makita's Hattori contributed $64,000 in goods and cash to schools in Orange County, California. The donations reflect the growing philanthropy of Japanese companies. Japanese corporate contributions to US charities increased tenfold between 1986 and 1990, according to one report, which put total donations at $300 million. Norris Hattori takes a somewhat familial view of the obligation of Japanese corporations.
NORRIS HATTORI, Makita USA, Inc.: And actually, you know, the relations between the United States and Japan I used to say, big brother and small brother, something like that, and a big brother used to teach a small brother how to do and he said, you hard work and you study harder, and small, you know, the brother, he did it in that way.
MR. KAYE: And now?
NORRIS HATTORI: Then now he grown up and he got money, then the big brother, you know, no money, so ask small brother, give me a little bit money, and the small brother say, why I have to give you the money, why -- well, I said, you know, the little brother cannot, you know, forget about what happened when he was young.
MR. KAYE: Mitsubishi has established a philanthropic foundation with an endowment of $15 million.
TACHI KIUCHI: A lot of people saying, hey, Japanese people are trying to buy image and we know that money is just part of our, you know, the contribution, and that's what it is and it should be. And important thing is personal involvement and that's what we lack. We don't have enough personal involvement.
MR. KAYE: And that's increasing?
TACHI KIUCHI: I think so, yes.
MR. KAYE: Kiuchi says Japanese firms here must do more to change what he sees as a growing colonial attitude towards doing business in the U.S.
TACHI KIUCHI: When I first came to America I was more nervous, I did a lot of preparation. But these days you don't have to speak English; you don't have to do anything American. It's like a colony in the Far East. But people just take it easy and don't make any preparation. That's not good. That makes this "buy American" sentiment stronger. And we must change that.
MR. KAYE: They should -- you think Japanese people here should do more to try to fit in.
TACHI KIUCHI: Yes, please. It's almost sickening.
MR. KAYE: As growing numbers of Americans join unemployment lines, the "buy American" sentiment is likely to increase and civil rights groups say they fear the volatile combination of a tight economy and rising nationalism might fuel more hate crimes. RECAP
MR. LEHRER: Again, the major stories of this Tuesday, a plane carrying PLO leader Yasser Arafat was reported missing over Libya. Libyan Radio said a search was underway for the aircraft. Democratic front-runner Bill Clinton was the projected winner in all four Presidential primaries. Non-candidate Paul Tsongas also has done well. President Bush defeated challenger Pat Buchanan in the three Republican races. Here are the latest results in New York: Clinton 38 percent, Brown 26, Paul Tsongas, 31 percent. That's with 38 percent of the vote counted. In Wisconsin Clinton 38, Brown 36, Tsongas 22, 5 percent of the vote counted. And in Kansas, Clinton 52, Brown 13 to Tsongas's 14, that's with over half, 53 percent of the vote counted. And in Minnesota, 44 percent for Clinton, 26 for Brown, 17 for Tsongas,that's with just 1 percent of the vote. The Minnesota primary is non-binding. On the Republican side, in Wisconsin, President Bush 78 to Buchanan's 16, that's with 5 percent of the vote. In Kansas, Bush 62 to Buchanan's 15, with more than half of the vote counted. In Minnesota, Bush 77 to 16 for Buchanan, just 1 percent of the vote in. And that's it. There was no Republican primary in New York. We'll see you tomorrow night with full analysis of those election results. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
Producing Organization
NewsHour Productions
Contributing Organization
NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/507-tq5r786k70).
Episode Description
This episode's headline: 92 - Primary Outlook; Ballot Box Blues; Scapegoating. The guests include DAVID GERGEN, U.S. News & World Report; MARK SHIELDS, Syndicated Columnist; PETER HART, Democratic Pollster; SCOTT MacCORMACK; MARTHA MacCORMACK; CORRESPONDENTS: JEFFREY KAYE; CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNeil; In Washington: JAMES LEHRER
Episode Description
This item is part of the Asian Americans section of the AAPI special collection.
Segment Description
To view the segment on hate crimes against Asian Americans, you can visit or jump to 00:46:02.
Asset type
Film and Television
Politics and Government
Copyright NewsHour Productions, LLC. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License (
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
AAPB Contributor Holdings
NewsHour Productions
Identifier: 4307 (Show Code)
Format: Betacam
Generation: Master
Duration: 1:00:00;00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1992-04-07, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 20, 2024,
MLA: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour.” 1992-04-07. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 20, 2024. <>.
APA: The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from