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MR. MacNeil: Good evening. Leading the news this Friday, former Philippines President Marcos and his wife were indicted on racketeering and other charges. Israeli jets raided guerrilla bases in Lebanon, killing 12 people. Consumer prices rose enough in September to trigger a cost of living boost for Social Security recipients. We'll have details in our News Summary in a moment. Judy Woodruff is in Washington tonight. Judy.
MS. WOODRUFF: After the News Summary, the Marcos indictment is our lead focus tonight. The U.S. Attorney who led the investigation, Rudolph Giuliani, joins us. Then we devote the rest of the program to the Presidential race, with a look at what's happened to Dukakis' opportunities in Georgia, a talk with Daniel Yankelovitch and Norman Ornstein about the polls, analysis from team of Gergen & Shields, and finally, some rare humor from Bush and Dukakis. NEWS SUMMARY
MR. MacNeil: A federal grand jury in New York today indicted former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, on charges of racketeering, fraud and embezzlement. The sweeping indictment was handed down after plea bargaining negotiations between Marcos's lawyers and federal prosecutors broke down. Besides the Marcoses, the indictment named Saudi Arabian businessman Adnun Kashogi, seven other people and a California bank. At a news conference, U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani outlined the charges.
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, U.S. Attorney: According to the indictment, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, and the others engaged in a pattern of racketeering activities that continued when they left the Philippines and came to the United States. As described in the indictment, the racketeering enterprise included the Marcoses' transfer of $103 million of illegally obtained funds into the United States in order to purchase four buildings in New York City, and the defrauding of United States financial institutions of more than $165 million in connection with the purchase and refinancing of those buildings.
MR. MacNeil: In Washington, one of Marcos's lawyers said his clients would plead innocent. The White House said President Reagan was saddened by the indictment, because Marcos was an old friend, but spokesman Marlin Fitzwater said the President allowed the Justice Department to go ahead because no foreign policy considerations stood in the way. Fitzwater said the President was aware that Marcos had been offered a plea bargain and went along with it. He said that if Marcos had accepted, there would have been no indictment. Judy.
MS. WOODRUFF: In Beirut, Lebanon, today, Shiite Moslem kidnappers holding two American hostages threatened to punish them in retaliation for a wave of Israeli air strikes against guerrilla bases in Southern Lebanon. The threat came in the form of a statement delivered by the group, the Islamic Jehad, which is holding American journalist Terry Anderson and University Dean Thomas Sutherland. We have a report on the Israeli air strikes that precipitated the threat from Louise Bates of Worldwide Television News.
LOUISE BATES: The Palestinian refugee camp of Mia Mia was attacked by four Israeli war planes swooping low over the village, firing rockets and dropping bombs. A police spokesman said an ammunition dump was hit, setting off a series of explosions. Six Palestinian guerrillas were killed in the raid and twelve were wounded. The Israeli aircraft also struck several other targets close to the camp, causing a high number of casualties. Rescue workers clawed their way through the rubble searching for survivors. This time they were too late. At the same time, four fighter jets and two helicopter gunships blasted fundamental guerrilla positions in the village of Mashcara, a Hezbollah stronghold Southeast of Beirut. The survivors recovered from the raid. There was sudden panic as another Israeli jet was heard overhead, but this time it was just a false alarm. Six people were killed in the raid here an a further fifteen wounded.
MS. WOODRUFF: Soviet physicist and human rights activist Andrei Sakharov announced today that Soviet authorities have tentatively agreed to lift a long-standing ban on his traveling abroad. Sakharov said he plans to attend a human rights conference in Washington next month. The announcement followed Sakharov's election late yesterday to the ruling Presidium of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, a dramatic turn in official policy towards a man who spent more than six years in internal exile. In Washington, State Department Spokesman Charles Redman took today's decision beyond Sakharov.
CHARLES REDMAN, State Department: We welcome the Soviet authority's decision to permit Dr. Sakharov to travel abroad for the first time. Our position on freedom of travel remains unchanged. Soviet use of alleged knowledge of state secrets to deny many other citizens the right to travel abroad is deplorable and inconsistent with Soviet commitments under the Helsinke Accords. We will welcome a change in policy by the Soviet authorities in regard to all others who wish to travel abroad.
MS. WOODRUFF: In the Mediterranean, a Greek passenger ship sank after a collision with an Italian freighter near the Port of Piraeus. the cruiseliner, Jupiter, was carrying 475 British students and a crew of 120. Officials said at least two people were killed and seventy-two were injured. The ship owner said they also feared a few people may have been trapped in the ship when it went down.
MR. MacNeil: In this country, consumer prices rose .3 percent in September, slightly less than in August. The government said a steep drop in gasoline prices offset increases in prices for food and clothing. The most recent increase triggered an automatic 4 percent cost of living boost for 38 million Social Security recipients. That will give the average retired worker an additional $21 a month starting in January.
MS. WOODRUFF: Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor underwent breast cancer surgery today in Washington. A court spokeswoman said Mrs. O'Connor's cancer was discovered in a very early form. Justice O'Connor in a statement released this afternoon said he prognosis is for a total recovery. The Justice said she does not expect to miss any of the court's oral arguments which resume when court returns from its fall recess on October 31st. And on Capitol Hill, the focus remained on the drug bill that includes provisions to punish drug users and dealers. Both the House and Senate are scheduled to vote tonight on the compromise drug enforcement legislation. That is expected to be the final business of the 100th Congress before it adjourns.
MR. MacNeil: In the Presidential campaign, Bush and Dukakis slammed each other on Star Wars and Drugs. Michael Dukakis, speaking at a church in Harlem, ridiculed Bush's record in fighting drugs.
GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS, Dem. Presidential Candidate: Yesterday Mr. Bush was in New York, claiming credit for his leadership in the war against drugs. What leadership? Mr. Bush is more interested in photo opportunities than in the real opportunities to get drugs off our streets. In the last eight years while he's been in charge of this war, cocaine imports have tripled.
MR. MacNeil: George Bush in Toledo, Ohio, said he wanted to be known as the President who achieved a worldwide ban on chemical weapons. He attacked Dukakis for opposing the Star Wars defense program.
VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, GOP Presidential Candidate: The last thing we or our allies need at a time when ballistic missiles are proliferating is someone who regards strategic defense as a -- fantasy. It is no such thing and i support it.
MS. WOODRUFF: That wraps up our summary of the day's news. Just ahead on the Newshour, U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani on the Marcos indictments and the Presidential campaign, Dukakis's problems in Georgia, two polling experts, our team of Gergen & Shields, and finally some humor from the candidates, themselves. NEWS MAKER
MR. MacNeil: Our lead focus tonight, the indictment of Ferdinand Marcos. As we reported, a federal grand jury in New York today indicted the former President of the Philippines and his wife, Imelda, on charges of racketeering and fraud. The indictments alleged that the Marcoses stole millions of dollars from the Philippines and fraudulently laundered it here in the United States. Today's charges are the result of a two and a half year secret investigation directed by U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, who joins us now for a News Maker Interview. Mr. Giuliani, put the charges against the Marcoses in simple terms that we can understand. What did you say they did and when did they do it?
RUDOLPH GIULIANI, U.S. Attorney: The charges basically involve a scheme that began before the Marcoses left the Philippines and continued into the time that they came into the United States up until, according to the indictment, actually the day following the indictment, and the scheme was a scheme to take money that was stolen and embezzled and otherwise obtained fraudulently in the Philippines, move it into the United States, using also United States bank accounts and records to try to conceal those transactions, and that amounted to about $103 million, and then to borrow from American banks about $165 million through fraudulent transactions in which false documents were used in order to obtain that money from United States banks.
MR. MacNeil: Is it a crime under American law to steal money in another country?
MR. GIULIANI: No, it is not a crime under American law to steal money in another country, and if that's all that were involved, then there would not have been an indictment. Here what happened is money that was stolen in a foreign country was brought into the United States, money was borrowed in the United States -- these are charges according to the indictment -- based on false documents. The United States institutions, banking institutions, were allegedly defrauded out of $165 million in loans that are now in default, loans that were obtained under false pretenses. That's an astounding bank fraud. We don't have too many bank frauds that amount to a $165 million fraud. And we also have charges of obstruction of justice after they came into the United States, including an attempt to create false documents as to the purchases of the various buildings that they have bought in the United States all designed allegedly to obstruct justice in an American court.
MR. MacNeil: The Marcoses will have to come to trial here in New York.
MR. GIULIANI: Correct.
MR. MacNeil: When will that happen?
MR. GIULIANI: Well, the next date that's fixed at this point is their appearance before the court is set for October 31st, in the Southern District of New York. It was set today by Judge Keenan, and at that point, there will be an arraignment. Their lawyer has announced that they will plead "not guilty" and then we'd have to set a schedule for all of the motions and the trial.
MR. MacNeil: If they were found guilty under these charges, what are the maximum penalties they would face?
MR. GIULIANI: If they were found guilty, and of course they're presumed innocent, and that point has to be emphasized --
MR. MacNeil: And their lawyer, as we reported, will plead innocent.
MR. GIULIANI: They're going to plead not guilty. But if they were found guilty, they would face 20 years on each one of the racketeering counts, there are two of those, so the years would be 50 or 60 years, they would face very large fines, and they also would face forfeiture of all the property that they allegedly obtained illegally, which includes the four buildings in New York. And the amount right now, I can only approximate, but it would be somewhere in excess of $1/4 billion.
MR. MacNeil: It's reported that the plea bargain they were offered and which he only yesterday rejected involved his pleading guilty to the racketeering charge but that the only penalty would have been to have to give the Philippine Government back the money that was taken away. Is that a correct summary?
MR. GIULIANI: I cannot comment on any of the details with any kind of discussions of pleas or anything like that. I can just tell you that that is not an accurate statement of what transpired.
MR. MacNeil: His attorney, Richard Hibby, said today that you federal prosecutors were not willing to negotiate a plea bargain, you offered them a "drop dead deal".
MR. GIULIANI: I can't comment on the situation. We view the case as a very case. Again, these are allegations, but this is one of the largest fraud schemes that has ever been uncovered by the United States Government.
MR. MacNeil: Is it, is a plea bargain still open if Marcos wants to change his mind?
MR. GIULIANI: That's something that I can't comment on. The fact that an indictment has now taken place and that we're on a schedule to go to trial seems to me the direction that we're moving in, but you never know in these situations.
MR. MacNeil: But in cases like this, it is never closed to plead guilty to a certain charge?
MR. GIULIANI: Of course not. If the United States Government could achieve all the objectives that we think are proper and United States law could be vindicated through a plea, of course, we'd do that.
MR. MacNeil: This is the first case, as I understand it, that has been brought under new procedures whereby an indictment of a prominent foreign figure has to go through other departments of the U.S. Government in order to make sure that it doesn't interfere with foreign policy or national security procedures. It goes before an inter-agency committee. How did that system work?
MR. GIULIANI: I think it worked very very well, and I think it was a very prudent and intelligent thing to do in a situation like this. There were a lot of concerns here above beyond the concerns involved in the criminal justice aspect of it, including the foreign policy and diplomatic aspects of it and intelligence matters. All of that was very very carefully reviewed by all of the relevant agencies of government. Everyone acted and worked very cooperatively, the State Department, the National Security Council, and all the other agencies, so I think it got the kind of review that an action of this magnitude deserves.
MR. MacNeil: The State Department people talking have made relatively no secret of the fact that they would have preferred that he'd accepted a plea bargain and it didn't have to go to trial. Did you feel under any pressure as a prosecutor to back down, not to bring the charges, to forget the case?
MR. GIULIANI: We've spent a lot of time discussing this internally and the approach that we came up with was a joint approach. It was one that both the State Department and the Justice Department was very comfortable with. So there may have been little points of difference along the way, but when we got to the final stage of what we thought was the appropriate way to handle this, we were altogether on it.
MR. MacNeil: It's been reported that the State Department's own attorney, Mr. Sofer, wrote a memo saying that if he were indicted, Marcos might seek to involve and embarrass U.S. Government officials. Was that ever threatened by the Marcos people?
MR. GIULIANI: That's also something that I can't comment on, but we have reviewed all of those possibilities and Abe Sofer worked very closely on this with us. He worked very closely on all of this and his input was invaluable.
MR. MacNeil: But that was one of the possibilities discussed, that Marcos might turn and try and make things uncomfortable for people in the U.S. Government.
MR. GIULIANI: It's something that's been considered and I think we came to the conclusion that the case was a very important one, we should go forward with it, and the risks are not really realistic.
MR. MacNeil: What kind of signal do you think this sends to other countries now?
MR. GIULIANI: I think it sends a very very powerful and very positive signal, that this is a country where the law is paramount and no matter who you are, whether you're an American official no matter how high you are, or a foreign official, if you violate American law in a very serious way, you're just not going to get away with it, that the law is paramount for all of us. We all have to serve it. Whether we like someone, we don't like someone, they've been good to the United States, bad to the United States, whatever your position on Marcos pre his coming to the United States. He is alleged to have seriously violated American law on a continuing basis at a fraud level that makes other cases pale in comparison. And he's being treated no better, nor is he being treated any worse than any other person who lives in this country.
MR. MacNeil: Well, Mr. Giuliani, thank you for joining us.
MR. GIULIANI: Thank you.
MS. WOODRUFF: Now it's on to Presidential politics. We look at Dukakis's problems down South in Georgia, hear about the polls and their impact from experts Yankelovitch and Ornstein, get the political analysis from our team of Gergen & Shields, and finish up with a sample of Bush and Dukakis's political humor. FOCUS - '88 - GEORGIA ON MY MIND
MS. WOODRUFF: Next tonight the Presidential campaign. One of the axioms of politics in recent years has to do with the so-called Republican lock on the South, the near guarantee that no matter who the Republicans run they can count on sweeping virtually every Southern state. The Dukakis campaign had predicted earlier this year that that wouldn't happen, but the latest polls seem to be bearing it out once again. We decided to take a closer look at one Southern state where it appeared not too long ago that the Democrats at least had a fighting chance to win. It was exactly three months ago that tonight that Michael Dukakis made his triumphant entrance at the Democratic Convention in Atlanta.
GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS, Dem. Presidential Candidate: [July 21] Tonight, with the wind at our backs, with friends at our sides, and with courage in our hearts, the race to the finish line begins.
MS. WOODRUFF: It was a moment full of promise for Dukakis, especially in the South, where he had come to accept his party's nomination. Democratic hopes of breaking the Republican Party's lock on the South in recent Presidential campaigns never looked better.
JAY MORGAN, Bush Campaign: What I was afraid of in Georgia was that the convention would have such an impact on people, and the fact that they were here, they celebrated the nomination here, that Sam Nunn came and laid hands on Michael Dukakis, as did the Governor.
MS. WOODRUFF: Jay Morgan is a native Georgian and the Bush campaign's Deputy Southern Director.
JAY MORGAN: So I began to see all the signs of the Democratic Party coming together to support a man that they really don't have much in common with, but for the pure politics of electing a President that I was quite fearful of the resources that they could bring to bear on the Presidential campaign.
MS. WOODRUFF: If the Bush campaign was worried in July, the Dukakis campaign was feeling good.
MIKE DeVEGTER, Dukakis Campaign: You compare it with maybe four years ago with Mondale, there was no comparison. We have a totally unified ticket here in Georgia.
MS. WOODRUFF: Mike DeVegter, Dukakis's Campaign Director in Georgia, is on loan from his job as the top aide to Georgia's Democratic Governor.
MIKE DeVEGTER: You can't help but get some good PR when you've had the candidate, Mike Dukakis, in here for five days, really six days, tremendous, tremendous publicity we got out of it.
MS. WOODRUFF: But three months later, polls show Dukakis taking a beating all across the South, including Georgia, where he's running about 10 points behind George Bush. Politicians and analysts are not hesitant to criticize the Dukakis campaign for blowing any advantage it had.
RICHARD THOMAS, Editor, Macon Telegraph & News: The perception is that the Dukakis campaign sat down, they quit, at least as far as Georgia was concerned, a lot of campaigning in the weeks after the convention in Massachusetts, for heaven's sakes, and not any attention at all given to Georgia, or the South.
JOHN HENRY ANDERSON, Chairman, Georgia Democratic Party: And of course, he's Governor, and he was facing the responsibilities that he had to the voters of Massachusetts, but he was spending like Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays on state business, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays campaigning, and taking the day off on Sunday. Well, I might run for County Commissioner that way, but that's not the way to run for President of the United States.
MS. WOODRUFF: While Dukakis was campaigning mostly elsewhere, George Bush unleashed a barrage of attacks.
VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, GOP Presidential Candidate: My opponent opposes that death penalty no matter how brutal a crime and I think just happen to think he is dead wrong on that.
SEN. WYCHE FOWLER, [D] Georgia: I think that George Bush and his people have just decided that rather than attack Gov. Dukakis on substance and differences in policy, they were going to resurrect symbols of the flag, a gun as in gun control, prayer in schools and those issues which are not governing for a new President, but do evoke very powerful emotions in people when you manipulate that through television and through commercials.
MS. WOODRUFF: And how good a job do you think Dukakis has done in defending himself?
SEN. WYCHE FOWLER: He's done a very poor job in defending himself.
MS. WOODRUFF: U.S. Sen. Wyche Fowler knows something about what Georgia voters respond to. They kicked out a Republican incumbent to put him in office in a squeaker election two years ago. Fowler and other leading Georgia Democrats say the failure to respond to Bush attacks like these was a serious error.
BUSH CAMPAIGN AD: His revolving door prison door policy gave weekend furloughs to first degree murderers not eligible for parole. While out, many committed other crimes like kidnapping and rape and many are still at large. Now Michael Dukakis says he wants to do for America what he's done for Massachusetts.
MAYOR ANDREW YOUNG, [D] Atlanta: There has been saturation of spot announcements attacking Dukakis in a kind of a big lie, fascias sort of technique that because there was no answer has had an impact. It was almost as though Bush's campaign was hitting Dukakis over the head with a sledge hammer and the Dukakis campaign was striking back with a switch.
MS. WOODRUFF: The decisions made in Boston by the Dukakis high command frustrated the people running the Dukakis effort in Georgia.
MIKE DeVEGTER, Dukakis Campaign: You feel like you'd been in a fight with one hand tied behind your back and that's the way they want to run the campaign and run in a very high type campaign. I don't think it hurts at all if you stay on the high road, but certainly the guy keeps hitting you and hitting you and every now and then people expect you to step down and just bust him one. We've been kicking Republicans in the butt in Georgia for years and years.
MS. WOODRUFF: Ironically, Bush campaign officials agree wit Mike DeVegter. They say they are thankful that Dukakis top advisers didn't listen to field staff people like him.
JAY MORGAN, Bush Campaign: Where they've misjudged George is, they have misjudged the entire South, is they have people handling their candidate that don't understand the Southern voter. And they thought when we first started pointing out to people the differences between George Bush and Michael Dukakis that they could simply ignore them and you can't simply ignore those differences. They thought they could just keeping moving straight ahead with their game plan and people wouldn't pay attention to things like the death penalty, they wouldn't pay attention to things like the furlough problem that they've had in Massachusetts. They wouldn't pay attention to other issues that are hot buttons with Southern voters, have been for years.
MS. WOODRUFF: We found the truth in what Jay Morgan was saying when we traveled to Hawkinsville, in South Central Georgia, a small town Dukakis will visit tomorrow for a barbecue and rally. This will be his first visit back to Georgia since the Democratic Convention in July. It was clear from talking with many voters, including schoolteacher Rosemary Wright, that Bush's attacks have hurt Dukakis here.
ROSEMARY WRIGHT, Teacher: You know, he's got this program with his penal system or whatever there and is going to try, you know, to maybe do the whole country that way or whatever, and I don't agree with his ideas on the capital punishment thing, that's for sure. And that worries me.
BOB PRITCHARD, Engineer: He just hasn't said anything that impressed me to warrant my trust as far as I'm anti-abortion and I'm for everything he's against and -- just generally speaking.
MS. WOODRUFF: Anything specific other than abortion you can think of?
BOB PRITCHARD: Oh, the death penalty and lettin' people out of jail for -- I just don't, you know, I don't trust him --
MS. WOODRUFF: Independently paid for anti-Dukakis ads like this one in the Hawkinsville weekly newspaper have also hurt the Massachusetts Governor.
BOBBI NESMITH, Advertising Sales: Like the article I read today, he had introduced a bill against sodomy -- I mean, for sodomy -- to do away with the laws concerning sodomy. That concerns me.
MS. WOODRUFF: To be sure, there are some longtime Democrats in the Hawkinsville area who are going to stay with their party, mainly because of what they say the Republicans haven't done for the middle class. Cafe Owner Rebecca Mulligan.
REBECCA MULLIGAN, Cafe Owner: Well, it seems like the middle people are the ones that is put down more so, that's not help as much, as the higher group. Maybe the higher group is helped more. They have no worries, but yet it's left for the middle group that has all the worries and the problems.
MS. WOODRUFF: Dukakis may also take some consolation from the fact that even voters who plan to vote for Bush say they don't like either candidate much. Rosemary Wright's husband, Wilsie, is an accountant.
WILSIE WRIGHT, Accountant: Neither candidate has really stepped forward, I don't think, and really inspired, you know, the public to lean one way or the other. In my particular case, I just don't feel comfortable with either candidate.
ROSEMARY WRIGHT, Teacher: I really am upset that they have been so back stabbing at each other and that's kind of turned me off.
MS. WOODRUFF: What do you mean by back stabbing?
ROSEMARY WRIGHT: Well, they just are so knit picky with each other, are picking up on all these little bitty things and just rubbing it in and all this dirt that they're throwing in mud and all of that. They've just really turned me off, both of them.
MS. WOODRUFF: Nursing home owner Benjy Griffin will vote for Bush, but is unenthusiastic about the sort of campaign he's run.
BENJY GRIFFIN, Nursing Home Owner: Lack luster both, the candidate and the campaign. I think he's very strong in experience and that helped me. But what I'm hearing in the campaigns from both sides is not very exciting. I don't think the candidates are exciting.
MS. WOODRUFF: But for all the disillusionment with both Bush and Dukakis, Veterinarian John Bembry spells out why the Massachusetts Governor has more to worry about in this part of the country.
DR. JOHN BEMBRY, Veterinarian: Bush's negative campaign has been effective in that he has done more in pointing out the liberal views of Gov. Dukakis actually than you would be able to ascertain on your own really in viewing the two candidates.
MS. WOODRUFF: Rosemary Wright concedes all the negative messages she's heard have wiped out the positive views she had of Dukakis at the time of the Democratic Convention.
ROSEMARY WRIGHT: I felt pretty good about him. I thought, well, this will be okay, but that was, you know, before they really got into hard campaigning, I suppose, and that's kind of when I was turned off, after that. But I really thought he would probably be okay.
MS. WOODRUFF: Back in Atlanta, one of the state's leading black politicians, Fulton County Commission Chairman, Michael Lomax, says the Dukakis campaign has also failed to energize black voters in Georgia who make up about 1/4 of the total electorate and would normally be expected to support the Democrat.
MICHAEL LOMAX, Fulton County Commissioner: Well, I certainly thought that the reasonable thing to do would be to have taken the team that brought the convention to Atlanta and to Georgia, and that meant the Major, a liberal Atlanta Mayor, Andrew Young, with a conservative Georgia Governor, Joe Frank Harris at the top of a team. Well, the Governor's traveling in Australia right now. He's not working on this effort diligently, and I don't see Andy being used, nor black leadership being used, targeted in Georgia.
MS. WOODRUFF: Mayor Young, himself, is at a loss to explain why he and others weren't asked to campaign more for Dukakis.
MAYOR YOUNG: And I don't what, I mean, I don't know why that happened, or what was going on.
MS. WOODRUFF: Bush officials say the Dukakis campaign should have asked for local help in order to have a chance in any Southern states.
JAY MORGAN, Bush Campaign: They'll look for that statewide elected official that can drive their campaign, because their candidate can't do it. They've gotto have a chaperone, if you will, to go into these Southern states with Michael Dukakis, whether it's Sam Nunn, Bill Clinton, whoever. They've got to have that now.
MS. WOODRUFF: Dukakis will have almost every top state elected official with him tomorrow in Hawkinsville, but many political observers say it's probably too late.
RICHARD THOMAS, Editor, Macon Telegraph & News: There was just no attention given to Georgia in particular, and the South I think in general, and that was resented a bit. And pretty soon, they gave up.
MS. WOODRUFF: Even so, the Dukakis campaign still holds out hope they can turn things around.
MIKE DeVEGTER, Dukakis Campaign; The Republicans have run a very arrogant campaign and I've got some faith in the people of this country, certainly Georgia, that they're being played for suckers.
MS. WOODRUFF: What do you mean?
MIKE DeVEGTER: They've been lied to, without being, on the other hand, have the truth told to them by Bush. He's playing them for suckers. We're going to see. I know a tremendous number of people who are really still undecided about how they're going to vote.
MR. MacNeil: Not only in Georgia was this a bad week for Michael Dukakis as reflected by his standing in the national polls, on Monday, an NBC Wall Street Journal preference poll showed George Bush had a 17 point lead over Dukakis, 55 to 38 percent. On Wednesday, an ABC/Washington Post Poll made the gap narrower, a 52 to 45 percent Bush lead. A Harris Poll also released on Wednesday put the Bush lead at 9 points, 53 to 44 percent. To explain what these errors mean, we have Daniel Yankelovitch, head of the polling firm that bears his name, and author of the newly published book, "Starting With The People". He joins us in the studios of WGBH in Boston. And in Washington, is Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and Co- Director of the Times/Mirror Study of the American Electorate, "The People, the, Press, and Politics". Mr. Yankelovitch, a lot of people early in the week seeing that 17 percent Bush lead were saying the election is over for Dukakis. Is it?
DANIEL YANKELOVITCH, Pollster: Oh, no, not at all. Just a few days later you saw other polls that showed that the lead was much more modest. I think it was more the press who announced the obituary of Dukakis more than the public.
MR. MacNeil: How do you see it, Norm? To use the term that NBC loved so much during the Olympic games, do these polls show that Bush is the prohibitive favorite?
NORMAN ORNSTEIN, American Enterprise: He's certainly the prohibitive favorite, Robin, but you know, there's good news and bad news in these polls. The NBC poll was a shocker. It clearly was an aberration. That's good news for him. It's not 17 points by most standards. The bad news is that it's been holding probably somewhere between 7 and 10 points for a long time, for at least six weeks and while there's room there for him to maneuver, it's getting a little bit late and there are some disturbing sign, when you look below simply the numbers of the horse race that make it a little difficult for them.
MR. MacNeil: I'll come back to you in a moment for those. Mr. Yankelovitch, where is the good news for Dukakis in these polls?
MR. YANKELOVITCH: Well, there is good news in the sense that the undecideds represent only the visible part of the iceberg. I figure that the people who might still change their mind probably add up to maybe 35 to 40 percent of the electorate, in other words, many times the number of those that are reported as undecided, so that from that point of view, the election is still wide open.
MR. MacNeil: Do you mean that the questioning by poll takers forces people into a firmer sounding decision than they've really made in their own hearts?
MR. YANKELOVITCH: Well, there are several things. First of all, the good polls, also ask people in addition to whether they're undecided or not whether they might change their mind. And in the CBS/New York Times Poll, and the NBC Poll, the numbers who said they might change their minds are about 20, 25 percent. If you add that to the undecideds, you get 33, 35 percent, and then you have the people who say they're going to vote one way and who then later on don't do it. I mean, people don't deliberately lie, but the whole history of polling shows again and again that people who say they're going to vote a certain way, a certain percentage of them, maybe 10, 20 percent, don't do that. That's one of the things that misled the pollsters back, way back in the famous 1948 poll. So you may have as many as 40 percent or more who are subject to change of mind, and that at least gives Dukakis a chance.
MR. MacNeil: Norman --
MR. YANKELOVITCH: He may not take advantage of that chance, but he has it.
MR. MacNeil: Norm Ornstein, where is the bad news for Dukakis in these polls, beyond the mere gap?
NORMAN ORNSTEIN, American Enterprise Institute: Well, we can start with the reality that George Bush's campaign, as we saw in Judy's nice piece on Georgia, which is reflected nationwide, has had its impact. Dukakis started out at the Democratic Convention with an extraordinarily favorable view among American voters, very few people who viewed him unfavorably, but, in fact, now he is viewed unfavorably by substantially more voters than view him favorably and, in fact, it's over a majority right now, while George Bush with all the hammering away hasn't suffered for it. In fact, he has more people viewing him favorably. That's a problem for Michael Dukakis. Now there are other aspects that we see in surveys that would suggest that there are misgivings about Bush, and Dan Yankelovitch's point about undecided voters, I call them swingable voters, although I think the numbers are probably a little bit lower than that, are there. There are misgivings about Bush that aren't reflected so much in those favorability ratings. But the reality really is that Mike Dukakis has gone through this campaign being hammered at by George Bush and George Bush has emerged in stronger shape, Dukakis not in such strong shape, and we have the remarkable fact that, as we saw just the other day in the Washington Post/ABC Poll, even though the margin is narrower than we see in other surveys, just as many people think that Dukakis is the one who has run the negative campaign as believe that Bush is the one. Bush has hammered away at him. Georgia Democrats complain, and Republicans agree that he hasn't fought back, and people believe, just as many, that he's run a dirty campaign. It's a remarkable finding and it makes it difficult for him.
MR. MacNeil: Well, we heard that in that schoolteacher from Georgia, who said both of them were just picking at each other.
MR. ORNSTEIN: Some speculated that Dukakis was running a "rope a dope" strategy, you know, that as Mohammad Ali did, that you wait against the ropes and be pounded until the other guy gets tired out, until everybody is clear as to who is doing this. If that's the case, if it was deliberate, it clearly hasn't worked and now as Dukakis tries to frame this election in part by suggesting that oh, look at what George Bush has done, it's scurrilous and it's political garbage, it's harder for him to overcome with a short time to go.
MR. MacNeil: Mr. Yankelovitch, Dukakis complained this week that the polls in his phrase were "evil things that are driving the political process". What is your comment on that?
MR. YANKELOVITCH: Well, I think that they certainly are confusing and I think that the use of them, the reporting of them, leaves something to be desired, because of this tendency that a lot of the television reporters had to leap to the fact that they're predicting his defeat. I think the worst thing about the way polls are treated is that they're treated as being predictable, as predicting an outcome, and the simplest fact about polls that I can think of saying is that they are not predictable until 72 hours before the election. In other words, it isn't a matter of sampling error or anything technical. It's a matter that in a campaign like this where there are cross pressures, people aren't going to make up their minds until the last few days. They don't deliberately lie, but they do mislead and, therefore, the polls mislead. And the reporters' interpretation when they say, well, of course, we know that the polls don't predict, and then they go on to use them for prediction.
MR. MacNeil: Well, let me ask Norm Ornstein this. Some of the comments on these polls say, are saying, from the statewide polls, are saying from the statewide polls, are saying that Bush already has a lot on the electoral college, which is another reason for predicting the inevitability of his victory. What is the reality of that?
MR. ORNSTEIN: I think that's almost nonsensical, Robin. The electoral college lead that George Bush clearly has at this stage of the campaign, and we have not voted yet, will only last as long as his popular vote margin lasts. And part of the irony here is that when we think of this so-called "electoral lock", it suggests that the Republicans will win the majority of electoral votes almost no matter what because they have these advantages built in in the South and elsewhere. The irony this time is that George Bush's very substantial leads in the South and the West are not matched by leads in these major industrial states. If things got really tight in popular vote terms, Michael Dukakis could be the one who won an electoral vote victory by narrow margins, while narrowly losing the popular vote, not the other way around. Now that's not a scenario that is likely to happen, but it's more likely than George Bush winning a narrow or large electoral vote victory while losing the popular vote.
MR. MacNeil: Dan Yankelovitch, coming back to the point about the polls affecting the campaign, what does history say? Do lopsided polls at a stage like this make supporters give up, or voters stay away from the polls?
MR. YANKELOVITCH: Well, the history, you know, in every election, Robin, there's a loser who's sore at the polls. So there's been a lot of post mortems done about the influence of the bandwagon effect. And all of them have shown historically a few things. One is the bad poll results affects financial giving. The money dries out. I don't think that's a factor in this particular campaign. But that's usually the major effect of negative polls. And very often, another negative effect is that the people who are winning get complacent and don't turn out, so the so called "bandwagon effect" doesn't really work all that much. You know, it's true Americans like a winner, but Americans are very commonsensical and they're not going to be influenced by poll results.
MR. MacNeil: Okay.
MR. YANKELOVITCH: The press is more likely to be influenced than the public.
MR. MacNeil: Well, Mr. Yankelovitch, Norm Ornstein, thank you both for joining us. Judy.
MS. WOODRUFF: Now for our regular team of analysts, Mark Shields, Syndicated Political Columnist for the Washington Post, and David Gergen, Editor at Large for U.S. News & World Report. Gentlemen, we just heard what Dan Yankelovitch and Norman Ornstein said about how there are a lot of voters out there who haven't made up their minds, but is this really still aroundable in the view of the political experts, in the view of the campaigns, for Michael Dukakis? David Gergen.
DAVID GERGEN: U.S. News & World Report: There are very few people in the political community tonight who think it's going to be turned around. The big news this week was we started out on Monday with three weeks left for the election and there are now essentially two weeks left to the election, and the big news this week is that there was no news. Michael Dukakis did not do anything this week to reverse momentum of the campaign. And that's not good news for him. He needs to reverse momentum and he's now only got about sixteen or seventeen days left.
MS. WOODRUFF: Mark Shields.
MARK SHIELDS, Washington Post: He had a better week this week, I think, than he certainly had with the debate. I would say for the first time, Judy, that we are running a risk -- I think Dan Yankelovitch and Norm both touched on it -- of the press declaring this over prematurely. And I think it's unfair. I think we're gypping the American people. Losing candidates, regardless of who loses, oftentimes say terribly important things. I mean, the attack upon an over centralized, overly intrusive federal government, was mounted in a losing campaign by Barry Goldwater in '64. Taxes and the loopholes for the rich was mounted in a losing campaign by George McGovern. They later came to be. And I just really think, you know, we who cover it have perhaps robbed the American people of election nights, which used to be a lot of fun. I mean, you'd sit there with suspense. Now we're trying to rob them of the last three weeks.
MS. WOODRUFF: David is shaking his head.
MR. GERGEN: I disagree with it. And, Mark, with all due respect, I think you've changed your position on that, because I think a few days ago you thought it was, you thought for the first time that Dukakis probably could win this.
MR. SHIELDS: I thought for the first time, I thought Dukakis was going to win. I thought the Democrats were going to win again.
MR. GERGEN: But you changed your mind.
MR. SHIELDS: Yes, but I'm not saying that the race is over.
MR. GERGEN: Yeah, it's not over.
MR. SHIELDS: The World Series is over. This is when people really put their highest point of interest in the campaign.
MR. GERGEN: That's right, but you and I would both agree, I think, that when -- as much as I respect Dan Yankelovitch -- yes, the press is paying, I think, excessive attention to polls, but it's not simply polls and these national numbers that the veteran observers are looking at in order to talk about what's happening in this race. You can't take any single number and say what exactly the reality is, but if you look at the totality of what we see, we see a definite trend line in these polls and the trend line has been toward Bush and that's nationally true, but more importantly in the key states Michael Dukakis has to win, has to win to get this. The trend line has been moving against him in the last 10 days since the debate. In California, Bush has gone up. In Ohio, he's gone up substantially. He's over 11 points in the statewide poll. He's gone up in Michigan. He's gone up in New Jersey. He's more competitive in New York.
MS. WOODRUFF: But beyond pointing that out, what do you say?
MR. SHIELDS: That's --
MR. GERGEN: Well, here's what you say. It seems to me if it's clear that Bush has a fairly strong commanding lead in the South and in most of the Rocky Mountain states so that he has a strong electoral base of maybe 200, 220 votes, so he needs about 50 or 60 left, and then in the remaining industrial states, he's now moving ahead by 6, 8, 10 points in some of these states, you begin to say it's very very difficult for Michael Dukakis to catch up. And that's what I think the message of the national press is, and I don't think that's unfair.
MS. WOODRUFF: And the only alternative, is it, Mark, to say nothing about the way things are going?
MR. SHIELDS: No, no, no. I mean, you could say favorite and so forth. Look at the coverage this week. I mean, who got more coverage than the Presidential candidates, the whales. I mean, the whales are wonderful, and there was Ronald Reagan, and God knows they're important, and they're lovable, cuddly creatures, and neither Dukakis nor Bush is. Oral Hershhizer got more. I mean, my point is, it's almost like the campaign -- I was in Texas all week -- and it's almost like the campaign has been consigned to the B section of the paper.
MR. GERGEN: Oh, I disagree with that, because, listen, ABC is giving Michael Dukakis an hour and a half next Tuesday night at 11:30. He was on two morning shows today. I don't think the networks have taken Michael Dukakis off the air.
MS. WOODRUFF: Well, let me just slightly change the subject or dramatically change the subject. What about this notion of --
MR. SHIELDS: -- I'm sorry, we've got a wonderful relationship - -
MS. WOODRUFF: What about this notion that this is the dirtiest campaign that we have seen in a very long time in Presidential politics? I heard it down in Georgia this week. Did you hear it in Texas?
MR. SHIELDS: Sure, I've heard it. I don't think it is.
MS. WOODRUFF: You think it's a clean campaign.
MR. SHIELDS: No, I don't think it is. I think George Bush, if he does win, is going to pay dearly for it in the sense of he's chosen --
MR. SHIELDS: Well, that wonderful little granddaughter whom he clutches in such a dearing fashion in the ads, what's he going to tell her he ran on in 1988? I ran against the furloughs. I mean, remember the great scene in "The Graduate" in 1968, where Benjamin --
MS. WOODRUFF: This is a movie, David.
MR. SHIELDS: -- Dustin Hoffman -- he was asked what's the one word of advice professionally and he said plastics. 1988 it's going to be prisons. No one will have a furlough program.
MS. WOODRUFF: Because of the furlough --
MR. SHIELDS: Absolutely, there will be prison boats in the country.
MS. WOODRUFF: And this week the Bush campaign has an ad out showing Dukakis riding around in a tank, saying the country is going to be at greater risk if he is elected.
MR. SHIELDS: But in fairness to the Bush candidacy, they have only made charges that are true. I mean, I don't know a charge made that's untrue. I think you can argue about the level of the debate and the issues they've raised, but you can't argue in that sense.
MR. GERGEN: I would have to say I think both campaigns have made charges which stretch the truth. I mean, the Bush campaign has charged in its advertising that Dukakis is against the Stealth bomber, and that's just not true. And they've said he's against all these defense systems, and the Dukakis people, you know, say with some reason, hey, we're for a lot of these things, this ad is taking it way beyond the facts. But here's something Mark and I agree on. I don't think it's been a dirty campaign, but it has been a very rough campaign, and one of the roughest I can remember in a long time. But I think what Mark is particularly right on is the way the Bush campaign has been conducted in the last few weeks, well, actually since Labor Day, I think raises the question of whether it's going to cause so much resentment, if, in fact, not anger among Democrats who are in Congress, Senators. I mean, Lloyd Bentsen, if he loses this, after all, is going to be back in the Senate, and whether the Democrats in Congress are going to be so angry about the way it's been conducted that they will not work with him next year if he's President, and I think that, in that sense, I think there's a price.
MS. WOODRUFF: Do you think that's a possibility?
MR. SHIELDS: I think it is.
MS. WOODRUFF: Probability.
MR. SHIELDS: Well, there's going to be a lot of talk about mandates and all the rest of it in election results.
MR. GERGEN: Right.
MR. SHIELDS: Ronald Reagan had a mandate in 1980 for three profound reasons. One, it was a hostile takeover. He took over from the other party. That's not going to be the case if George Bush were to win in November. Secondly, Ronald Reagan won an affirmative victory. He laid out in advance what he intended to do. George Bush has not done that, and the third thing is he struck fear into the hearts of Democrats by bringing 33 Republicans into the House with him, and winning control of the Senate. Nobody I know on either side is predicting that sort of - -
MS. WOODRUFF: We know George Bush is not going to have a furlough program of the sort that Michael -- we know a few things about - -
MR. SHIELDS: That's right, and the pledge, Betsy Ross, Betsy Ross.
MR. GERGEN: That's right, but tell us what he will do. Tell us what his top three priorities are going to be.
MR. SHIELDS: Come on, Judy, you were in Georgia.
MS. WOODRUFF: He said he was going to be an education President - - now, come on, you guys, I'm asking you the questions on this program.
MR. SHIELDS: A gentler, kinder --
MS. WOODRUFF: You have got 30 seconds left.
MR. SHIELDS: -- gentler, kinder, America.
MR. GERGEN: Now you have 30 seconds left.
MS. WOODRUFF: All right. Any last comments, gentlemen?
MR. GERGEN: I think, again, we're down to the final strokes here on this. We've got what, fifteen, sixteen days left, and I still think that Michael Dukakis has to get a handle on this campaign in the next few days in order to get this thing reversed.
MS. WOODRUFF: Really, really, Mark Shields?
MR. SHIELDS: There's a line that they're using in Texas, boiled down, it's innocence by association with Lloyd Bentsen as the spokesman, is that the United States, in the words of Russell Baker, is in danger of being a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan. And economic nationalism is strong.
MS. WOODRUFF: Once again, wisdom from David Gergen & Mark Shields. Robin. '88 - ON THE STUMP
MR. MacNeil: For our on the stump segment tonight we have something slightly different. Last night for only the third time in the campaign, Michael Dukakis and George Bush appeared on the same platform. The occasion was the annual charity dinner in New York in memory of former Governor and Presidential Candidate Alfred E. Smith. It's a tradition in election years that both Presidential candidates appear and that both try to be funny. Here are their efforts, first, Gov. Dukakis, then Vice President Bush.
GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS, Dem. Presidential Candidate: I'm sorry Kitty could not be with me this evening, but she's campaigning for me even as we speak in the Sate of Texas. She sends you -- there are a few Texans in the audience out here and maybe one up here, I don't know. Of course, Kitty's in a hotel room in Dallas tonight, so I guess she qualifies as a Texan, right? Some good friends who are colleagues in government and distinguished guests, it is, as you can imagine, a great pleasure for me to be here in this beautiful ballroom before this magnificent assembly on an evening when all thoughts of politics is banished and I can concentrate on what I do best, comedy. What's so funny about that? You know, Al mentioned Sam Donaldson, and I know I've been criticized for being too serious and for having too much self- control, but self-control in this business is important, as I think all of you know. When you're sitting in your tank and the gun sites are trained right on Sam Donaldson, believe me, self- control is important. Now I've also been told that I lack passion, but that doesn't affect me one way or the other. How am I do', Ed? Some people say I'm arrogant, but I know better than that. And there are even those who say I'm a technocrat, but it's less than 15 percent. I want you to know that. Mr. Vice President, I'm glad to see you here tonight. You said many many times in this campaign that you want to give America back to the little guy. Mr. Vice President, I am that man. Tonight we honor Al Smith, a son of immigrant parents, the Governor of a Northeastern industrial state, defeated for re-election for Governor after his first term, later re-elected. He was once described as a "pugnacious five foot seven, with sloping shoulders and an unimposing appearance", and he was nominated for President by the Democratic Party. And when he ran against Herbert Hoover in 1928, they even called him a liberal. Now, before the Vice President says it, I know I'm no Al Smith.
VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, GOP Presidential Candidate: He talks with justifiable pride, something I respect about his ethnic background, but, you know, not many people know this. My people landed at Ellis Island. They were aboard the Mayflower when it made a pit stop on the way to Plymouth, and you've seen the portraits of the Mayflower. My people are the ones waving the Bloomingdale shopping bags. I am honored to be here to take part in remembering a wonderful man named Al Smith. And as I looked out at all the white ties and tails this evening, I realized I haven't seen so many people so well dressed since I went to a come as you are party in Kenny Bunkport. It's a pleasure, as always, to be in New York, a city that has many pleasant associations for me and for Barbara. They tease me about my many home states, caught one tonight as a matter of fact, but did you know, you may not know this, but Barbara Bush is a native New Yorker. And I want to get credit for that. We used to date here and we got so sentimental being back, we went to a movie last night. It was so dark we had to ask the usher to help us find seats. He said, "What do you need me for? You're the guy with the thousand points of light." But I'd liked it better the way Herb Lock says it, a thousand pints of light. But it has been a long campaign and I've certainly learned a few things. I've learned that a slip of the tongue is a gaffe, and a gaffe is a two day story, and two day story is a trend. But the way I see it, if the 7th of September of Pearl Harbor Day, then today is January 20th, and I hope you're pleased I passed up the Inaugural Ball to be with all you guys here. I appreciate your laughing. I was practicing with Barbara some of my humor yesterday and I said, on that last one, I said, you know, Barb, this sounds a little like Johnny Carson. She looked at me and she said, "George, I know Johnny Carson. Johnny Carson is a friend of mine. And, George, you're no Johnny Carson."
MR. MacNeil: We'll continue carrying excerpts from stump speeches right up to the election. RECAP
MS. WOODRUFF: Once again, Friday's top stories, former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were indicted by a federal grand jury on racketeering charges, a rise in consumer prices triggered a Social Security cost of living increase averaging 4 percent next year. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor underwent surgery for breast cancer. A court spokesperson said 58 year old Justice is expected to make a full recovery and be back on the bench by the end of the month. And a pro Iranian group threatened to harm two of its American hostages in retaliation for an Israeli air raid into Lebanon. Good night, Robin.
MR. MacNeil: Good night, Judy. Have a nice weekend. We'll see you on Monday night. I'm Robert MacNeil. Good night.
The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour
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This episode's headline: News Maker; '88 - Georgia On My Mind; On the Stump. The guests include RUDOLPH GIULIANI, U.S. Attorney; NORMAN ORNSTEIN, American Enterprise Institute; DANIEL YANKELOVITCH, Pollster; DAVID GERGEN, U.S. News & World Report; MARK SHIELDS, Washington Post; GOV. MICHAEL DUKAKIS, Dem. Presidential Candidate; VICE PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH, GOP Presidential Candidate. Byline: In New York: ROBERT MacNeil; In Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF
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Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” 1988-10-21, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
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