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Clinton, Hunting MTV Vote, Drops Cuomo’s Name as Supreme Court Pick

June 16, 1992

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Democrat Bill Clinton told an MTV audience Tuesday he thought New York Gov. Mario Cuomo would make a good pick for the Supreme Court and that if he could repeat his youthful experiment with marijuana, he’d inhale.

Going after the rock’n’roll vote in an MTV ″town hall″ meeting taped for broadcast Tuesday night, Clinton fielded pointed questions putting him on the spot over his abortion record and wondering if he’s focusing enough on the deficit.

″You don’t decorate your apartment if you can’t afford the rent,″ said one viewer, who added that he’s leaning toward Ross Perot because the Texas billionaire seems more focused on the deficit.

Clinton vowed to cut health care costs and federal spending to reduce the deficit, but added that it can’t be done overnight. If the nation tried to do it too quickly, Clinton said, ″we’d have to raise taxes so much, we’d make the economy even worse.″

Clinton didn’t hesitate when asked to quickly name who he might appoint to the Supreme Court if he were to win the White House.

″I think Gov. Cuomo would be a good Supreme Court justice,″ the Arkansas governor said. ″He is a legal scholar who also understands the impact of the law on real people’s lives.″

Later, Clinton told reporters he dropped Cuomo’s name ″not to make a commitment, obviously, but as an example ... of the kind of person I would want on the court.″

With rock music leading him in and out of commercials, Clinton’s session with MTV viewers was extended 30 minutes beyond the original hour when the mostly college-age crowd had more queries.

Asked if he would still show concern about young people if he wins the White House, Clinton promised, ″I’ll come back on MTV as president.″

MTV, which has been airing news spots on the campaign, also invited President Bush and Perot to host town meetings, but neither has accepted. Clinton is using every TV call-in and round-table show he can find to take his message straight to voters.

The Arkansas governor, who would be the first baby-boomer president if elected, likes to do unconventional appearances. Two weeks ago he appeared on the Arsenio Hall show and performed a few numbers on his saxophone.

On MTV, Clinton chatted with the 18- to 24-year-olds about a range of topics from his alcoholic stepfather to AIDS and why young people should vote.

Cuomo’s name and his use of marijuana came up as the crowd asked him a rapid-fire round of questions designed for quick answers. He also was asked:

-His astrological sign? Leo.

-His first rock’n’roll experience? ″Going nuts over Elvis Presley.″

-If he had it do over again, would he inhale? ″Sure, if I could, I tried before.″ That was a reference to Clinton’s statement this spring that he had tried marijuana as a college student but didn’t like it and didn’t inhale.

The woman who questioned Clinton about his support for requiring parental notification before minors can obtain on abortion identified herself as Denise, a 25-year-old stand-up comedian.

″Kind of similar career, I guess,″ she joked before engaging him on Arkansas’ parental notification law.

″A lot of time, teen-agers cannot talk to their parents,″ she said.

Clinton tried to explain that he backs the law so young girls would have someone around to help them ″pick up the pieces.″ He said young girls can go to a judge to get around the notification requirement.

″How are kids going to have access to the legal system?″ the woman responded. ″I mean, adults have enough problems with it.″

MTV introduced Clinton with a glossy, video biography that included clips of some of his speeches and appearances, backed up with quick-moving music. It even included a clip of lounge singer Gennifer Flowers’ televised news conference alleging an extramarital affair with Clinton.

Asked what it was like growing up with an alcoholic stepfather, Clinton said it had taught him to be a ″peacekeeper,″ which has been both good and bad for him. That led to a question from CNN anchor Catherine Crier, who was on hand, about whether he tries to appease everyone.

Clinton said he’s taken on entrenched interests in his state, such as the National Rifle Association and teachers.

″When I’ve had to stand up and be counted, I’ve had to,″ he said.

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