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Inside Politics

Bush Stops Government Aid to Groups Offering Abortion or Abortion Counseling; Bush Administration to Focus on Education

Aired January 22, 2001 - 5:44 p.m. ET



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is only our second day, but times move fast around here.


BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: With his White House troops in place, the new commander in chief issues their marching orders. How does the abortion issue figure in?

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: As the clock ticks on the first 100 days, we will focus on President Bush's agenda and whether John McCain is threatening it.

ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff and Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

It was an issue President Bush often downplayed during his campaign, and he tried to do so again today. But the hot-button topic of abortion managed to come up anyway on this first full business day of his presidency, which also happens to be the 28th anniversary of Roe versus Wade.

Here's our senior White House correspondent John King.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was busy first full day at the office, and the new president told his new team there is no time to waste.

BUSH: Every evening, I want you to review the progress we have made. I want it said of us at the end of our service that promises made were promises kept.

KING: Mr. Bush quickly delivered on one campaign promise, signing an executive order that prohibits U.S. funding to international family planning groups that provide abortions or abortion counseling. Mr. Bush also plans to prohibit tissue from aborted fetuses to be used in federally funded medical research.

But it was no accident that Mr. Bush had little to say when asked about abortion or that he decided not to speak to the big annual anti- abortion rally in Washington and had a statement read instead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Bush goes on to write, "We know this will not come easily."

KING: The new president would prefer to move as quietly as possible on the abortion front and keep public debate in his early days focused on issues with broader political support: Education is priority one.

BUSH: This is not a Republican issue, it's not a Democratic issue. It's not an independent issue. This is an American issue, and the most fundamental of all American issues.

KING: Mr. Bush will send his education wish list to Congress Tuesday. Highlights include a new testing regimen designed to more closely monitor reading and math skills, a new spending formula that rewards schools where grades improve and cuts federal money to districts that don't show progress, and allowing parents in failing school districts to use tax dollars -- government vouchers -- to place their children in private schools.

The president had top congressional Republicans in for lunch and asked for help in getting the new administration off to a good start. Mr. Bush also asked a group of Democratic elder statesmen for help, and his spokesman said it was in no way meant as a snub of the party's congressional leadership.

The new president has an ambitious agenda but is also mindful that President Clinton tried to do too much too fast in his early days and stumbled into a public debate over issues like gays in the military. So focus and discipline are early Bush watchwords.


KING: But a president can't always dictate Washington's agenda, especially when some question whether he was elected with a clear mandate, and the early focus on abortion and a possible fight with Senator John McCain and others over campaign finance reform, just two reminders that there is no shortage of potential distractions to test this new administration -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, exactly how much of their education agenda do they realistically think they can get through?

KING: Well, they think they can get through the testing and the standards. The big fight will be over block grants. This is a former governor in the White House. He wants to make it much simpler for the governors and local officials. Take the Washington money, send it out in five basic categories instead of the dozens now, let the state officials and local officials decide how to spend it. Many Democrats, especially senior liberal Democrats, oppose that. Vouchers will be the big breaking point in this debate, although Bush -- the Bush team already conceding privately they're looking for a compromise: perhaps a way to test, a pilot program to test vouchers.

Those are the two big issues: the block grants and the vouchers. But there's a general consensus to do something here, and the president believes in the end he will get an acceptable bill out of the Congress.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House. Thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: Senator John McCain said today he is not trying to harm President Bush's agenda. Still, he went ahead and reintroduced campaign finance reform legislation. That does not square with Mr. Bush's vision.

Now, that story from our Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nearly a year after his campaign reform rallying cry helped propel him to victory in the New Hampshire primary, John McCain is out to prove the campaign never really ended.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I have sent a bill to the desk, and asked on behalf of myself, Senator Feingold, Senator Cochran and others...

KARL: Stepping on the toes of Republicans eager to push the new president's agenda first, McCain is forging ahead with his effort to reform the campaign finance system. McCain, who started a media offensive Monday with a network morning show trifecta, says he's on a mission.

MCCAIN: The American people have chosen the president of the United States. But I also have a mandate, and I believe that that mandate can be achieved under moderate and reasonable circumstances.

KARL: Together with Democrat Russ Feingold and several Republican co-sponsors, McCain introduced a bill that would not only ban the unregulated donations given to political parties, called "soft money," but would also ban the use of so-called "issue ads" run by corporations, interest groups and unions 60 days before an election.

Majority Leader Trent Lott has locked horns with McCain over the issue in the past, but this year is talking compromise.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: ... of President Bush in doing it the right way, coupled with persistence of John McCain determined to get it done, may actually bring us together in a way where we produce a result that would be good for the election process.

KARL (on camera): But late Monday, a senior adviser to Senator McCain said negotiations with Lott had essentially broken down, setting the stage for yet another Senate showdown just as McCain is preparing to go to the White House Tuesday to meet with President Bush.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Capitol Hill.


SHAW: Jonathan sat down with Senator McCain for an extended interview on campaign finance reform and more. We'll bring it to you later here on INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Another piece of legislation introduced in the Senate today was no doubt more to the new president's liking.

CNN's Chris Black reports on the campaign for Mr. Bush's tax-cut plan and the lone Democrat who has joined the team.


CHRIS BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While President Bush focused on education, his allies on Capitol Hill set the ball rolling on his $1.3 trillion tax cut.

SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: We are joining together in a crusade to see this tax cut in its totality adopted. We want to see it become the law of the land.

BLACK: One Democrat, Zell Miller of Georgia, a former governor like Mr. Bush, joined Gramm, breaking ranks with his own party.

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: Right now, our taxes have never been higher. Right now, our surplus has never been greater. To me it's just plain common sense that you deal with the first by using the second.

Remember that old Elvis Presley song, "Return to Sender"? That's what we're going to do right here.

BLACK: The tax proposal calls for reducing income tax rates for all taxpayers; doubling the child tax credit from 500 to $1,000; reducing the so-called marriage penalty; and repealing the estate tax. So far, Miller is the only Senate Democrat to publicly embrace the Bush tax cut. The Senate majority leader says it is a sign of things to come.

LOTT: Well, it is significant, because on a bill usually you have one, then you have two. And then, it becomes many more.

But I think it is important that Senator Gramm and Senator Miller, a Democrat, have joined together to introduce the basic bill.

BLACK: Democratic leaders say they are now willing to support a larger tax cut, but not as large as the president wants, and Democratic sources in the House and Senate say Democrats are moving away from targeted tax cut advocated by the Clinton-Gore team and toward a rate cut, preferred by Mr. Bush. But they say the rate cut must be aimed at middle-income taxpayers, not the wealthy.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: I think it's important that we find the right balance between targeted cuts and some sort of a rate cut. Finally, we have to ensure that the bulk of the real benefit goes to those who need it the most.

BLACK: A Republican leadership political action committee is increasing the pressure by airing television ads in Montana, where Democratic Senator Max Baucus runs for re-election next year.


NARRATOR: But some Washington politicians oppose the Bush tax cuts. Now Senator Max Baucus has a choice: support the Bush tax cuts for Montana families or oppose them.


BLACK: But Democrats and some Republicans say the slowing economy could cause government revenues to shrink, eating up the surplus.

(on camera): Democrats are privately acknowledging a tax cut is inevitable this year, but the exact size and shape of that tax cut is still very much in doubt.

Chris Black, CNN, Capitol Hill.


SHAW: And still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, more on the president's first 100 days. We will talk to two former White House chiefs of staff about those all-important early impressions.


SHAW: As this new administration begins work, many will be watching very closely over the next 100 days. This afternoon I talked with former Reagan chief of staff Ken Duberstein and former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty. I began by asking how important is the word "focus" for a new president.


KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: You need to stay focused on your agenda. The president needs to say here are the two or three things that are most important to me: not 50 priorities, but two or three. And you say them often enough, daily, to the people, then the Congress gets the message of what counts for President Bush and what doesn't count. That's the only way you can start building momentum on a bipartisan basis.

THOMAS "MACK" MCLARTY, FORMER CLINTON CHIEF OF STAFF: Two points, Bernie. First, the economy was critically the issue when we came to office, when the Clinton-Gore administration came to office. That's where we had to place our focus. But in doing so, you have to put a human face as well as the legislative focus.

SHAW: What do you do? Do you go for a quick victory?

DUBERSTEIN: No. What you do is you put building blocks in place by reaching out with Republicans and Democrats alike, by bringing them into the White House, opening the doors, and saying, we want to listen to your ideas as well, and if we meld them together, then we can start building legislative victories upon legislative victories.

It is three yards and a cloud of dust to move the ball down the field for a first down rather than Hail Mary passes, which tend to get you in trouble because they fall incomplete.

MCLARTY: But a clear path of where you're going, a clear definition of where you're trying to move the country.

SHAW: What parameters will this president be operating under given the closeness of the election?

MCLARTY: I think the last several presidents that have some to office have had parameters. Some of it, frankly, is the news cycle itself and those that follow these daily events. But I think, here, what is called for clearly is cooperation, reaching out, trying to unite and move forward, and reach consensus, and proving that compromise is not a dirty word: getting things done.

DUBERSTEIN: You know, when Ronald Reagan came to office, there were only 191 Republicans in the House of Representatives. It wasn't fuzzy math for Ronald Reagan to say you needed 27 Democrats on every vote and if you kept all your Republicans together, then you could win. The parameters of 221, 222 in the House, such a close margin, 50-50 in the Senate, says you have to go to wherever you can build 51 votes and 218. That's Mac's point, which is so much on target, about opening the doors to the White House on a bipartisan basis and building those coalitions.

SHAW: Here's the words from a former White House Chief of Staff, Howard Baker, former Senator of Tennessee. "I would advise to take advantage of this split in Congress. I think it gives you opportunities, not just dangers." Is he right?

MCLARTY: He is right. Senator Baker's a very distinguished, very wise man. I think he's absolutely right and I think you've already seen President Bush and his team try to take advantage of those opportunities to reach out to Democrats, to hold their own base. But all the while, Bernie, in doing that, you have to keep the vision of where you want to take the country very much at the forefront. It's easy to become a captive of the legislative process, particularly in the early days. That would be a mistake, in my opinion.

DUBERSTEIN: And you shouldn't compromise on day one. You should listen and bring everything in and as you fashion the legislative process, they'll be ample time for policy negotiation. But what you have to do is stay true to your agenda, fight for the issues that got you elected, whether it's 50-50 in the Senate or there had been a bigger margin. The answer is to keep riveted, to keep focused.

SHAW: Does he do this with education, including vouchers, as a first strike victory?

MCLARTY: Education, it would seem to me, is one area that consensus can be reached. How vouchers will ultimately be reconciled, Bernie, I'm not quite sure. But I think education, there'll be a lot of kudos, a lot of merits for focusing on that part of the agenda first.

SHAW: Senator John McCain, campaign finance, by putting this on the Senate calendar, does it clutter the calendar and detract from what the President wants?

DUBERSTEIN: No, I think what the President is going to do is reach out as he already has indicated he will do with Senator McCain, and hopefully work out a date certain where campaign finance reform will be considered on the floor of the Senate and the House.

But at the same time going first on his priorities, education reform, tax reform, prescription drug benefits, HMO in a realistic way, that reform, I think that's the way that President Bush is going to be able to work with Senator McCain and still keep focused on his agenda and get it done.

MCLARTY: My friend Ken's got it right, but I think campaign finance reform has a real momentum, Bernie, and I think it will be considered. But I think Ken is right. I think the President can stay true to his agenda.

SHAW: Lastly, what can this new President learn from President Clinton's first 100 days?

DUBERSTEIN: Well, I think he's got to learn a couple of things. One, that first impressions are important. There'll be some inevitable issues and missteps. We made them. Everybody makes them. But the real issue is the perseverance, sticking to what's important. In our case, it was the economic plan. In many ways, Bernie, that was the foundation for the eight years of the Clinton presidency and that was done in the first 100 days.

DUBERSTEIN: And if President Bush wants, at the end of six or nine months, to make the dean's list, what he really needs to do is to stay focused on the three or four major agenda items and not let other issues divert him from those. He can't just deal with an issue at the Pentagon or at the Commerce Department but he needs to talk about tax reform, education reform, prescription drug benefits and getting the country moving again economically.

SHAW: Gentlemen, thank you.

MCLARTY: Bernie, thank you.

DUBERSTEIN: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: Well, you just heard them talking about Senator John McCain. In a moment, our Jonathan Karl interviews Senator McCain. We'll be right back.


WOODRUFF: As we've been reporting, Arizona Senator John McCain has renewed his bid for campaign finance reform. Now, this would seem to put McCain at odds with the agenda of his former Republican rival, now President, George W. Bush.

CNN's Jonathan Karl spoke with McCain this afternoon.


KARL: Senator, at the press conference you talked about how you have a mandate, too. This is the kind of thing that, as you know, rankles some of your critics. They say look, George W. Bush won this election. It's his mandate. You lost. Why not let him go first? I mean what is your mandate here?

MCCAIN: Well, I promised millions of Americans that I would never give up on this crusade, whether I won or lost, and that is to reform the government and campaign finance reform is part of that. They need their government back.

And so I'm not trying to interfere with President Bush's mandate, either. In fact, I think that we can work closely together and cooperate. It's those who are opposed to campaign finance reform, in the interests of straight talk, who are saying I'm interfering with the President's agenda. I don't pretend to nor do I want to.

KARL: Now, Senator Lott came forward with a plan that the Republican leadership was united in supporting where you could go ahead in the middle of May. What they have said, a senior member of the Republican leadership, not Lott, but one of the other top Republicans said by not going along with this what you are doing is a slap in the face at Trent Lott and a slap in the face at George W. Bush. Why not just, you know, wait until May? That's not that long, is it?

MCCAIN: It's too long. We all know that, that it's too long. It's interesting to me, and I'm sure it's pure coincidence, that those who are opposed to campaign finance reform want to wait until much later. Those who are supportive want to bring it up early. It's an interesting coincidence.

The fact is that we could have started campaign finance reform, and I wanted to, on the first day, and we could have had it taken care of before a legislative package of President Bush's was ready to come to the floor. The first bill that came to the floor in the Bush and Reagan administrations were in the middle of March.

So we could have done it then and I could have forced it then if I was interested in some way confronting or slapping anybody in the face. The fact is, I'm not. I want to work with the President and I want to work with the leadership.

But the leadership is also opposed to campaign finance reform. So I, you have to keep that in mind. And this same leadership did not allow me and Russ Feingold to get an open legislative process in the past five years.

KARL: Now, how far do you sense that they are willing to go in terms of preventing you from going forward?

MCCAIN: Well, we're in negotiations. We want to reach an agreement. We'll continue to do so. I'll be meeting with President Bush on the package itself. The scheduling will be sort of left to Senator Lott. But I hope we can reach an agreement. But if not, we will have to propose it as an amendment on the first legislative package that comes, bill that comes to the floor.

KARL: Yeah, and on that if not, you talked some time ago about, you know, tying up the U.S. Senate, blood on the floor. I mean how far are you willing to go?

MCCAIN: As far as I can. As far as I can exercise my rights as a Senator and with well over 50 people who will support, other Senators who will support me, I think in the 60s.

KARL: Even if that means tying up President Bush's legislation? Even if that means getting in the way of his education package, getting in the way of his efforts to cut taxes?

MCCAIN: I don't think it will and I don't think it should. But I have to be prepared to exercise any option that's available to us. I mean we have no choice. But it's clearly in our interests and in the Republican leaders' interests to move forward and get this issue dispensed with. If you want to change the tone of Washington, then you've got to get the special interests under control. You're never going to have an HMO Patients Bill of Rights or prescription drugs or clean up the tax code, which is 44,000 pages long, until we get the special interests under control. So it's in everybody's interests to do that.

KARL: When you go to the White House on Wednesday night, what is your message to President Bush?

MCCAIN: My message is the one that he transmitted to me in a very cordial fashion. We have a very cordial relationship. We want to work together and get a package of campaign finance reform. He himself offered a package, a campaign finance reform proposal, before the South Carolina primary. There's many parts to that that I embrace.

KARL: I know you've got a plan for these town hall meetings around the country for a coalition. There'll be some announcements on that tomorrow. What's in store? What are you going to do on the grassroots level?

MCCAIN: Well, we'll have a whole, we'll have a very broad coalition of people that, and organizations, that is very broad-based throughout the nation and we'll be having town hall meetings in states where there may be Senators or Congressmen who are on the fence on this issue. We need to -- look, we'll never, ever win this issue inside the Beltway. We have to win it outside Washington, D.C. That's the only way we can win and that is by galvanizing Americans to this cause.

KARL: And just ticking through a couple of other things that are on your plate right now, I understand you've been talking with Senator Kennedy about a patients bill of rights, about prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients. What's going on there?

MCCAIN: Well, I've had discussions with Senator Kennedy, but Senator Edwards, as well, and other Senators. Look, we've been gridlocked on an HMO patients bill of rights for two years now. That's outrageous. Any five sane Americans could sit down in 15 minutes and work out an HMO patients bill of rights and I believe that because of the special interests, the trial lawyers on the Democrat side and the drug companies and the insurance companies on our side, have gridlocked us. I think we ought to move forward on it.

KARL: Any other thoughts on your relationship now with President Bush? Obviously he's won under some difficult circumstances. We saw some of the bitterness in the parade route at the inaugural parade that is still out there. How do you think he's doing and how can you help him in terms of overcoming some of that bitterness?

MCCAIN: Well, I think he's doing well. I thought his message, his inaugural speech was very timely and extremely fitting to the times. I look forward to working with him on tax cuts, on education reform, on reform of the military, on a number of issues that he and I are in very much agreement with. And our relationship has been very cordial ever since our meeting in Pittsburgh many months ago.

KARL: Sir, on tax cuts, as well, I mean you were very critical of his tax package.

MCCAIN: I believe that the economy is slowing and I don't know if it's a recession or not, and I think we could have some larger tax cuts. But I don't, still don't support as large a package as the President proposes. But I do believe, as the Speaker of the House does, that we should go at this incrementally -- marriage penalty, death taxes and other provisions. I think we can go at it piece by piece.

KARL: Well, Senator, thank you very much for joining us.

MCCAIN: Thank you, Jon.


WOODRUFF: That was CNN's Jonathan Karl speaking today with Arizona Senator John McCain. And Senator McCain will appear again tonight at nine o'clock Eastern on LARRY KING LIVE.

Bernie? SHAW: A year ago, he was battling Al Gore and today Bill Bradley is at it again. In a moment, Judy's interview with Bradley, who is challenging the Democratic Party.


WOODRUFF: A prominent Democrat is asking whether Terry McAuliffe is the right choice to head the Democratic National Committee. In an op-ed column in today's "Washington Post," former presidential candidate Bill Bradley endorsed the insurgent bid of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

I spoke with Bradley today and asked why he is opposing McAuliffe, who's the apparent favorite of the Democratic establishment.


BILL BRADLEY (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I don't think that the Democratic National Chairmanship is about only fund raising. I think it's also about re-energizing the party base, developing fresh ideas, working with the state parties so that they can begin to build up their base as well. I mean the really surprising fact over the last decade is that while we won two presidential elections as Democrats, we lost a lot of state houses, we lost the Congress and we lost a lot of state legislative races across this country as well.

I mean, in the early '90s there were 1,800 more Democratic state legislators in the country than there were Republicans and now that's down to 300. So I think we need somebody who can reenergize that base and who can get at the voters that went elsewhere this year.

WOODRUFF: But Terry McAuliffe, the people supporting him say they're going to pay attention to all that. He's been backed as well by former President Clinton, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Tom Daschle, Dick Gephardt, John Sweeney, you go down the list. It's hard to find people who are not supporting him.

BRADLEY: Well, that's why I wrote an article today in the "Washington Post" to lay out the case for Maynard Jackson. I mean, Maynard Jackson is an outstanding person who would be a great leader of the Democratic National Committee. And I think that in the absence of someone else, obviously people are going to go with the candidate that's mentioned.

But I think Maynard Jackson has a record as an outstanding mayor. He's worked with grassroots organizations. He's worked with state parties. He knows how to do it. And I think he'd be an excellent choice.

WOODRUFF: But again, Terry McAuliffe, the people supporting him say he will pay attention to all those things that you're describing.

BRADLEY: Well, I think the difference is that Maynard Jackson has a record of doing that and that's different than Terry. I think that Maynard Jackson has demonstrated that he can bring people together. I mean the fact is that when he became Mayor of Atlanta, there were no women managers in city government. When he left there were 36 percent of all managers were women. This is someone who has a record of bringing people together, which I think is what the Democratic Party needs.

WOODRUFF: But you're not suggesting the party should cede big time fund raising to the Republicans, are you?

BRADLEY: No. I'm not. I think that Maynard Jackson could help accomplish that. There are any number of people, McAuliffe among them, who actually could help Maynard Jackson be a very successful Democratic National Committee Chairman.


BRADLEY: But the real question, the real question we have to ask is do we want to be a party? Are we going to be happy raising more and more money, speaking to fewer and fewer people on narrower and narrower issues? I don't think we should be and I don't think Maynard Jackson thinks that either.

WOODRUFF: Bill Bradley, why -- you said in your piece in the "Washington Post" this morning, you said it was a party rich in resources and poor in message and results.

BRADLEY: Well, poor in results speaks for itself. Over the last decade we've won two presidential races but we've lost a lot of state houses. We lost control of both houses of Congress. We've lost a lot of state legislative races across this country. As I pointed out, there were 1,800 more Democratic state legislators in this country in 1990 than there were Republican. That number has dropped to 300.

So clearly in terms of the party working at the state and local level, we can do a lot more to help those parties be more effective.

WOODRUFF: Let me also ask you about George W. Bush, his proposed $1.6 trillion tax cut. What do you think of it?

BRADLEY: I think it's way too much. I think it's unneeded. I think it's an opening gambit in a negotiation with the Democratic Representatives and Senators and something much more moderate will be selected. I mean if I were George W. Bush, what I'd try to do is seize an initiative that has traditionally been identified with Democrats, which is health care, and propose that that tax cut be in the form of tax credits to individuals to allow the 45 million people who don't have any health insurance to get health insurance in this country.

That's what I would advise him to do and I think he'd end up with strong Democratic support.

WOODRUFF: Let me also ask you about John McCain and his, again, effort again this year to pass campaign finance reform. Is this something, you know the Senate very well. You know the House. Is this something that's going to pass? BRADLEY: I think the odds are against it, although the times are changing and I think that campaign finance reform is on everybody's mind. But the thing we have to remember is that the McCain-Feingold bill is only a partial solution. It'll only eliminate soft money. A big abuse, should be eliminated. But there are other problems, as well, that ultimately I think only public financing can accommodate and beyond the money in politics, I think that the election, certainly the presidential election, demonstrated the need to reform the process as well -- standardized ballots across this country and also making sure we have same day registration so the maximum number of people can vote.

I mean the fact is that once again a little over 51 percent of all the eligible voters in this country chose to vote. This country is a democracy. It needs to hear from the other 49 percent. We need to make it easier for them to vote and we need to take big money out of politics.

WOODRUFF: But just quickly, you're saying you think the prospects are there for campaign finance reform but it won't necessarily be what he's proposing?

BRADLEY: Well, I think it's not impossible that something could pass that would be called campaign finance reform. But in campaign finance reform, as with tax legislation, you have to read the details because the devil's in the details and you could have a big press conference saying we've got campaign finance reform and not correct the abuses.

WOODRUFF: Finally, Bill Bradley, what did you think of President Bush's inaugural address?

BRADLEY: I thought it was a thoughtful address. It was extremely well written. He laid out the connection between the past and the future. I was impressed by the inaugural address.


WOODRUFF: That was former Senator Bill Bradley speaking to us earlier today from New York.


SHAW: And just ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, in Baltimore, everything is coming up roses for Mayor Martin O'Malley. We'll find out why he has more than just the Super Bowl to cheer about.


SHAW: New York Senators Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer are offering a friendly Super Bowl wager to their Democratic colleagues from Maryland. If the New York Giants win Sunday, Senators Barbara Mikulski and Paul Sarbanes would have to sing "New York, New York" on the Capitol steps. Now, if the Baltimore Ravens win, Clinton and Schumer would recite Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven."

Well, win or lose, the Super Bowl appearance is a sign of Baltimore's renewal, as Jeanne Meserve reports.


UNIDENTIFIED EMCEE: Ladies and gentlemen, the greatest owner in the NFL, Art Modell.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's been an amazing year for Baltimore Raven's owner Art Modell with his first Super Bowl team in 40 years in the NFL. And for Mayor Martin O'Malley, who next to Modell may be the luckiest man in Baltimore.

GERARD SHIELDS, "BALTIMORE SUN": He's number one cheerleader and he comes over here and tells people hey, you don't have to live like this. You don't have to accept this. You don't have to accept a poor city. You don't have to accept a dirty city. You don't have to accept a city full of pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Martin O'Malley, thank you. Appreciate it.

MESERVE: In office for just one year, the 37-year-old Democrat may be the most popular big city Mayor in America, with an eye popping 88 percent approval rating, based in large part on his record on crime. The city made famous in the fictional TV show "Homicide" saw the number of real-life murders last year drop below 300 for the first time in more than a decade.

(on camera): After a rookie season like this, the speculation about Mayor O'Malley's political future is red hot. The most immediate question, will he run for Maryland Governor in 2002?

(voice-over): In some ways, O'Malley has a free shot because even if he lost, his term as Mayor wouldn't expire for another two years. But if he did decide to run for Governor, O'Malley would likely face a Kennedy in the Democratic primary. With less than two years to election day, the popular lieutenant governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, is the current front-runner in the gubernatorial race.

And while O'Malley enjoys a 51 approval rating statewide, not bad for a relative newcomer, he has not said publicly that he's planning to run.

SHIELDS: Right now, I think he's got good chances. If he can get the crime, the murder rate down to 175, as he promised, I think he's got as good a shot as anybody.


MESERVE: Time enough for politics later. For now, the Mayor is clearly enjoying this charmed season. For O'Malley and Baltimore, it just doesn't get any better than this, until maybe this Sunday.

Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Baltimore.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: We can even share in the celebrating. We're only about 20 miles south here in -- 30 miles south here in Washington.

SHAW: Can't wait.

WOODRUFF: That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But of course you can go online all the time at CNN's, AOL keyword CNN.

SHAW: And this programming note. Senators Larry Craig and John Breaux will discuss the Bush agenda tonight on CROSSFIRE. That's at 7:30 P.M. Eastern.

I'm Bernard Shaw.

WOODRUFF: And I'm Judy Woodruff. The MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR is next.



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