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Inside Politics

President Bush Touts His Education Reform Plan

Aired January 23, 2001 - 5:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I made my opinion very clear, in the course of a campaign: I'm going to take my opinion to the Hill. And let folks debate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: President Bush has an assignment for America's schools: shape up or face the consequences. Mr. Bush has an education plan; so do the Democrats. We'll hear from both sides.

BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: Also ahead: who speaks for the African-American community? Will a new generation of leadership push the older voices aside?

WOODRUFF: Plus, the election showdown in Israel: What does it mean to the future of the Mideast peace process?

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

WOODRUFF: Thanks for joining us.

President Bush has made America's schools the first major focus of his new administration. Today, Mr. Bush announced his plan to ensure that America's students are getting an adequate education. The controversial issue of vouchers aside, there are early indications that some Democrats may be willing to listen. Either way, Mr. Bush insists something must be done. We start with CNN senior White House correspondent John King.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was a touch of defiance as the new president made his first proposal, and his first challenge, to the new Congress.

BUSH: When schools do not teach and will not change, parents and students must have other meaningful options.

KING: Translation: vouchers. Taxpayer money, so parents can move their children to a new school -- including private schools. Democrats say it's a non-starter. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has merits, but I think that the majority of members of Congress feel that, with a limited amount of money, that money should be spent on public education.

KING: Vice President Cheney was sent to rally support for the voucher plan in Congress, but even many Republicans see compromise down the road.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: I don't think we're going to walk away if we don't get everything on that issue.

KING: Making education "priority one" was a Bush campaign promise, and his plan takes a carrot-and-stick approach. Mr. Bush wants more money for early literacy programs, new grants for teacher recruitment and training, bonuses to school districts that improve performance, more flexibility for states to spend federal money, and emergency aid to poorly performing schools.

But in exchange, the president says there should be annual reading and math tests in grades 3 through 8, new state standards in history and science -- like existing guidelines for reading and math, the power to cut federal aid to schools that fail to make the grade, and an option for parents in failing school districts to take a $1,500 voucher and choose a new school for their children.

BUSH: We have a chance to think anew and act anew. All of us are impatient with the old lines of division. All of us want a different attitude here in the nation's capital.

KING: Two key Democrats received an Oval Office preview of the Bush plan, and came away impressed.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There are some areas of difference, but the overwhelming areas of agreement and support are very, very powerful. And it seems to me that we could make important progress.

KING: Such upbeat talk is evidence of at least a bit of a honeymoon for the new president, and a reflection of how much his election has reshaped the education debate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: It wasn't all that long ago that many Republicans talked of abolishing the Federal Department of Education. Now, thanks to Mr. Bush, the new Republican motto is "local control, but active federal oversight." -- Judy

WOODRUFF: John, do the people around the president think that there's some way they can just set aside the most contentious aspects of the president's plan, and try to reach some agreement on what's left?

KING: No. They believe in the end they will strike some sort of a compromise on vouchers, that they will have to, perhaps, a pilot examination program in say 10 or 20 of the nation's poorest school districts, but look, this is the beginning of the process, not the end -- that most of these bills now -- these bills and all the competing proposals have to make their way through the committees, through the House and the Senate.

The president is not going to compromise on day one, if he gave up something today, he would have to give up something even more tomorrow. So, he's beginning with his proposal, the debate begins here.

WOODRUFF: John King at the White House -- Bernie.

SHAW: More Congressional action now. A short time ago, I spoke with Republican John Boehner, he's the chairman of the House Education Committee, about these Bush education proposals. First question: what's the Republican strategy for getting this Bush package through Congress?

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: We had a great meeting at the White House today, I think there is strong bipartisan support for the president's proposal. The ranking Democrat on my committee, George Miller, is a full partner in this process, and I think that you are going to see quick action here in the first six months of the Congress enacting the president's proposal.

SHAW: Were you and Mr. Miller -- I know what you just said, but were and you and Mr. Miller in the same meeting? Listen to this quote, "I regard vouchers as a non starter on Capitol Hill?"

BOEHNER: Well, Bernie, there is certainly some difference on the issue of parental choice. But I can tell you in the meeting today, there is far greater appeal on this broad -- in a broad agreement, both on the Senate side and on the House side, with virtually all of the Bush proposal. Yes, there are some issues that are going to be of difference, that we're going to have to sort out as we go through the process, but I think that we can do this very successfully.

SHAW: You foresee, you anticipate compromise by the president and your party on the subject of vouchers, given the way the Democrats have their backs up?

BOEHNER: Well, I think that the issue here is not about the teacher's unions. It's about leaving no child behind. And the fact is, we've got some children in schools that are doing a miserable job. We need to help those schools. But after three years of help, and if we don't see any serious turnaround, what are we going to do? Allow that child to stay in a school and doom their entire future because they we are hung up on allowing them and their parents a choice? So, I think what we have to have here, Bernie, is a safety valve. What do we do, when a child is stuck in a failing school there. There has to be a way out. I think we're going to have to find a way out. It may not be exactly what the president is proposing -- it may be alternative. But we've got to make sure that that safety valve is there so that parents and their children can -- and especially the children -- can get the education that they need.

SHAW: Now, you've just hinted at compromise in the voucher plan, that's the upshot of what you just said, Congressman; the other thing you said is the issue here is not the teacher's union. That is code for saying the Democrats are opposed to vouchers because of their labor support, is it not?

BOEHNER: Well, clearly...

SHAW: Is it not?

BOEHNER: Clearly, they've led the drive to stop this in many states, and I think the other thing we have to recognize is that the president's proposal isn't the federal government mandate that there be school choice or vouchers in all of the states. It's to give them the freedom and the flexibility to make that decision themselves, if they think that that should be the safety valve. So I think the point, Bernie, that I'm trying to make here is, as we go through the legislative process, there is going to be give and take, there will be difficult issues that are going to have to be resolved. Both by those who are on the left, and, frankly, some on the right, who have their concerns about various parts of this proposal. But I'm confident that there is a -- a bipartisan group of members, who can make this proposal happen shortly.

SHAW: So, in sum, you are saying that when it's all said and done, the 107th Congress will do what on education?

BOEHNER: We're going to make a serious effort at refocusing the federal government's role into helping disadvantaged students. That -- we're not going to go ahead with the status quo of throwing money in every different direction, hoping that something happens. We think that giving local school districts more flexibility in exchange for greater accountability is the way to get better results for our nation's children.

SHAW: Congressman, thank you for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.

BOEHNER: Thank you, Bernie.

SHAW: The thoughts of John Boehner, chairman of the House Education Committee. Also this afternoon, I spoke with Democratic Senator John Breaux of Louisiana. First, Breaux's reaction to what the new president has in mind.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: Bernard, I think it has a number of things that the new Democratic coalition in the House and the Senate have recommended. Sometimes say that imitation is the highest form of flattery, and I think that's a positive sign that we are very close, I think, to putting together an education package that can pass and can become law this year.

SHAW: You say very close. But are vouchers a deal-breaker?

BREAUX: Vouchers, I think, are something that obviously is in President Bush's plan. It's something that he campaigned for. I think that a bill that has presidential -- I mean vouchers in it would not be able to pass the Congress: the Senate or the House.

SHAW: Why not?

BREAUX: Well, because I think people feel that the money that we have available for education should go to public education. I think we can do an awful lot of good. I think we can give flexibility to the states. I think we can bring about more accountability. I think we can bring more money for public schools, more consolidation of federal programs. But I think the idea of diverting federal tax dollars to private schools is something that would not survive the test.

SHAW: Senator, how much of this opposition to vouchers is driven by one of your party's biggest supporters: organized labor? Republican Congressman John Boehner, on just before you, said the issue here is not the teacher's union.

BREAUX: Well, the issue is not the teacher's union. I think that, from my perspective, Bernie, I think that we have a limited amount of federal funding. We should spend it for public schools. Private schools in my state are very important. They do a good job without private-school vouchers.

And I think they will continue to do so. But I do think that the issue here is: How do we spend the federal dollars that we have available on public schools, make them compete against other public schools, bring about public charter schools to provide that additional competition? I think if we can do that, we will have done a good day's work.

SHAW: So you think that President Bush is going to have to yield on this matter -- vouchers -- if he wants to see this passed in the 107th Congress: this meaning education reform?

BREAUX: Bernie, I think the answer to that is basically yes. I think that he has made the proposal. But I think that he wants to get an education bill passed. And I think the majority of Congress feel very strongly that we ought to reform education on a federal level and help the states and local governments do a better job. And I think we can do that and have a terrific package, which probably meets 95 percent of what both parties want.

And if we lose just one or two items, we still have a very good package. And ultimately, I think that package would be one that does not have private-school vouchers in it.

SHAW: This is George Bush's first week in the White House. He campaigned on education reform, said this would be his first proposal going to the Hill. He needs to show the American people that he's accomplished something. How soon do you think this is going to be done?

BREAUX: I think he right to start with education, Bernie, because I believe this is an issue that we can form a coalition of Democrats and Republicans on. I think we are very, very close. I think politics got in the way during the presidential elections and prevented us from passing a education-reform bill. I think we can get it done. And I think it will probably be one of the first major things that this Congress takes up and passes. I think it is controversial in many areas. But I think that it is notable by the areas of common agreement, which far exceed any disagreement.

SHAW: Which is for the benefit of the Americans students.

BREAUX: Well, I think that's the main thing we have to be looking at. I think we have an obligation to help educate children in the public school system. I think we can do that, make the schools more accountable and make them more competitive, but make sure it's done within a context of the public school system.

SHAW: Senator, thanks so much for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.

BREAUX: Thank you, Bernie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Louisiana Senator John Breaux on the new Bush proposals for reforming America's school -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, while President Bush believes deeply in the idea of vouchers for private schools, the idea is open to legal challenge.

As CNN senior Washington correspondent Charles Bierbauer reports, it is a First Amendment issue tailor-made for the U.S. Supreme Court.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A program designed to help low-income families in Cleveland send children to private schools, including religious schools, may be the voucher test the Supreme Court cannot avoid.

CLINT BOLICK, INSTITUTE FOR JUSTICE: The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the Cleveland program on First Amendment grounds. The 6th Circuit struck it down on First Amendment grounds. There's only one court in the land that can resolve that conflict. And it's the U.S. Supreme Court.

BIERBAUER: The 6th Circuit ruled: "The Ohio scholarship program is designed in a manner calculated to attract religious institutions." Last year, Cleveland provided up to $2,250 in tuition aid for more than 3,700 students. But more than 90 percent went to religious schools, presumably because they're cheaper. Critics contend aid funneled to religious schools violates the separation of church and state.

BOLICK: Yes, most of these kids are attending religious schools. But the reality is that if they were not attending religious schools, chances are they would not be getting a basic education at all in the Cleveland public schools.

BIERBAUER: That might be a stumbling block.

WALTER DELLINGER, FMR. SOLICITOR GENERAL: If the program is gerrymandered in a way that it pushes people to use it at religious schools, then it would be subject to constitutional attack.

QUESTION: We have a Constitution that doesn't allow federal funding of parochial schools.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, again, in all the reading of the Supreme Court orders, it all depends on how it's written.

BIERBAUER: Some voucher programs have survived First Amendment challenges. Milwaukee has had one since 1990, now serving 8,000 students. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Milwaukee case. But voucher supporters find optimistic clues in last year's Supreme Court ruling in a Louisiana case, allowing federal funds to provide computers and other technology to parochial schools. Justice Thomas said the court based its ruling on "the principal of neutrality, upholding aid that is offered to a broad range of groups without regard to their religion."

(on camera): Government aid is also more likely to be constitutional when it goes to parents, who can choose their children's school, not when it goes directly from the government to the school.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Coming up: Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times" with more on the formidable challenge facing President Bush and his plan to reform America's schools.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: When it comes to putting his education plan into practice, President Bush has his work cut out for him. As we have heard, he faces considerable opposition, especially on the issue of school vouchers.

For more on the subject, we're now joined by Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times."

Ron, first of all, let's clarify. Where are the major points of agreement between the two sides? We heard Ted Kennedy and others saying: Oh, there is material here we can work with.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": There is broad philosophical agreement, I think, on two central that underpin the Bush points. One is this idea of trading accountability for flexibility.

Both the Bush plan, the Democratic plan put out today by Senator Lieberman and Bayh and Breaux and the others, and the centrist Republican plan put out by the Republican mainstream coalition last week, all has the same basic premise: You consolidate existing federal-education programs. You give states more flexibility in how they spend that money. And in return you require them to intensify their testing of students and do more rigorous evaluation of whether students are actually making progress.

That basic idea -- accountability for flexibility -- is the core of the Bush plan, not vouchers. And on that front, there probably will be a lot of agreement. The other broad area of agreement, interestingly, relates to vouchers. It is the idea of using market pressures, competition, to try to leverage improvement in the public schools. Today, Joe Lieberman and Evan Bayh were talking about the idea that: Yes, schools should face more competition -- traditional public schools -- from charter schools, from public-school choice.

Where the Democrats and the moderate Republicans get off the train is that Bush wants to go one step further and say they should also face competition from private schools through the school vouchers.

WOODRUFF: But he has made a major concession here today -- and you have written about this today in the "Los Angeles Times."

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

WOODRUFF: He has now agreed that schools that are -- in his words -- failing these students should be given federal support for up to, what, two, three years.

BROWNSTEIN: Two years. This is a major -- excuse me, Judy. This is a major overture to the other side. Basically, one of the strongest Democratic criticisms of the Bush plan during the campaign was: Look, you identify a failing school. And you say, at the end of three years, you basically drop this guillotine of vouchers for the parents. But Bush did not propose to do anything to help that school improve performance before reaching the voucher deadline after three years.

What he did in the plan -- in fact, the major change in this proposal today from what he ran on was adding the idea of giving those schools additional help, additional federal resources, but requiring them to undertake specific reforms, very similar to what Bill Clinton and Al Gore and the centrist Democrats have talked about. And, again, it is a major -- I think it is a significant sign of good faith toward the other side. Whether it actually brings a lot of Democrats along on vouchers is another question.

WOODRUFF: Well, that's my question. How likely is that support, that he's saying: All right, we're going to give these schools a chance; we're going to give them some money before we even think about the idea of vouchers? How likely is that to persuade Democrats to come on board?

BROWNSTEIN: It may matter less with Democrats than with moderate Republicans. Bush really has two problems. John Boehner was talking about Democratic resistance to vouchers. The last time a proposal like this came to the House floor, Dick Armey in October of '99 offered a plan that was almost identical to Bush's: providing vouchers for kids, low-income kids in failing public schools; 52 Republicans voted against it. It failed by 91 votes. He's got a selling job to do in his own party. And this additional step of providing help to schools before you get to the vouchers may be much more useful for him in bringing back Republicans than it is for bringing back Democrats. What I'm surprised at is the extent to which they are drawing a line in the sand. Joe Lieberman said this weekend: There can be no meeting of the mind on vouchers.

WOODRUFF: What -- do you have a sense at this point of what -- clearly, there is going to have to be give on both sides. Is there any early indication of where Bush might be prepared to give and where the Democrats might be prepared to give?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, this is one area of give. I think this is clearly a concession to try to make vouchers more acceptable by providing the money for intervening in the schools before you get to it.

WOODRUFF: But he's already done that.

BROWNSTEIN: He's already done it. The ultimate solution would have to be -- presumably, if there is going to be any voucher component, it is going to have to be voluntary for the states rather than mandatory, as he ran on in the campaign. He basically said that, if you got to the third year, the school wasn't improving, the voucher would be composed of the federal share of the money that would go to that kid under Title I, matched by an equal amount of state money.

Perhaps an ultimate compromise would be to let the states choose whether or not to match that money. That might bring along a few more Republicans, and even perhaps some Democrats, although, as I said, the Democrats are being surprisingly hard in their resistance. The irony in all of this, Judy, is that we're spending all of this time talking about vouchers. And the strength of Bush as a candidate was that he expanded the Republican message on education way beyond vouchers, to have a much broader activist federal role in improving public schools.

That was why he ran better. And I think the risk to him is that he gets drawn back into a very conventional left-right debate that sort of obscures the legitimate changes he has made in Republican thinking on education.

WOODRUFF: Why is it so important to him to have an education plan out there early and to seek an early agreement of some sort on this?

BROWNSTEIN: Education is to Bush as welfare was to Clinton in 1992. It is the central issue by which he sought to convince swing voters that he was moving his party back to the center. Bill Clinton shelved welfare reform for 18 months before he came out with his plan, didn't push it for his first two years, helped alienate a lot of those centrist voters who thought they were getting something different than they got.

I think Bush seized education as sort of a bookend to the kinds of things that he did yesterday: on abortion, that will be coming forward on taxes and missile defense, portions of his agenda aimed much more at his base. Education is the part of his overall blueprint that is most aimed at broadening his support among swing voters. And I think he recognizes the importance of delivering on that in a way that Clinton didn't on welfare reform initially.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Brownstein, thank you very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it -- Bernie.

SHAW: Thank you.

And there is much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come: Is the civil rights movement in need of new blood? We're going to examine that question later. Also ahead: our Bill Schneider on the election campaign in Israel. For the Israeli left, this is a season of discontent.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: We're going to have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.

Colorado authorities have found the getaway van used by two Texas prison escapees who remain on the run. This van was discovered today near a hotel in Colorado Springs.

CNN's Jeff Flock joins us now from Irving, Texas, where he picks up the story -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Bernie, here outside the Irving Police Department.

And it was revealed today that the charges against these two men -- in fact, all of them, all seven will take precedence over other charges. The charges: In this town, December 24th, a murder took place in the process of a robbery of a sporting goods store, that taking place, as we said, on Christmas Eve issues -- the murder of a police officer. The charges there will take precedence over everything else in this case. The seven fugitives, of course, are suspects there.

But first to the other developments today: As you point out, that van -- we have pictures of the van, a brown van that was found in the parking lot of a restaurant called the Hungry Farmer -- keys still in the ignition -- FBI saying that the two suspects still in the wind -- yesterday, of course, four of them apprehended. And one took his own life. A nearby hotel was also searched. We have pictures of that search with folks in full SWAT gear. It is believed that at least one, if not perhaps both of the two remaining fugitives utilized a room in that hotel, but no sign of either hostage -- of either fugitive, according to the FBI in Denver.

We have to assume they are getting desperate, they said -- also additional information from the FBI, that coming after a search of the recreational vehicle where, apparently, all seven of them were holed up for the past three months -- the FBI agent in charge in Colorado with a listing of everything that was found in that RV.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK MERSHON, FBI: There were 35 weapons in there. They were loaded. They were cocked and ready for action, as we say. There were shotguns, including some that we believe had been sawn off by the subjects themselves -- assault rifles, handguns, thousands of rounds of ammunition, $10,000 in U.S. currency, approximately.

And this is very significant: receipts for ballistic undergarments -- what commonly are known in the public as bulletproof vests -- purchased recently in the cities of Denver and Aurora -- a suicide note, a number of two-way hand-held radios, as you might purchase in Radio Shack, hair coloring also in this RV, and a medical kit, which was far more than a -- far more than a first-aid kit.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FLOCK: These four former fugitives are now said to be cooperating with authorities. But here's an interesting twist, Bernie and Judy. They say they are cooperating, they believe, because they have some concern for the safety of the two remaining fugitives. They want to help authorities find them so that they can take them into custody without them being harmed -- certainly an extraordinary bond, according to the FBI.

One final note, and that is a preliminary hearing for the four now being held in the Teller County jail in Colorado. We are told that that will be conducted via closed-circuit television in the town of Cripple Creek. They will appear via closed-circuit TV in Cripple Creek, where that preliminary hearing will take place, as we reported at the outset. They will then -- the charges that have been filed here in Irving, Texas in connection with the Christmas Eve murder, they will take precedence. And that's what they will move forward on -- but, of course, the main thrust still to find the remaining two.

That's the latest from here, Judy. Back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Flock reporting, thanks very much.

A British judge today ordered twin girls sold twice over the Internet to remain in foster care while he considers the case. Two families, one in Britain, the other in the United States, have been demanding custody of the two baby girls. The twins' birth mother says she wants her children back. The case has prompted Britain to look more closely at regulating overseas adoptions.

SHAW: An update now from the Galapagos Islands: Cleanup crews and the island's famed wildlife are getting a break from the weather today. Winds are pushing spilled fuel oil toward the open sea and away from the fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos.

I'm having trouble saying that, Judy.

The tanker Jessica ran aground a week ago today. It has leaked enough fuel to cover an area bigger than the city of Los Angeles. WOODRUFF: I thought you did just fine.

SHAW: Galapagos!

WOODRUFF: You got it!

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: the latest stumbling block in the Middle East peace process and what it means for the coming Israeli election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: Israel today suspended peace talks with the Palestinians after two Israeli restaurant owners were killed in the West Bank. This move comes just two weeks before the Israeli election for prime minister.

Our CNN Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MIKE HANNA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The talks in Taba put on hold, earlier signs of positive developments reported, but the killing of two Israelis in the West Bank leading to a suspension of negotiations.

The killing of an Israeli teenager last week suspended the series of talks that resulted in the Taba meeting. No contacts between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators took place until the teenager was buried. It's not clear, in the wake of Tuesday's killings, when or whether the Taba negotiations will resume. The killings and the suspension could impact on Prime Minister Ehud Barak's chances of being reelected.

Observers believe that an agreement reached at Taba could have a major impact on Israeli public opinion, which the latest polls show is firmly behind the opposition Likud Party candidate Ariel Sharon.

PROF. GADI WOLFSFELD, HEBREW UNIV. OF JERUSALEM: It really depends on how convinced the Israeli public is that this is something real and not something done in order to change the results of the election.

HANNA: Both parties in the negotiations insist concessions need be made if the agreement is to be reached. And, in a campaign speech, the prime minister indicated new thinking on one of the most contentious issues: the status of Jerusalem.

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): We have to find a way that the practical day-to-day administration will be a shared administration in the Old City and the holy sites. This has no connection with our sovereignty. No one will touch and take away our sovereignty over the Western Wall or the Jewish Quarter or the Mount of Olives.

HANNA: To the opposition Likud Party, this sounds as though other parts of Jerusalem are a matter for negotiation.

ARIEL SHARON, LIKUD LEADER (through translator): I will guard Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, capital of the Jews, and the Temple Mount as the heart of the Jewish people.

HANNA: There was no indication that there had been any progress on the question of Jerusalem in the Taba talks. However, sources on both sides reported positive developments in other areas of negotiation.

(on camera): If Ehud Barak allows a resumption of negotiations, he will face accusations from his critics of giving in to Palestinian violence. If the prime minister calls off the talks, he loses what is likely to be his last chance of reaching an agreement that could save him at the polls.

Mike Hanna, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: The February 6 election in Israel will decide who will be prime minister. Many people feel it will also decide the future of peace in the Middle East.

CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider just returned from a visit to Israel.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What is most striking in Israel is the complete disillusionment of the left in that country. Those Israelis who supported a peace movement feel as if they were operating under a false presumption that they could live in peace with the Palestinians.

There is a sense of shock at the events of the last four months: the terrible violence. The violence was very shocking to Israelis. And the left has essentially given up. They've said: We were working under a terrible illusion. And we can't sustain it anymore: that it's possible to imagine a solution in which Israelis and Palestinians can live in two states -- one Israel, the other Palestine -- side by side under conditions of peaceful coexistence.

This election is probably one of the most dramatic showdowns in Israel's history -- a very short history, just 50 years. But Israelis are really voting on the future of the peace process and whether there will be a peace process. Israeli voters are in a very disillusioned mood. They are ready to repudiate Ehud Barak, who has been in power less than two years. They are distressed by his leadership. They feel he has been arrogant, aloof. He's zigzagged too much on policy, not just in the peace process, but even in the domestic policy: between catering to religious voters and then secular voters, going back and forth.

He has made concessions and then drawn them back. He's offered ultimatums -- issued ultimatums and then suddenly he hasn't stood by them. He hasn't been a strong or consistent leader. He is very unpopular, so unpopular that it looks like Israeli voters are ready to elect Ariel Sharon, one of the most controversial figures in Israel. He is deeply divisive, very controversial. And, in fact, a lot of people on the left are desperate to put up a different candidate from Ehud Barak because they are worried about Sharon winning.

He is presenting himself as a peace candidate. Sharon -- in fact, his slogan is plastered all over Israel. It says: Only Sharon will bring peace. Sharon, peace! I mean, it's -- it boggles the mind because this guy has never been associated with the peace process. And he's running to repudiate the Oslo process.

But he says he wants to try a different approach. It's not clear what his approach to peace will be. His victory, to Israelis, means one thing: greater security, because the one pervasive mood in Israel right now is a mood of deep insecurity. Israelis are frightened and fearful and deeply disillusioned by the last four months violence.

So basically, this is a referendum on whether Israelis have lost confidence in the peace process and want to try a different tack or whether they will vote for Barak because they feel they want to give this process one more chance. It doesn't look like they're going to do that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Once again, that was CNN's senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

Next on INSIDE POLITICS, the challenge to Jesse Jackson from other voices in the African-American community.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW-PUSH COALITION: My voice will be heard and will be part a chorus of voices demanding for our nation, as we seek to be a more perfect union, demanding human rights for all, economic security for all, health care for all. After all, our voices must be raised in a time of abounding surplus. Therefore, the main Americans will have more health insurance; 1,500 who die a day from cancer. So there is need for voices to serve, and I'll be part of those serving voices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: The Reverend Jesse Jackson, speaking today in New York amid questions concerning one of his roles as a civil rights spokesman given the recent revelation that he fathered a child out of wedlock. Those questions aside, Jackson showed he's still a fighter.

Here are some comments he made on the Bush administration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JACKSON: ... attention, because his administration is against affirmative action, against economic set-asides and spin-offs. So the interests of the extreme right-wing politicians is against the economic growth Wall Street stands for. It's sort a kind of classic confrontation between Wall Street's fiscal conservatives, who want tax breaks, and Republican political conservatives who want to cut off affirmative action.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: With or without Jackson's personal issues, there are some leaders who are beginning to question his message, especially so with a Republican now in the White House.

As CNN's Bruce Morton reports, some are asking, why not work with George W. Bush?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REV. EUGENE RIVERS, AZUSA CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY: We in the black community have to move beyond the gratuitous use of the race card to retard debate and move towards focusing on measurable outcomes.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Reverend Rivers made some headlines over the weekend by suggesting that the Reverend Jesse Jackson's disclosure that he had fathered an illegitimate child meant the end of the generation of black leadership from the civil rights era. But this press conference was about a letter a group of African-American pastors is sending President Bush, urging a dialogue and action, not talk. One excerpt:

BISHOP CHARLES BLAKE, CHURCH OF GOD AND CHRIST: Rather than further radicalize what may be some fundamental and honest policy differences between your administration and many in the black community, we think it is better to focus on common areas of potential agreement where your administration could make a historic difference in the lives of millions of black people here and abroad.

MORTON: Blake is right of center, a school voucher supporter. But the letter's agenda is mainstream: AIDS relief for sub-Saharan Africa, debt forgiveness for poor countries, universal health care and better education in America.

RON WALTERS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: The challenge to the president therefore is important, because if he does not want to give some acknowledgment to the protest, if he does not want to accord respect to the Congressional Black Caucus and the civil rights leadership and the fraternal leadership, and those mainline leaders, then he's still faced with this group, which is posing him the same challenge in terms of public policy.

MORTON: Seeking deeds, they stressed, not words.

RIVER: We're trying to resist the impulse to confuse political theater with the concrete results because children in Harlem and Harare need more than press clips and rhetoric. MORTON: Black voices, seeking the new president's ear.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, a discussion about the future of African-American leadership in the United States. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Joining us now as we continue our look at African- American leadership in this country, Cynthia Tucker. She's editorial page editor of "The Atlanta Constitution," and Professor Ronald Walters of the University of Maryland and the African-American Leadership Institute. His last book was titled, "African-American Leadership."

Cynthia Tucker, to you first and referring back to what we were talking about in the last segment about Jesse Jackson, have his recent difficulties, the disclosure that he did father a child out of wedlock, significantly lessened his influence?

CYNTHIA TUCKER, "ATLANTA CONSTITUTION": I certainly think that they erode his influence, Judy, with people who disagree with him. It is certainly true that people who already tend to agree with Jesse, old civil rights activist, people who are already supporters of affirmative action, people who are already very upset about voting irregularities in Florida, they're going to be very willing to forgive Jesse very quickly and to move on and to continue to accept his leadership.

But Jesse's most important job, in my view, was to persuade those who disagree with him, those who are skeptics, and I think he has severely damaged his ability to move those people, to persuade them to see the injustices that were done in Florida.

WOODRUFF: Ron Walters, do you agree that this severely damaged his ability to do what Cynthia Tucker described?

WALTERS: Well, I would agree largely with that. I think that his job of actually representing African-American interests in the larger community often involved him trying to win over people who seem to be unwinnable on a lot of issues.

But I think that the this is not a -- something that is set in stone here. It's not static. I think that Jesse Jackson certainly has the capacity to come back. I think he showed that in the Hymie town remark. I think he worked very hard to prove to Jewish leaders that he was sincere, that he was not anti-Semitic. He worked every day to do that. And so I think that while this might be a momentary blip on the radar screen, he has the capacity to work hard enough to come back from this, too.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me broaden this out. Cynthia Tucker, what about the characterization, we just heard it in Bruce Morton's report just a moment ago, by some in the -- leaders in the African-American community, that what has happened in with Jesse Jackson symbolizes the end of a generation of black leadership from the civil rights era?

TUCKER: Actually, I think those are two separate issues, Judy. I do think we're finally approaching the time when we can look at leaders who did not come out of the civil rights movement. And that would have been the case whether or not Jesse Jackson had been now burdened with these allegations -- not well, just allegations, with the admission of fathering a child out of the wedlock.

Let me say that I think that Jesse could have mounted one final, very important crusade had he not been forced to make the admission that he fathered a child out of the wedlock. I think he will now be stymied in his ability to do that.

But whether he had fathered a child out of wedlock or not, I think we're rapidly approaching a time when the African-American community can look forward to a new generation of leaders who did not come out of grassroots civil rights activism. I happen to think that's good thing.

I happen to think the civil rights movement was successful, that the old line civil rights activist served their nation very well. But I also think that it is time for a new generation of leaders, people closer to my age and quite frankly, I'm not that young anywhere, but people who grew up as products of the civil rights movement, people who benefited from the civil rights movement and quite frankly, who have been exposed to integration for much of our lives.

WOODRUFF: Ron Walters, how do you see this whole question of new leadership?

WALTERS: Well, Judy, as someone who studies this every day. let me say we already have a very interesting group of leaders in almost every area of American life. But that the uniqueness of the black community is such that you also need a group of out front leaders, and it's that out front group of leaders that I think some people want to take issue with primarily because their role is to kick up dust. It is to wage the hardest case against racism in this country, to raise issues that many other people don't want raised and to try to force the political system to deal with those issues.

WOODRUFF: And are you saying those out front leaders, Ron Walters, have to be people from the so-called civil rights era.

WALTERS: No, I think that it just so happens that there's a historical link between the civil rights era and the longevity of that particular leader subclass. The black leadership class is comprised of people who head organizations, essentially, or people who are elected from political jurisdictions. That's the black leadership class and part of its strength is the fact that it has been stable over time.

WOODRUFF: Cynthia Tucker, who are some, in just a minute or so that we have left, who are some of the people of this younger generation you described, and how are their talents and skills different, for example, from those of Jesse Jackson.

TUCKER: Well, Judy, I think that you can look all over of the country at African-American who have been elected to statewide office with a significant number of white votes. Right here in Georgia, our attorney general is an African-American named Thurbert Baker. He is the first African-American attorney general in the state of Georgia.

How are their skills different? Again, they have had to appeal to significant numbers of white voters in order to get elected. That means they come to the table with biracial support and I think in that way, they are very different from the old lines civil rights leaders. I also think that means they will be much less reluctant to do just what one of the ministers in the earlier piece was referring to. And that is, always play the race card.

Every problem that faces African-Americans in this country is not called by racism. Racism is still alive and well. We can't keep our -- take our eye off of that. We need to work on making -- getting rid of racism in this country. But that is not the only problem facing African-Americans today.

WOODRUFF: Ron Walters, a quick last word on that.

WALTERS: Well, I think that I would agree with a lot of what has been said, but I think that it actually misreads the function of leadership. Certainly, we need blacks who are attorney generals. But racism is a very important problem in America, and as long as it exists, it will have far more to do with the nature black leadership than the black leaders themselves.

WOODRUFF: All right, Professor Ron Walters and Cynthia Tucker, we thank you both for joining us. We appreciate it -- Bernie.

SHAW: We have this new development just in. President Bush has agreed to grant a request from the governor of California concerning that state's massive power problems. Mr. Bush has agreed to extend the federal directives forcing out of state power suppliers to continue -- to continue supplying California's cash-strapped utilities. The directives first were issued by the Clinton administration last month and are being extended for two more weeks. California Governor Gray Davis has assured the Bush administration that additional extensions will not be needed.

When he was a candidate, President Bush promised to make education reform his top domestic priority. Today, he sent his education proposals to Congress. Coming up, we're going to have more about the Bush education plan, and whether it makes the grade with Democrats.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: We've been talking about education reform for quite a while. It's time to come together to get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: We feel strongly that we cannot afford to wait any longer to craft a serious national response to what is clearly a serious national problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Republicans and Democrats agree it is time to do something about our schools. But what is the solution? Does it include vouchers?

SHAW: Do you remember this? Now that their 15 minutes of fame are over, Florida election officials get together to talk about what went wrong.

WOODRUFF: And for every winning candidate, there's a winner behind the scenes. Coming up, a look at political consultants. We'll tell you who's hot and who's not.

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

SHAW: And welcome back. Just three days after his inauguration, President Bush has started work on an issue he stressed so frequently during the campaign: education reform. Mr. Bush sent Congress a plan that could shift more federal money to private schools, but in an apparent bid for bipartisan support, he also promised more help for troubled public schools.

The federal government would use state reading and math tests to identify failing schools, then help fund corrective measures. After three years, students at schools that still have not improved would be eligible for federal payments to hire a tutor, attend a private school, or travel to another public school.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Parents and children who have only bad options must eventually get good options if we're to succeed all across the country. There are differences of opinions about what those options should be. I made my opinion very clear in the course of a campaign. I'm going to take my opinion to the Hill and let folks debate it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: Our CNN senior White House correspondent John King is standing by, and taking his opinion to the Hill on education reform, John, the president is including a provision for vouchers. He says there's a bipartisan effort behind this. It's a bipartisan proposal. We know that the Democrats do not like vouchers. Is the president in effect saying that vouchers are nonnegotiable for me, I want vouchers in this plan, they must remain?

KING: No, he's not saying that, Bernie, but let's be clear: He does want to make that part of the debate here. This is a Republican president. He did not win the popular vote.

Much like yesterday when we had the abortion discussion, well, why would he issue that abortion executive order on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade? Remember, he needs the conservative support. Yes, he needs Democrats to get big things done. But what if his support among conservatives fell? Then what incentive would there be for the Democrats to do business with him?

So he will propose this to begin with. He will fight for it. In the end, we're told to look for a compromise, in the end. They certainly know here at the White House as of right now the votes aren't there, and unless they can change that, in the end, they'll have to compromise.

SHAW: Another key element of the Bush plan says that instead of testing students on reading and math in the 3rd and 8th grades, why not test every year, every year? Will there be opposition to that?

KING: This could be the sleeper issue. We're talking about vouchers because we have had in years past a fight over this issue. We know liberal -- many liberal Democrats oppose it. Republicans favor it. We know vouchers is one big fight, but the testing could be a sleeper one, because teachers unions oppose those, and they are a key Democratic constituency. They will put pressure on Democratic lawmakers to fight those annual tests.

But if you look at Senator Lieberman, Senator Bayh, there's a growing consensus among more centrist Democrats that perhaps we do need more accountability. So there could be an internal fight within the Democratic Party over testing at the same time there is a fight between Democrats and the new Republican president over vouchers.

SHAW: John King, at the White House. Now Judy has more on this subject.

WOODRUFF: President Bush is saying that he wants to sign an education reform bill by summer. CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl is on Capitol Hill.

Jonathan, how is the president's proposal on education being received?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's clear up here on Capitol Hill that if President Bush is going to have a honeymoon, the honeymoon is going to be on the issue of education. Democrats are making it very clear that they are keeping powder dry for a later showdown with President Bush over the issue of taxes.

But on education, they are saying nice things about what President Bush has proposed. Even liberal stalwarts like Teddy Kennedy was at the White House today to meet with the president on this issue, is saying good things about the plan. Of course, he doesn't agree on the issue of vouchers, which by the way Republicans up here are trying to banish that word from the dictionary. They want to talk about "opportunity scholarships," not vouchers. Kennedy obviously is going to oppose those no matter what -- what you call them.

But Kennedy is speaking glowingly of Rod Paige, the new secretary of education, saying that the Republicans now, that George W. Bush has gone much further than Republicans did in the last Congress by going beyond talks of strictly block grants to states and actually talking about a comprehensive education reform proposal.

So the idea up here is even though you will see some early skirmishing on the issue of vouchers or opportunity scholarships, whatever you want to call them, that overall that George W. Bush's plan has a very receptive audience here on Capitol Hill.

That said, Judy, there are some conservatives like J.C. Watts who this morning was telling reporters that he believes that Republicans should go to the mat for these opportunity scholarships, that he believes the principle is very important. And there are two principles actually. And that is, one, accountability. The only way to truly hold schools accountable is to say that they will lose money if they do not perform, lose money through these vouchers or scholarships. And then the second principle is choice, is that schools -- is that poor children in failing schools should have a choice, should have an opportunity to go to another school.

WOODRUFF: Now, Jon, we know that the vice president was up there lobbying on the Hill today. What can you tell us about that?

KARL: Well, it's very interesting. Vice President Cheney was up here on the Hill. He's already been up here quite a bit. And up here, senior Republicans, senior staffers up here are talking jokingly about what they're calling the Cheney land grab, because not only was up here lobbying on the issue of education, but he was also surveying his new digs up here on the Hill.

He has got the traditional office of the vice president on the Senate side. It's two rooms. But he's also been given a third room by Majority Leader Lott on the Senate side, and he's been given an extremely nice office on the House side, something that no other vice president has had. He actually has the old Ways & Means Committee room right off the House floor. This is some of the most valuable real estate in all of Washington, perhaps the most valuable real estate.

It's a sign that Cheney will be -- have a much more muscular presence up here, certainly in terms of a staff presence, playing more of a role, almost as a legislative director for the Bush White House.

This is what Cheney had to say when he was up here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president has asked me to devote a portion of my time to working with the Congress, generally across the board, on a range of issues. I also have to be here in terms of my obligations in the Senate. So it's a reasonable expectation I'll be here a lot. I don't know that that means redefining the role. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Four Secret Service agents actually before this walked into Don Nickles' office, the assistant majority leader in the Senate, and they said, whoa, where are you going? And they said, well, we thought this was the new office. No, they're not going to get Don Nickles' office. But clearly, Cheney is going to spend more time up here, although Republicans say don't expect him to wear out his welcome. They don't want to see him have what they call the contempt of familiarity. They still want it to be a big deal every time Cheney comes up here.

WOODRUFF: It'll be interesting to walk that line. Jonathan, finally, tell us where the Senate stands on confirming the remaining Cabinet nominees of the president.

KARL: Well, the John Ashcroft nominee just hit a little bit of a -- nomination just hit a little bit of a roadblock today. What's happened is the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have exercised their right to delay the Judiciary Committee vote on that nomination. It was expected to be tomorrow. Now, it won't happen for another week.

In fact, the Democrats have loaded down Ashcroft with more than 260 questions. If you count follow-up question, more than 350 follow- up questions that they expect Ashcroft to finish and complete before they take a vote on this. This obviously is outraging Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but nonetheless Democrats have a right to delay that. So don't look for a vote on Ashcroft for at least another week.

Gale Norton, the other controversial nomination, we're expecting a committee vote tomorrow. A top environmental group, the National Resources Defense Council, was up here meeting with the top Democrat on that committee, Jeff Bingaman. No word from Bingaman on how he'll vote. But there will be a vote in that committee tomorrow, which will tell you what's going to happen with Gale Norton.

Meanwhile the rest of the Bush Cabinet is just sailing through up here in the Senate. He had three nominations go through 100 to nothing today, including Mel Martinez for HUD. And there will be several votes tomorrow, four more nominations tomorrow, including two governors, two former governors who are expected to be easily confirmed, that being Christie Whitman for the position of the Environmental Protection Agency head and also Tommy Thompson over at HHS.

WOODRUFF: All right. A lot to keep track of there. Jon Karl at the Capitol, thanks very much -- Bernie.

SHAW: President Bush's education reform plan marks a new approach for Republicans. You know, for many years, conservatives argued that education was a state and local issue.

Our CNN senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins us now for a look at what's behind Mr. Bush's new initiative. SCHNEIDER: Now, look, here's a Republican president talking about expanding the federal government's role in education with a program aimed at helping poor children and minorities. Is this the great society, part two?

Not quite.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): When the federal government has gotten involved in education, it's been for one of two reasons. One is social change. During the 1960s, Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, which included a massive expansion of federal aid to education, aimed to eliminate poverty and promote equality.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON JOHNSON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every child must have the best education that this nation can provide.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: But the first great intervention of the federal government in education came in the 1950s and for a different reason. Competitiveness. Americans were in a panic after the Soviets launched Sputnik, the first space satellite. The U.S. invested heavily in education in order to become more competitive in science and technology. Ever hear of the National Defense Education Act?

Sometimes when he talks about education, President Bush sounds like LBJ.

BUSH: Together, we will reclaim America's schools before ignorance and apathy claim more young lives.

SCHNEIDER: At other times, the language of compassion gives way to the language of competitiveness.

BUSH: If we can get the education right, then we can free up capital and do other things for you.

SCHNEIDER: The current movement for education reform is closer to the 1950s than the 1960s. It's about competitiveness, not social change. Only now the concern is over economic, not military, competitiveness.

BUSH: The gateway to success in this country, as I hope some of your are learning, is to become educated.

SCHNEIDER: Education reform has often been driven by business in this country. During the campaign, Bush touted the educational progress in Texas.

BUSH: With reforms in Texas, reading scores have gone up. Under this administration, national reading scores have gone down. SCHNEIDER: But the real force behind the Texas reforms was a business leader named Ross Perot. Business is very much behind the movement for education reform today. The U.S. has a labor shortage. Unemployment is at record lows. Business needs technically literate workers to compete in the new information economy. The global economy has become the new COLD WAR, which is why the core of Bush's education program is standards and accountability.

BUSH: Accountability is the foundation of true education reform.

SCHNEIDER: The Great Society divided America, but competitiveness is a unifying force. The rich want to compete in the new economy and the poor want their children to get into it.

ROD PAIGE, EDUCATION SECRETARY-DESIGNATE: Mr. President-elect, you made education a cornerstone of your campaign. Those of us in education know you meant it when you said, "No child is to be left behind."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Bush says the federal government will set national standards and leave it to the states to implement them. The irony is, when President Clinton talked about national standards, conservatives went nuts. They thought Democrats were trying to impose a curriculum of political correctness on the country. Presumably, Bush's standards will be different.

SHAW: Bill Schneider, thank you.

WOODRUFF: And coming up on INSIDE POLITICS, Florida considers how to reform its controversial voting system.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHAW: That messy presidential election brought worldwide attention to Florida's imperfect voting system. Now authorities there are looking at possible remedies.

CNN's Mark Potter has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has anything new happened since we last met in June?

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The winter meeting of Florida's supervisors of elections is an annual event, but this time, of course, it's different.

MARY JANE ARRINGTON, OSCEOLA COUNTY COMMISSIONER: On November 7th, the state of Florida was put in the limelight. We made the nation aware of the consequences of voting and the importance of having our votes counted accurately and correctly.

POTTER: Because of that, the focus this year is widespread reform, especially in the 24 counties that used punch-card ballots.

PAM IORIO, SUPERVISORS OF ELECTIONS ASSOCIATION: We need to get the punch-card counties off of the punch-card system by 2002. Our next elections here in Florida are 21 months away.

POTTER: Most favored are optical voting machines and scanners, already in use in two-thirds of Florida counties. Some supervisors like the idea of computer touch screens, but that system has not yet been certified for use in the state.

Drawing even more attention to the event was an appearance by Florida's secretary of state, Katherine Harris, herself made famous during the election controversy.

KATHERINE HARRIS, FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I believe that in our next election we will have a statewide consistent system, and hopefully by the presidential election, a state-of-the-art election system for all of Florida.

POTTER: The supervisors are tackling a number of issues: whether they, themselves, should be elected on a nonpartisan basis; whether the Internet should be used for military overseas ballots; and how to improve the record-keeping system, which last year removed thousands of citizens from the voter rolls after mislabeling them as ex-felons.

IORIO: We are going to bring about election reform so that Florida can be the model for election administration in the future.

POTTER (on camera): The supervisors will make their recommendations to the Florida legislature. And of course, the big question is, who pays for all the changes? Typically, the counties do. But this time, they want the state to help in light of last year's revelation that local balloting can have such widespread consequences.

Mark Potter, CNN, Kissimmee, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHAW: Back in Washington, Republican Senator Strom Thurmond today asked President Bush to nominate his son to be the top federal prosecutor in his home state, South Carolina: 28-year-old Strom Thurmond Jr. is an assistant state prosecutor and just two years out of law school. He has endorsements from both Republican and Democratic leaders for the position. And since United States attorneys are political appointees, the Bush administration will be replacing most of them in the coming months.

A look behind the scenes is next. Not all of the winners and losers of the November elections were candidates. Coming up, the winners and losers you didn't hear about.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We all know by now, or can find out, which candidates won the 2000 elections. But what about the consultants who orchestrated or helped orchestrate those victories.

Ron Faucheux of "Campaigns and Elections" Magazine has been keeping track of the big winners and losers of 2000. I spoke to Ron yesterday, and I started by asking him who the big Democratic winners were?

RON FAUCHEUX, "CAMPAIGNS/ELECTIONS MAGAZINE": Well, on the Democratic side, the big winners tended to be those consultants that did the most work in big U.S. Senate campaigns. For example, Bob Shrum's media firm, did big Senate races like Mark Dayton in Minnesota, which was a Democratic pickup; Jon Corzine, the big money event of the year in New Jersey; and a number of other races like Brad Carson's Congressional race in Oklahoma; Bill Nelson in Florida. These were all significant races.

There's also a whole series of other Democratic consultants, mail consultants, media consultants like Shore and Associates, Hamburger -- Laquens, Hamburger, and Stone did a lot of significant races: Senate races, U.S. House races, that moved the ball forward for the Democrats across the country.

WOODRUFF: What about for the Republicans? Who do you see as being the significant winners for the Republicans?

FAUCHEUX: The most significant winner -- I'd say, the top political consultant of the year from the Republican side really would be Karl Rove, who was the chief strategist for George Bush's campaign.

WOODRUFF: And he's now going to the White House.

FAUCHEUX: He's now going to the White House; he was a significant player in Texas and in Republican politics around the country for a number of years and he strategized this Bush presidential campaign for a number of years, and you know, the fact that when you win, you win, and, of course, he gets the big prize.

WOODRUFF: What other Republicans? Anybody in particular jump out?

FAUCHEUX: One of the interesting things is that the media in the Bush campaign was actually handled by a Democrat, Mark McKinnon, as well as Stewart Stevens (ph) and a number of other people involved in that. So, the Republican media consultants tend to be more party oriented, and they tend to do more teamwork with a number of consultants, as opposed to the Democratic consultants.

And oftentimes, you'll have a Democrat who -- some of the pollsters for example, take on strategic roles over and above just polling like Mark Penn, for example, who did the polling for Hillary Clinton's campaign and was the chief strategist for that campaign.

WOODRUFF: What about losers?

FAUCHEUX: Losers; I think probably the most notable and best known loser would be Mike Murphy, who's a Republican. He was the chief strategist and consultant for Rick Lazio's losing Senate campaign in New York against Hillary Clinton. He also was the chief consultant for Spencer Abraham, a losing Republican, Michigan, for the U.S. Senate; and, of course, was John McCain's top consultant.

WOODRUFF: Ron, talk a little bit about how this year, in this presidential year, 2000, you saw some changes in terms of the kind of consulting work that was done?

FAUCHEUX: Of course, the Internet became a big new area of new work for political consultants and we have literally hundreds of people around the country doing Internet work in campaigns professionally, who weren't heard of a couple of years ago, so that's a big new area.

Another thing is in the direct mail database management. There are a lot of firms now that have enormous client lists, and a lot of these clients are not just candidates any more, they are independent expenditure campaigns and issue advocacy campaigns, where they're working for party committees in associations and interest groups, not just the candidates.

WOODRUFF: And they're hiring consultants as well?

FAUCHEUX: And they're hiring consultants, who are working, not for candidates, but for groups, and they're doing the same kind of job you would do for a candidate.

WOODRUFF: Let me just finally ask you, Ron, about two people you have to say who were giants in the industry who died in the year 2000. Bob Squier was one of them, Bill Hamilton was another. How did their passing change this extraordinary business?

FAUCHEUX: Well, Bob Squier was sort of on a level of his own in terms of being a Democratic media consultant. He had worked, of course, for Bill Clinton, had worked for Al Gore, had worked for just a slew of Democratic U.S. senators and governors and members of Congress over the years, over the longer period of time that almost any other major consultant. So, his passing left a big, big hole in there. His firm still exists -- it still had a very good client list, they were very involved in Al Gore's campaign and some other significant Democratic party activity.

I think, to some extent, Bob Shrum, his firm, has probably now taken over the leadership role as the premiere Democratic media consultants and of course, Bill Hamilton is one of the giants of the political consulting industry, a past president of the American Association of Political Consultants, a pollster, his firm goes on, too.

WOODRUFF: Ron Faucheux, "Campaigns and Elections" -- thank you for joining us. We appreciate you being with us.

SHAW: Finally, when the White House changes hands, especially from one party to another, it's not uncommon for the outgoing staff to register its displeasure. When the new Bush administration staffers sat down to their computers, one letter had been removed from many of the keyboards, the letter: W, as, you know, as in George W. Bush. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer tried to take it in stride.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: What was your reaction to all that?

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My reaction would have been WOW! But the W is removed. So now it's just O!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHAW: As the Bush administration was quick to point out, tampering with federal property is against the letter of the law!

WOODRUFF: So many things you can't spell without a W!

SHAW: Exactly.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go on-line all the time at CNN's allpolitics.com. AOL keyword cnn.

WOODRUFF: These programming notes: Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and Michigan Governor John Engler will be talking about the Bush education plan tonight on "CROSSFIRE" -- at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

And at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, Senator Joe Lieberman will talk about the Bush plan on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

I'm Judy Woodruff.

SHAW: And I'm Bernard Shaw. The "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR" is next.

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