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Inside Politics

President Bush Stepping up His Response to California Power Crisis; McCain and Feingold Take Their Case on the Road

Aired January 29, 2001 - 5:00 p.m. ET



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we understand -- fully understand what high energy costs can mean to people in America.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: The Bush White House gets more energized about confronting the power woes out west. The president also confronts concerns that he may be crossing the line between church and state.

Plus: Senators McCain and Feingold take their campaign finance reform pitch on the road, in hopes of turning up the heat.

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

WOODRUFF: Thanks for joining us. Bernie is off today.

We begin with President Bush stepping up his response to the California power crisis. After initially portraying it as largely a problem for state officials to solve, Mr. Bush now is sending a message that his administration is working to stay ahead of the curve on this issue.

Here is CNN senior White House correspondent John King.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Still, no more federal help, but the president had a more urgent tone about the California power crisis as he huddled with top advisers to discuss energy policy.

BUSH: We're very aware in this administration that the situation in California is beginning to affect neighboring states.

KING: Two weeks of rolling blackouts are taking a toll on California and the rest of the West, and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned Congress last week that energy supplies and costs were putting pressure on the entire U.S. economy. Mr. Bush took notice. He called several Cabinet chiefs to the White House and tapped Vice President Dick Cheney to lead a new administration task force.

BUSH: It is becoming very clear to the country that demand is outstripping supply, that there are now more users of electricity and natural gas than there are new units being found. And we've got to do something about that in the country.

KING: Crude oil costs are up 82 cents a barrel from a year ago. For consumers, that means about 16 cents a gallon more for gasoline at the pump and about 13 cents a gallon more for home heating oil. Mr. Bush says conservation must be part of any national energy policy, but during the campaign, he put more emphasis on boosting domestic production. And he made clear Monday, he stands by his controversial proposal to allow oil exploration in some of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The Bush team also wants to talk to Mexico and Canada about sharing resources in emergencies like the California crisis. The more urgent tone at the White House did not go unnoticed.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: It's a significant part of the economy of this whole country, and we just can't close our eyes and pretend the problem doesn't exist in California, because it's an American problem.

KING: The White House is making clear California should not expect any more short term federal help.


KING: The California crisis is obviously something Mr. Bush could do without in his early days in office. It's a complicated political and policy dilemma at a time the new president would prefer to focus on keeping campaign promises. But some political advisers say it is urgent that he not appear indifferent to the nation's most populous state, and some policy advisories see an opening here to perhaps elevate the debate about more exploration and other controversial items on the Bush energy agenda -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, as we know, it wasn't just energy the president was talking about today, there was also discussion about prescription drugs among other things?

KING: That's right. Remember during the campaign, what then- Governor Bush promised was a temporary solution for low-income Americans -- if you are a single, low income, elderly American making less than $12,000, the president believes you should get free prescription drugs, at least for now. He proposes spending money through grants to the states to do that for the next four years. He says, in the meantime, he should get together with the Democrats and the Republicans in Congress to debate a much more long-term structural Medicare reform that includes prescription drugs, but this: another campaign promise the new president keeping, sending that proposal up to Capitol Hill today. WOODRUFF: And John, in a totally different area, the president also commented today, for the first time, on one of those controversial pardons granted at the last minute by outgoing President Clinton.

KING: That's right, Judy. A very busy day at the White House, and the controversial pardon, Mr. Bush mentioned, was that to Marc Rich; he's a financier convicted, among other things, of wire fraud and dealing with Iran, despite the oil embargo -- Mr. Bush saying that he would never have issued that pardon. There was some research at the Justice Department; an effort to take a look at, maybe, could they reverse the pardon?

In the end, though, Mr. Bush stopped that research. He says, while he disagrees with the pardon given by his predecessor and that he, under no circumstances, would have done the same thing, that he believes this is the president's prerogative to issue those pardons. He would not try to reverse the Clinton pardons. Again, though, he made very clear of his displeasure with the final day action by his predecessor.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King reporting from the White House, thanks.

Also today, President Bush followed through on a campaign promise to do more to support charitable work by religious groups. And, he rejected criticism that his efforts may blur the separation of church and state. CNN's Eileen O'Connor has more on the issue.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush is following through on his campaign promise to use religious charities to solve social problems.

BUSH: It is one of the great goals of my administration to invigorate the spirit of involvement and citizenship. We will encourage faith-based and community programs without changing their mission.

O'CONNOR: Critics say there is no way to keep church and state separate while directly funding churches or church sponsored programs, like this Catholic-sponsored day care.

BARRY LYNN, AMERICANS UNITED: Frankly, I think the president is now giving payback, in many ways, to the religious right, the core of voters that guaranteed his election. All taxpayers should not be forced to pay for the ministries of other religious groups.

O'CONNOR: The president is trying to deflect such criticism by appointing men of different faiths to guide his policy and by broadening its reach to include community programs as well. Programs like the Lutheran Church's N street village in Washington DC are careful to use government funds only for things like housing and not for programs like drug counseling, which may have involve a value or religion-based approach. They worry, despite the president's assurance their teachings should not be compromised, that this new money will still have restrictions.

MAUREEN JAIS MICK, N ST. VILLAGE: Our two concerns about government support are, first: fear of being told who we could serve and how long we could serve them. We serve some very difficult people here -- women with both mental illness and addiction. These are not folks who are going to move quickly through our programs.

O'CONNOR: And, they worry, does more direct funding for them mean government cutbacks elsewhere?

SHARON DALY, CATHOLIC CHARITIES, USA: Some have argued that the religious community can care for the poor so that government can do less. That wouldn't be acceptable.

O'CONNOR: Partners, they are willing to be, they say, but not replacements.

Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: We're joined now by Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times." Ron, is what the president doing, simply making good on a campaign promise, something he feels very strongly about?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": It was his first campaign promise, actually. The very first speech he gave as a candidate was in Indianapolis in the summer of 1999, talking about this, and it was a priority, Judy, of his governorship in Texas as well. He's really tapping into something that's broader than, I think, some of the critics would acknowledge. They basically portray this as an outgrowth of the religious right; in fact, there is a lot of interest in both sides on the political spectrum on relying more on grassroots groups to deliver social services, both faith-based charities and not religiously based community groups that are springing up all over America.

And, as Eileen mentioned in her spot, Bush made an important shift in emphasis today when he named the office in the White House, the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, a broader emphasis here -- not only on religious...

WOODRUFF: Not just religiously based local groups?

BROWNSTEIN: It is an attempt to tap into the broader grassroots revitalization going on all around America.

WOODRUFF: Ron, what about concerns that are being, and certainly will be raised, by those who say this is stepping on, getting into the whole very difficult area of separation of church and state?

BROWNSTEIN: Now, this is an area that's going to be much more sensitive for Bush than it might have been for Clinton, who was already moving in this direction, or Al Gore, who embraced the idea of going further there. Because, there are religious overtones to the Bush presidency, in the inaugural address, and so forth. But, in fact, there are -- we are operating here, not on a blank slate. In 1996, as part of Welfare reform, Congress allowed religious groups, under something called Charitable Choice, to begin to bid for government services.

What Bush is saying is that they should be allowed to participate in more government services, more different kinds of activities: drug counseling, prison ministries, after-school programs; he has not, to this point, said that they should be allowed to have a more overtly religious component to what they do, than what is there in current law under '96. And I think we already have some guidelines that you can, for example, with the federal funds, you're not supposed to proselytize directly, you have to offer people a secular alternative to the service that is offered. These kinds of things are beginning to generate support on both sides of the aisle.

WOODRUFF: But is this something that both of these groups find it easy to work out? I mean, when you say, OK, we give you money, but you have to follow all these guidelines; is this something these groups are going to be able and willing to follow through on?

BROWNSTEIN: I think the answer is, we don't know. In fact, one of the frustrations have been: there have been relatively little use of the Charitable Choice provision from 1996. There are provisions, as I said, in current law that allow groups to come in and do this kind of work, but very few states and cities, and for that matter, very few of the religious charities themselves, have been aggressive about using it.

Look, there's a lot of capacity out there, Judy. There's a lot of incredible work going on, on a shoestring, very often, in these communities. Almost all of -- if you go into any inner city, from the left or the right, almost all of the indigenous grassroots organizations have some sort of religious component. The question is, is there a way the federal government can sort of bring these efforts up to scale without directly subsidizing religion.

WOODRUFF: And behind all this -- underlying all of this, Ron -- is there some sort of political calculation or strategy here?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it seems pretty clear, the first two weeks of the Bush administration without backing away from their conservative priorities, they're emphasizing putting forward the elements of that compassionate conservative agenda. I mean, look at the inaugural address, seeing that much more people who didn't vote for him than those who did; came out with the education plan; probably the most centrist part of his overall agenda. Now this. A whole series of measures designed I think to reach out to the center and to reassure voters he really meant it when he said he was a different kind of Republican.

The contrast, I think, is with Clinton, who, when he came in, waited 18 months to introduce that Welfare reform proposal, which was the closest equivalent in some ways, politically, to the faith-based initiative in the education plan for Bush -- his calling card to show that he really is something different. Bush is not replicating that mistake. WOODRUFF: He's a week in to his presidency.

BROWNSTEIN: And he's put a lot on the table already.

WOODRUFF: Ron Brownstein, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Senator John McCain takes his campaign finance reform show on the road.

Up next: the Town Hall meeting tour kicks off in Arkansas. We will go live to the Razorback State and we'll also talk with an Arkansas Republican who opposes the bill.


WOODRUFF: Senator John McCain was back on stage today, holding a Town Hall meeting in Arkansas. A year ago at this time, he was courting voters with similar rallies during his run for president. This year, he's promoting his signature issue: campaign finance reform. Our Jonathan Karl is on the road with McCain.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The McCain- Feingold road show kicked off a national tour in Little Rock, vowing to limit the influence of big money in politics.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We are asking incumbents to vote to change a system that favors incumbents. That's why we've got to have the pressure from the people of this country.

KARL: Last week, Senator John McCain got an agreement for a full Senate debate on his campaign reform bill in late March. It's something that has eluded McCain and his Democratic brother-in-arms Russ Feingold for six years.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: Let's have the first clean election we've had in a long time in 2002.

KARL: McCain was greeted by as many skeptics as supporters. This man said McCain's bill would increase the power of the media.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My concern is that McCain-Feingold might shut down the only way that conservatives have to get the message across, and that is paid advertising.

KARL: McCain responded that under his bill, independent groups could still run political ads, but they would have to disclose who paid for them.

MCCAIN: There were some very vicious attack ads at both at the national level and in the Senate and Congressional level in the last campaign. I mean vicious, and I could run some of them for you, and they were done by both sides. And you know why they did it? Because they could remain anonymous who paid for them. KARL: McCain took a stage crowded with Democrats -- in addition to Feingold, three Democratic Congressmen from Arkansas. But his toughest words were aimed at former President Bill Clinton, for his pardon of fugitive commodities trader Marc Rich, whose ex-wife has given more than $1 million in political donations, most of it to Democrats.

MCCAIN: My friends: when you put a fugitive from justice getting a pardon and tying that to a million dollars in soft money, there's something wrong. And the American people don't like that.

KARL: McCain and Feingold plan to hit a half dozen states in a bid to build support for their bill before the Senate debates the issue in March.

MCCAIN: Our main object is to generate the kind of grassroots support that is necessary, so that when this bill hits the floor, senator's offices are flooded with phone calls.


KARL: As McCain's bill gains momentum in the Congress, his allies are concerned about the opposition of Vice President Cheney. Cheney joined President Bush with his meeting last week at the White House with McCain. And at that meeting, I'm told by a source familiar with the conversation, Cheney told McCain that he is concerned because the 1975 post-Watergate campaign finance reforms -- he said -- Cheney said -- hurt Republicans. Cheney made it clear to McCain that he doesn't want to see that happen again this time around -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jonathan, why did they decide -- why did Senator McCain and Senator Feingold decide to start the tour in Arkansas of all places?

KARL: Very good question, Judy. Primarily, what they're doing with all the states they're going to, is trying to hit senators, both Democrats and Republicans, they believe are undecided or potentially could waiver on the campaign finance reform issue. Here in Arkansas, that means Senator Tim Hutchinson, who I understand you spoke with. Now, McCain said very little about Hutchinson in this Town Hall meeting. In fact, Russ Feingold said some good things about Hutchinson. Hutchinson is somebody who, in the past, has supported the ban on soft money, which is what McCain and Feingold were trying to do last time around.

Hutchinson is not happy with the kind of pressure he is getting with this Town Hall meeting, and although McCain did not talk about Hutchinson much here, he did do something else: he stood on the stage with a Democratic representative, Marion Berry, who is one of the leading contenders to go up against Tim Hutchinson, when he is up for re-election next year.

WOODRUFF: Fascinating. All right, Jonathan Karl on the road in Little Rock -- thank you, Jonathan.

Earlier, as Jonathan said, I did speak with Arkansas Republican Senator Tim Hutchinson. He does say that he supports a ban on soft money, but he opposes the McCain-Feingold bill. I asked him if he thought it was appropriate for McCain to take his message to the states of Republican senators who, like himself, oppose or -- wavering on the McCain-Feingold bill, and they are up for re-election next year.


SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: Well, I'm always going to welcome John McCain. And Russ Feingold is a good friend, and it's fine for them to be there. I think if the goal in going into Arkansas and these other states is to pressure other senators, it's going to be counterproductive. That's not the best way to woo votes to your legislation. If it's to focus attention on an important issue, it can serve a useful purpose.

WOODRUFF: Why counterproductive? Because clearly, they're trying to get you and others to change your mind?

HUTCHINSON: Well, because I've expressed to Russ and John and Susan Collins and others what my problem is with their legislation -- I believe it an infringement on free speech, and their restrictions on independent groups; and it's better for us to sit down and worked out that difference. No one wants to appear they are buckling to pressure; I'm certainly not going to base my vote upon how much pressure there is. I'm going to look at the merits of the bill as I see it.

WOODRUFF: Now, you've signed on just last Thursday to another campaign finance proposed by Senator Chuck Hagel -- you are one of the cosponsors -- you don't have a problem with the soft money provisions, a soft money ban in fact, in the McCain-Feingold bill.

HUTCHINSON: That's right.

WOODRUFF: What is it about the bill that bothers you?

HUTCHINSON: They put -- I've had constitutional lawyers give me analysis of the McCain-Feingold bill. They know far more about it than I do. But, they have put some very strong restrictions upon what independent groups can do in the last 60 days of a campaign. And I think it has serious constitutional problems to say, well, you can be treated this way a year before the election, but two months before the election you're going to have to do all of this. You're going to have to reveal who your donors are. It will have a very chilling effect, I think, on free speech.

And I don't like these attack ads. I've been the victim of those attack ads. It's unpleasant, but it's part of freedom, and I think the worst thing we could possibly do in passing campaign finance reform is to do something that is going to undermine the very ideals that campaign finance reform is supposed to protect. It will have, I think, that very dampening effect upon a free and robust exchange of ideas in our campaigns.

WOODRUFF: But these independent groups are spending hundreds of thousands, millions of dollars to get their ideas across, and that money, in the belief of Senator McCain and others, is helping to corrupt the process.

HUTCHINSON: Well, the Hagel bill requires disclosure, who's spending it. The worst thing is for these groups to come in without having to disclose who's spending the money, where -- you know, what group is actually doing. They're phantom groups that appear and disappear, and the Hagel bill will address that.

And there are things that we need to do, but I don't believe that the McCain-Feingold bill would withstand constitutional scrutiny. It will be an exercise in futility and we'll end up with no campaign finance reform if we pass something, and it would be the wrong approach anyway. We've got to allow groups of citizens who want to criticize members of Congress to go out and run the ads if they want to.

WOODRUFF: When you make this argument to Senator McCain, what's the response?

HUTCHINSON: Well, actually, the argument has been made more to Senator Collins and Senator Feingold, who have both sat down at length with me, and frankly, I think Russ Feingold shares some of my concerns and questions whether it will be upheld. But he's a loyal soldier and he's onboard with John.

But they have been -- they've tried to be a minimal. In the last version of it, before this most recent one, they took the independent portions out. I voted with them 100 percent to ban soft money. Now, they have reintroduced it. They have put those restrictions back in, and therefore they risk losing me, Sam Brownback, and others who have real concerns about this.

WOODRUFF: And does the fact that they're in your state affect your thinking?

HUTCHINSON: Well, no. I would have liked to have been there. The invitation I received came very late and it was contingent upon me endorsing McCain-Feingold. So, I wasn't going to attend. But I'm glad they're there and it does bring attention to and important issue. But we mustn't equate finance -- campaign finance reform with McCain- Feingold. There are other vehicles, and it is not -- McCain himself said it's a perfect bill. We need to make it better. And hopefully when we have the debate in March, we'll be able to amend and come out with a meaningful bill.

WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Tim Hutchinson. We thank you very much for being with us today. We appreciate it.

HUTCHINSON: Thank you, Judy.


WOODRUFF: And by the way, Senator Hutchinson predicted there will be campaign finance reform passed.

Much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come:


SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: I cannot give consent to the nomination of John Ashcroft to be attorney general, and thus be true to my oath of office.


WOODRUFF: One more vote against John Ashcroft, the latest on the controversial attorney general pick and his fight for confirmation. Plus:


JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A week to go, but this Israeli election looks for all the world as if it's already been decided.


WOODRUFF: Jerrold Kessel on the Israeli election and the politics that may unseat the current prime minister.

And later, religion and the chief executive. Bruce Morton on the presidents and their church-going habits.


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

Number three auto maker DaimlerChrysler announced today that it is cutting 20 percent of its North American workforce. The number three auto maker say it plans to eliminate the 26,000 jobs over the next three years in order to curb losses. Also, six manufacturing facilities will be idled over the next two years. Chrysler lost $512 million in the third quarter.

Actor Robert Downey Jr. will face drug charges when his hearing reconvenes February 21st. A judge in Indio, California today granted Downey's lawyer's request for more time to work out an agreement with prosecutors. Downey was charged with drug possession and being under the influence of a controlled substance last Thanksgiving. He pleaded innocent to the charges last month.

Federal investigators are considering ice as a possible cause of the fatal crash of an airplane used by Oklahoma State University. The plane crashed Saturday night, killing two varsity basketball players and eight others. The twin-engine BeechCraft had taken off in a light snow, and investigators believe the wings may not have been de-iced.

In the Midwest today, an ice storm made for perilous driving. In Chicago, an invisible glaze caught early-morning drivers unaware. The line of eastward-moving storms is expected to cause travel problems into tomorrow. Farther south, severe thunderstorms are expected tonight.


WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, postelection political ads. David Peeler checks spending on issues ranging from Cabinet posts to school vouchers.


WOODRUFF: On Capitol Hill today, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee made it clear that he would not vote for the confirmation of Attorney General-nominee John Ashcroft. Senator Patrick Leahy announced that he would join other Democrats in opposition to Ashcroft when the Senate votes later this week.

Kate Snow joins us now from Capitol Hill with more -- Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, an aide to Senator Patrick Leahy says he certainly is not trying to block nomination or the confirmation of John Ashcroft, simply trying to voice his own opinions. But certainly he being the ranking member, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, what he says carries some weight and other senators were certainly listening today.

Senator Leahy cautioning fellow senators not to be too kind to John Ashcroft, even though he served here for six years alongside many of these senators. He said the Senate's constitutional duty is to advise and consent, not to advise and rubber stamp. Now Leahy went on to criticize President Bush for selecting John Ashcroft.


LEAHY: This is a nomination that had controversy written all over it from the moment it was announced. It should surprise no one that today we find ourselves in the middle of this battle. It should surprise no one that the polls in this country show the American people are deeply divided on this nomination. It was, I believe, a crucial miscalculation for the president and his advisers to believe this nomination would have brought all of us together


SNOW: Senator Leahy joins two others on the Judiciary Committee, two other Democrats in opposing Ashcroft. Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Ted Kennedy prepared both to vote against Ashcroft. Now, of the other six Democrats on that Judiciary Committee, several of them are said to be leaning toward voting against Ashcroft as well.

A voting committee split alone party lines like that could certainly prove disastrous, possibly, to Bush's plans for bipartisanship. Outside the committee, there are also other Republicans -- other Democrats, rather, voicing their opposition to Senator Ashcroft, saying they won't endorse him either. Today, earlier, an announcement from New York's junior senator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I have deep concerns about Senator Ashcroft's suitability to serve all Americans as attorney general. I will vote against his nomination because his record and his views place him on the distant shores of American jurisprudence, not in the mainstream of New York and American convictions.


SNOW: None of this likely to stop John Ashcroft from being named the next attorney general. Important to note that at least four Democrats have already indicated that they will support John Ashcroft. Also, the Republicans continuing to insist that all 50 of their members will back John Ashcroft.

In fact, a spokesman for Ashcroft saying earlier she wasn't surprised by Leahy's comments at all, but they don't think it indicates any kind of great turmoil. A vote in the Judiciary Committee expected as soon as tomorrow. We could have vote in the full Senate possibly by the end of week, although I just spoke with Senator Trent Lott, and he says that could be delayed into next week -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to talk to Senator Leahy in just a moment, Kate, but in the meantime, bring us quickly up-to-date on some of the other nominees of the president for the Cabinet.

SNOW: Interesting, Judy, one of the nominees -- there were three scheduled to be voted on tomorrow, and one, actually, in a very quick maneuver, suddenly was confirmed today. Elaine Chao, labor secretary -- she will now be the labor secretary. It was voted on in a unanimous voice vote. That came up rather suddenly, but it was mainly because there was very little opposition to her candidacy -- to her nomination and her confirmation.

Gale Norton for interior will be taken up tomorrow. There was some debate about that this afternoon on the floor. We expect to hear more vocally from Democrats tomorrow morning. She will come up tomorrow for a vote along with Christie Todd Whitman for the EPA. Both of those two also expected to be confirmed, although there are few Democrats who may come out and vote against Norton -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow at the Capitol. Thank you very much. And as I just suggested, Senator Patrick Leahy joins us now. ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

How difficult a decision was this for you, someone you'd served in Senate with?

LEAHY: It's always difficult. You know, I like John Ashcroft. I have great deal of respect for him. He's a good family man. He's a very religious man. I admire all of that in him. If he been up to be, say, secretary of commerce or secretary of transportation, any one of a number of other positions in President Bush's Cabinet, he'd probably get 100 votes.

The difference is, though, the attorney general is not the president's lawyer. He has a legal counsel for that. The attorney general is the lawyer for all of us: Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals, moderates, black, white, poor, rich, and the attorney general has to be somebody who really does unite everybody.

I think -- I give President Bush a great deal of leeway, as I would any president, in who they appoint. But the attorney general is such a unique position, I felt. And I called John Ashcroft this morning and I called the White House to notify both the president and him I was going to vote against him. It gives me no great pleasure to do that because I like him as person, but not as attorney general.

WOODRUFF: What was the reaction when you told him that?

LEAHY: Well, you know, the conversation is private. I think that they know me well enough to know that I've been in the Senate for 25 years. There's a sort of thing a senator would do, and let you know -- another senator know if he's going to vote against him. But I have made my position very clear that I think -- I wish the president had brought -- had appointed somebody who would unite us, but as the polls show, the American people are deeply divided on this nomination.

WOODRUFF: Did Senator Ashcroft -- was he truthful in his testimony before your committee?

LEAHY: Well, Senator Ashcroft has had 25 years of taking some deeply-held beliefs on everything from opposition to a lot of forms of contraceptives to positions on civil rights, and other areas, guns, and so. During the confirmation, I think there was a very rapid confirmation evolution. His position seemed to change very, very rapidly.

That was troublesome to a number of senators. I had concerns, too, in the confirmation process of Judge White, Justice White from Missouri, but it was a totality of things. I thought about this long and hard. I have pretty well canceled my plans to be in Vermont the last two weekends just to stay and work on this.

WOODRUFF: But was he truthful, do you believe?

LEAHY: Well that, you know, every senator is going to have to answer. I felt that his position in the committee was so diametrically opposite from the long-held positions that whichever way -- I think he was trying to be truthful. Yes, to answer that. Of course I thought he was trying to be truthful. He was sworn to tell the truth.

But I did not feel that the positions he's now suddenly taking equated with the other positions, and this is not case where the president said do this, do that and the other thing, this is the one that has the most flexibility of any Cabinet member and it's what his decisions are going to be.

WOODRUFF: You have said today, Senator Leahy, that you -- even though you oppose him, you will not support a filibuster. Isn't that really the only real weapon the opponents to this nomination have to prevent this from being confirmed because otherwise, you've already got more than 50 senators who are going to support him?

LEAHY: We do, but I don't think that a filibuster is justified here. I'm not even sure if a filibuster would work. I think the president is entitled to have a vote on his nominee. Remember, the Republicans blocked by filibuster a whole lot of nominations by President Clinton. I felt that's one of the reasons why there was so much animosity and such a breakdown in the Senate. I don't want to perpetuate that.

WOODRUFF: So, you're saying you feel strongly about it, but not so strongly that you want to prevent -- that you'd like to see his nomination -- his confirmation...


LEAHY: I wish the nomination was not there. I don't think we could prevent it with a filibuster, but I'm not going to do a filibuster. This is what the Republicans did to President Clinton for six years. I think it was wrong the way they did it. I'm not going to perpetuate that.

WOODRUFF: Do you think some of your colleagues will try it? Senator Kennedy has not ruled it out.

LEAHY: They may, but I think that if I'm not going to support one there will not be one.

WOODRUFF: All right, spoken like the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

LEAHY: Of course, I could be easily proven wrong. You know that.

WOODRUFF: Senator Patrick Leahy, we thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it,

And tomorrow, we do expect to speak with a senator who is supporting Senator Ashcroft's confirmation to be attorney general.

The battle over the Ashcroft nomination has spilled over into the arena of political advertising. In our "Ad Reel" today, ads airing for and against the Bush nominee.


NARRATOR: As Missouri's governor, attorney general and senator, John Ashcroft earned a bipartisan reputation for independence, integrity and always upholding the law. That's why Senator Torricelli says Ashcroft represents a very good choice for attorney general.



NARRATOR: For two decades, Ashcroft has advocated the most extreme positions against a woman's right to choose. The United States attorney general should uphold our freedoms, not undermine our rights


WOODRUFF: Joining us now from New York, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting, which tracks ad spending in the top 75 media markets.

Hello, David. We haven't seen much of you since the election.

DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Hi, Judy. They put all of us in the air wars off to the side when there was ground war back in Florida.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are delighted to have on the program. Hope to see you often in the future.

PEELER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: David, on this question of advertising on Ashcroft, how much spending are we seeing on this Ashcroft issue?

PEELER: Well, Judy, as we all that are involved in the process know, controlling the media message is very critical here, and I think we've hit a first. This is the first time that we've ever seen advertising messages around a Cabinet appointment ever. So, I think what you are seeing here is that it's absolutely an accepted standard to get your message out.

What we've seen so far is the Republican Jewish Coalition spend about $54,000 in the Washington Beltway, obviously trying to get an opinion leader message out there.

In opposition, however, they have really lined up against it. NARAL has spent in a radio ad that we just saw about $100,000 in five -- 10 cities which is spread principally in those states where there was a moderate Republican or people that were going to be up for election in 2002. So, there's a little political message there, too.

In conjunction with that, they've spent over three million dollars in their general campaign, which we saw last year during the general election. So, clearly this message is out there. I think these groups are going to be debating this issue throughout the Bush administration here. So, I think we're going to see an awful lot more of it to come.

WOODRUFF: Well, as it turns out, John Ashcroft is not the only Bush Cabinet choice target by advocacy groups. The Sierra Club is running ads criticizing Interior Secretary-nominee Gale Norton on her environmental record.

David, tell us, how much is The Sierra Club spending on this?

PEELER: Well, they've spent about $90,000. They spent it in the Northeast and the Washington Beltway area. My suspicion is they got out a little late behind this issue because it's obvious Gale Norton is going through. So, they have pulled back now. But this issue that I think will also be around for period of time. They were probably a little late out of the box this time, but I suspect that there'll be more from The Sierra Club as the next couple of months and years unfold.

WOODRUFF: Well, moving away from nominees, now, to an issue, the president's education proposal. Specifically, his call for school vouchers is getting support from a number of groups around the country. At least three organizations now are airing ads urging the support of voucher programs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will no longer let them put the system's needs

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: .. above my kids' needs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will no longer let freedom and choice be the American way...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... in everything except their education.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to have choices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to have a voice.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to decide where to send my kids to school.


WOODRUFF: So David Peeler, how much are these pro-voucher groups spending?

PEELER: Quite a bit of money. The Coalition for -- Campaign for America's Children spent over $3 million, a nationwide campaign. We saw the Black Alliance for Educational Options spend a little over a half a million dollars in Washington, D.C. The Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation spent about $200,000 plus.

So, clearly if you're a part of this group, you've got a long way to go. You'll recall that there were two ballot initiatives, one in Michigan, one in California which both were resoundingly beaten. And I think this group is suggesting that they've get out early. They've got an awful lot of message make-up to go through. So, you're going to see them involved in the process.

WOODRUFF: Milton Friedman. I wonder if that's the same as the conservative economist. We'll have to find out. I won't put you on the spot.

PEELER: Thanks, I'm not sure.

WOODRUFF: We'll find out. David Peeler, thanks very much and great to see you again.

PEELER: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you soon.

When we come back, campaign news from Israel: The uphill battle for prime minister Ehud Barak, fighting for his political survival as he works for a last-minute peace deal with the Palestinians.


WOODRUFF: Just over a week until Israeli voters head to the polls, and Prime Minister Ehud Barak's chances appear to be fading. His strategy of forging a peace deal with the Palestinians has failed to this point.

And as CNN's Jerrold Kessel reports, Barak's political prospects have suffered as well.


KESSEL (voice-over): Just over a week to go, but this Israeli election looks for all the world as if it's already been decided. About town, plenty of placards and posters, all for the right-wing Likud candidate Ariel Sharon. Hard to find even one in main Jerusalem intersections for incumbent Premier Ehud Barak.

The gap in the latest opinion poll showing Sharon 16 percent ahead, suggests a landslide.

LESLIE SUSSER, "JERUSALEM REPORT": The main reason why Sharon is going to win as easily as he will is because of the Palestinian intifada. What the Intifada has done, it has underlined for the Israelis, or has convinced Israelis that the right-wing thesis that you cannot make peace with the Palestinians is the correct approach, and that the left has been living under a delusion to believe that peace is possible.

KESSEL: Mr. Barak's negotiators had worked hard to bring about that possibility of peace in last ditch talks with the Palestinians. There was a dramatic closing of the gap at the Taba talks. But instead of boosting Mr. Barak's election prospects, that political lifeline seems to have slid away as if irrelevant to the voters. Especially when right after the Taba talks, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat delivered a stinging denunciation of Israel at the world economic forum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a way he's giving them everything, Barak, and they spit in his face.

KESSEL: After Mr. Arafat's blistering attack, Mr. Barak says there'll be no further peace moves before the election despite the progress made at Taba.

EHUD BARAK, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): There is no alternative to peace and a political settlement. We have to take advantage of the chance to make peace. But if the Palestinians are obstinate and it becomes clear that peace is not possible, then we will fight. But we'll know that we're fighting for what's really important to us.

KESSEL: Mr. Barak perceived oscillation between driving full tilt for peace and his denunciation of the Palestinians as unfaithful peace partners is hurting him.

SUSSER: There's also a belief that Barak has not really had the belief that peace with the Palestinians is possible. And if he doesn't believe that peace is possible, then that has sent a signal to the left of the Israeli electorate that this is a man they cannot support and it has led to a lack of enthusiasm among his natural constituency.

KESSEL (on camera): This election is turning out to be less and less the plebiscite on peace that Ehud Barak had promised, more and more it's proving to be a referendum on his failure to deliver peace during his 18 months in office and his failure during the past four months to end the battleground confrontation with the Palestinians.

Jerrold Kessel, CNN, Jerusalem.


WOODRUFF: Stay with INSIDE POLITICS for the latest on the Israeli elections. Our expanded coverage begins Thursday, when our senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins us live from Jerusalem with the latest developments.

Also just ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: Sunday services in Washington as local churches welcome the new family in town. Our Bruce Morton takes a closer look at where presidents worship and why/


WOODRUFF: ... a church to call home. The Bushes are United Methodists, and several churches already have invited the first family to pay a visit. Yesterday, they attended a predominantly African- American church on Capitol Hill.

Bruce Morton has some thoughts on where presidents worship, both past and present.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Avowed atheists don't run for president. Those who run and win are, to some degree, publicly religious. The first President Bush is Episcopalian. He went often to St. John's, across Lafayette Park from the White House. Bill Clinton is a Southern Baptist, but went most often to the Foundry United Methodist Church here. He campaigned in churches across the country.

This was a Newark, New Jersey stop in 1996.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that all of us will do better when each of us has a chance to live up to our god-given capacity.


MORTON: All Protestants: Jimmy Carter a Baptist; Lyndon Johnson, the Disciples of Christ Church; Richard Nixon brought up in a Quaker family. Later an evangelical, he held services in the White House; Ronald Reagan, an icon of the Christian right, who seldom went to church. All Protestants save John Kennedy, and his Roman Catholicism was an issue when he ran in 1960.

ROBERT DALLEK, HISTORIAN: John Kennedy was, of course, under the gun because he was the first Catholic to win the presidency. He was under tremendous pressure during the campaign to vow that he would not violate the separation of church and state.

MORTON: And George W. Bush? A Methodist. He went to this Methodist church near the U.S. Capitol this past weekend, but hasn't picked a home church here yet. A religious man? Remember this, from a primary season debate?


QUESTION: Governor Bush, a philosopher/thinker and why?

BUSH: Christ, because he changed my heart.


DALLEK: I think he's more identified with his religious affiliation and commitment to his faith than some other presidents have been. Certainly, I think, than Bill Clinton, certainly than Ronald Reagan.

MORTON: We can't know what's in their hearts, of course. Presidents go to church for political reasons and because they believe. A mixture, like so much else in politics.

(on camera): We can only judge their deeds. Lyndon Johnson fight poverty and discrimination. Was that because of his faith or personal glory or in reaction to the poverty and discrimination with which he grew up with? Reporters raise those questions. Years later, historians try to answer them.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Stay with us. When INSIDE POLITICS continues at the top of the hour, we'll go live to California for the latest on the power crisis and the politics surrounding it. Jeff Greenfield joins us.

And we'll have more on President Bush's help for faith-based charities. We'll bring you opposing views on whether it violates the separation of church and state.


WOODRUFF: President Bush lends a helping hand to faith-based charities and prompts renewed debate about the Constitution, church and state.

Also ahead, the politics of the California power crisis at the state capitol, and at the White House. Plus:


NARRATOR: Even if you're a queen, even if you're the king. You just can't get a cab in San Francisco.


WOODRUFF: We'll look at some award-winning political ads.

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

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. When President Bush has an important task at hand, he often turns to Vice President Dick Cheney to be his point man. And that happened again today when Mr. Bush put Cheney in charge of a new task force to develop a national energy strategy.

In the process, the president signaled his growing concern that the California power crisis could have serious implications for the nation and its economy.


BUSH: This administration is concerned about the people who work for a living, concerned about people who struggle every day to get ahead. And we understand, fully understand, what high energy costs can mean to people in America. And we're going to formulate a strategy to deal with it.


WOODRUFF: For more on the president and his energy policy, let's go back to our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, if the president was not announcing any new help for California, why did he call reporters in to the Oval Office?

KING: Well, Judy, the White House wanted to make clear today that this is a president who is watching the situation very closely. Recall last week's testimony by Alan Greenspan, the Fed chairman. He said energy was potentially a big drag on the economy.

Let's look at politics and history. Politics, 54 electoral votes in California. George W. Bush didn't win them, but he'd like to make a run at them next time. The last thing he wants to be seen as is being indifferent to the nation's most populous state. Then think more broadly, a little bit of history. Why was George Bush the elder voted out of the White House? Because voters believed he was sitting idly by during a recession. This White House, after Mr. Greenspan's warning about an energy crisis or at least a potential energy crisis, does not want this president to be seen as sitting idly by and not addressing energy concerns.

WOODRUFF: John, does this in any way indicate that the White House is having second thoughts about that two-week limit on other states being required to provide power to California?

KING: No. Philosophically, we're told there will be change in administration policy, that the president and his team believes this is a California problem. California must find a solution in the short-term. They do want to make clear, though, that in the long-term they are looking for ways to ease not only the California crisis, but throughout the north -- throughout the West, excuse me, including the Northwest, there are energy issues.

They'll discuss sharing resources with Canada and Mexico, a national policy. Much of what the president wants to do nationally, more exploration, is quite controversial. Some believe this will give him a platform to discuss that, but no change in the short-term policy toward California. They just don't want to be see as insensitive.

WOODRUFF: John, on a very different issue, there was also word out of the White House today on prescription drugs, a short-term fix there, if you will. What are they saying?

KING: They say this is the way to do this in the short-term for low-income elderly Americans who have no prescription drugs. There's criticism from both sides on Capitol Hill -- those who favor doing the difficult things as well. Prescription drugs is very politically popular but those who think Medicare needs structural reforms, like raising the eligibility age, means testing to benefit, they would prefer one package so you can have the positives in with the negatives, if you will, and Democrats believe this is a way for President Bush to buy time. They want a much more generous benefit that effects the middle class. They would prefer to deal with this all on one bill, at least, the prescription drug issue.

What the president said today was, I will do that with you tomorrow, if you're willing do to that. If you are not in the short- term, we must pass this emergency measure to help the low income elderly in the meantime.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House, thanks.

Now, let's go to California, where a stage-three power alert remains in effect and where state legislators still are working on a solution. CNN's Casey Wian joins us from Sacramento -- Casey.

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, as you mentioned, California lawmakers are, at this hour, continuing to work on a plan to solve the state's energy crisis. California Governor Gray Davis and legislative leaders have already reached agreement on a broad nine-point framework agreement. But now, they're working on the hard part -- trying to work out the details of this complicated plan in a way that the parties with interest in California's energy situation can live with. The most critical issue is trying to save the state's investor-owned utilities from bankruptcy. Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric both basically say they will be out of money by the end of this week.

A key backdrop to this is the political future of California Governor Gray Davis. For weeks, Davis insisted that rate hikes would not be part of any solution to California's energy crisis; in the last couple of days, he has backed off that position. We asked the speaker of the California state assembly what he thinks of the governor's change of heart.


ROBERT HERTZBERG (D), CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY SPEAKER: I don't know. I am not hear to judge the political. I'm here to focus like a laser beam on the problem before us: the consequences to California and the magic and dream of California are so great, it scares me tremendously. I don't want to lose focus on that; I don't want to speculate on what the political ramifications are, one way or the other -- we are all in this together, we're all working together to solve the problem on a bipartisan basis. The governor, the legislature -- that's the message I want to send, because that's exactly what we're doing.


WIAN: Hertzberg says this could be the toughest legislative issue California lawmakers have ever faced, Judy.

WOODRUFF: What is the deadline? What's the time frame they're dealing with here?

WIAN: They're a couple of them. When the utilities have bills due at the end of this week that they say they do not have the money to pay, that is a significant deadline, because, if they're forced to file for bankruptcy or if their creditors force them into bankruptcy, then California lawmakers lose control of the situation. It becomes in the hands of the courts, and then there is that deadline that John spoke about a little while ago, and that is the federal order requiring out of state power producers to continue supplying for California. That expires next week; so, there are two key deadlines they are facing in the next several days.

WOODRUFF: All right, Casey Wian reporting for us from Sacramento. Thanks.

Now, let's bring in CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. Take this California power story and put it in a political context.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: It is a classic in that it came out of nowhere. If you were going to ask Gray Davis two years ago what was he going to focus on two years in his term, he almost certainly would have said education. Gore and Bush may have debated energy policy but I doubt either of them thought in the first week of their administration they'd be facing stage-three alerts and rolling blackouts in the biggest state in the nation. That is something you can't prepare for, you can't write transition papers for, it just slams right in front of your face and you got to deal with it.

WOODRUFF: So, how big a problem could it be?

GREENFIELD: If it were an earthquake very high on the Richter scale, because this is one that literally hits people where they live. People may have different views about taxes and social policies, but when it affects their lives, the political consequences are immediate. I worked for John Lindsay in 1969 -- he almost lost reelection because of a snowstorm that hit Queens, the borough in New York; Jane Byrr (ph) almost lost the mayoral election because she couldn't get the streets clean. You remember the impact of gas lines, not to mention the inflationary and recessionary effect during what happened during the second energy crisis.

In this case there is nothing more direct to people than the fact they can't turn their lights on. Their factory's shut down, their losing business or paying radically higher prices for energy, big stuff.

WOODRUFF: Given all that; is there any upside for the president here?

GREENFIELD: Well, I think for Gray Davis, I think it's tougher, because as the governor he's got to deal with it here and now. The one thing President Bush could say is, you know, I was the guy who said we had to find more energy. I was for opening up the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge and say we have to explore for reserves. I don't think a politician says, I told you so, but if there is a polite way to say it, he could say that. People don't want to hear about complexity, they don't want to hear about long-term problems, they don't want to hear about structure, they want gas cheap and now, they want the snow cleared yesterday, and they want energy now and want it cheap, and woe into any politician who tells them they can't have it.

WOODRUFF: And, did I hear you correctly -- Governor Davis doesn't have the benefit that the president has -- he's much closer to the problem?

GREENFIELD: Absolutely. This is why -- this extent for Bush, the problem is a little more distant, geographically and politically. He has a little more time. The problem for Bush would be, if this turns into a big economic hit for California; that is the biggest state in the country. Economic projections suddenly slow, and people say wait a minute; Bush comes into office and suddenly we got a recession.

But I think for Davis, it's right on the table now. Give me my energy, stop turning my lights off and don't make me pay any more while we're at it. It's a tough one.

WOODRUFF: Very tough. Jeff Greenfield, good to see you.

GREENFIELD: Good to see you. WOODRUFF: Good to see you in Washington for a change. He's always in New York.

President Bush puts his hope in faith-based charities. When we return: the president's executive orders, and the debate over partnerships between church and state. We'll get the view from advocates for both sides.


WOODRUFF: President Bush's idea to expand government services to include religious charities has enthusiastic support in many quarters. But many others say the ideas may be well intentioned, but potentially harmful. One of those critics is Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Charles Colson is a strong supporter of the president's proposals. His group, Prison Fellowship Ministries, runs a number of outreach programs, including one in a Texas prison that President Bush supported while he served as Texas governor. Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.

WOODRUFF: Rabbi Saperstein, let me begin with you; why is this something that is not a good idea? On the surface, the government is trying to help these groups that are trying to do the right thing -- what's wrong with it?

RABBI DAVID SAPERSTEIN, REFORM JEWISH MOVEMENT: We share an enormous pride in the remarkable social service programs run by the religious community, but the Supreme Court has never upheld direct government funding of churches and synagogues and their activities and if this is allowed and it goes through -- the president's programs go through it will weaken those groups. We don't want to have sectarian competition and divisiveness fighting over the small amount of money available to an individual church or synagogue or mosque. We don't want to have government money used to discriminate and churches rightfully can discriminate in conscious with these religious standards.

WOODRUFF: All right, you are raising several points. First of all, his argument that this weakens the groups, Chuck Colson, rather than strengthens them, because they become dependent on them?

CHARLES COLSON, PRISON FELLOWSHIP MINISTRIES: It certainly could. We had a situation in Michigan where we were taking ex- offenders out of prison in Detroit and mentoring them back into the community. We were getting a 26 percent recidivism rate, as opposed to the state's 75 percent. If we give you money, you can't have religious test who you hire. We said keep your money. I agree with Rabbi Saperstein that we don't want to see funds given to churches and synagogues and mosques for their own purposes.

All that President Bush explained this morning in our meeting is, that he wants to be able to purchase those services; he wants to be able to say, OK, Chuck Colson -- and used our prison as an example, you are running a prison in Texas where we have cut the recidivism to 5 percent. Rabbi Saperstein loved this. This is wonderful. We want to provide computers for the men, be able to provide job training, but the money isn't coming to the church. We're giving a service to the government, the government is paying for.

SAPERSTEIN: It's not clear the details of the program yet -- many charitable choice programs call exactly for money to go directly to the churches and synagogues to run these programs and delighted that Chuck Colson is opposed with that. With government money, comes government rules, regulations, intrusions and monitoring. That's bad for the churches, and it will mean that the recipients will have to be exposed to religious messages that they may or may not like and religious activities that they may be offended by in order to get their benefits, and that's just wrong.

COLSON: That isn't the way it happens. In the programs we run, and the Salvation Army have been doing this for 100 years for Heaven's sakes -- if people want to use the services -- if they come into a prison voluntarily -- it's like a chapel service, they come into our wing of the prison and they say, we want to be a part of this. Any time they are offended by anything, or we attempt to proselytize them, and they find it offensive, they just step out.

WOODRUFF: But what about the idea that, we are offering you this service, but in order to take the service you need to buy into our way of thinking?

COLSON: We don't do that. In our prison in Texas, the one George Bush gave us permission to start, and he was very bold and courageous in doing it -- and it's been a great success -- in that prison, we have Muslim coming through -- I don't know if we have any Jewish inmate, but we would welcome them -- and a lot of them come in as Muslims and go out as Muslims. A lot of them don't -- a lot don't. A lot convert. They are immersed in the Bible and they are immersed in teaching all day long, and that helps them develop life skills. When they get out, they have a mentor, a family that family that helps them, a church they're in to, and a job.

SAPERSTEIN: If the only program that is available is a feeding program, a literacy program, and that's the only one in town, and that's the one the government chooses to fund, they may not have a choice but to be exposed to messaging. You can't defend the broad program by the good work that you do here; you are not calling the shots on abuses and preventing abuses that will likely happen if this proposal --

COLSON: If Catholic charities are providing meals in a city and you are giving them assistance or World Vision is providing food for the hungry and they are already getting government help...

SAPERSTEIN: We're all in favor of that. Those are separately incorporated 501(c)3 separate organizations that are religiously affiliated. They're the best social service providers in the nation and they get government funding. It is the churches and synagogues that we don't want depended on the government and free up money, instead of doing the programs themselves, will be used for proselytization, religious worship, and education.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Colson, why shouldn't that be a concern? COLSON: It would be a concern but you can segregate these funds; if we do a particular service or the church itself is providing food or is taking in the homeless or running a shelter and helping AIDS victims and the government gives money for that explicit purpose. It's not paying for the worship service, it's not paying for what goes on with the rabbi's salary, or the mosque...

SAPERSTEIN: If the minister or the rabbi is to run that program, part of the salary could be paid for that. That is wrong. We shouldn't be funding building salaries, infrastructure that will benefit the religious...

WOODRUFF: Is that what you are saying?

SAPERSTEIN: The government's intrusion to make sure that there are no abuses, is itself wrong. That's why the founders didn't want the government interferes in religion.

WOODRUFF: Rabbi Saperstein, are you saying there is no way this could be structured? No way the government can help get some of these problems to do more?

WOODRUFF: There have been partnerships for decades that have been effective. You can separately set up organizations to run separately or if you want to have direct cooperation, you can do that -- you can't fund these programs and have tax dollars used in pervasively sectarian religious institutions, churches, synagogue, et cetera. We do a wonderful job without that government funding. It would make it worse if we rely on it.

COLSON: The Supreme Court has a case in which they set down certain criteria and it's clear, constitutionally, that you can do this, and I think...

WOODRUFF: But you can do it?

COLSON: I think it is going to happen. Because I was amazed this morning at the strength of the president's convictions; he is determined to make this happen. And I think he's got it right and I think the church community and the synagogues and mosques in this country are going to get behind him. I think we're going to see a whole revitalization of the little platoons of society that make things happen in our community.

WOODRUFF: What happens to the arguments of Rabbi Saperstein?

COLSON: There are always going to be problems. I'm a Baptist, I would like to see a strict separation between church and state -- the way the founders intended it, not the way it has been misconstrued by the courts. I think we've been doing it for years, doing it in Iowa, doing it in Kansas with the prison we run there, and the Salvation Army and Catholic charities have been doing this for a long time. What we needed is somebody like the president who sees this and wants to make it happen.

WOODRUFF: Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. We appreciate you being with us.

Rabbi Saperstein and Chuck Colson, thank you.

When we return, the glamour, the competition, the political ads of the year.



KARL ROVE, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: We did a lot of things right, we did a bunch of things wrong. I was the brilliant, brilliant guy behind the let's spend $2 million in Arizona during the primary season. That was my personal favorite. I was, personally the incredible architect of the let's challenge him to early debates on "Meet the Press." That was my brilliant stroke.


WOODRUFF: That was Karl Rove pointing out his own missteps in election 2000. The American Association of Political Consultants apparently didn't agree. They honored him at Saturday night's Pollie Awards. But the star attractions of the Pollies are the political ads.

Our Bill Schneider reports on which spots earned top honors.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Actors dream of Oscars. Musicians dream of Grammys. What do political consultants fantasize about? Pollies, The awards for the most effective and creative political ads. We're here in Washington, amidst the glitz and glamour of the American Association of Political Consultants, to see who gets the big prizes. Ladies and gentlemen, the Pollies go to:

This ad, for an initiative campaign in San Francisco to put more cabs on the street. The ad features the king of San Francisco and a queen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just can't get a cab in San Francisco.


SCHNEIDER: One Pollie-winning environmental ad was musical.

Another winner had no spoken words at all.

Viewers don't like negative ads. So how do you keep their attention? Visually.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you recognize this man? This should put it in focus. He was sued by a contractor for nonpayment. He was sued by his landlord for nonpayment. He was sued by an employee for nonpayment. Then another. Now you have a clear picture of Ron Klink.


SCHNEIDER: This prize-winner catches the opponent in a moment of indiscretion.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I urge you to pass this bill, let's get on with it. I have a fund-raiser at 6:00 and I want to get out of here!


SCHNEIDER: Can you turn a politician into a hoops star? You can, with the right ad.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He looks like a pure shooting guard. It's like he's in a whole other league. There's no telling what he'll do next.


SCHNEIDER: The assembled pros included a former White House counselor who came up with the Hillary for Senate idea. And a former presidential candidate. Shopping for talent, maybe? Here's some: Karl Rove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Campaign Manager of the Year.

SCHNEIDER: Masterminded the Bush campaign, took the award for Campaign Manager of the Year. The best presidential campaign ad? Not a surprise. It went to the candidate with the best story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a young navy pilot who volunteered for duty in Vietnam and was shot down over Hanoi. Lieutenant Commander John McCain dragged off by an angry mob. When found to be a son and grandson of admirals, was offered early release. He refused. McCain's commitment to country and fellow prisoners brought him repeated beatings and 5 1/2 years in prison.


MCCAIN: I swear to you that from my first day in office to the last breath I draw, I will do everything in my power to make you proud of your government.

SCHNEIDER: You know what makes political advertising tough? The consumers are cynical. They're predisposed to believe the worst about the product. The best ads are the ones that break through that wall of cynicism and make voters believe this candidate is different. Figure out how to do that and you've earned yourself a Pollie.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Wish I'd been there to see all of them.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go on-line all the time at cnn's AOL keyword CNN. This programming note: the Reverend Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, will be discussing President Bush's faith- based initiatives program tonight on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "MONEYLINE" is next.



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