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President Bush Stumps for His Tax Cut in Republican-Leaning States With Democratic SenatorsAired March 9, 2001 - 5:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a sign from above.
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ANNOUNCER: The fire over tax cuts: Has the president burned bridges with Senate Democrats he needs to sway?
Lynne Cheney invites us inside her new home for a heart-to-heart on her husband's health.
And is Senator Hillary Clinton back in the groove after her latest political and family troubles?
Now Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
Well, like any good traveling salesman, President Bush knows you can't rest on your last success. One day after the House bought his tax cut as is, Mr. Bush is out there pitching again, mindful that the Senate is a much harder sell and this time he may need to cut a deal.
Our John King is covering the president's stops today in Louisiana and South Dakota.
JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Victory in the House had the president brimming with confidence -- a small fire overhead, no problem.
BUSH: It's a sign from above.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
KING: But Mr. Bush is well aware he needs some help as the tax cut debate moves to more uncertain ground in the Senate.
BUSH: You're just an e-mail away from making a difference in somebody's attitude. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BUSH: It's the right thing to do; this is common sense approach to your money.
KING: Listen here, though: boos at just the mention of bipartisanship, and the name of one of South Dakota's own, Senator Tom Daschle.
BUSH: I was honored and so pleased that the minority leader in the Senate, Tom Daschle greeted me. Very thoughtful of him to do so; I appreciate...
KING: Daschle, the Senate democratic leader, and fellow Democratic Senator Tim Johnson joined the president for an earlier tour of a health center. Mr. Bush said it was proof a bipartisan spirit could survive the strains of the tax cut battle.
BUSH: Sometimes we'll agree, sometimes we won't agree, but one thing Senator Daschle and I have agreed on is to respect each other.
KING: Bush aides escorted reporters from the room before Senator Daschle had a chance to respond. But he made his view clear a little later.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: They made a mistake by not allowing the budget to pass first. We've got to pass a budget before we realize what kind of priorities we're going to make with regard to education, health care, paying down the public debt, in addition to a tax cut.
KING: Some Republicans worry the president will soon pay a price for the early partisan tensions; but others disagree, and predict Mr. Bush will prove an effective traveling salesman.
HALEY BARBOUR, GOP STRATEGIST: I would simply say to people, at the end of the day let's see how many Democrats vote for the president's budget and for the tax bill that is in that budget. And I think we'll see this summer that that number will be pretty dang high.
KING: Campaign now, negotiate later is the president's strategy.
And from South Dakota, it was on to Louisiana, another state with two Democratic senators, including one, Mary Landrieu, who is up for reelection in two years.
KING: The president now here in Lafayette, Louisiana for another tax cut rally later this hour. His language has been rather colorful today, framing the tax cut debate as a choice between taking some of that federal budget surplus and returning it to the taxpayers or leaving that money in Washington for what the president calls, quote, "spending orgies" -- Judy. WOODRUFF: John, are the president and the people around him having any second thoughts about doing these tax cuts so fast and not doing a budget first?
KING: Absolutely not. There are some reservations about the partisan tensions. That's one of the reasons the White House, at the last minute, leaned on the House leadership to give the Democrats at least a vote on their alternative. They understand the Democrats are feeling a little raw right now, but the president wanted to get a victory under his belt early, wanted to lock in the $1.6 trillion figure over 10 years as the budget resolution now is crafted in the House.
So they say they needed to do this, given the even divide in the Congress -- both the House and the Senate -- they say not all their choices are very good, so they need to make some tough political calls and they say they think this was the right one.
WOODRUFF: And separately, John, the president had to deal with a problem with one of the airlines today.
KING: He did, indeed. There was a Sunday deadline looming -- the machinists union at Northwest Airlines threatening to go on strike Sunday night because of its differences with the management. The president today essentially extending that strike deadline 60 days by signing an executive order, using his authority to create a presidential board that will now look into that dispute. So there's a cooling-off period over 60 days; the three-member board will explore ways to see if they can reach an agreement between the machinists union and the management.
The president also making clear today, Judy, he knows there are other labor disputes out there with other airlines and he's prepared to act again if thinks those disputes would either disrupt commercial air travel or threaten the economy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King on the road with the president in Louisiana.
WOODRUFF: Well, for more on how the tax issue is cutting in the Senate, let's go to our congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.
Jon, where, as you look at it, might there be room down the road for negotiation?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Republicans need to bring on board the moderate Republicans and the moderate Democrats to get enough votes to pass this thing. Speculation right now is on this concept of a so-called deficit trigger or surplus trigger; the idea here is to slow the phasing-in of the tax cuts, should the projected budget surplus not materialize.
You've heard President Bush criticize this idea. You've heard virtually everybody in the Republican leadership come down on this idea. But privately, Republican operatives are saying this is where the compromise will center. In fact, the last time Republicans passed a tax cut in the Senate was 1999, the $792 billion tax cut eventually vetoed by President Clinton. The way they got that tax cut passed by a single vote was including just such a trigger that they're talking about right now.
WOODRUFF: Jon, the Democrats are saying bipartisanship is dead because of the way the White House pushed this through. Are they right?
KARL: Well, the very day that we saw the big vote, yesterday, on the tax cut in the House, you had another vote here in the Senate. It was a vote on the core of President Bush's education proposal. It was in the Senate Education Committee. It passed by a vote of 20 to nothing, showing broad bipartisan agreement on the core of the president's education plan. Of course, they did kick some of the more controversial issues, like on vouchers, to later. But that shows that there is some bipartisanship here.
That said, Senator Kennedy, who is the ranking Democrat on that committee lashed out today on the tax cut. He's especially outraged at ads that are running in several states, including South Dakota and Louisiana that are trying to put pressure on Democrats to vote for the tax cut by quoting President Kennedy -- Senator Ted Kennedy's brother -- and his advocacy of a tax cut nearly 40 years ago.
Here's what Senator Kennedy had to say about that.
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SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It stretches decency a bit, also, in selling the tax program for the Republican leaders to be using President Kennedy's voice in these several states in support of his tax cut -- 1961 as a suggestion that he might have supported this tax cut. He certainly would not have.
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KARL: Senator Kennedy saying the times were much different and that tax cut was much different. So clearly there are some frayed partisan nerves here as well as in the House. But Judy, of course both sides are going to have to come together later on other issues where there is more agreement. And the No. 1 of that -- of those issues is probably education, coming up pretty soon here in the Senate.
WOODRUFF: All right; Jonathan Karl at the Capitol, thanks very much.
Well, despite these tax-cut tensions, President Bush said for himself today that bipartisanship is alive and well.
From Los Angeles, our Bill Schneider has been following the action on Capitol Hill, and he sees it differently -- Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy: compromise, compassion, civility -- those are the "C" words President Bush used in his inaugural address. But you know a different "C" word defined the ruling spirit in Washington this week: clout. Republicans had it and they used it.
The partisan spirit returned to claim "The Political Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): On Tuesday, Senate Republicans used their clout to repeal workplace safety regulations issued by President Clinton just before he left office.
SEN. DON NICKLES (R), OKLAHOMA: I will state that this is probably the most expensive, intrusive regulation ever promulgated, certainly by the Department of Labor, maybe by any department in history.
SCHNEIDER: Republicans forced the vote using a streamlined procedure that limited debate and barred amendments and filibusters.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Opponents will immediately eliminate 10 years of thoughtful public comment and extensive research in less than 10 hours of debate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Smith of Oregon: aye.
SCHNEIDER: In a rare show of unanimity, all 50 Republican senators voted for repeal; Senate Democrats voted almost 90 percent against repeal. Only six Democrats broke ranks, all of them from Bush states. On Wednesday, the House also voted to repeal the regulations. Over 90 percent of Republicans voted yea; over 90 percent of Democrats voted nay.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I think what we're seeing this week is the end of what we thought was bipartisanship.
SCHNEIDER: Tough noogies, said Republicans.
REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: I personally don't believe Mr. Gephardt will suffer or miss bipartisanship a whole lot, since he didn't avail himself of the opportunity to experience it in the first place.
SCHNEIDER: What happened to President Bush's spirit of bipartisanship?
REP. JENNIFER DUNN (R), WASHINGTON: President Bush is very respectful of points of view that differ with his own, and he's been known to have Democrats down to the White House.
SCHNEIDER: Bush's line to Democrats is, I'm OK, you're OK, but I have more votes, so you lose.
The biggest test of Bush's clout came on Thursday, when the House took up President Bush's tax cut, again under expedited rules without hearings or amendments. The debate was intensely partisan...
REP. RAY LAHOOD (R), ILLINOIS: The bill is passed!
SCHNEIDER: ... and so was the vote: 100 percent of Republicans voted for the tax cut. 100 percent, amazing! While 95 percent of Democrats voted no.
This week, the spirit of party triumphed, which was not good news for Democrats, who are in the minority, for now.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: My advice to them would be that they need to take great care. What goes around comes around.
SCHNEIDER: Bush needed a couple of big wins to show his clout. Republicans obliged. Their banner? Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party and claim "The Political Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER: Who's responsible for this outburst of partisanship? Could it be the voters, who voted for an excruciatingly close party balance in Congress? They may have thought they were sending a message for the parties to work together, but in fact, they created a powerful incentive for the parties to hold their ranks in order to maximize their clout, just like they did this week -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much, and we'll see you a little later.
Coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS, we will inaugurate our Friday journalists' roundtable. And later, Bill will be back on election season in some of America's big cities and the issue that seems to be missing.
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BUSH: We've got an issue with our economy. It's beginning to sputter. It's beginning to get a little -- beginning to get a little shaky. And one way to make sure that we could provide a second wind to the economy is to give people their own money back. That's called economic recovery.
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WOODRUFF: President Bush evidently hopes that continued uncertainty about the economy will help fuel support for his tax cut plan. Tax cuts are one of the topics that we'll be discussing as we begin a new weekly feature on INSIDE POLITICS.
Every Friday, journalists who have been reporting the week's top political stories, will join us for a roundtable discussion. And joining us today, I'm happy to say, our CNN senior analyst Jeff Greenfield. He and Tamala Edwards of "TIME" magazine both are in New York. Here with me in Washington CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.
Welcome all three of you.
TAMALA EDWARDS, "TIME": Hi, there.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Let's start with this tax cut. The president clearly won a victory in the House, but at what cost, Jeff?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: It seems to me that it's another demonstration of yet another example of where many of us were dead wrong last November or December. In the wake of that election, we were all asserting that the president was going to have to govern -- quote -- "from the center out." And I think the strong party-line vote on the exact dimensions of the Bush tax cut is a demonstration that he's governing as if he had won 55 percent of the vote and 350 electoral votes.
And I think from a political point of view, that's probably very wise. It's way of saying whatever -- if I compromised at the beginning, I'm going to wind up with even less. So I'm going for the whole hog now. I've got a disciplined House Republican majority. I'm going to act as though I had a mandate. Whether I did or didn't, let the political scientists figure out. But I'm going for as much as I can get now, and we'll make up the bruised feelings a little later.
WOODRUFF: Candy, smart strategy?
CROWLEY: Well, look, if you thought, as the Bush White House did, that what this president needed was a first win, he got it on really the centerpiece of his tax plan. But it's the first hand. I mean, we're barely into the game.
This White House knows and that whole -- all of Congress knows that this will change over in the Senate. And as Jeff said, you don't want to go over there with something less than what you wanted to start out with.
The House is clearly the place to have that first quick victory, and sure, they rammed it through. But there are many, many more hands to be dealt before this comes law.
EDWARDS: But Judy...
WOODRUFF: Tamala -- go ahead, Tamala.
EDWARDS: Well, what I find most interesting is what he's been doing for the last couple of days, aggressively going to states where they have Democratic senators where the populists voted for him and saying to them, put pressure on your senators, really sort of jamming up these Democratic senators, which a lot of people are saying that's not very nice, that's not very bipartisan. But in the end, if that helps him get what he wants -- you hear those senators saying, I can't be pressured -- but if they get enough calls and e-mails, they will be.
WOODRUFF: In fact, we heard the president say today -- I think the quote we used was he said, you're just an e-mail away from influencing your senator.
Jeff, is the president right to do -- I mean, is it smart for him to do this, to both, on the one hand, say I'm bringing a new tone to Washington, on the other hand, saying it's my way or else?
GREENFIELD: Well, I don't know that he's saying it's my way or else, but you know, again it's so striking that a lot of us might have thought that in the absence of a kind mandate that, say, Ronald Reagan had 20 years ago, it would have been very hard for a president to kind of govern with the old Reagan rule: Maybe they won't see the light but I'll make them feel the heat.
And yet I think the president and his people are taking a calculated risk that they can in fact use the power of the presidency, however they got to the presidency, to do the same thing that a Ronald Reagan did. That is to go to the -- quote -- "heartland," to go to states he carried where there are Democratic senators, and to say to the public: "You want some of your money back? Put some pressure on these guys."
You know, the question is whether or not the lack of a mandate in November is going to affect how the people behave now, because if the people behave as though they want that tax cut and they're prepared to bring some heat on those Democratic senators, it is going to work. I think as a political strategy it's probably pretty smart.
WOODRUFF: But right now, Candy, they're sounding like they're not going to be bowled over by this.
CROWLEY: Sure, and let's remember that there's -- there's politics being played here on both side. George Bush needed a big win. He got the House to give it to him, at least that initial one. On the Democratic side, they need to push back and say, look, you know, we're here. And one of the mainstays of the Bush campaign was this new tone in Washington.
But everybody knows that bipartisanship sort of comes and goes. I mean, they pass an education bill in committee by a huge bipartisan vote. So it depends on what the issue is.
And as far as the Democrats are concerned, it is in their interests, for instance, for the minority leader, who wants to be the majority leader, to say, well, bipartisanship is dead. It's not dead. It may be dead on this first vote. It will come back on various issues, I suspect even on tax cut issues like the estate tax and the marriage penalty, things like that.
WOODRUFF: Tamala, let me switch now and talk about the health of the vice president. I interviewed his wife today, who says everything is basically fine, that they know that there's a risk of recurrence, of the tightening of his artery. In her words, for her husband, stress would be not doing his job as vice president.
How much of a problem is this for the administration?
EDWARDS: Well, I think obviously it doesn't look good for them for poor Dick Cheney to have to say, I've got to go into the hospital. Instead, so many people see him as the steady hand. We would love to hear that he's working those 10-hour days and doing what he does best sort of there over the president's shoulder. But at the same time, I think the most important thing for them is that you haven't seen -- while a lot of pundits have said this looks bad, you haven't seen a lot of doctors say this looks bad.
A lot of them have said, essentially, he could have been sitting in Florida with his heels up fly-fishing and still had this be an issue. I think unless it gets down to Dick Cheney has had a heart attack, Dick Cheney has had a stroke, that is when the tenor will change. But I think what we are going to figure out here pretty quickly is, probably in the next six months, a year, he'll have to do this again.
And as long as doctors say, "This seems pretty normal to us," it's hard to make the political case that he's got to go.
WOODRUFF: So, Jeff, those commentators and columnists who are saying Dick Cheney ought to think about stepping aside, as Walter Shapiro in "USA Today" did today, they're jumping the gun?
GREENFIELD: Yes. I think right now -- and maybe this is a mark either of American cynicism or the fact that Dick Cheney is essentially OK -- is, believe it or not, it's fodder for the late- night comedians. And I suspect, if people thought that this was a more serious health issue, it would not be.
But I do think that this is, to some extent, in the vice president's hands. That is, another trip to the hospital in the next month or so and then I think this becomes a real conversation. It's just how much, in a political sense, can the administration take of this. Right now, I think he's -- as long as he's up and about and working and the doctors are saying he's OK, it's fine.
WOODRUFF: Candy, in the White House -- I know you talk to the folks there often -- they're prepared to ride this out, obviously.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. And they think, not surprisingly, that this was overplayed. You know, what we may end up, out of all of this, is we are getting quite a little education on various procedures for the heart.
And I agree with Tamala. As long as he's got those doctors coming out there, and as long as -- and this is key -- we believe that those doctors aren't covering for anyone, what we have is people saying: Look, he can go and do this as long as he wants and, you know, he may have to come back, but this is no big deal. WOODRUFF: Well, the three of you -- I hate to say this -- but we're going to have to leave it there. We look forward to having you all back every Friday as often as you can come.
EDWARDS: Well, thank you.
WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield and Tamala Edwards in New York, and Candy Crowley here in Washington, thank you all three.
And coming up on INSIDE POLITICS:
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CROWLEY: ... candidate doesn't always win, but unrestricted money improves the odds. And win or lose, a self-funded candidate improves the reach of his or her party.
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WOODRUFF: CNN's Candy Crowley on wealthy office-seekers and the political parties that love them.
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SCHNEIDER: The front-runner in next month's nonpartisan mayoral primary in Los Angeles, City Attorney James Hahn, is a white man whose strongest support comes from African-American voters.
In New York, the front-runner right now for the September Democratic primary is public advocate Mark Green, a liberal who draws strongly from both white and black voters.
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WOODRUFF: Our Bill Schneider on the unusual shape of mayors' races in some of the nation's biggest cities.
Also coming up: Senator Clinton trying to shake free of a rocky start.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of this day's political news coming up, but now a look at some other top stories.
A prosecutor says that he will join defense attorneys to fight for mercy for a Florida teenager sentenced to life in prison today. A judge in Fort Lauderdale handed down the sentence for 14-year-old Lionel Tate. He was 12 when he killed a 6-year-old girl. Defense attorneys say he was practicing wrestling moves. Prosecutors, however, call the death a brutal, sustained beating. Defense attorney Jim Lewis and the boy's mother had rejected a plea agreement that would have put Lionel Tate in detention for three years.
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JIM LEWIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That was a fair plea offer. That was a great plea offer. And if I could roll things back and turn back time and convinced everyone that's the way this case ought to have went, I'd like to do that. And I wish this judge had taken the opportunity to reduce this verdict and do that. But he didn't. He didn't use the discretion that he had.
KEN PADOWITZ, PROSECUTOR: I am prepared immediately to join with the defense, as I've indicated publicly before, and ask the governor and the Cabinet to hold a clemency hearing and reduce the sentence in this particular case. That by no means is an indication that I don't believe that the jury's verdict was correct. It absolutely was correct.
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WOODRUFF: The prosecutor, Ken Padowitz, also says he plans to ask Governor Jeb Bush for clemency.
A California grand jury is looking into a dog attack that killed a college lacrosse coach. The grand jury could indict the two lawyers who owned the dogs. Diane Whipple was trying to get into her San Francisco apartment when she was mauled to death by the two dogs last January.
An emotional plea was made today to slow down the controversial Osprey aircraft program. Last year, 23 Marines died in two crashes of the hybrid plane-helicopter. The wives of victims urged a Pentagon panel to take steps to make the planes safer. Critics say the aircraft is dangerous and too costly. The Pentagon has delayed the Marines' plan to buy 360 Ospreys until it completes a safety review.
A good report on unemployment was not enough to prevent a big sell off on the stock markets. The sell off started at the opening bell and continued throughout the day. The Dow dropped almost 214 points. The Nasdaq plummeted almost 116 points, or more than 5 percent of total value.
There's much more on today's sell off and what's ahead for the markets on the "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR." That's right after INSIDE POLITICS at 6:30 Eastern Time.
And coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS: Lynne Cheney on her husband's health and influence and violence in America's schools.
WOODRUFF: Scholar at a Washington think tank, former co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE" -- she's as much at home in official Washington as her husband, who just happens to be the vice president. To her latest challenge, she brings a gilt-edged resume and a reputation for being, in the words of a friend, "a whirlwind."
I visited Lynne Cheney at the newly refurnished vice president's residence this afternoon, which the Cheneys moved into just one week ago.
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: You are here in the middle of our project.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Welcome to the Cheney's. You won't find the vice president's residence on any official tour, but make no mistake, this Victorian mansion on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory is one of Washington's true centers of political power.
(on camera): So this is where Vice President Gore sat and did his -- plotted strategy during the postelection period?
CHENEY: I think that's right.
CHENEY: They didn't invite us, so I'm not sure.
WOODRUFF: And you'll be having dinner on it.
CHENEY: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Vice President and Mrs. Cheney moved in a week ago today to a house that is in many ways brand-new. The Navy tore out and replaced the floors and fireplaces. Lynne Cheney had the walls papered and painted. Now she's hanging art.
CHENEY: This is a neighbor of Andrew Weiss. It was painted about 30 years ago. We chose her, her name is Siree (ph), and it couldn't be more perfect.
WOODRUFF: Now, this is a room I assume you will use.
CHENEY: Oh, isn't this is a wonderful room? It's a sun porch.
WOODRUFF: Now, I see swatches of fabric on the sofa and the chairs.
WOODRUFF: Mrs. Cheney, how much of this was your idea and how much of it was the vice president's?
CHENEY: Well, the vice president has one chair and hassock that he treasures, and beyond that, he would just as soon it would get done. So...
WOODRUFF: He leaves the decisions up to you.
CHENEY: I guess that's it. That's it. WOODRUFF (voice-over): To say the least, this last week has been challenging for Lynne Cheney. There's the new home, her career, her duties as wife to a vice president who has emerged as the Bush administration's chief operating officer. And to cap it all, questions about her husband's health.
(on camera): How is he doing?
CHENEY: He's very well, thank you.
WOODRUFF: I'm sure you know, many Americans, many Republicans who are good friends, big admirers of you and your husband are worried about him and saying maybe he's gone back to work too fast. He's got a job with an enormous amount of pressure, an enormous amount responsibility. What do you say to those people to reassure them?
CHENEY: Well, I think we have a new understanding of what stress means. It's generally agreed now that being stressed means being in a situation where you're doing things you don't like. And he loves what he's doing. He's very proud to be working for George Bush. He's very proud of the cabinet that's been assembled in this administration, and of the goals that have been set.
So he's doing exactly what he should be doing, and that's a labor of love.
WOODRUFF: How much of a toll has all this taken on you? Some scary episodes last weekend, I presume, and then, certainly, being in the hospital. How are you handling all of this?
CHENEY: Well, you know, you worry, of course. Of course, it's a cause for concern. But I really take my lead from Dick on this, and that is you do what a prudent person who has a long-term problem to deal with does. He happens to have coronary artery disease, and so you do what a prudent person with that disease would do, and then you lead your life in the fullest and happiest way possible.
WOODRUFF: Has it been hard for you this last week?
CHENEY: Well, of course, you'd rather not have coronary artery disease. You would wish that this little stent that had been implanted had not gotten clogged up at the end, which is what happened. It was kind of a plumbing thing they had to do.
If we had normal lives, this would not have been a major event. But, of course, we don't have normal lives. I'm just happy he's well. I'm grateful, and I'll bet there are many Americans out there who are, at the advances that have been made in medical care. Not just for someone with coronary artery disease but for all sorts of other chronic illnesses.
There are thousands of people all across this country leading lives in which they do very important things for their families and for their companies and for their country, and I think Dick, of course, is a shining example, but we're all the beneficiaries of the progress that's been made in medicine. WOODRUFF: So you're not living on tenterhooks.
CHENEY: Well, what a silly way to lead your life.
WOODRUFF: The vice president says that you have taken control of his food supply.
CHENEY: Well, he also insulted my cooking, I heard that.
WOODRUFF: He did go on to say, and I'm quoting him, he said, "She's not a great cook."
CHENEY: I would have been insulted...
WOODRUFF: Are you going defend yourself?
CHENEY: No. I mean, this is absolutely true, and will come as no surprise to anybody who knows us well. I'm not sure he had to say this on CNN, but it's kind of funny, actually.
WOODRUFF: But you don't have to cook, one presumes?
CHENEY: No, and what we do have is some wonderful people from the Navy here who are very good cooks, and they're doing a heart- healthy diet, and it also manages to taste good, so this is -- this is a great situation to be in.
WOODRUFF: And the vice president's lost some weight?
CHENEY: He has. He's kind of secretive about how much, but I'm guessing about 15 pounds.
WOODRUFF: Is it accurate to say, do you think, that he is the most influential vice president this country's ever seen?
CHENEY: That's what it looks like to me. I'm not a part of this administration, I don't know what's happening behind closed doors. But, you know, I read the same newspapers you're reading, and I do think Dick is playing a very important role.
He's very fortunate to be working for a president like President Bush, who is so willing to -- to paint a big picture and to delegate large areas of authority. And I was watching the president on TV last night, he's really a great leader for us in terms of -- now promoting the tax bill -- painting that big picture and inspiring people to work for a cause like lowering taxes.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about you for a moment. You are not only filling the demanding role of the wife of the vice president. At the same time you are continuing to work at the American Enterprise Institute, which is, of course, a very active and involved think tank here in Washington.
Do you consider -- You're the first wife of a vice president to hold an outside-paying job. Do you consider yourself a pioneer?
CHENEY: You know, it's kind of surprising it hasn't happened before. If you think of the number of women married to high-powered professionals in their own fields, looking at you, Judy, or in other fields -- if you think of the number of dual-career couples in this country, it's really kind of surprising it hasn't happened in the vice presidency or even in the presidency before.
It certainly has happened in the Senate. Lots and lots of Senate spouses and this, of course, is men as well as women are managing relatively demanding careers in addition to being political spouses. So I may be the first. But I think that's a little bit accidental. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
WOODRUFF: So you don't feel like you're blazing a trail, even though you are?
CHENEY: No, no.
WOODRUFF: Some people have described you, and I'm using their words: "Smart, outspoken," I think I even read somewhere, "a conservative Hillary Clinton."
CHENEY: Oh, is that right?
WOODRUFF: What do you say to that?
CHENEY: Well, the role I'm playing now is certainly different from what Mrs. Clinton did when her husband was president. She was very much involved in policy formation. I really am on the outside of this administration, totally in support of them, but in no way trying to shape policy or drive what happens.
WOODRUFF: But you have advised the president in the month -- during the campaign on education.
CHENEY: I did. I was very proud to be part of his education team, and he has picked an absolutely superb secretary of education, Rod Paige -- had a great career in Houston that I admire greatly. I've written about how well Houston schools did under his leadership. And he's got wonderful people on his domestic council dealing with these issues, and I'm in total agreement with what they're doing, and the last thing I would ever try to do is -- what's that word used -- kibbutz? -- what do you do, you know, when you're...
WOODRUFF: Kibbutz, I think.
CHENEY: Yes, going around the bridge table and trying to tell other people how to play their cards.
WOODRUFF: On of the -- one very troubling phenomenon of education, and I'm making a sharp -- somewhat sharp segway here, is the alarming increase of violence in our schools. And, of course, we saw a terrible example of that this week in the suburbs of San Diego: a 15-year-old boy killed two classmates and wounded 13 others with a gun. Why are we -- we've had, as I saw the other day, I think we've had something like 220 of these shooting incidents in schools around the country in the last eight years. You've done a lot of thinking about education, why do you think this is happening?
CHENEY: There are so many reasons; there's not, you know, one thing you can point to. It did strike me, though, that there's a copycat effect here. You know, the attention that each of these incidents gets is unfortunate. And I'm not blaming the media, but when this kind of incident gets that much attention, I think it -- there is a kind of copycat thing that happens.
But even more substantially, I was noticing the other day some little kids 11 years old stabbed one another in a movie. The movie was called "Valentine." It was about bullying, basically, this movie; we've seen that come up in this most recent situation. It was, I believe, an R-rated movie, and here we're -- I mean, think of this, here are 11 year olds in a movie that is for adults, ostensibly. The movie is about seeking revenge when people aren't nice to you, and that's what they did.
There is some small element here that violence in the entertainment industry has to play. And I don't mean to overstate that, but that certainly is something I have worried about.
WOODRUFF: Back, just quickly, if you would, to the 15-year-old boy in southern California. Do you think it's right that he would be tried as an adult...
WOODRUFF: ... for what he did?
Clearly this is a very troubled young man, but he should be subject to the same laws as someone who's 20s, 30s, 18 -- clearly an adult?
CHENEY: Well, he's only three years from 18. Anyone who kills someone else is troubled. This doesn't happen to -- this isn't the action of an untroubled person. There are lots of questions I have about how much attention was being paid to this young man's mental welfare as I walk it along. But someone who has taken the life of two other people should be subject to adult penalties.
WOODRUFF: Even spending the rest of his life in prison or...
CHENEY: Yes. I mean, to those parents who have -- can you imagine anything more dreadful than losing a child? I just -- I can't imagine the horror of it. And there is something in our society that says when you do something that is terribly, terribly wrong, that you must pay a terrible penalty.
WOODRUFF: I talked with Lynne Cheney today as she moved into -- the first week after moving into her new home, the residence of the vice president. She talked more about education, about education reform, and we'll bring you that part of the interview on Monday.
Things are changing in America's biggest cities. Coming up, we'll tell you what those changes are and how they may affect some important elections this year.
WOODRUFF: This may come as a small surprise, but 2001 is a big year for elections.
Bill Schneider is back with us; he's still in Los Angeles, one of a host of major cities set to choose a new mayor -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Well Judy, you know most Americans now live in the suburbs, but this year, with nearly 500 major cities electing mayors, it's the cities that are likely to get the attention.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): 2001 is a big year for mayoral elections. Five of the nation's 10 largest cities are electing mayors this year: New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio and Detroit, plus other big cities like Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Seattle.
The urban agenda has changed over the last 10 years. Look at New York and Los Angeles, the nation's two largest cities. They both have Republican mayors with high job ratings who cannot run for another term. Eight years ago, racial tension had a lot to do with getting Rudy Giuliani elected in New York after the crown heights protests, and Richard Riordan elected in Los Angeles after the Rodney King violence.
But racial tension is down this year. The front-runner in next month's nonpartisan mayoral primary in Los Angeles, city attorney James Hahn, is a white man whose strongest support comes from African- American voters. In New York, the front-runner right now for the September Democratic Primary is public advocate Mark Green, a liberal who draws strongly from both white and black voters.
Look at what happened in St. Louis this week: For the second election in a row, Democrats defeated their own mayor in the Democratic Primary; talk about rejection. Mayor Clarence Harmon ended up with just 5 percent of the vote. But here's what was truly remarkable: The campaign in St. Louis this year, where one major candidate was black and the other white, was less racially divisive than the campaign four years ago between two black candidates!
MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY, ST. LOUIS: This has been a campaign that I have been proud of and...
SCHNEIDER: The white man who won this year, Board of Alderman President Francis Slay, ran a nonracial campaign.
With crime rates down in most cities, including New York and Los Angeles, the agenda has shifted to police behavior: the Rampart scandal in Los Angeles, a massive cover-up of police corruption; shocking episodes in New York -- the Abner Louima case, the Amadou Diallo tragedy.
This year's mayoral elections could mark the arrival of Hispanics as a political force. Two candidates are vying to become Los Angeles' first Hispanic mayor. In New York, a Hispanic candidate is running second in the Democratic Primary and could get into the runoff. And with no major black candidate so far in either city, African-American voters are poised to play a role they've rarely played before: the role of swing voters.
SCHNEIDER: What we're likely to find out in this year's mayoral elections is that urban politics has changed; it's no longer a matter of black and white -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, good to see you, and good to see you twice in the same program; thanks.
WOODRUFF: Coming up, we will discuss the present and future of America's big cities with the mayors of Detroit and Los Angeles.
WOODRUFF: Although more political power has shifted to the suburbs in recent years, America's big cities continue to be the focal point for some of this nation's most frequently debated issues.
Mayor Dennis Archer of Detroit is the new president of the National League of Cities, which is holding a conference here in Washington. And joining us from California is Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.
Thanks to both of you for being with us. Let me start out with a question about the economy. It has been going through a sudden slowdown. We -- really, for most people, it came on very quickly in January.
What is the effect of that, Mayor Archer, for the cities, the big cities of this country?
MAYOR DENNIS ARCHER (D), DETROIT, MICHIGAN: Well, you are correct, there has been a slowdown, and the economists tell us that, as opposed to having an economy that's growing at a clip higher than 5 percent, we are now adjusting to growth pattern about 2.3 percent.
As you might know, there has been some announcements of some layoffs, as it relates to DaimlerChrysler, and it's had some layoffs connected with General Motors as well, in terms of slowing down the production, so that they don't get overstocked with their vehicles. And so, we are experiencing that aspect of it.
But fortunately, as a result of top-flight negotiations by the UAW, of those who were laid off, 95 percent of their income will be coming to them for the next 46 weeks, and I hope that the projections that Deiter Zetsche, who is the president of DaimlerChrysler, sent to Detroit by Jurgen Schrempp of DaimlerChrysler in Germany, will have the problem solved. I am very optimistic about that, and they will be back on profit back -- in the first part of 2003.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Riordan, what about in Los Angeles? What does the economy mean, the downturn mean, for the services your city is able to provide to citizens?
MAYOR RICHARD RIORDAN (R), LOS ANGELES: We're not feeling it yet. L.A. is, essentially, a city of small-to-medium-sized businesses, and then you add to that the movie industry. We passed Chicago two years ago in manufacturing, and so we haven't felt it yet, but we're worried about the possible strike by the actors and the writers in Hollywood, and that would have a dramatic effect on our economy.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Archer, you were just telling me that you're -- while you're not meeting with President Bush at this particular conference in Washington, you hope to meet with him soon. Why is that, what do you want to say to him?
ARCHER: Well, Judy, what we'd like to be able to do is to present him -- as we gave to our other -- to President Bush's chief of Intergovernmental Affairs, Rubin Marceles (ph), yesterday, the document that -- six critical threats to our cities -- it represents the keys to unlocking America's future.
And we want to share with him what our objectives are, we're looking for a hand up, not a handout. And we believe, quite frankly, that it is entirely consistent with his own vision, and if we can sit down at a table and share views, I believe that what we've presented will work very well for our cities and for those who live within our cities.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Riordan, "New York Times" reporting today that states across the country, 31 states, spending more than they had budgeted. Is this something that's going to affect cities?
RIORDAN: Oh, absolutely. And it's a worry particularly in California, where we have this energy crisis, and a lot of the surplus in the state is being spent to cover the extra costs of energy.
I could say that Mayor Archer and Mayor Giuliani of New York, Mayor Daley of Chicago and other mayors of major cities are going to meet together in Washington in early April to tell the president and his cabinet members the problems we have in the big cities.
We have a way disproportionate number of poor children who need special help in education, we need poor people who need help to make their quality of life better.
WOODRUFF: Let me just quickly ask both of you, because we're fast running out of time -- and I apologize for jumping around -- the president's tax cut, Mayor Archer, the right approach? ARCHER: Well, let me just say this, Judy. I don't know of anybody who would not want to enjoy some significant tax cut and to put more money in their pocket. But I will also tell you that our citizens, wealthy and those who are disenfranchised, would rather have a better quality of life.
We need -- we have to balance our budget, and I would suggest that there's a way of giving reasonable tax cuts, but at the same time, allow for infrastructure needs, allow us, as mayors of cities, to be able to help those who are living in poverty, and the like.
So tax cuts, absolutely. But not to the extent that it hurts the people who are trying to make ends meet, because despite the great economy that we've experienced, we still have people who have not been able to access the kind of good jobs and the kind of strength that they need.
WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Mayor Riordan?
RIORDAN: I agree with Mayor Archer 100 percent. I believe that the tax cut that will clear the Senate and the House -- and will be signed by the president -- will be consistent with what Mayor Archer said.
WOODRUFF: All right. Well, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there, but I want to thank both of you for joining us, Mayor Riordan from Los Angeles and Mayor Dennis Archer here in Washington. Thanks to you.
RIORDAN: Thanks, Judy.
ARCHER: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And have a good weekend.
In the Clinton family saga, a new example of the former president taking a back seat to his wife. That story is ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, along with an update on Mrs. Clinton's Senate career and popularity, or lack thereof.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CLUB FOR GROWTH AD)
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The blob has taken over Washington. It's the tax blob.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: A monster campaign for the president's tax cut plan. We'll have the latest on the air and ground wars. Also ahead...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: In the political world, Mark Warner is an SFM -- self- funded millionaire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley on the growing wealth of wealthy candidates.
And later, a political version of reality TV.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS, with Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. President Bush heads to his ranch in Texas for the weekend after trying to rally residents of South Dakota and Louisiana behind his tax cut plan today.
Mr. Bush wrapped up an appearance in Louisiana just a short while ago, part of a victory lap, if you will, after the House approved the core of his tax cut package yesterday. But now, Mr. Bush's plan faces tougher going in the divided Senate. So the president is trying to win support from a handful of Senate Democrats, such as Louisiana's Mary Landrieu.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I get to propose things in Washington. I don't get to vote on them. I'm not a member of the legislative branch. But the biggest influence in our government is the people, and I know that. So I'm here today in Lafayette, Louisiana to explain a common-sense budget, and if you like what you hear, you might decide to maybe e- mail or call some of those who represent you and let them hear from you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Our senior White House correspondent John King is traveling with the president, and he's with us from Lafayette, Louisiana.
John, how is it coming across with those Democratic senators whose states the president's visiting?
KING: Well, some of the Democrats grumbling this is early hardball, if you will, the president coming into their states and essentially urging the people -- remember, President Bush carried all these states, South Dakota, North Dakota, Louisiana, Florida on Monday. The Democrats say this is a little unfair they think early in the process. The White House saying, hey, look, the president is his own best asset right now. There's a debate about tax cuts, the polls show a division how big a tax cut should be, whether there should be that so-called "debt trigger." But the polls also show the American people like their new president so far, and he's trying to use that likability to rally public opinion.
And the White House says with a 50/50 Senate they have no choice but to start early.
WOODRUFF: John, are we going to have to wait until summer to know whether the president was effective or not?
KING: We probably will have to wait. You hear the cheers, because the president is here. He's leaving this airport hangar site, preparing to head to his ranch in Texas.
Yes, we probably will have to wait quite a bit. Obviously, there's still a debate in the House to go on the estate taxes, on the marriage penalty, on the child credit. Then you will have the debate in the Senate over tax cults, of course. You see the president walking on the tarmac there.
The debate in the Senate over the tax rates, the brackets will be the big one, whether that trigger succeeds. We're looking at April, May and June. The president making another appeal today that the Congress get him that bill by July 4th.
So this is very early in this campaign, and we have to understand that. The White House believes that the president will be at this every week for the next few months.
WOODRUFF: All right. John King, quite a road show behind you there. Thanks very much. Travel safe.
Well, former President Bill Clinton held his tongue when asked about tax cuts today, trying to stay out of the political fire in the wake of the pardon controversy. The former president suggested that he was not the right Clinton to ask about the Bush plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Mr. President, any thoughts for the Senate on the tax cut legislation?
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's my wife's domain. Ask her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Clinton also declined to answer questions about the pardon flap as he left a symposium on international affairs in Atlanta, a symposium closed to the news media. He did wade into a crowd of admirers gathered nearby.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton have passed a new milestone: The percentage of Americans who view them negatively is at an all-time high. A new Gallup poll shows Mrs. Clinton's favorable rating has slipped to 44 percent and her unfavorable has shot up nine points in the past two weeks, to 53 percent.
Bill Clinton's favorable rating is down to 39 percent and his unfavorable has hit a high of 59 percent.
Well, despite all that baggage, Senator Clinton is plugging away at her new job on Capitol Hill, as CNN's Jonathan Karl reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Here at an Emily's List fund-raiser honoring the Senate's newly elected female Democrats, Hillary Rodham Clinton is the political equivalent of a rock star. She's also at her most partisan, talking tough about President Bush.
SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Behind the rhetoric and the charm is an agenda that is antithetical to what the majority of Americans voted for in this last election and what we stand for.
KARL: Mrs. Clinton has shown a partisan toughness in the Capitol as well, as she has thrown herself into her new role, already earning a reputation as a senator who does her homework. At committee hearings, she is often among the first to arrive and the last to leave, last week directing barbed comments at Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill.
H. CLINTON: It seems, you know, with all respect to the administration, a little backwards to go for the big tax cut before we have the budget, before we have the defense spending review.
KARL: That prompted a tart response from the Republican committee chairman.
SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R-NM), CHAIRMAN, BUDGET COMMITTEE: The distinguished president, your husband, President Clinton, did the exact same thing. This is no budget, but it was issued long before the budget.
KARL: But the controversies surrounding President Clinton's exit from the White House and the involvement of her own brother in the pardon controversy have been persistent distractions, prompting sometimes punishing criticism in the New York press, such as a recent "New York Observer" editorial that read -- quote -- "The Clintons are playing New Yorkers for fools. It is clear now that we have made a terrible mistake, for Hillary Rodham Clinton is unfit for elective office. Had she nay shame, she would resign."
The questions dog Hillary wherever she goes, but she responds by talking about her work.
H. CLINTON: I have no control over any question that anybody asks me or anything that someone else might say. I can only do my very best to do the work of the Senate.
KARL: And the controversies swirling around her don't seem to have diminished Mrs. Clinton's star power in the Senate, where the constant demand for photos and autographs can make it difficult to get from meeting to meeting.
H. CLINTON: We really have no room left for anybody or anything.
KARL: But not is all glamour in the life of a freshman U.S. senator. Mrs. Clinton has worked out of temporary offices in the cluttered basement of the Dirksen Building in an area vaguely reminiscent of the offices seen in the movie "Being John Malkovich." (on camera): To get to Senator Clinton's office you've got to find this basement corridor, where you'll see this sign, not exactly an official emblem, but directing you down yet another corridor, on down past Senator Carper's mailroom, and further on down the hallway before you finally get to suite 6 and the office of the junior senator of New York.
H. CLINTON: Well, it's a miracle how you fit everybody in here.
KARL (voice-over): Senator Clinton will soon have a new office, and she hopes a new future, where she is no longer haunted by the ghosts of past controversies, but instead can talk about future accomplishments.
Jonathan Karl, CNN, Capitol Hill.
WOODRUFF: We're just glad Jonathan found his way back out of there.
Well, Senator Clinton steered clear today of another potential controversy. She said she will not march in next week's Saint Patrick's Day Parade in New York City. Her participation last year drew fire from gay rights groups because the parade bans homosexuals. When asked if last year's flap kept her from marching again, she said only that she has committed to attending a parade in Syracuse this St. Patrick's Day.
And now we turn to a growing political trend, in Virginia Democrat Mark Warner kicked off his campaign for governor yesterday, touting his experience as a successful businessman. But as CNN's Candy Crowley explains, Warner's wallet may be an even bigger advantage.
CROWLEY (voice-over): In the political world, Mark Warner is an "SFM." So are senators Bill Frist, Jon Corzine, Peter Fitzgerald, Maria Cantwell, and a host of others. SFMs -- people with the willingness and wherewithal to help themselves into office. SFM -- "self-funded millionaire."
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: You've got to understand that a person who can write a check for 10 million or 15 or $20 million can buy all the television they want to buy in a state like Illinois. And a person like myself, who is trying to raise the money under the rules that now exist, has to go out asking for $1,000 contributions to try to match what they're putting into the race.
CROWLEY: The richest candidate doesn't always win, but unrestricted money improves the odds. And win or lose, a self-funded candidate improves the reach of his or her party. Case in point: South Carolina millionaire Darla Moore, being recruited by Democrats to run for an open Senate seat next year against Congressman Lindsey Graham. Republicans say Democrats are recruiting Moore because her self- financed campaign would force the GOP to spend money in a race that otherwise favors the better-known, popular Graham. Whatever the reason, the fear is that, increasingly, political candidates are being recruited not for the ideas they hold, but the money in their pocket. The greater fear is that campaign finance reform will make things worse.
DURBIN: We can do campaign finance reform. But if it is a matter of moving money from one category to another, the only group that will ultimately win will be the wealthiest people in America.
CROWLEY: Senator Patty Murray made $23,000 a year when she first ran for office in 1992. Now head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, she recruits others to run.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: Obviously, we ask candidates what their ability is to raise money just so we can get a perception of if they understand the reality of running for a U.S. Senate race. But we encourage people who want this job because they care about the issues.
CROWLEY: Privately, one Democratic recruiter offered a starker assessment: "The ability to self-finance is always a plus. With campaign finance reform, it will shoot to the top of the chart."
The author of campaign finance reform thinks the fear of a multimillionaire ruling class is overblown and designed to deep-six his bill.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: People with a lot of money have and always will have some advantage in American politics as they do in American life. But that does not mean we should not reform the system that we have today, which protects incumbents, corrupts the system and let's special interests rule, rather than the people's interest.
CROWLEY: McCain says he is open to amendments that would even the odds between a multimillionaire candidate and one who needs to raise money by the rules.
(on camera): Still, options appear limited. As one lawmaker put it: "If someone wants to spend their own money on whatever they want to do, there is little, under the Constitution, that we can do to stop that."
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: When last year's election campaign finally ended, did you think you would get a break from political ads? Well, think again. Like a creature from an old science film, political advertising is back with a vengeance -- right after this break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Even though President Bush's across-the-board tax cut plan sailed through the House this week, it faces a much tougher battle in the Senate. While the president is making appearances across the country to build support for his plan, other tax cut proponents are running television ads.
As usual, David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting is keeping track. And he joins us from New York.
DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Hi, Judy.
WOODRUFF: First, tell us what does this tax cut campaign look like on television?
PEELER: Well, this is interesting. It's one of the first ones out of the box. And I've got to tell you, from a creative standpoint, it's one of the better ads we've seen so far. It's a group called the club for growth. And some of our viewers here on INSIDE POLITICS and CNN have probably seen it, because it's been in rotation quite frequently. Let's take a look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CLUB FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AD)
ANNOUNCER: The blob has taken over Washington. It's the tax blob. The tax fight is at a record high. Washington's budget surplus has never been bigger. Now the blob is crushing the American economy. We are the Club for Growth. And we're out to stop the tax blob. President Bush is on our side. He wants lower tax rates for all Americans.
Will your congressman side with taxpayers or with the blob? The Club for Growth wants to know!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEELER: You know, Judy, in the press release for this group, they quoted about $1 million that they were going to put behind this media buy. So far, we haven't seen that come up. What we've seen is about $4,000 spent in the Washington Beltway area, $20,000, as I said, on network cable -- particularly our network.
And what they are really trying to do is use a public-opinion strategy -- public-opinion-leader strategy to try and get this message out. You know, I think what we are going to see over here in the coming months is that this tactic is going to change. The bill passed through the House very, very quickly, but it is going to go before the Senate.
You are going to see, in the coming weeks, that this group and other groups are going to start to spend money out in the country where senators who are on one side of the fence or the other are going to start seeing these ads air in their own market, hopefully -- these groups to feel that they will move the constituency to call. Let's remember that the president is leading the ground war here. You saw today that he was out in those marketplaces. He spent about 20 percent of his $60-plus million during the presidential campaign on this one issue alone. So I think we are going to see a lot of spending in the months to come as this goes through the Senate.
WOODRUFF: All right, David, let me ask you to move on to another media campaign. As Bill Schneider mentioned a little while ago, Los Angeles is holing a mayoral primary in less than five weeks. Now, what's happening out there?
PEELER: Well, you know, Bill was right. There's a lot of mayors up for election this time out. And Los Angeles, which has eliminated the spending limits, is going to see an awful lot of advertising in the coming weeks. Let's take a look at some of those ads that are running out there now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HAHN CAMPAIGN AD)
JIM HAHN, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: As mayor, I will keep our schools open after hours to keep our kids off the streets and out of gangs.
ANNOUNCER: City Controller Jim Hahn, City Attorney Jim Hahn -- Jim Hahn for mayor -- L.A. experience that really counts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SOBOROFF CAMPAIGN AD)
ANNOUNCER: Steve Soboroff's new crime prevention plan will battle the growth of gangs by recruiting kids at risk.
STEVE SOBOROFF, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Before the gangs get them first.
ANNOUNCER: Steve Soboroff: a problem-solver, not a politician.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, VILLARAIGOSA CAMPAIGN AD)
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: As mayor, I'll demand accountability and higher standards. I will reduce overcrowding by building 100 new schools as quickly and efficiently as possible. And I'll audit LA Unified to make sure the money is really spent on our children.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, WACHS CAMPAIGN AD)
JOEL WACHS, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Because we need small neighborhood-based schools in which parents and teachers and community can all participate in the welding of the education of their children and in working to help and improve their schools. (END VIDEO CLIP)
PEELER: The ad campaign kicked off in January. And what is interesting is that the top -- the two contenders -- or the top two winners of the primary will face each other off. And this is going to take place in April. So what we are going to see is an awful lot of spending.
James Hahn, who is leading so far in the polls, has spent over $850,000 so far. The interesting media story here is that Steve Soboroff, who was unknown in January -- he's a businessman and he didn't have name-I.D. -- has spent $800,000. And, at least right now in the polls, he seems to be running a strong second.
As we move on, there are two other candidates: Antonio Villaraigosa, who has spent $163,000, and Joel Wachs, who has spent a little over $100,000 only recently. So what you're going to see is, in the coming weeks between now and April, a lot of accelerated spending. Those viewers or voters in the L.A. area are going to see an inundation of these mayoral ads. And I think this is a precursor to what we're going to see in other cities around the country, particularly in areas like here in New York.
WOODRUFF: All right. David Peeler, thanks. And we're going to keep a watch on that L.A. race. Thanks, thanks very much.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When light alights in a glob of super-cooled sodium atoms like this one, it can now be made to stop. Harvard university's Lene Hau (ph) first stopped light in her Cambridge, Massachusetts lab, stalling photons in that Sodium blob with a carefully timed "sucker punch" from a coupling laser.
After the light's stopped it's then regenerated, revived, and sent back on its way. A breakthrough that could lead to a new generation of ultrafast quantum computers.
Bill Delaney, CNN.
WOODRUFF: A piece of new evidence, new information in the aftermath of this week's tragic shooting in Southern California at a school. A 15-year-old boy took a gun and killed two of his classmates, wounded 13 others. He has been, was taken to court this week. His arraignment was continued.
Right now authorities in Santee, California have released the audio tapes of the 911 call made by another student who evidently was in the bathroom with Charles Andrew Williams when the shooting began.
Let's listen. This is courtesy of affiliate KGTV.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, OK, OK, is this at Santana?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Santana High School.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, where's the shooter?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was in the boy's bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was in the boy's bathroom?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Honey, listen to me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm in the boy's P.E. bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is he in there with you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he's not. I don't know where he was. Everybody was running around.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who is he?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. I just got a glimpse of him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, what kind of a gun does he have, honey?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a pretty small gun. It looked like a pistol or something.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A male -- is it a student?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a male student. He was in the boy's bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, was he in bathroom at your end, honey?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he was in the bathroom...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, OK, I know. I just want you to stay there. We're on our way, OK.
(END AUDIO CLIP) WOODRUFF: This again the 911 audio tape from Monday morning in the Santee, California suburb of San Diego when 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams took a handgun, killed two classmates and wounded 11 other students and two adults.
This audio tape just released by authorities in Santee, and comes to us courtesy of our affiliate KGTV there in Southern California.
We'll be back after this break.
WOODRUFF: Our apologies. We had hoped to get on a piece by Kate Snow about the use of real people in the tax cut debate in Washington. We'll bring that to you next week.
For now, 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.
And these weekend programming notes, House Speaker Dennis Hastert will be the guest tomorrow on EVANS NOVAK HUNT AND SHIELDS. That's at 5:30 p.m. Eastern.
And on Sunday at noon, Eastern, Senator John McCain will be among Wolf Blitzer's guests on LATE EDITION.
I'm Judy Woodruff. MONEYLINE's next.
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