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Bush Administration to Tell Chinese Reconnaissance Flights Will Resume; Cincinnati Lifts Curfew

Aired April 16, 2001 - 17:00   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.

Flash points of racial tensions in America. From Mississippi's flag to Cincinnati's recent violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR CHARLES LUKEN (D), CINCINNATI: Out of this crisis comes a historic opportunity for our community to make meaningful progress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A California melting pot helps demonstrate the politics of race and redistricting.

Plus...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you know you are picking the right person when you pick somebody for "60 Minutes"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fingertips. You live by your fingertips.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A conversation with veteran TV news producer Don Hewitt.

Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. We begin with the fallout from the U.S.-China standoff. The Bush administration is preparing for Wednesday's meeting between representatives of the two countries saying the talks will be, quote, "forthright." Let's get an update from our senior White House correspondent John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, no one in the administration expecting that one meeting will resolve the differences over this one specific incident, or begin to ease the overall tensions in the U.S.-Chinese relationship. Still, an eight- member U.S. delegation on its way to Beijing. U.S. officials say they will make clear that they believe the burden now rests with the Chinese to make sure something like this never happens again.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): CNN has learned the United States plans to inform China that surveillance flights will resume soon, and that it expects Beijing to tell its pilots to back off.

One senior administration official calls the meeting, quote, "a taking of temperatures," and the White House says that the tone taken by the Chinese side will go a long way in determining what happens next.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Both nations have to make a determined choice about the future of our relations, and the first evidence of those determined choice will come in that meeting on Wednesday, and the president wants to hear of what the Chinese has to say.

KING: The U.S. delegation enters the talks with four goals: make clear the United States believes China is to blame for the collision; discuss ways to avoid such incidents in the future; ask, quote, "tough questions" about what the U.S. views as the dangerous tactics employed by Chinese fighter pilots; and gain permission to repair and retrieve the EP-3 surveillance plane.

Aides say Mr. Bush views the meeting as important, but just the first step in deciding the future course of U.S.-China relations, and what specific steps he should take to demonstrate his displeasure with Beijing's handling of the incident. That review could take weeks or longer, but already, now that the crew is back on U.S. soil, gone is the tougher line on trade the administration took during the standoff.

FLEISCHER: The president will, of course, take into account any recent developments that need to be factored into any decision he makes, but his approach to this decision is one based on his belief that trade helps create freedom, that trade helps create opportunity, and that trade helps liberalize the society and leads to more democracy and openness.

KING: The president is awaiting recommendations from the Pentagon as to whether the United States should do more to protect the slow-moving EP-3 surveillance flights.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: But Pentagon and other administration officials discount talk of providing jet fighter escorts for future surveillance flights. They suggest that might actually increase the risk of a confrontation or another accident -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, aside from this meeting, what are other indications we should be looking for how the administration views this relationship?

KING: Well, the White House insists these are two unrelated incidents I am about to mention, but one, there will be a debate on Wednesday, the same day as this meeting in Beijing, on the U.S. resolution condemning China's human rights records, that is the United Nations debate, and also, of course, the president -- there is no firm timetable, but U.S. officials saying that the when a Taiwanese delegation visits here by April 24th for a briefing at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the administration hopes to be able to give that delegation at least a clear indication, if not a firm decision, on just what weapons systems the president has decided to sell the government of Taiwan.

Both of those decisions sure to affect the tone and the tenor of the relations with Beijing. The White House line, though, is, as for other ramifications, trade relations, whether to oppose Beijing's bid for the 2008 Olympics, whether the president should still go there in the fall to Beijing, they say the president wants to step back and take a few weeks, and most of all, wants to see how the Chinese respond once the U.S. delegation makes its case on Wednesday.

WOODRUFF: April 24th, just a week from tomorrow. All right, John king, thanks.

Now, we turn to tensions within this country. Today, officials in Cincinnati lifted a curfew that helped to end days of violent protest. And a special panel is being created to examine race relations in the city. CNN national correspondent Bob Franken is in Cincinnati -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Judy, I am at a New Friendship Baptist church, where inside, the Reverend Al Sharpton, the New York civil rights activists, is convening a group of young people. He's going to let them vent about the problems they encountered when they're dealing with the Cincinnati police, and when they are, in fact, confronting the various race relations in the Cincinnati area.

You can see that they are just getting started. This is going to be what amounts to a catharsis. It follows the day in which the city mayor lifted the curfew, as you said, after four days of successfully pretty much stamping down the violence that followed the shooting of a 19-year-old unarmed black youth about a week ago.

At any case, he also announced that a race relations committee would be formed, and there would be reforms aimed at changing the police department, trying to improve what activists call decades of hostile treatment by the Cincinnati police department of the African- American community in Cincinnati.

So now, the short-haul problem seems to be over, at least the officials hope it is, that is to say the violence that occurred here. Now, they say that this time, contrary to other promises that they made over the decades, they intend to make good on the promise of trying to improve race relations in the city, a city that they say is not unlike many other U.S. cities.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LUKEN: Cincinnati does not stand alone in those problems. I want to emphasize that. But Cincinnati -- Cincinnati, because unfortunately of what has happened, has an opportunity to become a leader in the nation in making important changes.

And maybe one day, people are going to come to Cincinnati and they are going to ask: "How did you do it? And how did you make the change? And can we model ourselves on what you do?" That is what we are here to try to develop, a model that says this is something that all of the country one day will look at and say, this is a success story.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: But before that happens, they have to get past tonight, the first night without the curfew. Officials are quite confident, however, that the anger has been deflated somehow, and they say that they are ready to move forward now and improve the underlying conditions which hat caused this trouble -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bob Franken, how can they be so confident that the anger, as you put it, has been deflated, when people sounded very hot toward the end even of last week?

FRANKEN: Well, what they are hoping is that there a dynamic -- when you get into a mob situation, which can just keep it going and going and going until somehow it's stopped. Of course, the curfew did that. And then, the inertia works the other way, and it slows down, and they're hoping that it slowed to the point now that people are no longer so incensed, no longer so willing to go out there and get violent. Rather, they want to see now finally, the things that they were fighting for will be realized.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bob Franken, reporting from Cincinnati.

Meantime, the city of Birmingham, Alabama is revisiting one of the darkest days in the nation's struggle over civil rights.

Jury selection began today in the murder trial of a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, charged in a 1963 church bombing that killed four young black girls. Given the notoriety of the case, the jury pool is three times as large as usual, in order to help lawyers try to select an impartial panel.

62-year-old Thomas Blanton Jr. has pleaded innocent to the charges that he played a role in the bombing. If convicted, he could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Mississippi, voters are preparing to decide whether to keep a symbol of the Old South, which is viewed by opponents as a symbol of racism. At issue, the state flag. The last in the nation to prominently feature the Confederate emblem. CNN's Brian Cabell is in Mississippi for tomorrow's vote -- Brian.

BRIAN CABELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, if you can believe the latest polls out of here, they certainly point to a very substantial victory for those wanting to keep the current flag. They want the Confederate banner on it. This in spite of a rather potent coalition opposed to it, consisting of religious leaders, business leaders, and civil rights leaders, who say that Mississippi flag should be more inclusive and less controversial.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REV. JEFF STALLWORTH, ANDERSON UMC: As people of color, we haven't had many positive responses from people who will stand under the flag.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE SHELTON, MISSISSIPPI LEGACY FUND: We think that this is the most important vote that Mississippians will make in the generation. This is about what we want to say to the rest of the nation in terms of who we are, where we are going, and what we want our future to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: Campaigns on both side of this issue has been relatively low profile here. There have been rallies and sermons and telephoning and a little media advertising. Those on the pro-flag's side and those who want to keep the current flag, saying that they regard the main opposition not as the NAACP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEWART, SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS: It's not them. They're not behind this. It's your white liberals and that's what we have had to deal with. They don't -- they can't live with their own guilt. At the end of the day, they live totally segregated lives and the reason that I know that, is because I know these people in Mississippi.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABELL: The main argument that you hear from the business community is that the current Mississippi flag is scaring business away. People from out of the state, out of the country, don't like the Mississippi flag. They said that it's regarded racist and as backward.

Now, for the voters tomorrow, the issue will be very simple. You either vote for the 1894 Mississippi flag, with the Confederate emblem in the corner; or you vote for a new flag with a new design with a blue background and 20 white stars in the corner -- the stars representing the fact that Mississippi was the 20th state to enter the union.

But once again, the polls at this point certainly indicate that those who want to keep the current flag will win tomorrow; you talk to the other side, they say they're making movements and headway and that the turnout of course will be the key -- Judy

WOODRUFF: Brian, what is your sense of how much interest has been generated in this issue across the state? CABELL: Less than you might expect. You would think that it would be a very volatile issue in the center of what was once Dixie, the center of segregation here. And yet, it's been a very low-profile campaign; as I indicated, little advertising. The rhetoric has not been all that heated. The NAACP has purposely tried to play this down, so as not to rile up the opposition. But clearly, that strategy, according to the latest polls, is not working.

WOODRUFF: All right. Brian Cabell reporting from Mississippi. Thank you very much.

Campaign finance reports show that advocates of a new Mississippi flag have raised almost 10 times more money to spread their message to the public than supporters of the current flag. Let's talk more about tomorrow's vote and its implications with Jerry Mitchell, a reporter for the "Jackson Clarion-Ledger."

Jerry Mitchell, why have proponents of this new flag been able to raise so much more money?

JERRY MITCHELL, "JACKSON CLARION-LEDGER": I believe that nationally people look at the Confederate battle emblem and they see it I think differently than people in Mississippi. To the people in Mississippi, it's a symbol and many of them as their heritage and their forefathers who perhaps fought in the Civil War.

But people nationally, the Confederate battle flag certainly takes on a whole other meaning. To many black Americans in particular, it's seen as a reminder of slavery and I think that that is probably one of the reasons that there have been so much money raised on that side, including some prominent Mississippians, such as a Morgan Freeman, the actor, and Sela Ward, the actress, have most contributed to the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Why -- we have heard Brian Cabell cite the polls which seem to be fairly lopsided in keeping the flag as it is now. Why do you think that there is such resistance to change? You talked about the heritage that people feel in that flag. But what do they see when they see that Confederate symbol? What does it mean to them?

MITCHELL: Well, I think that, as with any symbol, I think that the symbol can mean so many things to so many different people. Obviously, to a large cross section of Mississippians and the South in general, it represents their -- people who fought in the Civil War; it represents their heritage. And to some extent, I think that it's a symbol of defiance as well; it symbolizes, well you know, we are -- the federal government wants us to do this and we don't really want to do that.

And I think that is why it's been co-opted by the Klan and so many other groups and kind of a symbol of defiance as well.

WOODRUFF: So not so much pure racism; is that what you are saying?

MITCHELL: Well it's -- I mean, the symbol can mean so many things to different people and obviously a Klansman may see that as a symbol of his race. And someone who is Mississippian, whose great grandfather fought in the Civil War, they see it as, this is what my great grandfather stood for. He never owned any slaves. It didn't mean slavery to him. He was just doing what he felt was right.

WOODRUFF: Jerry Mitchell, let me quickly -- I am sorry to interrupt you. I want to quickly ask you about these two other stories moving across the greater South. In Alabama, the trial of the former Ku Klux Klansman, is this -- from your reporting on this and in your sense of it -- is this something that could heal old wounds or open up new ones?

MITCHELL: Well, I think that it's something that's been going on now since about 1989 in the South in general and Mississippi has had a number of these cases where the South is trying to come to terms with its past. So, I think that it is an effort to maybe try to heal some of these old wounds, an effort to go back and reexamine these cases and look at them and see if it can be prosecuted and let the jury look at that and determine if there is evidence to bring about a conviction or not.

WOODRUFF: And not so much to rile up some of the very things that split the state of Alabama in the first place?

MITCHELL: No, I am, my sense of these cases -- it all sort of started with the Medgar Evers case of 1989. My sense of these cases, it's sort of a new generation coming along, wanting to reexamine the cases and they look at the cases and maybe they were young at the time when it happened and they said, oh, my gosh, how did this happen? You know, and want to do something about these cases,

A lot of these prosecutors who've taken on these cases are basically young, middle-aged white southerners who restarted these cases and I think that that's what we are looking at. It's taking place across the South.

WOODRUFF: Finally, Jerry, let me ask you about Cincinnati, a city that many people will consider to be a part of the South?

MITCHELL: Yes.

WOODRUFF: Why is this happening there?

MITCHELL: Your guess is as good as mine. I think that what we are seeing is the complexity of race, as it plays out in America. I don't think that it's a simple issue. I think that these things -- what becomes more difficult as time is moved on beyond the civil rights movement is to be able to distinguish between the shadows and the reality. The shadows of the past and the reality of the present and I think that that is what we are seeing playing out in Cincinnati.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jerry Mitchell with the "Jackson Clarion- Ledger" in the state of Mississippi. Thank you for joining us.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it, thank you.

There is a lot more to come on INSIDE POLITICS, including Ron Brownstein's analysis of the Bush education plan, and its prospects in Congress. Also ahead:

Who has the edge when it comes to redistricting? Our Bill Schneider explores which party may come out ahead when new battle lines are drawn.

And later: How the ethnic mix in California could shape the redistricting debate and re-draw the lines of political power. This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Taxpayers who waited until the last minute have a matter of hours to get their returns postmarked by the midnight deadline. Across the nation, an estimated 26 million people waited until today to send in their returns. Overall, the IRS expects about 130 million individual returns this year.

And President Bush saw today as an especially good time to promote his tax cut.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You often hear it said we cannot afford tax relief. But even after adjusting for inflation, the U.S. government will collect twice as much income tax revenue in 2001 as it did in 1981. Enough is enough, folks. It's time to give our folks some tax relief in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Joining me now from Miami to talk about the Bush agenda in Congress, including the education and the tax cut plans, Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times."

Ron, the president still sounds like he's very enthusiastic about his tax cut plan. How enthusiastic is Congress?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well, the president has never wavered in his enthusiasm or in his insistence on the $1.6 trillion number. They think they're in a reasonably good position here. The Senate did not, of course, go along with the 1.6, as the House did. It only gave them a little less that 1.2.

But the feeling in the White House is there were a number of people in the Senate who might go higher on the final bill. And the reason they did not go higher when it went in the Senate on the tax cut was the feeling that they accepted a number, say, 1.4 in the Senate, it would only go up from that in the conference since the House had the higher number to begin with. And the White House hope is that some of the people who voted to keep it down 27 percent below what the president wanted will in fact go higher. Interestingly, Judy, they think they have a better shot at getting some of the Democrats, who are up in 2002 in states that Bush carried, like Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, or Max Cleland in Georgia, than they do of getting those last wavering Republicans from New England.

WOODRUFF: Ron, how much resentment on the part of some Democrats who are saying it's clear to them that it's -- it's this tax cut that is driving the budget and is causing their -- at least in their words, cuts in programs that shouldn't be cut.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, there are really two separate issues here. There's the substantive and the procedural. There's a lot of disappointment on the procedural side. I mean, there's a real contrast between the way the Bush White House handled the tax and budget bill in the Congress and the way it handled education, which is the other big issue that's coming up when they return from recess.

And education, they negotiated from the outset with senators in both parties in great detail. And he behaved, I think, the White House behaved much more the way it did when Bush was governor of Texas. They made substantive compromises to try to reach agreement.

On the tax bill, they tried to muscle it through on a 51-50 basis. When they couldn't do that there was some half-hearted negotiation at the end. And if there is going to be any kind of talking, any kind of sounding out, it's going to be in the conference over the next few days. Really and critical decisions for the White House on both fronts. How hard to push, what to give, in the interest of making a deal.

WOODRUFF: Well, Ron, on the education proposal, how do you account for what is perceived to be a much less hands-on approach there -- a willingness to live what some say is a very watered-down tax -- I'm sorry -- education proposal?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, I disagree with the premise, and I think it was reflected in one story, the White House was hands-off on this. They were much more -- they were very involved in negotiating. The White House staffers, the president was distant from the process, perhaps, in terms of an intimate hands-on roll in negotiating. But the White House staff was in there making these deals, and they did make a deal.

They reached a bipartisan agreement in the Senate last week that will move a long way in the president's direction on the broad idea of trading flexibility for accountability, Judy. The idea of consolidating federal education programs, giving states more flexibility in how they spend the money, but requiring them in return to test students every year from 3 to 8, grades 3 to 8, in reading and math.

What they have, though, is they've suffered erosion on the left and the right, as you suggest. Conservatives have somewhat watered down the testing provisions, because they think it's too much federal intrusion. And the president does not have the votes at present for his idea of school vouchers.

But nonetheless, it's worth keeping in mind that even on the voucher idea, which he didn't get, they did take a step in that direction in this compromise by requiring schools that are failing to improve student performance to provide parents with vouchers they can use for after-school tutoring -- not necessarily to be used in the public school, although it doesn't go all the way to private school.

So this -- see, it's much more of a genuine give-and-take, although, as on most issues, he is not in a strong enough position to get everything he wants.

WOODRUFF: But Ron, didn't the White House, in essence, go along with the dropping of this requirement that states measure their progress against other states by using this national test, the NAEP?

BROWNSTEIN: That is one of the big issues, Judy. They did not drop it in the Senate. The House conservatives are resisting it.

We should explain what this means. The question is whether there should be a national benchmark now to evaluate all of these state tests. The president's saying every state should have to test its kids every year from 3-8. The problem would be the states then might have a lot incentive, because they get more federal money if they do well, so it could have a Lake Wobegon effect, where everybody's above average and have tests that are kind of dumbed down.

The question is: Do you use a national test as a yardstick? It was really underscored when the last NAEP results came out and showed the fourth grade reading scores were much weaker than we had hoped. And in fact, it showed no progress over the last eight years. That is still in the Senate bill. The White House was able to keep that there with the help of centrist Democrats. But conservatives in the House don't like it. They want to give states more options of what to use as a yardstick, and that will be one of the big fights the White House has in this as this bill moves forward.

WOODRUFF: All right. Ron Brownstein, thanks for clarifying. Good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: See you soon.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

Still to come: redistricting the seats on Capitol Hill. The political battle over re-shaping the Congressional districts.

But first, the day's top stories, including the filing frenzy with the IRS deadline now just hours away.

This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As flooding continues to cause trouble for people in the upper Midwest, the Minnesota National Guard is calling on volunteers to help build dikes to hold back the rising Mississippi river. Flood waters today washed out part of Amtrak's rails between Chicago and Minneapolis, forcing passenger to ride buses between the cities. It's more of the same in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Officials there say so far, most of the flood damage has been minor.

This year we all got an extra day to get it done, but for many, old habits die hard. All day, millions of procrastinators have been playing "beat the clock," as tonight's income tax midnight filing deadline closes in. Gary Tuchman is with some last-minute tax filers in Atlanta. Gary, what do you know?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Internal Revenue Service, Judy, says it's trying to make filing your taxes easier and more convenient. How about that?

With that being said, the IRS is partnering with private businesses in many parts of the country to set up help desks for people that haven't filed taxes on this last day. And here in the state of Georgia, 32 Kroger supermarkets are open until midnight for people like this who are now waiting in line waiting to file their taxes on last day.

Some of the people sitting here are here for lots of different reasons. This lady right here, we're going to bother her in the middle of this very painful time.

What is your name, ma'am? What's your name?

DENISE: Denise (ph).

TUCHMAN: Very nice meeting you. Tell me why you came to the grocery store to have your taxes filed today?

DENISE: So I can file them and get them out of the way.

TUCHMAN: You want to file -- are you going to get a refund, or are you paying this year?

DENISE: Paying this year.

TUCHMAN: OK. And what are they actually doing for you here?

DENISE: Filing my taxes.

TUCHMAN: OK. Have you gone to IRS each year -- have you gone to their office in the past?

DENISE: No, I go to H&R Block.

TUCHMAN: H&R Block. Well, this is free. H&R Block charges you, right?

DENISE: Yeah, when I'm getting something back, it's all right.

TUCHMAN: OK. Let me ask you a question, are you going to do her well her, is she going to have to pay a lot? How are you doing it for her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am going to do it the best I know how.

TUCHMAN: OK. You aren't going to give her a refund, though?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I can't tell right now, I have to look at it.

TUCHMAN: That's good news, right? Yeah, you should try to smile. You know, wait until she finds out she may get a refund. She may be smiling in a few minutes.

The IRS says it's a win-win-win situation for the grocery store that gets more customers, for the IRS taxpayers, who have the ease of filing their taxes this way, and for the IRS, which improves its reputation. Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: Gary, that poor woman! To try to get somebody to smile when they are filing their taxes I think is the impossible dream. Gary Tuchman in Atlanta.

When INSIDE POLITICS returns, plus a seat or minus a seat? Bill Schneider counts up the redirecting changes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Thee census numbers are in, and the political battle over congressional districts has begun. In some states, the districting plans and debates are already moving forward. Bill Schneider looks at the gains, the losses and the power issues involved.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (on camera): Talk about shifting power from Washington to the states. It's happening this year, just as it does every 10 years.

It's called redistricting, a process where the states have all the power, and members of Congress turn into lobbyists.

(voice-over): With the House of Representatives now almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, drawing the new lines could determine who wields power in Washington after next year's midterm elections.

But which party stands to benefit from redistricting? That depends on two things: how the population has shifted, and which party has more power in the states. Population shifts appear to favor the Republicans. Look at the states that are gaining seats in the House. Six Southern and Western states that voted for George W. Bush last year will have more representatives in Congress. Arizona, Georgia and Texas will each get two more seats. Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina will get one more, and two more seats for Florida. Looks like more battles ahead for the recount state. Total: 11 more House members from Bush states. Only one Gore state will gain power in the House. California picks up exactly one seat. Where will those 12 new seats come from? The loser states. Four Bush states will lose a House seat, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio and Oklahoma. Six Gore states will lose a total of eight House seats -- two each for New York and Pennsylvania, plus one from Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

(on camera): The 2000 census shows a continuing shift of the population from the Frost Belt, Democratic territory, to the Sun Belt, where Republicans do well; and within states, from the cities to the more Republican suburbs.

The population shift to the suburbs and the Sun Belt has been going on for 50 years. But at redistricting time, Democrats used to have more power in the states. And so, they drew lines to minimize the impact of those population shifts and keep the House under Democratic control.

After the 1980 census, California Democratic boss Phil Burton drew such twisted and tortuous district boundaries, some of them connected only at low tide! "My contribution to modern art," he called it. Well, no more. Since 1994, Republicans have wielded more power in the states.

(voice-over): Republican governors now outnumber Democratic governors. And Republicans control 18 state legislatures to the Democrats' 16, with 15 split. In eight states, the redistricting process will be controlled by Republicans. Total number of House seats in those states: 98.

In seven states, Democrats control redistricting. Total number of House seats in those states: 101. In the rest of the country, either the parties share control of redistricting, or it is handled by nonpartisan commissions, or there is only one district. Bottom line? For the first time in decades, Republicans have as much control over redistricting as Democrats.

(on camera): Meanwhile, House members are not sitting idly by while the lines are being redrawn and their fates determined. Many of them are generously sharing their campaign money with state legislators. A few have hired lobbyists to plead their case to state legislators. One New York representative, whose district is threatened with extinction, has organized a "save our district" petition drive.

And several members from threatened districts are threatening back: you eliminate my district, they're saying to the governor, and I'll run for governor next year. That'll show you.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Redistricting in the nation's most populous state is always a battle. After a decade of heavy immigration, the challenge is more complex than ever. A report on California's new political landscape, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: More than any other state in the union, California illustrates the dramatic changes in America's ethnic makeup. In historically Republican Orange County, for example, non-whites are now the majority in 10 cities. Just a decade ago, only one Orange County city had a majority non-white population. CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has more on how California's increasing diversity is beginning to shape Golden State politics.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long before the census numbers added it all up, the streets told the story: the signs were all there. In California's 51st state district, assemblyman Jerome Horton is representing an increasing number of Latinos.

JEROME HORTON (D), CALIFORNIA ASSEMBLY: I've had them say, "Jerome, you need to learn to speak Spanish," you know. So that you can understand what I'm saying, not what I feel, or what my issues are, because I want you to be able to understand what I'm feeling."

CROWLEY: Just east of LAX, the 51st is a microcosm of California's famed diversity: Asians, Pacific islanders, African- Americans, Caucasians. But like California itself, Horton's district has seen explosive growth in its Latino population, now bigger than the African-American community.

The Latino population is young, but its political clout does not yet equal its number. They were only 20 percent of the electorate when Horton was elected last year. Still, every once in a while, he wonders if the changing mix will eventually cost him his job.

HORTON: Latino candidates have come and said, basically, "I'm a Latino candidate and I understand you better than the African-American candidate, and that's why you should vote for me." And there's a significant number of Latinos that will follow that, that will vote for that. And as the Latino population begins to grow, to explode more in terms of empowerment, not in terms of quantity is concerned. Empowerment, we will have more and more and more of that.

CROWLEY: 20 miles northeast of Horton's turf, Hilda Solis is heading up a workshop to help undocumented residents legalize their INS status. A first-term U.S. congresswoman, Solis is 1 of 6 Latinos in California's 52-seat House Delegation.

REP. HILDA SOLIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I think the maturation of our community, the way we have come about in terms of historically not having representation, sure it means a lot to have Latino representation.

CROWLEY: Solis and Horton are faces of a political dynamic playing out in a once-every-10-year political exercise known as redistricting. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the way redistricting is done, is you add blocks, you subtract blocks into a district, and then up here in the data bar it will tell you how many people you are adding and how many people you are subtracting.

CROWLEY: Block by block, the boundaries that have charted the nation's political destiny for the last decade are being redrawn. Using new census figures and a host of other information, Amadis Velez works for one of many groups putting together a redistricting proposal to press upon the state legislature.

AMADIS RAUL VELEZ, REDISTRICTING COORDINATOR: In the last 10 years, over 50 percent of the growth in California was attributable to the growth in Latino population. We think, therefore, that growth should be reflected in greater political power.

CROWLEY: The thing is, there are limitless ways to redraw political boundaries.

VELEZ: As summer moves on and people entrench themselves into maps more and more, we will speak louder, if we have to, to make sure that a fair plan is drawn, the one that the legislature adopts truly represents the community.

CROWLEY: And, generally, if someone gains power, someone else loses it.

HORTON: The fear that exists is that, well, are they going to take over the community? Are they going to take over the school district? Are we going to be excluded as a result of this process from economic power?

CROWLEY: Please, said one Latino when told of this story, this is not one of those black versus brown things, is it? Because that's a myth. And setting aside the expected free-for-all over redistricting, perhaps that is so.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it doesn't matter if he is black, Latino, American or white. If he's treating everybody the same, I think it doesn't matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just would like to have the best person for the job. Oh, I don't care who he or she is.

CROWLEY: Indeed, the assemblyman from the 51st State District and the congresswoman from the 31st Congressional District talk mostly about coalescing and commonality.

SOLIS: We both struggle. We both want to see better civil rights and protections for our children. We want better education. We obviously want to see that there are opportunities to grow in the public and both private sector in jobs and opportunities. So I think our struggles are the same.

HORTON: Food, jobs, education, kids, family, you know -- if the Latino candidate is providing that, God bless them. If the African- American candidate is providing that, God bless them.

CROWLEY (on camera): Despite hesitations and some private suspicions, most minority leaders say they are at least approaching redistricting with the idea of working together for something that is fair. After all, in California, a coalition of minorities would form a majority.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Up next on INSIDE POLITICS, looking ahead to 2002. Which senators are targets of the opposing party? Stu Rothenberg and Lee Bandy take a look at some Southern Senate races.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MAX CLELAND (D), GEORGIA: Every time I have run, I have announced early to get out front and go at it. It's the only way I know how to run, is all out, going for the max.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Senator Max Cleland of Georgia is getting an early start on the 2002 campaign. Considered by the Republican Party to be a vulnerable target, Cleland is said to hope to raise $1 million at this week's kickoff events.

For more on the Senate races of 2002, I talked with Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report and Lee Bandy of "The State" newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. I began by asking about Max Cleland's early start and whether the Georgia senator has reason to worry.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STUART ROTHENBERG, "ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT": Republicans think he has something to worry about. He is from the South, he won narrowly in his last race, and Republican operatives think that he is a prime target if they can get a top-tier candidate.

I'm not so sure about that. He ended the year with $1 million in the bank, he expects to raise another million quickly. I think any incumbent is going to have an advantage going into this cycle, but there are just relative few Democratic targets, and so the Republicans see him as one of the better ones.

WOODRUFF: Lee Bandy from across the border in South Carolina, how vulnerable does Max Cleland look to you?

LEE BANDY, "THE STATE": Well, he doesn't appear to be that vulnerable. I'm sure he is worried because the Republicans have been growing in Georgia, and I imagine he wants to get out there earlier and rake up all the money he can get. It's very important in state like Georgia, with the Atlanta TV market to raise as much money as you can.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's move north to the Carolinas and look at South Carolina first. Lee, that is your state. We know that Strom Thurmond has said, presumably, he is going to step down in the year 2003. What happens after that?

BANDY: Well, right now, we have only one candidate who has announced for Strom Thurmond's seat, and that is Congressman Lindsey Graham, a Republican, who is known for the role he played in the Clinton impeachment proceedings.

And right now, I don't expect Lindsey Graham to have a Republican opponent. I think he will have a free ride in the Republican primary.

And right now, the Democrats are shopping around for a candidate. There have been several mentioned. John Palms, the president of the University of South Carolina, is considering it. Former U.S. ambassador to Britain, Phil Lader, says he is considering it. And then, we have a businessman, a very wealthy businessman, from Greeneville named Hayne Hipp, who would be a very interesting candidate if he got the Democratic nomination.

WOODRUFF: Stu, how does it look from your perspective? Lindsey Graham, the only Republican who's really got a serious shot here?

ROTHENBERG: Yeah, I think so, Judy. And that's interesting, because six months if you had told me that, I would have chuckled and said: "Look at all the state elected officials who need some place to go. They have the lieutenant governor, secretary of State, attorney general. They got to go somewhere, a couple of them well may go in the Senate race." But it looks as though they are all going in the governor's race, so Lindsay Graham has the race to himself.

Now, if you listen to Democrats, they say that their polling suggests that Graham picked up a partisan flavor in the impeachment trial. Maybe, but he to me like he also has something of a reformer label, which is a good thing to have being a conservative Republican. A reformer in South Carolina is not necessarily a bad thing. I think the Democrats have to prove that they have a candidate who knows how to run a campaign and can win, but we will wait and see.

WOODRUFF: What about the names that Lee Bandy just mentioned, the head of the -- the president of the South Carolina...

ROTHENBERG: Everything that I'm getting -- Lee is down there, and he knows who these players are, and I'm picking up the same names. What I am getting -- the flavor that I'm getting is that the political establishment and some of the key consultants are getting behind John Palms from University of South Carolina, that Hipp has significant resources, could be a self-funder, but maybe has some business dealings, may not be able to get out and run right away.

It looks to me as though Palms is getting set to leave the university and be the nominee. He is -- he's got some stature, some life experience. He doesn't have a lot of candidate experience. As far as I know, he's never run for anything. So, we really have to see how he projects as a candidate. Remember, this is South Carolina, and yes, a Democrat got elected governor there, but it's still a very Republican state.

BANDY: I agree with Stuart. I think John Palms is the choice now of the Democratic establishment. And I don't have any doubt that John Palms is qualified. He's a highly educated man, a very bright man and a very articulate man.

But the $64,000 question here is, can John Palms connect with South Carolina voters? And that's we don't know the answer to.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's move a little bit further North. North Carolina. Jesse Helms, Stu, has not said yet whether he's going to run again, what do you think?

ROTHENBERG: Judy, I have heard on air -- in fact on this air sometimes, that he's absolutely, positively going to be a candidate. I don't believe that's the case. I think this is very much up in the air. He has sent out fund-raising letters. He has indicated to people he may well be a candidate for re-election, that in itself is something of a surprise, given his health a year or two ago.

I think they're just waiting -- I think he is waiting to keep his options open, and the way you keep your options open is to say you may be a candidate. Once you say "I'm probably not going to be a candidate," the money dries up, other people try to enter the race, and things get very messy.

So, I don't know whether he is going to run. Only he and his wife know that once they make a decision. I think his health is obviously a consideration.

In the meantime, it has frozen the race, at least on the Republican side -- and even on the Democratic side, you get a sense that there are a number of names floating around. Most prominently, Erskine Bowles, former White House chief of staff, and Congressman Bobby Etheridge -- I think are the names we hear most often. There are other names.

But this race has seemed to have taken a tentative quality until we know was Senator Helms is going to do.

WOODRUFF: Lee Bandy, what you are hearing from just south of border?

BANDY: I think that the Democrats are salivating over the chances of picking this seat up. And we do know there's been some early polling down here in North and South Carolina, two different Senate races, but the early polling numbers in North Carolina show that the Democrats have a very good chance of picking up the Helms seat.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we have to leave it there. Some interesting races shaping up across the South. Lee Bandy in Columbia, Stu Rothenberg here in Washington, thanks.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Interesting. Could even be exciting.

Much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Coming up: tensions ease on the streets of Cincinnati. From lifting the curfew to healing the racial rips, we will have the latest from Ohio. This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. The Bush administration is not offering any predictions about the outcome of its Wednesday talks with China. But, the White House is being clear about its goals for the meeting in Beijing: to discuss the standoff that ended with the release of 24 U.S. crew members last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLEISCHER: The agenda for the meeting on Wednesday is basically fourfold: one, for the United States is to provide clear understanding to the Chinese about the cause of the accident from our point of view.

Two, is to discuss how each accidents can be avoided in the future;

three, as the president indicated last week to ask the tough questions to the Chinese in the manner in which they have dangerously intercepted the United States reconnaissance flights.

And four, to make the case that plane is the United States property and the United States would like it have the plane returned.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: CNN has learned that the United States plans to inform China that those U.S. reconnaissance flights will resume soon and that Washington expects Beijing to tell its pilots to back off.

China opposes U.S. surveillance flights in the region and it has challenged the American crew's account of the air collision that led to the standoff. CNN's Rebecca MacKinnon has more of the view from Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REBECCA MACKINNON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the U.S., he's called a reckless pilot, but in China, Wang Wei is a hero. The search for Wang was called off on Saturday. The state-controlled media now eulogizes him as a "revolutionary martyr," a model for China's youth.

But as it prepares for talks with the U.S. on Wednesday over the fate of the U.S. spy plane, China's focus has now shifted away from what Wang Wei did or didn't do. Beijing says the U.S. is wrong to send surveillance planes so close to China in the first place.

According to one official editorial, the EP-3 was flying inside an area China claims as an "exclusive economic zone," stretching around a group of islands it lays claim to in the South China Sea. It says surveillance flights inside that zone violate international law.

More fundamentally, observers here say, surveillance missions conducted by American men and women like these rub China's military weakness in its face.

SHEN JIRU, ACADEMY OF SOCIAL SCIENCE (through translator): It's part of their containment policy towards China. They want to be ready for a war with China over Taiwan. This is Cold War logic. They have spy satellites. Why do they have to send planes so close? They're always doing something on China's doorstep.

MACKINNON: For many Chinese, the facts of the case are less important than being treated by the U.S. with respect.

"We are angry that the U.S. is demanding its plane back," says this man. "America hurt our national pride."

But others could care less. This man says he's never heard of Wang Wei and never reads the newspapers.

(on camera): Privately, many Chinese say they're worried the spy plane blame game could turn into an ideological battle between hard- liners in both countries, while ordinary Chinese would much rather do business with the U.S. and get on with their lives.

Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Here in the United States, a town hall meeting still is underway in Cincinnati at this hour in the wake of street violence that exposed racial tensions there. It's part of the city's efforts today to move on after the police shooting of an unarmed black man. CNN's Brian Palmer has more from Cincinnati.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The city of Cincinnati is still in a state of emergency. But the mayor announced an end to the nighttime curfew and the official beginning of the rebuilding process.

MAYOR CHARLES LUKEN, CINCINNATI: We must address the broader issues of racism and economic inclusion in our community. I am chartering a diverse, high-level commission to define how we should do this and how we should make recommendations.

PALMER: Flanking the mayor were leaders from the city's African- American communities, city council members, and for the first time since the unrest started, white and black business leaders. ROSS LOVE, CINCINNATI BUSINESS LEADER: Much of the unrest in the past week is a result of basic root causes that goes beyond the subject of police treatment. The frustration is borne from a host of racially based inadequacies.

PALMER: Procter and Gamble CEO John Pepper is one of Cincinnati's most prominent businessmen.

JOHN PEPPER, CEO, PROCTER AND GAMBLE: There are some things only business can do, that's importantly jobs. It can also be about funding more housing downtown.

PALMER: But there is skepticism in the communities most affected by last week's violence and vandalism, and years of economic blight, that the mayor and the business leaders actually mean business.

REV. RAYMOND JONES: Cincinnati's going to go back to the way it was before. We've had 15 young men that was killed here in Cincinnati, and each time one gets killed they start making promises and they start saying there's money coming in for development. And then six months, four, five months, it's back to the same thing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They come to the table as they say, and they offer things, they call chump change.

PALMER: Two years ago, the federal government committed $100 million over 10 years to set up an empowerment zone in Over-the-Rhine and eight other Cincinnati communities to improve housing, health care and create jobs. Cincinnati businesses also pledged millions. Most of these funds have yet to be delivered, says the head of the empowerment zone.

HAROLD CLEVELAND, CINCINNATI EMPOWERMENT CORP.: Ultimately, we want the current businesses to help us bring resources into these communities so that we can expand businesses. We are not asking for individuals to give us their piece of the pie. Let's help create a bigger piece of the pie so that more people can be a part of the American dream.

PALMER: Bob Dierdorf manages Davis Furniture store in Over-the- Rhine, a 99-year-old business. Its windows were smashed during last week's unrest.

BOB DIERDORF, BUSINESS OWNER: Yesterday was great. And I'm sure tomorrow is going to be fine. It is a matter of getting past a little bump in the road.

PALMER: But for new businesses to take root, the residents of Over-the-Rhine and other economically strapped communities will have to show they're ready to have them.

Brian Palmer, CNN, Cincinnati.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Cincinnati is not the only place where matters of race and civil rights are front and center this week. Our Bruce Morton has more on a convergence of events -- driving home a familiar and often painful issue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Birmingham, Alabama, they are picking jurors to try the suspect in the church bombing which, almost 38 years ago, killed four little girls.

In Mississippi, they will vote on Tuesday on whether to take the Confederate emblem off the state flag.

And in Cincinnati, a mayor wants to move beyond the violence which started when police shot and killed an unarmed black 19-year-old who was fleeing.

LUKEN: Out of this crisis comes an historic opportunity for our community to make meaningful progress.

MORTON: Hear the echoes. How many mayors, how many cities. Watts, Los Angeles, 1965; Newark, Detroit, 1967. Los Angeles again with Rodney King, 1992. Race is our oldest open wound.

BILL BRADLEY, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Slavery was our original sin, just as race remains our unresolved dilemma.

MORTON: John Lewis, now a Congressman, was a leader of the civil rights movement, remembers the marches and the arrests and the beatings.

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: They are still deeply embedded in American society. It makes we me very sad, really, when I look at Birmingham, the trial, almost 38 years later, that these men are now about to be brought to justice.

MORTON: Some progress: the civil rights movement ended legal segregation bright down the White's Only signs. But it was a black youth police killed in Cincinnati, the fourth since last November. An unarmed black man Amadou Diallo killed in New York.

It's race and economics now, all mixed up. Spent 10 minutes in any public housing projects and you will know that every America doesn't give every kid an equal chance of success.

LEWIS: Despite opening up some doors and bringing down those signs, there are some people because of their economic condition, cannot enter those doors, cannot move to a different and better neighborhood. So we still need to -- to improve the economic condition of all of our citizens.

MORTON: Alabama Governor George Wallace's war cry, segregation forever, was a long time ago. But racism lives still. Poverty lives still. And these be problems may be harder to fix than the legalized racism new laws could null. The quotes from black Americans in Cincinnati -- "the anger just bubbled out," for instance -- sound just like what people said during the riots of the 1960s. And when the head of the NAACP says there are Cincinnatis in every state, you know he's right.

The marchers used to sing "Keep on a-walking until we get to freedom land." Can America still get there?

LEWIS: We'll make it. We will make it to freedom land. We will make it. It will happen, and we will create the beloved community because that is the way for us to go as a nation.

MORTON: Hard to see the end of the road if you're young and poor and black. "The land," Langston Hughes wrote, "that never has been yet and yet must be the land where every man is free."

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Still ahead, television and politics from the perspective of a veteran news producer. My interview with Don Hewitt of CBS and "60 Minutes" fame, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Don Hewitt has spent almost his life in television and pioneered some of the earliest political coverage on TV. And now, the longtime executive producer of CBS "60 Minutes" has written a book about his experiences over the last 50 years.

Last Friday, I visited Hewitt's office in New York and we discussed his career and key moments in broadcast journalism as well as his views on politics and news.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: don Hewitt...

DON HEWITT, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, CBS "60 MINUETS": Yes, ma'am.

WOODRUFF: You were born in the roaring '20s, grew up in a lot of places, in New Rochelle, New York.

HEWITT: Right.

WOODRUFF: You loved going to the movies.

HEWITT: Yes.

WOODRUFF: How did you end up in journalism?

HEWITT: I was one of these -- I have no idea why, but as a kid, other kids were playing cowboys and Indians. They were playing cops and robbers. I was playing reporter. I -- what I wanted more than anything in the world was a trench coat. I figured that was the badge.

In fact, I wanted very much to be in World War II, and I wanted to be in uniform, only the uniform was a trench coat. I wanted to be a war correspondent.

WOODRUFF: And where did that idea come from?

HEWITT: I don't know. My father was in the business end. He worked for Hearst in Milwaukee and in Boston. I had been in city rooms with him, but he was an advertising manager. And I don't know -- it just always sounded to me very glamorous. And you know something? It is. It's great. It's terrific.

WOODRUFF: Talk about the very early days of television. You write in the book about how, when they came to you, you knew about radio, you were working in pictures, and they said to you, there's this new thing that's come along.

HEWITT: Yeah, I was working at Acme News Pictures, which was the picture arm of United Press. It was so long ago, United Press -- United Press doesn't even exist anymore, which was sort of blended into INS and became UPI. And I was the night telephoto editor.

And a guy called me one day from CBS Radio, and he said CBS is looking for guys with picture experience. And I said, "Now, what in the hell would a radio network want with a guy with picture experience?" And he said, "No, not radio, television." And I said, "What-a-vision?" He said, "Television." And I said, "You mean you sit home and you look at the little pictures in a box?" And he said, "Yeah." And I said, "They don't have that." He said, "The hell they don't."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HEWITT: There is a line that separates the news biz from showbiz. The trick is to walk up to that line, touch it with your toe, but don't cross it.

If you stay too far away from it, you lose your audience. If you cross it, you lose your soul. You don't want to do that.

And that's been, I think, the success of "60 Minutes."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRY REASONER, HOST, CBS "60 MINUTES": Good evening. This is "60 Minutes." It's a kind of a magazine for television, which means it has the flexibility and the diversity of a magazine adapted to broadcast journalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: A lot of lamenting and wringing of hands these days about television news isn't really journalism. It's gone off in another direction. What do you think about that?

HEWITT: Those Sunday shows, those talk shows have become to television what Vaudeville was to showbiz. You know, it's who can holler the most at somebody else and make points.

You know, anybody who wants to go and let John McLaughlin scream at him has got to have his head examined.

WOODRUFF: You've covered some politicians from before Kennedy to today. Talk about John Kennedy.

HEWITT: John Kennedy was this first matinee idol president. I mean, he walked into that studio in Chicago on the night of the first debate and he looked like a Harvard undergraduate: well-tailored, tan, great posture.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You say that "We'll now have questions, gentlemen," and then we move over here, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

KENNEDY: Good?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HEWITT: Nixon came in looking kind of green and sallow, and that was the night that we picked a president for the same reason that we pick a Miss America: One looked better than the other.

I never knew that Kennedy had been made up until Ted Sorensen told it to me 35, 40 years, that they'd also made up Kennedy in the back of a room.

WOODRUFF: But you also write about how Kennedy prepared for this debate, took it more seriously than Nixon did.

HEWITT: I had a meeting with Jack Kennedy in a hangar at Midway Airport in Chicago a week before the event, and he wanted to know -- this guy sopped up information. Where do I stand? Who do I talk to? How many minutes have I got to answer? What do you want me to do? What do you don't want me to do?

I never saw Nixon. Nixon spoke to the carpenters that afternoon. He thought it was just another campaign appearance. Kennedy knew that an election hung on the series of debates.

WOODRUFF: Is covering politics different from covering anything else serious that you cover?

HEWITT: It has become such a money game that in the greatest democracy on Earth, the No. 1 qualification to hold office is an ability to raise money. Forget whether you have an ability to govern. It makes no difference. And it's all because of the money for television commercials. And it all happened the night of the first debate when television and politics all of a sudden eyed each other and said, "Hey, we need each other."

That was the night that politics decided you don't need whistle- stop trains anymore, you don't need campaign buttons, you don't need bumper stickers, you don't need the speech on the courthouse steps. Television's the way to run for office.

And television said, those guys are a bottomless pit of advertising dollars. It cost Franklin Roosevelt $2.6 million to get elected president of the United States. Now in today's money that's 26, 27 million dollars.

Hillary Clinton and Rick Lazio spent more than that on television commercials for one Senate seat. It's out of hand.

WOODRUFF: What do you say, though, to somebody who is watching this and they're saying, well, here's Don Hewitt who's been executive producer of the most successful television news program ever for -- how many years? -- 33 years...

HEWITT: Yeah.

WOODRUFF: ... and now he's complaining about this? Isn't it a little late?

HEWITT: Maybe I'm coming late to the game, but come on, you and I know that the question that's asked of people like you and people like me, "Who died and left you in charge?" is not always an invalid question. I mean, we are pretty big for our britches, and we do act like we have rights that nobody else has. And I think it's time that we examined ourselves.

We're not as bad as people think we are, but we're not as good as we think we are.

WOODRUFF: You were very candid in your book about whom you supported, whom you voted for over the years. Is that difficult for you to come right out and say it, or have you always felt...

HEWITT: No. I figured if you're going -- I just -- I'm everywhere.

One of the things that I've decided to expunge from my own vocabulary, lexicon, are the words conservative and liberal. I do not know what they mean. I never knew what was conservative -- conservative about selling arms to the ayatollah and liberal about wanting to know why we did. I have now sort of come to the conclusion that what I believe in is what makes sense to me and what doesn't make sense to me.

It makes perfect sense to me that hunters can have guns. What is nonsense to me is that there are 200 million handguns in America they can't get of. And it has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. I'm convinced that if we get rid of the NRA, reasonable Americans would find a way to respect the Second Amendment and get rid of the guns that people shouldn't have.

This is insanity that we equate your right to go hunting with your right to go hunting on the streets of American cities.

WOODRUFF: You voted for Gore.

HEWITT: I voted for Gore. Now, do I think Bush won fair and square? No. Does it upset me? No. It's amazing that the number of people in this country who voted for Al Gore really don't care that Bush stole the election, because I always figured the best we're going to get is a fair to midlin president.

There were times in the last couple of weeks I'm beginning to wonder whether we are really going to get a fair to midlin president, and he's done some things that worry me. He did pretty good on the China thing. I think that the real test is coming now. What do we do when it comes to selling arms to Taiwan?

Now -- now you've got a crisis. The other one was -- it was, you know, it's all great, knowing our boys are home and the pilot was great, he brought the plane down. The big test is coming.

WOODRUFF: The book is "Tell Me a Story," Don Hewitt, "50 Years of '60 Minutes.'" Thanks very much.

HEWITT: Thank you. I loved it.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: There is more INSIDE POLITICS coming up, but first, let's go to Willow Bay for a preview of what's ahead at the bottom of the hour on "MONEYLINE." Hi, Willow.

WILLOW BAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, Judy. Coming up next on "MONEYLINE," a stunning earnings warning announced after the bell from Cisco Systems. We will talk live with CEO John Chambers, and we'll find out just what went wrong.

A multibillion dollar bank merger will create the nation's fourth-largest bank. And early retirement comes to a screeching halt for some as investors watch their lifesavings dwindle in the stock market.

All those stories and more next on "MONEYLINE." INSIDE POLITICS continues in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Children visiting Washington and those who live here had to settle for a White House tour today instead of the traditional Easter egg roll on the White House lawn. A chilly rain made the grounds too wet for the annual egg roll, which was last rained out back in 1984. After braving the wait outdoors, the kids and their parents toured the White House and met the Easter Bunny inside where it was warm and dry.

The children did get to take home a commemorative White House Easter egg, as many as there were, and a few even met the president.

We're sorry about the rain.

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

This programming note: On this tax day, former Clinton economic adviser Gene Sperling and James Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute will discuss the need for tax reform on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

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

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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