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President Prepares to Unveil Energy Policy Recommendations

Aired May 16, 2001 - 17:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We need more than lip service. I don't think any American would be satisfied with nothing but lip service.



REP. DICK ARMEY (R), TEXAS: I think it's time for the Democrats now to get working on solutions and quit trying to hang a rap on somebody else.


ANNOUNCER: A surge in power politics before tomorrow's rollout of the president's energy plan.

On the day Timothy McVeigh had been scheduled to die, the FBI chief answers to Congress about mistakes made. Plus: when private affairs become public, how politicians confront rumors. True or false. And: Swift judgments on whether motherhood and politics mix.

Now Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

The president's energy task force has delivered its recommendations, and now, as Mr. Bush prepares to unveil the plan tomorrow, he's already selling it to the public as optimistic but tough. The president spoke about energy at a Cabinet meeting just a short while ago.

Let's get the latest from our Senior White House correspondent John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, that Cabinet meeting wrapping up now. The president will travel to the states of Minnesota and Iowa tomorrow to unveil his new long-term energy plan. But the questioning from reporters, and the president's back and forth with them in the Cabinet room, a reflection of how short-term immediate issues are shaping the long-term debate over energy policy. What came up when the president opened the floor to questions? Concerns about rising gas prices at the pump, rising electricity costs in California.

The president is saying he's confident as he tries to focus the country on a long-term energy strategy. The federal agencies will make sure that consumers are not being overly penalized whether the issue is gas prices or electricity costs.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't overcome the fact that we haven't built a refinery in years, and we should have. We can make sure -- we can make sure that any entity will not illegally overcharge. And, so I'm calling on the FTC to make sure that nobody in America gets illegally overcharged. And we're going to make sure, first -- we'll monitor electricity suppliers to make sure they charge rates that are fair and reasonable.


KING: Now, once again those short-term questions are a reflection of the very polarized and difficult political environment facing the president in the short term as he travels and urges the country and the Congress to take a step back and assess this country's energy needs in the long term.


KING (voice-over): The report has 105 recommendations in all: 42 deal with conservation and alternative fuels, including tax credits for buying energy-efficient vehicles, more research money for biofuels made from animals and farm waste, and new incentives to encourage wind and solar power. But the controversy is on the supply side: The report projects a need for at least 1,300 new power plants over the next 20 years and says the industry, including producers of nuclear power, needs relief from permitting and environmental regulations.

J. SCOTT PETERSON, NUCLEAR ENERGY INSTITUTE: We have three new reactor designs we can just take off the shelf and build. So the only thing we have to do then is get a combined license to both build and operate that plant. And then we build plants in four to five years versus the eight, 10 or 12 years that it took to build in the '70s and '80s.

KING: The administration bets heavily on coal in the short term, promising $2 billion in new research of clean coal technology, and a new look at an environmental rule the industry says is hurting existing plants.

JACK GERARD, NATIONAL MINING ASSOCIATION: We could achieve yet another 40,000 megawatts of power equal to taking care of the annual needs of 18 million people.

KING: Producing more oil and natural gas is a priority, too, And the administration makes the case new technology makes it safe to drill in federal lands environmentalists and many in Congress say should be kept off-limits.

REP. EDWARD MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: To drill in the Arctic wilderness. To construct a pipeline to bring the oil down to California, to put it into the gasoline tanks of SUV's that average 14 miles per gallon would be a sin against nature and history.

KING: The administration says a major factor in rising prices at the pump is that no new refineries have been built in the United States since the 1970s. And the report, once again, calls for easing a maze of government regulations.

GENEVIEVE MURPHY, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: There are many regulations. I mean, zoning and citing are probably key. There's also the many, many gasolines. The many different kind of fuels that refineries have to produce for different parts of the country.

KING: Nothing in the president's plan would directly impact gas prices in the short term.


KING: And that has many Republicans nervous because of rising consumer anger. And so today, the White House added a new twist to its sales pitch, suggesting the president's call for a new long-term strategy will have a psychological impact on energy markets and energy prices in the short term -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, is it fair to say that the administration just underestimated the extent to which the short-term issues would be staring them in the face when they issued their energy proposal?

KING: Well certainly, they knew of the California crisis. They did not know that they would get into a political back-and-forth with the governor so much. That has been an intense political fight. Many Republicans in the California Congressional Delegation quite nervous about that as they think ahead to the 2002 election. And, of course, they did not know how captivating a news story -- again, they think we're overplaying this -- rising gasoline prices would become in this country. Just as the president tried to discuss this issue from a long-term perspective.

The administration making clear that if you look at the markets now, you're seeing evidence that prices at the pump will begin to fall in the weeks ahead. Certainly by Memorial Day weekend, they certainly hope so. Because they want focus on the problem, they think that helps the president politically -- make the case we need to do something. But, his report is very much long-term focus. If people want answers quickly they might be disappointed in what the president has to say,

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

Republican leaders from both the House and the Senate today pledged to move Mr. Bush's energy plan through Congress, quickly. That urgency may stem from the complaints of their constituents and from the way Democrats are hammering away on the energy issue. Here is our congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In rising gasoline prices, Democrats see a potential political windfall as they try to pin blame on a president they say is more concerned about helping big energy companies than consumers.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Why is the president so unresponsive to the consumers and small businesses who need relief now?

DASCHLE: But I tell you when that gasoline pump shows $3 a gallon, when the brownouts start to occur, when shortages generate the kinds of lines that we did see at one point in the not-too-distant past, I think you're going to see an urgency that will match every bit the urgency you've seen on some of the other pressing issues we're facing today.

KARL: The chairman of the Democratic party got into the act, too.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Bush is more concerned about the bottom-line profits of the big oil companies than he is the bottom line budgets of America's working families.

KARL: Republicans want to play the blame game, too. If there's a political price to be paid, they say, it should be paid by Democrats who failed to develop an energy policy while Bill Clinton was in the White House.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: I've noticed that, you know, that all the Democrats want to do so far as to try to figure out who to blame. They might want to look into the mirror, it would be a good start as why we've got the problems we have, and why we haven't done anything for several years.

KARL: But Bill Clinton is long gone, and there are some Republicans who are concerned that, fairly or not, their party will suffer if the White House doesn't do something in the short run about high prices. Sensitive to the politics of the issue, Republican leaders say they are likely to add some short-term fixes to the president's plan, such as more tax credits to encourage conservation.

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON, (R), TEXAS: If we can say that someone would lower their consumption in their homes 10 percent. Let's give them a tax credit. If they will buy fuel-efficient car, let's give them a tax credit. So I think there will be some options out there that are short term.


KARL: But Republican leaders are steadfastly opposed to price controls, a short-term fix favored by many Democrats -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So Jon, how would you characterize Republicans in the House and the Senate? Are they basically going to be standing behind the president tomorrow or not?

KARL: Essentially, they will be standing behind the president tomorrow. They are echoing his line that -- look these are long-term problems. It took us a long time to get into this situation. It will take time to get out. But they are also going to be adding, Judy, that they are act -- they are interested, and they will work very hard to provide some short-term relief. But they're are saying don't expect any quick fixes in the short term.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl at the Capitol.

Let's talk more about energy and those high prices at the gasoline pumps with Representative Ed Markey, whom we saw a minute ago. Democrat of Massachusetts, a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. And Ed Murphy, he's senior manager of the American Petroleum Institute.

To you first, Ed Murphy, why are gasoline prices so high?

ED MURPHY, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: They're high, first of all, for two reasons: First of all, because crude oil prices are up over the last year. That -- that explains about 1/3 of increase. But the majority of the increase, 2/3 of the increase in other words, is due to a -- in essence, a shortage of refinery capacity and the infrastructure that we need to refine and produce and distribute petroleum in the United States. We've gone through a period of essentially 10 years where we have ignored our petroleum infrastructure, and we are paying the consequences right now.

WOODRUFF: If that's the case, Representative Markey, how can you and any other Democrat expect the president to fix this problem so quickly?

MARKEY: Well, I disagree with him. OPEC announced in January they would take 2 1/2 million barrels of oil a day off the market. Alan Greenspan said this morning that OPEC is primarily responsible for this increase in prices. Thus far, the administration has refused to really jawbone OPEC.

In fact, Vicente Fox in Mexico took 40,000 barrels off of the market coming into the United States after President Bush visited Mexico. And as of yet, the administration has not called the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission to investigate price gouging by the oil industry at the pump.

WOODRUFF: So, these are two different issues. Let me ask you, Ed Murphy, about the latter point he's making. Price gouging by the oil industry at the pump...

ED MURPHY, AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE: The situation is right for demagoguery. and hopefully, we can shed some light, rather than confusion on this. The congressman knows that just this year, there were two FTC investigations. One on the West coast prices. One focused on Midwest prices.

Both of those investigations exonerated the petroleum industry. they found there was no violation of law, that in fact the industry was competitive. So again, to claim now that we need another investigation is frankly escapist. It's preventing us from addressing the issue, which is a shortage of refinery capacity...

WOODRUFF: What about that, Ed Markey?

MARKEY: Out in California, for example, the price of electricity has gone up ten fold in the last year 1/2. Ten fold. So, if a price of Wonderbread went from $1.39 to $13.90 in a year in a half, or a Chevrolet from 23,000 to 230,000, you would say, there has to be price gouging. That's what happened in the California electricity marketplace.

The administration has refused thus far to do anything about it. They kind of had this faith-based energy policy, which is, we will pray for you, but we aren't going to use our administration to help you on gasoline prices or on electricity prices.

WOODRUFF: But what about Mr. Murphy's point, that there's been investigations done by the Federal Trade Commission that didn't turn anything up.

MARKEY: Right now, I think every American is wondering how in the world these prices can spike up -- in some areas 40, 50 cents in a couple of week period? And have no government official at all moving in to find out whether or not they are being tipped upside down and having money shaken out of their pockets, only by being exploited by the oil industry, which has been merging and consolidating at a rapid rate over the last three years.

MURPHY: Again, the Congressman knows the Federal Trade Commission has testified before Congress, that in fact the mergers and acquisitions are not a factor in the current price increases. One of the issues...

WOODRUFF: What about the immediate increases?

MURPHY: The congressman could do something very quickly. The Congress could help us simplify the gasoline distribution system. Because as the Congressman knows, there's a federal requirement that we have oxygenates to gasoline. The result of that is, we have a myriad 15 different types of gasoline in the United States because state localities don't want oxygenates in the gasoline.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying that contributes to the problem?

MURPHY: It contributes to the problem because it moves the flexibility that we have, and that's one of the contributing factors in the Midwest last summer. It moves the flexibility we have, from moving gasoline from one area to another because gasoline is uniquely designed for particular areas of the country.

WOODRUFF: What about that?

MARKEY: In a lot of ways, this Bush plan is nothing more than a Trojan Horse for the energy to take environmental and health rules off the books that they've opposed bitterly over the years.

MURPHY: That's not true. That is not correct.

MURPHY: The issue which we have right now that OPEC has been holding back this oil -- that we should be able to extract from them as a concession for their membership in all the protected, defensive arrangements which we have with them.

Alan Greenspan said that this morning in testimony. I think we should be realistic about the way these global energy markets work and hold them accountable, especially Mexico, with whom we have a NAFTA agreement, that is supposed to have free trade as the cornerstone and not them playing games with us with the one product they do have: oil.

MURPHY: But one of the things the congressman would have to recognize is, we're subject to OPEC, the fact that we are subject to their whims on prices, is because we have not been allowed in the United States to produce and refine and distribute the oil that we have.

WOODRUFF: What about the point he made about, there needs to be more jawboning of OPEC by this administration?

MURPHY: I certainly think that's part of the international policy. That's something that would be appropriate. But we need to take control of our own resources; we could help ourselves more than we are doing right now. We could produce more oil and more natural gas in the U.S. if the Congressman would leave the effort to allow us to have access...

WOODRUFF: And Representative Markey, you don't deny this country needs to produce more oil? Or do you disagree wit that?

MURPHY: The bottom line is OPEC controls 75 percent of the oil reserves in the world. We control 3 percent. That's our weakness. Our strength is that we're...

WOODRUFF: So, you're saying there should be more production?

MURPHY: We should have additional production, but we should be realistic. Where we are strong is in technology. Suvs, air conditioners, make them more efficient. If we can build Star Wars to shoot down Chinese and Soviet missiles, why can't -- the president is not calling for a crash program for the auto industry or the air conditioning industry to dramatically increase efficiency, which is our technological strength.

MURPHY: Let's not look for scapegoats here. In fact, we do have -- a large component of our vehicles are suvs and light-duty trucks. If we could magically wave a wand, and move the gas efficiency of those to a car with passenger cars, we would save 3 percent of our national energy. So, it's a contributing factor, but it's not the answer. Conservation is important. But we also need to produce our resources that we have.

WOODRUFF: Just to clarify, the Congressman's charge about price gouging about the oil industry. Your answer?

MURPHY: Absolutely incorrect. We have responded in the way which we can. We produced the largest -- in April, we produced the largest amount of gasoline we have ever produced in April. We are importing substantial amounts of gasoline. In fact, we have responded -- wholesale prices in the last several days have been falling...

WOODRUFF: I'm sorry, we have -- we have to leave it there. We could go on. And I wish we could, but we will certainly continue this. Ed Murphy, Petroleum Institute, Congressman Ed Markey, thank you both very much.

Our conversation on the nation's energy crunch continues. In just a moment, we will talk gas prices, blackouts, and the president's plan, with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

Also: the man who argued President Bush's election case before the supreme court finds himself under a political microscope. We will take a closer look at Theodore Olson's attempt to become solicitor general. And later:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to respond quickly, honestly, truthfully. Let you ask any question you want to ask about this matter and put it to bed.


WOODRUFF: What was once unheard of is now routine: how politicians try to manage media questions about their personal lives.



WOODRUFF: Joining us now from the White House to talk more about the nation's energy problems: Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham.

Mr. Secretary, is the plan that you, the president, will unveil tomorrow going to solve those problems?

SPENCER ABRAHAM, ENERGY SECRETARY: It will. It finally takes the kind of comprehensive approach we need to solve the energy crisis that we confront in America over the next 20 years. We will have a huge increase in demand for energy over the next 20 years, we need a comprehensive plan to address it.

Our plan takes advantage of modern technologies and modern approaches to conservation, modern approaches to generating more energy supply. And it will get the job done. That's what we have needed for a long time.

WOODRUFF: What about the point that we just heard Congressman Ed Markey and others making, that the United States needs to do far more to say to the OPEC countries, you've got to keep the prices down? ABRAHAM: Well, you know, these conversations have gone back and forth for many years. At the end of the day, countries will do what they think is in their best interest. What's in the best interests of the United States is to increase our own domestic energy supplies, petroleum supplies to find more diverse sources around the world and do better job on conservation. Our plan will address all of those.

So that whether or not our discussions with other countries are successful in a country by country or a regional basis we still have the energy security we need. That's the approach we are taking.

WOODRUFF: As you know, Mr. Secretary, it is not only Democrats but Republicans who are saying the president's plan, no matter what part of it they agree with, they are saying, doesn't address enough, the short-term problems here. Whether it's gasoline or electricity. To what extent are you worried about the short term?

ABRAHAM: We are worried about it, which is why the very first thing I did upon taking office was to call the governor of California, and begin to work with him as we have over the last several months, on trying to improve the situation there, to try to reduce the number of and the intensity of blackouts in California this summer. We've done a number of things to try to be of help there. It's the approach we've taken on every crisis in the administration.

But the challenge we have -- the reason we keep having these crises is because we aren't dealing with the overall problem. That's what we are trying to do with this energy plan. It's a very positive approach, so that we don't have the problems repeat every single summer, every single winter. By taking that approach, Judy, I think we will finally put America on the right course.

WOODRUFF: You say you've been working with California. But I was just out there last week and a number of people out there were quoting to me what the president and the vice president have said: namely, that California's problems are of their own making.

ABRAHAM: Well, the fact is, that upon taking office, as I said, the very first call I made as secretary was to Governor Davis, we worked with him to extend emergency orders to ensure supplies of natural gas and electricity. To expedite permits so we could get more generation on course so we could help him by reducing government energy usage and government facilities.

In fact, we've cooperated on virtually every request that's been made and gone beyond that. We don't agree with the idea of price caps, because that will make the problem worse. But I think we've cooperated more with California than the governor's gotten in terms of cooperation from his own legislature.

WOODRUFF: What about some other short-term measures? We just heard Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas talk about short-term tax credits, in the short term, for people who take conservation measures at home, or who buy more fuel-efficient vehicles. Are those things the White House and you could go along with? ABRAHAM: Well, you know, if you look at the president's budget, some of those very kinds of proposals are included in the budget we submitted to Congress. So, we do support those kinds of steps. And I think you will see, when those energy plans are released tomorrow, that there are a variety of measures covering conservation, covering incentives for renewable energy or for other energy to be used.

A variety of things that will have an immediate effect if Congress takes action immediately. Or if the various departments and agencies do. I know at the Department Of Energy, we will take the document and begin acting on it immediately.

WOODRUFF: Well, are you saying then -- for Senator Hutchison and others to be talking about this -- that they're talking about something that is already in the plan?

ABRAHAM: Well, I think they will be surprised at how comprehensive the plan is. Remember, a lot of these issues do require a long-term view. That's what the president's offered: a comprehensive approach that takes into account modern technologies, that takes into account modern ways to approach conservation, renewable and alternative energy sources.

And we will do that, but obviously, some of this takes action by the Congress, some of it will be action we take immediately in the various government departments and agencies. Some of these steps will be happening very quickly.

WOODRUFF: Are you concerned, Mr. Secretary, that the oil industry, the energy industry overall, whether it's gasoline or electricity, is making too much now in the way of profit?

ABRAHAM: Well, you know, just a couple of years ago, some of these industries were not making any profits at all. The price of oil was very low and there wasn't much investment. Now we see the pendulum swing the other way. This is the way the laws of supply and demand tend to work.

WOODRUFF: So, you are comfortable with their profit?

ABRAHAM: I think the issue shouldn't be whether or not the companies are making money. It's whether or not they are acting in ways that are inappropriate. The president today called on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to monitor closely and be effective watchdogs to make sure the actions of the companies aren't in any way inappropriate.

As long as they maintain a proper conduct within the law, obviously, they have a right to co -- to do their business. But we will be very vigilant to make sure they act according to the way the various laws require them to behave.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Mr. Secretary, again, we heard Representative Markey saying just now, to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, sin against nature. ABRAHAM: Well, you know. This is a dramatic exaggeration of the situation there. But you can at the same time be complaining about a lack of energy supply and then say, we will close off all sources of new supply. Our plan will be balanced between conservation on the one hand, and finding new supplies on the other.

WOODRUFF: But supplies is the main emphasis, correct?

ABRAHAM: I think you will be surprised, Judy, at the balance within the plan. Obviously, there are some people who say, let's not increase supply at all. That's kind of the approach California took with respect to electricity. That's part of the reason they have the problem they have today.

WOODRUFF: It sounds like you're suggesting, we don't know all there is to know about what's...

ABRAHAM: I think the plan will have its critics. I'm sure they will. But I think it is a constructive approach and I hope people will give it a fair hearing.

WOODRUFF: All right, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, thank you very much for joining us.

ABRAHAM: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: The latest on the recently uncovered FBI documents, and their continued impact on the McVeigh case, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

Plus: FBI Director Louis Freeh goes before Congress, to answer for what he called "a serious error" by the Bureau.


WOODRUFF: This is the day Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection. Instead, he met for more than two hours with his attorneys to consider his next legal move, following the discovery of those FBI documents related to his case.

CNN's Susan Candiotti is standing by with the latest outside the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana -- Susan.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. No longer said to be distressed over the impact of his delayed execution, convicted Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh is feeling better, his lawyers say, especially a week after the FBI's embarrassing revelation that it had failed to turn over more than 3,000 pages of material, new material, that McVeigh's defense team had not seen before trial.

That, of course, earned Timothy McVeigh a 30-day postponement by the Bureau Of Prisons. His scheduled execution, now June 11. Today, as you pointed out, was supposed to be his execution day. Instead, McVeigh spent it meeting with his lawyers for a couple of hours discussing the latest developments in his case and his various legal avenues, should his lawyers find a basis for an appeal or at the very least, a basis to ask the court for another postponement.


NATHAN CHAMBERS, MCVEIGH ATTORNEY: His spirits are good. He remains willing to consider all options that might be available to him. As the defense team, we have a lot of work to do. And really, now is the time for us to work, not talk.


CANDIOTTI: Even today FBI director Louis Freeh has told every field office of the FBI throughout the United States that they must turnover everything, including any copies of any material they may have, must turn those in to the Oklahoma office, the headquarters of the OK bomb investigation, by tomorrow.

Now, Timothy McVeigh is said to be playing an active role as he considers his legal options. But what are his chances of facing another postponement, or facing an execution, rather, on June 11? His lawyers say they won't make any predictions. Back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Susan Candiotti reporting from Terra Haute, thanks.

As McVeigh and his lawyers conferred behind bars, FBI director Louis Freeh testified before a committee of Congress. Freeh took responsibility for the missing documents that caused the McVeigh execution to be postponed. But some lawmakers expressed concerned beyond this latest incident. They focused on potential reforms at the FBI. Here is CNN's justice correspondent Kelli Arena.


KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Speaking publicly for the first time about the FBI's latest blunder, Louis Freeh called it a serious mistake.

LOUIS FREEH, FBI DIRECTOR: As director, I am accountable and responsible for that failure, and I accept that responsibility.

ARENA: He tried to explain how the Bureau failed to turnover more than 3000 pages of documents to Timothy McVeigh's defense team.

FREEH: It appears that most offices of the FBI either failed to locate the documents and items in question, misinterpreted their instructions and likely produced only those that would be disclosed under normal discovery, or sent the documents only to have them unaccounted for at the other end. Any of these cases is unacceptable.

ARENA: Freeh revealed the FBI has uncovered even more documents, the results of a search ordered Friday. He blamed the problem on management, not the computer system. At the same time, Freeh maintains the documents will not affect McVeigh's conviction or sentence. Even so, some members of Congress suggest this latest incident may further damage trust in the FBI. REP. DAVID OBEY (D), WISCONSIN: I just think this is a, it's a pitiful performance which is feeding the paranoia of large sections of this county and that's last thing we can afford.

ARENA: Freeh wants to hire an expert to oversee record keeping and he's instructed the Bureau to stand down for a day to underscore its importance. But some in congress are calling for an inspector general within the FBI.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The brutal fact of life is that these agencies become so big, so powerful, so important, that congressional oversight is not sufficient.

ARENA (on camera): Freeh disagrees. Of course, it will be an issue for his successor to deal with, as Freeh is set to leave the Bureau next month. Kelli Arena CNN Washington.


WOODRUFF: Was this an honest mistake or an example of Bureau mismanagement? For more on the FBI's role watch "CROSSFIRE" tonight. Representatives Porter Goss and Maxine Waters face off. That's at 7:30 Eastern.

The president's nominee for solicitor general comes under fire. We will talk with the ranking Democrat in the Judiciary Committee about why he wants to investigate Theodore Olsen's committee testimony.


WOODRUFF: Joining us now to talk about FBI director Louis Freeh and his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee today as well as one other very controversial matter, Senator Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. And I want to note, we had expected the committee a chairman, Republican Orrin Hatch, to be joining us as well, but at the last minute his office called and said that he had to change his plans.

Senator Leahy, we're glad to have you with us. I want to begin by asking you whether, after listening to Director Freeh today, you're now satisfied that you know what happened with regard to those documents about Timothy McVeigh?

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: Well, I think we'll take a greater look at where the documents, what happened to them. I know that Director Freeh issued a very, very strong order at the beginning of this case to turn over all documents. Obviously, some were not. There have been a number of things like this, when the lab and the Olympics bombing case and a number of other things where it appears the headquarters will say one thing, and usually the right thing, and it's not carried out.

I think we'll look carefully into this exactly -- find out exactly what happened to the papers because, and this should get cleared up now before the new director comes in. WOODRUFF: But it sounds like you're not holding him responsible, you're holding people under him responsible.

LEAHY: Well, of course, ultimately, the director carries the responsibility for everything in the office. But I think he did the right thing in ordering the papers to be delivered. Obviously some did not follow his order. I think Attorney General Ashcroft did the right thing here by saying, let's holdup for a month. Let's and make sure the American people feel we've done the right thing.

WOODRUFF: So, when your Democratic colleague over in the House, Representative David Obey called -- today -- called the FBI a failed agency, would you go that far?

LEAHY: No. I think, I look at some of the remarkable cases. Just the fact that they were able to put together the material on this matter. I don't know if there's another agency in the world that could have brought together all the evidence on the Oklahoma bombing in the way that the FBI did.

I do think that there has to be some tighter control. There has to be a willingness to understand that they're not infallible, that they make mistakes. And we saw in the Hanssen case, that's a mistake of not upgrading computers in the way they should.

WOODRUFF: Yes, it just seems, I think, to an outsider, 13 some odd thousand pages and more that just didn't show up, it boggles the mind.

LEAHY: It was a bad mistake, but also, that's why I do praise Attorney General Ashcroft in saying we hold things up while we straighten this out to give some faith back to the whole system.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me turn the corner now and ask you about Theodore Olsen, the president's nominee to be the solicitor general. Are you still, at this point, questioning the testimony that he gave to your committee about his role in the so called "Arkansas project," this conservative group?

LEAHY: Well, I'm concerned about that. I'm concerned because we asked him a lot of questions. I don't think we were given adequate answers. It's not his politics. I mean, this is a man that will be, solicitor general is sort of reported to as the 10th member of the Supreme Court.

He's supposed to be the person who is so above reproach, so above question, can appear before the Supreme Court, get both sides of the issue and there'd be no question of him. Yet he's raised questions in his own testimony. I'd like to have the answers to that before he's voted on. Now there's two other people on the agenda tomorrow who were heavily involved in investigating the Clintons, investigating Whitewater, very, very partisan investigations, but they'll go through easily. Democrats and Republicans will vote for them because they have answered the questions.

WOODRUFF: But the solicitor general position, in particular, Senator Leahy, is a position that's supposed to be above politics. Are enough senators on your committee persuaded that Mr. Olsen will be completely above politics here?

LEAHY: No, there are a lot of people who believe that he will not and they believe that the indication of that is that he was unwilling to answer fully the questions that were asked of him. I'm concerned that Senator Hatch would not agree to what is always done in a case like this, to have both a Republican and Democratic council of the investigators go out and follow-up and fill-in the blanks where questions were not asked. And I think because of that, there's a lot of concern about it and there will be a lot of people who vote against him.

WOODRUFF: But no doubt in your mind this vote will take place tomorrow as apparently Senator Hatch is promising?

LEAHY: Well, I suspect there will be a vote tomorrow. There will be a vote on all three of these people. What will be the result of the vote, I don't know. Although I expect that the other two who have had a very partisan past, but have been straightforward in their responses, they will go through the committee very easily.

WOODRUFF: And if he's confirmed will this just be the end of it? Mr. Olsen?

LEAHY: Well, if he's confirmed, you know, these questions can always come up any time. But he's still a long way from confirmation. And I think, you know, in my case, I would have a difficult time voting for anybody, Republican or Democrat who have not answered fully answered the questions, legitimate questions, asked of them.

WOODRUFF: All right, well Senator Patrick Leahy, we should point out that Mr. Olsen insists that he has told the truth before the committee, and again we want to point out that the Judiciary Committee chairman, Orrin Hatch was expected to be here for this interview, at the last minute he had to cancel. But we do want to thank you, Senator Leahy. We appreciate it.

An indictment and a verdict. The latest in the FBI spy case, and a jury decides the fate of a Florida teenager accused of murder. Those stories, and more, when we return.


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

Former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen was indicted today on charges of spying for Moscow. The 21 count indictment alleges Hanssen "betrayed his country for over 15 years." Hanssen was arrested last February while allegedly delivering a package for pickup just outside of Washington. He is only the third FBI agent ever accused of espionage. If convicted he could get the death penalty.

For a Florida teen who shot and killed his teacher, it could have been worse. Fourteen-year-old Nathaniel Brazill was convicted today of second degree murder. He admitted killing teacher Barry Grunow last year, but he said it was an accident. Brazill had been charged as an adult with first-degree murder, which carries an automatic sentence of life without parole. Lawyers for both sides said there were no winners in the case. .


ROBERT UDELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They say anytime both sides are unhappy with a verdict, it's a good verdict. Maybe that applies to this case. We thought the crime was manslaughter. The jury apparently disagreed with us. Apparently they believed Nathaniel that he didn't go to the school with the intent of assaulting and or killing Mr. Grunow. We appreciate that.



MARC SHINER, PROSECUTOR: There's no victories here. We are not saying in any way, shape or form, that this is anything to be proud of. The system does work. It's sad that we had a 13-year-old young man on trial for killing a teacher who was a role model other teaches should emulate to be just like, who really loved and cared about what he was doing.


WOODRUFF: Nathaniel Brazill faces 25 years to life in prison. A sentencing hearing is set for next month.

A new report on the Columbine High School shootings is scheduled to be released tomorrow. CNN's Gina London explains why some are saying the report is a waste of time.


GINA LONDON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His 15-year-old son, Daniel, was killed in the worst school shooting in U.S. history, and now Brian Rohrbough is waiting for the upcoming 200-page report from the Columbine Review Commission. He does not have high hopes.

BRIAN ROHRBAUGH, VICTIM'S FATHER: I'm going to read the commission's report, and I'm not expecting to find anything in it, you know, that has any value whatsoever.

LONDON: The attack on April 20, 1999, left 12 students, a teacher and the gunmen dead. Five months later, Colorado Governor Bill Owens created a volunteer panel to look for ways to prevent a similar tragedy.

TROY EID, GOVERNOR'S COUNSEL: If people want to understand what happened at Columbine part of the problem is there's has not a been a time line in terms of even basic issues: When did the police enter the building. What did they do, why did it take so long.

LONDON (on camera): The major difficulty for and complaint against the commission: it did not have the power to compel people to talk. Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, which has had ongoing criticism over its handling of the incident and inves (AUDIO GAP)

... share all of its information, and Sheriff John Stone chose not to testify before the commission.

(voice-over): The sheriff's department sited pending law suits as its reason for not cooperating.

But Rohrbough says without such information, the report will be "incomplete."

ROHRBAUGH: If they don't have all the answers, there's no way they can learn all the lessons.

LONDON: Lessons which can't bring Daniel back, but the commission hopes could save someone else. In Denver, I'm Gina London reporting.


WOODRUFF: On Wall Street today, a huge rally, as the Dow soars 342 points to close above 11,000 for the first time since September. Market analysts are calling it a delayed reaction to yesterday's Fed rate cut, the fifth one this year. And, of course, for a complete wrap of the markets and the rest of today's financial news, join "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" at 6:30 Eastern.

The price of public office. Howard Kurtz looks at why Governor Jeb Bush chose to address a rumor and why the news media asked the question.


WOODRUFF: There was a time, believe it or not, when political figures found it possible to refuse to answer questions about their personal lives. But as President Clinton and many others have learned, private lives are no longer off limits. Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" takes a closer look at this trend, and how politicians are dealing with it.


GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: The fact that we live in times today where -- and I respect you a lot -- but the fact that you'd have to ask that question, and I'd have to answer it, is sickening.

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a familiar scene on Monday: a politician talking about a rumor about an extramarital affair. A rumor that had been bouncing around the Internet, but only hinted at in print. A rumor that, in this case, the governor of Florida says is absolutely untrue.

And yet, Jeb Bush felt compelled to go before the cameras and deny a sexual relationship with one of his political appointees, Cynthia Henderson. There was a time, say, almost nine years ago, when there was still plenty of outrage about the media's role in repeating unsubstantiated gossip about politicians' private lives. Such as when the "New York Post" accused Jeb Bush's father of a relationship with a former aide, based on a footnote in a book quoting a dead ambassador. The subject was raised at a presidential news conference.


GEORGE BUSH SR., FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not going to take any sleazy questions like that from CNN.


KURTZ (voice-over): At first, much of the press seemed reticent back in '92, when a former Arkansas lounge singer, who was paid by the "Star" tabloid, made this charge against a presidential candidate.


GENNIFER FLOWERS, FORMER LOUNGE SINGER: Yes, I was Bill Clinton's lover for 12 years.


KURTZ: Clinton more or less denied the charge on "60 Minutes" -- falsely, as it turned out. And the modern age of damage control was under way.

(on camera): Here's the dilemma. If you go public with your denial, you're trumpeting the charge to millions of people who may never have heard it. But if you stay quiet, the voters may hear the whispers, on the net, in the tabloids, at the local bar, and assume the story must be true. So many are opting for the preemptive strike.

(voice-over): In Jeb Bush's case, the rumors circulated on a Web site called, founded by a former Clinton White House aide. Then the Tallahassee Democrat wrote about a -- quote -- "Clintonesque dalliance," without naming anyone. Britain's "Guardian" newspaper identified Henderson, a former "Playboy" bunny. And Governor Bush went public.

J. BUSH: To be honest with you, standards have changed in some of the newspapers.

KURTZ: But these days, many politicians are getting out ahead of the newspapers and other mainstream media. When Gary Bauer was running for president, he called a news conference to deny an allegation that almost no one had heard: that he was spending too much time alone with a female staffer.

GARY BAUER (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I feel like I've been boxing a ghost. Some people suggested that I shouldn't do this. But I felt that this was becoming so widespread...

KURTZ: Back in '98, it was South Carolina Governor David Beasley denying rumors that he'd had an affair with a former aide.

GOV. DAVID BEASLEY (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think we have to respond immediately. We have to respond quickly, honestly, truthfully. We'll let you ask any question you want to ask about this matter, and put it to bed.

KURTZ: Beasley lost his reelection bid. The problem is very different when the allegations are true, as several Republican Congressmen learned during the investigation of Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Henry Hyde acknowledged a 30-year-old affair when was about to publish the details. Dan Burton admitted he'd fathered an out-of-wedlock child when the "Indianapolis Star" and news was about to go with the story.

REP. DAN BURTON (R), INDIANA: The boy and the mother and my wife and my family and I have all reached an agreement about this a long time ago. The reason I chose to go ahead and come forward with this, is because some members of the media, and I won't tell which ones of you, have been harassing this family and the boy.

KURTZ: And hours before the House impeached Clinton, speaker-to- be Bob Livingston announced he was resigning, and did not deny past extramarital affairs dug up by "Hustler" publisher, Larry Flynt.


REP. BOB LIVINGSTON (R), LOUISIANA: To my colleagues, my friends, and most especially my wife and family, I have hurt you all deeply, and I beg your forgiveness.


KURTZ: Soon afterward, Colorado Governor Roy Romer, then the Democratic Party chairman, acknowledged that he and an aide had a -- quote -- "very affectionate relationship" for 16 years.

(on camera): There is one other way for politicians to find their dirty laundry being aired by the press, and that's in divorce court.

(voice-over): When Newt Gingrich split up with his wife, Marianne, the world learned about his girlfriend, Callista Bisek, now the former speaker's third wife. But Gingrich was out of office and no one much cared.

This week, New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani got in a nasty spat with his estranged wife, Donna Hanover, who doesn't want the mayor's girlfriend, Judy Nathan, visiting Gracie Mansion. In an apparent bid for sympathy, the mayor's friends leaked to the "New York Daily News" that his cancer treatment has left him impotent.

Sometimes, it seems, politicians take this public disclosure thing a bit too far.

This is Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."


WOODRUFF: To a different subject: Questions about secrecy and the White House energy task force. Were some key parties left out of the policy discussions? That story and much more in the next 30 minutes of INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: The energy plan is in the president's hands, but does it do enough to ease the clamor for quick fixes?

Also ahead, the abortion controversy. Which side won a vote today in the House?

And later...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today is essentially a day off for the governor. It's a day to get to know her two young daughters.


WOODRUFF: The birth of her twins is behind her, but not the debate. Can Jane Swift be a good governor of Massachusetts and a good mother?

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

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. President Bush says he is looking forward to making his case to the American people tomorrow -- that his new energy strategy makes sense for the future of the country. But given soaring gas prices and blackouts out west, Mr. Bush is facing growing political pressure from both parties to offer more help in the short term.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My plan helps people in the short term and long term by recognizing the problem and by expediting energy development. And what we have done in the state of California is, we worked very closely with the governor to help the governor permit plants necessary to increase the supply of energy in that big state.


WOODRUFF: On Capitol Hill, Democrats continue to take advance aim at Mr. Bush's energy strategy, and his political priorities.


REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We should be passing today a bill that addresses our long-term, short-term and medium-term energy problems in this country. But Republicans have chosen tax cuts for the wealthy special interests first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth. This is a one-trick pony.


WOODRUFF: Let's talk more now about the president's energy plan and the politics surrounding it with our senior White House correspondent, John King.

John, this is a long-term plan, the White House keeps saying, but it's operating, or they're operating in a short-term political environment. How do they go about dealing with all the criticisms over high gasoline prices and of course, the energy-electricity crunch in California?

KING: Well, your heard the president, a short time ago in that cabinet meeting, say when it comes to California, that he's not for price controls. That will be a continuing debate over a short-term issue, the California power crunch, as the president tries to sell the country on building new power plants, building new refineries, more use of coal.

As for gas prices, the administration hoping that the indications from the energy markets today prove true, and that prices are actually down a bit by the Memorial Day weekend, when most Americans start thinking about summer vacation, and that as the Congress passes this bill, Majority Leader Lott in the Senate has said he hopes to have it to the president by July 4th. They're hoping the calendar helps, and the prices drop a little bit, just as Congress gets about the key votes.

WOODRUFF: John, a little while ago, I interviewed the Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who kept talking about more balance in the plan than people realize. A., are there more surprises in this plan than we've perhaps expected, and just how controversial is it going to be?

KING: Well, there will be controversy over plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Controversy over plans to drill in areas out in the Rocky Mountain west, including some federal lands, national parkland. The administration makes the case the technology makes that safe now. The environmentalists disagree.

As for the balance issue, there is quite a bit in here in terms of conservation, tax credits for buying energy-efficient cars, tax incentives and credits for using biomass and other alternative fuels, wind and hydroelectric power. The administration had actually hoped to have more surprises, but they leaked out many of those details after the vice president's speech a few weeks back, in which he said conservation was not a major element in the long-term energy strategy. The administration faced some heat back then and leaked out many of the conservation proposals that they hoped, on this day and tomorrow, would be surprises.

WOODRUFF: Well, John, given the furor right now, what is the White House planning to do, in terms of selling this to the people?

KING: Well, the president will travel. The cabinet will travel. And the president will try to, if you will -- just like he did during the tax cut debate when he said the economy was sputtering, might go on vacation. He does try to create an atmosphere of crisis, or at least semi-crisis, by saying there's a problem.

The risk there -- that might help the president raise the profile of the energy issue -- the risk, though, and Republicans feel this in Congress more than the president does here because they face the voters in 2002. The risk is that in keep saying there's a problem, there's a problem, those in areas most affected now -- California, when it comes to electricity; the Midwest and the West when it comes to gas prices -- they might want answers now, as well. And everything in the president's plan is 3, 4, 5, 10 and 20 years down the line.

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

In addition to advance criticism of what is in the Bush energy plan, there have been complaints by some about the somewhat secretive way in which it was put together.

CNN's Kelly Wallace has more on that, and the groups who say they were shut out of process.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Operating behind closed doors, the White House Energy Task Force, headed by Vice President Cheney, has met with more than 200 groups since the end of January, including representatives from the oil, gas and nuclear power industries; labor leaders, such as Teamsters head James Hoffa; and environmentalists. But some green groups complained they didn't get to meet with the vice president himself, as did the head of a major power wholesaler, Enron Corporation.

DAN BECKER, SIERRA CLUB: They're only meeting with the industry that pollutes, and not giving environmental forces an opportunity to share our views.

WALLACE: The White House says the vice president sat down with less than six groups, and that environmentalists have had a chance to offer their input.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think they've had a serious involvement in the plan, and an opportunity to have their thoughts heard.

WALLACE: Still, the secrecy of the task force has emboldened Democratic lawmakers, who are now attacking the White House process as much as its energy policies.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: This administration has put together its policy behind closed doors with the officials and lobbyists of the energy industry. This is not the kind of balanced policy that we ought to have. WALLACE: The administration says it does not need to disclose information about task force meetings, since all members are federal employees, and says privacy helps the process.

FLEISCHER: It sometimes gives for better exchange between groups, a better give and take.

WALLACE (on camera): These same charges of secrecy will revel that Hillary Rodham Clinton's health care task force, back in 1993. And then as now, private meetings provided ammunition to those most opposed to the administration's approach to change.

Kelly Wallace. CNN, the White House.


WOODRUFF: House Democrats have failed in their attempt to repeal an executive order that bans federal aid to overseas family planning groups that advocate abortion rights. Today's vote removed a provision in a State Department spending bill that would have repealed the order President Bush issued just after taking office. Thirty-two Democrats joined Republicans to turn back the effort by a vote of 218 to 210. Thirty-three Republicans voted to repeal the White House policy. Floor debate went beyond the familiar lines in the abortion debate.


REP. NANCY JOHNSON (R), CONNECTICUT: Are we going to be the censures of speech of people in other countries? It is one thing for America to say: You cannot use our money for abortions.

It is another thing to say, and for us to export as a matter of American policy: We deny you the right to speak your opinion in your own country. We should be ashamed.



REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: We want some pro-life condition to ensure that we're not promoting abortion, which many of us, and many in America, and many in the world, believe to be the taking of human life and an exploitation of women as well. We want to make sure that that money goes in toto for family planning.


WOODRUFF: Last month, the House approved a bill that would make it a federal crime to harm a fetus while committing a crime against a pregnant woman. The Senate has not considered either of the abortion- related measures.

And this story just in from our reporter, correspondent on the Hill, and producer Ted Barrett -- correspondent Kate Snow reporting that Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have decided to delay a vote on President Bush's education reform bill, in part because of Republicans' concern that conservative Republicans would not support part of the measure.

We are told that Republican leaders are trying to figure out a way to permit GOP conservatives to come up with an amendment to allow more flexibility in the legislation, but they're trying to do in a way that doesn't drive Democrats, who support education reform, away. Again, Republicans deciding to delay a vote for now on the president's education reform plan.

The acting governor of Massachusetts gives birth to twins. We'll have the latest on Jane Swift and her twin girls.

And we will revisit the wider debate over working mothers.


WOODRUFF: About an hour ago, President Bush called acting Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift to congratulate her on the birth of her twin daughters. Swift is expected to stay in a Boston hospital until this weekend after undergoing cesarean section last night. She and her daughters are said to be resting comfortably.

But it is still not clear if the public is comfortable with the fact that Swift is trying to juggle her roles, that state's chief executive and a mother of young children. Her spokesman says Swift hopes to return to the governor's office in about eight weeks, after a working maternity leave.


JASON KAUPPI, SWIFT SPOKESMAN: I think the next few days are going to tell us -- give us a better picture of what her working maternity leave will be like. How is she recovering, how does she feel, how much work does she want to do? That's really going to tell us what pace we can have. Certainly, you know, the staff wants her to have the time with the children.

So we're going to, ourselves, be bringing her only those things that are necessities for her to deal with. And she'll tell us if she wants more or less, and she'll gradually go back into it.

WOODRUFF: Even though she had been hospitalized for more than a week, Swift kept working from her bed. When she went into labor yesterday, she was taking part in a Republican governor's conference call with Vice President Cheney.

As the first U.S. governor to give birth in office, Jane Swift may be paving the way for other women politicians. I spoke a little while ago with Massachusetts Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, the mother of a 1-year-old girl, and a potential democratic candidate for governor in 2002. I began by asking her about her good wishes for Jane Swift.

SHANNON O'BRIEN (D), MASSACHUSETTS STATE TREASURER: This is a very exciting day for the people of Massachusetts, especially being twins, I think everyone is doubly excited and very pleased for Jane and for her husband, Chuck, and sister, Elizabeth.

WOODRUFF: And you're a Democratic, of course, and she's a Republican, but on days like this, that may not matter.

O'BRIEN: Well, Jane and I served in the state Senate together, and we have a very cordial relationship. But this is not a partisan issue. This is a great family day, and I think everyone can appreciate the joy in what they're experiencing right now.

WOODRUFF: Do you have any concerns that she will not be able to completely fulfill her responsibilities, given the fact she's got newborn twins?

O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, she's certainly got some significant challenges. I actually have a sister who's a year younger than I am, and she had twins a year ago. And I know what a challenge it's been for her to manage three kids and going to work. I, myself, gave birth almost 19 months ago, and my husband and I have worked together very closely to make sure that at all times (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is cared for.

We have a fabulous women who takes her in her home, and it's a very wonderful setting. So if I didn't have the balance of all of that, I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing right now, and not everybody has that. And I hope that Jane will have that type of balance as she moves forward.

WOODRUFF: The criticism that she received over the last week or two, including from many Democrats, and including, I should say, from your own father, who's a counselor to the governor -- was that criticism fair?

O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, I can only -- I know, from having spoken with my father, who is a true stickler about the rules -- he felt that this was a procedural issue, that she needed to be physically there to preside over the meeting. I felt that this, being the 21st century, that there are ways that we can accommodate her personal needs right now, and also accommodate her ability to do her job as governor.

We've seen some stories from down in Rhode Island where Lincoln Almond, the governor there, had a bout with an illness and was running the state of Rhode Island from his home, and frankly, did leave the state and never turned over the reins of power. But Rhode Island, unlike Massachusetts, I think, has changed some of its laws to accommodate some of the ways we do business now, not only in private business, but in the public realm as well.

WOODRUFF: What do you say to those critics, Ms. O'Brien, including Rich Lowry, who's going to be coming on after you, who say essentially, by doing this, Governor Swift is putting her children in the back seat. She's saying job comes first, no matter what. Children later.

O'BRIEN: Well, I mean, I think that Jane is in a very unique and perhaps a good position for her -- that her husband Chuck stays at home and cares for their children. I think she's in a very enviable position. I think many professional women would like to have their husbands take that responsibility and do that for the family.

But I think that this is a very personal decision. I think that people can balance it. And it's really going to be up to her as to how she balances the responsibility that she has to her children and to the people -- the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

WOODRUFF: But what about the argument that it really is only a mother who can provide that crucial, necessary nurturing that babies and young children need?

O'BRIEN: I certainly think mothers play a special role. But fathers play a special role. I know in many circumstances, neither the mother or the father are there, and perhaps a grandmother or a grandfather plays that role. I think that as long as children have steady, loving role models who nurture them, who care for them, who make sure that their needs are met, I think that all children can grow up in a very happy environment.

I don't that just having a stay-at-home mother is the only way that you can bring up a child and -- bring up a happy and a healthy child.

WOODRUFF: How much of the criticism out there do you think is politically motivated?

O'BRIEN: I certainly think some of the criticism is, you know, maybe politically motivated. But I don't think that this is really just about politics. I really think what this needs to be about is how we're moving Massachusetts forward.

And the real politics that we should be focusing on -- not whether or not Jane Swift is running meetings from a speaker phone in her hospital, but really what her overall policies are. And if we want to get political about that, then that's fair game.

WOODRUFF: Last quick question: You may run for governor yourself?

O'BRIEN: Yes, that's a good possibility for next year.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, we'll want to talk to you if that's the case. Massachusetts State Treasurer Shannon O'Brien, thank you very much. And now, for a different perspective on motherhood and politics, we are joined by Rich Lowry of the "National Review."

Rich, is Jane Swift just making a big mistake by doing this?

RICH LOWRY, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, first of all, Judy, I should stipulate that it's easier for me to talk about this because the chances are I'll never find myself in similar circumstances, of course. But look, she has two huge responsibilities, namely, being governor of the state of Massachusetts, and being a mother to three -- now, three small children. And it's just going to be very difficult for anyone, no matter how talented, no matter how tireless, to discharge both of those enormous responsibilities in an effective way. WOODRUFF: But you heard -- perhaps you heard the state treasurer, Shannon O'Brien, who's of a different political party from Governor Swift, saying the governor's in a good position of having a husband who's prepared to stay home, provide a nurturing presence for these children.

LOWRY: Sure, well, that certainly helps a lot. And of course, politically, having these twins has been a great boon, because no one wants to criticize a pregnant women, and everyone has to be very glad for her having these two healthy children. But look, you know, the evidence -- the record is that she has had trouble holding this altogether.

As lieutenant governor, her approval rating had sunk to about 17 percent, owing to the fact that she had used a state helicopter to fly her home to care for her sick child during Thanksgiving. She'd used state workers as baby-sitters. These mini scandals created headlines in Massachusetts, calling her Jane Air and other similar things.

So I think it's a legitimate question to ask, whether she'll be able to hold all this together as governor. And look, the last two weeks, she has literally been phoning it in as governor.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying she should make a choice between being governor and being mother?

LOWRY: Yeah. That's what I would...

WOODRUFF: Are you saying she should make a choice between being governor and mother?

LOWRY: Yeah. That's...

WOODRUFF: You're saying it would be a mistake for any women in these circumstances, being a mother and having an important politically responsible job, is just not doable? Is that what you are saying?

LOWRY: I think we can all understand how she wants to be governor. It's obviously a plum job. But something has to give. And the fact is, in choosing to remain governor, she is, in effect, putting her three very small children in the back seat for the time being.

WOODRUFF: Can you envision a circumstance under which a man would be in the same circumstance, or is it only women?

LOWRY: Sure, I'm sure you can create some scenario that would be similar for a man, but look, Judy, the fact is, this is difficult thing. But men do not have to take time off from work to deliver children. Now, is that fair? Probably not. Is it a fact of life? Yes, it is. And it's not something that should be ignored.

And the fact is, in our culture, there's a pervasive bias against mothers who make the choice that Jane Swift is not making. Mothers who make the choice to stay home and to rear their children and to love them and to teach them. That is a hugely important and difficult job. And for some reason in our culture, especially in our elite media, that is treated somehow as less worthy work, than say, being an accountant.

And that's what I think is a scandal. That has to change, outside of this particular Jane Swift case aside.

WOODRUFF: Well, I certainly don't treat as less worthy work. I have a number of friends -- women who stay home with children, and to me, their jobs are every bit more important than anything I do.

LOWRY: Good, I...

WOODRUFF: Let me just ask you, we just heard Shannon O'Brien say that mothers, yes, do play a special role. But it's also possible for fathers, for grandparents. What is important is to have a steady, nurturing influence. And what I think I hear you saying is that really it's only the mother that can provide that role. I just want to make sure I hear you correctly?

LOWRY: No, no. First of all, yes, mothers do have a special attachment to their children. I think the research shows that. I think any daily experience with just about anyone would say that. But, of course, look, fathers and husbands have an extremely important role as well. And the reason, why, for instance, urban America, we have so many mothers forced into the workplace is because the fathers have split and left, and that is wrong. That's something we should try to discourage. Also, another reason why so many women...

WOODRUFF: Let me just ask you, you say, stay home with small children. I just want to understand from you, what the cut off is? At what point is the child old enough so that it's OK for the mother to go to work?

LOWRY: I think by the time the child is in school, it's possible. You know, a mother can go into the work force. But Judy, it's -- these are just extremely important years. And you just very rarely hear any woman regretting having spent too much time with their family and their children.

WOODRUFF: All right, Rich Lowry of the "National Review." Thanks once again for joining us.

LOWRY: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.


WOODRUFF: Following in dad's footsteps, we will have the winner in a special Congressional election in Pennsylvania, coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: In Pennsylvania, Republican Bill Schuster is keeping it in the family. He has won his father's old congressional seat in that state's 9th District. Schuster defeated Democrat Scott Conklin, 52 percent to 44 percent, in a special election yesterday.

His father, Bud Schuster, resigned in January, after being removed as chairman of the powerful transportation committee, because of term limits.

In the Pittsburgh mayor's race, Incumbent Tom Murphy narrowly defeated City Council President Bob O'Conner in the Democratic primary, although, O'Conner, may ask for a recount. Winning that primary virtually assures victory in the general election, in a city where Democrats outnumber Republicans, 5 to 1.

What we all need is another recount. That is all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS, but of course, you can go on-line all the time, at CNN's all AOL key word CNN.

And our e-mail address is inside

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



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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