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.
The future Senate majority leader plans some quality time with John McCain. Is another GOP defection in the works? President Bush presents a picture of bipartisanship even as he prepares to deal with a Democratic-run Senate.
And the view from Texas of the Bush daughters' brush with the law.
Now Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. President Bush is off at Camp David, Congress still is in recess. But relaxation is not necessarily on the agenda this weekend as official Washington prepares for the Democrats to take control of the Senate next week.
After Jim Jeffords' exit from the GOP, many members of both parties are on pins and needles preparing for what's ahead, and wondering if another shoe may drop. In that climate, a planned get together between Senate majority leader Tom Daschle, or rather in waiting Tom Daschle, and his Republican colleague, John McCain, has set the speculation mill in motion. Is it merely a friendly visit or something more?
Let's check in with our congressional correspondent Kate Snow.
First of all, Kate, what can you tell us about this meeting?
KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, Senator McCain has invited Senator Daschle along with his wife, Linda, to come out to the ranch near Sedona, Arizona. It's a place that he goes quite frequently. They're scheduled to arrive their tomorrow. I'm told they'll stay overnight on Saturday night and leave on Sunday morning.
As CNN has reported, though, Democrats have confirmed that they have approached or talked with Senator McCain along with another Republican about the potential for switching parties for potentially becoming an independent. This has been talks that have been going on for several weeks now. So in that light, it certainly raises some eyebrows here. But both offices, both Senator McCain's office and Senator Daschle's office saying quite clearly this was scheduled months ago. It is simply a coincidence that it happens to be happening this weekend.
In fact, in a written statement, here's what Senator McCain's office had to say: "It is a strictly social event. Over the years, Senator McCain and his wife, Cindy, have been pleased to invite many friends, Democrat and Republican, to spend time with them at their weekend home. Bipartisan friendships are not as rare in Washington as some would believe. No one should read anymore into this."
Senator McCain himself told CNN last Friday, just a week ago, that he had no intentions of leaving the Republican Party and becoming a Democrat. And he said at least in the immediate future, he had no intention of becoming an independent. That said, the visit is certainly prompting speculation here on Capitol Hill. One Democratic senator saying that it doesn't mean that anything is imminent, but it does mean, Judy, that they are still talking to each other -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, well, we'll all be watching one way or another. Now separately, Kate, what are you hearing about all the efforts on both sides to get the Senate reorganized under Democratic majority?
SNOW: Right, something that's being discussed here on the Hill, they've had staff level meetings all day between the majority staff, currently Senator Lott's staff, and the minority staff, currently Senator Daschle's staff. We're told that nothing has come out of those meetings as of yet. A Democratic spokeswoman for Senator Daschle tells me that the Republicans have not officially responded yet to a plan that they proposed, although we understand Republicans have some real concerns about parts of that plan.
They want assurances for one that judicial nominees will be allowed to have a hearing with the full Senate not just in committee. Republicans indicating that they may put up a front -- a fight on this front, but Democrats saying that, "Look, even if things aren't worked out, we are taking control next Wednesday, Tuesday close of business, Wednesday morning, we are taking the reins."
WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow reporting from the Capitol.
And now, let's bring in our White House correspondent John King. He's in Boston, where President Bush today attended the funeral of Congressman Joe Moakley today.
John, what are you hearing about this Daschle/McCain meeting?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Kate just said, a senior adviser to McCain not in the government told me just a short time ago that this had been scheduled a long time, and that Senator McCain by no means means this meeting as, quote, "a stick in the eye of the White House."
And White House officials say they're fine with the meeting, not that they didn't get a little nervous when they heard about it. We're told White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, who used to work up on Capitol Hill, called up some friends in McCain's office and received reassurances that this was a social gathering first rescheduled months ago, now rescheduled, and that the senator by no means is thinking of switching matters to the Democrats.
We should also note Senator McCain was scheduled to have dinner with President Bush on the day of the Jeffords announcement. That dinner was put off. Senator McCain -- there were the votes in the Senate, then he was traveling out of country. That dinner we're told may be rescheduled as early as this week. You know, let's tell the truth about it. McCain is still not trusted by many senior White House aides, but the White House is trying to build a better relationship with him heading into this very new environment in the Senate -- Judy?
WOODRUFF: Well, John, looking ahead to next week as the Democrats prepare to take over, what is it that Bush wants to accomplish now? What is his agenda looking at this new landscape in the Senate?
KING: Sort of two priorities. The first and the foremost: Try to make the case to the American people that much has been accomplished already. The president will have a rally in Tampa promoting his tax cut early next week. Then on Thursday, he will sign the tax cut plan at the White House. And on Friday, travel to Iowa to once again promote the tax cut. Promises made, promises kept, the theme there.
But recognizing the new environment, the White House also hopes to move quickly in the Congress working with Senate Democrats to get the education bill to final passage. That is an issue on which the president has worked directly with Senator Edward Kennedy of this state, Massachusetts, now the chairman of that committee. So the White House hoping to prove you can make some bipartisan progress right away. Could be some trouble from the right on that issue. This is not only a test of the new Senate environment, but also a test of the House environment.
The next big challenge though, I think, people in both parties would agree, the Patients Bill of Rights. That is what Senator Kennedy wants to bring up in the Senate. Senator Daschle has endorsed that strategy. That's a tough one for the White House because of the differences and because that is yet another piece of legislation where Senator McCain is against the White House and working with major Democrats.
WOODRUFF: All right, well, now, John, to the reason President Bush went to Boston today. And that was, of course, to attend the funeral of Congressman Joe Moakley. It turned out the president was surrounded by quite a few Democrats. That had to be quite a gathering.
KING: A remarkable day here -- in some ways, a sad day, of course. Funeral services for the long-time congressman Joe Moakley. Many came here. We saw tears on many faces as they came out of the church. But in many ways, just as Joe Moakley would have liked it, Judy, this day of celebration. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
KING (voice-over): One last serenade by the bagpipes he loved so much. One last salute for John Joseph Moakley. He was just Joe around here, and the south Boston locals turned out to say thank you and good-bye and to marvel at a local boy done good. The president came. The former president, too, their first encounter since inauguration day. Gore and Gephardt, the governor, Kennedy after Kennedy after Kennedy.
Democrats and Republicans alike most with the story or two about the Irish Catholic son of blue-collar south Boston who rose to be one of the most powerful men in Congress. The 74-year-old Moakley died Monday after a battle with leukemia. He served 16 terms in the House, much of it as a key lieutenant of the late speaker Tip O'Neill.
Later, one Republican (UNINTELLIGIBLE) place an unapologetic old school Democrat proud of bringing home the pork, remembered most of all as a gregarious man who made his point without making enemies.
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was soft-hearted, but he had a spine of steel. If he was for you, he stuck, he stayed. He was very tough, but he was tough in an honorable way.
KING: He was as comfortable in the halls of power as he was in the pubs and parades of his gritty hometown. The scene inside St. Brigid's Church a snapshot of politics Moakley style. In the pews, a who's who of state and national politics. But on the altar, an all politics is local farewell scripted by Moakley himself in his final days.
Former Massachusetts Senate President William Bulger was Moakley's choice to say goodbye, one colorful son of Southie paying final tribute to another.
WILLIAM BULGER, FORMER MASSACHUSETTS SENATE PRESIDENT It was here in this place that his character was shaped. It was and it still is a place where roots run deep, where traditions are cherished, a place of strong faith, of strong values deeply held, commitment to the efficacy of work, to personal courage, to the importance of good reputation. And with all to an almost fierce sense of loyalty. And no one absorbed those values more thoroughly than did Joseph Moakley. To understand them is to understand him.
KING: Away from the cameras, some political theater that Congressman Moakley certainly would have been proud of. Former President Clinton meeting for 15 minutes and talking with his former vice president Al Gore. That out of the view of the camera. We're told the two had a very cordial conversation, they're first, we're told, since inauguration day.
Mr. Clinton also spent a few minutes talking to the former Republican congressman, Rick Lazio of New York. Why is that significant? It was Mr. Lazio who was defeated in that Senate race by Hillary Rodham Clinton -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John King, it had to be quite a scene there. And we know that's where you are from, so I'm sure for it's a memory -- a trip down memory lane. John King, thanks very much.
KING: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And now to a breaking story. As we reported on CNN not too long ago, there has been an explosion on a beach in Tel Aviv. And to find out more about what's happened, joining us now from Jerusalem CNN's Rula Amin.
Rula, what have you learned at this point about exactly what took place?
RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, our information is coming mainly from Israel's radio. We are hearing that one suicide bomber, according to Israel's radio again, had managed to sneak into a line of people that were waiting to go into a discotheque on the beach in Tel Aviv. This is an area full of cafes and area full of cafes and restaurants. This is the start of the weekend in Israel, and a lot of people in Tel Aviv at this time of the night usually gather in that neighborhood.
Now according to hospital sources, a number of people had been injured and many, many injured they are telling us. And they are confirming to us that there has been a number of people who were killed. Still, this is according to hospital sources. We -- the police have not been giving any statement. According to Israel radio and Israel television, this explosion happened about 20 minutes ago when this one suicide bomber had detonated himself after he sneaked into this line of people who were trying to get into this discotheque -- Judith.
WOODRUFF: Rula, is this an area where there have been previous terrorist incidents?
AMIN: Usually most of the suicide bombings take place in other cities in Israel like Netanya, like Al Hadera, like Jerusalem. Last week, last Saturday, there was a similar explosion, not a suicide bomber but there was a car that exploded near -- next to a discotheque in Jerusalem, in west Jerusalem and in an area where there are a lot of cafes and restaurants and where usually a lot of young people, young Israelis go to at night for fun.
Now in the last few months there has been a number of suicide bombings and an increasing number of suicide bombings, mainly the two Islamic militant groups, Palestinian militant groups. Hamas and Al Jihad usually declare their responsibility for these bombings. And they have vowed often and again that they will continue these bombings in their effort to get Israel to get their goal in ending Israel's occupation as they say -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, Rula, we know that in the wake of these threats by Hamas and other groups, the Israeli military -- military security have been on high alert. Given that, what was the security would you imagine at a place like this on a weekend night?
AMIN: Well, Judy, Israeli security has been on high alert almost for the last eight months, but it's hard to imagine what is the extent of that -- of the tight security that they had in such a crowded neighborhood. It's a neighborhood where usually a lot of young people attend. They drink, it's loud. A lot of people, they are having fun. It's very hard to manage the crowds usually in these neighborhoods and control who goes in and out.
Again, we are hearing, according to Israel's radio, that it was one suicide bomber and he did manage to sneak between the people who were waiting in line to go into this discotheque -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Rula Amin reporting from Jerusalem. Once again, an explosion and apparent suicide bomber responsible for the wounding of at least several dozen people. But this just happened perhaps less than half an hour ago. We are just now getting this information. We'll bring you any more information as soon as we have it.
Now back in the United States, more scene-setting now for the upcoming power shift in the U.S. Senate. I talked a little bit earlier with Senator Patty Murray of Washington state. She's chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. And I started by asking her if the new Democratic majority will make her job easier.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), DSCC CHAIRWOMAN: Well, I can tell you that I have been out here in my home state for the last week talking to my voters and my constituents and there's a tremendous amount of excitement and enthusiasm. Our base has really become energized. And at the DSCC, we are hearing from many of our supporters that this really is a breath of fresh air that has reenergized them and helped us focus on keeping this majority after 2002. So I think it has helped us.
WOODRUFF: Why is it helping?
MURRAY: Well, I think because for the last four months, our base in particular has felt that there has been no way to make their voice heard, and it's been very difficult. With the change in the Senate, the issues that people -- we represent and care about will be brought to the floor in the Senate: Patients' Bill of Rights, prescription drug coverage for Medicare recipients, environmental issues. Issues that have been suppressed and subdued will now be part of the topic and conversation, and that is very motivating and exciting to our party.
WOODRUFF: Do you have reason to believe there may be more party switches in favor of the Democrats or to independent? For example, the story today that John McCain may be meeting with Senator Daschle this weekend?
MURRAY: Well, I do know that a number of members of the Republican Party have felt very controlled under this Republican administration and under the Republican leadership in the Senate not being able to bring their amendments to the floor or be different than the rest of the caucus. And anytime you control somebody that much, they rebel. We're all United States senators that come from different states, represent different constituencies. We go to the United States Senate to fight for them, not to be told that a party tells us how we're going to vote.
WOODRUFF: Senator, as of right now, what's your expectation for the 2002 elections in the Senate?
MURRAY: I think the Democrats have a real possibility of gaining a good majority in the United States Senate in 2002. And I say that because we have all of our incumbents who are very energized, working hard, have their campaigns together. So not having to defend open seats is a real bonus for us.
And secondly, our base is energized. History shows that a president in power tends to lose elections in the following cycle, and so history's on our side and our voters are motivated. They want this country to address the issues the Democratic Party stands for. Health care, prescription drug, Patients' Bill of Rights, education, environmental issues are issues that are motivating them, and I think that will help us.
And in addition, we have a number of Republican senators, incumbents who are up for election in very tight states, where we have candidates who are either declared or looking at these rays that are really great candidates, very motivating people. And I think that will be exciting for all of us.
WOODRUFF: But it's also the case that in 2002, while Democrats have 14 senators up for reelection, Republicans have 20 up.
MURRAY: That's correct.
WOODRUFF: a larger proportion of your senators are running in states where Al Gore did not win last year. Doesn't that hurt you?
MURRAY: We do have a number of incumbent senators who are up in states that voted Republican in a presidential election this cycle. But these are senators who are good campaigners, they're -- they know their states well. They worked very hard to represent their states, and I feel confident that with the -- their ability to put their campaigns together and fight for their people, that they will all do well in this election.
WOODRUFF: Well, having said that, let me ask you but money, senator. As of April, the Republican Senate Campaign Committee had raised $18 million for the 2002 cycle. They had 8.5 million left in the bank. While your committee, as we understand it as of today, it raised about $10 million through April, only had four million in the bank. Aren't you starting out well behind?
MURRAY: Well, let me tell you, I've known since I took on this job the beginning of this year that I would never be able to out raise Republicans who can go to corporate board members and get considerable amounts of cash that isn't accessible to us in our base. But we are doing well. We are meeting our goals and exceeding our goals that I have set for us to raise our money. And I will tell you this: At the end of the day, it is not so much how much you raise but how you spend it. And I can tell you as a mom who's raised a family, we will spend it effectively.
WOODRUFF: But as we look at this Republican money, more of it appears to be so-called hard money, not the soft money, the unregulated money. Are the Democrats at a disadvantage when it comes to hard money as well?
MURRAY: We are at a disadvantage because as Democrats, our base of supporters who care about the environment, who care about prescription drug coverage, who care about the quality of life of their communities aren't necessarily the corporate board members who can write thousands of dollars of hard money contributions. There is no doubt that Democrats cannot compete in that arena on an equal basis. But that doesn't mean that we can't motivate our donors to help us, that they aren't out there helping us in good numbers. And we are ahead of where we were two years ago in raising money because of that great donor base.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Patty Murray, who is the chair of the Senate -- rather the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Senator Murray, thank you for being with us.
MURRAY: Nice to talk to you.
WOODRUFF: And we should note that Senator Murray's GOP counterpart, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman Bill Frist, will plan to join us on INSIDE POLITICS next Thursday.
A final note on the Senate shakeup. Any Vermonters who donated to Senator James Jeffords' 2000 campaign apparently can get their money back if they are unhappy about his switch from Republican to independent. Jeffords' spokesman says the senator will return money to individual Vermont donors if they request it. At this point, Jeffords does not plan to return donations from business, political action committees, or from individuals outside of Vermont.
When this Friday edition of INSIDE POLITICS returns, we'll examine the big political stories from all angles in our weekly political roundtable.
Straight ahead, we'll travel to Richmond to check in with Virginia Republicans as they decide on a candidate for governor. Also ahead:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, LOS ANGELES MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Mr. Hahn, after 20 years of city government, instead of talking about your record, you've attacked mine and chosen to appeal to our worst fears.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The final debate gets personal in the Los Angeles mayor's race. Plus, the Supreme Court ventures into the world of sports and makes a play for the "Political Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: We have been reporting the story, the breaking story from Israel of an apparent suicide bomber, an explosion on the beach just near Tel Aviv. We do have some pictures that have been coming in that we're now going to -- here they are, trying to show you.
This is the Dolphinarium Beach near Tel Aviv's hotel district. We are told hospital sources say there are fatalities. We don't have a number. We also know that there are dozens of people apparently injured. Now our reporter Rula Amin reported just a few moments ago that this appears to be the work of a suicide bomber. This is what she described as a very crowded area. Friday night, it was about 11:00 Israel time when this happened. People lining up to get inside a restaurant. And the apparent suicide bomber was in line himself when the bomb went off, wreaking havoc in that very, very crowded area.
It -- there has been no confirmation of the attack at this point from Israeli army officials or from police, but everything we know is coming from eyewitnesses and others who were near by when it happened. As we say the bomber apparently got into a line of people who were waiting to get into either a restaurant or a discotheque there on the beach near at -- Tel Aviv. Again it is called the Dolphinarium Beach. Those pictures just in to CNN from Israeli television.
At this point, we are told at least dozens were injured, and hospital sources telling CNN that there were fatalities as well. We'll bring you just as much -- we'll bring you as much information as we can get as soon as we have it here.
Back now to the United States. An estimated 10,000 Virginia Republicans are gathering in Richmond for a state party convention this weekend. CNN's Bruce Morton is in Richmond with more on the convention agenda and the candidates in search of delegate support.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Republican Party of Virginia is having a convention to decide who its candidate for governor should be. By about 5:00 Saturday afternoon, it will have chosen either lieutenant governor John Hager or state attorney general Mark Earley. They're both conservatives, of course. Hager paints Earley as a far right-winger on social issues, which could hurt him in urban northern Virginia. Earley disagrees.
MARK EARLEY (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: I think I've got a very balanced record that really represents the values and the families of Virginia and the kind of things we need to do to keep Virginia moving forward as really a leader of this nation in technology and business and education. MORTON: Hager says his record as a businessman gives him a broader appeal.
LT. GOV. JOHN HAGER (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: The issue is: How do the Republicans defeat a formidable Democratic candidate come November? And I believe the way to do that is to develop the same broad-based coalition that George Allen gathered last November when he beat a significant Democrat, Chuck Robb. It is about bringing in the conservative Democrats, the independents, the veterans, all of the groups that we must amass.
LARRY SABATO, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: If you really look at Hager's background, he's a little bit more moderate than Earley. The basic difference between them is that Hager has a long career in business. He has strong ties with business throughout Virginia and particularly in the Richmond area. He would have a lot easier time competing with a Democratic nominee Mark Warner for business support. Mark Earley is going to have trouble with the business community for lots of reasons.
MORTON: Cities and counties in Virginia choose voting delegates to the convention according to how many Republican voters they have, but a district can divide each vote among as many as five people. Earley is ahead in delegate surveys, but the question really is: Whose delegates show up here?
SABATO: The truth is that Hager's only real chance is to win probably 70-80 percent or more of the undecideds plus have some of the Mark Earley delegates not show up. That's unlikely. Again is it impossible? No. It's possible that it could happen but it's very unlikely.
MORTON: Whoever wins will face business millionaire Mark Warner, unopposed for the Democratic nomination -- a man who has already began running TV ads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here comes Mark Warner, the hero of the hills.
MORTON: But the battle is between Republicans.
(on-camera): So people are standing around arguing about who is which kind of conservative and how big the turnout is going to be and what difference that will make. But all of that is beside the point. This state convention has something the national parties haven't seen in a long time. This is a convention where you don't know the winner in advance. Bruce Morton, CNN, Richmond, Virginia.
WOODRUFF: The kind we used to have at the national level.
In New York City, billionaire businessman Michael Bloomberg is buying airtime on television stations next week to launch his campaign for mayor. Bloomberg's entry into the race has been anticipated for months since he switched his party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
City council speaker Peter Vallone became the third Democrat to formally enter the race yesterday. In announcing his candidacy, Vallone said he is the only candidate with proven experience running the city. Republican current mayor Rudy Giuliani is prohibited by term limits from seeking reelection.
Across the country in Los Angeles, the two remaining candidates for mayor their took part in their final debate. The face-off last night between city attorney James Hahn and former assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa was combative and at times, personal. Villaraigosa took the offensive from the beginning by criticizing a television ad for Hahn that attacks Villaraigosa's role in securing a presidential pardon for a convicted drug trafficker.
ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, L.A. MAYORAL CANDIDATE: My opponent is running a campaign of fear and innuendo.
Mr. Hahn, after 20 years in city government, instead of talking about your record, you've attacked mine and chosen to appeal to our worst fears. You want voters to believe that I'm sympathetic to criminals. Mr. Hahn, you know that those charges are outrageous, and yet you continue to repeat them.
JAMES HAHN, L.A. MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Antonio, this campaign -- your campaign was the first campaign to run an attack ad against me in the primary. Your campaign started off the runoff attacking me with a negative attack ad. Now I wasn't just going to sit there and take it.
WOODRUFF: Villaraigosa finished first in the April 10th primary and Hahn came in second. But a recent poll gives Hahn a slight lead heading into Tuesday's vote.
Much more INSIDE POLITICS right after this.
WOODRUFF: First daughters Jenna and Barbara Bush are expected to spend the weekend at Camp David with their parents and grandparents. One topic we can assume will come up: The twins citations on misdemeanor charges after an incident at an Austin, Texas restaurant earlier this week.
Jenna Bush was charged with attempting to buy alcohol with another person's identification. Barbara Bush was charged with possession of alcohol by a minor. Joining us now to talk more about the first daughters, the charges and the reactions in Texas, Pete Slover of "The Dallas Morning News".
Pete, my first question is up signal until now I think it's fair to say the news media had pretty much respected the zone of privacy that the Bushes were trying to put around their daughters. Would you say now that that's gone?
PETE SLOVER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Well I think at least to their showing up in court and having to answer criminal charges that all bets are off in that regard. You still don't have people following them around, trying to find out who their friends are and tailing them, that sort of thing, at least not any of the mainstream media.
WOODRUFF: I've heard some people asking, Pete, we know, we assume there's always Secret Service protection with the Bush daughters. Why wouldn't they have stopped something like this from happening?
SLOVER: Well, you know, as far as questions to the Secret Service about their activities, they are very sensitive about answering with any particulars. But the basic message we are getting is that those men and women are there to protect and watch out for -- to be bodyguards that is -- for these people and not to enforce local, state ordinances, at least in any kind of aggressive way.
Now it's an open question as to whether that's a policy set by the Bush Administration,or just standard operating procedure. But in practice that appears to be what they're doing.
WOODRUFF: All right, you mentioned state and local ordinances. What is the law that governs what's happened here?
SLOVER: Well, in 1997 there was a major rewrite of the alcoholic beverage code, at least that portion that affects under age drinking. And a whole slew of offenses were crated, all of them treated as equals. Everything ranging from offering a fake ID to actually consuming alcohol.
And the two things that the sisters are charged with here both fall under that same umbrella law.
WOODRUFF: And what are the penalties?
SLOVER: Well, it's kind of an odd duck in that it's not exactly the same as other penal code provisions. There's a whole very precise set of punishments that kick in depending on whether it's the first, the second or the third or greater offense.
Now, you will remember that one of the sisters has already an offense to which she pled guilty and was put on probation. And she suffered the punishment for the first offense which is basically a fine, some community service, and a 30-day suspension of her drivers license, which in her case was suspended during the term of her probation.
Now for a second offense she will face a longer suspension, 60 days on her drivers' license, more community service, 20-40 hours, and an additional fine of up to $500. Now if she should stray a third time and be convicted a third time, you're talking up to a $2,000 fine and up to six months in jail. So, it's a serious matter under the eyes of the law that her dad signed in 1997.
WOODRUFF: Their father was the one who signed this law?
SLOVER: Yes, it was an administerial duty of the governor. He wasn't one of the people who forced it through. But he definitely signed the law.
WOODRUFF: Now, Pete Slover, there's information today about a citation served on Jenna Bush back in 1997. What do we know about that?
SLOVER: Well what we know on the record is not much at all because she was 15 years old at the time. And the protections that juveniles get under the law kick in. If we are to believe the reports that there is something in the Alcoholic Beverage Authority's data base, we can deduce that it probably a warning because if she had had a conviction she would have been treated as a second time offender the last time around.
So, reading the tea leaves it looks like she was probably given some kind of warning back in 1997, although we can't really confirm that and I'm going based on what some other newspapers have reported.
WOODRUFF: What's the reaction there in Texas to all this?
SLOVER: Well I'm hearing a mixed reaction. I think it somewhat goes along political lines. People who support the family and her father are universally saying that we should just leave them well enough alone. A healthy contingent of people who don't normally support her dad of his politics are saying leave the girls alone.
And then a third group of people I guess are saying that they are getting all kinds of special breaks, which I have to say does not appear to be the case, including the media scrutiny that they're getting. So, the reaction I think is somewhat sympathetic. This is the kind of offense that a lot of people can say I've been there, I've done that and can feel a little bit of the girls' pain, I think.
WOODRUFF: No question about it. Pete Slover with the "Dallas Morning News". Thanks very much. We appreciate it.
SLOVER: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: And we'll be right back with more INSIDE POLITICS after this.
WOODRUFF: Another tragedy we're reporting to you now from the Middle East from Israel. The apparent work of a suicide bomber and now CNN is learning at least 15 people are dead. At least 35 people injured, six of them seriously as a result of an apparent suicide bomber standing in line at a disco tech, at a very crowded time of the evening.
Young people in an area called the Dolphinarium Beach near Tel Aviv's hotel district, standing in line to get into a place, a very popular place in that area. And the person with the bomb strapped to himself or herself, we don't know the identity of course yet, managed to stand there in line, be undetected until this bomb went off.
As you can see from these pictures, chaos in that area. Hospitals have been reporting for the last several minutes that they believe -- that they knew there were fatalities, but it's only been in the last moment or so that we have been able to confirm at least 15 dead, at 35 injured, six of them seriously.
Now this suicide bombing is one of many in recent weeks. On Sunday a car bomb exploded in central Jerusalem in an area of discotechs and night clubs called the Russian compound. Then on May 18 a suicide bomber identified to be with the Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas set off an explosion outside of a shopping mall in the Israeli city of Netanya. In that incident he was killed, five Israelis were killed.
And in retaliation for that the Israeli government sent F-16 fighter plane in a sortie that ended up killing 18 people. Once again, an explosion on the beach in Tel Aviv late Friday night about 11:00 Israel time when it took place. Young people standing in line to get into a discotech: Suicide bomber, the explosion, the bomb goes off.
At this moment we have confirmed at least 15 people dead, at least 35 injured, six of them seriously according to Israel radio. And if you know that area at all, it is said to be the Dolphinarium Beach, a very popular area near Tel Aviv's hotel district.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Now to our Friday roundtable. This week's guests: Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times," he's joining us from London, where he's covering the British elections. Closer to home, Tamala Edwards of "TIME" magazine and CNN's "TAKE 5", and Stu Rothenberg of the "Rothenberg Political Report."
WOODRUFF: Stu, let me start with you and with President Bush's trip to California this week to talk to people out there and also to meet with Governor Gray Davis who's been a huge critic of the president.
Does this meeting between these two men who are political adversaries change anything when it come to the energy situation?
STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: I suspect not. They come from two very distinct ideological philosophical points of view about caps, regulations, the free market. I think this was more of pure short-term politics for the governor in an attempt to take a problem that has damaged his poll ratings and foist it over to the White House, to Washington D.C. saying this is the president's problem. The president is not taking action.
And on the other hand, the president is simply going out to California to indicate his concern, his awareness, his empathy, but I don't think it's going to change policy fundamentally, Judy. WOODRUFF: So, Tamala, if he's trying to foist the problem over to the White House was he at all successful?
TAMALA EDWARDS, "TIME MAGAZINE": I don't think so. I think for the time being it's seen as such a California problem I don't know that people in Vermont and Missouri are upset about what's going on in California.
Governor Davis has tried to make the charge stick that he thinks Texas energy companies are making out like bandits here. No one's taken up that charge. I think Bush, it was a great P.R. thing to go out there and say I'm concerned, but you go in and you have a 35 minute meeting with someone who says he's filing a law suit.
I think he probably knew going in that he wasn't going to accomplish much and for the time being I think it's still Gray Davis who's got to deal with this problem and his dwindling chances perhaps of becoming president.
WOODRUFF: Well, Ron, if nothing has changed much on the energy front what about politically? Is either man helped or hurt?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Well actually I think that the signal this week, there was a new signal from Gray Davis, which is that this is not going away anytime soon, that he wants to pursue a series of actions: A lawsuit on the FERC, regulation on whether they're going to regulate the wholesale cost of power.
And then moving to the Democratic Senate to try to get them to deal with it. All of which perpetuates the storyline, Judy, of the governor of California trying to say that Washington and President Bush at the behest of the Texas energy companies is not helping to solve their problem.
I think that is really the political implication of this week, that Davis wants to portray this and create, in effect, a long-term story line in which he is seen as beseeching Washington to help Californians and Washington saying no because of their ties to the Texas oil and energy industry. That's the real story line that he's trying to set up. He's trying to create a situation in which whoever the Republicans nominate in 2002, Davis is running as much against Bush as whoever happens to be on the ballot.
So I do think there's a political signal if not necessarily a change in the dynamic form this week.
WOODRUFF: Would you go along with that, Stu.
ROTHENBERG: Oh yes. No, I think that Governor Davis is engaged in a short-term for the gubernatorial race, political redefinition of the issue. I think that actually is a decent long term message for the Democratic party. If the energy issue survives over a number of months, I think there's a good Democratic message for 2002 and 2004. But it all depends on whether concern spreads nationally about cost and supply. WOODRUFF: All right, let's turn the corner now from energy to the Senate. Tamala, we're getting closer with each passing day to the Senate becoming Democratic-controlled. What is going to change when it comes to what this Senate is able to do?
EDWARDS: Well, obviously, the difference will be versions of bills that actually get put forth. One HMO bill that the Republicans wanted will not be the HMO bill that you see. You'll see a more Democratic leaning bill. But in fact I suspect that you will see the biggest is that you might start to see a little bit more get done. I think both sides realize that going from 50/50 to 49-50 and one is not that drastic a difference and that they're going to have to work together all the more to get things put through and to prove that they're being effective.
And I think this actually could be a good thing for Bush, that he can be seen as trying to work with the Congress and to the more extreme wings of his party. He can say listen, I'm trying. I can only get so much done. So I think it could be good for the country and good for Bush if he uses it a certain way.
WOODRUFF: And Ron, I know you and I have talked about this before, but now that you've got the perspective of being on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean how does it look from there? Does it look like we're really going to see more of an incremental change as Tamala is suggesting?
BROWNSTEIN: It looks a little far away. Actually, I disagree a little bit. I think the big change is not going to be in the outcomes in terms of what gets done. It is going to make it harder for Bush to advance some of his priorities, missile defense, drilling in the Arctic national Wildlife Reserve, those kinds of things are going to become harder.
The real difference though, Judy, is for the first time in his political career, and it was not true in Texas, he's going to have to deal with Democrats trying to set an agenda that he has to respond to. Bush has been extraordinarily effective in his first months in sort of rolling out his own ideas and forcing a debate essentially on how far to go in the direction that he set out.
Now instead of spending the summer talking about what he wants to talk about -- missile defense, faith based charities -- he's going to have to spend at least a significant portion of his time talking about issues that Democrats want him to respond to -- prescription drugs, patient bill of rights, raising the minimum wage, maybe health care for the uninsured.
And that is a challenge much like Davis's challenge in California that is very different than anything he's had to face in his political career and we'll have to see how nimble he is in responding to those kinds of alternative agendas.
WOODRUFF: And Stu Rothenberg, how nimble will he be?
ROTHENBERG: Well, that's the great question. I think Ron's absolutely right. We've entered a series of issues here, where there's some significant distance between Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals. It's not like education where everybody knew we have to address this issue. There was some commonality of interest.
There was some fundamental differences on prescription drugs and energy, environment, certainly patient's bill of rights. And it is up to the president to walk a fine line between the Democrats and the conservatives who I imagine will become more outspoken and critical of this president to the extent that he decides he needs to work with Tom Daschle and the Democrats.
WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to turn the floor over to Ron now because I want to ask about these British elections. Stu and Tamala, you're welcome to chime in, but I want to turn to Ron first on Tony Blair and how he is handling. We know he's ahead in the polls, but how is he handling this election?
BROWNSTEIN: He is -- you know, he is ahead in the polls like Secretariat was ahead in the Kentucky Derby. He is heading toward a landslide reelection.
But what's striking about it, Judy, is that he is not playing it safe. And the contrast with Al Gore, to me, is very striking. Blair spent his first two years -- much like Clinton in the first to years of his second term, emphasizing fiscal discipline, limiting new spending. He's coming into this election promising a lot of new spending on health and education, the basic social services, much as Gore did in 2000.
The difference is that Blair is sort of attaching that message to a very persistent demand for fundamental reform in health care and education, even at the risk of antagonizing his own base. He's got the trade unions mad at him.
A stark contrast to Gore, we really sublimated that reform message. Ended up talking a lot more about new spending than anything else. And, incredibly, after the success Clinton and Gore had at balancing the budget, allowed Bush to paint him back in the corner of being a big government liberal. That's not going to happen to Blair, and that's one of the reasons why he is going to win very big next Thursday.
WOODRUFF: Ron, what is this about the attack billboards?
BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Well, you know, look, there's no television advertising here. So when you really want to get nasty in this presidential -- Bob Shrum and Stan Greenberg are sitting elbow-to- elbow in the labor war room -- two consultants who were at the core of the Gore campaign.
And, you know, when you want to get nasty, you can't go on television and write -- you know, have one of those, you know, very nasty television ads, you can put up a billboard. They have a billboard of William Hague, who is the current Conservative Party leader probably until next Thursday, when they lose, morphing into Margaret Thatcher. And it says: "Be afraid. Be very afraid."
I mean, that's as far as you can go here. Maybe that's as far as they have to go here.
EDWARDS: I think there's some things we might want to adopt from the British here.
WOODRUFF: Well, that's exactly what I want to know. And I want Tamala and Stu to weigh in on whether this is the kind of election we should be covering here.
EDWARDS: Well, you know, the idea of not being flooded every night with 1,000 attack ads -- that sounds great to me -- you can just drive on by.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, but you might drive off the road after seeing one of these. That's the problem.
ROTHENBERG: Judy, I like a lot of information in campaigns. I like a lot of give and take, back and forth. It's hard to do that on a billboard. It's hard to go billboard-to-billboard. I'd rather watch 30-second spot after 30-second spot.
WOODRUFF: Well, if you're sitting in, you know, wall-to-wall traffic, you can read.
All right. Well, Ron, we know you're going to be watching the election. We'll be talking to you next week. To you Ron, to Tamala, and to Stu -- thank you, all three. Good to see you, and have a good weekend.
EDWARDS: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: A challenge and a victory: Our Bill Schneider tees off for another "Political Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: This week the work of two branches of government meshed, and brought an important issue to the forefront of American awareness. But, as our Bill Schneider points out, it didn't happen in the usual Washington way -- Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, indeed.
You know, the normal course of politics goes like this: First you have an injustice. That raises public consciousness about a problem. Then politics provides a remedy. But sometimes the remedy comes first and the recognition of injustice later, like in this week's "Political Play of the Week."
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER (voice-over): When Rosa Parks got arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus in 1955, it raised public consciousness about the injustice of segregation, and eventually led to a legal remedy. When Anita Hill testified at the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991, it raised public consciousness about the injustice of sexual harassment, and led to new laws.
But in the case of the disabled, the process was reversed. The legal remedy came first, back in 1990. It's only now, more than a decade later, that the public's consciousness is being raised about the discrimination faced by disabled Americans.
Why did the legal remedy come first? Because it met with very little opposition. Who's going to come out against the disabled? Certainly not former President George Bush, who signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law with great ceremony.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: This historic act is the world's first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities. The first.
SCHNEIDER: This week, professional golfer Casey Martin gave that law meaning. At issue? A golf cart. Should the PGA tour allow Martin to use one because he has a condition that makes it difficult and painful for him to walk the course? By seven to two, the United States Supreme Court said yes.
Martin's argument? It's no big deal.
CASEY MARTIN, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I think when you get down to the crux of the issue, it's not that big a deal. And the tour allowed carts -- you know, when I qualified I was given a cart.
SCHNEIDER: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires "reasonable modifications" to accommodate the disabled, unless those modifications fundamentally alter the activity. The PGA Tour's argument? Walking the golf course is an essential part of the sport.
JACK NICKLAUS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: You know, the idea is having a level playing field. That's all they've asked. That's all the Tour has wanted to have is everybody play under the same rules.
SCHNEIDER: Oh, come on, the court said. The object of the game is to get the ball in the hole, not to walk the course. That course is no level playing field for a disabled golfer.
GREG NORMAN, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Casey's got a disability that would be a tough mental distraction in itself. When you have to concentrate with a swollen leg, with a lot of pain and discomfort, when you're putting a ball for the -- basically, for the money or a championship, that's going to be a tax on you as well.
SCHNEIDER: The Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't give the disabled an advantage. It gives them a right.
MARTIN: It gives me a right to play golf, but it doesn't give me an advantage over another competitor.
SCHNEIDER: Casey Martin showed the country exactly what the law means, and raised public consciousness about disability. A lot of politicians play golf. This time, a golfer played politics, and scored the "Political Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER: The Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990 because it felt good, but it also established new rights. The disabled always knew that, but now we all do -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Let's hope we all do. Bill Schneider, thanks.
An explosion in front of a beachfront discotheque in Tel Aviv -- we'll have an update on the casualties when INSIDE POLITICS returns.
WOODRUFF: New bloodshed in the Middle East: we will have an update on an apparent terrorist attack in Israel. Here in the U.S., there is still more to learn about the behind-the-scenes action in the 2000 presidential campaign and the divisions it laid bare. Plus, the British election goes high tech.
ANNOUNCER: From Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS.
It happened on a crowded beachfront late at night in Tel Aviv: an explosion that has now added to the casualty list in the Middle East conflict.
Let's get the latest now from CNN's Rula Amin, and she joins us from Jerusalem.
Rula, what are you learning?
RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judith, according to Israeli police at least 15 people have been killed, and at least 40 people have been injured due to this explosion. The police are saying this is not the final number, they are still counting, they're still trying to help whoever had been injured or hurt in this explosion.
What we are hearing -- the version for what had happened is that a suicide bomber, apparently one suicide bomber, had been able to sneak in between a line of Israelis who had been waiting in line trying to get into a nightclub. This is an area where there are a lot of nightclubs, bars and cafes on the beach in Tel Aviv. And as the suicide bomber got in line, he detonated himself.
We have heard, even, eyewitnesses who were inside the nightclub who had been affected by this. They said that they heard the noise, they saw the flash. And we're now seeing pictures from Israeli television, both channels. We're watching a lot -- a huge operation from the medics, a lot of ambulances. We're seeing a lot of people being admitted to the hospital, and hospital sources are telling us that a number of people, at least six, are seriously injured, and that that number is included in the 40 people who have been injured.
But the police are saying this is not the final number -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Rula, what is known at this point about who may be responsible?
AMIN: Judy, we still don't have a claim of responsibility. But there has been an increasing number of suicide bombings in Israel in the last few months and weeks. And usually the two Islamic militant groups, Hamas and al-Jihad, have claimed responsibility for these attacks, or these suicide bombings. And they have vowed that they will continue with these bombings -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And what about the security there, Rula? Given the heightened state of alert that the Israeli military, Israeli security is on, what would security be like at a place like this on a Friday night?
AMIN: Well, Judy, as you said, Israelis security had been on high alert, a high state of alert for the last few months. And they have been working on two different fronts: They're trying to be very aware of any suspicious object, of any suspicious person who is around that could be a possible bomb, or could be a possible suicide bomber, and have been trying to monitor the borders between Israel and the Palestinian territories very closely. The borders are basically closed except for some exceptions. They're trying to prevent the suicide bombers from infiltrating into Israel.
But still, they have not managed to stop these suicide bombings. And at a cite like this -- this is a beach, it's full with Israelis at this time. The attack happened, the explosion happened, at about 11:30 at night at the start of the weekend in Israel. And this is usually a time when a lot of Israelis, especially in Tel Aviv where a lot of people are secular and young and have money, and they go out to the bars, they have fun, they go to the discotheques.
So it's a very crowded neighborhood, as I said, a very crowded area. And it would have been hard for the police to control everybody who goes in and out -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: At the same time, Rula, the citizens of Israel are told on a regular basis to be careful about being in crowded areas, is that not correct?
AMIN: They have been warned, but Israelis are determined. They say they want to go on with their lives and they're not going to let these suicide bombings stop them from living. And so they continue to go to these neighborhoods.
And take a note, Judy, that Tel Aviv has not been one of the cities that suicide bombings had been taking place. Usually -- there have been suicide bombings in different towns like Netanya, like Hedera, even Jerusalem, but not in Tel Aviv.
And according to the police this is a very big explosion, probably the biggest since the beginning of this violent conflict eight months ago. And also, again, that -- even when Israelis at one point in the recent suicide bombings -- some Israelis -- a couple, a man and his daughter, when they noticed one suicide bomber, by the time they called the police and by the time the police came to check their suspicions, the bomber had detonated himself -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Rula Amin joining us from Jerusalem.
The pictures you've been looking at are from Tel Aviv, where this apparent suicide bomber detonated the bomb in a very crowded area, standing in line to get into a discotheque late at night there in the beach area, the Dolphinarium Beach area of Tel Aviv.
Joining us now -- thank you, Rula, very much.
And joining us now on the telephone from a suburb of Tel Aviv is Donny -- Danny Naveh, who is an Israeli Cabinet minister.
Mr. Naveh, what more can you tell us about what's happened?
DANNY NAVEH, ISRAELI CABINET MINISTER: Well, as you can see, it's a terrible crime. At least 15 young kids were murdered tonight in Tel Aviv by a suicide bomber -- the Palestinian suicide bomber.
Unfortunately, although, the Israeli prime minister has declared about 10 days ago on a cease-fire, and he called upon Mr. Arafat to do the same. There was no reciprocal statement by Mr. Arafat. And what we witnessed -- we have just witnessed tonight in Tel Aviv and what we have witnessed during the last few days is again and again further attacks by Palestinian terrorists.
And by the way, I am not sure where -- what is -- you know, whether it's so important to wait and see who claims responsibility due to the fact that the real responsibility here lay on the shoulders of Mr. Arafat that gave Hamas and Islamic Jihad the green light to commit such terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians. And you can hear on his formal television every night an incitement for such terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli civilians.
WOODRUFF: Mr. Naveh, we just heard our reporter Rula Amin saying that this is the first incident in some time in Tel Aviv. Is that your sense of it, too, that Tel Aviv has pretty much escaped this sort of thing for some -- for quite a while?
NAVEH: Unfortunately, there are not many places around Israel that escaped terrorist attacks during the last few months. And we have seen terrorist attacks, including suicide bombers, in a variety of towns all over Israel recently as part of the Palestinian strategy to kill the Israelis wherever they are in Israel, regardless of their age, whether they are babies, kids, women, or our children. And this is really an outrageous crime that we have witnessed in Tel Aviv tonight. And I really call upon, again and again -- we are calling upon, again and again, to Mr. Arafat to get to the conclusion that, by directing such terrorist attacks, or by not preventing such terrorist attacks he is not really going to gain anything. And this suffering and this killing of young, innocent kids is really something that we should put an end to.
WOODRUFF: Danny Naveh is an Israeli Cabinet minister.
Mr. Naveh, what effect does something like this have on the efforts to get the peace process back on track?
NAVEH: Of course, this is really a very negative sign by the Palestinian side in terms of their lack of willingness to put an end to the violence. Israel has adopted the Mitchell Report, calling for an immediate and unconditioned stop and cessation of the violence and terrorist attacks.
Unfortunately, we cannot see such a reciprocal move by the Palestinian side. This is not a positive, of course, sign for the future, and I really hope that such terrible bloodshed won't appear again in our area.
WOODRUFF: And finally, is there anything more that can be done in the way of security to minimize these sorts of incidents?
NAVEH: We will have to consider, of course, the measures that we could take. Seeing these terrible pictures, you can understand how difficult it is for a government like the Israeli government, or every government, to exercise a restraint policy like we are exercising recently. But we will have to consider, of course, those kind of measures that are needed in order to deter further terrorist attacks by Palestinians against our kids, our innocent civilians.
WOODRUFF: All right. Israeli Cabinet Minister Danny Naveh, thank you very much for being with us. He's been joining us by telephone from a suburb of Tel Aviv. The pictures you've been looking at are the scenes of the Dolphinarium beach in Tel Aviv, a very popular area late at night there at a discotheque. An apparent suicide bomber got in line along with a crowd of other young people, detonated the bomb. At this point, at least 15 reported dead, at least 40 injured. But police are saying those are not final numbers as they continue to count the dead and the wounded.
I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. We'll be back in a moment with more INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: As President Bush braces for Democrats to take control of the Senate next week, he found himself surrounded by Democrats today. Mr. Bush attended the Boston funeral of Democratic Congressman Joe Moakley, who died of leukemia this week at the age of 74. The funeral brought Mr. Bush together with former rival Al Gore and former President Bill Clinton for the first time since inauguration day. The farewell to Moakley also proved to be something of a tribute to bipartisanship now and in the days ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Joe Moakley proved that you can disagree without being disagreeable, that you can fight and have honest differences without trying to hurt your adversaries. He brought a certain nobility and meaning to public life that I think that President Bush coming here and the other Republicans who are coming recognize. And that -- and it's a real credit to Joe.
We're all here because of him and because of what he meant to all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Seeing the former and current presidents together with Al Gore brings back memories of the 2000 presidential campaign -- remember that? -- and the political divisions that it exposed. I spoke just recently with Roger Simon of "U.S. News & World Report" about his new book on election 2000, and I started by asking him why he chose the title "Divided We Stand."
ROGER SIMON, "U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT": Because as a country we were terrifically divided by the vote in November of 2000 and the country split virtually evenly in the popular vote. Al Gore, of course, got about a half million more than George Bush. And the electoral college, it was also tight.
But when you take a look at the past election you don't see a country where people are really at the extremes shouting at each other from the rooftops. As a country, we were pretty united. And so maybe one way to look at this result is that politics are simply irrelevant to so many people that they didn't care who won.
WOODRUFF: I was particularly -- you tell some wonderful stories in this book, and great reading in here and great reporting. I was just especially interested in -- in what you wrote about the relationship between Al Gore and Bill Clinton, and especially as it informs what Al Gore was as a candidate. But first, let me ask you about that Clinton -- what did you -- we think we've heard everything there is to know about him. But what did you conclude about Bill Clinton and his character?
SIMON: Well, that Bill Clinton, and both his character and his successes, both his failures and his successes, really shaped the 2000 campaign. Both Bush and Gore were convinced that reaching out and connecting with people, that magic ability that Clinton had and never lost -- that magic ability that saw him through impeachment, saw him through a Senate trial -- was the way to victory in 2000. It wasn't a matter of issues. They both talked about issues. But they didn't push hot-button issues, and they stressed as much as possible, whether it was appearances on "Oprah" or going on David Letterman, the nice, amiable sides of their character. And that was a direct legacy of Clinton.
WOODRUFF: What did -- Bill Clinton is still influencing American politics. But how did Clinton influence Al Gore? What did -- how did he influence the man who struggled so mightily last year?
SIMON: There was a tremendous influence, because Al Gore was well aware that Bill Clinton brought him to the dance, that eight years of being his vice president prepared Al Gore to run for the presidency. And it was a huge boost for his career. On the other hand, the campaign referred to Clinton as the ice on our wings, that they could never get out from under the huge shadow of Clinton. And all the Clinton negatives -- and there were huge Clinton negatives -- bounded -- rebounded onto Al Gore. And by the end of the campaign, it was Al Gore's job or the job of his lieutenants to simply tell Bill Clinton, no, we can't use you, we're just not going to use you in this campaign.
WOODRUFF: Al Gore was also burdened by what he thought or believed Bill Clinton thought about him, right?
SIMON: Right, and you know, Bill Clinton had a lot of respect for Gore. He certainly wanted Gore to win. But he never thought that Al Gore was the politician that he, Bill Clinton, was. And it's very difficult for him -- don't forget his wife was running that year, too - to stay out of both campaigns when really he wanted to run both campaigns. Really he wanted to run for president again and couldn't.
WOODRUFF: You write, among other things, about how he was critical of Gore well back in this -- in this relationship about the -- about his speech-making and his campaigning. During the impeachment scandal...
WOODRUFF: ... in 1998, what was Al Gore up to that we didn't know about until you...
SIMON: At the time, I'm sure you'll remember, Al Gore said it never crossed his mind that Bill Clinton would be removed from office. In fact, we learned that he had already picked his vice president. Possibly he already picked his whole Cabinet, considering Gore being Gore. And he had picked Joe Lieberman, interestingly enough -- the man he would later pick, of course, as his vice presidential running mate -- a man who went on to be highly critical of Bill Clinton. And of course, Bill Clinton knew that that had -- was sending a message not only to the country, but a message to him when Al Gore made that decision.
WOODRUFF: Somebody, you also write about in here, just to digress a moment, is Ralph Nader. He clearly had an effect on this election. You've talked to him since. What's his view now about what happened and his role in it?
SIMON: Well, his view is that he didn't defeat Al Gore, that Democrats defeated Al Gore. And he obviously got enough votes in Florida, hundreds of thousands, that had he not been in the race Al Gore probably would have won Florida. But he takes the view that if things are bad for the environment under George Bush, that's a good thing, because then it will make people wake up to what's happening in America.
He's totally unapologetic, totally unrepentant and would love to run again.
WOODRUFF: Last but not least -- again, many terrific stories in here. I just want to ask you about this poisonous relationship practically between John McCain and George W. Bush. Many of the origins back in South Carolina last year?
SIMON: Yeah. It was the only really dirty part of the entire campaign. It wasn't particularly a bad campaign in 2000 except for the South Carolina primary. George Bush, you will remember, had just lost New Hampshire by an incredible 19 percentage points. Had he lost South Carolina he would have been out of the race. So he pulled out all the stops. There were call-ins to radio stations. There were whispering campaigns. There were stories, lies told about John McCain that are almost unrepeatable that he had to endure. And of course, John McCain lost South Carolina, and the career of George Bush was reinvigorated.
And you see that relationship today, that it has been a poisonous relationship between the two men until last week, when Jeffords switched parties. The first thing George Bush did was call John McCain and invite him to dinner at the White House. Amazing!
WOODRUFF: A dinner that later got canceled but we assume is getting rescheduled.
SIMON: At John McCain's own pace it's going to be rescheduled.
WOODRUFF: Roger Simon. And again, the book is "Divided We Stand: How Al Gore Beat George Bush and Lost the Presidency."
Thanks very much. Great to see you.
SIMON: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: The toll of dead and wounded from another apparent suicide bombing in Israel, that story when we come back. The toll continues to go up.
WOODRUFF: A suicide bombing in Israel outside a crowded beach, discotheque near Tel Aviv. CNN's Rula Amin joins us now from Jerusalem with the latest on the casualty figures -- Rula.
RULA AMIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we are hearing from Israeli police now that the number of people who have been killed now is 17. And according to hospital sources the number who have been admitted to hospital is exceeding 70. They're telling us also that at least eight of these 70 people have been seriously injured.
Israeli police is saying that this is not the last, final count, that they are still looking for more injured people. They're trying to see what is the final outcome of this big explosion. They are describing it as one of the biggest, probably the most severe in the last few months.
And we have also heard from an Israeli Cabinet minister who said that maybe it's time for Israel now to reconsider what he termed as the unilateral cease-fire that Mr. Sharon had declared. He said that there will be a security Cabinet meeting in order for Israel to consider what kind of retaliation to have for this attack.
WOODRUFF: Rula, as the police are attempting to deal with this, how did they -- how did they come together now? Are we looking at an effort where the military was already nearby and could come to help the police? We're looking at pictures that have been -- we've been showing over the last hour or so. What sort of an effort is under way there, as best as you can determine?
AMIN: Well, it looks like it's a huge effort, because according to the police and to Israel radio this is a big, huge explosion that they have not seen something like in weeks and months. And we are seeing a large number of ambulances, medics, people on stretchers, people being admitted to the hospital. And everybody we've spoken to -- whether it's the police, it's the hospital, it's the fire department -- they're all telling us that they're still working on it, that it's still not the end. They still don't know what the final results are.
And there is fear. There's fear on the faces of the Israelis who have been in that neighborhood. This is a very crowded area at this time of the day. It happened at 11:30 at night, at the beginning of the weekend for Israel. And this is an area where it's very popular with cafes and bars and restaurants, and a lot of young Israelis go there to start their weekends, to celebrate their weekend -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Rula, I was talking earlier with one of the Cabinet ministers, Danny Naveh, who was saying that even though the people of Israel know that they need to be aware that these potential suicide bombers are out there, they need to be aware of security risks, they still want to go on leading as normal a life as they can.
AMIN: They do, and they have been. I mean, because some of those groups who carry out these suicide bombings don't hide their goal. They say they want to create a climate of fear in Israel, because they want to tell the Israelis that they're not going to get their security unless the Palestinians got their right, and what they term as the Palestinian state, as the right of return and the right to live freely.
And they're trying to tell the Israelis that there will be no security for Israel even if Mr. Sharon uses a heavy hand. Now, they say that Mr. Sharon was elected on a platform where he promised Israelis that he was going to bring them security using his heavy-hand policies. And those groups and some -- and many Palestinians say they want to tell Mr. Sharon that a heavy hand policy is not going to work.
Now Israelis are saying they're not going to let these attacks get to them. Many Israelis take precautions. Many of them don't get on the bus anymore because there are a lot of suicide bombings on buses. Many of them may be wouldn't go to crowded vegetable markets.
But still, it's hard to stop life from going on, and these are young people who are trying to have fun on the beginning of the weekend, and it will be hard for them to consider what will suicide bombing to target would be. If this is going to be the target, the place they're going to have fun in.
So they are saying this is also their way in defying these attempts to climate this climate of fear -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Rula Amin. She's joining us from Jerusalem, but the pictures that you've been seeing are from Tel Aviv, the site there on the beach at Dolphinarium beach near Tel Aviv's hotel district, where just perhaps about an hour and a half ago a suicide bomber detonated a bomb. At this moment, we are told as many as 17 dead, and that number could rise: 70 are injured in the hospital, eight of those seriously injured.
And again, we can only assume it was the work of a suicide bomber. Police still looking, as you can see, trying to deal with the chaos there at that Tel Aviv beach area.
We'll be back with more in just a moment.
WOODRUFF: CNN will keep you updated on that suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. For now, that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us.
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