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ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: How can these electric generator executives go to sleep at night? I honest to God don't know.
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ANNOUNCER: The energy crunch gets even more politically charged on Capitol Hill. We'll ask Senator Joe Lieberman about the hearing he headed today.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who suggest my administration will deploy a system that doesn't work are dead wrong.
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ANNOUNCER: President Bush says NATO allies are listening to his missile defense defense.
And Governor Jesse Ventura goes to the mat, once again, with the media.
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GOV. JESSE VENTURA (I), MINNESOTA: You people who hype things for a living are now going to lecture me?
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ANNOUNCER: Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
President Bush prides himself in his powers of persuasion, and he tried to use them to his best advantage at his first NATO summit meeting in Brussels today. Mr. Bush slowly made his way around the table, shaking hands with almost every allied leader, just one part of an effort to counter negative perceptions about him and his policies.
Our senior White House correspondent John King is traveling with the president and he joins us now from Brussels -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, evening here now in Brussels. As you noted, this is the president's NATO debut, a very important test for him on policy issues, but also, as you mentioned, his powers of persuasion. Mr. Bush claiming progress on both fronts tonight. Mr. Bush saying that he believes he looked the leaders in the eye and they're at least listening to him.
Still, much work ahead as the president tries to sell his agenda not only to the NATO alliance but to Russia as well.
KING (voice-over): His NATO debut was a major test. The president claimed progress, converts to his controversial plan for missile defense.
BUSH: We saw a new receptivity toward missile defense as part of a new strategic framework to address the changing threats of our world.
KING: Britain, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Spain offered at least general words of support.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Europe and America should always stick together.
KING: But Mr. Bush by no means closed the sale. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said the technology is still unproven and French President Jacques Chirac took issue with Mr. Bush's characterization of the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty as a Cold War relic.
JACQUES CHIRAC, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE: We have some reservations and some concerns, notably about the risk of proliferation in this area of ballistic missiles and weapons of mass destruction.
KING: But NATO's secretary-general was more upbeat.
GEORGE ROBERTSON, NATO SECRETARY-GENERAL: What the president asked for and what the president got was an open mind by the other allied countries to look at the risks and emerging threats that exist against NATO countries today.
KING: Several allies have complained of a go-it-alone approach, so Mr. Bush arrived in Brussels with something to prove.
BUSH: Unilateralists don't come around the table to listen to others and to share opinion.
KING: Yet he also made clear listening doesn't necessarily mean giving ground. BUSH: I think people are coming our way, but people know that I'm intent upon doing what I think is the right thing in order to make the world more peaceful.
KING: Saturday's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin is critical. There would be much less controversy if Moscow agreed to amend the ABM treaty.
Brussels was stop two, and like Madrid the day before, protesters made clear their opposition to missile defense and other Bush administration policies. And officials are bracing for more protests at the next stop, Sweden, where Mr. Bush joins a European Union meeting.
The president took time out in Brussels to indulge his sweet tooth.
BUSH: Whoa, that's really good.
KING: A brief respite on a trip in which Europe is taking his measure.
KING: Now, Mr. Bush says his take so far is so far so good. He claims to be making significant progress in building goodwill among the allies, and in his view, at least modest headway in making the case for missile defense -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: John, the president says that he feels he's making some progress here. What -- do we know what the European leaders are saying privately, outside of the camera's view, about the president?
KING: Well, many are still skeptical. They don't view the threat as quite as severe as Mr. Bush and his team does. They're not convinced that there is such a risk of a rogue missile launch from, say, a North Korea or an Iraq or an Iran. Their biggest concern is if you respond to that perceived threat, what would the reaction of China be? Would there be an arms race involving Russia? So still a lot of concerns.
What these leaders now, though, appear to be doing is stepping back, giving Mr. Bush a chance to make his case. One of the reasons for that is, let's remember there is no specific proposal on the table yet. We're still at least a couple years, if not much more than that, away from even the deployment of the most rudimentary basic system of this larger, broader, multibillion-dollar missile defense system.
So there's no plan on the table. This is a theory, an idea right now. So the NATO allies showing some respect to the president of the United States, listening, but still voicing quite a bit of skepticism.
WOODRUFF: John, the administration got a little bit of good news out of the Middle East yesterday. CIA Director George Tenet over in that region, acting as an envoy, getting the two parties to agree to a cease-fire, at least talk about a cease-fire. What are people around the president saying about that?
KING: Well, Mr. Bush called Mr. Tenet, Judy, to congratulate him. Mr. Bush making the case here that the United States and the world now watching, seeing if the Palestinians and the Israelis can turn that promise of a cease-fire into a cease-fire that actually lasts.
Many outside the administration, though, saying here, remember, Mr. Bush did not want high-level emissaries to the region. Mr. Tenet now has brokered this cease-fire, excuse me, that has the president's name on it, if you will. So if it fails, many saying Mr. Bush will be held accountable and that he would have no choice but to get even more involved now in the brokering, back-and-forth, between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
WOODRUFF: And John, to the Balkans, where in the former Yugoslavia, Macedonia, rising tensions there between rebels and government troops. What is the administration, people around the president, are they concerned about this? What is it in their view should the allies be doing?
KING: They certainly are concerned. There was great deal of discussion about that at today's NATO summit. Right now, the opinion of the United States and most of the other NATO leaders is perhaps down the road NATO may have to send a military force in there, a relatively modest one, to help the Macedonian government. But there is a cease-fire in place right now, so the view from NATO is let's see if a political situation, a political resolution can take hold, and then perhaps down the road send some NATO troops in to help.
They do not want to send NATO troops in, in the middle of a very dicey situation. And on a related issue in the Balkans, Mr. Bush easing some concerns here about his administration, making clear today, even though during the campaign he had talked perhaps of taking U.S. troops out of Bosnia on a relatively quick schedule, Mr. Bush making clear today that the United States went into deployments with the NATO allies and would only leave those deployments if all the other NATO troops came out as well -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. That's a significant piece of information. John King, traveling with the president in Brussels. Thanks, John.
Well, now we turn to energy politics in this country. California's attorney general said today he will convene a grand jury early next month to investigate allegations of price gouging by electric and natural gas companies. On Capitol Hill here, lawmakers also are looking into those charges and how far the federal government should go to help ease California's power crunch.
CNN's Kate Snow has been following the energy fireworks.
REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: ... electricity prices in California, we need solutions. So far, your solutions have been giving us a faith-based electricity policy. You'll pray for us, KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Renewed pressure on the administration to do more for California, and with Democrats controlling the Senate, committee hearings that once focused on long- term energy supply now center more on short-term problems.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), CHAIRMAN, GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE: I don't believe in price controls or price caps or other economic contrivances that inhibit the free marketplace, but the energy market in California and the West is not free today. It may not even be functional.
SNOW: Lieberman and other Democrats say they're encouraged to hear FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will consider new efforts to limit the cost of wholesale electricity in Western states. An emergency plan for California is already in place and it seems to be helping. Late last month, on the first day it was used, the hourly cost of power fell from $299 to $120.
CURT HEBERT, CHAIRMAN, FERC: I don't care what you call it, it's a fix for California and it's going to protect the consumers of California.
SNOW: At a special meeting next week, FERC will decide whether to make price mitigation measures effective 24 hours a day in Western states, with or without a declared emergency. In a letter Tuesday, House Republicans urged the agency to take that step, but they were careful to note they don't support a cap on prices.
REP. BILLY TAUZIN (R), LOUISIANA: Price mitigation literally uses the market to settle itself. It allows -- without setting any kind of price ceiling, without a cap, without saying you can't charge more than this -- it allows literally the market place to settle down.
SNOW: But some Democrats say price mitigation doesn't go far enough. House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt says he suspects the White House is encouraging FERC to take action to steer Congress away from legislating price caps.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Rather than these fig-leaf and half and one-fourth solutions of trying to cover up and create deception that they are doing something when they really aren't. If you want to do something, do it.
SNOW: Republicans insist they want to do something, comprehensive energy reform. In the Senate, they had planned to take up the president's energy bill soon, but now say Democrats would rather point fingers.
SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: The Daschle-run Senate has placed a national energy policy for our country well below the priorities that the American public has placed it.
SNOW: Republicans in the Senate say they'll going to hold up other issues until they can get a commitment on energy. They want a commitment the Democrats will bring up a comprehensive energy plan on the Senate floor. And although they don't control the agenda, Senator Craig saying that when Tom Daschle was the minority leader, he seemed to be effective at holding things up, and he said, I took some lessons from Tom Daschle.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Kate, it seems that every day now, I ask how those negotiations are going between the Republicans and the Democrats in the newly Democratic led Senate.
WOODRUFF: ... over reorganization, but, bring us up to date today.
SNOW: And every day they say they are getting closer, and that is what they are saying again today, Judy. In fact, right now this hour, Senator Tom Daschle, the new majority leader, is meeting with those five Republican senators appointed to sort of handle this negotiation.
The biggest sticking points right now, Judy, still have to do with judicial nominees -- specifically, Republicans sources telling CNN, that Republicans had asked that circuit court judges and Supreme Court judge nominations be voted on before the full Senate, that in those cases, they needed to get a vote in front of the full Senate. That is a sticking point.
Also, Republicans talked about the blue slip policy, if you recall, that is the process by which senators from home states can approve or disprove of a nominee from their home state. They are saying, the Republicans, that they want that blue slip process to be open, to be public, so that Democrats couldn't secretly vote against someone and secretly block a nomination.
Now until they get all this resolved, Judy, of course the bottom line is, life can go on, Senate hearings, like you saw today, Senator Lieberman's hearing went on as planned, but they can't really take any votes -- they are not taking any votes at this point -- because all those freshmen don't have committee assignments right now, and they also can't vote on any of the president's nominations for various positions, so, things are a little bit held up until they get this resolution taken care of.
WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow, reporting from the Capitol. Thanks.
Back now to the politics of energy. On Capitol Hill today, as we have been reporting, Senator Joe Lieberman, now head of the Governmental Affairs Committee, did open a series of hearings in recent energy price increases. We will talk with Senator Lieberman later on the program.
But first, our Brooks Jackson takes a closer look at a two-word phrase that is dominating the energy price debate. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You hear the phrase every day:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Price gouging at the gas pump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Price gouging.
JACKSON: According to some, mostly Democrats, high prices are due largely to price gouging by oil companies, but price gouging is a vague term.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know of no economic textbook that includes the term price gouging.
JACKSON: There's no legal definition either, according to the Congressional Research Service. So what is gouging?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we say that price gouging is excessive profits.
JACKSON: And what's excessive is a matter of opinion. What's the definition of excessive?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would say anything significantly above your cost.
JACKSON: Midwest gasoline prices are a case in point, under renewed investigation by the new Democratic chairman of the Senate Investigations Subcommittee, Carl Levin of Michigan. He says oil companies have some explaining to do. Public hearings are expected.
They could provide political heat. Midwest prices for reformulated regular gas soared from an average of $1.38 in mid-March to a peak of $1.94 last month. A 40 percent increase.
But look back just a bit: the same thing happened last year. A brief spike to just over $2 a gallon last June, then a rapid fall to a $1.39 by late August.
In this year, Midwest prices peaked again earlier, but we're already going down, even before Levin announced his investigation.
JACKSON: And last year's Midwest price spike was investigated thoroughly by the Federal Trade Commission, then headed by a Democratic appointee. It looked at nearly a thousand boxes of oil company documents, took testimony from refiners and pipeline executives, and it found "no evidence of collusion."
In fact: "The principle causes of the price spike were beyond the immediate control of industry participants."
Far from blaming market manipulation the FTC cited: "two pipeline disruptions, refinery maintenance problems, higher demand for gasoline, and new environmental protection agency restrictions on summer-grade reformulated gasoline."
The FTC said one refiner did withhold supplies of reformulated gasoline to keep prices high. Gouging?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This confirms our theory that, one: these oil companies are really big and control enough of the market share to be able to manipulate the market.
JACKSON: But the FTC also said several other refiners, also motivated by profit, rushed new gasoline supplies to market, quickly driving prices down. As economists see it, a textbook case of supply and demand. Not price gouging.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This industry has had 10 bad years, and now they have had one good year. And you need the profits to provide the incentive to make the investments to produce the clean fuels, demanded by Americans.
JACKSON (on camera): As the summer heats up, expect to hear lots more accusations of price gouging. But as you do, look and listen carefully to see what new evidence comes to light. If any.
Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Up next, a Republican gives a boost to the Patients' Bill of Rights.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is the only bill that guarantees a patient will find justice if they are injured or killed from improperly denied care.
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WOODRUFF: Congressman Charlie Norwood throws his support behind a Democratic compromise.
Also ahead: Minnesota's governor stages a walkout during his own television interview. This is INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: A key House Republican broke ranks with President Bush today on patients' rights legislation. Dentist-turned-Congressman Charlie Norwood endorsed a bipartisan measure, opposed by the White House that gives Americans broader rights to sue their health plans. Norwood was a coauthor of an expansive patients' rights bill that passed the House two years ago.
Until now, the Georgia Republican had held off backing a similar plan this year, hoping to reach a compromise with the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. CHARLES NORWOOD (R), GEORGIA: I had hoped that by intense lobbying I could persuade the White House to see it our way. They were obviously hoping that by intense lobbying they could persuade me to see it their way. Neither of us were able to succeed.
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WOODRUFF: And during the president's trip to Brussels today, he was asked about Norwood's decision and the fate of patients' rights legislation.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm confident we'll get a bill that I can live with. If we don't, I gave a speech in Florida that laid out the principles, and if those principles are not met, I meant what I said. I said I can't live with the bill, and so...
QUESTION: That means you'd veto it?
BUSH: "Can't living with a bill" means it won't become law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Meantime in the Senate, Democrats are poised to open debate on a patients' rights measure, similar to the House bill endorsed by Norwood, and that is as soon as tomorrow. Joining us now, Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine, and Tucker Carlson of CNN'S "CROSSFIRE."
Tucker, where does this leave the patients' rights debate?
TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, CROSSFIRE: Well, I mean, the attention it going to be on the Senate because this is, of course, a referendum on how Daschle's running the Senate and if they will be able to put a bill forward, and get through the Senate that the White House is against, which is why the White House is going to after people like John Breaux. So you have this weird situation where you have Breaux potentially on Bush's team, and then McCain arrayed with Kennedy against Bush. Symbolically, I think it's huge.
WOODRUFF: How are the stars aligned as you see it, Margaret?
MARGARET CARLSON, TIME MAGAZINE: Well, remember during the debate when Al Gore challenged George Bush, where do you stand on Dingell-Norwood, which was the most publicity that bill had ever gotten. And Bush acted as if it was some you know, very exotic thing. It's just a piece of legislation.
Norwood was always the one that you would expect would go over, and support the patient bill of rights, so I don't expect a stampede. But, Tucker is right, McCain is now focusing a lot of his energy there -- any energy that's not on campaign finance -- on the patient bill of rights lined up with Kennedy, and it could it could go their way and then, you know, Bush is going to have to decide whether those objections he has are that important.
And in fact, the bill is not that far-reaching. It is basically a bill for the middle class to help us -- to help us sue HMOs.
T. CARLSON: Just the help we need.
WOODRUFF: Both sides, Tucker, are calling these "patients bills of rights." Is there that much difference between them?
T. CARLSON: No, I mean it's a question of, you know, to what degree do the trial lawyers agree with it, and that is -- I mean this is the way to spin this. Not to offer...
WOODRUFF: You mean it's the right to sue that's...
T. CARLSON: That is exactly right, but I mean it is right to sue for how much, of course, is the question. And if you are arguing against this, if you were a conservative Republican, I think you would want in, say, every sentence, at least once, to use the phrase "evil trial lawyers," because that's the group obviously who is for, you know, a more expansive right to sue. That is the way to frame it. Any debate that's framed in terms of rights is a loser.
M. CARLSON: Well, right, but anyone -- I mean most people-- see it, Tucker, from other side which is people who need a trial lawyer to help them when they have run up against an HMO, and that is all this does. It allows you sue an HMOm which has done something -- either refused treatment, or you know, something much worse.
T. CARLSON: And you've suffered pain and suffering and so you need to, you take into a contingency legal deal, and -- right.
M. CARLSON: There's sometimes a lot of pain and suffering associated with the mistakes that they might make.
WOODRUFF: Does either of you feel safe enough to make a prediction on what's going to come out here?
M. CARLSON: I think it's going to pass, because it is not that stunning a bill. It's not that astonishing. I mean, it doesn't cost very much, it doesn't cost anything for that matter. And it allows various members of Congress to seem reasonable on health care.
T. CARLSON: There will be a patients' bill of rights. There is absolutely no question about it.
WOODRUFF: But not the one the White House likes, is what you are saying.
M. CARLSON: But not the one with the critical -- the one with the critical provision which allows suing HMOs.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the president in Europe. How is he doing, Tucker? T. CARLSON: I think he's doing fine. I mean, it is remarkable to watch, you know, the American press corps sound like the French press corps -- ooh, you know, he mispronounced a word -- you know, so much of it funny, particularly the Kyoto business. And now I think for the first time in five months there has been a pretty open debate about who exactly has signed on to this.
And of course now we learn only -- or now the general public learns -- only one country, Rumania, has ratified this agreement, and in fact it is totally bogus when Germany, and France start making noises about Kyoto when they have gone about as far with it as the United States has, which is not ratified.
M. CARLSON: Well, Bush would have done a lot better in withdrawing Kyoto to put something else on the table because there was a framework to work on. Actually, it gave the administration cover while they tried to delay doing anything, while they waited for science which has been on the table for 10 years. It's been fairly well documented that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases and it is controllable to a certain extent by changing human behavior, or limiting emissions.
They asked for NAS report, they got it, it agreed, and now still Bush goes empty handed to Europeans. I think that is not helping his trip there.
WOODRUFF: What about on missile defense?
T. CARLSON: Yes, but then at some point the question becomes, so we offend the Belgians? I mean the world is so different now, I guess the question becomes, well, who cares? You know, Bush is accused of unilateral behavior. Well, I don't know -- there is going to come a point when Republicans, in the Senate anyway, or Republicans in Congress are going to say, do we really care if we offend various E.U. states?
M. CARLSON: But we might care if the oceans are rising, you know, they did two inches over the last couple decades and they are expected to rise even further. The weather is changing. There is a lot of things that scientists tell us are happening to us and the Europeans. It's not the Belgians are mad.
T. CARLSON: But as a political matter it's not Europe is this bulwark against communism any longer. So, the arguments are so different and yet they're completely the same, such as over the ABM treaty...
M. CARLSON: It's a small world after all. We all live on the same planet.
T. CARLSON: I knew it would get back to Disney in the end.
M. CARLSON: I didn't sing it.
WOODRUFF: Thirty seconds. If not much headway on global warming, what about on missile defense? M. CARLSON: All we know is that when it came up he raised his voice an octave, repeated what he said to try to get the NATO minister to go along with him.
T. CARLSON: Well, people just are not as against it, in, you know, it strikes me that the English don't -- haven't said they are absolutely against it -- the British haven't. And Barak sounds like he is open to it. So it's not like a unified front against it.
M. CARLSON: You know, if the shield were actually shown to work and Putin on Saturday in Russia says, we don't care about the AMB treaty, that would be progress. I don't expect it.
WOODRUFF: I know you all are dying to keep on talking about this, but we're going to have to put the brakes on this.
T. CARLSON: We could go on forever.
M. CARLSON: In our small world.
WOODRUFF: As soon as you can squeeze us into your schedule we want you back on INSIDE POLITICS. Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, thank you both.
A question: Is America a safer place now? We'll look at a new survey on violent crime in the U.S., and why it differs from the FBI's numbers. We check some of the day's other top stories next.
WOODRUFF: We'll have more of the day's political news coming up but now a look at some other top stories. A decision is expected anytime on whether Dale Earnhardt's autopsy photos will be made public. A judge in Daytona Beach, Florida is expected to rule on whether the photos can be released to a University of Florida newspaper and a Web site. Let's listen in now. The judge is about to speak.
JUDGE JOSEPH WILL, VOLUSIA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: ... before I announce the ruling. It has truly been a pleasure to work with all the lawyers in this case. You know that that's not gratuitous for me, like it was with you. I don't have to say it.
WILL: But I really like to think that when we become involved in cases like this, non-jury cases where we debate the law, that we're all on kind of a journey to find a way to get the right thing done, and still do it within the law and the Constitution. Sometimes that's really hard to do. And I don't think there has ever been assembled in this room a group of people more competent to do that, or a group of people that have made it more enjoyable. This has -- for me, this has truly been an exciting and enjoyable philosophical venture.
I know it's not that way to the parties. It's always different for parties. It's hard for us to tell you that we're excited as lawyers to do these things, but we are. And this has been a true joy. I have a tremendous amount of respect for all of the lawyers that are assembled here, and I'm sorry I can't find a ruling that's going to please each and every lawyer in the room. It just can't happen in every case, and I'm sorry that I'm not going to be able to do that.
It's also been kind of exciting to have the press here. That doesn't happen very often in our circuit court, and it's been kind of exciting. And it speaks very well, yet again, in the state of Florida, that our courts are open, that they're transparent, as Mr. Candia (ph) says. And that everyone is free to watch what we do and see how we do it. It makes us proud that we can do that, and I'm proud to live in this fine state.
There was mention in our case that celebrity had something to do with it. It was a silly notion when it was mentioned, but I thought that it might be worthy of mention again. I hope all of you know that this case could just as easily have involved the autopsy photographs of the man who lives under the bridge, or Mr. Uribe's mother, or anyone else, and the issues would have been exactly the same to this court and would have been presented exactly the same by all of the lawyers here, all of whom I am truly proud to work with.
This case is simply about whether the law is going to be able to grope its way to protect something as dear to each of us as our privacy. Nothing more, nothing less. It has nothing do with NASCAR. It has to do with Mrs. Earnhardt and her family, and all of our families, really, and our relationship with those people who invade our privacy without any good reason.
It certainly has nothing to do with the ruling of the court, but just one more observation, as somebody who's been at the heart of this Earnhardt hurricane. It has been a true pleasure to meet parties with the unbelievable resolve of their convictions. That resolve has been something to see. It's pretty obvious that spunk and grit don't have to be genetic. the "Independent Alligator" and Mr. Uribe are the public. The media such as the "Independent Alligator" gets nothing greater than any of the rest of the public under our law, because there simply isn't anything more to get. Mr. Candia's (ph) reference, again to our transparent system, is well taken.
And the point by Judge Dauks, (ph) in the Mineola (ph) case is also well taken. Invasions of privacy can be indecent, outrageous and intolerable. Let's analyze our case. The first of the elements first, or the easiest of the elements first, and that is the seriousness of the intrusion into this family's right to privacy. There is no question in the mind of court that the violation of the privacy of this family is significant. The extent to which Mrs. Earnhardt has gone on behalf of her family because of her fear of such harm is amazing.
The harm which could come to Mrs. Earnhardt alone is sufficient under the testimony in this particular case to consider the seriousness of the invasion to be of the highest degree. When her 12- year-old daughter factored into the decision, there is no question whatsoever of the seriousness of the harm that could come to her immediate family. It's unspeakable, and it doesn't really require factual definition to satisfy this court, that invasions of this type do not cut deeper and they do not cut more painfully.
The witnesses who testified on the topic agree that they would not allow their children to review such material. I would not subject my children to such nonsense, and you would not subject yours to it. All for the same reason: it's harmful, it's painful, and the legislature has finally said we don't have to. The court remains absolutely baffled as to how any person could feel contrary to that notion, or how any person could be so heartless as to distribute or publish images such as these.
The second element: the necessity for public evaluation of governmental performance. We should be looking here, I think, for a legitimate issue of public accountability by the government. First and foremost, I think we should remember that this is not a decision as to whether these documents will be sealed and never seen again by persons under any circumstances. That's not necessarily the case.
This case is about the public's access to those reports. We're making a decision here about whether the public will see records that our legislature has wisely decided will be private, unless a member of the public shows good cause to see them. The question is whether members of the public should have unfettered, or even fettered access to documents that our legislature has now determined to be presumptively private.
We used to couch that more simply. We used to say that some things are just none of your business. It's good that the legislature made the effort to get through the morass, but if appropriate private people need to see these record, there are legal forums in which they may be seen. For example, the testimony in the argument that we've entertained with respect to the relationship of Mrs. Earnhardt and NASCAR. That's a private matter which does not involve the government at all in the court's view. Strained arguments can be made to create virtually any relationship, but in this case, they are entirely too tenuous to have any legal effect whatsoever.
The only reason that the government has come into this case is the statutory obligation of the medical examiner to complete an autopsy. The only arguable positions taken by those seeking the records have been that the medical examiner is a governmental official who needs to answer to the public for his conduct and the manner in which he operates his office.
Another argument, the office procedures perhaps used by the medical examiner could be different depending upon the fiscal philosophies of those people governed in this area. And the investigation by the Daytona Beach Police Department falls within the same rough parameters. That is, could it or should it have been done differently.
Other than those considerations, this is not a government operation that needs to have its performance evaluated. As a factual matter, the court finds that these are incredibly thin excuses to invade the serious privacy rights of a family. The testimony has been that the police report and the medical examiners performance were within tolerances, in all respects. The medical examiners evaluation has been done here, once by a medical doctor, and once by an expert selected by the parties who reached a separate agreement in mediation.
No questions were raised by either in the scenario in which it can reasonably be expected that if there were any differences, they wouldn't just have been known, they would have been known in neon on the side of a blimp. The question as to whether the medical examiner should or could use a digital camera as opposed to a 35-millimeter camera can be resolved without the necessity of invading the privacy of our families. It's silly to use that as an excuse for prying into personal, private matters.
The court is also directed to consider whether similar information in other public records is available. There's an autopsy report available with diagrams and test results. There's testimony by Mr. Earnhardt's treating physician, and a report by Dr. Myers, an expert agreed upon by the family and some 25 parties, roughly, for the purpose of reviewing that report and the photographs, both of whom have reviewed the autopsy photos and agree that the photographs provide precious little, if anything.
Just an aside, while it can reasonably be argued that medical witnesses seldom recognize fallibility, and in this case, the doctors quickly brush over the prospect that a medical person could have made a mistake, or perhaps even acted improperly, it remains that there is evidence in this particular record regarding this particular family that's sufficient to persuade the court that in this particular case, there was no such mistake or misfeasance, as evidenced by their reviews.
The last consideration is the least intrusive means available to disclose the records. The court, having found that there's no reason to disclose the records, finds also that this particular element doesn't require further discussion. The court is respectfully declining the invitation to participate in the evolution of a disclosural privacy right, under Article I Section 23, or the Federal Constitution. The court is convinced that the Supreme Court of Florida has suggested that this is not a place for a circuit judge to go.
It's interesting, and God knows it's tempting. But the court will rule in favor of the "Independent Alligator" and Mr. Uribe on that claim. As a practical matter, I should also announce that I am also not adopting the argument that the photographs do not constitute a public record under the authority of the Desheven (ph) case.
Accordingly, the court rules as follows: Chapter 2001-1 is still constitutional, and it shall still be given retroactive application. Mrs. Earnhardt prevails on the issue of whether good cause has been demonstrated under 2001-1 for a review of her husband's autopsy photographs.
The court specifically finds that as matter of fact, she has prevailed overwhelmingly. The court declines to create any restrictions or stipulations under the statute for the viewing or copying of the photographs, and there should be no disclosure of any degree whatsoever. This ruling also favors the estate of Dale Earnhardt, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Taylor Nicole Earnhardt. It does not favor Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Judgment shall be entered in favor of Campus Communications Inc., (UNINTELLIGIBLE), on the action pursuant to Article I, Section 23 of the Florida Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The temporary injunction shall be dissolved, the parties in agreement which was reached in mediation shall be bound by their agreement and the court shall reserve jurisdiction over enforcement of that agreement in the event it becomes necessary. That agreement however is not binding on any other member of the public, anyone who did not sign and agree to that agreement.
WOODRUFF: In Florida, a circuit judge in Volusia County Joseph Will ruling in favor of the widow of racecar driver Dale Earnhardt, denying a request from the University of Florida student newspaper and the owners of a Web site to be able to show -- to publish photographs of the autopsy of Dale Earnhardt.
Again, the widow of Dale Earnhardt, emerging as the victor in this legal suit, this legal process that has gone on now for several weeks.
INSIDE POLITICS, we will be right back with an interview with Senator Joseph Lieberman. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Today's hearing of the energy crunch out West was chaired by the new Governmental Affairs Committee chairman Senator Joe Lieberman. Lieberman has proposed a series of hearings to examine the high prices and limited energy supplies in California and other western states and Senator Lieberman joins us now from Capitol Hill.
Senator, first of all, after hearing what you heard today, are you any closer to believing that you know the right solution for California's electricity crisis?
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, what's clear, Judy, from the testimony today, is that there are a lot of people to blame for the crisis, but the question is what do we do to get out of it? I do think that the California state government has put a lot of money into solving the problem. People in California are conserving and power plants are being expedited.
Now, what remains is the need to give some temporary price relief to the consumers and businesses that buy electricity in California and frankly throughout the West. And the only group that can do that is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, who will come in and testify before us next week.
So, there was unanimity on this panel of experts that the rates in California now are not just unreasonable and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has the responsibility to maintain just and reasonable rates, so they better do it soon, hopefully with some kind of temporary price relief.
WOODRUFF: You are saying the only answer is price relief. It's reported today that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is moving -- and evidently, as soon as next week -- to broadening the price control measures that it had put in place last month. Is that going to be enough?
LIEBERMAN: Well, we will see. I have heard those same rumors, I'm encouraged by them. Apparently, the limited price relief and cases where there was a clear supply shortage may be broadened to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Incidentally, very significantly, may be branded beyond California to the entire western part of country that's part of the same electricity grid as California.
So, those would be significant steps forward. I think I will wait until the FERC, as the commission is called, takes its action on Monday, take a look at it, and see whether we think it solves the problem and then we have the opportunity on Wednesday to question the commissioners about it.
WOODRUFF: Senator, what do you say to those on the other side of the argument, one of them being Senator Fred Thompson, who is a member of your committee. You said among other things today, that rarely have temporary price controls worked, and he cited the wage and price controls under President Nixon back in the late '60s and early '70s? He also cited rent controls in New York City.
LIEBERMAN: Well, in a way, those are two of the worst examples. There are a lot of better examples. The electricity pricing, for a long time there were -- was a form of price controls. It was cost plus a profit, which existed not so long ago in most states in the country, and the utility industry flourished quite well and supply was guaranteed.
We have now gone to deregulation, which I think is generally a good idea and I'm not usually for price limitations of any kind in a free market, but California today, as our experts testified this morning, doesn't have a free market. That's why we have to come in and temporarily put on some price limitations, utility by utility. Give them the cost of their service, plus a reasonable profit.
Not the hundreds of percentage points of profit that they are making now. When supply equals demand and goes beyond it, which, by all estimates, it will in a year and a half, then those price controls come off.
WOODRUFF: Well, when you say hundreds of percentage points of profit, I mean, that's another way of saying price gouging.
LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I guess price gouging is either in the eye of the beholder or in the contemplation of the particular law. Some of these energy companies selling into California, in my opinion, by my definition, have been price gouging.
They have been making not the normal 15 or 20 percent that most companies would be thrilled at, not 100 percent. They'd be making hundreds of percentage points, because there's been such a stressed market. And I just think that's wrong.
It has gone down a little bit in the last week or so, but all the experts this morning said, don't relax, don't take that as the end of the problem. California will have difficult a summer, when it comes to the supply and price of electricity. That's why the federal government has to act.
WOODRUFF: You are saying a number of the experts said, more is going to be required, but the chairman of FERC, of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was saying today that those limited measures that FERC put in place last month are largely responsible for these dropping prices.
LIEBERMAN: Well, I suppose everybody can claim credit, but nobody today said that those limited moves are responsible. You know, I think the weather has gotten better, so there is a little bit more -- a little less demand, we hope that some of the steps that the state and federal government have taken have encouraged the people who run the electric generating companies to kind of turn the spigot down on the price and be less greedy, frankly, then they have been up to now.
And I give FERC some credit too. But I think it was a lot more than that. Because it's a very limited order that they issued a short while ago.
WOODRUFF: If price caps are put on, Senator, how do you know what is the right cap, what -- where to cap a price? How do you know you are not doing more damage than you are helping the situation?
LIEBERMAN: Well, this is where we really do leave it to the regulators to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. I wish that they would do that, instead of having Congress compel them to do it.
But the whole idea here, Judy, is to -- just like we used to do it in public utility regulation in every state in the country: you get a return to -- every generator gets their cost of service back, plus some reasonable rate of return.
WOODRUFF: And you are not worried about decreasing incentives for conservation by doing this?
LIEBERMAN: I am not. I think the message is out. The price will still go up and the generators of electricity can still make a profit that most companies would envy.
If this doesn't happen, this largest state in our country plus a lot of its neighbors -- Oregon, Washington, several other Western states -- are going to really have their economy hurt. Businesses are making decisions, people are being let go. Individual families are going to have their budgets whacked.
And ultimately, this part of the country is about one-fifth, 20 percent, of the American economy, if they suffer economically, it's not going to be long before the rest of the country suffers. And frankly, what we do here in this case will be precedent for what we will do in other parts of the country if they have similar energy supply and price crises.
WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Joe Lieberman, the new chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, whose committee will continue those hearings on energy prices next week.
Thanks very much, senator.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Judy. Always good to be with you.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
When it comes to Republican advertising no name energizes the troops likes Ronald Reagan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is time to get government back within its means and to lighten our punitive tax burden. On these principles there will be no compromise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS returns, the Republican race for New Jersey governor and the mantel of tax-cutting conservative.
WOODRUFF: Outside the nation's capital, the political battles are heating up in a number of state and local races, and some of the most competitive are in New York and New Jersey. With the latest now on where the big advertising money is being spent, we're joined by David Peeler of Competitive Media Reporting.
DAVID PEELER, COMPETITIVE MEDIA REPORTING: Hi, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Let's start with the Republican primary battle in the New Jersey governor's race.
PEELER: Well, the line-up is Jersey City Mayor Brett Schundler lining up against former Congressman Bob Franks. This is a very, very interesting race. Let's go to the spending right away. What we see is that Bob Franks has outspent Brett Schundler by $582,000 to $177,000 so far. We've got a primary coming on the 26th of June. But we also see the Republican Leadership Council coming in, in support of Bob Franks with about $21,000 worth of spending so far.
What's interesting in this race is that Schundler has reached back to grab Ronald Reagan back from retirement and tax cuts. We see that in some of his ads. He also went on the air today with a very popular New Jersey issue, which was to close down the tolls on the Jersey Turnpike.
Congressman Franks has been reaching back into his bio and what he's done in Congress. Let's take a look at some of those ads. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, FRANKS CAMPAIGN AD)
BOB FRANKS (R), NEW JERSEY GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We changed Washington. Now, we need to change Trenton with new power to let citizens make laws through initiative and referenda, and tough ethics standards to take influence away from special interests. As governor, the only interest I'll put first is yours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SCHUNDLER CAMPAIGN AD)
NARRATOR: Bob Franks raised our taxes 120 times. He voted with Jim Florio 90 percent of the time. And Bob Franks opposed President Bush's tax cut, the most important since Ronald Reagan.
Reagan, Bush, Schundler, their true tax-cutters. Bob Franks, just another tax-hiking liberal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: David, you mentioned the Republican Leadership Council. Now, how is that group trying to help Franks?
PEELER: Well, there's a couple of interesting stories here. The RLC tends to trend fiscally conservative and socially moderate, which plays well here in the Northeast. Bob Franks is on the advisory committee of the RLC, so clearly he's got some influence over that group.
He's been able to also benefit from the fact that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) close down his campaign. We last saw Bob Franks in November when he was face off against Jon Corzine for the Senate race. So he's been able to run a campaign pretty much throughout the process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RLC AD)
NARRATOR: It's simple: Bob Franks knows you work hard for your money and you deserve to keep it. Call fiscal conservative Bob Franks. Tell him to keep fighting to cut taxes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: While these two Republicans are doing battle with one another, what the Democrats up to there in New Jersey?
PEELER: Well, Jim McGreevey is unopposed, and when you're unopposed, it's easy to take the high road, and that's exactly what Jim McGreevey is doing. He went on air yesterday. He says he's going to spend about $1.9 million between now and June 26th. So he's going to spend some money getting his name out in front of the voters, and he's going to take the high road until we get down past the primary.
WOODRUFF: David, let's turn now to New York City. Since we last spoke, Michael Bloomberg, the media mogul, has gotten into this -- into this race. Is he already having an effect?
PEELER: Well, this is -- this is a new story for us. Michael Bloomberg has been able to chart an unconventional announcement here.
What he has done is he's used television advertising to announce to the electorate that he was in -- that he was running for office. He's been able to bypass at least the conventional news media in announcing at a press conference that he's going to run.
He went on air. He spent about $700,000 so far off, and he's off and running. He's a media baron. He's going to use the leverage of media pretty effectively during this campaign.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN AD)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), NEW YORK MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Going back to politics as usual in New York City is crazy. Together, we'll keep making progress on crime, and if we bring the same energy and same focus that made our streets safer and use it to improve public schools and public health care, this great city will be even better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PEELER: Well, you know, what he's trying to do is he's trying to carry on the mantel of the Giuliani administration, and so, that's his message so far here in New York.
He's going to face off against some Democratic opponents that are going to be pretty worthy opponents.
Alan Hevesi is the only Democratic opponent that has been running ads so far. He's spent about $2.5 million. Also, we expect to see Mark Green, who's the front-runner, start spending pretty soon. And there are two other candidates that have the ability to spend some money in this race.
This is going to be a hotly contested New York mayoral race. We expect it to far exceed the numbers, the record-setting numbers that we saw in L.A. And this is going to be a very, very hot contest.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Peeler in New York, thanks very much.
PEELER: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: The Minnesota governor gets hot under the collar. Why Jesse Ventura walked away from this reporter ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Every Friday, as you know, our Bill Schneider awards a political play of the week. Well now, we want your nominations for the weekly play. You can e-mail your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org, then tune in on Fridays to see if you picked the play of the week.
From defense plans to troop deployments, calls for open- mindedness marked the president's NATO debut. The latest on his European visit and the issues abroad when INSIDE POLITICS continues.
WOODRUFF: Welcome Back to INSIDE POLITICS. This evening, Israel's defense minister ordered the nation's military to begin implementing the so-called Tenet Truce Plan in three stages over the coming week. That plan, brokered by Bush Administration CIA chief George Tenet, is expected to be put to the test rather quickly.
A day after Israeli and Palestinian leaders signed on to the plan, U.S. officials say they are looking for signs of good faith from both sides. More, now, from our State Department correspondent, Andrea Koppel. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. President George W. Bush welcomed the news of the fragile cease-fire, the first modest Middle East breakthrough of his administration. But as the president pointed out, it was only a first step.
BUSH: It's one thing for folks to sign a piece of paper. It's another thing for the parties to act.
KOPPEL: State Department officials called the next 48 hours crucial for Palestinians to arrest terrorists and Israel to ease the closure and economic pressures on Palestinians. Six months after taking office, vowing to keep the conflict at arms length, Bush sent his CIA director to mediate the cease-fire. Now U.S. prestige is on the line.
HASAN ABDEL RAHMAN, PLO REPRESENTATIVE TO THE U.S.: It's very, very important for the United States to be involved at the highest level because we are going to confront many difficulties in the future.
KOPPEL: Already, Wednesday, an Israeli teenager was injured in a drive-by shooting in the West Bank. Israel says this violence must stop immediately.
SHIMON PERES, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: We shall judge by the end of shooting, and by the end of bombing. There's no other way to do so.
KOPPEL: To ensure his work plan's success, Tenet delayed his departure Wednesday, to convene the first three-way security meeting. While in Brussels, Secretary Of State Colin Powell compared notes with Israel's foreign minister.
The question now, say many current and former U.S. officials: should the Bush Administration deepen its involvement? Former Middle East peace envoy Dennis Ross, for one, says a high-level U.S. presence is essential. DENNIS ROSS, FMR. SPECIAL MIDEAST ENVOY: Whether it's with a special negotiator, whether it's with the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs bureau or other officials. That's less important than deciding that you'll have that kind of involvement. KOPPEL (on camera): "But that is a decision the Bush Administration is not yet ready to make," said one senior U.S. official. "We'll know better how to move ahead if we get 48 hours of quiet."
Andrea Koppel, CNN, the State Department.
WOODRUFF: President Bush wrapped up his first NATO summit meeting in Brussels today claiming that he saw a -- in his words -- new receptivity towards his proposed missile defense system. But, Russian President Vladimir Putin may be a tougher sell when Mr. Bush meets with him on Saturday.
If Moscow would agree to amend its antiballistic missile treaty, that would help ease concerns of other European leaders who had complained that Mr. Bush was trying to act without their input.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I have made it clear to our friends and allies that I think it is necessary to say set aside the ABM treaty, but I will do so in close consultation with not only members of NATO and EU countries that are not members of NATO, but as well with the Russians.
I believe strongly it's necessary to move forward. I think it is necessary to do so in order to make the world more peaceful. I can't imagine a world that continues to be locked into a Cold War mentality when the Cold War is over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Also today: President Bush and other NATO leaders seemed to rule out any quick deployment of troops to Macedonia.
For more on Mr. Bush's European tour and domestic politics, Bob Novak at the "Chicago Sun Times," joins us with his reporters notebook. Bob, I understand you have been talking to some Republicans who are a little upset with President Bush?
BOB NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Well they feel the wind is a little bit out of his sails. He stalled. It happens to all presidents. But since the signature of the -- since the passage of the tax bill, which was a couple weeks ago, they have not done very much. And the criticism I find from the Republicans is that the president hasn't really been boosting his own accomplishments, hasn't been talking up what he has done, and particularly, some old hands feel that his trip to California, where he got whacked by Governor Gray Davis and then goes to Europe and he gets whacked by the Europeans, he ought to fight back a little harder.
Ronald Reagan got the same kind of abuse as a mindless cowboy by the Europeans then he won the Cold War. And they feel that President Bush, to keep his own status up, ought to fight back a little harder and not be so diplomatic with the Europeans. That is Republican politicians talking.
WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of California, energy and the global warming issue, you are picking up disagreement inside the administration over these issues.
NOVAK: This is an administration and a White House that doesn't like to leak, but there is a huge fight going on. They want to minimize it, but there is no question they are in two camps on the question of global warming, and at the very last minute the president was editing his speech to take out some money, some commitments of money that he didn't want to make in his speech on Monday.
But this is a real fight on energy going on in the administration, and it's -- the president -- maybe ought to -- some of these Republican critics think ought to settle it right now, because this is a hot issue.
WOODRUFF: I interviewed EPA Administrator Christie Whitman yesterday.
NOVAK: She's on one side.
WOODRUFF: Picked up one side of that, although she tried to downplay it.
NOVAK: Of course.
WOODRUFF: Bob, Tom DeLay holding on energy a GOP meeting at the -- in the House on this.
NOVAK: This is very interesting. All the members of the House -- Republican members of the House received an e-mail from House Majority Whip Tom DeLay inviting each member and one staffer for a meeting today to discuss an energy action plan. Now Christie Whitman was present and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton was present. But it was implicit that when Tom DeLay called these people together, the administration is not doing the job.
As I have said before on this program, Republican congressmen are scared to death of the energy issue, and it was decided at this meeting, this DeLay meeting, of all the Republican congressmen that they would have an action plan by July to present to the nation on how they were going to expand their views on energy. I think they feel they're doing something the administration isn't doing. They wouldn't say that of course.
WOODRUFF: Bob, moving away from energy to Social Security, the president's blue ribbon panel, if you will, commission looking into Social Security had its first real meeting this week.
NOVAK: It was very interesting, too, because everybody is on board with the president's private investment plan. But I can tell you inside the administration there is a little worry about Senator Pat Moynihan, one co-chairman, and Dick Parsons, the communications executive, the other co-chairman, whether they might stray from the administration line. The person there who is being counted on by President Bush to keep his position is Gerry Parsky. Gerry Parsky is a very rich California investment banker, who long ago, 30 years ago, he was an assistant secretary of the treasury. He helped lead the Bush campaign in California.
He was -- he is Bush's man on that energy commission. He's also here, Judy, this week conferring with the two Democratic senators from California about this very delicate negotiation to try to get some federal budgets -- judges. So keep your eye on Gerry Parsky. He is Reagan's man in California.
WOODRUFF: All right. Bush's.
NOVAK: Bush's man. I'm sorry. Not Reagan's, Bush's.
WOODRUFF: Easy -- it's easy to get these presidents...
NOVAK: I know. Reagan and California.
WOODRUFF: Just quickly, Bob, something about Donna Brazile getting involved in a Virginia special election.
NOVAK: Donna Brazile, the very controversial campaign manager for Al Gore, the Republicans claim that she is working on this special election in the Virginia 4th district coming up for Tuesday. State Senator Louise Lucas, who is African-American, is the Democratic candidate against Republican State Senator Randy Forbes. They need to get out a large portion of that 38 percent African-American vote. The DCCC, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, says she's not down there, but they suggest she may be consulting on how to get out that black vote.
That is a hot special election that's going to be determined by turnout and particularly turnout of the African-American vote.
WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, the man with sources everywhere, thanks for that look at your notebook.
NOVAK: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Great to see you.
Now, an update on Al Gore. The former vice president says he plans to open an office in Nashville on July 20th, which will serve as his primary base of operations. And in a statement today, Gore said he will expand his teaching activities at Fisk and Middle Tennessee State University. Gore offered no hints of any future political plans, but he had pledged to mend political fences in his native Tennessee after losing the state in the 2000 presidential contest. We all remember that.
New attention for the nation's second president and his often overlooked legacy. Next on INSIDE POLITICS, our Bruce Morton talks with author David McCullough about his new biography of John Adams.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Legislation making its way through Congress would add a new presidential memorial here in Washington to honor one of the nation's founding fathers, a man whose life and accomplishments are often overshadowed by his more famous counterparts.
Here's CNN's national correspondent Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The proposed memorial would honor John Adams, the second president, his wife Abigail, and their son, John Quincy Adams, also president. One of the backers, of course, Adams biographer and historian David McCullough.
DAVID MCCULLOUGH, AUTHOR, "JOHN ADAMS": There is no other American, there was no other patriot, with the exception of George Washington, who did more in the winning of independence and the establishment of our balanced republican -- lower case "r" -- form of government than John Adams.
MORTON: Adams next to Washington? I asked McCullough why.
MCCULLOUGH: He was the man who drove the Declaration of Independence through the Congress when it happened, and the key word is "when," because if it had been delayed much longer, they probably wouldn't have voted for it.
A third of the country was for it, a third of the country was against it, and the other third, in the good old human way, was waiting to see how it came out. And the British had just landed an enormous army at Staten Island. John Adams stood up and spoke for two hours, gave the greatest speech of his career, and in many ways, one of the most important speeches in our history, because it turned the tide and they voted for it.
MORTON (on camera): He wasn't a terribly successful president. Did most of his great work for the country come before that, do you think?
MCCULLOUGH: He was in many ways a very successful president in what he managed not to do, and what he managed not to do was to go to war with France, which was a very difficult achievement. We were at war with France at sea. It was an undeclared war, but it was real. And he managed to avoid going into what would have been an all-out war with Napoleon. So it would have been a colossal blunder. It probably would have precluded anything like the Louisiana Purchase. But he -- it was extremely damaging to his political fortunes. He was defeated for re-election.
MORTON: You rate him higher than Jefferson.
MCCULLOUGH: No, I don't say that. He is one of the major figures in our history. He's one of our very best. And as a human being and the whole life story -- lived longer than any president in our history -- the whole life story with his extraordinary wife, Abigail, is really one of the great true love stories in our history. MORTON: Well, I wanted to ask you about her, because I got so fascinated in the book with her. She had opinions about everything, talking about the Virginians, and you have to wonder if they really loved liberty when they owned slaves, and everything.
MCCULLOUGH: Absolutely. And at one point, she -- an epidemic, dysentery, is sweeping through her part of New England, and war is at their doorstep, and troops and soldiers are sleeping on her kitchen, and she's melting down pewter spoons to make musket balls in her fireplace. And she writes to her husband in far-off Philadelphia that maybe all that we're suffering is the Lord's punishment for the sin of slavery.
She felt very strongly about that, and she was very strong. She ran the farm, she kept them solvent in the midst of inflation and the shortages of war, and always was there to encourage him when he needed to be reminded of why he was involved. The great line where she says: "I would not have you be an idle spectator. We have too many high sounding words and too few actions to correspond with them."
MORTON (voice-over): Often separated, they wrote each other over 1,000 letters. What was he like?
MCCULLOUGH: He was abrasive. He could be cranky. He could be vain. He could be stubborn, independent. But he was also very warm- hearted. He was a man of strong loyalties to friends. He spoke the truth.
MORTON: What a group they were, these first American patriots -- Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison -- and what a work they made.
MCCULLOUGH: The Declaration of Independence starts with the line "When in the course of human events." Those people weren't gods. They were people with failings, frailties, inconsistencies. They were vulnerable. And the fact that they achieved what they did against such odds -- they made a country.
Imagine starting out to make a country. You're not writing a Broadway show or creating a dot.com. Making a country. And you're up against the most powerful empire on Earth that doesn't want you to succeed at all and has sent an enormous army to crush any such intentions. Brave people.
MORTON: Maybe the first great generation.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Can't wait to read David McCullough's book.
A former world leader makes an impromptu appearance at a wedding in England. Later, Bill Clinton takes time out from golf for a surprise visit with the bride and groom.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: In Minnesota, legislators meeting in special session, trying to pass a two-year budget, and tempers are running hot, especially that of Governor Jesse Ventura.
Kerri Miller of CNN affiliate KARE reports.
KERRI MILLER, KARE REPORTER (voice-over): Ventura agreed to a round of media interviews in the backyard of the mansion to ratchet up the pressure on lawmakers, still bogged down in budget negotiations. In the past few weeks, he has been warning the public of a possible government shutdown, but Friday, when he broadcast his show from WCCO's capitol office, the governor told listeners state troopers would stay home, food inspections would end and prisons would go unguarded.
VENTURA: There would be no prison guards.
MILLER: None of that was true.
(on camera): Why are you on the air, governor, saying things that you know are going to frighten the public, when that is not true?
VENTURA: You know, Kerri, you, as a media person, have a lot to talk about on that. You people who hype things for a living are now going to lecture me?
MILLER: Well, who told you that they were going to shut down and close and that there would be no one there to watch the convicts?
VENTURA: Friday when I said that, that's what I believed.
MILLER: Governor, I'll ask you, though.
VENTURA: No, I'll ask you.
MILLER: Why didn't you get the facts straight before you went on the radio and scared people?
VENTURA: Because they were the facts.
MILLER (voice-over): With that, the governor ended the interview.
(on camera): So when the questions get a little tough you're going to leave?
VENTURA: No. When I've answered it four times...
VENTURA: I'm going to leave.
MILLER: So the questions get a little tough and you leave -- is that it? VENTURA: Yeah.
MILLER: Well, I guess I expected a little better.
(voice-over): The governor stalked off but eventually cooled down. I asked if he'd come back, he did, almost walking away a second time.
VENTURA: You're asking me the same question again.
MILLER: We finally finished when I asked the governor if he had heard about a new book coming out about him, titled "Jesse Ventura: The Body, The Mouth, The Mind." He said it was just another in the many slings and arrows he must suffer as governor.
WOODRUFF: That was Kerri Miller of CNN affiliate KARE. Things are never dull in the state of Minnesota.
There's more INSIDE POLITICS coming up, but first, let's go to Lou Dobbs for a preview of what's ahead at the bottom of the hour on "MONEYLINE."
And Lou, you're not going to walk away.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Absolutely not, no matter how tough it gets.
Stocks slide on Wall Street today, Judy, rattled by profit concerns and signs of a slowing economy. We'll be talking with one economist who called the last recession. He says we're headed for another.
And baseball owners trying to hash out a better business model. We'll have a live report for you.
All of that coming up on "MONEYLINE." Please join us.
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PAUL DAVIS, ITN REPORTER (voice-over): ... interrupted his game to greet the wedding party. He even posed for photographs with the bride and groom.
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Come on. Let's have a picture.
DAVIS: After complimenting the bride and wishing the couple and their guests well, the former president returned to his golf. The newlyweds are now enjoying their honeymoon in the Mauritius, but the wedding photographs are a permanent reminder of their unexpected wedding guest.
ANN POLLOCK, BRIDE'S MOTHER: It was just a, you know, wonderful day, wonderful ending to a wonderful wedding. Just icing on cake.
DAVIS: An autographed wedding menu is another memento of their VIP gate-crasher, who's currently on a European tour of speaking engagements, no doubt hoping all his receptions will be this welcoming.
Paul Davis, ITN.
WOODRUFF: No telling where he'll pop up.
That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" is next.
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