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Laura Bush Discusses Her Role as First Lady; Bill Clinton Opens His Harlem Office

Aired July 30, 2001 - 17:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. This is INSIDE POLITICS. I'll have an extended interview with First Lady Laura Bush on the challenges and the surprises of her first six months in the White House.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Maria Hinojosa in New York, where former President Bill Clinton is officially open for business in Harlem.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill where Al Gore's former campaign manager talked about Gore's political future and her own.

ANNOUNCER: Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

During the presidential campaign, Laura Bush always made it clear that she had no plans to play a major policy role in this administration, in contrast to her predecessor. Today, after six months as first lady, her core beliefs about the supportive role of a first lady have not changed. That doesn't mean that she has been disengaged from difficult political issues or insulated from the pressures of the spotlight.

I met with Mrs. Bush today. We talked about some political controversies, her strong feelings about the way the media had treated her children, and the one area where she has been an activist: education. Here's our conversation.


WOODRUFF: Mrs. Bush, so this is the first lady hall.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I just learned that like you did, but of course, this is the hall where a lot of first lady's portraits are like my favorite first lady, of course, my mother-in-law, Barbara Bush. And I assume that pretty soon, we'll have a painting from our most recent president, President Clinton, and then I think everything gets adjusted a little bit when those new paintings come in.

WOODRUFF: Well, every time you and your husband walk down this hall, you can see your mother-in-law.

BUSH: I see my mother-in-law. She's telling me to behave. I can tell by her look.


WOODRUFF: We're going to be talking in here the Vermeil Room. Now this is a special room.

Mrs. Bush, thank you very much for joining us.

BUSH: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: This is just about the six-month mark for you and your husband. How's it going for you as first lady?

BUSH: Well, quickly, I'll have to say that. It's been so fast, I can't believe it's been six months that we've been here. But we've had a terrific time. I feel very proud about a lot of things that have happened, and my husband's tax bill, certainly, the tax cut was a huge achievement. And I just hosted a summit on early childhood education last Thursday and Friday at an auditorium at Georgetown University that brought people in from all over the country who are particularly interested in early childhood cognitive development. That was terrific.

WOODRUFF: And today, this book festival you're announcing. Now what is the purpose of this?

BUSH: That's right. Today, we announced the National Book Festival, which will be on September 8th, Saturday, September 8th. I hope people from all over the country will come in for it. We have very, very renowned American writers who will do readings or panel discussions on the Capitol grounds and in the Library of Congress building itself. It's just a day for all of us to celebrate American authors and, of course, to celebrate reading. I'm thrilled about it.

WOODRUFF: Now your conference at the end of last week, the White House summit already generated a little bit of controversy.

BUSH: I may have not seen the controversy.

WOODRUFF: Well, you made some remarks about teachers in your experience were not always prepared to teach reading. And there's already been from North Carolina the dean of a school of education, saying -- well...

BUSH: He's doing it right. Well, good. I hope so. I hope so. I think -- I hope so. I just wanted to say to teachers everywhere that when you leave college with your teacher's certificate and you go into your first class, if you don't feel prepared, if you feel like there are some things your college education could have done better, it's a good time to write to them and say these classes were great, and these class, you know, maybe I could have been prepared in a better way in these other areas. It's just, I think students have -- college students when they graduate have a lot of influence over their colleges, and it's a good time to let your college know how successful they were in preparing you.

WOODRUFF: Are you surprised already at the capacity for controversy, for...

BUSH: Controversy?

WOODRUFF: ... or reaction where (UNINTELLIGIBLE) say anything?

BUSH: That really is what surprised me the most. Not controversy over issues, of course, I knew about that, but the criticism about hairstyles or clothes. Don't know why I was taken off guard by that. I should have known but...

WOODRUFF: I talked to a couple of people getting ready for this interview who have done books on first ladies or who are working on books, and pretty much all of them describe you as the most traditional first lady of our modern era with the exception perhaps of Bess Truman. Now do you describe yourself that way?

BUSH: You know, I think people describe me that way because I was a teacher and a librarian. I had very traditional jobs that women did traditionally have. Now women choose a lot of other professions. But one thing that I'm having a lot of fun doing and also I think is very important is I'm going around the country talking about how important teaching is and how important it is for women and men to consider teaching as a career again. We -- we're desperate for teachers. I've had very interesting time visiting bases, American military bases in Kosovo when we were just there, and Aviano, Italy and then here in this country in the San Diego naval yard in Fort Jackson, South Carolina to talk to troops, retiring troops about choosing teaching as a career. So I think there are a lot of reasons people say that and I don't know if that's actually right.

WOODRUFF: They also -- one of the other words they use is low key, one of the most low-key first lady. Do you think of yourself as low key?

BUSH: Well, I think of myself as calm, certainly, but I wouldn't say that. I probably haven't sought the press a lot. Maybe I haven't done a lot of interviews. And I think in America, that's how people see their political leaders if they are on television a lot. But I'm interviewing with you now so all your viewers will...

WOODRUFF: And we're very pleased about that. Some of these first lady watchers say, well, at some point Mrs. Bush is going to look around and think about the history of the position, look at the other first ladies. And we're sitting here next to a portrait of Lady Byrd Johnson, who I think that you described as...

BUSH: One of my favorites, certainly.

WOODRUFF: One of your favorites. Jacqueline Kennedy is there. There are several others. Eleanor Roosevelt is here and: "Think is such a limited amount of time. I have the potential to make change for the better." BUSH: Well, I know I have that potential. I was the first lady of the state and I actually learned it from one of my predecessors, Governor Mark White's wife, Linda Gale, who came to lobby the legislature in Texas on an issue that she had worked on as first lady. And she said to me, "Laura, you just don't know what a forum you have when your husband is governor or president." And I know that. And I think that's why we've already had the very successful early childhood education summit last week, and announced the Texas -- I mean the national book festival today. So I think I've actually taken very good advantage of the time I've had here.

WOODRUFF: So it's not as if you're going to wake up one morning and say, "I only have so many days left."

BUSH: Well I might wake up one morning and think that but not for a couple of years I hope.


WOODRUFF: My conversation with Laura Bush continues in a moment. We'll talk stem cell research, abortion and what it's like to see your daughters' names in the headlines.


BUSH: If we never saw their picture in the paper again, we'd be a lot happier.



WOODRUFF: We continue now with my interview today with First Lady Laura Bush. After six months of living in the White House, I asked Mrs. Bush what she thought was the biggest difference for her between living in Austin and Washington.


BUSH: Well, of course, the stage is so much larger and we still had a lot of privacy. We went out to dinner a lot. We saw our friends a lot, went to our friends' houses in Austin. And we do that here, but not on such a -- not as often as we had the opportunity in Austin. Yesterday, we did go to the Kennedy center and we saw "Kiss Me Kate." And it's just a much larger scale: the number of cars that leave, for instance, when you drive off are a lot more.

WOODRUFF: You mean it's just more of a production.

BUSH: That's right.

WOODRUFF: Is that part of it? Have you met -- I'm just curious. Have you met anyone in Washington who's particularly either surprised you, impressed you who may be even somebody from the other side of the political aisle? BUSH: Every day we get to meet people that surprise and impress us, I think, but certainly meeting Kay Graham. She had a dinner for us, and I'm so thankful that we had that opportunity since she died that we had that chance before she died to get to meet her. I saw on television her son's eulogy from her funeral and he said that after everyone read her biography, they were her best friend. And actually, because of her biography, which I read, I did feel like I really knew her even though I only had one opportunity to be with her at her house. But certainly, meeting people like that.

Tomorrow night, we're going to do a performance at the White House, which is the PBS special that different bands or entertainers play and it'll be run in September. But we're going to have the Marine military band. And one night, we got to go out to the old Marine barracks for the Marine tattoo and that was fabulous. Every single day, we have the opportunity to meet really great people and see fabulous things that happen all over our country.

WOODRUFF: Now I read that the president and you wake up at 5:30 every morning.

BUSH: 5:30. Especially since that last trip to Europe, and we haven't quite gotten back to our old schedule.

WOODRUFF: And he brings you coffee. Now does he make the coffee?

BUSH: He brings coffee. I actually think the coffee's made and he just gets to turn it on.

WOODRUFF: Because I was going to ask you if it was good coffee.

BUSH: He did make the coffee always before. He can make really good coffee.

WOODRUFF: So do you sit and discuss what's in the newspaper?

BUSH: We read the newspapers, and we discuss it to some extent. I mean, we're both reading the newspaper as fast as we can. And then he gets up and gets to rest and is gone by 7:00. Goes over to the West Wing at 7:00.

WOODRUFF: Do you talk to him, whether it's in the morning or in the evening or weekends, about most of the decisions that --

BUSH: I wouldn't say most, because I am not that -- you know, I'm certainly no expert on most of the decisions. I talk to him about education issues, of course. I mean, that's what I have spent my whole life studying or working on or practicing, and a few other issues. We -- I think mainly we discuss what's in the paper and the different slants that we see the different newspapers have when we read them in the morning.

WOODRUFF: Do you know that you have influence on your husband? I mean, when you talk to him about something, he's listening. I mean, you described yourself as a good listener but he listens to you, I assume.

BUSH: Sure, of course. He does absolutely. I mean, I can't give you examples. I won't even tell you what we actually discuss, but I know I have influence on him just like he has influence on me. I mean, we've been married a long time. We have a very close relationship. And, of course, we talk about issues and have influence on each other.

WOODRUFF: Or evening or weekends about most of the decisions that --

I wouldn't say most, because I am not that -- you know, I am certainly not the expert on most of the decisions. I talk to him about education issues, of course. I mean, that's what I have spent my whole life studying or working on or practicing. And a few other issues, we, I think mainly we discuss what's in the paper and the different slants that we see, the different newspapers have when we read them in the morning.

WOODRUFF: do you -- do you know that you have influence on your husband? I mean, when you talk to him about something, he's listening. I mean, you described yourself as a good listener but he listens to you.


WOODRUFF: I assume?

He does absolutely. I mean, I can't give you examples and I won't tell you what we actually discussed but I know that I have influence on him, just like he has influence on me. We're -- we've had -- we've been married a lodge time, we have a very close relationship and of course we talk about issues and have influence on each other.

WOODRUFF: You've already said that the two of you have discussed his upcoming decision on embryonic stem cell research. Do you think that he's already made up his mind about this?

BUSH: I think he is making up his mind, but I'm not really sure where he is right now on it. I think it's a very serious issue. It's a very serious moral and ethical issue and scientific issue. And he's heard from a lot of different people, a lot of experts in a lot of different fields. And when he makes up his mind, he'll let everyone know.

WOODRUFF: There are there those, Mrs. Bush, in the religious community who would say, well, if you are pro-life -- which the president clearly is -- then this is an easy decision: You just say it's wrong. Why isn't it an easy decision?

BUSH: Well, I think because a lot of those embryos will be destroyed anyway or disposed of anyway. So I think that makes it even more difficult. But also, there is certainly -- I don't know what he's thinking. These are all my own ideas, but there's certainly a life side of it as well when you think about the lives that could be saved by research.

WOODRUFF: And when you hear these passionate advocates -- I mean, even Nancy Reagan has spoken up to your husband...

BUSH: Sure.

WOODRUFF: ... here at the White House on behalf of her husband who has Alzheimer's. Christopher Reeve. We've heard about diabetes, Parkinson's. How much...

BUSH: Well, I mean, that's what we hope will come from the research. But there's also adult stem cell research. There are umbilical cord research. I mean, there are other research that -- other ways to get to the same kind of research. So we'll just see what he says. I'm certainly no expert on it and I have not been privy to all of the advice and experts that he's heard from.

WOODRUFF: So the argument, I mean, without going on too long here, the argument that you must have embryonic stem cell to be the most advanced.

BUSH: Well, I think the argument is that the president has this opportunity to decide and I don't have that opportunity.

WOODRUFF: You've said some months ago about the time the inauguration that you would not favor overturning Roe v. Wade. Does that -- does your view on abortion in any way play into this?

BUSH: You know, in a lot of ways, the president and I agree on a lot of issues that have to do with that. We both think that adoption should be streamlined and that adoption is a very good alternative. We both believe that abstinence should be taught in schools and that a lot of people -- everyone should promote abstinence with young people, young teenagers. And so we see eye to eye on a lot of issues. And the other thing is after having been married as long as we have, we understand each other's viewpoints and I know that he's the president. I'm not. And so I certainly in private might say some things to him, but I also understand that I don't get that opportunity to make all the decisions.

WOODRUFF: So when you pick up "The Washington Post" this morning and one of the headlines says, "Administration moving toward supporting abstinence, moving away from the family planning projects"...

BUSH: Well, I mean, I know the administration does want to support abstinence, absolutely. But that doesn't mean that they wouldn't also support family planing.

WOODRUFF: So do you think that headline, that story was a little overwritten?

BUSH: I didn't read all the story, but probably. A lot of them might be that way.

WOODRUFF: About you, it's been reported that you smoke. Now is this correct?


BUSH: That is not correct.


BUSH: I did smoke, though. I used to.

WOODRUFF: When did you give it up?

BUSH: A long time ago.

WOODRUFF: Did -- was it because of the public arena that had anything to do with it?

BUSH: No, no. No, no, it was because of the health. I just hiked in the high Sierras and Yosemite for four days and about 40 miles and I want to be healthy.

WOODRUFF: Do you have any advice for others about good health, about smoking, about any of those things?

BUSH: Well, I have advice for people to exercise. I think that's very important. I think it's really important for Americans. There's a lot of new research that shows we have very high rates of obesity, and I think it's important to exercise. I think it's important for parents to turn the television off and let their children get up and get exercised and open a good book and read.

WOODRUFF: How do you deal with criticism of your husband when it's out there?

BUSH: Well it's tough. It really is tough. I mean, I think everyone understands how hard it would be to see somebody you love -- your husband or your children or anyone criticized. That's very, very hard, but it's also just a fact of life in politics. I mean, you know that from reporting on INSIDE POLITICS every single day. It's just a fact of life. And sometimes the criticism might be deserved and a lot of times it's not.

WOODRUFF: Do you think your skin just gets thicker as time goes by?

BUSH: No, I don't. I mean, I think it's always hard.

WOODRUFF: Do you think you and your family have been allowed the zone of privacy that you wanted as president, as first lady?

BUSH: Oh, to some extent. But, of course, I think that our children ought to be totally left alone and allowed to have a totally private life. They're not public citizens. They didn't run for office. And we asked early on the press to give them that opportunity. And to some extent, I would say they have, but not like I'd -- like I wish they would.

WOODRUFF: Do you think you can control that somehow? Can you...

BUSH: I don't think so. I mean, I certainly have asked a lot. My husband and I both ask. And if we never saw their picture in the paper again, we'd be a lot happier.

WOODRUFF: Do you think that it's just the press just can't help itself or what's going on here?

BUSH: I think that it's selling magazines and newspaper articles and television at the expense of my children. That's what I think it is.

WOODRUFF: You feel pretty strongly about that.

BUSH: Yeah, I do, of course.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Mrs. Laura Bush, we thank you so much for joining us.

BUSH: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

BUSH: Thanks a lot.


WOODRUFF: There is a subject the White House was happy to tell us today and that is that Mrs. Bush is announcing the creation of the Laura Bush Foundation, which will support school libraries across the country.

And coming up tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS, an inside look at President Bush's lobbying efforts to convince lawmakers to agree to a Patients' Bill of Rights measure he can sign. Our guest will be Congressman Charles Norwood, the Republican who could hold the key to compromise. Also tomorrow, an in-depth interview with United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan who's ready to kick up some dust to get Congress to release almost $600 million in back U.N. dues. I also asked the secretary general about a U.S. threat to boycott the world conference on racism next month if Zionism and slavery reparations are a part of the agenda.


KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: Yes, we should acknowledge the past. We should acknowledge the tragedies and wounds and evils of the past. But we should not become captive of them and then move forward.


WOODRUFF: The full interview tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS. And on Wednesday, Secretary of State Colin Powell will join us on his return from his five-nation tour of the Asia-Pacific region.

Stay with us. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love you, Harlem. Thank you. God bless you. I feel at home. Thank you.


ANNOUNCER: A warm New York welcome from the former president as he arrives to begin work in his new Harlem office.

Also, another Kennedy considers public office, but will questions about his past hobble his political future.

And later, Jonathan Karl talks with Democratic strategist Donna Brazile about the political future of her former boss, Al Gore. Live from Washington, Judy Woodruff brings you more of INSIDE POLITICS straight ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: Stand by me. Stand by me. Everybody sing it with me. Whenever I'm in trouble will you stand by me.


WOODRUFF: Well, in case you don't recognize him, former president now citizen Bill Clinton got a rousing welcome to Harlem today. We just heard Mr. Clinton singing along with New York senator Charles Schumer and Congressman Charles Rangel. The reason for the celebration: Mr. Clinton's move into his new office. Civic leaders threw a street party to welcome the former president to the neighborhood.


CLINTON: There's a sign out there that says, well, what did you do for Harlem when you were president? Now that's a fair question. In 1992, I came to Harlem and I said, if you vote for me, I'll turn this economy around and I'll create empowerment zones for poor communities that have been left behind. And we turned the economy around, created the empowerment zone: $600 million in private investment later in the Harlem empowerment zone.


WOODRUFF: Harlem leaders say they see the Clinton move as proof of the neighborhood's rebirth. CNN's Maria Hinojosa joins with us more on that part of the story -- Maria.

HINOJOSA: Well, Judy, if you look around 125th Street, which is the centerpiece of Harlem, 125th Street, it's really not hard to tell why former president Bill Clinton has so many supporters and fans here. Everywhere you look, you can see the effects of the federal economic empowerment zone that former president Bill Clinton helped to establish. You've got an Old Navy store, you've got a Starbucks, you've got a Cineplex, you've got lots of major commercial things happening here along 125th Street. And now he's got his own penthouse offices right here in this glitzy office building. It's clear that Harlem is in the midst of an economic boom.


HINOJOSA (voice-over): In the heart of the Harlem economic empowerment zone, Clara Villarosa plans to open the largest African- American bookstore in the United States: Hue-Man Books.

CLARA VILLAROSA, BOOKSTORE OWNER: What we want to do is bring authors here and have book signings, have special events here, have a children's hour, children storytelling. And also in connection with the Magic Johnston theater and the Harlem Experience, which is a visitor center, we want the tourists to come.

HINOJOSA: The federal empowerment zone designation brought $250 million of public money and $600 million of private investment to Harlem, an investment locals hope will be boosted even more by the presence of a former president.

TERRY LANE, CEO, UPPER MANHATTAN EMPOWERMENT ZONE CORPORATION: If Harlem is good enough for President Bill Clinton to set up here, it's certainly good enough for corporate America.

HINOJOSA: But Harlem businessman Paul Rodriguez says the megastores and Bill Clinton's arrival are just pushing out local businesses.

PAUL RODRIGUEZ, HARLEM BUSINESSMAN: We have gentrification here big time. There's just so much space. It's not a big area.

HINOJOSA: As if to answer him, the former president had this to say about gentrification.

CLINTON: I'm glad the property values are going up, but I don't want the small business people to be run out.

HINOJOSA: J.P. Morgan Chase Bank says big developments like its Harlem USA project will pave the way for local entrepreneurs like Hue- Man Books.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it shows that it is in the fuller sense an integrated project -- OK -- that there is room for the big box retailer but there's also room for the smaller tenant as well and the local entrepreneur.

HINOJOSA: Local investor Rita Ewing says African-Americans haven't let the revitalization go forward without them.

RITA EWING, HARLEM INVESTOR: Without us actually, you just get the services provided but there's a lot to be said when you have blacks here who are actually providing the services themselves. It's part of the whole thing of taking back part of our community. (END VIDEOTAPE)

HINOJOSA: Now some of the former president's new neighbors, well a gentleman standing right on the corner of where the former president's office is going to be, standing there with petitions in hand, chanting, "The rents are too high."

Also today, the mayor, Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and Republican George Pataki, the governor of New York state, both were supposed to show up at the event inaugurating the office today. They didn't and didn't say why, although Governor Pataki's emissary declared today the official July 30th Bill Clinton in Harlem Day.

Reporting from New York, back to you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks, Maria.

It's almost as noisy in downtown New York as it is in downtown Washington.

Well, a short time ago, I interviewed former White House chief of staff John Podesta and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer about Bill Clinton's move to Harlem. Podesta attended the big event, and I spoke with Bauer here in our Washington bureau. And I began by asking Podesta if, after six or seven months out of the public eye, is Bill Clinton running for something.


JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON CHIEF OF STAFF: No, I don't think so, Judy. I think that he was glad to be here in Harlem to open his office, and to, you know, to say something about what he tried to do as president and what he's going to do in his post-presidency, about bringing economic development to places like Harlem and around the rest of the country.

WOODRUFF: And is there -- John Podesta, is there -- was there a goal in mind in making this so public today?

PODESTA: Well, you know, Charlie Rangel suggested to him that the community wanted to welcome him here to Harlem, and I think that he thought that was a terrific idea and he wanted to say hello to all of the people here, and so this public event was a way of doing that. And I think he really appreciated the welcome he received from the people up here.

WOODRUFF: Gary Bauer, you can't possibly have a problem with that, can you?

GARY BAUER (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Just try me. Look, I think this is the second attempt to launch the ex-Clinton presidency. The first attempt didn't go very well.

This president left office with a lot of controversy bedeviling him on everything from the state of the White House when he left to what was or wasn't taken from Air Force One and all the rest of it. And so today is a very high-profile effort to make a better attempt at having image after those eight years in the White House.

I hope that what happens today will be the beginning of Bill Clinton helping Harlem. I must say that if you look at the last eight years, Harlem and African-American voters helped Bill Clinton, in my view, a lot more than he helped them.

WOODRUFF: John Podesta, did...

PODESTA: I've got to say, Judy...

WOODRUFF: Go ahead.

PODESTA: Gary wants -- Gary wants to get me going here. I mean, even President Bush had to walk off Air Force One and say that story was bogus, and you know, I think he wants to get me going out here, but I guess I shouldn't take the bait.

WOODRUFF: Well, John Podesta, is there some image-building involved here, as Gary Bauer is saying?

PODESTA: No, I think the president just as I said wanted to tell the people of Harlem, the people of America and the people of the world what he wants to do in his post-presidency. You know, he spent eight years trying to build a better economy and trying to make sure that that economy reached everyone in this country. And I think that he wants to spend some time doing that, working on the issues of racial reconciliation. He's doing things around the world, and this is a way of letting people know what he was up to, and I think it was a good day and a good event.

WOODRUFF: Gary Bauer, is this an appropriate role for a former president to have?

BAUER: Well, I think Bill Clinton is still trying to figure out what his role is going to be as a former president. Look, I believe in redemption, and so every one of us is capable of doing something different with our lives. The fact of the matter is -- and I know John will disagree with this -- if you go to a computer, to Lexis- Nexis and put up Bill Clinton's name, what you get are thousands of hits on various scandals. He left office with a lot of problems.

Now, we've got ex-presidents that have overcome these things. Richard Nixon in his way overcame his scandal. Jimmy Carter was a controversial president, in some ways mocked, and has been an incredible model for what ex-presidents can do. I hope this president is capable of humbling himself the way Jimmy Carter did. But I don't see it so far. We'll have to see what happens. The jury is out.

WOODRUFF: John Podesta, do you want to comment?

PODESTA: Well, you know, I think again the president spent eight years in office trying to make this a better country, reduce crime, reduce welfare, improve the environment. I think now is -- in his post-presidency he wants to continue to do what he's done his whole life, which is to try to provide public service, to try to work with people around this country, to see the better sides of people. He said today that we need to take care of each other around the block, around the country and around the world. That's what he intends to do, and I hope that even some of his critics will let him have a chance to do that.

WOODRUFF: Well, is he prepared, John Podesta, for the sort of criticism that he's getting not only from Gary Bauer but from others, who probably can't wait to point a finger at him?

PODESTA: Well, you know, I think there's a cottage industry of people who want to attack Bill Clinton. But you know, he always gets up every day thinking about what -- what he could do to make the world better, what he could to make the country better. And I think that's what he wants to do in his post-presidency, and I don't think he's going to worry a whole heck of a lot about his critic. I think that, you know, he's going to let them have their say, as they always do. But I think what he wants to do is to try to work to improve people's lives, and that's how he's going to concentrate and how he's going to spend his time.

WOODRUFF: And Gary Bauer, why doesn't that make sense for a former president?

BAUER: Well, that would make a lot of sense, but look, Judy, facts are stubborn things, and the fact of the matter is he was president for eight years. And the things that happened that improved Harlem had very little to do with his presidency. To the extent Harlem improved in the last eight years, it was because good American capitalists invested in Harlem. That's a good thing. I hope it continues. But it had very little to do with government programs or government bureaucrats or whatever.

So I, you know, if Bill Clinton can figure out some way by living in Harlem to improve the lot of Harlem, my hat goes off to him. But I just don't think there's a lot of record here that would make the residents of Harlem feel that their everyday life is going to improve because of his presence.

Let me give you one example. What about educational choice, which would be great for the residents of Harlem? Bill Clinton continues to oppose it with every ounce of his being.

WOODRUFF: John Podesta, you can comment on that, but I also want to ask you about this quote from Terry McAuliffe, saying that the former president really had a very difficult time adjusting after he left the White House for the first two or three months.

PODESTA: Well, look, I think it's hard for any president to leave the Oval Office and move into a new office. And I think a president as active as Bill Clinton particularly has, you know, has a problem. But I think right now he's very upbeat. I think he thinks that he can make a difference. That's what he's looking forward to.

With respect to what Gary had to say, you know, all I can say is that when Bill Clinton came into the White House, the deficit was $300 billion and headed up. He turned that around. He produced the longest -- you know, helped produce. I agree with Gary that, you know, it took the hard work of the American people. But government policy helped produce the longest economic expansion in American history. He raised the minimum wage, he cut welfare rolls in half. So I think he's got a -- quite a record to be proud of. And the economy, as you say, Gary, the facts speak for themselves.

WOODRUFF: All right, gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there. John Podesta in New York, Gary Bauer here in Washington, good to see both of you.

BAUER: Good to see you, Judy.

PODESTA: Nice to be with you.


WOODRUFF: Good thing they weren't right next to each other.

Code Red. Those words are raising a lot of concern in the cyberworld. Just ahead, we'll get the latest on the Code Red computer worm and an update on some of the day's other top stories.


WOODRUFF: CNN sources at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are sharing political news of note this Monday. President Bush plans to join Senate Republicans tomorrow at their weekly policy lunch, the president's first Capitol Hill meeting with the group since he took office. Sources are telling John King and Dana Bash some GOP senators are irritated that the president waited so long to meet with them, especially since he's met with House Republicans multiple times. At the White House, meanwhile, sources tell CNN's Major Garrett that President Bush called Republican Congressman Charles Norwood today in another attempt to bridge the gap on a patients' bill of rights. The president favors an alternative sponsored by Congressman Ernie Fletcher. But today, Fletcher told CNN that he does not have the votes to defeat the Norwood bill.

And a final item from the White House, sources say presidential adviser Karl Rove today called Congressman Tom Davis of Virginia, a Republican, who heads the National Republican Congressional Committee. Rove was protesting a report that Davis had told fellow Republicans that they had a free pass to vote against the president's energy plan to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Well, the debate over Alaska oil drilling has led to what some would consider an unlikely alliance between the White House and the Teamsters Union. The Teamsters support new oil drilling in the region, because the union says that it stands to gain thousands of jobs from the project. The union is running radio ads this week in coal rich states, such as West Virginia and Pennsylvania, to promote the president's overall energy plan.


NARRATOR: Exploration in ANWR will mean three-quarters of a million jobs to America, over 40,000 right here in Pennsylvania and West Virginia: good jobs, union jobs. Folks who actually live in Alaska know we can do it right. That's why over 75 percent of Alaskans support energy exploration in ANWR. Let your congressman know you support the bill to secure America's energy future.


WOODRUFF: Well, for more on the Teamsters and their lobbying effort, let's turn to CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.

Jon, is the lobbying on behalf of drilling having an effect?

KARL: Well, it's really a remarkable story up here. The Teamsters, just as they are in the midst of sending -- of helping to deal the Bush administration a defeat on the issue of Mexican truckers, seem to be on the verge of possibly giving them a victory on the question of drilling in ANWR in this House vote coming up. The Teamsters, according to vote-counters with the Teamsters, claim to have between 219 and 220 votes in favor of drilling up there in that Alaska Wildlife Refuge. That is, of course, you need 218 votes to pass. So it looks like, if the vote count holds until the House votes, possibly on Wednesday, the Bush administration could have a victory. And largely because the Teamsters claim to have pulled over more than 30 Democrats to be in favor of this.

That's significant, because there are definitely at least 30 Republicans who will be poised to vote against it. But some very aggressive lobbying here. It's not just the Teamsters as far as unions are concerned, but Teamsters have led the way on this.

WOODRUFF: Jonathan, different subject. As we know, there are several incumbent senators there on the Hill who face tough re- election fights next year. You've been looking at how they're doing on fund raising. Tell us about it.

KARL: Well, this is a little bit of a story of incumbency and using fund raising as a way to stave off potential challengers. Many of those incumbent senators up for re-election that are seen as most vulnerable have been the most successful in raising money here already in favor -- in advance of the 2002 elections.

I've got some figures here, Judy.If we can take a look at the first one. The head of all this is from Georgia. We have our graphic up here. Max Cleland has raised more than $2 million through just the first six months of this year, giving him $2.5 million in the bank for his campaign.

Now, he's got one of many potential candidates in the House, have eight Georgia Republicans in the House weighing a possible run for the Senate. None of them have raised more than a million dollars.

And if you go further down, you have another interesting story. Jean Carnahan of Missouri has raised $2.3 million during those first six months, $1.8 million in the bank. What's interesting with that is she's actually outraising the pace that her husband, Mel Carnahan, had raised when he was running for -- for Senate last time around as governor of the state of Missouri. Also, another one: We have Gordon Smith, a Republican. If we can take a look at Gordon Smith's numbers, $1.35 million raised in the first six months, $1.77 million in the bank for that Oregon Senate race.

Moving along, the next one, Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, raised more than a million dollars during the first six months, $1.5 million in the bank. That's more than double her most well-financed potential challenger, Representative Cooksey.

And then finally, in South Dakota, a state not very expensive to run a Senate campaign, already Tim Johnson, the Democrat there, considered vulnerable, has raised more than $1 million during that first six months, $1.36 million in the bank. He doesn't really have a candidate yet running against him. John Thune, the congressman from South Dakota, is weighing a run in that state. Thune has raised $500,000, but not for a Senate run. He's raised that for a run for governor, which is not transferable.

So what's interesting here is you have all these incumbents really raising money, outraising their potential challengers.

Two other Republicans that are also considered vulnerable, Bob Smith of New Hampshire and Wayne Allard of Colorado, have also more than a million dollars in the bank, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Now, we know, if we ever doubted, that incumbency is worth something.

Jonathan, another fund-raising question: We've got several senators looking at running for president in -- in '04. Now, the Federal Election Commission has a filing deadline tomorrow. What do you know about who's doing how well in that arena?

KARL: Well, none of them have officially said they're running for president, so they don't have presidential committees. But one that's very interesting here, is up for re-election next year in a safe Senate seat, and that's John Kerry of Massachusetts: $2.2 million raised. That puts him right at the top tier in terms of raising money for a Senate race, and he's got $2.1 million in the bank. He's retired all his debt.

All that money could be transferred right into a presidential campaign should he decide to run for president. Meanwhile, two others also have done quite well: Tom Daschle has a combined more than $2 million raised. He's got a leadership committee he raises money for and a Senate committee. He's not up for re-election until 2004. And even Joe Lieberman, who just got re-elected -- so he's got six years down the road -- has more than $1.3 million raised between his Senate committee and his leadership committee.

So a lot of fund raising on the ground here for potential '04 candidates for president as well, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl, and we know there are still more members of the Senate who are thinking about '04, so we'll have to check about that a little later. Jon Karl at the Capitol.

Another member of the Kennedy family is considering running for Congress. INSIDE POLITICS has confirmed that William Kennedy Smith has talked to people, including his uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, about entering the race in Illinois' fifth district.

Now, Smith is a doctor and an instructor at Northwestern University Medical School. He was in the news in 1991 when he was found not guilty of a rape charge in Palm Beach, Florida. Congressman Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island was asked if he thought his cousin would actually make the race.


REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: I don't think he will. But -- but you know, he hasn't said no, and I guess until you say no, it's never -- you're never sure.


WOODRUFF: Well, cousins don't always know.

Democratic Congressman Rod Blagojevich is giving up the Illinois congressional seat in order to run for governor.

Will Al Gore make another run for the White House in 2004? Coming up, Jonathan Karl continues our "Subway Series." We'll find out what Gore's former campaign manager has to say about Gore's political future.


WOODRUFF: Well, our Jonathan Karl has found a unique way to talk with people who are visiting members of Congress. He hops on the subway that runs beneath the Capitol. His latest interview is with Donna Brazile, the former manager of Al Gore's presidential campaign. He started by asking her about her future plans.


DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I'll be returning to Tennessee the first time since the election next month. The vice president -- Vice President Al Gore -- I know we have another vice president now -- is hosting a grassroots summit. He will be training students and other young leaders to participate in the political process.

KARL: Is this a sign we're going to see the kind of political re-emergence of Al Gore? A lot of people have been waiting to see some sign of him.

BRAZILE: Well, you know, he is doing what he wants to do at this time. He spent several months teaching at four prestigious colleges, and this summer he's taking some time off with his family, and now he'll be gathering all -- some of his former political aides to do something I believe is very important in politics, which is to try to help train young people to get involved in political campaigns.

KARL: So what's your gut feeling? Do you think we'll see Gore run for president again?

BRAZILE: Well, I think it's too early to speculate on the vice president's future. I know he's very concerned and will work very hard in the 2002 elections, in the 2001 elections, and I believe that in 467 days, after the Democrats win a sizable majority back in the Senate as well as in the House, Al Gore will probably make some decisions at that point.

KARL: Do you think that Gore, who won the popular vote -- some would argue won in Florida, and therefore, won the electoral college -- does he deserve another crack? And is it a given that if he wants to run, that he's the Democratic candidate?

BRAZILE: Well, I do believe we have a large bench. We have a lot of talented men and women in our party that are eager and able to run for president. But if Al Gore decides that he wants to run, he'll have a leg up in the race.

KARL: So what about you? There is talk you may run for city council in Washington as possibly even a step toward eventually becoming mayor of Washington, D.C. Is this what you've got in mind?

BRAZILE: Well, I haven't made any personal decisions on whether or not I will seek public office in 2002. I know I will seek office at some point. But for now, I just want to help my party.


WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: That's all for this -- this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Tomorrow, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "FIRST EVENING NEWS" is next.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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