Skip to main content
CNN.com /TRANSCRIPTS

CNN TV
EDITIONS





CNN CAPITAL GANG

Is Bush On a Nation-Building Track?; What Can be Done About Land Mines in Afghanistan?; Does Riordan Have a Shot at Mayor of California?

Aired November 24, 2001 - 19:00   ET

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


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARK SHIELD, HOST: Welcome to CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields with the full CAPITAL GANG. That's Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne and Margaret Carlson.

At Konduz in northern Afghanistan, 1,000 Afghan Taliban fighters surrendered to the Northern Alliance. Meanwhile, discussions about a broad-based new government begin in Germany this coming Tuesday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: The international community will be unable to carry out reconstruction on the scale that is needed until there is an Afghan partner. This requires the emergence of an interim political authority; and such an authority must lead to a broad-based government that represents all the people of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL O'NEILL, TREASURY SECRETARY: Our challenge is to help the Afghans create the basis for a stable society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The British foreign secretary was in Pakistan, promoting a new government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER: The Northern Alliance, both through their foreign affairs spokesman and through their president, have made quite clear their commitment to the United Nations' clear injunction that any new administration, including civil administration -- interim civil administration has to be broad-based and multiethnic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, is President Bush a born-again nation builder? KATE O'BEIRNE, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Mark, I think the president probably objects to using the military as a civil police force in a nation-building sort of role. I think what Secretary Powell is talking about, or recognizing is that the United States can play a constructive role with what Secretary Powell calls the international community. But we have a sole objective, which is the war on -- international war on terrorism. And it seems to me that when it comes to building a post-Taliban Afghanistan, the rest of the world can pitch in.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, is President Bush a born-again nation builder?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": I've heard that nation before.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: You know what, I'm glad you asked me, because I think Kate dodged the question.

If a nation isn't built in Afghanistan, much of what has gone on is for naught, because we cannot leave that country the way it was; and we cannot leave it the way it was when we pulled out the last time, when the Soviets were pushed back. It will be another fertile ground for another decade for terrorism. And anybody who wants to learn how to attack America can go and find a place to do it in a seething, angry state with no government.

Now, I don't think the United States will have to do it alone. Turkey, which is a Muslim country, has said it will do a lot of the work. We have the U.N.. But nonetheless, a nation must be built.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: I think Americans who think that after all these centuries they can provide a stable, peaceful, nice Iowa-type government in Afghanistan, they...

CARLSON: Did I say Iowa?

O'BEIRNE: Bob always picks on Iowa for some reason.

NOVAK: That is the Ugly American written large, because -- and that's what the Ugly American was: somebody who really thought he could turn Indo-China into the American image.

What the United States is involved in, as Kate said, is getting rid of terrorism, trying to find Osama bin Laden, trying to wipe out the al Qaeda. And what happens in Afghanistan is incidental.

The idea that somehow or other we're going to use these thugs from the Northern Alliance as a nice little government that's going to remove Afghanistan as a source of terrorism is just nonsense. What we ought to worry about is keep our eye on the ball and not get involved in this nation-building.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, when is comes to a discussion of the Ugly American, I'll take Margaret versus you any time.

Al Hunt?

NOVAK: I resent that.

SHIELDS: As well you should.

Al Hunt.

AL HUNT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": I was kind of hoping for Vermont, Bob, rather than Iowa.

Look, there is a road map for what we have to do. And you can hearken back to the 2000 campaign, embrace everything that candidate Bush opposed: nation-building, we have to do nation-building; multilateralism, Kate's right, there has to be multilateralism; foreign aid, got to be a lot of it, Bob, may even have to give up some of your tax cuts to do that.

And the United States shouldn't be so tentative. It won't be easy; it won't be at all. Bob is absolutely right about that. But only the United States can lead. The Northern Alliance did not win this war. The United States bombing is winning this war.

NOVAK: But...

HUNT: Let me finish.

The Northern Alliance can't govern. Only a coalition that the United States leads in trying to cobble together has any chance to do that. There cannot be U.S. troops there, but it's not going to happen without the United States taking active leadership. We're going too tentative.

SHIELDS: Let me just jump in for a second. And I want to know: Why is it we always end up with the dregs? I don't care where you're talking about: Central America -- I mean, here we are with the real dregs. I mean, the Northern Alliance, these are people who ran the place for four years, and during the four-year tenure 50,000 people in Kabul were murdered, the city was devastated. And they were the hand- maidens for the terrible Taliban.

NOVAK: And they are bigger drug runners and opium runners than even the Taliban.

And one thing -- one little piece of caution: This war isn't over yet. And the idea of a British foreign secretary talking about the multi-ethnic Northern Alliance, I mean, it just boggles my mind.

CARLSON: If we have the Pashtuns in southern Afghanistan forming an alliance and the northern -- the Northern Alliance in the north, that will be the worst result. And the U.N. has to see that that does not happen.

And we have a model in Kosovo for what the United States can do.

NOVAK: Oh, that's a terrific place. That's a terrific place.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: A lot better off than it was, Bob.

HUNT: No one's getting killed.

O'BEIRNE: The Northern Alliance's competitors aren't winning any Kiwanis good government awards either, Mark.

And Pakistan has played real mischief in Afghanistan, backing some of the bloodiest elements. There's been tribal warfare for 25 years, and the United States has an ongoing war against international terrorism. This is an opportunity for countries not carrying a load on the war front to get to work in Kabul and try to build something.

HUNT: Kate, there's been tribal warfare there for hundreds of years, not just 25 years. And I agree with what you said about the Pakistanis; so did the Russians. The closest alliance that the Northern Alliance has is the Russians. And our good friends -- our soul mates now, I think are hardly being helpful here.

NOVAK: Can I give a horrible example of American nation- building, where we go in to -- make an effort, and it's worse than it ever was?

SHIELDS: Japan and Germany?

NOVAK: Haiti. Haiti is a great example of how we mess up a country.

SHIELDS: You know, Bob, the problem with you is Ameri-can -- you're an Ameri-can't. I'm an Ameri-can.

But Kate, let me just say one thing about the folks in the Northern Alliance. They said they weren't going to go into Kabul. They said they were just going to send a few troops in. They took -- sent a few troops in, they took the whole place over and put their own flags up. Now they say they don't need any international peace- keepers. I mean, this is a Russian coup, and I think we ought to call it for what it is.

HUNT: I'll take Kosovo or Bosnia as an analogy: They're not perfect, but they're a lot better than they were 10 years ago.

CARLSON: Thank you, Al.

NOVAK: Ask the Serbs who are living in Kosovo how they are doing.

HUNT: There are a lot fewer of them dying, Bob. It's got to count for something.

SHIELDS: Last word, Al Hunt. The GANG of five will be back with a stern message from Colin Powell.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered a major statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: Palestinians must accept that if there is to be real peace, Israelis must be able to live their lives free from terror, as well as war. At the same time, Palestinians must also be secure and in control of their individual lives and collective security. Palestinians must eliminate any doubt once and for all that they accept the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state. Israel must be willing to end its occupation, consistent with the principles embodied in Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, and accept a viable Palestinian state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Secretary Powell sent two peace-making envoys to Israel. Yesterday an Israeli helicopter attack killed at least seven Palestinians, including a military leader of the militant Hamas group. Today it was reported that a Palestinian mortar attack killed one Israeli.

Margaret Carlson, has Secretary Powell's strong speech already been eclipsed by actions on the ground in the Middle East?

CARLSON: Well, when an action includes a missile attack, it does speak louder than his words. But it is about time that the administration got involved in the Middle East. Among the many things that the administration wasn't going to do, in addition to the list that Al gave us in the last segment, was they weren't going to get personally involved in the Middle East. Let's -- Clinton, that last month, at which he was at Camp David with Arafat and Barak, they criticized that -- much too much personal involvement.

The United States has to be involved. But one of the things Powell has to do is to tell these two countries both to put their wars on hold because we're at war now. And they're only creating more trouble for us by not staying where they are and keeping the violence down.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak?

NOVAK: Can you imagine the audacity? Secretary Powell makes a very balanced speech, says they both have to do things, recognize each other's existence. Prime Minister Sharon says, yes, that's fine. Immediately the next day they have this attack on Hamas targeting, as they've been targeting ever since he came in as prime minister, people to be killed.

Now, the question all over the Middle East is: Is the United States going to take this conduct by Israel lying down, or are they going to say this is unacceptable behavior? And the one thing that was very disappointing about the secretary's speech was he didn't criticize the Sharon line that you have to have seven days without violence before he'll sit down to even talk with the Palestinians. You can't have seven days without violence if the Israelis are going to start the provocation.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, since September 11, 90 percent of all the deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been on the Palestinian side.

HUNT: Well Mark, look, I think every administration come into office saying they're going to stay out of that Middle Eastern briar patch; and it's understandable why they want to, and none can. Margaret's right: This administration only now is fully appreciating that; same thing with the Clinton administration eight years ago.

I thought George Mitchell has laid out exactly what has to be done there. And I think it really is quite even-handed, as I think the Secretary's speech was. I think it was a good speech. And then we saw what happened.

And Bob, it wasn't just the Israelis, it was also the Palestinians. And it seems to me that the great danger is that, look, neither Sharon nor Arafat is a day at the beach. But what's behind them, in both instances, may be worse. I mean, Arafat has these terrorist who bring pressure on him. And if anything should happen to him, I think any success (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and Sharon's been the poster child of the Israeli right the last 20 years, hear's footsteps from Netanyahu on his right. That's what's so scary about this whole situation.

O'BEIRNE: Mark, this week Colin Powell called on the Palestinians to remove any doubt that they don't support the right of Israel to exist. It's not a question about which there's any doubt. The PLO explicitly does not accept Israel's right to exist.

Barak, Sharon's predecessor, called Arafat's bluff. He was willing to give more than Arafat ever dreamed he would get -- share governing of Jerusalem. And Arafat either couldn't our wouldn't deliver. So why he remains the head of the PLO -- he apparently can't deliver, and he can't keep down violence or -- as I said, he plays a role in -- or doesn't want to.

Powell also talked to the intifada which, we should remember, Arafat launched last year. He said it's self-defeating violence. Well, we've got to make darn clear that it's self-defeating. All of a sudden this administration's talking about supporting a Palestinian state. They flirt with the notion that terrorism, used as a negotiating tool, does work.

And after September 11, it seems to me, it should be harder and harder for us to urge Israelis to have this incredible restraint when civilians are routinely attacked. Every Israeli family has a gas mask in their home. And they've now slipped into Israel and killed a Cabinet secretary.

NOVAK: I think -- well, of course, the Israelis have been killing all kinds of leaders in the Palestinian movement. But I think...

O'BEIRNE: It was self-defense.

NOVAK: Oh, self-defense? It's an attack.

I can't imagine, Al, anybody worse than Sharon. I mean, the idea that he's a good guy is just part of the propaganda.

But I am just amazed -- I am always amazed how American conservatives can get involved in this absolutely mindless support of the transigent (ph) Israeli policy. And there's one other thing...

O'BEIRNE: They just don't have a right to exist.

NOVAK: No, it...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: The thing that General Powell said, which I think is exactly correct, is that the Israelis have to accept a Palestinian state. And they -- and Sharon won't do that, and either will his friends in this country. And that is the main thing that's holding up the whole process.

CARLSON: The Palestinians throw bombs into pizza parlors and cafes and discos. They killed a civilian yesterday. The Israelis killed a senior official of Hamas. He is, himself, a terrorist.

NOVAK: Well, why do you call him a terrorist? I mean, one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.

CARLSON: No...

NOVAK: They're trying to get their own land in the...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Bob, you're the only people (sic) -- you're the only person who would call Hamas freedom fighters.

NOVAK: Oh, no; people all over the world do.

HUNT: I don't disagree with what you said about Sharon; but are the Palestinians willing to accept, as Powell said they must, a Jewish state?

NOVAK: Will Arafat? Yes. I think Arafat will. Will all his followers? No. But you have to start negotiating; Sharon won't even negotiate.

You surely don't defend that, do you?

(CROSSTALK)

O'BEIRNE: ... negotiated, it got him no where and Arafat wouldn't... (CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: See, that's the attitude -- that's a bad attitude...

O'BEIRNE: His bluff was called.

SHIELDS: I think that there is one bright light, and that is General Anthony Zinni, the Marine general. He's knowledgeable, tough, smart...

NOVAK: One of the envoys...

SHIELDS: Yes, one of the envoys dispatched. And if he does have the authority -- they don't do a Tom Ridge on him and give him the responsibility without the authority -- if they give him the authority, he'll produce results there if there are results to be produced. And he'll be tough on both sides, and he'll be even-handed because he knows the area; he knows the turf.

HUNT: Mark, Dennis Ross was as good as...

SHIELDS: I agree. Dennis Ross -- those are great -- big footsteps.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: ... worse than Arafat?

NOVAK: Let me tell you, yes, there's a lot worse than Arafat.

let me tell you right now: As long as you have general Sharon as prime minister of Israel, you'll never make any progress.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: And as long as Arafat is there -- Arafat, who would not accept peace in his hands, there will never be peace.

NOVAK: Well, that isn't true; but we can't get into that.

SHIELDS: Last word.

Next on CAPITAL GANG: no room at the White House this Christmas.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

On the homefront, it was announced that the White House will continue to be closed for public tours through Christmas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know a lot of Americans look forward to touring the White House during this period of time, but we're in extraordinary times. And as I said yesterday: Evil knows no holiday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a recommendation by the Secret Service that was accepted by the White House. And I think this decision was made, frankly, at the staff level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Does that means no public tours while George W. Bush is in office?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLEISCHER: The matter has been settled. The matter has been decided. So long as we are in a war situation, so long as the threat assessment remains high, this is the condition for the time being.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, is Ari Fleischer correct: that President Bush's staff made this decision for him?

NOVAK: That is truly ridiculous. There's no question that this was the president's decision. People close to the Republican (UNINTELLIGIBLE) even putting out that Laura Bush is very unhappy with it, and that she is sorry that the White House is closed for Christmas, and your people aren't able to see it.

But this was the president saying yes to the Secret Service. And the problem is that the Secret Service is not a calm, carefully calculated decision maker. it puts out the most extreme position on protection, closing parts of Washington. More and more streets close down; closing down the White House. And as I said before: If they had their choice, they'd turn Washington into a closed city, like Gorky was in the Soviet Union, so that only bureaucrats could come in.

I think it's a really bad decision, and a bad example for the rest of the country.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Bob Novak's basically right. This is a travesty, Mark.

Look, I think there are prudent precautions that can be taken. I, for instance, continue to support closing down Pennsylvania Avenue to traffic. I think that's prudent. I think much tougher security at airports is certainly defensible.

But when this White House asks average folks to return to normalcy, continue your life as is -- but when it comes to them, they toss in the white flag of surrender and say the terrorists have won, we're going to have a semi-closed society. The White House is the people's house. And to close that to tourism -- I think Bob's right, it's a surrender to the Secret Service, which started this on September 11 when they unwisely told George Bush not to come back to Washington and he unwisely acquiesced.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, is Bob Novak and Al Hunt -- are they right?

O'BEIRNE: It is the Secret Service, of course, calling the shots.

I disagree with you, Bob. President Bush was friendly to the idea that Pennsylvania Avenue ought to be reopened in front of the White House before -- during the campaign. But I am told that the Secret Service had been -- since then, prior to September 11, showed administration people very scary simulated...

NOVAK: Videos.

O'BEIRNE: Exactly -- incidents that could possibly take place. So that was sort of on hold. And I assume now they have all sorts of very scary scenarios that is (sic) making, obviously, the White House skittish.

I don't know what kind of credible threats the Secret Service might be looking at. I'm not inclined to second-guess them on this Christmas party. Besides, I would like an invitation, because I happen to be here during Christmas season.

But what I think we have to guard against is, we are at war, there's heightened security post-September 11. But these things never wind up being rolled back at some point in the future. You know, I wouldn't want us all going around telling grandchildren, you know, the public used to be able to walk through the White House at Christmastime. That's really what we have to guard against, even if there is a temporary threat that warrants closing down the White House.

NOVAK: Ari Fleischer didn't say temporary.

O'BEIRNE: No, they didn't.

SHIELDS: Margaret, it just strikes me that, if they're really serious about this, they'll close down the White House to all the fat- cat, soft money contributors who are there for Christmas parties, as well as all the press freeloaders who are there for Christmas parties...

NOVAK: Like you.

SHIELDS: ... if they're serious.

If I got invited, I could be a freeloader.

But I'm asking you Margaret -- I want your take on it, because you have been a stalwart on this whole question of openness and security.

CARLSON: I have?

SHIELDS: yes.

CARLSON: Why, thank you Mark. I didn't know that we'd really addressed this question so that I had a record. But given that I do -- but let me go on the record to say I would like to be invited for the White House press party this year, and usually when...

O'BEIRNE: You better defend them right now, Margaret.

CARLSON: When we go, we're practical strip-searched. I don't know how anyone could slip into the White House. I mean, it's not like airport security -- it's very, very thorough.

I'm in favor of Pennsylvania Avenue staying closed to trucks with bombs. I think that's a very good idea. This strikes me as going a little too far, despite wanting that invitation, because Al makes the best point: If we're all supposed to act normally and go to malls and other things, then let them act normally and keep the White House open.

NOVAK: Kate knows a lot about government than I do.

SHIELDS: How is that?

NOVAK: Well she's...

O'BEIRNE: Trust me, that's not a compliment, Mark.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: We all know more than you.

NOVAK: But I want to correct her on one thing: The president can say no to the Secret Service any time he wants. He can say no any time he wants. And the Secret Service and the security people, when this kind of a thing comes up, are never going to say: It's OK, we don't have to do that much. They will always give you the maximum, such as clearing out the Atlanta airport when some football fan runs up the escalator. You know, and just wrecking the whole transportation system. They have no sense of balance, and that's why you need people who are not part of the security apparatus making the final decision.

(CROSSTALK)

O'BEIRNE: ... Secret Service, they would have him travelling around like the boy in the bubble. That's certainly true.

CARLSON: And you would think that he would be mad at the Secret Service for getting him in that brouhaha over September 11, flying around the country.

(CROSSTALK) CARLSON: Yes, please, Mark.

SHIELDS: Seriously, this is one thing at the White House. But, I mean, the lighting of the national Christmas tree -- now the public can't even go to that? they can't bring families from Falls Church and Coopersburg down to watch the president and the first lady light the Christmas tree?

I mean, this...

CARLSON: It's going too far.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: ... to go shopping...

SHIELDS: Shop, shop, shop.

SHIELDS: We'll be back. The second half of CAPITAL GANG: Queen Noor of Jordan is our "Newsmaker of the Week." "Beyond the Beltway" with Republican operative Ken Khachigian looks at the former mayor of Los Angeles now running for governor of California. And our "Outrages of the Week." That's all after the latest news following these semi- important messages.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields, with Robert Novak, Al Hunt, Kate O'Beirne and Margaret Carlson. Our "Newsmaker of the Week" is Queen Noor of Jordan.

Queen Noor. Age: 50. Residence: Jordan. Religion: Muslim. The former Lisa Halaby, daughter of Federal Aviation Administrator Najeeb Halaby. Graduate of Princeton. Married King Hussein in 1978. Patron and honorary chairwoman of Land Mine Survivors Network.

Earlier this week, our Al Hunt sat down with Queen Noor.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUNT: Your Majesty, you've been on the forefront in the move to ban land mines, which the U.S. has resisted. By some estimates, over 11 percent of Afghanistan has land mines. As we start talking about more ground forces there and the rescue missions, how big a danger do land mines pose?

QUEEN NOOR, JORDAN: They pose a considerable problem. Afghanistan is one of the most heavily mined countries in the world. Until demining stopped on the 12th of September, had one of the largest and most successful mine action programs. Not only will military troops be increasingly at risk, but also as refugees start to pour back, as they are already into various areas that have been liberated -- a few days ago, a mini van of refugees hit a land mine, and 16 women and children were killed.

HUNT: The civilians are really the ones who could be the most victimized.

QUEEN NOOR: Well, civilians usually are. They are the largest percentage of casualties in all mined countries, children for example in Afghanistan are 30 percent of land mine casualties.

This happens to be a Soviet-made mine, but there are mines there from the U.S., from China, from Europe and elsewhere, but this is an example of why land mines are also attractive to young people.

HUNT: The Pentagon has acknowledged that the U.S. is dropping cluster bombs in Afghanistan. By some estimates up to 10 percent of these don't go off, which means they are potentially new land mines. Do you think the United States should stopping dropping these cluster bombs?

QUEEN NOOR: Well, the cluster bombs are a very serious concern for all of us, both in the movement to ban land mines because they do act very much like land mines. Sadly, one of the tragic circumstances of the situation today is they happen to be the same color as the food packets that are being dropped in Afghanistan, and the Pentagon, or whichever agency is responsible, is quickly looking to repackage or change the color of the food packets that are being dropped, because they're being confused with cluster bombs.

HUNT: Condoleezza Rice, the White House adviser the other day said that women have to play an important role in any post-Taliban Afghan government society. Do you think the United States should be pressuring other countries like Saudi Arabia to change their internal policies?

QUEEN NOOR: I think on this on this issue, whether it's Afghan women or women anywhere, it's excellent that the issue is being highlighted and that there should be an international focus on women who are repressed or denied their fundamental human rights anywhere in the world.

On the other hand, it's terribly important in this context that this issue not be linked in any way to a military campaign, or even to demands being made by Western countries on what will be the future government, if you will, and future policies of Afghanistan.

HUNT: You grew up in America, became a Muslim when you moved to Jordan. As you look at the post-September 11 reaction in this country, and you read reports like 5,000 Middle Eastern men being interviewed by the Justice Department, do you fear that there is an anti-Muslim sentiment rising in America?

QUEEN NOOR: I think that Muslims and Arabs have been stereotyped and misunderstood for many generations now. It's actually a historical subject that can go back to the Crusades.

The September 11th certainly resulted in an immediate backlash, in spite of the fact that figures like Mayor Giuliani and government figures, the president and others, added their voices calling for restraint, for tolerance.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, do you think Queen Noor was implying that the U.S. current conduct in this war is killing civilians unnecessarily?

HUNT: Mark, there are very few people who have a foot in both the Western and Arab world the way Queen Noor does, and I think she reflects that nervousness among many people in the Arab world about this coalition. You saw that with the answer about cluster bombs. You saw that with the answer on women, and bringing pressure for women to play a greater role. She's an Islamic feminist, but you have got to be very, very careful.

I'll tell you the one thing I think she's absolutely right on, and that is the question of land mines. There are more land mines in Afghanistan than in any place outside the DMZ in Korea, and when we move on from this current phase, we've got to -- the U.S. has to do more to try to ban land mines.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: I was hoping you were going to ask, Al, does she look a lot older in person, and I was really hoping he was going to say yes, but I guess not.

CARLSON: She's a queen, after all.

O'BEIRNE: Right. It shows. She has been -- Queen Noor -- a great asset to her adopted country by helping to put sort of modern, progressive face on Jordan.

And I wonder whether or not she does the same for her native country in talking to a Middle Eastern audience. Like in this interview, she made reference to the backlash against Muslims in America when in fact there was post-September 11 there was very little backlash. And the reason why this murderous plot could be hatched in our midst is because we are so open and tolerant, so it seems to me she could play an equal role dispelling some of the anti-American propaganda over in the Middle East.

NOVAK: I think there is a lot of people in this country who do talk about the crash of civilization -- Professor Huntington -- and I think that's what she was really referring to, which is very dangerous. But I do feel that there's very little interest in this country right now in making more land mines in Afghanistan, because they're more interested in trying to get people together someplace in Germany to get all these people together in some kind of a government.

SHIELDS: Margaret, it's incredibly sobering when she says one- third of the casualties of land mines are children.

CARLSON: Right, and you see a lot of them with only one thing. It's just the saddest thing. Princess Diana was a great asset to that cause, and she must miss her. I thought, Al, calling her Your Majesty was a very nice touch. Some of us would like to hear that as well.

(CROSSTALK) SHIELDS: ... Al is a commoner, too.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at an unconventional Republican candidate for governor of California, with veteran Republican consultant Ken Khachigian.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the campaign for governor of California. Republican Richard Riordan who just finished eight years as mayor of Los Angeles. He took next to no partisan stance as mayor, but announcing his candidacy for governor he assailed Democratic Governor Gray Davis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD RIORDAN (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: It's a choice between politics as usual, or problem-solving. California cannot stand four more years of failed leadership!

We have a governor who cares more about building up his campaign war chest than preparing our state to face the challenges of the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The most recent survey, the field poll seven weeks ago, showed Mayor Riordan leading Governor Davis then by 3 percentage points. Joining us now, California Republican consultant Ken Khachigian, former speech writer for President Richard Nixon and President Ronald Reagan, and most recently an adviser in Senator John McCain's campaign for president. He does not have a horse in the 2002 race for governor.

Thank you for coming in, Ken.

KEN KHACHIGIAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: You bet, Mark.

SHIELDS: Ken, whatever Dick Riordan is after 20 years of contributions to Democrats, being pro-choice on abortion, being pro- gun control, what's the attitude of Republican regulars toward such a maverick as Dick Riordan?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, the Republican regulars in California are, quite frankly, schizophrenic about Dick Riordan. On the one hand, he does not represent Republican orthodoxy, he's a little more moderate to liberal than a lot of the Republican rank-and-file in California. But on the other hand, they also view him, his non-partisanship, as an asset in the contest for governor this year, so I'd say they feel two ways about him, and that's why a lot of Republican conservatives, even down in Orange County where the heartland of conservatism in California is, are actually supporting Dick Riordan over other candidates.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak. NOVAK: Ken, do you get the feeling that the White House, which earlier this year was begging Dick Riordan to run for governor, that the bloom is off the rose a little bit? That in the person of Jerry Parsky, the president, the big businessman in California, the president's man in California, that they have soured on Riordan a little bit and wonder if he is going to be the answer to trying to revive the Republican Party in California?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, I think that -- I can't speak for the White House, obviously, but I think that they sense that it's probably not a good idea to get the president involved in a Republican primary -- in a contested Republican primary in California, and any -- the mayor, Dick Riordan, who came on as this sort of great non-partisan hope who might win the governorship and thus create a force for the White House in the 2004 elections probably has not quite had the experience that they thought he might have, and got off balance a little bit, and I think they pulled back.

Not necessarily a bad thing and not necessarily a good thing, but they did decide I think in my judgment to pull back and not get involved in this Republican race.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Ken, there's one Republican candidate who's actually held statewide office, only one of them, and that's Bill Jones, secretary of state. He was two points ahead of Gray Davis in one poll, but the White House is unlikely to get behind him, I hear, because he committed a grievous sin, and that is that he supported Senator John McCain in the presidential primary after he won New Hampshire.

Now, while they might not get involved publicly, they might get involved behind the scenes if he hadn't done that. What do you think?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, I think the White House will get behind whoever the nominee of the party is. There's no question that it's important for the president politically, in my judgment, for the Republicans to do a very good showing in this gubernatorial race. And so it would not be a good idea to hold back.

And you know, we Republicans after primaries tend to pull together, and even though Secretary of State Bill Jones did endorse John McCain in the Republican primary, you know, George Bush, the 41st president, opposed Ronald Reagan in the Republican primaries in 1980, and he got on the ticket with him.

So I think we can find a way to come together when the time comes.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Ken, Republicans in California I talk to are afraid that should Dick Riordan win the primary, he will run on many issues to the left of Gray Davis. They don't see him so much as a non- partisan sort of candidate, they see him as a fairly conventional liberal Democrat in his positions. For instance, he's written that Californians are undertaxed.

Won't that pull the dialogue, the political dialogue in California, such a Riordan/Davis match-up to the left, and how could that possibly help George Bush in 2004 in California?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, those are very, very good questions. I think that while Dick Riordan if he wins the nomination would stay in the center, that he would be able to be pin down the Republican base because he could not win the governorship without enthusiastic support of the Republicans.

So I think while he's going to -- he is relentlessly non- partisan, and he is sort of the great centrist hope among the Republicans that are supporting him, but I still don't think that you can win California as a Republican or as a Democrat without motivating conservatives throughout the Great San Joaquin Valley and down in the Inland Empire, Riverside, San Bernardino Counties, on down through San Diego and up through Orange County.

So if his notion is that he would run to the middle or to the left, I don't think he can out-left Gray Davis, and that would be a ticket to defeat, frankly.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Ken, Dick Riordan has assembled an eclectic, some would motley, campaign team of controversial, egotistical prima donnas -- Pat Cadell (ph) and Don Sipple (ph) and Clint Riley (ph) who feast on political fratricide. My question is why? Does this reflect his wife, is she calling the shots? And does it matter?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, I can't tell you who is calling the shots in that campaign, and I think that after eight years of being mayor, Dick Riordan is probably his own man. But he has put together a campaign team, and they have -- the main problem for them is they have not been, with the exception of Don Sipple (ph), who has been a chief strategist in the statewide campaign, they have -- they don't have the actual on-the-ground experience running a statewide campaign, and so that will be the biggest challenge.

They do have very capable people in those positions who are very knowledgeable and very good at management, but whether or not they are going to be ready for the campaign against somebody like a relentless partisan and tough candidate like Gray Davis remains to be seen. But I think that the notion that Pat Cadell (ph) and some of the others are really that involved as much overstated, but their campaign team does need some experience, I would say.

SHIELDS: Ken, you're a gifted wordsmith, you've written presidential addresses, memorable ones. I know I did not see your hand in that opening statement of Mr. Riordan's, where he said: "The choice is between politics as usual." Now, has there ever been a case in any democracy in the world where people say, yeah, we would like politics as usual?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, look, I'm not writing speeches for any candidate in this campaign, so I'll withhold judgment as of now. But look, anybody who is going to run against Gray Davis has to be prepared for a very tough campaign. He's focused, he's disciplined, he has a lot of money and he's a tough campaigner.

NOVAK: Ken, let me just ask you a quick question and we have to go.

KHACHIGIAN: Sure.

NOVAK: Do you think that it's an absolute lock now that Riordan will win the Republican primary or highly probable -- highly probable he will win it?

KHACHIGIAN: Well, in California, name ID is so critical. There is 5.5 million Republicans, and 25 percent of the votes in Los Angeles County alone, and over 45 percent in the L.A. media market, so -- but it's not a lock, I don't think so. I think this is -- my judgment, this is a wide open race right up until the March primary.

SHIELDS: Ken Khachigian, thank you for being with us. The CAPITAL GANG will be back with the "Outrage of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: And now for the "Outrage of the Week." To his real credit, President Bush has repeatedly emphasized that the current U.S. mission in Central Asia is a fight against terrorism and not a war against Islam.

But at least one Republican is too stupid or too bigoted to follow his president's example. Georgia G.O.P. Congressman Saxby Chambliss, who is now running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Senator Max Cleland, offered this solution to domestic terrorism, quote: "Just turn the sheriff loose and let him arrest every Muslim that crosses the state lines," end quote. Georgia and the United States deserve better than Saxby Chambliss. Bob Novak.

NOVAK: There is no greater thug and consistently outrageous head of state than Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe. He presides over violence against the remaining white farmers and his black opponents. Now, he is threatening six foreign correspondents who have filed reports on this violence, saying he will treat them as terrorists. Therein lies a lesson for President Bush. In a war against terrorism, there is a temptation to put the terrorist label on anybody we don't like, a temptation that should be resisted.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Mark, Nino Vendome threw open the doors of his restaurant, unsurprisingly named Nino's, on September 11 and every day since for firefighters and policemen. Others in lower Manhattan did the same. Nonetheless, when the contract to feed the workers was awarded, it went to a suburban catering company. The restaurants will keep their doors open, but I was down there last week, and you can see they're dying. I love New York. We all love New York. But shouldn't the mayor take care of his own? SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: A documentary called "Attack America" celebrating the September 11 attacks as proper revenge for American imperialism is a best-seller, not in Syria or Iraq, but in China, whose leaders profess to support our just fight against terrorism. The fact that China's government is cranking out vicious anti-American propaganda proves that much hasn't changed since September 11, and we don't have as many new friends as we might like to think.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Mark, Arkansas State football coach Joe Hollis had a tough season. The Indians -- unfortunately that's still their nickname -- finished 2-9, a record that often gets coaches fired. He also is about to undergo surgery for prostate cancer. But Arkansas State President Les Wyatt didn't have the class to even wait until the final game on Thursday was over; during the fourth quarter, he announced the coach was sacked. Wonder if he wished coach Hollis a happy Thanksgiving.

SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying good night for the CAPITAL GANG. If you missed any part of this program, shame on you, but you can catch the replay at 11:00 p.m. Eastern. And Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, an entirely different CAPITAL GANG special. Be here.

Coming up next, "LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN WITH CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR."

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


 
 
 
 


 Search   

Back to the top