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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

How Will Campaign Finance Reform Affect Future Elections?; Enron Whistle Blower Testifies Before Congress

Aired February 14, 2002 - 16:00   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.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. I'll ask two key House members how the late night passage of campaign finance reform could affect future elections.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Major Garrett at the White House, where three senior Republican sources tell CNN President Bush will sign House-passed campaign finance reform legislation.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill, where the Enron employee who tried to warn executives the company was in trouble got a warm reception from members of Congress.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow. The Olympics skating controversy shows little sign of fading. But the Russian people say, they're standing behind their gold medal winners.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS WITH JUDY WOODRUFF.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. The Congressional hearings, featuring parade of current and former Enron executives, have included sometimes angry lawmakers confronting often reluctant witnesses. Today however, the scene at the Enron hearings was much different.

Sherron Watkins was the day's star witness. She is the Enron vice president who warned executives of Enron's accounting problems, months before the company collapsed. Jonathan Karl joins us now with more on today's testimony -- Jonathan.

KARL: Well, Judy, Watkins was heralded, really, as a hero, a courageous whistle blower, the one good figure in this whole story of the Enron collapse. That's the way the members of the committee portrayed her. In her testimony, dramatic at times, shed talked a lot about Ken Lay, someone she portrayed as really a man of integrity, but was somebody that was duped by his top lieutenants, Andrew Fastow and Jeffrey Skilling.

Now, when asked why Ken Lay and others ignored her repeated warnings about what was happening to the company, she had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SHERRON WATKINS, VICE PRES., ENRON: Enron is a very arrogant place with the feeling of invincibility, and I'm not certain people felt like it was that imminent. They just felt like Mr. Fastow, along with the accountants, would come up with some magic in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Watkins was especially hard on Jeffrey Skilling, the former CEO who replaced Kenneth Lay. She said that his testimony up here on Capitol Hill was simply not believable last week. And, not surprisingly, there was one person in the audience there that was not a big fan of Sherron Watkins. That was Jeffrey Skilling's attorney, who stopped by to watch by some of the hearing. He had this to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRUCE HILER, JEFFREY SKILLING'S ATTORNEY: What I have seen in there is very consistent with the approach in her October 30th memo, which was a memo designed to present PR spin, save Ken Lay's legacy, and try to shift the blame. It's scapegoating, and that's what's going on in there right now. And I'm a little appalled that Congress would participate in that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Now, Watkins did get a couple of tough questions. One, what did she do with her Enron stock. She clearly had inside information. Turns out she sold $31,000 worth of stock in August after she wrote that memo, and another $17,000 in stock options in October. And she was also asked, did you try to tell anybody outside the company -- the SEC or the Justice Department, anybody -- she said no, she didn't want to hasten the demise of Enron -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: These hearings make fascinating watching. All right, Jon Karl at the Capitol.

The other big story we're following is campaign finance reform. Now that the measure has passed the House, the focus turns to what happens next, as our Kate Snow reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: I always wondered what the day after Armageddon would look like.

(LAUGHTER)

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The day after a very long night, supporters are giddy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to say today, you are the American people's Valentine.

SNOW: Next stop, the Senate. The majority leader says the bill will come up as soon as it arrives. Last spring, 59 senators voted for campaign reform. They'll need 60 to overcome a filibuster by opponents.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: If it looks like we're going to face a filibuster, we're going to find the time and find a way to break that filibuster in the United States Senate.

SNOW: Senator Fritz Hollings may be key. One of three Democrats who voted against reform last spring, he now says, in part because of Enron, this may be the best chance in years to change the system. But another Democrat is still dead-set against the bill.

SEN. BEN NELSON (D), NEBRASKA: I certainly want campaign finance reform. I just wish that this would do it in a way that would stand up to a constitutional challenge.

ANNOUNCER: George W. Bush promises his tax plan will help us. But before...

SNOW: The provision most likely to be challenged, a ban on issue ads like these, paid for with soft money and run by the parties, to help a candidate in the weeks just before election.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

And I just spoke with Senator McConnell about that. He says he's still studying the bill that passed the House this morning. He's still deciding what he likes and what he doesn't like. He says there are some things he likes.

He says he may lead a challenge on the Senate floor, Judy. But even more likely, he will challenge this in court, if it gets to that point. Unclear, he says, whether he'll have to wait until the president signs the bill, or whether he'll have to wait until it goes into effect, on November 6th -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate, sounds like this could slide out of Congress this week. Thanks very much.

CNN White House correspondent Major Garrett joins us now. Major, what's the president going to do, assuming this lands on his desk?

GARRETT: Judy, CNN can report that according three very senior Republican sources, very familiar with White House thinking on this topic, if the bill that passed the House early this morning goes to the Senate unchanged and arrives here at the White House, President Bush will sign it. Now, Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, has been a little bit vague about the president's overall intentions.

I'm told, by these senior sources, that it is well-known and well-acknowledged privately within the White House, that that will be the president's response. The reason it's not been stated so publicly is to give those who are opponents of this bill maximum leverage, either on the floor of the House of Representatives, or whatever may unfold in the Senate.

But clearly, there was no leverage -- certainly not sufficient leverage in the House -- that all of the many amendments crafted by the House Republican leadership to defeat, or at least, sidetrack temporarily, campaign finance reform, failed. The White House now sees it as a fait accompli. They do not want to be in a position of being counterposed against John McCain, the Republican reformer. The president will, according to all these sources I've spoken to today, Judy, sign the bill.

WOODRUFF: And that's -- even though, Major, it's not taking effect right away, as the White House said yesterday he'd prefer.

GARRETT: A preference, not a demand. That's the key distinction there, Judy. A preference, but it's certainly not going to be something to prevent the president from signing the legislation.

WOODRUFF: Major, separately, the president made remarks about the environment, global warming. Tell us about those.

GARRETT: Last year the president basically shelved the U.S. involvement in the Kyoto Treaty, essential putting it in his presidential outbox. And many European leaders have been asking for a good long while, what is in the inbox? What is the plan the president has to address global warming? Today the president told the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): The president said curbing greenhouse gases is all about trade-offs. His new policy trades mandatory pollution cuts for voluntary targets.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will set America on a path to slow the growth of our greenhouse gas emissions.

GARRETT: The White House goal is to reduce pollution without sacrificing jobs. The Kyoto Treaty's mandatory cuts in carbon dioxide, the White House says, would have cost the U.S. $400 billion and 5 million jobs. Instead, the White House will offer tax incentives to industry to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Mr. Bush's rejection of Kyoto stunned many European leaders, but the president was unrepentant during his first European swing.

BUSH: We didn't feel like the Kyoto Treaty was well-balanced. It didn't include developing nations. The goals were not realistic.

GARRETT: But the White House will use mandatory cuts to lower nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury emissions. To tackle global warming, it seeks lower greenhouse gas emissions and more federal research. Voluntary compliance is said to protect workers. The Bush plan also includes developing countries the Kyoto Treaty exempted. Democratic critics dismiss the Bush plan.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: The great disappointment in the president's proposal today is that it offers no real hope of progress. It's not meaningful.

(END VIDEOTAPE) GARRETT: And Joe Lieberman's running mate at the top of the Democratic ticket, Al Gore, also released a statement today, Judy. Let me read one part of it. "He has tried this approach before," meaning the president, "when he was governor of Texas and it failed," says Al Gore. "The president has put forward a plan that falls short of the needs of both America," Al Gore says, "and the world," Judy.

WOODRUFF: Interesting how quickly Mr. Gore got that statement out.

GARRETT: Indeed.

WOODRUFF: Major Garrett, thanks.

Well, some are calling it "Skategate," others, the "French Connection." Either way, it is now the biggest story at the Winter Olympics. Today France's Olympic chiefs said that his country's figure skating judge was -- quote -- "somewhat manipulated" into voting for the Russian pairs team, which narrowly won the gold medal over a Canadian team.

Right now it's not clear whether anything will change the outcome, but many Canadians feel cheated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Disgusting. Despicable, deplorable.

QUESTION: Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we deserve to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're extremely disappointed ourselves as well. And we're certainly disappointed with the judging.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Canadians got screwed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We thought the Canadians had a perfect program. It was just spectacular. So all of the skaters were really great. But we were pretty surprised by the outcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Won't be surprised to know the controversy is being looked at much differently in Russia, as CNN's Matthew Chance reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHANCE (voice-over): Sports mired in controversy and division at the Olympic Games, but Russians are closing ranks. Views on the ice in the country's capitol, united against doubts Russia deserves its figure skating goal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy, because Elena Berezhnaya is a hero. And it's my (UNINTELLIGIBLE). And I'm happy that they continue very long, about 38 years tradition gold tradition of Russian and Soviet Union figure skating tradition.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn't any conspiracy. They are also, there are many judges from different countries. This couldn't be.

CHANCE: Debate rages in Salt Lake City about the fairness of the pairs skating result. In Moscow, none other than the Canadian prime minister, here on a planned visit to discuss trade, has been drawn into the controversy.

JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I don't know, because I'm not an expert, but I watched it with Aline, and we were extremely disappointed. Because Sale and Pelletier have done a fabulous performance. But I'm not a judge. But I was very proud of them, though, because they took it with such great class, both of them. And you know, they said we're not judges, we've done our best. And it was a fabulous performance. And I'm told that in Canada they had a strong reaction, and even in the United States.

CHANCE: On Russian television, coverage of the scandal is national news. Public opinion polls indicate little sympathy for the Canadian silver medalists in the media, or on the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To even raise this question, to doubt a judge's decision, that's not acceptable for modern people. We are supposed to be civilized. Of course it's bad to lose. But why be insulted? It's only a game.

CHANCE: It's an icy Russian mixture of indignation and national pride. Whatever emerges from the Salt Lake City investigations, here, questions about the fairness of the judging are simply dismissed. Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Stay with CNN tonight. The gold medal winning Russian figure skaters will be the guests on "LARRY KING LIVE." That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Taking America's message to the world's youth. Up next, the secretary of state appeals the younger generation. I'll go on the record with the president of MTV and discuss Colin Powell's appearance in "Global Forum."

Will reform make the soft money disappear? The inside buzz on campaign finance, from Nita Lowey and Tom Davis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: And joining us now to talk about some of the day's topics, Bay Buchanan, the president of American Cause. And Donna Brazile, former campaign manager for Al Gore.

Donna, to you first. President Bush is out there today proposing voluntary plan to slow the growth of these so-called greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Is this the right approach?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No, Judy. I guess this was an early Valentine's gift to the coal and oil industries that supported his campaign. This will do nothing to stop pollution. He's using the Texas motto. And we know under his leadership in Texas, Houston became the smog capital of the world. So, this plan will fail miserably, to clean up our environment.

BAY BUCHANAN, FMR. BUCHANAN CAMPAIGN CHWMN: This is a very sound -- economically sound, it's a wise plan. It encourages individuals, farmers, to do what they can. It gives them this incentive to do it. Let the market place do what it can. Let's see what we can successfully pull off by reducing these gases in a voluntary manner.

What was proposed by the Clinton-Gore team was insanity. It was just an awful situation, economic disaster in this country. And this is a man that came in and took the Kyoto protocol and threw it out, and now has come with a very sound program, which I think has every reason to work.

BRAZILE: This plan is not solid at all. This is basically telling the polluters that they can voluntarily clean up itself if they desire. That's pure fantasy.

BUCHANAN: Why not? If they have the incentives, this is very good business for them.

BRAZILE: They haven't done it before.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: We all know the risk that...

BUCHANAN: I want to tell you something, Donna. I may go home and put one of those little sun panels right in my roof, and that would be really good and you liberals would be very happy about that, wouldn't you?

BRAZILE: If you turn off your lights and your TV, but you just watch CNN, we would be happy with that as well.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to completely change the subject and ask you both about Iraq. The president -- Secretary Powell, two days ago, making much more threatening noises about: this is a regime change, we're all about -- it's not just that they're saying it, but they're saying it again and again. Donna, is this an approach that is wise for the administration to be taking?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. The president on this one here -- I agree with the president. I think he should weigh all his options. We should take a look at some of the things that I understand the U.N. is trying to do next month, and once again, trying to get Saddam Hussein to comply. But look, in the long term, Saddam Hussein is a menace to his people, he's a menace to the region, he's a menace to the planet. And I believe the administration should prepare to go to war with Saddam Hussein.

BUCHANAN: This makes absolutely no sense. Donna, first of all, if you want to talk about terrorists in the region, he is fourth on the list. There's three way ahead of him. And so, why Saddam Hussein? Why Iraq? It's certainly not because of 9/11. We weren't talking about hitting him before 9/11. There is no evidence that he's anyhow related to 9/11. So what is this? Why are we suddenly deciding to go to war with Saddam Hussein?

Likewise, it's not going to be like Afghanistan. This is going to be 200-, 300,000 men.

BRAZILE: He has an arsenal of bioweapons. He has an arsenal of the weapons of mass destruction. He's threatening to his neighbors, he's threatening to his friends and allies around the region. It's time we put an end to this menace. A day of reckoning has come, and Saddam Hussein has to go.

BUCHANAN: Do you think Iran should be next? Because they are far more threatening than he is. And how about Libya and Syria...

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: When does it stop?

BRAZILE: I take my lead on this from people who know about what's going on. And my lead came from Colin Powell. And Colin Powell went up to Capitol Hill and I think he made a very convincing case, that it was time for us to focus on getting rid of this regime.

WOODRUFF: But even though, as Bay said, there's no evidence that Iraq had anything to do with September the 11th?

BRAZILE: But we don't know. We don't know. I'm not saying -- look, I'm sure that we may not have all the paper trail and all of the phone calls. But I'm sure, somewhere along the line, some of those hijackers and murderers went to Saddam and got some funds.

BUCHANAN: They visited France, too. It doesn't mean we're going to attack France.

BRAZILE: He's not a friend. He's not a nice guy.

BUCHANAN: We have no evidence whatsoever. He's not a nice guy, and neither are a lot of them out there.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: There's a little war fever in this town, I'm afraid.

BRAZILE: Well, coming from me, it's a good thing.

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Some of this is what one would expect, some of this is not what one would expect. Donna Brazile, Bay Buchanan. Thank you very much.

BRAZILE: Happy Valentine's day.

WOODRUFF: And to you. I should have said that to begin with.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Secretary of State Colin Powell went on the record today on MTV, fielding questions from young people around the world. No "boxers or briefs" questions this time. Instead, Powell fielded questions about the president's axis of evil comment, and whether the U.S. plans to go to war with Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Hopefully we can work with all of our friends in the international community, but the president doesn't rule out the option of having to act alone, if it becomes necessary. We're not looking for wars. There is no war plan on the president's desk this morning. We're looking for peace. We're looking for people to make the right choices, to bring a sense of comfort into the lives of people, to bring security into the lives of people.

We ought to be educating kids, not training them for war. We ought to take advantage of this 21st century. And if only regimes such as North Korea, Iraq and Iran would come to this realization -- and other regimes that are similar -- would come to the realization that we have the opportunity for a much brighter world in this 21st century.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The global forum was on MTV, and joining us now, the president of MTV, Judy McGrath. She joins me from New York.

Ms. McGrath, how did you think today went?

JUDY MCGRATH, MTV PRESIDENT: You know, I think by the end of it, we were all feeling that we had done something really meaningful for our audience, that we gave young adults a forum to speak to someone of influence and experience, to answer some of the questions that we've heard on the minds and hearts of all the people who watch MTV and are interested in the world. And I think it's a great chance to break stereotypes about young adults when you do something like this. WOODRUFF: Some of the questions were pretty tough. One of the first ones -- in fact, the first one, Ayeed (ph), was asking Secretary Powell how it feels to represent a country perceived as the Satan of contemporary politics?

MCGRATH: Yes, that was from a young woman in London. We had studios virtually everywhere -- London, Moscow, Cairo, New Delhi, Sao Paolo, Milan. We chose these young adults because they had questions that we thought were relevant and very meaningful to them, and kind of hard hitting. And I think he took that question very forcefully, and answered it as a "we are a country of many countries. I strongly disagree with your statement. We are a protector of the right of an individual to a Democratic life. And I disagree with your statement," which you know, I think was a great way to start a lively dialog.

WOODRUFF: What was -- were you able to talk with Secretary Powell afterward? What was his reaction to all this?

MCGRATH: A quick handshake. I think he was smiling. And you know, he went on to the next part of his day. But initially, he promised us 60 minutes. He stayed for well over 90. So I think that's an indication that he felt like he was engaged and he was willing to stay and take the questions.

WOODRUFF: Will you do this sort of thing again at MTV?

MCGRATH: Well, we have done these before. I think it's one of the great things we can do along with playing the music people love. We reflect the sort of issues and the ideas on their minds as well -- so, absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right, Judy McGrath. She is president of MTV. Thank you very much. We appreciate you joining us.

MCGRATH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And up next: Two key members of Congress assess the real-world effect of campaign finance reform. Plus, the ultimate in hard money: For some candidates, skirting the campaign finance laws is as easy as opening their wallets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Two House members with key posts in their respective parties join me now with the "Inside Buzz" on campaign finance reform.

Representative Nita Lowey of New York is here with me in Washington. She chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Representative Tom Davis of Virginia chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee. And he joins us from Richmond.

Tom Davis, to you first.

We had it reported from our Major Garrett a few minutes ago that the president, if this lands on his desk, is prepared to sign it. Is that a mistake for the president to do that? REP. TOM DAVIS (R), VIRGINIA: Well, I think it's bad bill simply because I think, after all the court decisions are through, it is going to move a lot of soft money in the political system away from the political parties, which have been a very stabilizing force in American democracy and a filtering source and a centering force, out to interest groups.

But, from a party perspective, we are comfortable with it. I think, if anything, the Republican Party has proved better at raising hard dollars than the Democratic Party. It is certainly true this year. In fact, we would have preferred to see it implemented this year, from a strategic point of view. And we are going to continue to try to get back to the grassroots. And the president has got to make his own decision on that.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Lowey, the congressman is making a good point here. The Democrats have had a much harder time than Republicans raising hard money, something like $16 million last year to the Republicans' almost $40 million. How do the Democrats make up the gap?

REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK: I have been a strong supporter of campaign finance reform for a very long time.

And it's really a shame that the majority of the Republican Party wasn't ready to face the fact that we need to change the system. And Democrats will have the money they need to be competitive. We run on the issues. We are recruiting great candidates. We are extending our outreach through the Internet, through direct mail. And we will be prepared. And we will run on the issues.

WOODRUFF: And you think you can make up the gap that way?

LOWEY: There is no question that we will have enough money. Let's face it, the Republicans always outraise us. And the real question is, they outraised us this time tremendously, but they spent much more than we do, and we had about the same left, cash on hand. So we will have enough money.

WOODRUFF: So, Congressman Davis, when you say the Republicans can live with this, what about Speaker Hastert's comments that the Republicans were going to the lose the House if this passed? Do you believe that?

DAVIS: Well, he is very concerned that part of this bill is going to be declared unconstitutional. This will allow interest groups to go on to television with soft money, special interest money, the special interests themselves, in 60 days before the election. The new law doesn't allow it. But a series of court decisions, starting with Buckley vs. Valeo and in a number of states would indicate they may have that right.

If that goes, basically the parties are not going to be able to answer and shore up the candidates. Candidates that need help, instead of going to their political party for help, are going to write out to special interest groups. And you have moved money away from the parties to special interest groups. And I just don't think that's a good idea.

WOODRUFF: And, Congressman Lowey, if that happens, what does that mean for your party?

LOWEY: Look, I think the special interests have had too much involvement in the political system, certainly with the Republican Party, right to date. And, again, we are a strong supporter of reform. We are going to play by the rules. We are going to extend our outreach to the grassroots. We are going to expand our Internet base and our direct-mail base. And we are going to do it.

And we are going to win because of what we stand for, because we are in tune with the average person, with families, with hometown issues. That is what the election will be about.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Congressman Davis, let me just ask you, what is going to happen to the 41 Republicans in the House who voted for this reform bill? We had Minority Leader Gephardt telling us yesterday that Republicans were being threatened with losing committee positions, having people run against them in the primary.

DAVIS: Well, that is absurd. And I think that Leader Gephardt would be the last person to know what goes on in Republican conference.

The answer is, nothing is going to happen. Look, we are a six- seat majority. We have a lot of diversity within our caucus. And we have a lot of differentiation between members on issues. And we have to tolerate that or we're not going to be in the majority very long. The answer is, nothing is going to happen to those members. And we had a leadership meeting today. I signed a discharge petition two cycles ago. And now I'm an elected member of leadership. Nothing happened to me, except they elected me to leadership.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are glad nothing happened to the two of you. And we are glad you're with us. Tom Davis and Nita Lowey, thank you both. And we appreciate your joining us.

And also joining us now: Stu Rothenberg of "The Rothenberg Political Report" and Charlie Cook of "The National Journal."

Charlie, which party is hurt more by this? Or is one hurt more than the other?

CHARLIE COOK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think it's so much that one side is hurt more than the other. This is a bad idea whose time has come. It's going to sound good.

WOODRUFF: Reform.

C. COOK: Reform.

Yes, it is going to sound good. It is going to look good. It is going to make people feel good. But the fact is, No. 1, the 60-day limitation, 60 days before the election issue advocacy, that is going to get thrown out as unconstitutional. It's very hard to find any decent lawyer who doesn't think the court will throw it out.

WOODRUFF: So Congressman Davis is right about that.

C. COOK: Absolutely. And most lawyers say the same thing.

So what is going to happen is, right now, what you have is, national party committees get the soft money. They hire campaign consultants to do ads. What is going to happen now is, you will have campaign consultants building their own committees, raising money from the donors, and putting on the very same ads. But there is no disclosure, because they don't have to disclose where their money came from.

WOODRUFF: Stu, do you see it happening...

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I agree. I'm not sure there is a partisan winner here.

I think people will feel happy that big money is out of politics. And, in fact, very little has changed. The parties will learn to operate differently. Interest groups will learn to operate differently. Who says the political parties have to be structured the way they are structured now? They are going to change. They are going to figure out a way to pay for overhead without hard money.

I just don't think this is going to really change things. And, Judy, the amazing thing was, we heard all this talk about we'll have a patients' bill of rights when we change this system. We are no more likely or less likely to have it after this.

WOODRUFF: If nothing much is going to change, then why were the Republicans so -- or many of the Republicans so against this, Charlie?

C. COOK: I think it's philosophical. First of all, both sides are afraid of change. But Republicans -- each side -- Republicans are afraid of labor. They are afraid of press bias. They are afraid of all these things.

To be honest, if a side were to be hurt by this, I think it would probably be Democrats more than Republicans, simply because...

WOODRUFF: Because they have a hard time raising hard money.

C. COOK: Right. They are more dependent upon soft money than the Republicans. But, basically, I think both sides will get their money one way or the other.

ROTHENBERG: The Republicans know how to game the current system. And they are afraid of influence, particularly from organized labor. I think Charlie is exactly right. Republicans are paranoid about organized labor.

And one thing the Republicans may have to do with these changes is work on their grassroots organizing, where they have trailed the Democrats.

WOODRUFF: So is there any -- looking ahead to this election year, 2002, do you see particular races where people are going to be helped or hurt as a result of this?

C. COOK: Well, it doesn't go into effect this time.

WOODRUFF: That's right. I'm sorry. It's doesn't go into effect. Let's talk about 2004, then. Do you any see specific races?

C. COOK: No. You can't say that yet, I don't think.

ROTHENBERG: No. I think it's interesting. You look at John Thune, who voted for the -- quote, unquote -- "reform," I think that's clearly a function of the fact that he is running for the U.S. Senate. And many people in questionable races, Ganske in Iowa, and Lindsey Graham in South Carolina, voted for campaign finance reform. But I think they would have voted for it anyway. Thune is the one example that sticks out for this cycle.

WOODRUFF: All right, but now, as you point out, and you correct me correctly, it doesn't take effect until after November 6 of this year.

ROTHENBERG: That's right.

WOODRUFF: All right, Charlie Cook, Stu Rothenberg, appreciate it. Good to see you.

Checking now the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": South Carolina Democrats have joined the march toward earlier presidential primaries. Members of the state party executive council voted to hold their 2004 primary on February 3, making it one of the nation's earliest.

And a new poll shows New Hampshire Congressman John Sununu is holding his early lead over Senate incumbent and fellow Republican Bob Smith. The American Research Group survey gives Sununu a 10-point edge among likely voters.

In California, the three Republicans bidding to challenge Governor Gray Davis held their last debate last night before the March 5 primary. Secretary of State Bill Jones and businessman Bill Simon took aim at former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan for much of the debate, targeting his more moderate stance on issues like abortion and his past contributions to Democrats.

Well, with campaign finance reform nearing reality, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, has some thoughts on the role of money in politics in today's "Bite of the Apple."

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: OK, maybe we have reformed the way we spend money in political campaigns. Maybe the president will sign the bill and the courts will uphold all of it or most of it. But there is one way that big money gets thrown around in politics that this bill won't touch, can't touch, and that the public never seems to mind. And that is when rich candidates spend a ton of money on themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): This is not exactly breaking news. Back in 1960, John Kennedy's family dropped buckets of money in the critical West Virginia primary. And at the Al Smith Dinner later that year, Kennedy jokingly read a telegram from his father stating, "I will be damned if I will pay for a landslide."

Nelson Rockefeller, with the most famous rich guy name in America, spent uncounted -- literally uncounted -- millions in his successful battles for New York governor and his unsuccessful battles for the presidency.

And the Supreme Court gave such spending First Amendment protection in 1976, saying the Congress could not stop candidates from giving themselves unlimited campaign funds. The result: the current crop of self-financed candidates, including four U.S. senators who each spent at least $5 million of their own money. New Jersey's Jon Corzine tops the list. He spent some $60 million to get elected in 2000.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: Now, here is what's striking. In all of these cases, the opponents of these rich folks made a big issue out of all that money and the public almost never seemed to care. Why? In part I think because of the public's enduring cynicism about the motives of politician. With these deep-pocket candidates, they seem to be saying at least we know one reassuring fact about them: They are all too rich to steal -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: That's one way to look at it.

All right, Jeff, what is on "GREENFIELD AT LARGE" tonight?

GREENFIELD: In our next-to-last program, we will be talking about Vice President Cheney and the administration's alleged secrecy fetish or policy. We will also be talking with a reporter back from Afghanistan who has written some of the most striking accounts of life in that war-torn country.

WOODRUFF: All right, a lot to look forward to. Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.

GREENFIELD: OK.

WOODRUFF: It may be Valentine's Day, but are lawmakers feeling the love? Ahead, we'll talk to two members of Congress about the time they got hit by Cupid's arrow.

And when we come back, a U.S. athlete tells us about the patriotic atmosphere in Salt Lake City.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: There is no shortage of red, white and blue in Salt Lake City right now. The Olympics are always patriotic, but the Games seem even more so, perhaps because of September 11.

Well, joining us now in Park City, Utah is a U.S. Olympian who lost her cousin on that tragic day. Emily Cook is a freestyle skier whose Olympic hopes were dashed during training.

Emily Cook, you were injured in a training exercise. And so you are not competing, but you are there cheering your fellow Olympian competitors on. And I just want to ask you, especially in light of what happened on September 11, what is the spirit like there at Salt Lake City?

EMILY COOK, U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM: The spirit here is absolutely amazing. I'm having a great time going out to all the venues and watching all sorts of competitions. And seeing flags from all over the world is incredible, but there's definitely a huge American spirit right now.

And there is red, white and blue everywhere and flags everywhere. And everyone is having a great time.

WOODRUFF: We should point out that your cousin was a flight attendant on the first plane to hit the World Trade Center. We know what a difficult experience that has been for you, for your family.

But in terms of Salt Lake, there was a controversy the first few days over the American flag, some people saying the U.S. was taking this whole patriotism business too far. How do you see that?

E. COOK: I feel that the September 11 flag being at the opening ceremonies was an incredible way for all of the athletes to honor the victims of September 11, not just the American ones, but there were victims from all over the world. And I think it was a great way for the athletes to really just honor them and pay their respect to the families and to the victims.

WOODRUFF: And to the charge that perhaps the U.S. overdoes it or overdid it?

E. COOK: No, I think it was wonderful. There's people from every country here. And at all the venues, there's great flags everywhere. At the Nordic jumping venue the other day, there's were Polish flags and Swiss flags. And I think that, being in our home country, definitely there is more red, white and blue. But I think it's really exciting. And I really just think it's great.

WOODRUFF: Emily Cook, let me also ask you about the big controversy so many people seem to be focusing on now at the Olympics over the figure skating competition, the gold medal given to the Russians instead of to the Canadians. Now there is a question about the judges. Is this the kind of thing, do you think, where Olympic rules should be looked at again?

E. COOK: As I understand it, the Organizing Committee is definitely looking into this and investigating it. And if it was something that was set up, or if there was some controversy around it, then that would be terrible.

But being in a judged sport, you learn to realize that there are people deciding your fate. And all you can do as an athlete is go out jump or skate your best. And I think that the Canadians understand that. And the Russians understand that. And I think they both skated wonderful. And, hopefully, it will be all cleared up soon.

WOODRUFF: Well, I know Emily Cook, you speak from experience, because freestyle skiing is something that is judged subjectively. It's not a matter of reaching the finish line first. It's something where the judges look at performance. We appreciate so much your being with us. Thank you.

E. COOK: Thank you very much, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you. We appreciate it.

E. COOK: You too.

WOODRUFF: Keeping the love alive. Up next: Tom DeLay and Bill Frist talk about love, marriage and politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: They call Tom DeLay "The Hammer" on Capitol Hill, but at heart, we're learning, he's a true romantic. On this Valentine's Day, we sent a camera crew to Capitol Hill to hear some love stories from the House Republican whip and from Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee.

First, how Tom DeLay met his wife.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. TOM DELAY (R), TEXAS: Well, my wife and I are high school sweethearts. I met her the first time when I moved to the community that she lived in. She had been going to school there and did her whole life. And I was the new kid on the block from the big city of Corpus Christi out to this small little school of Calallen High School. I was a sophomore moving into the area -- and kind of cocky kid.

She remembers, at the time, I had a black cowboy shirt on with big turquoise roses on it, and rolled up to show my muscles and boots. And she thought that was pretty cool. We became friends, actually, before we started going together. She had a boyfriend. And he was moving away. And he asked me to take care of her. And I have ever since.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R), TENNESSEE: Twenty-three years ago, I was an intern at the Massachusetts General Hospital. I ran around working every day, every other night, had my white scrubs on and my white coat on. And in walked, with a minor medical problem, a beautiful, attractive woman who also had a Southern accent. I thought that was the end of it. We struck up a conversation, talked about Texas, talked about Tennessee. Why were these two misplaced Southerners up in Boston, Massachusetts?

And then about a month later, because we had mutual friends, we had our first date. And that first date ended being one that we'll always remember, one that clicked. I started the night that evening saying: "Well, is it going to be just a drink or is it going to be dinner? If it is going to dinner, I will shell out the cash." And, after about 10 or 15 minutes of getting together, spending time together, we ended up going to Warren Tavern (ph) in Boston, Massachusetts. And I shelled out the cash.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And now we would like to hear what their wives say about how they met.

Well, tonight, Bill and Karyn Frist and Tom and Christine DeLay will be honored by the Master Chorale of Washington. It's a well- known choral group for -- quote -- "marriages that symbolize the joy of true love." With we wish you all a happy Valentine's Day.

You can call it the revenge of the babies. Up next: a spoof on the fine art of baby kissing, with an explosive ending.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A quick preview now of what is in the work for tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS. I'll talk with Congressman Steve Largent, who is resigning from Congress to run for governor or Oklahoma. U.S. Olympian Picabo Street will talk about her storied career on the slopes. And Bill Schneider will join us with his "Political Play of the Week."

We are told Georgia Governor Roy Barnes is promising to make the wait for a driver's license as quick as the wait for a pizza. Believe it or not, we're interested in any horror stories that you might have about waiting in line to get your license. You can e-mail those stories to us at CNN.com/INSIDESPOLITICS. And then tune in tomorrow to find out why we wanted them.

Well, as long as politicians have been running for office, they've been kissing babies. The trick is to keep the baby from crying, unless, of course, you are trying to cast yourself as an anti- politician. Well, that's just what Illinois Republican attorney general candidate Bob Coleman did in what has to be the most inventive ad of the new campaign season.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, COLEMAN CAMPAIGN AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coleman Promo, take one.

BOB COLEMAN, RUNNING FOR ILLINOIS STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Hi. I'm Bob Coleman.

(BABY CRYING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut. Try it again, Bob.

(BABY CRYING)

COLEMAN: I'm Bob Coleman, running for Illinois...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut!

(BABY CRYING)

COLEMAN: I'm Bob Coleman running...

(BABY CRYING)

COLEMAN: You know, children are our future.

(BABY CRYING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut!

COLEMAN: I'm Bob Coleman running for Illinois attorney general.

Bob Coleman, running for...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cut!

COLEMAN: I think we have a little accident here.

(BABY CRYING)

COLEMAN: March 19th.

(BABY CRYING)

ANNOUNCER: Coleman for attorney general. A great lawyer, not a great politician.

COLEMAN: Hi, I'm Bob Coleman running for...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Politicians aren't that bad.

We will give him another chance. CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.

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


 
 
 
 


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