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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Newest American Gold Medalist in Olympic Cold War; GAO Sues Vice President Dick Cheney

Aired February 22, 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. Even America's new golden girl is in the middle of an Olympic cold war.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Major Garrett. Now that Vice President Cheney is officially the target of an unprecedented General Accounting Office lawsuit, I'll tell you what the strategy is inside the White House.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Chris Burns in Karachi with details behind the scenes of what's going on in the investigation of Daniel Pearl's murder.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider, at a great place to find out what Americans are riled up about: a talk radio hosts' convention.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Within the last two hours, Congressional investigators made good on their threat. They sued Vice President Dick Cheney over his refusal to hand over documents related to the energy task force that he led. In the face of the lawsuit and the anger over Enron's collapse, is there any indication that Cheney might blink? Let's ask our White House correspondent, Major Garrett. Major, any sign of a change of heart there?

GARRETT: No sign whatsoever, Judy. I would say the White House officials I've dealt with today are very poker faced on this matter, saying we're just shrugging this off. We've expected this lawsuit since August, we believe we are on substantially firm legal ground, and we have no sense whatsoever, the White House officials say, that we're going to lose this case.

As a matter of fact, they say they're very eager to have the constitutional principle they say is at stake here protected by the federal courts -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Major, is there any sign or indication that there is something in these documents that they don't want the public to know about? GARRETT: Well, as you might expect, the Bush White House says of course not. These are meetings that the vice president's energy task force had a with a range of representatives, from the environmental lobby, from the labor unions, and from, as they readily acknowledge, major energy corporations throughout the United States -- among them, Enron.

What they say you can find in these notes is the standard deliberations, ideas presented to the administration, some of which were included in the vice president's, and later the president's, energy policy, some which were not.

But the key here with the General Accounting Office is, the General Accounting Office sent the vice president what is called a demand letter. In that demand letter, it said they not only wanted the names and dates and the cost associated with this task force work, but also wanted notes, subject discussed, and agenda. The White House says you simply cannot ask for that kind of information if you're the General Accounting Office. It is a grotesque overstepping of their jurisdiction.

Now, the General Accounting Office says it withdrew those particular requests, but only informally so. The White House says until they do it formally, they're prepared to go to court, and expect to prevail -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Major Garrett at the White House, thanks.

Turning now to the murder of "Wall Street Journal" reporter, Daniel Pearl. We now have statement from his widow, Marianne. She says: "The terrorists who say they killed my husband have taken his life, but they did not take away his spirit. Danny is my life. They may have taken my life, but they did not take my spirit."

In Pakistan, the interior minister says authorities now know the names of Pearl's killers, and are taking -- quote -- "the strongest possible actions to bring them to justice." U.S. officials are saying they hope to find clues as they look at a videotape showing Pearl's brutal killing. I spoke to CNN's Chris Burns in Karachi a little while ago for the inside story on the investigation and possible arrests.

BURNS: This has been a nationwide dragnet for the last month, and this has involved the arrest of dozens of people. So it does appear that they're going to intensify that. They arrest not only suspects themselves, but also the families. That is a common practice here, in trying to get people to give themselves up and confess.

So it is an intensive operation. And that's as far as officials will tell us from this point.

WOODRUFF: And, Chris, it's also reported that on this tape, which we know was edited in three different -- there are three different parts to it, that the last words that Danny Pearl is shown speaking, are, "yes, I am a Jew and my father is a Jew." Is there a sense among investigators as to what the perpetrators of this were trying to do by putting this on the cassette?

BURNS: Well, there might be some kind of a link in that the testimony the day before, by Fahad Naseem, who is the gentleman who admitted sending the e-mails, said that Sheikh Omar Sayeed had told him two days before the kidnapping that he was looking for someone who was anti-Islam and also Jewish. And apparently what he felt he was finding in Daniel Pearl. Of course, "The Wall Street Journal" contesting that his reports weren't anti-Islam at all. But that is not out of the realm of possibility.

However, when we talk to people who are close to the investigation, they say that yes, these are jump cuts. There are three jump cuts in that video, and it is not necessarily the last words of Daniel Pearl. Some might be portraying it as such. It's difficult to know what happened between each jump cut, between the time that he was talking to his captors, the time he was being executed, and when his body was shown. So, a lot of question marks in that video -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Chris Burns, thank you very much. Chris in Karachi.

And we are joined now by Howard Kurtz of "The Washington Post" and CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES." Howard, does this signal a shift in the way journalists in that part of the world, or other dangerous places, should operate, given the fact that the enemy is not only ruthless, but they're in hiding.

HOWARD KURTZ, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, Judy, journalists have long felt like Red Cross workers, whether they're covering the mob in New York or Saddam Hussein's forces in Iraq, or the Taliban. They have the sense that they would not be harmed, because they were neutral observers, not aligned with either side.

The age of terrorism just turns that on its head. Now, sadly, journalists are more likely to be focused on, almost like they're wearing a red bull's eye. Because terrorists, like these Pakistani murderers, know that they will reap global publicity for holding an American reporter. If they had kidnapped, for example, an American businessman no one had heard of, it certainly would have been a story. It would not have been a story with this kind of intensity around the world.

WOODRUFF: But, how can -- why do you think that journalists may be more likely to be targets now? These perpetrators didn't really get -- you're right, they got publicity. But if anything, they're being hunted down more intensely than they were before.

KURTZ: Well, publicity was one of their goals. Perhaps they thought they would escape detection. But I think also, there is a sense that in many countries around the world, journalists and -- are either part of the government or work very closely with the government. So some of these terrorists may find it harder to believe that western journalists, particularly American journalists, are completely independent -- that they're not related to the CIA or the Mossad or anything like that. So it does remind me almost of the anthrax attacks, where, you know, the first letters went to the Florida tabloids and to Dan Rather and to Tom Brokaw, again, targeting someone who you knew was going to be on the front pages.

WOODRUFF: And finally, Howard, in connection with all this, it's my sense that this story got more attention because this is a journalists. IT's fellow journalists covering what happened to a reporter. Is that a mistake for us to focus more, when it's a journalist in trouble?

KURTZ: It probably is not totally fair, but it is human nature. Even journalists are humans, and they relate more to people who they can identify with. And I got to tell you, from talking to Danny Pearl's friends and colleagues, this has been like a kick in the stomach -- not only from those who knew and loved this guy, who was a prince of a guy, from all accounts -- but from people who came to know him from the media accounts. And also, we all feel a little more vulnerable now because of what happened to Danny Pearl. I think we're entering a new, even more dangerous era, particularly for foreign correspondents.

WOODRUFF: That appears to be right, sadly enough. Howard Kurtz, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

When Americans picked up their morning newspapers, they may have felt some mixed emotions as they looked at the headlines and the pictures that went with them. The horror of Danny Pearl's murder was juxtaposed with the joy of American figure skater Sarah Hughes, after her surprise gold medal win in Salt Lake City last night.

Sixteen-year-old Hughes has been widely praised for her spirited and error-free performance on the ice. But today, Russian officials charge that the judging was biased. They demanded that Russian figure skater, Irina Slutskaya, should be awarded a gold medal instead of a silver. Hughes and her coach were asked today about the protest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH HUGHES, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: I don't really know what's going on or anything. And you know, I'm just happy I have one gold medal. So...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (OFF-MIKE)

HUGHES: You know, it's not really up to me, I guess. But I'm happy with my skate. And in my heart I know that was the best I've ever done.

ROBIN WAGNER, HUGHES' COACH: If I could just make a comment on that, I think that is probably one of the issues that people were concerned about in awarding a second medal to Jamie and David, was that it was going to set a precedent. I would just like to say that I thought clearly, last night Sarah's performance was the best.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Hughes' coach, Robin Wagner, was referring to the dispute that ended with both Canadian and Russian pair skaters getting gold medals. Protests and Olympic politics have cast something of a chill on these Winter Games. Let's bring in on that Tom Rinaldi of CNN's "Sports Illustrated." Hello, Tom.

TOM RINALDI, CNN "SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Hi, Judy. There are a lot of different labels that these Games could wear, the "Crying Games." Obviously, the ancient motto of the Games is "Citius, Altius, Fortius." It's not supposed to include "Whinius," but it is seeming to go in that direction here in Utah, which is sad.

Before everybody thinks that all things are lost, and the Games are going to simply wash down the drain in protest -- of course, a quick review of those protests would include the pair's figure skating final, which touched off this entire controversy which has swallowed the Games. The controversy we're currently embroiled in in pair's figure skating, which involves Sarah Hughes and Irina Slutskaya. Speed skating controversies over judging, which include Apollo Anton and a South Korean competitor, who was disqualified from a gold medal.

I put out one name for your submission, and that is Michelle Kwan. When Kwan stood on the podium, clearly she was heartbroken. She'd waited four years to try to win a gold medal -- a gold medal that a teenager named Tara Lipinski had taken from her, in a sense, in Nagano in '98. This time she lost out to another teenager. Yet she clapped, she applauded, she hugged the competitors that had beaten her. And in a sense, she is a saving grace in these Games -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Tom Rinaldi, you're right. For all of us who watched last night, as wonderful a performance as Sarah Hughes had, you had to feel for Michelle Kwan. Thank you, Tom. I appreciate it.

Back now to Washington politics. We will look at a legacy that's decades in the making. Up next, Senator Edward Kennedy marks his 70th birthday by going "On the Record" about his personal and political history.

In our "Taking Issue" segment, the controversy over Pat Robertson's on-air suggestion that Islam is a violent religion.

And Rescue 911 -- can an emergency lead to the political play of the week?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The Kennedy political dynasty spans a half-century. It started with three brothers. Only one would survive the 1960s to fight on.

Senator Edward M. Kennedy turns 70 today. In a moment, a conversation with the senior senator from Massachusetts. But first, our Candy Crowley looks back on his life and his work.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think I'll vote for this guy...

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He has lived a life both blessed and burdened by legacy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you Kennedy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, that's who he is.

CROWLEY: Kennedy. In 1962, the name was political magic. John, the president. Bobby, the attorney general. And 30-year-old Teddy, elected senator, a political neophyte with a meager resume.

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: He always likes to introduce me by saying he finds it despicable that someone would run for public office on the basis of a last name. My father served in the Senate.

CROWLEY: By the time he was 36, the senator from Massachusetts was the only surviving Kennedy brother.

KENNEDY: Those of us who loved him, and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us, what he wished for others, was something that would come to pass for all the world.

CROWLEY: The youngest became the patriarch, the keeper of the flame. It was assumed he would eventually run for president. But a fatal car accident and the death of a young woman on an island named Chappaquiddic raised new questions about Kennedy's judgment, and renewed suspicions of family privilege.

In 1980, when Ted Kennedy ran for president, he did not get past the primaries.

KENNEDY: For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives and the dreams shall never die.

CROWLEY: His life work would be in the Senate, where he built the record his brothers only had time to dream of.

KENNEDY: And I won't let you down! I won't let you down! I won't let you down, Massachusetts!

CROWLEY: He is the last of the liberal lions, roaring on behalf of the voiceless.

KENNEDY: We stand to protect the consumers and to protect the patients, to protect the children, protect the women, to protect the disabled in this country. That is what this is about.

CROWLEY: The 30-year-old with nothing but a name to run on turned 70, as one of the premier legislators of the 20th century. His name may not be magic anymore, but his word is. SEN. BILL FRIST (R), TENNESSEE: He's liberal. I'm conservative. He's for more taxes, I'm for less taxes. He is a Democrat and I'm a Republican. But he's somebody who shoots straight, who you know where he's coming from. Who, when he gives you his word, he sticks by it a 100 percent.

CROWLEY: He has championed civil rights, pushed for improved education and better health care. His name is on hundreds, probably thousands, of bills.

DODD: Forget the bills. The bills, I know, are important. I don't mean to forget them. But none of that would ever have become law if it hadn't been for the passion that he brought to the commitments and those issues over the years, and sustains it year in and year out.

CROWLEY: He is an undiluted, undeterrable liberal, but a closet pragmatist. He prefers half a loaf to none, something to nothing, results over rhetoric. His alliances give fellow Democrats heartburn.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was so proud of our work, I even had nice things to say about my friend, Ted Kennedy.

(LAUGHTER)

CROWLEY: He has spent more than half his 70 years in the U.S. Senate. He is expected to run again in 2006, for his eighth full term in office. The Senate is home now. Ted Kennedy grew up there. Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: I had a chance to visit with Senator Kennedy at his office on Capitol Hill. Our conversation begins with a look at his keepsakes.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KENNEDY: This is at my birth, birth of Teddy. This is my mother's handwriting, "birth of Teddy." "White House," this is from Herbert Hoover. See, this would be February 22, 1932.

WOODRUFF: An office full of history. Brother Jack's dog tags. A note from Bobby, as he headed to the Senate.

KENNEDY: And this is Bobby. This is Justice Department. My brother Bobby wrote this. "Dear Eddie, out of this building into yours. Move over."

WOODRUFF: When you think back on your career in the Senate, is there one thing that you think of was the toughest thing for you to pull off?

KENNEDY: I think having arrived in the Senate at the time, when we were really beginning the great debate on civil rights, that was an enormously...

WOODRUFF: This is in the early '60s.

KENNEDY: 1962, I was elected, and we had the first 1964 civil rights act. And then the voting rights of 1965. This was the time that the Senate was just being stretched at that time. I mean, massive kinds of filibusters. Really, the question whether the institution was going to be resolved. Civil -- and that set in place the kind of, I think, really, revolution we have seen in breaking down the walls of discrimination on race, religion, ethnicity. Also on gender, also on disability. To some extent, on sexual orientation. Freeing us from discrimination.

That is enormous wrenching time. When you look back at the history of discrimination, we can understand why. That was -- but there have been others, certainly, since that time.

WOODRUFF: Fast forward, 2001, you worked very closely with the president to get an education bill done.

KENNEDY: Yes.

WOODRUFF: You spent time traveling around the country, touting the bill. Now we see in 2002 the president's budget. You're now criticizing the president for not putting as much money into education as you think should be there. Did the president let you down on this?

KENNEDY: No. We got a good bill with good funding last year. We got a good bill in place. I want to see it effective. I think when it's really implemented, and when we have the workings and the support of local communities, which we're increasingly getting, it can make an important difference in educational opportunities for children all over this country.

The resources aren't there in this president's budget. We have a $2 trillion budget and we don't have the additional $4 to $5 billion in that $2 trillion that would make a difference, and ensure that we're not just going to get 35 percent, but eventually get 100 percent...

WOODRUFF: But did he promise you?

KENNEDY: Not specifically on this issue. He indicated that, as the bill does, that we're not going to leave any child behind. That's the name of the bill, and they wanted it that. And we're only covering 34 or 5 percent. And it did have an authorization in there that was higher than certainly what he did, what he proposed.

But we're going to battle that out on the floor of the United States Senate. I'm confidence we'll get resources to be able to do it.

WOODRUFF: Well, in the aftermath of getting the education bill passed, polling has been done of the American people, a number of polls done just last month, show people now favor the president over the Congressional Democrats on the issue of education, by something like 2-1. You've got Democratic strategists out there, including some you know very well -- Bob Shrum, James Carville -- saying the public support for Bush and the Republicans on education is the biggest threat to the Democrats regaining control of the House and maintaining and strengthening control of the Senate. I guess my question is, have you somehow unwittingly given the president a leg up. and the Republicans, on this issue?

KENNEDY: The Democrats, historically, have been the defenders, in terms of strengthening education, of prescription drug program, the patients bill of rights, the protections of Social Security and Medicare. If we can get all of those done and the Republicans want to join us, that is why we are elected to office. That is what we are looking out for. That is something that is important. That is what we go back and tell our people about.

We ought to take it as a badge of honor that we have been able to work this out. And that ought to be -- we ought to set the barrier high and then pass the legislation. And if it costs us something along the way, that's to the credit. We were the party that really led the nation in the battle of civil rights. We've been the party that Ed Muskie and Gaylord Nelson read this country, in terms of the environmental issues. We've been the country that are leading in decent health care on this. And these are badges of honor.

We pay a price for some of these battles. But they basically are what the Democratic Party, when it's at its best, is for.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying, seeing the progress you'd like to see on the issue is most important, even if sometimes it means it costs the Democrats political...

KENNEDY: Absolutely. That's why we're in. Otherwise, I mean, there's not a great deal of reason for being. Otherwise you're just another -- you're a party that has a label without a commitment. And that isn't what the Democrats are about, or what I'm about.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Senator Ted Kennedy at age 70, 40 years in the Senate. As for thoughts of retiring, Kennedy says he'll take it a few years at a time. But he jokes that he could run three more times and still not be as old as Strom Thurmond.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

He's got a sense of humor.

You're looking at live pictures of the White House. This is President Bush and Mrs. Bush coming back to the White House on Marine 1. You know they've been in Asia. They were in Japan, South Korea and China. A very long flight back from Beijing. They landed just a short time ago at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, just outside Washington. And now they're touching down on home turf. And you can imagine that they are glad to be home.

A very, very interesting and intriguing trip, in many respects, because of the talks the president had with the leaders of these three crucial nations, allies, in South Korea, in Japan and, an important country in any regard, China. Now the president is back in Washington.

Well, the talking heads of talk radio have descended on Washington. Coming up, two of the stronger personalities will be debating some of the issues of the day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the stories in the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle": Here now President Bush and first lady Laura Bush coming back to the White House, greeting the dog. That's their first job. They have just come back after a week-long trip to Asia, to Japan, South Korea and China. And it looks like the president doesn't want to talk to reporters as much as they would love for him to answer their questions.

Well, moving on to the stories in today's "Newscycle": Police arrested a 49-year-old San Diego man today on kidnapping charges in the disappearance of a little girl in his neighborhood; 7-year-old Danielle van dam disappeared on February 2. Police said they charged David Westerfield after finding traces of Danielle's blood on an article of his clothing and in his motor home.

The Russian team said today that bias led judges to favor American Sarah Hughes during last night's women's figure skating competition. The Russians want silver medalist Irina Slutskaya to also receive a gold medal.

And Pakistani authorities say they know who executed journalist Daniel Pearl. And they are taking measures to -- quote -- "bring them to swift justice."

The U.S. war on terror and Olympic skating controversy, stories like these dominate the conversation on the nation's talk radio programs. Well, today, many of those radio personalities are here in Washington for the seventh annual Talk Radio Seminar.

Our Bill Schneider is also there -- Bill, hello.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Judy.

Talk radio has become a political force. But spend some time at a convention of talk radio show hosts, like this one in Washington, and you will discover a lot of them don't really think of themselves as political.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): What do talk radio hosts do when they get together? They talk -- loud.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laura, you are seriously denying...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because you are a part of....

SCHNEIDER: Do they have a political agenda?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, what about New Hampshire?

SCHNEIDER: They sure seemed to when Bill Clinton was president.

NEAL BOORTZ, "THE NEAL BOORTZ SHOW": Whenever you have a misogynistic, sociopath, pathological liar in the White House, it makes your job very easy.

SCHNEIDER: But was that story driven by politics? Ask a programming executive.

GABE HOBBS, VICE PRESIDENT, CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO: Bill Clinton certainly provided entertainment value. That was not about politics. That was about stains on dresses.

SCHNEIDER: Ask a talk radio host about campaign finance reform.

LIONEL, "THE LIONEL SHOW": Boy that, CFR talk, and oh, my God. And I could heard hear the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) And I'm not even pointing people out. All of the sudden we jump to condoms. Damn, we're awake. That's talk radio.

SCHNEIDER: Ask a talk radio host if she knows what the axis of evil is.

DR. JOY BROWNE, "DR. JOY BROWNE": Yes, but it has to do with sex.

SCHNEIDER: Talk radio is alternative media. Its appeal is based on distrust of the mainstream media, which is partly ideological and partly populist.

RON KUBY, "CURTIS & KUBY": People listen to NPR because they perceive NPR to be giving them an in-depth account of what is actually going on in the world. People listen to talk radio in order to get white angry males' response to what is going on in the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: To talk radio hosts, it is them vs. us. And the mainstream media is them.

You know, when I asked one of the talk show hosts about the murder of "Wall Street Journal" reporter Daniel Pearl, he told me: "You are going to see that story played like crazy by the mainstream media because Pearl was one of theirs. But what people know out there is that, when you are a journalist covering that kind of story, you take risks. The story," he said, "won't have as much impact on us" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, joining me now are two of those talk radio personalities, Joe Madison from "Mornings With Madison & Company," and Blanquita Cullum, host of the "BQ View."

BLANQUITA CULLUM, "BQ VIEW": Hi, Judy. JOE MADISON, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON & COMPANY": Hi.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for being here.

MADISON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Bill ended his report talking about Danny Pearl. Let me ask you just quickly, we now read that the United States is reconsidering its policy on how to deal with kidnappings, whether to pay ransom. Is this something that they should reconsider and consider seriously, Blanquita?

CULLUM: Well, my audience thinks that we shouldn't be paying ransom, because what that will really encourage is for more kidnappings.

What you are doing is, you're saying, well, you know, these people are worth a certain amount. And if you take them, then we are going to end up paying for it. No, I think that what my audience believes is that we should take swift action. We discussed it on the air today. In fact, a lot of people thought we should just be trying to find bodies without heads out there and saying, "Oh, gosh, how did that happen?"

They are very angry about this. They are angry about the American journalist. But they do not believe, by any means, that we should pay ransom.

WOODRUFF: Joe Madison, what are your listeners saying?

MADISON: Well, the same thing.

At Radio One, we did the same thing. We spent an hour. And, almost to the person, who do you provide ransom to? How much? Where do you stop? Are you in fact financing terrorism?

I think people are very thoughtful about this. And I don't believe it will be policy. It hasn't been since, what, 1995.

WOODRUFF: Let me turn you quickly now back here to the United States, but a somewhat related story.

Pat Robertson, we all know well, a televangelist, on his program, "The 700 Club," yesterday called Islam violent. Now, I am going to quote from this. He says: "I have taken issue with our esteemed president in regard to his stand in saying Islam is a peaceful religion. It's just not. And the Koran makes it very clear. If you see an infidel, you are to kill him."

Blanquita, what are we to make of this?

CULLUM: Well, I think Pat Robertson is making a mistake, basically painting a lot of people with a broad paint brush, because it is like, any religion, you are going to have extremists on one side and you are going to have people who are not extremists on the other. I think Pat Robertson is going to be -- should be careful, taking a position where people are going to criticize him and saying, well, when he went to China, when he was doing business with the Chinese, why didn't he stand up for religion there? Why wasn't he upset about ministers and priests that were assassinated and human rights there?

I think we must be respectful. And we must take a hard line with people who are extremists who kill Americans, but not target anyone of faith because they have a particular point of view.

MADISON: It is an outrageous statement.

Let me make something very clear. Hebrews, Muslims and Christians are all children of Abraham. The 10 Commandments is obeyed by Hebrews, Muslims and Christians. "Thou shall not kill" was not a suggestion. It was a Commandment. I know that Christians, for example, in the name of Jesus Christ, have tortured, killed, enslaved people in almost every continent on this planet.

I know Muslims that have enslaved people in Southern Sudan and Muslims that have risked their lives to get people out of slavery. It was wrong. And if Pat Robertson is listening, he should simply apologize, admit that he made a mistake. He is not theologically sound. And you have to also wonder if is he doing business with people who are Muslims. And I wonder if Muslims voted for him when he ran for president.

CULLUM: Look, I think you have to be careful. I think we have to be -- I say that people who are evil commit evil crimes. We are not looking at their political stripe. We're not looking at their gender. We're not looking at their religious affiliation. When people hurt people, they're evil. And if they happen to be Islamic, that happens to something that we should notice, but not say that all people of Islamic faith are evil.

MADISON: Yes, it is not their religion. It is really what men do in the name of religion. You must remember, we burned women at the stakes in the name of Christianity. He knows better.

WOODRUFF: Very clearly some deeply felt views here.

Blanquita Cullum, Joe Madison, it's good to see both of you.

CULLUM: Oh, it's a pleasure to see you, too. I'm glad there was a Radio America site.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

Well, we may turn Bill into a talk show host. Thank you.

Stu Rothenberg and Charlie Cook will give us the "Inside Buzz" on some hot political contests when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Joining us now with "Inside Buzz" on some 2002 elections: Stu Rothenberg of "The Rothenberg Political Report" and Charlie Cook of "The National Journal."

Charlie, to North Carolina first. We know Elizabeth Dole announcing tomorrow officially that she is going to be running for the Senate. What's going on, though, on the Democratic side?

CHARLES COOK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there was a real stir this week when the state AFL-CIO endorsed Erskine Bowles, the former Clinton White House chief of staff and investment banker, over two other Democrats. Dan Blue, the former Democratic House speaker, and Elaine Marshall, the secretary of state.

And it was kind of a surprise because Bowles has taken stands in the past that hadn't necessarily been as pro-trade or pro- protectionist, I guess I should say, as the AFL-CIO would have liked. I think it surprised a lot of people. It certainly surprised Blue and disappointed the Blue campaign, who hoped that they were going to have a shot at that endorsement.

WOODRUFF: So, is Blue staying in?

STU ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It certainly looks that way, though there are some Democrats in Washington in particular who would like to clear the field for Erskine Bowles, who think that a primary is hurtful for their chances in a general election.

But I would put it even stronger than Charlie did, Judy. Dan Blue isn't just miffed or upset. He is down right livid, extremely angry with what the AFL-CIO has done. He is vowing to continue to fight, in fact, to take the gloves off earlier, be tougher on Erksine Bowles. The question is money. Neither Blue nor Elaine Marshall have enough money really to match Erskine on the airways, not even close. The question is, do they have enough volume to hit him hard?

COOK: I think this was a move where the AFL-CIO simply thought that, if Elizabeth Dole was going to be beaten, it would have to be Erksine Bowles. It was just purely a pragmatic decision.

WOODRUFF: For money reasons, is that what you are saying?

COOK: Well, money, or just that saw Bowles as more electable. I think that was their view and why they did this.

WOODRUFF: Charlie, let's move to Florida, both of you. You spent some time there, Charlie. Who do you think, at this point, is the front-runner in the race to try to defeat Jeb Bush?

COOK: If you take a poll, it would show Janet Reno, former Attorney General Janet Reno is in the lead. But the smart money -- people are starting to look at Bill McBride, this attorney from Tampa, former head of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce, a managing partner in the fourth largest law firm in the country, a guy with a very, very interesting life story, and is raising money at a very, very good clip.

And he recently won the state teachers' endorsement, the machinists' endorsement. And he is expected to get the state AFL-CIO endorsement. And the common thread here is the AFL-CIO going in, in both cases, for the candidate they see as more electable, rather than the one that might be more ideologically compatible.

WOODRUFF: Stu, you just came back from Florida.

ROTHENBERG: Yes, I was the one, yes.

And I saw Janet Reno at the Dania Beach Senior Citizen Center. She gave an interesting presentation. It was not heavy on issues. It was more thematic. She talked a lot about her personal life, about her mother, about growing up in Florida, about her time in the outdoors.

I think what is interesting particularly about this is that Janet Reno has got to show that she is vibrant and vital, that she really is the front-runner that the polls show. As Charlie pointed out, the poll at the end of January showed her up by about 35, 40 points. But the sense is, can she win a general election? Can she run over the next seven or eight months?

And she has this truck tour. She is getting in her red truck in a couple days and going to drive the length of the state to try to show that she can not only be the nominee, but be elected.

WOODRUFF: She has certainly got the scrutiny.

Gentlemen, we are going to have to leave it there, but we are going to come back to both these races time and again.

Stu Rothenberg, Charlie Cook, gentlemen, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

In the "Campaign News" headlines: Former Clinton adviser Rahm Emanuel today unveiling the first TV ad in his campaign for Congress a little less than a month before the Democratic primary in Illinois. The spot portrays Emanuel as a tough fighter on issues such as health care reform and gun control.

Majority Leader Tom Daschle is offering help on the home front to fellow South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who is facing a tough reelection bid. It's the first time Daschle and Johnson have toured their home state together since Republicans began launching concerted attacks on Daschle.

The National Republican Congressional Committee will host a fund- raiser here in Washington on March the 5th called "Salute to American Heroes." But some critics are taking exception to the event, which will feature former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as the only speaker. Some victims' families are accusing the Republicans of commercializing the events of September 11 by cashing in on Giuliani's celebrity. The Republicans deny the claim and say the function is a tribute to the mayor's leadership. The event is expected to raise $5.5 million.

Still to come: predicting and then preventing unthinkable acts like the terrorist attacks on September 11. Jeff Greenfield keys in on that issue in today's "Bite of the Apple" just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: People in authority are sometimes asked to prevent the unthinkable. Why can't they do that?

Our Jeff Greenfield has some thoughts on that in today's "Bite of the Apple."

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: We're hearing it just about every day. Why didn't we know that Enron was a house of cards ready to collapse and take the hopes of employees and investors with it? Why didn't we know that terrorists were planning that terrible attack last September?

One answer, of course, we are human beings, not gods. We simply can't know everything. But there is another answer. When we are asked to imagine something that is unthinkable, we are just not that good at thinking about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Were we warned about Enron? Sure. "Fortune" magazine did a highly skeptical article last March. And six months before that, "The Wall Street Journal," not exactly an obscure publication, ran a similar warning.

But how influential were those accounts compared to the size and supposed financial health of the country's seventh biggest company? Were we warned about serious terrorist threats? Sure: Defense Secretary Cohen in a 1998 chilling op-ed piece; former Senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman in one of those presidential commissions in 2000.

But these warnings didn't highlight airline hijackings. And the whole idea of hijackers as suicide terrorists, that was something out of a bad novel. And, besides, the big worry about airlines until last September wasn't about security. It was about those infernal delays. If any political leader had suggested adding hours to the check-in process to meet some theoretical threat, he would have been booed off the stage.

If you want proof of this, look at one of the most serious economic stories being played out now: Argentina's financial crisis. See? You are reaching for that remote control already. Who cares? Well, if that debt-ridden country really means to default on what it owes investors around the world, the ripples from that decision could mean very bad economic news from Europe to the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: Now add one more dispiriting note: Once the unthinkable happens, we are really good at responding to what has already happened. So the flying public is now being subjected to massive inconvenience that might have prevented the unthinkable horror of September 11. Whether any of that will help stop the next unthinkable event, that's a very different question, Judy. WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, thank you very much. Have a good weekend.

And when we return: A politician breaks into his new job and he scores the "Political Play of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: New Jersey's new governor, Jim McGreevey, entered office expecting to be tested in Trenton. But it took a trip to the Jersey Shore to see what the new governor was really made of.

Our Bill Schneider is back now with more on the McGreevey test.

SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, we expect our public officials to be tested in a crisis, but rarely does the test come so quickly or so personally as it did for Jim McGreevey, the new governor of New Jersey. How did he do? Well enough to score the "Political Play of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): After two weeks in office, New Jersey's new governor, Jim McGreevey, took off with his wife for a day at the beach. It turned out to be no day at the beach.

While taking an evening stroll with his wife, McGreevey slipped and broke his leg. You can hear what happened next on a recording obtained this week of the governor's phone call to 911.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

GOV. JIM MCGREEVEY (D), NEW JERSEY: Hi , this is Governor McGreevey.

DISPATCHER: McGreevey?

MCGREEVEY: Yes, it's the governor. It wasn't the smartest thing in the world to do, but I need an ambulance.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: The injured governor, obviously in a great deal of pain, kept his calm and his manners when a police sergeant got on the phone.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

POLICE OFFICER: You're on the beach. I will be down in a four- wheel-drive vehicle in a minute. I'll bring an ambulance with me.

MCGREEVEY: I think I need a stretcher.

POLICE OFFICER: We will bring you a stretcher, sir. Stand by. We'll be right with you.

MCGREEVEY: Thank you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: The governor was rushed to a hospital and operated on for an hour and a half.

UNIDENTIFIED DOCTOR: He breezed through the surgery with no complication. And he is breezing through his post-op course thus far without any complications.

SCHNEIDER: A couple of days later, Governor McGreevey left the hospital with his humor intact.

MCGREEVEY: Colleen Donovan (ph) was my tremendous nurse. And she had the solution for our next quiet evening.

Go ahead, Colleen.

COLLEEN DONOVAN, NURSE: Well, I'm a nurse. And my husband is a trooper. So the next time he goes out with his wife, we are going to accompany him, so he will always be protected.

SCHNEIDER: Grace under pressure: It is a quality you want in a public official and a quality you reward with the "Political Play of the Week."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: McGreevey called his accident -- quote -- "an old- fashioned Jersey slip off the Jersey Shore." That's the kind of crisis his constituents can identify with and a reaction they can admire -- Judy.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Bill, it may be a reason for future people -- people thinking about running for governor of New Jersey in the future not to.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks.

Up ahead: The leader of the Western world visits a monument in the Far East. When we return: a closer look at the president's visit to the Great Wall of China.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHILDREN (singing): Every morning you greet me. Small and white, clean and bright.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: A somewhat unusual soundtrack for President and Mrs. Bush's visit to the Great Wall of China. Yes, that was song "Edelweiss," made famous in the film "The Sound of Music." Now, we know the music plays homage other Austria, but we are told that the Chinese had the impression it was an all-American song because of its connection to the classic movie. And they are entitled to think that.

And, finally, we want to sing the praises of our own Jonathan Karl. The National Press Foundation gave Jonathan the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award last night for his distinguished reporting on Congress. That includes Jonathan's coverage of Senator Jim Jeffords' party switch, a story that he broke right here on INSIDE POLITICS.

Congratulations, Jon.

And CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks 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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