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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Interview with Gray Davis, Bill Simon

Aired March 6, 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 Los Angeles. With a primary behind them and a costly battle ahead, I'll talk to California Governor Gray Davis and his GOP opponent, Bill Simon.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley with the Washington buzz about the California results. Does the White House have regrets? And are the Democrats celebrating the defeat of Gary Condit?

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Bruce Morton in Washington. I will have the headlines from the independent counsel's final report on the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, we'll discuss the Screen Actor's Guild smack-down between the TV stars who played Laura Ingalls and Rhoda Morgenstern.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We are going to be looking ahead at the Davis-Simon fall match-up for governor here in California. But first, we want to put a post script on a political story that rocked the nation and led to President Clinton's impeachment. CNN's Bruce Morton tells us what is in the independent counsel's final report on the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MORTON (voice-over): The report is 52 pages plus appendices, but the headline is just one line. "This investigation, begun more than three years ago, is now closed." Robert Ray, Kenneth Starr's successor as independent counsel, concludes, "there was enough evidence to prosecute former President Bill Clinton," and, "there was a substantial federal interest in doing that. But alternative non- criminal sanctions were imposed that adequately satisfied the interests of federal law enforcement."

What were those? Ray's report lists Clinton's admission of testifying falsely in the Paula Jones lawsuit, the five-year suspension of his license to practice law in Arkansas and the $25,000 fine he paid there. Civil contempt fines imposed by a federal court, a payment of more than $850,000 to Jones. And finally, the substantial public condemnation of President Clinton, arising from his impeachment.

Though in looking at the warm receptions he gets as an ex- president, you have to wonder. In one instance, the report concludes there was not enough evidence to prove the president was lying when he denied allegations he fondled Kathleen Willey in the White House. The report is sometimes defensive, noting: "We have seen how cynics and political opponents too readily can impune the integrity of those charged with investigating high-level government officials," and adds that, "no one on the staff was found to have done anything wrong."

David Kendall, Clinton's lawyer through it all, issued a statement calling the investigation, "intense, expensive, partisan and long... there's nothing new in this report."

Expensive? The report notes that the Monica investigation cost roughly $12.5 million. The whole probe, starting with Whitewater back in 1994, about $70 million. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And out here in California, Republicans are trying to form a united front in support of their new nominee for governor, Bill Simon. After his dramatic primary victory over one-time front runner Richard Riordan, Simon presided over a unity breakfast this morning. Then he got a phone call from President Bush offering his congratulations and support. Mr. Bush has personally urged Riordan to enter the governor's race. Now Riordan says he eagerly will join Simon in what he calls a crusade to defeat Democrat incumbent Gray Davis.

After easily winning the Democratic primary over just token opposition, Governor Davis is making clear today that he will try to make Simon's conservative views and his political inexperience campaign issues.

And now we have an exclusive look at some exit poll results from the California primary, before they hit the pages of the "Los Angeles Times." Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. First of all, Bill, what do the numbers show?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, our friend Susan Pinkus, the polling director of the "Los Angeles Times" poll, gave us a peek at their exit polls. It shows what a foolish idea it was to run against conservative's power in the Republican Party. John McCain tried it in 2000 and got his head handed to him. Dick Riordan tried it in California yesterday and the same thing happened.

Riordan said the Republican Party had to moderate its image and reach out to women. Well, Riordan did carry moderate Republican voters yesterday. But 60 percent of GOP primary voters call themselves conservatives. And you see they voted 3-1 for Bill Simon.

Did Republican women come through for Riordan? No. Simon carried Republican women by 20 points. What Riordan had going for him were personal qualities. He did best among voters who said they wanted a candidate who could win in November, who had experience and who had strong leadership qualities.

WOODRUFF: So what did that leave for Bill Simon?

SCHNEIDER: One word: issues. Simon did best among Republicans who said they wanted a candidate who shared their values, who had a clear vision for the future and who agreed with them on the issues. What issues? Well, the top issues on the voters' minds yesterday were education, the state's budget crisis, the economy and energy. Republicans concerned with every single one of them voted for Bill Simon. The only issue where Riordan got votes was the environment. And not many Republicans were concerned about the environment.

You know, in California, independents can vote in the Republican primary if they wish. Well, apparently they didn't wish, because 95 percent of the voters in that primary call themselves Republicans. Only 5 percent were independents. And that spelled doom for Dick Riordan, a man without a party.

WOODRUFF: Now it's all over but the shouting, except for the general election. Bill Schneider, thanks.

And now let's hear what the political powers that be in Washington are saying about the California primary results. Our Candy Crowley is at the anchor desk in Washington. Hi, Candy.

CROWLEY: Hey, Judy. I have been asking White House and Republican officials if they have any regrets that the president personally recruited Richard Riordan to run for governor. One source told me, life is too short for second-guessing. Another says backing the moderate former Los Angeles mayor looked like a really smart move three months ago. And, he added, the stakes were just too high to not get involved. White House and Republican officials also say you have to give Bill Simon his due for running a great campaign. I'm told that President Bush will travel to California to campaign for Simon shortly.

Of course, many officials here in the nation's capital also are talking about Congressman Gary Condit's Democratic primary defeat. He lost to his former friend and ally Dennis Cardoza yesterday. Condit was unable to overcome the fallout from his connection to Chandra Levy, or the fact that many fellow Democrats, including the House minority leader, refused to support his election bid.

Let's bring in our Congressional correspondent, Kate Snow.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, Democrats, this is the one issue they don't really like to talk about. It's sort of like the elephant in the room that everyone ignores. But I can tell that privately up here on the Hill Democrats are telling me that they are relieved today to hear the news that Condit lost.

One Democratic aide said to me, "we didn't even know what we were going to say," if Condit had won the race. We didn't know if we were going to back him or not. A number of Democrats have told me that this wasn't unexpected, that they are not surprised that Condit lost by a wide margin in the primary. But that doesn't mean that everyone is particularly happy about it.

There is a good core group of people who still very much support Gary Condit -- his colleagues and his friends here on Capitol Hill, some other members of Congress, who supported him all along. They today, as you might imagine, are rather disappointed. I was told by one aide that some of them are saying he shouldn't have run, that this has got to be too painful for him today.

As for the race ahead, Democrats say they think they've got a very good shot at this. They call it a safe district. They say the district is overwhelmingly Democratic and they feel they've got a good candidate with Mr. Cardoza. As one Democratic strategist put it, she said that Dick Monteith, the Republican candidate, is old, and isn't a very good campaigner -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Well, Kate, let me take a wild stab at this. I imagine the Republicans think somewhat differently about their prospects for picking up the seat.

SNOW: Absolutely. They have a completely different spin, if you will, on their chances. Republicans, interesting theory. They're saying that, look, because Gary Condit got about 38 percent of the vote, that 38 percent is important. They're saying those are loyal Condit supporters. Those people like Gary Condit, they still trust him. And they're not going to want to have to go over to this camp of Mr. Cardoza. They're not going to trust him because of all of the back and forth that's been happening out of the district between the two candidates thus far.

So they say they will be able to pick up some of those Condit supporters on Mr. Monteith's campaign. And they think they have a good chance. They consider it a an open seat, anyone's ball game -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Kate. They've got a while to argue about it, anyway. Thanks very much. Capitol Hill correspondent, Kate Snow.

In California today, Chandra Levy's parents briefly spoke to reporters. They urged Gary Condit to keep his pledge to cooperate completely in the investigation of their daughter's disappearance. But they declined to comment about his political defeat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUSAN LEVY, CHANDRA'S MOTHER: We are not involved in this campaign. We are parents, and we're only concerned about finding our daughter, Chandra.

DR. ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA'S FATHER: This has never been about politics. It's just about helping to find our daughter, Chandra.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: It's now been 10 months since Chandra Levy vanished here in Washington. And the FBI tells CNN there is not much new to report in the investigation. We do know that a grand jury continues to meet and the panel has issued at least one subpoena for documents from Gary Condit.

Now we turn to the war in Afghanistan. Five international peacekeepers were killed today during an operation to diffuse unexploded ordinance in Kabul. Seven others were injured. Meantime, Operation Anaconda continues in eastern Afghanistan. The U.S. commander of the war today raised the possibility of adding more troops and firepower to the five-day old battle against al Qaeda and Taliban holdouts.

CNN's cameras have captured some of the action at the front line. Here's a sample.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found rocks. The front portion of it. The rest of it is open, break. We've also got a squad right now, following the footprints going through maybe to another one, I don't know, over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger. Don't move out of the watch. Coming up behind you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stand by.

Yeah, we're proceeding to that. A whole bunch of footprints. They keep going up.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. I'm going to be over here.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE)

(GUNSHOT)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come over here. Come over here. Good job. Pick it up. Pick it up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: As we told you, five international peacekeepers were killed today during an operation to diffuse unexploded ordinance in Kabul. Seven others were injured. What you are seeing here are live pictures of those injured arriving now in Ramstein Air Force Base, in Germany.

Again, there were seven injured in this explosion. It was an operation to diffuse unexploded ordinance in Kabul. For the latest on the war, our Martin Savidge will host live from Afghanistan tonight here on CNN. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

We will shift our focus back to the California primary. Next on INSIDE POLITICS, Judy will discuss the governor's race ahead with Democratic incumbent Gray Davis and she'll talk to his unexpected opponent, Republican Bill Simon.

Also ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The people watching this interview and thinking, All right, what are the chances he's going to run for public office? What do you say to them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Arnold Schwarzenegger answers that question in the second part of Judy's interview with the actor and Republican activist.

And, they became famous in hit TV shows of the past, but now Valerie Harper and Melissa Gilbert are embroiled in a bitter political battle. This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, the two nominees for California governor. In a moment, I will be joined by Republican Bill Simon. But first, incumbent Democrat Gray Davis. I met with him earlier today here in Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

Governor Davis, thank you for joining us.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: My pleasure.

WOODRUFF: You spent something like $10 million, among other things, attacking Dick Riordan and helping ensure that Bill Simon would be the person you face in November. Was that money worth it?

DAVIS: First of all, I think you give me too much credit. But any candidate today cannot just sit back and watch his three opponents attack him and assume the electioneer won't believe those attacks. So Dick Riordan went on the air on the January 8th. On January 24th we started responding, correcting the record, in terms of our positions, and correcting the record in terms of his positions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, POLITICAL AD)

RICHARD RIORDAN (R), FMR. GOV. CANDIDATE, CALIFORNIA: I surprise myself on the emotions of THE abortion issue. Because I feel very -- I think it's murder.

ANNOUNCER: For years Riordan helped finance the anti-abortion movement, and said abortion was murder. Now he says he's pro-choice. Riordan, is this a record we can trust?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: What do you say, though, to the Riordan comments that Governor Davis hijacked the Republican primary, and even to some Democrats who say, you know, Democrats shouldn't be meddling in a Republican contest?

DAVIS: I think that's an archaic notion. In today's modern economy and modern communications, you have to respond. If someone says your policies are hostile to business, as Riordan did, I have to say, look, we've created 900,000 jobs. And under my stewardship, the California economy has gone from the seventh to the fifth-largest in the world. We passed Italy and France. If you say nothing, people will believe the charge.

So this notion that you have to wait until the Republican primary is over before you can respond, I think, is a little antiquated.

WOODRUFF: Well, last night Bill Simon didn't waste any time going after your record. Right off the bat he talked about your stewardship of the energy crisis has left California in the lurch, in so many words. He talks about these expensive contracts, $40-some odd billion worth of power contracts that you signed onto, and now Californians are paying very high electrical bills. He holds you responsible for that.

DAVIS: Well, it's the job of the opponents to criticize. I am proud of what we have done on electricity. We promoted the biggest conservation program known to man, saved 9 percent of the electricity we used the year before, or 10 billion kilowatt hours, built 11 plants. We did contract for power to make sure the lights didn't go out. Because if they go out, we lose jobs and businesses.

And we are now trying to improve upon those contracts. But here's the bottom line. I inherited the situation. I didn't complain about it. I didn't moan and groan. I worked my way through it and the worst is behind us.

WOODRUFF: Another thing Bill Simon said last night, he said you turned what was an $8 billion budget surplus in the state of California into an enormous record deficit. And he said you tried to hide the red ink.

DAVIS: Bill Simon's vision of the future is totally out of step and out of sync with California's. He is pro-life, pro-gun, pro- voucher, pro a crazy deregulation scheme and pro-privatization. This is not California's vision of the future. I am proudly pro-choice. I signed the toughest gun safety laws in America. And I solved, as best any governor can, this crazy deregulation scheme I inherited.

WOODRUFF: I asked him about these issues that you mention: abortion, guns and others. He says those issues are not going to be what people are talking about. He said when he walks down the street in California, people want to know about the economy, they want to know about energy, they want to know about schools. They don't talk about these things. And he said he wouldn't be an activist governor when it comes to abortion.

DAVIS: He's trying to minimize his positions because he is anti- choice and he knows he's out of step with Californians. But he is sadly mistaken if he is trying to convince people that the governor has nothing to do on those issues. WOODRUFF: You've got eight months to go before the general election. Unlike in the past now, you're running against someone without a record in office.

DAVIS: I don't think the voters of this state are going to entrust the fifth-largest economy on the planet to someone who has never held office before, much less someone who rarely votes. He hasn't paid his dues. Hasn't served on boards and commissions. He hasn't participated in the electoral process. He hasn't even really run a company. He's just an investor. I do not believe, at the end of the day, people are going to take a flyer with an unknown commodity.

WOODRUFF: Sounds like this is going to be a tough campaign.

DAVIS: I said very early on to the Republican nominee, I said, get ready. You're in for the fight of your life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Governor Davis also accused Bill Simon of, in his words, running a savings and loan into the ground. He said he would put his management skills up against Simon any day of the week.

Coming up next, the new Republican nominee responds to the governor's comments. "On the Record" with Bill Simon, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We are devoting today's "On the Record" segment to the California governor's race. We just heard from incumbent Gray Davis and now I'm joined from Santa Monica by Bill Simon, who scored a decisive victory over Richard Riordan in yesterday's GOP primary. Bill Simon, congratulations.

BILL SIMON (R), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: Thank you, Judy. Nice to be on your show.

WOODRUFF: We just heard Governor Gray Davis say you're in for the fight of your life. Are you in for it?

SIMON: I'm looking forward to it. I think Gray Davis is in for the fight of his life. I think it's going to be a good, spirited campaign.

WOODRUFF: The governor said -- and I'm sure you heard this, but he said this last night and again today. He says that you basically are what he says, what he calls, a think tank conservative, out of touch with California voters.

SIMON: Well, Judy, if I was out of touch with California voters, I don't know how you explain getting over a million votes yesterday from California voters. I believe I am in touch with California voters. And I believe what the California voters want to hear is what a candidate's views are on three areas: economy, schools, and our quality of life, our roads and our water and power. Because we have crucial issues in all three of these areas right now.

WOODRUFF: I mentioned that, as you may have heard, to the governor. He said that that may be partly the case, but he said voters also need to know where you stand on issues like abortion, on guns, on pro-deregulation. And he said on those things, you're not in step with voters here within this state.

SIMON: I just wouldn't agree with that, Judy, with all honesty. And I've been specific on my views in areas across the board. But the issue in this election is really going to be Gray Davis' leadership, and the reason we have a $17 billion deficit that could have been minimized. The reason why our schools rank the last in the country, for example, in science, and near last in reading and math. The reason why there is no master plan to address our physical facilities, our roads, our water and our power.

Not only is that what's on Californians' minds, but we need to have solutions to these problems. And we'll just see what happens, you know, come this November, in terms of who is out of step with who.

WOODRUFF: Well, I think you can -- I assume, because I have talked to some of the people around you, they are expecting the governor to come at you on some of these social issues like abortion. I asked the governor about that. He said the governor of this state does have to deal with issues like that. He points out he had to sign seven bills into law that dealt with reproductive rights.

SIMON: Well, Judy, look at it this way. I didn't say that there was nothing a governor could do. Obviously there are things a governor can do. But if there are seven bills, you might ask Gray Davis how many bills in total he signed in the last three years since he has been in office. And there are many hundreds of bills.

And I think, when you talk to thousands of Californians, as I have, everybody is focused. Well, not everybody, but the overwhelming majority of people are focused on these three areas. So I'm not ashamed of my views in these other areas. I just want to make sure, as a governor, I put priorities where the people's interests are. Because that's what we need to focus on, the crucial issues that are on people's minds.

WOODRUFF: Two other things. He also said -- and I'm just going to quote here -- "the fifth-largest economy in the world shouldn't be entrusted to someone who's never held elective office and hasn't voted regularly."

SIMON: Once again, that's Gray Davis' opinion. And I also heard him proudly say that he's grown the economy from the seventh-largest in the world to the fifth-largest in the world. Well, I would respectfully suggest to Governor Davis that if he did that in the course of incurring billion dollars worth of deficit, then maybe he doesn't know how to run things either.

WOODRUFF: And finally, to his comment which I quoted, he said that you helped to run a savings and loan into the ground. And he said he would put his management skills against yours any day. SIMON: Well, he is guilty here, Judy, of saying two different things. I mean, also during the course of that interview, he just said, you know, I've just been an investor. I've never actually managed something. So he can't have it both ways. Either I managed it or I didn't.

In this particular instance with the S&Ls, I did not manage them. Everyone knows that. And so I had no role in this particular S&L, with respect to management. And I might say that with respect to this particular S&L, it was the federal government that broke its word.

And so the S&L itself wouldn't have had serious difficulties unless the federal government hadn't broken its word. And that is now subject of a lawsuit. So I think he is wrong on both counts there.

WOODRUFF: Bill Simon, it's day one of an eight-month campaign. And I promise you we are going to be watching closely.

SIMON: Well, Judy, it will be a pleasure. And I think it is going to be a great campaign, a spirited campaign. I look forward to debating Gray Davis on all of the issues, on the issues that are on Californians' minds and other issues as well. I think it is going to be a great opportunity for the voters of California.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate you joining us. Thank you. Good to see you.

SIMON: Thank you, Judy. Good to see you, too.

WOODRUFF: And Candy Crowley returns with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson after the break, including an update on the political showdown over the president's choice for a federal judgeship.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Time to check some of the stories in our "Newscycle": a second look now at those pictures we showed you a few minutes ago of nine injured American troops arriving at Ramstein Air Base in Germany for treatment. Seven of the wounded are Army. Two are from the Navy. The servicemen were injured in Eastern Afghanistan as part of Operation Anaconda. Commanding General Tommy Franks said today 40 Americans have been wounded in the operation, but about half have returned to duty.

A U.S. commander says al Qaeda fighters are, in his words, taking a beating in the U.S.-led attacks. And Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said the operation has killed -- quote -- "many hundreds of al Qaeda fighters." These pictures were taken by a CNN crew behind the lines with U.S. troops.

At the White House today, President Bush called on senators to approve the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering to a federal appeals court. With Pickering at his side, Mr. Bush accused the judge's opponents of playing politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has been confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate in the past. This is a good, honorable man who should be approved by the United States Senate. Otherwise, we wouldn't have a Democrat attorney general, a very popular former governor, Al Gore's brother-in-law, all of whom have stood up and said the man needs to be confirmed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has said he will not seek a confirmation vote by the full Senate if Pickering's nomination fails in the Judiciary Committee.

Joining us now to discuss some of the issues of the day: Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson, co-host of CNN's "CROSSFIRE".

Let's begin with Pickering.

He's not going to make it, is he, Margaret?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": It doesn't look like it. He's certainly not going to make it in the committee now that Senator Kohl has said he is going to vote against him. What Pickering faces is the eternal question we all ask ourselves, which is: When the prevailing mores change, where were we back then?

Charles Pickering has been a good person once all of us saw how wrong segregation was. But in the '50s and '60s, he was in the South and he was practicing what we now know to be wrong. And he's paying the price for it many years later.

CROWLEY: Tucker, let me ask you -- I saw a quote today saying that this whole process of judicial nominations has become obstruction and delay vs. what it is supposed to be, advice, consent. Yes? No? Has this been a fair fight for Pickering?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, it depends on whose side you are on.

I have to say, Margaret sounds like she just described Senator Byrd. It was a different time then.

M. CARLSON: I did.

T. CARLSON: You did describe Senator Byrd.

M. CARLSON: Yes, I did.

T. CARLSON: I must say, it's such a tired script. It is the oldest script ever. "Oh, he's a racist. He's a cross burner." It's like some of the ads you heard in the 2000 cycle. Actually, he has got a ton of black support in his home state. I don't think he's going to make it.

I think, to answer your question more generally, Candy, it's fine for the Senate to give a rough time to nominees once in while and to demand answers to their questions. I think that's totally fair. But, again, just to trot out this, "Oh, he's a racist extremist," it is so Bork-like. It's so tired. And I can't wait until that trend ends. It's also untrue.

CROWLEY: It seems like it's gone on for a while and it will probably go on for a while longer.

Let me move on to California.

Margaret, what happened to Riordan?

M. CARLSON: Well, once again, we see that three people around a television set watching an ad is a political movement in California. Gray Davis had a lot of money to spend. He spent it. And he diminished Riordan to the point where he Bill Simon just walloped him. The interesting part now is to see how the White House makes up with potential Governor Simon after George Bush called Riordan "Governor Riordan." They were backing the wrong horse here.

CROWLEY: Tucker, what do you think?

T. CARLSON: Well, that is why parties don't usually weigh in in their own primaries, because you can get burned like that.

I mean, to be fair, I thought Al Checchi was going to be governor of California. It's a really tricky state. On the other hand, the White House famously -- or the Bush campaign threw all this money into California to really no effect, backed the wrong guy in this race.

I do think the one thing that people are overlooking is, Simon is a pretty good candidate. Riordan -- and if you've talked to him, you'll know what I mean -- isn't maybe the strongest candidate ever to run for nomination for governor in California. I don't know. I think Simon might do much better than people think. People dismissed Reagan in '66 as a right-wing nutcase. And, of course, he won.

CROWLEY: Quickly, Margaret, can we, yes or no, count Simon out?

M. CARLSON: No, not at all.

CROWLEY: OK. Thanks.

Give us your opinions on these topics and more at CNN.com/INSIDEPOLITICS. Plus, don't forget to e-mail Bill Schneider with your ideas for this week's "Political Play of the Week."

WOODRUFF: And we will have more on the California primary when we return. Our Jeff Greenfield shares his thoughts on Bill Simon's dramatic victory.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Among the stories making headlines in "Campaign News Daily": Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is proving to be a huge fund-raising draw for the Republican Party. Last night's Salute to Heroes fund-raiser in Washington brought in $7.5 million for House Republicans.

A new poll gauges Senator Robert Torricelli's standing among New Jersey voters. A Quinnipiac University survey gives Torricelli a 41 percent approval rating; 26 percent disapprove, and 33 percent are undecided. Torricelli also leads in match-ups with his potential Republican opponents.

California could soon have two sisters in Congress. Democrat Linda Sanchez won her primary race yesterday in a heavily Democratic district near Los Angeles. Her sister, Democrat Loretta Sanchez, campaigned with her. Loretta Sanchez has represented Orange County in Congress since 1997 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Jeff Greenfield has some thoughts on the California governor's race in today's "Bite of the Apple."

Hi, Jeff.

A lot of talk out here about all this money that Gray Davis put into TV ads after Dick Riordan. What is your sense of how much that played into Riordan losing?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: It clearly didn't help Riordan, when your prospective November opponent spends, I don't know, $8 million, $9 million, $10 million to try to bring your approval ratings down.

But I must say, having been out there all last week, I do not think that those ads would have had nearly the impact they did had Dick Riordan spent time cultivating the California Republican Party. I think you pointed out last week, when you get up at the Republican state convention and make fun of a very popular former ex-Republican governor, you don't build a lot of goodwill.

And I think, had Riordan had that in the first place, he could have used Grays Davis' attacks to effectively say what he tried to say: "Look, the only reason Davis is doing that is that he afraid to run against me in November."

WOODRUFF: Well, what would you say were the other factors at work here that helped Bill Simon?

GREENFIELD: A couple of things. And I think we tended to overlook them because of the unique quality of those Davis ads.

One, clearly, was Rudy Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani, who you might have expected to be for Dick Riordan -- former big city mayor, tough on crime, pro-choice, pro-gay rights -- stumped for Bill Simon, did ads for him. And I think not only did it help because Giuliani is so popular, as Candy just pointed out, among Republicans, it also helped moderate Bill Simon's own image.

After all, Rudy Giuliani is not a conservative Republican. He's a moderate Republican. And I think that was a very, very important factor. Here's another thing that all of us, I think, often overlook. Big city mayors traditionally have a tough time moving up. The last two mayors before Dick Riordan, Tom Bradley, Sam Yorty, both tried to seek higher office. Both failed. It happens here in New York with Ed Koch, who tried to run for governor.

There's something about being a big city mayor that often rubs suburbanites and small-town folks the wrong way. And I think Dick Riordan's personality, which worked very well in Los Angeles, may have been a little too rough-edged for the rest of the state.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, interesting race here. And it's going to be even more interesting between now and November.

GREENFIELD: Enjoy the weather, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you later. Thanks.

Well, if you think the California primary was quite a showdown, up next, we will have the "Inside Buzz" on the political brawl between two celebrities vying to head up the Screen Actors Guild.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Here in Los Angeles, the entertainment community is eagerly awaiting the results from a campaign as bitter as anything you might see in Washington. The prize: the presidency of the Screen Actors Guild.

The candidates: Melissa Gilbert, best known for her role as Laura Ingalls on the TV show "Little House on the Prairie"; and Valerie Harper, best known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Well, the two of them first faced off for the SAG presidency last fall. And Gilbert was declared the winner. But a new election was ordered after some members complained about voting irregularities. The winner this time will be announced on Friday.

And for the "Inside Buzz" on this match-up, we are joined by Peter Kiefer of "The Hollywood Reporter."

Peter, thank you for joining us.

Just how ugly has this gotten?

PETER KIEFER, "HOLLYWOOD REPORTER": Well, in recent weeks, there were some e-mail exchanges that have been buzzing with name-calling and some accusations of lying. But both sides have really been really aggressive since they originally announced that they were running for the presidency back in July. But it's sort of been stepped up in recent weeks, with the decision to be announced on Friday.

WOODRUFF: Why do you think that is? What's going on?

KIEFER: Well, the past three years have been very tumultuous at the Screen Actors Guild. There's been a fair amount of political infighting within its board room. And I think this campaign has sort of been a product of the atmosphere that has gone on at SAG in recent years.

WOODRUFF: Well, what's at stake? Why so much vitriol on both sides? And is there really that much at stake?

KIEFER: The president gets to determine, along with board, the policy that the guild is going to take. It's a two-year term. And, in the next two years, there's some pretty big issues that the Screen Actors Guild is going to be facing. So the next administration is very important not only for the Screen Actors Guild, but for the industry as a whole.

WOODRUFF: Are we talking about the income of these actors? That is really what we are dealing with here, right?

KIEFER: Well, it's not only just the income and the contracts that are negotiated, but the biggest problem right now is this issue of runaway production, which is film and television producers heading outside U.S. borders to take advantage of film subsidies and favorable exchange rates, which is causing a loss of jobs within the entertainment community here.

And there's some legislative initiatives to try and combat this problem. And the backing of the Screen Actors Guild adds a lot of influence to any one of these particular legislative efforts.

WOODRUFF: What are you learning about Melissa Gilbert and Valerie Harper in the process of this?

KIEFER: Well, that they are both two very passionate candidates. They both believe very strongly in their beliefs. And they are really ready to assume the role. It's just sort of debased into some name- calling in recent weeks.

WOODRUFF: Well, put it in kind of a political context. Is one of them more conservative, the other one more liberal? Or can you really put it on that kind of a spectrum?

KIEFER: It's different.

Melissa Gilbert has been labeled the more moderate of the two. Valerie Harper received the endorsement of the previous president, Bill Daniels, and has taken somewhat of a more hard-line stance on some particular issues, most recently this new agreement between SAG and the talent-agent community, which would have pretty sweeping changes to who could invest into a talent agency and who a talent agency can invest into.

WOODRUFF: And what is your inside gut telling you is going to happen?

KIEFER: Melissa has been president for the last three months, so I think she has a little bit of an advantage as the incumbent. SAG has 98,000 members. And there are no polls. So it's very difficult to gauge who has, ultimately, the upper hand.

Only about 25 percent of SAG members voted last time. And my feeling is, is that this outcome on Friday will de determined by those voters who didn't vote in the original election.

WOODRUFF: So it sounds like it is a turnout issue as well.

KIEFER: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: All right, we know about those.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: We follow those in those other elections.

KIEFER: Yes.

WOODRUFF: Peter Kiefer with "The Hollywood Reporter," thanks very much. We appreciate it.

KIEFER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

And we will have an inside view of the SAG election tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS. Plus, our Jeff Greenfield offers his view on the showdown. And we will imagine what would happen if they conducted a poll on this real-life Hollywood campaign.

CROWLEY: Just ahead: part two of Judy's interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger. What does he say about his own political future?

But, first, let's join Wolf Blitzer in Atlanta for a preview of what's next on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thank you very much, Candy.

We are following that bruising battle in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan. The Pentagon says U.S. troops are fighting an uphill struggle. Do they mean that literally? We'll show you dramatic video from the front lines. Also, on this day when the Whitewater independent counsel releases his final report, we'll talk to author Joe Klein about his new book on Bill Clinton. It's all next right after INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: On the "Back Page": part two of my interview with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

He's dabbled in politics for years. And right now, he is leading the fight for a ballot initiative in California promoting after school programs. I started out by asking him why movies are not enough, what attracted him to public service in the first place.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: It is sometimes very complicated, the whole thing, because you develop -- as times goes on, you develop an urge for this, for doing public service.

I remember that, when I was in my 30s, all of the sudden I fell like, OK, I've done so much for myself. And I have spent so much time in front of the mirror and think about: How could I get stronger? How can I get more muscular? How can I get richer? How can I get to the to the movies and climb that ladder and be the highest paid entertainer and all those things?

And eventually you say, well, now let's take this power that I have over children and this power of influence and the money that I have and reach out and give something back to the country. And, basically, it's like destroying that mirror in front of you, the mirror that always makes you look at yourself and just say, OK, let me look beyond that.

And then you will see right away that there's millions of people out there, not only in California or in the United States, but all over the world, that really need help and that you could have a tremendous influence.

If it is Special Olympics, if it is the Inner City Games, if it is being the chairman of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and traveling through all 50 states promoting health and fitness and for the kid to stay away from drugs and all those things, if it is doing the after school initiative, this is my way of reaching out. And I just love it. I tell you that I get more joy out of helping kids and helping people than in making money.

Now, 20 years ago, it was different. But today, I'm 54 years old. I get tremendous joy of helping people.

WOODRUFF: So the people who look at you, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and they say: Successful actor, successful Hollywood figure, he must spend most of the his time doing movies.

What is the truth?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I would say that I spend most of my time now on: How can I reach out and help people? How can I help my mother-in-law with the Special Olympics? What nation should we go next?

It's thinking about: How can we create after school program for kids and California and then nationwide? So, my mind is a lot on that, and then also, periodically, on show business. But I would say much more on trying to give something back to the country.

WOODRUFF: You have obviously -- it's been publicized. You have talked about it. You have given some thought to running for office. What are the factors that go into that? You were approached by some people, weren't you, to think about running for governor this year?

SCHWARZENEGGER: Yes, I have been asked for the last 10 years to run for office, if it is for Congress or the Senate or the governor, or whatever it is. And, the last time, it was, again, for the governor's race, which was just a year ago, that people talked to me about that. And I could not do that at this point because I have too many obligations with movies. I have to do "Terminator 3," which I signed for a year and a half ago, almost two years ago, and for "True Lies" and for other films. So I still have to finish that. So it was something that I thought about. But, then, of course, you couldn't just break those agreements either. I mean, I didn't want to do that.

So I said to myself: Maybe it's something down the line that I can think about. But right now, let's just continue on with the mission that I'm on, with the crusade to help those who need help, which is retarded people. If it is kids or whatever it is, I want to be out there and help those people.

WOODRUFF: And what are the factors -- I can understand why right now may not be the right time. What would make the circumstances right?

SCHWARZENEGGER: I think the circumstances that are right is if, A, if my need to help people even more so than I am now, you know, where I feel like, OK, wouldn't it be great to be representing people as a governor, for instance?

But it also depends on what my wife feels about it. This is a -- you don't go into a political race and decide that yourself. The whole family participates in that. So, it's not really on my radar right now. Right now, I will do my movies. I will do my work with Special Olympics and reaching out and helping people, helping kids with the Inner City Games, after school initiative and all those things. And I have a wonderful time doing that.

I have to say that I am very fortunate that I'm extremely happy in my person life and in my professional life and also in my life of reaching out and helping others. So I am in absolute heaven.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: His wife, of course, Candy is NBC newscaster Maria Shriver. And, of course, he is not saying, but a lot of people in California wouldn't be surprised to see him run for governor in four years.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Judy. See you Monday.

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

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