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CNN SATURDAY EDITION

Hyde Discusses Mideast Crisis; Hagel, Nye Debate Efficacy of Bush's Peace Plan

Aired April 6, 2002 - 10:00   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.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our nation's resolve is strong. America's committed to ending this conflict and beginning an era of peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, HOST: President Bush accelerates U.S. efforts for Middle East peace. But will it be enough to halt the Israeli- Palestinian violence? We'll talk with Republican Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, about the Mideast, the war on terrorism and the next steps for the U.S.

Plus, wartime politics. As both parties fine tune their election- year messages, we'll talk with two top political strategists about how September 11 is shaping the battle for control of Congress.

Then...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARENNA GORE SCHIFF, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT'S DAUGHTER: I really love grassroots politics. I care a lot about issues that other people do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Is Al Gore's oldest daughter preparing to pick up her father's political mantle? We jump on the New York subway with Karenna Gore Schiff.

All just ahead on CNN's SATURDAY EDITION.

Good morning to the West Coast and all our viewers across North America. I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.

In a few minutes, we'll bring you President Bush's radio address, and the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, will be with us as well.

We'll also be taking your questions as we talk about the Israeli- Palestinian crisis and the Bush administration's response. Our e-mail address is saturday.edition@cnn.com.

A region in turmoil, plus Al Gore's oldest daughter talks about a possible foray into politics, all just ahead. But first, a news alert.

(NEWSBREAK)

KARL: We're only a couple of minutes away from the president's radio address, but joining us first from Chicago is the chairman of the House International Relations Committee, Republican Congressman Henry Hyde of Illinois.

Congressman Hyde -- Chairman Hyde, thank you so much for joining us on Saturday.

REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: Thank you for inviting me, Jonathan.

KARL: Absolutely. Now, we know Colin Powell is going to be going early next week to the Mideast. Should he meet with Yasser Arafat?

HYDE: Yes, I think so. I think we're reaching a point now where something dramatic has to occur. The violence is spiraling out of control, and you won't get anywhere unless you speak to people with authority on both sides.

So I think the time for being very delicate about whom you talk to is passed, and I think Colin Powell should talk to the effective leaders of the Palestinians to try and stop the terror.

KARL: So why is it that he won't, at this point, say that's he's going to meet with Arafat, that the administration seems to be kind of walking this line? He's going over, won't rule out meeting with him, but will not commit to meeting with him.

HYDE: Well, I'm not sure. I think there is a feeling among some critics that meeting with Arafat is rewarding terrorism, and they don't want to do that. The philosophy, especially of the Israelis, is to isolate him, diminish him, demean him.

But I think, when push comes to shove, you've got to sit across the table with somebody with authority to talk about ending the terrorism, and I think Colin Powell realizes it will be Arafat.

KARL: So where is the sentiment in Congress on that? I mean, obviously Tom DeLay came out this week, and he said that Arafat is, in his words, "completely untrustworthy," and that clearly is an opinion that is shared by many in Congress, especially conservative Republicans.

HYDE: Well, I think that's true. I think the overwhelming favor is to Israel, where Congress is concerned. We have many more ties to Israel. They are a democracy. They have an important political presence in our country. But we've been on Easter recess, and we haven't really had a chance to get together. We'll go back on Tuesday, and we'll get a -- feel the pulse of Congress then.

KARL: Now, we're less than a minute away from the president's radio address. But I'm wondering, you are on recess, but you are chairman of the International Relations Committee. Have you spoken to Powell recently about his trip?

HYDE: No, I've spoken to Secretary Armitage, his number-two man. We've had several discussions. We stay in touch closely. And this coming week, I expect former Prime Minister Netanyahu to visit Congress.

KARL: All right, Chairman Hyde, I'm sorry to interrupt. We'll pick up that. We're about three seconds away from the president's radio address. Here it is.

BUSH: Good morning. This weekend, Laura and I are hosting the British prime minister, Tony Blair, and his family at our ranch in Crawford, Texas.

America has no better ally in our war against terrorism than Great Britain. Six months ago when the United States launched military strikes against Al Qaeda training camps and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, British forces were right by our side. And the success of Operation Enduring Freedom owes much to the strong support from allies like Great Britain.

Yet the war against terrorism is far from over. It will continue in Afghanistan and beyond.

The world has been brutally reminded these past two weeks of the price exacted by terror. Prime Minister Blair and I will spend much of our time this weekend discussing the tragic outbreak of violence in the Middle East.

Across the world, people are grieving for Israelis and Palestinians who have lost their lives. When an 18-year-old Palestinian girl is induced to blow herself up, and in the process kills a 17-year-old Israeli girl, the future itself is dying -- the future of the Palestinian people and the future of the Israeli people.

The United States is strongly committed to finding a just settlement in the Middle East. That settlement must lead to two states, Israel and Palestinian, living side by side in peace and security.

This goal can never be realized through terrorism. It can only be realized through a political process. Arab governments, the Palestinian leadership, and the Palestinian people must recognize that suicide bombings are jeopardizing the very possibility of a independent Palestinian state.

This week, I called upon the Palestinian leadership to order an immediate and effective cease-fire and a crackdown on terrorist networks.

Israel, too, faces hard choices. America will always be a committed friend of Israel, and we recognize Israel's right to defend itself against terror. Yet to lay the foundations of future peace, I have asked Israel to halt incursions in the Palestinian-controlled areas and begin withdrawing from those cities it has recently occupied.

Next week, Secretary of State Powell will travel to the Middle East to seek broad international support for these principles and to work toward a cease-fire that will lead to a political settlement. I have no illusions about the difficulty of this mission. Yet our determination is strong.

We'll work closely with nations in the region and with close allies such as Great Britain to end this conflict and to begin an era of peace.

This could be a hopeful moment in the Middle East. A number of Arab leaders have endorsed a proposal that brings them closer than ever to recognizing Israel's right to exist.

The United States is on record supporting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a Palestinian state. And Israel has recognized the goal of a Palestinian state.

I believe the region could write a new story of democracy and development and trade, and join the progress of our times. Yet progress requires an atmosphere of peace, and peace requires acts of leadership, not acts of terror.

Thank you for listening.

KARL: Well, Chairman Hyde, there you heard the president repeat what he said on Thursday, which was his call for Israel to pull back from its recently occupied territories. That was Thursday when he first said it, and now it's Saturday. The Israeli tanks continue to move forward.

What should the U.S. response be?

HYDE: Well, I think the president has made it clear rather forcefully that he expects some rather quick reaction, and I think the Israelis will respond and start pulling back.

Of course, at the same time, the terror has to stop. You can't really ask the Israelis to react without some promise of Palestinian reaction. And from what I hear as yet, the terror goes on.

KARL: Well, there seems to have been a slight delay in the suicide bombings. We've had fewer of them over the last few days. Is this a sign that the Israeli incursions are working, that this strategy of going in aggressively and fighting back is working?

HYDE: Well, I don't know. There aren't an awful lot of options available to Israel when, every day, you have a suicide bombing occur, with people being killed, innocent people being killed. So I think the incursions, unfortunate as they are, were justified.

The question is, where do we go from here? How do we achieve a peace that will last and endure? How do we set up a Palestinian state that has secure borders? How do we guarantee Israel's secure borders? These are monumental tasks.

And I'm delighted the president has taken a forceful stand on this, and is sending his top diplomat over to talk to the people in charge. We can only hope. If Colin Powell's mission fails, we are in for a very dismal time of it.

KARL: And as the president said, he has no illusions about the difficulty of this mission.

Chairman Hyde, we have to take a quick break. We'll be right back with you.

Halting the bloodshed in the Middle East and the high stakes for the United States. We'll continue our conversation with Congressman Henry Hyde and take your questions, when CNN's SATURDAY EDITION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: We're continuing our discussion with Illinois Republican Congressman Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee. He is also the second-ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee and, of course, somebody we got to know very well as the chairman of that Judiciary Committee.

Chairman Hyde, you alluded to the calls for Arafat to do something to stop the violence. And some U.S. officials, some in the administration, have suggested that he should indeed take steps to stop the violence before Colin Powell would meet with him.

But the question is, how can Arafat stake steps to stop the violence when he's got Israeli troops literally in his living room. When he is in isolation limited to two rooms, how can he right now take any concrete steps whatsoever?

HYDE: Well, obviously there is a problem, who goes first. Each side blames the other side in persisting -- in performing acts of violence, and then nothing happens.

I think both parties, the Palestinians and the Israelis, have to withdraw. That is, the Israelis have to withdraw from the incursions they have made recently in response to the intifada, and the Palestinians have got to stop the suicide bombers.

The leaders of the Arab world have to start condemning terror, as well as Israel. And I'm waiting and hoping that somebody proposes a Middle East Marshall Plan, puts that on the table, so that the Palestinians who have no hope, who have no employment, who have nothing to do but throw stones and shoot guns, can have hope for a decent life. I think the world, collectively, could finance something like that. And I think that's another factor that needs to be put on the table when they talk about cease-fire and defensible borders.

KARL: Now, a Middle East Marshall Plan in response to the violence we've seen now, isn't that another way to reward the suicide bombers?

HYDE: You have to get from here to there. We have to have peace. To have peace, there has to be some benefit to the parties that are fighting each other right now.

The benefit to Israel would be safe and secure borders, acceptance by the entire Arab world of their right to exist, increased commerce. And the benefit to the Palestinians would be a sovereign state with defensible borders, but with some economic hope for a future so that poverty and joblessness and ignorance won't dominate for years and years to come.

The problem is a deep one. It's going to be with us for a long time. And I think we need to do something dramatic and serious to stop the killing and to have an arrangement that will survive for the next few years.

KARL: Well, is it time for a summit? I mean, is it time for President Bush personally to get involved?

HYDE: Well, let's see what happens. We do this incrementally. I don't think the president needs to get involved yet. That would be the ultimate step. I'm concerned that if the Colin Powell mission fails, where do we go from here?

And meanwhile, we have the problem of Saddam Hussein and Iraq. If he is developing weapons of mass destruction, and I don't doubt that he is and that he will use them, we have to do something about that. And right now we stand rather isolated in our sense of urgency about getting rid of Saddam Hussein.

So there is no shortage of serious problems.

KARL: And Chairman, I would also like you to listen to what the president had to say on this question of the Clinton administration's culpability, or however you want to put it, for the current situation. Here is what President Bush said this week in an interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: There wasn't one all that long ago, where a summit was called and nothing happened. And as result, we had a significant intifada in the area.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Now, obviously, he is referring to the Clinton summit back in September of 2000. And he's making a statement very similar to what his press secretary said and later retracted, saying that the hopes that were raised as a result of what was going on the last months of the Clinton administration caused some of this violence.

What do you make of what the president is saying?

HYDE: Well, I don't think he meant that. I don't think it's profitable to be blaming President Clinton or anybody.

HYDE: What the president was illustrating was how difficult this problem is.

The offer made by Prime Minister Barak of Israel was rejected by Arafat at the very end of the Clinton administration, and by all accounts, it was a very generous, useful offer. So I think what President Bush is indicating is how intransigent these people are.

But I don't think there's any gain in pointing the finger at previous administrations. We need bipartisanship like we've never needed it before on this issue.

KARL: Well, Chairman Hyde, on that note, thank you very much for joining us, and I'm sure we'll be talking to you in the coming days and weeks.

HYDE: Thank you.

KARL: Straight ahead, what next? What's the next step for the Bush administration's new Middle East initiative, and is it too little, too late? We'll talk with Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and former Clinton Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: How are Americans viewing the surge of violence in the Middle East violence? A CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, taken just before the president announced that the U.S. was stepping up its peace efforts in the region found that 44 percent of Americans questioned thought Israel's actions were justified, 34 percent did not. But more than half, 54 percent, said Israel's actions would make the war on terrorism more difficult.

Joining us to talk about where the Bush administration goes from here is Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Joseph Nye. He is the dean of Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and was an assistant defense secretary in the Clinton administration. He is also the author of a new book called "The Paradox of American Power: Why the World's Only Superpower Can't Go It Alone."

Senator Hagel, we heard from Chairman Hyde that he believes that Powell should meet with Arafat when he goes over to the Middle East. Do you agree?

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: I do agree. It is important that all the principles in this very complicated enigma, scenario be brought together. You can't have any kind of meaningful dialogue and even get close to a cease- fire, ultimately, to the end game -- and that needs to be put up front now, in my opinion, in that it's a political settlement -- without Arafat. You may not like Arafat, have all kinds of problems with him, but the fact is he represents the Palestinian Liberation Authority, and he is part of this.

The Arab leaders in the Middle East also are a very big part of this, and I was very pleased to see the president address them in his speech on Thursday.

KARL: Now, I'll also just follow up on another question. Obviously, the president is in Crawford at his ranch with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. That meeting was suppose to be about Iraq. It's supposed to be about Iraq. That's obviously not the major subject now.

Is Iraq now on the back burner for the U.S.? Do you think it should be?

HAGEL: Jonathan, I think our foreign policy is paralyzed right now, without addressing this Middle East problem. It is wrapped around -- this Middle East problem is wrapped around the axle of everything we're doing, and we are consumed by this.

We need to get a hold of this because we are on the brink, I believe, of this Middle East situation spiraling out of control. And if it does, and if you start seeing diplomatic relations be broken, the Arabs start moving away from the United States, the United States will find itself isolated. We will have no options, essentially.

Right now, we have no good options. They are all full of much risk. But we need to get into this thing right now.

And the president's decision to move on this Thursday was a right one, to send Powell was a correct one. The sooner he gets there, the better.

KARL: And in fact, the U.S. was very isolated before Thursday?

JOSEPH NYE, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: That's true. At the beginning of last week, I was truly alarmed that we were falling into Osama bin Laden's trap of a clash of civilizations but being dragged there by Sharon.

I thought Bush's speech was actually a very good speech. And I think the idea of sending Secretary Powell and having him meet with Arafat makes good sense.

I think Powell is also wise to do what he's doing, which is start with the other Arab leaders, surround Arafat. You don't have to like Arafat to realize that Sharon, ironically, instead of making him irrelevant, has made him more relevant than ever. But surrounding Arafat, by going through the other Arab leaders, I think, is the right way to approach it. So I agree with Senator Hagel.

KARL: Well, they can hear what the Ambassador from Lebanon to the United States had to say on that very question. Here's what he said Friday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FARID ABBOUD, LEBANESE AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.: U.S. would be far more effective if it is perceived by the people in governments of the region as more balanced. The United States of America is now the only country on this planet who has not condemned or criticized Mr. Sharon's practices. It's as if you are saying, the only people who are wise and reasonable are this side of the Atlantic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Sorry, that was actually on Thursday. But making the point that the U.S. has been virtually alone, standing up beside Israel during this.

NYE: Well, we have to stand for Israel. I mean, even in the Clinton period, Clinton explained that, unless you guarantee Israel's security, Israelis are not going to negotiate. When you have some of the people on the other side who want to drive Israel into the sea or destroy it, we have to stand for Israel.

It's one thing to stand for Israel, and not to condemn policies which are actually bad for the future of Israel. And Sharon's current policies are bad for the future of Israel, as well as bad for us.

KARL: Do you agree?

HAGEL: I generally agree with that. I think it's important here we step back for a moment and understand the complexity of this, the depth of this problem.

And I don't believe it serves anyone's interests, especially Israel's security interests and America's interests around the world -- and this is the wider-lens concept we need to look at. It isn't just the Middle East. It's the wider-lens look here -- to reach back and blame Bill Clinton for failing on his summit or blame the Israelis or blame the Palestinians. We need to move forward. We need to get this thing on track and get a hold of it now.

We'll have setbacks. There will be more problems. There will be more terrorist explosions and actions. But we cannot allow ourselves to be captive to the fringe, radical elements involved in this. That's essentially what's happened here.

KARL: OK. We need to take a quick break. We will -- obviously a lot more to talk about, one more block.

What does the Middle East turmoil set back, the U.S. war against terrorism -- Senator Hagel and former Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye. We'll take e-mails when CNN's SATURDAY EDITION returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: An important source of information about the news of the day, the war and the terrorism investigation can be found on line at cnn.com, AOL keyword CNN. It's time to check the hour's top stories. Here is Kyra Phillips in Atlanta with a news alert.

(NEWSBREAK)

KARL: We're continuing our conversation about the Middle East crisis and the war on terrorism with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and former Clinton Assistant Defense Secretary Joseph Nye.

I would like to get right to an e-mail here on a question we're hearing a lot: "Why in the world does the U.S. continue to support Israel after they refuse to abide to resolutions asking them to withdraw from Palestinian areas?" That's from Dan in Florida.

And another way to ask that is, what do we do if Israel doesn't listen to us? They don't seem to be listening yet.

HAGEL: Well, I think the direct answer to the question is that Israel is under attack, and Israel certainly has the right to defend itself. We may not agree with all of the tactics, but that is a fact of life.

I think now the second part of the question is probably the most important as to how we go forward, and that is, what do we do if they don't pull back? I think they will pull back.

What the president laid out Thursday were concurrent actions that must be taken by the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Arab leaders, the moderate Arab leaders who have been our allies here. All must happen relatively at the same time, in a sequential set of motions.

I believe if the Israelis don't do that and don't do it soon, they risk further isolating themselves and a public outcry in this country, their strongest ally, against them.

KARL: I mean, aren't we taking a risk, in a sense -- isn't the president taking a risk, because if Israel does not pull back, the question is what, what does the U.S. do?

NYE: I think they will. I think, as Senator Hagel said, that the Israelis know that, in the long run, their security depends very much on the United States. We are committed to the security of Israel, but that's all the more reason why, when they are doing things which are not in their interest and not in our interest, we should come down very hard on it.

I think if the president sets a deadline, for example, and Sharon does not abide by a deadline, then you would have to have an even stronger statement. But I think they will.

KARL: I mean the deadline that was suggested by Colin Powell was "without delay." Right? I mean, without delay.

NYE: Yes, but it wasn't in the president's speech.

KARL: Now, has the president essentially done an about-face here? I mean, after a year and a half of a hands-off approach to the Middle East, you know, now jumping in. Is this an acknowledgement that he made a mistake, that that was the wrong approach?

NYE: Well, I think there was a feeling that after the failure at Taba, which was when they came very close at the end of the Clinton administration in January, that you had elections in Israel, which brought in a new government unwilling to change, feeling the situation wasn't ripe. And there was a feeling that we should wait and let this ripen.

Unfortunately, instead of ripening, it got rotten. And I think that's why we have had to step in so forcefully now.

The president did -- to give him credit -- did come out in the fall with his U.N. speech saying that the solution to this was going to be a Palestinian state. And for an American president to say that in front of the U.N. is an important step.

But I think that the theory of ripening turned out to be too sanguine.

KARL: Does the president start to take heat from conservatives on this? I mean, you say what DeLay was saying. You've seen the "Wall Street Journal" editorial page said that essentially the president is now rewarding the suicide bombers.

HAGEL: There will be some of that, and there will continue to be some of that. But we live in a very imperfect, imprecise world.

And there are many opinions floating around there.

But the essential ingredient agreement of leadership is leadership; have the courage to do what must be done. I think this president has assessed it that way, is moving in that direction, and he is going to get second-guessed. And there will be failures here, there will always be failures in this.

But we have to remember...

KARL: Can we afford a failure in Powell's mission?

HAGEL: Well, I think we have to keep our expectations within some limitation here. This is not a magic man -- Colin Powell. Bush is not magic. This is a problem that's bedeviled every American president since Harry Truman. We have fixed the problem. We can't impose peace on anybody, no matter how great a power we are.

All these pieces have to come together. And I think those expectations must be held in check. I think we will have some setbacks here. But the long-term, over-the-horizon focus is where we must keep our energy and our eye. Long-term, not short-term, long- term.

KARL: But what happens if Colin Powell goes over and comes back empty-handed? I mean, where... NYE: Well, again, I think, as Senator Hagel said, you're not going to solve this on one trip. But if Powell can go there, meet with the Arab countries -- starting with the Prince Abdullah -- get a framework which essentially provides an Arab pressure on Arafat, as well as Arab support for Arafat...

KARL: Is there any...

NYE: ... he goes -- no, he then goes to Madrid and he meets with the Europeans and the Russians. He surrounds this situation.

Then if he meets with Arafat, he says to Arafat, look, you are going to have to take steps, which you were unwilling to take after Camp David or at Taba. I think that that -- that doesn't happen all on one trip, but it is moving in the right direction.

KARL: But do we see any indication of any Arab pressure on Arafat?

HAGEL: We don't know exactly what is happening within that very small community of interests. But I'm satisfied that the Jordanians, the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Moroccans especially, are concerned enough, are on the edge of the understanding here, that if something is not bolted together here pretty quickly, their own futures are at risk in their own countries.

And they don't want to see their countries unravel. So they have a great amount of incentive on the line here that's built into this, to help and to move where they can and maneuver Arafat as much as they can. I think they have a considerable amount of influence.

KARL: And we only have about 20 seconds left, but you've watched several presidents, worked for some of them. Did the president go further than any other recent U.S. president in criticizing Israel in that speech on Thursday?

NYE: Well, I think he did take some nice specific steps, particularly on how the Israelis deprived Palestinians their dignity, which had not been said quite the same way by prior presidents. I think, actually, his speech was a good speech.

KARL: OK. Joseph Nye, thank you for joining us. And thanks, again, for coming on the show. Senator Hagel, appreciate it.

All right, just ahead, the war against terrorism hasn't put an end to partisan politics. Which party is poised to get your vote in November? We'll get the view of two political strategists, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: It's seven months until the November elections, but Republicans and Democrats are already gearing up for what is expected to be a hard-fought campaign, especially with control of both the House and the Senate at stake. But the terrorist attacks have changed the political landscape. Joining us to talk about what this means for campaign 2002 and beyond are two guests: In Tulsa, Oklahoma, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, and in New York, Dr. Elaine Karmarck. She was a policy adviser to both former President Clinton and Al Gore and is now a lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

Welcome to both of you.

And, Frank, I want to start right with you. The president, after a year and a half of taking a hands-off approach to the Middle East, is jumping in, sending Colin Powell to the region and paving the way for the U.S. to play a central role.

Is this an acknowledgement that the president's policy up until now has been a failure?

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: I think it's an acknowledgement that what's going on in the Middle East is basically spiraling out of control, and that the United States has to make some attempt somehow to try to bring the parties together.

I got to be frank with you, Jon. I don't know how successful it's going to be. I've known this region, I've worked in this region before, and the positions are even more extreme now than they have been in the past. And I'm somewhat concerned that the U.S. could get brought into something, raise expectations, and then not produce what those expectations are.

KARL: Well, Elaine, if you look at -- this is another complicated international issue, perhaps the most complicated. How do the Democrats, as they prepare for an election, come out and criticize this president on foreign policy? I mean, isn't there -- there's a need to be united. Does that put them in a box?

ELAINE KARMARCK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It shouldn't put them in a box. I think the Democrats need to be supportive of our troops. They certainly need to be supportive of our troops that are overseas and in combat. But they need to also be the critics that we should have in a two-party system.

For instance, it is clear to me and, I think, to a lot of people, that the Bush administration miscalculated by letting the Palestinian and Israeli situation go on too -- so that it got to the point where it is.

I also think that, if you look at Afghanistan, there are things that we can say perhaps to change the Bush policy. It's clear that there are not enough peacekeepers in Afghanistan. It's clear that that country may in fact also spiral out of control again, and then all of our military interventions were for naught.

So I think we can be useful and helpful critics in foreign policy.

LUNTZ: Jon, can I use -- interrupt for one second? KARL: Sure.

LUNTZ: That word, "critic," is not what the American people are looking for. They are not looking for criticism. They're looking for constructive, they're looking for cooperation, but they're not looking for criticism. And I think that's where the Democratic tone has been wrong over the last four to six weeks.

It is not the U.S.'s responsibility or fault that what's happened in the Middle East happened in the Middle East. It is not the American administration, the Bush administration's fault that Palestinians will strap on bombs and walk into restaurants and blow up 25 innocent civilians. It is not the Bush administration's fault that they will walk into synagogues and blow up people.

And we also have to understand that...

KARMARCK: And I -- Frank, I agree with you on that...

LUNTZ: ... that has been a consistent success in Afghanistan, and over 85 percent of Americans believe what we have done in Afghanistan has been correct, has been the right measure of force.

KARMARCK: Spoken like true pollster.

LUNTZ: And if you disagree with that, then you are with the 15 percent that don't. That's not a good place for the Democrats to be in.

KARMARCK: That's not the point, Frank. I said constructive and useful criticism...

LUNTZ: You never used the word "constructive."

KARMARCK: In other words...

LUNTZ: You said "critic."

KARMARCK: Well, I said "useful." I said...

LUNTZ: You said "critic."

KARMARCK: ... "useful criticism." And useful criticism is what's needed now. It's in fact the only way the Democrats get into the foreign policy discussion, is pointing out things where the administration could be doing better.

Obviously, it's not the Bush administration...

LUNTZ: The American people aren't looking...

KARMARCK: Obviously it's not the Bush administration's fault that there are suicide bombers. But, in fact, the Bush administration does need to be involved in trying to settle this situation.

And obviously it's not the Bush administration's fault that there is continuing Iranian influence in the west of Afghanistan. But they need to be aware of that. And they need to perhaps look at increasing the U.S. presence there and the U.S. peacekeeping presence there so that we don't have a repeat of the chaos that we found ourselves in just a short time ago.

And that's useful, that's constructive. That is not criticizing for criticizing sake, and it is not unpatriotic.

KARL: Frank, quickly?

LUNTZ: Well, I don't know where this unpatriotic thing came in. Elaine, you have got to be more careful with your language. This is one reason why the American people side with the Republicans over the Democrats by somewhere between 30 and 35 percent in terms of national security.

Language is important. Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld understand that the words that they say and how they communicate is critical in what the rest of the world does. And I think the Democratic Party needs to be more careful with the language that it uses so that it doesn't undermine the efforts of the Bush administration.

KARL: Well, there you have it, a Republican talking about language and the importance of language. Frank, we'll be right back. Elaine, we'll be right back in a few minutes.

We will take e-mails as well, when SATURDAY EDITION continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: We're talking about how the political parties are trying to win you over this fall, with Republican pollster Frank Luntz and Democratic policy adviser Elaine Karmarck.

And, Elaine, obviously, you were most recently advising Vice President Gore, as he was running for president. One problem facing Democrats right now is the lack of a unifying national figure. Is it time for Gore to come back on the stage? And if he were to run again, are you with him? Are you going to work with him again?

KARMARCK: Well, if he runs again, I'll definitely be with him and help him. He's a very good man, and I'm a very good friend of his.

But I think in midterm elections, Democrats and Republicans find themselves often running on local issues, and it's very rare that a midterm election is nationalized. I also think that Democrats don't have to nationalize this midterm election to necessarily take control of the House and increase their control in the Senate.

Democrats also have some very, very good domestic issues working for them this time. These are issues, ironically, that aren't much different than the issues in the year 2000, but I think they have a greater urgency.

Medicare is clearly in crisis, and the need for prescription drug benefit is more intense than ever. Social Security system needs reform, and the Bush administration's proposals for reform are, in fact, even more dangerous than they were. And, of course, there is the ongoing issue of energy and the environment, which has the effect of severely curtailing the Bush administration's foreign policy options, which I think is a detriment to all of us, and has its environmental impact.

So I think those three issues, in addition to the economy, are going to be big issues that many Democrats will find themselves running on and doing well on, come fall.

KARL: But can Democrats make significant gains without raising at least some questions about the Republican handling of foreign affairs?

KARMARCK: Oh, of course they can. Because, first of all, most Democrats, certainly mainstream Democrats, have been very supportive of President Bush. They've been very supportive of the war on terrorism, and they will be very supportive going forward. That's not going to be, I think, the central issue.

I think the central issue this fall is going to be the security of average Americans, in terms of their pensions, their Medicare and the overall health of the economy. And that's where I think you're going to see huge Democratic gains and I think you'll see pickups in the House and the strengthening in the Senate.

KARL: Well, Frank, you're the pollster. Is that right, this midterm election will be about domestic issues?

LUNTZ: Well, I know what it's not going to be about, and it's not going to, yet again, be about criticism, that the public is not looking for what you are against; they are looking for what you are for.

And this was a problem that the Gore campaign had in 2000, that if you looked at the economy and you looked at Al Gore's numbers at the beginning of 2000, you would have expected him to have been the president. But his tone, his demeanor was off. It wasn't what the public was looking for.

It's now 2002. The stakes are much higher. Obviously, national security is an issue. And the public is going to be looking not just for issues -- and this is going to maybe throw you off a little bit -- but it's images that the people are looking for: Who is the better leader? Who listens more effectively? Who says what they mean and means what they say? Who has a record of getting things done?

This is not taxes or Medicare or Social Security or education. These attributes become more important in an off-year election. And the media and, quite frankly, some of the Democratic leadership aren't focusing on the attributes, and so they're missing what the American people are really looking for.

KARMARCK: Frank, that makes sense in a presidential year. In an off-year election, there are 435 races in the House of Representatives. There are many individual candidates. They're not going to all have the same attributes. They're not going to all have the same characteristics.

I think you are assuming that somehow the leader of the Democratic Parties in the House and the Senate are going to be dominant in the midterm elections. That's just not so. Frankly, the only time that's happened in recent history was in 1994, with Newt Gingrich. It's really an exception...

LUNTZ: Right. And don't...

KARMARCK: ... it's an exception when that happens. It's not the usual for a midterm election.

LUNTZ: Right. But don't forget that that was, in 1994, what gave Republicans unprecedented control of the House. I mean, I was taught, as I'm sure you were, that Republicans can never get a majority in the House, that it was physically, statistically, feasibly impossible, and yet they did so.

The public is looking for elected officials who they can relate to, and they're looking for elected officials, particularly since September 11, who have a kind of -- the ability to explain what really matters to them in a personal way.

KARL: OK. Frank Luntz, Elaine Karmarck, I'm sorry, but we are out of time. Much more to talk about. Thank you both for joining us. Always a pleasure.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

KARL: And just ahead...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIFF: Even if he is not a candidate in 2004, he is going to speak up for the issues that he cares about so deeply.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: The eldest daughter of Al Gore, Karenna Gore Schiff, speaks about her father's political future and her own.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KARL: This week I took my Subway Series, the interviews I do for CNN's Inside Politics on the Capital subway to New York City. Riding along the Lexington Avenue line, I spoke with Karenna Gore Schiff in her first interview since her father conceded the presidential election. She had some interesting things to say about her family and her own possible political aspirations.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: You've been in New York now almost five years...

SCHIFF: Right.

KARL: ... after living in Tennessee, living in Washington. I mean, do you feel like a New Yorker yet?

SCHIFF: I do feel like a New Yorker, actually. I've gotten kind of hooked on the city, and my husband was born and raised here. And it's a great place to live.

KARL: And you are raising two kids now?

SCHIFF: Raising two kids. My son will be three in July, and my daughter is seven months.

KARL: Yes.

SCHIFF: So I've just started back to work part-time.

KARL: So we haven't seen much of you since the end of the campaign, which, I mean, man, it's been a while already. How has life changed? I mean, that was such an intense campaign. You were a central player in that campaign.

SCHIFF: Well, thank you. It's a lot has changed, I guess, in the sense that I've got another child, for one thing, which is wonderful. I had a daughter in August. And I have started working as a lawyer, which is great.

KARL: Now, if your father were to run again, I mean, do you feel ready to lose your children's grandfather again to the campaign? I mean...

SCHIFF: Oh, I would be very supportive and very excited if he chose to run again, but he hasn't decided.

I am so proud of him. I think he's been a really strong voice in this country. He's been a great patriot, and he has really stood for unity in this time in the wake of the terrorist attacks. But he also has really stood up to say we need smarter economic policies, we need environmental protection, and...

KARL: Are we going to be seeing more of him?

SCHIFF: Yes. No matter what, even if he is not a candidate in 2004, he is going to speak up for the issues that he cares about so deeply. And I'm really proud of that. It's going to be exciting.

KARL: We went down to Tennessee when your mom was considering running for Senate and talked to Harold Ford. One thing he said is, there will be a Gore woman running for office at some point, and his prediction was it would be you.

SCHIFF: Oh, I love Harold. He's such a good friend. I don't know. I really love grassroots politics. I care a lot about issues that other people do -- environmental protection and health care and education. It was such a privilege to be able to talk about those things out on the campaign trail in 2000. So I don't know if I'll be a candidate, but it's something that I wouldn't rule out.

KARL: Now, you've been involved in national politics, as an important adviser to your father, somebody who traveled the country speaking on his behalf in the presidential campaign. If you were to get involved in politics more directly yourself, would it be in New York?

SCHIFF: I do feel like it's home. So I don't know. But when I vote, I vote on the basis of New York issues, and I support local candidates in our city and in our state. So I feel politically oriented to New York right now.

KARL: Did you want your mom to run?

SCHIFF: I was so excited at the possibility of her running, because she'd be such a terrific candidate. I really thought that it was something that was so personal. She had to want to do it personally. And she made the decision that was right for her.

But I think the fact that so many people reached out to her, from Tennessee and around the country, was a real tribute to her work and trying to...

KARL: Did she get close to running?

SCHIFF: She definitely considered it very seriously.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Thanks for watching SATURDAY EDITION. I'm Jonathan Karl in Washington.

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