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President Bush Weighs In On Middle East Conflict; What Do Insiders Say About Powell Mission?

Aired April 17, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. As Colin Powell leaves the Middle East largely empty-handed, President Bush weighs in on the conflict and the war against terror.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kelly Wallace at the White House. I'll tell you what insiders here are saying about Secretary Powell's mission.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. I'll looking at the political and Biblical forces behind Christian conservative support of Israel.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, Janet Reno's primary challenger. He'll tell us why he thinks he's ahead of the game.

Thank you for joining us. We begin with President Bush, pressing his point that a resolution of the Mideast crisis is part of America's broader war against terrorism. In his speech at the Virginia Military Institute, the president updated the nation on the war and the challenges ahead.

Given the latest developments in the Middle East, many people around the world were listening especially closely to the words Mr. Bush directed at Arabs and Israelis.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Palestinian Authority must act -- must act on its words of condemnation against terror.


BUSH: Israel must continue its withdrawals. And all Arab states must step up to their responsibilities. All parties must say clearly that a murder is not a martyr, he or she is just a murderer.


WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush said he believes that Secretary of State Colin Powell made progress during his mission to the Middle East. But Powell is heading home without achieving any significant steps toward a cease-fire. He wrapped up his trip with a stop in Egypt after meeting again with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

After the meeting Arafat vented his frustrations with Israel and demanded that the international community end his isolation.


YASSER ARAFAT, PALESTINIAN LEADER: I would have to ask the whole international world, I have to ask President Bush, I have to ask the United Nation, is this acceptable, that I can't go outside from this door?


WOODRUFF: In dealing with Yasser Arafat, the Bush administration has been trying to tread carefully. And let's bring in our White House correspondent, Kelly Wallace. Kelly, in his speech today the president was under -- I think it's fair to say -- some pressure to clarify exactly what the administration's position is. Did he break any new ground today?

WALLACE: Well, he didn't, Judy. And aides say he really wasn't trying to. They say he really wanted to, as you say, clarify his existing policy. Go forward and really talk about what he laid out in that Rose Garden speech on April 4th. One senior aide I talked to said, look, things are getting muddled. It's a fast-moving situation, so we wanted the president to go out there and clarify things.

At the same time, though, this White House definitely getting criticized. There are those who think that the president's approach to the Middle East is in conflict with his own so-called Bush doctrine, that you're either with the U.S. in this war against terror or you're not -- specifically when it comes to Yasser Arafat. Some discussions about how to handle that.

In the end, the president not naming Yasser Arafat in his speech. But if you look at what he did, he said you either are with the U.S. in the war against terror or you are against us. And then he said, in the Middle East, every leader in the region must choose between peace or terror. Senior aides say there is definitely nuance there. It is clear who the president is talking about -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly, the president publicly saying that Secretary Powell's trip produced some progress. But what are they saying privately at the White House?

WALLACE: Well, privately they are saying look at the situation on the ground. They are saying that things were a whole lot worse before Secretary Powell left than they are right now.

They say that Israelis are withdrawing from those Palestinian areas. They say the Palestinians, for their part, did come out publicly in Arabic and condemn terror. That Secretary Powell has in some way been able to diffuse the situation, diffuse tensions.

You know, one senior aide, Judy, said this is not a sporting event. It should not be monitored in terms of its success and failure like a ping-pong match. Clearly though, they know that a lot of people are looking at this mission and looking at where the administration goes from here. Secretary Powell will be at the White House tomorrow briefing the president. And then we'll see where the administration decides to go -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly, indeed it is almost impossible to avoid those constant assessments. Thanks very much.

Now we want to get a sense of reaction to the Middle East crisis outside of the nation's capital. We're joined by David Postman of "The Seattle Times" and by Michael Goodwin of the "New York Daily News."

David Postman, to you first. We heard what the president had to say about Secretary Powell's mission. How do you see it?

DAVID POSTMAN," SEATTLE TIMES": Well, I have been talking to people about it at least since this morning's, headlines of what happened with the mission. And I can't find anybody who thinks that the trip was a success. and I think that's true of people on both sides of the issue.

People pro-Israeli supporters, I think earlier saw this trip almost as an intrusion into the process, a sign of weakness. I was surprised by some of the negative view of the trip to begin with. And now neither side seems to think that anything came of it.

WOODRUFF: And Michael Goodwin?

MICHAEL GOODWIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS." I think it's probably too early to assess really what happened. I think it's probably wrong for the White House to try to spin it as making a lot of progress. The fact that there's no bombing or shooting right now is hardly a cause for celebration. It may happen tonight or, God forbid, the next night.

So I think it is too early. And I think it also has to be seen in light, not just of whether you stop the shooting in that region, but really what is the effect of the whole Mideast turmoil on the move against Iraq. Let's not forget, that's the point here, is the war on terror. It's not so much about the Mideast as it is about the war against Iraq, that Bush has been touting.

And so far, that's completely fallen off the table. I think that's why Powell is there. Because the momentum that Bush was building toward some move for Iraq has been totally lost, totally derailed, by the flare-up in the Mideast. Remember, Cheney went there to try to drum up support. And all he heard was about you have to settle the Palestinian question.

So I think that's the larger issue. Whether the Mideast peace effort succeeds will be determined by whether there's really a coalition against Iraq.

WOODRUFF: And, David Postman, at this point, where do people see any coalition for the U.S. to move against Iraq? POSTMAN: Well, I'm not sure that most people on the street see the connection in that same way. I think there would be much wider support for a move against Iraq. That's something that there seems to have been -- certainly in the Gulf War, there was strong support among the American people at that point, whereas the situation with Israel is quite different. And I think it's...

WOODRUFF: But the two things are connected, are they not?

POSTMAN: Absolutely, in the real world. I think though that in the Israeli situation, there is a hardening of position in the American public. And I think perhaps a more skeptical view of Israel's side than there would have been in year's past when we could have had the same conversation.

But when it in fact does move, and if it in fact can move against Iraq, I think then the American people are more in agreement on that. The issue in the Middle East that Colin Powell is dealing with has got to be one of the toughest, in terms of trying to coalesce public support. Almost any other issue, even in the Middle East, seems to me to be easier for the U.S. to build support for.

WOODRUFF: Michael Goodwin, what is your sense when you talk to people, of their willingness or their desire to see the U.S. remain very involved in the Middle East, to push both parties to come to some kind of agreement?

GOODWIN: I think the United States has a historic responsibility and affinity with Israel. It's not going to be changed. And that gives the American people, I think, the confidence. But I do think that the long-range issues here are important. And September 11th is still very much on the minds of the people of New York.

And I think that while Israel is clearly important, the long- range issue of the war on terror, security at home -- I mean, this is about America's vital interests. It's not just about the Mideast as separate. And I think that's what Bush is focused on. I think that's why Powell went there.

Yes, we don't want to see a regional war, or even just a Palestinian-Israeli war. But most important, I think, for the United States interest is to keep the momentum going that was building. And I think that's got to be the biggest concern in the White House right now.

WOODRUFF: All right, Michael Goodwin of the "New York Daily News" and David Postman of "The Seattle Times." Gentlemen, thank you both. We appreciate it. Good to see you.

As the Middle East crisis plays out, some of the strongest voices of support for Israel are coming from Christian conservatives. Our Bill Schneider has been looking into the roots of that alliance -- Bill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: You know, that alliance between evangelical Christians and Israel goes back to 1967, when Israel fought and won the six-day war. That war realigned Israel's political support. Israel came under attack from the left as an imperialist power occupying Arab territory. At the same time, Israel was lionized by the right as a valiant defender of freedom.

(voice-over): After 1967, conservatives became Israel's most ardent defenders.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Israel shares our Democratic values. It is a formidable force, an invader the Middle East will have to reckon with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The "700 Club" comes direct from Jerusalem's...

SCHNEIDER: Religious broadcasters took up the cause.

REV. JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR LIBERTY UNIV.: Week of programming direct from the nation of Israel.

SCHNEIDER: Some suggest the main reason evangelical Christians support Israel is religious; that Israel plays a role in the end of history events that will lead to Christ's complete victory in the world.

FALWELL: I love and support Israel and have for these four and a half decades, primarily because I believe the Bible to be the word of god and I accept the Abrahamic covenant as literal.

SCHNEIDER: Israeli leaders don't ask too many questions.

BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, FMR. ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: I come to our good friends here, Reverend Falwell and Reverend McQuaid, and all of you who are here.

SCHNEIDER: But it's not just religious belief that draws evangelicals to Israel.

RALPH REED, CHAIRMAN, GEORGIA REPUBLICAN PARTY: I think it's a bit of a caricature to suggest that the reason why evangelicals are strongly for Israel is because of their notion of the end times.

SCHNEIDER: The reason is also and perhaps primarily political beliefs -- conservative political beliefs.

GARY BAUER, PRES., AMERICAN VALUES: I think sent President Bush with the Bush doctrine on fighting terrorism, ought to be consistent and realize that Israel has the right of self-defense too.

SCHNEIDER: Consider the following evidence. Those who identify with the religious right are no more supportive of Israel than other Americans. But there is a big difference between Protestants who go to church every week and those who don't. Regular church-goers are far more sympathetic to Israel. It's their behavior, not their beliefs, that draws religious Americans to Israel. Many Protestant churches preach support for Israel and churchgoers hear it.

(on camera): The pattern does not hold true for Catholic churchgoers because the Catholic church does not preach a position on Israel. But as Reverend Falwell has said, evangelicals are the very best friends Israelis have in the whole world, outside their own family.


WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider. And we'll talk more about the Christian right's support for Israel when we return. Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson will tell us why he has rallied behind the Jewish state.

Also ahead as the Senate debate goes on about oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness, Democrat Mary Landrieu will share her views and a seat on the subway.

And, is it a small world after all? We'll have snapshots of the backdrop in the land of sunshine Disney. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: In today's ""On the Record," we're going to talk more about American conservatives and their vigorous political support for Israel. With me now from Virginia Beach, Virginia is religious broadcaster and former presidential candidate, Pat Robertson. Reverend Robertson, thank you for joining us.


WOODRUFF: I want to ask you first about President Bush. You have said in recent days that there's some been ambiguity in his and the administration's policy toward the Middle East. Did he clarify any of that today in his speech, do you think?

ROBERTSON: I still don't think he's completely clarified it. As you know, I'm a great friend of the president and one of his supporters. But the consistency is that he made a clarion call against terror. Terrorists were to be rooted out and that any nation that harbored terrorists were to be considered terrorist state.

Well, the Palestinian Authority is clearly an organization that not only harbors terror, it finances terror. And I think the mistake is to dignify Yasser Arafat and call him a partner for peace. I think the president has made a big mistake in that regard. And when he called on the Israelis and said I want them to pull out right now, before they finish the task of rooting out terrorism, in the so-called West Bank territory, I think he's alienated some people.

WOODRUFF: So even when the president said, as he did, that the Palestinian Authority must act on its words of condemnation against terrorism, and when he said, they need to say clearly that a murderer, that these suicide bombers are murderers, they're not martyrs. You're saying that's not enough.

ROBERTSON: Well, it's like Neville Chamberlain asking Adolf Hitler to promise he's never going to invade anybody and he's going to make nice against the people of Europe. Well, of course Hitler would promise anything. He thought that he'd hoodwinked this British statesman and he went right ahead and gobbled up as many nations as he could.

The same thing with Yasser Arafat. He'll tell you anything and lie through his teeth. He doesn't tell the truth.

WOODRUFF: Let me read you a quote from today's "Wall Street Journal" editorial pages. It's their lead editorial and it said, "The Middle East is where Mr. Bush is paying the greatest price for abandoning principle. His line in the sand against terrorism gave his leadership moral authority. Whatever his rough edges, Ariel Sharon is clearly following that Bush principle trying to defend his civilians against suicide bombers."

My question to you is, as you know, the argument is that Ariel Sharon -- it's one thing to defend your country and to defend your people. But to go as far as the Israelis have, whether it's Jenin, or in some of these other cities, the accusation is that they've gone too far, they've killed too many innocent Palestinians.

ROBERTSON: I must say, as much as I defend Israel, that they are not without fault in this engagement. The troops have been rather rough. I think they have withheld medicine and food and water from civilian populations. I know they are in danger of their lives going in the way they do, and consequently they don't know who the terrorist is or who the suicide bomber is.

But nevertheless, I think they could have done it in a little more gentle fashion, to be sure. And I think frankly, Sharon waited too long. And the biggest thing in my opinion, in relation to Sharon is, that he himself did not call Arafat, somebody with whom he refused to deal. He said it.

But in my opinion they should have gone in, abrogated the Oslo Accords, said we're going to reoccupy the West Bank territory. And we were going to demand that the Palestinians give us a leadership of people who are responsible, not a group of terrorists and thugs. And by not doing that, he's compromised his own position.

WOODRUFF: Well, back to the Bush administration, Pat Robertson, does the president risk, do you think, losing support in any form among Christian conservatives because of his policies in the Middle East?

ROBERTSON: It is wavering a little bit. You know, that editorial you mentioned talked about the tariffs on steel, and it talked about a few other things where the president has gone away from deeply held conviction. I sincerely believe that evangelicals are going to stay with the president regardless. And I think Carl Rove has made that decision, that he can take all kinds of liberties with the evangelicals and not get hurt doing it. But nevertheless, I'm sensing, in the community that I serve, people who are very concerned about his call for a Palestinian state, the idea that he's taking east Jerusalem away from Israel. You see, this is a holy place, that evangelicals believe God gave to the Jewish people.

This was David's capital. It was Solomon's capital. It was given to Abraham. And it doesn't belong to a group called the Palestinians. And the president, essentially, with a stroke of the pen, said it was. And I think that has set the teeth on edge of a number of evangelicals who are his strong friends and supporters.

WOODRUFF: And at this point, there's no sign that the president is going to back down from the view that there should be a Palestinian state.


ROBERTSON: You know, Judy, those territories came from Jordan. They didn't come from any Palestinians. If they want to give them back, they ought to say, well, Jordan is the responsibility party. And it was suggested -- and I think it's a good idea -- give these people Jordanian passports. Let them have Jordanian citizenship and, in a sense, govern their own affairs. But with a more benign leadership than what they have right now.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Pat Robertson, good to see you again.

ROBERTSON: Good to see you. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for being with us.

There's been another video clip release showing Osama bin Laden. Up next, a look at that tape and some of what bin Laden has to say.

Plus, more on what President Bush has to say about the Middle East, straight ahead in our "Newscycle."


WOODRUFF: Among the headlines in our "Newscycle," President Bush today said that all Middle East leaders must choose -- quote -- "the path of peace or the path of terror." As Secretary of State Powell headed home with only limited progress toward peace, Mr. Bush said Israel must continue its withdrawals, and the Palestinians must act to end terror attacks.

A man whose name appeared on a letter found in a cave in Afghanistan has been arrested in North Carolina. The man, who is a Tanzanian national, was arrested in the town of Apex on immigration violations. U.S. officials say they have no evidence linking the man to al Qaeda, but they say he may have been targeted as a possible recruit.

Another videotape of Osama bin Laden has surfaced. This one was aired today by the Middle East Broadcasting Center. At one point, bin Laden praises the economic damage the September attacks inflicted on America.


OSAMA BIN LADEN, ALLEGED TERRORIST MASTERMIND (through translator): All the trillion dollars, thanks to these strikes. We ask God to send those martyrs to paradise.


WOODRUFF: For more now on both Osama bin Laden and events in the Middle East, we have with us Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE." Margaret, what about -- ask you about Osama bin Laden. Reports in the last few days that, during this big fight in the Tora Bora region, apparently the U.S. had a chance to get bin Laden but he somehow got away. And now there's a lot of second-guessing going on, about whether U.S. troops should have been put on the ground rather than relying on our allies over there.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, the only surprising thing about the report is that the second guessing didn't start sooner, because we haven't had him for a long time. But there's some lesson there, which is if the United States wants to get somebody, they need to do it themselves. You cannot rely on a ragtag band of warriors like the Northern Alliance.

Secondly, though, at the time people thought that he was in the Tora Bora region, but though it would be dangerous, that the Northern Alliance knew the caves better. That they would be successful and there wouldn't be a risk to American troops, and they made the choice.

WOODRUFF: And there was concern about loss of U.S. life.

TUCKER CARLSON, "CROSSFIRE": I must say I agree with Margaret. On one hand, I was struck by how little second guessing there was. Almost two months ago I was talking to a Democratic member of the Senate, possible presidential candidate -- someone with real reason to question the president, attack the president.

And he brought up this exact thing, saying that the Tora Bora operation, from his knowledge, had been a failure. But he wasn't going to say anything about it in public. So, I mean, I think this has been widely known among certain people in Washington for a while, but nobody has said anything.

M. CARLSON: Well, you get put down pretty quickly as being unpatriotic. And I think that's why there's been such delay in second guessing any of these operations.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the Middle East. The president made that statement today, pretty much equally tough on the Palestinians and the Israelis. Tucker, is that consistent with what he's been saying up until now?

T. CARLSON: No, it's not. He was almost exactly equal in his treatment of the Israelis and the Palestinians. You know, there are just two sides that need to come to terms. I mean, it was really different, I thought very different, from past statements where he said Israel was a profound ally of the United States. And then there's Yasser Arafat who's a crypto-criminal. These remarks at VMI today, completely different, I thought.

M. CARLSON: And he read every word. He kept looking at the script. Because inside, Bush is the Bush doctrine. He actually believes in the Bush doctrine.

WOODRUFF: Which is pro-Israeli.

M. CARLSON: It's pro-Israeli. And when he's feeling his moral clarity, he understands why Sharon would take the tanks into Ramallah, because it's what Bush would do under the same circumstances. And so he has to keep four or five things in his mind at the same time. So it's best to have a script. And it's best to say: "I have to go out there and I have to be even-handed."

T. CARLSON: And yet you wonder, though, if that even-handedness isn't a reflection of irritation with Sharon.

M. CARLSON: Oh, I think he is finally mightily irritated with Sharon.

T. CARLSON: Right. And one can see why. It is really damaging American creditability, I think, in the Middle East by refusing to go along with Bush's first suggestion and then demand.

WOODRUFF: Irritation with Sharon perhaps, but we are learning from our Jon Karl -- of course he covers the Congress for us -- that tomorrow in the Senate under Senator Feinstein, Senator McConnell, they are going to try to push through a sense of the Senate statement, resolution, act, whatever, that would, in effect, be very pro-Israeli and would come down hard on the Palestinians, maybe even propose sanctions on the Palestinians.

M. CARLSON: You know, depending which facts you put forward, you can come down hard on one side or the other. And so it's not surprising they're going to have a sense, because, in general, we are -- the United States is pro-Israel. So, it's not a surprising resolution on their part, especially on Dianne Feinstein's part, given that she's in the Democratic Party and they always seem to tilt that way.

But when you start comparing the violence, you still come out I think on the Israeli side, because suicide bombers, whatever you say about Sharon and his tanks, are far more barbaric.

WOODRUFF: Tucker, quickly, fallout from the Powell trip?

T. CARLSON: Well, there's been a huge amount of criticism, most of it muted, though, not all from the right, from conservative allies of the president, who think it is outrageous that Powell would meet with Arafat. And I don't know. I think that is going to have ramifications down the road. Striking that Mitch McConnell, conservative Republican, Dianne Feinstein, liberal Democrat, coming together to support Israel. I think it was bad. I think it was a bad idea probably to send Powell. And I think, any way you slice it, it's a failure.

WOODRUFF: Bad to go at all?

T. CARLSON: Probably. I'm mean, it's understandable why he


M. CARLSON: Well, bad to go so late in the process when it was out of control. And Ari Fleischer cut him off last week, the prospects of success were so bad.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are going to have to leave it there. Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, thank you both. We'll see you next week.

M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And don't forget, INSIDE POLITICS is on the Web. We have news and we have a place where you can send us your ideas and opinions. It's all at

We're going to go underground next on INSIDE POLITICS. Senator Mary Landrieu rides a hot issue in our "Subway Series."


WOODRUFF: Debate in the Senate continues today over a Republican measure to allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Majority Leader Tom Daschle is expressing confidence that he has the votes to kill it. But he is not counting on support from fellow Democrat Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

She went out for a ride with our Jonathan Karl to explain why.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Senator, thanks for joining the "Subway Series."

SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I'm happy to be here this morning. A lot of work gets done on these subways. I don't know if you realize that.


KARL: Have you been able to talk to anybody on the subway about ANWR? This is the big issue now this week. And you're standing square against your party. Tom Daschle has said he will do anything he can to stop ANWR from going through. It looks like he is going to succeed in stopping it. LANDRIEU: Well, I'm hoping to encourage more of my colleagues. I'm not sure I can do it the next few days, but over the course of the next months and several years, that we have really got to do more domestic drilling in this nation, for a number of reasons.

One, I believe it is possible for the United States to be energy independent. And, in order for us to do that, we've got to drill more of our traditional oil and gas and produce more coal, clean coal. But we also have to be much stronger on developing alternatives, renewables, so that we truly can be energy independent.

KARL: You have shown more a of a willingness to work with the Republicans than your own party leadership. If the Republicans had a few more Mary Landrieus in the Senate, they would probably get more of their priorities through, would they not?

LANDRIEU: Well, I do think that -- maybe I learned this from John Breaux, who has been very good and very able. But this is compromise. It is about: Cut the best kind of deal you can and move on.

It is never going to be perfect for either side, but that's the nature of a democracy. You have just got to kind of cut the best deal you can and move on. But we're at a standoff over whether, literally, to drill. Out of the entire United States of America, the entire land mass, which is hundreds of millions of acres, we are stuck on whether to drill on 1,500 acres or not.

KARL: I also want to ask. You of course have two adopted children. You're been very big into the adoption issue. And your youngest child you adopted right after you came from Washington. So what has that been like?

LANDRIEU: I know. I think people must have thought, this woman has lost her...

KARL: Get elected to the Senate and then adopt another child.

LANDRIEU: This woman has lost her mind.

But I always wanted to adopt children, to be very honest. I'm one of nine. I'm the oldest of nine children. My mother had us in 11 years. We're a very close and loving family. But I wanted to adopt children even before I was married. I married a guy who was adopted. So, I thought, this is great. He can't object. So we put our application in for our first child. And sometimes it takes a long time. And it took two years.

But then the call came. And any adoptive parent knows that you wait for that call from your agency to say there is a baby available. And I just couldn't say no. I know it wasn't the greatest time in the world. But I just said, "We're going to take this baby." And so now she is a precious little 5-year-old little girl. And we managed. My husband was a great help to me.

But I was so glad. I said I'm not going to let my work interfere -- no matter what my work is -- to interfere with having a family that we've always wanted and raising these children. So we did.

KARL: So, if you win reelection this year, you going to adopt again?


LANDRIEU: Well, if my husband says -- we have this -- I would do it tomorrow. But Frank won't let me go to an orphanage without him being in attendance. But we may. I don't know. It's a big commitment, but I'd love to at some point.

But if I could say one thing, adoption can work. It can be wonderful for you and for your family. And I just wish more people would try it and for the government to do a better job of getting that message out.

KARL: Well, Senator, thank you very much. Enjoyed taking a ride with you.

LANDRIEU: Thank you very much.


WOODRUFF: On a related issue -- and this from CNN Capitol Hill Producer Ted Barrett -- we have the "Inside Buzz" on a dilemma for House Democrats: Those who want to vote against making President Bush's tax cuts permanent will also have to vote against a measure to ease the tax burden on foster families. Republicans say they attached the foster family bill to the broader tax measure for parliamentary reasons. But a top GOP aide acknowledges that the move makes the tax bill vote tougher for Democrats.

Checking now the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Washington's Democrat mayor, Anthony Williams, is among the co-hosts at a scheduled fund-raiser tomorrow for Republican Congresswoman Connie Morella. Morella chairs a House subcommittee overseeing the District of Columbia. A spokesman says the mayor is not endorsing Morella and he is not taking a position in her House race.

A New Hampshire congressman, John Sununu, is getting some high- powered help in his bid to unseat Senator and fellow Republican Bob Smith. Republican Senate Leader Trent Lott is headlining a Sununu fund-raiser tonight, along with four other GOP senators. Senator Smith has had a questionable standing with the Republican establishment since his temporary defection from the party in 1999.

In Minnesota, Governor Jesse Ventura has reported part of his compensation for his work as a football commentator. Documents show that the XFL paid Ventura $320,000 to cover expenses for his 13 weeks of work. Most of that money went for charter flights to games. About $6,000 of it covered limo rides.

A second look at the so-called liberal media when we return: Can you spot the media bias by the way celebrities are labeled? Jeff Greenfield's "Bite of the Apple" is next.


WOODRUFF: We've heard a good bit lately about media bias and political labels.

Well, our Jeff Greenfield has a new look at the issue in today's "Bite of the Apple."

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: It's been an article of faith among conservatives for more than 30 years: that the mainstream media tilt left. One of the strongest arguments: that the media label conservatives far more often than they do liberals. Well, now someone has put that argument to a test, with some surprising results.


(voice-over): In his best-selling book "Bias," former CBS News newsman Bernard Goldberg argues that liberal broadcasters use such labels because they simply assume conservatives are outside the mainstream while liberals are part of it.

Well, in the new "American Prospect" magazine, writer Geoffrey Nunberg tried to test that argument. So, he took five leading conservatives -- Senators Trent and Jesse Helms, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Representatives Dick Armey and Tom DeLay. He also took five leading liberals: Senators Barbara Boxer, Paul Wellstone, Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy and Representative Barney Frank.

He ran their names through a database of major American newspapers, most of them with liberal editorial pages, like "The New York Times" and "The Washington Post." What did he find? It was the liberals who were 30 percent more likely to be labeled by the media than were conservatives. It was true as well with celebrities. Barbra Streisand and Rob Reiner were labeled far more than conservatives like Tom Selleck and Bruce Willis were labeled conservatives.

Conservative jurist Robert Bork was labeled slightly more often than liberal Laurence Tribe. But liberal columnist Michael Kinsley was labeled far more often than conservatives Bill Bennett or Reverend Jerry Falwell.


GREENFIELD: Now, this doesn't necessarily prove that Bernard Goldberg or other critics are wrong. The study, after all, did not focus on TV broadcasters. And it does not disprove charges of bias in the coverage of issues or political campaigns.

But, given the liberal editorial stance of most of the newspapers surveyed, it does raise an interesting question about media critics, one that knows no ideological line: Are the critics responding to what they see and hear and read or to what they think they're hearing, seeing and reading?

WOODRUFF: Jeff Greenfield, something more for us to think about about that. It is now on to Florida. Coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS: Gubernatorial candidate Bill McBride talks to us about his uphill battle against fellow Democrat Janet Reno.


WOODRUFF: In the Florida governor's race, former Attorney General Janet Reno is campaigning today from Key Largo to Miami. It's been a busy week as she tries to capitalize on her appearance at the Florida Democratic Convention this past weekend. She and her Democratic primary opponent, Attorney Bill McBride, both vied for votes during the event.

Since we have interviewed Reno on this program before, we thought it was time to give a little equal time to McBride. I spent some time with him while I was in Orlando.


BILL MCBRIDE (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Whose convention is this? This is our convention!


MCBRIDE: Where are you going to be in January?

WOODRUFF: Right now, you've been at this for several months. You are running 30-some points behind in the polls.

MCBRIDE: Oh, but that's really sort of misleading, because we haven't done one television ad. We haven't done one radio ad. We haven't done any of the things that raises name recognition.

What I've got is all the endorsements and people who have had -- every time we've done that, I've come out ahead. So name recognition and polls and all -- my polls that need to be important are polls down in July and August, not now, until we go on television and do the mass kind of thing.

Now, with not many people knowing about me, I'm doing great in the polls. I'm ahead of where Senator Lawton Chiles was, Governor Bob Graham, Governor Reubin Askew, people who had run their first time. So I'm well ahead of where we thought we were going to be.

WOODRUFF: This cigarette tax that you proposed, 50 cents a pack -- and you have talked about closing up some loopholes, closing off some tax exemptions. Tell me, when did you get the idea that raising taxes was a good way to win an election?

MCBRIDE: Well this is, again -- what I'm talking about is public education. The people in Florida know that you can't talk about public education with the situation we're in unless we get new revenues.

So, the one tax I've proposed is a tax that I think the Florida voters will accept. If Florida voters want their public schools to be fixed -- now, somebody is going to say we can do it without new revenues. They're not being fair to the people of Florida. That's what the current governor said. And we're losing ground in every relative measure.

So, the cigarette tax will bring in revenues. The loopholes and the other things that I'm going to do in my plan will give us enough money to start making progress on the public schools. I think you have got to have a plan. I think you have got to be courageous about what you care about.

WOODRUFF: Coming out of this convention, what is going to be a success for you?


MCBRIDE: I've already really had a pretty big successful convention so far. If you look around here, there's people that are really passionate about my campaign. And we're going to get to know a lot more people. There are some people I don't know yet.

What I want to do is -- this convention, Judy, starts the campaign, as you probably know. This has been a lot of jockeying around, a lot of getting endorsements and things. Now this sets the campaign up for the summer. This is one of the most important governor's races in America. It is going to set the tone for where this state goes for a long, long time.

WOODRUFF: We really appreciate your joining us, Bill McBride. Thank you so much.


WOODRUFF: Bill McBride, running for the Democratic nomination for governor election in Florida.

Well, that gathering in Florida put the focus once again on the political landscape in the state that brought us the 2000 presidential stand-off.

CNN's Ron Brownstein offers his snapshots of Florida politics in 2002.


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Meet the face of the future in Florida politics. Eddie Diaz, a former Orlando police officer, was partially paralyzed when he was shot eight times during a gunfight that killed another policeman two years ago.

EDDIE DIAZ (D), CALIFORNIA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I've worked harder than ever, harder than I had as a Marine Corpsman in Desert Storm, harder than I had as a cop. And, miraculously, I was able to regain full use of my legs and to walk again.

BROWNSTEIN: After grueling rehabilitation, Diaz is not only walking again; he's running for Congress as a Democrat. Born in Puerto Rico, Diaz symbolizes a demographic revolution that is helping to transform Florida from a Republican stronghold into what may be the most fiercely contested swing state on the presidential map.

From 1972 through 1992, the Republican presidential nominee averaged almost 57 percent of the vote in Florida. But Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996. And in 2000, Al Gore and George Bush fought to such a standstill here that partisans are still arguing about who really won.

(on camera): Two factors above all have carried the Democrats back into competition for Florida. One is their increasing strength among suburban voters, especially white women, who have been drawn to the party on cultural issues like guns and abortion. The other key has been a tide of Hispanic immigration from Puerto Rico and Central and South America.

(voice-over): The powerful Cuban community is still voting heavily Republican. But Gore carried a majority of the Hispanics in Florida who did not come from Cuba. And that new Hispanic population is now growing more than four times as fast as the Cubans.

But in politics, demography is often destiny. And the rising presence of Hispanics from outside of Cuba virtually guarantees that the balance of power between the parties in Florida will grow steadily more precarious, year by year and step by step.

In Orlando, Florida, this is Ron Brownstein for INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: We will hit the jackpot when we return and offer some political perspective on today's big lottery winners.

But first, here's a look at what's ahead on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" live from Jerusalem -- Wolf.

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

We'll find out precisely, what did Secretary of State Colin Powell manage to achieve while he was here? I'll speak with the Israeli defense minister as well as the Palestinian chief peace negotiator. I'll also speak live with two mayors, the mayor of Jerusalem and the mayor of Bethlehem.

It is all coming up right at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: A young Georgia woman stands to receive about $58.9 million as one of three winners in last night's multistate Big Game jackpot. Twenty-year-old Erika Greene of Dacula, Georgia says she has no idea what she'll do with the money. She told reporters that this is the first time she has ever bought lottery tickets.

Well, we wondered how this win stacks up in political terms. It turns out her jackpot is more than Al Gore spent in his campaign to win the 2000 Democratic nomination. It is also more than the combined first-quarter fund-raising totals of the Republican and Democratic National Committee. However, her winnings don't match what Michael Bloomberg spent in his successful race to become mayor of New York City.

And I will bet you that Erika Greene doesn't get involved in politics.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" live from Jerusalem. Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


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