CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Dozens of Palestinians Set to Leave Bethlehem Church; Will Israel Retaliate for Suicide Bombing?
Aired May 8, 2002 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Dozens of Palestinians may be leaving the Church of the Nativity soon, after a five-week standoff.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer in Jerusalem with more on that possible resolution of the standoff, as well as possible Israeli military retaliation for yesterday's suicide bombing.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill, where Congress is gearing up for the fall elections by pigging out on some very expensive peanuts, and much more.
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, Caroline Kennedy talks to us about "Profiles in Courage," her new book, and the example set by her father.
Thank you for joining us. We begin with the Mideast crisis and new developments and new questions about what happens next after the latest suicide bombing in Israel. My colleagues Wolf Blitzer and John King are both standing by in Jerusalem and here in Washington.
Wolf, I want to go to you first to bring us up-to-date, beginning with the situation at the Church of the Nativity.
BLITZER: At the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Judy, there once again appears to be some movement. We've seen some movement outside the door, the main door, where some 123 people are blocked inside the Church of the Nativity. At issue right now, what to do with 13 suspected Palestinian terrorists. The Israelis brand them senior terrorists. They want them exiled.
And reportedly, the Palestinian Authority of Yasser Arafat agrees. They can be exiled. Originally they were supposed to go to Italy but the Italian government says no. And right now no other country seems to be willing to come forward and accept those 13 Palestinians.
As a result, the standoff continues. Some speculation that perhaps even tonight, others within the church might be able to leave as the standoff involving the 13 continues. But we're watching that picture. We're watching the standoff as it continues. All of this taking place as the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has just touched down at Ben Gurion airport with his entourage. He is now meeting an emergency meeting of the Israeli cabinet at the airport, to underscore how serious this crisis is right now in the aftermath of that suicide bombing in Rishon Letzion, just south of Tel Aviv, exactly 24 hours ago.
On the agenda, potential Israeli military strikes against targets in the West Bank, perhaps even this time against targets in Gaza. The cabinet is making a decision.
One note that is significant, Judy, within the Israeli cabinet already some voices say go ahead and exile Yasser Arafat from the West Bank and Gaza, along with some of his key lieutenants, despite the fact that Arafat, earlier today, went on Palestinian television and in Arabic not only condemned the bombing yesterday but called on all Palestinians to stop similar suicide bombings down the road -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Wolf, joining us from Jerusalem.
And now let's go quickly to the White House to our colleague, John King. John, what are they saying at the White House about these words of condemnation coming from Arafat?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they welcome that statement, Judy, and they say it was the right thing to do and that some pressure had been applied to Mr. Arafat to make that statement. But most important, in the view of the White House, is that Mr. Arafat not speak out but that he act, that he put together security forces, that he begin again arresting people and rounding them up, and he begin again, sharing intelligence about possible attacks with the Israeli security forces.
So it is actions, not words, that the administration is looking for. And that's one of the reasons CIA director George Tenet will make his way to the region in the next several days, to meet with Mr. Arafat and top deputies about reforming the Palestinian security forces. That is the short term issue: deal with the security forces.
Now, the president tonight will try to show his commitment to keeping the political dialogue and the diplomacy going. Jordan's King Abdullah will be here at the White House in a few hours. But a big question mark here from the administration as to whether this bombing causes a pause in the diplomacy, or an outright halt.
There were already disagreements between the administration and Israel, between Israel's view and the Arab view, about how to proceed. Chief among them, Prime Minister Sharon, even before the bombings, said it was premature to have any discussions about a Palestinian state right now.
So even in question are the administration's plans for that international Mideast conference. Because the Arab states say it's not worth going to unless the goal is to set a timetable for a Palestinian state. Even before the bombing, Prime Minister Sharon said he wasn't willing to discuss that. At the White House tonight they believe out of this emergency cabinet meeting will come some forceful Israeli response so the president will voice his commitment tonight to keeping the diplomacy going. The question, though, is can he have any success? If it's already frustrating, can he make any steps forward in the wake of this latest suicide bombing?
WOODRUFF: All right, you're right, John. It has only gotten harder. John King at the White House. Thank you.
In between meetings on the Middle East crisis, President Bush squeezed in a trip to Wisconsin today to try to heighten awareness of the education reform that he signed into law. At the same time, Democrats press their charge that there isn't enough money in Mr. Bush's proposed budget to pay for those reforms. Our Bill Schneider thinks there's a lesson there -- Bill.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, why is President Bush spending so much time in school? You might call it remedial education. Republicans recently learned that their party has been falling behind on the education issue.
(voice-over): Education has always been a Democratic issue. But in the 2000 campaign, President Bush embraced the issue as his own. As president, he got a major education bill through Congress. The "no child left behind" act.
FRED YANG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I think the president has helped himself on the education issue. I would argue in some respects he's probably helped the Republican Party.
SCHNEIDER: In fact, Republicans got very excited when polls early this year showed the GOP had caught up to the Democrats as the party that was better for education.
KARL ROVE, SR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: We have succeeded in wiping out a 51-year disadvantage on this issue.
SCHNEIDER: Except for one thing: an influential Republican pollster has found that since January, when Republicans stopped talking about education, the Democrats' lead on the issue has been restored. So this week, the president went back to school.
And a recent memo from the House Republican conference chairman advises his colleagues -- quote -- "talk about education every time you meet with your constituents, reporters and supporters." Why is education such a potent issue?
Pollsters say it appeals to many important constituencies, some of them swing groups.
YANG: Catholics, baby boomers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hispanics. YANG: The businessman who says, I need the well-educated work force.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone who has a child is concerned about this issue.
SCHNEIDER: Education is a mommy issue -- the kind of issue Democrats have an advantage on.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You cannot do it on a tin cup budget. And that is what this administration has.
SCHNEIDER: Wait a minute. Aren't daddies concerned with education too? Before Daddy puts out more money, he wants to know how it's being spent.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My attitude is if you spend something, you ought to get results for it.
SCHNEIDER: That's why accountability is the centerpiece of President Bush's education policy. We have to hold schools accountable for their progress, or their failure. The president is turning education into a daddy issue.
WOODRUFF: I wonder what the moms will say about that.
SCHNEIDER: They might like it.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
To a separate domestic issue now. Any minute now the Senate is expected to give final, Congressional approval to a farm bill that grows federal spending on agriculture by almost 80 percent. Our Jonathan Karl reports on the election year goodies jam-packed into the bill.
KARL: Honey, sweet and sticky and soon to be costly to taxpayers. The farm bill includes over $100 million in new subsidies for honey producers. And that's peanuts compared to what the bill would spend on, well, peanuts. The farm bill funnels $4 billion in new funds to peanut farmers over the next ten years.
Think about it. That's nearly triple the amount of new education spending President Bush proposed with much fanfare for next year. In the mid 1990s, Congress had tried to wean farmers off government subsidies. With this bill, that effort is over.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: It is election year. And trying to produce this bill, this significant policy change in agriculture, during an election year is a recipe for disaster. It's like sending somebody up to the supermarket to go shopping who's been on a diet for 30 days. KARL: Congress is pigging out just in time for hotly-contested Senate races that just happen to be concentrated in the farm belt this year, which may explain why President Bush promised to sign the bill even with its whopping $190 billion price tag. Tom Daschle, eager to elect Democrats, especially in his home state of South Dakota, is onboard too.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I believe the spending in this bill is modest. I mean, we're talking about a small fraction of the entire budget over the next ten years that will be going to agriculture.
KARL: Environmental groups are opposing the bill in part because they believe the subsidies are so massive that they would leave to overfarming, compounding the negative impact of fertilizers and pesticides that harm the environment.
KEN COOK, ENVIRONMENTAL WORKING GROUP: The Republicans find themselves supporting big government and Democrats find themselves selling out the little guy. Those are principles on both sides that were sacrificed all in the name of keeping the money flowing to the very biggest farms in the country.
KARL: Congress punted on a short-lived effort to target more money to small family farms, but Instead ended up with a bill that will mean more money than ever going to huge agri-business corporations.
And then there's the wool and mohair program. Once the poster child for government waste, this program was killed back in 1996. It was started way back during World War II to help the military make uniforms. The military doesn't use mohair anymore. But nevertheless, Congress is going to once again be spending $205 million over the next ten years on this program, Judy.
So while the military won't pay for mohair anymore or using it anymore, you will soon be being for it -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, mohair and peanuts. Jon Karl, thanks very much.
Can a politician be courageous and still be reelected? Up next, Caroline Kennedy answers that question and shares some anecdotes about political courage within her new book and within her family.
In our "Taking Issue" segment, does a member of the Bush administration put some new kick into the debate over gun rights?
And later, are there any surprises left to learn about Senator John McCain? Author Elizabeth Drew thinks so. She'll share her insights about "Citizen McCain."
WOODRUFF: The book is "Profiles in Courage For Our Time." It is introduced and edited by Caroline Kennedy. She's with me now here in Washington. Thank you for being with us.
CAROLINE KENNEDY, EDITOR, "PROFILES IN COURAGE FOR OUR TIMES": Thank you for having me.
WOODRUFF: The original "Profiles in Courage," your father wrote, and in it he selected eight United States senators. Now, nowadays, people don't typically think of politicians as displaying a lot of courage. Why was it important to you to continue to honor people in public service?
KENNEDY: I think that really, that book was really one of the defining parts of my father's career. And I think he lived a courageous life in the presidency. And I think that's one of the great things that he did, was to inspire so many people to get involved and to believe in public service.
And that's what this award tries to do. I think when we started it, there was a sense that people were too willing to write off politicians as not having courage. We really wanted to recognize people who do and celebrate that and encourage it.
WOODRUFF: Now, the people you recognize, from John Lewis to Charles Weltner -- there are a number of others -- Mike Synar, Henry Gonzalez, Jim Florio, they did hold office. But many of them were not necessarily -- they didn't go on to be successful. They weren't reelected and reelected. So the question is, can you be courageous and still win reelection?
KENNEDY: Right. I think you can and I think that those people also stand for something even greater than reelection. But I think that obviously they're in a business where they want to be reelected, they want to serve. And it's a lot to ask someone to give that up.
But I think that Mike Synar took on one after another special interest groups. And he made it -- but he always explained what he was doing. And I think the people in his district were willing to believe in him. And they did return him to office for seven or eight terms.
And other people haven't been reelected, like Gerald Ford. But I think overall, they would all say that they believed in what they were doing, and that they had done the right thing.
WOODRUFF: You mentioned Gerald Ford. How much controversy was there? You have a committee that selects the people who will be the courage -- "Profiles in Courage" winners. How controversial was that?
KENNEDY: That was a very difficult and intense meeting, because there were people on the committee who really, I think a lot of people hadn't really thought much about this, but who at the time had thought it was just an awful thing. And a lot of people assumed that Ford had made some sort of a deal or something like that. And when we were -- somebody brought this idea forward, I think it forced everybody to reexamine it and realize what Ford had done. And that he really had done in the interest of our country. And it was a single act of courage.
And that's really what the original "Profiles in Courage," my father's book, was really focused on, sort of a single act of courage that defined a career.
WOODRUFF: In connection with Gerald Ford, is there a story about your uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, and what he said at one point to President Ford about what he had done in pardoning Richard Nixon?
KENNEDY: I don't know. I don't remember this story. Did he tell you a secret?
WOODRUFF: Did he perhaps tell Gerald Ford that he thought he'd done the wrong thing and then change his mind?
KENNEDY: Oh, absolutely. No, he said that he thought it was the wrong thing at the time. And I think there was a lot of other people on the committee who thought so too. But he was actually one of the first people to say that he thought, looking back on it, that Ford absolutely -- it was the right thing do, and that he had been wrong.
WOODRUFF: The former mayor of Palos Heights, Illinois, someone who would be otherwise completely obscure -- this is a suburb of Chicago -- but he defended the right of a group of Muslims.
KENNEDY: They wanted to build a mosque in the town, to take over an empty building that had been used by a Christian congregation that had outgrown it. And then there were a lot of residents who were opposed to that. And it really became sort of an ugly, divisive incident in the town.
And this mayor, who was serving his first term, had been a Republican bricklayer and served on the zoning commission and had been elected mayor. He stood up for their right, and for their rights of free exercise of their religion. And he just thought it was wrong to -- for anyone not to be able to worship freely in this country.
And he really took a courageous stand. It was before September 11th and I think that that only echoes, you know, more now.
WOODRUFF: From mayor -- was it Copenhagen?
WOODRUFF: Koldenhoven. Thank you for pronouncing it correctly, all the way to Kofi Annan, the first international profile winner, is that right?
KENNEDY: Right. We have always tried to celebrate American elected officials. That's what my father's book did and that's really what the award is intended to do. But I think that September 11th really overwhelmed, you know, all of us in so many ways this year. And one of them, I think it brought public service to the forward in a new way and inspired so many people to get involved. And I think that we wanted to recognize that, which we did. As well as, it sort of made all of us realize that we're part of a global society.
And Kofi Annan has stood up to constituencies within the U.N. He's challenged the wealthy nations to fight AIDS and poverty. And he's challenged all of us to think about world events and what's going on, and could we do more and take some responsibility for, you know, the injustice that we see.
So I think that he -- he is an elected official, as it turns out. And that's really one of the things that this award is confined to. Because there are a lot of awards for human rights, or other public service awards. But this is really the only one for political courage by someone who's elected and has to be reelected.
WOODRUFF: Last question, down to the personal. Given what you now know about politics and public service, Caroline Kennedy running for office someday?
KENNEDY: I don't know. I think it's a tremendously rewarding life and the people that I know who are in politics really believe in what they are doing. So I think it would be a great thing to do, but I don't know.
KENNEDY: There are many ways to serve, exactly. And I think that everybody can serve. So it's just a question of finding the right thing.
WOODRUFF: And you're clearly not shutting the door.
KENNEDY: There's a lot of people going in that door ahead of me, so...
WOODRUFF: Caroline Kennedy, the introducer and the editor of "Profiles in Courage For Our Time." Thank you very much for being with us.
KENNEDY: Thank you so much.
WOODRUFF: And we notice she didn't shut the door. And in the interest of full disclosure, I will point out that my husband wrote one of the chapters in that book.
An update on developments in the Middle East next in our "Newscycle."
Also, Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson tackle the farm bill.
And the political hay lawmakers just can't refuse.
WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our Newscycle. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has arrived back in Israel for meetings to consider a response to yesterday's suicide bombing. The blast killed at least 15 people and injured almost 60 others. Sharon has publicly blamed Yasser Arafat for the attack. Arafat today condemned the bombing in Arabic on Palestinian television.
The latest effort to end the standoff at the Church of the Nativity would allow 110 Palestinians inside the church to leave, but would require 13 others wanted by Israel to remain until some nation agrees to take them. One of the 13 told CNN that he believes those inside not wanted by Israel could begin leaving the church within hours.
An affidavit filed by the FBI says that accused mailbox bomber, Lucas John Helder, has admitted that he planted 18 pipe bombs in mailboxes across five states. The affidavit also states that Helder told investigators where he placed the bombs as well as how and when he made them.
With us now, Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE." I want to ask you about something out of the Justice Department yesterday, and that is Solicitor General Ted Olson issuing a brief that he filed with the Supreme Court this weekend, I'm going to quote here.
"The current position of the United States is that the Second Amendment more broadly protects the rights of individuals, including persons who are not members of any militia or engaged in acts of military service or training, to possess and bear their own firearms."
Now, is this a change, a significant change? Is this a nuance? Margaret, what is this?
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, I leave the total interpretation to Tucker, who is a pro -- practically a pro-gun lobbyist.
TUCKER CARLSON, "CROSSFIRE": Amen.
M. CARLSON: But I think it doubles the ways in which you can have a gun and be protected, and the laws not being forced against you about not buying or keeping them, in that the militia clause is now added to by the individual clause. So it's twice as many ways in which you can hold and carry a gun in this country.
WOODRUFF: This interpretation was not there before. It's the first time individuals have been named.
T. CARLSON: If there is someone in America who thinks the Second Amendment applies only to members of state militias, I'd like to meet him. Nobody thinks that. This is essentially the status quo. The Supreme Court has not ruled directly on the Second Amendment since 1939. And what the administration is asking for is a clarification of the what the Supreme Court's position on the Second Amendment is. And most people's position, or understanding of that amendment is that it protects individual gun rights with some exceptions.
You can forfeit your rights by committing a crime, for instance. Not all guns are covered by the Second Amendment. Machine guns aren't. And that's the administration's point of view, that individuals have a right to carry firearms with exceptions. I think most people feel that way.
WOODRUFF: But according to one report, this is the first time the U.S. government has, in a filing with a federal court, said that the Second Amendment grants individuals this right.
M. CARLSON: They want the Supreme Court to clarify that, in addition to the militia.
WOODRUFF: All right, moving on. Farm bill today. We had a very interesting and wide-ranging report from our Jon Karl earlier. A lot of money in here, $83 billion over the next ten years. Margaret, is this the right way to support farming in this country?
M. CARLSON: That's a lot of soybeans, Judy, that we may not need. Congress always cites the family farmer -- it's like apple pie and motherhood -- to justify, you know, the farm bill. And really, overturning the freedom to farm act of 1996.
In fact, by granting these subsidies, it helps the large farmer swallow up the small farmer. It hastens the demise, if anything, of the family farmer. It is not a good bill in that way.
And it's going to make Europeans very angry with us after the steel and the lumber and the other subsidies.
T. CARLSON: And for good reason.
It increases subsidies by 70 percent over the '96 bill that Margaret mentioned. And it does it for the following reason. The idea is that farmers, unlike every other kind of business owner, shouldn't be subject to the -- quote -- "uncertainties of the market." In other words, prices fluctuate, but farmers ought to be insulated from that. It's quite a nonjustification.
And I agree it's going to make it much harder for the administration to say to other countries, "Look, we object to your price supports for your products when here we are supporting ours."
WOODRUFF: Just quickly to the Middle East -- tragedy again out of Israel yesterday: 60 people injured, 15 or more dead.
Margaret, how much more should the Bush administration be leaning on Yasser Arafat at this point?
M. CARLSON: As hard as they can, although it seems to have limited effect.
To not keep leaning on them and for these latest efforts to break up is to give the suicide bombers all the power. You just have to keep going. You just have to keep pushing both sides, despite the violence that is continuing.
T. CARLSON: This is not a defense of Yasser Arafat. I would never utter something like that. But, on the other hand, if you isolate the guy alone in a concrete box with no electricity, and even that doesn't eliminate the suicide bombings, then you've got to think maybe it's time to consider another tack. Maybe he is not pulling all of the strings of every suicide bomber. Of course he is not.
M. CARLSON: Well, I think now we don't think is he ordering them, necessarily, but he hasn't done what he can to stop it.
T. CARLSON: Well, but, I mean, it does raise, I think, a really valid question about what he can do. This is, again, not a defense of him. It's not to say he doesn't support suicide bombing. I am sure he does.
M. CARLSON: He has, what, an 89, 90 percent approval rate.
WOODRUFF: Especially after the latest...
M. CARLSON: People are solidly behind him. And I actually think he has a lot of power he is not exercising.
WOODRUFF: All right. He did make the statement...
T. CARLSON: Yasser the powerful.
WOODRUFF: All right, Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, thank you both. We appreciate it.
M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: See you.
And we would like to you give us your opinions on these topics and more at CNN.com/INSIDE POLITICS. Plus, don't forget to e-mail Bill Schneider with your ideas for this week's "Political Play of the Week."
Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz" is coming up next. Find out what House Speaker Dennis Hastert apparently has been shouting about.
WOODRUFF: Now the "Inside Buzz" on Capitol Hill phone skills.
Congressional leaders tried to get on a conference call last night with Ariel Sharon after the Israeli prime minister canceled a face-to-face meeting in order to return home because of the latest suicide bombing. But each time one leader dialed in, another got knocked off the line. After 45 minutes of dialing and hand-wringing, only Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott spoke with Sharon. And all they reportedly heard was, "Sorry I couldn't make it to the meeting" and "Thank you for your support."
Well, here now with some more "Inside Buzz": our Bob Novak.
All right, first of all, Bob, I hear some House Republicans squabbling over the supplemental appropriations bill.
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Squabbling puts it mildly, Judy.
The speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, who is normally a very mild guy, I am told at a meeting yesterday was red in the face talking to his fellow leaders about the runaway appropriations, going way above the $27 billion in the emergency appropriations bill, even money for the Smithsonian Institution in the emergency bill.
And he said this has to stop. They called in the Appropriations Committee chairman, Bill Young, and the very powerful staff director, Jim Dyer, for a meeting. And I am told that Dyer was shouting so much, you could hear his voice in the hall. But I think maybe the speaker has gotten the money calmed down. That's something the president should have done when he met with Chairman Young. But the president did not put the heat on the spenders and the appropriators, as Speaker Hastert did.
WOODRUFF: All right, let's move on the terrorism insurance legislation. This is something else that they're dealing with.
NOVAK: This was a bill that passed the House way back in December right after 9/11. It still hasn't gotten through the Senate because the trial lawyers want punitive damages.
And this is something that would really -- could spoil the whole process of terrorism insurance. Now, the White House is telling the Republicans, "Let the bill pass with the punitive damages and we'll take care of it in the Senate-House conference." But the Senate Republican leader Trent Lott says: "Not on your life. You said you'd take care of the airport security bill in conference and you didn't."
And so, he's holding it up until they get that punitive damages out. Meanwhile, big corporations like Marriott can't build without the terrorism insurance provision.
WOODRUFF: All right, from the Senate overall to one senator who was on "Meet the Press" this past Sunday. And what happened?
NOVAK: John Edwards of North Carolina, Judy, has been the flavor of the week for several weeks as the coming guy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
He's good looking, articulate. He's new. But he really may not be ready for prime-time, because our old friend Tim Russert really led him down a lot cul-de-sacs on tough questioning. Senator Edwards is kind of used to the provincial questioning he gets on the campaign circuit, stumbled on a lot of things. For example, he said he thought that the Taliban were coming back in Afghanistan, but he was against U.S. troops. He was against tax cuts, but he didn't want to go with Teddy Kennedy -- a very confused performance.
That's just not me saying that. I have talked to a lot of Democrats, very disappointed. They still think Edwards is a real comer, but he has got to really work on his answers when he gets into the political big-time.
And, finally, a courthouse named after a former senator -- what happened here?
NOVAK: This was one of the golden moments in Washington, one of those little vignettes that never gets in the papers.
In the Senate today, Senator Pete Domenici asked for unanimous consent to bring up a bill to name a courthouse after former Senator Alfonse D'Amato. Of course the Senate did that for their old pal. But guess who was presiding over the Senate? Hillary Rodham Clinton, who Senator D'Amato was so rough on in the Whitewater hearings. She just had a mask on her face as she heard all the praise for her old enemy, Al D'Amato. Ain't Washington a wonderful place?
WOODRUFF: We assume this courthouse will be in New York state?
NOVAK: That's right.
WOODRUFF: None other than.
NOVAK: That's right.
WOODRUFF: At some point, they all work together, don't they?
NOVAK: They sure do.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, thanks very much. We appreciate it. Good to see you.
Well, if you needed any more proof of Al Gore's political reemergence, our Jonathan Karl tells us that Gore made his first appearance at the Democratic National Committee headquarters here in Washington since the demise of his presidential campaign. Gore apparently dropped in unannounced yesterday while he was in the neighborhood for a Democratic fund-raiser. He thanked the people there for their support in 2000 and he gave a little pep talk for the upcoming election.
Some intriguing results in Tuesday's primaries lead the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": In Ohio, a 28-year-old state senator stunned eight-term incumbent Congressman Tom Sawyer. Timothy Ryan got 41 percent of the vote to Sawyer's 28 percent in the Democratic primary for that redrawn 17th District. Ryan now faces a Republican and two independents, including his political mentor, Congressman James Traficant. Traficant, who was elected as a Democrat, is still in office, but he now faces up to 63 years in prison when he is sentenced next month on bribery and racketeering convictions.
Indiana Republican Steve Buyer held off fellow Republican incumbent Brian Kerns in the GOP primary in that state's new 4th Congressional District. Voters gave Buyer, a 10-year House veteran, 55 percent of the vote. Now, Kerns, who is completing his first term, got about 30 percent. Buyer's old district was carved up by state Democrats during the redistricting process, but he won every county on the way to victory in his new district.
How will female candidates fare at the polls this fall? Up next, our Jeff Greenfield explores the role of women in politics and tells us why it is helpful to look backward.
WOODRUFF: Election Day 2002 will mark 10 years since the so- called Year of the Woman, when a record number of female candidates won seats in the U.S. Senate.
Our Jeff Greenfield has been thinking about women in politics, past present and future.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: The political world usually looks in one direction only: ahead.
The next presidential race begins just about the time the inaugural ends. And I promise you there are people already speculating about the Republican presidential nominee for 2008. But when it comes to the way politics has changed, say the role of women in American political life, you have to begin by looking backward.
LT. GOV. KATHLEEN KENNEDY TOWNSEND (D), MARYLAND: I declare my candidacy for governor.
GREENFIELD: There was absolutely nothing unexpected about Kathleen Kennedy Townsend's announcement that she was running for governor of Maryland. She had been lieutenant governor for the last eight years. And with Maryland solidly Democratic, she is probably the favorite right now.
She runs at a time when five states are governed by women and in a year when women will likely win one or both major party nominations in seven states. But until 1975, these three women -- Nellie Tyler Ross of Wyoming, Ma Ferguson of Texas, Lurleen Wallace of Alabama -- had been the only women ever to serve as governors, each acting as a stand-in for a husband who had either died or could not succeed himself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ELLA GRASSO, CONNECTICUT: Well, I did not enter this combat to knock down a barrier. (END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: It wasn't until 1975 that Ella Grasso of Connecticut became the first woman in America elected governor in her own right.
See these women? All of them served in the United States Senate, but all of them first got there as successors to their husbands. Only Margaret Chase Smith of Maine and Maurine Neuberger were later elected in their own right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have another 66 to go.
GREENFIELD: But today, 13 women sit in the Senate, all of them elected on their own. And, in Maine, Washington state and California, both senators are women; 30 years ago, a mere dozen women served in the U.S. House of Representatives. Today, there are 60 women, including Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi, the second-most powerful Democrat in that body.
(on camera): There is one other point to note. At a time when more and more wealthy men are financing their own campaigns, take special note of Maria Cantwell of Washington state. She lost her House seat eight years ago, got millions of dollars in the then- booming dot-com world and then, in 2000, spent some $10 million of her own money to win a U.S. Senate seat, the first case on record of a self-financing woman candidate.
Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: It's not possible to have too many women.
Up next on our "Back Page": John McCain's newfound friends across the political aisle and the one thing they all have in common, the self-styled Republican maverick and his appeal to Democrats -- plus, an inside look at the fight to pass campaign finance reform.
WOODRUFF: Republican Senator John McCain has made his name as an independent operator, unafraid to challenge the leaders of his own party.
Our political analyst Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times" reports that that independent streak has made McCain the favored legislative teammate for a certain group of Democrats.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): It's beginning to look as if the first stop on the road to the next Democratic presidential nomination isn't Iowa or New Hampshire. It's a Washington podium with John McCain.
The Democrats who want to unseat George W. Bush in 2004 are stampeding to get next to the Republican who pushed him to the limit in 2000. Virtually every congressional Democrat even casually considering a run for the White House is now co-sponsoring legislation with McCain.
There is McCain-Edwards to reform HMOs; McCain-Gephardt to cut corporate subsidies. McCain teamed with John Kerry in an unsuccessful effort to raise fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. McCain and Joe Lieberman are collaborating on three bills, on terrorism, global warming, and gun control. And, of course, there is McCain- Feingold, the campaign finance reform legislation President Bush recently signed -- so reluctantly, he didn't even invite the authors to witness the event.
All this fraternization with the enemy has made McCain the target of increasing antagonism from Republicans. But he sees partnering with Democrats as the best way to get things done in a narrowly- divided Congress. And the Democrats see association with McCain as a powerful calling card with independent and moderate voters.
At 65 McCain, seems unlikely to leave the GOP or to run for president again himself. But as a source of ideas and a symbol of reform, he is already casting a long shadow over the 2004 race, just not in the party he still calls home.
This is Ron Brownstein for INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: The name John McCain has become practically synonymous with campaign finance reform.
Joining me now: author and journalist Elizabeth Drew, who has written a book about John McCain, and, Elizabeth Drew, primarily about his efforts to get campaign reform passed over the last year and a half.
You've covered him. A lot of journalists have covered him, but you spent a lot of time with him last year. What did you learn that the rest of us haven't seen about the man?
ELIZABETH DREW, AUTHOR, "CITIZEN MCCAIN": I thought I knew him, Judy, just like all of us think we know him. I saw that he really -- there are layers and layers and layers to the man. And there's a sophistication to his thinking and his strategizing that he doesn't usually spell out. In fact, I don't think I've seen it spelled out before.
In handling the campaign finance bill -- because I wrote about other things as well -- he showed himself -- and this was new. He changed his tactics from the year before. So, he's a learner. He showed himself to be a very shrewd, long-sighted strategist. He remained very steady. Everybody goes on about his humor, but he stayed steady. He made it a big point to stay steady.
He formed a bipartisan coalition to get the bill through, so it wasn't just -- because, he said, "It wasn't just me out there fighting with Mitch McConnell and getting torn up." And he knew how to -- he has an outside game. This is critical to understanding John McCain. All the television appearances and so on, he's building and holding the swing constituency in this country.
And he's able to call them in when he needs their help, as he did on the campaign finance reform. Otherwise, he could haven't made the Congress pass a law it didn't really want to pass.
WOODRUFF: George Bush -- the two of them were rivals in 2000. Clearly, Bush won. What is their relationship now? You write about tensions throughout this book. Here we are in the middle of 2002. Where does that stand?
DREW: Well, I think the relationship between the president and McCain, themselves, is polite, if a little tense.
The bigger problems arise at the staff level, particularly Karl Rove, the president's major political adviser, who has a long-term grudge against a McCain adviser. But they try to be decorous with each other. But then, quite honestly, I think Bush did a really dumb thing in signing the campaign finance reform bill suddenly, early one morning, so that he didn't have to have McCain standing there in the Rose Garden by his side. I think this alienated the reform constituency, which is much larger than the White House thinks, and that central group whose votes became sways.
WOODRUFF: That may have indicated just how at least conscious the White House is of McCain's own political future.
What have you come away from the time you've spent with him, thinking about where he's headed politically in the future? A lot of speculation about whether he is going to switch parties and become a Democrat.
DREW: I think that's absolutely out. He would not feel comfortable in the Democratic Party and the Democratic Party would not feel comfortable with him. He's cast votes that the purists would never accept. He's a fiscal conservative. He wants to build up defense.
McCain is a fatalist. He's been through so much. There are some of his advisers who would like to see him run again in 2004. He now forbids conversations about it. If he did it -- which I think is less than 50/50 right now -- it would be situational -- if he did it, I think it would be as an independent. And then you raise, "Well, how does he get on the ballots in the various states?" because other people have looked at this.
Again, they would use his very strong following. He has the swing vote in this country. If either Bush or Gore had gone after the McCain voters, they wouldn't have ended up in Florida.
WOODRUFF: Well, it's many months until the election in 2004, but fascinating to know that there's somebody out there who could pull it together in an independent way, potentially.
Elizabeth Drew, the book is "Citizen McCain." Thank you very much for being with us.
DREW: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
There is more INSIDE POLITICS ahead, but first, we want to look at what's ahead at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." We know, for one thing, they'll be talking with John McCain.
And Wolf joins us now from Jerusalem -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": We'll follow up, Judy, on your interview with Elizabeth Drew and we'll speak with John McCain live.
Also, several major developments unfolding here in the Middle East: right now, at this hour, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meeting in emergency session with his Cabinet at Ben Gurion Airport -- the possibility of Israeli military retaliation for yesterday's suicide strike very much on the agenda.
All that and much more coming up at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: A quick look now at what's in the works for tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS: My guests will include Hollywood's voice in Washington, Jack Valenti. He is president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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