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Former President Carter Visits Cuba; What is White House Reaction to Visit?

Aired May 13, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. In Cuba Former President Jimmy Carter weighs into a dispute between Havana and Washington involving biological weapons.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King at the White House. The current president says the embargo against Cuba won't change on his watch unless Fidel Castro suddenly embraces democracy.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. What if the U.S. and Russia announced a new arms treaty and Americans fail to pay attention?

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We begin with Jimmy Carter's landmark trip to Cuba and how it may or may not be complicating Bush administration policy. The former president visited a major biotechnology lab in Havana today at the invitation of Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

The tour came a week after U.S. Undersecretary of State Josh Bolton accused Cuba of trying to develop biological weapons and sharing its research with so-called rogue states. Cuba denies the charge.

Carter says that he and his staff discussed the subject with administration officials before he left for Cuba.


JIMMY CARTER, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I asked them specifically on more than one occasion, is there any evidence that Cuba has been involved in sharing any information to any other country on earth that could be used for terrorist purposes?

And the answer from our experts on intelligence was, no.


WOODRUFF: With us now, CNN's Havana Bureau chief, Lucia Newman. Lucia, what's the reaction of the Cuban people you've talked to, to President Carter's visit?

LUCIA NEWMAN, CNN HAVANA BUREAU CHIEF: Judy, almost everyone I've spoken with, in fact, everyone I have spoken with, has said that they hope that President Carter can help bring the United States and Cuba closer together again after more than four decades of this Cold War relationship.

Now, that sounds like a cliche. But you have to understand that Cubans are just a little more than 90 miles away from where we're speaking right this moment, just across the Florida straits. Most Cubans have relatives, they have friends. They're tired of being an enemy of the United States. They want a more normal relationship, which they also hope will help make a more normal kind of situation in this country, too.

Now, not many people here expect miracles from Jimmy Carter. But they hope that this will at least open the door or set something in motion to bring about more friendship between the two countries -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Now, Lucia, I know you're talking to people not just in Cuba, but the Bush administration as well, the people traveling with President Carter. What are you hearing about what he hopes to accomplish on this trip? And separately, the Bush administration gave him the go-ahead, but what are you hearing about what they're saying?

NEWMAN: Well, we'll start with Former President Carter. When he was president, as you know, he was the one that went the furthest to try and normalize relations between both countries. He opened up the U.S. interest section here, made it possible for the Cubans to have an interest section in Washington.

He even tried to have the travel ban on U.S. citizens removed while he was president. Of course, he wasn't able to achieve that. But so one of his priorities of course, is a closer relationship with both countries.

Also, of course, one of his other important priorities is to talk about human rights. To see if he can convince the Cuban government, after all this time, to ease up, to open up this country to the opposition and to discuss civil liberties in this country, which is why when Jimmy Carter talks to the Cuban people tomorrow -- and his address will be broadcast live all over the country, which is certainly a first -- he will more than likely talk about that subject.

Now, President Bush sent a very clear message when Jimmy Carter announced he was coming here. He said, I hope you talk to Fidel Castro strongly and firmly about the issue of human rights. So he did sign off on it.

But on the other hand it's very clear that the Bush administration is not happy about this visit. It announced on the eve of Jimmy Carter's visit that Cuba was trying to export technology which could be used for making biological weapons, for example. And, as we understand, the Bush administration and rather President Bush himself is to make a major Cuba policy address on Monday, as soon as Jimmy Carter returns to the United States -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Lucia Newman. She is CNN's Havana bureau chief.

For more now on the Bush administration's concerns about President Carter's trip and about U.S. policy on Cuba, let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, John King. And, John, I want to say as we talk to you, President Bush has just returned to the White House.

He's just getting off of Marine 1, I'm told. There he is, walking across the White House lawn, saying hello. And this is just after he's come back from a trip to Illinois.

But, John, back to President Carter's trip to Cuba. What is the reaction of the White House to what's come out of President Carter today?

KING: Well, they certainly would have preferred, Judy, that President Carter not go at all once he had made clear his determination to go. President Carter did have some conversation with State Department officials.

As to the specific allegation about this biological research, senior administration officials saying they don't want to get into what President Carter was or was not told about the U.S. evidence. What U.S. officials say is that they do have what they say are legitimate concerns that a lot of this technology -- pharmaceutical technology, biomedical technology -- has -- quote -- "dual purposes." In other words, it could be used for good purposes like medicine research and the like, but also it could be used for biological weapons.

And they just cite President Castro's travel schedule. He has visited many of the countries that are on the U.S. terrorism list. So this administration, and it has its critics, like President Carter now, saying it will continue to make this case.

Now, as for that speech Lucia talked about, the president will be in Florida on Monday. He will deliver a major speech. U.S. officials telling us don't look for any easing in the U.S. policy towards Cuba.

It comes at a very interesting moment, the transformation, if you will, of the politics regarding this subject. Even many conservatives in Congress, especially those from farm states, are questioning the embargo. Many say it is Hilfiger to say we should trade and have engagement with communist China, but have an embargo, an isolation, for communist Cuba, just 90 miles away.

And corporate America also worries about this. Tom Donahue runs the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He told us in an interview related to President Carter's trip and President Bush's position, he said this: Every time the United States puts a new sanction on or renews existing sanctions, our allies, our best friends, have a cocktail party and celebrate.


(voice-over): Mr. Bush appears in no mood to budge. Just last week the administration accused Cuba of sharing biological research with -- quote -- "rogue states," like Iran, Syria and Libya.

The president plans to visit Little Havana in south Florida next week to celebrate pre-Castro Cuban independence day to reaffirm the promise he made at a White House event marking the occasion last May.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My administration will oppose any attempt to weaken sanctions against Cuba's government until the regime...


BUSH: And I will fight such attempts until this regime frees its political prisoners, holds democratic, free elections and allows for free speech.

KING: Cuban Americans are a key constituency in the state that narrowly decided the outcome of campaign 2000. Mr. Bush won more than 80 percent of the Cuban-American vote in Florida two years ago, up from the 68 percent Republican nominee Bob Dole won back in 1996.

THOMAS DONAHUE, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The president, you know, has some political need to appear strong here because of Florida. I hope he doesn't exacerbate the problem. We can't turn the clock back any further. We have to turn the clock forward.

KING: Florida Governor Jeb Bush also is counting on Cuban- American support. And the president will headline a fund raiser for his brother at next week's visit.


Now, Bush administration officials, though, reject the notion that this policy is guided by politics. They defend it as the right policy. And as all these reports flow in from Havana that President Carter is free to go where he wants, say what he wants and do what he wants, the White House says it would be nice if Mr. Castro gave those same freedoms to the Cuban people -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And, John, what is the White House saying, if anything, about President Carter's statement that he has not seen any concrete evidence of any sharing of biological warfare information or material?

KING: They're not saying much about it. He did receive a briefing -- U.S. officials, at least here at the White House, won't tell us how specific that briefing was -- on the question of this biological research. They simply say what Mr. Bolton, the undersecretary of state, said in his speech a week ago.

And we expect to hear more of this from the president on Monday, that Mr. Castro has travelled to countries that the United States says are trying to develop these weapons, biological and chemical weapons. And that much of the research under way in Cuba could be put to dual use. Yes, toward medicines and things like that, but also towards weapons. The United States says this is a legitimate issue of concern. It will now be part of the debate over whether this president is outdated on keeping the embargo in place. But again, they say here, some adjustments to the policy but no easing at all when we hear from the president next Monday.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House. Thanks, John.

And we hope you will stay with CNN for continuing coverage of President Carter's trip to Cuba. Tune in tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific, when Kate Snow hosts "LIVE FROM HAVANA."

Here in Washington, officials say they have information that Islamic terrorists may be plotting an attack on a nuclear power plant on or around July 4th. Our national security correspondent David Ensor is here now. David, what are your sources telling you about this?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, this is another one of those dilemmas for the United States. How good does the information have to be before you put it out in public? And this is one of those that came out in a newspaper. Officials are confirming it is true.

Officials telling me that there is in fact evidence from a foreign intelligence service which gave the evidence, saying that they believe an Islamic terrorist group may be planning an attack against a U.S. nuclear power plant on or around July 4th. They're not mentioning a specific plant.

The newspaper did mention Three-Mile island, but my sources tell me there was no particular plant mentioned. And again, officials say the problem with this is, this foreign government that gave the information has given a lot of other information in the past that has proven to be incorrect.

So, you know, how much weight do you give it? That's the great dilemma.

WOODRUFF: So, are nuclear facilities in the U.S. on higher alert as a result of this?

ENSOR: I'm told they are not. However, this information was distributed to nuclear power plants around the country and to certain key counterterrorist groups within the FBI. So the right people have the information. But I understand no changes have been made in what is already a very high state of alert in the nuclear power plants.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Ensor, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

In a move that President Bush says will make the world more peaceful, he announced today that the United States and Russia have agreed to a landmark treaty that will substantially reduce both nations' nuclear arsenals. How much does the treaty matter at a time when terrorists are public enemy No. 1?

Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Judy, just over 10 years ago the Cold War ended. Today the arms race is over. We should not be so preoccupied with more immediately pressing events that we fail to notice.


(voice-over): The arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union was the principle battlefield of the Cold War. It was based on the principle of mutually assured destruction: you destroy us, we'll destroy you. Kaboom, the end of the world.

Arms control agreements like the limited test ban treaty of 1963 and the anti-ballistic missile treaty of 1972 and the START treaties that reduced strategic arsenals were events of great political as well as strategic importance.

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Negotiations were concluded in Moscow on a treaty to ban all nuclear tests...

SCHNEIDER: That was then. This is now. Now, with the end of the Cold War, the U.S. and Russia have a new relationship.

PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Russia and the United States are not enemies. They do not threaten each other.

BUSH: I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul.

SCHNEIDER: You don't run an arms race against a country that no longer poses a threat. September 11th pulled the U.S. and the Russians even closer together. The old adversaries from the Cold War found themselves on the same side in the war against terrorism.

BUSH: The events of September 11th made all too clear the greatest threats to both our countries come not from each other or other big powers in the world, but from terrorists who strike without warning, or rogue states who seek weapons of mass destruction.

SCHNEIDER: A fact that became more apparent in the last few days, as Russia found itself the target of a terrorist attack. And a former U.S. president found himself in Cuba. Today President Bush declared the arms race over.

BUSH: This treaty will liquidate the legacy of the Cold War.

SCHNEIDER: But the world has hardly paused to notice. Because we now believe that the threat to the world no longer looks like this, it looks like this.

(END VIDEOTAPE) When the Soviet Union collapsed in December, 1991, Americans hardly noticed. They were preoccupied with the recession. Now the U.S. is preoccupied with the Middle East, Afghanistan and Iraq. The arms race is over? Oh, fine. Now what about Osama bin Laden? Judy.

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

A debate on Jimmy Carter's trip to Cuba and U.S. policy is coming up next.

Also ahead in our "Taking Issue" segment, Bill Clinton's big debt to his lawyers.

Bob Novak will have the "Inside Buzz" on all of the attention presidential adviser Karl Rove has been getting.

And travels with America's first ladies. A look back as Laura Bush gets ready to go overseas on her own. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: With me now to talk more about Former President Carter's trip to Cuba, Congressman Christopher Smith, Republican of New Jersey. He's on Capitol Hill. Also here in Washington, Sally Grooms Cowal. She is president of the Cuba Policy Foundation.

Congressman Smith, what would make the Carter trip a success?

REP. CHRISTOPHER SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, my hope is that he will be very emphatic that Fidel Castro needs to follow up all of this talk with deeds. I think the White House got it right. He's saying Carter can go anywhere.

But I do hope that he goes to the prisons and visits with individual political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, who every day of the week are tortured by Fidel Castro. This has been going on for 40 years. There are an excess of 400 political prisoners who right now are being tortured and misdealt with and ill-treated by this dictatorship.

There needs to be some reciprocity with his own people. Don't talk about, you know, being so open just with Carter, President Carter, and not with their own people. So if the former president can realistically open up an avenue there, get some political prisoners out and hopefully lead to systemic changes, it will be a success.


WOODRUFF: Sally -- let me give Ms. Cowal a chance. You're a former ambassador. Is that what it would take to make this trip a success, for the former president to go see these prisoners?

SALLY GROOMS COWAL, PRESIDENT, CUBA POLICY FOUNDATION: Well, I think what's important here is that President Carter's trip is really what the majority of the American people feel. We've seen in poll after poll that over 70 percent of the American people are in favor of engagement with Cuba. And that's what this trip is about.

And of course, he should engage broadly with levels of civil society as well as with the government. And he's already done that. He had a meeting with two prominent dissidents this morning.

WOODRUFF: Well, is he drawing sufficient attention, Ambassador Cowal, to the human rights abuses in Cuba?

COWAL: I think he very much is. I think he wants a broad dialogue and I think that's what he'll have. And he'll address the Cuban people tomorrow night. That's quite unusual.

But he was not scheduled to meet with dissidents until Thursday morning. He already moved that up to this morning.

SMITH: Judy, what I would suggest is that he not only meet with the dissidents who happen to be outside of jail now, but that he request to go into the jails and meet with those who are malnourished, ill-treated and brutalized by Fidel Castro.

WOODRUFF: And what does that accomplish?

SMITH: Well, one, it will bring to light to the world, to our own people in the United States, but to the world, that Fidel Castro every day of the week tortures people. We can't leave that out of this equation.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying people don't believe that?

SMITH: You know, he puts on a nice suit, wears nice pinstripes, and people all of a sudden are saying, gee, he looks like a respectable fellow. Not when you're torturing people. We need to turn the page on that.

COWAL: Judy, I think what we have to do is get over this fixation on Fidel. We have to be talking about the future in Cuba. We have to talk about the next generations.


SMITH: I believe that the next generation is really made up of the dissidents, the human rights activists, the pro-democracy reformers, including some of whom President Carter met with today. And I'm certainly glad that he did.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the sanctions. They've been in place now 40 years. Ambassador Cowal, what have they accomplished, if anything?

COWAL: I think they've accomplished very little. They were meant to bring about political and economic reform in Cuba. And for 40 years that hasn't worked. And the cost to the American farmer and the American business person is increasingly high.

And that's why you see majorities in the U.S., both Houses of the Congress, Republicans and Democrats, now in support of a different policy. If you have 40 years of failure, isn't it time to try something new?

SMITH: Judy, until a decade ago, the Cuban government received huge amounts of money from the Soviet Union. That stipend, that subsidy, ended. The sanctions really have been in place in a really demonstrable way for the last ten years.

No sanction works automatically. But what it does do is take some of the money out of a repressive regime that then they can't further victimize its own people. And if engagement works so well, money engagement, that is to say, trading and looking out for profits, why didn't the Canadians and the European Union, who trade hand over fist with the Cuban dictatorship, why hasn't there been any amelioration, when it comes to human rights, with that engagement?

WOODRUFF: Ambassador Cowal, just a quick last word here.

COWAL: I'd just say, 40 years of failure on one hand or 10 years of failure on the other, failure is failure. And this policy has failed in the 10 years since the Soviet Union has fallen. And it's time for a new look at Cuba.

And that's what the Congress wants and that's what the American people want. I think that's what Carter's trip will begin to focus on.


SMITH: Judy?

WOODRUFF: I'm sorry. We're going to have to leave it there. But we do appreciate both of you coming by talking with us. Congressman Christopher Smith and Sally Grooms-Cowal, thank you both. We appreciate it.

COWAL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Allegations of political trickery in Israel, next in the "Newscycle."

Plus, President Bush and his relationship with Vladimir Putin. We focus on the new arms deal ahead in our "Taking Issue" segment.


WOODRUFF: Checking the top stories in our "Newscycle," Former President Jimmy Carter today toured a Cuban biotechnology lab with Fidel Castro. Mr. Carter asked the lab director about U.S. allegations that Cuba has done research on biological weapons. The director denied the claim.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon today blamed what he called party trickery for a vote by his own Likud Party, opposing the creation of a Palestinian state. Sharon opposed the vote, which was pushed by his party rival and former prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. President Bush today announced that the U.S. and Russia have agreed to the major reductions in their nuclear arsenals. The deal will cut each nation's warheads by about 70 percent. Mr. Bush said he looks forward to signing the treaty in Moscow later this month.

Here now, Maria Echaveste, former deputy chief of staff to President Clinton. And Ron Kaufman, former political affairs director for the first President Bush.

Ron Kaufman, the president made this announcement on his way out of town -- little fanfare. The White House originally hadn't even wanted a treaty, they had just wanted an agreement. Have treaties of any sort, in particular, arms treaties like this, outlived any usefulness?

RON KAUFMAN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, FMR. PRES. BUSH: I think this is a huge thing, Judy. This is the end of a Cold War. The explanation point, if you will, for all that's gone before. It's a big deal.

It's also a big deal for President Bush. In the middle of all that's going on in the world right now in Afghanistan and the Mideast, here is a new relationship he has with the president of Russia. It's a terrific thing for them to do together. It shows how far this man has grown to as the president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Are these treaties -- do they still matter in this world where we worry more about terrorism than we do about nuclear bombs?

MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER CLINTON DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Actually, I think we need them even more.

The way we can reduce risk of war with enemies such as Russia by reducing arsenals, it's incredibly important. And I think having a treaty as opposed to an informal agreement, which was initially President Bush's desire, is very important, because it gives the Senate an opportunity to really review the details. And they are very important. They set a standard that can then help nations work together to counter and combat real terrorism.

WOODRUFF: Let me, second, ask you about the Middle East, turn quickly there.

As we just reported, Prime Minister Sharon yesterday undercut by his own Likud Party in Israel. They voted, in essence, that they were against even the idea of a Palestinian state.

Ron Kaufman, to what extent does this undercut the U.S. efforts to try to get to peace over there?

KAUFMAN: I think it undercuts everyone's effort to get to peace over there, Judy. This is a problem that has gone on for thousands of years. Unfortunately, it's going to go on for a lot more time.

President Bush, when he first came to office, said the answer to the Mideast is not in this country. It's in the Mideast. And that was true today more than ever before. And unless the Jews and the Arabs decide themselves they really want peace and they are willing to go the last mile, it is going to be very difficult for anybody, no matter who it is, to get real good peace in the Mideast, unfortunately.


ECHAVESTE: I think we have to recognize that this was a party within Likud. There seems to be some questions as to how this got put before the internal committee to vote on it, and some allegations that Netanyahu might have had a hand in it.

And we should remember that 61 percent of Israelis support the creation of a Palestinian state. So, yes, this is a bad message to send at a time when the Middle East needs all the positive messages. But I hope that people don't take this vote and say, "Well, there is absolutely no hope for the Middle East," because the majority of the Israelis do support the creation of a Palestinian state.

WOODRUFF: Finally, a story about former President Clinton: "New York Daily News" reporting that the former president has a lot of legal bills and is not paying them.

Ron Kaufman, what do you make of this?

KAUFMAN: Well, you know, Judy, I was on this very show the last year of the Clinton White House. And I was on with someone who said offstage, "I just got deposed."

I said: "That's too bad. It's awful."

He said, yes. This is the fourth time he had been deposed, he said. He was worried about his legal bills. His family and his wife were worried about paying his legal bills. Here you have someone who is making tens of millions of dollars now, quite frankly. For him not to pay his legal bills is really unconscionable, Judy.


ECHAVESTE: Well, I have to say that, will the press never give up on the Clintons? This is a situation where I really wonder: Who cares?

The President, Mrs. Clinton, one can understand why they would not feel that they have an obligation to pay those legal fees, if in fact that is what they are doing. We don't really know, since they were incurred in the context of an incredibly zealous investigation. But the reality is...

WOODRUFF: But if they don't pay them, who else would pay them?

ECHAVESTE: Maybe they are going to stiff the lawyers, but it won't be the first time a client has stiffed a lawyer. And, really, again I ask sort of: Why do we care?

KAUFMAN: All your colleagues in the White House had to pay their legal bills. They should, too.

ECHAVESTE: And, as I understand it, many of the colleagues in the White House who did have to have legal fees, many of them were reimbursed by the legal defense fund, because I know for a fact the president felt very strongly that his staff who had to go through that should not have to foot those bills.

KAUFMAN: I know some of your colleagues who are still paying for them today.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going leave it on that note.


WOODRUFF: Ron Kaufman, Maria Echaveste, it's good to see both of you. Thanks for stopping by.

ECHAVESTE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

A Southern showdown is coming up next in Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz." And Florida politics, the sequel: an update on how election 2002 is hearkening back to election 2000.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak is here now with the "Inside Buzz"

All right, Bob, we read in "The New York Times" today about Karl Rove maybe having his hand in foreign policy. And there have been other articles about his influence lately.

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, and the State Department complaining. The White House says they don't care, but this created a little stir over there.

There's just an awful lot of stories saying, "My goodness, Karl Rove is advising the president so much." Well, after all, he is the president's main adviser. Actually, on this one, I am told by the White House that the principal allegation against Karl Rove, that he recommended Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz to address the pro- Israel rally, which shouldn't be his business, that, actually, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, asked the national security director, Condoleezza Rice, "Who would we send to the rally?"

And she said, "Let's send Wolfowitz."

So, if that is true, that is a bum rap on Mr. Rove. But the fact is, people from the State Department are leaking to "The New York Times," critical of Karl Rove.

WOODRUFF: All right.

Tennessee Senate race, you are finding out it is getting a little nasty. NOVAK: Ed Bryant, congressman, running against Lamar Alexander, former governor, for the Fred Thompson seat -- Mr. Thompson retiring -- has been campaigning that Alexander is a liberal.

Well, I learned that Governor Alexander is going to have a big fund-raiser on May 22 at the home of Julie Finley in Northwest Washington, very fancy home. She's one of the grand dames of liberal Republican politics, very pro-choice. So, that gives ammunition to Ed Bryant's charges that Alexander is a liberal.

The problem is, it's not working. Since he started this campaign, Alexander is still about 30 points ahead in the polls. It's going to be hard to make up that difference for Mr. Bryant no matter how much he can associate him with Julie Finley.

WOODRUFF: All right, back here in Washington, status of the trade bill. What's going on with that?

NOVAK: It was reported last week that, when the administration capitulated to Tom Daschle for aid for workers affected by trade that the trade bill was passed. Not on your life.

There's lots and lots of amendments still left, including Fritz Hollings', Senator Hollings' textile amendments. But I get the idea that some of the Democrats would just as soon be happy if this bill didn't pass. You know, organized labor is not keen on it. And organized labor defeated Congressman Tom Sawyer in a primary because he was pro-free trade. That is really still a divisive issue in the Democratic Party.

WOODRUFF: Last but not the least, spending, supplemental appropriations, what are you hearing?

NOVAK: That is supposed to be emergency appropriations, emergencies like for improving the Smithsonian Institution.

But, as a matter of fact, there's games being played by the House Appropriations Committee. They are in a slowdown. They are not going to the Rules Committee until next week. House Speaker Hastert has laid down the law, as I reported before, to hold down the spending.

But Jim Dyer, staff director of the House Appropriations Committee, it is suspected he's going to come in with some more additional appropriation requests for the Rule Committee next week. But there is a slowdown process. And I'll tell you this. People are always suspicious of the appropriators when this happens.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, we always learn a lot from you. Thanks very much. See you later.

And now we have the "Inside Buzz" now from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee on its newly-hired consultant, John Weaver. The architect of John McCain's GOP presidential campaign has signed on to help House Democrats appeal to Republican and independent voters in the November elections. It is another sign of Weaver's switch to the Democratic Party. Jenny Backus of the DCCC tells us that Weaver will work directly on communications and political strategy just through 2002. She won't say how much he is being paid.

Well, there is a lot of history at play in the 2002 elections here on the East Coast, out West, and down in Florida. Amy Walter of "The Cook Political Report" tells us why a number of races seem so familiar.


AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": Well, the Florida 2002 congressional elections look a lot like a TV series that has made a sequel.

A lot of the actors that we saw in the Florida 2000 contest have reemerged in 2002. And we're seeing them play starring roles. One of them is Katherine Harris. Obviously, we know she was the famous -- or infamous, depending on your point of view -- secretary of state. She is running for Congress in the 13th Congressional District in Sarasota. It is a heavily Republican district. She's heavily favored to win there.

Carol Roberts is a Democrat. She's Palm Beach County commissioner. We saw a lot of her on TV in those waning days of chad counting. She is running against Clay Shaw in a Palm Beach County congressional seat.

And, finally, in a brand new congressional district in Central Florida, we have Tom Feeney, the Republican House speaker. He was very forward and involved in the 2000 process. He is facing up against Harry Jacobs, who is a Democratic attorney and one who filed the Seminole County absentee ballot lawsuit. So, obviously, we have two folks that took opposite sides in 2000 facing off against each other in 2002. If you couldn't get enough of the Florida recount saga in 2000, we have a lot of those actors coming back in 2002 for you to watch.

We love to talk about dynasties in politics. And, of course, everybody knows about the Kennedy dynasty. And, in fact, there are a number of Kennedys who are running this year. One of them, Mark Shriver, is running just right up the street in suburban Maryland for Congress.

But a dynasty that we probably don't talk about that much and not a lot of people know about is the Udall family. There are two cousins right now who are in Congress. One is a congressman from Colorado. The other is in New Mexico. They are trying to get another cousin to join them. His name is Steve Udall. And he is running in the new Northern Arizona district.

They have been jokingly referred to as the Mormon Kennedys. And they have been a figure in the West, political figures in the West for a long time. We have seen them in every level of office. And so I think it will be fun to watch and see how both of these dynasties do in this 2002 election.


WOODRUFF: Among the headlines -- that was Amy Walter of "The Cook Political Report."

Now among the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": President Bush attended a lunchtime fund-raiser today for Illinois Republican Jim Ryan. Ryan is running for governor against Democrat Rod Blagojevich. The event was expected to pour more than $2 million into Ryan's campaign treasury.

Convicted Ohio Congressman James Traficant faces an uphill battle to remain in the House. A new Democratic poll finds state Senator Tim Ryan leading the race for Ohio's 17th District with 56 percent. Republican Ann Womer-Benjamin has 24 percent. Traficant, who is now running as an independent, has 13 percent, while labor activist Warren Davis has 4 percent.

Independent Senator and former Republican Jim Jeffords is following through on his pledge to campaign for Democratic Senate candidates. Jeffords has already attended events for Democrat incumbents in Minnesota and Michigan. This Saturday, he will attend a Missouri event honoring Jean Carnahan. On Sunday, he travels to Texas to raise money for Senate candidate Ron Kirk.

Well, what was once illegal is now a major economic force. Straight ahead: our Jeff Greenfield on the economy, gambling, and political addictions.


WOODRUFF: The need for new sources of public revenue can affect political views in sometimes surprising ways.

Our Jeff Greenfield has more on the evolution of a political and economic phenomenon.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: When we talk about politics, Judy, we report the day-to-day shifts, the votes in the Congress, the latest controversy, and always the polls.

But the real shifts in our political life happen over time, the way the shift in a riverbed changes the flow of the river. One striking example: the way gambling has become a part of our public life.


(voice-over): Think about it. What did you do over weekend? Maybe you are one of the millions who played the lottery; 37 states and the District of Columbia have them. They took in nearly $39 billion in last fiscal year.

Or maybe you visited a casino. They are up and running in 30 states, often on Indian land, under the polite fiction that these are sovereign nations. Americans spent over $25 billion in casinos in the year 2000. In fact, all told, Americans spent some $65 billion on legal gambling last year.

"Forbes" magazine calculate that, as a people, we lost more on gambling then we spent on movie tickets, theme parks, spectator sports and video games combined. By one estimate, more than 2.5 million Americans are pathological gamblers, who risk their financial, mental, even physical health.

But among the most addicted are state and local governments. They take in some $27 billion a year in gambling privilege taxes, money they use for everything from balancing budgets to providing college scholarships. And because this is a voluntary taxation, states, which once barred virtually all gambling as illegal, now push it. TV and radio ads tout the promise of easy money. And the FEC has no problem now with casino ads that appear to show everybody winning all the time.


GREENFIELD: Now, government's attraction or addiction to gambling as a quick revenue fix has drawn lobbyists like flies to honey. In New York state alone, lobbyists spent some $2 million trying to expand various forms of legal gambling.

But there has been a backlash as well. Back in 2000, South Carolina outlawed video poker, calling it the crack cocaine of gambling. And now some in Georgia are out to do the same. Still, for those of us old enough to remember when the only high-payoff gambling was an illegal bet on the Irish sweepstakes, there is no denying that this feels like a completely different world.

WOODRUFF: Some of us are not old enough to remember that, Jeff, but we will take your word for it.




Well, Jackie Kennedy wowed them in Paris. Hillary Clinton logged the most miles. Up next: How will Laura Bush compare to her predecessors as she prepares to fly solo in Europe?


WOODRUFF: Laura Bush leaves tonight for Paris, the first stop in her first solo trip overseas since becoming first lady. She will also visit Budapest and Prague during her nine-day tour.

Our Bruce Morton has been thinking about the journeys of other presidential wives.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First ladies travel, different ones in different ways. This is Nancy Reagan in Stockholm promoting her anti-drug crusade.




MORTON: It's what you might call traditional first lady travel: goodwill visits, representing the country at formal things. Mrs. Reagan did that when Prince Charles and Princess Diana married. Barbara Bush did the same kind of thing -- represented the U.S. at the inauguration of a Costa Rican president, for instance.

CARL ANTHONY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: They did not, in any way, get into any discussion of anything even approaching policy.

MORTON: Jacqueline Kennedy made those kinds of visits -- she and the elephant are in Cambodia -- but she also became the translator when her husband met Charles de Gaulle. And Kennedy credited her interpreting as helping build a good relationship with the French leader.

Pat Nixon: traditional goodwill visits. This is Africa. Eleanor Roosevelt? She was a sort of scout for her husband at home and abroad, visiting troops during the war, telling the president what they told her. Rosalynn Carter did genuine policy, visited seven Caribbean and Latin American countries talking issues -- some skepticism from macho Latinos at first.

ANTHONY: They took her very seriously because she was obviously well-prepared and she knew what she was talking about. And she was a pretty tough negotiator, particularly on human rights violations.

MORTON: The most traveled: Hillary Clinton as first lady visited every continent except Antarctica, visited more than 50 countries, and talked issues: financial help for women in business in Africa; pressing China on human rights at a U.N. conference in China.


HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FIRST LADY: To strengthen families and societies by empowering women to take greater control over their own destinies.


MORTON: Where will Laura Bush fit in this spectrum? Anthony thinks in the middle somewhere.

ANTHONY: I think you are going to see her getting into some issues, but I think they are going to be issues that are obviously part of the firm policy of the Bush administration.

MORTON: Is he right? We are about to find out.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: There's more INSIDE POLITICS just ahead, but first let's go to Jerusalem for a preview of today's "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- Wolf, what's coming up?

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

We will take you inside Yasser Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah. That's where we sat down for an exclusive interview. And we'll get reaction from a past and perhaps future Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. We will also have the latest on a possible threat involving the Fourth of July in the United States. It's all coming up right at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: In his years in the White House, Bill Clinton honed his ability to deliver a line. But can he hold his own with Tom Hanks and other celebrities who appeared at an environmental fund-raiser in Los Angeles last Friday? The former president tried in an on-stage spoof of one of Hanks' famous movie roles.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I don't know much about the environment. I came up here to meet Forrest Gump.


CLINTON: I am from Arkansas. And I like Forrest Gump. Then he left me up alone here on the stage. And I am lonesome and scared.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR: Did you call me, Bubba?


WOODRUFF: Send us an e-mail and tell us what you thought.

Well, with performances such as that, Mr. Clinton, Hanks and other stars raised nearly $1.6 million for the National Resources Defense Council.

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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