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Pope Speaks In Toronto, Canada; Senate Expected to Pass Corporate Responsibility Bill; Work Continue to Rescue Miners in Pennsylvania

Aired July 25, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. I am Judy Woodruff in Washington. But before we turn to INSIDE POLITICS, Pope John Paul II is our focus. He is in Canada, in Toronto today, the start of an 11-day tour and to Toronto we go to find our Frank Buckley -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, welcome to Toronto. Pope John Paul II just now about to enter exhibition place here, where an estimated, at least, 200,000 young people are. They are here for World Youth Day activities. John Paul II, you can see him there in the popemobile as he approaches. We've seen a great deal of emotion already on the faces of some people as the pope passes by. He is the 264th pope, the most traveled pope in history. He is here on his 97th international papal trip.

Joining me here to help us throughout the next couple of hours is the archbishop of Halifax, Terrence Prendergast. Archbishop, first, thank you very much for joining us once again. You were here for the opening the other day and now we're seeing the pope actually arrive. Your thoughts as you see the popemobile with the pope traveling through.

TERRENCE PRENDERGAST, ARCHBISHOP OF HALIFAX: Well, it's always a thrill to meet with the holy father and see him. And I was very moved by the pictures of the young girls crying and the emotion clearly on their faces. Clearly this is a very touching moment for all them. You can't help but be caught up in yourself.

BUCKLEY: The pope coming through what is Princess Gates here at the exhibition place. You can see him waving. He has really surprised people on this visit. We were warned in advance that while he's suffering physically -- he's 82 years old, suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, severe arthritis a number of ailments -- we were told, for example, that he wouldn't be able to disembark from the aircraft after the trip from Rome from the front, and then he did just that, surprised all of us.

PRENDERGAST: Delighted, surprised, as well, too, Frank. This pope has surprised people all the time and I don't think he's finished with them yet. I imagine we will hear a few more interesting things before he goes home.

BUCKLEY: We talked about the airplane ride over here.

CNN's Jim Bitterman was on the aircraft with Pope John Paul II. He has traveled with the pope on a number of occasions in the past. Jim is on the other side of exhibition place the west side and we'll like to bring Jim in now, Jim if you can hear me tell, give me your impressions of what you're seeing on your side there.

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are -- Frank we're right on the grounds here in exhibition place where everything is going to be taking place in just a little bit from now. People have been arriving here since early this morning, for the last six or eight hours, a lot of people have been coming in here.

Right now they're sort of migrating from my left to the right, because that's where the pope is going to be coming from. The popemobile been moving fairly easily from where the pope's helicopter landed but once it hits here our feeling is it's going to grind to a halt because there are no sort of alleyways set up for the popemobile to pass through.

A lot of these kids are pushing forward with their cameras, and they want to get a picture of the popemobile and the pope as he goes by. A little entertainment there in the background. That's what these things are all about.

I heard you mention earlier, it's kind of a Catholic Woodstock, a lot of young people. They like to entertain these young people with some pretty high-quality entertainment in the past. They've had actual rock concert producers to produce some of these shows, and they got some pretty high-quality music both in Paris and in Rome at both with World Youth Days, and both occasion where I had a chance to cover the events there.

In fact, they had some really terrific music for all, religious in nature, of course, but nonetheless really highly professional music and what not to help attract the kids and bring them into the tent. We will see some of that I think this afternoon. You'll probably see more on Saturday night when the kids gather here again for a vigil with the pope into Saturday evening.

One of the things I'd just like to point out here is it's not just Americans although there are some of the most vocal people here, vocal young people here but there's people from all over the world, 170 different countries we're told and some of the countries of course just small delegations.

At this gathering up in Toronto there's about 35,000 Canadians and about one in four of the people here are Americans, 55,000 we are told Americans who came up from the United States in buses and trains and whatever transportation they could muster but a lot of Americans have come for this -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Jim, you came over on the aircraft with the pope, and we were talking earlier today about the fact that in the past when you've traveled with the pope you were able to have conversation over the past years with the pope. He might come back and give an impromptu press conference, that sort of thing.

On the aircraft this time, give a sense of what it was like. How is it different?

BITTERMANN: Well, it's changed a lot over the years. At the very beginning I was on some of the first trips the pope took. I was covering in Rome for NBC when I was a correspondent for NBC in Rome when the pope was elected in 1978, and was on some of those first trips.

And on the first trips the pope would come back to the airplane, would talk with the correspondents individually. He got to know some of us by name and he got to know our families. And he'd ask the families, how everyone was doing and that sort of thing. But over the years that gradually changed, and we really don't have that much access to the pope any more on the papal plane. Occasionally, he will come back and wave or say hi.

Occasionally they will let us go up and have our pictures take within the pope but, in fact, the last time that we had any kind of a sort of give-and-take, a news conference actually with the pope, was on the way to Cuba. And at that point the pope answered questions in five different languages, responded to reporters' questions in the cabin of the aircraft. But since that trip, things have changed considerably.

Now you mentioned earlier the fact that he came down the ramp on his own steam, on his own two feet here in Toronto. The reason that is somewhat exceptional is because the last two trips the pope has been on he's had to be lifted off the plane with sort of a handicap lift. And, in fact, when we left Rome on Tuesday morning the pope had to be taken onto the plane with one of the handicap lifts. So, in fact, it is sort of extraordinary that he did come down on his own feet, as you mentioned earlier, Frank.

BUCKLEY: All right Jim, thanks very much. I'd like to thank the Archbishop Prendergast who is going to be here throughout the next couple of hours as we continue to watch the pope. He will be a addressing this crowd a little bit later -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right Frank. And when he does, CNN will carry that live, and we will be right back to you.

Thanks, Frank Buckley in Toronto.

WOODRUFF: Well, just before we watched the pope move through those crowds in Toronto, we did report on how this has been another highly volatile day in the financial markets here in the United States. The political response to these ongoing market swings and the high-profile examples of corporate misconduct all surged forward today here in Washington. And just as Congress was poised to send corporate responsibility legislation to the president for his signature, Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill made a public defense of the overall health of the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PAUL O'NEILL, TREASURY SECRETARY: We face problems. We deal with them, and we move on. In the end, confidence comes not from the talking heads on television, but from the fundamentals. And the fundamental strength of our economy is good.


WOODRUFF: With me now for more on the status of the corporate responsibility legislation, CNN's congressional correspondent Kate Snow.

Hi Kate.


Well, the Senate rushing to take up this bill, as you might expect, this afternoon. In fact, they were going to take it up tomorrow, but they've decided -- excuse me -- they've decided to take up the vote this afternoon already. We expect them to vote within this hour.

This, following a very overwhelming vote in the House, with only three members of the House voting against corporate responsibility.


(voice-over): The action was on this floor, but it's this floor that was weighing on their minds.

REP. MICHAEL OXLEY (R-OH), FINANCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: My sense is that we've turned the corner, and that we may have a few bumps in the road. But ultimately our system has the ability to correct itself with the help of government.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was a great rush, and I would call it a stampede to move legislation almost regardless of what it was.

SNOW: Republicans in the House were quick to take credit for sending a strong message to Wall Street.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: By passing this legislation we send a very clear message to the corporate CEOs and to the accounting firms who monitor their companies, Let me be very clear: If you violate the public trust, if you flush down the retirement security of millions of Americans, you will, and you deserve, to go to jail.

SNOW: For securities fraud a new category of crime: up to 25 years in jail. Mail and wire fraud and shredding documents currently bring a five year maximum sentence; the bill takes it to 20. And CEOs are on notice. Willingly certify false financial reports and they could get 20 years in prison, a $5 million fine. File false states with the SEC, up to 20 years and $5 million again.


Republicans touted those criminal penalties but Democrats said that it took a while to get to this point. They pointed out and they said that Republicans had only acted in the face of public voter anger and because the Senate passed such a tough bill last week.


REP. JOHN LAFALCE (D), NEW YORK: It is regrettable that we couldn't have passed a good, strong bill much earlier, which is something that we wanted to do. And while you can't say for certainty a number of individuals believe that had we been able to pass good, strong legislation much earlier, we could have saved the American investor trillions of dollars.


SNOW: Republicans shot back at that. They're saying they're the ones that passed this bill in the first place back in April. The Senate Democrats could have gone ahead and considered this much earlier. Today they began putting more pressure on the Senate.

Judy, on another front related to all of this, they say they passed a pension bill a while ago -- why hasn't the Senate brought that up yet? The Senate is expected to take up the pension issue. This has to do with 401(k) reform when they come back this fall, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, thank you Kate.

Well, President Bush today cheered the swift House vote on corporate accountability. The president praised the bill and he said he looks forward to Senate action so he can sign the measure into law.

I'm told that a group has assemble in southwest Pennsylvania. That's the site of nine miners who have now been trapped underground since late last night.

Let's listen in.


DAVID HESS, PENNSYLVANIA DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: With us, Kevin Strickland from the Mine Safety Health Administration from the Federal government. We have a new member here Danny Sacco from our special medical response unit, Joe Sbaffoni, of course, from our deep mine safety unit and John Weir (ph) from the coal company involved.

I want to give you just a few minutes of introduction, then I want Dan to come up here and tell you a little bit about -- a little bit more about some of the resources we brought to the site.

First I wanted to tell you that the drill rig for the 30-inch hole that we are drilling is on site. It's being set up at this moment. We should start drilling, we think, within the next hour or hour and a half and we will drill all night until we reach that 300- foot level where we believe the miners are trapped.

So the large piece of equipment we were waiting for, in fact, has arrived. And we will start drilling as soon as we can, and drill through the night. We have also started and brought in about a half- dozen or more large pumps. As I mentioned earlier, we are trying to attack this problem in a number of different ways. One is by putting compressed air down where the miners are to give them air and to provide them a safe bubble of air against water coming into their location. We also brought in additional pumps and drilled the two bore holes we talked about before lunch, to start pumping water out of the area to relieve water pressure from another direction.

The third major element is that the families of the miners trapped had an opportunity to go up and visit the drilling site and get a firsthand briefing from officials there about what was happening with that particular location. So the families have, this afternoon, been up there to see the location.

I would like to now turn it over to Dan Sacco to explain what kind of resources are here with the special medical response team -- Dan.

DAN SACCO, MEDICAL RESPONSE UNIT: Thank you. We are a special medical support unit here to provide medical support to the state and Federal mine rescue agencies, MSHA and state mine rescue teams, to the company, also to local emergency providers, emergency response agencies, local ambulance services and emergency management folks. We have on site seven personnel right now, two physicians and five paramedics and support personnel. Because we are into a long-term operation we are cycling people in and out of the operation.

We are providing close medical support to the mine rescue operations that are going on making sure that should something occur or happen to one of the mine rescue folks we are there to provide them with the medical support that they need. We are also interfacing very closely with the state and Federal officials and folks who are managing this operation, to provide them with input and insight into potential health and injury-related topics related to the miners that are trapped.

Just a couple of things we are looking at providing them with some data is hypothermia, also the possibility of having to be decompressed because of the pressure. We've actually taken some precautions and we have ordered and are bring on-site portable decompression chambers. We've been in contact with the Department of Navy. We actually with cooperation of the mine rescue operation faxed them copies of the drawings so they could take a look at the elevations and see what these guys were seeing and we are very close to the point where we think we are going to need that type of care and we want to make sure that it's on site should that occur so there's no delay. And we will stay for the duration of the operation. We are crossing our fingers and toes. The thank you.

HESS: I will have another announcement at the end of questions, but we'd be happy to take questions at this point.

Yes sir?

QUESTION: The drill and other equipment that's coming in, why is it taking so long? Were there none closer than West Virginia? How does that process normally work in something like this?

HESS: The 30-inch drill is here. It's on site. It's being set up right now. As I said we anticipate drilling to begin in the very near future. Actually the drill was in the green trucks you may have seen come by this way. That's a specialized piece of equipment that was pulled from a job in West Virginia and trucked up here especially to deal with this mine rescue situation.


HESS: We are going to have a closer estimate probably a little bit later but still we don't know the exact time. We are still thinking it may take as long as 18 hours to get through the 300 feet of rock that's on the site.

Joe, I don't know if you want to add to that or not.

JOSEPH SBAFFONI, BUREAU OF DEEP MINE SAFETY: Once we get the rig set up and that driller gets a little feel for what he's into I think we will be able to get a pretty good estimate of how long it's going to take.

HESS: Any other questions?


HESS: At this point with respect to the water situation, the pumps that we brought in the half dozen or more pumps, large pumps that we brought in, seems to be slowing the rise. We anticipate pumps arriving through the night to apply more pump power to getting that level down as far as we can.

So it's slowed, at least that was the last report from our people. It has not stopped rising yet but as we get more pumps in there we hope to be able to knock it back and make some progress there. On the, whether or not we've heard anymore from the anymore tapping from down below, we have had some of the same sort of indications but again there's also a lot of things going on out there now especially with a second drill rig so we are watching that obviously very, very closely and continue to do the periodic tapping on the six inch casing but again there's going to be a lot of activity out there.

I think our objective now is to get that hole dug as quickly as we can, apply those pumps and hopefully be in a position at some point maybe as early as tomorrow morning to start some of the next phases of the rescue operation. Did you have a question?

QUESTION: In the case of the Russian sub there was a lot of miscommunication about tapping and so forth. Is there any set formula they have for tapping some way that someone would know that that really was tapping that they initially heard on the casing?

HESS: Well, as I recall, maybe Joe can supplement this, the original tapping that was heard we tapped two or three times and got two or three taps in response so it was definitely from someone there making their presence known. Joe I don't know if there's any special code or anything.

SBAFFONI: There's no code but we will hit five times and we've had some difference responses, but they were definitely responses from individuals.

QUESTION: That was when you first put the pipe down?

SBAFFONI: When we first put the six-inch pipe down and entered the coal seam probably it was probably around 3:00 a.m. We got our first indication and then got more indications there probably around 4:00 a.m., probably around 5:30 a.m. and we got some distinctive taps at approximately 11:30 and MSHA tech support has the seismic equipment set up out there and they're picking up probably some information that we are not going to get in the way of loud noises but there's no question that the taps that we were receiving were being made by individuals.


HESS: I do want to again caution people this is a long and difficult operation. I don't want to raise hopes. I don't want to dash hopes. We just want to give you the information that we have at this point -- yes.

QUESTIONS: What are the conditions underground in terms of temperature and how much longer can these guys stay underground?

HESS: The question was what are the conditions underground in terms of temperature? Ground temperature -- and I'll ask Dan to address the health question, but the temperature underground is somewhere around 55 degrees. Hypothermia is a concern if in fact they are in water. Right now we believe they're in an air bubble. We don't really know an awful lot more than that, like how much water is there or things of that sort, but hypothermia is obviously a concern when you're around 50 or 55 degree water. Dan I don't know if you want to address part of that.

SACCO: The concern obviously would be you know lowering of their body temperatures and someone in a 56 degree environment like that without being able to let's say generate internal energy and move and try to keep warm obviously would be in serious trouble probably within four or five hours. It sounds like they're active and hopefully keeping themselves warm. That's our hope. Once they get the opening in then we can do some things to try to create some warming and provide them with some of the things that they would need to keep themselves warm.


SACCO: Just the information that we are getting where they're banging on the pipe and I guess we are hoping that that indicates to us that they're up and they're moving and they're not in a very deep amount of water.

HESS: Keep in mind, as we described before, you're dealing with a coal seam that's 48 or 52 inches. It's a very relatively confined space that they may be in. Yes.

QUESTION: You had mentioned that the men were taken out to the area (OFF-MIKE) can you be more specific?

HESS: They've been updated all along by the company about what the conditions were and what was being done. The family had asked to go out to the site. The county I believe arranged, Somerset County I believe arranged for the bus transportation out there. We basically, and I hope you understand the difficult situation these families are in, seeing the equipment and knowing that their loved ones are trapped underground. It's, we just went through the same sort of briefing that we did only they could see and hear and feel what was going on, and I had the opportunity to talk with them, and to relay the governor's interest in making sure that we can do everything we possibly can to get those miners out of there.

QUESTION: What's your best guess at this point about exactly what happened? -- I spoke to the miners (OFF-MIKE) knew that there was an abandoned mine there.

HESS: As I had mentioned before it's certainly no secret that there was an abandoned mine there. We certainly knew the location. Again we're going to thoroughly investigate how this thing happened and in hopes of preventing something like this in the future, but you've got to remember that Pennsylvania has been mined for over a hundred years. That abandoned mine was abandoned some time in the '50s and not all the mining maps are accurate in spite of everyone's best efforts and we try, it's a requirement that we keep at least 200 feet of solid rock between a new mine and an abandoned mine.

WOODRUFF: Officials in southwestern Pennsylvania describing what is really a race against time to get to those nine miners trapped 200 and some feet underground. They've been trapped since late last night. They've just brought in a big rig that will drill down but that will take as much as 18 hours to get to them but they are hoping because of tapping sounds they've heard that these nine men are still alive. We will be watching that story and reporting developments as they come along.

Before we went to that news conference we were telling you about Congress. Today among other things the House has passed a new tougher corporate accountability legislation. It's now moving through the Senate. Joining me now the Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott.

Senator Lott, what's the latest on the legislation?

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: The Senate is going take the legislation up this afternoon and we will vote late this afternoon, early evening or not later than Friday morning. I hope we'll go ahead and move right to a vote so this legislation can be moved to the president for his signature. Way need to send a strong signal that we are going to approach the accounting principles differently but with experts on this new board, looking into what the appropriate accounting principles are, and they're going to be penalties in place for those that defraud the people and commit criminal acts. I hope that this will help restore some confidence that there are laws in place to deal with the wrongdoing that takes place in this area.

WOODRUFF: Well, senator as much as this legislation does, it's clear that some of your colleagues remain worried. Columnist Bob Novak writing today that at a gathering of Republican senators over the weekend the sentiment clearly was the president's got to do more. What more can the president do?

LOTT: Well first of all with regard to this bill I think that it is a step in the right direction. It's not a cure all. It's just one part of things that need to be done to help restore confidence in the markets. A lot of that's going to be based on when people think it's time to get back into the market I guess and also conduct by corporate executives, a number of them, I mean they're all going to have to sign papers by August 14, assuring that they're reporting and auditing processes are proper. I think the fact that yesterday we saw some people being arrested that had defrauded their stockholders and their workers was a part of that process. There is no, you know magic bullet here. I think it's a process. This bill is not a cure-all either but it is an improvement and it is one step in the process.

WOODRUFF: How do you account though Senator for, there's a poll, there have been a number of polls done that show not only people worried about the direction the economy's headed, but a "Newsweek" poll showing now that a plurality of people say they've got more faith that the Democrats in the Congress are going to deal with tough with corporate fraud than is the president.

LOTT: Well, I don't know what poll that was. Polling is determined partially by the questions you ask and actually who asks the questions.

There's no question that we want to make sure that we take actions to punish those that are guilty. Also, we've got to be careful that we don't overdo it and wind up further depressing the confidence in the markets. So, there is a responsible balance that we must seek.

WOODRUFF: Do you think you may have done that?

LOTT: No, I think we found the right balance.

I think that this accounting reform bill is a good one. I don't think it got out of control, which it could have in the Senate. There could have got to be a feeding frenzy. We're going to -- you know, a sort of get-even sort of thing. But, instead, calm was kept in place. We did significantly increase penalties. We did move to change accounting principles. They went to conference, which was the right thing to do.

Actually, I think the bill that came out is probably stronger than either one of the bills that passed the House or the Senate, keeping in mind the House first passed their bill April the 24th. Things have happened since then.

WOODRUFF: Senator...

LOTT: So I think we found the right balance and I hope it will help.

WOODRUFF: I'm told the Senate has just begun to vote on this bill.

I just want to quickly -- I know sometimes polls are no fun, but there was a "Wall Street Journal" and NBC poll this week showing that 55 percent of Americans say they think Republican lawmakers are more concerned about big corporations than they are about ordinary Americans. How does a perception like that get out there, Senator?

LOTT: Well, first of all, a lot of Democrats have made a profession of trying to divide people by having a class-warfare-type approach. There are a lot of them that are not pro-business, as a matter of fact. I think we should encourage growth and hope. I think that making sure that our regulations don't go too far and that we should find ways to reduce the tax burden to encourage growth.

I was just in Ireland, Judy. And they've had an economic bonanza there over the last 10 years. What did they do to make it happen? They did really three things. First of all, they developed a plan over a 10-year period. They improved their education. And guess what? They cut corporate tax from 20 to 10 percent. And they cut capital gains from 40 to 20 percent. And they've had growth of 7 percent. So you need the balance.

I'm the son of a shipyard worker, blue-collar labor union member. But I understand that if you go too far and you start trying to do things that undermine small businesses and corporate America, then you don't have a job. You don't have growth. And so we want responsibility. We want people that misbehave themselves to be punished.

A lot of what's happened here wouldn't be changed by more laws. These people have violated existing laws. The SEC, the Justice Department was going to move forward aggressively to punish those that did bad things, that are guilty of wrongdoing. Congress is going to do what we can. And, hopefully, we will find the balance between the two.

WOODRUFF: Well, Senator, we hear you. And we thank you for taking the time to come talk to us.

LOTT: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much...


WOODRUFF: ... Senator Trent Lott.

INSIDE POLITICS will be back in just a moment.

We leave you with some pictures of Pope John Paul II attending a welcoming ceremony there in Toronto, Canada. He's there in Canada for World Youth Day and all the celebrations associated with him.


WOODRUFF: Today, President Bush cheered the swift House vote on corporate accountability. The president praised the bill and said he looks forward to the Senate action so that he can sign the measure into law.

A little earlier, I spoke with the president's commerce secretary, Don Evans. And I began by asking him, why, if the economy is as strong as the president and others say, the markets continue to be so unsettled, even though this accountability legislation is about to become law.


DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: We had a very strong economy in the 1990s. And we've got a nice healthy economy today.

But, in the late '90s, the stock market was growing a lot faster than the economy was. And today, what we're seeing is an economy that continues to do well -- recover well. As you know, we went through a mild recession, much milder than most people thought it would be, in large part because of the economic policies of this president. And so the fundamentals of this economy look very, very strong. The stock market is actually -- obviously going through a tough period.

WOODRUFF: Well, I know you don't pay attention to the public opinion polls, but I want to ask you about the fact that, in the last few days, both public and private polls are showing rising disapproval of how the president is handling the economy -- 50 percent in one CBS poll that came out yesterday. Are you concerned about this?

EVANS: Well, Judy, you have to stay focused on results. And that's what this president is focused on.

Employment is growing. Inflation is low. Interest rates are at a 35-year low. People are able to continue to pursue, build the American dream, which is to own a home, and continue to buy automobiles, and so -- and productivity is very strong in this economy.

So, when you really look at the economy and its growth, it looks very, very healthy. I saw where Chairman Greenspan the other day increased his forecast for this year up to 3.25 to 3.75 percent. So, if you really look at the results of the economy, the economy is doing very, very well.

WOODRUFF: There's another poll, an NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll that shows once what was once seen as an asset to the administration -- that is, high-ranking people with corporate executive experience -- is now seen as a liability; 50 percent of Americans say that it is a bad thing to have people with this background.

EVANS: Well, I don't share that viewpoint, of course, since I was in the private sector for many years of my life. I'm pleased to be here serving America as secretary of commerce. I do think I can bring some insight to what's occurring in this economy today, as well as what's occurring on Wall Street. I think today was a very good day for restoring trust and integrity to the financial markets, with the passage of a bill from Congress that's very similar to the principles laid out by the president some three or four months ago.

These were principles that others in the administration, like myself, helped advise the president as to how we thought he could help restore trust and confidence in this economy.

WOODRUFF: Finally a question: growing criticism from Wall Street in recent days from analysts there about the president's economic team, saying it is not as strong as the foreign policy team; it is not speaking with one strong voice. You're part of that team. What do you say?

EVANS: Well, again, Judy, I think what you have to stay focused on are the results.

And the economy is performing very, very well. When you give the set of circumstances that we were faced with when first the president took office, a declining economy, given what happened to this country on 9/11, given what has happened, what's been revealed in the last number of months of the kind of behavior that was occurring in the 1990s in certain areas of corporate America, I think you've got to say that the economy is performing well.

The economic team is doing well. The president is indeed leading very well on economic issues. Otherwise, we wouldn't have this 3.25 to 3.75 kind of percent growth that the chairman has been talking about.


WOODRUFF: That was Commerce Secretary Don Evans.

Well, the president is on the road. This afternoon, he is in North Carolina making a political stop on behalf of Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole. And he's promising reforms to improve access to health care. Mr. Bush said there are too many malpractice lawsuits. And he said placing caps on malpractice awards will make health care safer and more affordable.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the unpredictability of our liability system means that even frivolous cases, even what we call junk lawsuits, carry the risk of enormous verdicts. In either case, health care costs rise for all of us.


WOODRUFF: Our Kelly Wallace is in North Carolina with more on what the president had to say and the response he got from a potential rival in 2004. Kelly, what are the Democrats saying? I gather at least some of them are saying there's some politics here.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, Democrats are saying this is all about the president's reelection in 2004 and about embarrassing Democratic Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, a possible presidential candidate and a former trial lawyer.

Well, the White House says that is absolutely nonsense. Aides say the president came here because he's concerned about these large medical malpractice awards and how the president believes these awards are often motivated by trial lawyers -- and the White House releasing a new Department of Health and Human Services report listing states which had -- quote -- "mega awards" over the past few years, including an award in 1997 in North Carolina of $23 million.

That was achieved by then trial lawyer John Edwards. Well, now U.S. Senator John Edwards reacted very quickly, accusing Mr. Bush of trying to protect the insurance industry as opposed to patients.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Blinded for life, crippled for life, severely injured for life. There's a description in the HHS report which the president is relying on, who talks about, when juries find that they have been hurt and award money to them, they describe it as winning the lottery ticket.

I want to tell you, the families and the parents of a child who's been blinded for life, the parents of a child who will never walk again, you can rest assured that they do not believe they've won the winning lottery ticket.


WALLACE: And White House aides reacting to Democratic critics, saying those critics are more concerned with protecting the pocketbooks of the trial lawyers as opposed to protecting the patients.

So, Judy, shall we say let campaign 2004 begin? -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace, thanks.

Well, the president's trip to the Tarheel State is just the latest in a year full of campaign appearances he has made for Republican candidates. Mr. Bush has gotten out of Washington and visited 36 of the nation's 50 states since the beginning of the year. He has held at least one political fund-raiser for GOP candidates in 21 states.

Well, the president's North Carolina visit marks the latest in a years-long link between the Bush and the Dole families. Those ties go back more than a decade, but the relations have not always been so smooth.

Here's our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Bushes and the Doles, these families go back a ways. And it wasn't always the stuff photo-ops are made of.


SEN. BOB DOLE (R-KS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Bush campaign came on with a lot of very negative ads that totally distorted my record on INF, the treaty, and on taxes, and on oil import fee and flat-out lied about my record.


CROWLEY: 1988 is as good a place as any to start. Then-Senator Bob Dole, who grew up poor in the Kansas prairie, son of a grain elevator operator; and then-Vice President George Bush, who grew up rich on the Eastern Seaboard, son of a senator. And they both wanted to be president -- cultural and class differences mixed with shared ambition, and produced an acid primary.

But, by the next year, Dole, as Senate Republican leader, and Bush, the newly-elected president, found a way to accommodate each other. And four years later, Dole the good soldier was one of the last men on the ship as the George Bush presidency sank. In the Bush clan, where loyalty is everything, the post-primary years are well- remembered.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was at my side when the going was tough. He was there when the going got pretty darn good in 1988.


CROWLEY: But it always seemed to be an uneasy, stiff relationship, still apparent when Dole decided to run for president again and made a pilgrimage to the Kennebunkport compound of ex- President Bush.


B. DOLE: We don't have to settle every issue. But my view is that we had a good lunch and...


B. DOLE: ... great blueberry pie. It was still warm. And we waited for the sun to come out, but apparently that will happen right after I leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: It was a miserable campaign for Bob B. DOLE: small crowds, marginal enthusiasm. Some politicians steered clear, but the Texas governor always revved up the crowds and had the welcome mat out.


BUSH: I believe this man right here will beat Bill Clinton in Texas.


CROWLEY: Loyalty had been returned with loyalty. The Hatfields and the McCoys had morphed into an episode of "Friends."


B. DOLE: And I am proud to be in Texas, the home of not one, but two great leaders with the name George Bush.



CROWLEY: Fast-forward four years. Enter Elizabeth Dole and the next George Bush, another Bush-Dole battle for president. Maybe it was because she lacks her husband's acerbic wit or maybe it was because, early on, he was so far ahead, but this Dole vs. Bush was without the bitterness. She bowed out early. Another Dole steps aside for another Bush.


ELIZABETH DOLE (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: George Bush believes that integrity never goes out of style, never.


CROWLEY: Loyalty has come around again.


CROWLEY: When things got rocky in the Bush campaign, the governor mused one evening about the griping and second-guessing. But he said: "Do you know who's been rock solid? Elizabeth."

This evening is the second fund-raiser President Bush has attended on behalf of his friend Elizabeth Dole -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Definitely some history between those folks.

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right, thanks, Candy.

Well, SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt may have problems with some of his strongest defenders. Bob Novak has the "Inside Buzz" when INSIDE POLITICS returns.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak is here with some "Inside Buzz."

All right, Bob, here in Washington, we are hearing nothing but laudatory comments about this corporate responsibility legislation, but what about elsewhere?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Across the country, Judy, the business people have been reading the legislation. And they say it is a dog; it's going to be terrible to live with. They think it is going to hurt the economy. They're trying to get ahold of congressmen and senators and try to stop it.

They are being told it is too late. That train is roaring down the track. Nobody is going to throw his body in front of the train.

WOODRUFF: And, in fact, the president is supposed to sign it in just a matter of days.

Bob, separately, the White House has been, up until very recently, defending the chairman of the SEC, Harvey Pitt. But you're hearing that may have changed?

NOVAK: Well, they're still defending him, but they are not happy with Mr. Pitt.

He proposed to the Congress that he be given a pay raise and a higher -- Cabinet level, that he be permitted to be buried in Arlington Cemetery when he dies. And he never checked with the White House. That's incredible, but it's the truth. They learned about it in the radio. You know, it has been said about Harvey Pitt that he's a brilliant man with a tin ear. He sure showed it this week.

WOODRUFF: Somebody else who may be in hot water, Bob: the president's environmental adviser?

NOVAK: Yes, James Connaughton, who is the chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the leading environmentalist in this administration, the long knives are out for him.

It's not that only he is an advocate of global warming. He was an environmental lawyer who did some negotiating in the Clinton administration days. But he really made a mistake when he went up on the Hill -- political mistake, at least -- and said that President Bush's climate control proposals would not help global warming.

There are people in the Commerce Department and in the White House who would like to get rid of Mr. Connaughton. We'll see what happens.

WOODRUFF: And, finally, Bob, a lot of fund-raisers are held here in Washington, but you know about one in particular that was very well attended.

NOVAK: Yes, I like to keep track of these.

There was one yesterday at the Capitol Hill club. That's the Republican club right next to Congress. And it was a fund-raiser that you could get in for for only $150. That's just nothing. It was for Congressman Rob Portman of Ohio. He's the chairman of the House Republican leadership. He's the liaison between the House of Representatives and the White House, a very powerful rising figure.

And the lobbyists ran all over themselves to get to the Capitol Hill Club to pay their respects. There was over 1,000 people for this fund-raiser to shake hands with Rob Portman. One lobbyist I talked to bought 10 tickets to make sure that Mr. Portman knew he was his friend.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, thanks.

We're going to go from you to Pope John Paul II, who is speaking to a large crowd in Toronto, Canada. This is the part of his visit there to celebrate World Youth Day. The pontiff has been speaking for just about a minute or so.


POPE JOHN PAUL II: He has always known you. And he loves -- he loves each one of you personally.

With fraternal affection, I greet the cardinals and bishops who are here with you, in particular Bishop Jacques Berthelet.


POPE JOHN PAUL II: President of the Conference of Catholic Bishops Canada, Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic.


POPE JOHN PAUL II: Archbishop of Toronto, and Cardinal James Francis Stafford, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

To all of you, I say, may your contacts with your pastors help you to discover and appreciate more and more the beauty of the church, experience as missionary communion.

(through translator): To hear this long list of the original countries from which you have come, together, we will we practically a trip around the world.

Behind each of you, I have glimpsed the faces of all your young fellow young people, whom I have met in the course of my apostolic travels and whom, in a way, you represent here. I have imagined you on a journey walking. I have imagined you on a journey walking, walking in the shadow of the Jubilee Cross, of this great youth pilgrimage, which, moving from continent to continent, is eager to hold the whole world in a close embrace of faith and hope.

Today, this pilgrimage makes a stop here on the shores of Lake Ontario. We are reminded of another lake, the lake of Tiberias. On the shores the Lake Tiberias and Galilee, on these shores of which the Lord Jesus made a fascinating proposal to the first disciples, some of whom were probably young like you. It was an attractive proposal.

The pope loves you dearly.


BUCKLEY: Pope John Paul II speaking to the hundreds of thousands of youth gathered for World Youth Day activities here, calling this gathering a great youth pilgrimage, speaking in English, then French, now about to speak in Spanish, just three of the nine languages the pontiff speaks fluently.

Joining me again: Archbishop of Halifax, Terrence Prendergast.

Archbishop, the pope, despite concerns about his health, has been able to speak and is involved in quite a lengthy speech.

PRENDERGAST: He's grabbing hold of all the people, pushing all the buttons, I'd say.

He mentioned all the countries that were there and that he's visited himself and how he's pleased to be with them. And you could see people wiping away tears, even some husky brutes you would not think would be reacting this way. But he's been able to move them. And he's saying to them: "You know, we're sitting by a lake and Jesus was by a lake one time himself and was able to call people to enter on an adventure."

And, clearly, this is touching into the desires of the young people to serve God and to serve the church and to follow him.

BUCKLEY: Well, speaking of husky brutes, my colleague Jim Bittermann is on the floor with the many assembled young people.

Jim, if you can hear me, come in.


Yes, in fact, it is quite a celebratory mood down here. People are really having a good time. They're delighted with what the pope has done.

One of things that I might just point out happened a little earlier in the ceremonies here is that they brought up the flags. There were a couple representatives from each one of the 170 or more -- I think it was more like something 173 countries that are represented here. And delegates plus their flags come up. And every time that they came across, particularly the bigger countries represented here, there was a huge cheer that went up from the crowd -- so, a lot of really good feeling from the delegations here about being here.

And, of course, the pope was interrupted numerous times during his speech with chants of "John Paul II, we love you" and other chants that are coming from the crowd.

So a lot of enthusiasm about the chance to meet the pope. Frank?

BUCKLEY: Jim, give us a sense as the popemobile traveled through and people could actually see him behind the glass. What was it like in the crowd as the young people had a chance to see the pope passing by?

BITTERMAN: Well, it was quite a mob scene, Frank. And basically, I think everybody wanted to get their Instamatic right up next to the popemobile and get a shot of the pope. And of course, nobody -- not everybody could do that at the same time. So it was a real crowd scene. And then there were some disappointments. I had one lady come up to me just afterward, after the pope had gone by, and said, "So has the pope gone by yet?" And I said, "Yeah. I'm sorry. He's up to the stage now. But in any case, she went away looking a little bit sad and unhappy that she didn't get her once one chance at getting a shot at the pope -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Jim, every time the pope travels, especially now with his age, 82, and the ailments that he is suffering from, everyone is watching every move. You've watched him closely over the years. How's he doing physically?

BITTERMAN: Well, I think we're seeing today -- I think we're seeing the effects of the rest that he's had over the last few weeks. He was resting up at Castel Gandolfo outside of Rome for about two weeks before he left on this trip. He's taken a great deal of rest since he's been here, arriving on Tuesday and it's now Thursday evening. So in fact, he's had more than a day of rest here, so I think that helps, and we tend to see that.

I mean, one of the things you see very definitely is that the pope's message is much easier understood after the pope has had some rest because he speaks much more clearly. His English on this trip, particularly, has been a lot clearer than the last time I heard him speaking English, which was in St. Louis, when he briefly passed through St. Louis, but that was at the end of a very long trip. So I think you see an almost direct relationship between how much rest he's had and his ability to speak clearly and also to move about, the kind of movements we've seen.

I talked to a Parkinson's disease expert just before we left Rome, and he said that, very certainly, one of the effects of the disease is you have a decline in mobility and also a decline in muscle control, the kind of muscles that one needs to speak clearly. So in fact, that's the kind of steady decline that we have seen over the last few months with the pope -- Frank.

BUCKLEY: Jim Bitterman, thanks very much for that insight. We'd also like to thank Archbishop Terrance Prendergast, the archbishop of Halifax, for giving us some insight here in Toronto.

With that we'll wrap it up for now. WOLF BLITZER REPORTS begins right now.


Corporate Responsibility Bill; Work Continue to Rescue Miners in Pennsylvania>



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