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Has a Wedge Been Driven Between Gore, Lieberman?; Presidential Hopefuls Walk Thin Line at DLC; Mining Disaster Makes Schweiker a Hero

Aired July 29, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in New York where a meeting of Democratic moderates is spotlighting a wedge between former political partners, Al Gore and Joe Lieberman.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield in a sweltering New York. I will tell you why the presidential hopefuls who appear here today were walking a very fine line.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. The dramatic rescue of trapped miners in Pennsylvania has created a new political hero.

WOODRUFF: And up for debate today, should the United States strike directly at Baghdad in hopes of toppling Saddam Hussein?

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We'll get to our political news in just a moment. But first that breaking story, just outside of Washington where an Amtrak train headed from Chicago to Washington and point south derailed just a couple of hours ago.

For the very latest, let's go to CNN's Jeanne Meserve. She's on the scene there in Kensington -- Jeanne.

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we are told that 13 cars were on the train. Montgomery County officials telling us that all of them derailed as this train traveled from Chicago into Washington. It had just made a stop in Rockville and was on its way into the city to Union Station when apparently something went wrong.

Investigators are not yet on the scene. The cause has not yet been determined. We've heard various estimates of how many people are aboard ranging from 180 up to 194. We're told that there were about 60 injuries, three of them to six of them reported to be serious. One Montgomery County official told me there was three serious injuries and that there were helicopters now on the ground that would take two of those to local shock trauma centers. He said the injuries were not life-threatening.

As you can see, we're about a quarter of a mile away from this crash. They're keeping us on a bridge, keeping us out of the way so we will not inhibit the rescue efforts which we're involve about 200 fire and rescue workers and about 140 pieces of equipment.

A local resident who got down near the tracks said that the passengers on board, many of them were able to walk away. They appeared quite calm no. Hysteria at all. The injuries he saw were, for the most part, quite minor. He described the train as look like a toy train that a child had pushed off the track. He said there was no sort of compression or anything of that sort, no sign of fire. Once again, this now will be under investigation, no cause for this crash as yet. Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: And Jeanne, quickly, the terrain in that area, hilly or not and also the temperatures?

MESERVE: Well, it is extraordinarily hot today, as you might be able to tell from my outfit. It's over a hundred degrees, I believe. The rescuers said that the temperature was something of a complication because of the heavy gear they had to wear. I was just glancing back at the terrain. As you can see, there is a slope on either side of the tracks and rescue officials told me this presented a real difficulty for them because they had to shore up the tracks, which were somewhat slippery to make sure that they would not move further as they trying to get people out of the cars. So the train did pose something of an obstacle for them today. Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeanne, thanks very much. Joining us now from Washington is Robert Frances, who's the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Bob France, you're on the scene. You want to know what's happened here. If you were in that role, what questions would you be asking right now?

BOB FRANCES, FMR. NTSB CHAIRMAN: Certainly, depending on the situation at the accident scene, if there are switches, you are obviously wondering about things like that. If there are stop lights, stop signals, you ask about that. But in this particular case, and just given what I can see here, it looks like a fairly straight section. And there is a phenomena called heat kinks, that happen when in very hot or very cold temperature that can effect the integrity of welded rail track. And I'm sure that when the NTSB gets out there, that will be one of the first things that they want to look at. And basically, it's physics at its lowest level, when welded track gets very hot it obviously expands. If it expands beyond a certain point, it can turn into a spaghetti-like phenomena and be far off of the ties and the straight right-of-way and in the winter it can contract and leave spaces. So I think that certainly the NTSB will be taking a very close look at that.

WOODRUFF: If it is just a matter of elemental physics and clearly we have known about heat and how hot it can get in the summer for a long time, haven't engineers or physicists or whoever, been able to come up with something to address this issue for tracks all over the part of the country where it does get so hot.

FRANCES: The answer to that is yes. And there is a formula which is developed for any particular piece of track that's been installed. The welded rail track, this is not section track, that is based on the temperatures and the chemicals used in manufacturing the track and secondarily, on the temperature of the track when it was originally laid and wherever it is. So that they have this formula, and the formula and data will tell them, at what point they should be looking at the track and inspecting it. And in the summer obviously, it as question of heat. It's not perfect, but it is something that the owner of the right-of-way, and as I understand it in this case, that CSX, does in order to assure that this heat kink phenomena has not taken place. The only thing I would say is also, that the ambient temperature is not necessarily the only indicator of what the track temperature may be. And the track temperature is obviously the thing that would cause the kinking.

WOODRUFF: Well, no doubt you're raising a number of the issues that folks who have to figure out what happened are going to be looking into. Bob France is of course former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. Thank you very much.

And now as we told you a little earlier in the show, I am in New York City. I'm here to cover the meeting, annual conversation of the Democratic leadership council. This is a centrist group in the Democratic party and one person who was an originator of this group, who was conspicuously absent is Al Gore. However, now, given what his former running mate in the year 2000, is having to say about him, Al Gore might wish he had decided to attend after all.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): Under pressure of the looming presidential campaign, the Gore Lieberman alliance is starting to crack. Here in New York, Lieberman used his speech to burnish his new Democrat credentials.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Our movement has long believed that you cannot be pro jobs and anti business because business was where the jobs are going to come from. That's why we knew Democrats have been proud to call ourselves pro business.

WOODRUFF: That's a sharp contrast to Gore's people versus the powerful business, delivered last week on Capitol Hill.

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: The Republican party today is in the hands of an elite, which embodies wealth and power and represents them at the expense citizens, many of them Republican voters who really are the true backbone of this country.

WOODRUFF: Lieberman says that kind of rhetoric doesn't jive with Gore's record in the Senate and as vice president and that Gore mistakenly got away from his pro growth message in the 2000 campaign.

LIEBERMAN: Well, I could tell you that I never liked those words and I never used those words, because I felt that they were too subject to misunderstanding and didn't really capture what we were about. WOODRUFF: But Gore's spokesman Jano Cabrera, said Gore's populism is entirely consistent with his record. Quote: "Gore has throughout stood up for the many rather than the few. The 2000 campaign was a continuation of that," end quote.

Cabrera also says that on the core issues of free trade and fiscal conservatism, Gore's new Democrat credentials are rock solid. And will Joe Lieberman run if Al Gore continues on the populist path?

LIEBERMAN: Let's say for now, that I'm hopeful that Al will not run that kind of campaign.


WOODRUFF: A little more of my interview with Joe Lieberman coming up on INSIDE POLITICS. I also talked with two other possible presidential contenders who spoke here today, Tom Daschle and John Kerry. Well our senior analyst Jeff Greenfield is with me now to talk a little, Jeff, about the peculiar challenges facing these Democrats at this meeting.

GREENFIELD: They say if you can make it in New York you can make it anywhere. But for the candidates speaking at the DLC, there is a special meaning of that. I mean think about this for a minute. All of the people who spoke here today, all of the wannabes hope that two summers from now they'll be at the convention rostrum accepting the Democratic nomination. And it may be appropriate that that convention will likely be held in the same arena where the circus plays when it comes to town because for all of them speaking to the Democratic Leadership Council, it is an exercise in tightrope walking.


(voice-over): As you've heard, the Democratic Leadership Council, the DLC, was formed more than a decade ago after a string of three straight Democratic presidential losses. It was formed to move the Democratic party to the center, away from a labor dominated business bashing soft on personal responsibility image. Its first chair was Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton who used the 1991 gathering to effectively launch his presidential campaign with a blunt diagnosis of Democratic woes.

GOV. BILL CLINTON, (D) ARKANSAS: Too many of the people that used to vote for us, the very burdened middle class we are talking about, have not trusted us in national elections to defend our national interest abroad, to put their values into our social policy at home, or to take their tax money and spend it with discipline.

GREENFIELD: And all through his '92 campaign, Clinton hammered home a tough on crime and welfare as we know it message.

But here's where the tightrope walk comes in. Democrats are still very much a party with a liberal core. More conventional delegates come from teacher's unions than from any other single group. Not much chance there to come out for school vouchers. Labor kicks in a huge amount of money and muscle. GORE: I want to protect the right to organize.

GREENFIELD: Democrats like Al Gore find that free trade and strong environmental messages can backfire with some union members. And these days, the headlines about corporate crooks and fast-fingered CEOs help to stir old populist emotions among Democrats, emotions that the more centrist in their party worry could hurt among middle class suburbanites. Listen to what today's presidential hopefuls had to say.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Even at this time of justifiable criticism of corporate wrongdoing, we Democrats have not forgotten that government doesn't create jobs. Businesses create jobs, especially businesses on main streets all across this land.

LIEBERMAN: When ethical executives subvert the common good, when they exploit loopholes and define ethical deviancy down and in the process undermine the very markets on which we all rely, they do not deserve to be left alone. They deserve to be condemned. They deserve to be removed. They deserve to be sent to jail.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: There are today Republicans who want to pretend that the only issue before the country is the issue of the war. And, well, they should want to do that, because they have no domestic agenda besides a tax cut.


GREENFIELD: So Judy, here's what we learned. Tom Daschle, who Republicans like to paint as left, spoke relatively nicely about business. Joe Lieberman, who some on the left think is too close to business, had some pretty harsh anti-corporate rhetoric. And John Kerry spent most of his speech talking not about the domestic economy at all, but about national security.

Two other quick points, the warmest applause went to a senator from New York, you might have heard of, Hillary Rodham Clinton. And I was at that discussion last night with Joe Lieberman with about 20 reporters and he did for the first time on the record say, Al Gore spoke too much populism in the campaign, and that hurt the Gore- Lieberman ticket.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff, thanks very much.

While some Democratic moderates may be worried about being too harsh on corporate America, our new poll suggested the Democratic party is profiting from recent business scandals, profiting politically. More Americans now say that the Democrats would do a better job dealing with the economy than Republicans. Last month, our poll showed Republicans had the advantage on the economy. And President Bush's approval rating on his handling of the economy had slid further, to 52 percent.

In South Carolina today, Mr. Bush put America's CEOs on warning that tomorrow he will sign legislation approved by Congress designed to crack down on corporate crooks. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if you're a CEO and you think you can fudge the books in order to make yourself look better, we're going to find you. We're going to arrest you and we're going to hold you to account.

WOODRUFF: The president was in South Carolina to speak about welfare reform and to raise about $1 million for the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Mark Sanford.

With us now from Washington, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Marc Racicot. Marc Racicot, I hardly know where to begin from the comments at this DLC meeting today. Let me start with something Tom Daschle said. He kicked off this morning saying the administration is providing no leadership on the economy. He said, they say, you say, you've got it all under control when in reality you don't.

MARC RACICOT, FMR. MONTANA GOVERNOR: Well, clearly Judy, have you to start in the context of recognizing that the economy was in some difficulty prior to the time that this president took office. So we had a substantial amount to deal with when he was sworn in. He recognized early on that you had to take a global approach having to deal with not only issues of taxation that allow for job creation and initiative to be demonstrated. But education had to be addressed. Energy had to be addressed.

You had to address the issues that surround trade promotion authority. It was a global agenda that looked at virtually all the facets of the economy. He continues to address those issues. They continue to be addressed in the House of Representatives. A lot of those issues lying dormant or at least unaddressed completely at the transom of the United States Senate led my Senator Tom Daschle. In addition to that, we know that the Senate hasn't even passed a budget yet, Judy.

And frankly, without being able to set your priorities, and send signals to markets and to investors across the country, that the Congress is going to do certain number of things in consideration of those priorities is certainly the wrong message at this point in time and it's the first time in over a quarter century that the Senate has not passed the budget.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about what Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had to say here. She said to every problem that comes up, the Republicans have the same answer and that is, she says, like the medicine man of the last century here is just a portion of what Senator Clinton today say.


SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: The Republican economic strategy has consisted of two things: bigger tax cuts and weaker regulations. That is the answer to everything. No matter what ails you, it is like the old medicine man. Here I've got a pill for rheumatism. I've got a pill for headaches and it's the same pill and it's a placebo. It has no compound that is going to make a difference to anybody.


WOODRUFF: Bigger tax cuts, weaker regulations. She says that's the answer for everything.

RACICOT: Well that is certainly not the Republican answer for everything. That would be patent nonsense to reflect that as the position of this president or administration or the Republican party. That may be fanciful supposition on her part or what she hopes to be the case.

But the fact is, this president and the Republican Congress and the Republicans in the Senate have presented a very, very global and comprehensive agenda. When we focus upon economic development we don't just focus upon providing a tax atmosphere within which people can make investment and be creative, that's one aspect and certainly that was enough of a bipartisan vote there to reflect that in the minds of some Democrats, many Democrats, it's one part of the formula as well.

But there are other things. You have to address education. That's what this president did, making sure that we have a work force prepared to go to work. You have to address energy. You have to address trade promotion authority. It would be nice too if you could pass a budget in the United States Senate so that you could send messages to markets and investors around the country and around the world. But that hasn't happened.

WOODRUFF: All right we're going to have to leave it there. Marc Racicot, chairman of the Republican party, good to see you. We appreciate it.

RACICOT: Thank you Judy.

WOODRUFF: Coming up next, my interviews with Democrats Joe Lieberman, John Kerry and Tom Daschle. Are they all taking aim at Al Gore's performance in 2000? Also ahead, Pennsylvania miners speak out about their remarkable rescue. Is their governor now poised to become the next Rudy Giuliani? And later, might a game show star come a contestant in the political wheel of fortune?


WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, three of the potential presidential candidates who spoke at today's meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council. They were Senators John Kerry, Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Senator Joe Lieberman.

Here's some of what they had to say.


WOODRUFF: Senator Lieberman, you've been urging Democrats not to run too hard on this whole corporate scandal issue, saying it as loser. You were pretty tough on the corporations yourself in there. Why?

LIEBERMAN: I've been saying all along or trying to say is that because we are the pro business wing of the Democratic party and rightfully so because business creates jobs for people, we have to be extra diligent in targeting our criticism and our action to the bad apples and the business barrel. We cannot be limited or tongue-tied in saying that America gives business people opportunities but they also have responsibilities.

WOODRUFF: Last night you talked about how it was hard for the Gore-Lieberman campaign it reach middle class voters, independent voters in this country. What was it about the campaign that made it hard to reach?

LIEBERMAN: Well, look we reached -- I don't want to have you over interpret my remarks. We reached a lot of middle class voters obviously. That's partly of why we got more votes than the other side. But the questions were about the so-called economic populism and embraced in the words, the people versus the powerful. And I do think that there were, in an election as close as 2000 was, were many factors affected the outcome. One may have been that that kind of rhetoric which suggests class conflict and anti-business, kept away from our side, some number of middle class people who don't see America as the people versus the powerful.

WOODRUFF: Is that Al Gore's own rhetoric or was that rhetoric that was urged on him by his consultants?

LIEBERMAN: I don't know. That's a question probably for Al. I can tell you, I never liked those words and I never used it, those words. Because I felt that there were too subject to misunderstanding and didn't really capture what we were about.

WOODRUFF: You have said that you'll only run if he doesn't run. Is there an opening though if he runs the kind of campaign that you just described, a campaign where it is an us against them, a populist rhetoric in the campaign. Would there be room for Joe Lieberman to run, the new Democrat?

LIEBERMAN: Yeah, as I'm looking at the possibility of running for president, if Al doesn't, clearly I want to be the new Democratic candidate in the race, the pro growth, pro fiscal responsibility, pro values, pro defense, pro security candidate. I'm going to leave it to Al to say what he will say, but let's let time work it's will here.

WOODRUFF: Senator, your colleague Senator Lieberman made some news over the weekend by saying that Al Gore in the campaign in 2000 made a mistake by running away from who he was, that he tried to run a class warfare kind of a campaign and that was a mistake. Do you agree with that?

DASCHLE: Judy, I really don't think it matters and I don't think that we ought to be debating what happened in 2000. I think what's important is that we debate about what's going to happen in 2002. We have an agenda that we really have to be focused on. It's protecting pensions. It's ensuring that we grow this economy and restore consumer and investor confidence. I don't want to go back and debate 2000. I want to consider the issues that we've got in front of us now.

WOODRUFF: What about this notion that it's a mistake for Democrats to run a class warfare and us-against-them kind of a campaign?

DASCHLE: Well, I think there is -- I don't know that Al Gore did that. But I share the view that we shouldn't be providing class warfare ammunition here. But I do think the Republicans sometimes are guilty of class warfare by fighting the minimum wage, by fighting our efforts to protect pensions, by expressing indifference when so many people are unemployed. That's class warfare. And we've got to get rid of it on either side, it would seem to me.

WOODRUFF: Senator, by focusing today more on foreign policy, than on the economy and on corporate scandals, are you saying there are limits to how much Democrats can do with the corporate responsibility issue in this year's campaigns?

KERRY: I think there is more to leadership than just that. That is part of it. And I am second to nobody in my desire to see us clean it up and put this country on a strong economic course. But that's only part of what will build the security of our country.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying there are limits to how much Democrats can hang their message this year on corporate scandals?

KERRY: Well I think they're only standing on one issue, always. If you're going to become Johnny one-note, you're in trouble. I think that there is more to life, and there's more to American choices than just that issue. I do believe that.

I think it's a very important thing. I think we have to completely readjust the relationship in this country of money, and of the level of power that has slid to the money out of the hands of the average American.

WOODRUFF: Did it hurt the Democratic campaign in 2000 to have a more populist message, a powerful versus the people. Your colleague, Senator Lieberman suggested that.

KERRY: Well, I think that -- I think that what is important is that you are authentic, truthful, that you are touching chords of common sense for the American people. and if it is populist for a moment or, whatever it is, as long as it is honest, as long as you're telling the truth about things that need to be done.


WOODRUFF: Two more Democrats speak at this DLC meeting tomorrow. They are Dick Gephardt and John Edwards.

Just ahead, we will have an update on today's Amtrak train derailment just outside of Washington, including the latest on the number of injuries. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle": An Amtrak train traveling from Chicago to Washington derailed today in suburban Maryland. Dozens of people are reported injured, but most are not believed to be seriously hurt. There apparently were no fatalities. Rescue and medical teams are still at the site.

The nine Pennsylvania coal miners who were rescued after three days underground are recovering from their terrifying ordeal. And they are thanking Americans for their prayers and support. Six of the men were released from a hospital yesterday. Today, two more were to go home. And the ninth miner is expected to be released tomorrow.

And here in New York, some of the Democrats who might set their sights on the White House in 2004 have gathered for the Democratic Leadership Council's annual meeting. As the midterm elections approach, the corporate scandals and struggling economy have raised Democrats' hopes.

With us now: former Clinton White House deputy chief of staff, Maria Echaveste, and from the Scripps Howard News Service, Betsy Hart.

Betsy, the Democrats at this event have been all over President Bush for his handling of the economy, for being late to recognize the gravity of these corporate scandals. Don't they have a point with some of what they're saying here?

BETSY HART, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE: Well, I think there's a lot of criticism to go around. I also think we have to be careful about suggesting that one person can have an incredible influence on the markets. In fact, we've seen them come up a great deal today in response to, I think, President Bush's go-ahead with the conviction or at least the apprehension of some of the criminals at these larger companies who are behind these frauds which we all want to see prosecuted.

What made me laugh about those interviews, Judy, was when Tom Daschle was talking about, "We are not going to engage in class warfare -- but, by the way, those Republicans sure hate working people." And I think that just shows that these Democrats are a lot like 3-year-olds who are aching to get into that class-warfare cookie jar. Yet, at the same time, they know they might get spanked for it, because it doesn't work.


MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER CLINTON DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think what's astonishing is that corporate America is finally getting a real hard look at some of their accounting practices and all the investments that people have made.

But what's really troubling to me is that Bush's leadership overall, especially with respect to the federal budget, also needs to be called into question. He is not showing the kind of leadership that is needed to -- two years ago, there were surpluses. Now it's -- you can see red ink as far as the eye can see.

So what we have here is an absence of leadership. And there is more that this administration can do. And they are not doing it.

HART: You know, Maria, I don't entirely disagree with you.

WOODRUFF: Quickly, I want to jump in here, because I want to turn us to foreign policy. Excuse me.

The one person who went after the president on foreign policy was senator John Kerry. And here's part of what he had to say about the president's handling of the plans to attack Iraq. He said: "In fact, their single-mindedness, their secrecy and high-blown rhetoric has alienated our allies and threatens to unravel the stability of the region."


HART: Well, what is he supposed to do? Broadcast his plans to the world?

In fact, I think Bush has shown tremendous leadership in foreign policy. And there's a lot of trust there, so that, if he decides to move ahead with an attack on Iraq, even, let's say, if it's around the time of the election, I don't think the American will call him into question on that, whereas, had it been Bill Clinton, they would say: "Gee, he's bombing Iraq. What is it that Monica Lewinsky is going to say tomorrow?"

He has an extraordinary amount of cache. And I think the Democrats are very foolish to attack him on that point.

ECHAVESTE: If there is cache, it's extraordinary, because very rarely do you see the kind of military leaks that have come out.

On the front page of newspapers across the country, there are war plans about bombing Baghdad. That reflects to me -- that reflects real dissension among the experts about whether the president's approach is the right one.


ECHAVESTE: So, I think that's a cynical ploy to just misdirect the public's attention from the economy, or we have a lot to worry about, our foreign policy, to engage in an effort in the Middle East.

HART: That stuff does not get out of the Bush White House unless there's a reason for it. None of what was in "The New York Times" is going give Saddam any information he doesn't already have.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Betsy Hart, Maria Echaveste, much more to say. We will give you another chance to say it when we next see you.

ECHAVESTE: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you.

HART: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Coming up next: A political star rises out of the happy ending of what could have been a mine disaster in Pennsylvania -- that story still ahead.

Up next: Who speaks for the Bush administration on money matters? Our Bob Novak will have the answer and the "Inside Buzz."


WOODRUFF: Now some "Inside Buzz" from Bob Novak.

Bob, the Senate has only got about a week left before the August recess, but they've got a lot of work left to do.

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They may be a very tough week for Tom Daschle, the majority leader.

Because he and some of his colleagues were out with you at the Democratic Leadership Conference in New York, they got off to a late start. And they've got so much to do. The homeland security bill is up. Senator Daschle had promised the defense appropriations bill would come up Wednesday. They're going to try to revive drug prescriptions. The president wants them to get the trade promotion authority bill up.

And, you know, there's not enough time between now and Friday. And you say, "Well, why don't they extend it and not go out on Friday?" The problem is that the House has already gone. And they've got Republican House members who are running against incumbent Democratic senators. Those senators want to get back and campaign. So, we've only got four days to do about two weeks work in.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned prescription drugs, Bob. Tell us about the politics of that right now.

NOVAK: It's very interesting.

I was talking to the most maverick Democratic senator, Senator Zell Miller, who was a sponsor, with Senator Kennedy, of the Democratic bill, co-sponsor. But he says it's absolutely a disgrace -- if no bill is passed, it's a disgrace on both Democrats and Republicans. And he and other Democrats, he says, is ready to back the most modest bill, the cheapest bill by Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Now, the Democratic leadership doesn't want him to do that. But if Miller and other Democrats defect, it's possible that the Hagel bill could pass.

WOODRUFF: Bob, quickly, who is the mystery man? Who is the administration's spokesman on the economy?

NOVAK: We asked Secretary of Commerce Don Evans on "NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS" over the weekend. And he said, in effect, there wasn't any. It was President Bush who was the spokesman on economics. Then Paul O'Neill, the secretary of the treasury, on "Meet the Press," said it was him, it was Paul O'Neill, yesterday. So, that's a very interesting question.

I asked the White House who was right, Don Evans or Paul O'Neill. And they punted. They said both were right. But the point of the matter is, is a lot of people don't think O'Neill is a very good spokesman. But Paul O'Neill thinks he is the spokesman.

WOODRUFF: And finally, quickly, longtime House veteran John Dingell, you say he is in the political fight of his life.

NOVAK: A week from tomorrow, John Dingell, who has been in Congress 45 years -- been here a few weeks longer than I have been -- meets another incumbent Democratic Congress person, Lynn Rivers.

And I am told that Rivers has really made big gains on Dingell, made it much closer. But John Dingell, he has got labor union support. He's got NRA support. He will probably win. But this is the first time in 45 years he's had a tough race. So all eyes from Capitol Hill will be on Michigan in Detroit on Tuesday for an interesting primary.

WOODRUFF: And elsewhere as well -- "Inside Buzz." Thank you. Bob, good to see you.

NOVAK: Thank you, Judy.


And now checking our "Campaign News Daily": Tonight, Democrat Robert Reich launches the first ads of his campaign for Massachusetts governor on TV and on the Internet.




REICH: I am not taking any money from state lobbyists. I'm not going to allow the lobbyists to call the shots. And that goes for everything.


WOODRUFF: Because the Reich campaign has limited cash to buy airtime, copies of the six new TV spots also are being e-mailed to former Labor Secretary Reich's supporters, a less expensive attempt to generate some political buzz.

And in North Carolina, Rudy Giuliani is the latest high-profile Republican to campaign for Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole. Giuliani was the headliner today at a $200-a-plate fund-raising luncheon that also was a 66th birthday celebration for Mrs. Dole.

Happy birthday.

When we come back, we will hear what some of those rescued Pennsylvania coal miners have to say about their long ordeal underground.

And our Bill Schneider will talk about the praise that Pennsylvania's governor is getting for his role in the rescue.



THOMAS FOY, RESCUED MINER: Well, we had a couple of low points down there that it was almost roofed out. We went through that, and then once we got down toward the end, we seen we wasn't going to make it, because it was too deep. It was all the way up to the roof, and each guy busting holes through the walls to get through. And I don't know if water was on the other side and we couldn't bust it through, but we tried our damndest and...



QUESTION: Were you telling jokes or telling stories? How were you passing the time?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We talked about anything and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can't tell you everything we talked about, but we talked about everything.


FOY: We done a lot of praying. I mean, that was No. 1, but I mean, we done a lot of praying.

JOHN UNGER, RESCUED MINER: I think it was nine men worked together as a team. We had a good leader, a great leader. And we worked together as a team. And we didn't leave anybody down. We did what we were supposed to do, like Randy said, and we waited on you guys to come get us, all the rescue workers, they did what they had to go, and them are the people, are the ones you should really talk to. Them are the people. Them are the people who are the best. They saved us. We did our job, and they really did their job.

RANDY FOGLE, RESCUED MINER: It gives you a chance to look at it a little bit different. I mean, it's something, even the job we do that we did every day, I mean, you have to look at it again and life and what our families went through and that kind of stuff. I mean, you don't think about the hazards of the job and stuff as much, you know, just doing it. That now, I think we have all thought about it and what everybody went through. I don't know if too many of us will go back to what we did do. It put our families through a lot. I mean, it was hard on us, and it was, I think, harder on them.


WOODRUFF: Well, as those nine coal miners in Pennsylvania recuperate from their terrible ordeal, the governor of Pennsylvania is getting a lot of praise for the way he handled the whole situation.

Our Bill Schneider has more on what Mark Schweiker did.

SCHNEIDER: Judy, one disaster made Mark Schweiker governor of Pennsylvania. Now another disaster has made him a hero.


(voice-over): The first disaster was September 11, when one of the hijacked planes bound for Washington crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

In October, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge resigned to become Bush's homeland security adviser and Lieutenant Governor Mark Schweiker succeeded him. "Governor who?," Pennsylvanians asked.

Disaster struck again last week, again in Somerset County: nine mine workers trapped 240 feet underground in a flooded mine. Schweiker showed up the first day and never left.

GOV. MARK SCHWEIKER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: All of the focus is now on rescue shaft one. They are ever so close.

SCHNEIDER: He comforted the families of the trapped miners.

SCHWEIKER: I'm very happy to report that, at about 10:16, we did break through. We broke threw down at 239.6.

SCHNEIDER: The governor rallied the rescue workers. He informed the public. He kept hope alive.

SCHWEIKER: We pondered this for 77 hours. They were in dank conditions, unsure of what awaited them. And, at one point, the water was up to their nose and rising.

SCHNEIDER: Schweiker's confidence never flagged.

SCHWEIKER: I thought it important, as the lead dog, so to speak, to lay it down, this was going to be a rescue mission.

SCHNEIDER: Early Sunday morning: triumph for the rescue workers...


SCHNEIDER: ... and triumph for the governor.

SCHWEIKER: When we band together, there's no stopping Americans in what can be accomplished, whether it's repelling international terrorism or bringing nine of our guys to the surface here in Pennsylvania. It certainly makes me proud, proud to be an American.

SCHNEIDER: Schweiker is not running for reelection, having decided to stay out of the race for governor this year to spend more time with his family. But whenever Schweiker is ready to run again, he's got his slogan.

SCHWEIKER: It's nine for nine.


SCHNEIDER: We will be watching for Schweiker to show up in ads for the Republican nominee for governor, who is running behind right now. Like Rudy Giuliani in New York, Schweiker is a hero and a hot political property -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill, thanks.

Well, coming up next, analyst Ron Brownstein tells us that an idea primary is under way. We'll find out what he means.

And, could politics be in "Wheel of Fortune"'s host Pat Sajak's future?


WOODRUFF: Political analyst Ron Brownstein of "the Los Angeles Times" is with me from San Francisco.

Ron, this DLC meeting in New York, you're calling it an ideas primary. What do you mean?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, in the early stages of a presidential race, the press pays the most attention to the competition for money and endorsements in the early primary states.

But there really is another dimension to the contest. And that's the competition between the candidates to begin setting out a vision of the party's future that generates buzz, that helps them establish credibility, and really gives their candidacy or potential candidacy a sense of momentum.

If you go back to 1991, the beginning of Bill Clinton's campaign, really the point at which he started to emerge as a front-runner was his speech to the DLC in Cleveland in the spring of 1991, where he for the first time laid out this idea of a third way and argued the party had to move to what he eventually called the new Democratic message. That's another competition and one that will resound more loudly as we get closer to the actual primaries and the candidates are under more pressure to say where they would take the party at this point.

WOODRUFF: Ron, has any one of these candidates emerged at this point? I can't believe I'm asking it, because it's so early. And even if they have, does it matter?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I would say it would matter if they had. But, no, they haven't. I don't think anybody has really gone as far as Clinton did in the very early stages. And we are, as you suggest, ahead of that chronologically, if you look at the calendar.

But Dick Gephardt has begun. He's given a couple speeches, one to the DLC, one to the Woodrow Wilson Center on Domestic and Foreign Policy. Joe Lieberman, whose candidacy is, as you know, on hold pending Al Gore, has also begun to talk about what he would do to repeal part of the tax cut, some ideas on corporate responsibilities. And John Kerry has been pretty aggressive on environmental policies and foreign policy issues.

But no one has really begun to pull any of these threads together. I think the Democrats -- and you can see this in Congress -- are still trying to figure out how they want to position themselves vis-a-vis President Bush. And the lack of that answer is evident in the early stage of this presidential maneuvering.

WOODRUFF: OK, Ron, thanks very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Coming up next: a surprise possible candidate in the making. We've got that coming up, but first let's check in with Wolf Blitzer to find out what's coming up at the top of the hour -- hi, Wolf.


Coming up: trauma on the tracks. What causes a train with 200 people to fall on its side? We are there live with details. Also: A secret plan to overthrow Saddam Hussein, why did it leak to the news media? I'll be joined by the former NATO commander, Wesley Clark. And a scary scene off the coast of Cape Cod: a mass stranding that could make it hard to save the whales.

It's all coming up at the top of the hour, right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: We will tell you about that political possible candidate tomorrow, but right now, we want to make way for breaking news.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Let's go to Wolf Blitzer in Washington -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Judy.

We are standing by. Indeed, a news conference has just started. It is under way just outside Washington, D.C. This is Chief Robert Allwang. He is the Montgomery County fire and rescue chief, talking about that Amtrak derailment.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS) ROBERT ALLWANG, MONTGOMERY COUNTY FIRE AND RESCUE CHIEF: Of the injured individuals, approximately 30 of them were seriously injured. There are no known fatalities. I repeat, there are no known fatalities.

Over 80 pieces of fire apparatus, over 200 firefighters, and many, many supporting personnel and agencies at the state and local level responded to assist us. The National Transportation Safety Board has an investigations team en route as we speak. At their request, we will take no additional questions at this time.


Presidential Hopefuls Walk Thin Line at DLC; Mining Disaster Makes Schweiker a Hero>



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