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Rumsfeld Orders Special Ops to Capture al Qaeda Leaders; Some Lawmakers Refuse to Take Polygraphs; Harris Invokes Democrats' Ire

Aired August 2, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JOHN KING, GUEST HOST: I'm John King in Washington. Secret order from the defense secretary in the war on terror. Is it a sign of hard ball politics inside the Pentagon?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill. I'll tell you why some lawmakers are being asked if they would take lie detector tests and why some of them are refusing.

MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Mark Potter in Miami. Democrats are having a field day with an election rule slip-up by Katherine Harris, a key figure in the year 2000 presidential standoff.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Los Angeles where raising a hue and cry can lead to the political "Play of the Week."

KING: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today. The memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is classified and blunt. It orders U.S. Special Forces to do more, quote, "to capture or kill the top leadership of al Qaeda." The Pentagon and the Bush administration may be feeling some pressure from the public. Our polling last month showed only 39 percent of Americans believe the United States is winning the war on terrorism, down from 66 percent in January. Half of them surveyed say the war will only be successful if Osama bin Laden is captured.

Our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre has more now on the new call to action against al Qaeda -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, Pentagon officials are down playing any suggestion that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld isn't happy with the progress of the war in Afghanistan or the war on terrorism overall. Nevertheless, Pentagon sources confirm he sent what's known here in the Pentagon as a snowflake. A snowflake is a short, to the point memo from the secretary of defense to get something done or to do something.

That went to the commander of U.S. Special Operations forces in Tampa, Florida, Air Force General Charles Holland. Holland was up at the Pentagon today in response to that memo, meeting with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, briefing him on his ideas for how to use special operations troops to go after remnants of al Qaeda and other terrorists around the world in more than 60 countries around the world, how that could be done with Special Operations troops.

Pentagon officials say there have been no orders to carry out any missions, just a discussion of what to do next, as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld wants to continue to keep the pressure on and try to refocus the effort to try to capture the top al Qaeda leaders who are still at large, which of course include the very top one, Osama bin Laden.

KING: Well, Jamie, you say it is called a snowflake. Sounds more like a rocket. Can it be interpreted in any way but some dissatisfaction with the progress so far and perhaps some dissatisfaction with the aggressiveness of the plan of the Commander Tommy Franks?

MCINTYRE: Well, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has taken every opportunity to praise Tommy Franks and officials close to him say this in no way reflects any dissatisfaction with Franks or the way he is running the war.

However, they do portray Rumsfeld as somebody who is a little bit impatient, who wants to energize the people who work for him, who is very concerned about the prospect of another attack on the United States. And so, if you are the recipient of one of these snowflakes, it really usually means get to work, I want to see some results. And that's what the meeting was about today at the Pentagon.

But again, Pentagon officials portray this as sort of the routine process of just trying to figure out what to do next as they press the war against terrorists.

KING: All right, Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon. Thank you very much.

The FBI is investigating a leak to CNN about classified information related to the September 11 attacks. That is creating a stir on Capitol Hill because some lawmakers are being asked if they'd be willing to take lie detector tests. Here's our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl -- Jonathan.

KARL: Well, John, the FBI has not made any demands yet, but several members of the intelligence committees have told CNN that they have been asked by FBI if they would be willing to take lie detector tests, and as you say, that is creating quite a stir up here.

The top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee told the FBI that he would refuse to take such a test, because it would set a bad precedent, and besides, Richard Shelby says polygraph tests are unreliable. And that is a view that is shared by many here in Congress, including the top Democrat in the Senate, Tom Daschle, who put out a statement saying, that he is, quote, "gravely concerned about the separation of powers issues that such tests raise."

But John, not everybody up here is against the polygraph test. As a matter of fact, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrat Bob Graham, said that he personally wouldn't mind taking such a test. And then Republican leader Trent Lott said that although he's not sure the tests are a good idea, that members of the intelligence committees should stop whining about the FBI's investigation.


SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: My counsel would be, keep your mouth shut if you are on the intelligence committee and then don't complain if the FBI asks questions. The FBI was asked to do the job. Now they are complaining. I'm not directly involved in that, but I can't help but be amused that there has been misconduct and then there's a complaint when the investigation begins.


KARL: Keep in mind, John, this is an investigation that was requested by Congress, specifically by the top Democrats and Republicans on those intelligence committees. Now many members of those committees wish simply that this investigation would go away because after all, their special committee was set up to investigate the FBI and other intelligence agencies not the other way around -- John.

KING: What is it they say? Sometimes you get what you ask for. Thank you, Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill.

Now to California where law enforcement officials credit team work and the states' new Amber alert system for saving the lives of two kidnapped teenagers. Police shot and killed 37-year-old Roy Ratliff and rescued two girls yesterday from a stolen Bronco in the desert about 100 miles from where they had been abducted. Ratliff was already wanted on rape charges in Kern County. Kern County Sheriff Carl Sparks says Ratliff, who had raped the girls, was probably about to kill them when the police arrived.

CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider has more now from Los Angeles -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: John, there is an ancient common law principle called hue and cry. When you see someone commit a crime, you are supposed to raise a hue and cry. Stop, thief, so bystanders will pursue the wrongdoer. Well, this week a modern version of the old hue and cry turned into the political play of the week.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The modern way to raise a hue and cry when a child has been abducted is called the Amber alert, named for Amber Haggerman (ph), 9-year-old girl who was kidnapped and brutally murdered in Texas in 1996. In the 14 states that have adopted the system, emergency bulletins go out immediately, over TV and radio describing the victim, the suspect and the vehicle. The information appears instantly on freeway message signs all over the state.

For months, California Governor Gray Davis resisted pressure to set up a statewide Amber alert. Then last month, 5-year-old Samantha Runnion was tragically kidnapped and murdered. Davis acted, too late, said his opponent. BILL SIMON (R), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: Though Gray Davis now apparently has finally taken my advice of last week and issued the executive order, his delay here as it has been in so many other areas like the energy crisis and the budget crisis is absolutely shameful and intolerable.

SCHNEIDER: A few days later, two teenage girls were kidnapped. It was the first test of California's week-old Amber alert system. It worked. The girls had been assaulted but were rescued alive. Their abductor was killed.

HERB MARRIS, VICTIM'S FATHER: I couldn't believe it. This Amber system that you guys put out actually put in place to help these victims, such as mine.

SCHNEIDER: Authorities cheered.

ASST. SHERIFF LARRY WALDIE, LA CO SHERIFFS DEPT: It was a really effective system, just incredible. You go down there, you see the cheering down there of all the people that are working on this, the hundreds of people in law enforcement.

SCHNEIDER: Mission accomplished, said the governor.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: We had one goal, which is to find these children. I'm pleased that the state responded as massively and comprehensively as it did.

SCHNEIDER: Never mind how or why it got done. It worked. For the victims and their families, it was a miracle. For Governor Davis, it was the political play of the week.


SCHNEIDER: How did the Amber alert system get done here in California? Well, one reason is, it became an issue in the campaign for governor. Now, think about that whenever you are tempted to say, political campaigns are just the waste of time -- John.

KING: Bill Schneider in Los Angeles. Have a good weekend, Bill. Thank you.

White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett joins me next on INSIDE POLITICS with his first TV interview since he took over many of Karen Hughes' duties.

Also ahead, is there new proof that the fictional "West Wing" has a partisan bias? Plus...


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would personally grab a rifle, get in the ditch and fight and die.


KING: What would Bill Clinton die for? The answer in our "daily debate."

And later, it's party time for volunteers in plaid. Lamar Alexander is taking on Bob Clement in the Tennessee Senate race. We'll talk to both nominees.



GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My pledge to the American people: I'll continuing leading Washington by diffusing all the ugly talk, by keeping big goals in mind, by always remembering we're here to represent the American people.


KING: That was President Bush earlier today as he left the White House. With us now the White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett. The president in an upbeat mood there, Dan, talking about passage of a new bill that gives him new trade negotiating powers. He viewed that as critical to the economy. But you see in the new unemployment report sluggish job growth in July. Some nervousness among Republicans. Another down day on Wall Street, but the economy could be a bad issue for the party in November.

DAN BARTLETT, W.H. COMMUNICATIONS DIR.: As the president said, there were some great accomplishments on behalf of the American people presented by the Congress. We're talking about economic security through creating jobs through trade promotion authority. This is going to give the president the ability to open up new markets to products here at home, to farmers here at home. We also had a very important measure taken on economic security when we talk about corporate responsibility.

The measure that President Bush signed into law are going to hold CEOs accountable, make sure that the shareholders and investors and employees can have more confidence in the numbers they see, that the books that they see at their companies, that they may be invested in or working at are valid. And those are important measures that the United States Congress has taken.

This administration continues to be very active when it comes to creating jobs and again, the economy today is fundamentally strong. We do see -- we have had three quarters of negative growth that President Bush inherited.

But now we've seen three quarters of positive growth. We need to do more. We need to put some wind behind the sails of that growth, continue to push for pro growth economic policies. That's why the president thinks it's important that we restrain fiscal spending here in Washington, D.C., that we also work hard to create jobs to make any tax cuts permanent so families can plan and save, that we also have a sound and comprehensive energy legislation which can create jobs and make us less dependent on foreign oil

So there's some important items that the president will continue to push for. We're not satisfied until every American who needs a job can find a job. We're going to continue to keep pushing it and it's a strong agenda. There's a record of accomplishment that goes with it. We had one of the most well timed tax cuts that America has seen in a long time last year, enacted with the help of key Democratic votes. And now it's time that we build on that progress as we go into the fall. We have a strong record to run on. We have Republicans and administration alike will continue to push policies that will help create jobs in America.

KING: The trade bill a major victory for the president. He invested a lot of time and effort. But some items left on the table and some say unlikely to pass now because of the return of partisanship. Two health care related measures, a prescription drug benefit for seniors, the so-called patients bill of rights. There have been negotiations back and forth between the White House and Senate Democrats primarily, including Senator Edward Kennedy, who has worked closely with the White House on education, but had this to say about what he says is the collapse of these health care negotiations.

Quote, "it's the same old story. A Republican open hand to the wealthy and powerful and a Republican back of the hand to the elderly and their families."

BARTLETT: Well, I think what we're seeing is some deep divisions within the Democratic Party and they've been on display for the last few months. Primary presidential politics on the Democratic side has kind of reared its ugly head. We have many of them attacking President Bush or attacking Republicans or attacking, its almost, as some said, it's the politics of economic destruction. We'll say or do anything in order to try to get a political hand up. And what has happened, key piece of legislation are now being prevented from being passed.

Senator Daschle said he wanted to have a budget. He said he talks about fiscal discipline yet they fail to pass a budget in the Senate. Senator Daschle also says it is important for the economic security that we also have a secure homeland yet he couldn't vote for homeland security. And on health care it's a critical issue. You see deep divisions within the Democratic Party where they fail to pass prescription drugs for seniors. President Bush supports it. The House of Representatives passed it. And it's time for them to get to the table and get a deal done that Republicans and Democrats can agree upon.

I know the margin is close in the Senate, but that is not an excuse for when the American people need action out of Washington, particularly when it comes to important areas such as health care and prescription drugs for seniors.

KING: They say you won't budge, Senator Kennedy on the issue of what he would call protecting the HMOs and the insurance companies. Will you try to resume those negotiations or is this a dead deal?

BARTLETT: Well, we worked very hard to make sure that we provide direct assistance and give choice and options to seniors when it comes to prescription drugs. What the Democrats want is not only do they want to keep an HMO but unimaginably they wanted the government to run the HMO.

I can't imagine a wilder scenario that the American people would want to embrace. It's important that we set aside these politics and we get the job done. A patients' bill of rights, for example. It seems that there are many Democrats in the Senate who have trial lawyers interests' at hand and not the interests of patients. And as long as we can work and put the patients' priorities first, we can get something done.

KING: Another top issue when Congress returns will be this administration's policy vis-a-vis Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein from power. Many Democrats, most Republicans agree, Saddam Hussein is a menace. The administration probably will have to do something. But many Democrats increasingly and some Republicans warning this president better come to Congress and ask for authorization before there is any military action.

I want to you listen to an interview CNN did earlier today with Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Armed Services Committee.


SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: The president should clearly get congressional support for this. This is too massive an operation to proceed without it. There's too much at stake. There's too much of a potential for significant casualties. The resources involved are huge and the impact on the region and on our security is so large that the president it seems to me, would not proceed without congressional authority.


KING: Will the president go to Congress and ask for authorization before any major military operation against Saddam Hussein and Iraq?

BARTLETT: Well, again, it is important that everybody understand, obviously that the position of this administration and the United States government is that regime change, removing Saddam Hussein from power is a long held policy, this administration and this government. And there's a reason. He's a very dangerous man who has lied to the world, has gassed his own people, has flaunted a treaty that he has signed and it's important that we take this topic very seriously.

But the speculation going on about specific ways to do that, right now the administration is deploying all types of ways to achieve that diplomatic financial, whatever it may be, and the president said there is no war plans on his desk. I think it is highly speculative to be talking like that and very premature.

KING: OK, we'll try that one a little bit later. I want to close by asking you to detail, the White House today confirmed the president's plans for September 11. He will go to New York, visit the Pentagon and also go to the crash site of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. A busy schedule obviously for the president. Explain why he wanted to visit all three sites.

BARTLETT: Well, it's very important we think on this anniversary for the president of the United States to go back and reconnect and talk to those people who were there firsthand, whether it be at the Pentagon, and those brave soldiers who rushed to the scene to help their comrades who had fallen or whether it's going to Pennsylvania to Flight 93, the real, what I've heard call, the first counter attack on the war on terrorism, the heroic stories and to go back and pay tribute to those people and then finish the day where the most horrific event happened and that's in New York City and join hands again with New Yorkers and speak to the world again to show the unity of this country, the strength of this country and the character of this country.

He looks for forward to it. It's an opportunity to reflect, to remember, to mourn but also to look forward and to look at the great optimism of this country.

KING: Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director. Thanks for joining us today.

On the TV version of the "West Wing," the Bartlett in the White House is the president and he's a liberal Democrat, which may help explain this tidbit from our Jonathan Karl. It turns out the three Republicans who served as consultants on the NBC drama have been told their services are no longer needed. Peggy Noonan, Marlin Fitzwater and Frank Lund (ph) are off the payroll. But Democratic consultants Dee Dee Myers (ph) and Jean Sperling have been asked to return.

The nominees are set for one of the top Senate races of 2002. I'll talk next with Tennessee's Lamar Alexander and Bob Clement. Also ahead, what are James Traficant's former colleagues saying about a hair-raising revelation. And a return for Bob Dylan and memories of a political tradition, the protest song.


KING: Checking the stories in today's INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle." A federal judge has ruled that the government must reveal the names of the people it has detained in the investigation of the September 11 attacks. The judge's order allows exceptions only if the detainee is a material witness or requests to remain anonymous.

A classified memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld puts U.S. Special Operations forces in charge of their own counter terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. The U.S. Central Command did have that authority. The memo order orders the Special Ops to quote, "capture or kill top al Qaeda leaders."

Cardinal Bernard Law testified in court today that the Boston Archdiocese in 86 alleged victims of priest abuse knew their verbal agreement last spring was not a done deal. The plaintiffs are trying to hold the archdiocese to a settlement announced by the court. The church now says it can't afford the settlement costs. It argues the agreement isn't binding because not all of the defendants signed it. CNN's political unit has learned that Al Gore plans to write an op-ed piece for the Sunday edition of a major newspaper. In the piece, the former vice president will defend his use of the phrase "the people, not the powerful" during his run for the president. This comes just days after Gore's populist message in 2000 was criticized by some moderate Democrats, including his former running mate, Joe Lieberman. With us now to discuss this and more, Mindy Tucker, communications director for the Republican National Committee and Jennifer Palmieri, press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

Let's start with you, Jennifer, since we have a Democrat, Al Gore, now taking issue with the DLC, a group that was once headed by his president, Bill Clinton, that Al Gore was a prominent member. Positioning here for 2004, does Al Gore suddenly decide he wants to go left?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, DNC PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I think that what we see happening here is an exchange of ideas, an engagement of ideas, which is what primaries are about, and I think it's a healthy part of the primary process to have this type of debate.

We are going to have Democrats out talking about Democratic message, talking about ideas, different approaches to the issues that we hear about. But I wouldn't lose the forest for the trees here. I mean, this is, if you take a look at the bigger picture, Democrats are in some way arguing, debating semantics. I mean, we all have the view that corporations should be held responsible for their actions. They should be held accountable for them. We all have the more general view that what the Democratic Party believes in is that government should be providing opportunities in the promise of prosperity. This is, you know, it is -- it is part of the debate and it is a healthy thing. I think it is good that the press is paying attention to it.

KING: A healthy exchange of ideas or...

MINDY TUCKER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIR.: If I was a Democrat, I'd be forced to say that. But unfortunately, what it is it's a reminder of the divisive kind of politics that Al Gore engaged in in the year 2000. He likes to pit people against each other, instead of uniting people and getting things done and unfortunately what you're seeing now is the fact that the Democrats really don't have a lot of ideas in their party. They have old ideas that they're arguing but they don't have one real leader whose stepped up to the plate and said this is what we're about and that's why you don't see leadership in the Senate.

PALMIERI: We have good leadership in the Senate from Tom Daschle. We have it from Dick Gephardt. But this is what the process is about.


KING: ... they may both be running for president along with Joe Lieberman and Al Gore looking for his spot. PALMIERI: I don't believe that there is a problem. I think that the Congress is operating well. I think Daschle is working well with actually with most Senate Republicans and that this is part of the process to elect a new leader...


KING: ...stop you both here, because I want to move on to something, let's call it provocative, said by your former boss, President Clinton, delivering a speech at a fund-raiser, a Jewish fund-raiser, I believe, in Canada, Toronto, Canada, former President Clinton. Let's listen.


CLINTON: Because Israel believes when it comes right down to it, America is the only big country that cares whether they live or die. That's why I can say, "give up the West Bank," because the Israelis knew that if the Iraqi or the Iranian army came across the Jordan River, I would personally grab a rifle, get in the ditch and fight and die, and I would.


KING: Grab a rifle, jump in a ditch, fight and die. Is he not inhaling again?

PALMIERI: John, no, you covered this man for a long time. You know that what he's trying to do -- I think what he's expressing is the solidarity that most Americans feel with the Israelis and you know that the Middle East peace process is incredibly important to him. I think all Americans; I think even Mindy would agree that we should be proud of the leadership role the U.S. took in the Middle East process when Clinton was president and as we go on now with Bush as president.

TUCKER: The problem here is that this man has decided that he has a problem when he's not in the limelight. It's a problem for the Democrats because he continually does it. And it would be one thing if it was a former president adding to the productive discussion but it usually never is, it's usually just about Bill Clinton. And ...

PALMIERI: You're making him out that Clinton is about the media.

TUCKER: No, he makes it about Bill Clinton when it isn't even about him. He can't stand not to be in the limelight. It's unfortunate for the Democrats, because it reminds them ...

PALMIERI: That's not what the problem is. It's a problem for the media.

TUCKER: John, you would agree.

KING: I call time out. We're out of time. You can come back and we'll continue this. Long way to go, I know.

Coming up, familiar names face off in the Senate race in Tennessee. A Democratic congressman will take on a former governor and two-time presidential candidate.

After a division GOP primary, former presidential candidate Lamar Alexander won his party's nomination for Senate in Tennessee, defeating Congressman Ed Bryant yesterday. On the Democratic side, Congressman Bob Clement won over token opposition. I spoke with both nominees earlier today. First, I asked Congressman Clement about Alexander's efforts to portray him as a liberal.


REP. BOB CLEMENT, (D) TENN. SENATE CANDIDATE: I have to chuckle about that because I've never been called a liberal. I've always been considered a conservative to moderate, but I think he means I'm a liberator. I'm going to liberate the people of Tennessee from the Sundquist-Alexander political power machine once and for all.

KING: This is clearly an issue in the race, though. He's trying to paint you as a liberal. On your Web site, I'm reading an article that says, "As a veteran Bob is one of George W. Bush's strongest supporters when it comes to Homeland Security." You are the Democrat bragging of your support of the president's initiative here. How do you run in this campaign? Do you want to be identified in your state as a supporter of this Republican president?

CLEMENT: John, I've supported President Bush, Bush Administration, when it comes to combating terrorism and bolstering homeland security. I voted for President Bush's tax cut, I even voted against Clinton's tax plan. I've showed some independence; I review all the information and the records, whether it be government reports or private reports or town hall meetings or call your congressman, and I stay in touch with the people -- people of Tennessee. I've lived in all three grand divisions of our state, and I've worked in all three grand divisions of Tennessee; and I know the people in Tennessee, and I'm ready to serve.

KING: Your race, sir, is obviously critical to the national contest for control of the Senate and the White House has made clear it is prepared to do everything it can to help Governor Alexander. There's the full expectation President Bush will come to Tennessee in the fall to campaign for Governor Alexander. I want your sense of whether you would call in the heavy hitters, as well. Al Gore, of course, a native Tennessean, has said rehabilitating himself in that state is critical. Obviously, had he won his home state, he would be president of the United States. Is Al Gore welcome on your side of the fall campaign or do you think that could do you more harm than good?

CLEMENT: John, I've unified the Democratic Party; conservatives, moderates, liberals are all supporting Bob Clement to the United States Senate. We welcome President Bush to Tennessee at anytime. I realize he won't be coming here to support Bob Clement, but -- and we are going to work together where we can work together, but I tell you what, they're going to give the Bush Administration a real wake up call in November, because we're not putting the emphasis we need to on the economy, on our domestic economic issues, and we've got a lot of plant closings, people unemployed, under-employed and they want as much weight put on the economy as we are putting on fighting this war and fighting this war on terrorism. I think that's critically important because somehow, some way we've got to pay for this war.



KING: Former Tennessee governor, Lamar Alexander, thank you for joining us today on INSIDE POLITICS. You are now the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate for the seat being vacated by Senator Fred Thompson. Your opponent Bob Clement said today that yes, he is with President Bush on the issue of homeland security, fighting the war on terrorism, but that the voters of Tennessee will give this administration a wake-up call this November on the issue of the economy. Bob Clement said the president asleep at the wheel, if you will, at a time of economic trouble. Is that a fair assessment?

LAMAR ALEXANDER (R), TENN. SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, that's a fair assessment of what the race is going to be about, because Congressman Clement has just signaled the difference. He's going to move Fred Thompson's desk on the Republican side of the Senate over between Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy and go off in the wrong direction. And here's an example of that. If you really want to be for jobs, Bob Clement would have voted for the president's Trade Promotion Authority last week in the House, because that would have given the Saturn plant in Tennessee a chance to make more cars, pay more high paying jobs, so the president could help us sell those Saturns in South America.

But Bob Clement voted no. He voted for less local control of education, he's voted for less support for the military. So the difference is a really genuine difference of philosophy and that's what the race is going to be about.

KING: Governor, you were in the first Bush administration cabinet as the education secretary. That President Bush successfully prosecuted the Persian Gulf War, but then was removed from office because the voters did not believe he had his hands properly on the tiller, if you will, during a time of economic downturn. Any concerns on your part that you see history repeating itself?

ALEXANDER: That's one reason I'm running, John. I told President Bush this morning when he called me that I thought he had good help on the war. He's got Cheney and Powell and Rumsfeld and Rice; and I'm going to support him there, but my greater contribution can be to help him at home with jobs and families and schools and prescription drugs, a Republican position on the environment, support for TPA, where I am right now. Sometimes we Republicans don't do as good of a job at that, and that's going to be what I have to contribute to the United States Senate. That's why I'm running.

KING: I asked Clement and could not get a yes or no on the question of whether Al Gore would be welcome to campaign by his side. The vice president obviously wants to rehabilitate himself in the state of Tennessee. What's your sense? Is Al Gore doing that work right now, and would it help or hurt Bob Clement if Al Gore were by his side? ALEXANDER: Well, if he doesn't -- If Bob Clement doesn't invite Al Gore to be by his side, I'll invite Al Gore to be by his side, because they're all together. I mean, right after Clement and Kennedy and Clinton get together on the agenda, Bob's going to call Al to go to work and try to beat George Bush in 2004.

So that's a genuine difference of opinion. We deserve -- I've challenged Bob and talked to him this morning to have a series of six televised debates on the issues. Let's keep it a high level; let's talk about our profound differences on jobs and schools and the president's trade authority and confirming conservative judges and let the people of Tennessee know that. And Al Gore and Clement belong in the same camp, and I'm sure they'll be there by election day.


KING: One of the great races coming up between now and November.

Two other big winners from the Tennessee primary top today's "Campaign News Daily." Republican Van Hilleary and Democrat Phil Bredsen easily won their parties' nominations for governor last night. The congressman and the former Nashville mayor are vying to replace term limited GOP governor Don Sundquist.

Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli is running a new ad in New Jersey media markets about his relationship with a campaign donor.


SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: Although I broke no laws, it's clear to me that I did exercise poor judgment in my associations and actions, which I deeply regret and for which I take full responsibility.


KING: Torricelli was "severely admonished" this week by the Senate Ethics Committee for receiving gifts from donor David Chang. Senator Rick Santorum and some other Republicans are urging the committee to release the transcripts of the secret hearings.


SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: You can't have a culpa without a mea. The fact of the matter is something happened here and the public has a right to know what went on.


KING: And in Florida, what does Janet Reno do for an encore after her widely publicized "dance party"? The Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former attorney general plans a rocking fund-raiser next month, featuring a solo performance by Sir Elton John.

Election 2002 may be a hot topic on Capitol Hill, but the real buzz today is about expelled congressman James Traficant's hair. Traficant is beginning an eight-year sentence for corruption. Before he took this mug shot yesterday in Ohio, jail officials made him take off his toupee briefly to check for contraband. There has been considerable speculation about whether Traficant's bushy mane is real or artificial, a subject Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott felt compelled to weigh in on today.


SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: I haven't been accused of such a thing myself. It never crossed my mind that that was an artificial piece, because I just know that if he'd been able to pick and choose his hair, it would look better than that.


KING: For the record, jail officials say Traficant wears a small hairpiece, not one that fully covers his head. And he will not be able to wear it once he is transferred to federal prison.

An incumbent senator takes heat for opposing campaign finance reform. At first blush, nothing strange about that. But, wait. The people taking him to task are doing it with the very tactics they say they're against. That and much more, coming up.


KING: Is it fair play, or hypocrisy? In Arkansas, a group slamming a senator's opposition to the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act is using the kind of ad that the law will -- but does not yet -- forbid. CNN senior correspondent, Brooks Jackson, explains.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Arnold Hiatt, a walking contradiction. This wealthy Massachusetts businessman seeks "true" campaign finance reform, but he is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on unregulated attack ads to get it.


NARRATOR: First, big corporations like Enron and other powerful special interests...


JACKSON: Hiatt's group, called the Reform Voter Project, is running this ad in Arkansas, trying to tie the Enron scandal around the neck of one of the Senate's most endangered Republicans.


NARRATOR: But, when Senator Tim Hutchinson had the chance to stop the flood of special interest money, Hutchinson voted no. Hutchinson voted against McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ARNOLD HIATT: I don't think people in Washington take campaign finance reform seriously, and my feeling is, the only way we can help those people is to show them that they can be turned out of office by not representing their voters.

JACKSON: The target of the ads sees an irony here. Senator Hutchinson.

SEN. TIM HUTCHINSON, (R) ARKANSAS: Well, it's the height of hypocrisy. Under McCain-Feingold, these are the very kind of ads that it would outlaw in the last 60 days of the campaign.

JACKSON: That 60-day limit on ads like these won't take effect until next year, and the director of Hiatt's group says they have no intention of honoring it this year.

DAVID DONNELLY, REFORM VOTER PROJECT: Our job is not based on future law. It's to play by the rules right now.


NARRATOR: He wants to privatize Social Security.


JACKSON: These are issue ads that get around all campaign spending limits by stopping just short of specifically urging anyone to vote against Hutchinson. This ad just says he favors using Social Security money to profit his Wall Street donors. Ouch!


NARRATOR: ... Senator Tim Hutchinson. Tell Tim Hutchinson, he's supposed to work for us, not Wall Street lobbyists.


JACKSON: Hypocrisy? Reform Voter's director says it's just fighting fire with fire.

DONNELLY: It is a "man bites dog" story, with campaign finance reformers spending money to get big money out of politics.

JACKSON: Reform Voter has spent about $300,000 so far against Hutchinson, but it remains to be seen if the ads will have the desired effect.

HUTCHINSON: I do think the people of Arkansas, they don't particularly like Boston, Massachusetts eastern liberal groups coming in to tell them how to vote on a U.S. Senate race.

JACKSON: Records show Hiatt is by far the largest donor to the Reform Voter Group, but he has given even more in the past to the Democratic party. Still, Reform Voter's director promises it won't be attacking only Republicans.

DONNELLY: There will be Democrats on our list.

JACKSON: Anyone who voted against McCain-Feingold could find themselves a target of similar ads, the very kind of free speech they supported. Look for half a dozen Reform Voter ads in Senate and House races before November.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


KING: More INSIDE POLITICS just ahead. Stay with us.


In today's "Bite of the Apple," our Jeff Greenfield tells us times are a-changing for political tradition.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news that Bob Dylan is returning to the Newport Folk Festival this weekend for the first time in 37 years brought back some very old memories of a much younger Dylan. It was more than four decades ago that the young Bob Zimmerman came here to New York's Greenwich Village and quickly established himself as a legitimate heir to a great tradition, the political protest song.

The early music of Dylan was squarely in the mainstream of folk music with a message, a message that came almost wholly from the political left. Dylan's hero was Woody Guthrie, who wrote "This Land is Your Land."

Another one of his influences, Pete Seeger, whose roots in radical American politics went back to the 1930s and who was a member of the folk singing group The Weavers.

With the emergence of the Civil Rights movement in the early 60s, protest songs moved front and center, literally. Two of Dylan's songs, "Blowing in the Wind" and "The Times, They are A-changing," were sung at the March on Washington. By 1965 the growth of the anti- war movement and the youth counter-culture gave music a broader message of dissent.

George Wein founded the Newport Folk Festival some 40 years ago.

GEORGE WEIN, FOUNDER, NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL: I think there was an atmosphere of rebellion in the air, and that's was what we're talking about, not the political rebellion, the rebellion against society.

GREENFIELD: In one form or another, that spirit has found its way into music decade after decade. The Rolling Stones' "Street Fighting Man." John Lennon's "Give Peace a Chance." Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A.," an angry protest about hypocrisy and broken promises, widely misheard as a patriotic anthem. U-2 sang about the death of Martin Luther King and about British misrule. Public Enemy recorded "Fight the Power." Rage Against the Machine specialized in songs attacking corporate power. There was even counter, counter cultural music like Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskokie." Just this past June, some of the major stars of hip-hop, rap and R&B, like Alicia Keyes, appeared on a New York City rally to protest school budget cuts.

But as for the classic model of political folk songs, George Wein says that there's a very different sound today.

WEIN: What young folks singers now are singing are, you know, songs about themselves, about their problems in life, being teenagers, being whatever it is or what it is to have a love affair.

GREENFIELD: The youthful protesters of those long ago days are now aging Baby Boomers, even part of the Medicare generation, but still, when they look at their 401(k)s and their retirement plans today, you wonder if they don't remember a version of an old Bob Dylan song that goes, "Something is happening and you don't know what it is, do you, Mr. Dow Jones?"

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


KING: More INSIDE POLITICS just ahead.


Today in Florida, Governor Jeb Bush appointed a successor to Secretary of State Katherine Harris. Jim Smith has served in the job before and as Florida's attorney general. Katherine Harris announced her resignation yesterday. In the process, the G.O.P. congressional candidate reignited old anger about her role in the 2000 presidential standoff. CNN's Mark Potter has the story.


POTTER (voice-over): Once again Katherine Harris stepped into the spotlight and into controversy.

KATHERINE HARRIS, FORMER FLORIDA SECRETARY OF STATE: I made a mistake. In no way should the confidence of the voters be shaken.

POTTER: In a letter to Governor Jeb Bush, Harris announced that in order to run for Congress she is resigning as secretary of state, as required by law. The problem is she was two weeks late, saying she had been confused about whether the rule applied to her office.

HARRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, I made a mistake in not filing a letter of resignation at the time I qualified for my congressional race.

POTTER: Under Florida's so-called "Resign to Run" law, when state officials qualify to run for another office, they are immediately supposed to announce their intentions to resign. Harris qualified July 15.

HARRIS: I hereby declare Governor George W. Bush the winner.

POTTER: Democrats, still angry at Harris for halting the 2000 presidential election recount and certifying George W. Bush the winner, scoff at her claim she misinterpreted the Florida election law this year. After all, Harris ran the elections division.

BOB POE, FLA. DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Well, it's another bizarre twist in the never-ending Katherine Harris saga, and it's obvious that she never understood the law. She can't even exit gracefully and resign properly.

POTTER: Democrats say they are considering whether to file suit to remove Harris from the congressional ballot in Florida's 13th district on the southwest coast. Two Republicans, Harris is still a hero, credited for her role in helping to put President Bush in the White House. Florida's G.O.P. chairman, Alec Cardenas, says the latest criticism from Democrats may actually help Harris with voters.

AL CARDENAS, FLORIDA G.O.P. CHAIRMAN: They're so sick and tired of Katherine being attacked that where this latest salvo is justified or not they just figure enough is enough and they've been hit hard and I think she's almost immune from criticism by this point, because it's been so frequent and so strong against her.

POTTER: Political analysts say unless a lawsuit is filed and Harris loses, this latest controversy will have little impact on her congressional campaign. In her heavily Republican district, Katherine Harris is very popular.

Mark Potter, CNN, Miami.


KING: That's it today for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King in Washington, thanks for joining us. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" begins right now.


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