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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Gephardt Wants Iraq Issue to go to Congress; Should Bush Stop Baseball Strike?

Aired August 29, 2002 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Baseball players and owners are talking as a strike deadline draws near. And the first fan is watching, but will he intervene?
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield in New York with some invaluable advice for President Bush that could help the game he loves and his political party.

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Snow at the Maryland State fair in Timonium, the heart of Maryland's second Congressional district. A blue ribbon here for Democrats could mean control of the U.S. House.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, a clash on the streets of Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are trying to lower the value of human beings by elevating animals to their level.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The story behind an elephant creating a political circus.

Thank you for joining us. Well, like many avid baseball fans, President Bush is going about his business but anxiously waiting to find out if the Major League season will be cut short by a strike. Mr. Bush is in Little Rock, Arkansas this hour. He's talking about education at a back to school event. Earlier his spokesman talked about the president's position on a baseball walkout. White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace is traveling with Mr. Bush. Hi, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. Well, when asked if President Bush would step in and try and avert a strike, the message from the White House is no. The president's spokesman saying he believes this is something the owners and the players need to resolve themselves. But, the president is stepping up the pressure a bit.

Of course Judy as we said, he is an avid baseball fan. We saw him throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium last year. He is the only president who is also at one time a former major league baseball owner. Well, the president's spokesman, Scott McClellan saying today, the president would be furious if there is a strike. That is a message the president conveyed himself a couple of weeks back in Crawford, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The baseball owners and the baseball players must understand that if there is a stoppage, work stoppage, a lot of fans are going to be furious, and I'm one. It is very important for these people to get together. And you can make every excuse in the book not to reach an accord. It is bad for them not to reach an accord. They need to keep working.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: Now back in 1994, former President Clinton did not get involved until after the players walked. Months after the strike got underway, the former president appointed a special mediator. Months after that, he summoned players and owners to the White House. But he was unable it broker a deal. In the end Judy a Federal judge stepped in and got baseball back up and running again. Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly, thanks. And now let's get an update on the talks that are going on between baseball players and owners. CNN's Josie Karp is in New York. Josie, what's going on?

JOSIE KARP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well the two sides are trying to get it done on their own. They've met twice today face-to-face. The first one in the morning. It lasted about an hour and 40 minutes. The last meeting ended just about an hour ago.

It lasted about 45 minutes. After that meeting, we asked one of the negotiators for the owner's side if he felt like the two sides were closer than they were when he left this building behind me at 1:30 a.m. this morning to get a few hours of sleep. He thought about it for a minute and then he said, no. They do plan, though, to meet again. They have plans to go as long as it takes, as long as they feel like they are still making any progress or still have something to talk about.

Right now, the two issues that are separating them. There's one that we've heard a lot about. That's the luxury tax. The other one, just recently came up within the last 24 to 48 hours, and that's when this four-year agreement will end, on October 31 or December 31.

It makes a big difference to the owners and players. The owners want it to end earlier so they know what is going on before a free agent signing period would begin. It's an issue that has come up before. It's now come up again. There are two major figure heads in this negotiation and we haven't seen a lot of either one. The first is the executive director of the player's union. That's Donald Fehr.

We haven't seen him for a couple days actually going back and forth from office to office for these negotiations. But we have learned that he did make a brief appearance at the last meeting when asked if it was a significant brief appearance. We were told, yes it was. The other figure head is commissioner Bud Selig for major league baseball. He made a dramatic arrival here in New York yesterday from his home in Milwaukee. But he hasn't actually been sitting in at the table for these negotiations. We asked what he was doing and we were told by one negotiator, he is on the phone constantly with all of the other owners.

Clearly there are a couple things at play here. The owners need to get a deal done with the union they'll accept, but they also have to come to an agreement on what they feel like they can do, how far they can go -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: A whole lot to follow, Josie Karp. A lot for them to work out. Thanks a lot. Well, if the players do walk out, the game that is underway right now between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers could be one of the last for a while. CNN's Jeff Flock has been talking to fans out at the ballpark in Milwaukee. What are they saying, Jeff?

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, indeed, 10 to 3 by the way, in case you care, Cubs over the Brewers, and I'll tell you some of those sort of angry Brewers fans were chanting just a little while ago, "Go on strike! Go on strike!"

Probably no secret that they haven't had the greatest season in the world. But we've been, as you say, talking to fans as well as the players earlier trying to get some sense of what's on people's mind. Got a whole group of them we've assembled here. And I don't know. You think it's going to happen?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope not. I think it is going to be very destructive to the spirit of America.

FLOCK: Do you think the game can come back if there is another strike?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it'll be very difficult. Because I think it took them a long time to recoup from the last strike. And the people that are going to suffer are the fans and the young kids.

FLOCK: Right. We were talking earlier, it costs a lot of money to come out to the ball game, doesn't it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it cost a real lot, yes.

FLOCK: You were sharing how much it cost you. I mean you guys paid, 40, 50 bucks for your ticket and just to get here and kind of hard on fixed income.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, it is hard. But all pro sports are pricing themselves out of business.

FLOCK: And you were saying with the dollars involved, you got owners who are millionaires. You got ball players that are millionaires, tough to muster up sympathy for either side. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely. I would put the blame at 70/30 probably, 70 percent for the players, 30 for owners simply because the salary structure's just out of whack. I mean they don't want a salary cap, fine. What is wrong with revenue sharing? How much do the Yankees pull in, in local broadcasting, $200 something million.

FLOCK: In Milwaukee, you're feeling like it's hard for you guys to compete with teams like the Yankees because they have a lot of money coming in for their TV deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They need to share with other teams that don't have the money. But the thing that really annoyed me is that the minimum salaries, $300,000 a year, for these guys. The average person can't even relate to that nowadays. And back in the 50s, you wouldn't even have made the team if you had less than 220.

FLOCK: Indeed sir, times have changed. We appreciate your comments. Thanks for taking some time out from the ball game and sharing your thoughts. Judy, that is some sense of what is on the minds of people in America as we said, hard for some of these fans to muster up sympathy on either the players or the owners side. Back to you.

WOODRUFF: And you really hear them not able to identify with the players salary. All right, Jeff. Thanks a lot.

And now, let's bring in one of our own resident baseball fans. He is our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield. All right, Jeff, you've been thinking about all this.

GREENFIELD: Indeed Judy and I have a proposal. I'm stepping out of my journalistic virginity mode with some advice because actually eight summers and one baseball strike ago, President Clinton was wrapping up a chat with a trio of journalists, present company included.

As I prepared to go I said to him, somewhat tongue in cheek, have you thought about invoking the Taft-Hartley law to stop the baseball strike. Now I don't know if Clinton realized that I was sort of half kidding. But he looked at me as if I had gone completely off the deep end. But you know, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to suggest to President Bush now that he take my advice for real.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD (voice-over): First some history. The Taft Hartley law named after Senator Robert Taft and Congressman Frank Hartley was passed by a Republican Congress in 1947 over the strong veto of Harry Truman. It gives the president the power to impose an 80-day cooling off period on any strike that would imperil the national health and safety.

A nationwide strike is immediately called and 560,000 steel workers join the picket lines.

Labor unions hated the law. They called it slave labor. But it's been stored in the political attic for years. It hasn't been used since 1978 when Jimmy Carter used it to stop a coal strike. And guys like Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Bernie Williams, making between 10 and $25 million a year may not strike you as the classic image of the hard-calloused sons of toil. But think about it for the president's point of view. As Bush thinks about what happened to President Clinton and the Democrats eight years and one baseball strike ago.

FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: It appears that both parties are determined to let the strike proceed.

GREENFIELD: Democrats were swept out of the House and Senate in mid term elections. swept out in a tidal wave of angry voters. Whatever they were angry about back then, surely the absence of the baseball play-offs and the World Series could not have helped their mood any. And today, every poll shows that the voters are in a bad mood. They think the country is off on the wrong track. Maybe it's the markets or Enron and company or Martha Stewart or the church scandals or the terror fears. Here is one thing everybody from Karl Rove on down knows. If voters go to the polls in a lousy mood, it is very bad news for the party in power.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: Now, with Taft-Hartley you get an 80-day cooling off period. That gets baseball all the way through the World Series. That means a happier emotional state for voters. Male voters in particular, the key to any Republican victory. And even if Bush can't argue politics, there is no reason why the president could not argue than an emotionally happy public is a matter of national mental health. So I would suggest to Mr. President, think about it. The last president ignored my advice. He got six years of an opposition Congress and an impeachment to boot. So you will pardon the mixed metaphor Judy, but I think this next idea is a slam dunk.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: So Jeff, you are serious about this, right?

GREENFIELD: Semi-serious. If this baseball strike goes another week it will go from semi tongue in cheek to absolute matter of national security.

WOODRUFF: So if the president's lawyers are watching, they better have been taking notes.

GREENFIELD: I just can point out to you what the last one, he didn't listen and look what happened to Bill Clinton.

WOODRUFF: Look what happened to him. All right, Jeff, thanks.

A final bit of political spin on baseball. Our most recent polling found Republicans and Democrats are fans of the national pastime in almost even numbers. But the threat of a strike drives home partisan differences. More than half of Republican baseball fans say they favor the owners in this labor dispute to only 20 percent side with the players. While Democratic baseball fans are divided in their allegiances, with more than a third favoring the owners and about the same percentage, a third, supporting the players. There's politics in everything.

Well we'll talk to a major player in the competition for control of the House, when INSIDE POLITICS returns. I'll ask minority leader Dick Gephardt if he is prepared to claim victory before election day.

A Republican governor uses some choice words to take issue with the Bush White House and its political strategy.

And later, a peek inside capital cribs. Can you match the decor with the member of Congress who calls this office a home away from home?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), MINORITY LEADER: It is investors rights and the state of our economy, the budget deficit. These are very, very important voting issues and I see a real trend toward Democratic candidates on these issues.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned the budget deficit just this week. Of course the Congressional Budget Office put out new numbers showing a rapidly shrinking surplus and yet, almost everywhere you look, people, political reporters are asking people, do you really care about whether there's a deficit or not and people are basically yawning about that. What makes you so sure that voters really care any more about the surplus?

GEPHARDT: Well, I wouldn't say every voter is all into that issue, but I think that people have begun to recognize that a couple of years ago, under a Democratic economic plan, we had $5 trillion of surpluses we were talking about and just a year and a half later, with a Republican economic plan, we now face a long, long string of deficits and the deficit for this year is over $300 billion. Now, I'm not saying everybody is vastly interested in that issue, but I think people are beginning to see that this is not just 9/11 and homeland defense that's causing this. We're into a much different and much less better economy. You also have to remember that people have lost $7 trillion worth of value in the stock market, in their 401(k) and pension plan. They don't like that much either.

WOODRUFF: You also mentioned what you call privatization of Social Security. The Republicans are crying foul. Your counterpart running the campaigns for the Republicans in the House are saying the Democrats are being false. They're being misleading, that they are not talking about privatizing Social Security.

GEPHARDT: Well, I can understand why they would want to run away from this issue, which is what they are trying to do. But we didn't bring this up. The Republicans and George Bush brought it up. George Bush ran in his campaign on privatizing Social Security. He set up a commission that included little or no Democratic thought. And they came back with three different plans to privatize Social Security. And then every week since then, either he or the head of the Republican party has asked the Congress to pass these privatization plans. So it is hardly us that is bringing this up. It is - we are talking about it because it's what they want do. It is a bad idea. It's always been a bad idea. And it sure is one of the big differences in this campaign and I think this campaign will center around that issue.

WOODRUFF: Let me finally ask you about Iraq. The White House is now saying that it will seek some sort of Congressional approval before it takes military action against Iraq. In your mind, what form exactly should that approval take?

GEPHARDT: Well, I have said for some time, that Saddam Hussein is a problem. We live in a world of terrorism. That's probably the easiest and best place for terrorists to get weapons of mass destruction. Our responsibility is to keep the American people safe. We cannot have weapons of mass destruction in this country. I said we should deal with it diplomatically if we can, militarily if we must. We have to keep the coalition together, if at all possible. And we've got have a full discussion in the Congress, and a vote in both houses, before any plan that the president presents at any time is accepted.

WOODRUFF: So are you talking about a resolution, a language specifically authorizing military strikes?

GEPHARDT: It can be a resolution, it can be a declaration of war. It can be a bill. I don't think that the technical part of this is important. What is important is that we have an agreement, an essential agreement among the American people through their representatives in the Congress, that the country is behind this effort in its own self-defense against the terrorist acts that could happen from the weapons of mass destruction.

WOODRUFF: Are you confident that that will be passed in both houses?

GEPHARDT: Again it depends on how it's presented, what the plan is. Is it a sensible military plan? Does it give us a good chance of succeeding as quickly as we would like? I think there are a lot of issues there that need to be discussed. But as I have said many times, this is a threat to the United States, and if we put together the right plan and we present it correctly to the American people, we hold the allies together behind it, I think we have a good chance of success. We have to succeed. We cannot allow weapons of mass destruction in the United States.

WOODRUFF: House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt. He's out stumping for Democrats all over the country, today in Las Vegas. Thanks very much.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And speaking of Iraq, it was the topic once again today for Vice President Dick Cheney. In a speech to a group of Korean war veterans, Cheney repeated his earlier warning that Saddam Hussein has obtained weapons of mass destruction and it remains a serious threat to U.S. security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror and sitting atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire middle east, to take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies and to directly threaten America's friends throughout the region and subject the United States or any other nation to nuclear blackmail.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: The vice president said the terror threat to America goes beyond Iraq to groups like Al Qaeda which he said are pursuing weapons of mass destruction and using crude methods to test their effects.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHENEY: 9/11 and its aftermath have awakened this nation to danger, to the true ambitions of a global terror network and to the reality that weapons of mass destruction are being sought by determined enemies, who would not hesitate to use them against us. It is a certainty that the Al Qaeda network is pursuing such weapons and has succeeded in acquiring at least a crude capability to use them.

We found evidence of their effort in the caves and tunnels in Al Qaeda hideouts in Afghanistan and we have seen in recent days additional confirmation and tapes played on CNN, pictures of Al Qaeda members training to commit acts of terror and testing chemical weapons on dogs. Those terrorists who remain at large are determined to use these capabilities against the United States and against our friends and allies around the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Vice President Cheney speaking a little earlier today.

Coming up, the White House gets involved in state races. Is it a good thing for Republicans? One of the topics in our taking issue segment. Also, are there empty ballparks in baseball's future? We update that potential strike next in the "Newscycle."

But first let's turn to Allan Chernoff. He's at the New York Stock Exchange to give us a market update. Hi, Allan.

(MARKET UPDATE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: With us now here at INSIDE POLITICS, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president (AUDIO GAP) to both of you, back to the world of politics and policy, the White House today putting out word that they're putting together a package of tax cuts that essentially would benefit investors. They are talking about reducing capital-gains tax rates. They're talking about stock dividend tax rate reductions.

Is this is a good idea? Is it smart politics, Bay?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Sure, it is very smart politics. But, more importantly, it makes good business sense.

Judy, this summer has been terribly tragic for millions of Americans who invested in the stock market. And what the president is trying to do here is to set forth a program that will give them some help. And it's directly targeted at them, at these investors, of which half of America is just about included.

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: But, Bay, this is really targeted at institutional investors, not mom and pop out there that has lost trillions of dollars in the stock market. It's not going to help them. I don't believe it will trickle down to them.

This is an election-year gimmick. Even Republicans are saying, "We need something to campaign on because we have nothing to campaign on." And I believe that this is all hat and no cattle, nothing.

BUCHANAN: Not to go into all the details of this, but it includes things like being able to increase the amount of money you can put into your retirement. That helps me. That helps you. Obviously, it's going to help millions of Americans. And it's not just targeted at those big-time investors. It's targeted at all of us.

But, secondly, Democrats are constantly saying in the last couple weeks, over and over: "What's your economic plan? What are you going to do to help these people?" The president makes a proposal and you all say, "Well, that's a dumb idea." Well, come up with your own, then.

BRAZILE: Well, we have. But the Republicans won't sit down with the Democrats to come up with a fiscally responsible plan that will return us back to...

BUCHANAN: Put it forward.

BRAZILE: We're trying.

(CROSSTALK)

BUCHANAN: You have access to TV.

BRAZILE: No, it's not TV. We need access to the Treasury before the Republicans raid the Social Security trust fund any farther. (LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Bay, so you're saying that -- I mean, some people would look at this and say this is a piecemeal tax effort. Is this a significant tax cut effort?

BUCHANAN: Well, I think what it is, it is put together rather quickly with the full purpose to help those who have been hurt. It's not a long-term thing. It's short-term. But let's get some aid to them immediately -- and also to put it through the House, because the Democrats are saying: "They don't have a plan. They don't have anything." And that way, it does give Republicans something to vote on and something to run on.

BRAZILE: It is a 68-day plan, because that's how many days we have left in the election cycle.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: And it is going to last in people's wallet less than 68 seconds, because it's nothing.

BUCHANAN: Only 68 if Democrats don't give it to us.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about Louisiana politics.

Just yesterday, Governor Mike Foster let it be known that he's not happy with the fact that the National Republican Committee came out and endorsed the person he has not endorsed to be the candidate for the Senate for the Republicans. He had endorsed Congressman John Cooksey. The national party came down there and said, "No, we prefer the elections commissioner, Suzie Terrell."

Should the White House, should the national party, Bay, be injecting itself into state races?

BUCHANAN: No, they should not.

And there's a third candidate down there who is just a terrific natural-born leader, Tony Perkins, who is a conservative. And this is what the White House is constantly doing. They think they know better than the people in the state and they are going to decide who is the most electable, who it is they want to see come to Washington.

And it upsets all the people who support other candidates, who will less likely get out to vote. It is foolhardy what they're doing. And if a person can't win the primary with help from Washington, how are they going to win the general election?

BRAZILE: They clearly stirred the election pots down in Louisiana. And I can tell you, one thing Louisianians love is spicy food. I was just home.

WOODRUFF: You're from Louisiana, so you know about Louisiana politics.

BRAZILE: But we don't like folks messing in our elections.

BUCHANAN: Of course not.

BRAZILE: It is just like messing in our gumbo and our etouffees. And Suzie Terrell has flipped-flopped on choice. She's flip-flopped on a number of other issues. She has purged voters from the rolls in Louisiana. So, she won't be able to build a broad coalition.

Look, last week, the Republicans were down there fishing for Mike Foster to run. He said, "No, I don't like Washington, D.C." He endorsed Cooksey. And now they're in big trouble.

WOODRUFF: Well, the White House has also got -- and you could, in essence, say the White House hand-picked Norm Coleman to run against Paul Wellstone in Minnesota.

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: Lamar Alexander.

BUCHANAN: Lamar Alexander, Riordan out there in California. Every time they get involved, you'll also note, it is as if there's a sign on the door, "No conservative need apply." They always go with the mushy moderate that they think is more likely to win. And they're wrong, because they don't understand grassroots politics.

Tony Perkins could get some real excitement going and a movement going that could really upset something down there. You can't do it with somebody that's a look-alike, virtually, in politics.

BRAZILE: And I can tell you this. Marry Landrieu, who is the incumbent senator, has been able to pull together a broad coalition. And I think, with the Republicans being in disarray and the White House stirring the pot, she'll win her reelection in November.

BUCHANAN: I'll tell you, she has got a lot better chance today than she had yesterday.

WOODRUFF: We're glad that you're both here to stir the pot for us.

Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile, great to see you both.

BUCHANAN: Good to be with you.

WOODRUFF: Well, Washington may be noted for its party animals. Up next: One elephant in particular is at the center of an emotional political dispute.

But first, test your knowledge of Washington politicians and their style with our new feature, "Capitol Cribs."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): He has the collected works of Bill Clinton, but don't let that fool you. This prickly politician tried to rope in the presidency himself in '96. He has a soft spot for six-shooters and the old West. So which cowboy hangs his hat in this Capitol crib? More clues in a moment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Here in Washington, the elephant is a prominent symbol. But today a new pachyderm on the streets of the city is creating quite a stir.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): This rather miserable-looking creature found itself in the middle of big political fight today in downtown Washington. Washington's other elephants and donkeys are whimsical creatures scattered around the city as part of a public art project. But this fellow is making a big political point. It was created by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals as a way to showcase what PETA calls the brutal treatment of circus animals.

MATTHEW PENZER, LEGAL COUNSEL, PETA: Elephants and other animals in circuses live every day in pain and fear.

WOODRUFF: A court forced the city to include the PETA elephant on First Amendment grounds, because other animals bear political messages. But the big fight is not over the in-your-face message. It's what is carved on the elephant's rump, three letters: ALF, the initials for the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal-rights groups that has been investigated under the FBI's domestic terrorist program.

A man who works for a food industry trade group pounced.

DAVID MARTOSKO, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR CONSUMER FREEDOM: Here is a group that is brazenly announcing its support for a domestic terror organization. And I got to hand them that. It takes a lot of guts to do that.

WOODRUFF: So how did the letters get on the elephant's rump? PETA, which risks losing its tax-exempt status because of alleged ties to the ALF, says it has no idea.

PENZER: It's not part of the design. We don't know how it got there. And it's a shame.

WOODRUFF: Public art and a political circus.

MARTOSKO: PETA is a group that supports domestic terror organizations, has given money to domestic terrorists.

PENZER: I think it is really inappropriate to insult the meaning of what happened on 9/11 by using the word terrorist.

WOODRUFF: It's enough to make an elephant weep.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Dupont Circle here in Washington.

In a statement, America's best-known circus, Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey, insists that it is committed to the highest standards of animal care.

Move over Bill Clinton. New York Republicans also are opening an office in Harlem. A fund-raiser will be held tonight for the future home of the GOP in Manhattan in what used to be the Hotel Theresa. The historic hotel now is used as an office building. But, in its heyday, many famous African-Americans stayed there, including Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Joe Louis, Cab Calloway, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington.

When Fidel Castro visited New York in 1960, he stayed at the Hotel Theresa and met with prominent blacks, including Malcolm X and Langston Hughes. The Manhattan GOP's new Harlem office is scheduled to officially open in mid-September.

Republican strategists advising Florida Governor Jeb Bush say they are preparing to run against Democrat Bill McBride this fall, according to a report in today's "Palm Beach Post." The newspaper reports internal GOP polling predicts that Janet Reno will lose to McBride in the Democratic primary. State Republicans have spent more than $1 million on TV ads against McBride. The Tampa attorney has trailed Reno throughout the primary campaign, but polls show he runs better than Reno in a head-to-head matchup with Governor Bush.

And now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": A new poll finds California Governor Gray Davis has expanded his lead over Republican challenger Bill Simon. Davis has an 11-point lead over Simon in this new survey. Back in March, he led by four points in a head-to-head matchup; 54 percent of respondents, however, said they are not satisfied with either candidate.

Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan has launched the first TV ad of her reelection campaign against Republican challenger Jim Talent. Carnahan uses the ad to promote her role in cracking down on corporate accounting scandals. Tomorrow, Carnahan makes a bid for the gun- rights vote when she goes skeet shooting in Southeast Missouri.

A new Massachusetts poll finds Shannon O'Brien leading Robert Reich among Democrats running for governor. A survey of likely voters by "The Boston Globe" and WBZ-TV shows O'Brien with 35 percent and Reich with 21 percent. The two front-runners were tied in polls through the winter and the spring. A separate poll released by "The Boston Herald" gives Reich some reason for hope, though. O'Brien's favorable rating has dropped nine points since July.

In the battle for control of the House, a contest in Maryland features colorful front-runners and some unexpected challenges. We'll have that story when we come back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): Quite a gun collection for this Southern politician. He's known for his folksy sayings, including "I have more guns than I need and less than I want." He loves cowboy culture, but the hat that fits best might just be the mortarboard. Whose crib is this? The answer next.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Like the old West, this Capitol crib is soon to fade away. That's because its occupant is riding off into the Texas sunset. You guessed it. These digs belong to the soon-to- retire Texas Senator Phil Gramm.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Did you guess it?

In Maryland, two well-known candidates are vying for an office on the Hill after GOP Congressman Robert Ehrlich gave up the job to run for governor. Democrats leaped at the chance to turn that longtime Republican seat in the Baltimore area into a Democratic win. But that may not be so easy.

Here now: our congressional correspondent Kate Snow.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HELEN BENTLEY (R), MARYLAND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Most of this furniture in this area is Eastlake or Victorian.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you meet Helen Bentley at her antique store, the 78-year-old doesn't sound much like a politician.

BENTLEY: Popular in Southern China.

SNOW: In 1995, after five terms, Bentley left Congress to make a failed attempt at the governor's mansion.

(on camera): When you left eight years ago, did you think you might ever get back?

BENTLEY: Never, no. I never thought I'd be going back to Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to have a word with you.

BENTLEY: All right, have a word with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where have you been my past eight years?

BENTLEY: I've been hiding. SNOW (voice-over): But she is out of hiding now, a Republican running for her old seat in Maryland's 2nd District. Her style is, to say the least, unique. Leading her troops around the state fair, Bentley does not waste a lot of time schmoozing and she doesn't mince words.

BENTLEY: I really almost popped him one.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have liked to have seen that.

BENTLEY: I've got a mike on me. I got to remember that.

(LAUGHTER)

SNOW: The district is a patchwork of neighborhoods that wrap around Baltimore's East Side, from city docks to Maryland's horse country. Democrats in charge at Maryland's capital redrew the map this year to include even more Democrats.

RON WALTERS, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: This was a seat that the Democrats thought that they were going to win. It was an open seat. And it could have been easy pickings. But she jumps into the race, and, all of a sudden, it's a dogfight.

DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER (D), MARYLAND CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: How we doing in our hot spots?

SNOW: Leading the Democratic field: Dutch Ruppersberger. He, too, is extremely well-known with voters. For eight years, he has been Baltimore County's chief executive.

RUPPERSBERGER: I want to make a difference in Washington. And I want to bring home the bacon in as far as moneys for our schools and our communities and also do anything we can to help the homeland security.

SNOW: Ruppersberger still has to win the primary, but it's his Republican foe he is most focused on.

RUPPERSBERGER: The difference is, I think, that she's been retired for about eight years and I've been running this county for eight years.

SNOW (on camera): Both candidates acknowledge it's going to be a tight race. Bentley's internal polls have her up two points. The Ruppersberger campaign says he is ahead five points. The race for votes is on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm with the African-American Republican Leadership

(CROSSTALK)

RUPPERSBERGER: You are? OK, good. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm in our district.

SNOW (voice-over): Ruppersberger has an overwhelming advantage among black voters, critical in neighborhoods now included in the 2nd District. A moderate Democrat, he also touts his business ties, hoping to win Republican votes. But Bentley says she has got the Republican vote locked up, not to mention all those Democrats who voted her into Congress last time around.

She has made friends at Baltimore's port, working for years with the maritime industry. Two years shy of her 80th birthday, both Bentley and Ruppersberger say her age is not an issue.

BENTLEY: You think it's a big deal, when I go about 18-7 every week?

SNOW: If Democrats were hoping for an easy win in Maryland, it may be time to reassess.

Kate Snow, CNN, Timonium, Maryland.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That's one we're going to keep on watching.

Well, farm politics put California's governor in a political bind. Up next: two opposing groups who back the same candidate. Which side will win the governor's support and at what political cost?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We're glad to tell you that our Bill Schneider has just returned from California, where he has been following all the hot stories out there.

Tell us about it, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: "Which side are you on?" the old labor song asks. Which side are you on? Now, that's the question people in California are asking their governor, Gray Davis, a man who takes pride in being a centrist.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): On Sunday, farm workers rallied at the California state capital. They want Governor Gray Davis to sign a bill passed by the strongly Democratic state legislature that would give the Farm Workers Union a huge boost. It would allow an outside arbitrator to impose a binding settlement when labor negotiations are stalled.

Farmers say the bill would devastate the agriculture industry, no small thing in California.

TOM NASSIF, PRESIDENT, WESTERN GROWERS ASSOCIATION: Agriculture is the No. 1 industry in the state of California. And the state of California is the No. 1 agricultural state in the United States. SCHNEIDER: Where does the governor stand?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governor hasn't made up his mind yet.

SCHNEIDER: Would Davis dare alienate Latino voters? They are his base. Farm workers have enormous emotional resonance with the Latino community.

HARRY PACHON, PRESIDENT, TOMAS RIVERA POLICY INSTITUTE: Many Latino elected officials point with pride that they either worked in the fields or they had relatives working in the fields.

SCHNEIDER: Can Davis veto such a measure? The betting is, he can. Davis is a relentless fund-raiser. Among his big backers: agriculture, over $400,000 last year. And how much did he raise from the Farm Workers Union? Zero. They are a poor union that does not make political contributions. Case closed? Not quite. This is not just a Latino issue. It's a labor issue with national significance.

NASSIF: The AFL-CIO is putting millions of dollars into the United Farm Workers Union in California in order for them to succeed.

SCHNEIDER: Organized labor has contributed millions to Davis, nearly five times as much as agricultural interests last year. Would Davis dare defy his labor benefactors? Possibly. You see, Davis looks pretty safe for reelection this year.

JOHN BURTON (D), CALIFORNIA SENATE PRESIDENT PRO TEM: You know, the governor couldn't lose to Bill Simon unless he got caught in carnal knowledge with a goat.

SCHNEIDER: But if Davis vetoes the measure, Latinos warn he could pay a price.

PACHON: In the short run, it may not be a harm to you. But in the long run, you are looking at an electorate that is going to be the majority electorate here in this state in the next 20 years.

SCHNEIDER: And if he signs the measure? Farmers warn he could pay a price.

NASSIF: It would definitely alienate him from agriculture in the state. And I think that message would be sent across the country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Governor Davis has until the end of September to make up his mind. Labor Day is approaching.

Which side are you on, Governor? Which side are you on?

WOODRUFF: And you were singing that for me a minute ago. Do you want to sing it?

SCHNEIDER: And I can indeed. It is an old labor song.

(singing): Which side are you on? Which side are you on?

(LAUGHTER)

SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We'll team you up with John Burton, who is never afraid to say what he thinks.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

WOODRUFF: OK, Bill Schneider, thanks.

SCHNEIDER: Sure.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

And I will be back in a moment, but now let's take a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": I want more of Bill Schneider's on this program. Thank you very much, Judy.

The vice president, Dick Cheney, calls for action against Iraq once again. Why is he saying any delay would be a mistake in dealing with the Iraqi leader? Players and owners are in the ninth inning. Will baseball fans be the losers? And who struck each other first, the U.S. or Japan, in World War II? Why some say this sunken sub offers some proof.

Those stories, much more at the top of the hour, right after INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If you follow New Hampshire politics, you know it is Smith vs. Sununu in the Republican Senate primary there. Well, the debate is tonight. And tomorrow, Jeff Greenfield will tell us what happened. Plus, Stuart Rothenberg tracks the twists and turns of campaign 2002.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next.

We thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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