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Senator Byrd Demands That Iraq Question Come Before Congress; Kissinger Calls Bush Administration "Honorable"; Five-year Anniversary of Diana's Death Nears

Aired August 30, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington, where political veterans keep clashing over Iraq. I'll talk to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Senator Robert Byrd.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. I'll tell you how far President Bush's ratings as wartime leader have fallen nearly a year after September 11th.

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brooks Jackson in Washington. Is Hillary Clinton replacing Ted Kennedy as a Republican target? I'll show you some TV ads that might make you think so.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Richard Quest at Althorp in England, the home of Diana, princess of Wales. In the five years since the princess's death, British royal family has been forced to make changes, changes that have helped them politically.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. In less than two weeks President Bush and the nation will mark the one-year anniversary of September 11. A good deal has changed since those frightening months soon after the terrorists struck including public opinion of Mr. Bush's response to the attacks.

Our new poll shows 35 percent of Americans now rate the president's response to 9/11 as very good. That is down from 53 percent back in January. Our Bill Schneider is here now with more on the poll and on the president. What about, Bill, what are people saying about the president's overall handling of world affairs?

SCHNEIDER: As you know, he has been taking some hits on Iraq and that is showing up in the polls: 56 percent of Americans now approve of the way President Bush is handling world affairs. That's only a few points higher than his rating on the economy. But look at how that world affairs rating has dropped, down 24 points since December. By comparison, President Bush's overall rating is down 17 points and his rating on the economy down 13. The criticism Bush has been getting on Iraq is making a lot of Americans anxious.

WOODRUFF: Now does the public still support the idea of sending U.S. ground troops into Iraq?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they do, barely. Fifty-one percent favor a military strike against Iraq, 40 percent are opposed, and two-thirds say don't do it without congressional approval.

A majority of Democrats now oppose this, that's Democrats, now opposes going into Iraq as does a majority of college graduates who usually support presidential leadership in world affairs.

Did someone say Vietnam? Well, you know that analogy doesn't quite hold. Only 15 percent of Americans believe a war in Iraq will result in withdraw without victory, another Vietnam. The prevailing view, that's 49 percent, is that Iraq will be a long war, with many casualties, but ultimately the U.S. will win. Just 30 percent believe this will be a quick war with few casualties. In other words, people do not expect another Persian Gulf war.

WOODRUFF: Now what about the idea of a preemptive action here? Does that bother people?

SCHNEIDER: I don't think so. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say that the U.S. would be morally justified in taking action against Iraq. But remember only 51 percent favor actually doing that. Why the difference? Because overwhelming majorities believe it would lead to higher oil prices, to more acts of terrorism in the U.S. and to greater instability in the Middle East. Justified, yes. Easy, no.

WOODRUFF: What about, Bill, the war with Afghanistan? Are people satisfied, generally, with where that has been left?

SCHNEIDER: The answer, I'd say, is middling. Only 25 percent call the war in Afghanistan a success. But just 12 percent say it's been unsuccessful -- 61 percent say somewhere in between. Americans are not ready to expand their commitment to Afghanistan and they're not ready to pull out either. A majority says, keep it about the same. In other words, hang in there.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider, thank you.

If, as Bill noted, many Americans are getting anxious about an attack on Saddam Hussein, they apparently have company within the Bush administration. As the debate within the White House plays out, we have new insights today into Secretary of State Colin Powell's wariness about invading Iraq. Here now our State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel. Andrea, where does the secretary stand on this?

ANDREA KOPPEL, STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, Secretary of State Colin Powell opposes an invasion of Iraq without the support of key allies, that according to a confidant of Secretary Powell's within the Bush administration, who spoke with CNN.

He said that it is not Secretary Powell's style to speak out publicly about this. You'll notice we haven't seen much of Secretary Powell in recent weeks. Last week he was on vacation. But this week he hasn't had any public appointments. Still, State Department officials offer vague insights into this heated debate, saying that the secretary is certainly working with other members of the Bush administration on Iraq policy. But as you know, there are significant differences between Secretary Powell's position and those within -- among others in this administration, especially over at the Pentagon, who believe that while it is not preferable to go it alone on Iraq, Judy, it is possible, in their opinion.

WOODRUFF: Andrea, there is this week, the administration stepped up its effort to make the case. We had Vice President Cheney out making major speeches on Monday and then again yesterday. What is the secretary saying about the vice president being out there, so visibly?

KOPPEL: Well, the secretary isn't saying anything publicly about that. He hasn't met with reporters, other than to talk about the September 11 anniversary in taped interviews.

So he hasn't said anything publicly. Privately, in fact, one aide told me that the secretary and the State Department for that matter were completely blind-sided by the vice president's first speech earlier this week.

They had no idea it was coming. But as one person told me, they didn't really see much new in it and in fact was quite heartened by the vice president's speech yesterday, which seemed to say that the vice president believed that the U.S. needed the support of other allies before it would go forward with an invasion.

WOODRUFF: All right. Andrea, reporting from the State Department, thanks. Once again today, the Bush administration downplayed any internal differences over a possible strike on Iraq. A White House spokesman, Scott McClellan, put it quote, "we are singing from the same song book." Another leading voice of caution about an attack, Republican Senator Chuck Hagel, is now casting doubt today on Vice President Cheney's claim that Saddam Hussein already has weapons of mass destruction.


SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), FOREIGN RELATIONS CMTE: I don't think he does possess nuclear capability. Is he attempting to doing that? You'd have to assume he is. But to scare the American public by saying this guy is a couple months away from not only possessing nuclear weapons but a ballistic missile to deliver those, that's dangerous stuff here.


WOODRUFF: You can hear more from Senator Hagel this weekend on CNN's "NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS."

And still ahead, I'll be talking to Democratic Senator Robert Byrd about the red flags he's raising about a strike against Iraq. But now a prominent supporter of a military strike against Saddam Hussein. We are joined by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Dr. Kissinger, good to see you.

FMR. SEC. OF STATE HENRY KISSINGER: Good to be on. WOODRUFF: Mr. Secretary, we just heard Senator Chuck Hagel say among other things he does not believe the Iraqis have nuclear capability now, nor does he believe they are on the verge of getting this sort of capability in the next few months.

KISSINGER: I have no independent way of confirming which estimate is correct. My inclination is to go along with the vice president. But it doesn't really make any difference. The issue is whether we should hold still while a country in the midst of the terrorist activities is developing chemical and biological weapons, about which there is no dispute, and nuclear weapons. And whatever problem we face about it today, will be worse two, three, four years from now. That is the fundamental issue, not what the size of the stockpile is as of this moment.

WOODRUFF: So Mr. Secretary, two comments today. Separately I talked with Senator Robert Byrd, and we're going to hear that in a few moments, but among other things, he is saying there is no evidence that Iraq harbored the al Qaeda terrorists who organized and carried out the attack on September 11. He said there needs to be clear evidence of that. He says we need clear evidence that Saddam Hussein has weapons, that he is about to use them or likely to use them, that there is a "clear and present danger." You are saying that evidence is not needed.

KISSINGER: We know that Saddam Hussein is violating the United Nations resolutions by which he committed himself not to build any weapons of mass destruction and to destroy all weapons of mass destruction and to permit international inspectors on his territory.

He's violated all these undertakings. The danger that is represented by these weapons is that if you wait until there is a clear and present danger, until there is imminent danger of views, which I don't know how you would determine, you are under risk of a huge catastrophe, and if you allow this to develop, in the middle of a territory in which all these terrorists cells from majority (ph) terrorist cells emerged, you're supporting, you're helping terrorism whether or not there is a direct relationship between Saddam and al Qaeda as such. There certainly is a relationship between Saddam and other terrorist groups that have existed.

WOODRUFF: Where is the evidence that Saddam Hussein is developing these weapons you describe?

KISSINGER: I have a tendency to believe the vice president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: So you just take them at their word?

KISSINGER: Of course I take -- I believe this is an honorable administration that doesn't lie to the American people. And I have also heard evidence from people that were -- that ran the inspection systems, like Mr. Butler, who was Australian chairman of that group, who said there was no question they were building biological and chemical weapons. And there seems to be a consensus they are developing nuclear weapons, so at what stage these are, I have seen no independent evidence. But I think we ought to begin with the assumption that factual matters that the administration put forward are true, the conclusion one can draw from that, obviously, may differ and legitimately differ.

WOODRUFF: The report today, Secretary Kissinger, that from our Andrea Koppel, talking to a close associate of Secretary of State Powell, that he believes the administration, the U.S. should not attack Iraq without the support of key allies. Where do you come down on that?

KISSINGER: Well, I don't think the president should make a military move against Iraq without support of all of his cabinet members. That is the prior condition, that there is a united administration that has developed a coherent and clear strategy. Whether, and I believe also, that we will not know how much allied support we get, until it is clear what direction we are going to go and I think if a united administration gave a clear signal that we would have not every ally but we would not be without allied support. But that we will not know until there is a clear administration decision.

WOODRUFF: All right, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. We wish we could stay with you a few more minutes. But I'm told there is some breaking news out of California. We thank you for talking with us. The news out of California is apparently they have found the 9-year-old boy, Nicholas Farber, missing for the last several days. CNN's Charles Feldman is with us now -- Charles.

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Hi Judy. A good end to this bizarre story, and as the details (AUDIO/VIDEO GAP) bizarre this really was, I'll talk a little bit about that in a second.

But yes, they did find Nicholas Michael Michael Farber, with his mother, Deborah Rose, and one of the two men who apparently was responsible for the child's kidnapping several days ago. They were found in a motor home park, apparently in an RV park in San Diego County, California, near the Mexican border. Sources say it was believed they were headed toward Mexico. The child, I'm told, is fine. The mother is fine.

The unidentified man, not clear of the relationship there, is apparently fine. The mother and the man are under arrest we are told. The child presumably will be evaluated medically to make sure that he is OK and then probably returned to his dad here in California who has temporary custody of the child and did at the time of the kidnapping.

I mentioned, Judy, a bizarre story because it appears as if this was a very well orchestrated attempt on the part of the mother to get back her son. There was a custody dispute. I think everybody knows this by now. It appears as if many, many people, more than just the two who actually broke into her ex-husband's home, many other people were apparently in on this helped in spiriting the child away, and there's going to be a lot more of these details, I am sure, emerging as the afternoon progresses. But again, the good news is that this latest episode of a child abduction, because of a custody dispute, now over. The child is, we are told, safe and well. His mother safe and well. The man who helped abduct him, allegedly, safe and well, although the two adults are under arrest. The child will be evaluated and probably returned very shortly to his father -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Charles, once again reiterating the mother apparently was involved and she is now under arrest. Is that just to clarify, she is under arrest along with the identified other adult.

FELDMAN: Yes, but we want to be clear about something here. This is very unusual. I've been told a number of times that it's not certain that she could, under California law, or even Federal law, actually be charged with kidnapping, because she is the biological mother and because her ex-husband did not actually have permanent custody of the child. She could be charged with conspiracy to break into the home and some other things. But it is not clear yet whether she can actually be charged with kidnapping her own child. Strange story.

WOODRUFF: But as you say all along, it was clear that this was -- or not clear, but it was -- there were strong evidence that this was part of a custody battle between the mother and the father?

FELDMAN: Yeah. I mean, you know, it became very obvious very early on that this was not a classic stranger abduction, that this was a targeted household and it also became painfully clear as the days went on that in some way shape or form, the mother had something to do with this.

She had disappeared. She wasn't responding to the police and the FBI, both agencies wanting to talk to her. She failed to show up just yesterday at a court appointment she had in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she resides. And there was an ongoing custody dispute over the child between her and her ex-husband who lives here in southern California. But, again, as I said before, the child is apparently well and safe.

It is also unclear by the way and that's why this is a bizarre story, Judy, whether the child wants to be with the mother. I mean, he is 9 years old and while legally doesn't have the right to make those decisions, the court has to make that decision obviously, it is not yet clear and won't be until the FBI and police agencies have a chance to interview him, whether the child wants to be with the mother or wants to be with the father. So these are the facts that are yet to emerge and when they do, will make that story that much more interesting I suspect. But the child is safe.

WOODRUFF: At the time he was kidnapped, he was in temporary custody of his father. We do know that.


WOODRUFF: All right. Charles, thanks very much.

FELDMAN: You're welcome. Coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS, find out who is catching flak and the "Political Play of the Week."

Also ahead, Major League Baseball is out of the strike zone. We'll get a live report on the deal that saved the season.

Plus, Princess Diana's political legacy, five years after her death.

But up next...


SEN ROBERT BYRD (D), WVA: Administration needs to get off that poll reading kick, and read this: the Constitution of the United States.


WOODRUFF: Senator Byrd, sharp words about the president and the role of Congress in deciding whether to attack Iraq.





WOODRUFF: Breaking news out of California this hour, and that is that a 9-year-old boy who was taken from his father's home just three days ago has been found safe and sound in San Diego County. He was with his mother, with others. His mother is now in custody. He was in fact -- Nicholas Farber, 9 years old, was in fact the subject of a custody dispute between his mother and his father. And this appears to be part of that.

With me now: Charles Feldman, who has been covering the story out in Southern California.

Charles, you want to bring us up to date?

CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, as we have been talking the past few minutes, Judy, running out of words to describe it: bizarre, unusual. If you can come up with another word or have a thesaurus nearby, let me know.

But it is an unusual case. We do have a happy resolution, in the sense that the child, 9-year-old Nicholas Michael Farber, has been found alive and well. And he has also been found, along with his mother, Debra Rose, as well as a third person, an adult, who was apparently one of the two who allegedly kidnapped him.

What makes, of course, this story unusual is that it appears to have been all because of a custody dispute that Debra Rose, the mom, had with her former husband, the husband having had temporary custody of the child. In fact, little Nicholas had only lived with the father for the past 2 1/2 weeks or so before he was abducted.

And it is not even clear, Judy, as I mentioned before, whether or not Nicholas wants to be with the mother or the father. And that won't be clear until the FBI and police agencies have an opportunity to talk with him. So that's why I say it's kind of an unusual story, because, on the one hand, the kid is obviously alive and well and is going to be reunited with his father.

The mother, who apparently was in on helping to abduct him, is under arrest. But it's not clear whether or not the child wants to be with her or wants to be with the father. So this is going to take some more unusual twists and turns, I suspect, as the hours and days unfold and as police agencies learn more about this.

I also could tell you, as I mentioned earlier, that, apparently, a number of people, I'm told, were in on this, in the sense that this was well planned. This was clearly thought out. There were a number of vehicles involved. They switched from a truck to an R.V. to a motor home. There are a lot of different things that came into play here in terms of logistics.

But the most important thing is that this was, of course, the latest case of a child abduction, a spate of which has occurred here in Southern California, but this one ending happily, at least in the sense of the child, 9-year-old Nicholas Michael Farber. What happens to the mother now? Not even clear whether she will be charged with kidnapping. I've been told that law enforcement agencies have been trying to figure out if she can be, because she's the biological mother.

So we'll see what happens -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Charles Feldman, just, as you said, an unusual story.

And, as we noted earlier, these custody disputes happening all the time, but in this case, the mother went to great extremes, as you said, to the point of getting other people involved, of having people to break into the father's home, beat him up, and take the child away, but, as you also point out, a good ending in that this child is safe, but, of course, a tragedy for his family and the family situation that he's facing.

All right, Charles, thanks very much.

And, of course, we'll be following this story. And, as any further developments come along, we'll bring them to you right away.

We want to turn now to the other story we're following today. And that is the administration continuing to try to make its case of the need for an attack on Saddam Hussein, his regime in Iraq. As we've known, this week, there have been Republicans who have raised questions, Democrats as well. Today, I spoke with Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia. He is one of the -- become known as one of the key defenders of congressional authority.

I asked him, in his only television interview on this issue, if it would be enough for the White House simply to consult with the Congress before doing anything.


SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Consultation is not enough. You and I can consult, but what does that mean to the American people? Congress needs to act and vote. There needs to be a vote in Congress. And the president needs to condescend, if he feels he must, and ask the legislative branch to give him that authority. He doesn't have it now.

WOODRUFF: Well, the White House says that they do have authority. And they base it...

BYRD: Well, those are White House lawyers. And a good lawyer can take either side of a question and present a convincing case.

But this goes beyond lawyerlyness. This goes to the Constitution. I have been contacting constitutional scholars, recognized constitutional scholars. And to the man and woman, they have come back to me and said that the president, in these circumstances, which obtained today, Friday, August 30, would require the president to ask the Congress for permission and to get authorization, authorization, new authorization to invade Iraq, when the attack would not be provoked.

WOODRUFF: So, when the White House says the president has the authority because of a 1991 congressional resolution during the Gulf War, they say that still applies because Saddam Hussein has not complied with the terms of that resolution.

BYRD: It does not. And these professors who have responded to me and almost half of the professors that I've already contacted in this ongoing work have responded unanimously that the president does not have authority from the 1991 resolution. He does not have the authority that he needs from the 2001 resolution. He does not have the authority from the third leg of the stool, namely the term commander in chief.

He needs this Congress to debate and to give him the authority, the approval to make this offensive, unprovoked attack -- unprovoked at this time, at least -- on a sovereign state.

WOODRUFF: At this point, has the administration made the argument for why this has to be done?

BYRD: At this point, the administration has not made the argument. They've talked, but they haven't made the argument.

WOODRUFF: But Vice President Cheney has been out there speaking this week, making full-blown speeches, two veterans conventions this week. The president has been out there speaking on a number of occasions, talking about the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the threat Saddam Hussein poses to his neighbors in the region. And they talk about how to wait is dangerous, that the United States needs to move sooner rather than later.

BYRD: This is a very heavy matter and ought to be debated fully in Congress.

And the administration needs to get off this kick that it's on, feeling that the Congress apparently is a subordinate department to the executive and needs to come down to our level. After all, we are the elected representatives of the American people. It's the American people we're talking about. The American people need to hear the facts. They need to know the facts. The administration needs to make a very convincing case to the elected representatives of the people here in Congress.

It has not made that case. It must make that case. And based on all the responses that these constitutional scholars have given to me, the administration needs that approval by the Congress to engage in an unprovoked -- as of this day -- an unprovoked, offensive military action against a sovereign state named Iraq.

WOODRUFF: What do you think the Congress is going to need to see, Senator, in the way of evidence before it approves military action?

BYRD: Well, the Congress needs to see the "evidence" -- quote, end quote. And we haven't seen that yet.

And I think the Congress should take an up-or-down vote. I think there should be a vote. It should not be a -- quote -- "consultation" -- close quote. That doesn't comport with the requirements of the Constitution. It needs to be a vote after an open and full debate by the elected representatives of the people. And I'm going to do whatever I can to see that that debate takes place.

WOODRUFF: Up or down on whether to attack Iraq?

BYRD: Up or down on whatever -- yes, up or down or whether or not to deliver an unprovoked attack against the sovereign state of Iraq. Are the requirements there? Are the bases there? Is the evidence there? It must be a convincing case. And the Congress ought to hear it and decide it.

WOODRUFF: Senator Robert Byrd, it's always good to see you. We appreciate it. Thank you.

BYRD: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: I also asked the senator about his reasons for holding up approval for the president's homeland security bill. With a nod to the agency's estimated budget of close to $38 billion, the senator said this is no time to watch the clock or to be in a rush. He said, if Congress needs to, members can consider the measure after the fall elections in a special session.

We want to tell you, we're following these two big stories today: the continuing debate inside and outside the Bush administration over whether to attack Iraq; and also the story from California that 9- year-old Nicholas Farber, the little boy who has been missing for several days, has been found safe and sound. He was with his mother and with other adults. She is now in custody; 9-year-old Nicholas Farber is healthy. He was not harmed.

But, clearly, a lot of questions remain to be answered about exactly what happened when he was taken from his father's home just two nights ago -- three nights ago, in the middle of the night by a group of people who beat up his father. We're following that story. And we'll have more on it as we learn more.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": New York Democrat Carl McCall gets some high-profile support in a new TV ad touting his race for governor. The ad features Senator Charles Schumer, who praises McCall and asks New Yorkers to vote for McCall in the September 10 primary.


SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: McCall is probably the best comptroller we've ever had. He's just done an excellent job. And he has been a national leader on corporate accountability and responsibility. That's the kind of experience we need.


WOODRUFF: To Florida, where Governor Jeb Bush has written a letter to Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura urging Ventura not to travel to Cuba on a trade mission. In the letter, Governor Bush writes that, while he does not expect Ventura to cancel his trip, he said he believes that would be the right thing to do. He also urges Ventura to raise the issue of political dissidents.

In the governor's words, "We should never forget that the people of Cuba don't share the same basic freedoms and rights that the citizens of Florida and Minnesota enjoy."

In Maryland, Republican Bob Ehrlich is targeting the Washington suburbs with his first TV ad in his race for governor. The ad serves as an introduction of sorts for residents unfamiliar with Ehrlich and his views. The spot is scheduled to run in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, where polls show Ehrlich is in a close race with Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The New Hampshire Senate race is among the handful of close campaigns expected to help decide which party controls the Senate. Our Jeff Greenfield reports on the battle between the Republican incumbent and his well-known GOP primary challenger.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: There was a Republican Senate primary debate up in New Hampshire last night. Not exactly heart- stopping news, I know, but this one was different. It featured Congressman John Sununu, son of the former New Hampshire governor and White House chief of staff, squaring off against two-term incumbent Senator Bob Smith.

Smith is facing a very serious challenge to his renomination. And that is something that just doesn't happen all that often.

(voice-over): The trouble for Senator Smith goes back to 1999. Frustrated at the inattention paid to his bid for the presidential nomination, he announced he was leaving the GOP to run for president as an independent. He returned to the party a short time later, but some of those wounds have never healed.

The other problem for Smith is simple arithmetic. The polls show him trailing the Democratic candidate, Governor Jeanne Shaheen. And that vulnerability has drawn Representative Sununu into the race. He leads Shaheen in the polls. And that has helped win him the backing of conservative voices like "The National Review" and "The Manchester Union-Leader." Smith has the backing, among others, of ex-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

At last night's debate, the question of the primary challenge was front and center.

SEN. ROBERT SMITH (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Of course the congressman has a right to run. I would never in any way dispute that. That's his right. The question really is: Is it right to run? I've raised $4.2 million, which I'm going to spend against John Sununu. He's raised, I don't know, $1.5 million. He is going to spend it against me. That is $5.5 million that we don't get to spend against Jeanne Shaheen.

REP. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: This primary is not about loyalty. This primary is about finding the strongest possible candidate, the best U.S. senator, and someone that will beat Jeanne Shaheen in November.

GREENFIELD: Now, you might think a primary challenge always means trouble in November, but history says maybe not.

Three times since 1980, a primary challenger has ousted an incumbent. Al D'Amato did it to Senator Jacob Javits in New York in 1980. Carol Moseley-Braun ousted Senator Alan Dixon in Illinois in the Senate primary in 1992. And Sam Brownback beat Senator Sheila Frahm in Kansas in 1996. All three of those challengers went on to win the Senate seats in November.

There is one more interesting twist to this story. The Sierra Club, an environmental interest group, is running ads attacking Congressman Sununu. This may reflect the fact that Senator Smith has embraced some environmental issues or it could reflect the fact that the club thinks Sununu would be the tougher opponent for Democrat Shaheen in November.

(on camera): The winner will be chosen September 10.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: And up next: rating some of the Bush administration's top guns. Does one deserve the "Political Play of the Week"?


WOODRUFF: Some of the administration stars appear to be losing some of their luster, in the view of the public. Our new poll shows a decline in favorable ratings in various degrees for Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and John Ashcroft from their post- September 11 highs last fall. Well, that hasn't stopped one of them from trying to make a political impression this week.

Here now: our senior political analyst, again, Bill Schneider -- hi, Bill.


The vice president is supposed to be the president's flak- catcher. And lately, the president has been getting a lot of flak about Iraq. So this week, Dick Cheney started catching the Iraq flak and the "Play of the Week" besides.


(voice-over): In June and July, the focus was on the stock market and the economy. Democrats had the political momentum. In August, the focus shifted to Iraq, a far better subject, in the White House view, except for one thing: Suddenly, critics were coming from all corners, including leading Republicans and staunch conservatives and men who had served President Bush's father.

The president seemed to be losing the initiative. Or was he? The critics made a point of saying, "We share the same goals as President Bush."

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: Is Saddam a threat? Of course he is. Would we like to take him out? Of course we would.

SCHNEIDER: What they have been complaining about is the process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have all these senators and members of the House who say the president hasn't made his case yet.

SCHNEIDER: OK, the White House said, we'll bring Dick Cheney out of his secure, undisclosed location and let him make the case, in terms of the agreed-on goals.

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us.

SCHNEIDER: The critics say the president must consult with Congress and U.S. allies?

CHENEY: He will, as he said he would, consult widely with our Congress, with our friends and allies around the world.

SCHNEIDER: Then there was criticism from Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to President Bush's father. Writing in "The Wall Street Journal," he urged the administration to wait for "compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein had acquired nuclear weapons capability."

Mr. Cheney?

CHENEY: That logic, seems to me, to be deeply flawed. The argument comes down to this: "Yes, Saddam is as dangerous as we say he is. We just need to let him get stronger before we do anything about it."

SCHNEIDER: The administration has unleashed Dick Cheney, its weapon of mass political destruction. And he hit his target: the "Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: Summer's almost over. Who won August? Well, judging from the polls, the president's critics scored some points. But the real political battle comes in November. And the White House is just getting out its big guns.

WOODRUFF: And we've got two months to go.

SCHNEIDER: That's right.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill, thanks.


WOODRUFF: Have a good Labor Day weekend.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you.

A look back at Princess Diana and her influence on the royal family in a moment, but first let's take a look at what's coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Hi, Judy. We'll continue to follow that breaking development in California: a missing boy found alive. Plus, Iraq strikes back with its own words of warning. And concern about going to war at home: Who among the president's men has some reservations? Game on: Baseball gets its act together, but are there hard feelings? Those stories, plus: Why is Martha Stewart saying "Thank you"?

I'll see you at the top of the hour, right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Well, Labor Day is the traditional kickoff for campaign 2002, and we have a big show planned, including a report from Florida. Is Janet Reno in trouble? Plus: Brooks Jackson's report on how Hillary Clinton is popping up in Republican ads.

Well, many Americans and people all over the globe are remembering Princess Diana on the eve of the fifth anniversary of her death in a car crash. While she was praised for her personal touch, she also left a political legacy.

CNN's Richard Quest is at Diana's burial place in Althorp, England.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Diana, princess of Wales, changed the way the British royal family goes about its business.

(voice-over): Just the night before her funeral, the queen was forced into making that address in which she said she had admired Diana, and spoke to the nation as the queen and grandmother. And that more open response from the palace, from Prince Charles, right way through to making perhaps more availability to the public says a lot about what Diana meant to the royal family.

The British people sent a message clearly that they wanted a royal family that was more responsive, that was more open, that was more willing to change. And the queen herself acknowledged that only this year in her golden jubilee, didn't mention Diana by name, but certainly said the royal family was aware of when change had to take place.

(on camera): That will be Diana's legacy to the British system.

Richard Quest, CNN, Althorp, England.


WOODRUFF: A personal loss that people all over the world observe.


We thank you for joining us. Have a great weekend. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Congress; Kissinger Calls Bush Administration "Honorable"; Five-year Anniversary of Diana's Death Nears>



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