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Bush Seeks Votes in Pennsylvania; Pakistan Refuses to Support U.S. Action in Iraq; White House Denies Internal Tensions Regarding Hussein

Aired September 2, 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 on this traditional kickoff day of the fall campaign. We'll be talking about the hot issues, the big races and the candidates on shaky ground.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Candiotti in Miami, Florida where some people are wondering whether Janet Reno's battle to take on Governor Jeb Bush will survive next week's Democratic primary.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. What's the forecast for the 2002 election? Just put your finger out and test the political winds.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. While many of you are kicking back and having fun on this Labor Day as you deserve to, this is in essence the first day of the political busy season. President Bush and other politicians are out in force across the nation, working hard at shaking hands, marching in parades and courting voters. That is especially true for candidates in election 2002. Just a week before one of the biggest primary days of the year and with nine weeks and a day left until voters go to the polls this fall.

WOODRUFF: President Bush may have been thinking ahead today to election 2004, when he visited Pennsylvania for the 13th time since losing that state to Al Gore. In keeping with the theme of the holiday, Mr. Bush reached out to members of labor unions. White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux has been on the road with the president.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Bush spent Labor Day with the carpenter's union. He toured their facility. He was also pushing forward his domestic agenda.

The White House has been actively involved in courting big labor, one of the most powerful, influential political groups in terms of votes and money traditionally going to Democrats. The White House wants a part of that. They want to change that equation. They have been successful with the more conservative unions, that the teamsters and the carpenter's union, but not with AFL-CIO. White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer earlier today saying that the leadership of the labor movement is more like an appendage of the DNC, that the president has been much more successful dealing with the rank and file.

Now the carpenter's union split with the AFL-CIO this last year. Since then they have received much more attention from the Bush White House. Today, President Bush pushing forward his domestic agenda and the economy.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is what I worry about is when I hear the stories of people who can't find work. So we got to make sure that we continue to focus on jobs and job creation and job growth. I think the ingredients are pretty good. I mean when you think about it, interest rates are low. That's good. Inflation is low. And that's positive. Productivity is up, because we got the best workers in the world and that's important.

MALVEAUX: This is the president's 13th trip here to Pennsylvania. This trip is not only about big labor but it's also about big steel. Pennsylvania's home to U.S. Steel as well as Bethlehem Steel. And also big steel also means big in electoral votes as well. Republicans really looking at key races here hoping to hold onto their six seat advantage in the House as well as capture one seat in the Senate to win control over that.

Now the Bush administration really has a mixed relationship when it comes to the U.S. steel industry and its blue collar workers. It was in March that the president won big political points when he imposed a huge tariff on steel imports, arguing that foreign steel was flooding the market. But then six months later that is when the president issued a statement saying that in fact a quarter of those imports were actually exempt from the tariffs.

Now, critics are actually saying that the Bush administration is trying to play it both ways. Well it is a question that the Bush administration and the White House really do not know the answer to and that is the political fallout of this. But the Republicans and the White House are not taking any chances.

Suzanne Malveaux, Neville Island, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: We'll talk more about labor issues and union votes a little later with the national political director of the AFL-CIO, Steve Rosenthal.

Well, on this Labor Day, many Americans are keeping close tabs on the weather. But many politicians are tracking the election day outlook, including our own forecaster Bill Schneider. All right, Bill, how does this political forecasting work?

SCHNEIDER: Judy, it's kind of like weather forecasting only riskier. Forecasters are trying to say which way the political winds will be blowing two months from now. Now let's see how they've blown in past mid terms. Back in the 1982 midterm, a big win blew Democrats into Congress on a pledge to save Social Security.

1986 was a status quo year. The winds were pretty calm. The big surprise was that Democrats regained control of the Senate. Why? Because a gale force wind had blown a lot of Republicans into the Senate six years earlier back in 1980. When the winds calmed down in '86, those senators were left at sea.

Now 1990 was a recession year. President Bush had broken his no- new taxes pledge. The winds blew in an anti-incumbent direction. Incumbents of both political parties saw their margins of victory diminish. Not many of them lost but it was a warning of things to come in 1992. Angry voters, Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot.

1994 saw a hurricane that blew the Democratic majorities in Congress away. The issue, Clinton, with his tax hike, and Hillary care and gays in the military and the assault weapons ban.

1998 was the year of impeachment. And a lot of people voted to save a president who had made them rich. It was a shock when the president's party broke tradition and gained House seats. The unexpected Democratic win that year blew Newt Gingrich away.

WOODRUFF: All right, so what's the forecast for the 2002 midterm?

SCHNEIDER: I would say crosswinds if the dominant issues are economic, then the prevailing winds are expected to be Democratic. But you know, forecasters have not yet detected a big Democratic win. Congressional Republicans protected themselves by passing a corporate responsibility bill and a prescription drug bill in the House.

Now, if national security issues dominate the election, the wind is expected to blow in a Republican direction. But you know, that's not so clear. War anxiety has been growing. And that seems to be helping Democrats.

Now we haven't heard much about values this year, issues like guns and gay rights and abortion. In 2000 when the economy and world affairs were both pretty calm, values actually dominated the vote. And it was dead even, red states versus blue states. Conservative America versus liberal America. If there is no prevailing wind this year, some people are predicting another stationary front, a close race for control of Congress. You remember what Bob Dylan said? You don't need a weather man to know which way the wind blows. In politics maybe you do-- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to get you in front of the weather map more often. Bill Schneider, thanks.

There are new sparks flying today between Baghdad and Washington. And in the debate over whether the United States should attack Iraq. Saddam Hussein offered his own theory about why the U.S. wants to remove him from power. Iraqi TV quoted Hussein as saying, quote, America thinks if it controls the oil of the middle east, then it will control the world. Iraq's deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan plan to meet tomorrow in South Africa where they are attending an environmental summit.

They're expected to discuss among others things the relationship between Iraq and the United States. Yesterday, Aziz flatly denied U.S. allegations that his nation has weapons of mass destruction or is developing nuclear weapons. The Bush administration apparently cannot count on a key ally in the war on terror to support a strike against Iraq. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that he will stay out of any action against Saddam Hussein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERVEZ MUSHARRAF, PRESIDENT OF PAKISTAN: I wouldn't like it get involved at all. I wouldn't like Pakistan to get involved in this at all. We have too much on our hands here internally and regionally. We wouldn't like to get involved (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Once again today, the White House is denying any rift within the administration over its policy on Iraq. Press Secretary Ari Fleischer calls it much ado about no difference. Yesterday, though, Secretary of State Colin Powell urged that weapons inspectors be given one last chance in Iraq in apparent contradiction to Vice President Cheney's remarks last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: Iraq has been in violation of these many U.N. resolutions for most of the last 11 or so years. And so, as a first step, let's see what the inspectors find. Send them back in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Amid continued reports about Powell's policy disagreements with the White House, "Time" magazine is reporting that Powell has firm plan for stepping down at the end of President Bush's first term. Well, another poll is out today gauging public support for an attack on Iraq. The "Los Angeles Times" survey shows 59 percent of Americans say the United States should take military action against Saddam Hussein. But of those who support that military action 61 percent say they think the U.S. should attack only if it has the international community support.

Ron Brownstein of the "L.A. Times" is here now.

Now Ron, put some of this in a political context. Looking at public opinion, how much of an issue is Iraq going to be in these elections?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "L.A. TIMES": Well, Iraq is the real wild card in the fall. Bill Schneider proved Bob Dylan's point because even though he's not a weather man I think he got it exactly right in describing the way the winds are blowing. In the last few months the big change in the political environment has been a shift in the public's focus from the national security issues obviously dominated after 9/11 back toward more traditional domestic concerns like the economy, the corporate scandal, Social Security and health care.

That's benefited Democrats, but if the focus, if Iraq continues to emerge as an issue here in Washington and begins to migrate into the campaigns, that's a bit of a wild card because on the one hand, it will put a focus on national security issues that generally benefit Republicans. On the other hand I think candidates on both sides are uncertain about how far to go and what the real mood of the public is, how willing they are to have sort of a declaration of war in effect before an election.

WOODRUFF: Who really determines, Ron, where the issues fall in a campaign like this?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, it is partially events and it's partially the candidates. The candidates both spend on both sides a lot of time trying to define the environment. Earlier this year, for example, the Republican Senate committee spent a lot of money in places like South Dakota, and Minnesota, and Missouri and the candidates as well on ads on national defense. They want to bring back some of the Democratic votes in the past against defense spending against this new backdrop of post 9/11, people like Tim Johnson and Paul Wellstone they think can would be vulnerable.

The Democrats really are spending a lot of time on health care and Social Security and the economy and really what's happened is that they've got a little bit of tail wind in that effort because the decline in the market, the emergence of these scandals has shifted the public concern. In our "L.A. Times" poll, I thought the most important finding was more than twice as many people at this point say they're going to vote in November primarily on the economy rather than national security.

WOODRUFF: Is it typical Ron for each party, for the parties to have such separate ideas on what they want to talk about.

BROWNSTEIN: I think it's unusual. I think we are seeing really a real tension here to define the agenda. One of the things that happened as the focus has moved towards these domestic issues, the share of Americans saying the country is on the right track has declined. That is very important. That really is the leading indicator on politics. It usually is a bad sign for the party holding the White House.

Now the Republicans can say, yes, that's true but it seems to have bottomed out. In our poll we had it even, 45 percent people saying it's on the right track, 45 percent on the wrong track, a little better than it was a few months ago although a lot weaker than it was earlier in the year when the focus was on national security and the sense of unity.

So I think the real competition here between these two parties which as Bill say are basically a parity and have been for half decade is defining the agenda for the voters. That's going to determine which one really has the upper hand on election day I think.

WOODRUFF: OK, Ron, thanks you very much and you know we'll be talking some more about all this.

Well, still ahead on this Labor Day, Senator Hillary Clinton may have wowed many voters in New York, but has she become the queen of Republican attack ads? I'll talk to GOP Senate candidate John Cornyn about his Texas showdown with Democrat Ron Kirk and we'll have more of the political color of this day, of parades and other holiday celebrations on the soggy streets of New York. And later...

Is there anything that Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile do not take issue with? We will find out when we go into the garden.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SNYDER CAMPAIGN AD: Politicians do the darndest things to try to fool us. Hillary Clinton put on a New York Yankees hat and claimed to be a New Yorker. Bob and Elizabeth Dole sat in rockers and said they are from North Carolina.

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Campaign ad tracker Evan Tracey says Republicans are testing the anti-Hillary theme. So she's become the new Republican devil.

EVAN TRACEY, CAMPAIGN MEDIA ANALYSIS GROUP: It is early to tell. Senator Kennedy used to have that title, but so far the early lead right now is Hillary Clinton.

JACKSON (on-camera): It's only a few ads so far mostly in Republican primaries and conservative southern and border states.

(voice-over): A Democratic ad man says anti-Hillary ads will be a dead end for Republicans.

PETER PENN, DEMOCRATIC MEDIA CONSULTANT: She's doing a great job for New York and, you know, she is not the devil incarnate. Sorry, not going to work.

JACKSON: In fact, most Americans like her. 52 percent of voting age adults reported a favorable opinion of Mrs. Clinton in a CNN- "TIME" poll in May. Compare that to the wildly unpopular Newt Gingrich's 23 percent favorable rating back in 1996. Back then, Democratic ads hung Gingrich around the neck of every Republican candidate in sight.

AFL-CIO AD: Congressman Greg Ganske voted with New Gingrich. Congressman George Nethercutt voted with New Gingrich.

DNC AD: Dole, Gingrich, deadlock, gridlock, shut downs.

JACKSON: By one count, anti-Gingrich ads ran 80,000 times in '96.

(on-camera): As a political devil Mrs. Clinton may have replaced Ted Kennedy in some minds but she's got a lot way to go to equal Newt.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Whether Senator Clinton is in the majority or the minority come January could depend on just a handful of competitive races this fall. We asked political analyst Stu Rothenberg to give us an update on four campaigns that could go either way beginning in New Jersey.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: This race was not on the radar screen eight months ago. And now the most recent polling suggests that voters in New Jersey have come to a conclusion. They don't trust Senator Torricelli. They don't want to reelect him to another term. That's terrific news for Doug Forrester, the Republican challenger, who has some limited electoral experience but mostly in the business community. The question now is whether Senator Torricelli can somehow turn this election around to make the race about Forester.

Right now, the race is about Torricelli. And in a strange way, we have a total role reversal here. Normally it's the challenger has to discredit the incumbent, has to convince voters to fire the incumbent. This is very different. This is the incumbent now having to convince voters not to hire a replacement.

WOODRUFF: So even Torricelli's apologized, you're saying that's not enough.

ROTHENBERG: The numbers tell me it's not enough. I don't know whether it's enough for the voters. But the poll numbers, the Democratic polls show the race even at 40-40. The Republican polls have Forester up by 9 to 12, depending on the sample and the model used. And a majority of voters say he shouldn't be reelected. He is in a very, very serious position right now.

WOODRUFF: Another Democrat who's been seen as vulnerable, Tim Johnson in South Dakota.

ROTHENBERG: Still vulnerable but a little better off now. This was the case where, Tim Johnson, a Democrat, John Thune, a Republican challenger, the at large congressman, both look very even in almost every dimension in terms of style, connection of the voters, political independence, just two really good politicians. The one thing that tipped this race to Thune early on was he's a Republican. South Dakota is a Republican state.

But you add in the drought. You add in concern about the local economy and suddenly and the president is not quite the huge plus in South Dakota that we all thought he would be. He's still an asset of course, but now they're suddenly, it cuts both ways. So suddenly instead of this being a tossup with a slight advantage to Thune, it is now a pure tossup. This race is even. WOODRUFF: Let's slip back it New Hampshire where what's interesting there is the Senate Republican primary. You've got the incumbent Bob Smith being challenged by another Republican, Congressman John Sununu.

ROTHENBERG: It's something of a roller coaster. John Sununu started out with a significant advantage. A lot of Republicans remember when Bob Smith left the Republican party and had some unkind words to say about his fellow Republicans. There was question's about Smith's electability. Sununu had actually built up a significant lead. Smith went on the attack, challenging Sununu's ideology, not only that, his effectiveness in Washington. The numbers closed dramatically to three points and we said, here's the Smith steamroller.

The conservatives are coming out for him. Well, recently Sununu went on the attack with TV spots, reminding people about Smith bolting the Republican party. Sununu's lead has grown again. He is likely to win the Republican primary. Not certain, but right now he's favored and lying in wait is Governor Jeanne Shaheen, a very, very credible Democratic candidate who can take on either of these people.

WOODRUFF: Last Senate race I want to ask you about is in Colorado where you've got a rematch. This time he's the incumbent, Wayne Allard. He ran against, six years ago he ran against Tom Strickland, who's since become a U.S. attorney. Where does all that stand?

ROTHENBERG: Well, six months ago Republicans were dismissing this race. They said Wayne Allard beat Strickland six years ago. Why wouldn't he beat him again?. Well, the polls are not encouraging the Republicans. But Wayne Allard, we moved him from narrow advantage to the Republican for Allard, not to a toss up. Doesn't mean he's going to lose. But the buzz in Republican circles is clearly worried.

Qwest and Global Crossing, two corporate financial business issues, business problems have surfaced. They are attacking each other and who's involved with the failed businesses. Who's responsible for the failed businesses. But in general, Wayne Allard just has not over the last six years ingratiated himself with Colorado voters. He is not particularly well known. He's a likable guy. He's pretty conservative. Strickland is going after him on Qwest business and on his overall record and we've got a close race here.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That was Stu Rothenberg and for the campaign for the Senate seat of retiring Texas Republican Phil Gramm is the subject of today's on the record.

With me now from Austin Texas, Republican John Cornyn. Mr. Cornyn, your Democratic opponent Ron Kirk says this race is not about who is closer to President Bush. Do you think that that is what this contest is about though, mostly?

JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Judy, I think this race is about rebuilding our national defense, about creating jobs, about access to health care and strengthening families. That's what I think this is race is all about.

WOODRUFF: There are Republican ads running for you, Mr. Cornyn. We aired part of them a moment ago in a Brooks Jackson report, that among other things tie Ron Kirk to quote, liberals like Hillary Rodham Clinton. What is it about her record that is so liberal that you so object to?

CORNYN: Well, my opponent has had closed-door fund-raisers with former president Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. But he seems reluctant to bring them to Texas. On the other hand, I'm proud of the support I've received from President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and I think clearly Hillary Clinton is a liberal and she's out of step with the values that I think most Texas voters have.

WOODRUFF: So should she be an issue in your race?

CORNYN: Well, it's not much about Hillary Clinton. It is about Ron Kirk's repeated taking the sides with national Democrats and liberals against Texas interests. For example, when it comes to President Bush's judicial appointees like Priscilla Owen, when it comes to rebuilding our national military. His opposition to a national missile defense system. Those are positions that are, that Mr. Kirk has taken, siding with the national Democratic party, liberals against Texas values in Texas.

WOODRUFF: The analysts we've been reading and talking to say that one key for you is to reach out to independent swing voters and yet for to you do that do you not risk alienating the conservative voters in Texas who are your political base?

CORNYN: Well, I think the things I said earlier that are the issues here, access to health care, creating jobs. Those are issues that appeal widely to swing voters. I believe that for example yesterday, I was at an AFL-CIO picnic and I'm enjoying a little bit more frankly labor support than Republicans have in the past. And I believe that, I believe we're going to do very well with swing voters and I'm feeling very confident about the direction the race is going.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Kirk has brought up the issue of the death penalty. He is saying, he said last week that as the attorney general of the state you failed to file motions to keep two defendants locked up while they were appealing their death penalties. What are you saying about this?

CORNYN: Well, you know, Mr. Kirk the other day said that I was playing politics by saying that a local police officer who was killed in the line of duty that the jury should have been given the option to assess the death penalty when a law enforcement official is killed in the line of duty. And he said that that was playing politics. He later apologized to a police group and said it was what he had to say was more political than thoughtful. And I think that would apply to these other comments as well.

WOODRUFF: So you are saying there's nothing to what -- to his comment -- those two convictions.

CORNYN: That's what I'm saying Judy. Both of those convictions were not overturned ultimately. We, you know we have the death penalty in Texas. The overwhelming majority of the people support the death penalty in Texas. And as attorney general, it's been my job to enforce that law.

WOODRUFF: All right. John Cornyn is the attorney general for the state of Texas seeking to be the -- take the Senate seat of Phil Gramm. We thank you very much for talking to us.

CORNYN: Thank you Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. Good to see you.

Well, the high profile Florida governor's race is coming up next. It is safe to say that the poll numbers have not made Janet Reno feel like dancing. We will talk about it when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Janet Reno versus Jeb Bush could be one of the marquee match ups of Election 2002. That is if the former attorney general wins the Democratic nomination to challenge the Florida governor. But eight days before the primary, two new newspaper polls show that Reno's Democratic rival Bill McBride is nipping at her heels. Here now CNN's Susan Candiotti.

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Campaign staffers handing out Janet Reno Frisbees on Miami's South Beach this Labor Day, trying to put a good face on a massive lead polls now say is flying away. "The Miami Herald," one two of newspapers both putting Reno and challenger attorney Bill McBride in a dead heat.

They are separated by two points, Reno ahead slightly, 40 to 38, in a survey taken after a TV debate last week, within the margin of error. Compare that to a poll last April when Reno led McBride by a seemingly insurmountable 30 points. State Senator Daryl Jones a distant third but climbing, analysts say his supporters mostly stolen from Reno's base. Reno's reaction: a one-word response about what she will need to win.

JANET RENO (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Votes.

CANDIOTTI: Her aides insist they expected the race to tighten at the end.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

RENO: People are tired of politics as usual.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI: Reno's aides admit they have been outspent eight to one by McBride in a statewide TV blitz in the last two weeks and claim they are not worried.

MO ELLEITHEE, RENO CAMPAIGN MANAGER: It's going to come down to who can get more people to the polls. And those areas where Janet continues to hold a commanding lead are in communities where we expect there to be high turnout.

CANDIOTTI: Specifically, aides say, seniors and African- Americans. On Sunday, Reno's own hometown paper, "The Miami Herald," endorsed McBride, McBride's campaign saying it is right on track, poised to win.

BILL MCBRIDE (D), FLORIDA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am going to work as hard as I can to merit -- to win the Democratic primary. When we do, we are going to slingshot out of this primary and we are going to go into November. And I think I am going to be elected governor.

CANDIOTTI: Florida's GOP claims it is not worried about McBride's sudden surge, although Democratic insiders think he is better positioned to defeat Bush.

AL CARDENAS, FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN: He likes to talk like a high school jock most of the time. But people in Florida want to have a serious discussion, measured and mature discussion of the issues. We don't believe he is up to par.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

ANNOUNCER: Now Bill McBride promises us nearly $1 billion in higher taxes. Corporate lawyer Bill McBride, his mismanagement hurt working people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDIOTTI (on camera): Analysts say the GOP is worried about McBride, though independent and Republican polls shows Bush beating both Democrats Reno and McBride easily, by about 13 points, if the election were held today.

Susan Candiotti, CNN, Miami.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Steve Bousquet of "The St. Petersburg Times" is here now.

Steve, is this a case of Reno slipping or McBride rising?

STEVE BOUSQUET, "ST. PETERSBURG TIMES": It's mostly a case of McBride rising.

Reno's numbers have been flat since about March or April, Judy. And Reno didn't spend any money on television. And I think the conventional wisdom was that she was so well known she didn't need to advertise.

But you have to get your face before the public in Florida, a state where the voters are fickle, where people tune into a race really late. Reno, in this case now, is at the position where she is sort of trying to hold off a hard-charging Bill McBride on the final days.

WOODRUFF: Well, why is he doing better? We just heard the state party chair telling Susan Candiotti he talks like high school jock.

BOUSQUET: Well, in a word, I think TV advertising is a big factor for McBride. He's got big union endorsements. And he has the momentum on his side. That's Maureen Dinnen with him there, the head of the Florida Education Association, the big teachers union in the state of Florida.

McBride went out on TV, backed by Democratic Party ads and teacher-union ads. And he has refused to attack Reno. He hasn't criticized Reno. And this late bit of advertising by the Republicans going after McBride seems to have had the galvanizing effect among hard-core Democrats that McBride might be the better candidate against Bush.

WOODRUFF: You mean the Bush campaign has been running ads against McBride before the primary is even over.

BOUSQUET: They have.

WOODRUFF: And what are they saying?

BOUSQUET: Well, a new round of ads started yesterday. They're going after McBride for his tenure as managing partner and one of the directors of Holland & Knight, the biggest law firm in the state.

And the allegation is that McBride was giving big raises to partners and cutting health benefits for workers and members of the firm and their children. McBride says the add is a half-truth at best. He said Holland & Knight had one of the best health care plans in the country. But the overarching comment by McBride is that Jeb Bush should talk about the issues and the future of Florida and not him and not his past work at a law firm.

WOODRUFF: Steve, what are the factors that are going to determine this primary outcome a week from tomorrow?

BOUSQUET: Absolutely. Weather is always a factor in a primary. Turnout is the key. And watch the turnout in South Florida, in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. That is where Reno is strongest. She runs really well with older voters and with African-American voters.

But something that has gotten very little attention is this. As you know, every state had to redistrict its congressional and legislative districts. Some of the precincts are different. I met seniors last week at a McBride event who were confused about where they are voting. We just switched to touch screens in a lot of the big urban counties in Florida. There is the possibility of some confusion on primary day. But it is about turnout. Now, the polls show, in every other urban area of the state, other than South Florida, McBride is winning. So, McBride has got to get his voters out in Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando and the Panhandle.

WOODRUFF: Does Governor Bush, Jeb Bush, have any weaknesses going into this?

BOUSQUET: Well, not into the primary. He's got some weaknesses...

WOODRUFF: I mean in the general.

BOUSQUET: Well, sure. But the trial heats that were mentioned in Susan Candiotti's report are right. I think Jeb Bush leads the Democrats.

But a poll that we have done showed that people are really not happy with the public school system in the state, despite the efforts with the A+ plan and the other improvements that Jeb Bush would say he has brought to bear: accountability, grading, and all those things, and more money for failing schools. There is a widespread view, I think, among voters that they are still not happy with the quality of the public school system in Florida.

WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to leave it there. Steve Bousquet, "St. Petersburg Times," good to see you.

BOUSQUET: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: I will ask the political director of the AFL-CIO why he has decided to step down after we check the "Newscycle." Among the stories: The Catholic Church dedicates its new cathedral in Los Angeles -- more on the massive structure's size and symbolism when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the stories in our "Newscycle": The Catholic Church today dedicated its new cathedral in Los Angeles. Our Lady of the Angel stands 11 stories tall and costs $195 million. The building includes two 25-ton bronze doors and a 6,000-space mausoleum.

Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, told CNN today that his country will not join any U.S.-led attack against Iraq. Musharraf said his country has what he called -- quote -- "too much on our hands internally and regionally to get involved."

President Bush spent part of this Labor Day with carpenters union workers in Pennsylvania. The visit is just part of the White House efforts to improve relations with organized labor.

For more now on the politics of organized labor, we turn to Steve Rosenthal. He is the political director for the AFL-CIO.

First of all, the president is out there meeting with members of the carpenters union. His spokesman is saying -- and I want to read what Ari Fleischer said -- but in effect saying the rank-and-file, he said, are the people the president wants to talk to, because The leadership of the AFL-CIO -- which is part of what you are, Steve Rosenthal -- is an appendage of the Democratic Party.

STEVE ROSENTHAL, NATIONAL POLITICAL DIRECTOR, AFL-CIO: Actually, we are not that.

What we are is a movement of workers that tries to organize around issues that matter to working people and to hope that the candidates and the parties and elected officials respond, then, to those issues. And, in fact, this administration, pretty much from the beginning, has been vehemently anti-worker and has just shut its doors and turned a deaf ear to working families.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me quote something that the chair of the Republican Party, Marc Racicot, said just the other day. He said the AFL leadership has been uncooperative. He said the Teamsters and the carpenters, though, have indicated a willingness to work with the administration. The AFL-CIO does not want to move in that direction.

Is there such a difference between these?

ROSENTHAL: No. And, actually, there's a lot more that the leadership of the Carpenters Union and the Teamsters Union have in common with John Sweeney, the president of the AFL-CIO, than they do with George Bush.

And we encourage unions to work with the administration. And, in fact, right after the Supreme Court ruled and George Bush -- it was clear that he would be sworn in as president of the United States, John Sweeney reached out, the president of AFL-CIO, reached out to Mr. Bush and offered to work with him on things that matter to working families.

And, in fact, the administration pretty much, from the beginning, shut that down. We see it now. Instead of talking about a prescription drug plan, instead of dealing with the 40 million Americans who have no health care, instead of talking about how to create real jobs plan, the administration has pretty much shut the door on working people.

WOODRUFF: But, by reaching out to the Teamsters, meeting with the Teamsters' head a number of times, by meeting carpenters union head a number of times, Doug McCarron, it appears this administration would like to divide organized labor. Is that something that worries you and other leaders of the AFL?

ROSENTHAL: It is actually a political ploy. It is like everything else this administration does. If you look at their budget, if you look at their planning, if you look at the president's travel, if you look at their recruiting of candidates, their raising of money, this is by far the most political administration we have ever seen.

It makes the Clinton administration look like amateurs. Trying to divide the labor movement is another step in that kind of political plan to try to reelect the president in 2004. I think what they don't recognize, really, is that the labor movement was built on notion of solidarity, that there is strength in collective action, and that unions have an awful lot to fight and to work for. And what we have seen so far from this administration is an unwillingness, in fact, to work with us.

WOODRUFF: But why wouldn't the president, Steve Rosenthal, be successful in reaching out to some of these rank-and-file members and saying, "I'm with you; I care about your issues," and then, just frankly, winning them over as a very attractive politician?

ROSENTHAL: Sure, they can try to do that, but their policies have to reflect something that working families care about.

If they are not going to try figure out with us how to deal with the fact that 40 million Americans have no health care, if they are not going to try to figure out with us how who to create a real jobs program, if they are not going to try to figure out how to do something about prescription drugs, which are just killing American families as they try to figure out how to pay for their health care coverage...

WOODRUFF: But isn't the president, by what he is doing, at least weakening some of labor, organized labor?

ROSENTHAL: I think what they will see in the long run is that they are underestimating.

When the administration has a trade policy that shifts U.S. jobs overseas, when there's -- straight up and down the list of key issues, when you don't see them responding to workers' needs, I think they are kidding themselves to try to believe that, by talking to a couple of unions, that they are somehow going to win workers' support in the battleground states for 2004.

WOODRUFF: In closing, you are leaving the AFL. When and why, just quickly?

ROSENTHAL: Well, I'm working through this election season and will continue to work with the AFL-CIO to try to figure out how do we do a better job of building the labor movement.

WOODRUFF: All right, Steve Rosenthal, political director for the AFL-CIO, good to see you.

ROSENTHAL: Thank you. Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: Thanks for stopping by.

Everybody likes a parade, especially political candidates. Coming up, we'll brave the rain on the streets of Brooklyn for the West Indian American Parade.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Wal-Mart executives say they made a mistake by placing North Carolina Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole on the cover of Sam's Club magazine just two weeks before the GOP primary. The magazine was mailed nationwide, including almost 200,000 Sam's Club members across North Carolina. An article inside highlighted Dole's work promoting literacy, but did not mention her campaign. "The Charlotte Observer" notes that Wal-Mart has donated $10,000 to the Dole campaign.

A new poll finds Democrat Rod Blagojevich still leads in the Illinois governor's race and he appears to benefit from his opponent's last name. The poll by WGN and "The Chicago Tribune" gives Blagojevich 49 percent, with 32 percent for Republican opponent Jim Ryan. When told that Jim Ryan is not the same man as retiring Governor George Ryan, who has been dogged by scandals, the difference between the two candidates shrinks to 10 points.

Candidates usually go over where the voters are, but today in Tennessee, the candidates headed for open field. Today is the first day of hunting season. So Democrats Bob Clement, who is running for the Senate, and Phil Bredesen, who is running for governor, went dove hunting. Republican Senate candidate Lamar Alexander also went hunting, joined by current Tennessee Senator Bill Frist.

Well, poor weather in New York today failed to dampen the turnout or the enthusiasm for the 34th annual West Indian American parade.

CNN's Michael Okwu reports the event is a must for candidates and elected officials from across the political spectrum.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHAEL OKWU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the rain fell, revelers transformed a busy Brooklyn thoroughfare into a carnival, complete with West Indian fare and a dash of Caribbean flair. Organizers expected two million people at New York's most highly attended parade, despite forecasts of rain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The rain cannot stop us. Yo!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's wonderful. I love carnivals.

OKWU: And where there are people and parades, one usually finds politicians, senator and grand marshal Hillary down Eastern Parkway as the gubernatorial candidates marched behind.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I love this parade, rain or shine.

OKWU: There was Governor George Pataki, waving confidently as a smattering of supporters chanted "four more years."

CARL MCCALL (D), NEW YORK GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: I have been here every Labor Day probably for the last 20 years. This is a great celebration. It's a celebration of the great contribution that people from the Caribbean have made to New York. OKWU: Democrat Carl McCall, ahead in the most recent poll; on his heels, Andrew Cuomo, with a confident thumbs-up.

Perhaps none of the candidates was as confident as some of the marchers, who shunned most of their clothes, even on a damp Labor Day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

OKWU: Judy, as you can see and hear, the partying continues. With some 80 floats or so representing various aspects of West Indian culture, this is widely considered to be the most colorful parade in New York City, and, obviously, for a politician, also an opportunity to pick up a few extra votes -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And we never want to miss that chance. And, Michael, New York has the loudest parades of any place I have ever covered.

Thank you, Michael Okwu.

Well, a long holiday weekend is a good time to stop and smell the roses. Up next, we will visit the gardens -- you got to stick around for this -- of Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan. Could a feeling of bipartisanship be abloom?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If you're a regular viewer of "INSIDE POLITICS", you know that Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile almost always disagree about politics. But it turns out they do have something in common: a love of gardening. While Donna tends to her plants in the city, Bay is cultivating her flowers in a Washington suburb.

Well, the three of us got together to dish the dirt.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: I love colors and I love bright flowers. And so I have encouraged all my neighbors to help me clean up the block and plant beautiful flowers. So, I started last year, when I got back from Tennessee. And I took over this tree box. And, as you can see, it is getting quite healthy this year.

WOODRUFF: So, is this a Democratic garden, Donna, or is this a...

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: It flourishes, Judy, so it's Republican.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: It's bipartisan, because, when I'm away -- and I'm away a lot -- my Republican neighbors watch my garden. They water my plants. And so, on this block, we say party label doesn't matter. Just keep the flowers beautiful and blooming. I have four rose bushes: a Lincoln rose bush, headed toward Lincoln Park; an American beauty rose bush, which is blooming right now; a regular red rose bush. And then I have little small pink miniature roses in the back. I know that seems like a lot for such a little space, but I like roses.

I also have -- I love clematises. I have a beautiful one here. This is purple. I have another purple one growing along Lisa's fence. And then Ms. Grisso's (ph) fence. And an old cast iron I found, I put another one, a white one, that is going to bloom up there. I have a lot of zinnias. I love zinnias. I have some lavender. Of course, Bay, have you some black-eyed Susans. I have a couple black-eyed Susans and some purple spikes. And I just love it.

Now, this is my favorite. I found this about a year and a half ago: clamoneys (ph). They are also called firecrackers. As, you can see from the bloom, they are just beautiful.

BUCHANAN: You seed these, and so I can get some seeds from you.

BRAZILE: Absolutely. I would love to give you some seeds and help you put them in all through the back.

BUCHANAN: You are going to have to tell me exactly how to do it. Out in the sun, right?

WOODRUFF: I like this: the cross-pollination across party lines.

BRAZILE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: I'm into low-maintenance gardening. And so I have azaleas here and a Japanese maple, and these fake boxwoods. These are hollies.

BRAZILE: It's really nice. And I'm sure, in the springtime, when the rhododendron and the azaleas are blooming, this is a very colorful front yard.

BUCHANAN: Exactly. And these have a little purple flower. They come up. Over there, I have trouble. Whenever it flowers, the deer come through the woods. And they...

BRAZILE: Oh, you have deer.

BUCHANAN: Of course.

WOODRUFF: Let's walk over and look.

BRAZILE: What about lions and tigers?

(LAUGHTER)

BUCHANAN: No, no, no. You're not that far out, Donna.

BRAZILE: I'm a city girl here.

WOODRUFF: All right, now, you all were just talking about the crape myrtle over here.

BUCHANAN: They are growing so high, I'm going to have to cut them down. But you are telling me I should cut them from the bottom up.

BRAZILE: You should start from the bottom up. But they will bloom out bigger.

BUCHANAN: That's what I would like. I would like them shorter. See this bush here. Now, that one doesn't look as well, because it has problems with the teenagers, the drivers. We just pull right up until the bush stops us, and then we park the car.

WOODRUFF: So this is fender.

BUCHANAN: Yes, that is fender. I got a couple over there that the teenagers have...

BRAZILE: You should just put a sign right here, "Stay out of the bushes."

Now that I have seen her yard, I'm going to bring just a little bit more variety to her garden, some more vincas and show her that she can grow some of those vincas in the back.

BUCHANAN: And I'm ready to take all of the advice I can get, Donna. You'll come around?

BRAZILE: Yes.

BUCHANAN: I will even let you plant them.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: I would love to plant them, yes.

WOODRUFF: One thing is for sure. These viewers have never seen this side of Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan. Thank you both for showing us this side of your lives.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: It's been fun. Thank you so much.

BRAZILE: Now we need something to drink.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's go get something. I want a root beer.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: You know, before we shot their gardens, they didn't even realize that both of them loved flowers and herbs. It's the start of a whole new relationship.

I will be back in a moment with the results of spicy poll with guacamole on the side, but now let's take a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thanks, Judy. It sounds good with root beer.

For the first time, we are going to talk about U.S. investigators and what they say about illegal drug sales in the United States, drug sales that may be supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East. We'll get insight from the DEA Chief Asa Hutchinson.

Also, why is the United States losing the diplomatic battle against Saddam Hussein? We will get an inside look at Hussein's weapons arsenals. And I'll talk live with the former CIA director, James Woolsey.

Plus, there's fresh controversy over mammograms, a new study being released in the next hour.

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: And, finally, some poll results of that burrito poll that we reported on recently. Diners cast their votes by ordering burritos named for House candidates in Maryland's 8th Congressional District. Democrat Chris Van Hollen won, ahead of GOP incumbent Connie Morella and his rivals, in next week's Democratic primary. Of course, it's all unscientific. We don't know if it's just that Van Hollen people like Mexican food more than the other candidates. In any event, we won't know who wins the big enchilada until Election Day.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next. Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.

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