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Colin Powell Asks House Committee for Broad Authority Against Iraq; McDermott, Blunt Discuss Impact of Such Power

Aired September 19, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.
Instead of going right to INSIDE POLITICS, we're going to take you straightaway to some testimony on the Hill underway right now; Secretary of State Colin Powell talking to members of the House International Relations Committee about Iraq.


GEN. (RET.) COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: ... Iraqi army out of Kuwait.

The United Nations Security Council endorsed this purpose and objective, and the international community responded with unprecedented political backing, financial support, and military forces. And, as a result, we not only accomplished our mission in the Gulf War, the way in which we did it was a model of American leadership and a model of international cooperation.

When the war ended, the Security Council of the United Nations agreed to take measures to ensure that Iraq did not threaten any of its neighbors again. Saddam Hussein, as you all both have noted and all will note, was a man who, after all, had sent his armies against Iran in 1980 and then against Kuwait in 1990, who had fired ballistic missiles at neighboring countries and had used chemical weapons in a war with Iran and even against his own people.

The United States and the international community, at that time, were strongly determined to present -- prevent any future aggression. So United Nations Security Council resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 fixed the terms of the cease-fire in the gulf. And the fundamental purpose of this resolution, and many more that followed, was restoration of regional peace and security, by way of a series of stringent demands on Iraq, particularly, its disarmament with respect to weapons of mass destruction and possession of ballistic missiles with ranges greater than 150 kilometers.

Desert Storm had dramatically reduced Iraq's more conventional military capability, while, at the same time, not leaving Iraq so prostrate that it could not defend itself against Iran. It just had finished a war with Iran, and we did not want to give Iran an opportunity to start that war up again from a position of superiority.

The focus of 687 was on weapons of mass destruction. And the resolutions that followed focused on that and other problems with Iraq that I will touch on in a moment. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, you know the rest of the story. You heard President Bush relate it at the United Nations seven days ago. Iraq has defied the United Nations and refused to comply completely with any of the United Nations Security Council resolutions that were passed.

More over, since December of 1998, when the United Nations inspection teams left Iraq because of the regime's flagrant defiance of the U.N., the Iraqi regime, Saddam Hussein, has been free to pursue weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, the world changed dramatically. Since September 11, 2001, the world is a different place, a more dangerous place than the place that existed before September 11 or a few years ago, when the inspectors were last in.

As a consequence of the terrorist attacks on that day and of the war on terrorism that those attacks made necessary, a new reality was born. The world had to recognize that the potential connection between terrorists and weapons of mass destruction moved terrorism to a new level of threat, a threat that could not be deterred, as has been noted, a threat that we could not allow to grow because of this connection between states developing weapons of mass destruction and terrorist organizations willingly using them without any compunction and in undeterable fashion.

In fact, that nexus became the overriding security concern of our nation. It still is and will continue to be so for years to come.

We now see that a proven menace, like Saddam Hussein, in possession of weapons mass destruction could empower a few terrorists to threaten millions of innocent people.

President Bush is fully determined to deal with this threat. This administration is determined to defeat it. I believe the American people would have us do no less.

President Bush is also aware of the need to engage the international community, just as earlier President Bush did some 12 years ago. He understands perfectly how powerful a strong and unified international community can be, as we have seen so well demonstrated in the war on terrorism, in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, a war on terrorism that is each day producing new success, one step, one arrest, one apprehension at a time.

The need to engage the international community is why the president took his message, on the grave and gathering danger of Iraq, to the United Nations last week.

More over, it is the United Nations that is the offended party, not Iraq, as some people might claim. Not just the United States, it is the international community that should be offended. It is a combination of United Nations resolutions that have been systematically and brutally ignored and violated for these past 12 year. It was the United Nations inspectors who found it impossible to do their job and had to leave the work unfinished. The president's challenge to the United Nations General Assembly was a direct one, and it was a very simple one. If you would remain relevant, you must act! You must not look away from this challenge.

The president's speech was powerful. I was there. I listened to it. I knew what he was going to say. And I could see the energy in the room as he delivered it. It energized the United Nations General Assembly, and it energized the debate taking place at this 57th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. It changed the political landscape on which this issue is being discussed. It made it clear that Iraq is the problem; Iraq is the one that is in material breach of the demands placed on it by this multilateral organization, the United Nations.

The president made clear that what was expected of Iraq was to repair this breach, if they could. He made it clear that the issue, however, was more than just disarming Iraq by eliminating its weapons of mass destruction and by constraining its mid and long-range missile capability. The U.N. resolutions also spoke of terrorism, human rights, the return of prisoners, the return of property, and the proper use of the oil-for-food program.

And the indictment that the president laid out didn't need much discussion or debate. Everybody sitting in that chamber last Thursday knew that Iraq stood guilty of the charges. It convicted itself by its action over these past 12 years. There can be no question that Iraq is in material breach of its obligations.

Over the past weekend, while I worked the aftermath of the president's speech, I saw the pressure build, build on Iraq, as the Arab League, secretary-general, and so many other nations pressed Iraq on the need to take action because it stood guilty. And nobody could deny the guilt.

And then four days ago on Monday, Iraq responded, not with a serious offer, but with a familiar tactical ploy to try to get out of the box, to try to get out of the corner once more.

The Iraqi foreign minister said Iraq would let the inspectors in "without conditions." And this morning, in a speech at the United Nations, he challenged President Bush's September 12 speech. He even called for a discussion of the issue of inspection teams in accordance "with international law," he said.

He is already walking back. He is already stepping away from the "without conditions" statement that they made on Monday. But he is not deceiving anybody. It is a ploy we have seen before. We have seen it on many occasions. And on each occasion, once inspectors began to operate, Iraq continued to do everything to frustrate their work.

Mr. Chairman I will call your and the members' attention to the written statement that I have submitted, and I ask that it be put in the record, where I record a dozen examples of Iraq's defiance of the U.N. mandate. Cited in that longer statement is everything from intimidation at gun point, to holding up inspectors, while all the incriminating evidence was removed from the site to be inspected.

It is a litany of defiance, unscrupulous behavior, and every sort of attempt at noncompliance. And, by no means, have I listed everything, only a sampling!

The Iraqi regime is infamous for its ploys, its stalling tactics, its demands on inspectors, sometimes at the point a gun, and its general and consistent defiance of the mandate of the United Nations Security Council.

There is absolutely no reason to expect that Iraq has changed, that this latest effort of theirs to welcome inspectors without conditions is not just another ploy.

Let's be absolutely clear about the reason for their announcement on Monday and what their foreign minister said today. They did not suddenly see the error of their ways. They did not suddenly want to clear up the problems of the past 12 years. They were responding to the heat and the pressure generated by the international community, after President Bush's speech.

The United States has made it clear to our Security Council colleagues that we will not fall for this ploy. This is the time not to welcome what they said and become giddy, as some have done. This is the time to apply even more pressure. We must not relent. We must not believe that inspectors going in under the same conditions that caused their withdrawal four years ago is, in any way, acceptable or will bring to us a solution to this problem.

These four years have been more than enough for Iraq to procure, develop, and hide prescribed items well beyond the reach of the kinds of inspections that were subject to Sadism's cheat and retreat approach from 1991 to 1998.

If inspectors do go back in, because the U.N. feels it is appropriate for them to do so, they must go back in under a new regime, with new rules and without any conditions and without any opportunity for Iraq to frustrate their efforts.

It is up, now, to the United Nations Security Council to what -- to decide what action is required of Iraq, to deal with this material breach of the United Nations mandate.

If part of that solution that the Security Council comes to involves an inspection regime, it must be a regime that goes in with the authority of a new resolution that removes the weaknesses of the present regime and which will not tolerate any Iraqi disobedience.

It cannot be a resolution that will be negotiated with Iraq. The resolution must be strong enough and comprehensive enough that it produces disarmament and not just inspections.

Many United Nations members, including some on the Security Council, want to take Iraq at its word and send inspectors back in with any -- without any new resolution or new authority. It's a recipe for failure. And we will not support that!

The debate we have begun to have within the council is on the need for in the wording of a resolution. Our position is clear: we must face the facts and find Iraq in material breach. Then we must specify the actions we demand of Iraq, which President Bush has already laid out in his speech last week.

And then here is the key element, here is what will make it different from what we did in the past: and this must be an essential element of any road going forward, any plan to go forward from the Security Council. We must determine what consequences, this time, will flow from Iraq's failure to take action. That is what makes it -- this different.

This time, unlike any time over the previous 12 years of Iraqi defiance, there must be hard consequences. This time, Iraq must comply with the U.N. mandate or there will be decisive action to compel compliance.

We will listen to other points of view. And we'll try to reach agreement within the council. It will be a difficult debate. We'll also preserve, at all times, the president of the United States' authority and ability to defend our nation and our interests, as he sees fit. Do it with our friends; do it with United Nations; or do it alone. But the president has made it clear that this is a problem that must be solved and will be solved.

Some have suggested that there is a conflict in this approach, that U.S. interests should be our total concern. But, Mr. Chairman, both of these issues, both multilateral and unilateral, are important.

We are a member of the United Nations Security Council. We are a member of the United Nations. It is a multilateral institution whose resolutions have been violated, but the United States as a separate matter and believes that it's interests are threatened, even if the United Nations does not continue to come to that conclusion.

We are trying to solve this problem through the United Nations and in a multilateral way. The president took the case to the U.N. because it is the body that should deal with such matters as Iraq. It was created to deal with such matters. And President Bush is hoping that the U.N. will act in a decisive way.

But, at the same time, as he has made clear and my other colleagues in the administration have made clear and I make clear today, if the United Nations is not able to act and act decisively -- and I think that would be a terrible indictment of the U.N. -- then the United States will have to make its own decision, as to whether the danger posed by Iraq is such that we have to act in order to defend our country and to defend our interests.

Mr. Chairman, our diplomatic efforts at the United Nations would be helped by a strong, strong Congressional resolution authorizing President Bush to take action. The president should be authorized to use all means he determines appropriate, including he military force, to enforce the United Nations Security Council resolutions Iraq is defying, and to defend the United States and its interests against the threat Iraq poses, and to restore international peace and security to the region.

I know that the administration has provided language to the Congress. I ask that the Congress consider it carefully and quickly, and I ask for immediate action on such a resolution to show the world that the United States is united in this effort.

To help the United Nations understand the seriousness of this issue, it would be important for all of us to speak as a nation, as a country, and to give this powerful signal to our diplomatic efforts in the United Nations.

Mr. Chairman, my colleagues in the intelligence community and my colleague Secretary Rumsfeld are giving the Congress additional information, with respect to military ideas and options, with respect to the intelligence supporting the conclusions we have come to. So I will not take any time to do that here today, but I'm prepared to answer any questions, in these areas, that you think I might be competent and qualified to answer.

But let me say this about the Iraq threat before I stop and allow the greater part of our time available for your important questions to be answered.

We can have debates and discussions and disagreements about the size and nature of the Iraqi stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, and we can discuss whether they are or are not violating the range constraints on the missiles that they have.

But no one can doubt the record of Iraqi violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions. That is not debatable. It's a fact, a stated fact! And no one can doubt Iraq's intention to continue to try to get these weapons of mass destruction, unless they are stopped. And that is also not debatable, and I hope that will help to shape our debate and our discussions, and the important decisions that we may have to make as a nation.

These two realities, their intention and their continued violations over time, are indisputable.

With that, Mr. Chairman, I will stop and look forward to the questions from the committee. And once again, I ask that my full statement be put in the record.


WOODRUFF: You've just heard Secretary of State Colin Powell beginning his testimony before House Armed Services Committee. CNN will continue to monitor that testimony, monitor questions coming from Chairman Henry Hyde and others.

But we just heard Secretary Powell saying the president wants the authority to use force, if necessary, to go in to Iraq, to disarm that country, and by -- and just continuing that idea to go ahead and make a regime change.

Joining us now, two members of the House of Representatives who will be asked to vote on any resolution in the coming weeks. They are Representative Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the House leadership, Republican leadership, and Representative Jim McDermott, Democrat of the state of Washington.

Congressman McDermott -- the president is asking for broad authority from Congress. Why shouldn't he receive that authority?

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: Because he has not exhausted all the diplomatic opportunities. They are looking for a blank check that would allow them to go to war any time they decide they want to go to war. I want to see them try the diplomatic route. If it fails, then they can come back and talk to us.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Blunt, the president -- you hear your colleague saying the president has not exhausted all the diplomatic means here.

REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Well, I think it's clear that the president is making the case. The secretary of state is making the case before one of our committees right now. The United Nations has been continually ignored.

In fact, the offer that was made earlier this week, for bringing inspectors back in, complying with regulations, within hours of that offer, they are firing at U.S. planes and United Kingdom planes.

I think we are going to have a significant bipartisan authorization of the president to do what he believes to be necessary to enforce our safety.

WOODRUFF: What is it that the president is not doing, Congressman McDermott that you want him to do?

MCDERMOTT: Well, this administration is like that theater of absurd play, "Six Characters in Search of a War." They are simply not presenting a case that is compelling why they should bring about a regime change. If they want to disarm Iraq, that is one thing. But they keep saying, and we are going to get a regime change. Now, that is so they can get control of oil fields.

WOODRUFF: Well, Congressman Blunt, is that what the administration is after?

BLUNT: Judy, I don't think that's what the administration is after. I don't think that is what Tony Blair is after. I don't think that's what the coalition of nations that is beginning to come together, is after.

About a regime change -- this is not about controlling the oil fields. This is about removing a tyrant, who has actually used chemical weapons against his own women people, as well as against a neighboring country. This is not somebody who has dangerous things. This is the rare exception of somebody in control of a government who has them and uses them.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me read, Congressman Blunt, from part of this language that White House sent over to the Congress today, asking this language in the proposed resolution, saying "whereas Congress, in Iraq Liberation Act, has expressed its sense it should be policy of U.S. to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime."

BLUNT: Well, that was the Congressional resolution in 1998, voted on by almost all the members of the House of Representatives. We had a meeting this morning at the White House, with the president, a group of bipartisan working group that included Democrats, Norm Dicks, Howard Berman, Rob Andrews, all of whom are going to be working with others in their conference to ensure the president gets the kind of authority to do what the Congress asked the president to do -- a different president, but asked President Clinton do in 1998.

WOODRUFF: But isn't that still in force, Congressman?

BLUNT: That authorization is very likely in force. And there was some argument on the part of the administration, a month ago, it was. But many here said we need to make the case right now specifically. We need to have a vote and a debate. And we're in the process of doing what some of the president's critics asked him to do.

WOODRUFF: Congressman McDermott, what about Secretary Colin Powell's comment just a moment ago, that whatever you -- you disagree about what Iraq has, but you can't deny that they have ignored one United Nations resolution after another.

MCDERMOTT: There is no question that Saddam Hussein is not a nice person or that he has broken the resolutions of the United Nations. But that does not give us the power to preemptorily strike a country.

Once you start down that road, where do you stop? And who else can you stop? Suppose India says, let's go in and take Kashmir back from Pakistanis. What moral ground will we have to stand on to say you can't do that. And you could apply that all over the world.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Jim McDermott, of Washington, and Rep. Roy Blunt, of Missouri, gentlemen, we thank you very much.

BLUNT: Thank you

WOODRUFF: It's a debate that is going to get even hotter in the days to come. Thank you.


WOODRUFF: Well, as you're hearing, the Bush administration's intention of going to war with Iraq, if necessary, now is on paper.

In the draft resolution sent to Congress today, the president is seeking broad authority to use all means, including military action, to disarm and overthrow Saddam Hussein.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If you want to keep the peace, you've got to have the authorization to use force.

If the United Nations Security Council won't deal with the problem, the United States and some of our friends will.


WOODRUFF: With us now, CNN's Senior White House Correspondent, John King.

John -- talk a little about what the administration decided to put in that resolution and what they left out.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, what is in that resolution, Judy, even though it deals only with Iraq as a reflection of the new policy of this administration post-September 11, preemption. If you see a threat, especially if it involves weapons of mass destruction, this administration now makes the case that the president should have the authority to preempt it, to go out and use military force, if necessary, to remove that threat.

That is reflected in this resolution. As you noted, it says the president should have all means he determines to be appropriate, including force. It also says the goals of the resolution and the goals of the use of force would be, not only forcing Iraq to comply with its commitments to the United Nations, but also defending United States' interests, the national security interest of the United States, and restoring international peace and security in the region.

Some view that as too broad of a mandate. The White House insisting it means only Iraq, but some saying it is perhaps a precursor to this president saying he should be able to use military force to address other problems in the Middle East region.

One thing that is not in the resolution, the president does not want his hands tied. Nothing in here says U.S. military action should be approved by the Congress, authorized by the Congress, only if the United Nations does so as well.

WOODRUFF: All right. John -- thanks very much. We appreciate it.

And now, let's talk about the politics of Iraq, as we head into the midterm election just about seven weeks from now.

Joining me now to talk about that, the campaign chairs for both parties in the House of Representatives. Democrat Nita Lowey of New York, and on Capitol -- both are on Capitol Hill -- Republican Tom Davis of Virginia.

Congresswoman Lowey -- everywhere we look, now, there is talk of Iraq. And we're starting to hear that Republican Congressional candidates are trying to use the issue of Iraq against Democrats. Is this something that's going to work for the Republicans?

REP. NITA LOWEY (D), NEW YORK: I do believe, Judy, that they use this issue, a serious issue, of sending troops to war, as a political issue. I expect there will be strong bipartisan support for a resolution that confronts Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

But, after that, I do believe -- and I've been talking to candidates throughout the country, as Tom does almost every day -- the issues that will determine this election will be social security privatization, the economy, prescription drugs. These are the issues that really matter on the ground.

The bipartisan support for the war on terror was clear, and there will be bipartisan support for a resolution.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Davis, do you see it the same way, that the war is going to be seen as bipartisan and it is not going to work to the benefit of your candidates?

REP. TOM DAVIS (R), VIRGINIA: I don't know who it benefits, and this is really too important an issue, I think, at this juncture, to worry about what the political ramifications are on this.

But I would say this, for all of the lip service we've heard about a bipartisan war on terrorism, 120 Democrats in the House voted against the establishment of a new homeland security agency that the president requested, as a means to fight the war on terrorism.

I suspect we'll have some votes against this Iraqi resolution. But we need a good, strong bipartisan vote.

Our committee is not intending to use this as a vote against democrats or to politicize this issue. I think it's much too important to do that at this point. And I think, over the next couple weeks, we in Congress need to ask the tough questions and come together on a resolution that will give this president the authority he needs to do what he needs to do, but help keep us out of a war.

WOODRUFF: Congresswoman Lowey, given all that, there was a CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll done just last week that shows, when you ask Americans if they think Republicans or Democrats are more likely to make the right decisions on Iraq, 43 percent said Republicans. Only 32 percent said Democrats. Doesn't this show some vulnerability in your party on this question?

LOWEY: Again, I think to politicize the war is a grave mistake. As a woman, as a mother of three, and as a grandmother of six, when you are making decisions to send people to war, it better not be a political decision.

And, again, I believe we're going to get strong bipartisan support for a resolution that is currently being discussed with Democrats and Republicans. We are Americans. After there is bipartisan support for a resolution, the issues that people care about in the district -- because they know we're together on national security -- will be: What's happening with their 401(k)? Why did the stock market go down again and we've lost so much money? They can't pay for prescription drugs. These are the issues.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask that -- that was a point you made a moment ago. And let's put that question to Congressman Davis.

Is it, Mr. Davis, going to be prescription drugs, the economy, the stock market that is foremost on voters' minds?

DAVIS: I think everything is on voters' minds.

The interesting thing I see in the issue matrix for this year's election is, there's not one overriding issue. And certainly members who vote contrary to their constituencies on an Iraqi resolution are going to have to answer to their constituents at the polls. And that will be part of the issue matrix on which voters make up their mind. So will the economic issues. They don't go away just because we're debating homeland security and Iraq. And I think they'll probably all be factored into the final equation.

I think we have, by the way, a very good record in this Congress on the economy and Social Security. We're ready to argue those issues. But I also think that it's important that we show the support for the president as he fights the battle against terrorism worldwide, and Iraq as well. And I think it all figures into the equation.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to have to leave it there.

Congressman Tom Davis, Congresswoman Nita Lowey, great to see you both. Thanks very much.

On to this story: Kentucky's governor fighting a potential scandal. Up next: the allegations against Democrat Paul Patton. Did he use his power for personal revenge?


WOODRUFF: With Iraq and the war on terror high on the agenda here in Washington, the chairman of the National Governors Association, Kentucky Democrat Paul Patton, appeared at a homeland security event here today.

But many reporters tried and failed to get Patton to say more about a new lawsuit he is fighting. It was filed by a woman who claims that Patton used his power as governor to get back at her after she broke off their alleged affair.

Our Bruce Morton has more on the story.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is Tina Conner, 40, Democratic Party activist. He is second-term Governor Paul Patton, 65. She told WHAS in Louisville he made a pass at her at a 1997 fund-raiser.

TINA CONNER, PATTON ACCUSER: The next morning, he called me at the office and propositioned me.

QUESTION: What did he say?

CONNER: "What do you think about let's get together?" He didn't say let's -- that's basically how it was. He let me know in so many uncertain terms, because he had fondled my breast the night before.

MORTON: The governor denied it.

QUESTION: Have you ever had sexual relations with Tina Conner?


QUESTION: You never had sexual relations with this woman?

PATTON: I have not.

MORTON: She says she ended the affair trying to save her marriage, which ended in divorce, but he kept after her by telephone.

CONNER: What the governor said to me was: "Where have you been? Why haven't you been to Frankfort? Have you forgotten about me?"

MORTON: She says he sicced state regulators on a nursing home she and her then-husband owned because she broke off the affair. He says no. And state health officials say they were investigating a citizen's complaint. In any case, investigators found pages of violations. The nursing home filed for bankruptcy.

CONNER: It just wiped us out. It just absolutely desecrated the facility.

PATTON: I thought that we had explained to her that we just simply couldn't do anything about the regulatory process.

CONNER: I know that he is not telling me the truth. And I am not going down in flames alone.

PATTON: I've considered us to be friends up until just very recently. I didn't realize that she was this upset.

MORTON: She has filed suit, charging sexual harassment. He says he'll fight it.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And now we are joined by Mark Hebert of WHAS TV in Louisville, who first reported on the allegations against Governor Patton.

Mark Hebert, welcome. MARK HEBERT, WHAS REPORTER: Hi, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Who is telling the truth?

HEBERT: That's the million-dollar question, isn't it? It's a he said/she said story, as Bruce pointed out. And we don't know who is telling the truth yet. Ms. Conner says she's willing to take a lie- detector test. Governor Patton hasn't gone that far. And so everybody in Kentucky is wondering who is telling the truth here.

WOODRUFF: Well, what happens now? What is going to be done to determine who is telling the truth?

HEBERT: Well, I think myself and every other reporter in the state capital of Frankfort are digging through records right now, trying to figure out if Governor Patton was where Tina Conner say he was on those particular dates. Was he in a hotel in Louisville or Lexington at the time she says he was?

There is a lawsuit, as you mentioned. And, hopefully, there will be some discovery during that lawsuit that will shed some light on whether Tina Conner or Paul Patton are telling the truth.

WOODRUFF: So, legally, what is the next step here?

HEBERT: Well, legally, I don't think there's much left to do.

I think there's a couple of things in the mix right now. One is, is Governor Patton going to be now targeted with a federal investigation? I mean, if he gave her favors for her nursing home or this other business that she had in return for sex, that would be a Hobbs Act violation under federal rules and he could be subject to some sort of federal investigation.

There's also an ethics investigation that is going to start here in the state of Kentucky. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission is going to look into these charges in the next couple of months.

WOODRUFF: How did your station come across this story?

HEBERT: There was an intermediary that knew both me and Ms. Conner. And this intermediary called me up and said, "Hey, I have got an unbelievable story, if this woman will talk to you." And eventually she did.

WOODRUFF: Is there any other aspect of the governor's either performance as governor or anything about his personal life that would have led you to this kind of information?

HEBERT: No, no. This just frankly came out of the blue.

Paul Patton, I think, by most folks, is considered to be one of the more honest governors Kentucky has had in recent history and a pretty affable guy. He's real easy to deal with as far as the news media is concerned. And this was just kind of out of blue. And it's quite a story, as you might suspect, here in the state of Kentucky. WOODRUFF: Yes. And we're paying attention to it here in Washington.


HEBERT: I can see why.

WOODRUFF: Mark Hebert of WHAS Television, thank you very much for talking with us.

HEBERT: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Coming up next: targeting Saddam Hussein. Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan square off on Iraq and on Al Gore's upcoming speech on the showdown.


WOODRUFF: With us now: Former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

Donna, we're looking at the Democrats and it seems to be only the ones on the fringes, if you will, where we're hearing any dissent. Have the Democrats basically caved to the White House on this question of Iraq?

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: No, I think what's going to happen, Judy, is that Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle will work with their respective caucuses and try to find unanimous support for this resolution.

After all, it appears that the White House is recycling some old language from the Clinton years to put forward a resolution that would call for a regime change, as well as allow the president to use necessary force. I think it's important that the Democrats have an opportunity to debate this and to analyze the resolution, make changes, work with the White House, and come up with a document that they can all stand behind.



BUCHANAN: Donna, Judy is absolutely correct. The Democrats have walked from a responsibility here.

They have really shown themselves to be weak, indecisive, hesitant about this, checking the political winds. Now that they see that the president has gone, not only center stage, but he has taken over the stage, Democrats have joined the chorus here. And they basically recognize that the president is going to get what he wants. He knows what he wants. And he's moving ahead, willing to take the responsibility. He shows enormous leadership here. And the Democrats have hurt themselves very badly in this. BRAZILE: Look, the president is the conductor in this great choir that you're talking about. And the Democrats are going to sing along, along with Republicans. We should be unified.

Now that the president has engaged the Democrats, he's inviting them over to the White House, he's talking about the issues, he's making his case, and he's willing to talk to Daschle and Gephardt about getting language that they can live with, then I don't see a reason why the Democrats should not have spent the last couple weeks discussing this issue out in the public.

BUCHANAN: Donna, they should have.

BRAZILE: Look, some Democrats supported the president from day one.

BUCHANAN: The key here is that the Congress has a responsibility to really have an open debate about this and ask those tough questions, then give the president the authority that he's asking for.

But what they have done is, they have folded, because they've checked the political winds and they have said, "Is this going to be good or bad for us?" And they have decided it is going to be real bad to take on the president of the United States. So they're not even asking the tough questions. That's the key. That's what they should have done. The president looks extremely bold, as well he should. He's taking the responsibility.

BRAZILE: Well, that's not true.

Joe Biden, a Democrat, held the first hearings. Richard Lugar was with him, but it was Joe Biden who went to the administration back in August and said, "Look, we got to start having a discussion." He's a Democrat and he's shown leadership. And I do believe that Tom Daschle is showing leadership as well on this, as Dick Gephardt has shown that he is willing to talk to the president about this.

WOODRUFF: But, Donna, hasn't there been a real change in the voice of the leadership in the last few days?

BUCHANAN: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: It was just last week that they were raising questions. And now they're basically saying, "All right." We're not hearing any arguments.

BUCHANAN: "Anything you want" is what they're saying.

BRAZILE: Well, no, no. What they're saying is that -- well, look, they recognize that the train left the station and they're not going to stand on the sidelines and say, "Look, we have people. We have questions."

But in order to have a debate and a dialogue, you have got to at least acknowledge that the train was moving. And that's what Democrats did. And they said -- I think it was important and responsible that Democrats at least asked those questions and continue to ask those questions.

BUCHANAN: I think they should continue to ask them. The key is, this is a life-and-death issue for many of our people, our military.

And so people -- anyone who questions -- whether it be Hagel and the Republicans or any of the Democrats who questioned him three or four days ago -- should really ask tough questions. That is not what they're doing. They have folded their cards. They have walked off the stage. They said: "He's the guy. We'll give him what he wants. And we'll see what happens."

WOODRUFF: Donna, we're going to hear in the next few days from Al Gore. He's among the Democrats thinking about running for president. We haven't heard anything from him yet that I'm aware of on Iraq. So do we expect him to separate himself from the other Democrats' thinking?

BRAZILE: Well, Judy, back in February, he was here in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations. And he said that the day of reckoning had come for Saddam Hussein and it was time for regime change.

So he has spoken out. He's spoken out in February. He's spoken out on other occasions. And I think his speech next week will help to once again show why he is such a great leader for the Democratic Party, because he has enormous experience and expertise in this area. And, remember, he was one of 10 Democrats who broke away from the party back in 1991 to bring about the liberation of Kuwait in the Persian Gulf action.

BUCHANAN: You know, the sad thing about Al Gore is, the American people, the Congress, the U.N., the leaders around the country -- or around the world -- are all getting in behind the president. And no one really gives a hoot about what Al Gore says or does next week.

BRAZILE: Bay, I know you're going to be sitting up there with popcorn and a diet Coke just waiting to hear, with bated breath, what Al Gore has to say, because you know Al Gore is going to give a sensational, inspirational, motivational speech that will rally the country, something that the president has taken four months to do.

BUCHANAN: And, Donna, you're not going to be watching it any more than I am. That's the sad thing for Al Gore.

WOODRUFF: Did you say popcorn and a diet Coke? All right, I just wanted to make sure I heard you.

BRAZILE: Well, I know that's Bay's favorite.


BUCHANAN: I would show up for both of those, not for Al Gore.


WOODRUFF: All right. Donna Brazile, we're going to check on what you both were drinking and eating when the former vice president makes his remark.

Donna, Bay, thank you very much.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": The latest Arnold Schwarzenegger rumor involving a potential run for California governor don't last very long: a publicist for the actor telling CNN that Schwarzenegger stands by his past statements denying any plans to enter the race as a write-in candidate this year. A published report yesterday said Schwarzenegger had conducted a poll to gauge public support for a possible write-in campaign.

Voter indifference to Republican Bill Simon and Democrat incumbent Gray Davis is one reason the Schwarzenegger rumors continue to surface. This week, Simon took a big step to get more of his ads in front of voters. Simon loaned his campaign $4 million from his own pocket, amid continued reports that his campaign is short of cash. Simon said yesterday the money is in the form of a loan instead of a donation to preserve, in his words, the possibility of repayment.

In the Pennsylvania race for governor, a new poll finds Republican Mike Fisher has gained on Democrat Ed Rendell. The Quinnipiac University survey finds Rendell still leads Fisher by eight points. A Quinnipiac poll taken in July showed Rendell ahead by 13 points.

And coming up, Bob Novak has the "Inside Buzz" on the economic and political pressures weighing on President Bush.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak is here with some "Inside Buzz."

All right, Bob, I understand the president is getting a little pressure from senior Republicans to say something about the economy. What's that all about?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, this is the big- picture Republicans.

Although the president seems to be riding high on the war issue and the Democrats are frustrated, I've been talking to some people who are really major figures behind the scenes. And off the record, they say that they think the president is giving the idea he doesn't care about the economy. They really want him, before the election, to come out with some proposals and to talk more about it.

But I am told on pretty good authority he won't say anything very serious about the economy until the Iraq war resolution passes. After that, I think he's going say something.

WOODRUFF: But you're hearing they're going to ask him anyway.


WOODRUFF: The South Dakota Senate race, what's going on there?

NOVAK: That's a hot one: Republican John Thune against Democrat Tim Johnson.

Thune has been attacking Johnson for not supporting the 1991 Gulf War when he was a congressman, in fact even going to court to try to prevent the first President Bush from going to war without asking Congress. He also has a very tough ad that talks about the Council for a Livable World, a pro-peace group supporting Johnson, and Johnson voting against the B-2 bomber.

Negative campaigning works, at least for a while. The temporary boost for Thune is six or eight points. In his tracking polls, he's ahead of Johnson now. Democrats say that Johnson will pick up once he votes for the war resolution in the Senate, which he will do.

WOODRUFF: All right, back here in Washington, inside the Republican Party, a challenge to Trent Lott maybe?

NOVAK: I believe, no matter how this election comes out, that Don Nickles, who is now the No. 2 Republican, will challenge the No. 1, Trent Lott. Nobody even knows how it will come out.

Nickles has one big advantage. He has raised a ton of money, given it to other senators. And money talks in this town. Everybody thinks it is too close to call, if Nickles challenges him. And I think he will.

WOODRUFF: Why is he challenging him?

NOVAK: There's some dissatisfaction with Trent Lott. And they think that perhaps he has been outwitted at times by Tom Daschle on the Democratic side.

WOODRUFF: OK, Bob Novak, we heard it here. Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

In Florida today, a show of Democratic unity: Gubernatorial nominee Bill McBride received the support of his primary opponents Janet Reno and Daryl Jones. McBride's former rivals say they will campaign hard to defeat Republican incumbent Jeb Bush.

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


Showdown Iraq: It's Saddam Hussein's turn to talk, but he let someone else do the talking. What was his message? And what is the reaction in the United States? Caught on camera: Police put out an alert after a department store catches a brutal attack on a young girl. And President George Herbert Walker Bush escaping from the enemy, and the unusual stroke of good fortune that saved his life -- don't miss Paula Zahn's second installment of her exclusive interview.

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



PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: To this day, how much are you haunted by Saddam Hussein?


ZAHN: But you hate him?

G.H.W. BUSH: Oh, yes, I hate Saddam Hussein. I don't hate a lot of people. I don't hate easily. But I think he's -- as I say, his word is no good. And he's a brute. He's using poison gas on his own people. So there's nothing redeeming about this man. And I have nothing but hatred in my heart for him. But he's got a lot of problems, but immortality isn't one of them.


WOODRUFF: Strong words from former President Bush, speaking out about Saddam Hussein in an exclusive interview with CNN's Paula Zahn. It is part of a special series that continues on "AMERICAN MORNING" tomorrow.

And looking ahead now to what's in the works for tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS: I won't be here, but Candy Crowley will. And a Friday tradition continues. Our senior analyst Bill Schneider will join her to present the "Political Play of the Week."

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

Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Against Iraq; McDermott, Blunt Discuss Impact of Such Power>

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