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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Bush Ends Negotiations, Forces Union, Pacific Maritime Association Into 80-Day Cooling Off Period; Iraq Issue May Help Decide Midterm Elections

Aired October 8, 2002 - 16:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Our lead story today just minutes old. And it is that President Bush has announced that his administration is stepping in to stop a day's old work stoppage on the West Coast involving, what he says, a loss of up top $1 billion a day, costing the U.S. economy, costing national security.

Let's go quickly now to our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, the administration just really turning to this decision in the last day or so.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Judy. The mounting evidence: more than $1 billion a day. The impact on the U.S. economy convincing the president finally to take the extraordinary step of intervening, of invoking his power under the so- called Taft-Hartley Act.

Mr. Bush coming outside of the White House just a few moments ago to announce that he was doing this. Asking the attorney general to seek an injunction to the force the two parties to reopen those ports, get the longshoremen back to work. Twenty-nine ports at the West Coast at stake.

Mr. Bush says there's an economic and a national security emergency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've determined that the current situation imperils our national health and safety. I have appointed a board of inquiry to investigate the issues at stake. Today the board submitted an official report stating each party's position. I'm now directing Attorney General Ashcroft to seek an injunction under the Taft-Hartley Act, ending the lockout and requiring work at the ports to resume at a normal pace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, even as the president made this extraordinary announcement, invoking Taft-Hartley for the first time in a quarter century, some confusion out on the West Coast. The administration had been trying, through a federal mediator, to convince the parties to go back to work under a temporary contract. Those efforts had failed as of early this afternoon, which is why the president decided to invoke his authority.

Even as the president was speaking, the Longshoreman's Union saying out on the West Coast it has agreed to go back to work under a 30-day temporary contract. But senior administration officials telling CNN the president went ahead with his announcement because, at least as of moments ago, the management of those 29 ports had not agreed to let the workers back in.

Remember, this is not a strike right now, it is a lockout; the management locking out the workers. The union says it is willing to go back to work for 30 days. The union does not want this federal intervention.

But because the management has not agreed to let the workers back in under a temporary contract, we are told by senior administration officials the president decided to go forward, intervene, send the attorney general into court in San Francisco to try to get an injunction that orders the parties back to work for a federally mandated 80-day cooling off period -- Judy.

All right, John at the White House.

And I want to go directly from John out to San Francisco to CNN's Jen Rogers, who's been covering the story.

Jen, you've been talking to folks there. What is the reaction there on the ground to this announcement from the White House?

JEN ROGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

A real flurry of activity, really. People have been waiting for this, really, all day because word was coming out of Washington that this was likely going to be the case.

Now I just got off the phone with a spokesman from the Pacific Maritime Association. Now, those are the people in management. Those are the people that did what they called a defensive shutdown here. They say they will be addressing the media in about an hour.

Now, what that's going to do is really provide some more details in here; some more timeline issues of when exactly we might be seeing people head back to the docks.

I did talk to a local union head down in Los Angeles a little bit ago. He said he's very organized, he's very prepared that once a formal injunction is handed down that he can get word out to all of his members, really, within an hour. Sort of a combination of a phone tree, when you call in for jury duty, a phone blast system they call it. So we think they can get the word out to get people back.

There is a little bit of activity coming out of the union. The union has told us that they offered today a 30-day cooling off period to the PMA. The union says that that was rejected. That is more than they had offered on the table on Sunday night when talks broke down. That was about a seven-day cooling off period.

There was no comment from the PMA when I just spoke with them on whether or not they received this offer and on whether or not they did, indeed, reject it; again, say they will talk in an hour.

But the union saying they did offer that, and it was rejected.

More details expected, though, on what exactly is going to happen as we move on from here -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: But Jen, having said that, the union obviously did not want the administration to get involved. But can we presume that they will now go back to work once they're ordered to do so?

ROGERS: Once they're ordered to do so, yes, that is the case in talking to them.

But they are not happy with the situation. They really said that they don't like it, to be frank, and they don't think that it's workable. And they're also saying that, even after 80 days, if the main issues aren't addressed here, which really have to do with when technology comes onto the docks, will they have a part in those jobs.

Until those issues are addressed, there are still a lot of sticking points here.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jen Rogers, CNN correspondent who's been following this story out in San Francisco. Thank you Jan, and I know we'll be checking back with you throughout the day.

When we come back we're going to talk with two people with some views on all this. Rich Trumka is the secretary treasurer of the AFL- CIO.

We'll also talk with the Bush administration's Commerce Secretary Don Evans.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Commerce Secretary Don Evans will join us in just a moment, but right now AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka is with us.

Mr. Trumka, the president says he had to do this, the government needs to step in, the economy is losing up to $1 billion a day, he had no choice.

RICHARD TRUMKA, AFL-CIO SECRETARY TREASURER: It's tragic. This is unprecedented action. The administration joined sides with the employers about three months ago, let them know that the Taft-Hartley would be there to help them. As a result, it poisoned the bargaining positions, the bargainings out there and the employers did not bargain in good faith. The proof of that is this very day. Today the president's representative asked each party to extend the contract for 30 days. The union agreed, no conditions attached. They were ready to go back and open the ports tomorrow morning.

The employers rejected it. They were furious. They called on the president to issue a Taft-Hartley injunction. Just as he had agreed to in the previous months, he issued that Taft-Hartley injunction today.

Again, it was unprecedented, it's never been done in a lockout before.

WOODRUFF: But presidents have invoked Taft-Hartley.

TRUMKA: Never before when an employer has locked out the employees. This is the first time in the history of the United States that a president has ever let management lock workers out, create a phony crisis, have them reject his offer to go back to work for 30 days and then issue a Taft-Hartley injunction, putting the weight of the government behind the recalcitrant employers that have created this crisis.

WOODRUFF: The president -- we just heard the president say the economy -- he said, what we're looking at here is a threat to our economic security and to our national security.

He talked about men and women in uniform not getting the supplies they need. He talked about defense contractors not getting what they need; the economy, at a time we're coming out of recession, losing $1 billion...

TRUMKA: Here's what he didn't say: The workers agreed months ago that they would load and unload all the cargo for our troops overseas to protect national security.

It was the employers that said no. They've agreed to go back to work. The employees have been ready, willing and able to go back to work. The employers create this phony crisis and then they hide behind the Taft-Hartley injunction.

So instead of having that pressure -- now wait one second, Judy, this is important: The mediators that were out there believed that they could have fashioned an agreement in the next couple of days if this injunction had not been issued.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying that the Bush administration is in some sort of secret collusion with the management?

TRUMKA: Not secret. If you looked at their Web site, they've had -- they've been having meetings...

WOODRUFF: Inappropriate collusions?

TRUMKA: Yes. They've been having meetings with the companies for several months.

WOODRUFF: This is the companies?

TRUMKA: No. The Bush administration has been meeting with the companies for several months. They promised several things.

Look on the Web site of the PMA. They talked about what the administration promised them. Today is the crowning jewel of that.

Listen, the administration asked everybody to go back to work for 30 days. The workers said, We'll go back. The employers said no, and the reward they got was a Taft-Hartley injunction, an unprecedented injunction to end a lockout.

WOODRUFF: Will these workers go back to work if this injunction takes effect?

TRUMKA: I feel they will. They've been law-abiding all along. I think they'll go back. They've wanted to work all along.

This is a lockout. This was never a strike. It's been the employers that have prevented those ports from being opened from day one.

WOODRUFF: I'm going to be talking, after you and I speak, with the president's commerce secretary, Don Evans. What question would you pose to him?

TRUMKA: Why did he issue a Taft-Hartley injunction after the union agreed to extend the contract this very day at the president's request for 30 days? The employers rejected that request, and he rewards them by issuing a Taft-Hartley injunction.

What logic is there behind that?

WOODRUFF: You seem pretty upset about this.

TRUMKA: We're very upset about it. This has never happened in the history of the United States before, Judy. No president has ever been on this side of management this overtly.

We agreed to go back to work, the management said no, he issues a Taft-Hartley injunction. There's simply no way that you can justify that. Those workers have wanted to work all along, they've been locked out.

They created a phony crisis, and they get rewarded.

WOODRUFF: All right, Richard Trumka, secretary treasurer of the AFL-CIO, thank you very much for talking to us.

TRUMKA: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

And we do turn now to President Bush's Commerce Secretary Don Evans. He joins us from the White House.

I think, Mr. Evans, you've been listening to Mr. Trumka. So many things I want to ask you, but let's just start with his question, which is, how is it the administration could be invoking Taft-Hartley when the workers had offered to extend the contract, and the administration was on -- even on that side, management said no.

DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Well Judy, the workers, or the dock workers and management have been in discussion for over four months now trying to come to agreement. And they've had several contract extensions and were unable to enter into another contract extension just several weeks ago.

And so the president is just simply going through a process of trying to create an environment of conditions so that these two parties can come together and resolve their differences.

Part of that process is to ask a board of inquiry to look into the negotiations. And what occurred was, is they did, indeed, do that and reported to the president today that they saw no reason that -- to think that these two parties would come together any time in the next several days or in the next week or two.

And at this time what's going on is our economy is being severely damaged. What else is going on...

WOODRUFF: Well, if...

EVANS: Wait just a minute, Judy, just for a second.

And what else is going on, we're putting into jeopardy really hundreds of thousands of jobs all across America.

So all the president is doing is just going to the courts, asking the courts to allow him to use Taft-Hartley so he can create the conditions for these two parties to continue to discuss their differences and come together in agreement.

Not picking sides one way or the other, just saying, look, let's have an 80-day period, you all go back to the ports and work, that will allow this economy to move ahead.

But it also provides the conditions to sit down and have discussions in good faith.

WOODRUFF: But if the workers were willing to go back for 30 days and that was turned down, what good is this 80-day extension? What good is Taft-Hartley going to accomplish?

EVANS: Right. Judy, I don't know what the workers agreed to do today at the 11th hour.

What I do know is what was reported to the president. And that is: The board of inquiry has looked at this issue for the last 24 hours, and has concluded that there is no reason to believe that these two parties are going to be able to come together and agree on an agreement, a contract, any time within the next several days.

And so that's all the president needed to hear to say, listen, I'm worried about the national safety and health of this economy. I'm worried about jobs all across America. I'm worried about the national security, economic security of this country, and so I'm going to provide for an 80-day cooling off period and allow these ports to reopen and move goods and products in and out of the West Coast.

WOODRUFF: So Mr. Trumka's statement that the administration, through an official -- the Labor Department I believe it is -- made this -- was party to this offer to have the workers continue, you're saying that wasn't a factor here?

EVANS: Judy, I'm not aware of any basis to that at all.

But listen, I'm not involved in those discussions, so what you're reporting to me is information I've heard in the last 30 minutes.

So I don't know what the labor side offered or did not offer.

WOODRUFF: Let me also ask you about Mr. Trumka's comment that this is unprecedented, for an administration to be so overtly siding with management. He kept saying it's unprecedented for this to take place.

EVANS: Right. He just has no basis for that at all. The president has not picked sides in this dispute.

Well, he has picked sides. He's picked the side of the American people. He's concerned about the American workers and the American economy.

And all he's simply doing here is creating the conditions so that these parties can come together in good faith, in a spirit of goodwill to see if they can resolve their differences but, at the same time, make sure that this economy continues its recovery.

WOODRUFF: So when he uses the term "creating a phony crisis" and "working in collusion with management" for the last three or four months?

EVANS: Judy, there's no basis for that at all. I mean, there's no basis for that comment. And as I said, the president did not pick sides on this. All he's trying to do is make sure we continue to protect the economic security of this country, the national security of this country and use the tools he has in this situation to create conditions so these two parties can come together.

WOODRUFF: All right. We are going to leave it there for now.

Don Evans is President Bush's secretary of commerce. Thank you very much.

EVANS: Sure Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you. EVANS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And when we come back, we will hear some the strongest words in the congressional debate over Iraq and find out if the president's big speech had any effect.

Also ahead: the fear factor versus Iraq. How the big three TV networks drew the line on Mr. Bush's address last night.

And: Have the odds changed in election 2002? A rundown of the make-or-break races in the battle for control of Congress.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Committing our military into harm's way is my last choice. I say -- talk about military options as the last option, not the first option because I understand the consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: A day after President Bush delivered that primetime address on Iraq, both houses of Congress now are debating legislation which authorizes military force against Saddam Hussein.

Our congressional correspondent Kate Snow has the latest, including today's visit to Capitol Hill by a top-ranking member of the Bush Cabinet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of State Colin Powell on Capitol Hill as part of the administration's push to get the largest vote possible for a resolution authorizing force against Iraq.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: It's a resolution that will definitely strengthen my hand as I try to do the diplomatic work up in New York to get a U.N. Security Council resolution. I think the resolution is timely and we need it now.

SNOW: Powell made the same case to a small group of undecided house Democrats, a harder sell to be sure. Lawmakers and aides say Democrats who had concerns before President Bush's speech in Cincinnati Monday night still have them. Senator Bob Byrd has made no secret of his opposition.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Put a sign on the Statute of Liberty up here. Put a sign: out of business. That is it, precisely what we are about to do if we vote for this resolution as it is currently written.

SNOW: As the house launched its debate, opponents took the floor first, Democrat after Democrat questioning the wisdom of the resolution.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: But, here we are today voting to go to war before the United Nations has even had a chance to implement inspections.

REP. JAMES MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Are we not setting a dangerous precedent for other nations?

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: No nation should be above international law.

SNOW: Still, those who support the president are clearly in the majority.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: We must not let evil triumph. We must do something.

Reporter: Their voices in the House and Senate formed a chorus for action with history as a guide.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: The world changed forever on September the 11th. I believe the principal lesson of that tragedy is that America waited too long to address the gathering danger in Afghanistan. We must not make that mistake again.

REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: Hitler had been allowed to turn Europe in a slaughterhouse because free men had failed to stop him before he set loose the greatest war in human history.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SNOW: Now, the House will continue debate tomorrow and on into Thursday with a vote expected on Thursday.

And the Senate, Judy -- things moving a little bit more slowly. Senator Daschle laying out a schedule today that could have them debating into next week.

One key vote to watch, Judy -- on Thursday morning there will be a procedural vote, it's about moving them on toward the final vote. But watch that vote because Thursday morning that could indicate how much support the White House is going to get from the U.S. Senate -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kate, quickly, any Republicans expressing disagreement with the president's -- resolution for the president?

SNOW: Not on the floor today. I mean, certainly this is just the beginning of the House debate and one select number of hours from the Senate debate that we've been watching today. It's not indicative of the overall mood of the place. But today anyway, not a lot of Republicans -- in fact, not any that I can think of -- coming out against the president.

Of course yesterday you had House Majority Leader Dick Armey changing his stance, joining with the president along with Senator Richard Lugar.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate, thank you.

The president's speech, the debate in Congress and the reaction beyond the Beltway up next. How the president's speech played with viewers around the country.

But first let's turn to Rhonda Schaffler at the New York Stock Exchange for a market update. Rhonda, how is it ending up?

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. Well we actually did end up for a change on Wall Street.

Investors cheering news that the president is intervening to stop that West Coast port lockout. That helped the Dow snap a four-session losing streak. Dow up 78 points.

At one point today the Blue Chips sold off to their lowest levels in nearly five years. Nasdaq closing 9 points higher.

One sector that got a boost from that court injunction: retail stocks. Retailers were especially vulnerable because of fears that a continued lockout would hurt holiday season sales.

Also today, more news about Wall Street layoffs. Credit Suisse First Boston planning to cut about 1,700 jobs. The company like others on Wall Street suffering from a decline in revenue due to a slowdown in banking activity. Just yesterday we told you J.P. Morgan Chase planning to cut 4,000 jobs.

That is the very latest from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break. Including the hot House and Senate races which could decide which party wins control of Congress.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In our "News Alert," President Bush announced a short while ago he is seeking a court to force the reopening of West Court ports. He's acting under an investigate -- after an investigative board reported the 10-day-old lockout of union workers had no chance of ending soon. The administration wants an 80-day cooling off period in the bitter and costly labor dispute.

Meantime, Congress is pressing ahead with its debate over possible war with Iraq. And Iraq continues to figure into the debate in one of the nation's most closely watched Senate races. At issue, the first 2002 campaign ad featuring Saddam Hussein. In South Dakota last night, Senator Tim Johnson blasted his GOP rival John Thune for trying to tie him to the Iraqi leader.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TIM JOHNSON (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: You run an ad that is that intensely, over-the-top negative -- I think that's really contrary to South Dakota's expectations about what they're going to see on TV. we both believe in national security. I have voted for missile defense 21 times. Trying to distort my record like this is really -- I think reflects badly on your campaign, John.

REP. JOHN THUNE (R), S.D. SENATE CANDIDATE: Tim, the issue isn't the ad. The issue is, however, national security. And...

(CROSSTALK)

THUNE: And we have very different -- very different positions on national security. You have voted 29 specific times against a national missile defense. I have voted every single time for a national missile defense.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: More now on the politics of possible war with Iraq and Election 2002 with Steve Bousquet of the "St. Petersburg Times" and David Kranz of the "Argus Leader" newspaper in South Dakota.

David Kranz, to you first. To what extent is Iraq a factor in you Senate race there? We just heard that exchange in the debate last night.

DAVID KRANZ, "ARGUS LEADER", SOUTH DAKOTA: It's becoming more of a factor out here right now, but it's still the pocketbook issue. There's still the things that are on minds of the voters when you talk to them and just say, What's on you mind.

It's the prescription drug cost for the elderly. It's Social Security, the drought issue out here in Western South Dakota are things that come to mind first. But the candidates seem to be talk about it a lot more and it probably won't take too long before it starts to resonate as one the higher priories here.

WOODRUFF: In other words, this is something that Thune wants to talk about. He's the one who put the ad out, right?

KRANZ: That's right because so far in this campaign the race has been about, you know, the drug -- prescription drug, Social Security and drought as basically Democratic issues. And this is now moving to, you know, war-type issues. Patriotism-type issues.

And Republicans generally do well out here with those particular situations. And John has been doing quite a bit in terms of television advertising on that subject, contrasting his voting record vs. Congressman -- or Senator Johnson's record. Saying that he's voted against missile defense systems 29 times. And he repeats that in ads quite often during the last few weeks of the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Well you've got a very close race. Is this likely to help Thune?

KRANZ: I think short-term it seem to be because I think after these resolutions are voted on -- and this and the home security bill -- it may drift back a little bit. And you may get back to the -- again, the pocketbook issues again, but today, I'd have to say I probably would, yes. WOODRUFF: Steve Bousquet of "St. Petersburg Times," you don't have a Senate race under way there. It's, of course, the -- you have a governor's -- a very hotly contested governor's race between the incumbent, Jeb Bush, and Bill McBride, the Democrat.

Iraq an issue at all? We realize it's different when it's a race for governor.

STEVE BOUSQUET, "ST. PETERSBURG TIMES": Yes, it really hasn't come up, Judy. Jeb Bush and Bill McBride are not asked about Iraq on the campaign trail. Of course, you know, it figures into the race I think indirectly, because we have so many veterans down here, more than any other state. And right now, I think, you know, the vote of the veterans is more with Jeb Bush than it is with Bill McBride.

WOODRUFF: Why is that?

BOUSQUET: Well, you know, veterans like and believe in a strong military. It's the issue the Republican Party has seized it, grabbed the upper hand a long time ago on the whole issue of a strong military, and the Democrats have struggled to, you know, win the high ground on that issue.

Bill McBride is a Vietnam veteran. He was a decorated Marine in Vietnam. But I traveled with Jeb Bush to the Panhandle last week, and he got an enthusiastic response from veterans, and really, the veterans' vote is still the Republicans' to lose in Florida.

WOODRUFF: You were saying Iraq not much of a factor overall. If it's not that, then what are the issues that are making a difference in that race?

BOUSQUET: Sure. The issue first, last and always in Florida of this campaign, it's about education, it's about public schools. Jeb Bush is proud of his record on public education. Bill McBride says Bush hasn't done enough.

The issue that they're most engaged in debating has to do with class size. We've got lot of overcrowded classrooms in Florida, a lot of it relating to the growth here. And Bill McBride supports a higher cigarette tax and a constitutional amendment that would cap the number of students you can have in a classroom.

Jeb Bush has come out with his own class size plan that involves using some growth and an existing tax we already have, but the class size amendment is very popular with voters, and McBride has tried to frame the election in terms of, if you support smaller class sizes, you'll vote for me.

WOODRUFF: So, is either one getting the upper hand, then, with either proposal?

BOUSQUET: Well, you know, the class size amendment is popular until you start asking voters about the price tag, and the price tag ranges from several billion dollars a year to much higher than that. And Jeb Bush has said this state cannot afford this kind of astronomical kind of price tag.

Bush is ahead in the polls. He's not ahead by a lot. It's a single-digit race at this point. And the big debates and the big TV advertising campaign have not yet begun here.

WOODRUFF: And you've got a debate coming up later this month.

BOUSQUET: We do. We have two debates. There's a radio debate next week, and the really big debate is on October 22.

WOODRUFF: The 22nd. OK, Steve Bousquet with the "St. Petersburg Times," you can bet we're going to continue to watch your state. And you know we're going to be watching South Dakota, David Kranz. Thank you both. Good to see you. We appreciate it.

Here in Washington, the debate over how to disarm Saddam Hussein mirrors the discussions outside the nation's capital.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, headed to the nation's midsection for a sampling of what people think about the prospect of another war against Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight hundred miles from New York, 700 from Washington, D.C. is Chicago, immortalized by the poet, Carl Sandburg, as the "stormy, husky, brawling city of the Big Shoulders." Much weighs on those shoulders now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That our country may go to war, that concerns me. I have different friends that are in the military.

CROWLEY: Inside Valloy's (ph) Cafeteria on 53rd Street, it may not always be the first thing they mention, but ask what concerns them, and Iraq comes up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think we should go. You know, it's too -- not only is it too political, but I smell oil somewhere.

CROWLEY: Valloy's (ph) is in Hyde Park on Chicago's south side, the nation's largest urban black community, mostly blue collar, heavily Democratic, very conflicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm up in the air about Iraq, right now. I do believe something needs to be done about Saddam Hussein. I believe he has military weapons. I don't understand why (UNINTELLIGIBLE) stepped in (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, and it really is a tough question to answer, and to jump -- and innocent lives are going to be affected by that.

CROWLEY: At the "Chicago Trib," the deputy managing editor has heard that a lot. JAMES WARREN, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": It's something people at the barber shop and elsewhere are talking about a little bit more, but doing so while scratching their head.

CROWLEY: Twenty miles due west of Hyde Park is Hinsdale Township. They call it a village, a Mercedes-driving bedroom community, mostly white, mostly Republican. Inside the golf shop, they worry less about going to war than not going to war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the threat of Saddam Hussein and what he's capable of is more of a concern, right now to me, than -- I think that we have to start now before he gets, you know, nuclear armament.

CROWLEY: But there is less to the distance between Hyde Park and Hinsdale Village than it might seem. Because here, too, they are mostly conflicted.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Saddam thing is, of course, another issue that's very troublesome. Should we, shouldn't we? Is he, isn't he?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he's a bad guy, and we should get rid of him. I'm not totally comfortable that we've really thought through the process of how to do that.

CROWLEY: Nobody anywhere was for war. Nobody anywhere wanted Saddam to stay. Many worried about war's effect on the economy, on the world, and something else that James Warren has picked up.

WARREN: By and large, people will support Bush, who still is the beneficiary of a tremendous amount of post-September 11 goodwill.

CROWLEY: If it comes to that, and most think it will, this stormy, husky, brawling city of the Big Shoulders will be there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But if we don't have that coalition, I think we have to understand that we were attacked, and that we have the responsibility to protect our country. And that might mean going alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Saddam's out of order, and we find he's really out of order, the American people will back the president.

CROWLEY: And one more thing. In Chicago, they do not see this issue in black and white, war or no war. They talked in a way Washington sound bytes do not. Chicago's discussion takes place in gray areas.

Candy Crowley, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: More politics inside the midterm battle for control of Congress straight ahead; the handful of tight races that could determine the balance of power on Capitol Hill.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In case you haven't noticed, the midterm elections are drawing closer, now exactly four weeks away.

And with me now to talk more about some of the key races, we like to call them key, Stu Rothenberg of the "Rothenberg Political Report," and Amy Walter of the "National Journal."

Stu, I'm going to start with you and the Senate, and then, Amy, we're going to turn to you for some really interesting House Races.

Let's talk first about South Carolina, a Republican seat, Strom Thurmond is giving it up. Lindsey Graham has been running ahead of Alex Sanders. But why are you still saying we should pay attention to this?

STUART ROTHENBERG, POLITICAL ANALYST: Because the Democrats are putting a lot of emphasis on this race. They continue to talk about this race as a Democrat poll showing a single-digit contest. And apparently, Alex Sanders is doing extremely well with older voters, older white voters. He's been pushing social security as an issue.

Judy, I thought it was interesting on the debate that occurred a couple days ago in South Carolina. Lindsey Graham made this -- tried to make this a referendum on the Republican Party. That's the Republican strategy there. It's not so much the candidates as it is who they're going to fight for, who Alex Sanders is being supported by, funded by.

I think the Republicans think that they've got this race in-hand, but the Democrats think they can sneak off with this one.

WOODRUFF: So, it makes it worth talking about?

ROTHENBERG: Oh, absolutely. This is the race. You know, there are kind of lower-first tier, upper-second tier ranks as the parties talk about. This is a race that the Democrats are giving a lot of attention.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about the Turnpike State, New Jersey. Now, that Torricelli is off the ballot, Frank Lautenberg is on, where do we stand?

ROTHENBERG: Well, we stand, I think, in a still confused situation, if we're to believe the polls. It's funny, right after the candidate switch, a lot of Democrats said, OK, you know, we can breathe a sigh of relief, this race is over.

Well, if you look at the polls, Frank Lautenberg is anywhere from 42 percent to about 49 percent. In fact, he appears to be in the mid 40's. Does he have a lead of 11 points, as the Democrats say in a Mark Melvin (ph) poll? Or is it an even race, as the new Mullock (ph) "Star-Ledger"/Eagleton Institute Poll suggests? I don't know.

But it appears to me that this race is still very much in play. Some Democrats acted as if once they replaced Torricelli with Lautenberg, the race would be over. I don't think it is.

WOODRUFF: Quickly, to Colorado. You have Wayne Allard, once again, being challenged by a man named Tom Strickland.

ROTHENBERG: Yes.

WOODRUFF: Why are you looking at this?

ROTHENBERG: Well, that's the same race that, you know, Allard beat Strickland six years ago. I think the problem is Wayne Allard's numbers stink in the ballot test. He's in the low to mid 40's. That's not where an incumbent should be. He still doesn't have a very well-defined image.

This is a narrow Republican advantage probably in this race, but I think it's way too close to call. I think it's a Republican problem and the Democrats smell it.

WOODRUFF: All right, that's a look at the Senate, just a slice of it.

Amy, we're going to look at, obviously, a small slice of the House. The mid-section of the country, Illinois 19. Why are you so fascinated by this one?

AMY WALTER, "NATIONAL JOURNAL": Well, this is a downstate Illinois district. On paper, it looked like a real, sure winner for Republicans. John Shimkus has got the lion's share of this district, 60 percent of it. He used to represent its Republican leanings and its nature. But both sides concede that this race is tightening up.

Part of it is David Phelps, the Democrat, is a pretty conservative Democrat, especially culturally, very important in downstate Illinois.

The other reason is that Republicans in the state have a real problem with the top of their ticket. Jim Ryan, the gubernatorial candidate, is trailing badly in the polls (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just Democrat, even in downstate Illinois. And if you have a depressed turnout among the Republican faithful, that could be big a problem for Shimkus here in November.

WOODRUFF: All right, what about next door in Indiana? Indiana 02, you've got Republican Chris Chocola running against a former congresswoman, Jill Thompson -- Jill Long Thompson.

WALTER: That's right. This one is an absolute slugfest, and it has been for a while. Both sides really see that they have an opportunity here in a district that's very evenly divided. This is South Bend in the south. Both sides want to make the other person look like they're out of step with this district.

Jill Long Thompson is running as a home-grown product. She's talking about bread-and-butter issues. She's trying to make Chocola out to be somebody as a corporate person, talking about social security here, trying to make him look out of step with this district. Chocola and the Republicans are doing the exact thing to Jill Long Thompson, looking at her record when she was in Congress, calling her a liberal. And when they put up a campaign ad that mentions Jill Long Thompson, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton in one sentence, you know where they're going in this race. This thing is going to be an absolute slugfest.

WOODRUFF: All right, Amy, very quickly, back to Colorado, 7th district, a brand-new district, what do you see?

WALTER: This one's a race that on paper looked like a very good opportunity for Democrats. It still think they have a shot here. But today, their Democratic nominee, Mike Feeley, is behind in polling to Republican Bob Beauprez. This is a must-pick-up place for Democrats. They need to make some inroads in the West, and this was supposed to be that place. Let's see what happens, but it's really, right now, it's leaning toward the Republican.

WOODRUFF: There's so much more we want to ask about.

WALTER: Yes.

WOODRUFF: We can't -- we don't have time now, but we will have you back, and we'll talk about some of these fascinating races.

Amy Walter, Stu Rothenberg, thank you both.

WALTER: Thank you.

ROTHENBERG: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: I appreciate it.

And now, we want to check the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."

The candidates for Vermont governor are getting to know each other very well. They are expected to hold about 36 debates -- 36 -- by the time the voters head to the polls next month. Now, that is 36 gubernatorial debates in a state with 600,000 people.

By comparison, California's 34 million residents had one hour yesterday to watch the one and only debate scheduled in that state's gubernatorial campaign.

Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone has picked up a surprise endorsement considering his well-publicized anti-war sentiments. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Political Action Committee endorsed Wellstone over his Republican challenger, Norm Coleman. The group praised Wellstone's support of benefits and legislation important to veterans. Senator Wellstone has announced his opposition to any unilateral U.S. attack against Iraq.

North Carolina Senate candidate Elizabeth Dole is being sued for $80 over Internet spam. A man who received eight unsolicited e-mails from the Dole campaign is suing under a state law against junk e-mail. The law permits people to seek $10 for every unsolicited commercial e- mail they receive. The Dole campaign has said the law does not apply, because the e-mails are not commercial.

I have a feeling a lot of other people may want to take advantage of that law now that they know about it.

What did you watch on television last night? President Bush's speech on Iraq or sitcoms? Up next, Jeff Greenfield on the decision by several television networks to stick with entertainment instead Mr. Bush.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Many Americans never saw President Bush's primetime speech last night on the threat posed by Iraq. The entertainment TV networks can claim some responsibility for that.

Here's our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield.

Hi -- Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: OK, Judy. The president speaks to the nation about the prospect of war. Time was when that would be the only message coming into American homes. Indeed, when FDR used to deliver those fireside chats on radio, it was said you could walk down the streets of your neighborhood and never miss a line, that speech would be coming through the windows of every home. But that was then; this is now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Saddam Hussein must disarm himself.

GREENFIELD (voice-over): So, while the president was speaking of the grave danger posed by Iraq and of the possibility of armed conflict...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) trying to get us into this just because you couldn't keep your big fat twinkie hole shut.

GREENFIELD: ... CBS was run being its hit comedy, "King of Queens." ABC was airing, "The Fear Factor." No irony intended.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three beers, and I'm the most charming man in the world. Seventeen, and I'm like this.

GREENFIELD: ABC was showing "The Drew Carey Show."

BUSH: ... and is capable of killing millions.

GREENFIELD: Fox did delay the start of the baseball playoffs to air the speech...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A very specific style and sense of fashion clue. GREENFIELD: ... but even PBS, in New York at least, chose to air "Antiques Road Show," one of its most popular programs, instead of the president's speech.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GREENFIELD: Now, it is important to note that the White House did not, at first, request TV time from the networks. Apparently, they were afraid that such a request might imply the president was about to take the nation into war. And the broadcast networks could argue that among cable and satellite, not to mention the Fox Network, everyone who wanted to see the speech could.

But one of the historic functions of radio and television has been to knit the nation together, to offer a common meeting ground for things that really matter. Maybe in an age of 500 channels and the World Wide Web, that's something that no longer matters.

Judy, you'll remember when the president of CBS News in 1966 resigned when his network put on "I Love Lucy" reruns instead of the Vietnam War hearings? That's a long time ago.

WOODRUFF: But, Jeff, isn't there something to the White House, at least the point they were making to reporters, that since there was no new policy in the speech, and since they didn't want to alarm the public by thinking the country was about to go to war, they made a deliberate decision not to ask for -- formally request time?

GREENFIELD: No, that is true. And I'm not necessarily suggesting that this portends the end of the republic, but it is a striking demonstration of how the media landscape has changed, that when a president of the United States gets up and is talking about why he thinks it may be necessary to commit American soldiers and money into a war like this, it's basically an afterthought in our media. It just shows you how much things have changed.

WOODRUFF: All right, the view of Jeff Greenfield. Jeff, thanks. We'll see you later.

Still ahead, will the dockworkers' dispute hurt Mr. Bush with a key labor union? We'll go live to the White House.

Plus, the story behind an odd picture, and how it cuts in a U.S. Senate campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As we heard a while ago, trade unions are steamed about the president's invocation of the Taft-Hartley Act to end the lockout of West Coast dockworkers, including one union that has been close to the president in the recent past.

John King joins us again at the White House.

And, John, as we heard from the AFL-CIO's Rich Trumka a short time ago, they are upset. KING: They are upset, Judy, because labor unions view this -- even though the president says he is not picking sides, the unions view this as a pro-management decision.

And we are told, one labor union the president has worked diligently to court over the past year, plus the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, made its frustration, we are told by Democratic and labor sources we should stress, the Teamsters made their frustration with this decision known to top aides here at the White House. We are told by Democratic and labor sources, Karl Rove was the recipient of that phone call in which the Teamsters vented their frustration.

No reaction yet, though, from the White House characterization of those conversations, but already can you see it in the words of Rich Trumka earlier on this program, in strong statements from Senator Edward Kennedy, House Democratic leader, Dick Gephardt.

Democrats hoping to use this decision by the president as a politically motivating factor for labor unions. After all, the president says it was an economic decision, but we will see the political fallout. We are one month from the midterm elections -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: You're right, John, the reaction from the Teamsters particularly interesting, since they are -- what some have seen as they are cozying up to the White House over the last year or so.

All right, John, thanks very much.

KING: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: In Montana, GOP Senate candidate Mike Taylor is asking the state Democratic Party to pull an ad accusing him of benefiting from a student loan scam. Taylor's campaign suggests the ad is slanderous. The video in it certainly has raised some eyebrows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AD ANNOUNCER: State Senator Mike Taylor once ran a beauty salon and a hair-care school until the Department of Education uncovered Taylor's hair-care scam for abusing the student loan program and diverting money to himself. Abuse that causes innocent students to default on their loans, abuse that cost taxpayers thousands and lined Taylor's own pockets. Mike Taylor, not the way we do business here in Montana.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Unusual. Well, Taylor settled the dispute with the Department of Education without admitting any wrongdoing. His campaign says the settlement never included complaints that Taylor's school kept more money than it was entitled to.

And that's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS. I am Judy Woodruff.

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