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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

House Backs Bush on Iraq; Washington Area Still Terrorized by Sniper; Montana Republican Senate Candidate Pulls Out of Race

Aired October 10, 2002 - 16:00   ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
The outcome was as expected, but that did not diminish the significance of the House vote, a vote that brings the United States a step closer to the possibility of another war against Iraq. The final vote for the resolution authorizing use of force was 296 to 133. Almost all Republicans voted yes, but Democrats were divided.

President Bush is expected to talk about that House vote shortly. And we will carry it live here on CNN.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, joins us now.

John, why is the president speaking now before both houses of Congress have spoken?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: A brief debate about that within the White House, Judy, but the administration wanted the president to come forward. He will thank the House for speaking with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority in favor of the resolution.

He is also likely to talk about developments in the Senate today, where the majority leader, Tom Daschle -- let's listen to the president.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I would like to thank the members of the House of Representatives, just as I thanked Speaker Hastert and Leader Gephardt a few minutes ago, for the very strong bipartisan vote authorizing the use of force in Iraq if it becomes necessary.

The House debate was conducted in the best traditions of the United States Congress. It was spirited, civil, and it was informed.

This is a debate and a decision that all Americans can be proud of.

I'm also pleased with the progress being made in the Senate, and I look forward to a final vote soon.

The House of Representatives has spoken clearly to the world and to the United Nations Security Council: The gathering threat of Iraq must be confronted, fully and finally.

BUSH: Today's vote also sends a clear message to the Iraqi regime. It must disarm and comply with all existing U.N. resolutions or it will be forced to comply.

There are no other options for the Iraqi regime. There can be no negotiations. The days of Iraq acting as an outlaw state are coming to an end.

The United States is committed to helping make the world more peaceful and more just. We are committed to freedom for all. We're also committed to protecting human dignity and today's vote is an important step toward fulfilling those great American commitments.

Thank you.

WOODRUFF: President Bush speaking for just a few minutes at the White House, essentially thanking the House of Representatives for what he called a very strong bipartisan vote. In fact, the final vote was 296 to 133, with 126 Democrats voting against it, 81 Democrats voting for it, all but one Republican voting for it.

The president said the debate was conducted, in his words, in the best traditions of a congressional debate. It was spirited. It was civil and it was informed. And, as you just heard him say, it sends a clear message to Iraq That they should move right away to disarm.

CNN's John King -- John, are you still there at the White House?

KING: Sure thing, Judy.

WOODRUFF: I was asking, and you were just starting to answer, why they decided to have the president say something before the Senate has spoken.

KING: And you heard the president in his brief remarks, even as he thanked the House, he also complimented the Senate and said he's pleased so far with the debate in the Senate.

That is because the majority leader, Tom Daschle, not only came out today and said he would vote in favor of the resolution, the deal Mr. Bush struck with the House, but, also, there has been a lopsided vote -- and I know you have more coming from Capitol Hill -- in favor of ending the debate in the Senate. So the president knows that, by this time tomorrow, he should have both the House and the Senate on record.

So the president wanted to come out today mainly to back up his message: that the United States, once this vote is complete, in his view, will be speaking with one voice. That message is aimed at the United Nations Security Council as much as it is aimed at Baghdad, the president hoping, by this time next week, a week from now, that there is a new resolution from the Security Council as well.

But the president now can say straight to the Security Council he has the authority from the United States Congress, or is about to get it when the Senate completes action, and that, if he does not lead a coalition under the umbrella of the United Nations, he will lead one outside of the umbrella of the United Nations -- so the president hoping a strong vote from the Congress will increase his leverage up at the United Nations.

And administration officials telling us still no agreement on the language, but they say there is progress in the negotiations with France and Russia, the two key parties in the Security Council -- so Mr. Bush hoping a big vote here at home domestically helps him on the international stage as well.

WOODRUFF: All right, John -- John King at the White House.

And I want to correct something I said a moment ago before I turn to Kate Snow over at the Capitol. I said only one Republican voted against. Indeed, in the House, it was six Republicans who voted against. The one independent in the House voted against.

Kate, to you now. As I've pointed out, 126 of the Democrats voted against this.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.

WOODRUFF: That's a higher number than some people had expected.

SNOW: It is a higher number than some had expected; 126 is a majority of the Democratic Caucus in the House voting against this resolution, essentially voting against the president of the United States.

We had expected somewhere around 100. In fact, as late as yesterday, Judy, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Martin Frost, had said that he thought a majority would go for the president, would vote for the resolution. Now, opponents worked very hard to try to build that number up. I was talking to one opponent who said they were fanning out on the floor of the House, trying to grab members who were undecided, who were fence-sitters, and convince them to go along and make the hard choice and make the hard vote against the resolution.

One Democratic aide, though, says, Judy, that they weren't surprised by this that much. Dick Gephardt has said all along that they should vote their conscience. While he was supportive of the president, he said Democrats should do individually what they felt was right. So they're not surprised at this outcome.

(CROSSTALK)

SNOW: Go ahead.

WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, but it does put Dick Gephardt in somewhat an awkward position to be leading the charge when only, what, about two-thirds or one-third of his members were with him.

SNOW: Well, about half, a little less than half.

I suppose you could say that, although the Democrats are often not speaking with one voice. On various issues, they don't always all vote together. So I'm being advised by Democratic aides that their caution is, don't read too much into this, that it doesn't necessarily mean that much.

WOODRUFF: OK, Kate Snow, thanks very much. To you and to John, we thank you both.

Well, 26 days before the midterm elections, another surprise announcement in the battle for control of the Senate. Republican Mike Taylor is suspending his campaign to try to unseat Senator Max Baucus of Montana. Many are wondering if Taylor is -- quote -- "pulling a Torricelli," to borrow a phrase recently added to the political lingo.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, has more on Mr. Taylor's decision.

Out of the blue today, Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it came as a surprise, certainly to us, and to some Republicans, I'll tell you that.

You know, Judy, it can get rough out West. But the campaign of Republican Senate candidate Mike Taylor thinks this was downright brutal.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY (voice-over): Taylor, who is married, says Democrats are trying to suggest he's a homosexual, which is not a political plus in Montana.

But Taylor also had problems beyond the ad, money, for one. At the end of June, he had $124,000 in his campaign. His opponent, Democratic Senator Max Baucus, had $2 million. The polls followed the money. Taylor is currently down by 19 points. So why can't a Republican in a state that went 58 percent Bush, 33 percent Gore find some traction? Many Republicans complain it was a lousy campaign, but there is also this, an ad from Baucus, who, we should remind you, is a Democrat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

BUSH: A year ago, tax relief was said to be a political impossibility. Today, it becomes reality because of the bipartisan leadership of members like Max Baucus of Montana.

NARRATOR: Max Baucus, reaching across party lines to do what's right for Montana.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: On top of that, Taylor, as his poll numbers sank over the summer, became low on the totem poll of national Republican priorities. Less kindly, he was too far behind for the GOP to waste much money on.

Republican strategy is to retake the Senate, committing resources and time to cliffhanger Senate races in Minnesota, Missouri and South Dakota. Beyond that, the GOP still thinks Louisiana and Georgia are doable and money for a Montana race would have had to come from there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Now what? Well, Marc Racicot, probably one of the most popular figures in Montana, is going to stay put as chairman of the Republican National Committee. That's according to his office.

Maybe Republicans will do nothing. Taylor says he is suspending his race. They believe his name will then remain on the ballot. Taylor says he is stepping aside so someone else can step in, but, so far, nobody has stepped in.

WOODRUFF: Parallels to Torricelli? Everybody is saying, "Aha, another Torricelli," but is it really that similar to what happened?

CROWLEY: You know, I don't get the sense, particularly if -- if they had come up and said, "Oh, by the way, Taylor is getting out and Marc Racicot is getting in," I think then the parallels would be really very strong, because it's a popular -- Racicot is as popular as Lautenberg is.

This is a Torricelli in that a guy who is really low in the polls, really doing badly is getting out.

But it doesn't seem to me from calling around that there was any real strategy of who they're going to put in after them.

WOODRUFF: That this was his genuine feeling that he had had enough.

CROWLEY: That he was genuinely upset and, again, because he didn't feel he was getting a lot of support out of Washington. I think that was another factor -- there was a lot of things, but the straw that broke the back was that ad.

WOODRUFF: OK, Candy Crowley. Thanks very much.

Well, we'll talk a little bit more about the Montana Senate race with Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazille, but up next: House Speaker Dennis Hastert on the showdown with Iraq and today's votes in Congress.

Also ahead: police say yet another shooting in the Washington area may be linked to a sniper's deadly spree. We'll have a live update.

And "The Sopranos" create a ruckus in New York with some help from Mayor Bloomberg. We'll tell you who's raining on their parade.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: I spoke with House Speaker Dennis Hastert today just moments after the House gave President Bush the authority to use force against Iraq.

We met in the Speaker's office at the Capitol.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: With me now at the Capitol, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for talking with us.

DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: My pleasure. Good to be with you.

WOODRUFF: You've just voted presided over a House that has voted to authorize the president to use force against Iraq.

What thoughts do you have?

HASTERT: Well, I think it was interesting that it was 47 more votes than we got on the original Iraq resolution in the early 1990s.

It means that this gives the U.N. the opportunity to have some backbone in its resolution in trying to get inspectors in to Iraq and try to solve the problem. If not, you know, I think the American people understand that we don't want to see September 11 happen here again.

And there is a nexus between al Qaeda and those people, the leadership in Iraq and they have weapons of mass destruction, they have chemical weapons, biological weapons.

We don't want to see those weapons used here again.

WOODRUFF: The president got the passage that he wanted, but there was still a sizable number of the members of the House who voted against this.

Is the president hurt because more than a third of the members of the House voted no?

HASTERT: Well, like I said, we got 47 more votes than we did in the first Iraq resolution in the Gulf War.

So, I think that was a pretty sizable amount, 296 members. That's almost two-thirds of the House. But I think it's a good number. We're very happy with that number.

WOODRUFF: The people who did -- the members who did vote against, Mr. Speaker -- are they as concerned about the security of this country as everybody else?

HASTERT: Absolutely. One thing about this country, we have different views. Instead of, you know, fighting these battles out on the street we have a chamber in Congress and have these huge debates.

Probably one of the most important debate of this decade happened over the last couple of days here. And, of course, people don't always agree. I mean, that's why we have representative government. But I think the decision was decisive and this vote was a decisive vote. The president has a good support from the Congress to do what he has to do.

WOODRUFF: The economy. Growing fears that we go back into another recession. Unemployment seems to be holding but right now the stock market yesterday hit a new five-year low.

The polls are showing people, most Americans, are worried the economy is not in good shape.

Are you concerned once your members go back home, that the fact that so much attention has been on Iraq, that Republicans in particular may...

HASTERT: I see two things and, you know, there is some vision that we have to look at here, too.

But in retrospect, we passed a tax cut. Without those tax cuts I think this economy would have been a lot worse off.

We passed a stimulus bill that gave corporations and people who were investing that money, their capital, to create jobs and that has helped in this economy.

So we've done the right things. We also -- have passed legislation, it's still sitting over in the Senate. We passed a pension reform bill that would be very, very helpful in giving people security in their pensions and their savings and it hasn't been picked up by the Senate.

We passed a bill that really takes care of the permanency of some of those tax cuts and I think that would establish and make the economy sound.

And we've passed that legislation. Now, those are opportunities that the Senate hasn't picked up and hasn't passed. I think we would have been better off.

However, we need to look to the future. We need to secure those people who invest, to make sure that they can recoup some of those losses --

WOODRUFF: And, therefore you may come back next week?

HASTERT: We may come back to do that.

WOODRUFF: And just finally on the economy: Republicans more vulnerable on the economy because there has been so much talk about everything other than that lately?

HASTERT: Well, you know, I think the economy is something we all face, it's something that we believe very strongly in.

Republicans, over the years, have fought very strongly to pay down the debt. You know, one of the things -- we passed a budget. The Senate didn't.

They want to pass a bill that's 20 -- almost $20 billion, $19 billion above ours. We want to get back to balanced budgets and the only way we can do that is have this fight over appropriations and have a balanced budget.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Speaker, thank you very much. But we may see you again next week. We thought this was going to be a going home interview, but it turns out you may be back next week.

HASTERT: It could be. I mean, we've had a good session in Congress. We have good stories to tell our people when I get out and do it.

Unfortunately, we might have to get back here and wait on the Senate to finish its work.

WOODRUFF: All right, Mr. Speaker. Good to see you. Thanks you very much.

HASTERT: Thank you. My pleasure.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

HASTERT: Good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The speaker told me after that that he thinks there is at least a 70 percent chance that, yes, the House will be back in session next week, particularly if the Senate does not get to a vote on homeland security.

Well, the latest Senate candidate to call off his campaign before election day. One of the topics ahead in our "Taking Issues" segment.

Also, is there trouble on the left for House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt?

But first, let's turn to Rhonda Schaffler at the New York Stock Exchange for a market update.

Rhonda, one day it's down, the next day it's up.

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNN FINANCIAL ANALYST: That is a frustration, Judy, is it not?

But as you mentioned in your piece there, the market hitting lows, multi-year lows yesterday, so not surprising that the bulls returned to Wall Street today. Most of the recently battered sectors like financials, technology, autos, all moving higher today.

The Dow Industrials powering ahead by 247 points. That's about 3 and a half percent. The Nasdaq gained nearly 4 and a half percent after sinking to a six year low yesterday.

Internet bellwether Yahoo! sparked this rally at the Nasdaq after posting its best quarterly results since the dotcom bust. It also issued a positive outlook. That stock ended up 22 percent.

There was, though, some worrisome news from the retail sector. Many stores posted weak sales numbers for September and that may signal consumers are starting to rein in their spending.

Still, analysts say they didn't hurt the action today because the market may have already factored in those negative numbers.

Tomorrow, Wall Street gets the overall September retail sales figures.

That's the latest from Wall Street.

More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including an inside look at the fireworks at last night's debate for Texas governor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TIPPER GORE, WIFE OF FORMER VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE: I think we'll get together as a family a little bit later in the year and decide.

I have told him that I will be with him, as I always have been, with whatever decision he makes.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Are you anxious to have him put his toe into the ring, as it were?

GORE: I'm just anxious for him to make the decision one way or the other. That will decrease my level of generalized anxiety.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: That was, of course, Tipper Gore on the prospect of another presidential bid by her husband, who has been raising his political voice in recent weeks to criticize the Bush administration's policies on Iraq and the economy.

With us now, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazille and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

And I should say, we're with all dressed alike. We all got the memo this morning.

Let's talk first about this Senate candidate, Republican Senate candidate in the state of Montana, Mike Taylor, saying today, I've had it, I don't want to stay in this race anymore.

Did he do the right thing, Bay?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: No. You never quit, Judy. You just never quit. He asked people to support him, to contribute to him. He made a statement, I'm going to represent you throughout this. It got very, very tough. And I understand -- I talked to some friends who are close friends of his. I understand what happened out there. He has no money to defend himself. There's some awful ads against him.

But I'll tell you that he didn't show honor when he quit. But I'll tell you who really is the culprit here. Max Baucus is running 20 points up. He has an incumbent -- he has a opponent with no money. He's got $2 million. It's all done. The race is over. And what does he do with his money? He targets ads to trash the reputation of a man who cannot win at this stage. That was a despicable act and I believe that it really shows something about that man.

WOODRUFF: Woah, woah, woah. Let's talk about what the ad showed. It showed him, he ran a beauty school and was accused of taking student loan money and using it --

BUCHANAN: Sixteen, 17 years ago...

WOODRUFF: Right.

BUCHANAN: ...which he had an issue with the department of education over these student loans. He resolved it, paid some money back to -- but it was yesterday.

DONNA BRAZILLE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Bay, it was not yesterday. It does not matter if it was yesterday or today when you're frauding the federal government out of money. Look, $160,000.

He took money from the federal government without having students. Students who were going to school, I guess, to learn how to do manicures, and never had an opportunity to even get money, those students who needed money.

Max Baucus is a good Democrat. He works in a bipartisan fashion for the people of Montana. He ran a good campaign. Mike Taylor was dead in the water before that ad.

BUCHANAN: So why did he do the ad? That is the issue. He might be a good Democrat but he's a lousy person.

WOODRUFF: Let me just quote to you both something that Taylor's campaign spokesman said. Quote: "They are playing off the old stereotype in this ad of men who work in the hair care profession. It's very clearly implied in the picture that Mike is a homosexual. Mike thinks it's a moral outrage."

Did they go over the line?

BRAZILLE: Absolutely not. The only thing wrong with the ad is that the music was wrong. They should have put the music from "Grease." You know, beauty school dropout.

The ad is a very accurate portrayal of Mike Taylor. He -- he was part of a beauty school. And it's a public ad. I don't see what's wrong to talk about his campaign.

People go negative every day. That's politics. They go negative all over the country. Republicans, with all the money, go negative all the time.

BUCHANAN: Yes they do. You go negative in close races. That's part of the game.

But when someone's 20 points up and has $2 million more than the other fellow. The other fellow's completely broke. Why would you trash the man's reputation? This is an issue from deep in his past which he has resolved with the federal government.

I say that there's something wrong with Max Baucus...

BRAZILLE: There's nothing wrong with Max Baucus.

BUCHANAN: ..that with all that power, he has to step on a little fellow like that.

BRAZILLE: I don't know what this other guy was spending or whether or not the Republican National Committee--

BUCHANAN: He has no money. He's completely broke.

BRAZILLE: I'm sure somebody was loaning him money. You're telling me the chairman of the Republican party never gave him a dollar?

BUCHANAN: This is not targeted race when you're down 19 and the president of the United States is on the other side with the Democrats.

BRAZILLE: Max Baucus did the right thing.

WOODRUFF: Let's change the subject. Dick Gephardt came out.

We've known that he was going to support the president on the war against Iraq. He has been leading the support for the president in the House among Democrats.

But today, 126 Democrats voted against the resolution, 81 Democrats voted for. Is Dick Gephardt beginning to be isolated in his own party?

BRAZILLE: Oh, absolutely not. Dick Gephardt is the leader of the Democratic party. He can bring both centrists and moderates and liberals together in a Democratic party.

He has led this coalition within our party over the last, you know, several years. He's a great leader with wonderful integrity and I think Dick Gephardt is ready to take back the house. BUCHANAN: You know, those are just the words that were written by the DNC and you are saying and repeating them quite well.

BRAZILLE: Nobody can give me talking points on Dick Gephardt.

BUCHANAN: Those talking points don't bark anymore. This fellow has lost the majority and one of the key, key votes for the Senate -- for the House, really key for the entire year, if not this entire session and he could not holds the Democrats 'support position for something he felt was important.

There is no question the president has outwitted and outmaneuvered the Democrats on this war resolution. He got exactly what he wanted and he got it exactly when he wanted it.

And as a result, Republicans are in trouble four weeks from now.

BRAZILLE: Republicans will be in trouble on the economy because Republicans have shown that they only know how to talk one talk. They cannot walk and chew gum. They're going to slip slide and back slide. This economy is in trouble.

And so I think Dick Gephardt and Republicans -- and Democrats will be in great shape.

BUCHANAN: You know, six weeks we've had the -- the Dow has dropped six weeks in a row and what are people talking about? The war, and how successful the president has been on bringing people together and support him.

BRAZILLE: They're not talking about that in Peoria. In Peoria they're talking about their pocketbook.

WOODRUFF: Did you have something you want to say about the Democratic base or am I misreading something here?

BUCHANAN: It's dwindling. She's concerned, frightened of death.

BRAZILLE: The Democratic base is energized and they're ready to come out in record numbers.

BUCHANAN: We will see, but if I were you I would be a little nervous about the direction things are going.

WOODRUFF: OK. One other little anecdote. We meant to bring it up a minute ago and that is our producer, Dana (ph) Bash (ph), when she was up on the Hill talking with Max Baucus about what was happening and mentioning that his opponent had dropped out, Bob Smith, who lost the primary in New Hampshire, Republican, volunteered. He said, I'll move to Montana. You need me there?. I'll move.

BRAZILLE: He better keep his snowshoes on and help his candidate because Jean Shaheen is going to be the next senator from the great state of New Hampshire.

BUCHANAN: There's one lousy poll you guys are counting on. We got many, many more. I think Sununu will do very, very well..

WOODRUFF: We could be at this for a long time.

BUCHANAN: A long time. All the way to November.

BRAZILLE: It's only 26 days. We have a short amount of time.

WOODRUFF: It's great to see you both. Thank you. We appreciate it.

A boxing promoter hedges his bets in the nation's capitol. Bob Novak joins me with details.

Plus: an update on the investigation into the latest shooting outside Washington. A live report from Maryland ahead in the "News Alert."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Question: Who is ruffling the feathers of his fellow Republicans? Bob Novak will have the "Inside Buzz."

Also ahead:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think it's unfortunate that Harry used that characterization. I'm very proud to be serving my nation once again. I'm very proud to be serving this president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Colin Powell responds to some harsh criticism from entertainer Harry Belafonte.

We'll hear more of Powell's comments when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Time now for an update in our CNN "News Alert": Police are working to confirm their suspicions that last night's shooting in Virginia is connected to the string of sniper shootings around greater Washington, D.C.

With me now from Prince William County in Virginia: CNN's Ed Lavandera.

And, Ed, the police are now getting some reliable information from witnesses, apparently.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, at this last briefing, the police here in Prince William County, Virginia, said that they did have several witnesses that they were able to speak with this time around, perhaps directly attributed to all of the press coverage that this story has been getting. But they are speaking with several of those witnesses. They do not say, however, what kind of information they're able to get from those folks. But they have said that they are again looking for a white-paneled vehicle, in this particular case an eyewitness telling police that they saw what appeared to be like a Dodge Caravan minivan that had no side or rear windows, but a white minivan they're looking for in this particular case as well.

Authorities at the scene in Manassas, Virginia, where 53-year-old Dean Harold Meyers was shot by a single gunshot last night around 8:15 as he was getting ready to fill the tank of his car in Virginia. He was shot here in Virginia. He is actually from Maryland. He was actually working in this area.

And police are saying that the overall circumstances of this shooting are very similar to the other shootings that have happened in the Washington, D.C. area. And, as you might imagine, that has made many people nervous around here. But, again, a lot of the official -- the official declaration that this is officially connected to the sniper hasn't been made yet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE DEANE, PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY POLICE CHIEF: The autopsy results did reveal some evidence. That evidence has been turned over to the ATF laboratory, who are conducting analysis at this time. The overall circumstances of this case still appears to be consistent with the other shootings. That is, the overall circumstances are consistent with the other shootings in the region.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAVANDERA: Now, authorities here in Prince William County, Virginia, have scheduled another press briefing for 6:00 Eastern time, so a little less than an hour-and-a-half away, where more details are expected to be released as to exactly whether or not this might be connected to the sniper shootings that have been happening around Washington, D.C. -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ed, thank you very much -- Ed Lavandera from Prince William County. And you are right, that is that these incidents have left this entire area rattled and anxious. Thanks very much.

Bob Novak is here with some "Inside Buzz."

All right, Bob, with this Senate candidate in Montana, Mike Taylor, the Republican, saying he's putting an end to his campaign, what are the Republicans going to do?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the delicious part of it is that Marc Racicot, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, former governor of Montana, is a very strong possible candidate who could probably beat the Democrat, Mr. Baucus, Max Baucus.

But the problem is, No. 1, there is no sign that Governor Racicot wants to run now any more than he did before. And, secondly, the law in Montana is much stricter than it is in New Jersey about putting a late substitution on the ballot. They might have to do a write-in. The delicious part is the hypocrisy on both sides. Oh, the Democrats say, "You can't substitute that late." And the Republicans say: "Well, gee, we can't have a lay-down election. We have to have a contest." So it depends on whose ox is getting the gored.

WOODRUFF: We've never heard that before.

Back here in Washington in the Senate today, some Republican senators upset with one of their colleagues.

NOVAK: Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, and not for the first time.

See, the very highly respected Dick Lugar, Republican from Indiana, had, with Joe Biden, the Democrat, put up a substitute resolution. The president called him up last week, talked him out of it, made some concessions. And they put it aside. And so yesterday -- or I guess it was today, Senator Specter says he's going to introduce the Lugar-Biden resolution.

Lugar is just furious. The White House is furious. They don't want it to come up. But the parliamentary procedures being such, they may forestall Specter anyway.

WOODRUFF: OK, well, we're all watching that.

A boxing promoter making some big political contributions.

NOVAK: Don King, with the wonderful hair, you know Don King very well, I'm sure. The Eagles of the Republican Party were at the Willard Hotel two nights ago for their evening with President Bush and suddenly they saw Don King and his bodyguard. Now, it cost $15,000 to belong to the Eagles. And Don King is a Republican Eagle.

But that's not the half of it. He goes from the Willard to the Bill and Hillary Clinton mansion in Washington for a $15,000 Democratic fund-raiser. So he has forked over $30,000 in the parties. I looked him up in the FEC records. In the last cycle, he gave $10,000 altogether, $1,000 to Bush, nothing to Gore.

WOODRUFF: But he's not the first one to give money to both parties.

NOVAK: Maybe not that ostentatious, all in the same night.

WOODRUFF: Maybe not that -- all right.

Elizabeth Dole raising money right here in the nation's capital.

NOVAK: Well, I really like this one because I try to keep track of these things. And in the wonderful, I call it a mansion in Georgetown by Boyden Gray, the former Bush senior White House counsel, he had a fund-raiser for his fellow North Carolinian, Elizabeth Dole. I don't know if you were there or not, but if you wanted to be a sponsor...

WOODRUFF: I wasn't.

NOVAK: If you wanted to be a sponsor of that one -- and Elizabeth Dole is running well ahead in the polls -- you had to pay $50,000 to get in. Now, that is the highest-priced single soft-money fund-raiser of the year. So I give Boyden Gray and Elizabeth Dole the championship soft-money award for the year.

WOODRUFF: And for you to get that award from Bob Novak is a big deal.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, thanks very much. We appreciate it.

Well, even as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell tries to rally an international coalition against Iraq, he's taking on a surprising opponent, entertainer Harry Belafonte. This week, Belafonte likened Powell to a plantation slave, he said, who curries favor with his master.

Well, Powell came back last night on CNN's "LARRY KING LIVE."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: If Harry had wanted to attack my politics, that was fine. If he wanted to attack a particular position I hold, that was fine. But to use a slave reference, I think, is unfortunate and is a throwback to another time and another place that I wish Harry had thought twice about using.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: On a radio program on Tuesday, Belafonte used the slavery reference to comment on Powell's service within the Bush administration.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

HARRY BELAFONTE, ENTERTAINER: There is an old saying in the days of slavery. There were those slaves who lived on the plantation and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell is permitted to come into the house of the master.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Belafonte went on to say -- quote -- "When Colin Powell dares to suggest something other than what the master wants to hear, he will be turned back out to pasture" -- end quote.

California's Bill Simon has had a bumpy campaign for governor, but the White House is apparently not giving up on him.

(PAGER RINGING)

WOODRUFF: What you heard was Bob Novak's pager there.

Plus, a former juror in the Traficant corruption trial has second thoughts about the verdict that he helped decide.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Georgia Democratic Senator Max Cleland has launched a tough new TV ad against GOP challenger Saxby Chambliss. The ad accuses Chambliss of running negative ads to hide his voting record in Congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

NARRATOR: Chambliss even supports privatizing Social Security, risking trust fund money in the market, raiding billions from the Treasury on a plan experts say will cut benefits over 40 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The Chambliss camp has issued a response accusing Senator Cleland of resorting to -- quote -- "half-truths and scare tactics."

One of the jurors who convicted former Ohio Congressman James Traficant of racketeering is now a volunteer in Traficant's campaign office. Leo Glaser says he now believes that Traficant was innocent. Traficant is serving an eight-year prison term, but is running for Congress as an independent.

In Texas, Governor Rick Perry and his Democratic challenger, Tony Sanchez, squared off last night at a forum in Houston. Governor Perry criticized Sanchez for the failure of a Savings & Loan he once controlled and the use of the S&L by alleged drug dealers. Sanchez says his thrift did nothing illegal and it failed due to tough economic times.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TONY SANCHEZ (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Two federal judges and three federal agencies that said management and directors were not involved. They were not investigating us. They were investigating these very unscrupulous depositors. My opponent never has understood that issue.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: You shouldn't feel good when the federal authorities tell you that there is drug money that came into your bank in cash in suitcases, and then you sent the money to Panama at the request of those drug dealers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times" attended that debate last night in Texas. He has more on the back-and-forth and where the candidates stand with voters, as Election Day draws near.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Last night, the candidates met for their first debate in the governor's race here. And it probably provided a pretty good capsule of where the race is overall.

You would have to say, looking at the full hour, that the incumbent governor, Rick Perry, probably got a little bit of the better of Tony Sanchez. He was little more consistent in his answers. He seemed a little more comfortable on a broader range of subjects.

But Sanchez has one sharp arrow in his quiver. And that is the insurance crisis in the state, the rising rates for homeowner insurance, the second largest homeowner insurer in the state saying they're pulling and not writing any more policies. And Sanchez really hammered at that, arguing that Perry had failed to act because of his own financial ties through campaign contributions to the industry.

It was his strongest point. And he came back to it over and over again. And Perry clearly seemed on the defensive on that one front. They both went back and forth, accusing each other of having links to the industry, which is really the way that this campaign has run. There is a general sense here that issues have been overshadowed by personal attacks.

Enormous spending on television: Sanchez has already spent some $57 million, most of it, almost all of it out of his own pocket on the campaign, an unprecedented sum here. And what's happening is that both candidates are driving up each other's negative ratings with the voters, especially in their private polling.

And that leads to some questions about how high turnout is going to be in the end if, in fact, the voters have been subjected to what is really probably matched only by California as an unremittingly negative campaign. One telling moment was when Governor Perry said that he had been elected statewide more in the last decade than Sanchez had voted, trying to get at two of his themes: that he had had experience and that Sanchez was someone who had been almost indifferent to the political system.

In short, the portrait they tried to paint of each other was corrupt and incompetent. Tony Sanchez is one part of an overall strategy here that many have called the dream team: an Hispanic, Sanchez, as the nominee for governor, the first time. An African- American Democrat, Ron Kirk, former mayor of Dallas, has bee nominated for Senate; and an Anglo Democrat, John Sharp, the former comptroller running for lieutenant governor, Sharp the political strategist who probably put this idea together more than anyone else.

If you look back at the 1990s, the Democrats here were really on a straight line almost toward political extinction. They simply did not have the votes to win statewide elections, so they have tried something consciously very different this time, which is to put together this racially diverse ticket in the hope of increasing the share of the vote cast by African-Americans, to some extent, and especially by Hispanics.

Now, it's not clear whether they're going to get all the way over the top this year. There seems to be a lot of enthusiasm in the black community for Kirk. With Sanchez, it's been a more mixed process of whether they've really generated enough excitement among Hispanics so far, if you talk to the people down here, to really get that turnout up. But they're investing as much as $10 million in a get-out-the- vote effort on Election Day. And they're trying to really pick up those numbers, because that is their best chance of winning.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Ron Brownstein, talking to us a little earlier today from Houston.

Well, one more note on gubernatorial politics: CNN has learned that, contrary to some reports, the White House has not given up on California Republican Bill Simon. Our John King tells us that internal GOP polling is showing incumbent Democrat Gray Davis has only a single-digit lead over Simon. And President Bush now tentatively is scheduled to campaign for Simon later this month in San Diego.

We will go inside Iraq, literally, next on INSIDE POLITICS, where our Nic Robertson has toured a site suspected by the U.S. to be linked to weapons of mass destruction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The White House today dismissed Iraq's latest offer for U.S. officials to come to Baghdad and see for themselves whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. To press its point, the Iraq government permitted journalists to visit one suspected site.

And CNN's Nic Robertson went along.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The tour of the al-Anza (ph) site lasted about two hours. It is a large, rambling, heavy industrial complex.

We were taken to three different facilities, one a machine engineering shop, where we saw computer-controlled machines that U.N. inspectors have monitored in the past, in the belief that such computer-controlled machines can produce components to such a tolerance, to such a high specification that they could possibly be used in a ballistic weapons program or indeed in a nuclear weapons program as well.

We were also taken to a large foundry area. We also saw some steel metal workers making metal cabinets and making what appeared to be lamp posts for street lighting. Iraqi officials at the site told us that they were opening the house, if you will, to journalists to prove that they had nothing to hide. They said the factory and all the sites within the factory have nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction production in any way, shape or form. They said that they were giving us free rein to look around. The site covers about six square kilometers. We perhaps saw a small percentage of that complex in our time there.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: That report in today from Nic inside Iraq.

Well, the hit TV show "The Sopranos," of course, gets rave reviews. But up next: Some New Yorkers want to keep some of the show's stars off their turf.

Stay tuned to find out why.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Some Italian-Americans in New York have a beef with the TV show "The Sopranos." Their story is ahead. But one of the most famous New Yorkers of Italian descent clearly is a fan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I can't hide the fact that I'm a big "Sopranos" fan. I think the show is a terrific show. And I would urge fellow Italian-Americans to be less sensitive. You could spend your whole life wanting to be insulted. And the reality is, why? Why do you want to be insulted? The fact is, it's a great show. You can like it or not like it. You can watch it or not watch it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: There must be something about New York politics and parades, because, on more than one occasion, an invitation to march in a holiday event has proven controversial. Well, this time, the to-do involves the upcoming Columbus Day Parade and two members of the cast of "The Sopranos."

Here now: Chris O'Donoghue of CNN affiliate WWOR of New York.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SOPRANOS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: The sight of your cities pain the eyes of the red man.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS O'DONOGHUE, WWOR REPORTER (voice-over): A recent segment of "The Sopranos" featured controversy surrounding the Columbus Day parade. Was Columbus a hero or an oppressor of Native Americans? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SOPRANOS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: That better not be Columbus. Take it down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you approve of someone that is really demeaning your way of life and then participate in an event that is celebrating what you're doing? It's contradictory.

O'DONOGHUE: Mayor Bloomberg invited two "Sopranos" cast members, Dominic Chianese, who plays Uncle Junior, and Lorraine Bracco, who plays Dr. Melfi, a psychiatrist, to march with him on Monday. The mayor says he chose them not because they're "Sopranos," but because they've helped in some city initiatives.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: I apologize if anybody is offended, but if you don't -- if you're offended, don't wave back when they wave at you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I won't be waving back.

O'DONOGHUE: The two actors are expected to join the mayor in the parade. This community seems to strongly favor that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, as we said, Chris O'Donoghue of CNN affiliate WWOR. We'll keep watching.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.

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