CNN Europe CNN Asia
On CNN TV Transcripts Headline News CNN International About Preferences
powered by Yahoo!
Return to Transcripts main page


Competition to Lead House Democrats Has Gone Topsy-Turvy; Bush Welcomes New United Nations Resolution on Iraq

Aired November 8, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN HOST: I'm Judy Woodruff. On Capitol Hill, the midterm election shook this place up, and now the competition to lead House Democrats has gone topsy-turvy. I'll talk to key players, including outgoing Minority Leader Dick Gephardt.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King at the White House. President Bush is welcoming a new United Nations resolution on Iraq and he is warning Saddam Hussein: Pass this final test or face the consequences.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington with a Friday doubleheader. I'll have the father of all political plays of the week, and I'll talk to the TV cast and creative team behind a new TV show set in the Senate.

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL, CREATOR, "MISTER STERLING": There will certainly be scenes that people will say, Wow, that's kind of a cynical angle of politics. But no more cynical than anything said on your show in the course of a given week.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

Even as Republicans and Democrats start adjusting to the new postelection dynamic here on the Hill, they are facing a harsh reality: that the United States may be a step closer to another war.

The U.N. Security Council today unanimously approved a resolution warning Iraq of serious consequences if it does not give immediate and unconditional access to weapons inspectors.

President Bush emerged from the White House soon afterwards to draw a line in the sand for Saddam Hussein.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The resolution approved today presents the Iraqi regime with a test. A final test. The United States has agreed to discuss any material briefs with the Security Council but without jeopardizing our freedom of action to defend our country. If Iraq fails to fully comply, the United States and other nations will disarm Saddam Hussein. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Chief United Nations Weapons Inspector Hans Blix says his that his advance team will arrive in Baghdad on November 18. There's been no immediate reaction from Baghdad other than to stay it will review the U.N. resolution.

Let's bring in now our senior White House correspondent John King. John, now, how does the president make sure this whole thing doesn't get derailed?

KING: Well, the next key juncture, Judy, is Iraq's answer. Iraq has seven days now to say yes or no. The expectation here in the White House is that Iraq will say yes. Of course, the expectation here at the White House is that Iraq then, once the inspectors get in, will try to hedge, try to interfere, try to stall and delay. Mr. Bush is making clear he will not tolerate that.

How does the administration try to push this forward quickly? Mr. Bush met a little more than a week ago with Hans Blix, the chief weapons inspector. He told him he wanted the inspectors, if they went back in, to immediately put Iraq's commitment to the test. Go to the most sensitive sites, like those presidential palaces Saddam has said in the past are off limits. The United States believes underground at those sites are where many of the Iraqi weapons are hidden. The United States will share its most sensitive intelligence information with the inspections teams and urged them, again, to immediately put Iraq to the test.

WOODRUFF: Well John, back at the White House, we know the president met today with the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and with the about to be Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Any word on that meeting?

KING: One headline out of that meeting was this: in the lame duck session of Congress that will begin next week, Senator Lott had expressed some reservations about having an ambitious agenda, A, because it would a short session and B, because Republicans will have more power when the new Congress convenes in January. More seats, more control in the Senate.

But the president did convince Senator Lott today to make a push to pass the president's number one priority: creating that new department of homeland security. Speaker Hastert also said it was critical to him that it get done in the short term because of the work the House put into it this past year. Senator Lott said he had been -- he did have some reservations, but the president asked if he will do his best to get that new department passed.

WOODRUFF: All right, John, we're going to ask you to stand by for just a moment.

As you know, we've seen something of a revolving door in the race to be the next House minority leader one day after Dick Gephardt said that he would leave the post. Today, Martin Frost of Texas dropped out of the competition, drawing his support behind Nancy Pelosi of California, the current Democratic whip and an outspoken liberal.

In a statement, Frost said -- quote -- "It is clear to me that Nancy Pelosi has the votes of the majority of the caucus" -- endquote. And he urged Pelosi and other Democrats to ensure that the public sees our party as the mainstream aggressive advocate for the American people that it is. Otherwise, we will continue to fall just short of control of the House.

Frost's announcement came just hours after Harold Ford of Tennessee said that he, too, would seek the job of House Democratic leader. I'll be talking to Ford and to Dick Gephardt in just a few minutes.

But, John, back to you just now. The White House has had some time to digest all of these developments on the Hill. What are they saying about the prospect of a Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi?

KING: Well they believe she will be feisty, she will be combative from the get-go with this president, especially on economic issues. They also believe in the long run, though, that could play out to this president's advantage because at the White House they believe she is too liberal for the country as a whole and will accentuate the liberal issues and the liberal frustration with the Bush administration. They believe nationally that helps the president. They do expect a more combative atmosphere, but Judy, they are not so worried about this because think back to the last session of the House. The Republicans have shown remarkable discipline, under Speaker Hastert and under Whip Tom Delay. That with his team, now soon to be Majority Leader Tom Delay, the Republicans have shown remarkable discipline. And in the House, the majority rules. It is not like the Senate, where you need 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

So they expect a much more combative, a much more partisan atmosphere. But they also expect that House discipline, the House Republican discipline only to improve because many of those new Republicans coming to Washington ran on exactly the same agenda the president supports.

WOODRUFF: All right, John. Thanks very much.

Well, with me now the out-going House Democratic leader, Dick Gephardt.

So some people are saying you're getting out while the getting is good. Is that right?

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: I don't see it that way. But I just came to the conclusion that I needed to change, and I think the caucus deserves some change. I did the best I could for eight years, and we did a good job. I'm happy about the seats we gained in three cycles. We didn't have a good night Tuesday night, there's no doubt about that.

But there comes a time when you need to look at other opportunities, other options, and try to see what we can do to get the agenda back in this country. And I'm going to do a lot of thinking. I've been here 25 years. I got a lot of experience on a lot of issues. And I want to try to step back for a minute and take that experience and apply it to the challenges we now face.

WOODRUFF: Well, I want to talk to you about your opportunity in just a moment. But first on the House, Martin Frost, in dropping out of this leadership race, said what your party needs is somebody to express centrist, mainstream positions. Do you agree with that?

GEPHARDT: I think whoever is our leader -- and I think Nancy Pelosi will be elected -- and this is a historic moment for the Democratic Party to have the highest elected woman in the history of the House -- but I think it is important, as Martin said, for any leader to unify our caucus. And I'm sure that Nancy Pelosi will have great success in doing that.

WOODRUFF: But what about this point that it needs to be someone mainstream? And obviously I'm asking that because Nancy Pelosi is being portrayed, including, as you just heard by John King at the White House, as a liberal who's out of touch with most of the country.

GEPHARDT: She's also a leader, and she has strong views, as we all do. But she's a leader. She's proven that. She's proven it as whip. She was chair of the Democratic Party in California. She has vast and wide experience. She comes from a family that had a great history in politics.

And she will do the painstaking, hard, day-to-day work to meld together a coalition that will be mainstream and will bring the right issues to the country.

Look, we've got a country that now is a government that will be totally controlled by the Republican Party. They show no interest in trying to change any of their policies. And I think they're leading us in all ways in the wrong direction.

WOODRUFF: So you don't think it makes the Democratic Party vulnerable to have an outspoken liberal as its chief, as its leader in the House?

GEPHARDT: Nancy Pelosi is a unification force in our caucus. She is respected by the members of our caucus. She...

WOODRUFF: Despite her views, is what you're saying?

GEPHARDT: All of us have views, and you need to have strong beliefs. And she has strong beliefs.

But she's a leader. She listens to people. She welds together coalitions. She has support in this race for our leader from very conservative members of the caucus. That's the kind of leadership she'll provide.

WOODRUFF: All right. A quick word about the presidential sweepstakes coming up. You're making some very tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead. You've got to decide whether you're going to run for president. Already Democrats are saying, "We need a fresh face." With all due respect, Dick Gephardt, not that you don't have a fresh face, but you...

GEPHARDT: Isn't this a fresh face?


WOODRUFF: ... you ran for president the first time 14 years ago. How do you -- what do you say to those who say the party needs somebody new and different?

GEPHARDT: Well, first, I haven't made any decisions, and won't for some time.

I'm stepping back. I'm going to look at all the possibilities, opportunities to continue to try to provide good public service and a good agenda for this country.

We're in a very tough and important time. We had 9/11. The economy's in real difficulty. We don't have health care for all our people. Our education system and our education program is a slogan; it's not really a program that will get us anywhere. It is time for all Democrats, and I hope to be among that group, to step up whatever we're deciding to do about our future, and to articulate a long-term, optimistic, sensible, effective vision for this country.

WOODRUFF: But that battle got much more uphill after Tuesday, that the president has now been affirmed as a very popular leader. Every day he is in the White House he gets more experience.

GEPHARDT: Look, there's no question that security issues trumped economic issues on Tuesday night. And he did a good job of campaigning; I'll hand that to him. He was all over this country and did an effective job. But the acid test for all of us is to make things work for the American people, to get these things done, to get the economy straightened out, and on and on.

GEPHARDT: We face a huge challenge with terrorism, and he's doing a good job on the military front and dealing with Iraq, but what is he doing to prevent young people from all over this world from deciding to become terrorists? That's the only way we're going to lick this. And I don't see any sensible ideas out there to make that happen.

WOODRUFF: All right, Dick Gephardt, we'll be watching you as you move toward that decision.

GEPHARDT: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much for talking with us today. We appreciate it.

GEPHARDT: Thanks. And my face is a little bit fresh anyway.


WOODRUFF: All right. Dick Gephardt, thanks very much.

Well, now we are going to talk to the No. 2 Democrat in the House about her bid for the top spot. Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi joins us now from San Francisco.

Nancy Pelosi, I don't know if you heard John King's report just a moment ago. He's saying the White House looks forward to running -- or to competing with the views of an outspoken liberal like you.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY WHIP: And I look forward to competing with them as a representative of the full spectrum of the Democratic Caucus. I'm very delighted for the encouragement that I have received from my colleagues from across the board, from right to left and every geographic area in the country.

And we will work together to develop our pro-economic growth Democratic message, building on the successes and the foundation laid by our distinguished leader, Mr. Gephardt. He set a very high standard for us and a very tough pace, and I'm very, very honored at the confidence my colleagues have placed in me to continue his work.

WOODRUFF: Do you have this sewed up now?

PELOSI: Yes, I do. I was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) yesterday. As you know, on Wednesday the word got out, and on Thursday the leader announced that he would not stand for reelection for House leader. We went right into action then, and in 24 hours had the commitments of over a majority of the caucus, public commitments, and an overwhelming majority of our colleagues supporting my candidacy.

It is over. And as I respectfully always say, though, the votes belong to our colleagues until they cast them. These are commitments, but I'm sure anyone would be delighted to have the overwhelming support that I have received from my colleagues.

WOODRUFF: Before Martin Frost...

PELOSI: It's pretty exciting.

WOODRUFF: Before Martin Frost dropped out, he said that electing a liberal like you to the leadership in the House of the Democrats would consign the party to permanent minority status; that it's not the centrist, mainstream that the party needs.

PELOSI: Well, I don't know if that's exactly what he said. I don't think that's constructive. But I do think that people elected me to be a leader and not an advocate for my own point of view. Everyone in the party has their own place in the spectrum.

I have been invited all over the country to campaign for my colleagues in marginal races, have listened to the concerns of their constituents, have a better understanding and current understanding of where they are coming from.

Because of my own commitment to my own ideals, I understand their commitment to the priorities from their area. I'm respectful of that. What we adopt as our party position on growing the economy, which is our first priority, will be the product of all of the members of the caucus representing the full spectrum.

And it's really pretty exciting for me to have the confidence they have placed in me, despite some of the characterizations from the White House and the rest. What would we expect them to say?

WOODRUFF: Well, and in that connection, and I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but there was a Republican aide quoted this morning in the New York Times as saying, Yes, I'm ready to go door to door campaigning for Nancy Pelosi, the prospect of, again, competing against a San Francisco liberal.

PELOSI: Why are we even talking about this? What we're talking about is getting ready for a new Congress of the United States, where we can work together, try to find our common ground with the Republicans where that is possible to make the future better for our children; and where we cannot find our common ground, to stand our ground on issues in the public interest, as opposed to the special interests that the Republicans represent.

Today, the issue of the day is the story from Wall Street that some there will try to curb the reforms that were in the Sarbanes bill. We know that, because of the outcry from the public, the administration and the Republicans in Congress came kicking and screaming in support of the Sarbanes bill. It wasn't long after that they said they weren't going to put up the money to fund the bill. And even the SEC office said -- Chairman Pitt's office said they could not implement the reforms of the Sarbanes bill without the resources.

And now, today, as you see in The Washington Post, there is the word that just two days or three days after the election, that there is possibly an abandonment of the reforms that are so needed, because so many families in America had their retirements undermined and their investments defrauded.

And the American people care about this. The Republicans said one thing before the election, and now it looks like they're going to do something after.

So there are some issues where we have very big differences of opinion. They will always try to undermine the messenger. I would just hope we can have a healthy, rigorous debate about the issues so that the American people can decide how they want to go forward in the next election. We're not campaigning now. We're building, building, building, and hoping to find common ground. I want to reiterate that.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Nancy Pelosi, we will be covering the caucus vote next week when it takes place here in Washington. Thank you very much for talking with us.

PELOSI: Thank you. It's pretty exciting. Thanks very much.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Coming up next, Hollywood comes to Washington. Just ahead, our Bill Schneider goes behind the scenes of a new TV series about a newly appointed senator learning the ropes on the Hill. Will it be the next "West Wing?"

Our Bob Novak is in the Golden State with inside buzz on Republican grumblings and on Arnold Schwarzenegger. And next...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This sounds interesting.



WOODRUFF: Gene Autry's famous tune could be the new Republican theme song.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: For those Democrats considering a run for the White House in two years, Tuesday's results brought the political landscape into clearer view.

What some of the potential candidates see, however, is not the vision they once imagined.

Here's our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He'll run for leader again, this time of the minority and that's as far as Tom Daschle has gotten.

Will the Democrats top elected official bow out of the Senate in '04 or step up to run for president?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D), SOUTH DAKOTA: I'll use this period of time to make some decisions initially and -- but I haven't made them yet and don't expect to for a while.

CROWLEY: The House Democratic leader is stepping down, but Dick Gephardt also wavers, though more definitively than Daschle.

GEPHARDT: I want it look at other options. I want to look at other ways of trying to accomplish some of the things that I feel very strongly about. And I don't know what that means.

CROWLEY: If the past is prologue, you understand why the elections of '02 have made Democrats anxious about '04.

BUSH: Thank you all. CROWLEY: Here's the early line on '04 candidates as seen through the prism of '02 by several Democratic politicos.

John Edwards is a fresh face. Maybe too fresh. Can a guy with one term in the Senate beat the post-9/11 George Bush?

Vermont Governor Howard Dean is a fresh face with some experience and he definitely excites party liberals but, said one Democrat, Dean couldn't find the middle of the road, much less attract it.

And there is experience galore in Congress. But for Daschle and Gephardt, it's a difficult springboard with the weight of '02 around their necks.

Gore supporters are delighted with postelection criticism that Democrats lost because nobody stood up to President Bush. Nobody, they say, except for former Vice President Gore, who challenged bush on both Iraq and the economy.

But detractors say Gore's least attractive moment are when he's on the attack.

Both John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have credentials, gravitas, and a softer touch, but come up short on charisma.

Bush is a charmer and a brilliant politician, said one grudging Democrat. We don't need a rock star, but it would be nice to have someone who can get a crowd.

Wanted: a presidential candidate way with a new face to attract attention and experience to provide reassurance. Must have credentials to challenge a sitting president on national security matters, the agenda to attract middle of the road swing voters and a passionate adherence to liberal causes to invigorate the faithful. Must be willing to get in the face of a popular president with the charm to make it seem like he's not.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Tall order.

Are viewers ready for another prime-time political drama? Our Bill Schneider has the scoop on one new senator you may not have heard about.

Also ahead, more on the race for Democratic House leader. I'll interview Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford.

But first, let's turn to Mary Snow. She's at the New York Stock Exchange for a market update.

Hello, Mary.

MARY SNOW, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. Stocks fell for a second straight day. Some investors are worried the new U.N. resolution could raise the prospect of war against Iraq. In addition, a profit warning from fast-food giant McDonald's raised concern about the economic recovery in the U.S. It's also making investors a bit nervous about the recent monthlong market upswing and whether those gains will be able to hold.

As for the overall stock market, the Dow Industrials slid 49 points today. Investors took a bite out of McDonald's shares. They fell nearly 8 percent and the Nasdaq composite lost about 1 and one- third percent.

The Dow, however, did manage to score its fifth straight winning week by just a hair. For the week, it added 0.2 of a percent. The Nasdaq and the Standard & Poor's 500 index ended the week virtually flat.

That's the latest from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including the first political endorsement for the 2004 elections.


WOODRUFF: Hollywood has had a kind of on-again/off-again fascination with events here in Washington. The success of TV's "The West Wing" proved the entertainment value of the political process.

But is there room for another prime-time political drama? Our Bill Schneider takes a look.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): They'll be a lot of new faces in Washington come January. This will be one of them. Mr. Sterling. The newly appointed senator from California. Appointed? Who died? Nobody. It's a new TV series. "Mister Sterling," premiering in January, created by Lawrence O'Donnell, who used to be a writer on "The West Wing."

"Mister Sterling," he says, will be different. It's Congress. Not the White House.

O'DONNELL: The West Wing, by definition, a very organized place. You have to give the Secret Service your Social Security number to get in. It's all very disciplined and the Senate and the House of Represenatives -- the entire Congressional campus isn't like that at all. It's like a -- it's much more like a college campus for adults, working on very serious things.

SCHNEIDER: How would he know? Simple. For eight years he worked as a Senate staffer.

O'DONNELL: I've also been in the room up there on Capitol Hill where some really serious governing choices were made by really serious people working very hard. And those are the scenes that I want to get right more than anything else in the show. SCHNEIDER: Like this one, when the new senator meets a powerful committee chairman.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: OK, Bill. Skip the patty cakes. You want to know how to get on my committee?



First of all, someone's got to die or get defeated. In the meantime, you never offer an amendment to my bills. You always vote for my bills and you never, ever surprise me.

SCHNEIDER: There's a tough, experienced woman on the new senator's staff.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Jackie Brock, press secretary.


SCHNEIDER (on-camera): Anyone in the press in your head as you play this role? Or in Congress or -- do you have any models?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Yeah. Nancy Pelosi. I mean obviously, my character is not an actual politician, but just in terms -- I was just reading a big article about her, you know, of course, you know, her being the high-ranking Congresswoman in history, you know, talking about the fact that female politicians a lot of times have to wrap their hammers and belt them.

SCHNEIDER: There's even a pollster.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Leon Monteriff (ph). I'm director of data management.

SCHNEIDER (on-camera): Do you like polls?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I do. I mean, you know, I think we all do. i think we all sort of want to see if our opinion is the winner, or not. You know?

SCHNEIDER: And Senator Sterling's model?

(on-camera): When you play this role, do you have any politicians or political figures at all in mind?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Wellstone. I think Wellstone was -- and Lawrence O'Donnell Jr., I think based on the character loosely on Wellstone in the fact that when he came in that he didn't play the bureaucratic, you know, line. He kind of did things his own way...

SCHNEIDER: Senator Sterling certainly does things his own way.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What I want is a seat on appropriations now and a seat on finance now. Not the next opening on finance. Right now.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: But we don't have an opening on finance now.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You could make one if you were to give up your seat on the finance committee.

SCHNEIDER: The Finance Committee? Wait a minute. Is Senator Sterling a Republican or Democrat? Ah, that's the big secret. And in Hollywood, unlike Washington, secrets are never leaked.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.



An update now on Gary Hart's president's plans. Don't count him in the 2004 presidential race, but don't completely rule him out either. Hart said earlier this week that he was considering making a third attempt for the White House. But told University of Colorado students yesterday that he doesn't really want to run for office yet. He doesn't want to sit on the sidelines he said, though, either. So stay tuned.

Tennessee Senator Bill Frist is stepping aside as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Frist told colleagues last night that he wants to focus on health care issues and his current position, trying help elect Republicans senators, is time consuming. Virginia Senator George Allen is a front-runner to replace Frist. The leadership election will be held next Wednesday.

And looking ahead to future campaigns, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell has issued what could be the first endorsement for a 2004 House race. McConnell has endorsed his former chief of staff, Hunter Bates, in Kentucky's Fourth District. McConnell said, quote, "Over the last four years our party has fielded three candidates who tried valiantly but ultimately failed to win in the most Republican voting district in our state. Simply put, we cannot afford another loss."

Here on Capitol Hill, everything old may soon seem new again. Coming up, the familiar faces heading to, and in some cases back, to Washington.


WOODRUFF: Much more INSIDE POLITICS ahead as we cap quite a week for Republicans. But it may be an even better weekend for one member of the Bush administration. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer ties the knot with his girlfriend of over a year, Rebecca Davis. President Bush plugged the nuptials at his press conference yesterday and he lobbied for gifts for the bride and groom, too.


BUSH: And by the way, we're here in honor of Ari Fleischer, otherwise we'd be in his house, but since he's getting married this weekend, I thought it appropriate to leave the podium that he occupies empty in honor of the fact that he's getting married. I hope you all have sent your gifts to him.


Ari, I did what you asked me to do.






WOODRUFF: Well, those were the faces of some of the senators that'll back in the saddle now that Republicans have won back control of that chamber.

As our Bruce Morton reports, the new Washington is going to look a bit like the old Washington.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lots of new faces will be coming to town. Well, some are new. Take the new senator from New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg. He's been a senator from New Jersey before, knows where the men's rooms are and all that. Won't need much job training.

Or the new senator from North Carolina, Elizabeth Dole. No rookie she. Her husband used to run the place, remember? And she tried to get back to Washington two years ago, though she set her sights on a house at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Yes, that white one.

Or the new senator from Tennessee, Lamar Alexander. Not such a new face, old plaid shirt remember? He tried to come here twice before, aiming at the same house Mrs. Dole had in mind. Well, welcome, Senator. You'll have a smaller office, but in a bigger building.

New faces. Let's see. Georgia has a new Republican senator, Saxby Chambliss. But he was a Congressman before. He'll have a new office, but for him it's an old neighborhood.

Same thing for the new senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham. He was a House impeachment manger when Bill Clinton was tried in the Senate, so he knows the rules.

Mark Pryor from Arkansas really is a new face, but his father was in the Senate so he probably remembers touring the place as a kid.

John Sununu of New Hampshire, new to the Senate, but his father was the first President Bush's chief of staff, and he himself was in the House. No tourist, that's for sure.

House members? Ron Emanuel represents Dan Rostenkowski's old Chicago district. But, of course, he was a senior adviser in the Clinton White House.

Christopher Van Hollen, who beat Maryland Republican Connie Morella really is a new face. At last, at last.

And so is Katherine Harris who was Florida's secretary of state during the 2000 election controversy.

Still, a lot of old familiar new faces. Maybe the Democrats could bring this guy back. They need somebody knows how to win.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Back to the House leadership contest. Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford said this morning that he planned to challenge fellow Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Martin Frost for the post of House party leader. As you know by now, Frost is out of the race. Pelosi says that she has the votes she needs.

With me now is Congressman Harold Ford.

We just talked to her a few minutes ago and she says it's sewn up.

REP. HAROLD FORD (D), TENNESSEE: Well, this race is on Thursday. I just got in the race this morning. I've been talking to colleagues all across the country. The diversity of our caucus never ceases to amaze me in terms of ideology. And I've spoken with Blue Dogs and members of the Congressional Black Caucus, members of the new Democratic organization, and we're signing up supporters.

One thing I will say, as I said to my colleagues, is that November 5 was not only a wakeup call, but was a shakeup call to us here in Washington, particularly on the Democratic side in the House, that if we're serious about winning back the hearts and support of Americans I think we have to think about doing things differently.

Dick said it best when he decided not to run. He said: My caucus needs a change. And I don't believe Nancy represents any sort of change. Her and Dick are extremely close. Dick, I understand, is supporting her. And I say to my colleagues who are genuinely interested in seeing a different approach. And Nancy's and our styles are very different, as well as our approach to many of the key significant issues.

WOODRUFF: What is so different about your style?

FORD: Well, number one, I don't believe that you have to be so dogmatic and so one dimensional in your thinking and your approach to things. Nancy's made very clear and her record demonstrates her liberal roots. She's from San Francisco. She's a great person who I respect deeply here. But Congress and serving people is about more than having beloved friends in the House, it's about finding a way to build coalitions to help serve people.

One of my fears about her leadership is that she will provide a kind of obstructionist opposition to George Bush and the Republicans, a kind of destructive opposition, when I think the American people, as we saw evidenced on November 5, are looking for more constructive opponents, those who can help shape issues, shape results, and at the same time put themselves in a position to win the hearts and support of Americans. I don't believe she'll be able to do that. That's why I'm running for this position.

WOODRUFF: But the Democrats, if anything, going into this election did make accommodation with the president, they made accommodation on Iraq, they made accommodation on taxes and other issues.


FORD: This is not about accommodation.

WOODRUFF: And that didn't -- did that get them anywhere?

FORD: What I think people trust Democrats to do well, and they like what we do, they like the way we yell and shout and scream, and how we curb excesses, and that's important. But what we don't do a good job at is in convincing the American people that we can lead this Congress, that you can trust us with the helm, that you can trust us with the steering wheel. And I don't believe the leadership, as much as I respect and like Nancy, that she will bring the kind of leadership that can comfort most Americans and draw them back to our party.

One thing I heard from constituents and people back home is that they've grown terribly uneasy with the way campaigns are run. Most of the issues we discuss on both sides are entirely irrelevant to what most people deal with day in and day out.

Unfortunately, the issues were on our side this time, but we had not real coherent response. And Nancy's been a part of that effort over the last few years. And I'd just say to my colleagues in the Congress who are thinking about this: If you want real change, I contend that my candidacy would offer that new era and new generation of leadership and vision and energy sorely needed in our party right now.

WOODRUFF: So you're in the race...

FORD: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: ... until next Thursday...

FORD: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: ... when the votes are counted. All right.

FORD: Well, I think we're both in the race up to that point.

WOODRUFF: OK. But you're serious about this.

FORD: No, no, I've very serious, because I think Democrats and the American people are interested in something different in this nation's capital than Democrats in the House have been giving them over the last eight years.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Harold Ford, we thank you so much for talking to us.

FORD: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And we'll be covering that vote on Thursday.

FORD: Thank you much.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Well, now, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Incoming Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue could have a Republican state Senate to work with come January. Two Georgia Democratic state senators are expected to switch parties, which would leave the Georgia Senate evenly divided. GOP leaders say they hope to convert even more Democrats soon.

Meantime, some Georgians are still smarting over Perdue's paraphrasing of Martin Luther King Jr on election night.


SONNY PERDUE (R), GEORGIA GOV.-ELECT: I think there's an old expression. Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last!


WOODRUFF: Perdue's win broke the Democrats' 130-year-old hold on the Georgia governor's office. Critics say King's words should not have been used in such a political context by a candidate who has proposed revisiting the debate over the Confederate emblem on the Georgia state flag.

Alabama Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman has requested a county-by- county recount in his cliffhanger race against Republican challenger Bob Riley. This afternoon however, the Republican district attorney of Baldwin County said he would not allow in his county until he receives guidance from the state attorney general. Siegelman trials Riley by about 3,000 votes in the unofficial total.

In Louisiana, Governor Mike Foster may not endorse fellow Republican Suzanne Terrill in her Senate runoff against the incumbent Democrat Mary Landrieu. Foster says he's not happy with some of Terrill's campaign tactics. He also says he's unhappy that the candidate he endorsed in the general election, Congressman John Crooksby, did not make the runoff. Our Bob Novak is in California with his ear to the ground for the "Inside Buzz" out there. He'll be along next.

Plus a candidate sweep victory, and another's refusal to say that that's the way the cookie crumbles.


WOODRUFF: It's not unusual to hear losing candidates grumbling after an election. But this complaint from Colorado is a new one on us.

A state House challenger says the neutrality of the vote was compromised because the Democratic incumbent had cookies delivered to election judges in 55 precincts, along with a handwritten thank you note. Republican Roman Coleman says he's not questioning the outcome just the fairness of passing out treats at the polls.

Another election tidbit. It seems that burrito lovers may be on to something. As you may remember, a Mexican restaurant chain in Maryland allowed its customers to show their preferences in two hot races by choosing burritos named after the candidates. Well, the unscientific burrito poll got it right, not once but twice predicting victories for Republican gubernatorial candidate Robert Ehrlich and Democratic House candidate Chris Van Holland.

Bob Novak joins us now from San Francisco with some "Inside Buzz.'

All right Bob, you're talking to people out in California about Nancy Pelosi's bid to be the leader of the Democrats in the House.


Judy, she's the talk of politics out here. She's the favorite daughter out here in San Francisco, and the activist in the party, the liberal activist in the Democratic party are just delighted that she's front and center. They really don't like the centrist politics of Governor Gray Davis, trying to curry favor with the business community.

Oddly enough, the Republicans like the idea of Nancy Pelosi in the spotlight too. Republicans here haven't had much to cheer about. Their downward slide continued on Tuesday and they feel if Pelosi brings the party's image to the left, they'll have a better chance in the future.

WOODRUFF: And are they saying anything about Harold Ford?

NOVAK: Well, they think that Harold Ford is a really remarkable person, and Republicans say that. That kind of African-American Democrat and hope he paints Nancy Pelosi even more as liberal. But they think Pelosi's going to win, of course.

WOODRUFF: Two other quick things. Gray Davis presidential hopes? NOVAK: I think they were really hurt by this kind of poor performance that he had. That's good news for a lot of Democrats because they don't -- he's not that popular in his own party. They don't want to see a presidential run.

But Republicans are unhappy that President Bush, who had a spectacular campaign, missed an opportunity in not coming out here a couple of times during the fall. They think he could have pushed Bill Simon over the finish line if he had believed the polls, which turned out to be accurate. It was a close race.

WOODRUFF: And last but not least, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a big winner the other night, winning that after school initiative in California. What about his future?

NOVAK: Yes, he was. He wants to run for governor, says he does, in four years. But the Republican faithful I talked to are not happy that he didn't help Bill Simon. They wonder how much of a Republican he really is. And if he wants to prove he's a Republican, they say he ought to run for the Senate against Barbara Boxer in 2004. They don't have a real -- Republicans don't have a real strong candidate. Schwarzenegger has a lot more appeal.

But he wants to be governor. He doesn't want to come to Washington and be one of 100 senators. That isn't the style for a movie strong man, is it?

WOODRUFF: Well, you're out in California. I'm going to let you be the expert on that one.


WOODRUFF: All right, Bob, thanks very much. Have a good weekend. See you later.

Coming up next, Dr. Bill Schneider puts the week in politics under the microscope to find the No. 1 play. He says it's all in the DNA.


WOODRUFF: Everybody's been talking about George W. Bush's big political win this week. But what about the political powerhouse behind the president? Here is our political powerhouse Bill Schneider.

SCHNEIDER: Well you know, President Kennedy once said, "Victory has 100 fathers, but defeat is an orphan."

Well the Republicans enjoyed quite a victory in this midterm, but who's the father? Well, we've done some DNA tests and identified him. But instead of serving him with papers, we're going to give him the "Political Play of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Recognize this man? He's Karl Rove, former Austin political consultant, protege of the late Lee Atwater and now senior adviser to the president.

From the day President Bush took office, Rove has been plotting the political strategy for 2002. He tipped his hand last January when he told the Republican National Committee that the war on terrorism could be a useful issue for GOP candidates this year.

KARL ROVE, SENIOR ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: And we can go to the country confidentially on this issue, because Americans trust the Republican Party to do a better job of keeping our communities and our families safe.

SCHNEIDER: Outraged Democrats accused Rove of politicizing the war on terrorism. "General Rove" they called him.

Rove was planning a war: the political offensive of 2002. Rove's tactics? Recruit strong GOP candidates, like Norm Coleman in Minnesota, John Thune in South Dakota and Jim Talent in Missouri.

But something else was needed, a national cause Republicans could rally around, one they felt deeply committed to: George W. Bush. Rove persuaded President Bush to take an enormous political risk by going out on the campaign trail. On Rove's advice, the president ran a relentless political marathon, 15 states in the last five days of the campaign.

Bush's last-minute stops in Minnesota and Georgia probably turned the election around in those crucial states. The president's popularity was the biggest thing Republicans had going for them.

BUSH: I think candidates win elections because they're good candidates. Not because they may happen to have the president as a friend.

SCHNEIDER: Generous but wrong. Having Bush standing by them paid off big time for GOP candidates this year. It was all part of Rove's battle plan.

ROVE: If we win, it'll be because the president and the quality of our candidates and our campaigns. And if we lose it will be because of me.

SCHNEIDER: They didn't lose, and it was largely because of Karl Rove. And it was the "Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: Karl Rove often says he admires the William McKinley campaign of 1896. Now McKinley campaigned from his front porch in Canton, Ohio, where he received some 3/4 of a million visitors. I bet President Bush would have liked that a lot better.

WOODRUFF: The president will be mad you gave this to Karl Rove and not to the president? SCHNEIDER: Well, the president says the candidates deserve it, but I know better.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: That's it for INSIDE POLITICS at end of a momentous election week. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. Here's Wolf Blitzer with a look at what's coming up next -- Wolf.


Bush Welcomes New United Nations Resolution on Iraq>

© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser. does not endorse external sites.