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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Iraq Agrees to U.N. Resolution

Aired November 13, 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 HOST: Thank you for joining us.

President Bush seemed determined today not to get side-tracked by Saddam Hussein's latest diplomatic moves. After meeting with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Mr. Bush declined to comment publicly on Iraq's acceptance of the U.N. resolution on disarmament.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United Nations Security Council made a very strong statement that we, the world, expects Saddam Hussein to disarm for the sake of peace. The U.N. stepped up to its responsibilities, and I want to thank you for that, Mr. Secretary-General. I appreciate your leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, I think at best, the White House was cautiously optimistic after this news today.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, you might even say openly skeptical. Here at the White House they say the test is not whether Iraq accepts the resolution. The test is what happens when the inspectors get in on the ground -- the weapons inspectors get in on the ground in Iraq and what Iraq says when it files a report, as is required, 25 days from now to the United Nations.

Iraq is required to lift any and all weapons of mass destruction. Stockpiles, development programs and the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations said today that Iraq has nothing to fear from inspectors because it has no weapons of mass destruction. The White House position is that is a flat out lie and if that is the position Iraq takes 25 days from now, what appears to be a diplomatic break through today could ultimately put us back on the path toward military confrontation.

WOODRUFF: John, the president seems to have made a point this is a war not against Islam, but a war against terror. Why did he make that particular point?

KING: Well, Judy, quite interesting and several senior officials then called us here at the White House to make sure we got the point the president was trying to make. Mr. Bush clearly and publicly taking a decision today to distance himself from controversial remarks made in recent days, weeks and months by several prominent Christian conservative leaders. Among them, the Revs. Pat Robertson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell and the Rev. Franklin Graham all in various ways have described Islam as a violent religion.

Mr. Bush has consistently said that this is a war against terrorism, not against Islam; that he considers Islam to be a religion of peace, but he had never flatly disassociated himself from those remarks. The White House said it had received criticism from overseas that by not flatly distancing yourself from those remarks the president seemed to be somehow implicitly, at least, accepting them. So the president, we are told, wanted to make this statement, made quite a blunt statement. It will be interesting to see how Christian conservative leaders now react.

WOODRUFF: All right, John, thank you very much.

Well with us now from Capitol Hill, the man who will be the chairman of the foreign relations committee in the new Republican- controlled Senate, Richard Lugar of Indiana. Senator, thank you for being with us.

RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: The White House is saying privately that they really don't believe that Saddam Hussein and Iraq will ever completely disarm weapons of mass destruction. So is this letter today, this compliance notice from Iraq, meaningless? I mean, does it have any value at all?

LUGAR: Well, the value comes in Iraq's acceptance of the 15 to 0 vote that showed the world understands the predicament and furthermore is prepared to act upon it. The president's leadership has helped to boost the United Nations once again, but the skepticism is well- founded. The facts are that we will wait for the list that Iraq gives, but Saddam Hussein has to worry that the list that we have, composed from intelligence from all over the world, is not going to be the same list.

And then the question will be, is the evasion successful? Can they hide the chemical and biological dual weapons, materials, take them down the road, get them out of harm's way? And that will be a true test for the U.N. inspectors.

WOODRUFF: The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, in Washington today, acknowledged that there is no agreement yet on what would actually constitute a material breach of this resolution.

At one point he said the United States is seen to have -- and I'm quoting here -- "a lower threshold," something that he warned could be interpreted as a flimsy or a hasty attempt to go to war. Could that be a source of real disagreement here going forward?

LUGAR: Of course, there could be disagreement, but the statement by the Iraqis today that they welcome the inspections -- they have nothing, nothing to hide is indeed incredible. So from the very beginning, there's going to be an assumption that there is something there. The world's intelligence service is doing regular reporting on it. The question will be, then, can Iraq hide the goods? Hide the materials, or are the production facilities, the inventory, whatever they have.

WOODRUFF: Well what about this notion that the United States has one definition of what constitutes a material breach, where as other parties in the U.N. Security Council have a different view?

LUGAR: Well, other parties do have a different view. They are extraordinarily hopeful that the U.N. vote bought some cover for a period of time, will at least extend the arguments. As skeptical as the other countries might be, they genuinely are fearful of war in the area, are hopeful that will not happen. So there are going to be differences continuing in terms of national interests.

WOODRUFF: What would you say, Senator Lugar, is zero hour for Iraq to avoid a war? I mean, there's a December 8 date when they are supposed to fully disclose what weapons of mass destruction they have. Is that it?

LUGAR: Well, unless Iraq can completely bungles it, and my guess is they will not, that list will be there, and then the palling over the evidence will commence. At what point thereafter it appears that Iraq is blocking the inspection, deliberately lying, is involved in evasive actions, hard to predict the number of days, but clearly that December period is going to start at least the countdown.

WOODRUFF: Senator, one of the things -- you talked about the Iraqi claim, they don't have weapons of mass destruction as being incredible, not believable, and still you say this statement today of compliance is worth more than the paper it's written on?

LUGAR: Yes, because, in fact, Saddam Hussein has understood that there is that unanimity in the world. He understands likewise watching your programs that there is an extraordinary military buildup right there in the area, and that President Bush has been very firm in indicating that he is going to be disarmed. That is, Saddam must give up the arms.

Now, he may still hope that somehow or other circumstances will delay this, or maybe even throw some monkey wrenches into it, but that's about all he has going for him.

WOODRUFF: Well, Senator Richard Lugar, we thank you very much for talking with us.

LUGAR: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Good to see you.

We'll have a live report from Baghdad on Iraq's response to the U.N. later on INSIDE POLITICS.

For now, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan warned the Congress today that worries about war with Iraq are weighing down the U.S. economy along with falling stock prices.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN GREENSPAN, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Evidence has accumulated that the economy has hit a soft patch. Households have become more cautious in their purchases, while business spending has yet to show any substantial vigor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Greenspan went on to say that the economy has proven remarkably resilient and he says the Fed's decision to sharply cut interest rates last week should help bolster business prospects.

President Bush says he appreciates Greenspan's wisdom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: He uses the word soft spot. I'd use the word bumping along. Both of us understand that our economy is not nearly as strong as it's going to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush promised to consider what he called new ideas for improving the economy when the new Congress convenes next year.

Find out how the markets reacted to all this in our financial update coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.

Also on Capitol Hill today, Republicans are starting to taste the fruits of their mid-term election sweep. By contrast, some House Democrats are turning against one another on the eve of their leadership vote.

Here now our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl.

Jonathan, presumably, the House Democrats are going to elect Nancy Pelosi to be their leader tomorrow, but there's still some competition?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There sure is. You know what, he's got -- she has competition both from the left and from the right.

On the right, of course, she's facing some discontent among the blue dog Democrats up here on Capitol Hill. The blue dog Democrats, these are the conservative Democrats, some of them support Pelosi. Many of them do not. But there's been a lot of speculation up here about whether or not any would actually leave the party, and today they went to great lengths to say they were not going to leave the party, but they were also, you know, not inclined -- there you see the blue dog Democrats at the press conference there today.

Charlie Stenholm you see off to the left there, said he knows of nobody contemplating switching parties. I spoke to one of the names that is most frequently mentioned -- that being Ralph Hall, a very conservative Democrat from the state of Texas who told me, Never say never. But right now he clearly has to plans to change parties.

The charge from the left is from Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat from Ohio, who threw her hat into the ring today. Saying that she would like to challenge, Nancy Pelosi. Now basically, Marcy Kaptur, argument is that we have a void at the top. Dick Gephardt is gone. That she wants to see the election delayed. And while she doesn't have a lot of support running against Nancy Pelosi, there is some sympathy among Democrats for the argument, that this is an entirely different situation now, that Dick Gephardt is now seen as stepping down. That maybe -- just maybe, this election which scheduled tomorrow should be delayed. Although it's unclear will happen. Most expect eventually and probably tomorrow Nancy Pelosi will be the Democratic leader.

WOODRUFF: Well, Jonathan, meantime over in the Senate, some of the new senator Republicans, senators-elect were showing up today. So if they begun to take over the neighborhood, so to speak?

KARL: They sure have. It's a class of eight. Eight new freshman Republican. I think we have some pictures come the out to address the press, as a group for the first time. There you see Saxby Chambliss at the microphone. It's an pretty interesting group. You have three current members of the house, one former member of the house. You of course, one of the former house impeachment managers, Lindsey Graham is there. There you see Elizabeth Dole, former cabinet secretary, former president's candidate, and also perhaps the person with the most impressive resume, Lamar Alexander, former governor, former cabinet secretary, and former presidential candidate. I asked him what it would be like going from being a governor to now being one of just 100? Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAMAR ALEXANDER, SENATOR-ELECT: I've known grumpy governors who come to the Senate. I don't arrive grumpy. I'm grateful to be here and looking forward to it. I know the difference, you know, I've got 40 appointments as governor, I had 40,000. But I'm not going to be one of those grumpy governors who arrives here grousing about the place. I'm arriving here very privileged to be here at a serious time for our country and looking forward to it.

KARL: And is the plaid permanently gone?

ALEXANDER: I've still got the plaid.

KARL: So we going to see it?

ALEXANDER: Well, you know, Sam Houston arrived in the Senate wearing a panther skin coat, and a coon-skin cap, and sprawled all over the front desk. So I guess there's precedent for wearing a plaid shirt, but I'll be in my suit.

KARL: Now, anything lessons you brought with you from your two runs for president? ALEXANDER: I got a better view the whole country from my runs for the president. And I know that the way westerners look at, say, environmental issues is different than the way easterners do, and the way the Dutch and northwest Iowa look at agriculture policy, is different than the way the cattle farmer do in Tennessee. So that's one lesson.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Now, senator elect Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was asked what -- if this was a mandate. And he said, well, he thinks that this may be a mandate against Tom Daschle, and the Democratic leadership but he is not sure what it's a mandate for, and he very acknowledged voters may have been voting Democrats out more than voting Republicans in. It was an unusually candid admission there. Republicans also are aware of a slim majority. And it's hard to get much done in the United States Senate with a very slim majority.

WOODRUFF: Well, the least Lamar Alexander can do is wear a plaid red tie, right John?

Karl: Yes, we'll see.

WOODRUFF: OK, Thank you John Karl.

Well, the Democrats have made one important one important choice, and that the site for the 2004 convention. Up next, this is color, and an important question about the party planned in Boston.

Also ahead I caught up with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and asked him if his new number two might trigger a backlash against the GOP.

Plus in our "Daily Debate," how much does it matter to the war on terror whether or not Osama Bin Laden is alive?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As Democrats try to regroup after the mid-term elections, they have settled on a place to anoint their next presidential nominee. Boston officially got the 2004 convention nod. Our political correspondent Candy Crowley, considers whether the widely expected choice was a wise one.

CANDY CROWLEY, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: One more nice thing about democracy. Another election is always on the way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The choice for the Democrats in 2004 is the city of Boston, Massachusetts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Boston, Bean town, Massachusetts, home of the Patriots, both of football and the forefather variety, will host the Democratic party national convention in '04.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No city wanted it more than Boston did. I think they understood that at the end.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Massachusetts, where for years, politics synonymous with the Kennedys. Massachusetts, one of the most liberal state in the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Is this any place to have a party if you want to dance with swing voters?

REP. NANCY PELOSI,(ph): I don't think it matters location now, anymore. It's an air game. It's all about television. We're just a backdrop to the candidates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Besides, Democratic polling shows Americans pick New York and Boston, as favorite spots to visit. People don't think taxachusetts. They don't think big dig. They think history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: From the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere's midnight ride to the Battle of Bunker Hill, the story of Boston is the story of America's struggle for freedom. It is the birth place of American patriotism, and an ideal backdrop for an affirmation of the Democratic values.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: And Boston also kicked in $20 million up front. It has enough hotel rooms for conventioneers and a Democratic mayor, which can be handy when dealing with fire marshals, labor unions, sanitation crews, traffic control, hotel operator, et cetera. So that pretty much settles that. Now there is this...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an honor to present him with a gavel that is made from the wood of the USS Constitution, and that Chairman Mcauliffe, will use when he brings the Democratic convention to order.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Which sounds pretty much like a blessing from Massachusetts' favorite son. The timing is good for DNC Chairman Terry Mcauliffe, who subject of mostly anonymous rumbling, about whatever he did or did not do to contribute to the Democrat's mid-term disaster. Mcauliffe supporters, insist nobody has called to asked him to resign. Said one friend who else would do this job?

WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley reporting.

Well as Boston celebrates its selection of the host of the next Democratic national convention, city officials have a lot of planning to do. Among other things, there some are image problems to work on. CNN's Boston Bureau Chief Bill Delaney, takes a closer look at city's reputation and how the convention might be seen as a big coming out party.

BILL DELANEY, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: How badly Boston wanted the to 2004 Democratic convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there welcome to Boston! Would you fancy a cab?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DELANEY: A promo tape featuring a character called "Boston Powers." A famously refined city, at least in its own mind's in a matter of this convention, kind of losing its mind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DELANEY: Easily explained said the Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMAS MENINO, MAYOR OF BOSTON: I think it's pride. Pride in the city.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DELANEY: But the Democrats' big 2004 parties, also supposed to be something of a coming out party, for a noble old city's new image.

There's a new clock ticking here you see. As are now. Finishing the big mess downtown known as the big dig.

(voice-over): Most every American taxpayer's helped pay for and most every visitor to Boston's found reason to hate the $15 billion tunnel being dug to ease downtown Boston's tumultuous traffic.

What about the big dig?

THOMAS MENINO, BOSTON MAYOR: What about the big dig?

DELANEY: Is it going to be done or half baked?

MENINO: I think it will be all buttoned up by 2004. DELANEY: Bostonians' lips unbuttoned about ever really getting the dig done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a snowball's chance in south Florida.

DELANEY: And there's the notoriously clogged airport, too, also being renovated. Time for when the Democrats fly in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody said that one of the planes came in and said that welcome in to Boston. It's a big construction site with its own airport.

DELANEY: So there's a lot at stake for Boston in 2004.

Sure, native son and Democratic titan Ted Kennedy might stride the stage, as favorite son John Kerry's nominated for the presidency, but Bostonians will be waiting to see whether the hart of the part of setting off to the Democratic road to the White House in 2004 is still the road out of town.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: They've got a year and a half to get it all worked out.

Just ahead, the Carlsons, Margaret and Tucker, face-off in our "Taking Issue" debate.

And Florida's first lady speaks out about her daughter's drug problem.

But first let's turn to Rhonda Schaffler at the New York Stock Exchange for a market update. Rhonda, it looked like it was going to be up, but...

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Hard to tell, Judy, throughout the day, really. Hamming and hawing here on Wall Street to a mixed close.

Stock prices enjoyed a boost early on after Iraq said it's ready to accept new weapons inspection, but some remarks from Fed Chairman Greenspan did little to encourage investors. Greenspan traveling to the Hill today, where he outlined current risks to the economy. The Fed chief says the economy has hit a soft patch, but he added that the Fed's recent rate cuts should keep the economy from sliding back into recession.

Greenspan also said the Fed would not hesitate to cut rates again if weakness continues, though he doesn't think any more stimulus will be needed.

As for those closing numbers now: the Dow Jones Industrial adding 12 points. But shares of Sears fell to a 20-year low after an analyst downgraded that stock. The Nasdaq was up about 1 percent.

In corporate news, federal regulators have cleared the way for creation of the nation's biggest cable television company. Comcast acquires AT&T Broadband for more than $29 billion. The new company, AT&T Comcast, will have more than 22 million subscribers.

That is the latest from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including the latest on Iraq's decision to accept the United Nations' new demands.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Whoever put this tape out has put the world on notice yet again that we're at war and that we need to take these messages very seriously, and we will.

We'll take them seriously here at home by working with the appropriate authorities to deal with threats. And we'll take them seriously abroad by continuing our hunt. We'll chase these people down, one at a time. It doesn't matter how long it takes. We'll find them and bring them to justice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the new audiotape that suggests Osama bin Laden is still alive with Margaret Carlson of "Time" magazine and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Margaret, to you first. The White House is saying now it looks like this tape is authentic. The fact that Osama bin Laden may now be likely not only alive but running this terrorist network, does it make it harder for the president or easier?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, it makes it, you know, perhaps, slightly harder, but, you know, Bush said bin Laden's dead or alive, and the alive had a footnote to it which is, on the run. And despite what he says in the tape Bush can still say he routed al Qaeda out of its training camps in Afghanistan, and that thus far, there hasn't been another incident.

If there was another incident, then I think Bush has to -- will pay a price for Osama bin Laden still being alive.

WOODRUFF: Tucker?

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well I think that the White House has pretty skillfully deemphasized Osama bin Laden over the last year and talking more about the war on terrorism generally. We should say it doesn't all hangs on catching Osama bin Laden.

And I also think the president has been pretty consistent from -- really from day one in saying this is going to take an awfully long time. It's going to be difficult. We need to the patient, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And third, I don't think that the administration has used September 11 or al Qaeda, really, as a pretext for invading Iraq. I think it's been pretty a separate argument for that. So I don't really see a political effect of that, though it's pretty upsetting.

WOODRUFF: What about the notion, though, that the White House has been after this man and his network for over a year now, and he may very likely now apparently still be out there?

M. CARLSON: Well, Judy, Bush has widened the war on terrorism to include Iraq and now there's so many enemies that, as Tucker says, it's been diminished somewhat, in part by their rhetoric and in part by the fact that we're in a wider war.

T. CARLSON: Yes I mean, look, it's been 30 years and we still have found D.B. Cooper, you know, much less Judge Crater. I mean, it's hard to find individuals, even when they're 6'5" and Saudi, you know. So I don't think anybody...

M. CARLSON: It bodes badly for Saddam Hussein being found then.

T. CARLSON: Well, it may.

M. CARLSON: He's a tall fellow.

T. CARLSON: With body doubles. Yes.

WOODRUFF: Well let's turn to something domestic, and that is a former CIA, former FBI director, William Webster, has just now stepped down from this newly created position, heading up a new accounting board.

The administration -- now you have Harvey Pitt, the former -- the SEC chairman stepping down. Has the Bush administration, in essence, finessed this whole question of accounting problems? Corporate responsibility problems? Margaret?

M. CARLSON: Well, you have to feel sorry for William Webster getting caught in Harvey Pitt's web. He was an elder statesman with a sterling reputation.

What this shows is that most of the time these former public officials can go out and sell to the highest bidder. But if you want to come back in, your sterling reputation could have been tarnished by who you sold it to. And that's what happened with William Webster.

Harvey Pitt resigned at the right moment it seems. It was in agate type on the morning of the elections. And so now it looks like, Hey, clean slate. They're going to put another person in there and start over reforming the accounting system in this country.

They certainly didn't pay a price during the election and now they've got time to fix it up.

T. CARLSON: I mean, I love the idea. The core of this is the idea put out there by Democrats, that personnel changes at the SEC or on some review board are really going to have any effect at all on the economy, or are going to somehow fix the economy. That is ludicrous. It is abstract, it is what they ran on last week, it is one of the reasons they lost, and the shame is that Judge Webster, who hasn't -- as far as I can tell, done anything wrong, other than accept the job in the first place at the age of 78, gets hurt in this.

M. CARLSON: Tucker, it may not fix the economy, but it may fix the larceny.

T. CARLSON: Well, look, nobody's defending larceny, least of all me, but the idea that the core of all Americans' economic problems is Harvey Pitt -- that's not much of a message. Kind of sad, really.

WOODRUFF: All right. Now that we're at sadness, we're going to call it quits.

Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, great to see you both. Thanks.

M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

T. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, eight days after the mid-terms, another election finale tops our campaign news daily. In South Dakota, Republican John Thune announced today that he will not ask for a recount. His challenge to the incumbent Democrat Tim Johnson.

Thune says he believes there were irregularities in last Tuesday's vote, but he says a recount would be divisive, and would not change the outcome. The official vote count shows Johnson won by 524 votes.

The Minnesota Republican Party claims that it made greater gains in last week's votes than any other state party in the nation. In addition to the high profile Senate win by Norm Coleman, Minnesota Republicans picked up the offices of governor and state auditor, gained one seat each in the House and Senate, and 15 seats in the state legislature.

And Senator John Edwards seems to be laying more groundwork for a 2004 presidential bid by planning a foreign policy field trip to Europe. The North Carolina Democrat is scheduled to visit Brussels and London early next month. He will hold talks with NATO officials and other allies about Iraq.

Florida's first lady, Columba Bush is speaking out for the first time about her daughter Noelle's drug problem. Mrs. Bush said Noelle's addiction has convinced her to devote her life to fighting drug abuse. Noelle is undergoing treatment at a drug rehab center in Orlando, not far from where her mother spoke to high school students and reporters yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLUMBA BUSH, WIFE OF GOV. JEB BUSH: She's doing fine. I have seen her a couple of times, and it's the most simple thing that a mother has to do, but I'm with her, and I always stand by her, and I will do anything I can do to help her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Noelle Bush was arrested in January on charges of trying to use a fake prescription to buy an anti-anxiety drug.

Just ahead, we will go live to Baghdad for the latest on Iraq's acceptance of the new U.N. resolution on disarmament.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Topping our news alert, Iraq's acceptance of the U.N.'s demand that it disarm and allow complete access to weapons inspectors. But despite its decision, there is still a tone of defiance coming from Baghdad.

CNN's Rym Brahimi is with us now from the Iraqi capital -- hello, Rym.

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy. Indeed, the announcement was made here in Baghdad only a couple hours after the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations delivered his foreign minister's letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. It's a nine- page letter that was read on Iraqi TV after they showed pictures of President Saddam Hussein meeting with his Revolution Command Council, which is the country's highest authority, and meeting also with the highest ranking members of the Ba'ath Party.

Now, the nine-page letter contained very, very strong language, saying that the United States was slandering Iraq, saying that the U.S. had pressured all the other permanent members of the Security Council into voting for this resolution, although it knew perfectly well that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, but solely for the purpose of being able to have U.N. legitimacy to what Iraqi officials consider is inevitable U.S.-led action at one point or another against them.

Now, in the streets of Baghdad, this news was met not with the cries of joy one may have imagined, considering that it would avert the threat of a U.S.-led war, but with a lot of resignation. The overwhelming feeling being, here in Baghdad, Judy, that no matter what happens, this may delay things for a bit, but this is by no means the end of their problems -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Rym Brahimi reporting from Baghdad. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

A compromise homeland security measure is moving through the House and Senate, and congressional leaders today expect to have the measure on President Bush's desk next week.

Here now, our senior White House Correspondent John King with more on the latest developments.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING: A familiar picture: congressional leaders leaving a breakfast with the president -- but, listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Homeland legislation will be on the House floor today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This new department will ensure coordination among all of the agencies under its charge.

KING: Long-stalled legislation creating a new Department of Homeland Security is suddenly on a fast track in Congress, and should be on the president's desk soon.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D), MAJORITY LEADER: I have every expectation we can finish within the week -- within a week, not this week.

KING: It is the first example of the president's increased clout following the midterm elections. Labor unions complain the compromise still gives the president too much power over work rules.

Most Democrats were in no mood to continue the fight after Republican election gains. The new department affects 22 federal agencies, and more than 170,000 federal workers, and the puts the Coast Guard, the Border Patrol. and the Immigration and Naturalization Service under the same roof.

CNN is told White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Ridge is the leading candidate to head the new department. Navy Secretary Gordon England is also said to be among those interested, but several senior administration officials say the job is Ridge's if he wants it.

Senate backers of the new department also want to create an independent commission to investigate intelligence failures prior to the September 11 attacks.

The new compromise does not include such a commission. Negotiations continue with the White House insisting on a strict deadline for any commission to finish its work by the end of next year.

(on camera): One top official involved in the talks says the White House wants to make sure that any commission's work does not spill over into the 2004 election season -- quote -- "so that there's no chance of an October surprise that could damage the president's re- election hopes."

John King, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Earlier today at the White House, I had the opportunity to talk with House Speaker Dennis Hastert about his party's success in the midterm elections, and a number of other issues.

My first question was whether that success is going to translate into the GOP getting what it wants in terms of pushing its agenda through Congress. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: I think we can set our agenda and move forward on it, and we can in the House. And, of course, the Senate, sometimes a little tougher because of their rules, but we have to work together, and the more that we can work together on a bipartisan basis, I think the more we can get done.

The ability to get things done is the art of compromise. And sometimes there's differences within the Republican party, just as like there are differences on a partisan basis. So, you know, we constantly try to work together and make sure we can resolve those differences both on a partisan basis and internally as well.

WOODRUFF: Department of homeland security. It looks like you're going to move on that, get -- you've worked out a compromise here, and yet the head of the federal -- the union that represents most federal workers is saying, This really isn't going to create much more security for the country. What it does do it strips away the rights for the federal worker. Is this the way to get this new department off, with this kind of feeling?

HASTERT: There's a common sense. When you bring together six or seven agencies, which is homeland defense bill does -- and I a very good example is on the southern, southwestern border. You have the INS and the Customs. The INS can look at people's passports and check them out. Customs looks at cars and checks what the contraband may or may not be.

You want to smuggle drugs, you go to the INS, because the union contract in INS says you can't lift the trunk. You got to have common work rules. There needs to be a coming together and the president has to have flexibility. We want to preserve workers rights, but we also want common sense.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying the union head is just wrong?

HASTERT: I think it's wrong.

WOODRUFF: A couple questions about the new leadership in the House. In your own party, Tom Delay is going to be the, evidently, going to be the new majority leader. He's known to have pretty strongly conservative views. You're not as more of a pragmatist. Do you have any concern that because he is as conservative as he is, the party could be pulled far enough to the right that you could even create the kind of backlash had you after the Gingrich resolution of '94. ?

HASTERT: Well, you know, I've worked with Tom Delay ever since 1994. I was his chief deputy whip. I ran his campaign for whip back then. So we've had a long relationship. And we do get along. If we have a very good ability to sit down and talk and if we have a problem, we can solve those problems between us.

I think that's important. I think Tom understands, I understand that we need to get the right things done to keep this country secure, to get our economy going again and to work with this president. And I think basically that's what we're going to be doing.

WOODRUFF: One final question about Nancy Pelosi. She's going to be, evidently, the leader of the Democrats in the House. The vote hasn't been taken yet. You know, she's been labeled by some in your party as a San Francisco liberal. Is she somebody you can work with, A, and, B, Do you agree with the label?

HASTERT: I think Nancy will call herself a San Francisco liberal. So I don't think that's a problem.

But, yes, I've been able to work with Nancy. She's been on appropriations for a long time. She's done intelligence. We've had a lot of issues where we've worked through and I look forward to working with her.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: House Speaker -- Speaker Dennis Hastert talking to me earlier today.

Coming up next:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have to present yourself as smart, but not too smart. You have to present yourself as actually feminine, but not girlie. You want to be tough, but you don't want to be too tough.

WOODRUFF: We'll look at the challenges for women trying to become winners in politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Election 2002 was a record breaker for women. Four won governors' posts, bringing the total number of women in the top state job to six, once Tuesday's winners are inaugurated.

Well those successes came despite hurdles for women candidates. The topic of a forum here in Washington today. Our national correspondent Bruce Morton listened in.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-ELECT: I am honored and humbled to stand before you as the next governor of the state of Michigan.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A White House project has been doing research on women running for executive office, focus groups and so on. It's not a level playing field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's harder for women to raise money.

CELINDA LAKE, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Women running for executive office don't get the benefit of the doubt. They have to prove that they are tough enough, that they are effective enough.

MORTON: First you have to get by the other stuff. Jill Alper worked in Jennifer Granholm's successful Michigan campaign.

JILL ALPER, DEWEY SQUARE GROUP: We had to get over the hair- style questions, and the family, How are you going to take care of your kids questions and if you win, what will we call your husband? And Governor-elect Granholm used to say, first hunk.

MORTON: The forum had a picture of two triangle's. A lot of attention to the man's message, a lot to the woman's appearance. How to fight that? Have a record and use it.

LAKE: As a transition from one office to another, they need to firmly re-establish in the voters' minds that they have a proven record with very specific goals and achievements.

MORTON: Research suggests how to do that.

LAKE: Forceful presentations were very important and the kind of language that women used. Active verbs were very important.

ALPER: Concrete examples should be used when discussing their proven record.

MORTON: Where and how do you it matters.

DAWN LAGUENS, MEDIA STRATEGIST: Oh, we should all be sitting around the kitchen table talking about how the tax cuts are going matter. No. Sit in your office. Wear a suit. Look at the camera and say, I'm going to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a mayor, I cut ways to find the dollars to improve test scores in our schools.

MORTON: This ad shows the right way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we met with Kevin's teacher, she told us it's her largest class ever.

MORTON: This ad shows the wrong way.

Oh, and be tough.

LAGUENS: Not once did we see any evidence that a woman, in a 30- second television ad, could come across too tough.

MORTON: Your hardest sale may be women, not men.

JAMES FARWELL, GOP MEDIA CONSULTANT: Older women were very tough on women who ran for office, that women under the age of 50 were incredibly enthusiastic.

MORTON: The consensus: women candidates have special challenges but there are ways to overcome them and win. Many did last week.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And when we come back, our Bill Schneider will tell us what's really important when it comes to selecting a city to host a national political convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: This information just in to CNN. We are told that by voice vote, Republicans in the House of Representatives have reelected Dennis Hastert to be speaker of the house. They have elected Tom DeLay of Texas to be the majority leader, as expected. They have elected Roy Blunt of Missouri to be the majority whip, and right now we're told they are considering the conference chair position and that we're told is between representative Deborah Pryce and J.D. Hayworth.

Finally we're told that Tom DeLay, Mr. DeLay whose nickname is "The Hammer," presented Roy Blunt with a velvet covered hammer, a velvet wrapped hammer and told Mr. Blunt that he had a softer touch than he did, Mr. DeLay. And we're told blunt replied, Well, a velvet hammer hurts just as much. A lot to keep an eye on. We'll report on those results when we get them.

Well the Democrats have had they're say. They are headed to Boston in 2004. But what if the political journalist and analyst had gotten to vote? Our well-traveled senior political analyst Bill Schneider is with us from Los Angeles. All right, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well you know, Judy, I have covered my share of political conventions. Fourteen in fact. So I speak with some authority.

And speaking for the press, I implore you, gentle members of the Site Selection Committee, take into account what we want when you decide on a convention city.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): No. 1, good weather. Not always easy in July and August. Best weather for a Republican convention? No contest. San Diego, 1996. A humidity-free zone. But you Republicans had a terrible habit of making us go to Steam Belt cities like Dallas in 1984, New Orleans in 1988, and Houston in 1992. Now we hear you're considering Tampa in 2004. Spare us.

No. 2, good food. Republicans win the prize for New Orleans in 1988. What a ticket. Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo. But Detroit in 1980? Whoever went to Detroit for the food?

But what the press really wants from a political convention is a story. Like the Democrats in Chicago, 1968, what a story. New York 1992 gave good story when Ross Perot pulled out of the race. In Chicago, 1996, all we got was Dick Morris and the tale of the toes.

The best Republican story had to be New Orleans, 1988. Two words: Dan Quayle.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: Oh and there's something else: schedule. The press likes conventions on West Coast time. Then everything has to end by 8 p.m. when the East Coast audience goes to bed. Then we can go out and party. You know, we want drama and we want excitement, but failing that, we'll settle for a good party -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bill, you're not suggesting that we put our own livelihood, our own desire to party and have a good meal ahead of the story, are you?

SCHNEIDER: Perish the thought. I said we want a good story, but failing that, we'll take a good party.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider, thanks a lot INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Right after we reported a moment ago about Republicans electing their leadership in the House, we got some calls Democrats saying they'd had election, too. So we want to let you know, Tom Daschle was reelected as the Senate minority leader today. You see him arm in arm today with Dick Gephardt at the White House, leaving a meeting with the president. This was Dick Gephardt's last trip to the White House, we are told, as the Democratic leader in the House of Representatives.

As we say good-bye, we also have some very good news to share with you. Our congressional correspondent, Kate Snow after reporting at the Capitol yesterday morning, made her way to a hospital here in Washington and last night at 9:17 p.m. she gave birth to 6 pound 3 ounce Zachary Christopher Brow (ph). Both mother Kate and Baby are doing very well. The dad, Chris, has called us. He's had enough of a presence of mind to tell us the news. This morning he called and said Kate and the baby are doing great. So, Kate, congratulations. We can't wait to see you again, and can't wait to meet little Zach.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. Here now Wolf Blitzer with a look at what's coming up at what's coming up next.

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