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Looking Back at the 107th Congress

Aired November 20, 2002 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: In Europe, where many are wary of war, President Bush urges NATO allies to stand together to disarm Saddam Hussein.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Voluntary or by force that goal will be achieved.

ANNOUNCER: Americans love their SUVs. But are they fueling a new religious war?

NARRATOR: If we love our neighbor and we cherish God's creation, maybe we should ask, what would Jesus drive?

ANNOUNCER: Members of 107th Congress pack it in. What did they accomplish under the dome during two often terrifying years?

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

I am on Capitol Hill, as you can see, as the curtain goes down on the 107th Congress.

One of our headline stories in this news cycle. It is an emotional time for many lawmakers. Some are saying so long for good, from retiring veterans Strom Thurmond to defeated newcomer Jean Carnahan. My interview with her is coming up.

Also this hour, President Bush is wrapping up a dinner with fellow NATO leaders in Prague. He's been sounding them out about their willingness to contribute to a possible war with Iraq.

More U.N. inspectors have landed in Baghdad to scour for weapons of mass destruction. Their boss, Hans Blix, says Iraqi officials have pledged full cooperation.

President Bush is using this NATO summit to press his warning to Saddam Hussein to disarm or face the consequences.


BUSH: Should he again deny that this arsenal exists, you will have entered his final stage with a lie, and deception this time will not be tolerated.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: Our senior White House correspondent John King is with the president in Prague. John, what sort of response is the president getting to what he's been saying to these NATO allies about going to war with Iraq?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far so good, Judy. In part because the president is saying he still considers war a last resort, and he would like to resolve this peacefully. Essential part of the Bush argument here is, the more potential enemies Saddam Hussein sees, the more likely he is to cooperate with the weapons inspectors.

So Mr. Bush wants a strong statement out of the NATO allies. We are told it will be issued tomorrow. That statement will call on Saddam to keep his commitment -- his new commitment to the United Nations and to support those weapons inspections, but Mr. Bush is also realistic.

He does not think he can get nor does the Pentagon want a full formal role for the soon to be 27 -- 26-member NATO alliance in any war with Iraq. Mr. Bush is cherry picking, if you will. He needs the bases in Turkey. He would like help with chemical and biological weapons defenses from the Czech Republican. Britain obviously is on board in the coalition.

So Mr. Bush wants broad political support from the NATO allies and then he wants nuts and bolts from about a half dozen of the countries represented here. U.S. officials say, So far, so good in those negotiations -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, we've been hearing reports about heavy security in Prague around these NATO meetings. Just what is the security like?

KING: It is remarkable. We are in the Czech Republic, but it is the United States Air Force providing the air cover, not only over Prague but over the entire country. That because the Czech government said it did not believe it had the resources to protect the skies.

Much like in the United States where we have been through in recent weeks -- this new audiotape -- the voice believed to be Osama bin Laden. More chatter, as the intelligence folks call it, about possible attacks. A very similar situation across Europe. They say here no specific or credible threats that any of the more than 30 heads of government here would be attacked, that there would be any terrorist strikes, but they are certainly fearful. There is extraordinary security, thousands of troops supporting tens of thousands of police and a very high military presence, again, including U.S. fighter jets in the skies here.

WOODRUFF: All right. John king traveling with the president tonight in Prague. Thanks, John.

WOODRUFF: Back here in the United States, Al Gore continues to question President Bush's Iraq policy. He told CNN's LARRY KING that Osama bin Laden should be the country's top target before Saddam Hussein. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Saddam Hussein is a bad guy and needs to be removed from power. But he's not the one that attacked us. And he's not the one that is publicly threatening to destroy us. Al Qaeda is. Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are not one and the same. The president said they're virtually the same. Well, they're not.


WOODRUFF: Al Gore last night on "LARRY KING." And a reminder, I'll be zeroing in on Gore's political future in my upcoming interview with him here on INSIDE POLITICS.

Meantime here on Capitol Hill, the ink is barely dry on the homeland security bill passed by the Senate last night. Now many lawmakers are getting out of town and looking back at what they and did not accomplish in the 107th Congress.

Our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl is here. And Jon, you were here late last night. It was an extraordinary night in the Senate, we know. But something else interesting happened. Tell us about it.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, of course, the homeland security bill was passed, but also, a very interesting moment when Strom Thurmond, of course, the 99-year-old senator from South Carolina. He gave his last speech of his Senate career. There you see him giving it. It was on behalf of Dennis Shedd. And after his speech, he got a round of applause from the entire assembled Senate.

By the way, a very unusual thing. Congress -- senators usually do not applaud when they are at their desks. They are actually not technically allowed to applaud. There you saw a nice wave from Strom Thurmond.

Dennis Shedd, of course, is the judge that was nominated to the fourth circuit court. He won nomination shortly after that speech.

And by the way, Mary Landrieu, the senator from Louisiana who is still facing a runoff election, voted against the Shedd nomination, and Republicans are hoping to use that against her in her runoff election on December 7.

WOODRUFF: (OFF-MIKE)...I understand Tom Daschle had some memorable comments on the Senate floor... (OFF-MIKE)

KARL: Yes. Fascinating. Daschle really took to task talk radio show host, conservative talk radio, blamed them for their shrill tone, a tone he acknowledged as being entertaining and making it harder for Democrats to get their message out.

But he also said that talk radio show hosts and the attacks that they have made on him and on other Democrats have increased personal attacks and threats of physical violence against him and against his family. This is what he had to say.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: What happens when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life is that people aren't satisfied just to listen. They want to act, because they get emotionally invested. And so, you know, the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically and on our families and on us. In a way that's very disconcerting.


KARL: And Senator Daschle said that the threats against him and his family increased after Republicans labeled him an obstructionist and had the whole Republican campaign, Tom Daschle: obstructionist.

Now there is a response from Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh actually went on his show this afternoon and talked about this. He said, in part, every time Democrat lose either elections or a major issue, they blame me, they blame talk radio and they blame you, Rush Limbaugh, told his listeners. So obviously, Rush Limbaugh dispensing that criticism from the majority leader.

WOODRUFF: All that's interesting. Jon, all right, in the end what did the 107th Congress accomplish?

KARL: Well, I went back and looked at all the major issues going back over the two years of the 107th Congress. And you've got some accomplishments, and a lot was left undone. Here's a look.


KARL (voice-over): Amid all the charges and countercharges of gridlock and obstruction, the 107th Congress actually succeeded in turning several major bills into law.

Early on, Congress passed the president's top two domestic priorities: the education bill and his $1.3 trillion tax cut.

Also passed after years of deadlock, campaign finance reform. The priority of the president's GOP rival John McCain. A major corporate accountability bill passed in the wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals. Trade promotion authority, another issue that had been stalled for years, was passed and so was election reform.

And in the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Congress passed a flurry of measures to rebuild New York, bail out the airlines and fight terrorism.

But the list of failures includes some of the biggest items in both the Democratic and Republican play books.

Despite promises from nearly every member of Congress, a prescription drug benefit for Medicare never happened. Neither did a patient's bill of rights.

Pension reform, which seem like a sure thing after the Enron scandal, failed.

The energy bill died, despite an energy crisis at home and instability in the Middle East.

And finally, Congress failed to produce a budget, its most basic function.

Surprisingly, a lame duck session produced two of the most significant bills of the 107th Congress: the homeland security bill and the terrorism insurance bill.


KARL: Now, Judy, if you look at it strictly in terms of numbers, the 107th Congress had 633 roll call votes. That is the fewest number of roll call votes of all the Congresses going back to the 1960s, except for two. Except for one the Democratic Congresses under George Mitchell as the Senate leader and President Bush, the first President Bush in the White House. And one of the Republican Congresses, under Trent Lott and Bill Clinton in the White House, Bill Clinton's second term.

So just in terms of sheer numbers, not as many roll call votes, as many major issues that were actually decided one way or the other.

WOODRUFF: The political scientists will chew over.

KARL: In years to come, yes.

WOODRUFF: Jon, thanks very much.

Checking the headlines in our campaign news daily, former presidential candidate Mike Dukakis, say he has advice that he can give fellow Massachusetts Democrats, and potential White House hopeful to John Kerry. Dukakis says well aware of his 1988 loss to George Bush, and ridiculed campaigns ride in a tank.

But the former (UNINTELLIGIBLE) governor tells "The Boston Globe", that while he lost the election, the one thing he did do well, was win the Democratic party nomination.

Retiring House Majority Leader Dick Armey say he may do some consulting work with an unlikely business partner, the ACLU. Armey says the work would cover privacy issues. As a well-known conservative, Armey also noted the irony of his potential partner saying quote, "The Dick Armey of 1984 would not have considered coming within an inch of his life working for the ACLU."

Recently defeated Democratic Senate candidate Erskine Bowles has been reportedly approached by the Bush administration about taking over as head of the Securities and Exchanges Commission. The "Wall Street Journal" reports that Bowles was approached about leading the SEC. The newspaper, however, says that Bowles looked unlikely to take the job. Told the newspaper quote, "I'm not on the list."

Well, the first Democrat to proclaim his plan to run for president in 2004 has taken another step forward. Sources tell CNN that outgoing Vermont Governor Howard Dean has hired a Denver political consultant to run his campaign. Rick Ridder (ph) worked on several presidential campaigns, including as senior consultant for the Clinton/Gore campaign in '92.

Questions the former NATO Commander Wesley Clark, Does he want a promotion to commander-in-chief? I'll ask him, when we come back.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr here at the pentagon, a controversial program you may not know about being run by an old familiar face from Iran Contra days. I'll tell you about it next.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, what would Jesus want to drive? The reverend Jerry Falwell faces off with the head of a group putting a religious spin on environmentalism.

And later.

Defining moments of a wartime Congress. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: In a vicious Pentagon research project is attracting critics who say the military is working an computer system, that could one day be used to spy on Americans. With me now for more on this Pentagon project is our correspondent there Barbara Starr.

Hi, Barbara.

STARR: Hi, Judy.

The Pentagon earlier today tried to defend this increasingly controversial project being run by retired Admiral John Poindexter. A research project to see if it is possible to surf through large computer databases, and look for active they may indicate possible terrorism activity. This is a $10 million research program that is being run at the research arm of the Pentagon.

What they're trying to do is develop the ability to look through computer databases to look at very ordinary transactions, like passports, visas, credit cards, bank records, gun purchases, purchases of hazardous materials and see if they can discern patterns of activity.

The Pentagon insists that this program which is known as Total Information Awareness, or T.A.I, will be strictly within the law, and if it ever actually goes in to operation, it won't even be run by the military. Today a senior pentagon official defended the program.


EDWARD PETE ALDRIDGE, DEFENSE UNDERSECRETARY: It is absurd to think that Darp (ph) this is trying to become another police agency. The purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of this technology. If it proves useful, T.A.I would then be turned over to the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement communities as a tool to help them in their battle against domestic terrorism.


STARR: And still, the most controversial element of this entire program, of course, is the man running it. Retired Navy Admiral John Poindexter. As many people will remember he was indicted and convicted for lying to Congress in the Iran Contra scandal, although that conviction was later overturned. The Pentagon said today that John Poindexter brought this program to the military, and that had a passion for it.


ALDRIDGE: John Poindexter what he's doing is developing a tool. He's not exercising the tool. He will not exercise the tool. That tool will be exercised by the intelligence, counterintelligence and law enforcement agencies.


STARR: So the Pentagon says that John Poindexter will not be directly involved in this computer surveillance program. But the question that remains today is, why the Pentagon is even getting involved in this type of activity, which is aimed at looking at very routine computer transactions, even things like credit card purchases -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Barbara, are they saying they're going to continue this?

STARR: That is the question on the table at this hour. There are indications that those -- controversy is growing. That it is being looked at as to whether this program is something really appropriate for the U.S. Military to be doing, even though they say it's just a research effort.

WODDRUFF: All right, Barbara, thanks very much.

Now that national security issues are again dominating American politics, would are retired general have the right stuff to win the Democratic presidential nomination? "Time" magazine is reports that former NATO Supreme Commander Wesley Clark met in New York few days ago with prominent Democratic donors. I spoke with Clark today, a CNN military analyst, and I asked if he's seriously considering a run for the White House in 2004.


GEN. WESLEY CLARK (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, actually, that's a little bit of an overstatement. I am meeting with people around the country. I have been travelling around the country, I've been talking about the international affairs. I've been talking about the role of America, what kind of American leadership we need in a new century.

WOODRUFF: That is typically the kind of thing people do when they're thinking about whether or not to make a major run for political office.

CLARK: I'm not a candidate for office. I haven't even had a party affiliation. I don't have one now. And I haven't asked for any political money. But after 34 years in uniform, and wearing U.S. on both collars, it's really hard not to think about public service, not to think about your country.

WOODRUFF: When you said it's a little bit of an overstatement are you saying that there's something going on in Wesley Clark's head that at least is thinking about whether or not to make a run for president?

CLARK: Well, I'm looking at all of the issues and the problems confronting our society. I'm looking at my own situation. But I don't have any plans. I don't have any intent, and, you know, it's just a long way from anything like that. But I do think...

Reporter: that's not a denial?


CLARK: I think this country is in a very difficult set of circumstances right now. If you look at where we are, we've got Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda still throughout. We've got troops on the ground in Afghanistan. We now recognize that despite all the rhetoric of the election, U.S. force do have to be involved in nation-building and peace-keeping, because that's essential to international security and maybe there's bipartisan recognition of that now. And meanwhile, another conflict facing us in Afghanistan, the economy's in difficulty. People are losing their jobs. Good people are losing their jobs. We have other problems that we're wrestling with in this country. So I think it's a time of significant challenge.

WOODRUFF: Last thing. Timetable. Everybody we talked to giving us thoughts says you've got to announce either by the first of 2003 or shortly thereafter to raise the kind of money to make anyone a serious candidate. Are you aware of those time constraints?

CLARK: I'm not paying any attention a timetable. What I'm doing is talking about issues, and I'm talking a the need for American leadership and the type of American leadership that we need. I really appreciate the opportunity I've had to make an impact, and to have people who will listen to me. You have no idea what it feels like when you come out of uniform and you don't have those four star on your shoulder, and you can go into a group and interested in your opinion. It's a wonderful thing, and I'm really happy to be able to do that.

General Wesley Clark. Thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: We talked to General Clark a little earlier today.

Well, what you drive says something about you. But does your choice of a vehicle also make a religious statement? Just ahead, a new ad campaign tries to add moral dimensions to the debate over SUVs.

But first, let's turn to Rhonda Schaffler. She's at Wall Street for a look at your stocks.

Hello, Rhonda.


Investors loved stocks today. We saw the markets raced higher, even in economic report that talked some cold water. Of what we know has been a red hot housing market, did not damper any enthusiasm. Housing construction plunged more than 11 percent last month, biggest drop since 1994. But even with the slowdown, analysts say the housing market remains in good shape. And investors brushed aside that report instead focusing on a growing sense that the economic recovery is gathering speed, at least in some industries.

Let's show you the latest numbers. Dow Jones Industrial average surging 148 points or 1 and 3 quarters percent, financials led the gains there. Gains in tech heavy weights, Microsoft and Intel driving the NASDAQ higher, it rallied 3 and a quarter percent.

And Hewlett-Packard a short time ago posted earnings after the closing bell. The printer and PC giant's profit before special items tripled. That did beat Wall Street expectations. However, the company says it plans to eliminate nearly 18,000 jobs by the end of next year. That is the latest from Wall Street.

More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including a look back at the defining moments of the 107th Congress.


WOODRUFF: Question, does driving an SUV make you a sinner? The religious controversy over fuel efficiency coming up in a moment.

But first, this news alert.


WOODRUFF: A pledge for full cooperation. That's what the chief U.N. weapons inspector says Iraqi officials have given him. Hans Blix returned to the operations base in Cypress today. Inspectors are set to begin the hunt for weapons one week from today.

It is a coastline coated with a thick oily mess. That's the scene today in Spain. One day after a tanker split in two triggering a massive diesel fuel spill. Rough weather is hindering cleanup efforts.

In Detroit, listen up. Washington reportedly considering requiring SUVs to be more fuel efficient. According to the "Wall Street Journal, " the Bush administration wants to boost rates by 1.5 miles per gallon by 2007.


WOODRUFF: The political debate over sport utility vehicles takes on a more religious dimension in a new ad campaign. It's paid for by a group called the Evangelical Environmental Network.


NARRATOR: God saw that it was good, and Jesus says, love thy neighbor as thyself. Yet too many of the cars, trucks and SUVs that are made that we choose to drive are polluting our air, increasing global warming, changing the weather, and endangering our health. Especially the health of our children. So if we love our neighbor, and we cherish god's creation, maybe we should ask, what would Jesus drive?


WOODRUFF: The group running that ad even had a web site called "What Would Jesus Drive" dot org. But attempts to draw a connection between religious faith, and SUVs is rubbing some people the wrong way.

With me now from Detroit to talk more about this, Ron Sider. President of the Evangelical for Social Action, the group behind the Evangelical Environmental Network, and in Lynchburg, Virginia, the reverend Jerry Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University.

To you first, Ron Sider. What do you say those who say -- try to link Jesus or any other religious figure to fuel efficiency or what kind of vehicle people drive is just inappropriate?

RON SIDER, PRES. EVANGELICALS FOR SOCIAL ACTION: We are not saying that if you are serious about Jesus you will automatically drive a certain kind of car. What we are saying is that we live in a world, where our best scientists tell us, that the carbon dioxide we're spewing out of our cars and other places is changing global climate in dangerous ways. They say the temperature will probably go up 2 to 10 degrees in the next 100 years but the seas will rise a foot or more, this will produce catastrophic changes that will especially hurt the poor.

And 25 percent of all the emissions that are causing that are coming from the United States, and 25 percent of those are coming form our cars. So we're saying, Jesus Christ is our lord as Christians. He cares about the whole creation, because he is the creator. And, therefore, if we believe in him, and believe that he's lord of all of our lives, that will apply, among other things to the kind of cars we drive. We need as Christians, therefore, to reduce the kind of gas consumption we have.

WOODRUFF: Reverend Falwell, given the circumstances that Mr. Sider describes, why isn't it appropriate to bring this issue up?

REV. JERRY FALWELL, CHANCELLOR, LIBERTY UNIV.: Well I haven't said was appropriate or inappropriate.

But, first of all, when our lord was here, he walked, as did just about everyone else. And on the triumphant entry, he rode a donkey, which was the best transportation available. I drive a GMC Suburban. And I have since the early '70s. My wife drives one. I like it because I have three children and eight grandchildren. I'm also chancellor of a university with 14,000 students.

I have a lot of people piled in with me all the time. I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I'm going to buy a Suburban next time.

SIDER: Our best scientists tell us that, in fact, global warning...

FALWELL: No, our best scientists don't tell us.

SIDER: ... has already begun. And it's an amazing thing for Jerry to sit there and say he doesn't believe in that.


FALWELL: It was global cooling 30 years ago, Ron. And it's global warming now. And neither of us will be here 100 years from now to know what it is.

But I can tell you, our grandchildren will laugh at those who predicted global warming. We'll be in global cooling by then, if the lord hasn't returned. I don't believe a moment of it. The whole thing is created to destroy America's free enterprise system and our economic stability. And I'm so glad that President Bush and 99 of the 100 senators have refused to sign the Kyoto treaty.


WOODRUFF: Mr. Sider?

SIDER: Yes, Judy?

WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, what about Mr. Falwell's point, that this is just an effort to destroy America's economic system?

SIDER: Well, that's not the case at all.

I think that the market economy is the best framework that we know. And we can solve this problem within a market framework. We could increase the amount of taxes that we have on our gasoline and then let the market work that out. I'm in favor of a market economy. But I think, within a market framework, we must face what our best scientists say.

If Jerry wants to simply ignore what is becoming more and more the consensus of the best scientists around the world, then I'm very sorry, but I think that's very foolish. And it's finally un-Biblical, because God put us in charge of this creation. He said that we were supposed to watch over it and care for it. That's what Genesis 2:15 says.

And that means, among other things, that we now act with responsibility on our best scientific knowledge and say we will cut back on our car use of gas-guzzling vehicles.

WOODRUFF: What about that, Reverend Falwell?

FALWELL: Well, the global mythologists who are teaching global warming are part of that blame-America-first group. We create 25 percent -- I'm surprised they didn't say 50 percent of all the problems in the world.

SIDER: It's just the facts, Jerry.

FALWELL: The fact is that there is no global warming. It is a myth. And the day will declare it.

And it is so amazing to me that you're quoting from Genesis about God giving us control over and dominion over the creation. I happen to believe in Biblical creationism. I do not believe in evolution. I don't know where you stand on that. But, if you believe in evolution, I don't know why you believe Genesis 2:15, which comes from the same account that teaches Biblical creationism.

SIDER: I'm a Bible-believing Christian, an evangelical. And I believe what the Bible teaches us. I believe that Jesus Christ...

FALWELL: Do you believe in evolution of any kind?

SIDER: I believe that Jesus Christ is the leader of all that we have.

FALWELL: Do you believe in evolution of any kind?

SIDER: And, therefore, you and I, as responsible persons, are given the task of caring lovingly, watching over. That's exactly what Genesis 2:15 means, watching over this gorgeous creation.

FALWELL: Ron, if you spent as much time winning people to Christ and building soul-winning churches and sending missionaries around the world as you're worrying about God being unable to take care of his creation, we would get a lot more done.

SIDER: Well, I'll tell you, Jerry, I work at that, too. I write about that.

FALWELL: I am an environmentalist in the sense that I love this Earth. But I don't worship it. I don't observe Earth Day. And I don't listen to the animal activists.

SIDER: I don't worship it either. That's simply nonsense to suggest it.

There are lots and lots of evangelical Christians who are Biblical who do not worship the Earth in any sense at all. We're thoroughly orthodox. And precisely for that reason, we say we are going to watch over and care for this creation.

FALWELL: I urge everyone to go out and buy an SUV today.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. Thank you both very much. We appreciate both of you talking with us. Reverend Jerry Falwell and Ron Sider, thank you both, gentlemen. We appreciate it. Good to see you.

Well, if anybody has had an emotional stint in the Senate, it would be Jean Carnahan. Up next, the defeated Democrat talks about her journey from widow to senator and now back home again.


WOODRUFF: What a stunning and heartbreaking two years it has been for Democratic Senator Jean Carnahan. Her husband died in a plane crash. And, still grieving, she took his place on Capitol Hill.

Well, two weeks ago, Missouri voters sent her packing in a very close election. I asked Jean Carnahan today how she's been able to hold up through it all.


WOODRUFF: How you doing?

SEN. JEAN CARNAHAN (D), MISSOURI: I'm doing just fine.

I remember someone said once that life isn't the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. It's the way you cope with it that makes the difference. So, I feel like I've had family and friends and certainly my faith to cling to. And those things have made the difference for me.

WOODRUFF: People wonder, has it been that much harder because it's all been out in the open in the public eye?

CARNAHAN: Certainly, it has.

When I first came to Washington, I realized I wasn't there like the others. I didn't have six years to come up to speed. I had to start right away. People were watching me all the time. Not only that, I had to run on two tracks. I had to start a campaign, a multimillion dollar campaign that I had to start up right away.

So, I felt like I was running on two tracks the whole time I was here. And that was difficult, but I was willing to do it. And I wish it had had a different outcome, but it didn't. And so we go on to the next phase of our lives.

WOODRUFF: Paul Wellstone.


WOODRUFF: Tragic death in a plane crash. At first it was thought, if anything, that this would produce a wave of sympathy, that, if anything, would help you.

Then along came this memorial service that turned into a partisan event. And there are many who looked at this situation. They've said, not only did it help hurt the Democrats in Minnesota, but it hurt Democrats across the country, and specifically you. What do you think about that?

CARNAHAN: I don't think it translated that far. I think there in Minnesota, people saw it as going perhaps too far. I was there at the service, so I saw what was occurring at the time.

But I don't think it translated into our state. The president came into our state quite a bit. So I felt like I was running against the president. And, of course, as you know, that's very difficult to do.

WOODRUFF: What about Jean Carnahan going forward, a political future somehow, some way?

CARNAHAN: Well, you know, we never say never in politics. You never know what's going to be down the road.

My husband was out of politics for 14 years after he lost one time. I always thought that was a good thing because it gave him the chance to do some normal things in the community and not to be a professional politician. So, I think things may come open in the years on the way. But, right now, I want to go home and settle down in my new apartment and start looking for some work.

WOODRUFF: So maybe something in public service?


CARNAHAN: Well, definitely. Public service is such a big part of our family life. It has been for my children and as well as for all of us, and for three generations, actually, have served in public office. So I'm sure it will be something that has to do with public service in some form.


WOODRUFF: We'll bring you more of my interview with Jean Carnahan on our Thanksgiving edition of INSIDE POLITICS, including whether she has any regrets about having served in the Senate.

Well, it appears that women rule in Washington state. In a close race that ended just today, Mary Fairhurst became the fifth woman on that state's high court, tipping the gender scale at five women and four men. Washington is now the only state in the nation to have a Supreme Court dominated by women.

Still ahead: remembering one of the most influential leaders ever to head the CIA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMAS POWERS, AUTHOR, "THE MAN WHO KEPT THE SECRETS": He felt he really had no choice, that this was a serious secret of the kind that the DCI, the director of central intelligence, is supposed to keep secret and not reveal ever.


WOODRUFF: Our David Ensor on the life of Richard Helms when we return.


WOODRUFF: Former CIA Director Richard Helms was buried today at Arlington National Cemetery. Helms died last month at the age of 89.

Our national security correspondent, David Ensor, has more on a remarkable career in government service.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Full military honors and a gathering of the establishment for the World War II Navy officer who rose through the CIA ranks to be a highly respected, but highly controversial director of central intelligence.

In the offices of the current CIA director, a painting of Richard Helms has pried a place, put there by Director George Tenet, who often sought his advice and saw Helms as a role model.

GEORGE TENET, CIA DIRECTOR: I could have had no finer mentor, no better teacher, and no wiser friend. Whatever the problem, I knew he had faced it. Whatever the challenge, I knew he had met it. And I always knew he was in my corner.

ENSOR: But Helms is also the man who ran the CIA's campaign to help General Augusto Pinochet's troops overthrow the elected leader of Chile in 1973. Helms lied to Congress about it, for which he was indicted and sentenced to probation.

PETER KORNBLUH, NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE: He will go down in history as the one and only CIA director ever to be found guilty of a crime.

POWERS: He felt he really had no choice, that this was a serious secret of the kind that the DCI, the director of central intelligence, is supposed to keep secret and not reveal ever.

KORNBLUH: Richard Helms presided over much of the dark-side CIA covert operations in the Third World, operations that brought down democratically elected governments, that led to assassination programs in Vietnam. These are operations that, when they were exposed, the American public was outraged.

ENSOR: An adviser of presidents, Richard Helms was a patrician Washingtonian of the old school. He always played tennis in full whites. Accomplished on the dance floor, he kept this picture in his house, showing his proximity one night at the White House to the great Fred Astaire, dancing with the empress of Iran.

Though Helms served presidents loyally, some say his finest hour was when he refused to help Richard Nixon cover up his administration's role in the Watergate break-in. Nixon fired Helms for that.

POWERS: He did stand up there when it really counted. And people have forgotten just how much things were slipping out of control there. That was a dark episode.

ENSOR: Two years ago, Helms told of President Clinton once asking him how to handle terrorism.

RICHARD HELMS, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: I said: "See that the FBI and the CIA do their job. Keep them honest and they're the best you can get. If you've got anything better, I don't know what it would be."

ENSOR: Richard Helms, Washington icon.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: The NATO alliance emerged victorious from the Cold War. Now what? At a time when some say the U.S. can go it alone, is the North Atlantic Alliance still relevant?


WOODRUFF: As we've been reporting all day, President Bush is in Prague, Czechoslovakia, meeting with NATO allies, seeking their support for a possible war with Iraq.

The NATO alliance was formed shortly after World War II. But, with the Cold War long over and modern terrorist threats much harder to pinpoint, some question if the alliance is still relevant.

Here's CNN's Garrick Utley.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was known as the family photo, the ritual image of NATO allies standing shoulder to shoulder.

But there are tensions in the family. The communist threat and the Soviet Union are long gone. George Bush and Vladimir Putin have become political pals. And so the question asked by influential voices in the Bush administration is, who needs NATO?

CHARLES KUPCHAN, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: I think the inclination of the administration is very much: "Let's go it alone. And if the Europeans don't like it, that's too bad." UTLEY: True, Europe and the United States needed each other to bring peace to Bosnia to wage NATO's war in Kosovo and against Serbia. But, in that conflict, the Pentagon discovered that getting its NATO allies to agree on targets and tactics was slow and difficult.

And so, in Afghanistan, the United States decided to fight alone, rather than by committee. Although some European nations contributed military units and participated in the international force in Kabul, NATO itself was pointedly not invited to join in the war.

As the 53-year-old alliance expands eastward, taking in members of the old Soviet empire, its very success in the past may now be its weakness.

KUPCHAN: I think the one thing that may be a little bit disillusioning for the countries that are entering is that, just as they arrive at the welcoming ceremony, I think NATO's lights will probably be flickering.

UTLEY: With 26 nations, NATO will be the world's largest military alliance. But it does not have the ability to send a large military force anywhere in the world, as the United States can and does. Nor has it shown the desire to spend the money to do that. What could that lead to?

KUPCHAN: I think that the Atlantic alliance as we know it, the traditional close partnership, is over. And there is, to some extent, nothing that be can done about it, because it's, No. 1, about Europe coming of age, and No. 2, about America's shifting strategic priorities: its focus on terrorism and the Middle East.

UTLEY: Which is why George Bush is asking Europe's leaders for their support in the struggle against terrorism and Saddam Hussein, but as a very junior partner, which leaves the venerable alliance with a large headquarters, a proud history, and an uncertain future.

Garrick Utley, CNN, New York.



WOODRUFF: In some ways, it was a Congress to match the times: turbulent, unpredictable, gripped at varying moments by both fear and patriotism.

Our national correspondent Bruce Morton looks back.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The most defining moment for this Congress was, of course, the most defining moment for Americans: the terrorist attacks of September 11. That evening, they gathered on the steps of the Capitol and sang.

U.S. SENATORS (singing): God bless America. MORTON: Nine days later, the president spoke to a joint session.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And you did more than sing. You acted by delivering $40 billion to rebuild our communities and meet the needs of our military.

MORTON: Some things did happen quickly: the Patriot Act, which made it easier for the government to wiretap suspected terrorists. But tempers frayed over the Homeland Security Department Bill, angry charges from Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I can't believe any president or any administration would politicize the war.

MORTON: And the bill itself cleared the Senate only at the end of this Senate, just this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes are 90. The nays are nine. And the bill is declared passed.

MORTON: The Senate and House also voted to let the president use force against Iraq.

But the Congress wasn't just about war. The 107th passed Mr. Bush's large, more-than-$1-trillion tax cut, though they are still arguing over whether to make the cuts permanent. The Congress passed a bill drastically enlarging and changing the federal government's role in elementary and secondary education. Schools would be graded. Parents could take their kids out of schools judged to be failing.

And some of the defining moments were personal. House Majority Leader Dick Armey retired. Richard Gephardt stepped down as the Democratic leader. He will be replaced by Nancy Pelosi, the first woman to hold such a job. Some, like Georgia Senate Max Cleland lost their seats. But he gained a more defining moment.

SEN. MAX CLELAND (D), GEORGIA: I'll be getting married to my fiancee, Ms. Nancy Ross, after I retire. There is life after the Senate.

MORTON: And Strom Thurmond, who will turn 100 next month, retired after almost half-a-century in the Senate.

SEN. STROM THURMOND (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: May God bless each of you in the United States Senate and our nation. I love all of you, and especially your wives.

MORTON: They'll remember him.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: A session with real highs and lows.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us on this windy day.


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