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U.S. Captures Top al Qaeda Persian Gulf Operative

Aired November 21, 2002 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live, from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Wwoodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. At this hour, President Bush is ending a night out with fellow NATO leaders in Prague. And he has some reason to celebrate. The alliance today agreed to back U.N. efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. But Mr. Bush did not get everything he wanted. NATO members stopped short of pledging to join a war against Iraq. A live report from Prague is coming up.

Right now, round two of Tom Daschle vs. Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, talked to us just a short while ago about Daschle's claim that the shrill talk on talk radio led to increased death threats against public officials. We'll hear from Limbaugh in a moment.

First, our Jonathan Karl took a ride with Daschle and asked him to explain his remark.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was a serious thing to say about Rush Limbaugh. I know you were talking about other talk radio show hosts as well, but you singled out Rush Limbaugh. I mean, are you -- incitement to violence could a crime, a prosecutable crime.

Are you accusing him something on that level?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Oh, not at all. My point was simply this, sometimes the rhetoric turns to verbal abuse, and sometimes verbal abuse turns to physical abuse, and sometimes people who get so emotionally invested with what they're hearing want to react. That's in part what they do. They incite reaction, and that reaction can have consequences that I don't think most people fully appreciate when they may be saying the things that they're saying.

KARL: What will your message be to Rush Limbaugh, then?

DASCHLE: Well, I haven't...

KARL: I mean, you're saying he's helping to contributing to something, it's very disturbing. It's a serious charge. I mean, even if it's not intentional.

DASCHLE: Well, I only can say what I've already said which is that I think people have to be aware of the consequences of their actions. Actions are not just physical. Actions are sometimes verbal. And they have consequences in this country that I think are far more palpable, far more real, far more threatening than most people can fully appreciate.


WOODRUFF: We'll hear a little more from Tom Daschle on other matters later.

Now as promised, reaction from Rush Limbaugh.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We all get threats, in public life. I think, and what did he say threats over, being call them destructionist? I think this is whining. In fact, my understanding is that he's backing off of that a little bit or trying to water that down. And then saying something about the fact that I should still realize my words have consequences. Well, I know that. We want -- of course my words have consequences.

QUESTION: Was he out of line, do you think?

LIMBAUGH: Politically he was, not personally, no. Frankly, I mean -- this is, you know, pleasure for me. I mean, they keep elevating me into areas that is not good for them, that aren't good for them. Personally, no. I mean, this is the public arena. These kinds of things happen. I can't believe that he actually chose to make a big deal about this, although I do this it was not spontaneous.

Obviously, there was strategy to this. I think the thing just didn't happen. I think they looked at her exit polling data, saw what happened. You know what their problem is, in a nutshell, they ran Washington for 40 or more years. When you have the House in Washington, you start tax legislation, control the purse. You run that town. They lost it in '94. And they still look at that loss and all subsequent losses as an aberration.

They still haven't come to grips that they're the minority party. They have a very small play book. For 40 years, free run with the main stream press not challenging them on what they said, but instead challenging us. We've had to honed our responses they make at us because they make against us, and we have gotten good at it. They haven't honed a response to the charges we make against them about their policies. Because name call, they're just slinging out personal assaults that we want to kill old people, grandmother over the edge, social security, starve children, nobody believes this stuff because it never happens.

You know, Al Gore said at the White House one day that the Republican environmental policy is going to kill more people. I mean, they don't have reasons for people to vote for them. They're just trying to gem up anger and resentment for their opposition, and it's just not working anymore.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WODDRUFF: Rush Limbaugh talked to us literally just about an our ago. CNN's Howard Kurtz, "RELIABLE SOURCES", here with us.

Now, Howard, you not have been following this back and forth, you wrote a book about talk show as few years ago, including talk radio. What about what Tom Daschle said yesterday, very serious charge. He was essentially saying that Limbaugh, by talking to his listeners, is in effect, inciting them to go and threaten violence?

HOWARD KURTZ, CNN'S RELIABLE SOURCES: On that point, Judy, I think Senator Daschle was out of bounds. It would have been one thing, if he said Rush Limbaugh is unfair, he's inaccurate, he's a blow-hard, he's impugning my integrity by criticizing stance on the war on terrorism. But to make this suggestion about him inciting violence and comparing Limbaugh's tone to that of violent fundamentalists in other countries, seemed to be to be a bit over the top. And did build Limbaugh up to an even greater extent in the eyes of his many conservative followers.

WOODRUFF: No question on some of these talk shows, Limbaugh included, there is tough talk. A lot of criticism of people in the political arena. And at as Tom Daschle said, I'm just going to read part of it, people want to act because they get emotional, he means after they listen to this. It's a throat those of us in public life and it goes up dramatic, and it's very disconcerting.

KURTZ: Limbaugh bangs on him and other Democrats, mostly about policy. Not in a way, to my ear at least that much different than you hear on the cable shout shows every night. So I think it is a serious charge say that somebody is out there to be somehow inciting violence, and I think that Limbaugh loves this. He's reveling in it, because it does put the spotlight on him. He just a guy with a microphone, but it makes him seem like real serious player almost on the level of Senator Daschle.

WOODRUFF: What about the other part of what Limbaugh had to say just now? We just heard him say this is obviously part of a strategy. He said the Democrats have been losing, and this is their way of striking back?

KURTZ: I don't agree with a lot of what Rush Limbaugh says, including the notion that the mainstream media has been catering to Democrats for 40 years. In fact there's been a lot of criticism from liberal columnist about the Democrats in the most recent election. But the fact is I think Senator Daschle, and other Democrats are frustrated because talk radio, mostly conservative, and conservative editorial pages like the "Wall Street Journal," Fox News and others that are seen as part of the conservative media.

They have been pretty effective at getting a message out, and I think the Democrats don't have nothing comparable. They haven't been able to master talk radio, not many liberals have been successful at it. So I see a lot of frustration. But just beating up on Limbaugh, who a big following, and been doing it a lot of years, is not going to get the message out for the Democrats. They have to in effect fight fire with fire, and sometimes in politic it gets a little rough. WOODRUFF: But in a way, is this in the great tradition of going after the media when things don't go well?

KURTZ: We've seen that once or twice, Judy. And I think, we may see some evidence of it here. Rush Limbaugh didn't cause the Democrats to lose the election, but he is an effective spokesman for his cause. And I think the Democrats should go back at him hard. But if they're portrayed as whining about people like Limbaugh, and Olie North, and Bill O'Reilly, and other Dennison's of talk radio, that doesn't help them politically.

WOODRUFF: OK, Howard Kurtz, CNN's Reliable Resources and the "Washington Post." Thanks, appreciate it.

Now we turn to the NATO summit. The 10 current members of the alliance officially invited seven former east block nations to join their ranks today. But to some degree, that was overshadowed by NATO's statement backing the U.N. resolution to disarming Iraq.

Our White House correspondent John King is at the summit in Prague where he interviewed President Bush's National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice today.

Hello, John.


U.S. officials tonight as the president rests, next stop Russia, say they are satisfied with the tone of the debate here. It is fair to say, even they can see, the president didn't get everything he wanted. The NATO statement, today on Iraq, say the allies fully support of its of the United Nations, and call on Iraq to fully and immediately disarm and keep its obligations to the United Nations.

The statement stops short of suggesting there could or would be any official role for the NATO alliance, if there is a military confrontation. At one point, such language put on the table by U.S. officials, but because of objections from France, Germany and we are told others, a compromised draft accepted.

Still Condoleezza Rice in that interview said that President Bush's main goal here, in seeking a statement on Iraq, was to prove to Saddam Hussein in the wake of the unanimous vote in the United Nations Security Council, that he is completely isolated on the world's stage. And Condoleezza Rice's view, mission accomplished.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: It's at a point now that the alliance is giving strong support to this U.N. Security Council resolution. There was a lot of talk today about the importance of Saddam Hussein getting signals that were very clear. Not getting mixed signals from around the world, and I think he got a very clear message today.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Administration officials, though, including Dr. Rice, speaking cautiously about where Mr. Bush will draw the line, where he would consider it appropriate to turn to the military option against Iraq. They, A, don't want to tip Saddam Hussein off as to where the threshold is for the United States and, Judy, they also realize, again, reinforced by the experience here at the NATO summit, still some very delicate diplomacy, still some differences between the White House, the French, Russians and others over just when it would be justified to launch a military strike -- broad military strikes on Iraq -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, you mentioned some of the leaders of these other countries the president's been meeting with. But what about the Germans? Some have noticed they've been conspicuously absent from these bilateral meetings the president's been having?

KING: Well no one on one meeting with Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder here during the NATO Summit. As you know, in politics, sometimes when the leaders say little, we are left to study the body language. Some encounters today -- Mr. Bush says the two men met at dinner last night and had some cordial words. He would not even mention the chancellor by name though.

During the ceremonies today, there was the traditional class photo. At one point, Chancellor Schroeder did initiate a handshake with President Bush. It looked cordial enough, as these things go. But he was also standing behind President Bush, Chancellor Schroeder was, for several minutes during the posing for that class photo. Mr. Bush turning to the right, Mr. Bush turning to the left, greeting and laughing, having small talk with others, not once did he turn completely around and strike up any conversation with the German chancellor.

U.S. officials say the relationship is -- quote -- "unpoisoned now." Obviously Mr. Bush was upset at the tone of the chancellor's re-election campaign. They say it is unpoisoned, but it is clearly not warm and friendly just yet -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Hmm. Unpoisoned? You're right, that's a long way from warm and friendly. John, thanks very much.

KING: Quite a bit. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: A senior U.S. official traveling with the president confirms that al Qaeda's Persian Gulf operations chief now is in U.S. custody. The official tells CNN that Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri has been of some help in terms of information since he was captured earlier this month. Let's get more from our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

Jamie, this word just coming out today and what more are you learning?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, we've known for awhile that the U.S. said it had captured a senior al Qaeda leader. We just didn't know which one. Now government source, as you say, traveling with the president, also back here in Washington, are confirming it is now al-Nashiri, who is said to be the chief of essentially maritime terrorist operations in the Persian Gulf region.

U.S. officials describe his perview as essentially stretching all the way from the Straits of Gibraltar new Spain to the Straits of Malaka near Malaysia and Singapore, quite a wide area that includes the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, a lot of those places -- and of course, the main thing the U.S. wanted him for is they believe he was the mastermind between -- behind the 2000, October 2000, bombing of the "USS Cole" off the coast of Yemen.

It is believed that as an explosive expert, he was the one who actually designed the very powerful small bomb that was on that boat -- the small boat that came up alongside the "Cole" and blasted a hole in the side of that ship. It's also believed that he plotted a very similar attack against the U.S. ship the "USS The Sullivans" nine months earlier in 2000. But that attacked failed when the boat was overloaded with explosives and sank.

It's also connected to several other alleged terrorist threats, and one of the things that the U.S. intelligence says that they had heard recently was a persistent intelligence reports although uncorroborated, indicating that there could be plans to try to fly planes into U.S. or British ships in the Persian Gulf or the Red Sea region. And they were concerned about that as well. That would have been something that would have come under his perview.

So the U.S. is hopeful that they will be able to get information from him that not only leads them to other al Qaeda leaders, but also helps thwart future terrorist attacks -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jamie McIntyre, we were going to ask you that last question, but you answered it. The fact that they captured him makes you have some belief maybe they're on the trail to finding others.

Jamie McIntyre. Thanks very much.

Well, FBI field agents are being urged to make sure that terrorism remains their top priority. CNN has confirmed that the FBI's second highest official recently sent an e-mail to field offices around the country. Sources say the deputy director, Bruce Gephardt, used words such as "amazed" and "astounded" to express frustration at the pace of anti-terrorism efforts. One official tells CNN that the e-mail was more of a personal rallying cry to agents than a formal statement expressing alarm about the war on terror.

There's much more ahead on "INSIDE POLITICS."

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Bruce Morton in Washington. It's like a flashback to 2000. Al Gore seems to be everywhere. But is this Gore new and improved?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Los Angeles. California is one of the states that saw a surge in Spanish language campaign ads. But did the party see a payoff? WOODRUFF: Also ahead, mud in the bayou. A turn to the negative in the last Senate race of 2002. This is "INSIDE POLITICS."


WOODRUFF: Al Gore says he will make up his mind about another run for the White House over the Christmas holidays. And maybe that's what driving him as he runs from one interview to the next, while mincing no words on why he thinks President Bush is doing wrong.

A new Al Gore? Our Bruce Morton takes a look.



MORTON (voice-over): The new, amazing Al Gore is here, he's there, he's everywhere. Jokes on Letterman.

DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS HOST, "LATE SHOW": I'll bet people come up to you and they say, You know what? You were screwed. Now, do you feel that way yourself?

GORE: Well, about 50.1% of the people do say that. Yeah.

MORTON: Just kidding, he adds. He's moved on.

The new Gore, ten newspaper interviews in one day, has not said he will or will not run again. He has defined some issues.

Foreign policy.

GORE: Osama bin in Laden and Saddam Hussein are not one in the same. The president has said they're virtually the same. Well, they're not. And I think it was a mistake to lose focus on the war against terrorism.

MORTON: On health care, he told the Associated Press, "I think we've reached the point where the entire health care system is in crisis. I have reluctantly come to the conclusion we should begin drafting a single-payer national health insurance system."

But didn't he attack Bill Bradley for that during the primaries in 2000? Yes.

GORE: Well I hope we would never adopt the kind of plan he has proposed, because it doesn't make sense.

MORTON: Now, he says Bradley's plan was bad but not all single- payer plans are.

And he talks about if he runs again, speaking from the heart, letting it rip, less reliance on consultants.

During his "New York Times" interview he sang, slightly off key the "Times" noted, a couple of lines from an old Bob Dylan song. Is this the guy who obeyed a consultant's advice to wear earth tones last time? And if he does run, Mike Glover covers Iowa with those first caucuses and isn't so sure Gore would sweep all before him.

MIKE GLOVER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: A lot of activists that I talked to are mystified by Gore's disappearance from the scene, by his unwillingness to seemly engage in the political process, and are starting to look elsewhere. So a year ago, I would have said, Yeah, name recognition will get it for him. Today, I'm not so sure.

MORTON: A new Gore.

Richard Nixon kept releasing new Nixons, and he was the only man in the 20th Century first to lose the presidency and then win it. Hmm.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And with me now to talk more about all this, the man many consider to be the dean of the political press corps, David Broder of "The Washington Post."

David Broder, what is Al Gore up to? He did Barbara Walters, The "Today" show, "LARRY KING" this week, 10 print interviews yesterday. What's going on?

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think he's been on the air about as much as Michael Jackson has been the last few days. Slightly different reasons, but he's sending a message out, Hey, folks, I'm around. Don't make your commitments to anybody else, because I may be back in this race.

And he did less well in terms of print coverage, because the print reporters got the second and third and 18th bite of the apple. But I think the television side of it went pretty well for him.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean? I mean, in terms of well, what is he -- if this is an effort to get himself out there again, what is it that he needs to do right now?

BRODER: Well, what he first needs to do is to freeze the race. And I think he's having that impact right now. All of the other Democrats who would like to run for president are now beginning seriously to try to sign up activists. In Mike Glover's state of Iowa, in New Hampshire, in South Carolina and the rest of the early voting states.

As long as Al Gore, who has more popular support among rank and file Democrats than anybody else, is still a possible contender, many of those activists are going to wait and say, I think I'll get back to you as soon as I know what Gore's going to do.

WOODRUFF: What about his criticism of President Bush? He's obviously stepped that up. He's being more specific? It's getting sharper. Is that smart for him to be doing?

BRODER: Well, it's a gamble because the president has very high approval ratings in this country and, as you know, he is probably strongest in the areas where Gore has been attacking him. Namely, his role as commander in chief of the war on terrorism.

But Democrats have to gamble if they're going to have any kind of a chance against George W. Bush. I think they tried to sort of lie low on the subject of President Bush in this past campaign. And it turned out it didn't work very well for them.

WOODRUFF: Al Gore, David Broder, says he's not moving to the left, but he is now saying he would like to see a single payer health care system. He's for scrapping Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. It sure sounds that way, doesn't it?

BRODER: Well, you will remember, Judy, that Al Gore wound up in 2000 running a very Populist-toned campaign. The people against the powerful. And he sort of picking up on that. I think it was a surprise to most people that he came out for a single payer health insurance program -- a universal health insurance program, but, again, the Democratic party primary process tilts people to the left. And I'm sure that Al Gore remembers that the closest shave had he in terms of winning the 2000 nomination was in New Hampshire, where Bill Bradley clearly positioned himself to the left, and came very close to upsetting the then vice president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Well, David Broder, he says he's going to tell us what he's going to do the first week in January. I know we're all ears.

BRODER: We'll be watching.

WOODRUFF: OK. David, thank you very much. Good to see you. We appreciate it.

Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is another Democrat who certainly seems to be looking more and more at a White House run.

Appearing at the University of Maryland today, Edwards outlined a plan to get good teachers to work where they are needed the most. He also says he wants the federal government to help reach the goal of putting a quality teacher in every classroom.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: In America, no child should ever be table to take success for granted and every child should be able to go as far as their God-given talents and their hard work will take them. Today it is too hard for too many Americans to climb up this ladder of success. Our country was born in a Democratic revolution, and it is time for reforms that take us back to our Democratic roots.


WOODRUFF: Well, if you missed Edwards speech today, you can still find his profile in the upcoming December issue of "Gentleman's Quarterly."

Just ahead, Michael Jackson -- you just heard David Broder mention him -- he is back in the headlines again. We'll tell you why.

Plus --

KARL: I'm Jonathan Karl on the Capitol subway, where I spoke to Tom Daschle about the end of his term as majority leader and about his political future.

WOODRUFF: But first, the closing bell rang just minutes ago on Wall Street. Rhonda Schaffler joins us now live from the New York Stock Exchange with a look at your money.

Hello, Rhonda.

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy, and you may have more of it based on what happened on Wall Street today.

Stocks staging an impressive rally for a second day in a row. The major catalyst for the gains today: Upbeat earnings news from Hewlett-Packard, along with some decent economic news. Investors snapped up tech stocks following HP's better-than-expected quarterly profits. That came out after the closing bell yesterday. Hewlett- Packard shares jumping more than two.

That sparked across board buying in technology. The Nasdaq soaring 3 and a third percent higher, closing at its highest level since June. And the Dow rocketed 222 points higher. The average appears to be on track for a seventh winning week in the row.

The latest snapshot of the jobs market also gave investors reason to buy. The number of Americans filing for first-time unemployment benefits fell last week by 25,000 to its lowest level since July. Basically, the mood here has changed. Investors are looking at the glass as half full, not half empty.

That's the very latest from Wall Street. More "INSIDE POLITICS" after the break, including a look at who's in the running for Time Magazine's Person of the Year.


WOODRUFF: Has this man had enough of Washington? Is retirement in his future? Well, we'll go one-on-one with the outgoing Senate majority leader. That's coming up, but first this "News Alert."


WOODRUFF: Let's head back to the Capitol Subway now for more of Jon Karl's interview with soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.


KARL: Senator Daschle, welcome to the "Subway Series."

DASCHLE: Thank you. Good to be here.

KARL: Thanks for joining us.

And this is a historic "Subway Series," because this will be probably your last interview as majority leader, at least this time around.

I remember talking to you the morning after the election. You said you didn't have a single regret. There's not a thing you could think of doing differently during the course of the campaign. With some time to look back, do you still believe that? Is there anything that you that you think you would have done differently that could have changed this outcome?

DASCHLE: I guess we'll never know if anything I could have done differently would have changed the outcome.

I don't want to shirk responsibility. I think I have the responsibility that comes with the office. And part of that is, if you lose an election, like we did, that's partly on my shoulders. And I have to shoulder that responsibility. And I think it's important for us to learn from the loss, but not lament it indefinitely.

KARL: During the course of the debate over homeland security, you called the bill a lousy bill. You used adjectives like atrocious and terrible to describe items in that bill. Robert Byrd came out during that debate and said that we live in an age without courage. And he pointed to members of his own party and said they were afraid take on a popular president. Is that part of the Democrats' problem, being afraid?

DASCHLE: Listen, we clearly, as you've documented and reported on many occasions, we've taken on the president. That isn't the issue in this case at all.

KARL: But when it came down to the big items, though, you voted for this bill at the end. You voted for the resolution on the war with Iraq, even though you had such serious reservations about some the details of both items.


And the reason I did is because I believe the threat posed by Iraq, the threat posed by terrorists is a greater concern to me than all the concerns that I have with regard to the way the bill was constructed or the way the resolution regarding Iraq was written. I think that there are concerns that seriously have greater consequence. And, in both of these cases, that's why I voted the way I did.

KARL: There was a quote in "The Rapid City Journal" which may have eluded a lot of people around here, even "The Political Hotline" -- but it's my mom's hometown paper, so I happened to see this -- a quote from you back in May where you suggested that, if the Democrats lost the majority, you would likely run for reelection from South Dakota, as senator from South Dakota.

The exact quote is: "If we lost the majority, we'd want to work to get it back. And my election would be critical to getting it back." So, if we're to believe what you said on May 23, your likely situation would be to run for reelection, isn't it?

DASCHLE: Well, no. I think that it's important, as you look at those words, critical, but not essential. Obviously, every race is critical. And that is a factor.

Clearly, the fact that we're in the minority is both a plus and a minus. It's easier to lead when you're in the minority, so the transition to new leadership is actually easier in the minority than in the majority. Obviously, you want to win back as many seats as possible. So that would argue for running for reelection. So, again, there are a lot of conflicting questions and conflicting currents.

KARL: So you've got three options you've talked about: running for reelection, retiring, or running for president. Does any one have a slight lead right now?

DASCHLE: No, not really. I am totally open to carefully considering all three options at this time.

KARL: What are the benefits of retirement?

DASCHLE: Changing your life's course and doing something totally different for a change, something you haven't ever done before.

I'm 55 years old. There's an opportunity for me to look at other options and do things that would allow me more of a private life, more family time, more time to write and to do things that I've always wanted to do more of.

KARL: So you could really envision the scenario where you'd leave all this behind?

DASCHLE: Oh, absolutely.

KARL: And what about running for president?

DASCHLE: The opportunity to make a real difference, to change the course and the direction of this country today -- I think that, unfortunately, as much as I may personally like this president, I think he's leading us in an entirely wrong course, especially with regard to domestic issues.

And I'm concerned about that. I'm concerned about the commitment to education, the commitment to health care, the direction our country has taken on the environment and so many other issues. And somebody has got to make that case.

KARL: And what's your timeline? When do you need to make this decision?

DASCHLE: I think the decision has to be made by some time in the first part of next year. I don't have any particular timeline in place, but...

KARL: All right, well, Senator Daschle, thanks a lot for riding the subway with us.

DASCHLE: Thanks a lot, Jon. Enjoyed it.


WOODRUFF: And you should know that the incoming Senate majority leader, Trent Lott, has agreed to ride the subway with John the first week in December.

Up next: We haven't heard the last of the verbal clash between Tom Daschle and Rush Limbaugh. Is it causing Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile to exchange some heated words of their own? Find out.


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

Let me ask you first about Al Gore. He's out there saying, among other things, that the Bush administration, by focusing on Saddam Hussein in Iraq, has -- quote -- "done drastic damage to the broader war on terror."

Bay, is Al Gore, does he have a point?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: He has no point whatsoever.

And if he had a point, you would think he would give us some specifics. Just as when he decided to criticize the president of the United States over his economic plan and what he's done with the situation on the economy in this country, he had no specific plan whatsoever, and likewise in this case.

All he seems capable of doing is criticizing the president and not coming out with anything constructive whatsoever. And, Judy, if he wanted to criticize the president over Iraq -- and I believe it's a legitimate argument we should have in this country, a legitimate debate -- he should have done it when it meant something, before the vote on the resolution.

But he did absolutely nothing for six, seven, eight months. And he went and the Democrats supported that resolution.

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Well, first of all, I think Al Gore made the right decision in 2001 to allow the dust to settle from the presidential election. And, of course, he came out right before 9/11 and had to go back in after proclaiming the president to be commander in chief.

What he was trying to say the other day, Bay, I think it was simple: that we've lost our focus on the war on terrorism, that the president and the administration must refocus the efforts to find Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and many of the others who are still in hiding and have now once again reemerged with threatening letters and tapes saying that they're coming back at this.

That's what Gore is saying. Gore is saying that we should keep our focus on one prize at a time and we can settle the conflict with Saddam at a later point.

BUCHANAN: But there's no evidence whatsoever that we have not kept our focus. And, in fact, we hear today that we have captured the fellow that was in charge of the attack on the Cole. So there's no evidence. These are just words that mean absolutely nothing. And I don't think it's constructive.

BRAZILE: Well, the evidence is in Afghanistan, when the rebuilding of that country is still going very, very slowly. We have no one outside of Kabul that's managing the store. And things are falling into disarray and perhaps bad hands again.

WOODRUFF: Let me bring you both back home to the Tom Daschle- Rush Limbaugh back-and-forth, Daschle saying yesterday that Rush Limbaugh and other talk show hosts, by, in other words, getting their listeners so emotional and being so critical of Democrats, that he, Tom Daschle, and others in public life have been threatened, they they've been threatened with violence.


BUCHANAN: Well, this is a case I feel badly for Donna. As a Democrat, she must just be embarrassed to have her leader out there whining like the little schoolboy that, on the playground that afternoon, got walloped, and so off he goes and complains to his mom, whines, instead of getting up, wiping himself off and getting back into the fight.

The man has been defeated not only on Election Day, but he's clearly defeated personally. And I believe he needs a long rest out there in South Dakota.

BRAZILE: Well, I'm sure he will have some time to rest in South Dakota during the holidays.

But, look, the fact is that some of these shows are a little bit below the belt. They don't criticize your policies. They're criticize you personally. People get wound up and sometimes they cross the line. But, look, by and large, I think Bay and I would be able to go on Rush Limbaugh's, Rush's show and to bring some civility to that show and perhaps help him change the tone. I go on those conservative shows often.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying the tone is over the top?

BRAZILE: Oh, no question.

BUCHANAN: Oh, it is not.

BRAZILE: It is. Bay, I've been on those shows. And it's over the top.

But you know what? I like to give back-and-forth. So, unlike some of my liberal colleagues who don't like to go on those shows, I like to go on and I like to do verbal combat with those Republicans and with those conservatives, because I think it's healthy for the American people and healthy for the national debate.

BUCHANAN: It is healthy. And what you're talking about is debate, a national debate over issues. And there's nothing wrong with that. And it gets very passionate on these shows.

And what Rush and the others did is excited their listeners to go out and vote. And that is what Daschle is really upset about.

BRAZILE: Well, there are some people who not only get excited about voting, but they also get excited about making threatening comments and threatening gestures toward elected officials. And that's wrong.

We should change the tone in Washington, D.C. And I would hope that some of Rush's listeners not take it to the extreme and anybody else who is out there.

BUCHANAN: But that is not the talk show host. There's no evidence whatsoever that it was vitriolic, whatsoever.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. We're always passionate about the two of you.


BRAZILE: And we're always civil. And we're always civil.

BUCHANAN: Always civil. We're just good friends, Judy.

BRAZILE: Thank you very much. We're chummy.


WOODRUFF: This is the way to disagree.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right.

Many political figures reached out this election year to Hispanic voters. Up next: Speaking Spanish in the campaign ad wars, did it translate into votes?


WOODRUFF: There was a new strategy this year in courting a very important vote.

Our Bill Schneider joins us from Los Angeles to talk about it -- Bill. SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, this year, candidates and parties all over the country reached out to Hispanic voters in an unprecedented way.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): More than $16 million dollars spent on Spanish-language TV ads, a record. Three times as many candidates ran Spanish-language TV ads compared to past elections.

But what did all that attention and all that money result in? Some big surprises. Democrats who targeted Hispanic voters were disappointed by what happened this year.

SERGIO BENDIXEN, DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL CONSULTANT: Definitely a negative factor in terms of the development of Latino political power in the United States.

SCHNEIDER: The reason? Turnout.

BENDIXEN: But everybody agrees Latino turnout was down in California. It was down in Florida. It was down in Colorado.

SCHNEIDER: Across the country, five candidates for governor spent at least $1 million on Spanish-language television ads. But how did they do? Only two of them won. Gray Davis won California, but by a smaller-than-expected margin. And his support from Hispanic voters was down from four years ago.

Jeb Bush was a big winner in Florida. Republicans say it was because he scored big gains with non-Cuban Hispanics with this ad.




SCHNEIDER: Why didn't all that spending pay off in higher Hispanic turnout? One Democrat thinks the answer is less news coverage of politics by Spanish-language TV.

BENDIXEN: They're not giving politics and elections the importance that they used to in the '80s and the '90s, when empowering Hispanic America was its major objective.

SCHNEIDER: Another surprise: It looks like Republicans in New York, Florida and Texas made big gains with Hispanic voters. How? By competing on an issue of paramount importance to Hispanics: education. That helped George Pataki in New York and Rick Perry in Texas. Republicans claim a breakthrough for Perry.

FRANK GUERRA, GOP POLITICAL CONSULTANT: We believe that Rick Perry will have captured 35 percent of the Hispanic vote against a well-funded Hispanic candidate.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats claim Republicans have found a new way to run against Hispanic candidates.

BENDIXEN: When a Latino gets close to being able to win a contest in a state, in a district, in a city where the majority of the voters are not Hispanic, the common attack now is drugs. And that's a sure way to destroy their candidacy.

SCHNEIDER: It may have worked this year against Tony Sanchez in Texas.


NARRATOR: Tony Sanchez wants to run Texas like his businesses. But after Sanchez's bank was used to launder drug money, his bank failed.



SCHNEIDER: The Johns Hopkins researchers found that 88 percent of the Spanish-language television ads were positive. Most English- language ads were not. And the researchers say Hispanics respond poorly to negative ads, but they do seem to work with other voters, especially, it appears, when they're used against Hispanic candidates -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Maybe it's a message we ought to do fewer ads in English.

OK, Bill Schneider, thanks.


WOODRUFF: The last contest of election 20002 tops today's "Campaign News Daily": Less than a week after she said that she would run only positive ads, Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has launched two negative spots against her Republican rival in the December 7 runoff.


NARRATOR: There's a difference on Social Security. Suzie Terrell supports privatizing the system, raiding trillions from the trust fund.


WOODRUFF: That spot began airing today. Another hits Terrell on taxes.

A strategy session is in the works for House Democrats after their disappointing performance on Election Day. Incoming Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to members of the her caucus urging them to return to Washington December 9 and 10. She says she wants to discuss the urgent need to build consensus and to develop a strategy for success. Just two weeks after winning a House seat, former Florida election standoff figure Katherine Harris has really hit the jackpot. The Republican drew the top number in a lottery of incoming freshmen. That gives her first choice of office locations. She picked a suite on the first floor of the Cannon Office Building. That is a stone's throw from the Capitol. Her chief of staff joked that, in this contest, no chads were involved and no recount required. That is a choice location.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: In the works for tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS: Senator Phil Gramm packing up to go home early. Our Jonathan Karl talks with the Texas Republican as he sets his sights on life away from Capitol Hill.

They could soon be at war with one another, but President Bush and Saddam Hussein are in a different kind of competition right now -- that story still ahead.


WOODRUFF: Finally: What does President Bush have in common with Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and rapper Eminem? Well, they're all among those on a short list to be "TIME" magazine's 2002 person of the year. This is the first time the magazine is revealing its nominees for the person who most affected the news or our lives, for better or worse, this year.

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


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