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Louisiana Senate Race Heats Up As December 7 Runoff Nears

Aired November 26, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: That's a CNN News Alert. INSIDE POLITICS starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: Talking turkey, amid holiday rituals. Is the president preparing to give Saudi Arabia an ultimatum?

Running angry in Louisiana.


SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: It's just really (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to have an opponent discuss this in a the way that she just did.

ANNOUNCER: Inside the year's last Senate showdown.

Hillary versus Condi in 2008? The buzz about two famous first names in Washington.

James Bond has seen plenty of action over the years. Are today's feminists shaken or stirred by his way with women?

PIERCE BROSNAN, ACTOR: Magnificent view.

HALLE BERRY, ACTRESS: It is, isn't it?

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.


WOODRUFF: Back here at Washington, even as the Bush administration presses its tough line against Saddam Hussein, there are growing questions about how hard the White House is willing to lean on its middle east ally, Saudi Arabia. On this news cycle U.N. weapons inspectors hours away from beginning to scour Iraq for weapons of mass destruction. We'll have reports on their high tech equipment and strategy ahead.

Here in Washington, U.S. officials are urging Saudi Arabia to be more aggressive about cracking down on charity and businesses that allegedly finance terrorism.

Meantime, the wife of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S. is rejecting accusations, that money she donated to two Saudi students may have reached some of the 9/11 hijackers. In a statement posted on the Saudi Embassy's Web site, Princess Ahaifa writes, "I find that accusations that I contributed funds to terrorists outrageous and completely irresponsible."

For those allegations have raised questions about what the Bush administration is and is not doing to get Saudi Arabia to crack down on terrorists. Our senior White House correspondent John King is with us now.

John, what is the White House doing and not doing in that regard?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we're told by senior administration officials not only here at the White House, but at the Justice Department and Treasury Department that for months, the administration has been privately appealing to the Saudi government to do more, to crack down on Islamic charities to crack down on businesses that the United States says are supporting terrorism directly. Officials here say the Saudis are doing some, but not enough and not aggressively enough in pursuing terrorist financing.

So this debate has now spilled over publicly, unlike the past where we've had discussions and reports of tensions in the U.S./Saudi relationship, officials are no longer flatly dismissing them. You might call it the good cop/bad cop routine. One senior administration officials saying there's a debate about how to quote "Extract more participation from the Saudis in the financial front in the war on terrorism." In the White House briefing room today, Ari Fleischer, the press secretary on the one hand saying Saudi Arabia is helpful, on the other hand giving a polite nudge that Saudi Arabia could do more.


ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: Saudi Arabia has taken numerous steps of assistance in the war on terrorism, including the work with Pakistan, the cutting off of relations with Taliban in the immediate aftermath of 911. The fact that they're the ones who themself expelled Osama bin Laden. Saudi Arabia has been a good partner in that sense. The president, however, continues to say Saudi Arabia, our good partner, can do more. And we want to work with them to help them do more and that's the way the president approaches this.


KING: By doing more, the White House means more to crack down on terrorist financing. Officials confirm to us there is a low-level policy debate and one option on the table being discussed among low- level aides is some form of an ultimatum, telling the Saudis they need to crack down or the United States will take unilateral action.

Aides stress it's low in the system, has not made it up to the level say, Condoleezza Rice the National Security Adviser, nowhere near the president's desk yet. But this footnote Judy, the also say president is aware of the discussions and has not shut them down, a sign of the frustrations here in the administration. They don't think Saudi Arabia is doing enough and doing it publicly to track down on terror financing.

WOODRUFF: But John, I think everybody knows what an important and sensitive relationship this is between the United States and Saudi Arabia. There's any concern there that whatever pressure they put no matter how mild, could somehow back fire?

KING: That is why this relationship is always such a concern, especially now in how the administration talks about this. It is no secret Saudi oil would be critical if there's a military confrontation with Iraq to the U.S. economy, and the global economy for that matter. Saudi air bases and air rights would be critical to any military confrontation with Iraq. The administration does not want a public dispute with Saudi Arabia, yet it is allowing some of this frustration to become more public.

The administration hoping that the public discussion about this will nudge the Saudis to do more and, again to do it publicly. The Saudis are helpful in some ways, for their own domestic reason they often do it privately. The administration says if you want to calm the political environment in the United States do something quickly and publicly to show you're a full partner.

WOODRUFF: And John, finally, a another aspect of the story out of the Middle East. We know Israeli officials are asking the administration, talking to the administration about a multibillion dollar contribution if you will, aid that would come about if there were an attack on Iraq. And of the role that Israel might or might not play in that regard.

How is this likely to go over with the bush administration?

KING: The administration is taking the request very seriously. An Israeli delegation was here in recent days telling the United States, telling the White House directly that the war on terrorism, Israel's own war on terrorism, as it calls it, plus the whole debate in the Middle East region has taken a punishing toll on the Israeli economy.

Israel already the largest recipient of direct U.S. foreign aid. Israeli officials saying they need perhaps as much as $10 billion in loan guarantees, perhaps as 3 or 4 billion dollars additional assistance from the United States. The White House has appointed a team of its own to listen to the Israeli concerns and to prepare a proposal to give to the Congress. No one here saying they can give Israel everything it wants, but it's given quite serious consideration. The administration likely to recommend some significant increase to the new Congress when it returns in January.

WOODRUFF: All right, John, thanks very much. John King at the White House.

Well, Saudi Arabia has been trying to improve its image, here in the United States, since September the 11th. Here's a clip of an ad that just ended a two-week run in the top 25 television markets promoting Saudi Arabia's role in the war on terror.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the war on terrorism, we all have a part to play. One country has been an ally for over 60 years, a partner in investigating more than 2800 individuals, and sharing intelligence with the United States. Arresting over 200 suspects, including al Qaeda members and a force for blocking more than $70 million in terrorist assets worldwide.


WOODRUFF: Now we turn back to Iraq and final preparations for U.N. weapons inspections that begin tomorrow. Inspectors brief reporters today on their plan of action. Our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson, is in Baghdad.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At that briefing, inspectors outlining exactly how they'll go to work when they arrive at sites they say they'll freeze the site. That is, they will allow no vehicles, and no people on or off the site. In the past, weapons inspectors believe Iraqi officials have taken documents out of the backs of sites while they've been trying to go in the front door. They say that won't happen this time. At the sites, they say they'll put tags and seals on equipment. They'll take samples so they'll be to tell exactly what has been going on, perhaps in the weeks, months, even years before they arrive at the particular sites. They'll be taking videos. They'll be taking still pictures.

Now, the inspection team leader said don't be surprised if you see our inspectors running around with big heavy packs on their backs. He said they'll be carrying computers with them. On those computer, they'll have huge data banks. So when they take the photographs of the equipment that they see, they'll get a cross-reference it against known items that they believe Iraq has. What they'll be looking to see if this equipment is dual use equipment. That is, items that have bun brought Into Iraq to be used in civilian industries. Now, the concern of the inspectors is has that equipment been used for, perhaps, processes and weapons of mass destruction? So they'll be doing that.

But one big difference. This equipment will have over previous equipment is they'll be able to transmit in real-time from the field those pictures back to analysts in New York and Vienna. Those analysts will be able to back up the work in the field on the computers, cross-reference data banks and give them real time information. Also they'll have high tech equipment like radioactive isotope detectors. Again, some of this equipment being able to transmit information in real-time back to analysts around the world. They say to have laboratories around the world. The laboratories they'll have here, they say, will perhaps just be rudimentary and for screening. A lot of heavy duty analysis they say will go on outside.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And later on INSIDE POLITICS we'll talk about the hunt for weapons in Iraq and about Saudi Arabia's role in the war on terror with the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, Bob Graham.

"On the Record" this Tuesday, the Senate runoff election in Louisiana. Add Elizabeth Dole to the list of big name Republicans who will campaign for GOP candidate Suzanne Terrell. Dole reportedly will visit on Monday, a day before President Bush is expected to stump for Terrell. As the December 7 runoff gets closer, there's been no shortage of fireworks between Carroll and Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu.


TERRELL: I'm a mother of three daughters, a practicing Catholic. I've been consistent on this issue. The only thing that Mary Landrieu has been consistent on, she's been consistently opposed to life.

LANDRIEU: I voted against late term abortion and promoted adoption. I respect life. At least I am consistent in my position and not like Miss Terrell who has had four positions on this very important issue.


WOODRUFF: Well, now we're joined by Bill Walsh of the "New Orleans Times-Picayune." Is this typical of this campaign where they sort of which back, going at one another and that's where they leave it?

BILL WALSH, NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE: It's gotten pretty typical in the last two weeks or so. This debate has taken an ugly turn, culminating in the debate you saw a clip of. What you didn't see is that Suzanne Terrell had actually questioned Landrieu's faith, and made a claim she'd fallen away from the Catholic Church.

Off camera, Landrieu turned to Terrell and said this will be your last campaign. The Terrell camp took that as a threat. Landrieu said it wasn't a threat but a prediction that the Terrell campaign had been so negative, that she won't be a viable candidate anymore in Louisiana. So it's been pretty ugly for the last two weeks.

WOODRUFF: Are these debates making a difference?

WALSH: You know, it's hard to say. There just hasn't been much substantive that's been covered in the last two debates. This election was run hot and heavy leading up to November 5. So I think a lot voters saw the two candidates, and get a feel for the two candidates. I'm not sure how much more the views are seeing now that their are just two candidates in the run off.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying that people aren't paying as much attention or what?

WALSH: Well, it's hard to know if people are paying attention. The expectation is that turn out will be quite low -- in this run off. It's a Saturday elections, it's the only thing on the ballot in most of the state. I just got back from New Orleans, and a lot of people just aren't simply talking about it. It's not an election that your really aware of. The ads are pretty frequent on TV now, but you don't see towns around town, a lot of people aren't talking about the election.

WOODRUFF: Just two quick things. You were saying earlier that the two women Landrieu and Terrell don't really disagree that much, so it's not an election that's very much about issues?

WALSH: Well, not exactly, they disagree quite a bit. You know, Mary Landrieu is one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, and Suzanne Terrell is a Republican. They have fair amount of ground where they agree, but they have plenty of things they disagree on.

You heard them talking about one issue there, abortion. They have differences on tax policy, on foreign policy. So there are a number of differences between the two. The problem is that the campaign has sort of denigrated into a shouting match between the two candidates, and so issues haven't been addressed in the forums.

WOODRUFF: Last, but not least, turnout. In a runoff in December a few weeks before Christmas, each person, each woman is going to have to get her base out. What's the challenge, quickly, for each one in terms of getting that vote out?

WALSH: Right, they both have substantial challenges, I think. Landrieu needs to knit together a difficult coalition of African- Americans and moderate white conservative Democrats. Whereas Terrell has to bring together a Republican party that includes some very conservative voters and some more moderate, sort of chamber of commerce voters who don't always agree. So they both have significant challenges in getting their voters out on December 7.

WOODRUFF: Not to mention it's the first day of deer hunting season and maybe some playoffs, football playoffs.

WALSH: Not to mention.

WOODRUFF: OK, Bill Walsh, the New Orleans Times-Picayune, thank you very much.

WALSH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

Louisiana heads -- leads the headlines in the campaign news where new House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and San Francisco liberal appear in a Republican TV ad.

In the fifth district House runoff, Lee Fletcher wants to know voters know Democrat Rodney Alexander has support from the left wing of the Democratic party.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Three congressman, three liberals paying for Rodney Alexander's negative campaign. Pelosi, a San Francisco liberal. She gave Rodney big money.


WOODRUFF: In Florida, Governor Jeb Bush recently sent a notice of congratulations to Democrat Doug Racine who lost his race for governor of Vermont. The letter reads in part, "Dear Governor-elect Racine, congratulations to you, your family and staff on your recent election." Well, Racine lost to Republican Jim Douglas. A Bush spokeswoman blamed the letter on a staff error.

True to the state's Old West heritage, a Nevada election deadlock has been skidded by a draw from a deck of cards. The Esmeralda County Commission race ended with a tie with both candidates getting 107 votes. Democratic R.J. Gillum and Republican Dolores Honeycutt met at the courthouse, and drew from a deck of cards prepared by the county clerk. Gillum's jack of spades trumped Honeycutt's jack of diamonds making Gillum the newest county commissioner. Maybe they ought to settle more elections that way.

There's more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Up next.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: In Los Angeles, I'm Schneider, Bill Schneider. Women have evolved politically since the '60s. Has James Bond?


WOODRUFF: Also ahead, the Democrats see red. How Republican gains in 2002 have changed the landscape for 2004.

And did the Bush administration censor the centers for disease control? A controversy that information on the Internet is in the CROSSFIRE.


WOODRUFF: Coming up, some good news from Main Street doesn't always mean good news on Wall Street. Today's economic reports and what they mean to you when we come back.

And later, a major historical discovery found deep below the Capitol. Our Bruce Morton unearths the story.


WOODRUFF: From the Cold War to the war on terror, no one has triumphed over more bad guys than James Bond. But is he still a winner in this age of political correctness? Our Bill Schneider puts Agent 007 to the test.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: For the 20th time in four decades, James Bond is back on the big screen. This time, in "Die Another Day." Bond's world is one of gadgets, gizmos and gals. That's right, gals.

(voice-over): To many, Bond is a relic of the Cold War era, about as far away from political correctness as you can get. But the world has moved on. Has Bond?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing here? Looking for shells?

SEAN CONNERY, ACTOR: No, I'm just looking.


SCHNEIDER: That was Dr. No, the first Bond film, 1962, when the Cold War was at its peak and the word sexism was unheard of.

Through the years, the Bond films' specialty has been double entendre.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Mooonraker")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: My God, what's Bond doing?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.


SCHNEIDER: Kind of a parody of sexism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Octopussy")

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need refilling.

ROGER MOORE, ACTOR: Of course you do.


SCHNEIDER: In Hollywood, one good parody...


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Behave yourself, Mr. Bond!


SCHNEIDER: Begets another, like Austin Powers. James Bond in a time warp.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me")

MIKE MYERS, ACTOR: Yeah, baby, yeah!


SCHNEIDER: Feminists have always rolled their eyes at the Bond films.

SHELLY MANDELL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Some of the women's names over the years were startling and we would say, Can you believe that?

SCHNEIDER: Talk about pushing the envelope.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Tomorrow Never Dies")

BROSNAN: Needs screwing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You always were a cunning linguist, James.


SCHNEIDER: But over the years, the women changed with the times.

MANDELL: The women characters are stronger, more in control, they're tougher. They're not arm candy that they were in the '60s.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Die Another Day")

BROSNAN: Who are you?

BERRY: I'm a girl who just doesn't like to get tied down.


SCHNEIDER: Does bond get it? He better.

MANDELL: The head of the organization for which James Bond works is a woman. "M" is a woman. That was you awesome when that happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "Goldeneye")

JUDI DENCH, ACTRESS: I think you're a sexist, misogynist dinosaur, a relic of the Cold War whose boyish charms are wasted on me.

BROSNAN: Point taken.


SCHNEIDER: These days feminists get it too.

Bond is a parody. It's not real. But "The Bachelor" is.

MANDELL: The reality such as "The Bachelor," -- that particular one, as far as I'm concerned, is more insulting to women.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): Sure, James Bond has retrograde values. The movie makes fun of them.

"The Bachelor" has retrograde values too. But nobody seems to be joking.

In Los Angeles, for CNN, I'm Schneider, Bill Schneider.


BROSNAN: You were expecting someone else?



WOODRUFF: It's just our way of getting "The Bachelor" and James Bond on INSIDE POLITICS.

Coming up next, do you think he's sexy? A new honor for a man fresh back from his honeymoon. We'll get down to the body politic.

Plus, a presidential pardon for this turkey, just in the nick of time. What's happened to all of those turkeys pardoned in the past? We'll investigate any fowl play.

But first, some good news from Main Street did not translate to good news on Wall Street.

Rhonda Schaffler joins us now from the New York Stock Exchange -- Rhonda.


The market finally ran out of steam. We had a sharp retreat here today. One reason for that: Wall Street did not see the positives in this month's consumer confidence index. That closely watched measure of shoppers' attitudes rebounded from a multiyear low, snapping five straight months of declines. But some investors were disappointed the index did not gain more. The report also showed more people are worrying about their jobs.

Investors also shrugging off a better-than-expected overall reading on the economy in the third quarter. Market watchers say investors wand more tangible evidence that the economic recovery is indeed under way and not fumbling here in the current quarter. That did lead to some profit taking, but we have had a very strong seven- week rally on Wall Street.

Here are the closing bell numbers: Dow Jones Industrial Average losing 172 points. Nasdaq fell 37 points or 2 and a half percent. That ended a four-session win streak. And there are several more economic reports due out this week, which could move the markets further.

That is the latest of the from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including a preview of the Congressional battlefields ahead in 2004.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Could it be an all-female run for the White House in 2008? Well, we'll ask our pundits from the left and the right. That's coming up. But first, this "News Alert."


WOODRUFF: Well, some Democrats are still licking their wounds after the midterm elections, but many already are looking ahead to congressional contests in 2004, just two years away. And for them, the picture may not be pretty.

Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times" is here with a little color commentary...


WOODRUFF: ...on our political map.

All right. Going into 2004, Ron, are Democrats already in trouble?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, they -- you know, right before the election this time, one Democrat said to me: "It seems like all of the close races are in the red states. Aren't there any contests in blue states, the states that Al Gore won?"

Well, in 2004, Judy, the problem is going to be even more pronounced. If you look at the Democrats who survived most narrowly in the House this time, with 51 percent of the vote -- there are 11 of them -- seven of them are running in districts that George Bush carried. For example, in Kansas, Dennis Moore: 53 percent of the vote for Bush. In Utah, Jim Matheson, he won only 51 percent himself. George Bush won 64 percent in that district.

In Texas, Charlie Stenholm, again, 51 percent of the vote. George Bush's total in his district: 72 percent. One more, Ken Lucas in Kentucky, again, another 51 percent winner. George Bush was at 61 percent in his district, one of the reasons why Republicans are trying to recruit him to switch parties. So, if Democrats are going to win, they're going to have to do what they didn't do this time, which is win more in districts that Bush carried.

WOODRUFF: Congratulations on knowing your states.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Real quickly, no bright spots for the Democrats in these House races? I want to ask you quickly, because we're going to move on to the Senate.


The bright spot for the Democrats is, they have a number of Republicans who also won, I believe 10 who won with 51 percent or less. But more of those, especially -- I'm sorry, 10 Republicans won with 52 percent or less. But of those who are the most endangered, six at 51 or less, five of them, again, are in districts that Bush carried. So, with Bush on the ballot, Democrats are going to be looking mostly to minimize losses in '04 and hope for gains in the future.

WOODRUFF: Now, what about in the Senate? What's the picture looks like for Democrats?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, in the Senate is a very similar situation. You have 19 Democrats running in 2004. Six of them are running in states that Bush carried by double-digits: North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Indiana, all Democrats running in states that Bush carried by double-digits, three more: in Nevada, Arkansas -- Louisiana, I'm sorry -- and Arkansas, John Breaux, Blanche Lincoln, and Harry Reid, in states that Bush carried by three points or more.

By comparison, Judy, there are three of the 15 Republicans. Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, Chuck Grassley in Iowa, and Peter Fitzgerald in Illinois are going to be running in states that Gore carried. So, again, as it was in 2002, most of the tough races are going to be in places where Bush's popularity can be put to maximum advantage for the Republicans.

It's going to make it tough for the Democrats not only in 2004, but over the next two years for their leadership, because many of these Democrats will be reluctant to get too many votes cross-wise with Bush after watching what happened to someone like Max Cleland, where the president went in and said: "Look, I need someone who is going to support me on big issues." And it hurt him very much.

So, when you look at that kind of map, a tough cycle again for Democrats.

WOODRUFF: No wonder Democrats have headaches. And it's two years away.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, there's a lot of red on that map when you're sitting in Congress.

WOODRUFF: There certainly is. Ron Brownstein, "Los Angeles Times," thanks very much.

Well, move over Donald Rumsfeld. "People" magazine may have proclaimed the Pentagon chief a babe magnet. But on the heels of "People"'s annual sexiest man alive issue, "The New York Post" has its own nominee for sexiest Washington honcho. After all, what does Ben Affleck have that Ari Fleischer doesn't have?

"The Post" says that many New York women think the White House press secretary is -- quote -- "hot stuff." Well, Fleischer's new bride, Becky Davis (ph), certainly does. For the record, she says his best asset is his smile -- spoken like a new bride.

Well, deep below Capitol Hill, the forgotten treasures found inside one very messy basement -- a revealing story when we come back.


WOODRUFF: A dusty old ledger book may seem pretty useless and boring, until you hear where the book was discovered and whose signatures were found inside.

Here's CNN's Bruce Morton.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the Senate sub-basement. Down the narrow stairs, avoid the file cabinet, hang a left, then a right. And you're in a cluttered full of old health insurance forms and, Claire Amoruso and Doug Connolly learned, buried treasure, Senate ledgers dating back to the second Congress, 1791.

CLAIRE AMORUSO, DEMOCRATIC POLICY COMMITTEE: We opened one of the more current ones first. And then we started looking around and then we found the earliest one. We knew we had found something very special.

DOUGLAS CONNOLLY, DEMOCRATIC POLITICALLY COMMITTEE: We're holding something in our hands that has John Adams' name on it. We start turning the pages and we see John Adams again and again. We begin to wonder, can this be real or this simply a copy? Well, by the time we got to Thomas Jefferson, that's a signature everybody knows. And that's the point we realized we have to tell somebody about this.

MORTON: They were working nearby and just got curious. A day later, this stuff would have been thrown out.

RICHARD BAKER, SENATE HISTORIAN: These books, you know, survived an awful lot. They survived the trip down from Philadelphia in 1800, they survived the British burning the capitol in 1814. They survived the Civil War. They almost didn't survive this time.

MORTON: The first book, 1791 to 1881 is the valuable one.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: For the first several Congresses, before the secretary of the Senate could actually pay senators, he had to get the vice president of the United States, the president of the Senate or the president pro tem of the Senate to sign the payroll. So this book actually contains actual signatures of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. It may well be the only document in existence that bears the signatures of all three of those giants of American history. It is literally priceless.

MORTON: And it tells us what the Senate was like, annual budget way under $100,000. Senators got $6 a day when they were in session. Travel, it could take days to get to D.C. from New England, was 30 cents a mile. CNN pays 36.5 now, but the Senate's 30 had to include food and lodging for senator and horse.

They kept trying to give themselves a raise and an annual salary, but voters objected.

All that we almost lost with the book. BAKER: In 1982, they closed up shop in the Capitol--the dispersing office did and moved over to the Senate office building and forgot to take their books.

MORTON: Makes you wonder what else is down there, doesn't it?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: It sure does. All right. We'll send you back down there, Bruce.

Could 2008 be the ultimate year of the woman? Up next: speculation about a presidential contest between Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice? Is there a shred of truth to it? We'll ask Bob Novak and Paul Begala, two guys.


WOODRUFF: With us now from the CNN "CROSSFIRE" set at George Washington University: Paul Begala and Bob Novak.

Gentlemen, first to the Department of Health and Human Services. Not long ago, they went to the Web site of the Centers for Disease Control and took out some information that had to do with sex education and medical studies. Basically, what they did was, they found this connection between abortion and breast cancer. A survey, a study had been done showing there is no connection.

The department took it out, added information about abstinence. Is this something that's appropriate for the government to do?


PAUL BEGALA, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": No, I think it's letting politics get in the way of good science.

Clearly, it's all the government, but there are branches of the government, sectors of the government that have traditionally been immune from politics. And the Centers for Disease Control has been one. They should follow the example, Tommy Thompson should, of C. Everett Koop, who President Reagan's surgeon general, who allowed free discussion of things like condoms and other controversial things, because he thought that was the best medical practice.

The only standard should be, what's the best medical practice? But here, again, the Bush administration is going far beyond what anyone else has ever done in trying to politicize our scientific community. I think it's wrong.

WOODRUFF: Bob, let me read you a quote from the president of Planned Parenthood, Gloria Feldt. She said: "They are gagging scientists and doctors. They are censoring medical and scientific facts. It's ideology and not medicine." ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": You know, it's very interesting. When you're pro-abortion and pro-promiscuity, it is scientific and not political. When you're anti-abortion and pro- abstinence, it's political.

Judy, let me try to explain that this president and this administration is anti-abortion and pro-abstinence. He was during the campaign. It's in the platform. And get over it. That is going to be the policy of this government.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's quickly move on to 2008. "The Los Angeles Times," gentlemen, is reporting that none other than Hillary Clinton and the president's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, are being talked up as possible candidates for president in 2008.

I'm going to read you what Bill Kristol of "The Weekly Standard" said. He said: "I'm betting on a Bush-Rice ticket in 2004. Bush is a bit of a gambler politically."

NOVAK: I think my good friend Bill Kristol was wrong on the elections in 2002, so he's not a very good prophet.

I can guarantee you Condoleezza Rice will not be on the ticket in 2004 and Hillary Clinton won't be on in 2004. 2008, my goodness, who knows what's going to happen? Hillary may want to run. I hope she's nominated. I think America deserves an opportunity to vote against her.

Condoleezza Rice is being urged to run for the Senate against Barbara Boxer in 2004. She says absolutely not. She's not interested in politics. And I believe her.


BEGALA: Well, it would be fascinating. As a pundit, I'd pay anything to see those two go at it.

Senator Clinton has already, of course, been elected in one of the biggest states in the Union, one of most diverse states in the Union. Dr. Rice is an amazingly accomplished woman, but has never had any elective office. And I think that's a huge -- the last person I guess I can think of who became president in their first run for office was Dwight David Eisenhower, who had just saved the world. And, as important as Dr. Rice's job is, she ain't no Ike.

NOVAK: I think George Washington did, too.


BEGALA: Hang on. I'll give you Washington. She ain't no Washington either, though, Bob. She's a remarkable woman. She should run, though. Run Condi. Run Hillary. In fact, we can get started right here.

NOVAK: I'd like to see her run against Barbara Boxer, because I think then you'd have ex-Senator Boxer.

WOODRUFF: OK, we're going to leave it there.

Gentlemen, Bob Novak, Paul Begala, thank you both.

BEGALA: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Still ahead: the looming confrontation with Iraq. I'll talk about efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein and U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia with the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Bob Graham.


WOODRUFF: U.N. inspectors are poised to begin the first weapons inspections inside Iraq in almost four years, while here in Washington, U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia are under intense public scrutiny.

With me now from Atlanta to talk about these and other issues, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Bob Graham of Florida.

Senator, with all the attention being now given to Saudi Arabia -- there's a story in "The Washington Post" today saying the administration is about to crack down on Saudi Arabia, saying they must crack down on terrorists, the White House saying that's a little overdone. Is the Saudi government doing enough at this point?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: In my opinion, not. In fact, there are disturbing issues being raised about just what is the Saudi government's relationship with terrorists.

It would substantially ratchet up the potential of terrorist groups in the United States, if they were being given the support and infrastructure and facilitation of a foreign government. And there are at least some evidences out there that that has been the case. So, I think this is an extremely important issue, especially as we approach the time when we may be putting Saddam Hussein's back against the wall, where he has indicated that he would retaliate by unleashing terrorists within the United States for a wave of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens.

If those terrorists were being facilitated and supported and financed by a foreign government, that would substantially increase their lethality.

WOODRUFF: One other quick question. You were just telling me, reminding me about a story in "The Chicago Tribune" today about visas being given over the last few weeks to more than 100 people, people who it turns out have some association with terrorism. What's going on here? What fell through the cracks?

GRAHAM: I'm afraid that's another chapter in the book of one agency of the federal government not knowing what the other one is doing. In this case, the State Department, which has responsibility for issuing visas, was not getting the information from the FBI or the CIA about individuals who had a terrorist background, and, therefore, issuing visas to those persons. And now there's the potential that 105 who should not have gotten such visas are either in the United States or have a legal visa to get into the United States.

WOODRUFF: So, obviously, something you're following up on.

Let me turn quickly to Iraq. We know the inspectors formally begin their work tomorrow. The Iraqi government is now saying they make a distinction between these so-called presidential sites and ministries, on the one hand, and factories and other locations on the other. Are we already heading into a problem before this even gets started?

GRAHAM: Well, my own sense is that there is a 70 percent likelihood that we will be at war with Iraq sometime this winter. I just find it very difficult, looking at the history of Saddam Hussein, that he is going to be as forthcoming as President Bush will require in order to avoid that confrontation.

And what that says to me is that we need to be doing everything we can in the remaining 50 days between now and when war might break out to disable, dismantle destroy those terrorist groups inside the United States that are potentially poised to strike us and their headquarters and training operations in the Middle East.

WOODRUFF: Are you still as concerned, Senator, as you've expressed in the recent past about the ability of the United States to both focus on Iraq and Saddam Hussein, and, at the same time, fight the war on terror here in this country?

GRAHAM: What I think we need to do, Judy, is to do it in sequence.

And the first priority is the terrorist issue, because they are here. They are prepared. They are ready to receive the call to strike. And we have information from our intelligence services that, once Saddam Hussein is close to losing power, that's when he'll become the most dangerous and potentially unleash this terror.

So, to me, smartness says, let's try to reduce the capacity of those terrorists before we get them into the position that they're most likely to have their trigger pulled. And then we'll fight the war against Saddam Hussein. The next 50 days could be crucial in terms of the protection of the lives of thousands of Americans.

WOODRUFF: A worrying set of circumstances.

Senator Bob Graham, thank you very much.

GRAHAM: Thank you very much, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thanks for talking with us.

Still ahead: It is almost turkey time. And we have the scoop on the fate of the birds who get pardoned by the president.

So stay with us.


WOODRUFF: Next on INSIDE POLITICS: Lynne Cheney reaches new heights as she gets Washington into the holiday spirit.


WOODRUFF: About this time of year, the wife of the vice president gets an early Christmas lift. In keeping with tradition, Lynne Cheney rose some 40 feet above the ground to put an ornament on top of the National Christmas Tree. The tree will be lit on December the 5th.

In another holiday ritual today, President Bush spared two turkeys from the Thanksgiving dinner table, including the first female fowl to get a presidential pardon. Mr. Bush said someone else pet Katie before he touched the plucky bird. But Katie wasn't as wild as one of the turkeys pardoned by President Clinton. You might think such honored birds would be sitting pretty, but it turns out that hardly -- remember this from a few years ago?

But you should know that hardly any of the turkeys sent by the presidents to Virginia's Frying Pan Park has ever lived more than a couple of months after Thanksgiving. They're usually too fat and too unhealthy to last long. But there is a happy ending to this saga for President Bush. The two turkeys that he pardoned last Thanksgiving proved to be exceptions. They are still alive and gobbling a year later. They must be Republicans.

Finally, in the spirit of staying healthy, we want to tell you about one of us on INSIDE POLITICS who has been able to stay healthy. Our own Sasha Johnson, producer here in Washington, ran, on this past Sunday, the 26.2-mile Philadelphia Marathon. She did very well, one of 5,000 people to run it. At 26 years old, Sasha spends most of her time getting INSIDE POLITICS on the air, making it the show that it is. She's not out running all the time.

So, we are really proud of you, Sasha.

So, that's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.


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