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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

Anti-War Protesters Set to March on Washington

Aired January 17, 2003 - 16:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: INSIDE POLITICS begins right now.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Warheads and harsh words.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The fact that Iraq is in possession of undeclared chemical warheads is in of itself a serious and troubling matter.

ANNOUNCER: Is this the bombshell that triggers war?

Peace, protests, and politics: looking ahead to a weekend of demonstrations, and how that might shape the presidential race in 2004.

The Iowa forecast: what's the political climate for Democrats heading to the Hawkeye State?

Paging power brokers: Washington sends a message about the importance of Blackberries.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Our communications were by e-mail, or by -- I don't want to do a product promotion, but it was by BlackBerry.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. The White House says the discovery of 12 empty chemical warheads outside of Baghdad is proof that Iraq has not disarmed.

In this "NewsCycle," our just released poll shows 71 percent of Americans say the warheads are definite proof that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, 51 percent say the warheads mean the U.S. should take military action as soon as possible, 41 percent say they disagree.

Iraqi officials are accusing the United Nations of using the warheads as a pretext to launch a U.S.-led war against Iraq. Saddam Hussein says those who attack Iraq will be committing -- quote -- "suicide." His defiant words came in a speech marking the Gulf War anniversary.

En route to Iraq, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in London. Blix says the warheads found in Iraq are not a definite sign of an ongoing weapons program. He again demanded more cooperation from Baghdad.

Thousands more U.S. Marines and sailors are shipping out to the Persian Gulf region for possible war with Iraq. An armada of seven ships left San Diego today.

Well, as the U.S. military buildup in the Gulf continues, anti- war protesters are gathering here in Washington and other cities around the nation for a peace demonstration this weekend.

CNN's Kathleen Koch talked with some of the people behind the protests.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you know, this is the last volunteer's meeting before the January 18 demonstration against the war in Iraq.

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Eighteen-year-old Peta Lindsey is young and idealistic, organizing student attendance for the Saturday anti-war demonstration. She epitomizes the movement's typical foot soldier.

PETA LINDSEY, STUDENT PROTEST ORGANIZER: We've seen throughout history that the students are the most powerful force for social change.

It takes hundreds and hundreds of people to make these demonstration go off successfully.

KOCH: But throughout the ranks, today's peace activists are growing grayer and more moderate. Linda Black joined other Republican business leaders in taking out a full-page ad Monday in the "Wall Street Journal" saying, -- quote -- "The world wants Saddam Hussein disarmed, but you must find a better way to do it."

LINDA BLACK, BUSINESS LEADERS FOR SENSIBLE PRIORITIES: Bush needs to really seriously consider the views of this diverse group, that he should not just set the course and go for it without taking a lot of other people's views into consideration.

KOCH: Forty-one-year-old Thomas Jarrett of Maplewood, New Jersey will be protesting Saturday for the first time ever. He's troubled by President Bush's policy on Iraq, in part because he was a green beret during the Persian Gulf War.

THOMAS JARRETT, FORMER GREEN BERET: I volunteered because I was offended at the idea of a sovereign country being invaded by a hostile nation. And it seems ironic to me now that we're looking to go into Iraq.

KOCH: Activists are reaching a broader audience, in part via the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three, two, one...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe the unthinkable. Maybe that is why Americans are saying to President Bush, let the inspections work.

KOCH: This controversial ad released Thursday modeled on Lyndon Johnson's 1964 daisy ad was funded with money raised from online contributors.

ELI PARISSER, MOVEON.ORG: Many of them support the president, many of them supported the campaign in Afghanistan, but they simply don't understand way it is critical that we rush to war with Iraq.

KOCH: So both the tactics and the players have changed since the '60s anti-war protests.

ANN FLORINI, PROTEST HISTORIAN: This is not a protest dominated by people who are worrying that they're about to go off to war. This is a protest dominated by people who really wonder whether what the United States is about to do is a good thing.

KOCH: Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Actress Janeane Garofalo is one of those planning to join the anti-war march here in Washington tomorrow. I spoke with Garofalo a short while ago, and I started by asking her what she and others are trying to accomplish.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANEANE GAROFALO, ACTRESS: Me, personally, and the group that I work with, Win Without War, is trying to stop the war in Iraq, obviously, but we urge diplomacy and peaceful solutions, and we urge the United States and Britain to work with the United Nations, and the international Security Council, and allow the weapons inspectors to stay on the ground and do their job.

That seems like the most logical way to disarm Saddam, to allow them to do their job, and it seems like the best way to save innocent Iraqi and American lives.

WOODRUFF: Well, the Bush administration, I think, would say, well, that's what we're doing. We are giving the inspectors time, but at some point, there has to be a timetable, and we have to get an answer, and then we have to make a decision. The world does.

GAROFALO: I would say that that is actually not very true. I think they have tried to hinder the process every step of the way, and the Bush administration would have done without going to the U.N. and having weapons inspections entirely. They were not initially supportive of either UNSCOM or UNMOVIC this time around, and I think that the pressure that they have been repeatedly, with Britain, putting on the inspectors is not helpful at all, and I don't think they have been very supportive of Hans Blix or his team.

WOODRUFF: Well, as you know, there is, what, a January 27 deadline when Mr. Blix is going to report back to the United Nations. The Bush administration is looking at that as a very important date.

They're saying, if we don't -- in essence, what they are saying is if we don't have a sense by then that we've got all the information that Saddam Hussein has with regard to weapons of mass destruction, then we probably need to put the process in motion to take military action.

GAROFALO: OK, but I think we do have a sense. I think that the weapons inspectors have said as much. Both UNSCOM and UNMOVIC have repeatedly said there is no smoking gun, there is no threat as of right now, no evidence of any threat from Saddam Hussein to his neighbors or to the United States. There is no link of Saddam Hussein to al Qaeda, and the only way to accomplish any goals, diplomatically and peacefully, is to allow the weapons inspectors to stay on the ground and perform their tasks unfettered, and that's what we urge.

WOODRUFF: If the inspectors were to come up with evidence, and as you know, yesterday they turned up these dozen or so chemical warheads, empty chemical warheads, but nevertheless, warheads, if they were to come up with evidence, would you then be supportive of the idea of the U.S. and others taking military action to disarm Saddam?

GAROFALO: That is an interesting question that I can only deal with when it happens. You know, the weapons inspections, that's a great thing they found those empty warheads yesterday, and Hans Blix has said it is an interesting find, but it is not a particularly alarming find.

If they find weapons of mass destruction, then there is an issue to deal with. Right now, though, where there is no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, this military buildup is ridiculous, and I fear -- and a lot of people fear -- that we're going to wind up with another Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, a manufactured altercation to get us into a war that is immoral, and at this point it seems to be illegal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Actress Janeane Garofalo, who will be participating in anti-war demonstrations in Washington tomorrow.

Well, meanwhile, thousands of anti-war and anti-American demonstrators took to the streets in the Arab world today.

In Baghdad, Iraqis voiced their support for Saddam Hussein, and demonstrated their anger at the United States by burning American flags. About 2,000 people gathered peacefully in Bahrain, meanwhile, to mark the 12th anniversary of the Gulf War and denounce the possibility of another conflict.

Separately, several thousand Palestinians marched in Gaza City, part of a week-long series of rallies to show solidarity with Iraq. A senior member of the Islamic group Hamas said that Muslims and Arabs would attack U.S. targets everywhere if America attacked Iraq.

Well, another war against Iraq clearly would have huge implications around the world. Here in the United States, though, the Democrats vying for President Bush's job know that the war could affect their futures.

Here's our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Of all the things which could shape the '04 race, war is the most obvious and least predictable.

LIEBERMAN: We must never shrink from using American power to defend our security, and our ideals against evil in a time of war.

CROWLEY: Joe Lieberman is the most hawkish of the hawks in the field. Cosponsor of the Iraq resolution, he supports the president, and so does Missouri Democrat Richard Gephardt, who figuratively and literally stands behind the president.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D), MISSOURI: This is the most important thing that we do. This should not be about politics.

CROWLEY: In Democratic primaries, hawks are pretty much an endangered species, but if there's war and it goes well, Lieberman and Gephardt will look good. The problem is -- George W. Bush will look even better.

The only flat no in the '04 Democratic field comes, fittingly, from the protest candidate.

THE REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are we engaged in looking for weapons of mass destruction or are we engaged in a political attempt of mass distraction? Don't look at the economy. Don't look at social and domestic issues. Let's go after Hussein.

CROWLEY: Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean says he would have said no to the president, but ask Dean directly, and there's a maybe in there.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wanted to make the case to the American people, which he has not done, and I wanted to be up front with the American people about how long we're going to be in Iraq.

CROWLEY: Every member of Congress now running for president voted in favor of the resolution of war against Iraq, though John Edwards awaits the outcome of the U.N. inspections.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: At the end of the day, I've made very clear from the beginning that if it is necessary, we should be willing to use military force to make sure that this man does not get nuclear weapons. CROWLEY: And there were clear question marks and loopholes in John Kerry's yes vote. A veteran of both Vietnam and the peace movement which ended it, Kerry's conflict is probably as inevitable as it is obvious.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you're going to do it, you do it because you have to, not because you want to. And you do it as a matter of exhaustion of all other remedies to you.

CROWLEY: If the war goes sour, Kerry and Edwards have running room to move away from it, but not enough room to use it against the president.

As it turns out, war with Iraq is not just the most obvious and least predictable factor in the '04 equation, it's also the trickiest.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: No doubt about it.

Well, coming up, the fallout continues from the president's new plunge into the affirmative action debate. That's in our "Taking Issues" segment.

Also ahead:

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington, with the "Political Play of the Week" that truly is a matter of life and death.

WOODRUFF: The bloom is off the rose for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. We'll tell you just how far his poll numbers have dropped.

And next -- Iowa-bound, as some Democrats head there to test their presidential prospects, we'll get the lay of the political landscape.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(voice-over): Time now to check your "I.P. I.Q." When did Iowa first hold its president's caucuses in January? Was it, A., 1968? B., 1972? or, C., 1976? The answer coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A new Gallup poll out today puts the president's job approval rating at 61 percent. Well, our CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll that was released Monday showed Mr. Bush's rating at a post-9/11 low of 58 percent. Now that is a three-point increase, but with just a three-point margin of error, it is not clear whether that actually represents a change in public opinion.

Coming up, it was anything but a fabulous Friday for the stock markets. We'll go live to Wall Street in a moment. Plus: was it a confirmation hearing or a coronation? We'll go live to Capitol Hill where Tom Ridge, he had his day.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Time now to check your "I.P. I.Q." When did Iowa first hold its president's caucuses in January? Was it A., 1968? B., 1972? or C., 1976? The correct answer: B. Prior to 1972, the caucuses were usually held in March or April. It moved to January and made these caucuses the first nominating contests of the campaign calendar.

(on camera): Well, the flurry of Democrats making plans to run for the White House has focused new attention on the party hopefuls. Our new CNN/"TIME" magazine poll finds Senator Joe Lieberman leads at this early date with 21 percent support among registered Democrats. Senators John Edwards and John Kerry and Congressman Dick Gephardt are about even, as you can you see. Former Vermont Governor Dean, Senator Bob Graham, who may or may not get in, and the Reverend Al Sharpton, expected to get in next week, all received 3 percent or less.

Kerry, Dean and Gephardt are traveling to Iowa this weekend. All three have agreed to attend the same event in Lynn County on Saturday.

With me now to talk more about Iowa and the 2004 Democratic field is David Yepsen of the "Des Moines Register."

All right, David. We know Mr. Gephardt is the boy next door, do to speak. What about these other Democrats who are coming to Iowa, spending time there? How are they shaping up?

DAVID YEPSEN, DES MOINES REGISTER: Well, this is really Senator Kerry's first big weekend in the state. He's only made one foray in here before. He's kind of the hot candidate right now. A lot of Democrats are interested in getting a chance to meet him and hear from him. They've heard a lot from Dick Gephardt over the years. Howard Dean has spent a lot of time here. So this is sort of Kerry's debut, if you will.

WOODRUFF: And -- so what does that mean? I mean, what does he have -- does he have to make a big splash? What does it mean?

YEPSEN: Well, I think he's got some ground to make up. I mean, he's -- other candidates have been here. People want to know who these guys are. As you know, you've got to make umpteen trips out here before they'll sign up with you.

And so, I think -- I think -- sure. I think a big splash would be nice. It's not required, but Senator Kerry's got to finish in the top three if hopes to do well later on in the race. That's been the historical pattern.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about Dick Gephardt. Just how much of an advantage does he have truly have by being from Missouri, next door?

YEPSEN: Well, it's a mixed bag, Judy. I mean, he is from next door, and he has spent a lot of time here and he did win here 1988.

But that said, the state Democratic Party people will also tell you that Mr. Gephardt's support is not maybe as much as it was in 1988. Only 30 percent of the people who were at the caucuses for him in 1988 are still active in the Democratic Party today. So that means Dick Gephardt has got a problem of expectations. He's expected to do well here. If he does, he really doesn't win anything out of here. But at the same time, he's got a lot of work to do here if he hopes to finish in first place.

WOODRUFF: When you say only 30 percent still active, you mean because they've just gotten old and they don't do that anymore or what?

YEPSEN: That's right. Some may have died off; some may no longer participate.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the war -- potential war against Iraq. How much of an effect, if any, is that going to have on the Democrats jockeying for position?

YEPSEN: Well, Judy, I thought Candy's piece a moment ago was right on. I mean, I think that once that conflict breaks out, it just shuts down this campaign for a period of time. It's going to be really unseemly for people to be running around running for president when Americans are in harm's way.

And I think, too, Democrats themselves are of different minds on this. This is a pretty pacifist state, if will you. There are a lot of Democrats who are not fired up about this idea of going to war.

At the same time, there's also a rally around the flag sort of notion. So, I think it puts the campaign on hold and really starts to make Democrats think a lot about where they really want to be in this. They're really just having a hard time sorting out the differences among these candidates.

WOODRUFF: When you say it, it freezes everything in effect. But if you've got candidates who are really opposed -- I mean, you've got Al Sharpton; you've got Howard Dean saying he's got real reservations here, he hasn't seen the evidence, the president hasn't made his case. Why can't those arguments get out there?

YEPSEN: Well, they can.

Except I'm not sure Al Sharpton is a serious player in this thing. He's been here once a long time ago and I don't think any Iowa Democrats think he's really going to be a credible contender for the presidency.

You're right; Howard Dean has spoken out against it, but I don't think he's emerged as the peace candidate in the race yet. I don't think there is -- I don't that candidate's emerged yet.

WOODRUFF: All right we are -- what? Fifty-two? Fifty-three? How many weeks are we out from these caucuses, David? YEPSEN: One year...

WOODRUFF: How important...

YEPSEN: One year and two days, Judy.

WOODRUFF: But who's counting? But how much does it matter right now? We report Inside Baseball, the organization, who they've got lined up, how much does it really matter what they're doing right now?

YEPSEN: Oh, I think it matters.

I mean, this is a long process. You start slow; you build support; you come out here. Most of these campaigns are now hiring staffers. All three of these candidates that are out here this weekend have hired some very good people to run their campaigns.

So, while it's early, it's still very important.

WOODRUFF: Well, it's important to have David Yepsen on. We're talking about Iowa politics.

Thanks a lot, David. Good to see you.

YEPSEN: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: David Yepsen with the "Des Moines Register."

YEPSEN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," Democratic presidential hopeful Al Sharpton, who we mentioned, is in New Hampshire, his second visit to the Granite State. Sharpton met with party activists this morning in Concord, where he blasted the Bush White House policy on Iraq as --quote -- "the politics of mass distraction." He also criticized fellow Democrats for not taking a stronger stand against a potential war in Iraq.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to tame New York's budget problems are taking a toll on his approval rating. A "New York Times" survey finds 53 percent of Big Apple residents disapprove of the way Bloomberg is handling his job. That is up 27 points since a similar poll last June; 31 percent say they approve of Bloomberg's job performance.

Former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson is the first Democrat to express interest publicly in Zell Miller's Senate seat. Jackson, you know, was the first African-American elected Atlanta mayor, serving from 1973 to 1980 and returning for a final term starting in 1989. He began his political career back in 1968 with an unsuccessful run against the late Senator Herman Talmidge in the Democratic primary in Georgia.

Coming up -- Tom Ridge one step closer to being called Mr. Secretary. But not everyone's giving him a free ride.

Plus -- Tom Daschle takes action over affirmative action. The latest battle in the controversial case over race.

(MARKET UPDATE)

WOODRUFF: Are they a help or a waste of time? They are certainly not all Pulitzer Prize winning novels, but they do get their authors on TV. We'll open the chapter on political candidates and the books they write, coming up.

But first, this "News Alert."

(NEWS ALERT)

WOODRUFF: The Senate Governmental Affairs Committee today approved Tom Ridge's nomination to be the first secretary of homeland security. The full Senate is expected to vote to confirm Ridge early next week.

Our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl is on the Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It looked more like a coronation than a confirmation hearing, as even the toughest critics of the president's approach to fight terrorism, praised his choice to head the Department of Homeland Security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been one of your greatest fans, and I am happy to report to you that you already have my vote, no matter what you say today. But I will enthusiastically and overwhelmingly support your quick confirmation by the United States Senate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that Governor Ridge is exactly the right person for the job. His background, temperament and experience make him ideally qualified to be the first secretary of homeland security.

KARL: The committee's top Democrat said that it is unacceptable that the administration has not done more to protect the country since September 11 attacks.

LIEBERMAN: When almost every independent assessment that I have seen says that, in almost every way, America is as vulnerable today to terrorist attack as we were on September 11.

KARL: Ridge disagreed.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY DIRECTOR: We have worked together successfully during this past year. And I say, as a result, America is a safer place today than on September 10, 2001.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: And, Judy, the full Senate is expected to vote on the Ridge nomination on Tuesday. And when they do, it's expected to act very much like the Government Affairs Committee, which, of course, confirmed him or voted to confirm him unanimously -- Judy. WOODRUFF: Jonathan, different subject. We know Monday is Martin Luther King Day. And you've learned something about the new Senate majority leader and what he's planning to do Monday?

KARL: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will have a busy day on Monday, Martin Luther King Day. The first thing he's going to do is go down to Atlanta Monday morning to attend services with the King family commemorating the holiday at the Ebenezer Baptist church.

After that, as we reported previously, he will be going to New York to be giving what his aides are calling a major address on the issue of race relations at the dinner of the Congress of Racial Equality on Monday night. So, it will be his first major address on that issue, Judy, since becoming leader.

WOODRUFF: Especially significant in the wake of the Trent Lott resignation.

KARL: Yes.

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

Coming up next: The president has issued a challenge to affirmative action. Do Americans agree with his stand? The answer ahead, along with a debate on the fallout from Mr. Bush's remarks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: First lady Laura Bush with children at the Martin Luther King Library in downtown Washington today. Joined by Washington, D.C., Mayor Tony Williams, Mrs. Bush read to the children and she helped organize the bookshelves, the former librarian she is, all a kickoff for Monday's Martin Luther King holiday.

Well, racial politics and racial preferences now are in the spotlight because of the King holiday and because of the president's decision this week to challenge affirmative action policies at the University of Michigan. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, by the way, has issued a statement today saying she agrees with the president's position and saying that he indeed consulted her before making it.

But she added -- quote -- "I believe that while race-neutral means are preferable, it is appropriate to use race as one factor among others in achieving a diverse student body."

Meantime, Minority Leader Tom Daschle announced this morning that he would push to get the Senate on the record opposing the president's affirmative action stand. His first attempt, a unanimous consent vote, was expected to fail. But Daschle plans to try again by attaching it to the Senate spending bill.

On the heels of the president's decision, our new CNN/"TIME" poll shows 39 percent of Americans say they favor racial preferences in college and law school admissions, but 54 percent say they are opposed. And with us now: Mindy Tucker, communications director for the Republican National Committee; and Ann Lewis, head of the Democratic National Committee Women's Vote Center.

Mindy, to you first.

What's going on with Condoleezza Rice issuing a statement saying race, she believes it shouldn't be the only factor, but it is one of the factors that should be considered. Now, that's not part of the administration's submission to the court.

MINDY TUCKER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, RNC: I think it reflects the administration's desire to see more diversity in our schools. Everybody acknowledges that there's a problem. Just because our solution is a little bit different than the Democrats' solution doesn't mean that it's the wrong solution.

I know they think they have the corner on this market. But, frankly, we all need to get together and work towards the goal that we all have, which is to increase diversity in our schools. It's very important. It's something she's obviously committed to, the president this week said he's committed to. He actually dealt with this problem in Texas, created a solution that works that doesn't include quotas.

It's called affirmative access. And it reflects his and I think the entire administration's position, that we want to see more diversity in our schools.

WOODRUFF: Ann Lewis, do you give the president credit for -- even though he's saying, we don't like the Michigan plan, he's not saying -- he's calling for this whole process to be overturned. He's saying, yes, it's unconstitutional, but he didn't go one step further.

ANN LEWIS, CHAIRWOMAN, DNC WOMEN'S VOTE CENTER: Well, I do find it very troubling that, when the president got to speak to millions of Americans about his stand and the administration's stand, he used the term quota over and over, which is a very negative term. It has racial preference -- sort of preference allegations, if you will.

And yet, when we see the brief that comes forward, it's much more narrowly tailored. So, when he had a chance to talk to the largest majority of Americans, I'm afraid the president used some race- conscious language. That's quite a contrast to some of the statements that are now being made today. I welcome comments like those by Mindy saying that diversity is an important goal. It is. I'm glad to see that Condoleezza Rice now says race should one of the factors. It should, although that is not what the administration's brief says.

And I would then go back to comments by those made by Secretary of State Colin Powell when he talked out about the importance of affirmative action. And he said -- I quote -- "Some in our party miss no opportunity to roundly and loudly condemn affirmative action that helped a few thousand black kids get an education, but you'll hardly hear a whimper when it's for affirmative action for lobbyists, who load our federal tax code with preferences for special interests."

So, maybe they ought to continue this debate within the administration.

WOODRUFF: Mindy, one final word on that?

TUCKER: Well, I'd love to continue the debate. And where I would like to see it go is actually to elementary, secondary school children, who are stuck in disadvantaged schools, the very children that the president is trying to help with the No Child Left Behind Act. The Democrats have refused to really come together and focus on that with us.

I hope that they, with the same vigor that are arguing about this issue, will join us in making sure that, at a very early age, children have access to quality education, so that they can be educated, they can get into college, they can realize their dreams.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly to the different subject of Iraq, the finding this week of these chemical warheads, empty chemical warheads.

Ann Lewis, should that make it any more likely that the United States is going to go to war with Iraq?

LEWIS: Well, it should certainly remind us all why we have to be so cautious when we listen to Saddam Hussein.

What I have heard in the last 24 hours about these warheads is, first, they were just so old, we forgot we had them, and, second, well, they were included on our weapons declaration. Now, I don't think that both of those can be true, Judy. So, we'll be interested to see. But this does seem to be very much a pattern with Saddam Hussein. That is, they say they have no weapons. Then something is discovered and they say, oops, well, let us amend that.

WOODRUFF: Mindy, does it make is likelier, do you think, that we're going to see military action?

TUCKER: I think we have to remember, this is a process. This is a collection of information.

The inspections are very important. We have emphasized the importance of these inspections. This is an important piece of information that's been gathered from those inspections. But we need to finish the inspections. We need to continue to collect all the information we can, so that the president can make the best possible decision for our country.

WOODRUFF: All right, we are going to have to leave it there.

Mindy Tucker, joining us from San Diego, Ann Lewis, here in Washington, thank you both. Have a good weekend.

Straight ahead: They are seemingly everywhere on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. But are their days numbers? Why an official in Congress is worried about the future of those small, but powerful communicators.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: These days in Washington, it seems like everyone has a BlackBerry, especially on Capitol Hill. That could change, however, if the company that operates the BlackBerry system is forced to pull the plug because of a legal dispute. Could it happen?

Our Tim O'Brien takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TIM O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, they look like oversized beepers, but these nifty little devices are a lot more, as we know. You can send and receive e-mails on them very easily. And, more importantly, you can access e-mail on your home or office computers.

They're omnipresent on Wall Street and here in Washington. You may recall last month, when Al Gore decided he was not going to run for president in 2004, one of the first persons he told was his old running mate, Joe Lieberman.

LIEBERMAN: As befits our relationship in the 21st Century, our communications were by e-mail or by -- I don't want to do a product promotion, but it was by BlackBerry.

O'BRIEN: But now there is some question as to who owns the patent on this device. A Canadian firm called Research in Motion currently produces the BlackBerry and operates the system.

Last November, a jury found that that company had violated the patent rights of NTP Inc., a Virginia-based holding company. A jury ordered Research in Motion to pay NTP $23 million. But -- get this -- NTP has also asked a court to enjoin Research in Motion from continuing to operate the BlackBerry system until it pays royalty fees.

Now, if that injunction is granted, it has the potential to wreak some havoc on Capitol Hill, at least so says James Eagan, the chief administrative officer of the House of Representatives. In a letter to the attorneys for NTP, Eagan says the House has issued some 3,000 BlackBerrys to members of Congress and staff and has invested around $6 million in BlackBerry technology.

"During a terrorist attack or other national security emergency," writes Eagan, "it is critical that members of Congress be able to communicate with each other and the executive branch."

Now, NTP has responded, says this letter is surprising, that their lawyers have already been in touch with House lawyers and that they have confirmed they're -- quote -- "more than willing to work with the House to avoid any disruption."

Of course, it's not just here in Washington. Roughly half a million consumers use the BlackBerry device. And they all stand to be affected, should the court grant that injunction -- Judy.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Tim O'Brien.

And we even know people in the news media who would be drastically affected if the BlackBerrys were done away with, even for a short time.

The executive decision that changed a political legacy. Up next: a debate over democracy and the death penalty and the "Political Play of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The long-running debate over the death penalty returned front and center this week with a controversial decision by a controversial governor.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins me now -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Judy, as we all know, a week ago, George Ryan was about to leave office as governor of Illinois with a tarnished legacy, embroiled in scandal, repudiated by his party, so unpopular he chose not to run for a second term.

Last weekend, Ryan created a different kind of legacy for himself with one decisive act and the "Political Play of the Week."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): It was a dramatic and breathtaking decision.

GOV. GEORGE RYAN (R), ILLINOIS: Today, about two and a half days before my term ends as governor, I stand before you to explain my frustrations and deep concerns about both the administration and the penalty of death.

SCHNEIDER: With that, the governor commuted the sentences of 167 death row inmates in Illinois to life imprisonment. The reaction in Illinois was one of anger and disbelief, from prosecutors...

RICHARD DEVINE, COOK COUNTY STATE ATTORNEY: They will be remembered as among the most irresponsible decisions ever taken by a state's chief executive.

SCHNEIDER: ... and from families of the crime victims.

TOM NOLAND, BROTHER OF VICTIM: Yesterday, from the grave, I heard Patty-Ann (ph) screaming out to me, Governor Ryan, why are you doing this?

SCHNEIDER: Outside the United States, however, Governor Ryan's decision met with acclaim. The president of Mexico, who once canceled a meeting with President Bush because of the execution of a Mexican citizen, called Governor Ryan personally.

VICENTE FOX, MEXICAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We talked about the important step that Governor Ryan took in Illinois, which saved three Mexicans from the death penalty.

SCHNEIDER: Activists abroad are treating Ryan as a hero. They say it shows that American democracy works.

Actually, it doesn't. Ryan could do this only because he was not answerable to the people. His political career is over. He acted out of conscience.

RYAN: Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error, error in determining guilt, error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die.

SCHNEIDER: The decision is likely to have political impact.

MICHEL TAUBE, TOGETHER AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY: It's a very good decision, because it will contribute to dial up the debate on the death penalty in the USA.

SCHNEIDER: That it could do, because Americans are divided right down the middle over whether Governor Ryan did the right thing.

Ryan's decision will be fiercely debated and long remembered. That's a legacy. It's also the "Political Play of the Week."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Why does America still have the death penalty when most other countries have abolished it? Because popular opinion supports the death penalty and U.S. democracy is highly sensitive to public opinion. Now, how do you change public opinion? With a debate, exactly the kind of debate Governor Ryan's act is provoking.

WOODRUFF: That poll, fascinating split, right down the middle.

SCHNEIDER: Couldn't be closer, 44-44.

WOODRUFF: Forty-four to 44.

SCHNEIDER: And that's grounds for a debate.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, who happens to be off to Israel next week.

SCHNEIDER: I will be.

WOODRUFF: To cover the run-up to those elections over there.

SCHNEIDER: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: All right, well, we'll be watching you.

SCHNEIDER: Shalom.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: And we'll have your pieces on our show. Thanks. More and more politicians are signing on to a different way of stumping. Up next: the book tour as a campaign event. Bruce Morton will have the latest chapter on that story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: When your husband is a presidential candidate, it's probably a good idea to be a member of his political party. Well, Democrat John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, said today that she is leaving the GOP, the party of her late husband, Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania.

But that may be a little less notable than her comments about whether the news media might find any skeletons in John Kerry's closet. "The Boston Herald" quotes Heinz as saying, "I don't know about John, because I wasn't there," meaning before she met him. But she added: "Do I sleep at night worried about anything? No."

In the presidential race, Senator Joe Lieberman joined the ranks of Democratic contenders this week and he signed on to another club as well, made up of politicians-turned-authors.

Our Bruce Morton considers the political power of going by the book.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You know the routine. Announce. Visit Iowa and New Hampshire. Oh, and when's your book coming out?

Joe and Hadassah Lieberman's book is just out, about last time, but in time for this time. Al Gore had one on the environment last time. And he and his wife wrote one this time, but it didn't lead the best-seller lists and he's not a candidate. George W. Bush had one last time. Longtime aide Karen Hughes wrote it. And he did win, of course.

John Edwards is writing a book about being a trial lawyer. John Kerry reportedly has commissioned one on his time in Vietnam. But do they do any good?

DAN BALZ, "THE WASHINGTON POST": No, not really. I don't think that the publication of a campaign book makes much of a difference at all.

MORTON: He notes one exception: John McCain's "Faith of my Fathers." But that was a remarkable story of how McCain's values -- his father and grandfathers were admirals -- sustained him in a North Vietnamese prison. And maybe, years earlier, John Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage," which associated a young senator with a quality voters looked.

BALZ: I think, in some measure, it's an effort to try to tell the story of their own life the way they want it to be told. But, for the most part, I think it's partly an exercise that they feel they need to go through and they like the publicity.

MORTON (on camera): The tradition goes way back. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote "The Scarlet Letter" and all those other books, did a campaign biography for Franklin Pierce. They were old school friends. And when Pierce won the presidency, he made Hawthorne an ambassador.

(voice-over): Anyway, they're a tradition and they're coming soon -- well, some are already here -- coming soon to a book store near you. Are you ready?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: My question is, how do they have time to write those books while they're campaigning?

Well, looking ahead to what's in the works for Monday's INSIDE POLITICS, we will recap the Democratic gathering in Iowa this weekend and find out which candidates impressed the crowds. Our Candy Crowley will be in Iowa for all the festivities. She'll have a complete report. Plus, we will check out some of the award-winning political ads of the 2000 campaign season.

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

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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