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Northeast Begins Massive Clean-up Following Snow; Bush Pushes Forward on Iraq Despite Protests

Aired February 18, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The big dig. The snowbound Northeast starts moving again. But at what price?

At the U.N., would a second resolution on Iraq get a frosty reception? President Bush moves forward despite global protests.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, signs of protest, it's like deciding, well, I'm going to decide policy based upon a focus group.

ANNOUNCER: The Democrat strategy on war with Iraq. The "yes, buts" versus the "naysayers." Will either get to say, "we told you so"?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of them, of course, I like, some I don't.

ANNOUNCER: A 5-year-old politician? This kid knows presidents. He can name them all and impersonate some of them too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not a crook!


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

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today. I'm Candy Crowley.

Things are still moving pretty slowly here in the nation's snow- struck capital. Much of the government is closed, while over at the White House, President Bush is treading carefully toward possible war with Iraq.

In this "NewsCycle," senior officials say the Bush administration might wait until next week to put forward a new United Nations resolution on Iraq. The president stressed again today that he doesn't think the resolution is needed to go to war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: A second resolution would be useful. We don't need a second resolution. It's clear this guy couldn't even care less about the first resolution. He's in total defiance of 1441, but we want to work with our friends and allies to see if we can get a second resolution. That's what we're doing right now.


CROWLEY: Mr. Bush also said he will not be deterred by global anti-war protests. The president noted he respectfully disagrees with those who doubt Saddam Hussein is a threat to peace. He added, he still hopes to reach an agreement to stage U.S. troops in Turkey, but privately administration officials say they are increasingly pessimistic about that. Sources say the Pentagon has at least two backup plans for a ground assault into Northern Iraq.

At the United Nations today, the debate over war with Iraq is open to all U.N. members. Let's bring in our U.N. correspondent Richard Roth. Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Candy, that meeting is going on right now. First of 60 speakers has gone. We're up to like speaker fifth or sixth. And it's Cuba -- Cuba's ambassador to the U.N. is now speaking, asking that the trade embargo really (ph) be lifted against Iraq, because his country knows very well the impact of an embargo the United States has on his country.

Earlier the leader of the so-called nonaligned movement of more than 120 developing countries. South Africa was the first speaker. And he kicked it off by basically telling the Security Council, it shouldn't be going to war it should be giving the inspectors more time.


DUMISANI SHADRACK KUMALO, SOUTH AFRICAN AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: We believe that the Security Council must redouble its efforts to bring about the peaceful resolution to the situation in Iraq, in line with informational law and the provisions of the United Nations chapter.


ROTH: Iraq's U.N. ambassador was also the second speaker, and he said the Security Council should be giving his country more time. It doesn't have weapons of mass destruction, he said. And he called on the world, the members of the U.N. to listen to the demonstrators that have been in the streets in capitals around the world, and to not be pushed by the United States and United Kingdom into a war -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Richard, we know that the U.N. Security Council is the one that ultimately makes these decisions on the resolution. Is there any sort of net effect of all these speeches, the Security Council members listening? Can they push them one way or the other, or is this more of a venting operation?

ROTH: They are usually venting operations. This time, besides the symbolism, perhaps it helps one or two countries that are concerned which way to go. It gives them a little comfort room perhaps to decide, perhaps for more patience before they follow the U.S. and U.K.

But after a few days, this king of talk tends to fade. You do have an interesting moment again in the council. Iraq sitting next to the United States. The deputy U.S. ambassador kind of sitting facedown as Iraq blasts the U.S. And the French delegate smiling when South Africa praised France's efforts to avoid a war.

CROWLEY: CNN's Richard Roth at the U.N. Thanks very much, Richard.

If anyone is feeling political heat because of opposition to war, it's probably British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Today, President Bush praised Blair's decision to stand with the U.S. against Iraq, despite the protests.


BUSH: Tony Blair understands that Saddam Hussein is a risk. Tony Blair sees that, you know, a weakened United Nations is not good for world peace. And he is a courageous leader, and I'm proud to call him friend.


CROWLEY: The Brits are not as impressed. A new poll shows more than half the British people now say they're dissatisfied with the way Blair's doing his job. That's about the same percentage who say they oppose military action in Iraq. Here's CNN's Robin Oakley with more on Blair's political problems.


ROBIN OAKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tony Blair knows he's in trouble because of Iraq. And he admitted it to his own Labor party over the weekend.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: You know, at the beginning of this year at the first cabinet, I said that I thought the first few months of this year were going to be the most testing time that we faced. And one of my cabinet colleagues said to me, yeah, but you say that every year. And I said, well, one year I'm bound to be right. And so it's proved.

OAKLEY: There are problems for him on public services, on tax, on the euro. Those are the common currency of politics. Blips to be written out.

But on Iraq, it's different. And personal. As Blair spoke, London streets were packed with the biggest political demonstration in British history, protesting his readiness to go to war alongside President George Bush. The golden boy of British politics, who led his party to two huge victories is now being savaged by former friends and supporters in the media. Opinion polls are tumbling. JOE TWYMAN, YOUGOV: Up until this weekend, a lot of people who were saying, well, I don't know, I'm not sure what I think about the whole Iraq crisis. In light of the demonstrations, people are beginning to make their minds up. They are choosing a side, and they are choosing, mainly, a side against Blair.

OAKLEY: So, why is he doing it? His conviction is absolute.

BLAIR: Now, I simply say to you it is a matter of time, unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons of mass destruction come together.

OAKLEY: But Blair's mission to prevent that isn't registering with the public, and on Tuesday, he suggested why.

BLAIR: What people are against is a war they feel is either rushed or unnecessary. People want to know that war is not inevitable.

OAKLEY: And the fact that many Britons see it as George Bush's war, and the president as a man in a hurry, forces Blair's team on the defensive.

JOHN REID, CHAIRMAN, LABOUR PARTY: When a country decides, as we do, in our interests, and in our view of the world that it is right for Britain to do something, that does not become a wrong decision because France disagrees with us, or because the United States agrees with us.

OAKLEY: Blair acknowledges himself the gloss of his popularity has rubbed off.

BLAIR: I do not seek unpopularity as a badge of honor. But sometimes it is the price of leadership, and it is the cost of conviction.

OAKLEY: Some MPs predict that cost could include Mr. Blair's positions as party leader and prime minister. But that's likely to depend on the course and duration of any conflict which might come.

Robin Oakley, CNN, London.


CROWLEY: Needless to say, war with Iraq is a highly charged political issue here in the United States, too. Four Democratic presidential hopefuls sparred over the subject last night in front of an audience of union members in Iowa. Bill Schneider says it may be a good idea to listen to the Democrats because sooner or later, one or more of them may get a chance to say, we told you so.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The Democrats' position on war with Iraq is, yes, but. Yes, said Senator John Edwards. SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: I think he's doing the right thing now with respect to Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: But we have to have others on board.

EDWARDS: There is a different between announcing to the world this is what we're going to do, you can come with us or not, and leading in a way that brings others to us.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, said Senator John Kerry when confronted by anti- war protesters.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I understand their agony over the way this administration has brought us to this point. But that doesn't reduce the legitimacy of the concern about weapons of mass destruction.

SCHNEIDER: But what's the rush?

KERRY: Show the world some appropriate patience to building a genuine coalition. Mr. President, do not rush to war.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, said Senator Joe Lieberman, enough is enough.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: We have tried just about Everything, political isolation, diplomatic initiatives, economic sanctions, U.N. inspections.

SCHNEIDER: But, said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, we shouldn't stop trying.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: It behooves us to exhaust every diplomatic and disarmament remedy that we can, before we put our young people in harm's way.

SCHNEIDER: There's a reason why Democrats are saying yes, but. Look at the polls. Most Republicans speak with one voice, invade Iraq, even without a U.N. vote authorizing the use of force. Democrats are all over the place. A plurality say, invade only if the U.N. authorizes it. Twenty-seven percent say, go in even without a new U.N. vote, and 29 percent of Democrats just say no.

Do any Democratic presidential Contenders say no? Sure. Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley-Braun, Dennis Kucinich and one, who Monday night in Iowa, sought to make the anti-war cause his issue.

HOWARD DEAN (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF VERMONT: People in Iowa feel about as strongly against the war as any place that I've been, and it is probably going to help me a lot here.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): If a U.S. invasion ends badly, or if there are terrorist reprisals, a massive anti-war reaction among democrat Democrats could make former Governor Howard Dean the man of the hour, because he's the one who said most clearly, I told you so.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: We'll jump back into the snow next on INSIDE POLITICS. From airport delays to the snow-clogged streets, we'll have an update on the Northeast digging out.

Also ahead...


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Homeland defense people have had us all worried about a code Orange threat coming our way. But they were wrong. Code "White" was the big, bad bully.


CROWLEY: Bruce Morton on the politics of snow and the perils of a less than quick cleanup.

And remember the old TV series "Eight Is Enough"? Could that title also apply to the Democratic presidential field? This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


CROWLEY: There's a new watchdog for Wall Street. With President Bush looking on, Bill Donaldson was sworn in today as head of the Securities and Exchange Commission. The former chairman of the New York Stock Exchange replaces Harvey Pitt who quit under fire last November.

And coming up, we're going to go live to Wall Street for an eye on your money.


CROWLEY (voice-over): It's time to check your I.P. I.Q. On this date in 1988, the 104th justice of the United States Supreme Court was sworn in. Was it A: Anthony Kennedy, B: Ruth Bader Ginsburg or C: Antonin Scalia. We'll tell you the answer later on INSIDE POLITICS.




MAYOR TOM MENINO, BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: There is no budget. We went through the budget two storms ago, and this storm cost us $68,000 an hour. The governor has submitted a supplementary budget of about $40 million. We hope the legislature acts on that quickly to replenish the funds that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Massachusetts spent over the last several months.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: The mayor of Boston is not the only head of a city facing a big bill for snow removal. Cleanup in Maryland is expected to cost about $30 million. That's about the same amount next door in Virginia. New York City is looking at a snow removal tab of about $20 million. The cleanup operations are in full swing, but it will be awhile before life is back to normal for millions of people from the Mid-Atlantic states through New England.

We have reporters standing by across the region -- Daryn Kagan in Boston, Jason Carroll in New York and our Bob Franken here in the nation's capital.

Bob, I want to start with you and tell you that there are still people who are calling into work saying they can't get here, when do we begin docking them?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think spring. It's going to be awhile, as you can see in Washington, D.C. I'm on 38th Street Northwest. And this is really looking right now more like the Northwest Territory of Canada.

The good news on 38th Street Northwest is that they plowed this side street. The bad news is that they plowed the snow up to cars like this that are now going to have an even harder time for their owners to dig out of it. It's going to be really kind of a mess.

The only thing that is good, and I hate to be the weather forecaster, is they're talking about warmer weather. So all the snowdrifts probably will be replaced with some flooding.

Now, throughout this area today, people were digging out. They were doing the hard work that one would expect after all those days of snow, almost unprecedented here. It's been kind of historic. It's not the most snow that they've had in one storm, but it is among the biggest storms that they've ever had.

And, of course, that's meant that people have had to shovel their cars out. They've had to try the job of getting to a position where they can use the roads, which are now in fairly decent shape at least in D.C., and try and get to work, starting tomorrow.

Now in this area, it's an interesting thing, Candy, not everybody is digging out. Behind me, you see a young man and his family, they are building a snow fort. They are digging in. And what's so interesting about that is for that snow fort they have not used one bit of duct tape or plastic sheeting.

Now to New York and Jason Carroll.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: All right, Bob. Well, people out here are having some fun with the snow as well. We're right here at the entrance to Central Park.

Take a look, you can see some of the kids outside who are on vacation, deciding to make use of the new snow and the snow out there sledding, when they can get a chance, get a good run. It's -- in terms of things being cleared up, things are looking better near New York City. You can see, this is a small road that's been cleared. Still clearing to do in some of the cars there you were talking about. Lots of the cars looking like this in New York City.

In fact, New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg had a warning for people to be extra careful in terms of clearing out their cars. One man actually died. He cleared out his car but forgot to clear out the tail pipe. When he got inside and started running the car to keep warm, he died from Moakley fumes, so something to be careful of.

Also, to be careful, navigating your way to the city, massive mounds of snow that have built up like this one. This is what it's like having to navigate yourself through the city, having to walk over many things like this.

In terms of the airport, though, things are clearing out as well, JFK, La Guardia and Newark all up and running. Still some minor delays out there as well, but things looking much better. New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg saying that also the streets out there in New York City looking much better as well. They've all been plowed for the most part at least once. He says, by tomorrow, things expected to look even better.

As you said, the weather is going to be warming up. That will certainly help as well. In terms of the price tag, $1 million per inch. So you can do the math there. I know another place they're going to be doing the math, that's up in Boston. There's where my colleague, Daryn Kagan, has been hanging out.

Daryn, what's it looking like up there?

DARYN KAGAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They are adding up the cost and they are adding up the inches. Jason, I'll take the 25 inches they got down in New York City and I'll raise you two inches. More than 27 inches here in Boston. The biggest accumulation in one day since they started keeping the records back in 1892. You can see how much they have to get rid of.

Here's a political difference for you. In New York State, Governor Pataki did declare a state of emergency that's going to give some funding to New York city to help clean up. Here, though, Governor Romney did not do it. When I talked to Mayor Menino earlier today, he said that's okay. The big help they really needed, not from the state government, it actually came from mother nature.

Take a look at this. The type of snow that fell here, yeah, it's a lot of it, but it's the really flaky, fluffy stuff. And that made it a lot easier to shove this stuff to the side of the road. And they still point to the blizzard of '78 as the big, big messy one that will, in their minds, top all the record books.

Candy, back to you.

CROWLEY: Daryn Kagan in Boston. You can tell they are used to it Daryn. The sidewalk is clean for heaven's sakes. Thank you very much, Daryn Kagan in Boston, Jason Carroll in New York and Bob Franken here in Washington.

The winter blast has played havoc with air travel, stranding thousands of people trying to leave or arrive in areas hit by the blizzard. There were long lines reported today at Washington's Reagan National airport. Virginia's Dulles airport, hit by 24 inches of snow, is operating with just two runways. And Boston's Logan is using just one runway.

In New York, La Guardia and Kennedy airports slowly resumed flights today with only limited service. The travel delays have rippled across the country, forcing delays and cancellations as far south as Fort Lauderdale, Florida. For more on the powerful winter storm, including the latest forecast and tips for those of you still snowbound, check out our interactive report. It's all online at

Coming up, is Alan Greenspan on the outs of the White House? We'll get the scope in "Novak's Notebook."




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams.


CROWLEY: And this 5-year-old can do more than just name the presidents. Coming up, a precocious child with lofty goals. But first, this "News Alert."


CROWLEY: Bob Novak joins us now with your "Notebook." This is always fun for me, but, serious stuff at the top. Tom Davis, head of the Republican side on the house is headed off for Colombia?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN ANALYST: Yes, he's the new chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. He's going on a fact-finding trip to Colombia where the violence is growing worse.

There's very bad news from there today. Intercepted rebel communications from the FARC guerrillas indicate that the three U.S. government contract employees held hostage there -- they crashed in a plane last Thursday -- their fourth comrade was murdered by the guerrillas. These three are under -- the communications indicate they are being threatened. They may be dead already.

There is no confirmation that they're dead, but it's a very bad situation. These were under contract to the government. They are intelligence operatives.

CROWLEY: Bob, let me move you back home. We had Mr. Greenspan up on the Hill sort of trashing the president's tax cut. Not a very popular guy right now.

NOVAK: Did not go over. For the first time, I have heard critical statements at the White House about the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Alan Greenspan. Not happy with them. And even got subtle hints that they may be reconsidering whether the president will reappoint him as a final term as chairman next year. That means they are mad.

CROWLEY: Yes, it sounds like it. Let's talk about Republican concerns about the primary. What's that?

NOVAK: Two of the most vulnerable Republican senators, Peter Fitzgerald in Illinois, and Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania, are threatened by primary elections. And the White House has made it clear they do not want primary contests.

Now, I think they've headed off a primary contest against Fitzgerald in Illinois. But Congressman Pat Toomey, a conservative House member, is intent on running against Spector, even though the White House doesn't want him to.

Now, Rick Santorium, the other Pennsylvania senator, very conservative, has endorsed Spector, made it clear he doesn't want Toomey to run. But that could be a threatened Republican seat. The White House considers it's going to be very nip and tuck on collating the Senate in next year's election.

CROWLEY: Also on politics, it's been, what, a month since Congress has come in. Time for some report cards?

NOVAK: Yes. This is on the new leadership in the House. The new Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic whip. The No. 2 is Steny Hoyer.

I'm getting kind of, from both sides of the aisle, so-so reports on Nancy Pelosi as leader. But the whip, the No. 2, I'm getting rave reviews from both sides, particularly from the Republicans. They say that Steny Hoyer, who is a very experienced politician, is setting up the first real whip organization on the Democratic side, where they are going to really try to get the Democrats to vote more regularly than they have in the past. So, they think that Hoyer is a guy to contend with.

CROWLEY: So, Bob, I'm not exactly sure what you are doing to make the lights go on and off. But thanks for joining us. But I think you need to leave now.


NOVAK: I didn't know I was that incandescent.


CROWLEY: Thanks so much, Bob Novak.

We also want to say that, out of Bogota, CNN is reporting that the search for the three men that Bob has just spoken of continues. They have, however, confirmed that two of the others -- there were five altogether -- have been found dead.

Coming up just ahead: the expanding field of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Can a party have too many candidates in the race for the White House? And what does a crowded field say about the party and the president?


CROWLEY: We have some breaking news here we want to report to you. Palestinian security sources are saying that Israeli Army Apache helicopters and tanks are firing east of the Gaza.

We have on the phone with us our Kelly Wallace, who is in the area.

Kelly, what can you tell us?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, I can tell you I'm here in Jerusalem.

And our sources in Gaza are telling us a major Israeli incursion is under way, these sources saying more than 30 Israeli tanks have been seen, at least two Apache helicopters in the air firing at least two rockets, according to these sources. This is all taking place in a neighborhood of Gaza City.

Now, the defense minister, the Israeli defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, said just days ago that the Israelis would go after the terrorist infrastructure, in his words, associated with the radical group Hamas. Over the weekend, four Israeli soldiers were killed when their tank ran over an explosive. The Israelis believe Hamas was responsible. In fact, Hamas claimed responsibility.

And since then, Candy, there have been a number of operations under way. Eight members of the Hamas military wing have been killed since that time, including one today. And, again, we understand what our sources on the ground in Gaza are saying is a major incursion under way now. This appears to be the biggest Israeli incursion in Gaza since the end of January, when Israeli tanks and troops moved in there and fired on workshops which the Israelis say the Palestinians were using to produce mortars and other weapons to fire against Israelis -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks, CNN's Kelly Wallace from Jerusalem, reporting on what appears to be a major Israeli assault in the Gaza.

Coming up: Does the U.S. need another U.N. resolution before attacking Iraq? When INSIDE POLITICS returns, we'll hear two very different views on what Washington should do.


CROWLEY (voice-over): It's time again to check your "I.P. I.Q." On this date in 1988, the 104th justice of the Supreme Court was sworn in. Earlier, we asked, was it, A, Anthony Kennedy, B, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or, C, Antonin Scalia? The correct answer is A, Anthony Kennedy.

Prior to his appointment, Kennedy served as a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and as a law professor at the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific.



CROWLEY: Checking the headlines in "Campaign News Daily": California Republicans of preparing to join the effort to recall newly reelected Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Davis won a second four- year term in November over Republican Bill Simon. This weekend, state GOP convention delegates are expected to endorse a recall effort aimed at forcing a special election. "The L.A. Times" reports some Republicans oppose the idea, however, calling it a distraction that's doomed to failure.

Atlanta business leaders are joining the city's mayor in opposing a nonbinding statewide referendum on the Georgia flag. The proposal, backed by new Governor Sonny Purdue, calls for an up-or-down vote on the recently adopted blue state flag. Voters also would have to choose between two previous state flags, including one featuring the Confederate battle emblem. Home Depot co-founder Arthur Blank told "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," Georgians shouldn't have to vote on a flag so many people consider -- quote -- "repugnant."

Senator Joe Lieberman has perhaps set a new standard in the political game of lowering expectations. At last night's event in Iowa, Lieberman acknowledged his stands on Iraq and ethanol probably differ with those of many Iowa Democrats. Looking ahead to next year's caucuses, he said -- quote -- "I don't expect to win here."

Well, joining us now: Peter Beinart of "The New Republic" and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Thank you gentlemen for braving the snow. I want to first play something from President Bush today just to start this off.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: ... Connecticut and had my office in Hartford. Then, in the later '80s or mid-'80s, I became the president of George Washington University. And I was then a year...


CROWLEY: Now, I know that you all are smart enough to know that that is not George Bush, OK? That's Senator Lieberman. And we'll figure that out eventually.

We do have the bite from the president, I'm told. Let's listen.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're working with our friends and allies right now at how best to get a resolution out of the United Nations. As I say, it would be helpful to get one out. It's not necessary, as far as I'm concerned.



What are the politics of this second resolution. Does he have to get one? If he doesn't have to get one, why even bother?


TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, no, he doesn't.

I don't think anybody thinks he has to get a second resolution. Iraq is in violation of 1441. That's pretty clear. And 1441 doesn't require a second resolution. He would want to get one to rebut the charge that this is unilateral and that the United States is working without the rest of the world, essentially, to get cover from the United Nations. It's not clear that there will actually be one, because it's not clear the U.S. has the votes for it, though.

CROWLEY: Well, Peter, isn't that the real risk here for him? So, you go to the U.N. Security Council and they could turn him down.


It's a tricky situation, because, on the one hand, he can't go and lose, but he also has to try, and not so much because of American domestic politics, but because of British and Italian and Spanish domestic politics. The real question here is, is the United States going to leave these leaders who are pro-war, but live in countries that are very anti-war, hanging out on a limb?

And I think the White House is getting a lot of pressure from them to at least make as much of an effort as they can. And I think that's why they are doing it.

CROWLEY: It sounds like you all agree way too much for my taste.

So, I want to move you on to something else. And that is, we now have eight -- count them -- eight Democrats who want to be president. So, is this a sign of a lot of crazy Democrats or is this a sign of President Bush's weakness?

BEINART: I would say it's two things: the lack of a clear Democratic front-runner. If Gore was in the race, I think you would probably have many fewer candidates.

And then, I think the reason you have Kucinich, Dennis Kucinich, getting in is that there was a space, there was niche that still was not filled in the party. And that was for a clear, hard anti-war candidate. There is that segment in the Democratic Party. And now I think, with him and with Sharpton and with Dean and with Lieberman, you pretty much have all of the ideological and demographic bases covered in the party.

CROWLEY: Tucker, come on. This is an easy one.

CARLSON: Well, this is a good thing for the Democratic Party, not that -- I'm not a very faithful Democrat.

But if you like strong political parties, it's nice to see this, because the entire spectrum is represented here, as Peter said, from Senator Lieberman, all the way down to Dennis Kucinich. And the outcome, one hopes, of these primaries will be, the Democratic Party is going to figure out what it stands for, what it believes, what it thinks, what it's going to run on.

It's easy to beat up on the party, but, in truth, a party can't stand for anything without a leader. And it won't have a leader until it has a presidential candidate. I have to say, though, that the addition of Carol Moseley-Braun, a candidate they there solely to dilute Al Sharpton's candidacy, is pretty low, I think.

BEINART: The more they can do to dilute Al Sharpton's candidacy the better, in my opinion.

CARLSON: But Al Sharpton is the embodiment of, I think, liberal values. And so his presence is instructive for the country.

BEINART: No, he is not the embodiment of liberal values.

CROWLEY: I didn't mean to get you going that much.


CROWLEY: We're out of time. Tucker Carlson, Peter Beinart, thanks very much. Really appreciate it.

The nation's capital brought to its knees by Mother Nature -- up next, the politics of snow and why Washingtonians just can't handle winter weather.


CROWLEY: In a city that prides itself on taking care of the people's business, there's nothing like a major snowstorm to bring the business of government to a halt.

We get more from CNN's Bruce Morton.


MORTON (voice-over): Sometimes, in some places, snow is an issue. A Chicago mayor named Michael Bilandic lost a reelect bid years back because he didn't clear the streets after a major blizzard. John Lindsay, a congressman, presidential candidate and mayor, lost a Republican mayoral primary in New York because he didn't cope with the snow.

Washington is more forgiving. Its most famous mayor, Marion Barry, sat out one blizzard because he liked it where he was in California and, finally returning, toured the stricken city by helicopter, noting correctly that, if he had taken his car, he might have got stuck. He served four terms.

The current mayor, Anthony Williams, cut short a Puerto Rican holiday. He came back and warned Washingtonians, cleaning up won't be quick. And he's got that right. Washington is kind of -- well, wussy about snow. Chicago El runs whatever the weather is. It really does. I grew up there. So does the New York subway.

Here, well, this morning, the subway's public address system was warning riders they faced delays of up to an hour or more. Now, there's a phrase to make a bureaucrat proud. Faced with big snow, Washington grumbles and falls back on the old Marion Barry snow- removal policy. Hey, spring will come.

The federal government shut down -- will anybody notice? And if it stays shut for a couple of weeks and life goes on just fine, is there a moral in that? The homeland defense people have had us all worried about a code orange threat coming our way, but they were wrong. Code white was the big bad bully. In fact, Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda pals have probably figured us out.

To bring the U.S. government to its knees, you don't need to fly into famous buildings. That just got us bad. What you need, it turns out, is 10,000 snow-making machines. Bury the capital and watch the government turn numb. We'll get you in the end, of course, when spring does come in a month or two. But, in the meantime, you'll be king of the hill, the snow-covered hill, of course, in this snow- covered, shut-down city.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


CROWLEY: Bruce needs to be careful about who he is calling a wussy.

Here's yet another way snow can complicate politics. Senator Joe Lieberman was able to fly out of New York Sunday and go ahead with his first campaign trip to Iowa as a presidential candidate. But campaign director Craig Smith and press secretary Jano Cabrera could not get out of Washington, because the airports were already shut down.

So, they took a train to Philadelphia, hoping to pick up a flight of there. But the train was delayed. And by the time they got to the Philly airport, it was too late. The snow was piling up. They were grounded. So, they hopped the train back to Washington. Cabrera says, "We traveled by subway, car, cab, train, and were at the airport, but we never got to Iowa." We are assuming he will to Iowa some time in the next year.

A haunting tale is coming up next on INSIDE POLITICS. Are there ghosts in one of America's statehouses? That could explain a lot.

Stay with us.


CROWLEY: From South Carolina, a lesson in getting by with some belt-tightening and a little help from your friends.

Republican Mark Sanford said he won't have to close the governor's mansion after all. He says he's closed the gap in the mansion's budget for this fiscal year by reducing staff and by hosting official guests for breakfast, cheaper than dinner and drinks. And, oh, yes, he also received $100,000 in private donations to help keep the mansion open.

Over in North Carolina, some spooky things apparently are going on at the statehouse. Paranormal researchers set up shop under the dome in Raleigh back in November. They have now released their findings. Among other things, they report a sighting of a specter wearing Reconstruction-era clothing sitting in the old house chamber. An investigator from the Ghost Research Foundation says, "I knew if I looked directly at him, he would disappear."

You want to see something really unbelievable? Up next: a whiz kid who knows the presidents backwards and forwards and hopes to be one himself.


CROWLEY: Looking ahead to what's in the works for tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS, Judy will speak to Congressman Dick Gephardt on the day of his official presidential announcement. I'll be traveling with Congressman Gephardt throughout the day as well, beginning in Missouri, where he makes his official entry into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

If you spent the Presidents Day holiday simply relaxing or shopping, you may wish you boned up on Oval Office history once you see our next report.

Jessica Schneider of Capital News 9 in Albany, New York, introduces us to a youngster whose presidential knowledge puts many grownups to shame.


TREVOR ECK, 5 YEARS OLD: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CAPITAL NEWS 9 REPORTER (voice-over): Meet Trevor Eck, possibly one of the youngest presidential historians in the country.

TREVOR ECK: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant. SCHNEIDER: That's right. He can name them, in order, from first to last. Not much can stump him. Believe me, I tried.

(on camera): Who is the tallest?

TREVOR ECK: Abraham Lincoln.

SCHNEIDER: Who is the shortest?

TREVOR ECK: James Madison.

SCHNEIDER: Who was the oldest?

TREVOR ECK: I know it. Ronald Reagan.



SCHNEIDER (voice-over): He even knows the fattest.

TREVOR ECK: Was Howard Taft. He fits up four men in 300 pounds.

SCHNEIDER: By the way, did we mention he's only 5? But that's nothing. His mom got him hooked when he was just 3 years old. It all started with a deck of flash cards.

TIM ECK, FATHER OF TREVOR: He pretended that all these cards were his schoolmates. And he laid them out.

TREVOR ECK: Twenty-seven, 28.

SCHNEIDER: Now doubt about it, he's a whiz. But don't let him fool you. He's a politician through and through.

TREVOR ECK: Republican, because I'm one.

TIM ECK: His grandfather is a Republican. And he lets him know that Republicans have good ideas and Democrats' ideas aren't so good.

TREVOR ECK: Some Democrats I like. Some I don't.

SCHNEIDER: His grandpa Cooney (ph), he is a Democrat. Trevor says he likes him. And, interestingly enough, he's quite fond of Jimmy Carter, too.

TREVOR ECK: He made a peanut farm. And we like peanut butter.

SCHNEIDER: Simple enough. Trevor has it all: books, flash cards, even presidential figurines.

(on camera): Now, who is your favorite?

TREVOR ECK: Thomas Jefferson.

SCHNEIDER: Why? TREVOR ECK: Because he's top-notch in the brains department, like me.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): So top-notch in the brains department, in fact, he was teaching his much older cousins all about the great leaders of our country this Presidents Day, even entertaining them with impressions.

TREVOR ECK: I am not a crook!

SCHNEIDER: No, he's not. He's just the youngest kid you'll probably ever see who has such immense knowledge of the presidents. And he hasn't even been to the White House, but he plans to change all that.

TREVOR ECK: Because I want to run for president some day.

SCHNEIDER: He just has to wait about 30 years.


CROWLEY: We, of course, love this story because that is a future "I.P." watcher.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Candy Crowley.


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