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CNN CAPITAL GANG

Millions March to Protest War With Iraq; Nation's Governors Meet in Washington Tomorrow; Interview With Sir Christopher Meyer

Aired February 22, 2003 - 19:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.
MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to CAPITAL GANG.

I'm Mark Shields, with Al Hunt, Robert Novak, and Kate O'Beirne.

Joining us shortly will be Pennsylvania's Democratic governor, Ed Rendell.

Around the world, millions marched to protest any military invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

TARIQ AZIZ, IRAQI DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: This is the day when all good women and men in the world will show their protest against the war of George W. Bush.

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

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SHIELDS: An estimated 2 million people marched in Italy and 1 million in Great Britain. Polls showed British public opinion turning against Prime Minister Tony Blair.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Of course we must take careful account of that, though I think you will also see the same polls show substantial support for action if it comes on the back of a second United Nations resolution.

SILVIO BERLUSCONI, ITALIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Someone compared George Bush to Hitler. Someone compared Silvio Berlusconi to Mussolini. And someone, in fact, described Saddam Hussein as being a very brave Muslim Arab citizen. That's absolutely not the case.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SHIELDS: CNN-"TIME" poll this week showed Americans disapproving these anti-war demonstrations 54 percent to 40 percent, and a CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll showed Americans backing the sending of U.S. troops 59 percent to 38 percent.

Kate O'Beirne, on the question of war with Iraq, is the United States out of step with the rest of the world?

KATE O'BEIRNE, CAPITAL GANG: Mark, whether or not there's a war is up to Saddam Hussein. Rather than trashing George Bush and Tony Blair, the cause of peace would be better served if millions of people had taken to the streets demanding Saddam Hussein give up his weapons.

Look, there was a peace movement in the 1930s when, coincidentally, the League of Nations proved itself unable to deal with a dangerous tyrant. There is a coalition of over 40 countries backing a U.S.-led effort, military effort in Iraq, should it come to that, over 40 countries who share our values, the W.N., the willing nations.

We don't need world approval to defend our interests, but we do have a large coalition with us should we move against Saddam.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, in 1991, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait paid for the war. There were 31 nations who didn't come in cutting deals. Now we have the friends that Kate decides, you can't -- describes. You can't put a price on friendship, except they are, I mean, whether it's Israel or Egypt or Jordan or Turkey, they're all making demands on our treasury.

ROBERT NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: It is not a popular war with the people of the world. It's -- the American people support the president. I think all the American people will support the fighting. Everybody at this table will support the fighting once it begins.

But I -- you know, I've been very critical of this war. But I don't like policy being made in the street, Mark. I didn't like it when the people marching in the street on Vietnam, and I think it created a tremendously bad decision by the United States to welch on our obligations. I don't like the measurement. So I agree with -- a measurement by how many millions march.

So I agree with the president that you cannot do -- use the demonstrations as a focus group to decide decisions of war and peace. I think he should decide for peace, but not because people march in the street.

SHIELDS: Al.

AL HUNT, CAPITAL GANG: I guess you can only use focus groups if it's homeland security with this administration, Mark.

Look, I -- my great fear of all of this is that the message Saddam is getting is, They won't dare come after me. And he's wrong.

O'BEIRNE: Right.

HUNT: And I think that's a real, real danger here. I think, I think the president has done a very poor job of articulating a very compelling case, and I think even among some supporters, there remains great apprehension about -- not about the war, but about the aftermath.

Two big events over the next week, Mark, one, Hans Blix, the U.N. guy, weapons inspector, told the Iraqis, You have -- you are in violation of the U.N. resolution with your missiles. You have to start to disband them within a week. That's a clear violation. We'll see how they respond. That could change world opinion.

Secondly is the U.N. Security Council, where we're going for a second resolution. We have to get nine votes, if the French don't veto. That's a big if. We only have probably five or six to begin with. And picking up on what Bob said earlier, we're going to get those other three or four, if we get them, not through the great logic of our position, but we're going to get them through trade concessions, we're going to get through aid, we're going to buy them.

And I'll tell you something, if countries were stock, I'd buy Guinea right now.

O'BEIRNE: Look, George Bush and Tony Blair have made an overwhelmingly persuasive case for -- to open-minded countries. Look at the Eastern Europeans and the Central Europeans. They are 100 percent without being bribed, 100 percent with the United States on this. Because they look around themselves and they appreciate, they'd rather rely on the United States for their national security than on France and Germany.

They recognize that when there was a bloodbath in the Balkans, French and Germany did nothing, they needed the United States.

Now, gratitude is a fleeting emotion, and the French have long since lost any sense of gratitude to us. But the Eastern and Central Europeans have it, and they share our values, and they're with us, and they're going to oppose this French and German power grab within the E.U.

NOVAK: Tony Blair...

SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) just make one point, Bob, in response to your point about the crowds.

You know, these marches, and I've been to two of them now, but these marches -- and talked to people there -- are not your conventional, traditional Berkeley-Madison-Cambridge crowd. I mean, these are places like Yakima, Washington, and Little Rock, Arkansas...

NOVAK: That, that wasn't the point I was making.

SHIELDS: No, I know (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

NOVAK: Do you understand what my (UNINTELLIGIBLE) point was?

SHIELDS: ... I understand, but (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

NOVAK: I'm just against...

SHIELDS: ... compared -- no, you compared it to Vietnam, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

NOVAK: There was a lot of those, a lot of Yakima, Washington, and Little Rock...

SHIELDS: ... and there's no (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- there's no...

NOVAK: ... Arkansas in Vietnam, too.

SHIELDS: If I could just complete it. There's no burning the flag. I mean, there isn't, there isn't that sort of a thing.

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

SHIELDS: And these are really major outpourings. When you get 750,000 people in Great Britain...

O'BEIRNE: There's plenty. What do you mean, no burning the flag? Maybe they didn't have any matches (UNINTELLIGIBLE) plenty of anti-Americanism in these marches. In fact, what fuels them is this anti-Americanism.

SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

NOVAK: Can I, can I just make the point I'd like to make, please? And that is that Tony Blair is in a lot of political trouble with his own party and his electorate, and that's why he is desperate to get that second resolution passed. I think they probably will get it passed. But it's a very touchy thing. He is in a lot firm -- less firm shape than President Bush is...

O'BEIRNE: He showed a lot of political...

NOVAK: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

O'BEIRNE: ... courage.

NOVAK: He did, he did.

O'BEIRNE: But the thing that would help him more even than a resolution is a swift victory in Iraq.

SHIELDS: Al?

HUNT: Well, I think we will achieve a swift victory in Iraq, Kate, but I'm afraid that's not when it ends. I'm afraid that's when it begins.

NOVAK: And the question is, what is, what is the -- the thing that has worried me and doesn't -- it worries me terribly, Kate, is, is what a lot of people in the -- among the neoconservatives and in the, and in the conservative newsmagazines want is an American imperium where we run the world.

I don't want to run the world.

O'BEIRNE: I don't want to run the world. SHIELDS: OK...

O'BEIRNE: We agree, Bob.

NOVAK: Thank you.

SHIELDS: And I'll say this, when you buy these countries off, their support, that means -- and Al's right -- if there is an invasion, if there is a military victory, that means the occupation will be by the United States. The United States will be then the first Christian...

O'BEIRNE: Mark, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

SHIELDS: ... Western, pro-Israeli invading and occupier of a land of Muslim holy places.

O'BEIRNE: Mark, if a whole bunch of countries, including France and Germany, decide it's in their interest to be there, they'll be there.

SHIELDS: Last word, Kate O'Beirne. Later, more on the Iraq war with a direct report from Turkey.

But next, make it eight Democrats running for president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

Joining us now is Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, who made heroic efforts to get here in the face of flooding and worse on the East Coast.

Thanks for coming in, Ed.

GOV. ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure. It's been a tough week for weather in the Northeast.

SHIELDS: Well, we're delighted you're here.

Former House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt of Missouri formally announced for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They'll say I'm practicing class warfare by opposing their tax giveaways for the wealthy, their endless procession of loopholes for the special interests to jump through.

Well, let me tell you. The real class warfare is a president who thinks it's OK to eliminate taxes on stock dividends while shifting the tax burden onto middle-class families.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SHIELDS: Congressman Gephardt and other Democrats who voted for the Iraq war resolution were criticized by two newest candidates, bringing the total to eight, former senator Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois and Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland, Ohio.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frankly, I think the people who voted for that resolution were wrong to do so. You can't just abdicate as profound a responsibility as war and peace.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because this is a struggle for the soul of the Democratic Party, which in too many cases becomes so corporate and identified with corporate interests that you can't tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SHIELDS: This week's CNN-"TIME" poll shows the two new candidates with little support so far, but Gephardt with 13 percent is second to Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut with 16 percent.

Al Hunt, how do these new entries change the dynamic of the presidential field?

HUNT: Dynamic.

SHIELDS: Dynamic.

HUNT: The latter two, very little. Carol Moseley-Braun, the only effect she might have, she could take a little wind out of the sails of Robert Novak's preferred -- or favorite candidate, rather, Al Sharpton. I know that would upset Bob. But that's about all.

I hesitate to criticize Dennis Kucinich, because 35 years ago he worked for "The Wall Street Journal." I suspect he's going to leave that out of his resume when he campaigns in Iowa this year. But his raison d'etre is the war, he's against the war. That could be a sizable block. But anybody who's against the war will find Howard Dean probably a more attractive alternative.

Dick Gephardt is one of the three or four candidates who really has a real shot to be the nominee. He's got some strengths, he's been around before, Mark, talented staff, a deep knowledge of issues. His problem is that he appears like yesterday.

SHIELDS: Dick Gephardt has a little bit of the problem -- and I think -- I agree with Al, he has enormously loyal staff and experienced staff, which is a real asset in a race, I think you'd agree, Bob. But he's a little bit in the situation that Richard Nixon was in 1968. There has to be almost a new Gephardt, as there was a new Nixon then.

NOVAK: As I remember, didn't Nixon get elected in '68?

SHIELDS: He did, that's right.

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), yes. But I would say this, that I think, Al, I think you really missed it, that these two new candidates are pulling this field farther to the left. The people who support the war in Iraq, for example, Senator John Edwards, when he spoke today to the Democratic National Committee, he almost was apologetic about it. When Gephardt got up there and said he had crafted the -- helped craft the resolution that went to the U.N., somebody yelled from the DNC, "Shame!"

This -- and everybody, everybody is practicing class warfare. They are pulling the Democratic Party more to the left.

SHIELDS: Is it the Democratic (UNINTELLIGIBLE) class warfare, or is it George Bush's economic policies, Ed Rendell?

RENDELL: Well, look, I think it's a little bit of both, to be honest. But I think, frankly, Al's right. I think we have got to find a -- I mean, Bob is right, gosh. We have to find a...

SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RENDELL: ... a candidate -- Yes. We have to...

O'BEIRNE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) concept for you, governor.

RENDELL: We have to find a candidate who can craft not a message from the left or a message from the right, but the right message. And there are times that that means we have to agree with what the president has done.

I thought the president did a masterful job in his State of the Union speech laying out the case against Iraq. It's not just that we're not finding weapons, but they should explain to the world community where all that anthrax is, for example. I think that's crucial.

But I think the president has failed miserably on his economic policy. The stimulus policy is a joke. It's not a stimulus policy, it's tax reform. And maybe we can debate it as tax reform. But it isn't going to stimulate the economy.

We need a Democrat who's going to stand up and say, We're going to move this economy, and here's how we're going to do it.

SHIELDS: Present company excluded, who's that Democrat?

RENDELL: Well, it remains to be seen. It's early, though. Remember, if you'd flash back to before '92, this period of time before '92, no candidate had an identity. And Bill Clinton went on to win and upset an incumbent president.

SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Kate, in 1991, at a similar meeting of the DNC at the Palmer House in Chicago, Bill Clinton did kind of hit a home run rhetorically...

RENDELL: You bet he -- I was there.

SHIELDS: Yes, I was there too.

NOVAK: He was there.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Mark, look at what public opinion was last November about Democrats, and they paid the price. Polls showed -- do you think Republicans are tough enough on terrorism? Over 60 percent yes. Do you think Democrats are tough enough on terrorism? Over 60 percent said no.

Now, it didn't much matter that so many Democratic senators, including contenders for the presidency, voted in favor of the president having authority to go against Iraq. The whole party is colored by these anti-war candidates.

So with half the candidates being virulently anti-Iraq, I think it's going to color, in a negative way, and be a problem with the brand name of Democrats, given the public's conviction that Republicans are so much better on national security.

SHIELDS: Kate, I'll just...

HUNT: I would just, I would just remind Kate, in 1992, it was after the Gulf War, and Bill Clinton took the extraordinary position that he would have voted for the resolution in the Senate that authorized war...

O'BEIRNE: Al, Al...

HUNT: ... but he was against the war.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: It was a non-issue.

O'BEIRNE: ... we weren't in the middle of this war on terrorism. We saw this in November. Unless you're, unless you're OK on national security, given this war on terrorism, the public doesn't much care what you have to say about prescription drugs.

RENDELL: Except the national election's 18 months away, at least 18 months away. And a lot can change...

O'BEIRNE: And the war, the war will be going on, I fear.

RENDELL: Well, only if Karl Rove keeps it going on, but that's another story.

NOVAK: Right.

RENDELL: But it's 18 months to go. The economy is not going to get better. What's happening in state capitals with our budget deficits, I mean, even if you believe that tax cuts can stimulate the economy, I don't, we're cutting taxes in Washington, and we are raising taxes in state capitals, including Republican governors. So it's a wash.

O'BEIRNE: Well, they shouldn't raise taxes.

NOVAK: One thing I will say, I'll bet Ed Rendell agrees with me, is this, this, this mantra, even Dick Gephardt playing this class warfare card, I think it's a huge mistake. I think you can go back to John F. Kennedy in 1960. Look at his speeches. You didn't find any of this bashing of the rich in the John F. Kennedy speeches.

SHIELDS: You'll recall, you'll recall that the man who endorsed the alternative minimum tax because he objected strenuously personally to corporations like GE making huge profits and paying no taxes, was Ronald Wilson Reagan. And so that -- you call it class warfare, Bob, I call it fairness.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, Ed Rendell and THE GANG will be back with America's governors asking for help.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

The nation's governors come to Washington tomorrow for their annual midwinter conference, facing the need to close huge budget deficits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: This administration is not responding to the needs of our states.

I call as a Democratic governor on the administration to shoulder the responsibility and send the states the resources we need to protect our people.

GOV. BILL OWENS (R), COLORADO: Like all governors, I'd like to have more federal assistance. I'm also aware of the reality of what President Bush and Congress are dealing with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The governors' quest for federal help is supported by Democratic leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Our highest priority is to protect the American people. We will work with mayors and governors and our first responders to protect the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: In Washington, conservative activists Stephen Moore and Grover Norquist contended, quote, "About half the nation's governors are descending on Washington to do what politicians do best, beg for dollars. The primary purpose of this year's National Governors' Association meeting is to blame Congress for the state's financial woes and to rally support for a federal bailout of their states," end quote.

Bob Novak, I know you disagree with that sentiment, but what reception will the governors get in their call for help?

NOVAK: Very cold one. The answer from the administration and Congress, the Republican Congress, will be, N-O, no.

These governors' conferences used to discuss problems of state government. Increasingly they're lobbying efforts. The governors particularly now have their tin cups out because they were profligate in spending in the last few years. They're afraid to cut back on spending. And the Republican governors are (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Jeb Bush hasn't paid -- of Florida hasn't paid his dues in two years. Rick Perry of Texas has dropped out of the conference, and several others are, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) conference is in trouble, because it's become a left-wing lobbying operation by the -- by its liberal staffers.

SHIELDS: Do you call somebody who doesn't pay his dues a freeloader?

Ed Rendell, you've followed eight years of Republican governors in Pennsylvania. I didn't -- were they profligate, is that the problem?

RENDELL: No, they weren't profligate. To a degree, Pennsylvania's in a little bit better situation than other states. But we have over a $2 deficit. In addition to that, Bob, Medicaid costs are going to increase in Pennsylvania by over a billion dollars next year. We have to pick up that cost.

So I don't think we're whining and saying -- coming with our tin cup. We're saying what's going on in Washington is causing significant burdens for us. And most of the governors right now, we just got here, we weren't here in the '90s when all of this profligate spending went on. I am going to produce a balanced budget for Pennsylvania to -- as to the things that we are doing by making over a billion and a half dollars in very painful spending cuts.

But we need help from Washington. What we need most of all is a real economic stimulus program that invests in infrastructure, rebuilds our roads, our schools, all of the things that we need, our bridges. That would pump money into the economy right away. We need a real stimulus program, not the one that's been put on the table.

SHIELDS: Isn't repeal of the tax on dividends, Al, a real stimulus program?

HUNT: No. Even Bob Novak doesn't mean, doesn't, doesn't claim that. It's a bad idea.

But Mark, look, 47 states face deficits of somewhere between a cumulative $70 to $80 billion in the next year.

RENDELL: Next year, that's right.

HUNT: And you have governors like the Republican governor of Idaho, John Roland of Connecticut, who has a millionaire surtax proposal. That is going to -- whatever teeny stimulus you get from the federal government, that's going to be wiped out by the states without some kind of federal (UNINTELLIGIBLE). A one-shot basis is a great investment. The states ought to do some things themselves.

As Joe Stieglitz (ph), a Nobel Prize-winning MIT economist, Bob, said, the best way for the states to do it -- this is from a Nobel Prize-winning economist -- the best way is an income tax surcharge.

NOVAK: Did Jimmy Carter consult with him? He was a Nobel Prize winner too.

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: But Kate, Kemp's the one, the governor of Idaho, a card-carrying...

O'BEIRNE: Idaho...

SHIELDS: ... conservative.

RENDELL: Who ran on a...

O'BEIRNE: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

RENDELL: ... no-tax pledge.

O'BEIRNE: ... state -- well, he shouldn't have raised taxes. He's one of the incumbent governors who has raised taxes himself, and spending has skyrocketed in Idaho, and now he's paying the price.

Had state budgets increased to keep account for population growth and inflation growth, states would have a $100 billion surplus. Colorado did that. They don't have a problem either. Why should taxpayers in Pennsylvania and Colorado bail out Idaho and these other big-spending states?

The tax -- the Bush tax cut package will put $600 billion back in the hands of state taxpayers...

RENDELL: Which will be taken away...

O'BEIRNE: ... and you're right, you're, of course...

RENDELL: ... which will be taken away by the state taxes.

O'BEIRNE: ... right -- Well, they shouldn't be raising their taxes.

RENDELL: But they are, they are. O'BEIRNE: They'll be crippling their economies even more. Your point about Medicaid is very well taken. You ought to be talking to Nancy Pelosi. There's an opportunity to let the governors have some flexibility in the Medicaid program and get out from these liberal mandates.

RENDELL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

HUNT: Kate, Colorado's cutting funds for education.

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL: And the response to Kate is, we have to watch -- you know, we're all for flexibility, and I love Secretary Thompson, he was the, he was the...

O'BEIRNE: But the liberals, the liberals in the House are going to be a problem.

RENDELL: ... best governor in the '90s. But when flexibility means down the road less money, that's a problem.

NOVAK: Ed, you're a straight shooter. You've got to admit that these governors went berserk the last few years on their spending. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

RENDELL: Well, some did, there's no question.

NOVAK: ... I'm a very nonpartisan person, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

RENDELL: Well, some did, some did.

O'BEIRNE: ... some of the big spenders.

RENDELL: But I don't think you can say that Tom Ridge was a big spender, and Pennsylvania's in trouble.

O'BEIRNE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

RENDELL: And Pennsylvania's in trouble.

HUNT: Mark, quickly, I know Rick Perry of Texas is a lightweight. Any guy who would leave an organization when it suddenly gets more interesting because it gets Ed Rendell really doesn't know what he's doing.

SHIELDS: Hey, last word, Al Hunt.

We'll be back with THE CAPITAL GANG Classic, a war president running into trouble on the economy. That was 12 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

As President George Herbert Walker Bush prepared for war 12 years ago, his economic policies were attacked by both Senator Edward M. Kennedy from the left and the Heritage Foundation from the right. THE CAPITAL GANG discussed this on January 12, 1991. Our guest was then- House minority whip, Newt Gingrich, Republican of Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, January 12, 1991)

PAT BUCHANAN, CAPITAL GANG: Is this anything for Mr. Bush to concern himself with, Robert?

NOVAK: It sure is, and the biggest problem is, he's not concerning himself with it. He is 98 percent committed to this whole crisis that has built up in the Persian Gulf, when in fact his real problem is a financial crisis in America.

HUNT: The Persian Gulf really has frozen the linebackers, so nothing's going to happen in the short run because of that. Over the longer run, there may be more of a (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA), MINORITY WHIP: Only if you assume that the Republican Party is going to be totally inarticulate can you assume that in the middle of a recession, that we can't explain jobs and economic growth.

BUCHANAN: Let me ask you this, Mark. You know this country. If the American air strikes start next week, by weeks' end, my guess is this whole country will rally behind the president in a time of crisis and time of war. They always do.

SHIELDS: All, all wars are popular for their first 30 days, Pat, and, I mean, that's absolutely true, I think there will be a sense of national unity. They'll be behind the president. But Bob is absolutely right, this is the only war we've gone into with this kind of deep division in the country. It isn't going to go away if that war continues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, can we draw parallels to the current President Bush from what we've just seen?

NOVAK: Well, there's some obvious ones. But the big difference was that the -- his father really didn't care about the economy. He neglected it. And I think this president does care about it. I think he's doing the right thing. This is not a stimulus program. It isn't meant to be. But it is a good economic growth program. And he is committed to it.

SHIELDS: Al, whatever he's doing doesn't appear to be working.

HUNT: I'm going to start a collection to bring back Newt Gingrich. He just reminds me how much I miss him.

There are some differences, but they both -- both President Bushes have really lousy economic records, and they both could pay a price for that.

SHIELDS: Kate?

O'BEIRNE: I wonder if we just saw a tape of when Pat Buchanan, the instant he decided to run for president against Bush, challenge George Bush in the primaries. He was working up to it that very night, I think.

SHIELDS: I don't think Bob Novak's going to run this time. What do you think, Ed Rendell, looking back, is it a similar situation?

RENDELL: I think it's very similar. I think it's up to us to articulate to the country that the economy is in trouble. I don't think we need to do that very much. And that we've got a prescription to get it out of trouble. If we can do that, I think it's going to be a close election two years down the road.

SHIELDS: Is the president's remedy the right one?

RENDELL: Oh, I -- with all my heart, I believe it's not the right one. I even quarrel with the length and breadth of the first tax cut. But to pile tax cut upon tax cut makes absolutely no bloody sense.

NOVAK: And is the Democratic Party basing all its future on a rotten economy and a losing war?

RENDELL: No, no. Not a losing war. I hope, like all Americans, this war is successful. But this war's going to be over, the economy's still going to be with us.

SHIELDS: Last word, Ed Rendell. Thank you so much, Governor Rendell, for making (UNINTELLIGIBLE), making the trip to get here against enormous obstacles.

Coming up in the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG, our "Newsmaker of the Week" is British ambassador to the U.S. Sir Christopher Meyer. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at Turkey's role in the anti-Saddam Hussein coalition with CNN's Jane Arraf reporting directly from Ankara. And our "Outrage of the Week."

That's all after the latest news following these significant messages.

(COMMERCIAL AND NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.

SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of CAPITAL GANG.

I'm Mark Shields, with Al Hunt, Robert Novak, and Kate O'Beirne.

Our "Newsmaker of the Week" is Sir Christopher Meyer, who is ending nearly six years as the British ambassador to the United States. Sir Christopher Meyer, age 59 -- today is his birthday -- residence, the British embassy, Washington, D.C., religion Church of England.

Studied history at Lansing College in Cambridge, joined the British diplomatic service in 1966, spokesman for the British government, 1994 to 1997, ambassador to Germany, 1997, before coming to the U.S.

Our own Al Hunt sat down with his fellow countryman, Sir Christopher Meyer (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUNT: Mr. Ambassador, Britain and the United States are crafting a second Iraqi resolution to be presented next week. As of now, what are the prospects that at least nine of the 15 U.N. Security Council members will approve another resolution?

SIR CHRISTOPHER MEYER, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: It's going to take a little bit of heavy lifting, but we are confident that we'll be able to achieve this.

HUNT: With or without, Britain is in with the United States for, for, for a war in Iraq. If there's not a second resolution, though, it does create problems at home for Tony Blair.

MEYER: Well, I mean, Tony Blair would prefer a second resolution. I think everybody would prefer a second resolution. Some people need it more or less than others. If somebody in the Security Council, nonetheless, decides to veto the second resolution, then, yes, Britain will be there.

HUNT: Isn't it a sign, however, of how support for any war has eroded that only three months ago, it was a unanimous U.N. resolution, and now you have to, have to struggle mightily?

MEYER: If you're talking about the Security Council, yes, but people, I think, find it quite difficult to make the hard choices. And came to be asked to make a hard choice.

HUNT: Tony Blair over the last year has repeatedly articulated the case against Saddam's Iraqi regime and the threat that it poses to the world. Yet during that same period, British public opinion clearly has shifted in the other direction. And elite opinion, the archbishop of Canterbury this week came out against any, any, any war.

Why that dichotomy?

MEYER: First of all, Tony Blair has been talking in these terms about Saddam Hussein and Iraq and the threat that he presents to the international community and the United Nations, in my knowledge, since the beginning off 1998.

As for British public opinion, well, you're seeing a democratic debate. HUNT: But why has it shifted? Why has it, why has it, why has it gone so south, if you will, in support for the war?

MEYER: Well, you see, it has and it hasn't. I mean, bear this in mind, Al. We've just had a very huge march in London, maybe a million people who have been protesting against the war. And as you say, some great public figures have got up and spoken about their concerns.

But we are a nation of 60 million people, and persistent polling of the nation shows that, for example, if you do have U.N. authorization through a second resolution for the war, a majority of British people will be behind Tony Blair.

HUNT: You are ending one of the lengthiest and most heralded stints as her majesty's representative to Washington. How has your view of America changed over the past five years?

MEYER: This is such a massive country, so vast, with such a huge diversity of population, that nobody, no foreigner, can ever claim to know the United States. But I think that after visiting 44 states and about 120 cities, I have really got to know the American people in all this diversity far better than when I arrived.

HUNT: One or two particularly memorable experiences in any of those 44 states or 120 cities?

MEYER: One was whitewater rafting down the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, being thrown into a particularly perilous rapid, and as I finally came to the surface and reached up to the rubber dinghy to pull myself aboard, who put out a hand to pull me on board but Don Rumsfeld.

HUNT: Two hundred and twenty years, your assessment, will these breakaway colonies make it?

MEYER: Well, these breakaway colonies have already made it. And they've made it in a very, very big way. The creative energy of this nation is unlike anything I have ever experienced in the other six or seven countries in which I've lived or worked.

So you're always going to make it. You may make some mistakes along the way. We all do. But on the whole, I think you're always going to be on the positive path.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, now that we know he's completed one of the most-heralded stints, is the ambassador's pro-Americanism the latest example of the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain?

HUNT: I think I'm getting some grief from my colleagues for that hard-hitting interview.

Let me just point out that he was John Major's press spokesman, who then became one of Tony Blair's most trusted ambassadors. That's, that's, that's pretty impressive.

Look, absolutely, if Iraq -- if this Iraq situation proves nothing else, it is the Brits are our most dependable and most important ally.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: I really have to agree. I agree (UNINTELLIGIBLE) reading "The Chicago Tribune," and Colonel McCormick (ph) said you're not supposed to like the British, and I never have much. But boy, when you're in trouble, it's nice to have one good friend, and they're the good friend of the United States.

O'BEIRNE: Mark, I found myself wondering what Don Rumsfeld would have done had he been whitewater rafting with the French ambassador. There may have been a fatal accident, Mark.

SHIELDS: It's impossible not to admire the risk of his political future of Tony Blair right now in what he's done. But sometimes good friends have to tell friends what they're doing is wrong.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at Turkey's role in the war against Iraq with CNN's Jane Arraf in Ankara, Turkey.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back.

The Turkish government neared agreement with the United States over cash demands for basing U.S. troops there to be used against Iraq. "The New York Times" quoted an unnamed senior administration official calling Turkey's demands, quote, "extortion in the name of alliance," end quote.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, however, disagreed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is a democratic country going through the whole series of questions as to what they think their role ought to be, and that's fair.

YASER YAKIS, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTER: We have our own difficulty and our own worries. These are difficulties stemming from the position of the public but not from the government, not from the members of parliament.

(END VIDEO CLIPS)

SHIELDS: Joining us now from Ankara is CNN correspondent Jane Arraf.

Jane, does President Bush's coalition of the willing turn out, in fact, to be those countries willing to cut a deal with the U.S. treasury? JANE ARRAF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is willing to cut some sort of deal, but it really wants a deal that it can sell to the parliament and to the public. And this is the real problem.

Now, as we know, Turkey is a very strong ally of the U.S., but it's also in a really delicate position. Here we have a neighbor of Iraq's, the only Muslim member of NATO. It's got a lot of other interests going on, and it has a population that is overwhelmingly anti-war, and not too fond of American policy, I might ad.

So they do very much want to deal, but they're still working out the details. We now expect to have a parliament vote on Tuesday, but it still remains to be seen whether they can actually get this package through the parliament.

NOVAK: Jane, Turkey has been a long-time ally of the United States. They were valiant fighters in Korea when they didn't have to, on the other side of the world. So I'm not going to pound on them. But would you say that the -- what seems to be a sort of mercenary streak, I'm trying to get as much money, is just trying to sell it to the Turkish people?

ARRAF: Well, it could be seen as such, and I know it's seen that way in the United States. But they total bristle here at suggestions that they're horse-trading, that they're carpet-bargaining, and all the rest of those metaphors that we're hearing.

Now, what they do say is, first of all, that, you know, you do hear implications that U.S. officials are exaggerating for the sake of putting pressure on Turkey to come to a quick deal.

Now, the U.S. has set several deadlines. Turkey has made clear it's not going to live up to those deadlines. And what could be more pressure than actually having these ships with U.S. combat soldiers right off the coast of Turkey?

So there is immense pressure being put on Turkey, including the reported figures. Now, Turkish officials want to make clear that this is a $6 billion deal, it's not $26 billion, as is coming out of the U.S. It's $6 billion in grants, which could be turned into a lot more if they forego the grants.

Now, it's a complicated formula. But they want to point out it's not nearly as much as they expect to be losing if it does come to war, with their biggest -- with one of their bigger trading partners.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Jane, given how much Turkey depends on American aid, and given how important it is for Turkey to have a role in a post- Saddam Iraq, could they have afforded not to fully cooperate with the U.S. military?

ARRAF: You know, it really is a tossup as to whether parliament is going to approve this, because there is a national debate going on, and that debate is really about the future of this region, and whether it will be better or worse with a war. Now, you're absolutely right, it would be very difficult for them not to cooperate, because no matter how much they don't want a war, they want much less to be left on the sidelines.

They really see their national interests lying along that border with Iraq, and they're terrified here, absolutely terrified, that this war could get long and much nastier than expected, and that Iraq could break apart.

Now, what that means for Turkey is that the Iraqi Kurds would get more power, and that that would mean that their own Kurdish minority would demand more power as well, which is the last thing they want.

There's also that troubling problem of the oil fields. Now, some people in Turkey have raised the prospect that they could lay -- Turkey could lay a claim to those northern oil fields in Iraq. Officials hasten to add that that's not a real claim. But still, they do like to point out that they have a historical interest in this region, and they're not going to stand on the sidelines and let this country and their neighboring country be decided by just the United States.

So, yes, they do very much want to be involved even at this cost.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Jane, there also are reports that one of the, one of the parts of this deal, the non-monetary parts of this deal, is that the U.S. is going to permit the Turks to send 60,000 to 80,000 troops, if there's a war, into northern Iraq to make sure there is no Kurdish uprising. And they would not be under U.S. command.

Can you shed any light on whether that's really going to be part of the deal?

ARRAF: They seem to have reached a deal where there will be two aspects of it. And you're absolutely right, the Turkish troops -- and the numbers have yet to be determined, but the Turks do say that there will be more Turkish troops in northern Iraq than American troops.

Those troops are seen as noncombat troops, at least that's how it's shaping up so far. The noncombat troops would be under Turkish command. Now, noncombat means they -- exactly what it sounds like, they don't get involved in fighting. And Turkey says it needs those troops there to do humanitarian work, to prevent that huge and horrible flood of refugees that we saw in 1991.

They also, though, are intended to provide a buffer zone, so that there isn't -- that Iraq does not break apart.

Now, as for any Turkish troops that are fighting with American troops, those very clearly will be under allied command, will be under U.S. command, and there doesn't seem to be much dispute about those ones. The talks have been going on about the troops, the Turkish troops that will be near the border and serve a humanitarian purpose, in their idea of it. And those, again, will be under Turkish command, according to the Turks.

SHIELDS: Jane Arraf, thank you so much for being with us.

THE CAPITAL GANG will be back with our "Outrages of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Now for the "Outrage of the Week."

Many New York families were wounded by the attacks on September 11, but nowhere was that loss felt more profoundly than among New York's firefighters and police.

Thanks to David Zacchino (ph) of "The Los Angeles Times," we now know the work of Sergeant Dan Hines (ph) and his team on the fraud squad of the NYPD, who have exposed dozens of greedy individuals who have collected hundreds of thousands of dollars from charities for the loss of family members who never even existed.

Sergeant Hines calls these merchants of greed "vultures." He's being too charitable.

Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Narco guerrillas now say they are holding and may kill three U.S. intelligence operatives whose electronic surveillance plane crashed in Colombia. An American colleague and a Colombian army surgeon -- sergeant were murdered after the crash.

The U.S. government has said nothing about the four government contract employees.

Questions, why did the plane crash? Why were they flying a single-engine plane with no chase plane? The U.S. government acts as though it wants to forget this incident, indeed, forget Plan Colombia, which is costing American taxpayers $2.2 billion without suppressing the drug-financed insurrection.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Yasser Arafat has now gone too far for Ingrid Newkirk, president of the Animal Rights outfit PETA. She scolded the world- class terrorist, who's responsible for the death of hundreds of innocent men, women, and children, because last month his henchmen blew up a donkey, hoping that people on a nearby bus would be killed.

Only the donkey died, and PETA is demanding an end to terrorist murder of animals.

What about asking Arafat to stop killing people? Newkirk explains that human wars aren't any of her business.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt. HUNT: Mark, I am uncomfortably pro-choice on abortion. My attitude shifts slightly depending on the focus. But Dennis Kucinich's transformation this week was breathtaking.

The Ohio Democrat, pro-life his entire congressional career, upon declaring his presidential candidacy, suddenly decided he was pro- choice, a more popular posture with Democratic voters.

Congressman Kucinich says his candidacy, his presidential candidacy, is based on his principles against a war in Iraq. I wonder if those principles also could be vulnerable to public opinion.

SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying good night for THE CAPITAL GANG.

Coming up next, "CNN PRESENTS: Showdown Iraq -- War Clouds."

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



Governors Meet in Washington Tomorrow; Interview With Sir Christopher Meyer>


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