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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

U.S. Introduces New Iraq Resolution to Security Council; Bush Hosts Nation's Governors; Interview With EPA Administrator

Aired February 24, 2003 - 16:00   ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: INSIDE POLITICS begins right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've come to a conclusion that the risk of doing nothing far exceeds the risk of working with the world to disarm Saddam Hussein.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A new U.N. resolution on Iraq. What it says, what it doesn't say, and the chance it will ever pass the U.N. Security Council.

President Bush hosts the nation's governors. State budgets are in a crunch. The president pledges to help their bottom line.

Under pressure from all sides. A live interview with the EPA's Christie Whitman, on cleaning up the environment and rumors her stay in Washington will soon be over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's my message to you, Mr. President! Bring it on!

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Democratic presidential hopefuls fire up the faithful. Who scored big and who fell flat in the race to gain political momentum?

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Well, the standoff with Iraq has returned to the United Nations where the Security Council has now received competing proposals over how to disarm Saddam Hussein. Leading off our "NewsCycle," at the Security Council this hour, the U.S., Britain and Spain are presenting a proposed second resolution on Iraq. The measure states that Iraq has failed to comply with previous resolutions. It called for serious consequences. But it does not set a new deadline for compliance. Meanwhile, as the leaders of France and Germany met today in Berlin, their governments released a new memorandum of their own, co- sponsored by Russia. It calls for strengthened inspections in Iraq and says that military action, quote, "military action should only be a last resort." Asked last hour if his country would use its Security Council veto to block a new resolution on Iraq, French President Jacques Chirac refused to answer.

Well, for more now on the new U.S. proposal and the latest developments at the U.N., our John King is standing by at the White House. And in New York, we are joined by our senior U.N. correspondent Richard Roth. Richard, bring us up to date of what is happening at the Security Council right now.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Behind closed doors, the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain introduced their new resolution on Iraq, and the key line in this new simple resolution says that it decides that Iraq has, quote, "failed to take the final opportunity afforded to it in Resolution 1441." That was the one adopted unanimously on November 8, including France and even Syria. But right now, the problem in the council, a two-page memorandum also being circulated by Germany, France, and Russia, saying that the inspectors should set any type of deadline. And that they should be allowed to work with some enhanced personnel and equipment.

The U.S., the U.K. submitted this resolution. There is not going to be a vote today. It may be at least two weeks, because Hans Blix, the chief U.N. weapons inspector has to give another report. His report also might include what Iraq does or does not do with Al-Samoud 2 missiles. Iraq has been given a deadline to start dismantling those missiles on March 1, Saturday. However, the U.N. may have some technical talks with Iraqi officials to determine the pace and order of that destruction. And then the Security Council is likely to hear from Dr. Blix in an opened session, a briefing, maybe on March 7. After that, the U.S. and the U.K are looking for a vote or action of some type on this resolution. They don't want to wait too long. -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Richard, basically you're saying it's way too early to predict whether France or anybody else is going to veto something like this?

ROTH: Yes, that's what I am saying, way too soon.

WOODRUFF: OK. Richard Roth at the U.N. Now, let's quickly turn to John King at the White House. John, what's the latest on what they are saying there?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, White House officials say this is not the time to be counting votes. This is the time to be reading the new resolution and focusing on Iraqi behavior. Senior administration officials think this resolution is written in a manner that makes it tough to vote against. It does not say that it's time to go to war. It says what the inspectors have said in their reports to the council. That Iraq has failed to fully, completely and immediately disarm as required by Resolution 1441. The president touched on this earlier in the day. He gave a speech here at the White House to the nation's governors. And the president said it is now time for a defining test of the Security Council.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: It's an interesting moment for the Security Council and the United Nations. It's a moment to determine for this body that we hope succeeds to determine whether or not it is going to be relevant as the world confronts the threats to the 21st century. Is it going to be a body that means what it says? We certainly hope it does.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: White House officials say the critical defining moment between now and the vote, which as Richard noted they hope to be somewhere on or around March 10th. They say here at the White House the key moment will be the next Blix report to the Security Council. And for those counting votes today, Judy, even though the White House says that is unwise, senior officials here note that 12 hours before the vote on Resolution 1441, the White House could count on only seven commitments. Twelve hours later that resolution passed 15-0.

WOODRUFF: John, separately, we've just learned within the last hour that CBS news anchor Dan Rather has had a television interview with Saddam Hussein. What do we know about what Saddam Hussein is saying?

KING: In that interview, according to CBS, Saddam Hussein challenged President Bush to a live international television and radio debate, on the issues now being debated by the U.N. Security Council, and being debated around the world. The White House says simply it does not view that as a serious proposal. Quoting Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, quote, "There is no debating what is required of him." So the White House does not view this as anything except a public relations gimmick by Saddam Hussein.

They also note here at the White House in that same interview, Saddam Hussein appears to indicate that he will not destroy those Al Samoud 2 missiles as the inspectors are demanding. If that is the case, the White House says Saddam Hussein might help it get those votes at the Security Council.

WOODRUFF: John, something else, we know that today the cabinet in Turkey did agree to let U.S. troops be based on Turkish soils if there is military action against Iraq. What's the next step then, now that this agreement has been given.

KING: The next step, Judy, is ratification by the Turkish parliament. That is expected to come as early as tomorrow. Then, those U.S. troops sitting on ships offshore can go ashore with their tans and other equipment. U.S. officials say that deployment should be underway within a matter of days. It is a critical decision, a critical breakthrough for the administration in terms of the war planning, and if you consider the timing, getting those troops ashore, getting them to those bases, getting them set up and ready. It's one of the reasons, because that deployment will take some time. But the administration is comfortable with the key decisions at the Security Council being made in the second full week of March, a couple weeks to accelerate the war planning during the intense diplomacy -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Thanks very much, John.

Well, a quick check now of other developments in the standoff with Iraq Secretary of State Powell discussed Iraq today in Beijing with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, and other top officials. After his meeting, Powell left for South Korea with no assurances that China would modify its opposition to a second U.N. resolution on Iraq.

Here in the United States, anti-war protesters are making their voices heard. But overall, President Bush has maintained solid public support for potential military action against Iraq. A closer look at a new poll, however, reveals a public divide that's based on race. With me now is our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider. Bill, what are you seeing in terms of the views of African-Americans versus white Americans?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: We're seeing a very big difference, Judy. Two African-American Democrats are running for president, Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun. And both of them are strongly antiwar. Listen to what they said at the Democratic national committee meeting over this weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not only do I oppose the war on strategic grounds, I oppose it because we are not dealing with the problems right here at home.

CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The saber-rattling that has made us all hostage to fear must stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Now, do they reflect sentiment in the African- American community? Well, apparently they do. Fifty-seven percent of whites support sending U.S. ground troops to Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power. But more than 60 percent of blacks are opposed. That looks look a big racial difference on an issue that is not obviously racial. In fact, a lot of the differences is partisan. Democrats opposed sending U.S. troops to Iraq, and blacks are strongly Democratic. But even among Democrats, blacks are more antiwar than whites. So, there appears to be a racial component to this.

WOODRUFF: You said, though, Bill, it's not obviously racial. What is the racial component?

SCHNEIDER: Well, for one thing, African-Americans make up a disproportionate share of the armed forces. Blacks are about 12 percent of the recruitment-age population, but more than 20 percent of military recruits. Blacks are also more sympathetic to protests. Fifty-eight percent of whites say they do not agree with demonstrators in the U.S. who have been protesting war with Iraq. Fifty-eight percent of blacks support those protesters.

WOODRUFF: What about the whole question of isolationism, Bill? Are you are finding that blacks tend to be more isolationists than whites?

SCHNEIDER: Well, yes, we are. In the poll taken last fall by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, for instance, blacks were more likely than whites to feel it would be better for the U.S. to stay out of world affairs. And blacks are more pacifists, more likely than whites to describe them as doves when it comes to the military force, generally, not just in Iraq. The racial difference on Iraq appears to be part of a larger pattern, where blacks are less supportive of an assertive military position in the world.

WOODRUFF: As you said,, that may have something to do with the percentage of African-Americans in the armed forces.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill, thanks very much.

The former governor of Texas meets with his one-time colleague. Straight ahead, President Bush welcomes the nation's governors to Washington, and he promises to help them through their current budget crunch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More than two centuries after Washington's farewell address, the Senate dusts off his words and finds that some of them read like they could have been written yesterday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I don't understand why our intelligence can tape conversations in Baghdad, but can't find a man hiding in a cave in Afghanistan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: And later, beyond the rhetoric at the Democrats' winter meeting. Did anyone emerge from the pack of presidential hopefuls?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's time to check your IP IQ. Only two presidents have ever been impeached by the Congress. As you probably remember one is Bill Clinton in 1998. Who was the other? Was it A: John Tyler, B: Andrew Johnson or C: Richard Nixon. We'll tell you the answer later on INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Shrinking revenues, budget cuts and the rising costs of Medicaid and homeland security. Those are just some of the issues on the agenda today as the nation's governors meet here in Washington.

Also on the schedule today was a meeting at the White House with President Bush. The governors heard about the president's plans for stimulating the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. THOMAS VILSACK (D), IOWA: The president recognized and fully acknowledge an understanding of the fiscal challenges that the states have. He did remind us that the federal government is faced with some challenges, not the least of which is concerns by some in Washington about the nature of the deficit. He obviously feels very strongly about his economic stimulus package. And he expressed, in no uncertain terms, his desire to push that forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The Governors Association winter meeting ends tomorrow.

"On the Record" today, one of the governors who was visiting Washington, Hawaii's chief executive, Linda Lingle. She is Hawaii's first woman governor and the first Republican since 1962. A belated congratulations on your election back in November.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GOV. LINDA LINGLE (R), HAWAII: Aloha, Judy. Great to be here.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for talking with us.

The state is facing record levels of red ink we know this year. Somebody added it up and said it is something like $75 billion across the 50 states. President Bush in his budget proposed something like $400 million for the states, which is about one-twentieth of what the states need. Is that sufficient?

LINGLE: Well, I think there were a combination of factors that the president spoke to the governors about, not just direct funding, Judy, but flexibility in the federal, state programs that do exist. So that instead of the partnership being what Washington says it is, it's more open to the states to find their own path, and that's very attractive to the governors, because, often times, that results in a savings of money just because we get to do it in our own way.

WOODRUFF: So, in other words, the $75 billion could be make up with what you're describing with greater flexibility?

LINGLE: A combination of things. I think the governors need to be more aware of when times are good it's not prudent to spend down all the money you have,, that the economy is cyclical And it's important to always hold something back. And I think the governors right now are learning a tough lesson. As a new governor coming in, I think you realize quickly that it's a combination of doing things in a more efficient manner, making sure you are maximizing the money you are getting from Washington. But it's also having the flexibility to make sure that the programs addressing needs in your state, rather than a one-size-fits-all Washington solution.

WOODRUFF: When you ran for governor last year, among other things you talked about cutting taxes in the state of Hawaii on food, on medicine, medical services. But you ended up having to put that aside. You ended up among other things to cut education to balance the state budget. How much of this is because of this crunch that is facing on state after another?

LINGLE: Well, two points here. We did not cut education funding at all in the State of Hawaii. It's just what the previous governor proposed as an increase was not realized in the budget that we submitted. And, secondly, we proposed an increase in the standard deduction. This means that our lowest wage earners in Hawaii, 18,000 of them under my plan, would no longer have to file income taxes. So rather than going with a cut on medical and food taxes, which really affects everyone the same way, we targeted our tax cut to the lowest wage earners. And it got very good reception from the legislature. And I expect it will pass this year.

WOODRUFF: Two other quick questions, the president's tax plan includes eliminating stock dividends. There's a group that is calculating this would result in Hawaii getting $30 million less in tax revenues if this dividend plan goes through.

LINGLE: Well, I think that is someone's theory. But the fact is senior citizens of America will realize millions of dollars in savings, because they are the ones, to a large degree, who are earning dividends. But I think the best parts of the president's tax plan, include the increase in the amount of capital goods that small business can write off and deduct, because small businesses pay individual income taxes all across this country.

WOODRUFF: But those dividend cuts are the biggest part of it, something like $360 billion.

LINGLE: I guess my feeling is, generally, any money that the public gets to keep in its own pocket is good.

WOODRUFF: You are not the only Republican governor who has been critical lately of the National Governors' Association. You were quoted yesterday as saying, this may be my last Governors' Association meeting. Are you just going to pull out of the organization? Is there hope for it? It is being led by a Republican right now.

LINGLE: Well, you know, right now, it is being led by a Democratic, but a Republican will come in.

WOODRUFF: I misspoke, a Democrat, Dirk Kempthorne is right.

LINGLE: Well, no, the current chairman is Patton of Kentucky. But Dirk Kempthorne is a Republican, and he will be taking over in the coming year. And Governor Patton said today in a meeting this was the toughest National Governors' Association meeting he had ever been at. And I think it's because, finally, the Republicans have spoken up and said, we don't want this to be a part of some organization. We want it to be an organization that focuses on the issues that we can have agreement on. And we made big steps yesterday and today to reaching agreement on the Medicaid reform that the president has proposed and on homeland security and education issues.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. And I'll try to get my facts straight the next time. Governor Lingle. Thanks very much. Very good to see you. Thanks for coming by.

Tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS we will here what Michigan Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, has to say about some of the key issues facing the states.

Coming up, clearing the air. I'll speak with EPA administrator Christie Whitman on the fight over pollution.

And later, the bitter battle over this man, Bush judicial nominee Miguel Estrada. I'll get the take from the right, and the left.

(MARKET UPDATE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's time again to check your IP IQ. Only two presidents of the United States have ever been impeached by the Congress. As you probably remember, one is Bill Clinton in 1998. Earlier we asked, who was the other A; John Tyler, B: Andrew Johnson or C: Richard Nixon. The correct answer is, B. On this date in 1860, the House of Representatives impeached Johnson following his attempted dismissal of the secretary of war, Edwin Stanton. However, Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Here we are, the Bush administration is catching criticism for some of its environmental policies. Seven states plan to file suit to try to force the Environmental Protection Agency to restrict power plant emissions of carbon dioxide. And something called the Clean Air Trust is speaking out about the administration's policy on toxic mercury emissions. With me now, the EPA Administrator Christie Whitman. I am going to call you Governor Whitman because you were the governor of New Jersey.

There are these seven states, and I think we've got a map of them in the Northeast that filed word last week, or issued word last week, of intent to sue the federal government, because they're saying, carbon dioxide should be regulated as a pollutant. Are confident that somebody who runs the EPA, that the government's going to be able to defend its position that CO2 is not a pollutant and doesn't contribute to global warming.

CHRISTIE WHITMAN, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: It's not a regulated pollutant under the Clean Air Act. And so that's the way the Clean Air Act reads. That's the way Congress has set it up, and that's the way that we regulate. So we are doing a lot, though, to try to reduce the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere. And the president set a target of reducing carbon emissions and to put a cap on them, to reduce our emissions significantly over the next ten years, by 18 percent; and then to take it even lower than that. And we are engaged in a number different programs, working with businesses, and manufactures and utilities to reduce carbon emissions. But we are not regulating it in the sense of passing regulations that are enforceable for carbon because it's not regulated.

WOODRUFF: But isn't there more evidence now than ever before that CO2 is a contributor, scientific evidence that it's a contributor to global warming.

WHITMAN: Oh, sure, it's one of six. It's one of six greenhouse gases Methane is also a major one, and we are doing a lot with methane as well. So it is a greenhouse gas, but it is not a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. That's SO2, nitrogen oxide, mercury are the primary ones. And that's what we are focused on.

WOODRUFF: So you are not worried about this lawsuit in effect?

(CROSSTALK)

WHITMAN: We get sued all the time. And you're always concerned about every suit, but I think this is pretty clear.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about the mercury report, the "Wall Street Journal" reporting late last week that nine months ago the EPA came out with a report warning about mercury emissions from coal-fired plants, saying that it is a hazard, a public health risk for children. Now, this report we are told has been held inside the government for nine months while other agencies, including the White House look at it. Is the report going to be released? And why has it been held up?

WHITMAN: Actually, the report was released today. The report went out today. This is a report on children's health and the environment. And it looks at indicators. It looks at trends. This is the second such report. The first one was released in 2000, and this report, this second one, has involved over 200 people. We had it peered reviewed twice. So it's taken time. It's a very thorough report. Because we're looking at, what does this mean? What are we seeing in these trends? There's good news here for kids, and there's some concern here. We see that the lead level in children's blood has gone down by two-thirds and now know that one of the most effective things that the Environmental Protection Agency ever did was move to get lead out of gasoline. But we know we still need to do more. We've seen less exposure of children to second-hand smoke.

But what this report does show, for the first time ever, the Center for Disease Control collected these statistics -- so, for the first time ever, we have statistics that show that 8 percent of American women of childbearing age have blood mercury levels that are higher -- that are in an area where we have some concern. Don't know how they are getting it. This is the first time we've had this statistic, the first time it's been reported. But we are doing, and have been doing a lot, to get mercury out of the air, out of the water. And, in fact, in two of the biggest mercury emitters, it has been reduced by 90 percent.

WOODRUFF: But the hold up -- on its face, it looks -- why wouldn't something like this be ...

WHITMAN: It wasn't a hold up. This is part of a process. The first one was in 2000. There's never been any sort of timeframe. This is 2003. This is something that has been peer reviewed twice. It has been subjected to over 200 different scientists looking at it to make sure the data is correct.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, lots of rumors that you are looking to leave the administration. And you can set it straight here, once and for all. Are you planning to stay?

WHITMAN: I've got a job and I'm here. I want to get the clear skies through because that's going to be one of the most significant things to do for the environment that we can do.

WOODRUFF: All right. No interested in leaving?

WHITMAN: No, we're right here. I'm right here.

WOODRUFF: I just want to make it -- give you a chance to set the record straight. I want to give you a chance to set record straight.

WHITMAN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Christie Todd Whitman, thank you very much.

WHITMAN: My pleasure.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you again. When we return, we will go live to Rhode Island for an update on last week's deadly fire in a nightclub.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Is there a political crisis in California? Governor Gray Davis is facing a recall effort. Coming up, Jeff Greenfield will take a look at what is coming up in the Golden State.

(NEWS BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We want to let you know that CNN will have live coverage a memorial service for the victims of the nightclub fire. It is coming up at 5:00 Eastern.

With us now: Maria Echaveste, former Clinton White House Deputy Chief of Staff; and Betsy Hart of the Scripps Howard News Service.

Betsy, Maria, let me first ask you what President Bush is proposing with regard to changes in Medicare and Medicaid. Among other things, what he's talking about would give greater flexibility to the states -- I talked about this a little bit with Governor Lingle a minute ago -- to decide who gets covered. It gives more money for a few years, but then, after that, the money would be cut back.

Is this the right approach, Maria?

MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER CLINTON DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, I think you have to really look at the underlying objectives of the Bush administration's proposal, which is really to fundamentally change Medicare from a system where the government provides a basic set of services, health coverage for all seniors, because we all know that seniors get ill. And we do not want to be in a situation in which some of our people have no access to health care.

And I think what the president is proposing is, under the guise of flexibility and giving more states -- but we're going to have to look at it very closely, because the Republican Party has never doubted what it wants, which is to privatize.

BETSY HART, SCRIPPS HOWARD NEWS SERVICE: Maria is trying the medi-scare tactic.

Keep in mind, the president has not actually put forward a plan yet. What he has referred to in the State of the Union is that, whatever he does, it will be based on the plan that Congress has for itself. And who for a minute thinks that the plan Congress has is not the best one for seniors that's available? Under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Plan, everyone, every senior would have prescription drug coverage available. They would have a flexibility offered them, whether it's PPO plans or fee for service.

And help would be targeted most to the people who need it most. Again, this is the plan that Congress has for itself. You can believe that it is going to make sure that the needs of the elderly are met. But I think what we are seeing here is a little bit of the scare tactic that the left is trying to use. And the Bush administration has invited that a little bit by not putting meats on the bones of their planning and getting it out there quickly to rebut some of these charges.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, let's move to Miguel Estrada, who, of course, is the nominee for the federal bench -- a lot of back-and- forth over him. A new ad is out today opposing him.

But what I want to ask you is that Democrats are saying he has not explained where he stands on a whole range of issues. Should judicial nominees, Maria, have the right to say, I don't have to answer these questions?

ECHAVESTE: Oh, absolutely not. They need to, especially for the second highest court in our country.

You want to know what kind of judicial philosophy. Of course, President Bush is entitled to select people that he thinks are more attuned to what he believes in. But the Senate is entitled to ask questions, and particularly when it is clear that this particular nominee is being used because he's Latino.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Quickly, let me interrupt and let you all listen to this portion of this ad that is running now against Estrada.

I think we've got it cued up here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE AD)

NARRATOR: Now a nominee to our second highest court is stonewalling the Senate and the public. Where does he stand on civil rights, worker protections, reproductive choice, the environment? He won't say.

Call your senators. Tell them, don't vote without all the facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HART: This is outrageous.

The point is that judges cannot discuss how they're going to decide on certain cases, which is exactly what the Senate wants to hear. They want to hear him say he is a pro-abortion judge. That's their litmus test. But a proper judicial restraint and respect for the law says, in fact, I will not decide those cases until they come before me in the court. And many of the cases they're asking him to discuss are very things that would come before him as an appeals court judge.

Even "The Washington Post" has said that the criticism of Estrada is baseless at worst and offensive at best. What they are trying to do is to say, we don't have enough information on him, but he's a right-wing nut. They can't have it both ways. Unfortunately, I think he is being vilified and he may eventually see defeat.

WOODRUFF: He does have some Democratic support, doesn't he, Maria?

ECHAVESTE: Very little. And it, frankly, is sad, because there are a number of -- I think the senator from Louisiana is supporting him -- I think it's Breaux -- because he's Latino.

Well, frankly, we want to ask this nominee the same questions we'd ask of anyone.

(CROSSTALK)

HART: Let the vote come to the floor. Just don't hold up the vote. Let people vote. That's all we are asking.

WOODRUFF: A quick word and then we'll...

ECHAVESTE: What Bush is doing is simply saying, don't ask any questions, because, if you are asking him questions, you are judging him unfairly because he is Latino. And that is ridiculous. We need to know what kind of judge he is going to be. And they are not hypothetical questions. They are questions about past cases: What do you think of Brown V. Board of Education?

HART: They're also questions about things like abortion, which will come before him. That's the majority of the questions. And it would be wholly inappropriate for him to render judgment on them now.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there.

Betsy, Maria, thank you both for bringing the vigor that you do to this discussion. We appreciate it.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Well, the 2004 Democratic hopefuls make their best pitch to party activists. Up next, we assess who made the best impression with party leaders at the Democrats' annual winter meeting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headline in our "Campaign News Daily": Most of the Democratic hopefuls spoke to the winter gathering of the Democratic National Committee. They all tried hard to make a good first impression as official candidates. So, how did they do?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think Gephardt did great. He was -- he was tough and he was tender. He was smart. He was animated. And, most of all, he seemed very natural. And that's something that -- he's been criticized for being very wooden. This was a very appealing Dick Gephardt.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not do it on my own. I did it because I had a lot of help. We all need help. We all need help.

AMY WALTER, "COOK POLITICAL REPORT": I think it's like as if he finally made the connection here between the different pieces of his life, that, for a man who has been in the public eye for so many years, been in Congress, who is able to take the policy piece, but also show the personal side, weave that in very well and really, really connect.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two years ago, we were promised a better America. Has that promise been kept?

CROWD: No.

ROTHENBERG: I thought Senator Lieberman was fine. He was good old Joe Lieberman. He was reliable, dependable, certainly confident, certainly one of the top-tier Democrats. But you can see that he has some work to do with this field and that he has a particular niche that he has to take advantage of, if he's going to be the Democratic nominee. WALTER: I think, in strong contrast to Congressman Gephardt, both of these candidates come in as the non-fresh faces of this field. And Gephardt was able to come out and give these folks a sort of new take on an old face. And Lieberman came out and gave pretty much the standard Lieberman speech.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Howard Dean. And I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

ROTHENBERG: They loved him. There was standing-O after standing-O for Howard Dean. It was as if he owned a butcher shop and he was taking the red meat out of the freezer and throwing it out there.

DEAN: I need your help. We are going to change this party and then we're going to change this country.

WALTER: He came out and gave Democrats what they wanted to hear, but he also gave some tough love. This is a party that is soul- searching after their 2002 election performance. And they certainly weren't shying away from what he had to say to them.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our job, our job in 2004 is to give the American people a clear choice.

ROTHENBERG: There was a subtext there about electability which came through. And I think that he demonstrated why he deserves to be in that top tier and demonstrated why there are so many Democrats around the country who, although they know he's got some -- there are some question marks about substance and depth and maturity as a political figure, why he could be an interesting and appealing general election candidate.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, three others we did not hear from just now shared the stage at this weekend's event: former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich; and civil rights activist Al Sharpton. Stu Rothenberg says that all three will have a tough time convincing party activists that they are electable.

Of the eight declared candidates, only Senator John Kerry skipped the event, but both Stuart and Amy said that that shouldn't hurt him since he was recuperating from prostate surgery. A ninth senator, Florida Senator Bob Graham, has announces plans to form his exploratory committee this week.

Out West, in California, the political upheaval of recent years has shaken one party to its core and left the other firmly in power with an unpopular leader at the top.

As State Republicans gathered to plot their next stop, our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, filed this report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): A series of small earthquakes shook up Californians early Saturday morning. The biggest measured about 5.4 on the Richter scale.

(on camera): But if there were a way to measure the political earthquakes that have jolted the nation's most populist state lately, they're would likely go right off the charts. In the last two years, California has been virtually upended.

(voice-over): A little more than two years ago, California was awash in money. The high-tech boom poured billions in tax revenues into Sacramento. The state responded with cuts in taxes, smaller classes in schools and other benefits. And Governor Gray Davis seemed on his way to a smashing reelection triumph and a possible presidential bid.

Then came a long-running energy crisis, rolling blackout, billions for energy paid out to Enron, among other companies. The high-tech bubble exploded. And now California faces a budget gap of some $35 billion. What to do? Schools are slashing staffs, putting off smaller class sizes. Nonviolent felons may be released from prison early. Democrats in the state legislature have proposed an income tax surcharge, higher fees to register cars and trucks. But Republicans and Governor Davis have said no to some, if not all of these ideas.

And speaking of Gray Davis, even before the dreadful budget news, his popularity had plummeted. Last fall, running against a novice candidate who ran one of the most inept campaigns in memory, Davis won by only five points.

CROWD: Dump Davis! Dump Davis!

GREENFIELD: Now California Republicans see a way to retire Gray Davis early. This weekend, they backed a move to recall the governor. If the movement can gather about 900,000 signatures in the next five months, a special election will ask voters if Davis should be recalled. If the answer to that question is yes, voters would then choose among candidates to replace him.

But a lot of Republicans, including President Bush's top operative here, worry that the money and effort would detract from their key political goals: carrying the state for Bush in 2004 and trying to unseat Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer.

(on camera): Even with the state awash in red ink and with Gray Davis under fire from all sides, this is still a very tough state for Republicans. Last fall, they lost every major statewide office. The legislature is dominated by Democrats. And back in 2000, after the Republicans poured in millions to help Governor Bush, Al Gore carried the state by well over one million votes.

Still, if Americans in general are living in a country where the political landscape has changed drastically, well, that goes double for California.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, Santa Barbara, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Especially true in a state with all those earthquakes.

Well, George Washington could not tell a lie, the saying goes, but could he foretell the future? Up next: a modern view of President Washington's farewell address.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Important discussions today at the United Nations, where the United States and Great Britain are discussing the language of a second resolution they'd like to see introduced to put more pressure on Iraq.

Richard Roth, you have gotten a little information about what the Americans and the British are saying.

ROTH: That's right.

We have the talking points behind closed doors what British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Greenstock is saying and what U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte is telling the members of the Security Council. Basically, in Ambassador Negroponte's talking point, he is saying the U.S. says -- quote -- "We now believe that it is abundantly clear that Iraq has refused to disarm and has no intention of doing so."

Quote: "We believe, therefore, that because of the failures that I have outlined here," Negroponte goes on, "Iraq has failed to comply with the tests of truthfulness, cooperation, and disarmament set by Resolution 1441." That was the one passed unanimously in November. Quote: "It is truly regrettable that Iraq has failed to take the final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations under relevant Security Council resolutions."

That's the key line in the new proposed resolution, that Iraq has failed its final opportunity. And the British ambassador, Sir Jeremy Greenstock -- interesting -- says, "We are not asking for any instant judgments. This a serious subject and the stakes are significant. There is time still, under pressure from the council, for Iraq to make the right choice."

Ambassador Greenstock goes on to say: "We do want further time for full discussion. This is an opportunity to avert conflict. But the council's judgment that Iraq has made the wrong choice should be clear and consensual."

That's what's going on right now behind closed doors at the Security Council, Britain -- on behalf of Britain, the U.S. and Spain, has introduced this resolution.

WOODRUFF: Continuing to build the case toward that second resolution to take military action toward Iraq.

Already, Richard Roth, thanks very much. To a very different story now: Warnings about public debt and conflicts overseas sound like they were torn from today's headlines, but the nation's first president voiced these and other concerns in his farewell address. George Washington's remarks were recited today from the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Here's CNN's congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lately, it's gotten even more ugly than usual on the Senate floor.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: It's shameful. And it's shameful to put him through this without one substantive reason to do it other than a phony request for privileged documents.

KARL: But today, the Senate took a brief break from bickering over judicial nominations to hear a rendition of George Washington's words of warning about the evil of partisanship.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), GEORGIA: The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

KARL: The father of the country was so opposed to partisanship that he used his farewell address to say he didn't even like the idea of political parties in the first place.

DON RICHIE, SENATE HISTORIAN: When Washington became president, there were not organized political parties. But by the time he left the presidency, there were organized political parties. And Washington was the target of a lot of political unrest and anger.

KARL: It was 207 years ago that Washington issued his retirement announcement to the nation. But for more than a century, it's been a Senate tradition to dust off all the old words, reciting them to mark his birthday.

(on camera): Delivering the address is an honor that alternates year to year between Democrats and Republicans. But Washington himself never actually gave the speech. Instead, he had it published in newspapers across the country.

(voice-over): The words resonate especially loudly today. Washington couldn't have imagined the exploding federal deficit, but he advised against the "accumulation of debt," which he said amounts to "ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burden we ourselves ought to bear."

Washington also offered words of caution about foreign wars, saying America could and should avoid the jealousies and rivalries that had led to war after war in Europe.

CHAMBLISS: Our detached and distance situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. KARL: Detached and distant America was as Washington bid farewell. But today, with American troops stretched from Afghanistan to the Philippines, to former Soviet Georgia to Colombia to the Middle East, attached and distant America is no more.

Jonathan Karl, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: And that's it for INSIDE POLITICS this Monday.

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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