The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SERVICES
 
 
 
SEARCH
Web CNN.com
powered by Yahoo!
TRANSCRIPTS
Return to Transcripts main page

CNN INSIDE POLITICS

U.S. Trying to Line Up Support For New Resolution

Aired February 27, 2003 - 16:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: U.S. forces in position. Iraqi troops on the move. And President Bush states his mission.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Should we be forced to commit our troops because of his failure to disarm, the mission will be complete disarmament, which will mean regime change.

ANNOUNCER: The economic road ahead. Are Americans feeling even more snowed under and gloomy about the president's plan?

FRED ROGERS, CHILDREN'S TELEVISION SHOW HOST: It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood ...

ANNOUNCER: A loss in the neighborhood. Memories of Mister Rogers, his connections to presidents, and how he comforted our kids.

The ultimate odd couple. Hillary Clinton and Tom DeLay talk to us side-by-side. What would bring these two together?

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: You know, Tom would probably be in trouble, the place he comes from, if he worked with me too much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

While U.N. Security Council members hold private talks about Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi forces are preparing for action. In this "NewsCycle," air force officials tell CNN that the order is out to deploy B2 stealth bombers closer to Iraq. The aircraft are expected to be key in launching an air war against Saddam Hussein.

Five U.S. aircraft carriers now are in striking distance of Iraq. After the Kitty Hawk battle group arrived in the Persian Gulf today.

Meantime, U.S. officials report the first major repositioning of Iraqi military forces for possible war. They say that an elite Republican Guard unit is on the move in northern Iraq, possibly headed to Tikrit or to Baghdad. At the United Nations, the Bush administration is trying to line up support for a proposed resolution declaring that Iraq has missed its last chance to disarm. Security Council members have a meeting today behind closed doors.

Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, we're learning that maybe now -- and I see it's snowing already in Washington. Maybe now the administration can count on Russia and China not vetoing this upcoming resolution. Are they privately getting more optimistic there?

JOHN KING, CNN SNR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Slightly more optimistic, Judy. And you are correct in saying U.S. officials are increasingly confident that Russia and China, at a minimum, would not use their veto power. Perhaps they would not support the new resolution.

But, at a minimum, the administration hopes they will not use their veto power. No guarantees as yet, we are told. But that is the way the diplomatic conversations are heading, including a conversation between President Bush and President Putin of Russia this morning. More diplomacy, though, in the week ahead.

And a key moment, the administration says, will be what happens this weekend. That is the deadline for Iraq to begin destroying those Al-Samoud 2 missiles. The administration believes what is much more significant is the report Dr. Hans Blix, the chief inspector, gives to the Council next week. President Bush today had the President of Afghanistan here in the Oval Office. And he tried to downplay the significance of this deadline for destroying those Al-Samoud 2 missiles. Mr. Bush says there's much more at stake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The discussion about these rockets is part of his campaign of deception. See, he'll say I'm not going to destroy the rockets, then he'll have a change of mind this weekend and destroy the rockets and say I've disarmed. The rockets are just the tip of the iceberg. The only question at hand is total, complete disarmament. Which he is refusing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president says the rockets are only the tip of the iceberg. The American people, though, have a different view according to our latest poll. If Iraq destroys those missiles, the Al-Samoud 2 missiles, only 33 percent, in our latest poll, would favor sending in the troops. Sixty percent would oppose going to war at that moment.

Now, if Iraq does not destroy those missiles, 71 percent would favor going to war, while only 22 percent oppose. So the president says, this coming deadline, the short-term deadline for Iraq is not so significant. The American people obviously think otherwise, Judy.

So, as the president looks for votes at the United Nations, he has some selling to do to the American people as well.

WOODRUFF: John, last night in Washington, the president gave a speech where he laid out more clearly than he ever has the administration's vision of a post-war Iraq, what's going to happen when it comes to rebuilding this country.

But now, critics are saying, hey, is this administration talking about nation building, something that they had said in the past they weren't going to get involved in.

KING: Well, critics recall then-Governor Bush criticizing Al Gore and the Clinton administration, saying that he did not believe the United States should be involved in nation building.

Now, aides here at the White House draw this distinction. They say Governor Bush, then, and President Bush, now, does not believe U.S. military personnel should be directly involved in nation building. And they insist that that is not the case now in Afghanistan and would not be the case in the future in Iraq. Critics say it's a distinction without meaning, because the administration acknowledges tens of thousands of U.S. troop would have to stay in Afghanistan to provide security during nation building.

So, there will be a debate about nation building here in the United States, and also, Judy, a debate overseas. This president last night said he thinks it is a good thing for the Middle East if tens of thousands of U.S. troops topple Saddam Hussein and help build a democracy inside Iraq. The president believes that will have a ripple effect that is positive. Many in the region disagree. They say there is such resentment about the use of American power, that the president could be fostering so much more anti-American sentiment and a new generation of terrorists.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King. We'll let you run in from out of the snow for just a minute.

KING: It is beautiful.

WOODRUFF: It is beautiful. Thanks, John.

Well, the threat of war with Iraq does not seem to be doing much for the president's poll numbers. In our new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll, 57 percent say they approve of the way Mr. Bush is doing his job. Thirty-seven percent say they disapprove. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider is with us now.

Bill, what's happened to the president's approval numbers.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, it's been slowly going down from the 80s in late 2001, after the terrorist attacks, to the 70s last summer, to the 60s last fall, and now we see into the 50s. The president's current job rating, 57, is the lowest Bush approval rating since September 11, 2001.

WOODRUFF: So is this what you'd call political gravity? SCHNEIDER: It is in part, but it is also something else, the deteriorating economy. The percentage of Americans who say the nation's economy is in good shape has dropped sharply. It was 44 percent in early December. Now, it's down to 34 percent. Among the consequences, the president's re-elect figures have dropped below 50 percent. And when that happens, it means re-election is not a sure thing.

In December, just over 50 percent of registered voters said they were likely to vote to re-elect president Bush. That figure has now slipped to 47 percent. President Bush, call your dad.

WOODRUFF: Bill, now what about the public view of the president's economic proposals? What are you seeing there?

SCHNEIDER: Well, public confidence in that has not been rising. Right now, 45 percent of Americans favor the president's economic plan and 40 percent oppose it. Opposition has been slowly increasing since January. Now, you might think that as the economy gets worse, more Americans would look to the president's plan to turn things around.

But that's not happening. The worst you think the economy is, the less confidence you have in the president's proposal. Americans are looking for a dramatic breakthrough on the economy. A war? No. Because Americans believe war with Iraq will make the economy worse.

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

Well, as we've been reporting, Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Hans Blix reports back to the Security Council next Friday. But just minutes ago, our Richard Roth obtained excerpts from a draft copy of the report on Iraqi weapons violations. Richard joins us live from the United Nations.

Richard, what does it say?

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SR. U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Judy, let's reiterate again, this is excerpts from a draft report. The expected Hans Blix report, a written report to the Security Council. It still has to be fully translated. And it will go into the Security Council hands tomorrow. And I'm going to give you these excerpts while the United Nations headquarters building is under an evacuation drill of staff members, should you hear any other voices or sirens.

Though certainly the Iraq crisis is a bit of an emergency for this divided U.N. Security Council, all members of that Council looking forward to Blix's report. It may swing some votes on the panel.

Basically, some key quotes, Blix says Iraq in the results in terms of disarmament have been very limited so far. He's giving a quarterly update. So, over the last three months, he is saying their disarmament efforts have been very limited. And one more before the siren knocks me off the air -- quote -- "It is hard to understand why a number of the measures which are now being taken by Iraq could not have been initiated earlier." If they had been taken earlier -- quote -- "they might have borne fruit by now." So far, the excerpts only that we are given a little negative towards Iraq.

Blix's report will be in the hands of the full Council tomorrow, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Richard Roth. We admire you for hanging in there during the sirens. We know they are doing a drill at the U.N., as Richard said. Thanks very much.

The nation's largest labor federation today declared its opposition to war against Iraq at this time. The executive council of the AFL-CIO says that President Bush has not made a case for an attack without broad support from U.S. allies. This resolution was passed at the close of the labor's groups winter meeting in Florida. Our Candy Crowley will have more on the session just a little bit later.

Meantime, Treasury Secretary John Snow defended President Bush's economic plan as it was formally unveiled on Capitol Hill today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN SNOW, TREASURY SECRETARY: When you've got good ideas, when you've got good tax policy, and this is good tax policy. When you've got good economics behind your good tax policy, you'll carry the day. This is the tax policy that will stand up to scrutiny. This is economics that will stand up to scrutiny.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Democrats saw that as an opening to drive home why they think the Bush plan is wrong for America.

Let's go to our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, just how strong is the opposition up there right now?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's virtually unanimous on the part of Democrats who are so opposed to this, that they've been basically calling it dead on arrival for a month now. For a month before it formally got here on Capitol Hill.

Today, there was a press conference with the two top Democratic leaders in the House side, Nancy Pelosi, Senate Tom Daschle coming together and saying -- trying to find new and more creative ways to attack the plan. Tom Daschle said that it was a sham, wrapped in spin, shrouded in deception. And more seriously what he did is he tied the tax plan to the prospects of war with Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: Each passing day it becomes clearer, we have an anticipated debt of $400 billion this year, and that's before the first dollar in whatever military action may be required will be expended. So without a question, this will exacerbate the debt and complicate our fiscal circumstances beyond anything I would say in history.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KARL: And, Judy, this has become a real theme for the Democrats on this, looking at the costs of war with Iraq and saying, how can we push through a big tax-cut plan at a time when we don't even know how much it will cost to wage war -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: I should say, we'll hear a little more of that theme from Senator Hillary Clinton in a little while. John, separately, what about among the Democrats, how much work does the administration have for itself there?

KARL: Well, certainly, the Democrats much work, much of it possibly futile. In terms of Republicans, that's a major challenge.

WOODRUFF: I'm sorry. I meant to say Republicans.

KARL: Moderate Republicans have been quite vocal in their opposition up here to the tax plan. And some of them are reacting negatively to the possibility that the White House would try to exert pressure on them in their home states, including George Voinovich, Senator from Ohio, who was asked by the Capitol Hill newspaper up here, "Roll Call" about reports that the president would be going out, and sending members of the administration to Republicans' home states to put pressure on them. Voinovich said to "Roll Call," -- quote -- "They're making a big mistake. I've talked to a lot of people in Ohio and I'm sticking to my guns."

And Voinovich's guns are that he believes the Bush tax cut is too big, and he has got questions about some of the details of the tax cut, as many moderate Republicans up here do. Now, Voinovich says that he has now spoken to the White House. He doesn't believe they're actually going to be targeting him in Ohio, and this may be a tempest in the teapot. But the bottom line is there's a lot of work to be done among Republicans.

Judy, one other quick note, the first place that the Bush administration will have to sell this is the Senate Budget Committee. And the Senate Budget Committee this year now has three less moderate Republicans who are off the committee, three more conservative Republicans. It looks like he's going to have a good shot of at least getting it through the budget committee.

WOODRUFF: Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Now, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Democratic Senator Bob Graham today filed the paperwork to form a presidential campaign committee. While Graham continues to recover from heart bypass surgery, his daughter filed the corporate papers in Tallahassee, and aides opened a campaign account in Washington. Bob Graham is the ninth Democrat to enter the presidential race. He's 66 years old, a former two-term Florida governor. He's now serving his third term in the U.S. Senate. He has defeated every ballot opponent he has faced since his 1966 election to the Florida House of Representatives.

A new poll finds John Kerry leading the Democratic hopefuls in New Hampshire, but Dick Gephardt is coming on strong. An American Research Group survey gives Kerry 23 percent, and Howard Dean, second at 16 percent. Gephardt is next at 15, followed by Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator John Edwards. Those numbers reflect a 4-point slide for Kerry since January and a 10-point jump for Gephardt.

Just a few hours from now, Democrats will hold their annual 100 Club Dinner. Four Democratic candidates are expected to attend. Senator Joe Lieberman and former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, along with Howard Dean and the Reverend Al Sharpton.

Well, there's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Many celebrities have turned out to protest war with Iraq. Has that tarnished their images? We have got some star-studded poll numbers.

Also coming up --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Senator Clinton, Majority Leader DeLay, with all due respect, talk about an odd couple. I mean, it is hard to think of two public figures, elected officials who are more diametrically opposed in their views. But the two of you have come together. But my first question is, who is Felix and who's Oscar?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Find out how Hillary Clinton and Tom DeLay answered that question, and whether Iraq is a thorn in their surprising political partnership.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm candy Crowley in Washington. Organized labor is gearing up for the 2004 election with a lot of Democrats to choose from, and one man that seem as determined as ever to defeat.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Call it a sign of the times. Masks of Saddam Hussein and President Bush are expected to be big hits at this year's Carnivale festival. Brazilians and tourists from around the world are expected to converge on Rio de Janeiro tomorrow for the start of the annual pre-Lent celebration.

Coming up, rebuilding a post-war Iraq. Who's in charge? Who pays the bill?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Its time to check your "IP IQ." The District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress on this date, February 27, in what year? Was it A: 1801, B: 1857 or C: 1903? We'll tell you the answer later on the INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Two of Washington's most polarizing political figures have come together to promote a shared concern. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay hosted a movie screening last night to publicize the needs of America's foster children.

Our conversation on that subject is coming up just a little later this hour. First, though, their thoughts on a potential war with Iraq. I started by asking Senator Clinton if she agrees with President Bush that Iraq has been given every chance to disarm, and that we're just weeks away from war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLINTON: Well, I think that's the unfortunate conclusion that one has to draw from any objective reading of the evidence, not just in the last months, but going back more than a dozen years now. So I think that the president's made the right decision to go back to the United Nations. I always believe if you can have a larger group of people behind you, not only for the military action, where we don't really need their help, but for what comes after, that's preferable.

But I also believe that at some point, this has been in Saddam Hussein's hands from the very beginning. He signed agreements that he has failed to keep, and even now has refused to cooperate with the inspectors.

WOODRUFF: And, Mr. DeLay, no more chances? You agree we are just days, weeks away?

TOM DELAY (R-TX) HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: This has been a long time in coming. It started at the end of the Gulf War. And it has taken all of this time for us to finally understand that this man has no intention of being part of the international community. And that he has no intention of honoring his agreements.

In fact, he has gone even beyond that in building weapons of mass destruction, of supporting terrorist organizations. And we have tried every way that we know how to avoid war. And it looks like because of Saddam Hussein, we might actually have to go to war.

WOODRUFF: And if the cost is as high as we're now learning it may be, the administration saying $95 billion, an enormous amount of money, will that be worth it, Senator?

CLINTON: I do have serious questions about the cost, the length of the commitment that we will have to make in Iraq and to the Iraqi people. I believe that we have to have more information in the Congress and among the American public to make a good judgments about what we need to be doing. I am worried that it seems inconsistent and unsustainable for the president to be asking for large tax cuts before we know what our continuing obligations are. I would like to see us just take a deep breath, deal with Iraq if we have to, understand exactly what we've gotten ourselves into, because in the briefings I've received, there's a lot of unknowables. You hear that from the people at the Pentagon and the State Department. And I don't believe that we really fully appreciate the cost that we may be embarking upon.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Leader, do you have any of those concerns? And do you see the inconsistency that the Senator describes between the war costs and the tax cuts?

DALEY: This is where we probably get a divorce.

CLINTON: An amicable one.

DALEY: Yes. This is -- I believe, strongly, from my experience, that if you give tax relief, it grows the economy. And from the economy, you raise the revenues to pay for this war and this government. The opposite just doesn't work, and if we're going to pay for this war, and we have to pay for this war. If you go to war, you go to win. And you're going to have to pay for what it takes to win.

WOODRUFF: And so any price is worth it?

DALEY: Keeping the American people safe, winning this war on terrorism, of which Iraq is a central part, yes. Whatever it takes to win the war on terrorism and keep the American people safe is worth it.

CLINTON: Well, we'll have to have a continuing conversation about this, because I did support the president. And I did so based on, you know, my assessment of what kind of potential threat Saddam Hussein did represent and the need, frankly, for the world community to accept responsibility. But I do believe that caution is in order right now with respect to the fiscal condition of our government, and the cost that we're going to be incurring and the unintended consequences.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: A little later this hour, Senator Clinton and Congressman DeLay, Majority Leader DeLay, talk about working together, though, to improve the lives of America's foster children.

Coming up, reconstructing Iraq after the war. How much will it cost? And who will call the shots? I'll speak with an expert on rebuilding.

(MARKET UPDATE)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's time, again, to check your "IP IQ." The District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress on this date, February 27, in what year? Was it A: 1801, B: 1857 or C: 1903. The correct answer is A. Congress officially began to exercise authority over Washington, D.C. on this date in 1801.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: He's conquered Hollywood, but can Arnold Schwarzenegger make it on the campaign trail? Some new poll numbers could hold a clue. I'll be back with that story.

(NEWS ALERT)

WOODRUFF: Well, as the United States moves closer to a war with Iraq, there's increasing discussion about the country's future after Saddam Hussein. The Bush administration is talking about having an American administrator run post-war Iraq.

I asked CNN Iraq analyst Kenneth Pollack at the Brookings Institution if that's a good idea.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KENNETH POLLACK, CNN IRAQ ANALYST: Well, it's certainly some thing that could work, but I think it does run some risks. And I think it will be harder to make a U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq work properly, because there are a lot of countries around the world who are very concerned that the United States is planning to invade Iraq, because we want to get our hands on the oil wells, because we want to set up a new colonial system in Iraq, also because you do have a lot of countries who are very opposed to U.S. unilateralism in general.

And that creates a set of problems that any U.S.-led reconstruction of Iraq would have to deal with that might not be there if it were, say, under the umbrella of the United Nations. Those are things like getting additional countries to come on board and contribute to the reconstruction. If it's a U.S.-led operation, it's going to be harder to get other some of these countries to come on board, to contribute troops to the stabilization force, to contribute money, etcetera.

We're also going to need to get the nongovernmental organizations, the NGOs, which have critical skills and critical manpower that are going to be necessary for reconstruction. I myself have been talking to a number of those different groups. And they all suggest that they're going to be very leery of coming into a situation where it's the U.S. running the show. They'd be much more comfortable having the United Nations at least leading the project, even if it was the United States that was doing the lion's share of the actual work.

So I think it does set things up to make it a much harder reconstruction effort.

WOODRUFF: It remains to be seen whether the U.S. would be willing to do that, though.

Ken, what about the president and what we're hearing from the administration that they believe Iraq can become a democracy?

POLLACK: I don't think that it's a sure thing that we can turn Iraq into a democracy. And I think it's very unlikely, even if we success, that we could do it quickly.

WOODRUFF: But what do they have working against isn't it?

POLLACK: Well, that's just it. Iraq is a small, relatively underdeveloped country. It's a Third World state. They don't have a very good history with democracy. The only real experience that they had was a period under British rule, where they had a kind of constitutional monarchy, but it really never worked as such. So they don't have a whole lot of experience.

They have deep ethnic fissures. They have a long history of mistrust among those different ethnic groups. And you have a lot of people inside of Iraq right now who don't particularly want a democracy. They'd like to return to some other form of dictatorship. The key is that each of them would like to be the next dictator. And these are all different kinds of issues that are going to have to be overcome.

And, as I say, we've seen them overcome in other places around the world. There's no question about that. There's no reason why it's impossible in Iraq. But what we've seen is, even when you can overcome it, it takes quite some time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: CNN's Iraq analyst, Ken Pollack.

Just ahead: The Republican push for labor support hits a roadblock, an update on the challenges facing organized labor and why some union leaders are so angry with the Bush White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Efforts by the White House to peel away union votes from Democrats next year just got a little harder. Labor Secretary Elaine Chao yesterday angered union leaders when she cited at length past examples of union corruption during an appearance at the winter meeting of the AFL-CIO. Chao's remarks are just the latest example of what some labor leaders say are a string of anti-union actions by the Bush White House.

Here's CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Don't be fooled by the Hollywood, Florida, site of the AFL-CIO's winter meeting. Organized labor has fallen on hard, cold times.

JOHN SWEENEY, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: This administration has actively sought every opportunity to pull the rug out from under working Americans.

CROWLEY: Layoffs are up. Union membership is down. The adrenaline is running.

ANDREW STERN, SEIU PRESIDENT: This is enormously important, that someone be able to beat George Bush.

CROWLEY: It's not that anyone expecting organized labor, one of the Democratic Party's biggest contributors, to be Bush enthusiasts. But et tu, James Hoffa?

JAMES HOFFA, PRESIDENT, TEAMSTERS: And I think that this administration has veered dangerously, since the convention, towards a policy that leaves working people out and working families out. And I think that they're not responsive to what's going on.

CROWLEY: This is the guy the Bush administration has been wooing a bit, looking to make dent in the solid wall of union Democrats. But, at the moment, they seem to be solidly looking elsewhere.

An AFL-CIO endorsement is a big deal, worth its weight in worker bees, votes, and contributions. Every Democratic candidate would like it. It's why five of them trucked down to Florida for the meeting. It's the stuff dark horses dream of.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A very good endorsement -- excuse me -- I mean a very good reception -- what most people really want is somebody who can win. And I think we're going to have trouble winning with somebody who is from inside the Beltway.

CROWLEY: Richard Gephardt is the emotional favorite. The Missouri Democrat has working-class roots and the best pro-labor record of the '04 bunch. The only thing the AFL-CIO wants more than a pro-labor Democrat is a Democrat who can beat George Bush.

STERN: It has to factor into endorsement. This is not a crusade. This is trying to win an election for the future of the country. And it's enormously important to us that whoever we select be someone who can win.

CROWLEY: And that is Gephardt's to prove.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Certainly, I am a candidate who can win in the industrial heartland of the country. And that's where George Bush will be beaten.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: It will be some time before the AFL-CIO makes an endorsement, but labor leaders are determined to rev up their political apparatus ASAP. The union envisions volunteers working not just a few months before an election, but year-round, a network to mobilize members not just on behalf of candidates, but on issues before Congress -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: They're sounding very practical.

CROWLEY: Yes.

WOODRUFF: They want a winner.

CROWLEY: Yes, that's exactly it. And that's what the Republicans said last time around. Give us somebody who can win.

WOODRUFF: That's exactly right.

All right, Candy, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

Well, Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan will debate the president's labor pains and his plans for rebuilding Iraq.

That's just ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With us now: former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile; and, in Los Angeles, Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

Let's talk first about Iraq, the president saying last night -- we've heard other statements coming out of this White House -- that the administration, post-war in Iraq, likely to be run by an American, not only that, that they have great hopes for a democracy in Iraq.

Bay, are these realistic and smart plans for the administration to be making?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, I always worry when you start talking about what you're going to do after the war. I'd kind of like us to focus on the immediate future, which is the war, and make certain we do that well and win it outright. And, obviously, we will.

But this is what concerns me, Judy, when I heard the president. Not only did he say we are going to disarm Iraq, which is his purpose there, but also free a people and set up a democracy. And we're going to have a role model for the region. And, in the meantime, we're also going to encourage these people to also move towards democracy. And we will resolve the Palestinian-Israeli situation, an enormously utopian, expansive role for the United States in the Middle East.

I think, if we win this thing and set up something and try to get out of there as quickly as we can, that might be advisable over what he's talking about.

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Well, Bay, I agree with you, because every time the president opens his mouth, that's another billion dollars.

And I tell you, the cost of this war is enormous. Already, the administration is talking about $90 million and then, of course, the post-war...

WOODRUFF: Ninety billion.

BRAZILE: Ninety billion -- thank you, Judy -- $90 billion -- can't pronounce a billion right now. And then, all of a sudden, you have this cost of rebuilding Iraq and then maintaining control of the police. And one of the things that I think they need to be careful -- Mr. Hussein has been carefully orchestrating over the years, making the people rely on him for everything from police and fire to food rationing. So this is going to cost an enormous amount of money, a lot of time and resources. And I don't think no Americans should be sitting there, and especially American military personnel, and running that country.

This is why you need the U.N. You need the U.N. support. And the U.N. should go in there and help. If we go to war, the U.N. should be there to try to help a government post-war Iraq.

BUCHANAN: You know what concerns me with what Donna is saying, Judy, is the fact that we're doing something, obviously, which the president feels is going to be enormously beneficial to the neighbors, to the region, even to the world.

And yet we're doing this and we're being asked to pay not only for the war, but also to pay money to Turkey, to pay money to Israel. They're asking for $15 billion extra. All these countries also want us to pay for the right to come in and defend them against this tyranny. It doesn't make sense. And I think it's time for the American people to hear from the president, look, if we're going to pay for it, we've got to cut some of this foreign aid out. We've going to take care of the defense because we're going to go in and solve some problems.

But the U.N. and Israel and Turkey, they can't be having our money as well.

WOODRUFF: And there may be other payments to come in order to get that U.N. along with us.

BUCHANAN: Absolutely.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly to this story, domestic political story, I was just talking about with Candy Crowley.

And that is Elaine Chao, the labor secretary, down meeting with organized labor leaders, ticked off a list of organized labor corruption. And let me just quickly read you what the president of the Machinists Union had to say after he listened to her to Secretary Elaine Chao, whose name is Thomas Buffenbarger.

He said: "I felt a little appalled that a labor secretary would come to the meeting prepared to attack the labor movement. She came prepared with her book of sins. It's like Satan at the gates of hell."

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Donna?

BRAZILE: Well, you know what? I think all of my friends -- I talked to a couple of labor leaders today. And they were surprised that she came down there and threw the book at them, so to speak. She burned the only bridge that he had to the labor movement. The Teamsters and others are furious at her remarks. And I think that this administration is going to have to work overtime to repair its relationship with labor leaders.

WOODRUFF: Bay?

BUCHANAN: In fairness, I don't understand why anyone would take a litany of terrible things a group has done and read it to them. That wasn't necessary, I don't think.

But she walked into the lion's den. These individuals, the union leaders, were already angry as they can be with the president, because he managed to get rid of union protections for the homeland security employees. And, also, he's asked for additional financial disclosure from the unions. And they're very, very upset with these.

She walks in and adds to their furor. I don't think she needed to do that, but I don't know that she was going to win. They were ready to embarrass the president's person no matter what.

BRAZILE: Bay, and these leaders are already upset because workers are losing their jobs, their health care, and these companies are going bankrupt. And she walked in and said, essentially, no to raising the minimum wage and yes to tax cuts.

WOODRUFF: We're going to live it there. Donna, Bay, thank you both. It's great to see.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.

BRAZILE: Thanks, Bay.

BUCHANAN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Still ahead: rating Hollywood stars. Are they getting raves for protesting more? Bill Schneider will be back with more poll numbers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: TV and movie stars are often judged by their ratings or their performance at the box office. But our Bill Schneider has some other numbers that my interest some of Hollywood's outspoken figures.

Bill, all right, when celebrities speak out on political issues like war with Iraq, does it affect how popular they are with the public?

SCHNEIDER: Well, on the issues, it has very little effect. Only about 10 percent of Americans acknowledge that, when an entertainment celebrity speaks out, it has any effect on their views of the issue, but it does affect their views of the celebrity. Take a look. Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin and Barbra Streisand have been outspoken critics of President Bush and the war with Iraq. Most Democrats have a favorable opinion of them, but not most Republicans. Martin Sheen's popularity drops off about 20 points among Republicans. President Bartlet is not their man. The same thing happens to Alec Baldwin.

The really partisan figure is Barbra Streisand, who raises money for Democrats. Her favorability drops 40 points among Republicans, people who don't like certain people. Now, here's a celebrity who is not particularly liked by either party, actor Sean Penn. People who go to Baghdad are not the most admired people in the world.

And here's a celebrity who is above party: Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, married to a Kennedy. Schwarzenegger is very highly regarded by both parties, which may be why he's taken very seriously as a potential Republican candidate in California.

Now, ah, you say that's because men like him. Well, you're wrong. Schwarzenegger is more highly regarded by women than by men. In fact, he gets a 78 percent favorable rating from Democratic women. Remember, he sponsored a measure for after-school programs for children in California. Could the Terminator being the real compassionate conservative?

WOODRUFF: Well, women like the Terminator, too.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Crossing the aisle for a good cause -- when we return, how two lawmakers who disagree on so much came together on a shared interest in children -- more of my conversation with Tom DeLay and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: More now of my conversation with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Their shared interest in helping foster children brought them together in a working partnership that probably has raised a few eyebrows around Washington.

I spoke with them last night at the screening of a film about foster care.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Senator Clinton, Majority Leader DeLay, with all due respect, talk about an odd couple.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: I mean, it is hard to think of two public figures, elected officials, who are more diametrically opposed in their views. But the two of you have come together.

But my first question is, who is Felix and who is Oscar?

(LAUGHTER)

DELAY: Maybe we ought to flip for that.

CLINTON: That's right. Exactly.

DELAY: I'll take Oscar.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): What brought them together is the man in the middle, Antwone Fisher, the subject of Denzel Washington's critically acclaimed film about foster care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "ANTWONE FISHER")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Nobody wants you.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Nothing. Worthless. I hate you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: DeLay and Clinton discovered their shared passion at an adoption bill signing ceremony back in the late '90s, when he was one of her husband's most powerful political enemies. But when it came to the rights of foster kids, they put their differences aside.

DELAY: A lot of people just really don't want to talk about these issues. These children, many of them have been severely abused and neglected, have been taken from their home. They have issues that they have to deal with.

And what happens to them is something people really don't want to face. But we have to face it. We have a whole generation of children out there that -- thousands of them -- that are in the foster care system. And we need to build a system that gives them a stable home that is -- and that they're raised by people that truly love them and want to see them succeed.

WOODRUFF (on camera): But what's to stop that from happening?

CLINTON: In all of the years I've been involved on behalf of foster children, it's kind of out of sight, out of mind. The children are often from poor families, disadvantaged circumstances.

Antwone Fisher, whose movie we're screening tonight, was born in prison. His mother was a minor. And he was immediately taken from her. I think that if an individual child can be brought to public attention, there's often an outpouring of concern. The problem is, we have literally hundreds of thousands of children, about 550,000 of them now, in the foster care system. Every one of those children has a story. To me, it's a failure every time we keep a child in foster care for that child's entire life. There should be a decision made to either reunite a child by trying to help a family get back on its feet and take care of its children or we should remove the child and try to find a good, loving home in the foster care system, but, much more importantly, try to find a permanent home.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Majority Leader, if the two of you can work together on something like this, are there other issues that you can come together and work on?

DELAY: Well, I'm sure there are. We just have to look for them.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Have you talked about that? Are there any other things you've discussed that you might work together on?

DELAY: Not really, but I'm sure there's something out there that we could work together on.

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: Well, the problem is that we're going to see how well we can actually accomplish what we've set out to achieve here. Tom would probably be in trouble in the place he comes from if he worked with me too much. So I don't want to get him into any trouble. We want to take care of the children and do everything we can to give these children a better life.

WOODRUFF: Are you in any trouble over this?

(LAUGHTER)

DELAY: I don't think so. I think people are wide-eyed about the fact that we can come together and work on something. It's really important. And it's important to convince people that we need to design a system that has the best interests of the child...

CLINTON: That's right.

DELAY: ... at heart and a system that connects people rather than files, that you need people-to-people contact.

These children need a safe, permanent home with a foster parent or a parent that they know that that's going to be their home for as long as they're in the system and they know that these people are doing it, they're taking care of them, because they love them.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there, but we hope you'll let us know when you decide the next issue you're going to work together on, because we will want to talk to you about that.

CLINTON: You'll be the first to know.

DELAY: Absolutely. (LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Senator Hillary Clinton, thank you very much. It's good to see both of you. We appreciate it. Thank you.

DELAY: Thank you.

CLINTON: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As Americans face the prospect of another war, many parents and children would like a reassuring presence on their television screens. Well, one of the best-known faces to do that has died.

Fred Rogers, the gentle, soft-spoken host of Public Television's "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," died of stomach cancer in Pittsburgh today. He was 74 years old. On his show and in special public service announcements, Fred Rogers and his familiar cast of puppets helped generations of children deal with difficult subjects, including the Persian Gulf War more than a decade ago and, more recently, September 11.

Mr. Rogers was honored by presidents for his half-century career in children's television and his contribution to the nation. Above all, he'll be remembered in the smiles of children and the grownups that they have become.

Mr. Rogers, we remember you.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks 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




International Edition
CNN TV CNN International Headline News Transcripts Advertise With Us About Us
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.
Add RSS headlines.