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CNN INSIDE POLITICS

U.S. Forces Preparing for War Try to Overcome Turkish Surprise; Will an Important Arrest in the War on Terror Change Debate Over War With Iraq?

Aired March 3, 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: All hands on deck. U.S. forces preparing for war with Iraq try to overcome a Turkish surprise.

A big catch and big questions. Has an important arrest in the war on terror changed the debate over war with Iraq?

Count him out.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I will not seek the 2004 nomination of my party for president of the United States.

ANNOUNCER: Why did Senator Chris Dodd decide not to go where nine other Democrats have dared to tread?

Like magic. Can the world's favorite young wizard help candidates cast a spell over voters?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us help. Mr. Potter will always bear right to save the day.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. We begin with complications for the United States and its effort to win international backing for war in Iraq.

In this "NewsCycle," United Nations officials say that Iraq has destroyed six more Al Samoud missiles after scrapping ten over the weekend. And Baghdad now is promising to hand over a report showing that it destroyed deadly anthrax and nerve gas.

Officials in Turkey are not saying whether the government will reconsider a motion allowing U.S. troop deployment there two days after the Turkish parliament rejected the idea.

Meantime, a group of six Persian Gulf nations failed to formally endorse a proposal by the United Arab Emirates urging Saddam Hussein to step down to avoid war. The plan may be considered by a wider group of Islamic nations on Wednesday.

Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King. John, are they regrouping at the White House after this move by the Turkish parliament over the weekend?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're certainly stung by it, Judy. I would say they're pausing at the moment more than regrouping at the moment. The regrouping may come in the days ahead, pausing because they are hoping that Turkey's government goes back to parliament within the next several days to a week and tries to get this vote reconsidered.

That is why here at the White House all aides have been told, even in private conversations, to choose their words carefully, not to say anything overly critical about the Turkish government. Ari Fleischer at the press briefing today saying it was premature to discuss what might happen to that big, multibillion-dollar aid package the United States was prepared to put on the table. It is certainly a military set back.

But, more importantly for the administration, it is a political setback. You very much want the support of Turkey, a Muslim country, one of Iraq's neighbors, if you do go forward in a war that is getting criticized around the world.

Today, though, at the press briefing, Ari Fleischer saying this could be a setback, but that the president is determined to go forward, and that the United States will succeed with or without Turkey.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The vote is a disappointment, because the president thinks that it's very important for the world to join together to disarm Saddam Hussein. Turkey remains a NATO ally, but, nevertheless, if the president makes the decision to use force, whatever the route militarily chosen, it will lead to a military success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This has been an up-and-down process for several weeks now. White House officials hoping after this weekend defeat that they can somehow regroup and get another vote out of the Turkish parliament. They are waiting to hear back from the Turkish government. Secretary of State Powell leading those conversations. One senior official saying, At some point, we will let them know how unhappy we are. We're not at that point yet -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, this move by Iraqis over the last few days to destroy some of the Al Samoud missiles, now the White House publicly has been very dismissive of this. But do they have any concern this could give a lift to the anti-war movement and, in effect, throw more diplomatic road blocks in their way?

KING: That is a significant concern. That is one of the reasons you will hear over, and over and over again, sometimes even in sarcastic language from White House officials, in the next week, saying that, as one put it just a short time ago, Twenty missiles does not disarmament make. Where's the VX, where's the sarin? Where are the munitions capable of making chemical weapons.

Here at the White House, and they have said this before, Judy, but they will say it again, quite vocally, in the days leading up to the vote on the new resolution in the Security Council. They will say Resolution 1441 calls for complete, total and immediate disarmament. They will say that Saddam Hussein is, once again, trying to play the international community with grudging disarmament, 15 weeks after that resolution was passed. They understand here this raises the bar, if you will.

Many will say, see, inspections are working. The White House says it will still try to get a win in the Security Council. That vote probably early next week. But they also say, a very senior official saying, quote, "Nothing will prevent the president from carrying on" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Same message we've been hearing for days out of there. John King, thanks very much.

Well, more than 30,000 U.S. Army soldiers have gotten their marching orders for possible war with Iraq. An additional 17,000 troops stationed at Fort Hood in Texas were deployed to the Persian Gulf region, along with as many as 17,000 troops from the First Armored Division in Europe. And, the USS Nimitz now is headed from California to within striking distance of Iraq. Eight thousand sailors are aboard the aircraft carrier and its battle group. The troops keep shipping out, even as the Pentagon tries to resolve its Turkey problem.

We're joined by our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre. Jamie, we just heard from John King on the White House view. But at the Pentagon, what is their view now? At what point can they afford to give up on Turkey here?

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, in some respects, Judy, they made that decision a couple of weeks ago, when it became clear that there might be a problem with Turkey. There's always been a plan B. They never put all of their eggs in the Turkey basket. In fact, what they did was they decided to employ the entire 101st Airborne Division early. Parts of the war plan only call for part of that division to go to Kuwait.

Now the entire division is on deployment to Kuwait, so that they could carry out operations in the north if the 4th Fourth Infantry Division -- that was supposed to go into Turkey, a heavier division -- couldn't get into Turkey. That way, they don't have to necessarily wait for the 4th Infantry Division to make that trip around. It gives them a little more waiting time in the Mediterranean to see if the Turkish parliament might have a change of heart at the last minute.

So, they have been proceeding on a several-track approach. One of them being, how to operate if they did not get permission from Turkey.

WOODRUFF: Well, Jamie, if they don't get that permission, what is the back-up military strategy, if you will?

MCINTYRE: Well, there's a couple things that they're going to try to do. One is, instead of trying to go after this whole package deal of permission, they may ask for permission for small parts of it. For instance, just overflight rights so that the aircraft carriers in the eastern Mediterranean can send planes into Kuwait by Turkey, or perhaps just basing search and rescue in Turkey, something that might be seen as a more humanitarian effort.

Now, they will eventually move those army troops and their equipment, that's basically their equipment, on about 20 ships in the Mediterranean down through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, around the Gulf of Oman and into the Persian Gulf. But as I said, the plan does not depend on those troops getting there. They can move before then.

And the U.S. is moving other things into place now, including, as you said, the Nimitz is leaving. And it won't get there until about April, but it could make up for some of the land-based planes that the U.S. had been hoping to put in Turkey. Originally, only five carriers in the war plan. They could add the sixth carrier into the plan to take up the slack.

WOODRUFF: Jamie, let me also quickly ask you about this incident over the weekend, where you had four North Korean fighter jets intercepting a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international skies near North Korea. What are they saying at the Pentagon about that?

MCINTYRE: Well, this is not any sort of violation of international law or anything, as long as the planes stay a safe distance away. And we're told that they trailed the U.S. reconnaissance plane, an RC-135 reconnaissance plane for about 20 minutes or so, sometimes coming within as close as about 400 feet, and sometimes turning on their targeting radar which is kind of a, sort of an intimidating gesture.

But it apparently is a gesture. North Korea has been complaining for months that the U.S. has stepped up its spying of North Korea, and they're bristling at that. So, they sent these MiG planes up, basically to assert their displeasure with the U.S. surveillance.

But, again, it's all in international air space. The U.S. says that the U.S. plane was never in any danger. This was not like the incident involving Chinese fighter planes and a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane, which the planes were coming dangerously close to the U.S. plane. They were close, but not dangerously so.

WOODRUFF: It does make you wonder what the North Koreans are up to.

MCINYTRE: Again, it's just a time of rising tension, and that is evidence of that.

WOODRUFF: OK, Jamie, thank you very much. Well, in the war on terror sources say the United States nabbed a treasure trove of information with the capture of a top al Qaeda leader in Pakistan over the weekend. For a second day, CIA officials are questioning Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

Government sources says names of suspected al Qaeda operatives were found during Mohammed's arrest, including some believe to be in Washington and other cities. Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge said today that Mohammed capture takes, quote, "a lot of wind out of the sails of al Qaeda." Ridge says that Mohammed had knowledge of a potential terror attack in the U.S. that prompted last month's increase in the terror alert level.

Well, Mohammed's capture could prove to be a turning point, not just on the war on terror, but in the debate over Iraq, here now our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): A year ago, most Americans believed the U.S. and its allies were winning the war on terrorism. A month ago that number had dropped to just over a third. That gave Democrats an opening. Why is Bush starting a new war when the U.S. isn't winning the old war?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am outraged that over the last six months the administration has been talking, talking, talking about toppling Saddam Hussein. We've done nothing, nothing, nothing effectively to take on these international terrorist groups.

SCHNEIDER: Well, now the U.S. has done something. An al Qaeda chief, the reputed mastermind of the September 11 attacks is in custody.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: He has been described as one of the biggest fish, maybe the big fish, other than bin Laden.

SCHNEIDER: Americans continue to consider Osama bin Laden more than Saddam Hussein public enemy number one. The core of the Democrats criticism is the U.S. can't fight both wars.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's obsessed with Iraq, and we've really got to defend ourselves against al Qaeda in North Korea before we worry a whole lot about Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: Does the public believe the U.S. can fight both wars? Actually, yes. But most Democrats don't. The Bush administration claims the U.S. doesn't have to choose. It's all the same war. Some Democrats agree, like Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who voted for the Iraqi resolution last fall.

And who's spokesman said last night on the even of Senator Clinton's visit to an upstate military arsenal that the senator, quote, "fully supports the steps the president has taken to disarm Iraq." But she's not running in '04. How do Democrats who are running respond to the latest news? Great, but let's not get distracted. The U.S. is on a role.

DEAN: As you know, al Qaeda is organized into cells around the world who operate somewhat independently. So I think in the short term, that arrest will not have an effect in terms of making America safer. But in the long term, it will have a very big effect.

SCHNEIDER: Bill Schneider, CNN Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Democrats are pressing ahead with their charge that President Bush is not putting his money here his money is when it comes to Homeland Security. In a meeting of county officials here in Washington, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said the federal government is not giving local governments the financial help that they need to defend against terror.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We can no longer act as though we can buy protection from terrorists for no more than the cost of duct tape. We can no longer act as though we can shake our economy out of its doldrums with a little more than rhetoric and outdated ideology. We can no longer act as though our fiscal decisions don't bear huge repercussions for our partners in county government.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Daschle, again, urged Mr. Bush to support Democratic legislation providing $5 billion in new funding for first responders.

A winning design was announced today for a memorial for the victims of the September 11 terror attack at the Pentagon. The memorial will include 184 benches, each engraved with the name of a victim. It will be built near the spot where the attack occurred. Private funds will be used to foot the bill of up to $7.4 million.

There is much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.

Some Turks are celebrating but the White House is lamenting. We'll discuss Turkey's surprise refusal to let U.S. troops deploy there.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. At a time when so many Democrats are running for president, I'll look at Senator Christopher Dodd's decision to just say no.

WOODRUFF: Also, White House hopeful, John Kerry, takes aim at President Bush with a little help from his wife. This is INSIDE POLITICS. The place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: A first for the Sunshine State. Coming up, we'll tell you how Jeb Bush made history today in Florida.

Plus, Senator Dodd says no, but some other Democrats may be waiting in the wings. When we return, a look at who may be the next candidate to make a run for the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's time to check your "I.P. I.Q." In this photo, President Herbert Hoover poses with his dog King Tut. King Tut was not the only White House pet at the time. Hoover's son, Allen, had two pets of his own. What were they? A: cats, B: rabbits or C: alligators? We'll tell you the answer later on INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The super-size Democratic field of nine presidential hopefuls will not include Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd. He made his announcement today at the Old State House in Hartford.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DODD: Despite the urging of many here in Connecticut and across the country, I will not seek the 2004 nomination of my party for president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: With me to talk more about Dodd and the Democratic field is our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley. Candy, I talked to Senator Dodd today. You talked to a lot of people today. What are you hearing?

CROWLEY: Well, look, I think there are always a lot of reasons why people decide whether to do something or not to do something. And I think this was true, from what I can tell, of Senator Dodd.

First of all, you know, you have to look, first and foremost, I think at the politics of it. There are already nine people in this race. So you've got to break through somehow. Well, four of these people are already Congressional members, leaders in some fashion. It's going to be very hard to breakthrough.

He's also a little late to this game, believe it or not. I mean, it's already march. A lot of these people have already been in it. Now, if you ask him, and I think there is also some truth to this, these politicians tend to look at where can I be the most effective, and he says it's the U.S. Senate.

WOODRUFF: When I spoke with him, he talked about how much he thought -- how important it would be to stay in the Senate and make the contribution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DODD: The Senate is one place where there can be a successful effort made to stop some of the short-sighted decisions made by the leadership in the House, the leadership in the Senate and the White House. And so the Senate becomes, as I said in my comments here, a focal point to express the opposition of decisions affecting domestic policy and foreign policy. And I think being in the Senate, being involved this over the next two years, is going to be a very important place to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The bottom line, no matter how much one wants to be president, and a lot of these Congressional members do want to be president, you have to look at the odds. They were very long, indeed, for Chris Dodd.

WOODRUFF: Candy, there are a few other names out there. Who at this point else could get in and make a difference?

CROWLEY: Well, three other people could get in. I don't know how much difference they're going to make. Other than, if you have a field of nine, that expands by three, and that's possible.

You could have Joe Biden. He's at least talked about it. You could have Wesley Clark, a former supreme commander of NATO. You could have Gary Hart who once ran before in 1988. So, any three of these men could get in.

Now, does it change anything? I don't know that the dynamic, once you're at nine, gets any worse when you're at 11 or 12. And I don't think that any of these men bring something so strong to the table, like, say, Al Gore, suddenly if he should decide. And we don't think he will. But if suddenly he should decide to get in, that's a major sort of element that goes into the race. I'm not sure any of these bring major elements other than to further spread the money, further spread the attention.

WOODRUFF: That's interesting that Dodd is only the second Democrat to say he wasn't going to run after Tom Daschle.

CROWLEY: And the other one gave the same reason. Daschle said the same thing. Look, I can do more in the Senate. I want to stay here. It's where the action is. We'll see.

WOODRUFF: Right, Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

More presidential news in our "Campaign News Daily." Democratic hopeful John Kerry spent the weekend in Idaho, where he spoke at the annual Frank Church Banquet in Boise. A speech by Kerry's wife is also making headlines. Teresa Heinz Kerry took aim at White House diplomatic efforts in the Iraq standoff during her remarks to the Idaho Democratic Women's Caucus. In her words, "It's not good enough to accept what the right wing has said, which is the French hate us so we must be doing something right. That is so dumb." Former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta has some strong words for Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton. When asked about the Sharpton campaign, Panetta told "The Washington Times," quote, "It's a free country and everybody can enter the race, but this is a race that cannot be about hate. This race has to be about hope." No comment from the Sharpton campaign.

In Florida, Governor Jeb Bush today named the first female lieutenant governor in state history. Orlando Republican Toni Jennings is a former state Senate president who served 24 years in the Florida legislature. An historic day in Florida, but there's a still a gender gap when it comes to politics. Coming up, I'll talk to someone who is trying to close that gap.

Plus, the tussle over Turkey. Did a heavy American hand ruin efforts to seal a deal over troops? Our guest from the right and the left take issue.

(MARKET UPDATE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Time again to check your "I.P. I.Q." In this photo, President Herbert Hoover poses with his dog King Tut. But King Tut was not the only White House pet at the time. Hoover's son Allan had two pets of his own. Earlier, we asked, what were they? A: cats, B: rabbits or C: alligators? The correct answer is C. Allan Hoover had two alligators that were at times permitted to roam freely around the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: U.S. troops on hold near Turkey. Can Washington turn a major defeat into victory? That story is moments away.

(NEWSBREAK)

WOODRUFF: The vote by Turkey's parliament denying U.S. troops a base on Turkish soil followed weeks of intense lobbying by U.S. diplomats. Officials here in Washington, however, are insisting that U.S. relations with Turkey will stay strong.

With me now from New York is Michael Elliott. He covers international affairs for "TIME" magazine, from his post as editor-at- large. Michael, how severe a setback is this for the United States at this point?

MICHAEL ELLIOTT, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "TIME": Judy, I think it's a very significant setback, assuming that the war plan really did involve, or does involve a major invasion of Iraq from the north with perhaps as many as 60,000 troops. If that's genuinely what's in the war plan, then this is a major setback, because either that won't happen at all, and instead, as Jamie McIntyre has said a few minutes ago, troops from the 101st Airborne will have to be flown up there. Or, alternatively, it will be delayed a week. But everything that we say on this topic or any other to do with a war has to be taken with a health warning, because we don't honestly know precisely what the Pentagon's plans are. And if there's one thing we've learned in the last few weeks, it's that there are so many twists and turns in this whole tale. Stay tuned, I guess, is the real message.

WOODRUFF: So, Michael, are you suggesting that despite all of the efforts the U.S. has made to lobby the Turks, promising them aid and so forth, that they might not have been counting on Turkey all along?

ELLIOTT: I think if you look at the map of Iraq, you have to believe that a significant presence of U.S. forces attacking Iraq from the north was in the war plan. So to that extent, I think it's absolutely the case that the U.S. wanted Turkey on board.

I think there is a bit of a question about how fast they wanted Turkey on board. Most of the ships carrying the 4th Infantry Division are still in the Mediterranean. It will take them quite a while for them to undock. And then the troops have to get from the Turkish port further east to the border with Iraq. So, it isn't clear to me how urgent things are.

And as Jamie said, and as I think is right, the U.S. has other options available to it. So, there are all kinds of different factors that have to come into play here. And one of the factors that I think is important is that we'll never entirely know for sure how the U.S. fights this war -- intends to fight this war until it fights it.

WOODRUFF: Having said that, Michael, is there anything else, do you think, that the U.S. can do to persuade the Turkish leadership to give us the green light?

ELLIOTT: I don't think so Judy.

I think everything that has been -- that could have been put on the table has been put on the table, in terms of economic aid, in terms of loan guarantees. Some in the Turkish military, I'm sure, would like the U.S. to at least wink at the possibility that there might be some sort of Turkish incursion into northern Iraq. But the U.S. side doesn't want to do that, because that would not go down well with our possible allies among the Iraqi Turks.

So I don't think there's an awful lot more that the administration could put on the table. I think what they're relying on is that the new Turkish government genuinely wants good relationships with the United States -- I don't think there's any doubt about that -- that the vote last weekend was probably not what the government expected, and that it's in everyone's interests to try and get this vote through. So, maybe later this week, that's what will happen.

WOODRUFF: All that given, majority opinion in Turkey against it -- we do know that.

(CROSSTALK) ELLIOTT: Huge majorities against it, huge majorities against it.

WOODRUFF: Michael Elliott with "TIME" magazine, thank you very much.

ELLIOTT: OK, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And now a look "Inside Their Politics": Efforts to secure a final Northern Ireland peace deal entered a crucial phase today. Irish and British Prime Ministers Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair arrived in Northern Ireland today for negotiations aimed at trying to restore the power-sharing government that collapsed five months ago.

There was speculation over the weekend that the Irish Republican Army could be preparing to destroy its arsenal of weapons. Sources say the British reduction is offering a big reduction in its military presence for -- quote -- "major moves by the IRA."

Coming up: the politics surrounding the capture of a top al Qaeda operative up for debate in our "Taking Issues" segment.

And evidence that selling rice may be a lot easier than selling the United States overseas.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president expresses his deep appreciation and gratitude to President Musharraf and to the government of Pakistan for their efforts this past weekend that led to the capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 attack.

This is a very serious development and a blow to al Qaeda. The president is appreciative to Pakistan for their fine efforts that they have been carrying out in the war against terror and their fine work in this most recent success.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer commenting on the capture of a top al Qaeda leader over the weekend.

With us now: Maria Echaveste, former Clinton White House deputy chief of staff; and former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari.

Good to see you, Susan.

SUSAN MOLINARI (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Maria, good to have you. Does this arrest of this top al Qaeda operative over the weekend, Maria, undercut the argument that some Democratic presidential candidates are making that all this focus on Iraq has hurt the war on terror?

MARIA ECHAVESTE, FORMER CLINTON DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: No, actually, I think it shows how important it is to have the cooperation of other countries.

We didn't do this by ourselves. We did it with Pakistan's help, as Fleischer recognized by thanking him publicly. And what it shows is -- and I hope that the president takes real notice of this -- that, to proceed forward in this effort with Iraq puts in jeopardy the cooperation we will need to continue our battle against terrorism.

WOODRUFF: Susan Molinari?

MOLINARI: I think your point is very well taken, Judy.

Obviously, what this shows is that we can engage North Korea in a stare-down, that we can begin to continue the buildup against Iraq and deal with the inspectors and get ready, potentially, for war, and, at the same time, mount a very successful campaign against terrorists. Here we have this self-proclaimed mastermind, according to him, along with Osama bin Laden, responsible for the massacring of 3,000 Americans on U.S. soil. And we've got him now.

So I think it does show that this administration can do -- can win this war on multiple fronts in protecting the homeland.

ECHAVESTE: But I hope no one thinks that the capture of this person is the end-all of terrorism. And one of the things we risk going forward with war in Iraq is that, in fact, we'll create more enemies. And so we need to continue have multilateral cooperation with other nation.

MOLINARI: Absolutely. No doubt.

And the president and Colin Powell and the vice president are continuing those conversations. The majority of members of the United Nations are with us. And what I think it does do in Iraq is send a very important message to other would-be terrorists that the United States is not going to take their word. They have to show, indeed, that they're going to move in good faith.

WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk for just a moment about presidential politics, to the extent Iraq is a factor here.

The campaign manager for John Kerry, a man named Jim Jordan, was quoted over the weekend, as saying the Democrats are going to be holding off, he predicted, in criticism of the president over the war, but he said -- quote -- "It will resume. Just as it became incumbent for Democrats to offer observations and even criticism of the administration post-9/11, that will happen again here, I'm sure."

How long can the Democrats afford to hold off, Maria, is my question.

ECHAVESTE: Well, I think the question really is how -- what the steps that the president takes. I mean, at the moment, most Democrats are expressing concern about, make sure that we have the support of the new U.N. resolution.

I think, particularly, once the war starts, and let's assume that the U.S. has to occupy Iraq, that may be -- there will be potentially reasons to be critical, depending on how that goes. It depends on what steps are taken.

MOLINARI: Right. And they have to be very careful.

Obviously I think, from a nationalistic standpoint, it's correct and just that people all sort of wait and deal with the campaign as Americans and not divide this country. At the same time, they have to make sure that they're not just waiting to see, hedging their bets, waiting to see, well, if the war goes the right way and we're able to take out Saddam Hussein with risk of minimal American lives, well, then they're going to be for the war. And if, in fact, it takes a little bit longer and it's not turning the right way: Well, then, we're going to be against the war.

No one who proclaims to want to lead the United States better think that that's a strategy that they're going to be allowed to take.

WOODRUFF: So, there's no magic turning point when you say, OK, now, today, it's the day when we can begin to talk about it?

ECHAVESTE: Absolutely not.

And I also think that we recognize -- and the American people certainly are telling certainly all the pollsters that they're concerned about national security and terrorism, but they're also concerned about domestic issues. So there's plenty to talk about, even now, before the campaign has really officially started.

MOLINARI: It's the difference between being a candidate and showing leadership. And that's the fine line that the Democrats have to walk right now.

WOODRUFF: Susan Molinari, Maria Echaveste, good to see both of you. We appreciate it.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Thank you so much.

A former advertising executive who once promoted rice and other products today resigned today from her new job, trying to improve America's image among Arabs and Muslims around world. Charlotte Beers joined the State Department shortly after the September 11 attacks. In a statement, Secretary of State Colin Powell said, Beers is leaving for -- quote -- "health reasons."

But a U.S. official tells CNN that her departure was connected to problems that she encountered on the job. Critics complained that Beers spent a lot of money on slickly produced ads, but did not, the critics said, understand her target audience.

We'd love to have Ms. Beers' perspective on all this.

Straight ahead, we check in on the White House Project. Find out what it will take to elect a woman to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and whether women rule, hold power any differently from men.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Updating a story we told you earlier this hour, the judge in the Washington-area sniper case has denied a defense motion to declare Virginia's death penalty law unconstitutional.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Lee Boyd Malvo, who's charged with murdering FBI analyst Linda Franklin. In other motions today, the judge turned down a media request to allow cameras in the courtroom and accepted a defense motion to limit the number of police in the court.

The man who had the grim task of telling the world that President Kennedy had been assassinated has died. Malcolm Kilduff was an assistant White House press secretary back in 1963, when Kennedy was shot. Kilduff died today at of a respiratory failure in a hospital in eastern Kentucky. Malcolm Kilduff was 75 years old.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A bipartisan group called the White House Project today sponsored a meeting titled Why Women Matter Summit. It was the group's latest effort to draw attention to its goal of electing a woman president.

Debbie Walsh is here in Washington as part of the summit. She's the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Debbie Walsh, I heard you saying earlier today that it's not just the numbers of women. It's what those women do when they get in office. What did you mean by that?

DEBBIE WALSH, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Well, we want women there for fairness, for equity, for equal representation. We want them because we don't want there to be wasted talent and we could certainly use all the talent we can get in government.

But we also want to make sure that, when they're there, they're making a difference. And what we've found in the research that we've done is that, in fact, they do. They make a difference by being there.

WOODRUFF: Now, you've surveyed women's state legislators. And, what is it? Right now, 22 percent of the members of state legislatures across the country are women.

WALSH: Right, which is the highest level of elective office, with a real substantial concentration of women

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Higher than you have women in Congress.

WALSH: Certainly higher than in Congress.

WOODRUFF: But in the survey, what did you find about the different opinions and views that the women hold vs. the men?

WALSH: Well, we found women that felt -- and men thought this also of their female colleagues -- that women had a special responsibility to represent the interests of women, that they had a special responsibility to represent people who aren't normally at the table: ethnic minorities, poor people and women.

We also found that they had different attitudes about public policy issues. They tended to be more progressive, more moderate on issues, supporting things like a minor's right to having an abortion without parental consent. And they were opposed to things like the death penalty and overturning Roe vs. Wade. They were in favor of gays and lesbians having the right for civil unions and they were against vouchers for public schools. So there was a real difference based on gender.

WOODRUFF: How did that reflect in Republican women vs. Democratic women, because, clearly, not all Republican women would reflect the views that you just described?

WALSH: Right.

We found that Democratic women were more moderate than Democratic men and that Republican women were more moderate than Republican men. And when we asked them about their issue priorities and what were the bills that they really spent time on and bills that affected women, we found that both Democratic women and Republican women made bills that were affecting women, legislation that affected women, their top priority more often than men of either party.

So, Republican women are still making a difference. They're not as moderate. They're not as strong on some of those issues, but they're certainly more moderate and strong on those issues than their male counterparts.

WOODRUFF: As you talk about these views to people who are in politics, are they surprised by this? Is this what they expect, do you think?

WALSH: I think we think that women make a difference. And I think that the story around the parties is what the surprise is. I think the assumption is that Democratic women are taking these positions on issues, but that Republican women are not. And I think that that's what the surprising story in that is.

WOODRUFF: That there's more moderation among Republican women?

WALSH: That there is more moderation among the Republican women, absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right, Debbie Walsh, we wish we could talk longer, but we will stay in touch, the director of the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Thanks very much...

WALSH: Thanks for having me.

WOODRUFF: ... for being here on this White House Project day, the day to try to get a woman elected president. Thanks very much.

"Insight Buzz" from Bob Novak next: why the drug companies are searching for a new friend on Capitol Hill and why they've set their sights on an unlikely ally.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak is here now with some "Inside Buzz."

All right, Bob, I understand the recent National Governors Conference here served as an example of how campaign finance reform really works?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Exactly.

They usually have a big reception where all kinds of people from Congress come. Only a couple of people from Capitol Hill showed up, because they're afraid they would violate the soft-money rules. But even more important, there was a meeting, a campaign finance meeting, for former Republican National Chairman Haley Barbour, who is running for governor of Mississippi, one of the two governorships up this year.

And the Governors Association said they could not raise money for governors' campaigns because of the soft-money requirements -- the restrictions. It's going to be very tough on raising money this year.

WOODRUFF: Different subject: big drug companies upset with Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson.

NOVAK: You have to remember, the big drug companies are huge contributors to the Republican Party. And they think Secretary Thompson is against the private enterprise system, wants big government in. They're looking for new allies. And guess who they're talking to? None other than the liberal lion of the Senate, Teddy Kennedy.

Lobbyists are conferring with him on a plan where they would try to get drug prices down through using private enterprise rather than government.

WOODRUFF: Working on getting drug prices down. OK.

Indiana, there's a battle shaping up in the Republican primary for governor?

NOVAK: Mitch Daniels, President Bush's budget director, is the anointed choice of the establishment to run for governor. But David McIntosh, former congressman -- he ran for governor, was badly beaten four years ago -- wants to try again.

Now, he has put out a fund-raising letter. And he has a poll in there by a reputable polling organization, Wilson Research, which shows McIntosh 44 percent and Mitch Daniels 2.6 percent. Now, that means that he doesn't have name I.D. And he's got the establishment behind him and it will go up. The point is that McIntosh, it had been thought, would not stand in the way of Mitch Daniels running for governor. He wouldn't be putting out a fund-raising letter with those polling data in it if he wasn't thinking of running against Daniels. Daniels has got a problem.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, an effort in California to recall the Democratic governor, Gray Davis.

NOVAK: It's energized the base, but President Bush's supporters out in California...

WOODRUFF: Energized the Republican base?

NOVAK: The Republican base -- think that it will divert money from reelection efforts for President Bush in California. They actually think they can carry California in 2008, but not if all this money is wasted in what they think would be an unsuccessful effort to recall Gray Davis.

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, "Inside Buzz," thank you. Good to see you.

In politics, name recognition means a lot. Up next, that brings us to the power of Harry Potter, the world's most famous young wizard.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Finally, we think a Russian politician may be on to something. After several failed runs for governor, he's trying to work some political magic by changing his name to Harry Ivanovich (ph) Potter.

Well, with nine Democrats struggling to break out of the presidential pack here, they might want to borrow a thing or two from the fictional boy wizard. We think a pair of wire-rimmed glasses might catch voters' eyes. Look at this. And John Harry Kerry and Carol Moseley-Potter, those names have a certain ring to them, don't you think? We solicit your reaction.

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



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