CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Bush Gets Ready for Prime Time Speech Tonight; Interview With Henry Kissinger on Iraq and Global Conflict
Aired March 6, 2003 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: President Bush gets ready for prime time as his administration tries to make it clear that war in Iraq may be near.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is the time to deal with this kind of threat.
NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I look forward to the president's comments tonight, because obviously, the case has not been made.
ANNOUNCER: Why Iraq and not North Korea? We'll compare the dangers and the very different responses from the White House.
A diplomatic veteran of war. We'll talk to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger about Iraq and global conflict.
A dynamic duo. Old rivals Bill Clinton and Bob Dole will air their political disagreements on television.
BOB DOLE, FORMER SENATOR, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We agree that if we bomb the first Sunday, it'll be Hillary and Elizabeth the next Sunday.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
Well, if you needed any more evidence that war with Iraq could begin any day now, stay tuned to the president's news conference tonight. In this "NewsCycle," Mr. Bush is in the White House preparing for his second prime time face-off with reporters since taking office. CNN plans live coverage beginning at 7:45 Eastern.
In New York, U.N. Security Council members are gathered for tomorrow's report by weapons inspectors, and for a diplomatic showdown that could determine whether the United Nations supports a U.S.-led war with Iraq.
Today, China said a new resolution is, quote, "absolutely unnecessary," echoing the position of France, Russia, and Germany.
British Foreign Minister Jack Straw says that his country may consider making changes to the U.N. draft resolution on Iraq. There are reports that Britain may add language giving Saddam Hussein a deadline, but more time to disarm, in hopes of winning more international support.
With the threat of war on the horizon, diplomatic sources say Russian oil field workers are joining a growing exodus from Iraq. A senior official tells CNN that there will be no doubt about the urgency of the moment when President Bush faces reporters and the American people tonight. CNN's Chris Burns joins us with more now from the White House.
Chris, what are you hearing about what the president's going to say?
CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, the president is going to be reading a statement at the beginning of this news conference at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, focusing on the urgency of trying to take on Saddam, either peacefully or with military action.
He's going to be trying to make a case not only internationally, but also domestically. He's under fire from Democrats here. He's shaky in the polls, in part because of Iraq, but also because of the economy. He's going to be answering a lot of questions, trying to win over domestic and international support to go ahead with a war against Iraq, even if there isn't a U.N. resolution.
And that's the key, because the polls here in the states indicate that Americans, a lot of Americans, are very quizzical and not sure about going into a war against Iraq without a U.N. resolution. The president also focusing expected to focus on the economy, where he's trying to push through a $670 billion tax cut over ten years.
Also under fire, health care, also trying to answer questions on his push toward health care reform. And on Miguel Estrada, trying to push through the approval of that candidate for a federal appeals court judgeship. That also trying to be blocked by the Democrats. President Bush having said today that it is a disgrace -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Chris, back on the issue of Iraq, is the administration amenable to this idea that was put forward today by the British of amending this resolution, this draft second resolution?
BURNS: Well, Judy, the Bush administration is saying that they are in consultation on this. It is an issue. They're not talking specifically, but it could have something to do with a deadline. That is something that the British and other countries, the French as well, and the Russians have pushed for, having some kind of a deadline. Could that win over some votes on the Security Council? Possibly.
But up to now, the White House saying this is only consultation. They are not very optimistic about it, according to senior administration officials, but they are talking about it, and that's as far as they'll go on it -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Chris burns At the White House. Thanks very much.
Well, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle says that launching a war now would be premature. In some of his harshest criticism yet of the president's Iraq policy, Daschle says that Democrats may have their disagreements about the administration's approach, but he says they agree on this much.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: In our view, they have failed diplomatically. In our view, they are rushing to war without adequate concern for the ramifications of doing so unilaterally, or with a very small coalition of nations.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Daschle and Majority Leader Bill Frist have agreed to set aside time tomorrow morning to permit senators to voice their opinions on Iraq on the Senate floor. That is tomorrow morning.
Well, to hear what President Bush has to say about Iraq tonight, stay with CNN for live coverage of his news conference, starting, again, we say, at 7:45 Eastern.
A new Gallup poll suggests Americans' opinions about Iraq are holding relatively steady. When asked if Iraq is complying with U.N. requirements, most, 84 percent, said no. And 59 percent said they favor using U.S. ground troops to remove Saddam Hussein from power. That's the same percentage as in our last two polls. President Bush's approval rating is in a holding pattern too. It is still at 57 percent.
By contrast, British Prime Minister Tony Blair's support for likely war has cost him support at home. Blair faced questions from young people for an MTV special that airs in Europe, in the U.S. and in other parts of the world tomorrow. Blair said it is important to lead public opinion, as well as to follow it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think opinion does believe Saddam's a bad man, does believe he's a threat. But I think the question that people are asking is, is this the only way of dealing with it? I think that's more where people's minds are, and their worries are.
And part of what I am saying is no, it's not the only way of dealing with it, but we do need him to decide he's going to disarm voluntarily. Otherwise, we're left not doing it at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: But anti-war activists continue to make waves. Today, a Greenpeace boat sailed in the foggy waters near the United Nations bearing a sign, "No War."
And now to the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Pakistani and American forces are intensifying their search for the al Qaeda leader along Pakistan's southwestern border with Afghanistan. Let's bring in now our national security correspondent, David Ensor.
David, we're hearing a lot of varied suggestions today that it may be getting closer to Osama bin Laden. What are you hearing?
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, even a couple of rumors they may have found him. But I'm told definitively that is not the case from a number of U.S. officials. You do get the sense, though, talking to people who worry about this in the U.S. government and various branches of the government, that they feel they're getting closer, that some of the clues, some of the leads that came from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, or at least from the materials that were captured with him, could bear fruit.
There have been reports that bin Laden might be in a particular province in Balukistan, a Pakistani province near the Afghan border. I'm told those reports are not correct. However, they do believe they might be closing in on him. They have someleads that are worth pursuing, and they are being pursued very actively at this time -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: David, turning to a different part of the world, North Korea, a lot of concern in the last few days about growing tension on the peninsula, the North Koreans moving to build nuclear weapons. The U.S. saying they're not going to talk directly. What are your sources telling you?
ENSOR: Well, interestingly enough, talking to at least one senior official today, and listening to others, you do get the sense that although the North Koreans have been sort of provoking the U.S., or trying to, that patience is not endless. I got a sense of warning, basically, from one official. Here's how that went.
ENSOR (voice-over): With Pacific command officers considering whether to recommend putting fighter jets up near U.S. reconnaissance aircraft surveilling North Korea after the incident this weekend, a senior defense department official told CNN that if the North Korean leadership are quote, "counting on us to be risk-averse, they may misjudge us."
The official suggested further military provocations could be a miscalculation by the North Koreans. Having ordered 24 bombers moved to Guam, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said, the U.S. can deter North Korea even as it fights in Iraq if it comes to that.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF STATE: We're well arranged, and we feel good about the deterrent and the defensive capability that the United States has.
ENSOR: On Capitol Hill, the administration faces growing criticism for not agreeing to the bilateral talks the North Koreans want, talks about their apparent rush at Pyongyong towards nuclear weapons production, and what they might want in exchange for stopping it.
SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I don't know what we lose -- I don't know what we lose by talking.
ENSOR: Secretary of State Powell denied recent reports the administration might be ready to live with a nuclear North Korea and hinted at action behind the scenes.
POWELL: We have a number of diplomatic initiatives under way, some of them very, very quietly underway to see if we cannot get a multilateral dialogue started. And we are looking for a peaceful solution to this problem. And we are committed to a non-nuclear Korean peninsula.
ENSOR: U.S. officials say they are pressing the Russians and Chinese to agree, collectively, to ratchet up the penalties for North Korea if it continues on the nuclear path. Such pressure, officials say, could include warnings to North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Il, that he would not be allowed to export nuclear materials. His ships and his trucks would be checked. That idea meets skepticism from some.
ASHTON CARTER, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think it is entirely implausible that we can put a hermetic seal around North Korea that would guarantee us that a grapefruit-sized lump of metal -- that's what plutonium is, a bomb's worth of plutonium -- couldn't be smuggled out of North Korea.
ENSOR: A senior Defense Department official said the U.S. is not looking for a fight, but North Korea should not think the U.S. is distracted by Iraq. He suggested reconnaissance flights watching North Korea will be continued pretty much no matter what -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Of course, the fact that there's so much South Korean population so close to North Korea is obviously a factor here as well for the U.S.
ENSOR: Well, that's certainly true. And they need to be careful. But at the same time, they're determined to keep the reconnaissance flights going and say they will resume soon.
WOODRUFF: All right, David, thank you very much.
Well, there's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. I will discuss nuclear tensions in North Korea, and the showdown in Iraq with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. Why is the U.S. on the brink of war with Iraq and not with North Korea? I'll compare the two conflicts and how Washington is responding to them. WOODRUFF: Also ahead, have some members of Congress lost their taste for pork? Our Jonathan Karl will have the latest on tax breaks packed into a military bill.
And later, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich revealed. The clothes go, the fruit stays.
WOODRUFF: Is the showdown with Iraq hurting you in the pocket book. Coming up, we'll go live to Wall Street for today's closing numbers.
Plus, how high will they go? We'll tell you what the transportation department predicts for prices at the pumps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF (voice-over): It's time to check your "I.P. I.Q." Henry Kissinger was the 56th secretary of state serving under President Nixon. What was his job prior to that? Was it A: university president, B: economist or C: national security adviser? We'll tell you the answer later on INSIDE POLITICS.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: As the odds of a negotiated non-military solution to the standoff with Iraq appeared to fade, I'm joined from New York by one of this country's most experienced and distinguished diplomats. He is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Dr. Kissinger, now that we have China joining France, Russia and Germany, saying they don't want to see another resolution moving the United States and other countries toward force, should the United States now be prepared to act on its own, if necessary?
DR. HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The United States has to act on its own, as it has said from the beginning it would, if necessary. For the United States now to move out of the Middle East and abandon all the governments with whose support we've deployed our forces there, and to abandon the insistence on the destruction of weapons of mass destruction would be a catastrophe, even for the nations that are now seemingly opposed to it.
WOODRUFF: Well, what about the long-term ramifications, Dr. Kissinger, of the U.S. taking this action with a small group of allies, but with without the sort of international support that has traditionally been the case when there's been this sort of military action, preemptive?
KISSINGER: I think we have overcomplicated the issue. The United States has been attacked on its territory with thousands of casualties from groups that were organized, financed and whose headquarters are still largely in that region. And all the United States is saying, it cannot tolerate weapons of mass destruction being assembled in the middle of that region by a country with a sustained record of hostility to the United States, and in violation of a whole series of U.N. resolutions. The people ought to ask the question of the U.N., if they can permit this to continue and to have turned this into this sort of a debate.
WOODRUFF: Well, if these countries, if the U.S. ends up -- and I realize the diplomatic option has not been exhausted yet -- but if the U.S. ends up going without the support of France, Russia, Germany, China and these other countries, will these other countries have a role in Iraq post-war?
KISSINGER: Well, I think it's in the interest of the United States, in the post-war period, to internationalize the solution in Iraq. And the countries that one would participate -- invite to participate -- would depend in part on the role they played before. But I think some role for some of these countries should certainly be envisaged.
WOODRUFF: Was it a mistake now, in retrospect, for the U.S. to bother to try to get U.N. support here?
KISSINGER: Well, the U.S. did this in order to show its respect for what is called world opinion. The practical effect of this is that some countries, some tiny countries far away that are not directly affected by this, now have a vote on an issue of fundamental importance to the United States.
I would have preferred if the United States had taken the position under Article 51 of the United Nations charter, which defines the right of self-defense, other than throw it into a general debate. But I respect the president and the secretary of state for having chosen the road that they have.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about North Korea. Is the Bush administration right now correct, Dr. Kissinger, to say that it will not talk directly with the North, and to continue to hold out for regional talks?
KISSINGER: The nuclear weapons in North Korea affect south Korea, China, and Japan before they affect the United states. Therefore, it is reasonable for the United States to say that they're willing to discuss the nuclear issue, eager to discuss the nuclear issue in a regional context.
If we turn it into a bilateral talk between us and North Korea, we will be stigmatized in South Korea every time there is a deadlock. China and Japan are taking a free ride on a negotiation in which, in the end, they will have to take some responsibility for the final conclusion.
And we must not get into this never-never land where any time somebody makes a proposal, we then have to talk within the framework that this regime, which is probably the most brutal and oppressive in the world, the North Korean regime, has defined. We have said we're willing to talk and eager to talk together with China, Russia, Japan, and South Korea. Those are the countries that are immediately threatened, together with us, and that seems to me a reasonable position.
WOODRUFF: But in the meantime, the North Koreans are taking increasingly bellicose actions. How long can the U.S. continue to hold out with this position?
KISSINGER: Well, the question is how long can China and Japan hold out with its position. We're talking here of a regime that has violated every agreement they have made with the United States, including the last agreement. And that is brutally repressive.
Why should they be permitted to have them dictate the forum in which we talk to them? South Korea historically involved here. It's their own country. China is right at the border. Japan is 100 miles away. And they have to be engaged in this, in this negotiation in some way. Otherwise, we are subject to permanent nuclear blackmail.
WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to leave it there. Former secretary of state, Dr. Henry Kissinger. We appreciate it very much.
KISSINGER: Good, pleasure.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
Coming up, more on the crisis with Korea. Why is the administration treating Pyongyang and Baghdad differently? Our Bill Schneider has some ideas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF (voice-over): Time again to check your "I.P. I.Q." Henry Kissinger was the 56th secretary of state serving under President Nixon. Earlier we asked, what was his job prior to that? Was it A: university president, B: economist or C: national security adviser?
The correct answer is "C." Kissinger was assistant to the president for national security affairs from 1969 until 1975. He continued to hold that job for two years well also serving as secretary of state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The White House decision to use two very different strategies in its dealings with Iraq and North Korea has provoked administration critics who see evidence of a double standard. For more, we turn to CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider -- Bill. SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, there is a debate going on right now in Washington over analogies. At issue, what's the proper analogy between Iraq and North Korea?
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): War critics ask, what exactly has Iraq done to provoke military retaliation? In the case of North Korea, that's not a hard question to answer.
MICHAEL REISS, DEAN OF INTL. AFFAIRS. COLLEGE OF WILLIAM & MARY: They have expelled the international inspectors from the North. They've restarted their nuclear weapons facility at Pyonyong.
SCHNEIDER: The Bush administration insists the Iraqi situation is a crisis that requires a military response, a unilateral one, if necessary. And North Korea, not a crisis.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think North Korea would like nothing more than to make this a crisis, because the more they can make this a crisis, the more they think they will get things in return for defusing the crisis that they, themselves, have spun up.
SCHNEIDER: No military response needed.
RUMSFELD: The president's made a very clear decision with respect to North Korea, that he intends to follow the diplomatic route.
SCHNEIDER: No need for unilateral action.
FLEISCHER: The administration approach is the importance of working together in a multilateral fashion with China, and Russia, and Japan and South Korea.
SCHNEIDER: Why the difference? Possibly because North Korea has a huge and dangerous military arsenal poised to strike the over 10 million people in Seoul, South Korea, just 30 miles away. This week, the "Washington Post" reported that the Bush administration is resigned to North Korea having nuclear weapons.
The newspaper quoted a Senate source, who said, "The administration has acquiesced in North Korea becoming a nuclear power." The White House denied it. But the charge still set off a furious response from Democrats. The issue is one of analogies. Democrats pose it this way.
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Something is gravely wrong at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue if we rush to war with a country that poses no nuclear threat, but won't even talk to one that brandishes its nuclear power right now.
SCHNEIDER: What's not clear is whether the Democrats are saying the U.S. should handle North Korea like Iraq and threaten war, or the U.S. should handle Iraq like North Korea and deal with the problem diplomatically -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: You're saying the Democrats need to clarify that.
SCHNEIDER: I think they do.
WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider, thank you.
Well, what message, speaking of all this, does president Bush need to deliver to the American people tonight? Up next, Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan take issue with one another on Iraq and on the president's planned news conference.
WOODRUFF: Waiting for a note from his doctor: A presidential candidate awaits permission to head out on the campaign trail -- that story ahead.
WOODRUFF: And with us now, very timely, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile; and, in Columbus, Ohio, Bay Buchanan of American Cause.
Donna, what does the president need to say tonight?
DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Well, he has a difficult job tonight, because I think the president is going to have to inform us of why the United Nations inspection process is failing, why the United States must go at this alone. And where will America be at the end of this war?
So, I think he has a tough job tonight. But I'm sure that his advisers are telling him that he must reassure the American people and get us back on the same sort of sheet music, so to speak.
BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Judy, I disagree somewhat with what Donna said -- not entirely, but somewhat.
He doesn't have to tell the American people why the U.N. or our friends or allies are not with us. He has to explain to them that this threat, that Saddam Hussein is a threat; it's an imminent threat to the American people, that it requires force, and that he, as the president of the United States, as much as he'd like to have allies and friends with him, it's his duty to protect Americans and that's why he's moving ahead. It has to be convincing, powerfully convincing, very simple and very repetitive.
BRAZILE: But, Bay, the American people are quite skeptical of us going at it alone, fighting this war by ourselves without the U.N. support. And, of course, we all know the United States has the firepower and the right to do whatever we please.
But, at the end of the day, who will stand with us after the war? And I think that's why he must convince us. BUCHANAN: See, I agree. He has to convince us, but I think it's a much simpler message. It's very much, he's the president of the United States. His duty is to protect and secure the people of this country. It's this country that's threatened. And he's going to take that action. And he will have the support of the American people, as he did the evening of the State of the Union.
I think he repeats that message again and he will again have the overwhelming support of the American people.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you both about another -- well, a related subject, and a very difficult one. And that is civilian casualties in a possible war with Iraq.
Let me read you something that General Tommy Franks, who is head of the U.S. Central Command, said yesterday in answer to a reporter's question. He said: "One should not ever put a stake in the ground and say there will be more or less casualties, either friendly or enemy, because while we can reduce the variables, we also recognize that a very ruthless regime that sits in Baghdad will make his own decisions about where to position the lives of his own people."
Should Americans, Donna, be prepared for high civilian casualties in a war?
BRAZILE: Well, I've never seen a war prosecuted the way that they originally planned. They're planning on dropping 3,000 bombs in 48 hours, and, of course, one general saying that we should be conditioned to understand that there will be casualties.
That's why I think it's very important that we carefully plan our next steps to work with the U.N., to work with everyone, to figure out the best possible way to disarm Saddam Hussein without going this next step, which I think is quite dangerous.
BUCHANAN: Donna, the decision has been made here. And the U.N. is going to be left in the dust.
But I think the point, Judy, is an excellent one and Tommy Franks, I think, is absolutely correct, that you never know. There's human error. There's equipment failure. And as much as there's a moral imperative that we try to prevent human casualties, innocent human casualties, that -- and the president, I think, is doing that, and Tommy Franks is doing that.
There's no question we cannot be certain that there will not be some catastrophe in a war. It's a time of chaos. And, indeed, the American people should be prepared for that.
BRAZILE: But, Bay, the president has made it very clear that this is not a war against the Iraqi people, but a war to disarm Saddam Hussein. And I think it's very important that we send a message that we're going to try to disarm him without resorting to killing innocent civilians.
BUCHANAN: You're absolutely right. And I think the president is doing exactly that. They're deciding which kinds of bombs to use, so there will be the least impact on the civilian population, the kind of fuses. And it's in our interest to do that. We're talking about freeing the Iraqi people from this tyrant. You don't want to kill a couple hundred thousand in the process. And we're going to be occupying this country, try to rebuild it.
And you don't do that by knocking off a couple hundred thousand of them in the first couple days of a war. So I think it's in our interest to do exactly that. I think there's a moral imperative. And I think President Bush recognizes both.
BRAZILE: Well, there's no moral imperative in killing innocent civilians, especially children. I think that's why this administration better think very carefully before we start dropping 3,000 bombs on innocent civilians.
WOODRUFF: We better leave it there.
And we want to thank both of you.
BUCHANAN: Sure, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Obviously, these are difficult subjects, sensitive subjects. And we're going to be talking even more about this and others like it in the next few days.
Bay and Donna, thanks very much.
President Bush called it a disgrace, but Democrats say they just want more information. Up next: counting the votes in today's attempt to end the debate over the Miguel Estrada nomination.
WOODRUFF: Today's Republican attempt to break the Democratic filibuster on the judicial nomination of Miguel Estrada went down to defeat. The final vote was 55-44, which was five votes short of the 60 votes needed to end a filibuster.
Today's vote follows weeks of sometimes angry exchanges from members of both parties. Democrats say that Estrada has not answered their questions and they want more details on his judicial beliefs. Republicans see partisan politics at work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: This is not about fitness for office. This is not about qualifications. This is not about temperament. This is not about jurisprudence. This is about, pure and simple, raw politics in a political agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The Miguel Estrada vote figures in the lead item in today's "Campaign News Daily."
Florida Democratic Senator and presidential candidate Bob Graham didn't cast a vote on Estrada. Graham is back home in sunny Florida, where aides say the senator is taking advantage of the warmer weather to get some exercise after his recent heart surgery. Graham still expects, we're told, to receive medical clearance to hit the campaign trail by the end of the month.
A new Quinnipiac University poll matches President Bush against a generic unnamed Democratic opponent. In this hypothetical matchup, Mr. Bush trails the Democrat 48 percent to 44 percent. It's important to note, however, that a recent CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll posed the same question and Mr. Bush led the unnamed Democrat by eight percentage points. The difference, we're told, is in the order of the questions.
In Missouri, White House hopeful and longtime Congressman Dick Gephardt's 3rd District seat will be open in the next election. And state House member Russ Carnahan is preparing to enter the race. Carnahan, as you might have guessed, is the son of the state's former Democratic Senator Jean Carnahan and the late Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan. Russ Carnahan is 42 years old. He was first elected to the Missouri Statehouse in 2000.
Well, Republican House leaders here in Washington today postponed a vote on tax cuts for members of the military. The bill's main provisions are popular, but several extra tax breaks recently added by individual GOP members raised howls of protest from across the aisle.
Here's CNN's congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Foreigners who bet on American horse races will have to wait before Congress eliminates the 30 percent tax on their winnings. And fishermen won't be getting a tax cut on their tackle boxes. In a rare embarrassment, Republican leaders were forced to pull the tax breaks just as they were coming up for a vote.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: Unfortunately, as the bill came -- headed towards the floor, as the gentleman knows, there were concerns raised by our members as well as your members. And we felt compelled that we needed to address those concerns.
KARL: Democrats had complained bitterly, accusing Republicans of filling a military bill with giveaways to special interests. Some Republicans agreed.
REP. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: The bill itself takes our tax code and makes it more out of whack by granting certain provisions for certain sectors or industries that you don't give to others, protecting some from competition. It's not the way we ought to do business.
KARL: The sponsor of the tackle box tax cut is Congressman Jerry Weller, who represents a district where tackle boxes are made.
REP. JERRY WELLER (R), ILLINOIS: Since 1984, tackle boxes that are labeled tackle boxes suffer a 10 percent tax, but identical boxes that are identical, but are labeled sewing kit boxes and storage boxes, do not pay a tax.
KARL: ... should be cut, but there's a another question.
(on camera): Well, why should this be tacked on to a tax cut for the military?
WELLER: Well, it's a noncontroversial piece of legislation that's going to become law.
KARL (voice-over): The military tax bill is a popular one, almost certain to pass. So lawmakers loaded it up with $300 million in unrelated tax cuts that probably wouldn't pass on their own.
Arizona Republican Jeff Flake compares it to the special interest spending that gets tacked on to the bills that fund the federal government. This year's bill includes money for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Texas and the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. There was even money for the Grammy Foundation for educational grants.
FLAKE: Republicans complained mightily against this kind of stuff in years past, but they always blamed it on a Democratic president who would ring up the bill and not let them go home unless they spent a certain amount. Here, we don't have that excuse, but we're doing it anyway.
KARL: Congressman Flake and a small group of conservative Republicans in the House have proposed stripping $12 to $15 billion in special spending provisions that were added on this year and using that money on homeland security.
But, Judy, that's a tough sell up here in a Congress that simply loves its pork-barrel spending.
WOODRUFF: Whoever thought that a sewing box looked just like a tackle box? We've learned something, Jon.
KARL: Every day.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
Well, gas prices already are soaring, so who would want to make them go higher? That's coming up next in Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz."
Also ahead: Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich bares almost all. We have the pictures, so stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: He served as President Clinton's labor secretary and he waged an unsuccessful campaign for Massachusetts governor. So, what is Robert Reich doing for an encore? Well, how about nearly nude modeling?
Reich posed yesterday for a calendar to benefit Cambridge Community Television in Massachusetts. The expected Mr. June was holding fruits that strategically covered his bathing suit. You saw it here first.
See, you go from the Cabinet to posing.
Well, Bob Novak is here now with some "Inside Buzz."
Bob, a big change of subject: Gas prices are already going up, but you found out that somebody wants them to go even higher? What's this?
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: House Republican leaders were stunned this morning when they picked up "Roll Call," the Capitol Hill newspaper, and found on the front page that Don Young of Alaska, the powerful chairman of the House Transportation Committee, is pushing for an increase in the gasoline tax in order to fund more highways.
Now, the last thing the Republicans want is higher gas prices, with premium selling at $2 a gallon. But Young has a lot of clout, because he controls what congressmen get what highway extensions. The leaders are going to try to talk Mr. Young into thinking they can get some more money, not as much as he wants, for highways without going for higher gas taxes. But it's a problem they didn't need.
WOODRUFF: All right, let's move out quickly to the West Coast, politics in California: a rising star in the Republican Party, maybe?
NOVAK: The Republican Party was turned down by Condoleezza Rice to be the candidate for the Senate next year against Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer, but they got another minority woman, 38-year- old Rosario Marin. She is the treasurer of the United States, a Mexican immigrant, 38 years old, as I say. And they think she's a lot more attractive than some of these white congressmen who want to run against Senator Boxer.
WOODRUFF: All right.
Mississippi, the governor's race, what's going on there?
NOVAK: This is the hottest governor's race in the country. And it was thought that a former Republican national chairman, Haley Barbour, had the GOP nomination locked up. But at the last minute, last Saturday, a lawyer named Mitch Tyner filed. Now, the interesting think about Mr. Tyner applying for the Republican primary is, all his contributions have been to Democrats.
He represents the trial lawyers attacking Barbour because he's running on tort reform. That's going to be a very hot race. They're just trying to slow him down in the primary, waste his money there, before the general election.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, "Inside Buzz," thank you for joining us.
We'll see you.
And now, we have, I'm told, some breaking news from the Pentagon. Our correspondent Jamie McIntyre is there with some information about Saddam Hussein -- Jamie.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN MILITARY AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the U.S. Central Command has just issued a statement in which they charge that Saddam Hussein is procuring uniforms that are identical to U.S. and British military uniforms, down to the last detail.
And the Central Command claims that Saddam Hussein intends to issue these uniforms to special paramilitary troops, so that they could attack the Iraqi people, conducting atrocities, and then blame them on the United States. Now, it doesn't say on what basis it's able to make these charges, but a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command, Jim Wilkinson, says that this is just the latest chapter in Saddam Hussein's long history of brutal crimes against the innocent people of Iraq.
And according to the Central Command, the U.S. believes that these U.S. and British uniforms, or uniforms very similar to U.S. and British uniforms, would be given to a group of fighters known as the Fedayin. The is a paramilitary force with a strength of over 15,000, according to the Central Command, a force founded by Saddam's son Uday in 1994, many of them young troops who are devoted to Saddam Hussein.
So that's the charge coming out of the Central Command today, that Saddam Hussein is procuring U.S. and British look-alike uniforms to issue to troops to commit atrocities, so they can be blamed on the United States -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon, one more interesting twist in the back-and-forth between the United States and Iraq and the other countries going back and forth there in that debate, too.
We're going to take a break. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Well, unless Al Gore changes his mind and decides to run, America has been deprived of a rematch between President Bush and former Vice President Gore. But stay tuned. Two other onetime rivals for the White House are set to go head-to-head once again.
CNN's Jeanne Moos has more on the return of Bill Clinton vs. Bob Dole.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Time to send in the "60 Minute" men reinforcements.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")
MIKE WALLACE, "60 MINUTES": I'm Mike Wallace.
MORLEY SAFER, "60 MINUTES": I'm Morley Safer.
ED BRADLEY, "60 MINUTES": I'm Ed Bradley.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOB DOLE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm Bob Dole.
MOOS: And he's Bill Clinton.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And "60 Minutes" is doing that?
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The country needs a debate that's not a screaming match.
MOOS: Clinton vs. Dole. Turn black the clock to 1996, when they ran against each other for president. But now:
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They like each other. They're not interested in putting on a boxing match.
MOOS: "CROSSFIRE," this won't be. It will be quieter and more scripted. Back in the '70s, "Saturday Night Live" relentlessly spoofed the "60 Minutes" point-counterpoint segment that featured Shana Alexander and James Kilpatrick.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
DAN AYKROYD, ACTOR: Jane, you ignorant slut.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: But none of that with these two. Both have wives who are senators.
DOLE: Well, I said, probably, if we bomb the first week, we'll have Hillary and Elizabeth on the second week.
MOOS: The former president said he checked with his wife before agreeing to do the segment.
CLINTON: She said: It's OK with me if you do it. Try not to cost me too many votes.
MOOS: Senator Dole is known for his sharp humor. First, he did a Viagra commercial talking about erectile dysfunction. Then he spoofed his Viagra spot in a Pepsi commercial. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, PEPSI AD)
DOLE: My faithful little blue friend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MOOS: The Clinton-Dole face-off won't force off any of the "60 Minutes" regulars.
ANDY ROONEY, "60 MINUTES": I saw President Clinton and Senator Dole this morning and I told them not to give up their day jobs.
MOOS: No word on how much either man is getting paid for the segments.
DOLE: It will pay the rent.
MOOS: Which will run for at least 10 weeks.
Bill Clinton joked, they're doing "60 Minutes" because they're too old for "Star Search" or "Survivor." But who needs 15 minutes of fame when you can have 60?
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
WOODRUFF: Can't wait to see it.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us.
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With Henry Kissinger on Iraq and Global Conflict>