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No Child Tax Credit For Low-Income Families?; New York's Summer of Citations

Aired May 29, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The check may not be in the mail. This family is looking forward to the new child tax credit. But, surprise. Millions of low-income families won't get it.

New York's summer of citations: what's driving police to issue fines for feeding the pigeons or sitting on the subway stairs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told him, like, I'm pregnant because my back hurts. And I was like, I was carrying a lot of stuff. I just sat there for a second. She goes, well, you can't sit there.

BOB HOPE, ENTERTAINER: We're thrilled to be here.

Nice to be here.

Happy to be here.

I don't know where the hell we are, but...

ANNOUNCER: Thanks for the memories; 100 years young, Bob Hope has always been a hit with the troops. He also had a few laughs with their commanders in chief.


HOPE: Well, I hope I look that good when I'm your age.

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I hope I look that good when I'm your age.




JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

We begin with an unexpected hitch in the president's campaign- friendly message about tax cuts. A day after he signed the bill into law, it's now clear that child care tax credits won't be going to as many families as some thought. That is because of an 11th-hour change in the legislation that even some lawmakers were not aware of. Our congressional correspondent Kate Snow looks at who was left out.


KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it a tale of two day care centers. At Miniland (ph) in Dale City, Virginia, many of these kids' parents are looking forward to a check in the mail this summer, $400 per child. But that's also because their parents make enough money to qualify for an increase in the child tax credit just signed into law.

Contrast that with St. Joseph's Day Care in Washington. Most of these kids' parents will not get a check. According to the Liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a married couple with three kids making less than $26,625 will see no increase in their child tax credit from the tax bell the president just signed. The center says nearly 12 million kids would get no increase in the child tax credit at all.

Senator Blanche Lincoln pushed to change that last week and she got a provision into the Senate tax bill covering all those families. But as Congress struggled to fit a lot of tax cuts into the $350 billion cap the Senate insisted on, something had to go.

(on camera): It wasn't a secret, but in conversations with CNN last Friday, Republican staffers never mentioned the change. In fact, staffers said all families making less than $110,000 a year would get checks.

ROBERT GREENSTEIN, EXEC. DIR., BUDGET AND POLICY PRIORITIES: They knew that it would not be very attractive to the American public that the families with kids at $15,000 and $20,000 were dumped out, when there were such big benefits going to people at income levels so high, you can barely imagine it.

SNOW (voice-over): Republicans say they had little choice in order to get a tax bill passed. They emphasize, this group will be helped by other elements of the president's tax cut.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As the president said, he doesn't get everything that he wants. And if this provision had been included, the president would have signed it.

SNOW: But the provision to cover those lower-income families wasn't in the president's original bill. If the president had gotten exactly what he wanted in the first place, these kids' families would still be left without a check from Uncle Sam.

Kate Snow, CNN, Capitol Hill.


WOODRUFF: Democrats already are pouncing on the child care tax credit controversy. Senator and presidential candidate John Kerry issued a statement saying: "George Bush promised to leave no child behind. And with a stroke of his pen yesterday, he did just that to 12 million children. We need a president who has the leadership to put our children's future ahead of tax cuts for the few."

To find out how much you will or will not get under the new tax cut legislation, you may go to and click on our tax savings calculator.

Well, the Bush administration today is denying that it shelved a report forecasting a much bigger federal deficit. London's "Financial Times" reports that the White House suppressed a paper estimating a deficit of at least $44.2 trillion due to future health care and pension obligations.

Now, that's in contrast to the $18 trillion deficit given in the current budget. The Treasury Department says that that paper was commissioned by Former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. And they say it does not reflect the thinking of the current economic team.

Many New Yorkers are feeling the financial pinch because they've gotten a hefty ticket from the New York Police Department. But the fine is only part of the flap. Big Apple residents are seeing red because of why they got the citations.

Here's CNN's Maria Hinojosa.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Imagine getting a summons for feeding pigeons?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody really likes the pigeons, but they're here and I guess we have to live with them.

HINOJOSA: Or for taking up two seats on the subway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People are tired and they want to stretch out. There are seats and they want to relax.

HINOJOSA: Yolanda Rodin's (ph) restaurant got five tickets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This ticket doesn't cost less than $150.

HINOJOSA (on camera): You're telling me you got $150 ticket because the curtains . . .


HINOJOSA: . . . were drawn? And you got another $150 ticket because your restaurant was closed at 5: 15 in the morning?


HINOJOSA (voice-over): Michael Barkley (ph) can relate. He got a ticket for displaying a faded registration sticker.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel frustrated. They say you can't fight City Hall and basically, I'm going to because I'm not paying it.

HINOJOSA: Then there's the pregnant teenager on the cover of the "Daily News," ticketed for sitting on the subway steps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I told him, like, I'm pregnant because my back hurts. And I was like, I was carrying a lot of stuff. I just sat there for a second. She goes, well, you can't sit there.

HINOJOSA: City newspapers are in a feeding frenzy about what one calls the "summer of citations."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: City Hall has turned the New York City police department into a revenue-generating agency rather than a policing agency.

HINOJOSA: One man was fined because the awning of his store was too wordy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot change the law. This is city law. We need the business. We need to fix.

HINOJOSA: Another got a ticket for sitting on a milk crate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should have told me (UNINTELLIGIBLE) too. Why did he have to give me a ticket?

HINOJOSA: In that case, police say they were trying to clear a dangerous corner. But the mayor says the silly summons uproar was manufactured by the tabloids. The "Daily News" has been running an ad campaign, encouraging New Yorkers to send in their most outrageous summonses.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: You can find any time you want to write a story and you give out seven million summonses, some that don't make sense -- I think it's time to get on with t. The fact of the matter is the police are doing a great job at keeping the quality of life in this city where we want it, and if occasionally there is a ticket that doesn't make a lot of sense, maybe in the case of the mom to-be, it's a shame that that happened.

HINOJOSA: Some residents say this is all about making money for a city facing a nearly $4 billion deficit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The city needs the revenue. I think that's the bottom line. It's a matter of revenue, and I think we're dealing with the letter of the law this time around. Not really the spirit of the law.

HINOJOSA: The mayor says it's not about fast money.

BLOOMBERG: We give out roughly seven million summonses in this city a year. It's up slightly from last year. It's down from two years ago.

HINOJOSA: Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: The mayor squirming a little.

Still ahead: more on the tussle over tax cuts. Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan will face off over the president's package and the families left behind.

And Bob Novak will tell us which Republican in this picture is out of favor with the White House.

Also ahead: a new salvo in the draft-Wesley-Clark-for-president campaign.

Plus: Pass the cooking oil. One presidential candidate may need it to get back on the road.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: There's been a new development in the Laci Peterson case.

For the very latest, let's go out to Modesto, California, to CNN's David Mattingly.

David, what is going on there?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, just in the last few minutes, we received this release from the county district attorney who is prosecuting this case against Scott Peterson.

It is from James Brazelton, the head of the office. He says that the district attorney's office will now be filing a motion with the court to unseal the autopsy findings in this case, that is, the autopsy results of Laci Peterson and her unborn son, Connor. Now, the reason why this has been happening, there have been numerous leaks to the media today regarding that autopsy report, reports of what was in the report regarding baby Connor, reports that there was a cut on the baby's body.

We have also had sources leaking this information to us who have also told us about the cut on the baby's body. This is one source that is close to the investigation. Another source also close to the investigation tells us that they would go back to reread their findings of this report before getting back to us, but a little bit of confusion as these reports are coming out.

And the district attorney now reacting to this, saying, we should now unseal this autopsy report, so that everybody out there can see what's going on, so that everyone can make their own conclusions. Now, this is certainly not going to make the judge in this case very happy. If you remember, he was wondering out loud in the courtroom the other day as to whether or not there should be a gag order placed on all participants in this trial, because he was wondering why he was seeing so much of this information coming out in the news and not out in the courtroom -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Mattingly, some developments. We know you're going to be following it, David.

And we also want to tell our viewers that we're going to have more on the Laci Peterson case at the top of the hour on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Question: Repeal the brand new tax cuts? That's what some of the Democrats running for president want to do to pay for your health care. Is that smart politics?

The view from the left and the right when we come back.


WOODRUFF: With us now: former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and American Cause President Bay Buchanan.

Bay, to you first.

A report today in "The New York Times" where it's now been confirmed that families earning under $26,000 will not get the child care tax credit that it was thought was going to be part of this tax cut bill. Is that a headache for the president?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, sure, the Democrats are going to try to make it one.

But I think the key here is that, next year, in the second quarter, Judy, is the biggest thrust of this tax break. And people are going to feel it across the country. And there's going to be enormous momentum. That's just a couple months before the election. I think the Democrats can try to pick and choose little things that they might say would be beneficial, maybe the president should have done it differently or something, but the bottom line, this is going to be extremely good for the economy.


DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: But, Bay, this is the third tax cut in three years. And if we haven't felt it yet, I don't think we'll ever feel it. And if we need another tax cut to move us, then I'm afraid that might take a couple of us someplace else.

Look, Judy, the Republicans have put all of their eggs in the tax cut basket. Now we learn that many poor families, working-class families, will not receive any tax breaks. This is outrageous. The president should direct Republicans to come back and fix this, so that all family can enjoy some tax breaks. Today, only -- less than half of the American people will get any little-bitty tax cut.

BUCHANAN: No, no, no, they will get benefits, because, once the economy starts moving again, there is going to be a job creation. There was an independent group that has reported this tax cut in 2004 will bring about 450,000 new jobs. That benefits a lot of people.

BRAZILE: What about this year? How many people will benefit from it this year? No one. This is the longest drought in jobs since the Great Depression.

BUCHANAN: There's no question we've lost two million jobs in the last 18 months or something. But the key here is, there's a lot of reasons for that that has nothing to do with George Bush. But that, we can go into later.

The key here is, we've got to start turning things around. And if the president is successful by creating 500,000 new jobs before the election and people are feeling good...

BRAZILE: He lost two million under his watch.

BUCHANAN: He didn't lose them, my friend.

BRAZILE: Twenty-two million under Bill Clinton and Al Gore. He's lost over 2.2 million jobs.

BUCHANAN: Donna, everybody agrees that the recession started with Bill Clinton's last year. Secondly, there was 9/11. Then you had the stock market bubble bursting. These are not things you can blame on the president. And people don't.

WOODRUFF: Donna, in any case -- and we're not going to settle that part here -- are not the Democratic presidential candidates in a real box now, because their argument is that the tax cut should be repealed, some of them? And in order to do that, they're really arguing for a tax increase. Aren't they playing right into the hands of where the Republicans in the White House want them?

BRAZILE: Well, I don't think the Democrats will run like the 1984 Democratic Party, where we ran as a party to raise taxes. I think we're going to run as a party of fiscal discipline, a party that will bring the American economic engine back to life.

And I think the party must avoid coming up with slogans that would actually scare the American people, rather than get this economic growth under way.

BUCHANAN: Donna, you're talking about fiscal responsibility with the Democrats now. Nobody, nobody, thinks that the Democrats fall into that category. They're the biggest spenders.

I agree. The Republicans have not been responsible enough when it comes to spending, but the Democrats are notorious big spenders.

BRAZILE: Republicans are the biggest spenders. Look, you just raised the debt by $7.4 trillion.

BUCHANAN: That's not spending. That's giving people... BRAZILE: You're borrowing money. You're borrowing money from the Social Security trust fund, from the Medicare trust fund. The baby boomers will wake up 10 years from now and find that there's no money there. You're the party now of borrowing and spending.

BUCHANAN: But, Donna, the way things are going, 10 years from now, all that time's going to be Republican, because you guys don't have an issue to run on. That's the bottom line.

BRAZILE: We're going to run on the economy, on health care, and on child care, education. And, Bay, look, we can run on the environment. I can list a whole group of issues that Democrats can run on.

BUCHANAN: You can, but they don't work. That's the key. The president has just taken away from you the one that actually could have worked. And that was the economy. He's got the foreign policy and now he's got the economy.

BRAZILE: He has the deficit.

BUCHANAN: And you guys can go find something like school uniforms, which you did before.

BRAZILE: Well, we'll find that. That's a great issue.


BRAZILE: He has the deficit. He also has the longest period of no job growth. And he has to own up to the fact that his signature is now on this bad economic growth.

BUCHANAN: The key, Judy, is that the economy starts to turn around. The president will get credit for that. And that's going to happen before the Election Day.

BRAZILE: That's a wing and prayer.


WOODRUFF: And we're not going to settle this here, but you guys were so good, I didn't want to interrupt.

Bay, Donna, good to see you both.

BRAZILE: I want my tax cut, Bay.

BUCHANAN: I know. And you'll take it and not give it back, I'm sure.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you next week.

A breakdown on the campaign trail and a look back at a man who considered the White House his home away from home.

Stay with us, much more to come on INSIDE POLITICS. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": The New Hampshire-based group hoping to convince retired General Wesley Clark to run for president has produced a new radio ad. The spot, which begins airing this week across the state, details Clark's resume and describes him as the perfect candidate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get this straight: genius, war hero, four-star general. How about...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Business visionary, chairman of a company developing technology that could some day break our dependence on foreign oil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All that in one? That would be a dream.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, that would be General Wesley Clark. And that is why we're working to draft General Clark to run for president.


WOODRUFF: In New Hampshire.

Meantime, the Democratic National Committee has narrowed a list of potential sites for the expected once-a-month debate among its presidential hopefuls. CNN is told that the list is not final, but Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Albuquerque, Miami, Portland, Oregon, and Phoenix are on the list.

One of those presidential hopefuls, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, had planned to travel around Northern California this week in a bus fueled by vegetable oil. Well, unfortunately, the bus failed a safety test. But Kucinich tells CNN he's eager to try it again.


REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We just didn't know if there was a problem that they were kind of rushing to get the bus ready. So I'm -- we'll do it next time.


WOODRUFF: Kucinich wraps up his California trip today and heads next to New Hampshire.

Well, Bob Novak joined me a little while ago with some items from his "Reporter's Notebook."

I began by asking about him a rift between the White House and Congressman Bill Thomas, who helped guide the $350 billion tax cut package to passage.


ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Congressman Thomas would not win any popularity prizes in the White House. Even though he's generally considered the person who wrote this tax cut bill, at the White House, they feel that he misled the Senate and the president on some parliamentary particulars. And, as a result, they didn't get a total repeal of the dividend tax.

Now, whether that's true or not remains to be seen, but there's some bad feeling there. They better make it up quickly, Judy, because they have the prescription drugs Medicare fight coming up and they need Bill Thomas' help.

WOODRUFF: And he's a key player there.

Raising money in the Senate -- or for a Democrat who is running for reelection, you found an interesting person who is helping him raise money.

NOVAK: J.W. Marriott, the hotel czar, who is a longtime contributor to the Republican Party, has been on the phone with friends asking them to contribute money to go to a fund-raiser at his mansion in Bethesda, Maryland, for Democratic Senator Harry Reid, Harry Reid the minority whip of the Senate.

How could that be when Marriott and Reid clashed on the terrorism bill? Well, they're old friends. They're fellow Mormons. And sometimes friendship is more important than politics, even with such a loyal Republican as Marriott.

WOODRUFF: Friendship thicker than politics.

And last but not least, more on money: the Republicans this time raising money, the so-called Rangers.

NOVAK: To be a Ranger, if you want to be a Ranger, Judy, you have to raise at least $200,000. It's been listed at $250,000. It's actually $200,000 for George W. Bush's campaign.

Now, here's what the problem is, that there's a limited number of people who give the so-called hard money. Under the campaign finance reform, they can only give $4,000 for a family. So these lobbyists around town are elbowing each other to see -- Joe Smith is going to give $4,000 to the president. Who is going to get credit, so they can be a Ranger and get all those perks? Right now, the first thing is, there's a fund-raiser in Washington June 17 the president is going to address.

And I'm sure that every self-respecting lobbyist in town is on the phone right now trying to get his points to be a Ranger.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak's "Notebook."

Now, well, meantime, a Democratic Party official is telling CNN that a report that the Democratic National Committee has laid off 10 minority staffers is inaccurate. The Associated Press reported that black Democratic leaders were angered by the fact that 10 African- American staffers were about to be let go at the DNC. The official says that some layoffs will occur, but that there have also been new hirings which included African-Americans.

Coming up: 100 years of Bob Hope and decades of presidential connections.

We'll have a birthday tribute fitting for INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Bob Hope turns 100 today. And he's gotten a special gift from Hollywood. The famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine has been renamed Bob Hope Square.

And it's no wonder. Hope is an entertainment legend who left generations of Americans laughing, including a number of presidents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gerald Ford once said that Bob Hope was the only man who called the White House his favorite bed-and-breakfast in Washington, D.C.

The comment was well-founded. Throughout his career, Hope developed personal relationships with several U.S. presidents. FDR befriended Hope when he asked the comedian to entertain U.S. troops stationed overseas. Harry Truman played the piano for Hope. Eisenhower served as a suitable golf companion. And Jimmy Carter hosted a White House reception for Hope's 75th birthday.


WOODRUFF: Happy birthday, Bob Hope. You've kept us laughing all these years.

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


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