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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

President Bush Launches World Tour; Presidential Candidate Howard Dean On a Roll

Aired May 30, 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: Up, up and away. The president launches his post- Iraq peacemaking, fence-mending world tour.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to remind a lot of people that we can do a heck of a lot more together than we can arguing with each other.

ANNOUNCER: Hot stuff in New Hampshire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The fervor behind a guy who is coming out of nowhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just love the line about making us proud to be Democrats again.

ANNOUNCER: But will the Howard Dean phenomenon last?

Touche. Think of a swashbuckling scene from an old movie. Then take a stab at guessing the "Political Play of the Week."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington: JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

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

Well, as a man known for appreciating loyalty, President Bush now is beginning an overseas journey that may test his pride and his patience. He's set to meet face to face with three U.S. allies who fiercely opposed the war in Iraq. But first, he just landed in Poland for what should be a more enjoyable task, showing his thanks for Poland's role in the coalition against Saddam Hussein.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, is already in Krakow, where the president just landed -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, a remarkable test for this president in the week ahead. First, here in Europe, his own personal style and diplomacy, whether he's willing to forgive or forget and move on after the bitter debate about Iraq will be in play.

Then on to the Middle East, of course, his personal prestige coming out of the war in Iraq at stake, as he tries to get the Israelis and the Palestinians back into a peace process. The president begins here in Europe, first to say thank you to Poland for standing with him in the war. But, Judy, when he moves on, this president will be quickly reminded of the bitter debate that led to the war.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KING (voice-over): Off to Europe with no one expecting this president is one to just forgive and forget.

SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't think you'll need air conditioning, notwithstanding the fact that it's going to be a June summit. I'm sure the room will be nicely chilled.

KING: The main event in France of all places is the annual Group of Eight summit that will put Mr. Bush in the same room as three leaders who fiercely opposed the war in Iraq: Chirac of France, Russia's Putin and Germany's Schroeder.

The White House insists Mr. Bush isn't one to dwell on the past, but also insists he is not to blame for the bad blood.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The president understands honest policy disagreements. No one understands if things take on an anti-American tinge.

KING: Those who stand with Mr. Bush get invites to the Crawford ranch and the red carpet treatment at the White House. Those who oppose him get the cold shoulder. A little small talk at the NATO summit last November, but Mr. Bush has not spoken at length with the German chancellor for more than a year.

BERGER: There has been a deliberate and systematic effort to convey to the countries around the world, friends and foes, that if they cross the United States there is a price to pay.

KING: President Chirac is the summit host. Mr. Bush plans a brief courtesy call but not an extended meeting, and don't expect a ranch invite.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE, FRENCH AMBASSADOR TO U. S. : Well, we are very pleased to see President Bush coming to Evian. He will receive the best hospitality, and he will decide when he wants to reciprocate.

KING: Making amends with Russia is more of a White House priority, in part because Moscow is critical in the coming debates over Iran and North Korea, but some see a personal lesson here as well.

BERGER: During the war and the period leading up to the war, Putin was very clever. He let his foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, make the tough statements, and basically Putin stayed in the background.

KING: Senior Bush aides reject the notion these disputes are personal. They say it's not the president's style to hold a grudge. (END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Now, Mr. Bush touched down here in Poland just moments ago. He will thank the Polish people tomorrow. Then, when he moves on, Mr. Bush said before leaving Washington he has no interest in refighting the debate over Iraq. The president says, it is time to move on, that he's not here in Europe for a confrontation. But, Judy, top aides to the president say moving on doesn't mean he necessarily is ready to forget -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: It's going to be quite a trip. And, John, you're going to be with him every step of the way. OK, John King reporting for us tonight from Krakow.

Well, now we turn to the Democrats' dream of reclaiming the presidency.

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton received some unexpected support today for a future run for the White House. It came from a current contender, Howard Dean, who says Senator Clinton would be a great president some day. For now, the former Vermont governor boasts surprising success in his campaign.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, tagged along with him in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is great. I'm all hemmed in here, aren't I?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Who is Howard Dean and why do all these people show up to see and listen and take his paraphernalia?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get one, too?

He's been, from the very beginning -- taken a stand against the war in Iraq. John Kerry and the other Democrats folded on that issue.

CROWLEY: Howard Dean used the war to tap into the seething left artery of the Democratic Party. With it, he drew SRO crowds, which still turn out now, as he moves on to other issues.

DEAN: We've got to put up the Democratic agenda against the Republican agenda. And if you do that, guess what? The American people choose the Democratic agenda every single time. It's the messenger that's the problem. And we're going to change that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just love his line about making us proud to be Democrats again.

CROWLEY: A doctor by trade, Dean is a little-known former governor from a small state who has gone from the also-running third graph of campaign stories to a headliner. Think Jimmy Carter.

DEAN: Good morning. I'm Howard Dean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. I've met you a hundred times.

CROWLEY: He says he'll say what he thinks, tell you stuff you don't want to hear, and he's banking on interest from the disinterested. Think John McCain.

DEAN: I want to bring new people into this race. That's the only way to beat George Bush, is to get the people that are really excited about our candidacy, younger people, under 35 particularly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Young people I think are attracted to this kind of candidate because of that excitement, because of the fervor behind a guy who is coming out of nowhere.

CROWLEY: No warm fuzzies here. Dean has the air of the smartest guy in the class and he wants you to know it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the fact that he acknowledged that not everyone in the Democratic Party will agree with his positions. However, he will defend those and he can defend them very articulately.

CROWLEY: Inside the campaigns of his opponents, they say Dean is unelectable, cocky, abrasive. He just loves it when they talk about him.

DEAN: I don't think anybody expected that I was going to be in the top three candidates by the time May rolled around. And I think it's been a shock. And, obviously, that's generated a little heat in some of the other campaigns. But I can't control that.

CROWLEY: Though bona fide upper tier now, Dean is untested. Rival campaigns insist his appeal is not broad enough to beat Bush. What they most fear is that he's strong enough to damage those who could.

DEAN: Nice to meet you. Thank you.

CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: More Howard Dean news in our Friday "Campaign News Daily": This coming Monday, Dean is scheduled to hold a sizable fund- raiser in his home state of Vermont. Organizers say the party in Stowe is to be held in a private home, could be one of the largest Vermont events for Dean so far.

The Democratic presidential hopeful most identified with rural issues won't be attending this weekend's Democratic Rural Conference in New York. Senator John Edwards will be in Iowa when five of his opponents make their case to rural activists in Lake Placid either in person or by videotape -- the keynote speaker, by the way, the party's best-known non-candidate, General Wesley Clark. The Joe Lieberman campaign Web site has gotten a makeover, complete with a photo album and a new campaign diary. The latest diary entry features the senator's e-mailed thoughts about his recent trip through eastern Iowa, including the people he met and his menu choice at the Dubuque Dairy Queen.

Still ahead: If they can make it there, can they make it anywhere? We'll map out the Democratic presidential primary season. Which states are must-wins for which White House hopefuls?

President Bush knows a thing or two about powerful photo-ops, but someone beat him to the punch in the "Political Play of the Week."

And is the Clinton-Dole TV partnership on the rocks? We'll have the inside story on the disagreement over lines that were supposed to get laughs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Another honor for the Gipper: A few years ago, National Airport here in Washington was renamed for the former president. Coming up, we'll tell you what next will carry the name Ronald Reagan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Time now for a progress report on the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls, looking at next year's map.

Earlier, I spoke with Stu Rothenberg of "The Rothenberg Political Report" and John Harwood of "The Wall Street Journal."

I started by asking Stu which candidate has the most to lose and the most to gain in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Dick Gephardt has the most at risk. It's his state. He's expected to win and he's expected to win authoritatively. So if he doesn't win it, he is probably out of the ball game. This is one of these cases where, if he can't win it there, he can't win it anywhere. So, clearly, Iowa's got to be Dick Gephardt.

WOODRUFF: What about the other candidates in Iowa, John?

JOHN HARWOOD, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, I think John Edwards needs to get on the board in Iowa, too. He's, in effect, very rapidly creating himself as a national campaign. He's matched John Kerry in fund-raising. Kerry's clearly a national candidate. He's got to show something in Iowa, doesn't have to win, like Gephardt, as Stu said. But I think John Edwards needs to shows show he's viable.

There's some other whose expectations are a bit lower. Joe Lieberman probably doesn't have to do all that much, although if he doesn't in Iowa, he has got to do something in New Hampshire. And Howard Dean, he's still, I think, is in the category of a regional candidate. If he were able to break out in Iowa, that would be a huge boost to him going into New Hampshire. But I don't think people are expecting that at this point.

WOODRUFF: All right, given that, what about New Hampshire, Stu? What are going to expectations going into New Hampshire on the 27th?

ROTHENBERG: Clearly, John Kerry of Massachusetts and Howard Dean of Vermont have a lot at stake for New Hampshire. They're putting a lot of effort there. This is the state that I think is really going to whittle the field significantly.

And, of course, Judy, let's remember, if Congressman Gephardt does extremely well in Iowa, he could have some sort of a slingshot into New England. I think expectations for him there are quite low.

HARWOOD: But I think, Judy, no more than three candidates are going to be viable coming out of New Hampshire. Then we go south and have these February 3 primaries in several states. And that's going to be a chance for somebody really to take control.

WOODRUFF: Well, John, let's talk about those. February 3, you've got Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, a bunch of states. No one of them is huge, but, together, what do they add up to?

HARWOOD: I was talking to one of the strategists for one of the top-tier campaigns today, who said, if you win more than one state on February the 3rd, you're definitely a player. One may not do it and especially if it's one state that comes late in the day.

You've got Arizona and New Mexico, both of which are in Western time zones. That news comes later. You're going to able to claim victory if you've won Delaware quite early in the evening. That influences the media coverage and how much momentum you get out of it.

WOODRUFF: Stu?

ROTHENBERG: I think the interesting question is, if you don't finish in top three in Iowa and New Hampshire, do you have any gas in the tank for those early February contests? And I'm not sure.

And echoing what was John said about John Edwards, I think he's an interesting candidate at this point, because he's like the star minor league baseball player. He's a five-tool politician. He can run and he can hit and he can hit for power and he's fast. So there's a lot of potential there. But we have not seen it anywhere. And are we going to see it in Iowa or New Hampshire? And if not, will he still be able to show anything on February 3?

WOODRUFF: Now, both of you have just said to me, before we went on the air, after February 3, you think it is going to be down to how many candidates, Stu?

ROTHENBERG: Oh, a couple of candidates. We may know who the nominee is. WOODRUFF: Will be significantly whittled down after February 3?

ROTHENBERG: Definitely, and not just...

WOODRUFF: John?

HARWOOD: No doubt about it. We may have fewer than six top-tier candidates by January 1. But assuming that everybody now on the board continues on through Iowa and New Hampshire, I think February 3 will be a whittling event. Then you've got the Michigan caucuses after that, which are open. That's a key factor in the race.

WOODRUFF: And, Stu, then you've got -- all the way down, you've got a number of states one on one, but then March the 2nd, Super Tuesday. By then...

ROTHENBERG: A number of states have moved up to this point. And it may turn out that this is just after the fact. My guess, Judy, is that March 2 will crown the person who has already been selected as the nominee, that this will just be -- this will be the punctuation at the end of the sentence.

WOODRUFF: It's never been so early.

HARWOOD: No.

And one other potentially decisive event, Judy, would be February the 17th. Wisconsin has a primary. That's a stand-alone event. It's possible that you'd see two candidates really slug it out in Wisconsin and settle the nomination. Mike Dukakis grabbed decisive control of the 1988 nomination there. We could see it happen again.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: John Harwood, Stu Rothenberg.

And, believe me, it won't be long before you are going to have all those dates and all those states memorized.

Well, a number of the 2004 Democrats are trying to get political traction by bashing the tax cut package signed by the president this week. Here's a quick rundown of who stands where on the taxes, at least right now. Both Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt are calling for a repeal of all the tax cuts that were passed during the Bush administration. Bob Graham wants to wipe out the new $350 billion tax cut package. And John Kerry says that he would get rid of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. But Joe Lieberman says he's still studying the new tax cut plan. And John Edwards says some of the cuts should be repealed, but he's not yet sure which ones.

Still ahead: taking a cue from the American president. Our Bill Schneider looks overseas and finds a winner for the "Political Play of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Well, anyone who expected to see a scene out of "Animal House" replayed at the White House must be sadly disappointed. Yes, last night, President Bush did host a 35-year reunion of his Yale class of '68. And, yes, his Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE, fraternity brothers were there. But, by all accounts, the famously teetotaling president presided over a pretty quiet affair. But he did let loose for a chorus of the Yale song.

We'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Image is everything, the saying goes. And, in politics, stirring video images can influence public opinion.

Bill Schneider is with me here now for more -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you know, President Bush is on his way to the Middle East, another chance for a great photo-op? Whoops. Someone's already beaten him to it and to the "Political Play of the Week" as well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Remember a few weeks ago, President Bush, the conquering hero, landing on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln? Well, Top Gun...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "TOP GUN")

TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: I am dangerous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: ... meet Captain Blood. President Bush may be on his way to the Middle East, but there's no visit to Iraq on his agenda. British Prime Minister Tony Blair got there already, the first leader of another country to visit Iraq since the war.

Blair visited Basra, a city British troops liberated and made their base of operations. Here's the prime minister arriving in triumph. Here he is fraternizing with his forces, mixing with local dignitaries and getting some tech talk. He's even perfected President Bush's macho strut. Eat your heart out, Margaret Thatcher.

Politicians love to pose with kids, especially kids they've liberated.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: You've only got to see the children in the schools or to see the people here to realize they have been liberated from a tyranny that we cannot even imagine the full extent of.

SCHNEIDER: You know how politicians like to kiss babies? Well, how's this for a twist? He appeared with Britain's so-called Desert Rats and offered some stirring words. BLAIR: When people look back on this time and look back on this conflict, I honestly believe they will see this as one of the defining moments of our century. And you did it.

SCHNEIDER: He even alluded to politics.

BLAIR: I know there were a lot of disagreements in the country about the wisdom of my decision toward any action. But I can assure of one thing. There's absolutely no dispute in Britain at all about your professionalism and your courage and your dedication.

SCHNEIDER: When Blair was in college, he once played in a rock band. Could this be the fulfillment of the prime minister's secret longing to be a British rock star? Or could it be the "Political Play of the Week"?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Women here at CNN -- I'm not going to name any names -- were caught staring at the screen, looking at Blair in his shirt sleeves and jeans and muttering something like, "Hot guy." You know, how's this for new a TV reality series: "Joe Prime Minister"?

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: That's a good one. I think that would work in Britain. I don't know about in the U.S.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: OK.

SCHNEIDER: OK.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, have a great weekend.

SCHNEIDER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Still ahead: It is no Mount Everest, but a famous political figure is climbing to new heights.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The Federal Communications Commission set to vote Monday on whether to ease media ownership rules, but whom the FCC's been talking with to make that decision may surprise you.

It appears that major broadcast executives held dozens of meetings with FCC officials. According to the Center for Public Integrity, top broadcast network brass met privately with FCC commissioners and agency officials 71 times since September. But only five such sessions were held with two of the major consumer groups working on the proposed rules.

Now, these types of meetings are allowed under FCC rules. The commission disputes the notion that broadcasting companies were given special treatment in the run-up to the vote. A spokesman says -- quote -- "We want a wide variety of comment from everyone, including those from businesses. This is what good regulatory agencies do." FCC Commissioner Michael Copps will join me on Monday to talk about the decision.

And we'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A new peak for Ronald Reagan: The New Hampshire legislature has voted to rename Mount Clay in the White Mountains after the 40th president. The governor is expected to sign the move into law.

And, finally, a famous relationship of Bill Clinton's appears to be suffering. Sources say there is talk about CBS about pulling the plug on Clinton's "60 Minutes" gig with Bob Dole. We have learned that Dole's camp had proposed a tongue-in-cheek script in which Dole offers ideas for spicing up the segment. It might not surprise you to learn that Clinton nixed the idea.

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

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