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Race to '04 Picks Up Speed, Cash; Will Schwarzenegger Run for Governor of California?; 'Political Play of the Week'

Aired June 20, 2003 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: Get out your track shoes. The race to '04 is picking up speed, and cash. How are the Democrats scrambling to keep up with the president?


ANNOUNCER: Arnold Schwarzenegger is returning to the big screen. But is he really getting ready for his closeup as a candidate for California governor? We'll review his role in the campaign to recall Gray Davis.

Northern exposure. It will keep you cool and point you in the direction of the "Political Play of the Week."

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


WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. While many Americans may be slowing down for the summer, the presidential campaign is heating up. President Bush taking his fund-raising blitz to Georgia tonight. And his would-be Democratic rivals have launched a mini-marathon in the Midwest. Today, six of the '04 Democrats appeared live or by satellite at a meeting in Minnesota of state Democratic party chairs. As our Candy Crowley reports, CNN did a survey of many of those party chairs for an early snapshot of the race.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whatever else, give Howard Dean an A for buzz.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have about a zillion microphones on. We know that your candidacy is being taken seriously when you start having to walk around with three microphones on at a time.

CROWLEY: An informal CNN survey of state Democratic party chairs found that even beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, the former Vermont governor remains, by far, the most talked about candidate.

Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt and Graham were a pale second, third, and fourth.

(on camera): State party chairmen are supposed to be agnostic during the primary season, but when we promised not to say who said what about whom, 35 of the 50 Democrats agreed to talk to us about the '04 field. Their answers make clear that buzz is one thing. Support is something else.

(voice-over): Kerry, Gephardt, Dean, Lieberman, Edwards and Graham were all mentioned as personal favorites of the chairmen who responded. None mentioned Sharpton, Moseley Braun or Kucinich. Bottom line, it's almost anybody's to win.

As to the party as a whole...

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The one thing we don't need in the United States of America is a second Republican Party.

DEAN: We're going to be from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

CROWLEY: These guys may be so to something. Thirteen of the party chairs, activists by the nature of their job, said the party has become Bush-lite. Nine said national Democrats are about where their state Democrats are. One southern chair fears the party is too liberal, and 10 opinions declined categorizing.

Finally, some good news for the hopefuls. Most party chairs are satisfied with the choices.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I want you to read the book.

CROWLEY: Still, there are dreamers. Five Democratic state chairmen would love the former first lady/senator/best selling author to run. Gone maybe but definitely not forgotten, Al Gore. Three chairmen would wish he would run again. Two hope Wesley Clark quits teasing and runs for real. And should the former first lady lack for dinner table conversation...

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The 22nd Amendment should probably be modified to say two consecutive terms instead of two terms for a lifetime, because we're all living longer.

CROWLEY: Only two chairs said they wished he could run again.

And one chair wants New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to run. We are, as we said, not at liberty to say which one.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Meantime, Howard Dean announced today that he is taking a brief break from campaigning to deal with a family problem at home. Dean's 17-year-old son was cited today by police in Vermont, along with four friends, for allegedly trying to steal alcoholic beverages from a country club. In a statement, Howard Dean said: "When a child gets in trouble like this, it constitutes a family crisis, and I believe it's important that I be home. I have canceled my scheduled campaign appearances tomorrow in Iowa, so that I can return to Vermont and deal personally with what my family and I consider a very serious matter."

The rest of the '04 Democrats will be very busy this weekend. After today's event in Minnesota, a number of the candidates head on to Jasper County, Iowa, for a Saturday meet-and-greet billed as America's home town forum. On Sunday most of the Democratic contenders are scheduled to appear at a forum in Chicago, hosted by Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH coalition.

I spoke with Jackson a little while ago and I asked him if the Democratic candidates are addressing the issues that he thinks they should be talking about.


REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW-PUSH COALITION: Well, all of them are feeling their way through while there's such a large number of them. It's hard for them to be heard because the president, of course, is president. He dominates the news. And with each passion, the voices begin to emerge. But clearly there have a distinction to be made. On the one hand, we've gone from surplus to budget deficit in these three years. We've lost three million jobs. There are now 10 million people unemployed, 1.5 million have college degrees. They've cut the taxes, cut public education, cut health care, and left no rich person behind. So clearly, there's room to make a distinction.

WOODRUFF: Do the Democrats have to have a bad economy, a struggling economy in order to win next year, Reverend Jackson?

JACKSON: Well, that leaves, of course, the credibility in foreign policy, and right now it is being strained because these weapons of mass destruction, a sense of what we went to Iraq have not been found. And while that was a quick war, the battle (ph) is long and torn on Americans, they're still dying. On the other hand, we've had a powerful impact of corporate corruption, with the MCI WorldCom, a slap on the wrist, Enron, Halliburton, Harken. We've lost billions of dollars in 401(k) and pensions, so there's enough of a crisis here (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to inspire the American people to make a real choice next year.

WOODRUFF: Back on these nine Democrats who have announced that they're running, and there could even be another candidate. Who knows? We don't know whether General Wesley Clark is going to get in. But right now there are nine, and there are divisions among them. Some of them in the more moderate end of the party, some the more liberal, the progressive end. Democratic Leadership Council says the party would make a terrible mistake if it moved to the left. What do you say to that?

JACKSON: Well, the candidates must feel the pulse of the people, not the DLC. I mean, a coal miner dies every six hours from black lung disease. Address that. In this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) we are cutting teachers, cutting classroom content, cutting classes. Address that. There's a growing base of poverty. Address that. In a time like this, Democrats have everything to gain by having big dreams and bold initiatives.

WOODRUFF: So are you saying candidates like Joe Lieberman, who is certainly at the more moderate end, or even John Edwards don't have a chance?

JACKSON: Well, I have little interest in categorizing them as moderate or conservative. What I do know is they are to inspire you (ph), it will be unregistered, if they are to inspire the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who did not vote, if they are to inspire those (UNINTELLIGIBLE), they must come at them with bold remedies for their problems. People are facing record foreclosures. They are facing -- in every state we've had, in the last three years, a net loss of jobs, a net increase in young people going to jail, in every state. More black men in jail than there are in college. I mean, there are real issues here. And maybe Benton Harbor is a metaphor of abandoned urban policy, that Americans have been left behind. If they address those who have been left behind, those who don't want to fall behind, there are enough numbers to win.


WOODRUFF: Reverend Jackson, who will be hosting the Democratic candidates this Sunday.

Meantime, President Bush on his way to Georgia to raise more quick cash for his reelection campaign. White House correspondent Dana Bash keeping tabs on the president's fund-raising blitz, and, Dan, it is a blitz.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It sure is, Judy, and the president just left the White House a short while ago, heading off to his second fund-raiser this week. It is in Greensboro, Georgia. A campaign spokeswoman tells CNN that he expects to raise $2.2 million from about 800 people that are expected to attend tonight's event. And the gathering will take place at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge of Greensboro, Georgia. That is a golf resort owned by Mercer Reynolds. Mercer Reynolds is the national finance chairman of Bush-Cheney '04. He was most recently the president's ambassador to Switzerland and he is also a long-time friend and former business partner of the president, and he has been a donor for President Bush for quite some time.

And tonight's event in Georgia, as you mentioned, is part of a coast-to-coast fund-raising marathon that will include stops this week -- excuse me, next week in New York City, in San Francisco, Los Angeles, then later in Miami and Tampa, Florida. It's all part of an effort to raise at least $20 million by the end of the month. That is when the FEC quarterly reporting is due, and the Bush campaign does say that -- people close to the campaign say that they are hoping to raise at least 150 to $170 million. That will be certainly a record for the primary season. And Judy, it's not just the president that's out there fund- raising. The first lady was also schmoozing with some donors today. She was in Chattanooga, Tennessee, hosting a fund-raiser there for about 350 people. The Bush campaign says she pulled in about $500,000 for her husband's reelection bid, and she will hold two more events this month in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

And Judy, just for the record, there was a lot of talk about Tuesday's fair at the D.C. fund-raiser of hot dogs, hamburgers and nachos. And according to a Bush spokesman, tonight's event will probably have some food, some more horse d'oeuvres, more typical of events like this, especially those that cost $2,000 just to get in the door -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So they can look forward to gourmet cuisine.

BASH: Something like that.

WOODRUFF: Dana Bash, and we should point out that those pictures of the first lady, we showed -- while you were talking about her raising money, we were showing pictures of her with young school children, reading to them, and of course, those were not the donors.

Well, still ahead, they don't call him the Terminator for nothing.


SCHWARZENEGGER: It's really embarrassing. I just forgot the name of -- our state governor's name. But I know that you will help me recall him.


WOODRUFF: We'll talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger's role in the campaign to drive out Gray Davis, and the actor's own political future.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) coming out of the woodwork for the debut of the new movie, even some members of Congress apparently think the green guy is incredible.

And up next, a real treat for fans of a certain presidential candidate.


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Senator Bob Graham is offering something of a gift to Minnesotans, even as he stiffs a Democratic presidential forum in their state today. The timing may have been a coincidence, but just yesterday, Graham introduced legislation to rename a veteran's medical center in Minneapolis after the late Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone.

Howard Dean's formal campaign kickoff in Vermont on Monday will be sweet, thanks to ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. The company says it plans to sell special sundaes in its and Dean's home state to coincide with the former governor's announcement. The maple-towered Howard sundaes will cost $3 apiece. Not cheap. INSIDE POLITICS returns in a moment.


WOODRUFF: A show of solidarity so far among California's top elected Democrats, for Governor Gray Davis who's facing a Republican- led recall drive.

Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante is the latest to say that he will not run for governor on a recall ballot. The state's attorney general and the state treasurer have now made similar pledges.

But there's no such vow from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and staunch Republican says flat out he'd love the job.


(voice-over): Is Arnold Schwarzenegger juggling twin blockbusters this summer? On July 2, he'll debut the latest installment in one of Hollywood's most successful franchises, "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last hope in the war against machines.

WOODRUFF: And soon after, he could launch a campaign for California governor, if the effort to recall Gray Davis makes it on the ballot.

SCHWARZENEGGER: This is really embarrassing. I just forgot the name of -- our state governor's name. But I know that you will help me recall him.

WOODRUFF: The joke was noticed.


JON STEWART, HOST, DAILY SHOW: I saw where you did just there. Very funny stuff.


WOODRUFF: But Schwarzenegger sounds serious. In an "Esquire" cover story, he muses, quote, "yes, I would love to be governor of California. If the state needs me, and if there's no one I think is better, then I will run."

The muscle-bound star is no political novice. He spearheaded last year's successful after-school funding initiative, Proposition 49. And he is, of course, married to a Kennedy. If he enters the race, he certainly won't be the first screen idol to strive for the state house.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you solemnly swear that you will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state of California?

WOODRUFF: But the tough guy Terminator is not in sync in with the Gypper's hard-line Republican politics. Schwarzenegger calls himself a fiscal conservative who is very liberal on social issues, like abortion and gay rights.

Still, he's definitely got Reagan's ambition.


SCHWARZENEGGER: First, Gotham, and then the world!



WOODRUFF: Schwarzenegger is expected to make a decision after the release of "Terminator 3." And joining me now to talk about his potential run and the Davis recall effort is Sheri Annis. She is a political consultant who worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger last year on his successful California ballot initiative guaranteeing funding for after-school programs. Sheri, it's good to see you again.


WOODRUFF: Thanks for coming by. At this point, is this recall election likely?

ANNIS: It looks like it's quite likely. Californians are really getting behind it at this point. The momentum's going forward. And I think it is going to qualify. The one question is, whether it is going to qualify for the fall ballot or the spring ballot, and most people obviously want it to qualify for November, so they can do this sooner rather than later.

WOODRUFF: And that, of course, we have no way of knowing.

All right. You've worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger very closely on that after-school ballot initiative last year. Do you think he's serious when he talks about running? Or is this -- somebody suggested, well, he's just out there getting publicity for the movie.

ANNIS: Right. I do think he's serious, and he's serious about politics. And this, frankly, could be the perfect storm for Arnold Schwarzenegger. This recall election has been served up on a platter just for him, in a sense. California, as we know, is not great at electing Republicans for governors. The last one was Pete Wilson, and he was a moderate. Other moderates have tried, and have not succeeded. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a perfect California moderate. And with this recall, he can basically bypass the primary election and just go to straight essentially to a general election.

WOODRUFF: All right. If he did get in, Sheri Annis, what kind of a campaigner would he be? What kind of a candidate would he be?

ANNIS: Well, he is going to face a more hostile press than usual, if he jumps into the ring. As we know, the entertainment press is somewhat different than the political press. It's the little secret that's not very secret. Entertainment media happens to coddle. They try to coddle their subjects a bit more so that they can get the next interview. Political media are going to keep nudging him, prying until they get the information out of him. And how he handles that will really determine the outcome.

But having said that, he is an astute candidate. He's savvy, he's smart. He has a great sense of humor, too, and he's not boring.

WOODRUFF: But is he, no question about that. But he wouldn't be the only Republican. I mean, you've got Congressman Darrell Issa, who's put all this money into the recall, you've got Bill Simon, who ran against Gray Davis the last time. I mean, would Schwarzenegger essentially be the automatic favorite?

ANNIS: No. Arnold has gravitas like no other candidate has. Darrell Issa is not very popular with his own party. And the fact is, it will be really fun to see how he runs.

When I worked with Arnold, political reporters would ask for his autograph. Cameramen would ask for an autograph. There were high- fives during editorial board meetings. From my experience, that's not typical for a candidate. So he is the rock-scar candidate for California. And if he runs, people will love it. Media has been asking him to run for quite a long time. They can't wait to see this happen.

WOODRUFF: There are a lot of political reporters who want to see it happen just for the sake of a great story.

ANNIS: And it will be.

WOODRUFF: Sheri Annis, thanks for coming by.

ANNIS: Great to be here.

WOODRUFF: Good to talk to you. Thanks very much.

Lawfully wedded matrimony with a twist. A bold move with major implications. It is our "Political Play of the Week," coming up.


WOODRUFF: Our "Play of the Week" moves north for a move that could have major implications for millions here in the U.S. Here's our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you may know, June is gay pride month, when gay Americans press their case for change. This particular June, all they have to do is look across the border, to this week's "Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Niagara Falls, the honeymoon destination that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, has taken on a whole new meaning.

JEAN CHRETIEN, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We would ensure that our legislation includes and legally recognizes the union of same-sex couples.

SCHNEIDER: In Canada, one reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By virtue of the powers vested in me by the Marriage Act, do hereby pronounce you, Michael and Michael, to be lawfully married spouses.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are just two ordinary Canadians who love each other.

SCHNEIDER: In the United States, a different reality.

BRENDAN FAY, NEW YORK RESIDENT: When we walked out of that church married and cheered by our friends and family, and yet we were legally, we were still just -- we were the same strangers as we were that walked in the doors of the church.

SCHNEIDER: Will the new reality of gay marriage in Canada affect the United States? You bet it will. It will present thorny legal complications.

NEIL KAYTAL, GEORGETOWN UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: It's not that states will be forced to recognize marriages from Canada in the United States, but they'll be under increasing pressure in any number of circumstances, child custody and property being the two most obvious, to recognize these marriages.

SCHNEIDER: Canada's not anti-American, but it's always prided itself on being different from the U.S., less violent and less religious. Where a narrow majority favors the idea of same-sex marriage, while Americans have been resolutely opposed. American conservatives claim what happens in Canada has nothing to do with the U.S.

KEN CONNER, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: Same-sex marriages devalue the real thing in the same way that counterfeits devalue the authentic.

SCHNEIDER: But gay rights activists say what's happening in Canada will force Americans to contend with new experiences.

EVAN WOLFSON, FREEDOM TO MARRY: There's never before been a chance in North America for businesses and states and others to grapple with the reality of a married couple before them who happened to be gay, and are we going to honor them or are we going to disrespect them?

SCHNEIDER: What we'll do right now is say, for Canada, it's the political "Play of the Week."

(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER: Now, Canada is also pushing to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Do you suppose Canada, which opposed the U.S. war in Iraq, is doing these things in part to stick it to the U.S.?

WOODRUFF: We'll let our viewers speculate about that.

SCHNEIDER: Indeed, we will.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: See you Monday.

Still ahead, "Hulk" mania on Capitol Hill. The folks in Hollywood aren't the only ones celebrating the new movie. We'll show you which lawmakers are seeing and wearing green.


WOODRUFF: A changing of the guard at the White House. Last hour, President Bush made it official, naming deputy press secretary Scott McClellan to the top job. McClellan will replace Ari Fleischer who leaves the position next month. McClellan has worked for Bush since his days as governor of Texas. Congratulations. INSIDE POLITICS back in a moment.


WOODRUFF: Finally, a hulking presence on Capitol Hill. Alaska Senator Ted Stevens hosted a reception last night to mark the premiere of the new "Incredible Hulk" movie. A longtime fan, Stevens wears a Hulk tie for good luck on the Senate floor. He and his colleagues may wish they had those big Hulk fists the next time they get into a political fight.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you for joining us, and have a great weekend. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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