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Is Bush Administration Engaging in Nation Building?; Schwarzenegger Visits Troops in Iraq; 'Political Play of the Week'

Aired July 4, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: As America celebrates the birth of the nation, is the Bush administration getting deeper into nation building? We'll stay in step with new moves toward a U.S. mission in Liberia.

Arnold in Iraq.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: I came here from the United States because I wanted to pump you all up.

ANNOUNCER: He may be rallying the troops, but California voters apparently are not that impressed.

He may never make it onto Mt. Rushmore, but he created enough of a spark to get the "Political Play of the Week."

Now live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us. President Bush is sending military experts to Liberia to help determine whether U.S. troops should be ordered to that West African nation.

The move comes after Liberian President Charles Taylor said today that he will step down once international peacekeepers arrive in his war-torn country.

Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent, John King.

John, with this move by the president, the announcement by Charles Taylor, is the U.S. closer to sending in troops?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, closer, Judy, in the sense that this team of Pentagon experts, about two dozen people, should arrive in Liberia sometime during this holiday weekend. They will check the situation on the ground.

And the president made this decision while he was outside of the White House today, actually visiting with some members of the U.S. military who soon might have their portfolio expanded.

What happens now is the Pentagon team goes in. It determines whether it will be a hostile situation for U.S. troops to go into Liberia or whether a cease-fire can be brought about. It also will determine how much help and what kind of help a Western African peacekeeping force of about 3,000 troops would need.

Now, the president is scheduled to leave for Africa on Monday. Most had expected that he would make a final decision by then. But Ari Fleischer, the press secretary, telling reporters today the president wants to wait to hear from those Pentagon experts, and he will not be rushed.


ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESMAN: He has not made a determination at this time. And he's not going to be guided by an artificial timetable of making an important as decision as whether or not to send American forces abroad.


KING: A key shift from the White House today. Just yesterday the president himself said President Taylor should leave, and then the peacekeepers could go in. Now the White House says it is flexible on that point, so long as there's an ironclad commitment for President Taylor to go.

Judy, most officials envision a scenario something like this. President Taylor agrees to go. An international peacekeeping force of only West African troops at the beginning heads in President Taylor gets out, and assuming a cease-fire holds, and the Pentagon team makes recommendation to the White House, then the White House would send in communications experts, other U.S. logistics experts to help out that West African peacekeeping mission.

WOODRUFF: So John, let me ask you to listen to this. Let's all listen to something President Bush, then candidate Bush, said during the campaign in the year 2000, that October, in a debate with then- Vice President Al Gore.


BUSH: We don't have a clear vision of the military. If we don't stop extending our troops all around the world, in nation-building missions, then we're going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I'm going to prevent that.


WOODRUFF: So John, given that, is there a shift in the president's thinking on nation-building?

KING: The White House says no. Everyone here acknowledges that the September 11 attacks dramatically changed this president's view of the world and the need sometimes to project U.S. military force. The president himself talked about that today.

This White House insists what the president meant was the troops should not be involved directly in the nuts and bolts, the bricks and mortar, if you will, of nation-building. And this White House insists that is not taking place. Now, critics would look at the experience in Iraq, look at the experience in Afghanistan, look at the possibility of U.S. troops going in to help secure the peace in Liberia and say Mr. Bush is an example of yet another governor, like President Reagan, like President Clinton before him, who has one view as a candidate and then takes a very different view about the use of military power when he becomes president.

WOODRUFF: OK. John King reporting for us on this July 4 from the White House. John, thank you.

Well, the CIA is reviewing a newly released audiotape to try to determine if it is indeed the voice of Saddam Hussein. The Arab TV network Al Jazeera says it is the ousted Iraqi leader. On the tape, the voice claiming to be Saddam says he still is in Iraq, and he praises resistance against U.S. forces there.

In the latest incident, U.S. troops killed 11 Iraqis, who ambushed their convoy outside of Baghdad today. It happened hours after a mortar attack on a nearby U.S. base left 17 Americans injured. One U.S. soldier was killed overnight while guarding the Baghdad Museum.

President Bush also touched on the war in Iraq in his stop in Ohio. Our July 4 edition of "Campaign News Daily" begins at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, where Mr. Bush spoke with thousands of Air Force families.

The president used the signers of the Declaration of Independence as an example of the people who fought to overthrow tyranny. Mr. Bush said the war against terrorists and the regimes that support them will continue as long as necessary.


BUSH: We are on the defensive against terrorists and all who support them. We will not permit any terrorist group or outlaw regime to threaten us with weapons of mass murder. We will act whenever it is necessary to protect the lives and the liberty of the American people.


WOODRUFF: Today's trip marked the tenth time Mr. Bush has visited the always important electoral swing state of Ohio.

The Democrats who hope to challenge President Bush next year are searching for votes on this holiday. Parades and fund raises are just two of the big items on candidate agendas.

Senator John Edwards held his annual beach walk in North Carolina. Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are also on the road. Meanwhile, Howard Dean, Bob Graham, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman all converged on New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JOE LIEBERMAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't know if you've heard, but there's a president for primary here in New Hampshire.

BOB GRAHAM (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, we just started a nice day to come on the Fourth of July.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love to see the candidates.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love to shake their hands.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hi. How are you? Thanks very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone tries to get their foot in the door.

KERRY: Thank you. How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's great to have them come out and visit our town.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We think it's a great town. It's got a lot of active people here, and you're here.

It's a great opportunity for us to interact with a number of the candidates and get your mind ready for what's to come in the next year or. So.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kerry! Kerry! Go! Go! Go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kerry! Kerry! Go! Go! Go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kerry! Kerry! Go! Go! O!

DEAN: I'm here for my friend John.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks very much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tradition is wonderful. It's down home. It's the way you really meet people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every presidential election adds a little extra buzz to the Fourth of July parade.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, four, six, eight. Come on in and celebrate!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, four, six, eight. Come on in and celebrate!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two, four, six, eight. Come on in and celebrate.

LIEBERMAN: I'm an independent-minded Democrat, so this is an independent-minded state, and I'm real happy to be here.

KERRY: This is about as American as you can be. Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've seen all the parades. We've seen all the politicians, and it's really quite something to see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody's welcome.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it sets the tone for the rest of the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'd like to see the Republican candidates, too.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Celebrate America's 227th birthday in one of the states where it all started.


WOODRUFF: Every season is political season in New Hampshire. Those pictures were brought to us by CNN photographer Bob Crowley. Thank you, Bob.

Now we turn to California politics, and Gray Davis' fight to keep his job as governor.

New poll numbers out today may be driving Davis to distraction.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three, swing!

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Gray Davis is taking a beating. A new "Los Angeles Times" poll shows a slim majority, 51 percent of California voters, want to recall their governor. Just 42 percent stand by him.

Davis is in the doghouse. Two-thirds of voters say the state's on the wrong track. They're unhappy with the governor's handling of everything from the budgets to the school. It all adds up to a dismal 22 percent approval rating, with 67 percent of California voters giving Davis a thumbs down.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Hasta la vista, baby.

WOODRUFF: Not so fast, Arnold. The troops loved you in Iraq today, but back home, voters apparently aren't sold on Governor Terminator.

If the recall were to go forward only 26 percent say they would be inclined to vote for the movie star; 53 percent say they would not. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein would best all other candidates in a special election. So is Davis doomed? The poll offers him one glimmer of hope. When told the recall election could cost upwards of $25 million, a majority of voters say they would scrap the whole thing.


WOODRUFF: Keep watching this one.

Well, still ahead on this 4th of July, how safe are the celebrations in Washington? We'll talk about homeland security and the holiday with the chief of the U.S. Park Police.

Is there a first among equals? Scholars have ranked the presidents' wives. Stay tuned to find out the winner.



WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure can buy "The Political Play of the Week."



WOODRUFF: Taking a look at how Americans are celebrating the holiday.

In Philadelphia, a ceremony dedicating the new national constitution center got off to a rough start when a frame covering a mural fell onto the stage. Mayor John Street suffered minor injuries. Senator Arlen Specter was hit in the arm. The collapsing structure narrowly missed justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

O'Connor was the featured speaker at the Philadelphia ceremony. She was honored with Philadelphia's Liberty Medal, embodying the founding principles of America.

In South Dakota, nearly 200,000 tourists at Mt. Rushmore were treated to a stirring fireworks display last night. Pyrotechnics were launched from atop the granite faces of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.

Here in Washington, a day full of celebrations began with what else? A parade. Hundreds of thousands of people were expected on the mall, the national mall, by nightfall for the annual fireworks display and concert featuring Dolly Parton.

Well, the United States park police are in charge of protecting the huge crowds gathering along the national mall. And for more on all that, we're joined by the head of that agency, Teresa Chambers.

Thank you for being here with us. We appreciate it.


WOODRUFF: Now, we understand you've added security in Washington this year. It's not just the mall itself, but other locations, the monuments, other places around town, the parkway. Why?

CHAMBERS: Well, what we do is each year we look to see what worked well. And we enhance those areas that we could have improved upon.

And so this year, instead of just focusing inside the mall area itself, where the greatest number of people are gathered, we're also looking outward. We realize that if we're serious about keeping that a safe venue, we have to also look further into the city, to see what's coming towards the crowd of people. And if there's danger coming our way to stop it ahead of time and forward any kind of disaster.

WOODRUFF: What does it mean for you? Obviously the threat level has gone up and back down. The decision was made this year, unlike last year, not to raise the threat level to orange, to high.

How does that affect what you're doing?

CHAMBERS: Well, really, we're staffed with about 1,500 officers just in the area that we call the national mall. And so the change of a color code in and of itself would not have changed the number of officers we deployed.

Certainly it could have changed our tactics if we had specific intelligence. But we had enough officers there so that -- whether we went to orange or stayed at yellow, we were covered for today.

WOODRUFF: Are you feeling a little more relaxed because it's at yellow and not at orange?

CHAMBERS: I'm relaxed only because we started our planning earlier, and we thought through it much earlier and we started including others. We met with the mayor's office and fortunately with their blessing, they've allowed us to close the north-south routes in the city so that we have one secure location instead of pods of secure locations like we had last year.

Last year a person would have to leave a secured area, say at the Folklife Festival, cross the busy street of 14th Street and then stand in line again to be screened into yet another secure area.

Now that the parade has finished today, that is one large area, from the capitol to the Lincoln, where people can move freely about. So yes, there are fences, but once inside, it's an open park area.

WOODRUFF: Was it at all frustrating -- I don't know what the word is -- unsettling to you, to your office that the threat levels are changed as often as they have been?

CHAMBERS: You know, our officers are so resilient. I'm proud of them, and I know they've put in long, long hours when we've had the threat level elevated. And they take their very seriously their role.

I refer to them as the hometown soldiers. They are the ones that are on the front lines right here on our city streets and in our icon parks. And so we trust the people that are looking at the intelligence. And in fact, I have an officer permanently assigned at the Department of Homeland Security now so that we get information instantaneously.

WOODRUFF: What's your advice to people who are planning to come to the mall or to other celebrations around the country in very, very populated areas that could potentially be targets?

CHAMBERS: Well, first of all, to please come out. I was so thrilled to see the numbers that were there for the parade and that started to go through our checkpoints.

Bring the good attitude that we have to have now as we go through checkpoints at airports or other places.

Think about what you bring when you come to any location so that your entry is facilitated with ease.

But always remember our role as individual citizens in the United States. There are not enough law enforcement officers anywhere to do what citizens themselves can do.

I just took a flyover of the area to look at the crowd that's forming. I rely on each citizen out there to look and see what's adjacent to them. If there's a package that doesn't belong to them or their neighbor, they need to alert a law enforcement officer.

WOODRUFF: Or if someone is acting suspicious.

CHAMBERS: That's correct.

WOODRUFF: And I just asked you, you've been on this job a little more than a year. Has it been good? What's it been like?

CHAMBERS: It's a tremendous privilege. Is it high stress? Yes, but it's a good type.

We're there protecting the things that speak to America's democracy and freedom. There are no better positions in the world than those of law enforcement officers here in the United States Park Police.

WOODRUFF: Teresa Chambers, who is the head of the United States Park Police. It's very good to see you again.

CHAMBERS: Thank you, Judy. Likewise.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. Take care.

Well, money makes the world go around, and it also funded our candidate for "The Political Play of the Week." We'll reveal the winner when we return. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: An underdog who suddenly seems magical. It's not Harry Potter, it's presidential politics.

And as always, our Bill Schneider has a read on the race -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Judy, this has been Howard Dean's week. He got the money, he got the buzz, and now he's getting the political "Play of the Week."


JOE TRIPPI, DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The last eight days are the most amazing eight days in the history of American politics.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Well, it was impressive: $3.5 million raised in eight days. Dean topped Democratic fund-raising for the second quarter, a lot of the money in small contributions over the Internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just raised $7.5 million.

SCHNEIDER: The pros are impressed.

HAROLD ICKES, DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANT: This is a very, very powerful showing for Howard Dean. There's no question about that.

SCHNEIDER: Something is going on here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bush is driving people crazy, and they finally have heard somebody who is saying what is on their minds, and we've all find each other, and hallelujah. We're not nuts.

SCHNEIDER: What is it they see in Howard Dean? A Democrat who will stand up to President Bush.

DEAN: I'm running for president because the only way to beat George Bush is to stand up to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's really well poised to take on President Bush. I think he wouldn't let him get away with stuff, and in the debates it will be very tough on him.

SCHNEIDER: a Democrat who will stand up to the Democratic Party.

DEAN: Too many Democrats in Washington are afraid to stand up for what we believe in.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think the people that are running that might run like Kerry and Graham and stuff, they can't fight like this man can fight.

SCHNEIDER: This week, Dean fired up his base and broke into the top tier of candidates.

TRIPPI: The rest of the campaigns kind of laughed at us and sort of rolled their eyes and went, "Yes, right."

Well, I think today they're saying, "Oh, man."

SCHNEIDER: They sure are, because Howard Dean just won the political "Play of the Week."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Dean! We want Dean! We want Dean!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Dean! We want Dean! We want Dean!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Dean! We want Dean! We want Dean!


SCHNEIDER: The Dean campaign says the money started coming in immediately after Governor Dean's much criticized performance on "Meet the Press." What his supporters saw was a Democrat standing up to the press, a press they believe has sold out to the right, just like in their view, the Washington Democratic establishment -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: A lot to chew over there, Bill. We like the tie.

SCHNEIDER: Thanks very much. It's an original Betsy Ross.

WOODRUFF: Happy Fourth. That's right. Betsy Ross. We want to give her credit. Thanks a lot.

Still ahead, who is first among America's first ladies? Our Bruce Morton takes a look at some of the most popular, and some of the not-so-popular. We'll be right back.


WOODRUFF: First lady Laura Bush will join her husband and their guests at the White House tonight and watch fireworks from the Truman balcony.

Presidents' wives can be hostesses, helpmates, role models, and political figures in their own right. But is there a first among firsts?

Here's our national correspondent, Bruce Morton.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): First ladies, an undefined job. Each made of it what she would or could. Who was best? Robert Watson of Florida Atlantic University surveyed 29 scholars who have studied and written about first ladies. And the winner is?

DR. ROBERT WATSON, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY: Eleanor Roosevelt was unanimously selected by the scholars as No. 1, as the greatest first lady. Dolly Madison was second.

Other first ladies that were ranked very highly were Abigail Adams, Ladybird Johnson and Martha Washington. Hillary Clinton came in tied at number five, and Laura Bush was at number 20.

MORTON: Why Mrs. Roosevelt? She was an activist, a top presidential adviser, traveled for FDR, reported back.

WATSON: She was a champion for the poor, for miners, for the veterans. Eleanor Roosevelt was an incredible first lady who did a number of things.

MORTON: Sub-categories: Dolly Madison was rated best hostess, Jacqueline Kennedy second.

Mrs. Kennedy was rated the best at preserving and restoring the White House. Mrs. Roosevelt tied for worst. That wasn't her thing.

She was rated best social advocate. Mamie Eisenhower was the worst. Mrs. Eisenhower saw her job as wife, not advocate. "Ike runs the country," she said once, "and I turn the lamb chops."

Jane Pierce, Franklin Pierce's wife, hated politics.

WATSON: She believed politics was very sinful, and God would exact a revenge against her husband for his political interests.

MORTON: Bess Truman much preferred Missouri to the White House, ranked 27th. Betty Ford ranked ninth in the survey, Barbara Bush 17th.

Laura Bush, 20th?

WATSON: Laura Bush is not controversial. She's rarely seen, she's rarely heard, she's not threatening. So therefore, she benefits by that. She's not an innately political individual like a Hillary Clinton or an Eleanor Roosevelt, but she does have a sense of duty, a sense of responsibility.

MORTON: First ladies, 37 very different women who saw the unusual role in very different ways.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: No matter where they rank, all first in their husbands' hearts.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Have a great Fourth. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


Schwarzenegger Visits Troops in Iraq; 'Political Play of the Week'>

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