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Congressman Charged With Manslaughter; Democrats Differ Greatly Within Own Party

Aired August 29, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: A U.S. Congressman charged with manslaughter, his future on the line after a deadly traffic accident.

Presidential candidates on parade. While Americans savor the last gasp of summer, White House hopefuls pick up the pace.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's a long way to go over the next four-and-a-half months.

ANNOUNCER: Starbucks versus Wal-Mart. Why the '04 Democrats are caught between latte lovers and the discount crowd.

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


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

U.S. Congressman Bill Janklow faces his first court hearing on Tuesday in South Dakota after being charged with manslaughter in the second-degree. The charge comes nearly two weeks after the Republican former governor was involved in a traffic accident that killed a motorcyclist. According to court documents, Janklow told investigators that he was going too fast to stop at a stop sign. He reportedly has a history of speeding and reckless driving. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The Congressman still is recovering from a head injury he suffered during the accident. His son says that Janklow has talked to his family about the charges, but he has not talked about resigning from Congress. South Dakota officials say that if Janklow's seat were to become vacant, the governor would have 10 days to call a special election to be held within 90 days.

Capitol Hill watcher Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report joins us now.

Stu, under these circumstances, can Bill Janklow stay in his seat?

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Well, obviously only the Congressman can answer that question, Judy. But I can tell you this -- when I spoke to a Republican strategist who was very familiar with the state, when I told him that the Congressman was charged with a felony in addition to the three misdemeanors when this person heard felony, he said, hmm, that could be a real, real problem. So Republican strategists are already worrying about is there going to be a vacancy and a special election or can the Congressman hang on until the end of his term? There's some different scenarios that could arise during -- depending upon which of those scenarios comes -- comes to pass.

WOODRUFF: But essentially you're saying if he decides if -- and we don't know what he's going to do -- but if he decides to try to remain in his seat, there could be real problems for him?

ROTHENBERG: Well, sure. Look at the controversy that would surround him. Look at the media attention that he would attract. It's a very difficult position. Remember, Bill Janklow has been a fixture in South Dakota politics for 30 years. He's about to turn 64- years-old. Does he want to go through this frenzy of media attention? I don't know. There's going to be some significant pressure on him to vacate his seat.

Having said that, Republicans are very fearful that an open seat causing a special election would make it difficult for them to hold the seat.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, let's talk about that. If he does decide to go ahead and step down, if there is a special election, who's likely to run?

ROTHENBERG: Well, the Democrats probably would turn initially to Stephanie Herseth, who received 46 percent of the vote against Janklow last year. She is a well -- has a well-known name. Her grandfather was governor. After the election there was some question, is she going to return to Washington, D.C., where they went to school or stay in the state? She decided to stay in the state. And as recently as June, in the local papers was quoted as saying that if there was an open seat in 2004, an open seat for the house, she'd probably run for it.

On the Republican side, all of the attention is on John Thune, and here's where the scenarios get kind of messy. There is widespread agreement among those who are close to Thune...

WOODRUFF: Former Congressman.

ROTHENBERG: Former Congressman John Thune. Right. Remember, he lost a very narrow Senate race to Tim Johnson last time. There is widespread agreement that John Thune does not really want to return to the House of Representatives. In fact, this weekend a local newspaper will release a poll showing Thune trailing Tom Daschle in a hypothetical 2004 Senate race, but within the margin of error. In other words, a tossup.

Thune has been aiming toward this race with Daschle. He hasn't completely committed, but he's clearly interested. And I'm told if he returns for anything in 2004, it's going to be against Daschle. However -- and here's the kicker. If there is a vacancy and hence a special election, it's going to come, as you mentioned, within about 90 days. Republican insiders are concerned, Can they have a candidate who they can introduce to the public in that time who can raise the money, who can beat Stephanie Herseth or is John Thune the only Republican candidate who can do that? That would mean there would be significant Republican pressure on Thune to run in a special. He might have a hard time resisting that pressure.

WOODRUFF: Very tough political questions in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. All right. Stu Rothenberg, thank you very much.

Well, presidential politics leads the headlines in our Friday "Campaign News Daily."

A new poll finds that Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt are leading the field of Democratic hopefuls in Iowa. Dean was at 25 percent, Gephardt, 21 percent. John Kerry had 16, and Joe Lieberman, 12 percent. All the other candidates were in single digits.

Iowa is apparently the place to be for presidential hopefuls this Labor Day weekend. Howard Dean, John Edwards and at least three other party hopefuls will be taking part in the usual parades, picnics and pancake breakfasts.

Let's talk Iowa and presidential politics now with David Yepsen of "The Des Moines Register."

David, right now you got this poll showing Howard Dean with all the movement. Is that how you see it on the ground there?

DAVID YEPSEN, "DES MOINES REGISTER": I do, Judy. I think Howard Dean, if you look at the -- maybe within the margin of error, but he's starting to open up a slight lead over Dick Gephardt. So I think clearly, the momentum and the energy in this state favors Howard Dean.

I think this race has real implications for the John Kerry campaign because if Dean beats Dick Gephardt in Iowa, that really hurts Gephardt's chances. May even knock him out of the race. We know from past history, Judy, that the candidate who wins Iowa automatically gets a 8 to 10-point bump in the state of New Hampshire, where Dean is already leading Kerry by, in some polls, double-digit margins. So I don't know that Kerry could withstand Dean winning here because it would just have been a real multiplier effect in New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: What -- how do you account for Dean's surge in Iowa? Is it just publicity or what?

YEPSEN: Well, Judy, it's several things.

First of all, he's got a message.

I mean, secondly, it's time on task. I mean, he's spending a lot more time here than these other candidates have. He's saying things that Democrats want to hear. He's captured the anger that many Democrats feel towards President Bush. He hasn't voted for the war or the Patriot Act, and so he's got good support with liberals. And he's attracting all kinds of new people to his events.

So he's really doing it right. It is the Jimmy Carter model, and he's doing very well.

WOODRUFF: Is anybody working hard in Iowa for whom it's not paying off yet?

YEPSEN: Well, John Edwards and Bob Graham. I think that Senator Edwards and Senator Graham are going to have to start doing a real gut check here in another couple weeks. The thing that's significant about this poll is that it comes after the two of them have each spent a considerable time campaigning in this state, doing bus tours and town-to-towns, a lot of this retail politics that we like to talk about here. And for Senator Edwards he's also run a great deal of television and that they haven't moved numbers. And so for a campaign to put this kind of effort into a state and not see really any movement at all in the polls, I think it's going to be a time for reflection here.

WOODRUFF: David, in a quick word, what about Wes Clark? If the general gets in, does that have any effect?

YEPSEN: It might. Fifteen percent of the caucusgoers say they're undecided. The rest are pretty soft. There's room for General Clark to get an audience here, but it's getting pretty late.

WOODRUFF: OK. David Yepsen, "Des Moines Register," it's always great to talk to you.

YEPSEN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.

Well, while the '04 Democrats prepare to step up their campaigns after the long holiday weekend, many Americans simply will enjoy their days off. Some may linger over a cappuccino, others may shop at their favorite discount store.

And that brings us to something of a dilemma nor for the Democrats based on an analysis of our polling data.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): Starbucks. Wal-Mart. Same country, worlds apart. For the '04 Dems, it's a tricky gap to bridge.

KEATING HOLLAND, CNN POLLING DIRECTOR: There really are two wings of the Democratic Party. One wing lives near a Starbucks, the other wing lives near a Wal-Mart.

WOODRUFF: And the two tribes have little in common.

HOLLAND: Starbuck Democrats have a tendency to be educated, upscale professional class, dovish liberals. Wal-Mart Democrats have a tendency to be less well-educated, less well off, family-oriented, hawkish moderates.

WOODRUFF: In Starbucks neighborhoods, the median income is about $15,000 higher than in Wal-Mart households, the better to pay for those $4 drinks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mine is actually $4.15.

WOODRUFF: OK, then. Only 1 percent of Starbucks stores are in rural areas. Compare that to a quarter of all Wal-Marts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. Thank you. Have a good day, OK?


WOODRUFF: Starbucks Democrats are way more liberal on social issues, particularly gay rights, the death penalty, abortion, and gun control. They largely opposed the war in Iraq and can't stand George W. Bush.

Wal-Mart Democrats are pretty much evenly divided on the war and the president. So how does a candidate woo Wal-Mart shoppers without alienating people who order...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A quad tall bone-dry 7/8 of an equal cappuccino.

WOODRUFF: It's not easy. Just ask Howard Dean or Joe Lieberman.

So what do these groups have in common? Well, they're Democrats, of course. They don't particularly like the guy in the White House, and they and they all appreciate service with a smile.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.


WOODRUFF: Some of us just like black tea.

Well turning to California, the recall campaign is a bit less frenzied today. One of the final legal hurdles to the historic election is being heard in federal court this day. Civil rights groups are pressing their case to postpone the vote fearing Florida- style foulups.

Black lawmakers in Sacramento are expected to announce today whether they will endorse Democratic candidate Cruz Bustamante. The caucus is the latest Democratic group to weigh in on the "no to the recall, yes to Bustamante" strategy. Meantime, sources close to Al Gore say that the former vice president has talked with California Governor Gray Davis about ways to help him fight the recall. Gore currently is on vacation, but a Gore trip to California reportedly has not been ruled out.

Still ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, the only woman in the Democratic presidential field. I'll ask Carol Moseley Braun about her campaign and the competition.


WOODRUFF: Well, you can add a musical name to the list of celebrities lending a hand to their favorite presidential candidate. Dave Matthews is expected to help former Vermont Governor Howard Dean at a fund-raiser next month. Final details still being nailed down.

John Kerry will have his own musical accompaniment at two fund raisers next month. Moby is scheduled to perform at a low dollar Kerry event in boston and another in New York.


WOODRUFF: Democratic presidential hopeful Carol Moseley Braun picked up two endorsements from women's groups this week, and she also announced plans to formally launch her White House campaign next month.

Carol Moseley Braun is with me now from Chicago. It's good to see you. And I want to ask you about your campaign. You've been out there for months and yet look at the polls. You're in the bottom tier. You're in the bottom tier of money raised. And yet you're still going to make this formal announcement. Why?

CAROL MOSELEY BRAUN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, we're absolutely competitive. I don't know what poll you're showing because I can't see it from here, but we're beating people. The last polls I looked at, we were beating people who had, you know, ten times the money that we have. And we are competitive. And I believe that we are going to take the "Men Only" sign off the White House door.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about money. In the first two quarters of the year, you raised a little over $200,000 while John Kerry raised $16 million, Howard Dean raised $10.5 million, President Bush raised $35 million. How do you expect people to take your campaign seriously?

BRAUN: Well, you know, Judy, I've always had to, if you will, be the "Seabiscuit" of the races in which I've won and won consistently. I've run 14 times and won all but one of them.

And so, you know, I wasn't -- people tried to dismiss my candidacy when I ran for the United States Senate against an incumbent in 1992, and I had little money. But people resonated to my message and responded and came out and voted.

And so I believe that so long as we have enough to keep going, to keep our operation going, to get to the point that people -- the people can speak, not just the money. The money primary is one thing, but the people's votes in the end will determine who wins. And I feel very strongly that we're going to do very well.

WOODRUFF: Your former campaign manager, Andy Pringle, left you this month to go to work for Howard Dean. She was quoted, in the last few days, as saying, "No one is really energizing the African-American community right now. But he (Dean) wants to and he's working hard at it."

Now, if your own former campaign manager is saying that you're not energizing the African-American community, that's pretty bad news, isn't it?

BRAUN: Oh, I don't think so. She took a job working for Howard Dean after we moved our campaign here to Chicago. And, of course, she's working with Howard Dean.

And I'm glad that he's going to reach out to African-American voters. I think that it's incumbent on every Democrat to reach out to all the Democratic constituency constituencies.

But again, I think at the end of the day, when the votes come in, I will do very well among all kinds of voters from all races and ethnicities as I traditionally have.

And again, if you just look at the track record, I always say it's -- if you look at where somebody's been, that's a good indication of where they're going. And I've always been able to win by creating coalitions of people who are concerned about government.

WOODRUFF: I did an interview on this program two days ago with a couple people about your endorsement from the National Women's Political Caucus and from NOW, the National Organization for Women.

But during that interview, and I want to ask you about this, pretty tough quote. Wendy Wright, a woman who works with the Concerned Women for America, conservative group, said, quote, "Carol Moseley Braun's candidacy is irrelevant. Her time in the Senate," she said, "was plagued with scandal after scandal, Medicaid fraud, money scandals, secret visits to an African dictator and so on and so on."

I want to give you a chance to respond.

BRAUN: You know, I don't -- I won't -- let me say, it just is stunning to me that a so-called Christian group would have people on television bearing false witness and using such harsh, nasty language for no real reason.

Judy, you know full well that none of that stuff had any substance to it and we've moved on. The Senate confirmed me, I've had the highest security clearances, I have a credible campaign, we're speaking about rebuilding America, getting our country back on the right track, taking our country in the direction of preserving liberty and opportunity and the American dream for the next generation. And that's resounding out in the electorate. And so I'm not going to dignify that or anybody else that wants to go back over already-discredited, old gossip. Because that's really what it was.

WOODRUFF: Well, we wanted to give you a chance to answer.


WOODRUFF: ... way to Iowa this weekend?

BRAUN: I'm on my way to Des Moines for the parade and will be spending some time in Iowa and getting out here on the campaign trail.

WOODRUFF: All right. Carol Moseley Braun, it's great to see you. Thanks very much.

BRAUN: Great to be here.

WOODRUFF: Thanks for talking with us.


WOODRUFF: Just ahead, he stood side by side with President Bush against Saddam Hussein. Now Tony Blair is taking heat from the British people over evidence used to take his nation to war. Bill Schneider reports from London next.


WOODRUFF: British Prime Minister Tony Blair's top communications adviser resigned today. Alaster Campbell was considered one of the Labour Party's most powerful, if not controversial, figures. Most recently, Campbell was embroiled in the dispute with the BBC over claims that the Blair government exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

CNN's Bill Schneider is in London with more on the controversy and how Tony Blair's credibility has taken a hit with the British people.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Tony Blair has lost his spin doctor. President George Bush also had a great deal at stake when Blair was called to testify before a judicial inquiry this week on the apparent suicide of former U.N. weapons inspector David Kelly.

ADAM RAPHAEL, "THE ECONOMIST": On the main charge that leveled against this government that they inserted intelligence information in this dossier, or against the wishes of the intelligence community, on that charge he was able to show that there's absolutely no truth in it whatsoever.

SCHNEIDER: Blair's testimony was good news for President Bush. Bush had relied on British intelligence and gotten into trouble for it.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.

SCHNEIDER: The White House later acknowledged that the intelligence was unsubstantiated and should not have been included in the president's speech. That seemed to end the controversy.

But Blair's political troubles are far from over. He staked his case for war on the charge that Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction presented an immediate threat.

SEAN O'GRADY, "THE INDEPENDENT": The main reason why this country went to war was because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He was in danger of giving them to al Qaeda, and just down the road here at Buckingham Palace or House of Parliament or Downing Street, there would be a huge bomb.

SCHNEIDER: President Bush's case for war was more complex.

RAPHAEL: I do think the Americans -- actually in the American administration was more honest. Their state said there was a threat, but they also said there was a bad man, we want regime change. Now those were dirty words here in Britain. That was never the way the war was sold to people here.

SCHNEIDER: As a result, the failure to find weapons of mass destruction has done far more political damage to Blair than to Bush. Barely more than one-quarter of the British believe Blair is a leader who can be trusted.

(on camera): Some commentators are comparing this inquiry with President Clinton's impeachment. Like Clinton, Blair may survive, but he has lost credibility.

Bill Schneider, CNN, London.


WOODRUFF: Well, coming up, he's not running in '04, so why is Al Gore featured in a campaign ad?


WOODRUFF: It's election -- in election 2004, it is Bush versus Gore all over again. At least it is if you watch an early campaign ad for a Republican House candidate in North Carolina's Fifth District.


JIM SNYDER (R), NORTH CAROLINA HOUSE CANDIDATE: I'm Jim Snyder. Like you, I'm offended that the Democrat presidential candidates and liberal media have the nerve to denigrate the great achievements of President Bush. Well just imagine if Al Gore were president. I'm proud President Bush has the courage to defend freedom, democracy and American values. I'm Jim Snyder, and I'm proud to authorize this ad.


WOODRUFF: The Congressman (sic) clearly is banking on a Bush sweep in North Carolina next year. Defending the president also is one of his talking points out on the campaign trail.

Well, that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. And this programming note, on Monday, INSIDE POLITICS will be teaming up with our friends from "CROSSFIRE" for a two-hour Labor Day political special.

We'll kick off the political season with an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean, as well as "CROSSFIRE"- style debates and the latest on both the presidential race and the California recall. So join us as "CROSSFIRE GOES INSIDE POLITICS" at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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