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Schwarzenegger Presses Forward on Campaign; White House Facing Tuesday Deadline Documents in Leak Investigation

Aired October 3, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The weapons hunt in Iraq -- a lack of progress report gives Democrats political ammunition.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: It is clear to me that there was no imminence of a threat from weapons of mass destruction by Iraq.

ANNOUNCER: President Bush fires back.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The world is a better place when we got rid of Saddam Hussein.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: I will stay focused. I will always stay focused because the fight continues.

ANNOUNCER: Arnold Schwarzenegger tries to get back on message. But California voters get past allegations he groped women and admired Hitler?

Recall this. Before Californians choose a winner on Tuesday, we'll cast our vote for "The Political Play of the Week."

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


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

This hour, Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria Shriver, is expected to urge California voters to do what she is doing -- supporting her husband. A day after Schwarzenegger was hit with allegations of groping women sexually and of looking up to Adolph Hitler, Shriver is set to give a speech in Newport Beach, California. We're waiting for her remarks and if she says anything about the controversies, we hope to bring it to you live.

Well, for more now on the Schwarzenegger campaign and the attempts at damage control, let's go to our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. She's in Los Angeles.

Candy, how is the Schwarzenegger camp dealing with all of this today? CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's straight out of day two of crisis management in the political world -- get back on message. And so what he's doing is headed northward, continuing on with this campaign that is supposed to go until Sunday in Sacramento.

Very little reference to the scandals that plagued him on that first day, although they have settled on one aspect of it that really works well with the faithful.


SCHWARZENEGGER: You know that they try to tear you down, they try to tear your character down and everything you stand for. And let me tell you something -- they already have begun. But I -- I will stay focused. I will always stay focused because the fight continues.


CROWLEY: So onward and upward. What the Schwarzenegger campaign hopes is that after yesterday, they have answered as much as they need to. The questions, both about the groping of women and about the allegation that he once admired Hitler.

They brought in someone they didn't expect they would bring in, and that is Maria Shriver. She was working sort of a separate campaign. They did bring her in last night where she stood by her husband and said, I commend him for coming forward. This is what we teach our children to do when you make mistakes. You apologize. So they, of course, brought her out.

Now, what they are hoping also is that that calendar moves on very fast, because the fact of the matter is all this began as Arnold Schwarzenegger was looking pretty much unbeatable.

We want to look at a Field Poll, the latest Field Poll out from California, which shows that Schwarzenegger is at 36 percent, and that is, of course, 10 points higher than Bustamante, his Democratic opponent in that race followed by McClintock, who is a conservative Republican.

So, Judy, what they are hoping is that time will pass quickly, that they have, in fact, put this behind them in a way that will allow them to move on, to hang onto those voters that are saying that they're going to come vote for him, and not to lose any because of this past -- because of the past day -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Candy, if that's what they're hoping, I know you're talking to Republicans, you're talking to Democrats. What are they saying about how -- how Schwarzenegger's going to weather this ultimately?

CROWLEY: Well, ultimately, you -- what you do is you look at the -- you look at the numbers, and the numbers say that a lot of people have made up their minds. Now, were there people so shaky in their determination to go vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger that this will tip them over the top? No.

But I can tell you that his critics, long-time critics, have taken this new ammunition, and they are out there with press conferences. They are out there with rallies. And they are using this added ammo. They were against him in the first place. There are also some of these women that talked to "The L.A. Times" are also coming out and putting their faces on camera. That can be very powerful stuff.

So his critics will keep at it and so will Arnold. And I guess we'll know on Tuesday.

WOODRUFF: We shall. Tuesday night. All right. Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

Well, now to a growing controversy hanging over President Bush and his re-election campaign. White House employees are facing a Tuesday deadline to turn over documents in the investigation of the leak of a CIA operative's identity. And the Justice Department has informed the White House that interviews with senior administration officials could begin at any moment.

As the probe intensifies, so is the Democratic criticism. Here now is our Congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl.

Jon, what are the Democrats saying?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, today it was the Democratic presidential candidates turn to take a whack at the president over this controversy. At a meeting of the Democratic National Committee here in Washington, the presidential candidates took turns teeing off on the president. Among them was Howard Dean, who portrayed the controversy as a test of President Bush's patriotism.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If this administration values patriotism, then the president and his people will step forward and explain to us how they misled us on the way into Iraq and what the reason we really are there is. If the president and his people are true patriots, then they will stand up and ask the people who unveiled the name publicly of the CIA agent to resign right now.


KARL: Democratic strategists point to recent polls and say this cuts right to the heart of the president's vulnerability. They point today's "New York Times" poll, for instance, which showed the president gets low marks for his handling of foreign policy, even lower marks for his handling of the economy, but still aver a 50 percent approval rating. And that's because people still give him high marks for things like honesty and leadership. Strategists for the Democrats say this cuts right to the heart of that.

You saw that today with John Kerry in this line of attack. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One Republican source was quoted just a few days ago as saying that their defense to this scandal was to slime and defend. Well, I say to George W. Bush, Mr. President, it's time to come clean. Slime is not a way to restore honor and integrity to the White House of the United States.


KARL: Of course, seeing a bunch of presidential candidates bringing this issue up at a forum of the Democratic Party here in Washington also plays right into the Republican response, which is the portrayal of this as simply politics on the part of the Democrats -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: At the Capitol. Thanks very much.

Well, some Democrats are also pouncing on the latest reports to Congress that weapons of mass destruction so far have not been found in Iraq. The House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi, says the report proves that President Bush was too quick to go to war.


PELOSI: It is clear to me that there was no imminence of a threat of -- from weapons of mass destruction by Iraq. Because of the lack of imminence of a threat, it is clear that there was time for more diplomatic efforts to be made before we went to war.


WOODRUFF: Many Americans also are more critical of the president's handling of Iraq. As Jon Karl just mentioned, there's another new poll out today showing Americans have growing doubts about whether the Iraq war was worth the cost.

Today Mr. Bush, again defended his decision and the weapons hunt.


BUSH: Let me make clear that Saddam Hussein actively deceived the international community, was in clear violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441, and was a danger to the world. The world is a better place when we got rid of Saddam Hussein.


WOODRUFF: The head of the new U.S. team searching for banned weapons in Iraq, meantime, says today that he wants six to nine more months to finish the search.

Iraq politics or recall controversy? Which one of them will lead to "The Political Play of the Week"?

Also ahead, Arnold Schwarzenegger's problem with women. Will either Bay Buchanan or Donna Brazile take his side?

And will Bob Graham keep trucking with his presidential campaign? Or is he ready to call it quits?

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: An important voting block is flexing its political muscle in California. Bill Schneider's with me now for more on that -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, who will decide California? The one constituency that's already demonstrated its clout by winning the "Political Play of the Week."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're protesting against Arnold for his treatment of women.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you? Right in front of his place?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn't read "The L.A. Times" today?


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Had he seen the newspaper, he would have read a disturbing account of unwanted sexual advances by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the front runner in the campaign for governor. How did Schwarzenegger become the front runner? Because of women.

Men have always favored getting rid of Governor Gray Davis. But a month ago women opposed recalling the governor. That made the outcome of the recall vote too close to call. As of early this week, however, women had turned against Davis. His recall was beginning to look like a done deal.

Who did women favor to replace Davis? A month ago, women made Democrat Cruz Bustamante the front runner. Schwarzenegger's problems with women came up in his one debate last week.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, FRM. CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: It's the way you treat women. We know that. But not now.

SCHNEIDER: With Schwarzenegger now leading among women as well as men, the running man became the front runner. The accounts in "The L.A. Times" now threaten Schwarzenegger's standing and may even set off a gender war.

KAREN POMER, CODE PINK SPOKESWOMAN: It makes your stomach turn. I think any woman that would read it would be very, very upset by it. I talked to one of the women today that is in this story...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did Arnold rape you? No. So get off his trip, all right?

SCHNEIDER: New attacks have already started coming out.

AD ANNOUNCER: You cannot vote for this man because Arnold Schwarzenegger has a serious problem with women.

SCHNEIDER: Schwarzenegger moved quickly to acknowledge his past behavior and tried to repair the damage.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Women voters should know that I support women.

SCHNEIDER: Women made him the front runner, now women can take it away. That's clout. It's also the "Political Play of the Week."


SCHNEIDER: Like a number of other states, California allows people to cast early ballots simply for convenience, and more than 1 1/2 million Californians had voted before "The L.A. Times" published its story. I wonder how many Californians are wondering whether they voted too early? -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: I'm sure some of them must be wondering. We'll see Bill, thank you.

With us now in Washington, former Gore Campaign Manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, the president of American Cause. All right. The question of the day, Bay, is Arnold Schwarzenegger going to be called to account for what happened, or is he going to get away with this?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, obviously, we have our own Bill Clinton in some regard, not as serious as that. It's clearly in the deep past. Everybody who's talking about, it seems to be many, many years ago in most cases.

But I don't think it's any surprise, Judy, that Arnold Schwarzenegger is no any respecter of women, as one would like to think. Anyone who read or saw any piece of that "Oui" magazine knows this is not somebody who really is as concerned about his treatment of women as he should be.

But is it going to hurt him? It slowed his momentum, no question about it. I think he's going to go over the top, though, anyhow.

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Why would you defeat a governor who's never committed a crime, who's never stolen money? You know in Louisiana we don't recall our governors, we reelect them.

But in this case here, Arnold Schwarzenegger has really disrespected women, and women should not support him. This weekend, I think those undecided voters will make up their minds to vote no on this recall and perhaps support Cruz Bustamante on that long ballot.

BUCHANAN: See, I think your real problem is they have nowhere else to go. I think there's no question that they have a case here and that women should, you know, think twice before they vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger. I agree. I think that he's clearly behaved boorishly. But that's his persona. And I think he won't be hurt in the men's vote...

WOODRUFF: It's a misdemeanor in California law.


BUCHANAN: No one came out publicly when it happened. Nobody even came out in the next five or 10 or 12 years after. And some of these go back 30 years. And so now to say definitely it happened, he said it was a playful thing. So it's his word against her word. He agrees now that it was probably inappropriate, but no crime.

BRAZILE: I know you're not defending Arnold Schwarzenegger or his behavior. I know you better than that.

But some of this behavior, this rowdy behavior, took place as early as 2000 and 2001. It's not one woman. It's several women that have come forward. And this fits into a pattern that he has disrespected women throughout his entire career.

BUCHANAN: But all of it's discounted, unfortunately, ladies, because we had a president of the United States that had all of these things happen and had a series of women come out and say that much, much more harmful activity occurred at the hands of President Clinton. And so we've all discount it now.

And so we look at big, old Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Terminator. We all knew that he's a Hollywood type, that means their attitude and their ego goes to the head and they think that any woman they touches is honored by his touch. And so I don't know...


BRAZILE: I don't think you can compare him to Bill Clinton.

BUCHANAN: I know you can't.

WOODRUFF: You're saying you don't think the Clinton history here in any way lessens what Schwarzenegger's being accused of?

BRAZILE: Absolutely not. I think that's just a cheap shot. This is about Arnold's behavior, not Clinton's behavior in the White House. This is about a 30-year pattern of treating women with disdain and disrespect. And I don't think he's going to change it over the next couple of days. So just vote no.

BUCHANAN: He's apologized, and I think a lot of people will say, look, where else can we go? Cruz has dropped off the face of the earth after that debate, a horrible performance on that debate. And so what do they do? They go back to Davis? Davis has done a terrible job as governor. They want to give somebody new a fresh chance. And I think they only have Tom McClintock and Arnold Schwarzenegger to look at. And it's too late, the story is too late.

BRAZILE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that and the you know what.

BUCHANAN: He said it was playful, Donna. I don't understand. You don't appreciate that.

BRAZILE: He's the boor and not the other one.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there. Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile, thank you both.

We have right now, I believe Maria Shriver has started to speak in Newport Beach, California. Has that gotten under way? She's speaking. And let's take a little of this.


MARIA SHRIVER, SCHWARZENEGGER'S WIFE: ... thank you for inviting me. And what a prestigious career you've had in public service, which is what you have done, which is serve the public, and there is no more noble calling. So I congratulate you for that, Gayle Wilson, former first lady, wife of Pete Wilson. Both of you have been so supportive to Arnold, not just to...

WOODRUFF: We are going to monitor Maria Shriver's remarks to that group in Newport Beach, California. If she does comment on any of the controversies we're following today, we will go right back to it and bring it to you live.

Meantime, a money crunch and low poll numbers add up to trouble on the campaign trail. An update on Bob Graham's difficult run for the White House next in "Campaign News Daily."


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."

Senator Bob Graham emphatically denies reports that he may pull out of the Democratic presidential race. Graham is skipping a scheduled Florida fundraiser today. Instead he headed back to Washington. He huddled with top advisers yesterday as his campaign struggled with disappointing fund-raising and poor showing sin the polls. The Graham campaign has less than a million dollars on hand, and major staff layoffs are expected.

Senator Graham is among the hopefuls expected to address a Democratic National Committee fall meeting here in Washington. The candidates are speaking to party activists from around the country this weekend.

We asked several state party chairs if they are worried that the 10 candidate field may be too crowded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAY PARMLEY, OKLAHOMA DEM. CHMN.: There are 10 people saying different things, but all really the same message, same broad message, and I think that that helps bring more people into the process.



KATHLEEN SULLIVAN, N.H. DEM. CHWN.: It's hard to sort of keep track of where everyone is in terms of, you know, issues that are important and the nuances among the 10 on different issues.



DEBBIE DINGELL, MICHIGAN DEM. CHWN.: I do think at some point it's going to have to narrow. But I think what we have right now is a very healthy process of trying to decide who is the right person.


WOODRUFF: The DNC fall meeting concludes tomorrow.

Well, a non-partisan group called the Nuclear Threat Initiative has started running TV ads in Iowa and New Hampshire. The spots feature former senators Sam Nunn and Warren Rudman talking about the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists.

I spoke with Sam Nunn a little while ago, and I asked him why these ads are needed.


SAM NUNN, CO-CHMN., NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE: It's not a high priority for our government nor for the Russian government, and these are the two countries that helped build up all these stockpiles, and the two countries have to work together and get a lot of other countries to join us in a partnership to prevent catastrophic terrorism. So it's got to be a much higher priority.

We're doing some things. We should not in any way diminish what's been done under the Nunn-Lugar program and other programs with Russia and with others. But we have a long way to go, and as I view it, we're in a race between cooperation and catastrophe. The weapons stockpiles are no mystery. The terrorists know where they are, and we know where they are.

It's a matter of priority. It's a matter of focus. It's a matter of presidential leadership, Congressional leadership, focusing on the issue, and cutting through the bureaucracy. And President Putin has to do his job.

WOODRUFF: What would you say the biggest threat is? Where is the biggest threat coming from right now? NUNN: Well, the biggest stockpile is in Russia and the former Soviet Union. Over 120 tons of weapon grade material, enough to make 50 to 85,000 weapons, and about -- only about 40 percent of it is properly secured, meaning 60 percent of it is not add adequately secured. It doesn't mean it's out there on the streets somewhere. It means that we don't have the inventory system, the counter guards, the personnel liability, all the things that make security when you're dealing with really the most dangerous materials, that is, raw material for terrorism.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, senator. So much focus lately on supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What's your sense on where those are, if they were there?

NUNN: I don't know. The most worrisome thing is if they were there and moved somewhere else because that would be more dangerous than for them to be in Iraq because they could get in the hands of terrorists. So I really don't know.

David Kay is a good man, and I'm sure that he and his team will do everything they can to find them. When I look at the amount of money that's been spent in Iraq -- and I know it's not one or the other, but when I look at what we'd have to have to lock down nuclear weapons everywhere in the world, nuclear stockpile of materials, rather than weapons, it really boggles my mind because we could take about $30 billion and get other countries to help on that $30 billion and really lock up nuclear materials everywhere in the world and secure them.

And that's where homeland security starts, wherever there are dangerous weapons.

WOODRUFF: I bet you'd like to see that money spent securing these weapons elsewhere.

Senator, one very quick last question about politics. Your daughter, Michelle, is being talked about as a candidate for the Senate, the seat that you held in Georgia. Max Cleland was defeated, the Democrat. He's now saying he likely won't run. He thinks your daughter should run. Andy Young has announced he's not going to run. He'd support your daughter. Do you think she'll go for it?

NUNN: Don't know yet, Judy. We've had a lot of conversations, and she's getting advice from a lot of people. But one of the big considerations is family. She would -- she would really have a tremendous amount of energy behind her campaign. Probably not a lot of money, but a lot of energy because she's done a lot of work with thousands of volunteers all over Atlanta area and is known throughout Georgia, to some extent. So it would be a very interesting campaign.


WOODRUFF: Sam Nunn's daughter is named Michelle Nunn.

Well, can you have the race to the White House for a song?




WOODRUFF: Bob Graham has tried it. Find out which '04 Democrat is belting out a tune now.


WOODRUFF: Presidential candidates often try to show their less serious side. Think John Kerry on a motorcycle. Or earlier this week, Howard Dean doing an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. Well, now we have this musical moment from Joe Lieberman during a television interview with C-SPAN yesterday.




WOODRUFF: Who knew? Well, if the White House doesn't work, we know he's headed for a different career.

OK. That's it for this Friday's INSIDE POLITICS. Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


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