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CNN CAPITAL GANG

U.N. Security Council Voted Unanimously For Resolution In Iraq; After New Hampshire and Iowa, How Will Democratic Hopefuls Fare?; Was Palestinian Authority Partially At Fault For Attack On Coalition In Gaza?

Aired October 18, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.
MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to THE CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields, with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson. Our guest is Republican Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota. It's good to have you back, Norm.

SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R), MINNESOTA: Great to be here.

SHIELDS: Thank you.

The United Nations Security Council voted unanimously for a resolution encouraging international contributions of money and troops for U.S.-led Iraqi reconstruction. But in Congress, President Bush personally intervened against bipartisan demands that Iraq be required to pay back half of the $20 billion in reconstruction money.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He talked about what he was trying to do with the other countries. I just felt that I couldn't put myself above him when he was having to deal with the issues with the other countries.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The House beat back this effort, but the Senate voted 51 to 47 for loans, thanks to Republican defectors.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: It would be terrible if the people of this country, who have sacrificed so much, wound up not getting a dime back for doing a good thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: President Bush declared, quote, "loans are the wrong approach. They would slow the reconstruction of Iraq, delay the democratic process, and send the wrong message to both the region and the world. The loan provision must be removed in conference," end quote.

Al Hunt, why all this conflict and noise and furor over loans to Iraq?

AL HUNT, CAPITAL GANG: Well, first, Mark, President Bush had two real victories at the U.N. and in Congress this week. I wish the U.N. would have involved some commitment to resources, and there's none, but on loans, I think the president is substantively right. The president, Norm Coleman, is right, and I think the House will prevail. They will drop that provision in conference, as they ought to.

But as to why, it reflects the frustration of a lot of Democrats, and even some Republicans, over a post-war Iraq policy that probably is the most misguided and duplicitous policy we've seen since Vietnam. It reflects the fact that this is clearly a lot of money that's going to cause some cutbacks in health care for poor kids and education.

Why? Because everyone at this table is going to get a tax cut. Shared sacrifice is a four-letter word in this administration.

And finally, I think there is a fear among some that there is a post-war strategy in this White House, and that is a year, you know, six months from now, seven months from now, we're getting out of Dodge. We're going to put enough money in there, we hope we can keep together through the election, but there is no way there's going to be 100,000 plus troops in Baghdad for another summer.

SHIELDS: Boy, that's a pretty, pretty grim scenario and a pretty hard-headed appraisal, Bob Novak.

ROBERT NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: Well, it's mean-spirited scenario (ph), I'll tell you that much. I can't tell you with all due respect, Al, of how sick I am of hearing Democratic politicians and some journalists, whatever the subject is, attack the very necessary tax cuts that are keeping the economy up.

Now, I'll say this, that there is a lot of frustration about Iraq, there is a lot of frustrations because senators, and I think the senator will agree with me, that people don't like people getting killed in Iraq, it takes a lot of -- they're very impatient with it. A lot of them didn't think -- a lot of them were very anxious to go in there in the first place. They don't want to stay.

But the president I think is correct on the loan and grant process, but I have had a lot of senators tell me that they thought he was very intransigent, very -- they did not like how tough he was on this issue when they went to see him. I think part of that because people are saying, he's not president. When Dick Lugar, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, goes on "Meet the Press" and says this guy really isn't the president, I think he's trying to show them otherwise.

SHIELDS: Norm Coleman, irrespective of what happened to 15-zero vote at the U.N., the heaviest load in the reconstruction and the occupation of Iraq remains with the United States troops, young men and women and taxpayers, right?

COLEMAN: And that is why it's understandable that some of my colleagues would feel the heat from home. And it's a simple argument. We have needs at home, why should we do something in Iraq?

We're doing because it's the right thing. And my colleagues know we're never going to get a dime back. They know that we have to lead. They know that in the end, the president is doing the right thing.

We also want to make sure that the Russians and the Germans and the French and the folks, by the way, who supported Saddam Hussein, in the end give up some of their loans. They are about $200 million in debt.

So we're not going to overburden Iraq with debt. My colleagues know that.

This was a political argument. And I'll tell you what I didn't understand, is where are the folks with the big hearts, who know what the right thing is, and yet on the other hand, they're talking about loading Iraq with debt which they know would destroy any hope for any sort of security in that portion of the world.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, what makes sense here?

MARGARET CARLSON, CAPITAL GANG: You know, I think the president should have sent Colin Powell to these recalcitrant Republicans...

COLEMAN: He was getting that 15-zero vote in the U.N.

CARLSON: He managed right to do the nearly impossible there, because he's, as the Bush people say, but he's from the department of nice, and all that diplomacy, all those phone calls, whereas President Bush said to those Republicans that came to the White House, I'm not here to debate you, and just tried to push them around. I don't know if you got any of that treatment.

COLEMAN: He was firm on this one, and some people did react to that...

CARLSON: Firm.

COLEMAN: But what he's saying the right thing, and we all know that.

CARLSON: Right. Well, and people like Senator Graham don't want to explain to their states where unemployment is so high and other things that we're spending $1 billion on a zip code for Iraq. And it's understandable.

SHIELDS: That was knocked out, right?

CARLSON: The zip code -- yes, the zip code is gone.

SHIELDS: The zip was not -- the zip code was not (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Bob Novak...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: I'm sorry, excuse me. Politically substantive question, and that is the way that the president handled this, I mean, and his adamancy or constancy or obstinacy, whatever you want to call it, suggests that he really believes, or he and his advisers believe, that his administration will rise and fall -- not fall -- on Iraq? I mean, that's -- and as Al put it, that's really going to be...

NOVAK: That's your opinion.

SHIELDS: No, I'm asking you.

NOVAK: No, I don't believe that. I believe the most important thing is still the economy, stupid.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: You're not stupid, but that's an old quote.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: No, I don't believe that. What I think -- I think -- I don't want to repeat myself, but I think he was really stunned by this criticism by Senator Lugar and Senator Biden that he is not in charge.

COLEMAN: If I can add the political...

NOVAK: Yeah.

COLEMAN: ... the fact is, the economy is coming back. And I think we're more confident about that. Growth around 4 or 5 percent in this last quarter. Jobs coming back. And so the issue is Iraq, and he's doing the right thing, and in the end, you do the right thing, he believes...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: I want to ask -- can I ask Al a question?

HUNT: I was thinking of making a comment, but go ahead, Bob.

NOVAK: I want to ask you a question, because I think this loan- grant thing is a kind of a conservative Republican position to be for loans, I mean, kind of a hard-line position, and I am just amazed, all these liberal Democrats for loans. I mean, aren't they -- isn't this strictly politics?

HUNT: Oh, I think it clearly was politics, there is no question about that, and as I said, the loans are a bad idea, and Norm Coleman is absolutely right about it.

I don't think that this president has a lot of resolve on Iraq. I think this is a shell game he's playing.

I mentioned duplicity earlier. There was another example this week, thanks to "The L.A. Times." Remember they found biological material in an Iraqi scientist's refrigerator? The president, the vice president said, a-ha, they have weapons of mass destruction. We found out what that was, it was something they got from the U.S. in the 1980s, it had no use for weapons at all. It was a totally bogus claim. How many times are they going to do that, Norm? When are they going to start to tell the truth?

COLEMAN: First, I wouldn't hold "The L.A. Times" as kind of a paradigm of the truth. Listen, the bottom line is...

HUNT: Hey, it came -- Norm, Norm, it came from American sources. That's indisputable.

COLEMAN: But if you read, by the way, the whole Kay report, the whole Kay report says in fact Saddam was a master of deception. We know he was doing that. Let this thing play out. And then bad guy -- good thing that he's gone, good thing that he's not in control, and in the end, the president is doing the right thing on the economy, which will play out the right way, and in Iraq, with resolve, with resolve, rebuilding it, we'll also prevail.

CARLSON: We can stipulate it's good that Saddam is gone without accepting that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat and there weren't greater ones.

SHIELDS: That is -- I think that's the nub of the irritation and the anger that Al has spoken of, the sense that people believed him and believed the intelligence that was given to them. Whether he believed it or not, believed Dick Cheney that there was an imminent threat, that there were weapons poised at Nantucket and Duluth...

(CROSSTALK)

COLEMAN: Well, Clinton believed it, though.

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: When you have Democrats who voted for this war and will not spend -- will not vote to finance the troops and the reconstruction, that's hypocritical.

SHIELDS: Almost as hypocritical as Republicans who want to finance...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Wait, wait, wait, wait, let me say, the loans issue is not on the troops. The loans issue was on reconstruction.

SHIELDS: Yeah. Al Hunt, last word. Norm Coleman and THE GANG will be back to ask whether Americans now are targets in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

ANNOUNCER: Here is your CAPITAL GANG trivia question of the week. Senator Norm Coleman is accomplished in which hobby? A, acrobatics; B, tightrope walking; or C, juggling. We'll have the answer right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Before the break, we asked, what is Senator Norm Coleman's hobby? The answer is C, he's an accomplished juggler.

SHIELDS: Glad he's not an acrobat.

Welcome back. On a road in Gaza, a remote-controlled bomb set by Palestinian militants killed three U.S. civilian security guards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

YASSER ARAFAT, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT: We sent our security groups from yesterday. We did steps. We did not sleep last night to continue with them our contacts.

SAEB ERAKAT, CHIEF PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR: It is an act against the Palestinian interests, against the Palestinian people, against the peace process.

RA'ANAN GISSIN, SR. SHARON ADVISER: All the indications here that there is a deliberate attack, and all the indications are that the Palestinian Authority failed to take any measure whatsoever to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure, and to prevent an attack which it could have prevented.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: President Bush issued a statement, saying, quote, "Palestinian Authority should have acted long ago to fight terror in all its forms. There must be an empowered prime minister who controls all Palestinian security forces, reforms that continue to be blocked by Yasser Arafat," end quote.

Bob Novak, is Yasser Arafat to blame for all of this, and what is the impact of this all on the road map to peace?

NOVAK: The road map was shredded anyway, and it's just in terrible shape right now. It's a terrible pattern.

The people who don't want the road map and don't want the process is the Israeli government and the Palestinian militants. And it's just a terrible chain of events. The militants killed people. The Israeli government says, oh, Yasser Arafat should have prevented that, we can't have a peace plan.

And this is one case where there is no doubt that this was not orchestrated by Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, but it really doesn't make any difference because this minuet is being played out. When President Bush gets in with the same line as the Israeli government, it is really bad news for any chance for the road map.

SHIELDS: Norm Coleman, we were told and we were exerted that the road to peace in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis lay through Baghdad. What went wrong?

COLEMAN: Listen, that's a long road to peace, and Baghdad is not going to solve it overnight. Listen, I want to be an optimist on this, and this is a terrible, terrible situation. This was highly planned, highly coordinated. Palestinian Authority had to have somebody -- had to have some knowledge of this, and maybe, maybe what comes out of this is finally the Palestinians are already saying, enough to the terrorism. The precondition to finding peace in the Middle East is an end to terrorism.

Then the Israeli government has to step up to the plate. But if you can do that, and maybe this will finally trigger it, because to this point in time, it's all bleak, it's not good news. And I want to be optimistic. Something good will come out of this terrible tragedy.

CARLSON: You know, Mark, this is so terrible that no one has taken credit for it.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Who's taken credit for it?

NOVAK: One of the Palestinian militants groups there.

CARLSON: A very, very, very small group. Yasser Arafat does not have his fingerprints on this, because there has been an unwritten rule of engagement, which is you don't go after Americans, and Americans -- their Chevy Suburbans are clearly marked. And so it's just -- it makes the whole, as Bob says, the road map completely in tatters now and, like, nowhere to go.

And when we heard that President Bush criticized Arafat but has not criticized Sharon recently, and not even for the bombing of Syria and the tit for tat...

COLEMAN: But there's no moral equivalency on this one. You come down and you condemn this terrorist act unequivocally and then deal with the other stuff.

CARLSON: You have to. But you also have to slow down Sharon and you have to stop the fence and you have to stop the settlements. He has to be curtailed as well if you want to go forward with peace. I'm not saying there is any equivalency.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, is there anything -- I want to say, is there anything the administration, the United states government can do to help this process? We seem almost impotent.

HUNT: You know, the only way any progress is going to be made, the only way you can put back together that road map, which Bob aptly described as a really intense American involvement. That's high political stakes.

I think this is a tragedy. I don't think it's an escalation. Norm, I don't think it was coordinated. I think it was a splinter group. And I think the president makes a mistake when he goes, when he attacks Arafat. Not because I have any brief (ph) for Arafat. He is dreadfully misled and mis-served his people.

But I think what it does in the Palestinian community over there, it creates more sympathy for Arafat. He has more support today than he did a year ago, and in part that's because of the way we play it. That makes it impossible for another faction to do the kind of -- to exercise the kind of leadership they ought to, and I am afraid it may even produce more of these splinter groups. I think it's a mistake to do that.

COLEMAN: Unless there is an end of violence, you're not going to go anywhere.

NOVAK: See, that's the problem, Norm, when you've got this circular position, where the people who do not want a peace settlement, do not want a road map, kills three Americans, and the president says, oh, it's Arafat's fault, control them...

COLEMAN: If the Palestinians control terrorism, then Israel has got to step up to the plate. But it's a one-two step.

SHIELDS: I thought it was a one-one step. I thought the settlements were supposed to stop and the terrorism was supposed to stop.

HUNT: That's the Mitchell and Tenet plan, the one-one step.

COLEMAN: The president stated -- it is a one-two step. It's stopping the terrorism, and then there is responsibility on the part of the Israelis, and they've got to live up to it, but you've got to stop the terrorism first.

SHIELDS: Last word, Norm Coleman. Next on CAPITAL GANG, are George W. and Arnold political partners now?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to be a fine and strong leader for California. I'm proud to call him friend.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: President Bush, on his way to Asia, met with the governor-elect of California in Riverside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV.-ELECT ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I did not go in to present the president with any kind of detailed kind of request, so a laundry list of things. One of my questions was to him, I said, you have run your state successfully, do you have any advice for me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, what can the president and the governor do together for each other?

CARLSON: Well, they can do a lot for bodybuilding, since they're both in excellent, excellent shape. And teach other how to talk. Apparently, they were caught on the microphone, neither one knew how pronounce Rancho Cucamanga (ph), as neither do I. So English is a second language for me too at times.

It, you know, people say, oh, it's not too good for the president to be seen with Schwarzenegger, but you know, he's going to have to renovate that big tent that's in very bad condition, and Arnold is not such a bad way to do it. And you know, Arnold wants to shake down the president, get some money. He'll get some. I mean, Bush may now think he has a chance to win California, and it's a good place to be, standing by this guy who won as big as he did.

SHIELDS: Is California as important, though, as Iraq?

COLEMAN: Well...

(LAUGHTER)

(CROSSTALK)

COLEMAN: The fact is that Arnold is good for -- by the way, I (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the president in an arm-wrestling match, he's really in good shape, but this election, Schwarzenegger's election says two things to Republicans. One, California is not going to knee- jerk simply vote for the Democrats. So that's important. Two, this election was about Gray Davis' lack of leadership and the economy, and if the president is strong on both of those, we have a shot in California that we've never had before.

So this is a good relationship. Arnold didn't come with the handout, give me everything that I need. Finally, California has a governor who's talking to the president. That's not bad for the people of California. That's a new phenomenon.

SHIELDS: Was until 1990, it was a very natural phenomenon, with Gray Davis and Bill Clinton. Go ahead. Until 2000, excuse me.

NOVAK: It's very good for President Bush. You know, they were not -- the White House was not at all interested in this campaign, to recall (UNINTELLIGIBLE), and now they're delighted, because Schwarzenegger is a high article. He made a mistake last week when he said, boy, we're going to get these problems solved by federal handouts. That's not going to happen. And I think he is new. He's going to make some mistakes, and he peeled back on that here.

But you know, everybody says he's not a conservative. He is a fiscal conservative, and I understand he's going to constitutional amendments on tax limitations and spending limitations in the state of California, which I think is a very good idea.

HUNT: I'll take Arnold on that arm-wrestling match and I'll spot you something, too, Norm, on that. Listen, "The Christian Science Monitor" said that Bush wanted to bask in Arnold's glow, and Arnold wanted to pick the president's pocket. I don't think either is going to have a whole lot of success in that. Mark, I wish the federal government would give more grants to the states, as a one-time infusion, at least. I think that would be real economic stimulus, as opposed to giving tax cuts to Bob's wealthy friends. But that's not going to happen, so therefore -- Arnold needs billions, he's going to get change.

And if Bush is even competitive in California, it will be a route. It will be a 400-plus electoral vote victory. So if California...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: Let me just ask you this, though, one of the smartest Republicans I know, who was very sympathetic and supportive of Schwarzenegger had said the White House ought to have real doubts about this victory, this change, because going into 2004, you had the Democrats in charge of everything in California, every constitutional office, and a very unpopular governor at the helm, that it put Democrats, as one Democratic presidential candidate told me, what do you do if you're going to California and Gray Davis is the governor? Do you have him on the platform with you? Is he your chairman?

NOVAK: Well, let's answer that. What if Schwarzenegger is a popular governor? What if he doesn't lie to the people? What if he makes (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- that's what the situation is.

Let me just disagree with you on that 47 states thing. I'd put it a different way. I'd say that if this becomes a contest, and it might, the Democrats are dead. I mean, this is -- any kind of electoral map of beating George Bush includes California.

SHIELDS: Yes.

NOVAK: So why not take a shot at it?

HUNT: Nobody disagrees with you.

SHIELDS: Nobody disagrees.

NOVAK: No, you're saying that you can only win California in a 47-state route. I don't believe that's the case.

HUNT: If he wins California, he's going to win 47 states.

SHIELDS: What I'm saying, Bob, what I'm saying, Bob, is that the last time Bush people spent more than $15 million in California...

NOVAK: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

SHIELDS: I don't care, but they spent it, and Gore spent not a cent, and Gore won by 1.2 million.

COLEMAN: And in the end in California, again, the bad economy was more important than the Democratic Party, and that's good news for George Bush, because the economy is moving forward.

SHIELDS: Boy, you are, gees, a rosy scenario. Norm Coleman, thank you for joining us. Coming up in the second half of CAPITAL GANG, is there really a curse on the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs? The pros and cons from THE GANG. And "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the South Carolina Democratic primary, with the dean of South Carolina political reporters, Lee Bandy. And our "Outrages of the Week." That's all after the latest news headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.

SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields, with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson.

On Thursday night, the Boston Red Sox, with three runs ahead and five outs from the American League pennant, when they lost to the New York Yankees. The Sox have not won the World Series in 85 years, not since they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY DAMON, BOSTON RED SOX: We wanted to try to erase a curse, and seems like that curse is going to be with us for another year.

MIKE TIMLIN, BOSTON RED SOX: The Bambino never cursed the Red Sox. It's like that goat thing in Chicago, you know. It's not real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: And earlier, the Chicago Cubs, who have not been in the World Series for 58 years, with four runs ahead and five outs from the National League pennant when they lost to the Florida Marlins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANNY HABIB, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED: One question the Cubs have done a terrific job of deflecting throughout the post-season, questions about history, or about the curse, but after an incident like last night, it's difficult to disbelieve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Pro or con, is there a curse on the Red Sox and the Cubs? Bob Novak.

NOVAK: I think there is definitely a curse. These things just don't happen accidentally. In the history of the world, there's things like this that happen, and I think -- I am not sure that because Harry (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and sold Babe Ruth, I don't think that's the reason for the curse. I think its' all the liberals that support the Red Sox. I mean, that is a liberal -- every liberal you find is a Red Sox fan, and it's a kind of nauseating a little bit.

And for the Cubs, I think the Cubs -- the curse started recently, when "The Chicago Tribune" bought it, the Cubs.

SHIELDS: As opposed to "The Sun-Times?"

NOVAK: Yes.

SHIELDS: Margaret, if you want to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) some sense to...

CARLSON: I don't think you have to make it a -- there's a no curse. To make it interesting, I mean, it's very interesting. Mickey Calsiu (ph), who writes for "Slate" magazine says that, you know, if the Sox and the Cubs were to win like any other team, oh, they'd have a party, you know, their salaries might go up a little bit, but then they'd be just like anybody else, and now they're the two most famous teams in the world.

NOVAK: That's really incredible stupid. I'm sorry.

CARLSON: Bob, I'm going to put a curse on you if you don't stop.

HUNT: Those left-wingers Andy Card and Tom Ridge were there cheering for the Red Sox the other day. Mark, of course there is a curse. These games this week were lost because of poor playing and poor decision.

But you know, since the end of World War II, there have been 83 World Series champions. The Yankees, the envy of baseball, have won 26, but 22 other clubs have won a World Series since then, but not the Chicago Cubs and not the Boston Red Sox. They are big markets. Those are hot baseball towns. And I think if Vegas had existed in 1919, those would have been off the table, those odds. You couldn't have bet that, and the only way it can be is the curse of the Bambino and the billy goat.

SHIELDS: I was at the seventh game of the 1967 World Series, and the Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals of Bob Gibson (ph). I was at the seventh game of the 1975 World Series when Red Sox lost to Cincinnati, I was at the seventh game in Yankee Stadium on Thursday night, when the Red Sox lost.

I do not believe there is a curse. I don't believe in voodoo, I don't believe in any of that sort. I agree with Al, the decisions were wrong.

I don't think there is an analogy, really, between the Cubs and the Red Sox. I like the Cubs, but if you're going to use a political comparison, rooting for the Cubs is like rooting for John Anderson or Norman Thomas (ph) or Ross Perot. You never have a realistic expectation of victory. Rooting for the Red Sox is like rooting for Gerry Ford in 1976 or Al Gore in 2000. You go to the bottom of the ninth, and you lose an historic cliffhanger.

HUNT: Your heart is made to be broken.

SHIELDS: Yeah, the heart's broken. NOVAK: You know, you said something I don't think you realize what you were saying, Mark, that you were there at all these bad games. The liberals like you are the curse of the Red Sox. I remember when they played the Cincinnati Reds and all the liberals were writing in "The Boston Globe" on how this was the political story, that the good people from Boston against those terrible conservatives...

SHIELDS: But what's the good conservative -- what's a conservative team?

HUNT: Wait, let me ask you, who wrote that piece?

NOVAK: I can't remember who wrote it.

HUNT: I didn't think you could. Mark, were you there for the Billy Buckner game in '86?

SHIELDS: I was not.

HUNT: I feel a little bit better now. I feel a little bit better.

SHIELDS: I wanted to be.

CARLSON: I thought that was the ball rolling between his legs, one of the saddest things...

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: Listen, the highest ratings in decades. I mean, this is a good thing for the Sox and the Cubs.

HUNT: Oh, but Margaret, it's might have been, could have been. Can you imagine a Red Sox-Cubs series? It would have gone off the charts, it would have been...

NOVAK: I would have preferred...

HUNT: And you wouldn't have known who to cheer for.

NOVAK: I would have preferred a Cubs-Yankees series, because the first World Series that I paid any attention to was 1938, as my -- I was a big Cubs' fan, and they got beat by the Yankees, four times in a row. I think this was the year for Cubs to beat the Yankees.

SHIELDS: You didn't become a baseball fan until you were 41?

NOVAK: 7.

(LAUGHTER)

HUNT: Hey, Bob, you were also a Carol McCormack (ph) fan, weren't you?

NOVAK: That was a different (UNINTELLIGIBLE). SHIELDS: Marty Nolan (ph), speaking of great Boston writers, Marty Nolan (ph), the gifted journalist, "Boston Globe" alumnus, put it best and spoke for legions and generations of Red Sox fans, when he says, "the Red Sox killed my father and now they're coming after me."

Coming up in "THE CAPITAL GANG Classic," debating war costs 13 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. Nearly 13 years ago, as the first Gulf War began against Iraq, led by the United States, the first Bush administration raised substantial sums from coalition partners. Japan pledged $9 billion. Saudi Arabia $12 billion and Kuwait $13 billion.

THE CAPITAL GANG discussed this on January 26, 1991. Our guest was then Democratic Senator Chuck Robb of Virginia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PAT BUCHANAN, CAPITAL GANG: Will donations from Japan and the Arabs keep the U.S. economy from becoming a war casualty, Robert Novak?

NOVAK: It is a little uncomfortable for the American -- for the United States, as a great power, as a superpower, to say we are the only superpower in the world, we are the only people who can put out the Tomahawk missiles, but we can't pay for it. I think that's a situation that is absolutely embarrassing for most Americans.

SHIELDS: You don't go to war unless you're willing to pay for it. An Army doesn't fight a war, Pat, a country fights a war. George Bush all the praise he's gotten on it, at this forum and everyplace else, has not prepared this country for national sacrifice. I would begin with a surtax on millionaires whose sons are not being drafted in the all-volunteer Army.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not advocating this tax on a rather discreet group, which wouldn't do a whole lot of good. It is a chance to look at an energy policy and at least put the question of whether or not we ought to increase the revenues from an energy tax on the table again.

HUNT: I think the key to what it does to the economy is the length. Bob Novak's favorite sitting Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan basically does say if it's a long war, it's going to be a...

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, in retrospect, was it a mistake for the U.S. to fight the Gulf War with Japanese and Arab money?

HUNT: A mistake? Mark, we paid 8 percent of the total cost of that war; today we're going to pay over 80 percent. I'll tell you something, Bob Novak might have been embarrassed then, but he'd feel a lot worse if it were coming out of his pocket rather than Saudi and Japan's pockets.

NOVAK: I know -- I still feel -- I still feel that was going hat in hand, there was something bad about that. One thing I would like to say positive is that Mark is an absolute symbol of consistency. He says exactly the same thing 11 years ago now than he says then, that he wants Americans to sacrifice, and he wants the most successful Americans to sacrifice.

SHIELDS: I think war demands an equality of sacrifice, Bob.

NOVAK: Well, you just want to soak the rich, that's what you want.

SHIELDS: No, I don't want to just fight, Bob, by people who don't have social and economic connections like the people that you know so well.

CARLSON: The Bush administration is rewarding, rewarding the rich. This is the war that's supposed to be free. The president has asked for no sacrifice on part of the American people for this war. And he went to Japan, he went to Japan, and this time he gets 1.5 billion versus nine billion for the Gulf War. This is not good. Let's hope that Colin Powell, having gotten that Security Council vote, can somehow extract a little money for it.

HUNT: Well, and the president said, we ought to have sacrifice, he called for sacrifice. Now, when is he going to tell us what it is?

NOVAK: I want to know is that my friend Mark Shields, I've been sitting here for years, and all he wants to do is have pain inflicted on people -- on his fellow Americans.

SHIELDS: No, I'll tell you what I want, Bob, I want tax cuts for just the very best off, you know? I want to comfort the very comfortable.

NOVAK: You're being sarcastic.

SHIELDS: Oh, no, Bob, that's what I want. That's what I want to devote my life, my time, my pursuit of energy, too. Yeah! That's it, Bob! Keep going.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at who's leading the Democratic pack in South Carolina with Lee Bandy, the dean of "The State" newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. After the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire have had their say, the first southern Democratic primary will be held on February 3, in South Carolina. Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, once considered the favorite there, was in South Carolina this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) say what I believe is right for the future of the American people, whether it was politically popular in every crowd, that they can have confidence that I'll be independent minded as president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: The most recent American Research Group poll shows Senator Lieberman dropping to a poor second in South Carolina, behind Senator John Edwards of North Carolina, who leads with 16 percent. A more recent poll, and smaller, by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research shows Lieberman fourth with Edwards leading again with 14 percent.

Joining us now from Charleston, South Carolina is Lee Bandy, the chief political writer of "The State" newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina. Thank you for coming in, Lee.

LEE BANDY, "THE STATE" (COLUMBIA, SC): Well, it's good to be here.

SHIELDS: Lee, beyond the polls, is there anybody now in the driver's seat in South Carolina?

BANDY: No, we're in the midst of a real horse race here in South Carolina. It's wide open, and anybody can win it. All the polls I have seen show that between 42 percent and 46 percent of the people are undecided. I don't think that people here are paying that much attention to this race yet.

SHIELDS: OK. Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Lee, there is a lot of feeling by the people who support John Edwards, fellow Southerner, North Carolinian, that this is a place where he can save his campaign. But what do you think? Do you think that if he runs very badly in Iowa and New Hampshire, as the prospects are that he will, that he'll have any chance of doing well in South Carolina?

BANDY: No, I mean, our primary is going to be shaped by what happens earlier in Iowa and New Hampshire. And I think that John Edwards needs to do well in at least one of those primaries coming into this state, because he's making this his make-or-break state. He's the front runner. But not by much, it's within the margin of error, and actually I think John Edwards should have higher numbers than 16 percent or 14 percent, because he has run a host of TV ads here, and those numbers haven't really moved all that much, so I think that he's got a lot of work to do yet, and -- but I think if he does poorly in Iowa and New Hampshire, he has no momentum coming into this state at all.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Lee, the black vote has been thought to be the key in South Carolina, but if the field narrows, once that primary happens, could it be that the white vote becomes the more important vote, because the black vote is split?

BANDY: Oh, I agree with you on that, very much so. I mean, this is a significant primary. It's a key primary, because we have a significant black vote in this primary. And most people think that the African-Americans make up the majority of this primary.

Now, as you pointed out, when the primary gets to South Carolina, we will not have nine candidates at all, it will be narrowed down, and I look for the black vote to split evenly among those who are left. So that means the white vote will be the swing vote, and whoever gets the majority of that will probably win this primary.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Lee, I concur with Bob Novak's historical wisdom that if you don't win or place in Iowa or New Hampshire, you're probably going to falter, and if current trends hold, that would mean that when you get to South Carolina, Dean, Gephardt and Kerry would be the three most likely. Handicap those three right now in South Carolina.

BANDY: Well, interestingly, Kerry and Dean are low down on the totem poll. They are not catching fire here at all. Kerry's started out with a big splash, but he's faded, and it seems as if he's written off the south. They get angry when you say that, but there are no indications that they're really trying hard here in South Carolina. And Dean hasn't been here hardly at all.

And so right now, I don't see either one of those as a player in the South Carolina primary.

HUNT: And Gephardt?

BANDY: Gephardt has been coming on slowly. He's counting on our congressman, Jim Clyburn, who's African-American, to endorse him, and of course if Clyburn endorses Gephardt, that will be a big plus for the Gephardt campaign, and Gephardt is now starting to pick up a little bit here in South Carolina, and I think he may be the person to watch.

SHIELDS: Lee, we think of the south, we think of South Carolina, and particularly Charleston, I guess, as sort of genteel and well- mannered, but those of us who were down there in 2000 to cover the McCain-Bush campaign saw probably one of the most vicious and in many cases most hate-filled campaign against John McCain. Will we see the Democratic equivalent in this year of 2004, in South Carolina?

BANDY: I don't see how it could get any nastier than that 2000 campaign. They don't get much better than that, either, but it's going to be a lot different this time. After New Hampshire, we had a three-week window, and Bush had three weeks to destroy McCain, and he did. This time, after New Hampshire, there will be only a week's window, so they are going to have to campaign quickly and hopefully think that they can turn it around (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Let me tell you this about John Edwards. He is a native of South Carolina. He speaks the southern language, and he thinks that because of his favorite son status, he should do well here, and he should do well here. But if John Edwards does not win here, he might as well pack it in.

SHIELDS: OK. Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Lee, you brought up Congressman Clyburn, who is the only black congressman from South Carolina. Now, you hear a lot of things about him here that I want to ask about. Number one, you said that the Gephardt people are coming on him to endorse him. Do you think Clyburn will endorse Gephardt? And secondly, I am -- some people say that he, that Clyburn controlled half of the black vote, that would be 20 to 25 percent of the total vote. Is that an exaggeration or an accurate assessment?

BANDY: Well, I really don't know how much of the black vote Clyburn controls, but I will say this, Jim Clyburn will endorse Gephardt. You mark my word.

SHIELDS: That's a pretty -- go ahead, Margaret.

CARLSON: Lee, I was in South Carolina last week, and there are lots and lots of Edwards ads on and he's been there 18 times, so he seems to be putting a lot on it, but at one time, Senator Lieberman was staking a lot on South Carolina, and he was leading, and he seemed, you know, he is popular there. What do you make of that campaign?

BANDY: Well, Lieberman's campaign is an interesting campaign. He started out coming down here frequently. Yes, as you pointed out, he led in the polls. That was mostly a function of name identification. And then he suddenly disappeared and didn't come down here at all. And while he stayed away, Edwards came in and filled the void, and Lieberman really doesn't have much of an organization here. Edwards has a much stronger organization, a much bigger organization, and I think Lieberman, in his campaign swing through here last week, realized he may have made a mistake, and his people now are going to start putting a much greater focus on South Carolina.

SHIELDS: OK. Hey, Lee, Lee Bandy, thank you very much for joining us. THE GANG will be back with "The Outrages of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: And now for "The Outrages of the Week."

Republican Senator John McCain, who knows from painful personal experience, said it best. Quote: "War is awful. Nothing, not the valor with which it is fought, neither the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. War is wretched beyond description. Whatever is won in war, it is loss the veteran remembers."

Now, listen to Congressman George Nethercutt from Washington who faulted the press for not telling the good news from post-war Iraq. Quote: "It's a better and more important story than losing a couple of soldiers every day." A couple of soldiers every day. Thank you, John McCain. Bob Novak.

NOVAK: Free market economics allegedly benefits the rich and hurts the poor, creating windfalls for the upper class. You hear that every day from Democrats. In this country, it's just talk. In Bolivia, such protests have spilled blood and now have forced out a president elected just last year. He is condemned for a proposed $5 billion natural gas pipeline which is desperately needed by destitute Bolivia. But it will profit some capitalist and some gringos, and now it dies.

The real losers in this class warfare are the people of Bolivia.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Mark, what home town paper wouldn't melt upon receiving a letter from GI Joe describing how Iraqi children shout, quote, "thank you mister" to him for rescuing their country.

Problem is, 11 newspapers got exactly the same sentiment, mass produced by the Pentagon propaganda machine.

It's one thing for the president and Dick Cheney to barnstorm the country, spinning their version of the war, but quite another to forge soldiers' signatures on letters to that effect.

Letters from the front have a long revered history. Shame on the military for faking them.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Mark, Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Haley Barbour has so long been a special interests Washington lobbyist he doesn't realize the state has changed. Barbour was featured on the Web site of the misnamed Council of Conservative Citizens, which praises racism and Nazism. He disavows this group but wouldn't demand his picture be removed, because, quote, "Once you start down the slippery slope of saying that person can't be for me, then where do you stop?" End quote.

In Mississippi today, you start by rejecting anyone associated with racism or Nazism.

NOVAK: You know, Al, I was waiting, we're in election November and Haley Barbour is leaving for governor of Mississippi, and I was waiting for the smear on Barbour to start. This is the second show on CNN where this thing has been mentioned. You know that he's not a racist or a Nazi. So why do we have to play this kind of game?

HUNT: Bob, I know he's always been a very good source of yours, and I admire you for protecting your sources, and I didn't say he was. I said he ought to reject anyone, ought to reject anyone who's associated with Nazism or racism.

SHIELDS: First time I ever met Haley Barbour was when (UNINTELLIGIBLE) against John Stennis (ph), and he disavowed any of the racist legacy and traditions and support from what had become the white conservative Republican Party of Mississippi.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: I read the quote, I read the quote. I read the quote.

NOVAK: That's where he...

HUNT: He said, he said, when you start doing that, I'll tell you, you start by saying, I reject that.

SHIELDS: Thank you, Al.

CARLSON: And I hope Congressman Nethercutt apologizes for saying that a few soldiers every day is tolerable.

HUNT: Along with Bolivia.

SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying good night for THE CAPITAL GANG. Coming up next, "CNN PRESENTS," whatever it takes, young athletes struggle for perfection. That's what they struggle for.

At 9:00 p.m., "LARRY KING LIVE," Merv Griffin and Tony Robbins. And at 10:00 p.m., cycling champion Lance Armstrong with an amazing story of hope for cancer patients. Thank you for joining us.

END

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Iraq; After New Hampshire and Iowa, How Will Democratic Hopefuls Fare?; Was Palestinian Authority Partially At Fault For Attack On Coalition In Gaza?>


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