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Preview of Election Days '03,'04; Interviews With John Kerry, Bob Graham

Aired November 3, 2003 - 15:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: One year out to election '04. The president's strategists are planning ahead for the best case scenarios.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did the right thing at the right time for the American economy.

ANNOUNCER: And the worst.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it will be great if the United States had a president who gets it right at the beginning.

ANNOUNCER: John Kerry fights back against the president's Iraq policy and nagging questions about his own stand on the war.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: And I know for some of you, it is a disappointment.

ANNOUNCER: First, he quit the presidential race. Now he's saying so long to the Senate. We'll ask Bob Graham about his decision and if he's leaving his party in the lurch.


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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. Well, get out your political planners, now that the 2004 election is one year away. This is our new start time for an expanded one-hour edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Needless to say, we aren't the only ones gearing up for the presidential vote. At a campaign stop in Alabama today, President Bush again delved into two of the top issues of the race to date: Iraq and the economy.


BUSH: The best way to secure the homeland is to hunt the enemy down one at a time and bring him to justice, which is what America is going to do. We acted on principle. We said, the best way to get this economy going and the best way to help people find work, is to let people keep more of their own money.


WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush's strategists are thinking about national and economic security too. Our White House correspondent, Dana Bash, has an exclusive report on a memo given to CNN by campaign officials.

Dana, tell us about the memo.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, this memo given to CNN as you said by the president's campaign aides essentially seeks to describe the current state of play one year out. The date is November 2, one year before the people go to the polls to vote for the president or perhaps for his opponent. And it is from the president's chief strategist and pollster, Matthew Dowd.

And like a memo that he wrote six months ago, in April, it seeks to put the president's poll numbers in historical context for both his supporters and us in the media. But also tries to lower expectations over the next few months and makes a prediction.

It says, "After the Democratic nominee is all but certain in the late winter, early spring, it would not be surprising for us to fall behind for a bit. First, this is just the nature of a divided and polarized electorate. Second, once the Democratic nominee is all but assured, that person will receive a deluge of positive press at least for a couple of weeks, and this will temporarily be reflected in public opinion polls."

Now, a campaign strategist for the president has made clear ore the last months that they believe that it is going to be a tight race over the next year, down to the wire, as Matthew Dowd puts it in this memo that we have. But he also seeks to reassure the president's supporters that Mr. Bush is not headed towards the same fate that his father faced. That was of course sky high approval ratings following a war in Iraq, only to drop because of a backlash over the economy.

Dowd notes that the president's numbers on the economy are in the mid 40s, the same as President Clinton's and Reagan, who of course went on to win reelection, win second terms. He says, "Former President Bush's approval on the economy at this same time in 1991 was 28 percent and fell to the mid teens in 1992."

He points out in this memo that the public is a lot less skittish about the economy, a lot less pessimistic about the economy than they were 11 years ago. But Matthew Dowd also says that Americans, no matter what, over the past 30 years polls show do vote on the economy. They did so in 2002 in the congressional elections and they will do so again he believes in 2004 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Dana, I looked at this memo, as you're suggesting. It almost exclusively focuses on the economy. What about Iraq?

BASH: That's a good question. And I asked a senior campaign adviser that question, why wasn't Iraq mentioned in this? And maybe some of the perils that lie ahead for the president with regard to Iraq. And this senior adviser simply said that this -- the intention of this memo was to put things in historical context, that there is no historical parallel, if you will, with what is going on right now in Iraq.

And also, they do believe that the economy is going to be the top campaign issue. And that is why that is the focus, they say, of this memo -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, if it keeps getting better, we can see why. OK. Dana, thank you very much.

BASH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, at this hour the Senate is moving toward expected approval of the president's Iraq funding request. Democrats are using the debate to press their concerns about the growing U.S. death toll in Iraq after one of the bloodiest weekends since the invasion.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day when we see these bloody headlines of American soldiers being killed, we are reminded that had this been a global coalition, a broader coalition, had we moved in concert with our traditional allies, what we're facing today could have been so much different.


WOODRUFF: Another point of contention even for some Republicans, the fact that the $87 billion bill is in the form of grants, as President Bush wanted, without any of the loans that some members of both parties had pushed for.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to emphasize the need for help in the short term. But surely our taxpayers could be partially repaid in the long term.


WOODRUFF: The Senate is expected to approve the Iraq funding package by voice vote later today.

Well, the '04 Democrats have shown that they are ready, willing and eager to pounce on the president's handling of post-war Iraq. But what would they do right now under the same circumstances? I asked that question today of Senator John Kerry during a break in his campaign schedule in Iowa.


KERRY: I would go to the United Nations with a legitimate diplomatic effort, with humility, with a genuine effort to acknowledge some misjudgments, and to start -- to state clearly to the world, the way in which the world has a stake in what is happening, notwithstanding the errors of judgment that this administration has made. I would turn over to the U.N. legitimate authority for the civil reconstruction, for the humanitarian mission, and for the governance. And I would use the U.N.'s good services to help to internationalize this effort so that we reduce the sense of American occupation and the targeting of American troops.

WOODRUFF: And you would do that immediately, Senator?

KERRY: Yes, I'd do that immediately. I'd do it tomorrow morning, today. I think it's long overdue.

The president, Judy, the president has rebuffed three efforts of the United Nations to do this properly. He rebuffed it at the time of the first vote. He rebuffed it when the statue was torn down in Iraq and Kofi Annan offered the opportunity to have help. And he rebuffed it again when he went to the United Nations a few weeks ago and gave his speech.

The president needs to get off his high horse and engage in real diplomacy.

WOODRUFF: So you would leave the number of troops where they are right now, about 130,000?

KERRY: I don't want to add additional American troops to this effort. I want to add Arab-speaking Muslim troops to this effort. And I think that ought to be our first goal.

Now, if after all of the diplomacy and everything else is done, the United States has to succeed here. But I don't believe we can succeed here by keeping this in an Americanized form. And one of the reasons it's Americanized, Judy, is that the president is the prisoner of special interests in this country, the Halliburtons and others who want the spoils.

I mean, on the front page of "The Washington Post" the other day, there was a story of all of the president's cronies who have campaigned and contributed to his campaigns who are getting all the contracts in Iraq. The message that that sends around the world is disgraceful and counterproductive.

WOODRUFF: Senator, what some Democrats have said -- that I've heard them say -- is that for you, for someone who supported this war in the first place, to then turn around and be critical of the post- war period, their question is: why don't you just stick with your original position rather than going through sometimes fairly tortured explanations of what's changed?

KERRY: I am sticking with my original position. There's nothing tortured at all, Judy. I said to the president, "Mr. President, take the time to build the coalition. Don't go to war because you want to, go to war because you have to. Exhaust the remedies available to you."

I said to the president from day one that the difficulty here is not winning the war, the difficulty is winning the peace. My position, Judy, has been consistent from day one. And in fact, I saw these problems ahead of time. That's the job of a president of the United States.

My position I think was the right one. In fact, I think it would be great if the United States had a president who gets it right at the beginning. And that's exactly what I did.

WOODRUFF: Senator, we're...

KERRY: Can I say one other thing, Judy?

WOODRUFF: If you would quickly.

KERRY: What I'm saying about the money is absolutely consistent. What I learned in Vietnam is, when it's going wrong, get it right. And what I want the president to do is get it right.

I know we have to win. I don't want to cut and run. I want to support our troops till the end.

But you know how you support them? You support them by getting a real coalition together and internationalizing this effort. That's the best support you can give the troops.


WOODRUFF: John Kerry also has choice words for those who suggest his campaign is in trouble. More of my interview ahead.

And I'll ask Bob Graham about his decision to retire from the Senate and whether he helped to doom his party's dream of regaining control.



JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Enough of these guys. What about the 2008 presidential election?


WOODRUFF: Jonathan Karl on potential Republican successors to President Bush five years from now.

And the rap on a younger generation and their politics. Will they rock the vote or skip it?


WOODRUFF: Florida Democratic Senator Bob Graham announced today that he will not seek a fourth term in Washington. Graham's decision makes a tough job even tougher as Democrats try to regain control of the Senate. Fifteen Republican seats are at stake next November. But Democrats have to defend 19 Senate seats. Because of incumbent retirements, four Democratic seats are wide open: Georgia, North and South Carolina, and now Florida.

Senator Bob Graham is with me now from Tallahassee to talk more about his announcement today. Senator, this year you have been at the center of American political life. You were not only running for president, you were out they're critiquing the president's policy on Iraq.

You were speaking about American national security. And now suddenly you're saying, I'm not only not going to run for president, I'm not going to run for the Senate again. What happened?

GRAHAM: Well, it was a very difficult decision, Judy. But I finally felt that I could use the rest of my public and private career better in the private sector to do some things that I am interested in doing, including assisting, further assisting in strengthening our intelligence as a means of securing our homeland.

WOODRUFF: What about the politics of it, though, Senator Graham? You just heard the statistics. You know them better than we do.

You're now the fourth Democratic Senator in the south to announce you're not running for reelection. Are you leaving your party in the lurch in the state of Florida?

GRAHAM: No. Fortunately, we have a very strong group of Democrats running or who have indicated their intention to run for the U.S. Senate. I'm quite confident that the Democratic nominee will be successful next November and will provide outstanding leadership for both Florida and America.

WOODRUFF: So you're confident that a Democrat can win the Senate seat in Florida?

GRAHAM: Absolutely. Democrats won the Senate seat in Florida in 1998, in 2000. Al Gore probably got more votes for president in 2000. Florida is, by any standard, a very competitive state and clearly a state in which Democrats can be elected to the U.S. Senate.

WOODRUFF: So you don't think you're abandoning a sinking ship here?

GRAHAM: Absolutely not. I think it's a very strong ship. And it has a very bright future.

WOODRUFF: Senator, what advice would you have for your fellow Democrats, all nine of them, who are still out there running for president? You were doing that until not so long ago. What are they doing -- what should they be doing that they're not doing right now? I'm sure you know the polls that have been done show many Americans aren't even able to name a single one of them.

GRAHAM: Well, I think, first, they need to continue to do what they have been doing. I believe that many of the candidates are starting to break through, and people are identifying and identifying positively with them and with whomever might be the ultimate Democratic nominee.

I think, second, it's important that we have a strong message to send to the American people. It has to be optimistic. We will not be elected and should not be elected just because there's bad news, whether it's in the economy or in Iraq, affecting the American people. We've got to have a positive visionary message of what we're going to do to make America better.

WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of messages coming from the Democratic Party, let me quote to you what your Democratic colleague from the neighboring state of Georgia had to say over the weekend. Zell Miller not only saying very nice things about President Bush, but he said, "The so-called Democratic national leaders, none of them can come south and try to help a fellow Democrat because this party has been pulled by these special interests with their own narrow agenda so far to the left that they are completely out of the mainstream."

Is that the same Democratic Party that you know about?

GRAHAM: Well, Zell is a friend of mine, and I participated and helped him in his campaign four years ago. I just think Zell has got it wrong.

Zell and I happen to have co-introduced the Democratic version of prescription drugs for the elderly. I think it was a very solid centrist position. Now the Republicans have gone far to the right. They want to privatize Medicare's condition of getting prescription drugs, and are going to offer a plan that, for many millions of seniors, will be seen as grossly inadequate.

I think Zell Miller had it right three years ago when he was proposing a comprehensive and affordable prescription drug plan. I'm afraid his evaluation of that issue and others today is not so thoughtful.

WOODRUFF: All right. Senator Bob Graham being very polite about a fellow Democrat. Senator, good to talk with you. And I know we'll be seeing you again.

GRAHAM: Thank you very much, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Well, ahead, more on my interview with current Democratic hopeful John Kerry. This time we talk about White House politics.

But up next, a federal probe gives a struggling incumbent a political boost. We'll preview tomorrow's bitter election for Philadelphia mayor.


WOODRUFF: Democrat John Street and Republican Sam Katz square off tomorrow in the race for Philadelphia mayor in a rematch from four years ago. This time around the race has gone far beyond the usual debates over local politics.


MAYOR JOHN STREET (D), PHILADELPHIA: Don't forget tomorrow is the big way.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): John Street, energizing voters, asking them to give him a second term.

STREET: I think we have a great chance if people who have said that they support this administration go to the polls.

WOODRUFF: Sam Katz, hoping to knock down the Democrats' '52-year grip on City Hall.

SAM KATZ (R), CANDIDATE FOR MAYOR: I'm interested in cleaning up the politics of a city that for too long has been corrupt and content (ph).

WOODRUFF: Both candidates forced to adapt their messages to the discovery four weeks ago of FBI-planted listening devices inside the mayor's office. Street, tying the bug to a plan to help President Bush.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we ever had a Republican on the second floor of City Hall, the first order of business would be to get George Bush reelected as president of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Street and national Democrats suggesting the timing of the Justice Department bug was suspicious. Al Gore, who carried Pennsylvania in 2000, with Street's help getting out the vote, knows turnout in Philadelphia is key to winning the presidential battle ground state next year.

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the most powerful things you can do is to make certain that the White House does not succeed in taking over Philadelphia this Tuesday.

WOODRUFF: But Katz rejects any White House link in a city where there are four Democrats for every one Republican registered to vote.

KATZ: George Bush's name is not on the ballot, my name is on the ballot.

WOODRUFF: Federal official leading the probe into possible corruption in city contracts deny political motivation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have never discussed this case at any time with the attorney general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one regrets more so than the investigators on this case that this device was uncovered in the midst of an election. WOODRUFF: But the exposure of the expanding investigation, the FBI raids of city offices, the seizure of the mayor's bank records, has drowned out other issues. Both candidates punching and counter punching, even with hometown heavyweight heroes.

STREET: The fact that there is an investigation literally does not mean that anybody has done anything wrong.

KATZ: This is a mayor who didn't know his brother was getting a $100,000 a month contract at the airport.

WOODRUFF: The question is, will voters see Katz as an agent of reform and see Street as tainted by the probe, or instead, as its victim?


WOODRUFF: Well, since the discovery that Street's office was bugged, as you just saw, there has been a parade of national Democrats who have campaigned at his side. And the polls now show that the race has gone from a toss-up to a double-digit lead for Street.

When it comes to running for the White House, it's never too early to start planning, it turns out. A case in point, while most Republican faithful are focused obviously on reelecting President Bush, our Jon Karl reports some GOP leaders are already thinking about 2008.


KARL (voice-over): Enough of these guys. What about the 2008 presidential election? Who will Republicans tap as their next presidential candidate? It's not too soon to ask. Some top Republicans are already laying the groundwork for a possible run in 2008.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's said that every governor and every senator of either party knows most of the words to "Hail to the Chief." It's kind of a first instinct. But I'll bet that there are eight or 10 fairly significant Republican senators or governors who are at least thinking about thinking about it.

KARL: George Pataki, a Republican who has managed to get elected governor of New York three times, is off to Iowa later this week. He and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani are co-chairing next summer's Republican convention in New York.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pataki and Giuliani have not always had the smoothest of relationships. Face it, they were vying for leader of the Republican Party in New York State. I think they're both going to see the New York convention as an opportunity to showcase themselves.

KARL: Governor Mitt Romney, perhaps the only Republican governor to appear in campaign ads without his shirt on, is another possible candidate. Romney has proven he can win in Democratic bastion Massachusetts. Then there's Republican bastion Texas and Bush's successor, Rick Perry. If not another governor from Texas, how about another governor named Bush? Name recognition wouldn't be a problem.

Colorado's Bill Owens is another Republican expected to run. And how can you count out California's new governor-elect? The Constitution bans foreign-born presidents, but there's already a move under way to change that. The Bush cabinet has potential candidates too, like Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A highly respected successful governor. I think he'll be somebody who is on the list that people are looking at it.

KARL: Or how about Condoleezza Rice, a Californian who doesn't need to change the Constitution to run? The Senate never fails to produce presidential wannabes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, has a platform that would allow him to campaign nationally very quickly. He's serious, he's studious, he's thoughtful.

KARL: Other senators to watch, Chuck Hagel, Rick Santorum and George Allen. And while the Republican field looks wide open five years out, if one of these Democrats doesn't capture the White House this time, does anyone doubt who will dominate the early speculation on the next battle for the Democratic presidential nomination?

Jonathan Karl, CNN, reporting.


WOODRUFF: We love that looking ahead.

Well, we're going to turn back to this year's race for the White House when we come back. I'll speak with Ralph Reid, a top strategist in the Bush reelection campaign.

And looking at a power lunch. We will tell you how much money President Bush raked in this afternoon when he broke bread in Alabama.

Plus, was Howard Dean a wild man in his younger days? A new book could be revealing.

INSIDE POLITICS back in two minutes.


WOODRUFF: Hello again from Washington. For more INSIDE POLITICS, there's plenty ahead to get your political juices flowing whether you were with us for the first half hour or just joining us now.

Well, folks in New Hampshire probably don't need much of a reminder that the 2004 election is a year away. But they got one anyway. This is the first day for presidential candidates to file to be on the January 27 primary ballot.

Dick Gephardt did just that before any of his major Democratic rivals.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, has been looking ahead too.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over) One year away from the presidential election, this much is clear:

KERRY: How are you doing with the economy right now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's picking up. I've done well. A little slow in the summer, but now it's crazy.

KERRY: I'm glad to hear it.

CROWLEY: A year can change anything. A year can change everything.

KERRY: Well, nobody expected such a situation with the war. And so these things happen.

CROWLEY: A war turned sour and the economy goes bullish. Events have turned the conventional wisdom of politics on its head and back again.

Richard Gephardt has already had a rebirth, prompting a spate of tortoise and hare stories with Gephardt emerging from the Iowa caucuses as a slow but deliberate Deanslayer.

Last winter's presumed front-runner is not anymore. Possible scenario, Gephardt meets Dean in Iowa, John Kerry then beats a weakened Dean in New Hampshire.

Viola! Comeback kid, the sequel.

KERRY: The people of New Hampshire want to know who can be president. And they want to see anybody who wants it, fight for it. And I intend to fight for it.

CROWLEY: The most familiar face in the Democratic crowd is languishing. Yes on war in Iraq, yes on the $87 billion. Joe Lieberman struggles in a primary shaped by anti-war Democrats.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't duck it. I didn't play politics. I voted to support our troops and finish the job.

CROWLEY: Lieberman looks for a respectable third in New Hampshire to take him to the more moderate climes of South Carolina, Arizona, and Oklahoma, where he becomes the not-Dean candidate.

It's a highly competitive position. John Edwards, yet to make the splash his fresh face promise, looks to survive Iowa and New Hampshire with a pair of thirds and make his play in South Carolina as the not-Dean.

Likewise, Wesley Clark. Passing on Iowa, Clark sees a third in New Hampshire as his ticket to South Carolina, where the state's large veteran population crowns him the not-Dean.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to say that.

DEAN: You guys are great, thank you.


DEAN: You guys are wonderful. Thanks for all your hard work.

CROWLEY: This is Dean, last November's asterisk, now a front- runner with groupies. He has the most money, the best polls, the only pizzazz, and a strategy of inevitably.

DEAN: We're going to reach out and give 3 or 4 million people who didn't vote in the last election or voted for a third party a reason to vote. And when they vote, we're going to have more votes than the president of the United States. And this time, the person with the most votes is going to the White House.


CROWLEY: All viable strategies and possible scenarios. But the war could go right, the economy could go wrong, or some combination thereof. Anything can happen in a year and it usually does -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Yes, that is true. All right. Candy, thank you very much.

Well, John Kerry has had to grapple with a hard reality that Howard Dean has stolen, as Candy just suggested, some of his thunder in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

I asked Senator Kerry today what happened to his campaign.


KERRY: You know, that's all conventional wisdom talk, Judy. We're doing very, very well. My ground operation here in Iowa -- I've had people switching from Howard Dean, from Gephardt, coming up to me and saying, "You're the person who can be elected president. You're the person who can be president."

Yesterday in "The Washington Post," there was a poll that showed I'm the Democrat who runs the closest to George Bush. I run -- and 15 -- -- and Howard Dean's 15 points behind. I am not as far behind in New Hampshire today as Al Gore was to Bill Bradley four years ago.

We're doing very well. My campaign is growing. We have the on- the-ground operation. And I'm the person who can challenge George Bush, as I have in the past years, on foreign policy and on his giving in to the special interests in Washington.

WOODRUFF: But Senator, we're talking about a very short amount of time between now and these primaries.

Let me quickly turn to the economy.

KERRY: No, it's not that short. It's a lifetime in American politics.

WOODRUFF: Some would argue that.

Senator, quickly, the economy. All the signs coming out now say that it's turning around. Manufacturing numbers just out today, other economic numbers looking good. Is this turning out not to be an issue for the Democrats with this president?

KERRY: No, because the president's not creating jobs, Judy. This is a jobless recovery. Two hundred and fifty thousand people stopped looking for work last month; 250,000 people stopped looking for work the month before. We need a president who's going to create jobs and hold on to some of the manufacturing jobs here in this country.

Besides the jobs and economy issue, this president has no plan to provide health care to all Americans. He's going backwards on the environment. He is not funding education in America. He's lost us friends and allies around the world.

I hope the economy is strong. I really do. But I'll tell you, if it is, there's no lack of choice for Americans about how to get this country moving again and do better.


WOODRUFF: Senator John Kerry talking with me earlier today.

Well, out on the campaign trail today, President Bush touted the recent economic surge and how he believes his policies have made a difference. But he couldn't avoid at least a vague reference to the 16 American soldiers killed in Iraq over the weekend.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, looks at those key two campaign issues and how they're playing out in such an unexpected way.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Listen carefully and you can hear the sound of the campaign agenda shifting, from this:

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: The good news is 77.2 GDP and 7.2 percent in increase in GDP. The bad news is very few jobs to go with it. SCHNEIDER: To this:

RET. GEN. WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And they took us to war without an adequate plan, without adequate forces.

SCHNEIDER: Democrats have been hoping that 2004 would turn out to be a rerun of 1992.

Remember the issue that dominated the 1992 campaign? Wasn't it the economy, stupid?

Of course. The first President Bush's glorious victory over Iraq in the Persian Gulf War rarely came up in 1992. This President Bush has usually received his lowest job ratings on the economy.

Those economic ratings had been declining since the end of the major fighting in Iraq. But the most recent evidence from last month shows a slight uptick in President Bush's economic ratings. And that was before last week's news.

BUSH: Remember, just last week, the surprising announcement, at least it confounded some of the experts, that our third quarter economic growth was vibrant.

SCHNEIDER: Most of this Monday's speech was about the economy. Despite Sunday's downing of the helicopter, the president only made brief comments about Iraq near the end of his speech.

President Bush's ratings on Iraq have fallen steadily since the end of the war. The latest trends are economy up, Iraq down, precisely reflecting the news.

We just got a preview of Mr. Bush's campaign theme for next year -- stay the course.

BUSH: We've got a consistent and effective strategy. We're making progress.

SCHNEIDER: That theme may work for the economy. The question is whether it will work for Iraq.


SCHNEIDER: There's a rule in politics that says, when the economy is bad, the economy is the issue. When the economy is good, something else is the issue. If the economy is getting better, what issue will dominate the 2004 campaign? Ask Howard Dean. It's Iraq, stupid.

WOODRUFF: That's what he's counting on being the issue.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, he is.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," former State Department official Joe Wilson has taken his support for John Kerry to the Internet. Wilson is, of course, married to the CIA operative whose cover was blown by a White House leak, in what Wilson said was payback for his criticism of the president's policies in Iraq. Wilson has already endorsed Kerry. Now he has written a fundraising e-mail asking potential donors to give money to the Kerry campaign.

Howard Dean's upcoming campaign book will reportedly include some personal anecdotes about adventures in his younger days. "the New York Daily News" reports that the book will cover Dean's time growing up in East Hampton, New York, including Dean's confession that -- quote -- "When I drank, I would drink a lot and do outrageous things." Dean also writes that he hasn't had a drink in 22 years.

President Bush is adding to his campaign war chest during today's stop in Alabama. Mr. Bush was expected to haul in more than $1 million at a $2,000 per plate luncheon in Birmingham. The Bush-Cheney campaign has now raised about $90 million.

GOP strategist Ralph Reed is a player in the bush campaign. Up next, I'll ask him Reed for his insights about the '04 race and what the president needs to do in the months ahead.

The '04 Democrats will try to "Rock the Vote" tomorrow. We'll preview their face-off and how they're reaching out to younger voters.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not apathetic and we're not disengaged like everyone thinks we are.


WOODRUFF: Are younger voters really interested in politics? Or are they playing hard to get?



SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Michael Bitts, Jose Carabay, Jorge Gonzalez, Thomas Mullenadams, Jose Gutierrez, Randall Kent Rosacker, Michael Van Johnson Jr. (ph).


WOODRUFF: That was Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer on the Senate floor just a short time ago reading the names of U.S. servicemen and women who have died in Iraq. Democrats, of course, have made it clear that U.S. policy in Iraq will be a major issue next November.

As we continue our look ahead to the 2004 campaign, I'm joined from Atlanta by veteran Republican strategist Ralph Reed. He is the Southeast Regional Chairman of the Bush-Cheney Reelection campaign.

Ralph Reed, terrible incident in Iraq yesterday. Sixteen U.S. soldiers killed, 20 wounded. Many of them very seriously. Polls are showing fewer than half of Americans now approve of the president's handling of what's going on in Iraq. Is this a liability for the president going into next year?

RALPH REED, GOP STRATEGIST: No, I really don't believe it is, Judy. I mean obviously, the president and all Americans mourn every loss. We mourn every casualty. And we mourn the loss of these brave heroes who are over there defending our national security and giving people who have been oppressed for 35 years by one of the worst dictators the world has ever seen, the opportunity to have the freedom, prosperity, and dream we have here in the United States.

But, you know, I think it is because of those acts of terror and those teams to inflict chaos and disorganization in this fledgling country that's emerging out of the dark shadow of Saddam Hussein's brutal and inhumane regime, which is why we cannot leave.

Ten days ago, we marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut. And what happened, Judy, was we left. We pulled out. And all the same terrorists, all the same players who continue to try to intimidate us and other Democratic nations are still out there. And we've got to win this war.

WOODRUFF: But not many people are saying the U.S. should pull out. What others are saying -- Democrats and Republicans too -- is that this is an effort that needs to be internationalized, sooner rather than later.

John Kerry said in an interview with me today that the president has failed to internationalize this conflict soon enough. Is he right?

REED: Well, first of all, Senator Kerry voted against the $87 billion appropriation to continue to support our troops and the reconstruction of Iraq. So I think it goes beyond simply saying we ought to internationalize. They've actually voted against the president's request to support our troops at this critical moment.

But, look, 61 percent of the American people approve of the job the president is doing in leading the war against terrorism. And his policy is three-fold. No. 1, to dismantle and destroy the terrorist infrastructure. No. 2, help the Iraqis establish civil institutions of their own. And No. 3, to broaden the coalition.

Now, Judy, has he broadened the coalition? We have 32 countries with troops on the ground. Japan has just pledged $5 billion. Turkey, a Muslim country, pledged 10,000 troops...

WOODRUFF: But the vast majority of troops there are American troops. They're the ones who are mostly taking the casualties.

REED: Yes, but they're not alone. And we had over 70 countries at the Madrid Donor Conference. We had a unanimous U.N. resolution urging other countries to support this effort and to help finance it.

The truth is this president has done more diplomatically to include more nations than we've seen in previous efforts of this kind. And I think he should be praised for that.

WOODRUFF: Let me quickly turn you to the economy. Clearly there are positive indicators out there. At the same time, we know that jobs are going to be important. Right now, many Americans still are looking for work or have given up looking for work. How is this going to work for the president's advantage?

REED: Well the president has made it clear while we've got very good news that's beginning to break in on the shores of this economy -- highest GDP growth in 20 years, highest level of housing starts in 17 years, highest level of consumer spending since 1997, on and on we could go. He is not satisfied until every American who wants a job has a job.

Now, the good news is last month we created 57,000 new net jobs. We've provided the bulk of the tax relief at those small businesses that create 50 percent of the jobs. And this president, as you know, today and in Birmingham was at a manufacturing facility that has just hired 15 new employees.

And he's talking about what he can do through his tax cut strategy, through expanding trade opportunities, for American manufacturing facilities. And also by lowering health care costs and lawsuit costs to encourage job creation.

So there's some good news out there that the president is not complacent. And he's working on this issue every day.

But I tell you this, Judy. You're not going to create jobs by raising taxes. And every single Democratic presidential candidate is calling for raising taxes, some of the highest tax increases in American history that will kill this economy cold.

WOODRUFF: They're talking about rolling back the president's tax cuts.

REED: Well that's a tax increase of close to $2 trillion.

WOODRUFF: OK, Ralph Reed who is the Southeast Regional Chairman for the Bush-Cheney campaign. Good to see you again. Thanks very much for talking with me.

REED: Thank you, Judy. You bet.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Young voters get ready to voice their opinions. The leader of Rock the Vote joins me just ahead.

Also, the candidates are making an effort to appeal to the younger set, but is anyone really listening? We head to college campuses after a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Many of the Democratic presidential hopefuls view the nation's college campuses as an untapped supply of political support. Dan Lothian reports on efforts to convert the support of the young and politically active into votes on Election Day.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Advertisers consider them hip, hot and highly desirable. But some of America's nine million college students are feeling underappreciated. At least when it comes to politics.

JONATHAN CHAVEZ, HARD UNIV. JUNIOR: They're wanting to get involved in politics. That's what the data shows us.

LOTHIAN: Campaigns often tap college campuses for volunteers, to work computers and wave signs. James Glaser, an associate political science professor at Tufts university, says visualizing them as voters is another story.

PROF. JAMES GLASER, TUFTS UNIV.: College students are the worst voters that are out there, mostly because they're highly mobile and new to the communities they live in.

LOTHIAN: In other words, an expensive and hard to get crowd. But now at Harvard University and 11 other colleges, there's a growing effort to get on the political radar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're hitting thousands and thousands and thousands of kids our age.

LOTHIAN: As part of a national civic engagement campaign...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do we as a national campaign to get political candidates to recognize youth, how do we get them to recognize us, if we're just like everybody else?

LOTHIAN: These undergrads are working to get students informed and involved.

(on camera): Students say while they may not have a lot of money to support campaigns, they do have a vote, a voice, and plenty of ideas about issues that are important to them now or will be important to them in the future.

(voice-over): Like a strong economy. Or education costs.

BETSY SYKES, HARVARD UNIV. SENIOR: I think the real message here is that the youth vote is up for grabs. And that we're not apathetic and we're not disengaged like everyone thinks we are.

LOTHIAN: Democrats and Republicans seem to be paying more attention by following youth trends. Like this recent DNC hip-hop fund raiser/rally attended by former President Bill Clinton. And many believe Howard Dean's popularity was sparked in part by young voters who bought into his early Internet-based campaign.

GLASER: Those candidates who are reaching them in the ways they're used to being reached are finding that they're resonating with young people.

LOTHIAN: Young people fighting for place around the political table.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


WOODRUFF: Young voters will get a chance to ask directly Democratic presidential candidates questions tomorrow night. Up next, a preview of "AMERICA ROCKS THE VOTE" and the candidates' appeal to an up and coming generation.


WOODRUFF: You can tell by the music right here on CNN tomorrow night, "AMERICA ROCKS THE VOTE," a forum featuring the '04 Democrats and questions from young voters.

Let's talk about the event and a new generation of voters with the executive director of Rock the Vote, Jehmu Greene. Ms. Greene, first of all, people look at young voters and they look at the statistics. They haven't voted that much in the past. Only a third of them voted in the 2000 election, much less than voters overall and a lot less than the older voters. Why should candidates think they're going to vote this time?

JEHMU GREENE, EXEC. DIR., ROCK THE VOTE: We look to the next year to be a significant year to be a significant year for young voters. And that's why we're excited to be kicking off our outreach to the new generation of voters tomorrow in Boston with the Democratic presidential candidates.

These young people in the audience are going to put the candidates to the test. There isn't a candidate out there who has claimed the youth voting mantle. And we look for the candidates to have to put a lot of work into courting young voters. And at Rock the Vote we're going to do everything we can to register them through our street teams, to educate them about the issues and turn them out on Election Day.

WOODRUFF: Why do you think they've turned out in low numbers in the past?

GREENE: I think it's for a number of reasons. Absolutely the candidates don't spend their resources and pay a lot of attention to young voters because of their turnout rates. They spend their money where the voters are, and that's with older Americans.

Also, I don't think that civic education is as high a priority in our nation's schools. And we've got a number of young people across the country who think that politics doesn't make a difference in their lives.

And that's why what we are going to be doing the next year at Rock the Vote is really communicating about the specific issues and how they affect a young person's life, their daily reality, and making the candidates do that as well as the media.

All of the players that are involved in the election need to put attention on this demographic.

WOODRUFF: Jehmu Greene is the executive director of Rock the Vote. We're all going to be watching. Thanks very much. Thank you for talking with us.

GREENE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

"AMERICA ROCKS THE VOTE" on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. It promises to be an unpredictable, unscripted, uncensored town hall meeting live from Faneuil Hall in Boston. E-mail or text message us. Again, "AMERICA ROCKS THE VOTE" Tuesday, 7:00 p.m., here on CNN.

And INSIDE POLITICS will be live from Boston's Faneuil Hall tomorrow. That's right, that's where we'll. That's it for today's edition. I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


Kerry, Bob Graham>

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