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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Howard Dean's Flag Dilemma: Regrets and Reaction; President Bush Signs Legislation That Bans Partial-Birth Abortion; Interview With Mayor John Street

Aired November 5, 2003 - 15:30   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I regret pain that I may have caused...

ANNOUNCER: Howard Dean softens his tone in a flap over the Confederate flag. But is it enough to repair any damage done during the latest Democratic debate?

AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You appear to be too arrogant to say "I'm wrong" and go on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a disgusting possibility that members of the Senate would actually try to politicize intelligence, especially at a time of war.

ANNOUNCER: A long, simmering battle over a Senate Intelligence Committee probe boils over on the Hill.

A smash hit for the Republicans? Are the 2003 election results really all they're cracked up to be for the GOP?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Concord, New Hampshire, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining me inside the New Hampshire State Capitol building. Well, this house chamber in the state of New Hampshire is rich in political history, just like the first in the nation presidential primary state. Six of the nine Democrats who are running for president are campaigning here in New Hampshire today. But it is the front-runner, Howard Dean, who is making all the headlines.

Dean tried today, as you just heard, to clarify what he called his clumsy remarks about courting southerners who embrace the Confederate flag. Our Bill Schneider reports on what Dean said and how it's playing with other '04 Democrats who let him have it on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Aren't Republicans supposed to be the party with the problem on the Confederate flag issue? They're not alone anymore, not since Howard Dean took up the issue last February.

DEAN: White folks in the South who drive with Confederate flags decals in the back ought to be voting with us and not them.

SCHNEIDER: Last week, Dean, who is nobody's idea of a good old boy, told the "Des Moines Register," "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." The Confederate flag is a symbol of inclusiveness? No. It's a symbol of racism and slavery.

In Tuesday night's debate, when a young African-American voter said he was extremely offended by that remark, Dean refused to back down.

DEAN: I make no apologies for reaching out to poor white people.

SCHNEIDER: That drew an immediate rebuke from a black candidate...

DEAN: Most poor southern whites don't wear Confederate flags. And you ought not try to stereotype that.

SCHNEIDER: And a southern white candidate.

JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me tell you, the last thing we need in the South is somebody like you coming down and telling us what we need to do.

SCHNEIDER: Edwards found a word to characterize Dean's southern strategy.

EDWARDS: It is condescending.

SCHNEIDER: Many Democrats were left to conclude Dean just doesn't get it. Today he got it. Sort of.

DEAN: Many of the people in the African-American community have supported what I have said over the past few days because they understand what this is about. But some have not. And to those, I deeply regret the pain that I may have caused.

Many of those supporters -- many of our white supporters have understood. But to those who do not, I regret the pain that I have caused.

SCHNEIDER: Was that an apology to those who he claims didn't understand what he was trying to say? Al Sharpton's response? I'll take it as an apology.

SHARPTON: I told him in private he must apologize. He said he wouldn't. Maybe at midnight the lord spoke to him.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: In September, Dean said, "I'm the only white politician who ever talks about race in front of white audiences." Not very well, apparently -- Judy.

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

And now let's bring in our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. Candy, is all this having any real affect on the campaign?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's too early to tell. But you know that anytime your campaign gets stuck on something, particularly if it has to do with a Confederate flags, for heavens' sakes, in the middle of politics, it's not a good thing. It slows, even if it's just for what you're doing that day.

Do we know if it will have any legs? I don't know. And the issue may not be the flag itself.

It may be precisely in what you saw in Bill's piece, which is the suggestion that a lot of people have made, particularly his rivals, that Dean is arrogant. Does this play into that? The perception that this is a man who sort of just talks off the top of his head, that any politician running for president ought to know what the Confederate flag and raising the idea of the Confederate flag means to a good many Americans.

So if it plays into those two issues, that he can just sort of speak without thinking, and that he is very arrogant about his views, then it's harmful. I'm not sure that the issue itself remains harmful to him, just what the kind of byproducts of it are.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy Crowley reporting for us from Boston. Candy, thank you very much.

Well, it turns out Howard Dean is shaking up this race, could be shaking up this race in another way. In a message posted on his Web site, Dean is asking his supporters to decide whether he should opt out of public financing for his campaign. That would free him from federal spending limits and help him better compete with President Bush's large war chest. We're going to discuss the move later with campaign finance watchdog Fred Wertheimer.

Now we turn to the president and the combustible issue of abortion. Mr. Bush today signed legislation that bans the late-term abortion procedure known as partial birth. But less than an hour later, a federal judge in the state of Nebraska at least partially blocked implementation of the ban.

We're joined now by our senior White House correspondent, John King. John, this may be setting off a chain of events what the president did.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It is, Judy. In just a few hours today, we are once again reminded of the raw emotion of the abortion debate and also the complicated legal questions of the abortion debate. And reminded that with the prospect of Supreme Court picks looming for the next president, this issue now certain to be front and center in the presidential campaign. Mr. Bush traveled to the Ronald Reagan building here in Washington to sign that legislation. Some irony in that. Ronald Reagan was a favorite of the anti-abortion movement, but could never deliver on his promises to roll back abortion rights. Mr. Bush hoping cultural conservatives remember this come next November.

The president signed the legislation. It outlaws a certain abortion procedure most often used in the third trimester, sometimes used in the second trimester. The president described the procedure himself as he explained why he was proud to sign this bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The best case against partial-birth abortion is a simple description of what happens and to whom it happens. It involves the partial delivery of a live boy or girl and a sudden, violent end of that life. Our nation owes its children a different and better welcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, Mr. Bush signed the legislation just one week and a day after saying in a news conference here at the White House that the country was not ready and the Congress not prepared to adopt the broader restrictions on abortion rights. Mr. Bush has made no secret of his personal opinion that most abortions should be illegal. But he says he is not prepared to push that, because in his view, the culture of the country would need to change first. But in his remarks before the bill-signing today, the president teared up as he did describe his own personal views on the broader abortion debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The most basic duty of government is to defend the life of the innocent. Every person, however frail or vulnerable, has a place and a purpose in this world. Every person has a special dignity. This right to life cannot be granted or denied by government because it does not come from government. It comes from the creator of life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Now, again, the president promising to vigorously defend this new law and these new restrictions against the several court challenges now under way. Critics of this bill say that it is unconstitutional, very much, they say, like a Nebraska law struck down by the Supreme Court two years ago. Supporters of the legislation say they took the high court's ruling in the Nebraska case into consideration.

In any event, advocates of abortion rights say that they view this as a dangerous first step and that they will make the case in the coming presidential campaign that if he is given a second term, Mr. Bush will try to get several new picks on the Supreme Court and then endorse much broader restrictions on abortion rights. So Judy, we see new legal challenges to this new law today, both the legal debate and the political debate over abortion taking center stage. White House officials say the president signed this bill because he supports the policy, but it is no secret that his top political adviser, Karl Rove, believes that a few million cultural conservatives were somehow missing from the electorate in campaign 2000. He very much has made energizing them in getting a high turnout among cultural Christian conservatives next year a top White House priority -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Fast-moving events, and clearly some political calculus here as well. All right. John, thank you very much.

Well, a double-barrel win in the 2003 elections leads off our "Campaign News Daily." That is, a win for Republicans.

In Mississippi, former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour road a strong GOP turnout yesterday to unseat the Democratic governor, Ronnie Musgrove. Barbour is promising today to build a racially and politically diverse administration when he takes office in January.

In Kentucky, Congressman Ernie Fletcher has become the first Republican elected governor of that state in 32 years. Fletcher easily defeated Democrat Ben Chandler to replace outgoing governor Paul Patton. Fletcher told state assembly leaders today that he intends to work with both parties.

And in mayor's races across the country, no outcome more watched than that in Philadelphia, where the incumbent, Democrat John Street, faced a strong challenge from Republican Sam Katz. The winner, John Street. He pulled off a second win in a row.

Mr. Mayor, congratulations. You're joining us now from Philadelphia.

MAYOR JOHN STREET (D), PHILADELPHIA: Thank you so very much. I'm having a great day.

WOODRUFF: Have you gotten a congratulatory call yet from Mr. Katz, your opponent?

STREET: Yes, I did. He called me last night around midnight. And he was very gracious in congratulating me and wished me the very best as I start a second term. I appreciated that very much.

WOODRUFF: Mayor Street, this was a -- you've won, but this was a very, very bitter campaign in the final days. A lot of tough language thrown back and forth. There are people asking whether you're going to be able to govern a city in a unified way that has been through such a racially divided election.

STREET: Well, I'm not so sure I agree with those people who say this was a racially divided election. I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as some people would have us believe. People love to talk about race.

I actually did better in every area of the city, including all of those African-American areas, the Latino areas, the Asian areas, and white areas, in every area than I did in 1999. I got a very, very substantial part of the white vote in this city, and I'm feeling very, very good about the overall support I had in this election. This was actually a very, very good election in that regard.

WOODRUFF: Your campaign spokesman was quoted yesterday as saying that Mr. Katz ran -- the campaign that Mr. Katz ran was a disgrace. Do you agree with that?

STREET: Well, I agree with some of that. I believe that the sum total of the campaign probably was not as positive as it could and should have been. My opponent was largely very negative, and I think he felt he had to be negative, because we really have a very strong record in the last four years of working hard to improve the quality of life for people and neighborhoods.

And then he went very negative. And then -- and his campaign had an undertone of race. And a lot of his supporters were doing things that I wouldn't necessarily blame on the campaign. But it was -- it was a high road.

WOODRUFF: Well, the federal investigation into your administration as mayor, and to allegations of corruption, clearly, that took up the last weeks of the campaign. But the question many are asking already is, is this going to affect your ability to serve as mayor and to do the job that you'd like to do?

STREET: Well, I actually don't think -- first of all, I remind people in this city, and in other places, that investigations happen all the time in local government and around the country. And the fact that there's an investigation, that literally doesn't mean anybody's done anything wrong.

My expectation is that this investigation will go on per somebody's schedule. We will continue to run the government. And I don't -- and I don't think anybody in this government has done anything wrong. We will continue to govern the city of Philadelphia and continue to make progress. We are very proud of our city and think that Philadelphia has an awful lot to offer.

WOODRUFF: Your hometown paper, "The Philadelphia Inquirer," calling for political reform in the city. Are you going to -- is that what we're going to see?

STREET: Well, I'm not sure exactly what they mean when they say political reform. There's been a huge amount of concern about campaign contributions and the so-called pay-for-play system. Everybody understands that these elections have become more and more costly.

I think my opponent and I have probably spent between $20 and $25 million. That's unfortunate. I would love to see a statewide campaign expense reform over the course of the next year or so. And I will work with Democratic Governor Ed Rendel to see to it that that happens.

WOODRUFF: All right. Philadelphia's newly reelected mayor, John Street. Again, congratulations. Thank you for talking to us. STREET: Thank you so very much. Having a great day here.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, question: what do these results in 2003 mean, if anything, for next year's elections? Later, we're going to talk about that.

Also ahead, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on Howard Dean's Confederate flag remark from Joe Lockhart and Scott Reed.

And primary colors here in New Hampshire. Is the real race the one for third place?

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: And now back to our lead story about Howard Dean and his comments in the last few days about the Confederate flag. A little while ago, I discussed with Republican strategist Scott Reed and former Clinton spokesman Joe Lockhart what Dean had to say, and some other developments. I started by asking Scott Reed if he thinks that Dean was hurt by all this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCOTT REED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: He's not backing down at all. I think you saw a little bit of a Teflon Howard Dean last night for the first time. Obviously, what he said was unartful and caused him some pain from some of his opponents. But the fact is, he's looking down field at the general election.

And he's feeling the same pain that a lot of the other Democrats are, that they're having problems in the South. They're not getting white voters. Look at what's happening in these governors' races. Look at the Senate races next year, where they're in trouble in the South.

And I think he's really looking beyond this primary for the first time and looking down field. Just like he is with the funding issue, by the way, about how he's going to waive matching funds. He's thinking about the general election.

WOODRUFF: Joe, why isn't that something that the other Democrats can handle?

JOE LOCKHART, FMR. CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I mean, looking down past the primaries is the classic mistake of a front- runner, because very often, while they're looking down field, they lose all the advantages that they've gotten. You know, I think he's got a point on one level, but he's wrong on so many other levels.

Democrats do need to do a better job at getting white voters in the South and across the country. But it's not through this sort of going after the symbols. We need to go and get these people on an economic message, a message that George Bush hasn't been good for them.

In fact, they have regressed during the Bush administration. But to go and do it with a hot button symbol, and then not have the political ability to recognize what a big problem it is, I think is a really bad sign for the Dean candidacy, because you're going to have a number of these moments through the campaign. And they either become something you can deal with, or they become these lingering issues that your stubbornness don't allow you to deal with.

And those candidates lose. It's that simple.

WOODRUFF: Scott, let me turn you both now to Iraq and the growing number of casualties, both American soldiers dying over there, soldiers coming back grievously wounded. Is this now a seriously problem for President Bush going into an election next year?

REED: I think it is a big problem for Bush and the campaign, going into next year. You know, six months ago, we were talking about how the economy was going to be a huge problem for Bush and Iraq would not be. Now you've seen an exact 180-degree flip.

And everybody feels the pain of listening to the news every morning when they hear about the troops and the casualties. But the fact is, we're there. We're not going to leave until the job is done.

There will be a healthy debate. I think it will be with the Congress about the number of troops, the types of troops that are there. But this president has made the decision we're there, and we're there to win. And I think this is going to be something that carries on through the spring.

WOODRUFF: Joe?

LOCKHART: Well, I agree with some of that. I mean, I don't believe with this sort of knee-jerk reaction that with one quarter of GDP, all of a sudden the economy is a great thing for Bush. We have 3.5 million lost jobs, and I don't see a whole lot of them coming back.

But putting that aside, I think Iraq is a difficult issue for them. And I think the troubling part is just the way that they're dealing with this. This is a difficult situation.

The American public, I think, has a large reservoir of understanding if they feel like they're being dealt with in a straightforward manner. And increasingly, there's a real gap between what they tell us is going on and what we see is going on. And I think this is a manageable problem for the president.

But I think he's got to sit down and talk a little straighter and franker to the American public about, hey, we didn't anticipate it would be this tough. We know it's harder. Here's the things we're doing to change the situation, to make security safer for our troops.

Maybe putting more in, maybe changing it. But he needs to do that, or this is going to become a much bigger problem. WOODRUFF: Scott, very quickly, we have now a Republican -- senior Republican in the House, Jim Leach of Iowa, saying it is one of the most misguided assumptions ever in U.S. strategy for the U.S., for this administration, to assume it will establish a lasting bulwark in the Middle East in Iraq. And he goes on to say that the administration is just going about this all wrong.

One more sign that the administration is going to be second- guessed as we go into the campaign.

REED: You're right. And Leach is an important member of Congress, he carries a lot of power. You know, interesting. He had one of his first jobs in Washington when he worked for Don Rumsfeld when he was secretary of treasury early on.

But the fact of the matter is I think Senator Shelby had it about right when he said we had bad intelligence. We got bad intelligence going into the war, we got bad intelligence from the CIA on what it was going to be like during the war and after the war.

And I think that is the debate Leach has now kicked off today. But it all started with Shelby, and I think Shelby had it right

WOODRUFF: Very quick, last comment, Joe.

LOCKHART: Well, you know, I think it would be a good thing if it was just bad intelligence. I think the debate we're going to have is was that intelligence twisted to fit the political end. And we haven't heard the last of that yet.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(AUDIO GAP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Our apologies about the sound problems a moment ago. We think now it is all fixed.

Well, critics often say that New Hampshire is too small, and too unlike the rest of the country to deserve to be the first in the nation primary. But over the years New Hampshire has shown an ability time and again to make the most of its leading role. Here now, CNN's Bruce Morton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "The woods are lovely, dark and deep," Robert Frost wrote. But that's not why the candidates come. They come because it's first and winning matters, has ever since the first one in 1952. Dwight Eisenhower beat Robert Taft. What do you suppose he was doing with that chicken?

Anyway, it's a place where the voters can really meet the candidates. Eugene McCarthy and his army volunteers, college kids, "Neat and clean for Gene" in 1968. A primary that made president Lyndon Johnson decide not to seek reelection.

JACK GERMOND, "BALTIMORE EVENING SUN": He didn't get the most votes, Johnson still did. But he got enough so he was the winner of the expectations game. So that was a big one.

MORTON: 1972, Democratic front-runner Ed Muskie chokes up in the snow, attacking newspaper publisher William Lobe for an article criticizing Musky's wife.

ED MUSKY, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, 1972: He's proven himself to be a gutless coward. Fortunately for him he's not on this platform beside me.

MORTON: Musky won the New Hampshire thoroughly, but his campaign unraveled and George McGovern was the nominee.

1980, George Bush beat Ronald Reagan Iowa. In New Hampshire a debate, should the other candidates get to play too?

(CROSSTALK)

RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, 1980: I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Bush!

MORTON: Reagan got the moderator's name wrong and the lines from an old Spencer Tracy movie, and he was probably leading anyway by then. But he won in a landslide.

New Hampshire winners often win the nomination, but not always.

GERMOND: John McCain beating the president by 19 points, you know, that wasn't too shabby.

MORTON: But it's real charm is it's small. Voters can really spend time with candidates.

GERMOND: The voters get a better fix on the candidates than they do most other places. It's not just a tarmac campaign, you get to know them. I guess that's really valuable.

MORTON: It's small, it's hands-on, the joke is, I don't know where I stand on Candidate X, I only met him twice. But if you want to, you can meet them. It's not just 30-second TV pops. It's real.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And we agree with that. It is real.

Coming up next, we're going to have a complete rundown of yesterday's election results, including two big wins by Republicans. And a Democratic victory in Philadelphia.

Plus, hitting the streets, one man's pilgrimage to help the Democrats take back the White House. This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: The New Hampshire scene, colored by Howard Dean's new-found regret and the future of his finances.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm asking you to decide whether our campaign will decline public financing or accept federal matching funds.

ANNOUNCER: Special delivery. A letter carrier proves his commitment to his party through rain, sleet and snow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say it's a necessity, not a passion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Hello again. I'm Judy Woodruff, live today from New Hampshire's state capital in Concord.

Democratic front-runner Howard Dean is headed to the state once again to meet up with supporters tonight and to take part in yet another forum with the other candidates.

Voters in this state are sure to be talking about what Dean said earlier today in New York. He now says that he regrets any pain that he may have caused by urging Democrats to court Southerners who display the Confederate flag. But, he stopped short of an outright apology.

Five of Dean's rivals, including Joe Lieberman, also are campaigning in New Hampshire today. Lieberman says Dean's handling of the flag issue may point to a larger personality flaw. As Lieberman put it, "A leader has to be strong enough to admit a mistake."

Let's talk more about the '04 Democrats now, and the battle for New Hampshire with veteran political reporter David Nyhan. He joins me from Boston.

David, first quickly, to this flap with Howard Dean, his comment on the Confederate flag came up in the debate last night. He's talking about it today. What's the fallout from this?

DAVID NYHAN, EAGLE TRIBUNE NEWSPAPERS: Well, it takes the edge of his astonishing fund-raising success and throwing his future course of accepting public money or not open to his followers and the 600,000 people on his Internet list.

I think it was a very reasonable thing he said, that the Democrats have to reach out to the Confederate flag decal guys, the old boys in their pickup trucks. This came on the same night that the Democrats lost governorships in Mississippi and Kentucky to those same kinds of voters. But Dean has not handled it well. And as he's showing the strain of being the front-runner. As you know, Judy, front runners in New Hampshire traditionally come back to the pack as we approach the voting.

WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk about New Hampshire, David. Right now, the latest polls showing dean as double digits ahead of John Kerry. Is it really down to the two of them?

NYHAN: Well, I think Dean and Gephardt are supposedly running even in Iowa. The Kerry people, like all the rest in the field, hope that Gephardt can win the Iowa caucuses and prevent Dean from building up a head of steam that would then benefit him eight days later in New Hampshire. The Kerry people feel Dean is the man they have to beat. And they both got good solid, strong, large organizations in New Hampshire.

So I think New Hampshire is a two-man race, as Iowa is a two-man race between Gephardt and Dean.

WOODRUFF: I was asking if it was down to the two of them in New Hampshire. I didn't mean to leave Iowa out of it.

David, Kerry, after all, is from the neighboring state of Massachusetts. Why isn't he out front in New Hampshire?

NYHAN: Dean very early latched on to the anti-Iraq vote. And I think Kerry, like all the Washington-based candidates, underestimated the level of hostility to the president and his policies in the core Democratic primary electorate. I know the Gephardt people estimate 40 percent of the public is Democrat, and 80 percent of those 40 percent are vehemently anti-Bush.

And Dean figured that out before the rest of the field although they're all trying to catch up on the Bush bashing.

WOODRUFF: And, David, a little more on this race for third here in New Hampshire. What is that really all about, and does it mean anything if you come in third, or worse in New Hampshire?

NYHAN: Well, it would to somebody like John Edwards of North Carolina. He has to survive until the South Carolina primary. There's no way that Edwards can show well in either Iowa or New Hampshire. And I think he folds up if he doesn't do third in New Hampshire because otherwise he's not going to have enough money to compete in South Carolina.

The process, Judy, is so front-loaded, that I think the contest will be all but over by St. Patrick's Day, which everybody in Boston knows is March 17.

WOODRUFF: In other words, if you don't come in at least third in New Hampshire, you're going to have a tough time somewhere else?

NYHAN: Yes. And I think somebody like Joe Lieberman, who has all but bailed out of Iowa, and doesn't have a lot going for him on the ground in New Hampshire, nobody but Dean or Kerry is in double digits in New Hampshire. I think Lieberman could be out of the race the morning after New Hampshire.

WOODRUFF: All right. Spoken by David Nyhan, long-time political reporter up here in this neck of the woods. David, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

NYHAN: Judy, if you pay $1,000 check to Billy Gardner, the secretary of state, we can get you on the ballot in New Hampshire this week.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: I think I may pass that up. But thanks for telling me.

NYHAN: OK.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Turning to the White House now, they were offering some verbal pats on the back to some Republican winners down South today in the states of Kentucky and Mississippi. Republicans celebrating the victories of Ernie Fletcher winning in Kentucky and Haley Barbour in Mississippi. They say it bodes well for their party in '04. The chairman of the Republican Governors' Conference say all these wins underscore that the GOP is dominant in the South.

And RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie says the Mississippi and Kentucky victories show that the Democrats' strategy in their words of negativity, failed.

On Capitol Hill today, Republicans are trying to turn the tables on critics of President Bush's Iraq policy. GOP lawmakers are saying that a newly-leaked memo shows that Democrats are trying to politicize questions about pre-war intelligence.

Let's check in now with our congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, where does this stand right now?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, this was a memo prepared by the Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee for the Chairman Jay Rockefeller on how to go about the investigation into pre-war intelligence regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

Here's the conclusion of the letter, of the memo. It reads, "Intelligence issues are clearly secondary to the public's concerns regarding the insurgency in Iraq. Yet we have an important role to play in revealing the misleading if not flagrantly dishonest, methods and motives of senior administration officials who made the case."

Now, Republicans are saying that memo is proof positive that Democrats are trying to exploit the usually non-partisan Intelligence Committee to score political points.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: It is a disgusting possibility that members of the Senate would actually try to politicize intelligence, especially at a time of war. Even apparently reaching conclusions before investigations have been performed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: But Democrats say the memo, which they say was not officially authorized, anyway, reflects a real frustration that Republicans on that committee are trying to protect the White House from a full investigation into whether or not pre-war intelligence was misused by the president and his administration.

They say there's a lot more to this. The real question is, what about the weapons of mass destruction, what about how that intelligence was used to make the case for war?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I certainly had no role in the preparation of this memo. I don't know what it said.

But if that memo expressed the frustration of many senators on the committee, that we have created this firewall to protect the administration, then the memo, frankly, speaks to real feelings.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: But there's another issue here. Democrats want to know how the memo was obtained in the first place. They say the memo was taken out of the Intelligence Committee room, which is under 24-hour guard, a room that is accessible by both Democrats and Republicans.

They are suggesting that Republicans somehow stole this memo off a computer, or maybe got it out of the trash, and then leaked it. Rockefeller, the Democratic chairman of the committee, is actually saying maybe the committee should investigate how the memo was stolen, or obtained and then leaked to the press.

WOODRUFF: So maybe there will be another investigation. All right.

KARL: Another leak investigation.

WOODRUFF: Jon, at the same time, the Republicans are trying to form a united front. On all this, you had a prominent Republican today going out and making a speech. And in effect issuing a warning to the White House about Iraq.

KARL: This was John McCain gave a speech before the Counsel of Foreign Relations. It was good news and bad news for the president. On the one hand he said that the United States must finish the job in Iraq. That's what the White House has been saying.

But he was also quite critical of the White House for not having enough troops on the ground in Iraq. And for also being too eager to switch security over to Iraqis, saying there's still a job for the U.S. military and there needs to be more troops on the ground. Here's what McCain said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: There does not appear to be a strategy behind our current force levels in Iraq, other than to preserve the illusion that we have sufficient forces in place to meet our objectives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KARL: Now, McCain is suggesting that the U.S. should put another full division in Iraq. That's another 10,000 troops -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jon Karl, plenty to follow up there on the Hill. Thanks very much.

Well, we have much more news, political news from New Hampshire today on this show. Did President Bush make the difference in two of yesterday's hottest contests? We're going to talk about the implications of election 2003.

Plus, Howard Dean is asking his supporters to decide the future of his campaign financing. Is it a smart move, or a broken promise?

And voters meditated on it, and then they rejected stress relief.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Big election victories in Mississippi and Kentucky have given Republicans a lot to smile about today.

With me now from Washington to talk a little bit more about yesterday's results and what they may mean for election year '04 is political analyst Stu Rothenberg.

Stu, first of all, it was a good day for Republicans, especially in Kentucky and Mississippi. How did they pull it off?

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Well, I think actually they had two good candidates who ran as outsiders, as candidates who were going to change the state, change particularly the state economies. They ran well-funded campaigns. Technically good. A good outsider message. And the incumbent -- the incumbent party was on the defensive in both cases.

WOODRUFF: So is there anything Democrats can take heart from, from yesterday, or not?

ROTHENBERG: Well, those two states, Judy, I -- you know, the Democrats won a couple of down ballot statewide races in each state. But I don't think that that's what they were looking for. The governorships were the prime prospects here. The Republicans actually won some statewides in both -- in both states as well. No, I think the Democrats have to be satisfied by looking at John Street's win in Philadelphia, some other mayoral wins. And making the argument, which is really true, that the contests in 2003 are state contests. 2004 is going to be about President Bush and about federal issues and take heart from that.

WOODRUFF: Stu, we all like to go picking through the results, the entrails, if you will, of these off-year election, trying to see if there's any clue to what's going to happen next year.

But what about these results? What do they tell us, if anything, about what's going to happen in the '04 presidential, or the Congressional races?

ROTHENBERG: Well, the only thing that I would point to, Judy, is the Democratic message in Kentucky, where Ben Chandler, the sitting attorney general, ran against Ernie Fletcher, a Republican member of Congress, ran against Fletcher as a Congressman, but also as part of the Fletcher-Bush economy. They tried to make the -- the governorship a referendum on high unemployment rates, loss of jobs and they failed to do so. Now that doesn't mean that Democrats won't be successful with an economic message in 2004. But I can tell you this: if Ben Chandler had won this race with that message, you would have seen Democrats jumping up and down -- they would have said they had the key to 2004, and they don't have that key right now.

WOODRUFF: And Stu, one other governor's race yet to go this year, and that is, in the state of Louisiana. What should we be looking for there? You have an unusual Republican candidate. An American -- an Indian American, Bobby Jindal. What are you hearing about this? What are you learning?

ROTHENBERG: Well, the -- the insiders are quite abuzz at this race. And it has not developed quite like we thought. The Democrats have an unusual candidate themselves. They have Kathleen Blanco a 60- year-old statewide elected official. A woman, very unusual. Even more unusual, she is a moderate to conservative Democrat on issues like abortion rights and gun control. She sounds like a Republican.

What is happening here is Bobby Jindal, the Republican, of East Indian descent, 32 years old, Oxford, smart as a firecracker. But he doesn't look very much like most other Louisianians that I know. He is -- he appears to be ahead narrowly. This race is still competitive. It's up for grabs. Democratic turnout is absolutely critical here. But it really would be amazing if the Republicans could elect a candidate like Jindal in the same year that they would elect Arnold Schwarzenegger and win a couple of the governor races.

It would be -- it would just be a hold for the Republicans. But it would be such an unusual hold, with such unusual class of 2003, that would really boost Republicans. And you can just imagine that Bobby Jindal and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have interesting roles at the Republican convention.

So keep an eye on the race. But expect the unexpected in Louisiana. WOODRUFF: I like that term, smart as a firecracker. We're going to remember that one. All right. Stu, thank you very much. We appreciate it.

ROTHENBERG: All right.

WOODRUFF: And we'll shall talking with you soon. We appreciate it.

Checking some other Election Day headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," New York City voters soundly defeated Mayor Michael Bloomberg's effort to create nonpartisan city elections. Bloomberg reportedly spent millions of his own money promoting the idea, and he picked up the endorsement of Governor George Pataki, a Republican, along the way. But it was not enough. The measure received just 30 percent of the vote.

The Green Party candidate has made it to a runoff in the race for San Francisco mayor. Democratic frontrunner Gavin Newsom is outgoing mayor Willie Brown's hand-picked successor. He won about 41 percent of the vote. Newsom is going to be facing Green Party candidate Matt Gonzalez in a runoff next month. Gonzalez received about 20 percent of the vote.

Meantime, voters in Colorado and California faced two rather creative ballot measures yesterday. Denver voters rejected a proposal that would have required the city to implement a citywide stress reduction program. That's right. You heard it.

And in Bolinas, California, voters approved a measure declaring their city -- quote -- "a socially acknowledged nature-loving town." How could you argue with that?

Well, he has had more success, big success raising cash. But right now, how is Howard Dean -- he has a big decision to make. When we come back, Dean contemplates a change of heart on public funding for his campaign. Is he turning his back on political reform, or simply bowing to political reality?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: I'm asking you to decide whether our campaign will decline federal financing or accept federal matching funds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean today asked his supporters to weigh in on an important question, whether he should abandon plans to accept federal matching funds, to run his race for president, or whether he should stick with the plan that he has said he would stay with all along. When he first got into the race, Dean said he was committed to the federal funding system.

With me now from Washington is the president of Democracy 21, Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of public financing.

Fred Wertheimer, it looks like this is what Howard Dean wants to do. Should he do it?

FRED WERTHEIMER, PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRACY 21: Well, I can't answer that question. My own preference is for all of the candidates to be in the presidential financing system. It's worth -- it's worked very well for the country over the years.

When President Bush made the decision to go outside the system, and went out to raise an unprecedented $200 million he created a major problem for all the Democratic candidates. Because if you go into the system, you now agree to limit your spending to $45 million, and that means that you're going to be outspent 4 to 1 by President Bush. President Bush has created a big problem here.

WOODRUFF: Sorry about your laryngitis. And we hope it gets better.

WERTHEIMER: Excuse me.

WOODRUFF: Let me just quickly ask you, one candidate like this opting out, the president, another one. Doesn't this set off a spate of all the candidates, who can, choosing to opt out, and essentially making a mockery of the whole system?

WERTHEIMER: Well I hope that's not the case. We know the system needs to be fixed. And what's happening here proves that we've got to fix this system for the 2008 elections.

Both candidates, I expect, will go into the system in the 2004 general election. I think a number of Democrats will stay in the system. But it's a problem. And it really demonstrates why we've got to get this fixed for 2008, since it really has served the country so well, even though my voice hasn't today.

WOODRUFF: Fred Wertheimer, just quickly, last question. This $45 million limit during the primaries, is that a realistic limit these days?

WERTHEIMER: No, it's too low. It's outmoded. We haven't had a chance to reform the system since 1974. So there are problems like spending limit that's far too low right now. It's outmoded.

But there's no excuse for President Bush deciding to swamp the country and create a spending arms race again in presidential elections with $200 billion. That's uncalled for. And it's opening up a whole can of worms in the integrity of our political system.

WOODRUFF: Fred Wertheimer, head of Democracy 21, go take care of that voice. Thank you very much.

WERTHEIMER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Well, the campaign worker who knows more about going door-to-door than most. Up next, why a California letter carrier takes a winter vacation to the Granite State every four years.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Committed campaign volunteers can make all the difference in a small state like this one, New Hampshire. Well, CNN's Dan Lothian found a Howard Dean volunteer who has a lot of experience going door-to-door, even when it's not campaign season time.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): For the past 25 years, Marc Herbert has been pounding the pavement as a letter carrier in California. So what is he doing dodging puddles on a rainy day in New Hampshire?

MARC HERBERT, DEAN CAMPAIGN: I would say it's a necessity, not a passion.

LOTHIAN: A political necessity. A handful of fliers and plenty of doors to knock on.

HERBERT: Hello. Can I leave you this for Howard Dean?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

HERBERT: Thank you.

LOTHIAN: Every primary cycle but one since 1976, Herbert has made the political pilgrimage to New Hampshire, using his vacation time to volunteer for Democrats.

HERBERT: It was a way to get outside the TV screen where it was still done on a human one-to-one level. And it mattered.

LOTHIAN: This time wanting to do more, Herbert quit his postal service job to join the Dean campaign.

DORIE CLARK, DEAN'S N.H. COMM. DIR.: He's the perfect kind of citizen that you could ask for. He's someone who isn't in politics for the title, or the glamour, or any potential job in Washington.

HERBERT: It's the same street.

LOTHIAN: It's gritty politicking, helping young volunteers map the course for canvassing the neighborhoods. Then hitting the streets himself.

HERBERT: It's the third street to the left.

LOTHIAN: He's undeterred by rain or freezing temperatures.

HERBERT: For people who say, well, you can't do that, that's brutal. You go, What about the postal worker, the letter carrier who's going out there?

LOTHIAN: Herbert runs into the letter carrier and is reminded of the career he's left behind.

(on camera): He may no longer be walking down delivering the mail, but he is delivering a message. Trying to inform New Hampshire voters of the one candidate he believes can best lead this country.

(voice-over): But his track record is grim. From Fred Harris in 1976 to Bill Bradley in 2000. None of Herbert's candidates won the nomination. And only one, Gary Hart, won New Hampshire. That's the past. His present challenge...

HERBERT: Just as this woman told me, it's to early.

LOTHIAN: ... wooing undecided Democrats along the route he's trying to deliver for Dean.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: From Concord, New Hampshire in the beautiful historic state capital building, I'm Judy Woodruff. That's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



President Bush Signs Legislation That Bans Partial-Birth Abortion; Interview With Mayor John Street>


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