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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Dean Secures Powerful Union Backing; New Poll Numbers Out on Iraq, Economy

Aired November 6, 2003 - 15:30   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Looking for the union label.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am meeting with the SEIU today...

ANNOUNCER: And they're one of the nation's most powerful unions. Is their backing a major milestone for Howard Dean?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is worth our effort. It is worth our sacrifice because we know the stakes.

ANNOUNCER: Do you agree with the president when it comes to Iraq? We'll reveal new poll numbers.

Are Americans optimistic about the economy? We'll gauge the view from Main Street.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

Well, Howard Dean has surged to the front of the Democratic presidential field by appealing to traditional party activists in nontraditional ways. There has been live speculation that he would win the endorsement of the service -- powerful Service Employees International Union. That endorsement now in doubt a little bit, because other union leaders have asked the Service Employees Union to hold off for a week.

Joining me now, our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley with me. Candy, all this breaking, literally, just as you and I are sitting down here. We're learning that the SEIU, as it's called, is going to hold off this announcement if there is going to be an endorsement, until next week, November 12. What's going on behind the scenes here?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it's going to take a couple phone calls to figure this out. But this would have been entirely an expected endorsement. So that they are not now going to have the announcement, after having called other candidates and said tomorrow we're going to endorse Howard Dean, one would have to think that something has gone wrong here.

It would have been, and still may be next week, a very powerful endorsement for Howard Dean. And it would certainly change the flavor of how we look at him as a candidate.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY (voice-over): ... a candidate who snags the endorsement of the biggest union within the AFL-CIO, a candidate with a giant lead in New Hampshire, a promising tie in Iowa. A candidate with so much money he may refuse federal campaign dollars so he doesn't have to limit what he spends. You call him a confident frontrunner.

DEAN: I don't think any Democrat can compete with George Bush if he has $200 million from all those corporate interests and we have $45 million in public financing.

CROWLEY: Mr. Outside is looking strangely like Mr. Inside, a well-funded candidate with a cadre of Washington pros behind him and mainstream endorsements in his pocket. Camp Dean is beginning to look like a juggernaut. Still...

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Were you wrong, Howard? Were you wrong to say that?

DEAN: No I wasn't, John Edwards.

CROWLEY: What do you call a candidate who can't foresee nor gracefully extricate himself form the uproar over the symbolism of the Confederate flag?

AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You are not a bigot, but you appear to be too arrogant to say "I'm wrong" and go on.

CROWLEY: What do you call a candidate who once likened members of Congress to cockroaches and who over time has changed his position on Social Security and Medicare?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: You call it a candidate who trails President Bush in national polls by a larger margin than any other major Democrat in the race. You call him a confident front-runner with vulnerabilities and things yet to prove -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, obviously, we don't know yet now what's going to happen, whether Dean is going to get this endorsement. But if he did, who would be hurt the most by it?

CROWLEY: I would go with John Kerry for this reason: SEIU has the biggest number of union members of any union in New Hampshire. So this is hard coming off a poll, as you saw today, where Dean is 14 points ahead of Kerry. So it's certainly in the ground war.

What you want is those unions. They have the feet, the people to knock on the doors. And they have the organization to deploy them. So it certainly hurts Kerry. It hurts Gephardt in this way, that he still retains the most union support of any of those who have chosen. Nonetheless, this is a big union to go another way.

WOODRUFF: As we pointed out, it is up in the air now. And we won't know for some days.

CROWLEY: Interesting. We'll make some calls.

WOODRUFF: We will. Candy will. Thank you.

On another front, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus has accepted Howard Dean's apology for his comments about southerners who display the Confederate flag. Representative Elijah Cummings said that Dean did the right thing by expressing regret. And now he said it's the time to move on.

Dean was blasted by his Democratic rivals at Tuesday's "Rock the Vote" forum, as you just heard, for saying that the party, to win the White House next year, it must go after the guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks. Well appearing on CNN earlier today, Dean said that, while he was wrong, his supporters, black and white, understood the point he was trying to make.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: I think that, first of all, I've spent a lot of time on the phone with a lot of my African-American supporters. They were with me. They understand that this is an issue of race and we have to get southern white voters and African-American voters to vote together if we're ever going to have a chance at winning back the South.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Dean first made the comment on the Confederate flag at a Democratic National Committee meeting back in February.

At the White House, President Bush today signed the $87 billion aid package for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Bush called the money a critical expense in the war on terrorism. And he compared the U.S. financial commitment to the post World War II Marshall Plan.

Earlier, in a speech to the National Endowment for Democracy, Mr. Bush said that Iraq can become a symbol of freedom in the Middle East.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: It is worth our effort. It is worth our sacrifice because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world. It would increase dangers to the American people and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed, and that success will send forth the news from Damascus to Tehran that freedom can be the future of every nation.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: U.S. policy in Iraq and the recent reports of a strong economic growth here at home are among the topics covered in the latest CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is with me now.

Bill, first of all, what about the news about Iraq and the economy? How is all this affecting the president's stand in the polls?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, it looks like not at all. Ten days ago, before the news about strong economic growth and losses in Iraq, the public's view of President Bush was 53 percent approval, 42 percent disapproval. And now, approval is up one point and disapproval is up one point. No big change.

WOODRUFF: Are you seeing any smaller changes?

SCHNEIDER: Ah, yes, in opposite directions. More and more Americans believe the economy is getting better. Forty percent felt that way in early September. Now, a majority do, 53 percent.

The news from Iraq has not been good. So look at what's happened to the number who say things are going well for the U.S. in Iraq. Down -- 47 percent in September, 42 percent in October, 38 percent now. The result? President Bush's job rating on the economy has gone up and his job rating on Iraq has slipped.

Notice that last month, Iraq was the stronger issue for the president. Now, the economy is.

WOODRUFF: So are you saying, Bill, that the public has turned against the war in Iraq?

SCHNEIDER: You know, Judy, Democrats talk as if they have, but the answer is actually no, they haven't. Sixty percent of Americans say Iraq was not a mistake. And a majority believes Iraq was worth going to war over.

And here is something surprising. The percentage of Americans who want the U.S. to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq has actually gone down from 57 percent at the end of October to 48 percent now. Now, that doesn't mean people want to send more troops, just 17 percent say that. But they do not want the U.S. to cut and run -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Which is what the president says he's not going to do.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill, thank you very much.

A Republican congressman, though, has some strong opinions about U.S. policy in Iraq. Up next, Representative Jim Leach talks about why he has gone public with his criticisms. Howard Dean, outside insurgent or mainstream front runner? Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile consider Dean's status in the Democratic race for the White House.

And later, are Michigan voters ready for the Motor City madman? Rocker Ted Nugent makes noise about a potential run for office.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're trying to arrange it so that the transition in country doesn't happen all at once and instead will be staggered, to some extent, with sufficient overlaps so there can be a transfer of relationships and so that the situational awareness of the forces on the ground is passed on to their replacements. We've tried to ensure that the number of people who have been recently mobilized is a small as possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld making an announcement today about troop deployments. Well, someone who worked for Don Rumsfeld many years ago, who is now the Republican congressman from the state of Iowa, Jim Leach, today mincing no words when it comes to U.S. strategy in Iraq. Leach says the administration, in his words, has made one of the most misguided assumptions in U.S. history by not planning a decisive withdrawal from Iraq by the end of next year.

Congressman Leach joins me now from Capitol Hill.

Why misguided?

REP. JIM LEACH (R), IOWA: Well, that wasn't exactly what I used the word "misguided" about, but I do believe strongly that the longer we're there, the more difficult things are going to become. And this is not at all analogous to the reconstruction efforts after World War I and World War II, where we had a prolonged period of time of relative passive populations. This is a circumstance of anarchy, particularly in the Sunni triangle, and it's a circumstance where forces around the world are using our incursion into a Muslim country as a rationalization for other kinds of terrorism.

WOODRUFF: What about the president's argument that the United States must see this thing through? Even some Democrats are making that argument.

LEACH: Oh, I believe in seeing it through. The question is, is seeing it through most effective in a more abbreviated or more extended timeframe? If you believe that five, six, seven, eight years from now we're still there and people are going to be happy about that, then that's the right course. I happen to think that what the world wants, what the Iraq people want, what the American people want is real time pressures built in on the forming of a new Iraqi government, the transfer of sovereignty to that. And I'm convinced that we ought to be making very clear we have no intent of desiring bases in the region. I think they would be magnets of instability rather than basically techniques of presenting forced projection in a stabilizing way. I also think that we have to make it clear that the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of the Iraqi people and that we want systems in place for the Iraqi people to control.

WOODRUFF: But I'm sure you've seen the same arguments I have, Congressman Leach, that the Iraqis themselves are not even close to being in a position to put up the kind of resistance to these terrorist forces in their own midst or of creating a stable government that is going to be there for years and years to come.

LEACH: Well, that's partly true, but it's not the full picture. The full picture is that the American forces are the magnets for all of this instability. And that is the trauma we're facing. And that those that identify with us become the greater targets.

And that's why I think we ought to put an international face on the civilian authority. We ought to keep the Americans there to assist with an international civilian presence. And we ought to be, to a much more rapid extent, trying to bring in Iraqis and foreign troops, particularly in the regions where Americans are at least well received.

Now, what we're doing in the north is very impressive, very positive. And to some degree in the South. But I don't think this can go on for a long period of time.

WOODRUFF: Is it a mistake to be sending these 100-plus -- 130,000 replacement troops in early next year?

LEACH: Well, I think you have no choice but to rotate troops. On the other hand, I think we also ought to be moving with timeframes on reducing the number of troops. Now, there are arguments that the problem is that we don't have enough troop there's. I don't think you can have enough troops to do what some people want to do. And I think that that is a greater problem rather than a lesser problem.

WOODRUFF: You don't think it emboldens terrorists everywhere to see democracy fail, an effort at democracy fail in Iraq, as President Bush has argued?

LEACH: That would embolden terrorists. The trouble is, are we making democracy more likely with a lengthy stay or by moving more aggressively to try to put Iraqis in charge of their own destiny? It is not democracy when a foreign government runs your country. That's not democracy either.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it there. Representative Jim Leach of the state of Iowa, thank you very much. It's good to see you.

LEACH: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for talking with us.

Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan will join us just ahead with their takes on two topics: Howard Dean and President bush's policy on Iraq.

Also ahead, one presidential candidate's plan for ending the killing in Iraq and bringing the troops home.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With us now, former Gore campaign manager, Donna Brazile, and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

Donna, I'm going to start with you. This word just minutes ago that the Service Employees International Union is going to hold off on endorsement. Everybody we were talking to thought it was going to be Howard Dean. Now we're hearing a week later. What does this say to you?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I believe that the unions, two of the largest, two of the most politically active unions in the federation, may be coming up with a plan to endorse Howard Dean simultaneously next week. That would give Howard Dean a tremendous boost in winning the Democratic nomination.

WOODRUFF: Why?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, these are the most active unions. They have people on the ground in Iowa and New Hampshire. They raise money.

These are not paper endorsements. It means that SEIU and AFSCME may be joining together to help put their name and their brand behind Howard Dean.

WOODRUFF: But we have to speculate at this point because we don't know for sure.

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Judy, Donna is absolutely correct. This is incredibly significant because the two weaknesses of Howard Dean, is he has any, is one, the perception, can he beat George Bush? And a lot of establishment people didn't think he could and they were going to throw their support somewhere else.

And secondly, that he's good on the issues and has been able to excite people, but that his organizational skills, we don't know if they're there or not. And Gephardt would have the organizational skills in Iowa.

If these unions are going elsewhere, away from Gephardt, who is their natural constituent really, the natural ally, go away from him, it's saying, one, that they believe Dean can do this. And secondly, they're giving him those organizational skills that many of us thought he might not have and may be his vulnerability.

Incredible support. This is incredibly good news for Dean if, indeed, he gets it.

WOODRUFF: If he gets it.

BRAZILE: Let me just say, Bay, you're right, because I think Dean's image right now in his base is that it's the Volvo-driving, Starbucks-sipping, anti-war yuppies. But with the endorsement of SEIU and possibly AFSCME would give Dean the image of being the fighter for working class families, the fighter on healthcare. And I think it would tremendously help him. But it's not a blow to Dick Gephardt.

WOODRUFF: So Donna, does this mean this whole flap over the Confederate flag statement had no consequence at all?

BRAZILE: I believe it did. I think it hurt Dean, it put a dent in Dean's drive for the nomination. But he's still going. He's still in the drivers seat. And I don't believe it hurt him long term.

BUCHANAN: It didn't hurt him at all. A one or two-day story, which everybody knows that there's no racist element to Dean or his message. I just think it was political ploy boy by the other side in some way to try to hold him up. And they knew better when they said it.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's talk quickly about Iraq. Troop deployments announced today by the Pentagon -- 130,000 going over at the first of next year to replace those who are there.

I just talked to Jim Leach, a veteran, a Republican congressman. Of course, he's a supporter of the administration, but he's got problems with the administration's policy. Bay, what does the president do with regard to Iraq?

BUCHANAN: I think he's got exactly the correct policy. You've talked about how he's replacing these military. But also on that same story, he's looking at going from 100,000 to 170,000 trained Iraqis in the next six months. He feel that by May, you're going to be down from 130,000 to 100,000 Americans.

I think if you see -- the American people see that he's dropping every couple months from 130,000 to 100,000 and then maybe to 80,000 or 70,000 thousand by November, I think the American people say, we're on the right track, we're getting out, but we're doing it in a cautious manner to give the Iraqi people a chance.

WOODRUFF: Still a lot of soldiers over there.

BUCHANAN: Still a lot of soldiers, but going in the right direction. I think he's fine as long as long as he's decreasing by those kinds of numbers.

BRAZILE: Well, my position is, what took him so long? What took him so long to figure out that we need more soldiers to help stabilize and secure that country? We still need to internationalize that force and bring in more of our allies.

I believe the president ultimately will have to go to the French and the Germans and say, look, I need more people on the ground to help train the Iraqi citizens to police and secure their own nation. And just give us a helping hand.

BUCHANAN: Donna, you and I both know the French aren't going in until it's already stabilized.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave there it. Bay, Donna, thank you both. Appreciate it.

And now, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."

A new poll finds Congressman Bill Janklow is losing support with South Dakota voters. In a Mason Dixon survey, 38 percent of voters polled think that Janklow should resign now. In August, just 23 percent favored his immediate resignation. Janklow faces felony manslaughter charges related to a traffic accident.

Two new polls in Louisiana show the runoff of the race for governor going down to the wire. Republican Bobby Jindal leads Democrat Kathleen Blanco 44 percent to 40 percent in a survey research center poll. Blanco leads 39 percent to 38 percent in a Loyola University survey. Voters go to the polls November 15.

1970's rock 'n' roller turned political activist Ted Nugent says he may run for Michigan governor in 2006. The outspoken hunter and outdoorsman told TV station WZZM he puts the odds of entering the race at 50-50. We'll watch it.

Still ahead, it's been quite a week for Republicans who picked up two governors offices. We'll ask RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie if this will help President Bush's reelection bid.

Plus, he may not be Bob the bachelor, but one '04 Dem is hoping for a deal just as sweet. We'll show you one presidential candidate's quest for a first lady.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It looks as if Howard Dean will have to wait a little longer to win the endorsement of the powerful Service Employees International Union. Within the last hour, the SEIU announced that it had decided to endorse a candidate for president, but the union said it will wait until next week, November 12, before announcing its choice.

Dean was at a news conference with SEIU president Andy Stern just a short time ago. The endorsement would give Dean a team of foot soldiers and organizers on the campaign trail.

Another Democratic candidate retired...

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): ... in key early primary states, the Service Employees International Union wields a lot of power. And in '04, there's a clear target.

ANDREW STERN, SEIU PRESIDENT: This is enormously important that somebody be able to beat George Bush.

WOODRUFF: SEIU is the largest union in New Hampshire and the strongest in electoral prizes like New York. An endorsement from the labor powerhouse could trigger a domino effect, with other unions falling in line behind its choice. The candidates with the most at stake...

DEAN: This president has declared war on working and middle class people in this country.

WOODRUFF: ... Howard Dean, hoping to add establishment muscle to his outsider campaign.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We strengthen working families then everybody is stronger.

WOODRUFF: And Dick Gephardt, who has built his campaign on the support of organized labor including the 20 unions who have endorsed him already.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Another Democratic candidate, retired General Wesley Clark, says for the violence to end in Iraq, the Bush administration must change its strategy. Clark today unveiled a four-point plan that he says will accomplish that goal and bring home the troops.

Among the points, turning political development over to a non- American and letting NATO handle military operations. Clark says that these steps are imperative if the U.S. is to win the support of the Iraqi people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You win these wars not at the point of the bayonet, but you win them at the top by taking away the incentive your adversary has to fight. To change that incentive in Iraq, you have to get rid of the idea of an American occupation there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Clark says he's not advocating a quick pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq. An early exit, he says, would result in a retreat or a defeat, and he said there can be neither.

President Bush vigorously defended U.S. policy in Iraq today at the White House where he signed the $87 billion appropriations bill for rebuilding Iraq and Afghanistan. Our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux is with me now. Suzanne, the president had an audience that he made -- repeated his strong case for staying the course in Iraq.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This was really a much-welcomed show of support for the president and the White House, that $87.5 billion package, that for the military as well as reconstruction inside Iraq and Afghanistan. Sixty-four percent -- $64 billion, rather, for military operations, $18 billion for reconstruction.

The big win here is that he got the reconstruction money all in grants, not in loans. That is what the president was lobbying for. And it almost assures that the president doesn't have to go back to Congress in election year and ask for more money. But the legislation does call for the president to give regular updates to Congress on the progress inside of Iraq.

The president today making the case that this shows that there is support for his mission.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The American people accept these responsibilities now, in our time, so that we will not face far great dangers in the future.

With this act of Congress, no enemy or friend can doubt that America has the resources and the will to see this war through to victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Now earlier, President Bush in the east room gave what the White House dubbed as a major policy announcement. The president calling it a new policy when it comes to dealing with the Middle East. He said that progress inside of Iraq will be a watershed moment for what he called a global Democratic revolution.

Now, the president didn't give any details on what might change in the policy, only that past U.S. policy has failed in a country that they will only support those Middle Eastern nations that support democracy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global Democratic revolution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Now the president mentioned specifically Egypt and Saudi Arabia, saying that they need to do more in terms of Democratic reforms. He chastised the Palestinian Authority as well as the leadership in Iran, saying they are just getting in the way of progress. And he, of course, praised some of those countries in the region for cooperating.

But again, Judy, no specifics on how this policy might change in terms of political relations or trade or even aid.

WOODRUFF: OK, Suzanne two important speeches from the president in one day. Thank you, Suzanne.

Well if the Democrats were hoping for good news from Tuesday's elections, they didn't get any, at least not in one area where they really need help. Our Bill Schneider takes a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: You've heard about the Democratic Party's problems in the South? They just got bigger as Republicans took governorships away from the Democrats in Kentucky and Mississippi this week.

ED GILLESPIE, RNC CHAIRMAN: I think it's clear that they have problems in the South.

SCHNEIDER: The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association claimed the bad national economy "triggered a strong anti-incumbent mood in the electorate," meaning the GOP victories are bad news for President Bush, since he'll be incumbent-in-chief next year.

Maybe in California last month, where the debate between Democrat Gray Davis and Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was about the state's finances. But the force driving the GOP to victory in the South isn't economics. It's values.

The president campaigning for the Republican in Mississippi.

BUSH: I like the fact that Haley Barbour is a man of good values. He honors his family. He treasures he's relationship with the Almighty.

SCHNEIDER: In Kentucky, Democratic Governor Paul Patton had a big values problem after he confessed marital infidelity last year.

GOV. PAUL PATTON (D), My mistakes were mine alone. I take full responsibility for them.

SCHNEIDER: Even though Governor Patton wasn't running this year, President Bush knew exactly how to make his problems an issue.

BUSH: You want your kids looking at somebody for whom you can be proud. Ernie Fletcher values his faith. He values his family.

SCHNEIDER: How can Democrats compete in the South? By changing the subject from values to economics. Which is what Howard Dean argued he was trying to do when he said, "I want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks."

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

SCHNEIDER: By bringing up the confederate flag image, Dean brought the debate right back to values. When he defended his values, he fell right into the trap.

DEAN: I'm not going to take a back seat to anybody in terms of fighting bigotry. I'm the only person here that ever signed a bill that outlawed discrimination against gays and lesbians.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: That was a bill legalizing gay civil unions in Vermont, a very tough sell to Southern white voters who have Confederate flags in their pickup trucks -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thank you very much.

Well one veteran southern Democrat says he is so fed up with his party and especially the nine Democrats running for the White House, he has endorsed President Bush.

Joining me now, Senator Zell Miller of Georgia. He's not only speaking out, he's written a new book, "A National Party No More," in which he addresses what he says are the problems of his party. Senator Miller, good to see you. Thank you very much for coming by.

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: It's always good to see you. Thanks for having me.

WOODRUFF: And you.

If the Democrats are so off base, Senator, why are you remaining a Democrat? Why not join the Republican Party?

MILLER: I know this is hard to understand, but it's sort of like living in this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) house all your life. And it's getting in kind of in bad shape (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hard to heat and there are strangers in the basement and I don't know who they are or how they got there.

But it's home. It's where I've lived all my life. And I know I could have more comfortable digs somewhere else. But I haven't got long to live in this house. And I understand that and I know that's hard to understand, but it makes sense to me and it makes sense to my family and my neighbors and that's all that matters.

WOODRUFF: Senator, I am told that we are having audio problems. So we're going to -- if you'll just bear with us for just a minute, we're going to try to get those straightened out quickly. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Again, with me now, Senator Zell Miller whose new book, "A National Party No More," expresses his views of what's happened, what's gone wrong with the Democratic Party.

Senator, we just had an audio problem. I want to apologize for that.

MILLER: Oh, that's fine.

WOODRUFF: You we're just saying that it's like being in an old house. You love that house but it's changed right in front of you.

MILLER: That's right. And you'd probably be more comfortable somewhere else. But I haven't got any more years to live in this old house. And so, it's home, it always has been and this is where I'm going to stay. I was here first.

WOODRUFF: You say that the nine Democrats running for president are -- you call them "The Naive Nine" and you've already endorsed President Bush. We're still a year out from this election. So much could happen. How can you be so sure one year out that's the way to go?

MILLER: Well, two things. First of all, I've looked over the candidates. I've studied them. I'm trying to help them, I'm trying to tell them how to survive.

But what they've done is taken the worst -- and I'm talking about all of them. They've have taken the worst possible feature of the Mondale campaign, raise your taxes, and they've taken the worst possible feature of the McGovern campaign, peace at any price, and they have combined them.

What they ought to have been looking at is how John Kennedy carried the South. He carried Georgia by a lager percentage than he did his own state of Massachusetts. And he did it by buying a tax cutter and he did it by being tough on national security.

WOODRUFF: But would that be any different from what President Bush is offering?

MILLER: Well, then they could talk about the differences. But you don't just get different to be different. Especially whenever McGovern carried only one state with his program and Mondale carried only one state with his campaign.

WOODRUFF: So what would constitute, in your mind, a sensible, winning Democratic campaign and who would carry that banner?

MILLER: Well, I don't know who would carry it now. It's too late. But all you have to do is just look back at the winning campaigns.

Look at '92, when Bill Clinton was talking about changing welfare as we knew it. And that you punish criminals, not explain away their behavior and that you can't cave into special interests. And in '96 when he ran, saying there can't be a federal program for every problem. That's how you win in the South.

WOODRUFF: You talk about extreme, narrow special interests that you say now control the Democratic Party. But what about organizations like the NRA, like the Bankers Association...

MILLER: Oh, sure. WOODRUFF: ...the HMOs, these other groups that are completely supportive of the Republican Party. How is it different?

MILLER: Well, the way it is different is how those interests act. The Democrats have to be, in their own mind -- those special interests have to be the tail that wags the dog. They want you to "Look at me. We control this party." And they're very high maintenance.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are more mature. They operate (UNINTELLIGIBLE) under the radar and they go about doing their business. The special interests of the Democrats put their own narrow agenda ahead of the party as a whole. The Republican special interests don't do that.

WOODRUFF: Do you agree with some of the people who are running President Bush's campaign next year, who now say that they think it's going to be a very close election? It could be close to 50/50, like it was in the year 2000. Or do you think it's much more lopsided than that?

MILLER: Well, I think it depends on who the Democratic nominee is. But they all right now seem to be going in the same direction.

But I think it will probably be close. But you have to look not at the vote, the popular vote total. You have to look at the electoral vote total. And what has happened is for years, the Democrats have completely ignored one third of a nation. They're not a nationwide party. That's why I call the book "A National Party No More."

WOODRUFF: Let me read you quickly something that Zell Miller said back in 1992 at the Democratic National Convention.

MILLER: I thought you might.

WOODRUFF: You're very familiar with this quote. You said, "For 12 dark years, the Republicans have dealt in cynicism and skepticism. They've mastered the art of division and diversion and they've robbed us of our hope."

So the Republicans have redeemed themselves since then?

MILLER: Well, at that time, I was carried away by Bill Clinton, because I thought I had found the great Southern moderate that could become president. And he did. That's how he ran. That's not exactly how he governed later on.

But the world was changed, as far as I'm concerned, by 9/11. And I want a president now that's got a little grit in his craw. I want a president that's got some Churchill in him. And I like the fact that George Bush can look out and tell the American people, talking about Iraq, "We're not leaving." And the American people know it. And that's what they like in the South.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it there. Zell Miller, senator from the state of Georgia and the author of the book "A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat."

MILLER: Right.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much, senator.

MILLER: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Is the Granite State -- question -- up for grabs? Coming up, we're going to look at where the nine Democrats we've been talking about running for president stand in the latest poll out of New Hampshire.

Is Joe Lieberman having problems in his own home state? Today's headlines from the campaign trail are next.

And how much should we read into this week's Republican victories in Kentucky and Mississippi? I'll ask Republican Party Chairman Ed Gillespie.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We like those endorsements.

More news from the 2004 race in our second edition of "Campaign News Daily."

Howard Dean has widened his lead among New Hampshire voters in a new poll by the American Research group. Dean got 38 percent, followed by John Kerry at 24 percent. That's a nine-point jump for Dean in this poll since last months. All the other candidates are in single digits.

Senator John Edwards may be struggling in that poll, but he made his New Hampshire plans official earlier today. He stopped by the secretary of state's office where he registered for the Granite State's Democratic primary on January 27. Edwards is on two-day, 25- stop bus tour around the state of New Hampshire.

Joe Lieberman will not be receiving the endorsement of a left- leaning political group that he co-founded years ago. Lieberman's campaign team has pulled his name from contention following word that the Caucus of Connecticut Democrats will not be endorsing Lieberman. Today in Florida, Lieberman said that he group has rarely supported his campaigns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D-CT), CONNECTICUT: I'm not exactly news, because this is a pretty -- with all respect, it's a pretty small group and I don't believe they've ever endorsed me in my U.S. Senate campaigns. So I'm not surprised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The group started as an anti-Vietnam War group in the 1960s. It is not affiliated with the state Democratic Party.

Well, the Commission on Presidential Debates today announced dates and locations for three general election showdowns. Actually, three presidential and one vice presidential. The first will take place on September 30 at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The second, October 8, at Washington University in St. Louis. And the third, on October 13 at Arizona State University in Tempe. The only vice presidential debate will be held October 5 at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Is it party time for the GOP? I'll ask Republican chairman Ed Gillespie.

Was president bush the difference in this week's election victories?

INSIDE POLITICS returns in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With Tuesday's elections behind them, some Republicans may be kicking up their heels over the results. A couple hours ago, I spoke about the --- all of this with Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee. And I started by asking his take on GOP wins in the governor's races in Kentucky and Mississippi.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GILLESPIE: Well, we're excited about it. I'm excited for the people of Mississippi and Kentucky. They're going to have strong, effective governors their in Haley Barbour and Ernie Fletcher.

But you know we're still anticipating and preparing for close contests. We know that the electoral college is very evenly divided and the country is evenly divided. But I was encouraged by the polls that showed in many of the closer states of the electoral college things are trending our way.

WOODRUFF: You also have a wave of retirements among Democratic senators in the South. This must be giving you hope.

GILLESPIE: It is. It gives us great opportunities for pick-ups in the Senate. If you look at North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida. We'll wait and see what Senator Breaux decides in Louisiana. But we have real opportunity to expand our majorities in the House and the Senate as well as reelecting the president in '04.

WOODRUFF: At the same time, you have the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Gary Locke, he said this week -- and I'm going to quote -- he said, "this is an unsettled electorate looking for change." He said, "And that mood is likely to linger through next year's presidential election."

So are you really looking at an electorate that is unpredictable here? GILLESPIE: Well I think the electorate's always unpredictable. I respect the voters and always want to wait and see what they say. But they've spoken in Mississippi and Kentucky in these two governors races. I think they're going to speak again in Louisiana.

And what they're saying is, We want candidates who are talking about issues and are trying to fix problems. And what we saw in Kentucky and Mississippi is Republicans trying to improve schools there, improve health care, create jobs. And they were attacking problems and the Democrats were attacking Republicans. And the people are tired of that.

We're seeing it at a national level as well. This is what's going on at the national level with the Democratic candidates. Their constant stream of personal attacks against the president while he's out there trying to create jobs, trying to get a prescription drug benefit enacted, trying to pass energy policies.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the presidential race right now and the money aspect of it. Right now, of course, the president has opted out of federal financing of his campaign. It looks like Howard Dean on the Democratic side may do that. There could be other Democrats looking at doing the same thing.

Is this just essentially making campaign finance reform irrelevant? Is it just a matter of who can raise the most money now?

GILLESPIE: Well no. There are still the limits that are in place in terms of those campaign finance regulations and rules in terms of how much a candidate can take and where it can come from, there's no corporate dollars, it's all individuals, it's limited to $2,000 per contribution.

But I do think it's interesting. I noticed in "The Washington Post" today, it said that Governor Dean is thinking about opting out. And people are concerned. But then I saw organizations like Common Cause and Senate for Responsive Politics and the Good Government Organizations that have been critical in the past of Republicans for making the decision. The quote was they're going to give Dean a pass because he's determined to defeat President Bush. I think there's a little hypocrisy here.

I would say, though, that I think when you look at the way campaign finance is playing out, there are a number of these third party groups on the left coming together. They're going to spend between $350 to $500 million to defeat a candidate for federal office next year, the president of the United States. That's over a million dollars a day in unreported soft money contributions going to defeat a federal candidate. That's the real concern here people should be looking at.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying the conventional wisdom that Republicans are way ahead is just the tip of the iceberg?

GILLESPIE: It's a misconception. And the fact is we report all of our money, but what they're doing on the outside with these various groups is not going to be reported.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly, the war in Iraq. Word today that there are going to be more American soldiers called up in the months to come to go over to Iraq to serve a tour of duty. As we know, Americans are dying or being wounded almost every day over there.

Are you -- is this something that you think the administration has got to somehow bring to closure, has got to start bringing down the number of troops over there for this not to hurt the president in next year's election?

GILLESPIE: Well I think the president is focused on winning the war against terror and doing what is necessary to make sure we prevail there. And troop strength and decisions like that have nothing to do with political fortunes, nor should they.

And I think the president is right to be focused on only what does it take to win. And if it takes more troops that's what we ought to do because it's in our national security interest for us to win the war against terror and in the interest of our safety here in the United States.

And if we don't fight the war against terror in places like Baghdad and Kabul, it's more likely to be fought in places like Boston and Kansas City. So I've not yet reached the point of cynicism where I'm trying to gauge the political impact of our troop strength.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

Still ahead, which presidential prospect is looking for love? We'll tell you which of the candidates is describing their ideal mate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If you've ever laid awake at night wondering what makes a good first lady, we have one answer for you. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, the only bachelor among the nine Democrats running for the White House, was asked that question during a candidates' forum last night in New Hampshire. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'd certainly want an dynamic, outspoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single pair health care in a full employment economy.

(LAUGHTER)

KUCINICH: If you're out there, call me.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: I'm sure that there are thousands of women who meet that description lining up outside Mr. Kucinich's campaign headquarters.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.

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



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