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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

John Kerry Fires Campaign Manager; Howard Dean to Forego Matching Funds

Aired November 10, 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: John Kerry shakes up his presidential campaign in search of an antidote to Howard Dean fever. We'll have the inside story on the flares and Kerry's problems.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: This is the Democratic Party. We are a very big, very broad tent.

ANNOUNCER: Could the party soon be over for Terry McAuliffe? The DNC's chief future is in question on our political tip sheet.

A nation divided. Who has had a more polarizing affect on American politics, George W. Bush or Bill Clinton?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us. Well, there has been buzz about a possible shakeup in John Kerry's campaign for weeks, as his White House bid seemed to flounder and Howard Dean's surged. After a weekend dominated by news of Dean's decision to reject public financing, push finally came to shove in the Kerry camp. Last night, the senator replaced his campaign manager, Jim Jordan, with long-time Democratic operative Mary Beth Cahill.

Let's bring in our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Candy, what happened here?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, what happened at the base is that John Kerry started out in January as the presumed front-runner, and we are 73 days away from the Iowa Caucasus, and he's running third in the polls in Iowa and second in the polls in New Hampshire. Something had to give. As you said, this had been going on for awhile.

We are told that he came to this somewhat reluctantly. Jordan and the senator are friends and have been friends for many years now. So it was a tough one, but, in fact, John Kerry cannot sustain a loss in either Iowa or New Hampshire, much less both.

So they had to do something to try to begin to shake it up. In the end, does it come down to the candidate? You betcha. Somehow it always comes down to how that campaign manager can get the candidate to be the candidate.

WOODRUFF: So should we read this, Candy, that there's going to be a significant strategy change here?

CROWLEY: Yes, actually. I think what we're seeing here is that he has replaced Jim Jordan with Cahill, who is a liberal. She is a traditional liberal.

She has ties in the gay and lesbian community. She has ties with EMILY's List, which, as you know, raises funds for women's causes.

WOODRUFF: She was Senator Ted Kennedy's chief of staff.

CROWLEY: She was Senator Ted Kennedy's chief of staff. And she has ties in the African-American community. And what we're going to see from the Kerry campaign is an effort to say to base Democrats, that is, those Democrats most likely to vote in the primaries, listen here, Howard Dean is not the Democrat you think he is.

We heard some of that, the NRA, we'll hear about Medicare, we'll hear about Social Security. He's going to pound that home that special interests must be taken care of first with the Democratic Party. So he's going to try to pin that on Dean and say this is not the man you think he is.

WOODRUFF: Now, what about this whole public financing question, Candy? Now that Dean has opted out., what's Kerry going to do?

CROWLEY: Likely, he'll opt out. He has said previously, if Howard Dean opts out of federal financing, I probably will, too.

Look, the problem here is that Howard Dean is opting out because he is getting small donations from a number of people. John Kerry may opt out to use his own wealth. That may be taken very differently within the base of the party. It's two separate decisions made for the same reason, and that is to be more competitive. But made under very different circumstances, and it may well play differently.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy Crowley, reporting for us on this bombshell from the Kerry campaign that broke this morning. Candy, thank you very much.

Well, Howard Dean, speaking of what Candy was just talking about, Dean is today defending his decision to opt out of the public campaign finance system. In Iowa, Dean argued that President Bush effectively destroyed the system when he ignored it in 2000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The system was consistent when it was put in place. But because the president for the last two election cycles chose to reject it, he's been able to raise enormous amounts of money from the largest corporate titans in the country from a series of very wealthy individuals, all of whom benefit from his tax cut policy. And the middle class people lost out because of this tax cut policy. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: And the Bush war chest, speaking of that, keeps growing. President and Mrs. Bush are expected to raise some $2.5 million at his and hers fundraisers in the South and the Northeast today. In Arkansas, Mr. Bush tried to keep the focus on America's finances, despite recent signs of economic improvement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will stay focused on our economy until the American people are able to put food on the table and take care of their family responsibilities by finding a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush is scheduled to talk more about the economy in South Carolina this hour.

Well, let's talk more about the '04 race and the change at the top of John Kerry's campaign. Veteran political reporter David Nyhan is with us now from Boston.

David, I am sure you were hearing what Candy Crowley was talking about just a moment ago. What about Jim Jordan, the man who was at the top of the Kerry campaign? How much of this was about him, how much of it was about the candidate?

DAVID NYHAN, EAGLE TRIBUNE NEWSPAPERS: It's always about the candidate. Jim actually did a good job in bringing together disparate elements. He was a conservative Democrat, Democratic Leadership Council type guy. He had put together a got organization of the endorsements, the field operations on the ground in the early states. All that had been done competently.

He never was able to solve the tussle for Kerry's soul between Kerry's old friends in Boston and the Washington crowd of consultants. And I think with his replacement by Mary Beth Cahill, which had been in the works for sometime, I think, and was not a surprise to people had been following the campaign closely, it was a frank acknowledgement that the system they had wasn't working.

Kerry's problem is still message. What's his reason? What's the rationale for running against -- for trying to replace Bush?

And the Dean thing, tapping into that anger that we talked about before, Judy, has left Kerry in second place. And he can't afford to lose New Hampshire. So he's going to try a new line-up.

WOODRUFF: What is it that Mary Beth Cahill is going to be able to do, though, David, that Jim Jordan couldn't do before her?

NYHAN: Well, besides her ties with natural women's groups, EMILY's List, the Women's Lobby (ph), and things like that, she also knows the players in Massachusetts. And the people who have known Kerry for a long time, through his three Senate fights, and his years before that as a crime-busting prosecutor, have been surprised that the Kerry they see on national television is not the Kerry they saw who licked former Governor Bill Weld (ph) in a heavyweight championship of a Senate fight a couple of years ago.

The Boston people want Kerry to be Kerry. And I think that you can look for a more aggressive approach to the Dean phenomenon, which is what it is, and a chance for Kerry to swing a little harder at those core constituencies that he needs to persuade that he can be the one to carry the national party banner in the South and in the Midwest. Whereas a lot of the people, the establishment Democrats fear a Dean candidacy could be a McGovern-Mondale wipeout.

WOODRUFF: Aggressive in what way, David? I mean, what exactly is it that John Kerry has got to do to make up that lost ground in New Hampshire?

NYHAN: Well, somebody has to stop Dean. And I think the Kerry people would love to see Gephardt nose ahead of Dean in Iowa, as the current polls seem to suggest could happen.

There's a split between those who think Kerry should be running against Bush and those who want him to rough up Dean. There is a minority camp I think in the Kerry operation that wishes he would take on Bush more aggressively and more directly, like Howard Dean has done, and which has been rewarded with this astonishing outpouring of contributions on the Internet from core Democrats who detest Bush administration policies. So I think you could see Kerry going in that direction.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, we are all going to be watching that very closely. David Nyhan has already been watching it for us.

Thank you very much, David, for talking with us on this Monday with all these changes going on in the Democratic campaign.

NYHAN: OK, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, right now, let's head to Iowa for today's "Campaign News Daily." It is 10 weeks and counting until the leadoff presidential caucuses. And today, three Democratic contenders are in the Hawkeye State: Kerry, Dean and Dick Gephardt.

Gephardt may be breathing a little easier after a new poll showing that he's gained ground in Iowa, a state widely considered a must-win for the Missouri congressman. Gephardt is leading Dean, 27 to 20 percent in the Iowa poll. Kerry is third at 15 percent. A survey of about two weeks ago showed Gephardt and Dean were tied in Iowa.

The battle between Gephardt and Dean for union endorsements heats up this week. Sources say they expect Gephardt to receive the endorsement of the United Auto Workers regional chapter. That includes Iowa.

But Dean has his eyes on a bigger prize. On Wednesday, he is expected to get a formal joint endorsement by two big unions, the Service Employees International Union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. A Gephardt adviser tells CNN that Dean's "ask me not" is no surprise, as he contends the union's leader has had it in for Gephardt all year.

Well, three years after Al Gore failed to keep the White House in Democratic hands, he jokingly bills himself as a recovering politician. But the former vice president still has a bone to pick with the man who defeated him. In a speech to liberal advocacy groups in Washington yesterday, Gore accused the Bush administration of using the war on terrorism to consolidate its power without any accountability.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Under the rubric of protecting national security, they have obtained new powers to gather information from citizens and keep it secret. Yet, at the same time, they, themselves, refuse to disclose information that is highly relevant to the war against terrorism. They are even arrogantly refusing to provide information about 9/11 in there possession to the 9/11 Commission.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: At one point, the audience cheered "Run Al run," but Gore shook his head and went back to his speech.

Well, whatever Democrats may say or do, is the Bush camp laughing all the way to the bank? Still ahead, more on the president's fundraising prowess and whether he thinks Howard Dean can give him a run for his money.

Plus, the Kerry campaign shakeup. How does former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen figure in? We'll ask her.

And going to read from the political "Hotline Tipsheet."

And Dean by the book. I will talk to some insiders who have written about the former governor's political rise.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Today we start a new weekly feature on INSIDE POLITICS. Our Monday "Hotline Tipsheet" features Chuck Todd. He is the editor-in-chief, of course of "The Hotline," an insider's political briefing produced daily by "The National Journal."

Chuck, good to see you. And we're looking forward to having you with us through the campaign.

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": I'm excited about it.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's talk about the big announcement in the Kerry campaign that Jim Jordan is leaving. How do you see that?

TODD: Well, it's interesting. It's who played a role in doing the actual firing. It wasn't just John Kerry, it was also Jeanne Shaheen, the former governor of New Hampshire., and now a national chair.

It shows that she's intricately involved obviously in some strategic decisions. And, more importantly, it's sending the signal -- obviously, the signal they're trying to send is this New Hampshire focus that they may need to have and want to have. But what does that mean for Iowa?

I think a lot of people in Iowa that are Kerry people are going to be wondering, what does this mean with Shaheen and with a very Massachusetts-centric, New Hampshire-centric campaign leadership team? What does that mean for the Kerry campaign in Iowa?

WOODRUFF: Well, it certainly is something that we are going to...

TODD: An interesting little personal in there between -- Shaheen was very upset with the DSCC in 2002 and how they -- and, of course, Jim Jordan was in charge of the DSCC in 2002.

WOODRUFF: When she was running for the Senate herself?

TODD: When she was running for the Senate. So there are some personal dynamics there that I'm sure were uncomfortable last night.

WOODRUFF: Chuck, let's talk about the Democrats and Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. What are you hearing about that?

TODD: Well, it's interesting. Right after the whole Kentucky and Mississippi losses that the Democrats had, we talked to a lot of Democratic strategists who were griping a lot, that said, maybe the Democrats never should have won those two states, but they shouldn't have gotten clobbered the way they did. They shouldn't have lost by so much.

And they want to pin the blame on the national party structure, that there wasn't the money there, there wasn't the support structure. And of course, Terry McAuliffe will say, campaign finance reform has tied his hands. But we have heard from a couple of very prominent Democrats in the Democratic Party who said that if Democrats lose this Louisiana governor's race this Saturday, that means the Democrats are 0 for 4 in major races in 2003. And they will be looking for a scapegoat, and it could very well be Terry McAuliffe.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's move down to Florida, where there's a congresswoman who is already talking about running. She's got national name recognition, Katherine Harris. What do you hear from the Democrats about her?

TODD: Well, the Democrats are very excited about this. They would love nothing more than have Katherine Harris be the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate so that somehow they could turn this into a presidential message in Florida. And the Democrats would dump Cheney on the Bush ticket and they'd be running against Bush-Harris.

Republicans know this, and it's our understanding that some high level Republicans have already made some overtures to people close to Katherine Harris, suggesting that this is not her year to run for the U.S. Senate. Apparently the message was not received very well, and Mrs. Harris can expect a call more directly from somebody very high up, who is going to suggest that the would like her not to run for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Very worried about Florida and carrying Florida in the presidential race.

WOODRUFF: In other words, the Republicans see this as a potential liability as well. Is that what you're saying?

TODD: Absolutely. They're very nervous about it.

WOODRUFF: All right. Chuck Todd, it's the "Hotline Tipsheet." And we're going to be talking to you every week.

TODD: Great. Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

Well, if you or someone you know is a political junky, you're going to find "The Hotline," an insider's guide to politics, on "The National Journal's" Web site. Go to nationaljournal.com, click on "The Hotline," tab for subscription information. It's very easy.

A new poll in Ohio shows Senator Joe Lieberman leading the Democratic presidential race there. Lieberman leads with 18 percent, followed by Dick Gephardt. Representative Dennis Kucinich makes one of his best showings in his home state. He's holding down third place, with 12 percent.

Just ahead: a closer look at a new book, "Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President." You will hear from two of the book's contributors.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A new book is shining the spotlight on the man who rose from relative obscurity to become one of the Democratic president shall front-runners. "Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President," was written by a group of insiders familiar with the former Vermont governor.

Two of those contributors join us now from New York. They are Hamilton Davis, former Washington bureau chief for "The Providence Journal"; and John Margolis, former correspondent with "Newsday" and with "The Chicago Tribune."

Gentlemen, what about the question you hear from Republicans in particular and, to some extent, from Democrats, is Howard Dean a liberal, or is he a moderate liberal? Which is it, John? JOHN MARGOLIS, BOOK CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he's -- he governed Vermont very much like a cross between a moderate Democrat and an Eisenhower Republican. He's a budget-cutting, to some extent, a tax- cutting liberal. But he's a fiscal conservative. He's socially moderate to liberal.

He's like most Americans, actually. He's not easily pigeonholeable (ph) by ideology. I think sometimes we make a little too much of ideology.

WOODRUFF: How would you describe it, Hamilton Davis? You did not write the chapter in the book on civil unions, it was another one of the contributors. But there are those who are saying that's going to be a real vulnerable spot for Howard Dean. How do you see that?

HAMILTON DAVIS, BOOK CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think it will be a very vulnerable spot for Howard Dean. There wasn't much he could do about it. It was an issue that was decided essentially by the Vermont Supreme Court. But that will be a difficult problem for him, especially in conservative areas.

As far as whether he's a conservative, however, or a liberal, I think that John is right, that he is he is very, very conservative on financial issues. The most conservative governor that Vermont has had in 50 years on spending, on government spending. But he's very liberal on social issues.

WOODRUFF: John Margolis, other Democrats right now are coming after Howard Dean. Completely understandable because he is moving into a front-runner-- has been moving into a front-runner position. In particular, John Kerry and others are accusing him of flip- flopping. They're citing statements he's made on Medicare and so forth.

What did you see in his record as Vermont governor that informs us about that?

MARGOLIS: Well, he was fairly consistent. I am not saying he never changed his mind or gave into political pressure. Every governor does that from time to time. But he does not have a record of being inconsistent on issues.

It is true over that, over the years, he made -- as part of his budget-cutting fiscal conservatism, he has been concerned about the rate of growth of especially the Medicare budget. There are statements that you can take, and whether they are out of context or not, I'm not sure. But there are statements that you can take of his that he gave on some television programs years back, where he seemed to be for really controlling the growth of Medicare spending.

I don't think this is a liability in the general election. It may be a problem in some of the Democratic primaries and caucuses.

WOODRUFF: Hamilton Davis, what about Howard Dean the man and his character? What should voters know about him that maybe we don't?

DAVIS: Well, I think it's worth reading the whole book, actually. That's an advertisement, but he's a very complex character.

I have watched American politics for over 40 years. And he's the most interesting and difficult personality to understand. He's full of contradictions.

He's very bright, but he can be careless. He does change his mind sometimes. He moves very quickly, but he is very candid. He is very honest, and he's going to be a very interesting character for the American voter to figure out. It won't be easy.

WOODRUFF: John Margolis, do you find him complicated?

MARGOLIS: Well, I think he's probably different from most other politicians. And I think this has what has kind of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a lot of the Democratic insiders, and perhaps some voters.

He's not like -- he's a doctor. He's the only physician I know, except for that fellow in Kansas some years ago, whose name escapes me, who rose to this position in politics. Obviously we now have a Senate majority leader who is a doctor, but as far -- I can't remember a physician governor. And certainly, I can't remember a physician running for president and making a strong run.

And I think that a lot of the ways he's different from other politicians lies in the fact that, where most of them are lawyers, and some of them are academics, he's a doctor. And I think that does make him different.

WOODRUFF: The book is "Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President." We've been talking with two of the reporters who contributed to this book, people who covered Howard Dean, Hamilton Davis and John Margolis.

Gentlemen, it's great to see both of you. Thanks very much.

MARGOLIS: You're welcome.

DAVIS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Turning to another Democratic candidate, John Kerry shaking up his campaign. Will the staff change reenergize his run for the White House? Coming up, I'll ask Kerry campaign chairwoman and former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen.

And are political divisions between Democrats and Republicans as wide and as deep as the Grand Canyon? Some new numbers may surprise you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DEAN: Our goal is to match George Bush.

ANNOUNCER: He's pulling out of public financing, and grabbing major union endorsements. Has Howard Dean won the invisible primary?

From Arkansas to South Carolina, the Bush campaign cash tour keeps rolling in the dough. How will the president use this sizable war chest?

First, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Is Dennis Miller next? We've got our eye on celebrity candidates.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

Well even John Kerry's aides acknowledged why they felt compelled to make a change at the top of his presidential campaign by replacing his campaign manager with a veteran operative. The Kerry camp is looking for a political spark, a dash of much-need momentum.

As our Bill Schneider explains Kerry needs to better compete with Howard Dean in the primary before the primaries.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): It's called "the invisible primary." Whoever comes in first in the polls and first in fund raising the year before the election usually gets the nomination. Is there winner yet?

DEAN: I don't think we are pronouncing ourselves the presumptive nominee. That is up to the voters and we haven't had a single vote cast yet.

SCHNEIDER: But two important events last week made Governor Dean the prohibitive favorite to win the invisible primary. He got two major union endorsements.

ANDREW STERN, SEIU PRESIDENT: We are hopeful that there are actually other unions that share our members' excitement for Dr. Dean.

SCHNEIDER: And on Saturday, Dean is announced he can the money he needs without taking public financing.

Dean is now poised to be the Democrats' fund raising leader at the end of the year. National polls are far from decisive, but they all show Governor Dean moving to the top of the list. So the race leeks like Dean versus stop Dean. The other candidates are auditioning for that role by getting rough.

Dick Gephardt is hoping to beat Dean in Iowa.

REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Howard Dean on the other hand agrees with George Bush on Medicare cuts.

SCHNEIDER: But if Gephardt wins Iowa, where does he go from there? He's barely competing in New Hampshire a week later. John Kerry hopes to stop Dean in New Hampshire.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is not straight talk when you stand up and try to translate your appeal to the NRA into some glorious effort to have a discussion of race relations in America.

SCHNEIDER: But Dean has opened up a double-digit lead over Kerry in New Hampshire. That leaves the first southern primary, February 3 in South Carolina.

MCAULIFFE: I believe that after February 3, that we'll be down to maybe two or three candidates.

SCHNEIDER: Dean and who? John Edwards is making the bid to become the favorite son of the South.

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

SCHNEIDER: But Wesley Clark, a military leader, also looks good in South Carolina. Joe Lieberman's the most conservative Democrat in the race. Gephardt has the trade issue, a big deal in South Carolina. Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun have a base of support in the state's large black vote. And there's a huge block of undecided Democrats in South Carolina.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: If all the other candidates split the South Carolina vote, Dean could eke out a plurality victory there. And, you know, that's exactly what Michael Dukakis did in Texas and in Florida in 1988 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, looking back at history for us. Thanks very much.

Well, Howard Dean says his big decision to reject public campaign financing is needed to be competitive with the Republicans' fund raiser in chief. Mr. Bush rakes in more campaign cash in South Carolina and Arkansas today. Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King.

John, just how much money is the president raising?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, about $2.1 million today. The first stop in Arkansas about $500,000; $1.6 more to be raised in Greenville, South Carolina. The first lady is out as well. She's raising money. The vice president here today. But he has been very busy raising money.

At the end of today, Judy, the Bush campaign will be right about at $100 million. A little bit shy of that mark, most campaign officials say, as they count the money coming in. And they're not going to stop at $100 million, even though that dwarfs the Democrats already. The goal is still to raise between $175, perhaps as much as $200 million. The Bush campaign already spending some of that, building up a staff in some key states, using it to build the voter registration system.

But most of it, of course, being kept in reserve for when the Bush campaign decides to do the most expensive thing you can do wit that money, go on TV in a big way -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: A lot of money. John, we know the White House, the campaign has been keeping a close eye on these more serious Democratic candidates, as they see it. But now that Howard Dean has turned a corner, if you will, with these two big union endorsements and so forth, what are they saying about Dean?

KING: Well, they certainly say that he by the week emerging as Bill just put it as the prohibitive front runner in what we call the invisible primary. He has more money than the other Democrats, he is getting some of these key endorsements. Still a long way out. But the Republican National Committee is already conducting the research.

One of the interesting thing many here at the White House are talking about is they think Howard Dean is too liberal to win a national election. But they also have this theory that it could be a very polarized electorate and that turning out your base could be the most important dynamic come next November, one year from now.

And what they say is that Howard Dean has some work to do to repair his relations after this big debate over the Confederate flag. Republicans say the last thing Howard Dean would need if he is the nominee, and that is a big, big if, still, is to have disenchantment in African-American community with his candidacy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, reporting for us from the White House. John, thank you very much.

A reminder, meanwhile, for President Bush. The campaign money isn't everything. A "Newsweek" poll offers these potentially troubling numbers for Mr. Bush. Asked if they would like to see him reelected, 44 percent said yes, but 50 percent said, no.

And now back to the '04 Democrats and the shakeup in John Kerry's campaign. We're joined now by Kerry campaign chairwoman and former New Hampshire Governor Jean Shaheen. Governor, good to see you again. Thank you very much.

JEAN SHAHEEN, KERRY CAMPAIGN CHAIRWOMAN: Nice to be here.

WOODRUFF: There has been criticism, at least among the insiders of the Kerry campaign, for weeks, or even months now. Was this more about John Kerry or about the person who was running his campaign?

SHAHEEN: Well I think it was John Kerry's decision to take action to bring new leadership into the campaign so that we can bring momentum as we to go into the real voting in this campaign. The fact is it's still almost 80 days from any time that real voters go to the polls. And we are working very hard, John Kerry is working very hard in Iowa and New Hampshire to do what he needs to do to let people now why he's the best to take on George Bush next year.

WOODRUFF: What needs to change with the Kerry campaign? What has to happen now, Governor?

SHAHEEN: Well, as I said, we're working very hard. Most people are just beginning to take a look at this race. There was a new poll out in Iowa over the weekend that showed that one in five caucus goers are still undecided about what they're going to do.

And we know that when people get a chance to hear John Kerry and to hear what he has to say about providing health care for people in this country, about getting the economy moving again, about creating -- getting an energy policy that makes us independent of Middle Eastern oil, when they have a chance to hear him, to learn about his background and experience, and his experience on foreign policy, they like him.

We had a straw poll out of Harrison County in Iowa, a small county in western Iowa. And none of the candidates organized for that. And yet John Kerry won that because people had had chance to see him and hear what he had to say.

WOODRUFF: But what about your state of New Hampshire? John Kerry is the senator from the neighboring state of Massachusetts. He's been organized, he's been working hard in New Hampshire. And yet, right now, Howard Dean has a double digit lead. What has happened? What's gone wrong for Senator Kerry?

SHAHEEN: Well I don't think it's a question of what's gone wrong. The fact is that John Kerry and Howard Dean are very much in play in New Hampshire. And voters are just beginning to pay attention. You know for us political folks, we've been paying attention for a long time. But, you know, over 70 percent of the people in New Hampshire make up their minds in the last weeks of the campaign.

So we want to be there on the ground. We have a very effective campaign organization in New Hampshire. And we're letting people know where John Kerry stands.

And, you know, consistently when people are polled nationwide about who is the best to take on George Bush, John Kerry does better than the other Democrats in the field. He does better than Howard Dean. And that's because people are looking, I believe, for someone who has not just domestic experience, but foreign policy experience. Because we've seen what happens under this president when we don't have the kind of multilateral view of the world that we need.

WOODRUFF: But you must be concerned about the momentum that Howard Dean has picked up, the fact that he's got contributions from now almost a million people. He's got all this money. He's opting out of public -- federal financing of his campaign. You look at that, and it must be discouraging.

SHAHEEN: No. Listen, I started working for Jimmy Carter when he was a blip on the polling scale. I worked for Gary Hart when nobody knew who he is was. I'm used to working for people who come from behind. And the fact is usually in the New Hampshire primary, is it's not the front runner who wins.

WOODRUFF: What about, Governor, the comments that I've read from those who have been watching the campaign organization saying that you've had two competing centers in the Kerry campaign. You've had, you know, a couple of different media advisers, different speech writers. And that what it's going to take is somebody to come in and impose a chain of command on this campaign. Is that what Mary Beth Cahill is going to have to do?

SHAHEEN: Well we're very pleased that Mary Beth Cahill has agreed to take on the campaign. She has a lot of experience. She was at Emily's List. She's been working for Senator Kennedy. She knows Massachusetts, she knows the Washington scene. And we think she will bring skill and understanding that will be very important in the campaign.

WOODRUFF: She is associated with some liberal centers, if you will, in the Democratic Party. You mentioned Emily;s List. I know she worked for Senator -- for Congressman Barney Frank. She's worked for Senator Kennedy. Is that seconding a message, do you think, to the Democratic electorate?

SHAHEEN: Well, I don't consider Emily's List a liberal organization. Emily's List is very effective at electing women. One of the things we intend to do in this campaign is to energize women because John Kerry has the best position on issues that affect women and families.

WOODRUFF: Governor Jeanne -- Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen, who is chairwoman of the Kerry campaign. Thank you very much for coming by.

SHAHEEN: Very nice to be here.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

The push for prescription drug coverage is still ahead. We're going to look at the muscle behind the political maneuvering over Medicare reform.

Plus, he promised to be a uniter. But is President Bush dividing the nation more than his predecessors?

And later, it's no joke -- or is it? Does comedian Al Franken have a future as a candidate?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Right now. OK.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: I'm talking about this bill. Let me respond briefly to my friend from...

WOODRUFF: Expect plenty of talk in the U.S. Senate this week. This afternoon, Democratic Senator Harry Reid of Nevada launched into what he promises will be a five-hour speech. He is protesting the Republican leadership's scheduling of 30 straight hours of debate to protest Democratic filibusters on judicial nominations.

As we take a leave, we want to show you some live pictures from South Carolina. President Bush at his second fund-raising stop of this day in South Carolina. A little earlier, he was in Arkansas raising a total of almost $2.5 million, bringing his campaign war chest, we are told, to roughly $98 million. As John King said earlier, dwarfing what the Democrats have raised.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A lobbying powerhouse, the AARP is at the center of some intense wheeling and dealing over Medicare reform and a push for a prescription drug benefit.

The latest from our Congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the fantasyland depicted in this AARP ad, powerful senators come marching to this woman's house. She wants a Medicare prescription drug benefit by the end of the day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody on board? Uh-huh?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's eat.

KARL: If only it were so easy. But like the woman in the ad, the AARP has the power to command the attention of Congress, more than 35 million members. Only the Catholic Church and the AAA have more.

And, as Congress tries to pass a prescription drug bill, the AARP is weighing in big time.

JOHN ROTHER, POLICE DIRECTOR, AARP: I don't know any other organization that's been more involved in the whole Medicare debate than AARP.

KARL: That's no surprise. But this is: the AARP has been working hard with Republicans on crafting the bill.

AARP's CEO William Novelli has been meeting regularly with Republican leaders Hastert, Frist and DeLay,even as Democratic leaders have denounced Republican efforts to change Medicare.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: And I'm very disappointed that there hasn't been more vocal opposition to much of this from AARP. That's not a surprise to them. We've expressed our disappointment to them personally.

KARL: Astounding criticism, considering AARP has traditionally been viewed as a strong Democratic ally. But AARP sees this year, with Republicans committed to spending $400 billion on a drug benefit, as a unique chance to deliver on a top priority for its members.

ROTHER: We know how important the prescription drug is -- benefit is for our members. And we know that this is a opportunity to strengthen the program for the future if we do it right.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: The train is leaving the station. There is $400 billion on the table and if we don't pick it up and run with it, I think AARP is going to have a hard time just going back to their members and giving them an excuse as to why it didn't pass.

KARL: AARP says it shares many of the concerns Democrats have. But as one AARP official said, we are more inclined to see the glass half empty than half full.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KARL: Now a final compromise is still being worked out. When it is, Republicans are hoping they can get an AARP endorsement. At the very least, they do not want the AARP opposing their bill, because they know that would makes it much, much more difficult to pass -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jon Karl reporting from the Capitol, thank you.

Still to come, nearly three years after President Bush finally defeated Al Gore in a marathon election, are we still divided as a nation? Our Bruce Morton will fill us in on what a new poll says when we return.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The political divisions among Americans ran deep during the Monica Lewinsky scandal that almost brought down the Clinton presidency. The same was true during the battle for the White House in the last election.

And if you think those divisions are less pronounced today, you might be surprised by the results of a new survey.

Here's CNN's Bruce Morton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Pew Research Center polled in late July on a range of issues. Polled again in October on President Bush, Iraq and other questions. The result -- two parties evenly divided and bitterly at odds.

ANDREW KOHUT, PEW CENTER: We could have renamed this report Still 50-50, But More So." Politically, we have about even numbers of Republicans and Democrats. But we find Republicans and Democrats disagreeing much more than we did four years ago. In fact, disagreeing more about basic political beliefs and values than at any time since 1987, when we first started these surveys.

MORTON: After 9/11, the country seemed to come together. But Iraq has ended that. By 85 to 10, Republicans think invading Iraq was the right decision. Independents agree 59 to 35. Democrats disagree, 39 percent in favor, 54 against.

KOHUT: With Iraq, especially with Iraq not going well,Democrats and many independents are not as militant as they were right after the 9/11 attacks.

MORTON: Other differences: Republicans think their personal financial situation has improved other this president. Democrats and independents disagree. Democrats and independents say the government should do more to help the needy, Republicans don't.

The fact that the parties are now equal means the Republicans have gained with just about every voting block except African- Americans.

Americans with a strong personal religious commitment, evangelical Protestants and Catholics are increasingly likely to be Republican.

Still, when President Bush is matched against a generic Democrat, it's a tie -- 42 percent of registered voters say the president, 42 percent back that unnamed Democrat. That's about where the last two presidents, Bill Clinton and Bush the first were at this point in their first terms. And the president leads when matched against particular Democrats -- Howard Dean, John Kerry and so on.

President Bush himself is a polarizing figure.

KOHUT: He has great support among Republicans, and almost equal levels of strong opposition among Democrats.

MORTON (on camera): In fact, a Gallup Poll out this month shows that 89 percent of the Republicans approve of the job Mr. Bush is doing as president. Just 23 percent of the Democrats do. That's a 66-point gap, a bigger gap than either Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton ever had, which makes Mr. Bush a polarizing figure big time.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, Dennis Miller and Al Franken have something in common. Both men make today's special celebrity edition of "Campaign News Daily." Stay tuned for the star-studded details.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: As we mentioned a while ago, President Bush out on the campaign trail, the fund-raising trail, you might say today, in the South. First in Arkansas, now in South Carolina raising big money for his reelection bid.

It turns out in South Carolina, he had an appearance at an auto plant where he was talking economy and trade. But we want to share with you one of the lighter moments of the president's visit. This took place just a few moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And Spartanburg Stainless makes metal stampings and assemblies. But we also make beer kegs. We're the only American beer keg manufacturer in North America.

BUSH: I quit drinking in '86. But I bet some of the people out here use the product. I am not going to point out which ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we did notice a dip in demand at a point in time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: President bush on the spot in Greer, South Carolina appearing at an auto plant just a little while ago.

Well, Dennis Miller apparently won't, but Al Franken might. It's all part of a celebrity edition of "Campaign News Daily."

Apparently, it is not Miller time in California. The comedian's name had been mentioned as a possible Republican challenger for Senator Barbara Boxer. However, Miller has now signed a multimillion dollar contract to do a nightly program on CNBC starting in January.

Another celebrity, though, may have political ambitions, Al Franken, called one of his books, "Why Not Me?" Well, he may be seriously asking himself that question. "NewsWeek" is reporting -- quote -- "Franken isn't laughing off the idea of running for the U.S. Senate." The magazine says that Franken's friends are urging him to challenge Minnesota's freshman Republican senator Norm Coleman. We need to get on the phone to Mr. Franken to find out what he's going to do.

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

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