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Senate Talk-A-Thon in 22nd Hour; President Bush Talking Medicare, Raising Money; Interview With Senator Tom Daschle

Aired November 13, 2003 - 15:30   ET


SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: You want to talk about it for 30 hours? We'll talk. We'll talk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Qualified judicial nominees...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president goes too far.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Playing politics...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Resorts to the filibuster...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a filibuster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's filibustered.

ANNOUNCER: Senate talk-fest 2003. The marathon continues. But is anything being accomplished?

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: Florida loves George W. Bush.

ANNOUNCER: President Bush follows the money to Florida, breaking more records along the way. How can Democrats compete with a master at raising early campaign cash?

Let the good times roll. It's hard to say which they do better in Louisiana, throw a good party or hold a fascinating election?



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us. After more than 21 hours of arguing on the Senate floor, Republicans hope that their beef with the Democrats is being heard loud and clear across America. But just in case, President Bush helped to deliver the message. He appeared this morning with three still unconfirmed judicial nominees and demand that the Democrats stop filibustering.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A few senators are playing politics, and it's wrong and it's shameful and it's hurting the system.


WOODRUFF: But Democrats contend that they are playing by Senate rules, while Republicans are wasting time staging a stunt like the talk-a-thon. Let's get an update now on the bickering and any actual progress being made from the Hill from our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl.

Jonathan, I don't know if you spent the night with them, but where do things stand?

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are now in the 22nd straight hour of debate, and there's been a lot said, Judy, lots and lots of talk. But I have to say, there really hasn't been anything new said during this.

Republicans are continuing their complaints about the way Democrats have treated four of the president's most high-profile judicial nom nominees that have been blocked via filibuster, another two that have been threatened to be blocked. That's been their complaint. To get a sense of what they were saying, here was Lindsey Graham sometime after 1:00 in the morning.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There has been a concerted effort by the Democratic leadership to block judicial nominees in an unprecedented way. And that's why we're all here tonight. Not only is that unprecedented, it's very dangerous.


KARL: Now, this has been a Republican sponsored talk-a-thon, but Democrats have been matching Republicans speech for speech. Here is Barbara Boxer saying that the Democrats actually have a good record in her view on confirming the president's judges.


BOXER: Well, here we go. More complaining and more upset from the other side. They just didn't get 100 percent of what they wanted. They only got 98 percent. The score, 168-4. You can print other charts, but here's the truth.


KARL: Now, this debate will go on until at least midnight tonight. And we're told it could actually go much longer than that -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jon, we understand they're getting ever closer to a Medicare deal, a deal on Medicare prescription drugs. How are the Democrats reacting to that?

KARL: Well, this is getting very close, but negotiations have hit a very critical stage here. One Republican involved in these negotiations said, "We will shortly have a deal or this thing will blow up into 400 billion pieces." Those were the words of one Republican involved in the negotiations.

Democrats are very angry about the involvement of the AARP in this, the 35 million member organization of seniors, of people over age 50. The AARP has not endorsed it yet, but they've been saying good things about the compromise that's emerging, and they are expected in the end to endorse it if in fact it comes together. Here was what Tom Daschle had to say about the AARP a short while ago.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: There is no question, obviously, senior organizations are divided. Why AARP has caved to the pressures -- and I think that they have been pressures that they have endured from the Republican leadership -- why they've caved in this regard is something I can't understand. But I'll tell you this, the other senior organizations are standing up strong, defending seniors. And I'll have more to say about that this afternoon.


KARL: And right now, Senator Ted Kennedy is with two such seniors organizations, the National Committee to Preserve and Protect Medicare and the Alliance of Retired Americans, saying that those two groups are against this compromise.

Now, one other thing, a very interesting development here, is that Republican Olympia Snow has drafted a letter saying that she has a whole series of concerns about the compromise that is emerging. And she is said to be seeking the signatures of nine Republicans. We know so far that Susan Collins has signed the letter.

If indeed she gets nine, or even anywhere near nine Republicans, Judy, it could make it much harder for Republicans to pass their prescription drug deal in the Senate once they get this compromise together.

WOODRUFF: Fascinating politics.

KARL: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: OK. Jon Karl at the Capitol, thanks. And by the way, I'll be talking to Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle just a little bit later on INSIDE POLITICS.

You would be hard pressed to find a state where Medicare is a bigger issue than in Florida, and that is where President Bush is right now. He's been urging quick action by Congress, and he's been raking in some campaign money. Our senior White House correspondent John King is with the president in Orlando.

John, how nervous are they at the White House at the prospect that they might not get this prescription drug Medicare bill passed that they want? JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the president today here in Florida, as you noted, saying that he's an optimist and he thinks they can get this bill to the finish line. But you could also tell from the president's remarks today that he is prepared to make the case that it is the Democrats to blame if these negotiations collapse at the end.

Now, the president here at a roundtable discussion, a town hall forum almost looked like here in Florida. He gave a speech after meeting with some seniors to discuss their issues with prescription drug benefits. What is interesting about this event, you see the president at events like this all the time. But if Democrats are mad at the president, they will be even more so after this afternoon.

The president speaking here in Florida, but this event beamed with the help of the AARP and the help of another group called the Coalition for Medicare Choices. This event beamed by satellite trucks to five cities in key states around the country: Phoenix, Denver, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Dallas. Again, the AARP helping turn out seniors for those events. Taxpayers through the Department of Health and Human Services footing the bill for this.

All of this designed as part of the president's effort to put one last bit of grassroots pressure on the key lawmakers involved in those negotiations. The president says he believes a deal is within sight. He says he will do all he can to get a bill he can sign. But he also appealed for some help.


G. BUSH: You need to speak up for prescription drug coverage. You need to speak up for health care choices. You need to speak up for a modern Medicare system that puts patients and doctors in charge.


KING: And Judy, the president talking in broad terms about what he wants in the bill. We have heard from Republicans in the past, complaining they want the president more involved in the nitty-gritty of the negotiations. Senior aides traveling with the president say they do not view that as his job.

He does have Tommy Thompson, the secretary of Health and Human Services, his budget director and others back in Washington participating in the negotiations. They say the president's goal now is to stay above the fray, if you will, on the sticky issues and try to rally more political support.

You mentioned here in Florida, of course, signing a Medicare drug bill. It wouldn't hurt this president at all heading into reelection -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, speaking of reelection, John, the president's been out there raising campaign money like there's no tomorrow. And they hit a milestone today, apparently. KING: They certainly did, Judy. Hard to get an exact total on Bush fund-raising, because sometimes the president has an event here in Florida and some of those on hand might have given their money several months ago, so it was already counted. But $2.56 million being raised by the president here in the state of Florida today at two events.

That, without a doubt, pushes the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign over the $100 million mark, on their way to $175, perhaps even $200 million. The records are smashed, Judy, and there's no stopping this president. Much more fund-raising in the days and weeks ahead.

WOODRUFF: It's real money. OK.

KING: It's real money.

WOODRUFF: John King, thanks very much. Over $100 million.

KING: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, still no official word yet from Democrat John Kerry on whether he's going to follow Howard Dean's lead and forgo public financing for his presidential campaign. The system, as many politicians have known it, is being turned on its head in this '04 race. Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Howard Dean will not accept public funding for the primaries. John Kerry may not either.

LARRY NOBLE, CENTER FOR RESPONSIVE POLITICS: What we're seeing different in this election campaign than we've seen in previous election campaigns is possibly the beginning of the death of the public funding system on the primary side.

SCHNEIDER: Dean is reinventing the system.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to do campaign finance reform our own way.

SCHNEIDER: If Kerry turns down public financing, he may have to rely on his own resources. He would not be able to tap into the substantial wealth held by his wife unless it is jointly owned.

Dean is doing it a different way, with the Internet. Dean's people see their use of the Internet as a turning point.

JOE TRIPPI, DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I think it's going have as much impact on politics from this day forward as television did after the Kennedy-Nixon debate in the 1960s.

SCHNEIDER: They intend to compete with big money by raising lots of small money. DEAN: Instead of getting $2,000 checks from the heads of all of the major corporations in the country, we asked two million Americans to give us $100.

SCHNEIDER: The key to getting small donations, whether it's through direct mail or over the Internet, is fervor.

RODGER CRAVER, DIRECT MAIL FUND-RAISER: The business of political causes and issues is a lot like professional wrestling. There is good and there is evil.

SCHNEIDER: You need a devil. Give us money, conservatives say, or else Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton could be running the country. For liberals, the devil used to be Jesse Helms and Newt Gingrich. Now it's President Bush.

DEAN: We believe that two million Americans will borrow $100 simply for the pleasure of sending this president back to Crawford, Texas.

SCHNEIDER: The problem is, the harshness that's required to raise money from small donors in the primaries may undermine the broad coalition-building required to win elections.

DEAN: If this administration values patriotism, then the president and his people will step forward and explain to us how they misled us on the way into Iraq.


SCHNEIDER: If the new fund-raising system is dependent on small donors, there is a danger that it will institutionalize harshness. Make it virtually the only way to raise money in American politics -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Interesting phenomenon right now. OK. Bill, thank you very much.

Well, in today's "Campaign News Daily," the Confederate flag flap haunted Howard Dean today when he went to New Hampshire to unveil a $7 billion higher education plan. Dean has apologized for urging Democrats to court Southerners who embrace the Confederate flag. But some Dartmouth College students apparently were not satisfied.

They stood with a Confederate flag draped over their shoulders while Dean spoke. Dean did not acknowledge them.

Also in New Hampshire today, Dean formally filed to run in the leadoff presidential primary. So did President Bush. Mr. Bush's sister, Doro, handed in the paperwork on her brother's behalf and said she looks forward to door-to-door campaigning in the Granite State.

Wesley Clark's campaign says that it looks increasingly likely that he will have to skip a Democratic presidential debate in New Hampshire next month. An aide says that Clark has a $1.2 million fund-raiser in New York on December 9 that he cannot get out of. Meantime, Clark is set to launch the first TV ads of his campaign on Tuesday in New Hampshire. And CNN has confirmed that Senator Max Baucus will endorse Clark tomorrow.

All right. Consider this question: would you call Howard Dean the Democratic front-runner? Still ahead, many news organizations have. Are they too eager to embrace Dean and his chances of winning the nomination?

Plus, we will have the latest from President Bush on Iraq and his efforts to put locals in charge there sooner rather than later.



DASCHLE: No president is going to get everything he asks for. But a 98 percent full glass is one he ought to look on with great satisfaction.


WOODRUFF: ... Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle joins us next to talk about the president, the Senate talk-a-thon, and the partisan dispute hanging over the Hill.


WOODRUFF: Senator Tom Daschle heading toward our cameras at the Capitol right now. We'll be talking to him about politics, about the talk-a-thon right now going on in the Senate, and about Iraq. All that coming up in just a moment.

Meantime, politics Louisiana style. With an eye on Saturday's runoff election for governor, our Bruce Morton looks back at the rascals of past Bayou battles. That's just ahead too.


WOODRUFF: Senator Tom Daschle has called the Republicans judicial talk-a-thon "a colossal waste of time." But as minority leader, he has to make sure that his fellow Democrats are literally up to the challenge. The senator has a new book about some of the past challenges that he's met. It is titled "Like No Other Time: The 107th Congress and the Two Years That Changed America Forever."

Senator Daschle joins us now from Capitol Hill.

Senator, good to see you.

DASCHLE: Good to see you, Judy. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Senator, today President Bush said what the Democrats have done with regard to judicial nominees is shameful. Are you concerned that what's going on right now could backfire and hurt your party more than the Republicans? DASCHLE: Well, Judy, we have no choice. We have to defend ourselves and we have to make the case. And we believe that the case is overwhelmingly won in our favor.

Ninety-eight percent of all of the judicial nominations have been confirmed, 168 to 4. That is a better record than Ronald Reagan had in his entire first term when he had a Republican Congress to work with exclusively.

So we don't have anything to apologize for. We're not going to be a rubber stamp. We think we ought to be debating the economy and all of the issues the American people care about, not four judges.

WOODRUFF: So you think the American people should look as at this as entirely the Republicans' fault.

DASCHLE: Well, the fact that we're spending 30 hours debating four judges, four jobs, when we ought to be debating how do we find jobs for the three million who have lost their jobs during the Bush administration, that ought to be where we put our priorities and our emphasis. And unfortunately, the Republican leadership has chosen not to do that.

WOODRUFF: Senator, we just mentioned your book, "Like No Other Time." You write about the 107th Congress and what happened in those days both before and after 9/11. There was a lot of cooperation in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. What has happened to it?

DASCHLE: Well, as long as we were reacting to 9/11 and the anthrax attack, Judy, I think there really was a great deal of unity. It's when we got off on domestic issues that they began charging me with obstructionism and getting back in to the political war that we had now for some period of time. It's unfortunate.

I think there are many, many occasions, however, when we still work together. We just passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act. We passed the $87 billion supplemental overwhelmingly. So there are many occasions when there is still common agreement and political bipartisanship. But probably not as much as many of us would like to see.

WOODRUFF: Do you believe right now that the Democrats are doing enough to stand up to the Bush administration when it comes to the war in Iraq and the aftermath there?

DASCHLE: Well, I think we have to ask the tough questions. Obviously, we tried to do as much as we could as we debated the supplemental. We wanted to support the troops, provide them with the resources they need. We made an effort to bifurcate the amount of money the president was requesting, but the Republican leadership refused to do that.

But clearly, we have serious questions about where the president's plan really is, why we're losing as many troops as we are, why we don't have more international agreement. What is the longer- term future for our involvement there? He can't answer those. We continue to press them for answers and we'll do that each and every day we come to work.

WOODRUFF: Senator, is Howard Dean now the undisputed front- runner for the Democratic nomination for president?

DASCHLE: Oh, Judy, I think that is a premature declaration. Obviously, he's a very strong contender. He has done a lot of things right. He has a great following. But I think its way premature to come to any conclusions about who the front-runner ultimately is or whether or not any nominee has a lock on the nomination at this point.

WOODRUFF: Do you worry that if he were the nominee, he might not be strong enough to defeat President Bush?

DASCHLE: Not at all. I think you're going to see a very united Democratic Party, whoever the nominee ultimately may be. As I say, it's too early to come to any conclusions about that, but I think you're going to see an enthusiastic, energized and organized Democratic Party next year.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave there it. Senator Tom Daschle, the minority leader in the Senate, thank you very much.

DASCHLE: My pleasure, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. All right. Again, the book, "Like No Other Time."

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Just two more days before Louisiana voters cast their ballots in the runoff election for governor. But there is no let-up in the frenzied campaigning of Republican Bobby Jindal and his Democrat rival, Kathleen Blanco. Our Bruce Morton asks, is something missing though in this battle compared to past Bayou campaigns and their cast of characters?


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Louisiana is southern but different. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) music, Cajun food, French and Spanish roots. Its poor ranks among the bottom five states in poverty, unemployment, infant mortality. It ranks at the top in wonderful rascally politicians. Huey Long, The Kingfish.

HUEY LONG, FMR. GOV. OF LOUISIANA: I managed to become governor in 1928 and they impeached me in 1929.

MORTON: Huey ran against poverty, not on race. He built schools and roads, gave schools free textbooks until he was shot and killed in the capitol he built. His brother, Earl, thought blacks should vote, got elected twice. Lost a final bid when his estranged wife had him committed to asylums in Texas and back home.

LONG: If I was crazy in Galveston, if I was crazy in Mandivilee (ph), I'm still crazy.

MORTON: They elected Jimmy Davis, a singer and songwriter.


MORTON: And Edwin Edwards, Cajun, campaigned in French and English in hard times. Oil had briefly made Louisiana prosper. But when the boom ended, the state, no high-tech leader, had to turn to gambling and tourism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am not advocating gambling. I advocate the business of gambling.

MORTON: He gambled. No one minded. He was accused of corruption and acquitted. In his last race in 1991, he faced David Duke, Ku Klux Klan leader and former American Nazi, n the runoff.

DAVID DUKE (R), LA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: And I feel like on issues that I always win.

MORTON: A bumper sticker that year read: "Vote for the crook, it's important." Duke lost, getting 39 percent of the vote.

GOV. EDWIN EDWARDS (D), LOUISIANA: I want to also thank those who came on board in the second election, not out of love of Edwin Edwards or fear of David Duke, but out of love for Louisiana.

MORTON: Duke and Edwards went to prison eventually and the state turned Republican. Mike Foster, the sitting governor, switched parties during his first campaign.

DANE STROTHER, DEM. POLITICAL CONSULTANT: It's almost hip to be Republican in Louisiana now. It's like wearing the horse on your shirt or whatever.

MORTON: The president's $300 tax cut was popular, he says, and...

STROTHER: Yes, it's social issues to a certain degree. It's gays, gods and guns.

MORTON: This year's candidates aren't colorful rascals but they'll make history. Republican Bobby Jindal, the favorite, is Indian-American. He'd be the first non-white ever elected. Kathleen Blanco, the Democrat, would be the first woman ever. Always something unusual in Louisiana politics.

Bruce Morton, CNN, reporting.


WOODRUFF: That's why we look to go there to cover those campaigns.

Well, the president wants to speed up the transition of political power in Iraq to the Iraqis. I'll speak with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when we come back.

Plus, will John Kerry be able to pump up his presidential campaign? I'll get the take from the left and the right from Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan.


ANNOUNCER: President Bush wants to pick up the pace in Iraq.

G. BUSH: We want the Iraqis to be more involved in their governance.

ANNOUNCER: The goal remains the same. But is the White House changing its strategy on the mission in Iraq?

Are some in the media prematurely anointing Howard Dean as a shoo-in for the Democratic presidential nomination?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dean is by so far the smartest politician in this campaign right now.

ANNOUNCER: We'll take a look at the story behind the story.

DREW BARRYMORE, ACTRESS: Our singular individual vote can make such an extraordinary difference in this country.

ANNOUNCER: Drew Barrymore joins a new drive to get young people to the polls.

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


WOODRUFF: The new urgency in the Bush administration's Iraq battle plan is on display again in Baghdad. U.S.-led forces have launched a second straight night of air and ground attacks against Iraqi insurgents in and around the Capitol.

Earlier today, resistance fighters attack a U.S. vehicle in Fallujah with a makeshift explosive. Witnesses reported three casualties. Before leaving for Florida today President Bush spoke about the Iraq mission at the White House.

Let's go there now to CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. Suzanne, the president talking about getting authority transferred from Americans to the Iraqis faster. What sort of timetable do they have and what do they say are the stakes here?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, two very good questions because they're being rather vague about that timetable. But National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice saying that they certainly hope that it would happen much short of a year.

Now here's what they're talking about. After two days of urgent talks with a point man in Iraq, President Bush acknowledging a significant change in U.S. policy. Ambassador Bremer is going back to Iraq to present the Iraqis with a number of options, but essentially they want the Iraqi Governing Council to come up to create some type of interim Iraqi authority that would give power back to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible. We're talking about day-to-day operation, security as well as trying to garner support for the U.S.- led coalition.


G. BUSH: What I'm interested in doing is working with Ambassador Bremer and the Governing Council to work on a plan that will encourage the Iraqis to assume more responsibility.

Ambassador Bremer sat right here yesterday and talk to me about the Iraqis' desire to be more involved in the governance of their country. And that's a positive development. Because precisely that's what we want. We want the Iraqis to be more involved in the governance.


MALVEAUX: Now, Judy, in terms of a timetable, you have the U.N. mandate that says December 15 for the Iraqi Governing Council to come up with a constitution as well as election plans, at least a timetable for that. U.S. officials believe that that still can happen.

But the bottom line, you asked about the politics as well. An Iraqi Governing Council or some sort of interim authority certainly in place now would be very beneficial, perhaps even mean in November's election bid -- reelection bid for the president in November that you could see kind of a scaling down of troops, very good for the White House. But National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice saying that politics are not at play here when making those very tough decisions.

Should also let you know as well, Judy, that, of course, there was bad news from Japanese officials who said that now it is just too dangerous on the ground to send in their traps. And of course, President Bush giving a call to the Italian prime minister, Berlusconi, to offer his condolences on yesterday's attack -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Suzanne Malveaux, all sorts of things to look at the calendar. OK, thank you, Suzanne.

Well given these latest developments on the ground in Iraq and from the Bush administration, I asked Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar today if the president is trying to get out of Iraq fast?


SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN), FOREIGN RELATIONS CHMN.: I think the purpose of the talks with Jerry Bremer was at least course correction with regard to the Governing Council over in Iraq, the 24 Iraqis who are responsible right now.

The feeling is that the Governing Council was not moving very rapidly toward appointing a constitutional commission. And at least the plan had been that a constitution had to be formulated, then following that there would be elections. That's a long timetable.

And furthermore, there was some feeling in Washington the council did not meet often enough, and not enough members were there. And those who are in charge were touring the Earth. So all of that came to a head.

What precisely occurred in those meetings is being interpreted by the press as well as by Congress. But essentially, it seems to be one of two courses is going to happen. And that is the Governing Council will expand itself into something approximating the Loya Jirga movement in Afghanistan. That is a very large group of people, 150, 200. As opposed to 25 to represent all facets.

And might then name a person or small group of people to be an authority in Iraq and to take hold much the way that President Karzai has in Afghanistan while then the constitution is formulated under their leadership.

WOODRUFF: But is this in any way an acknowledgment that this policy of waiting for a constitution, waiting for an elections, that that was the wrong policy?

LUGAR: Yes, I think it is. I think it's definite course correction. Whatever Jerry Bremer and the Iraqi Council works out, it will be different, and it probably truncates the time frame. And that does gets to your first question and that is, there are clearly pressures given the attacks on Americans, on Italians, on the Red Cross, the U.N. for Iraqi faces to be in both security and in governance.

WOODRUFF: Well, how is it possible to know what is getting out too fast for the United States? I mean is that something that's a concern of your's, that this could happen too quickly?

LUGAR: Well I think that is a concern, but I suspect it's balanced by the fact that the president has again and again indicated that we are going to provide the military support, the economic support to make sure there's a successful transition to democracy in Iraq. That is basic policy, that is going to happen.

But very clearly, for the Iraqis to make those moves, to do their part, to do the constitution, the elections, the governance, that's going to require at least a different course correction and I think that's what's underway.

WOODRUFF: Senator, do you believe this is in any sense motivated by politics here in the United States? By the fact that there is an election coming up next year?

LUGAR: No, I don't think so. I suppose by a stretch those whose who believe that the president was going to gradually bring people home bit by bit to try to indicate that this was winding down, that this might mitigate criticism what have you. I think that's misreading the situation.

The problem is that there is nobody else that's going to provide security for quite a while in Iraq. There are not enough people in all of NATO in an expeditionary force capacity, quite apart from other countries.

So the question is how to give room for the Iraqi security, both police and army, to have time for training. And even more importantly, how to give a sense that Iraqis are taking control of their country and, therefore, are going to be more helpful in terms of intelligence to our military forces now in chasing down the remnants of the terrorists.


WOODRUFF: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar. I spoke with him just a short time ago.

Well new poll numbers out this hour show another slip in the president's approval rating. Fifty-one percent of Americans say they now approve of the way Mr. Bush is handling his job. That is down from 54 percent in a Gallup poll a week ago.

In the Democratic presidential race, Howard Dean remains the leader in the Gallup survey of registered Democrats nationwide. Joe Lieberman bumps back up to second place, Wesley Clark coming in third.

In hypothetical head-to-head match-ups, the poll shows Mr. Bush defeating all the top Democratic contender. He beats Clark by the narrowest margin, three points. And he beats Howard Dean by the widest margin, nine points.

Well when you add up Howard Dean's poll numbers, his campaign cash and the buzz that he's generating, you might conclude that he's well on the way of winning the nomination. But Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" thinks that might be premature.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This really is about taking our country back.

HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": You might think the Democratic presidential race is just getting underway. But the media primary is over and Howard Dean is the undisputed heavyweight champion.

When Dean got the nod from two key labor unions yesterday, the event was so packed that even a top "New York Times" reporter couldn't get in. And the buzz among the journalists who did get in was that the former Vermont governor be is the Superman of the primaries and that none of his rivals have the kryptonite to stop him.

The pundits are nearly unanimous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You look at the field, you can't figure who can beat him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's going to win because he's too smart for them.

KURTZ: The endorsements by the government workers and Service Employees Unions produced more positive stories.

PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Even by winning over such Democrat being power brokers, Mr. Dean is making it a good deal more difficult for his rivals to get traction.

TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Good news for Governor Dean tonight. Dean gained an army of new supporters today winning the endorsement of two powerful labor unions.

DAN RATHER, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: Governor Howard Dean picked up official endorsements from two important unions. This is not good news for rival Democrat Dick Gephardt.

WOODRUFF: Translation, it goes a long way toward Helping Dean convince skeptics in his own party that he's electable.

KURTZ: And it's not just television. "The Chicago Tribune" says critics request whether Dean can be stopped. He's "threatening to pull away from the pack," says "The Washington Post." "The Liberal New Republic" hails campaign manager Joe Trippi as this season's genius while the conservative "Weekly Standard" has him riding the Democratic donkey, even though he's facing the wrong way.

Media handicappers offer plenty of reasons for betting on this horse. Dean has raised more money, tapped the anger against President Bush, harnessed the power of the Internet and, according to those all- important polls, could win both Iowa and New Hampshire.

But other candidates who were once in the journalistic stratosphere, Gary Hart in '84, Ross Perot in '92, John McCain three years ago, soon crashed and burned. Even high-flying Howard Dean may find that intensified press scrutiny could bring him down to Earth.

(on camera): Two months before Iowa caucuses, it's a tad early for journalists, who once dismissed Dean as a colorful longshot, to declare that the doctor is in. But all this upbeat coverage is creating an aura of inevitability about his candidacy, and making his opponents look like also-rans.

This is Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES".


WOODRUFF: Different question: what do moderate Democrats think of the doctor from Vermont? In a minute, the Democratic Leadership Council's Bruce Reed weighs in on the Dean campaign's phenomenal success so far.

Later, "Taking Issue" over the Senate talk-a-thon. Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile join me, and we promise that they won't filibuster.

Also, actress Drew Barrymore and producer Norman Lear get political. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean on a roll. Is he the -- destined to be the savior of the Democratic Party or the next George McGovern? Well, I talked about that in the last hour with Bruce Reed, who is the president of the Democratic Leadership Council.

I began by asking him if Dean is now unstoppable.


BRUCE REED, PRESIDENT, DEM. LEADERSHIP COUNCIL: Well, I don't know about that. He's had a good week. You have to give him that.

But this is a very dangerous time for him. Every frontrunner faces the situation where Washington has decided he's the nominee and the voters haven't quite yet. So we still don't know whether voters are going to like Howard Dean, agree with his positions. We don't know if his record and his statements are going to stand up to scrutiny. He may look back on his days as an underdog with great fondness.

Certainly, the worst moments of our lives in the Clinton campaign in '92 were the weeks after he became the frontrunner, we were subjected to intense scrutiny and we nearly lost the nomination.

WOODRUFF: Well, the DLC, has, in the past, suggested that Howard Dean comes out of the McGovern-Mondale wing of the Democratic Party. In other words, the non-winning wing of the Democratic Party. Are you worried that he couldn't get the election -- couldn't win the election if he didn't win the nomination?

REED: Well, I think every candidate has a chance to grow. I think our concern about the campaign that Howard Dean has run is that it hasn't been as consistent with his record in Vermont as we thought it should be.

It's been a protest candidate aimed at the anti-war wing of the party. He's done very well with that crowd. But the Democratic Party is much bigger than that. The Democratic tradition is much broader than that. And at the end of the day, he's going to have to not just motivate base Democratic voters, but win over some independent, undecided voters.

WOODRUFF: Well, is he the one who's best-equipped in this field to do that?

REED: Well, we'll have to see. It's up to the voters to decide.

I think one thing that any of the candidates needs to do in order to be an effective candidate against George Bush is to give the voters an affirmative reason to vote for them. This is -- the primaries may be a protest vote on George Bush. But the general election is going to be a choice between two alternatives, and I think that we need to not just show why we're angry at this president, but show America what we'll do differently. WOODRUFF: And are you saying that he hasn't done that yet?

REED: I think that -- that, you know, at times, the Dean campaign has focused a lot more on the process, on the how much money, how many volunteers, how many feet on the ground. And he needs to spend a lot more time laying out the positive reasons why he would be a good president and what he would do for the country.

WOODRUFF: How do you explain the fact that the two candidates I think most people think would be -- have views lose to that of the Democratic Leadership Council, John Edwards and Joe Lieberman, certainly, haven't caught fire any more than they have?

REED: Well, we'll have to see. I think that, you know, voters don't really know John Edwards. And they haven't seen that much of Joe Lieberman. Same goes for some of the others in the field.

So, you know, let's leave it to the voters to decide. We've got two more months of campaigning. And in the latest polls, one-quarter of the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have made up their minds. So this is not over by a long shot.


WOODRUFF: Bruce Reed, president of the Democratic Leadership Council.

Talk, talk, and more talk. Up next, Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan on the Senate talk-a-thon, still under way.


SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: Before I yield to Senator Graham, let me just wrap it up this way. I plead with my colleagues here in the Senate. This is not a good thing for us. It's not good for the institution. It's not good for our...

WOODRUFF: Senator Trent Lott live on the Senate floor. It is just past 22 hours and counting. Not only are they still talking up on Capitol Hill, they're scheduled to keep going past midnight.

Well, despite all the talking, the Republicans are not likely to break Democratic filibusters that are blocking some of the Bush administration judicial nominees.

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

Bay, to you first. This talk-a-thon -- who is helped by this?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: I think without question, Republicans are. I think they're sending a message that this is such an unfair procedure that the Democrats are using, that these jurists, who are incredibly competent and have really proved themselves to have it and deserve this honor of being named judges and have the votes in the Senate to be confirmed judges, that the Democrats are just being obstructionist. They're just -- they're just being little people who will not allow these fine people to move ahead and they're hurting the reputation. The more Americans recognize that, I think it's extraordinarily beneficial to Republicans.

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, Bay, I think the Democrats are doing their constitutional duty by providing checks and balances.

Look, they have supported 98 percent of the administration judges, 168 out -- 168 our of 172. Four judges they've rejected. They've rejected these judges because these judges are not in the mainstream of American law, that they believe that these judges will not abide by the Constitution and they've rejected. So they've approved...

BUCHANAN: You know, that's an outrageous estimate.

BRAZILE: Right now, we have a 4 percent judicial vacancy rate as a result of Democrats and Republicans working together to put forward judges who are in the mainstream.

BUCHANAN: But Donna, what you're suggesting is these people would not abide by the law. These people have impeccable reputations. You're damaging their names and their reputations by suggesting that their very integrity -- these are first-class jurists who deserve, and actually have the votes on the floor. You don't have Democrats saying no to them. You have Democrats saying, No, we won't let them have a vote on them because we know they'll be confirmed. That's what's wrong.

BRAZILE: Well, that's their right.

BUCHANAN: That is not their right.

BRAZILE: And what's wrong with filibustering if they believe that these judges would not act in the best tradition of American jurisprudence?

BUCHANAN: And there are no...


WOODRUFF: We're going to quickly move on.

John Kerry is out there in the last day or so saying, despite the changes in his campaign, he's about to turn things around. At one point, he said, Just watch -- just what we're doing. You'll see.

Today, he told a reporter that the staff changes don't make any difference. He said he didn't even know a couple of those who left this week.

Bay, I guess the question is...

BUCHANAN: Tells you something about the campaign then...


WOODRUFF: Is John Kerry right, that he's just going to move on beyond this, without a blip?

BUCHANAN: He has had a couple bad weeks. There's no questions the polls up there in New Hampshire showing him -- what? -- 15, 16 points running behind Dean, in addition to that. Clearly, disarray in the campaign is never a good thing a couple months before.

But I'll tell you what's key. He has to say he will not take matching funds, because he's got in New Hampshire with a limit on him at $750,000 up there in New Hampshire. He's probably spend $200,000, $300,000 of that. And now, Dean comes out says, I have no limit. I can drop $2 million, $3 three million dollars in that campaign.

If he wants to even be a player, he has not -- he cannot take those matching funds.

BRAZILE: John Kerry needs to get away from these processed stories and start focusing back on his message and why he's running and give the American people a compelling reason right now to take a look at his candidacy -- a new, fresh look at his candidacy, and to get his campaign back on the road to winning the nomination.

WOODRUFF: Can he do that?

BRAZILE: I think he can. The nomination, I do still believe it's wide open. It's still fluid.

Dean is in the driver's seat. He has tremendous momentum. But I do believe that Gephardt and Kerry has a shot at it.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's finally, quickly, let's talk about Iraq. The president called back administrator Paul Bremer this week to Washington in a big hurry. There have been more casualties. They've been mounting.

The administration changing their goal now, Bay, saying that they want to quickly turn the authority over to the Iraqis. Is the president going to pay a price for a policy that isn't working, or is this something that the American people can forgive and accept?

BUCHANAN: Well, I don't think there's a need to be forgiving here. I think the president is doing his best in trying to make decisions and learning from the experiences the decisions are made.

And there's been some changes over there. They were hoping this Iraqi council -- governing council could really accomplish a constitution and get elections on the way. They say it's better -- more like a year or two off. So they say we need more authority to run this country.

And the president saying, All right, we thought this other way was good. But if that's what you think, we'll move in that direction. He's working with them, and it's the right thing to do. BRAZILE: That's just a big mess. And, I mean, to bring back Ambassador Bremer and to now try to, you know, reshape the strategy. Once again -- look, we need to internationalize the force, bring in the French. Now that we're absolutely going to implement their plan in terms of early elections, and why not allow the U.N. to help bring about this political -- this new political reality? They're more experienced at it.

BUCHANAN: For it to work, the Iraqi leaders have to be able to take some charge. And that's what we're doing, is we're working with them.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Bay, Donna, great to see you both.

BRAZILE: All right.

WOODRUFF: We'll see you next Thursday.

Another question, will Generation Y tune in or tune out in '04? Coming up, an ambitious plan from Norman Lear and Drew Barrymore to get teens and 20-somethings to the polls in big numbers on Election Day.


WOODRUFF: It's a question on a lot of minds: Will Generation Y vote in '04? A new drive is under way aimed at getting them to do just that. The campaign, known as Declare Yourself, uses Hollywood stars, education and the Internet to try to get teens and those in their 20s to vote in '04. The campaign is the brainchild of producer Norman Lear, with a helping hand from actress Drew Barrymore. They unveiled the project earlier today here in Washington.


BARRYMORE: But I love that this was a nonpartisan, beautiful approach to encouraging people to vote, because we obsess, we care, we want to make a difference in this world. And we wonder how we're going to do that, how we're going to affect it. And is our effort actually going to change something. And it will. And by voting, that is the -- one of the most extraordinary ways we can effect that change.


WOODRUFF: For more information, you can go to the group's Web site at

Well, that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Medicare, Raising Money; Interview With Senator Tom Daschle>

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