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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Political Gifts for Presidential Candidates; The Race for Iowa

Aired December 25, 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: Santa delivers. What did he give politicians who were noisy and nice? We've got a few ideas.

ELIJAH WOOD, ACTOR, "LORD OF THE RINGS": We can't do this by ourselves. Not without a guide.

ANNOUNCER: Holiday films mean big box office. How does movie money compare to the presidential candidates' campaign war chests?

It's a dog's life. An encore performance by a certain powerful man's best friend.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us. And Merry Christmas.

Well, many Americans, of course, have holiday traditions, and so do we on INSIDE POLITICS. A certain jolly fellow likes to drop in and give politicians presents he thinks they deserve. So without further delay, let's bring in our Bill Schneider out in Los Angeles -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, it's Christmas, and everybody's asking the same question: what did you get? We can tell you what all the presidential candidates got, because our investigative reindeer, that's Wolf Blitzen, did a little snooping around Santa's sleigh last night.

Now, the 2004 political games are about to start, so what better way for the contenders to hone their skills than for Santa to give each of them the perfect gain. We all know President Bush's good at war games. Who can forget his top gun landing on the aircraft carrier last May? It took a little while to calculate the score, but by the end of the year the result was clear: without a Florida recount, Bush, one, Saddam Hussein, zero.

So President Bush gets his favorite game this Christmas: Stratego, a game of strategerie (ph).

WOODRUFF: OK. If that's what the presidents get, what about the Democrats? Did they get anything from Santa? SCHNEIDER: Well, of course they did. You know, Dick Gephardt was supposed to have the labor vote in his pocket. For years he's been a full-throated advocate for trade unions.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I love this union. I love this union. And I love being with your people all over the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: But for all his efforts, two big unions ended up endorsing Howard Dean. Gephardt needs to improve his labor relations. Maybe this game of Payday can help.

John Edwards is known as a high roller. He gave up his lucrative career as a trial lawyer to serve in the Senate. Now he's giving up his Senate seat to run for president. This guy really likes to roll the dice. So the game of Yahtzee should suit him just fine.

Dennis Kucinich is not just looking for votes. He's also looking for a first lady. He even participated in a contest to find one. Guess who? A lovely New Jersey woman who joined Kucinich for breakfast and said she admired his policy positions.

Alas, it turned out she already had a boyfriend. So guess who we can up with for Kucinich? That's right, the game of Guess Who?

WOODRUFF: OK. And what about another one of those Democrats, John Kerry? What did he get from Santa?

SCHNEIDER: Well, the Democratic Party establishment expected Senator Kerry to be the frontrunner. Now he's running hard to catch up. Kerry's sorry he isn't doing well as expected. He's sorry he had to fire key members of his campaign staff and he's sorry President Bush didn't fight the war he voted to authorize. Sorry, Senator Kerry, the first game for you.

A lot of people wonder what is Carol Moseley Braun doing in this race? She's not raising much money. Her poll numbers are low. We have to ask, is this a Trivial Pursuit?

Joe Lieberman's campaign got new hope from the capture of Saddam Hussein. Could a miracle really happen and Lieberman get the Democratic nomination? For Senator Lieberman this Hanukkah dradle carries hope. It's here in these four Hebrew letters. They stand for "A great miracle happened here" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Very clever, Bill. Thank you very much.

We've just begun to give the candidates their well-deserved holiday presents. So we're going to let Bill take a break, maybe let him have a cup of eggnog. And we're going to get back to Bill a little later for the rest of his gift list. Well now, it is -- we want to check the headlines in our Christmas edition of "Campaign News Daily." Democratic hopeful Carol Moseley Braun has scheduled a special trip on this holiday. Braun is staying in Chicago so that she can pay a Christmas Day visit to a children's hospital. Tomorrow she begins a five-day campaign swing through South Carolina.

Wesley Clark plans to campaign in Arizona this weekend. After Saturday's stops in Phoenix and Tucson, Clark kicks off what the campaign is calling his "True Grits Tour" through eight southern states.

For most of the other candidates, Iowa and New Hampshire will be the post-holiday stops on their travel itineraries. Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt are heading straight to Iowa on Saturday. John Edwards arrives in Iowa Monday after a weekend stop in South Carolina. John Kerry gets back on the trail Saturday in New Hampshire. And Joe Lieberman returns to the Granite State on Sunday.

Well, it may be Christmas, but the primary and caucus season starts three weeks from this Monday in Iowa. As Candy Crowley reports, Democrats in the Hawkeye State still have plenty of last- minute shopping to do.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Periodically dismissed as irrelevant, the Iowa caucuses may be the '04 ballgame to watch.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You basically are going to determine who the next president of the United States is most likely.

CROWLEY: A year away from the general election, that's a stretch. But in the primary season, an Iowa win means Howard Dean sails into New Hampshire, where he holds a double-digit lead. Two high profile early wins is not big mo, it's mega mo.

GEPHARDT: I really believe that whoever wins the Iowa caucus is going to be the Democratic nominee and the next president of the United States.

CROWLEY: Richard Gephardt may be the only thing standing between Howard Dean and the Democratic nomination.

GEPHARDT: We're still 50 days or so away from the caucuses. So anything can happen. But right now it looks like a Gephardt-Dean race, and I think I'm going to win it.

CROWLEY: In a state full of doves flocking to the anti-war Dean campaign, Gephardt must explain his pro-war votes. He does so as a matter of conscience.

GEPHARDT: It's a little harder to be in the Congress than it is to be a CNN analyst or, you know, somebody that used to be a governor or something. You got to vote.

CROWLEY: Gephardt fights the march of time, the aura of a bureaucrat with too many years in Washington. He's working on his stand-up routine.

GEPHARDT: I'm nostalgic for Ronald Reagan. That's how bad it is. Seriously.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You adopted us when we didn't have any Democratic representation from Iowa.

GEPHARDT: I'll always be here for Iowa. You know that.

CROWLEY: Gephardt is a familiar face, an experienced politician, a Midwesterner who connects out here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has a very likeable disposition, too. And he's not this hoity-toity type. Not like you take one of them -- which one -- is it that Howard? One of them I watched on TV, and I thought he was a little, you know, -- thought he was a little above you or so.

DEAN: In all due respect, Dick is a good person. I worked for him in 1988. He's been there for 30 years. That's the first time I've ever heard of a comprehensive health care plan that's not going to work.

CROWLEY: The new face in Iowa has to explain why a 9/11 world should bet on a governor from a small rural state with nothing to show in the larger world of foreign policy.

DEAN: Well, I think the kind of experience that my rivals have, which led them to all support the war, is the kind of experience we don't need in Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He doesn't sound like a politician. The first time I heard him I was shocked. You know, all the people in Washington seemed to be like Democrats cowering down to George Bush, and all of a sudden, he comes out there swinging basically. And I was like, wow, there's a guy that stands up for values and principles and morals.

CROWLEY: In "never met a stranger" Iowa, Dean struggles to shed his button-down personality to soften the edges of his anger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But this time I think I ought to get a big old hug.

DEAN: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good luck to you.

DEAN: Now, there's a price for that hug. You've got to bring three people to caucus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I intend to. DEAN: All right.

CROWLEY: Polls, mostly unreliable in a caucus state, show the two are neck and neck. Predictions are a turnout may be double what it was in 2000.

(on camera): A loss in Iowa would slow the Dean campaign, but likely destroy Gephardt's. Whatever happens here, it will make a major change in the dynamics of the '04 Democratic race.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Des Moines.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Why should the political parties be counting their blessings on this Christmas? Coming up: Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile spread their unique brand of holiday cheer and jeers.

On a day that is all about family, we're going to get to know some of the presidential hopefuls' children and how they're helping their dads on the campaign trail.

And later, Bill Schneider will be back to open the rest of his presents of for the White House contenders.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Well, we all know the holidays are supposed to be a season of joy, so what do the Democratic and Republican parties have to be happy about this year?

Here to help us with that, former Gore campaign manager, Donna Brazile, and Bay Buchanan, President of American Cause.

All right. Donna, I'm going to start with you. What is it the Democrats and Republican parties should be happy about?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well, I think the Democrats, we are happy that we have nine good Americans who are running for president. And pretty soon, it will be one standing there.

For the Republicans, clearly they have something to brag about this year. The economy is coming back. Not enough to give six million Americans their jobs back, but enough for them to have some bragging rights as the year comes to an end.

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: No question about that. And I would suggest that Democrats should be very happy about these outrageous judges we have across this country that keep giving them undeserved, unearned and unconstitutional victories on those social issues.

And Republicans should be very pleased. They've got a good and decent man as president and as leader of the party, which is going to bode very, very well for them come November. WOODRUFF: But if that's the way it is, then the parties have nothing more they want in 2004, Donna?

BRAZILE: Well, I think the Democratic Party would like to have a lot more (UNINTELLIGIBLE), supporters and people who will help the party compete with the president's party in 2004. I also think that some of our congressional leaders could use a spine, a hard cast plan over the holidays so that they can come back fighting back so they can win back the House and the Senate. And I would hope that the presidential candidates can stop knocking each other out and knock out those undecided voters so we can quickly come to a conclusion and have a nominee by March.

BUCHANAN: You know, Donna said -- you suggested that the Democrats should be happy they have these nine candidates. What they really want is a tenth, I think, because none of these nine are going to be able to do well against the president of the United States. And there's a lady out there I think would do far better, and she isn't running. I think you all don't have your strongest nine out there.

WOODRUFF: Hillary Clinton. But what about the beating? Some of these Democrats are beating up hard on Howard Dean. Couldn't that end up being a gift to George Bush in November?

BUCHANAN: There's no question, Judy, that when -- you know, you keep seeing a tough primary like this, you just start getting clips. And the Republican Party is doing that now to get the clips that say this man's not strong enough in foreign policy, he's not strong on this, he can't beat George Bush.

They will rerun those things in the general election. And you will see the Democrats saying, this man is not strong in the time of national security...

BRAZILE: And Karl Rove should be happy that some of Dean's rivals are giving him a play book for 2004. But let me tell you, I think the Democrats will stop all of that schoolyard shoving match pretty soon and really get back to the basics of going out there, talking to the American people, and provide an alternative to George Bush and his version of America.

WOODRUFF: Maybe they will, but they're already on the record. They're on television clips all over the country saying some pretty tough things from John Kerry to Wes Clark to Joe Lieberman...

BRAZILE: I know.

WOODRUFF: ... about Howard Dean...

BUCHANAN: And in fairness, they make excellent points. Wouldn't you agree, Judy?

BRAZILE: Well, in fairness, it's not hurting Howard Dean. It has shown that Howard Dean has a little bit of Teflon. So in that regard, he's a lot like Ronald Reagan. And you should be happy about that. BUCHANAN: He's so far unlike Ronald Reagan. I knew Ronald Reagan. And he is not like Ronald Reagan.

But seriously, the problem there is they keep beating up on him. And you say it's good for him. It is not good for him, because they have too much material against him and it does show enormous weakness as a candidate in the general election.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to stop for just a minute, because we're going to come back and we're going to hear from Bay and Donna, who are going to tell us what their presents are for the presidential candidates, at least a couple of them.

And later, an interior decorator like none other. The sequel to last year's holiday hit "The Barney Cam." We're going to tag along as the first family's Scotch Terrier helps to decorate the White House.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. We're looking ahead to the new political year with former Gore campaign manager, Donna Brazile, and Bay Buchanan, president of the American Cause.

All right. We've been talking about what you all would -- what the parties have to be happy about at Christmastime. But let's talk about presents that you would give the candidates for president.

Let's start with you, Bay. What would you give to George W. Bush and a couple of the Democrats?

BUCHANAN: George W. Bush, I think -- he took Tennessee, you know, four years ago. And I think it would be nice to give him Vermont this time. Maybe an early decision in Vermont, Donna. Don't you think that would be good? We all could go to bed early then. That's what I'd like to see him take.

BRAZILE: Well, I would like to give the president a nice baseball team so that when he retires he has something to do. I also would like to give him a pair of red boxing gloves so he understands that he'll have a fight on his hand. But also, because he's been a good commander in chief in terms of national security, I would like to see him capture Osama bin Laden as well.

BUCHANAN: About October would be good. I think that's an excellent...

BRAZILE: Any time now. In fact, he can capture him by the end of the day.

WOODRUFF: Timing is everything in American politics. All right. Bay, what about for Howard Dean?

BUCHANAN: Howard Dean, I believe a couple sessions in anger management would be good before that general election. But I have to ask you, Donna, if you think a couple would be enough. Maybe a few more. BRAZILE: Well, I think Howard Dean has a cupful of joy, so I would give him an ounce of what I call George Bush lucky charm and a couple of Bush southern states so that he can, you know, wrap up the general elections. So you can go to bed early.

BUCHANAN: Donna, listen, all your talents, I don't think even you could deliver him a couple southern states. Maybe not even Louisiana.

BRAZILE: Well, we don't know. Let's see what Howard Dean has to offer if he wins. He might win a couple southern states.

BUCHANAN: A couple. That's pushing it, but maybe. But he may lose California.

WOODRUFF: All right. Are we writing off the other Democrats, Donna?

BRAZILE: Well, no. I want to give Dick Gephardt Iowa. I would like to see Dick Gephardt, my former boss, take the Iowa caucus. He has fought really hard, the people of Iowa know him, they know his record. I would like to see Dick Gephardt do well in Iowa.

BUCHANAN: I would love to see him do well, because we would have a fight on our hands something exciting for a few days. Right now, they say the primary is over and there hasn't been a vote cast. And the general is over and there hasn't been a vote cast. I would like to see a little excitement next year. Just a few days, anyhow. So I'm with you on Iowa.

WOODRUFF: All right.

BRAZILE: I would like to see Al Sharpton also give the recipe for his hairdo to women across the country so on Christmas Day we don't have to worry about our hair.

WOODRUFF: And maybe he'll share that with us. OK. All right.

Finally, what would the two of you like for Christmas?

Bay, I'm going to start with you.

BUCHANAN: All right. I would take a percentage of the Bush media buy. Just a small percentage.

And Donna, I would share it with you. We could split it even.

BRAZILE: It's like winning the lottery. Absolutely.

BUCHANAN: And both of us, we could both dress better, or at least equally as well as Judy.

BRAZILE: Not better.

WOODRUFF: Give me a break. All right.

And Donna, what about you? What do you want?

BRAZILE: I've always prayed for peace and prosperity for everybody in this country. But this year, I'm also going to pray for the safety and security of our country as well.

BUCHANAN: That's for sure.

WOODRUFF: Is that being the good Democrat that you are, Donna?

BRAZILE: The good Catholic who will probably be late to mass, but will make it to the orphanage later to pass out toys.

BUCHANAN: And if I could have peace in my house, that would be good too.

BRAZILE: Well, you've got to get those boys over to a Democratic house.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: All right. We've got some rare agreement here between Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile. Thank you both. Merry Christmas to you both, and we'll see you often in the new year.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks a lot.

Well, the White House is famous for its holiday decorations, we know. And this year, the job of getting the landmark ready for the season fell to one of the most popular members of the Bush administration, the president's Scotch Terrier, Barney.

(REPEAT)

WOODRUFF: Now we know how they really spend their time at the White House. That was a sampling of the complete Barney video. You can see "Barney Cam Two" in its entirety at the White House Web site: whitehouse.gov.

Well, we've already talked about it a little bit, but what did Howard Dean find under his Christmas tree? We don't know for sure, but coming up, our own Santa Claus. Bill Schneider suggests what could have been the perfect gift.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Your Christmas presents probably have all been opened up by now, but for some of the presidential candidates, the holiday anticipation still is great. Let's bring back our Bill Schneider to take the wraps off the rest of his political gifts.

All right, Bill, you got gifts for everybody this year, games for everybody. How about Wesley Clark? Is he willing to play games? SCHNEIDER: Clark certainly got off to a rollicking start when a "New York Times" reporter asked him whether he would have supported the congressional resolution authorizing the war in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLARK: I know you find this incredible, that a guy who graduated at the top of his class and who's a Rhodes scholar could on the first day of his campaign bobble a question from a "New York Times" reporter, but I actually made a mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDER: Clark got all twisted up over that one, and over his party registration, and over his statements of support for the Bush administration. General Clark, this game of "Twister" is for you.

Now, Al Sharpton has a history of getting into trouble. He starts fights. He gets arrested. And the Tawana Brawley case? We won't even go there. Imagine the trouble Sharpton could cause at a Democratic convention, especially if he gets a prime-time speech. "Trouble" is Sharpton's game.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill. What about the front-runner, Howard Dean, what have you got for him?

SCHNEIDER: Well, what's Howard Dean's game? Dean's got the big bucks and the big endorsements and the big expectations, and what former President Bush once called the big mo, momentum. Well, we've got another big mo for Governor Dean, monopoly. If Dean can buy up the property on the Democratic board, starting with the titles to Iowa and New Hampshire, and going all the way to Park Place and Boardwalk, he wins the game.

And just to be sure, Santa will throw in a get-out-of-jail free card. You know, Judy, they're pretty popular with politicians.

WOODRUFF: All right, last question, where did you get the hat, Bill?

SCHNEIDER: It's a secret. Only Santa knows.

WOODRUFF: We have to have a few secrets on Christmas. All right, Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

As we near the end of the year, another fund-raising period is drawing to a close. By the end of the last quarter, some of the presidential candidates had already amassed serious money. We decided to put their finances in perspective with the help of Hollywood, another arena where success is measured in dollars and cents. Here now, CNN's Jennifer Michaels.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "X2")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know those dangerous mutants you hear about on the news? I'm the worst one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER MICHAELS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the realm of Hollywood hits, the "X-Men" sequel had super powers. It pulled in some $85 million in its opening weekend alone. That's how much the Bush campaign had raised through September, a record-breaking performance.

Among the Democrats, Howard Dean is the master and commander of fund-raisers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MASTER AND COMMANDER")

RUSSELL CROWE, ACTOR: Our enemy has more than twice our guns, more than twice our numbers. And we are supposed to stop him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: At last report Dean had pulled in some $25 million.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

MICHAELS: The same amount that Russell Crowe film banked in its opening weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SEABISCUIT")

TOBY MAGUIRE, ACTOR: Let's see what you got, boy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: More than a few Democratic contenders have compared themselves to "Seabiscuit," the horse that beat the odds to become a champion. But only one candidate, John Kerry, shares stats with "Seabiscuit" the movie. Kerry's $20 million plus hall is on par with "Seabiscuit's" opening weekend take.

The Democrats' war chest starts to drop off from here, along with the stature of the films in our box office analogies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AGENT CODY BANKS")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Face any challenge. Accept one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cody Banks?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: In case you missed "Agent Cody Banks," it raked in a respectable 14 million in its first weekend, the same amount raised at last report by John Edwards' campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a freak. (END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: In Dick Gephardt's quest to become president, he has raised more than $13 million, the opening grosses of the appropriately titled film "Head of State."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "HEAD OF STATE")

DYLAN BAKER, ACTOR: Run for president.

CHRIS ROCK, ACTOR: Of what?

BAKER: Of the United States.

ROCK: Of what?

BAKER: Of America.

ROCK: Get out of here!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: "Rugrats Go Wild" opened at $11 million plus at the box office. Joe Lieberman's $11 million haul, not so wild.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You talking to me?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "GIGLI")

JENNIFER LOPEZ, ACTRESS: I'll be in and out before you know it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: The Bennifer flop "Gigli" may be the last movie anyone would want to be compared to, but at last report Wesley Clark and Dennis Kucinich had raised in $3.5 million range, putting their fund- raising prowess in league with "Gigli's" less than impressive draw.

(MUSIC)

MICHAELS: Disney's "Brother Bear" was no "Lion King." It earned well under $500,000 in its opening weekend, in the neighborhood of the last fund-raising totals submitted by Carol Moseley Braun and Al Sharpton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "BROTHER BEAR") UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Head down, head down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's seen us. Now what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAELS: Jennifer Michaels, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: You get a sense of what that money really adds up to. Well, of course, we're going to update all those numbers once the candidates file their end of the year financial reports. That will be coming up in a matter of days.

Well, they have familiar names, but unfamiliar faces. In a minute, we'll head out on the campaign trail with a pair of young people whose fathers could make history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Specialist (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Iraq. Just want to say hi to all my family and friends in California and Oregon. Miss you and merry Christmas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, my name is Sergeant First Class Holly (ph) in Tikrit, Iraq. I would like to say hello to my family, my wife, daughter, and friends. Happy holidays.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. This is Specialist Carl Victor (ph) from Tikrit, Iraq. I want to say hi to all my loved ones in Tucson, Arizona, especially to my kids Victor (ph) and Medea (ph). Hi you guys. Love you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing, my name is Staff Sergeant Hightower (ph). I'm from Baltimore, Maryland. I want to say hi to my mother back in Baltimore, my wife Heavenly (ph) back in Ft. Hood, Texas. Right now I'm in Tikrit, Iraq. I'll be home soon. Love you. Go Ravens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: For most people, the holidays are about spending time with family, but for some of the presidential candidates, life on the campaign trail is also a family affair. Anish Raman reports on some offspring who are giving their famous parents a helping hand.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VANESSA KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S DAUGHTER: Hello. How are you? I'm Vanessa Kerry, John Kerry's daughter.

ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're not running for president, but they might as well be. Candidate kids, like 26-year-old Vanessa Kerry, are working their parents' presidential bids cross country.

KERRY: Lots of New Hampshire for right now, and go to Iowa, Washington State. I've been to Virginia.

RAMAN: Also on the trail full-time, Chrissy Gephardt. Both her and Vanessa getting a glimpse of their parents' political lifestyles.

CHRISSY GEPHARDT, DICK GEPHARDT'S DAUGHTER: It's definitely high paced. It's never a moment to rest.

RAMAN: A key part of their job, connecting with young voters. Whether on issues like Medicare...

GEPHARDT: Well, that issue might seem irrelevant to us. It really isn't. I mean, one day, we're going to get old.

RAMAN: ... soliciting campaign volunteers...

KERRY: You want to do some stuff? There's offices all over.

RAMAN: ... or asking that critical question...

KERRY: Are you going to vote for my dad? I love that question.

RAMAN: According to locals, it's a successful strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When a candidate brings their kid out, it does connect better with the public.

RAMAN (on camera): Why is that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because we can relate to their children.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The candidate's child brings us closer to who the person really is to their family life.

RAMAN: But jumping into the political spotlight, even by family, brings inherent media scrutiny and constant attention.

KERRY: The decision to join the campaign trail or not is incredibly personal. I was not asked to be here. I asked to do this. And I think that it's one of the best decisions I've ever made in my entire life.

RAMAN: One of the reasons, more time with her father.

KERRY: The truth is, you know, when we're together -- and half the time we're sitting up in a front of a bus -- we're not talking about campaign stuff. We're just yacking about life. I'm getting fatherly advice.

RAMAN: And the kids are always keeping a watchful eye, at times helping the candidates stay on message.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Special interests.

RAMAN: And at others, suggesting new looks.

KERRY: You don't want to be a (UNINTELLIGIBLE), daddy?

RAMAN: It is a temporary life of duality, working as a campaign staffer, living as a candidate's child.

KERRY: I'm right here, pop.

RAMAN: Aneesh Raman, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, Republicans and Democrats have been clashing for decades upon decades. Up next -- the history behind the head butting. I'll talk to the authors of two extraordinary books on Democrats and Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Specialist Nicole Thompson (ph). I'm from Columbia, South Carolina. I want to send greetings to all the wonderful people in the United States and every place else from Baghdad, Iraq. We are really holding it down here, getting the job done for the American people and for the rest of the world, and I want to thank you all for your support. Love you. Hi, mom and dad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Sergeant Stenson (ph) from Dickson, Illinois. I'd like to send a shout out to everybody back home. I'm doing good. I'll be home soon. Love you all. Peace.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Selman Martin Jesus (ph), PFC. Stationed in Fort Polk, Louisiana. Originally from San Antonio, Texas. Want to say hi to my wife, Angela (UNINTELLIGIBLE). I love you all very much. My mom and papa in San Antonio. (SPEAKING SPANISH). I love all of you. Take care mucho. Feliz Navidad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Two companion histories of the Republican and Democratic parties have just been published by two very qualified observers of American politics. Long-time reporter and columnist Jules Witcover wrote "Party of the People," a history of the Democrats. And Lewis Gould, a professor emeritus at the University of Texas wrote "Grand Old Party," a history of the Republicans. I recently spoke with the authors and started by asking Jules Witcover if he had the tougher job, since the Democratic Party has been around longer than the Republicans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JULES WITCOVER, AUTHOR, "PARTY OF THE PEOPLE": I had the longer job. I don't know whether that was the tougher job. I think it it's an equally difficult job writing about any party, the history of the party, as long as they existed. The Democrats existed over 1,200 (sic) years. The Republicans, 150.

WOODRUFF: Lewis Gould, what about the idea that you tried to separate them? I mean, I can hardly imagine one of them existing without the other one. How hard was it to keep them separated?

LEWIS GOULD, AUTHOR, "GRAND OLD PARTY": Well, I think it was a matter of just focusing in on the Republicans and trying to see the Democrats responding to them, but not to get drawn off and trying to do a history of two parties at once, but keep my eye on the ball of the Republicans.

WOODRUFF: Jules, this had to be a daunting task. Was it?

WITCOVER: Well, it was daunting in one sense, but I enjoyed -- I enjoyed it very much, because I really didn't know all that much about the part of the period of the Democratic Party that I didn't cover as a reporter, so I had a lot to read.

WOODRUFF: Let's see, 210 years, you've covered, what, over 100 of those?

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: But seriously, and what about you, Lewis Gould, was this just a huge -- as you started this, did you think how in the world am I ever going to get through it?

GOULD: Well, I had done some work on the Republicans previously. I'd done a book on the presidency of William McKinley and on Theodore Roosevelt, so in some ways I think I had a running start to get into the 20th century, and that helped a great deal.

WOODRUFF: Jules, are they -- are the Democrats the same party that they were when they were founded back in the 1790s?

WITCOVER: In some ways they are and in some ways they aren't. The Democratic Party, which is really the Jeffersonian party, Jefferson was the founder of the party, was an agrarian, rural, frontier-based party, which of course it's not now. Mostly strongly an industrial-based party. But in another sense, because it was in the South largely and supported slavery, for it to preserve slavery up until and through the Civil War, that's obviously changed because now the Democratic Party is -- is -- calls itself the party of civil rights.

WOODRUFF: Well, then, what stayed the same about the Democratic Party?

WITCOVER: Interested in the small -- small guy, the little man, always considered itself the party of the little man, the disadvantaged American, and continues to today. WOODRUFF: And in fact, the title of the book is "The Party of the People." Lewis Gould, what about the Republicans? Is this the same party as what was founded back in the 1850s?

GOULD: Well, there are some small elements that are the same, but there has been a profound sea change, since they started out as the party of nationalism, using the government to promote economic growth, the champions of African-Americans during the Civil War and reconstruction. Using the government to create transcontinental railroads and distribute public lands.

Throughout most of the 19th century the Democrats attacked the Republicans as the party of big government and big spending. So it has really transformed itself into something that resembles the 19th century Democratic Party in many of its key ideas today.

WOODRUFF: So what is the core of the Republican Party that's remained the same would you say?

GOULD: Well it's the idea that it should be the party of enterprising Americans who want to rise to the capitalist system, and that if you do that, the benefits of economic growth and prosperity will spread through the entire society. And that there's a fundamental unity of interest in all of society.

So whether you help the top or the bottom you're helping everybody. And that the Democrats see the Americans as consumers. Republicans see them as producers.

WOODRUFF: Jules, you were saying you learned a lot as you wrote this book. You already knew a lot, though, about both parties. What did you learn about the Democrats as you wrote this?

WITCOVER: Well mostly what I learned was the early history of the Democrats because as you noted, I wasn't around then. But I think that there's interesting things about how with the advent of a new deal, how that really turned around the Democratic Party, energized it and gave it its identity that it continues to have.

Sometimes in a detrimental way because Republicans have been very critical of the New Deal ever since it existed through today, attached the word "liberal" to the Democratic Party, which the Democrats feel they have been demonized by that word, to the point where they usually refer to themselves now as progressives.

WOODRUFF: Lewis Gould, why do you think the parties have survived as long as they have? I mean I read one review, I think it was Ron Brownstein of "The L.A. Times" saying that the parties are one of the few or two of the few institutions in this country that have survived so long.

GOULD: Well, when John Kennedy was campaigning in 1960 he said the parties were like two great rivers flowing through American history. And I think he had that right. That they speak to deeply felt needs on both sides of the political spectrum and they serve a way for us to organize a Democratic society. That we couldn't have done it without that kind of institution both informal and governmental that gives people a way to decide who their leaders are going to be and what their policies are going to be.

WOODRUFF: And, Jules, do you think the ingredients are there for the parties to continue to survive in the way they are today?

WITCOVER: I think so. We've had several efforts to peel off a third party, and none has ever been successful. I think although the parties have their ups and downs, they always seem to recover.

WOODRUFF: But why hasn't a third party or independent movement been successful?

WITCOVER: Because there's enough in each party to appeal to most Americans. One way or the other.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Go ahead, Lewis Gould.

GOULD: In addition the two parties have arranged among themselves so it is very hard to start a third party and make it work nationally. The rules of the game are written to favor a two-party system and winner take all elections. So that starting a third party would be a very expensive proposition both in terms of people and money.

WOODRUFF: All right. So quick prediction, 100 years from now, are the Democrats and Republicans still going to be the two major political parties in this country?

WITCOVER: I would think so and I expect to be around whether to see it happens.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: You do think so or you don't?

WITCOVER: I do think so.

WOODRUFF: You do. Lewis, what about you?

GOULD: I'll be along with Jules for the ride and I would say they'd still be here as well.

WOODRUFF: OK. They went out on a limb for that prediction.

Lewis Gould, Jules Witcover, the books are "The Party of the People: A History of the Democrats," and "Grand Old Party: A History of the Republicans." Great to see you both. Thank you very much.

WITCOVER: Thank you.

GOULD: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Two books worth reading over the Christmas holiday.

Well the conventional wisdom is that Washington shuts down during the holidays. But that's not always the case. Our Bruce Morton recounts some of the more eventful moments in Washington history during the holiday season.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: If you want to know the truth, Washington is quiet this Christmas, but it isn't always that way. Bruce Morton looks back on some of the ghosts of Christmases' past. Holiday seasons when the national's capital was a buzz with activity.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cliche, of course, is Washington is quiet over the holidays, nothing much ever happens. Not always.

Pearl Harbor came in December, of course, and what a holiday that was. Guys joining the service, factories tooling up for war. Back in 1959, Cuba's Fidel Castro over through Fulgencio Bastisa on New Year's Day. The bulletin may have interrupted the Rose Bowl and Castro has vexed American presidents ever since.

RONALD REAGAN, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: While we have fundamental disagreements about how human communities should govern themselves, it's possible all the same for us to work together.

MORTON: President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet Union's President Mikhail Gorbachev held a December meeting here in 1987. The city was busy that year.

And then in December 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed.

MIKHAIL GORBACHEV, FRM. PRESIDENT OF THE USSR (through translator): If this is the way the process goes, I will resign.

MORTON: Lots of missed holiday parties that year, diplomats, politicians all trying to guess what would happen next.

CASPER WEINBERGER, FRM. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I'm, of course, extremely happy with the president's decision because I am completely innocent.

MORTON: Christmas Eve 1992, President George Herbert Walker Bush pardon's six Iran Contra figures including former Defense Secretary Casper Weinberger who hadn't been tried and who in any case had been against selling arms to Iraq. He was charged with concealing a diary which had information about Iran Contra.

December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives impeached Bill Clinton on two counts, perjury before a grand jury and obstruction of justice. The president's backers held a prep rally on the White House lawn.

AL GORE, FRM. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We must all acknowledge that invoking the solemn power of impeachment in the cause of partisan politics is wrong. Wrong for our Constitution, wrong for the United States of America.

MORTON: Lots of news that holiday season. Bob Livingston admitted extra marital affairs and withdraw his candidacy for House speaker. And the U.S. bombed Iraq for four days saying it had violated weapons agreements.

No news during the holidays? The FBI arrested nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee in December 1999. And that story ran on for months. It was December 12, 2000, 36 days after the election that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of George W. Bush in the Florida recount flap. Al Gore conceded the next day. And the holidays were full of news, transition staffs, appointments and so on.

An if that isn't enough, Enron filed for bankruptcy in December 2001. Holidays are sometimes quiet here, not always.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: We hope this Christmas say stays quiet. But we know we could always be surprised.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Have a very Merry Christmas. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

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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