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Homeland Security Demands International Air Marshals

Aired December 29, 2003 - 15:30   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: Good afternoon and welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Candy Crowley, live in Washington. Judy Woodruff is off today.
Iowa is fast approaching the first in the nation caucuses take place just three weeks from tonight, and today, we'll take the pulse of the Hawkeye State.

But first the Department of Homeland Security is tightening rules on international airlines, forcing them to put armed marshals on some flights.

Secretary Tom Ridge will announce the move within minutes and we'll bring you that news conference live.

Barbara Starr joins us from the Pentagon with more.

Barbara, what can you tell us about what prompted this, and what can you tell us about what has -- what Tom Ridge is going to say?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're awaiting that press conference as we speak, Candy, and the secretary of homeland security is going to talk to reporters as we enter now week two of Code Orange.

It's turning out that international aviation security is a major concern in this time frame right now. It continues to be the case that they feel aviation security is something they want to tighten up on because of the potential threat from al Qaeda, possibly seizing control of an airliner coming to the U.S.

So this morning the Department of Homeland Security issued three emergency directives that give it the authority to order international carriers, passenger or cargo planes trying to the U.S., flying out of the U.S. or flying through U.S. air space, ordering them to put air marshals on board those international carriers if the United States feels there is a threat.

Either by intelligence, from looking at the passenger manifest, the cargo, the crew, if they feel that there is a threat, then they will tell these international carriers they must put an armed air marshal on board. If they do not, they could be denied U.S. landing rights.

All of this coming as a number of countries are beginning to step up their own aviation security. Mexico is sharing the Bush administration, that it's improving its security because of its contiguous air space with the United States.

In the UK over the weekend, aviation officials there making a number of public statements about their move ahead with their air marshal programs.

So this, we expect, is something that Secretary Ridge is going to talk about in detail. There is a possibility, we are told, he may discuss other proactive measures.

But at this point, Candy, no indication that the Bush administration is about to lift that Code Orange. All indications are, it will continue at least through the New Year's holiday and possibly into January -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, thank you very much.

We said we are awaiting that news conference from Secretary Ridge, and we will bring it to you. First we want to take this break.


CROWLEY: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Candy Crowley.

Once again, we are awaiting a news conference by Homeland Secretary Tom Ridge. He is expected to announce some major U.S. regulations that would require on some flights, some international flights, armed government employees from other countries to fly on their country's airlines when needed into the U.S.

We had our Barbara Starr. We hope to get her back soon. We are, once again awaiting that news conference and we hope to have it right after this.


CROWLEY: Once again, thanks very much for joining us here on INSIDE POLITICS. We are awaiting a news conference from Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, who is going to make a major announcement, a change in U.S. regulations which would require on some flights armed guards on international flights.

We want to turn now to politics while we await the secretary.

This from the Gallup poll, which for more than 50 years have ended the year by asking Americans to volunteer the names of the men and women they admire most.

George W. Bush tops the list of most admired men this year, as sitting presidents often do. No one else is even close.

Senator Hillary Rodman Clinton leads the list of most admired women for the second straight year. She was followed by Oprah Winfrey and then first lady Laura Bush. When President Bush looks back on 2003, the war Iraq almost will certainly be the first things that comes to mind. There were also significant victories on the domestic policy front, although the president didn't get everything he wanted but then who does?

Our senior White House correspondent John King takes a look back.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Overhauling Medicare was the president's signature moment on the home front this year.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First and foremost the new law will provide Medicare coverage for prescription drugs.

KING: In a year shaped by war, Mr. Bush had mixed results in enacting his major domestic priorities.

Key successes from a White House standpoint include the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, a law banning certain late term abortions, and the second major Bush tax cut, signed back into law in may.

BUSH: Altogether, 34 million families with children, including six million single moms will receive an average tax cut of $1,549 per year.

KING: Mr. Bush calls it a year of achievement, and allies see benefits in next year's campaign.

BILL MCINTURFF, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The president's pushing forward a domestic agenda in an incredibly aggressive way that's defining this election in a way that his dad did not do.

KING: Leading Democrats say the tax cuts translate into big deficits and suggest elderly Americans are not the real beneficiaries of the Medicare changes.

JOHN PODESTA, FORMER CLINTON CHIEF OF STAFF: By the time it gets around to being implemented in 2006, there's no question that people are going to be down on this bill, because it really doesn't do the job that...


CROWLEY: Sorry to interrupt. But we take you right now to Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge with an announcement.



ANNOUNCER: He's on top but under attack.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need more than simple answers and the slip of a tongue.

ANNOUNCER: Is Howard Dean getting a taste of his own medicine?

It's three weeks until the first major contest in the race for the White House. We'll preview the battle for Iowa.

The names of the candidates may change every four years but some things remain the same.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's in your blood. You want to help. It's to help people who can't be helped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've always looked at it, as politics as the social obligation.

ANNOUNCER: We're on the trail with some campaign veterans. Live from Washington, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.


CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley. Judy is off today. As we near the kickoff of the presidential primary season, the Democrats battling to stall Howard Dean's momentum have seized on homeland security as a political lifeline. Iowa's caucuses are just three weeks from today and Dean is taking flak from virtually all his rivals.

And as the political rhetoric gets hotter, the preventative measures tighten. Last hour on CNN, Homeland Security Ridge said international air carriers are now required to place armed officers on certain flights to, from, and over the U.S.


TOM RIDGE, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Today I am announcing the Department of Homeland Security has issued aviation emergency amendments to further enhance security relating to both passenger and cargo aircraft flying to, flying from, and over the United States. Specifically, we have requested that international air carriers, where necessary, place trained, armed, government law enforcement officers on designated flights as an added protective measure.


CROWLEY: Howard Dean rode his opposition to the war in Iraq to the top of the polls. But it's his stance that the nation is no safer with Saddam Hussein in custody, along with a comment that Osama bin Laden's punishment should not be prejudged for the 9/11 attacks that has lit a fire under his rivals.

The latest examples, John Kerry questioned what he called Dean's muddled thinking. Joe Lieberman called Dean a rookie when it comes to foreign policy and Dick Gephardt cut to the chase when he questioned Dean's ability to beat President Bush.

All of this begs the question, has homeland security become an Achilles heel for the Democratic hopefuls and will they inflict mortal political wounds on each other long before November? For more, I'm joined by James Carville. He is, of course, a veteran Democratic party strategist, a co-host of "Crossfire," all kinds of things. A really smart guy so...

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I forgot that, Candy, we'll leave the last one.

CROWLEY: OK. We'll let the viewers judge. Does Howard Dean have a point, that his rivals are attacking him unfairly, or is this whining?

CARVILLE: Well, it's a little bit of both. If his chief supporter, Vice President Al Gore, attacked Bill Bradley relentlessly in Iowa caucuses and in New Hampshire in 2000, Bill Clinton, when I ran his campaign, we were attacked relentlessly by different people.

It's part of the process. You get in it, you know that's going to happen. I think it would be better to go ahead and fire back as opposed to trying to call on Terry McAuliffe and everything.

If you run for president and get out front, they're going to come after you and people understand that. This is, as somebody once said, politics ain't beanball. If you can't stand up to John Kerry and Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt, how are you going to stand up to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and Tom DeLay in the Congress and all of the other things you need to stand up to. I don't mean to equate DeLay. But a lot of people you've got to stand up to here. Kerry, the other Democrats are going to come at you but that's part of politics.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you, since you brought up Terry McAuliffe, who, of course, is chairman of the DNC, this is what Howard Dean had to say about him earlier.

"If we had strong leadership in the Democratic party, they would be calling those other candidates and saying, hey, look somebody's going to have to win here. If Ron Brown were the chairman, this wouldn't be happening."

What do you make of calling on Terry McAuliffe to tell everybody to settle down, that they're going to irreparably damage Howard Dean? A lot of his rivals are saying, wait a second, this isn't a coronation here. Was this help or hurt Dean?

CARVILLE: I don't think it advances a ball. I can't say it hurts him. A lot of Democrats admire him, myself included, what he's accomplished and with his campaign and Joe Trippi and Steve McMahon, and all these guys have accomplished.

But at the same token, a lot of people are kind of worried that he says just politically dumb things on a fairly regular basis. And that's part of running for president here.

And I think all of this focus on "They shouldn't attack me" or to call on Terry McAuliffe, I think that Governor Dean is missing the point. I mean if we just took homeland security, we've already read reports that the 9/11 Commission is going to find that President Bush could have taken measures to stop this, there are several things coming out about this. I think if we just wait and had more patience and drew the big contrast with President Bush, it would be a lot better.

And the best way to thwart these attacks that he's getting from other Democrats is turn them in and contrast himself as president. But people, the American people, you run for president, you're always are going to get attacked. and you're particularly going to get attacked when you're the front runner. Look what they did to poor John McCain in South Carolina.

CROWLEY: Exactly. This seems to be a lot of politics as usual, particularly for this time of year.


CARVILLE: Why wouldn't it be politics as usual? They're running for president.

CROWLEY: Absolutely.

CARVILLE: That's the only kind of politics anyone knows is politics as usual.

CROWLEY: Two quick questions, yes or no if you can. On the idea that saying that he doesn't want to prejudge bin Laden's sentence or his guilt, as stupid as -- is this guy ready for prime time?

CARVILLE: You know what? That's a good question. And we're going to Maria Echaveste, one of his campaign adviser's and we'll ask her the same thing. I'm befuddled. I mean sometimes, the glory of the unspoken thought.

CROWLEY: Exactly. Not many of those in politics.


CARVILLE: ... CIA and Al-Jazeera and everybody in the world says he calling on people to kill people. Well, I mean, I'm as good a civil libertarian as the next guy, but frankly, I'd take the SOB out and shoot him, to hell with a jury.


CROWLEY: You should run for president, I think.

CARVILLE: Would you imagine my past, Candy?


CROWLEY: Let me ask you quickly, Clark has an ad out there, is about to put up an ad, where he has a picture of himself with President Clinton, the first time we know of any of the candidates have used President Clinton in the ad. That is a plus in the primaries? Will that help him? How do you take that? CARVILLE: I think it will help him in the primaries. I don't think it will hurt him in the general. Al Gore was President Clinton's vice president and won the presidency by 550,000 votes. So apparently it didn't hurt him too much.

But I think people understand that President Clinton was president, left office in January 2001. We have a whole set of challenges here. We have a whole set of things people are worried about from health care costs to America's war in the world to the perception of America around the world. I don't think people really want that discussion. And the want the kind of whining and carping to stop.

And they understand politics is a contact sport. And if you run and get out front, people are going to hit you. And what you've got to do is you hit back and you got to be effective. And that's what they're looking for in a president.

And what they're looking for in the Democratic Party is a little toughness and a little backbone here. And that's what it's time for these guys to start showing.

CROWLEY: James Carville, we always know what you're thinking. Thanks very much.

CARVILLE: Thank you.

CROWLEY: We do need to move on, but we haven't heard the last of James Carville. At 4:30 Eastern, James teams with Bob Novak to put Howard Dean's record, recent remarks and electability in the "CROSSFIRE."

Howard Dean leads the headlines in "Campaign News Daily. The Dean campaign is launching another of its familiar end of the quarter fund raising appeals. In a letter on the Dean Web site, campaign manager Joe Trippi says the campaign wants to raise $1.5 million by midnight December 31. Within the last hour, a Dean spokesman revealed that the Dean campaign will report raising more than $14 million in the fourth quarter.

Wesley Clark kicked off his multi-state trip through the South this morning in Arkansas. The so-called "True Grits" tour began in Little Rock where Clark told the audience that no matter where he lives while serving in the military, he's always been a Southerner. The tour next heads to Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida. Tomorrow he visits Tennessee, Georgia, and South Carolina.

Dick Gephardt has unveiled a plan to increase job opportunities for the disabled. In an event in Iowa, Gephardt pledged to create an affirmative action program for the disabled among federal contractors. And he called for new spending on special ed programs.

Dick Gephardt has company in Iowa. John Edwards and John Kerry are there today, as is reporter Mike Glover of the Associated Press. Mike is a veteran of the Iowa political scene. He is joining me now from Des Moines. Mike, a couple of questions here. You have seen a couple of times where Dean has been hit by all the rivals, probably heard them several times. Has it made any dent in Dean's popularity out there?

MIKE GLOVER, ASSOCIATED PRESS: It doesn't seem to have, Candy. In fact, it seems that each time he's hit, his people say in an odd way it helps them because it cements his sort of status as a front runner.

And one of my favorite maxims in politics is you judge the pressure a politician is feeling by the loudness of his shouts. And the volume's pretty high out here. And to be fair, Dean is pushing back pretty hard on some of these things. He's been getting hit but he's hitting back pretty darn hard.

He's saying, I'm bringing millions of new people into this process, and that's the only way Democrats are going to win. And if these guys succeed in forcing me out of the race, that's fine, these people will just go back home.

CROWLEY: Of course his rivals are describing that as a kind of threat. What can you tell -- I think when people start raising their voices and it gets this heated, it tells you, one, the caucus is not far away. But, two, that they're losing. But everybody is screaming at each other. What is the state of play out there?

GLOVER: We've got a horse race on our hands, Candy. And one of the interesting things about this election is we don't know for sure who's going to win. We know Governor Dean is doing pretty well. But if you look at the Dick Gephardt organization, Dick Gephardt has put together a pretty darn strong traditional Democratic turnout organization in this state.

It's labor-based, it's based on elected officials, long-time party activists. The kind of folks who understand how these caucuses work and they understand what you do on caucus night, which is a very complicated thing. So I think Dick Gephardt is going to have an impressive showing on caucus night.

But Dean is at every corner, just like the fund raising you're talking about, every time Howard Dean has set a standard for himself, he's met it. He set a standard to put together a top-flight organization in this state and he's met it. It's a horse race and a very interesting horse race.

CROWLEY: Mike, you know it is a complicated procedure. Not everybody knows how to do it. Dean's got all of these people, we're told, that have never attended caucuses. He's talking about all these people that have never joined even in the political process. How are they going to know what to do because, believe it or not, it's not that easy once you walk into the church or the basement or the school or wherever.

GLOVER: No, it's not that easy at all. And that's one of the big questions that's lying out there. Will these new people that Dean has brought to the process actually understand what to do on caucus night?

They're doing a lot of caucus training, but a lot of the Gephardt people have been doing this stuff for 20 years or so. You show up on caucus night and there's an awful lot of horse trading, an awful lot of swapping. You do this for me and I'll do this for you. Or old rivalries that go back 20 years that get settled.

It's a real complicated, sophisticated process. The one thing I can say about the Gephardt supporters, you can argue about how many of them there are, but those who are Gephardt supporters are going to show up on caucus night and they're going to know what to do on caucus night.

CROWLEY: It's all about turnout no matter how you look at it. Mike Glover of the Associated Press, thanks so much for joining us, Mike. We appreciate it.

GLOVER: Thank you, Candy.

CROWLEY: It is not an endangered species by any means, but the presidential primary season sure isn't what it used to be. Coming up, Bill Schneider looks at what changed.

And Senator John Edwards hopes young voters in particular will give a "Hootie" about his latest endorsement.


CROWLEY: Howard Dean and Al Gore are linking up again on the campaign trail, this time by phone. The former vice president and his wife Tipper will joining Dean on a conference call tomorrow night linking 1,300 Dean House Parties around the country.

Meantime, Gore has written an e-mail to Dean supporters asking them to donate to the Dean campaign. Gore describes Dean as being, quote, "under attack from Republicans as well as fellow Democrats." And Gore says Dean is the strongest candidate to take on President Bush.

Joe Lieberman's campaign is clarifying remarks about abortion that were the basis of a "Manchester Union Leader" article. The article implied Lieberman is open to reconsidering when a fetus is viable and therefore cannot be aborted because of advances in medical science. The campaign says Lieberman supports Roe v. Wade and does not think it needs to be reconsidered.

The upcoming presidential primary season will not be what it once was. More and more states are opting out of the process. Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider take a closer look at the reasons behind those decisions.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Five states have already canceled their presidential primaries for next year, and several others are considering it. Utah scrapped its presidential primary to save money. Democrats there are considering holding a privately funded primary. Maine repealed its Super Tuesday primary. Washington recently decided to cancel its primary on the same date. The Colorado presidential primary, abolished. Kansas, gone. The New Mexico presidential primary will take place on June 1, but Democrats have decided to pick their delegates at a caucus on February 3.

What's going on? States that are canceling primaries cite the irrelevance of primaries that come late in the process, and cost. Colorado and Kansas say they'll save about $2 million. Governor Gary Lock of Washington, a Democrat, asks, Why waste $7 million of scarce state money?

WILLIAM GALVIN (D), MASS. SECY. OF STATE: Many states are looking at the presidential primary process and saying, what is in it for our state?

SCHNEIDER: The chairman of the Committee on Presidential Primaries of the National Association of Secretaries of State, a Democrat, sees partisan forces at work.

GALVIN: It seems very simultaneous on the part of a number of Republican secretaries, colleagues of mine, who suddenly call me up on the same day or spoke to me on the same day, telling me that, Gee, we've decided we may cancel our primary. And I found that rather strange.

SCHNEIDER: Why should Republicans want to cancel primaries? President Bush is unopposed for the GOP nomination.

GALVIN: There's always a chance that even an unopposed primary vote in a presidential primary can become a referendum on an incumbent president even within his own party.

SCHNEIDER: States usually replace primaries with caucuses. Much cheaper, lower turnout, easier for the party to control. The result is a nominee chosen by a small number of voters in a few key early states.

CURTIS GANS, DIR., CMTE. FOR STUDY OF THE AMERICAN ELECTORATE: It leads to rush to judgment. It leads to no grassroots activity after a handful of early primaries. It leads to the fact that there will be no correctives in the conventions are meaningless.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): But will it lead to a change in the nominating process? Not until the early voting states produce a winner unacceptable to voters in other states, who suddenly discover, Hey, they canceled our primary! So we no longer have a say in the process!

Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.



CROWLEY: ... criticizing the Bush administration for not doing enough to keep the disease out of the country. In Wisconsin today, Howard Dean said the administration pays too little attention to farm families and working people and it should have followed Japan and Europe and required testing of every cow for the disease. In Iowa, John Kerry proposed more inspections and unspecified amounts of federal assistance to farmers whose herds are affected.

They have been there and done that many times before. Still ahead, we'll meet some long-time campaign addicts who help make New Hampshire's presidential primary run as smoothly as possible.


CROWLEY: When members of the band Hootie and the Blowfish decided to endorse a presidential candidate, they looked no farther than their home turf. The band is supporting Democrat John Edwards with several members joining Edwards this weekend as he filed his candidacy for the South Carolina primary. The North Carolina senator actually was born in South Carolina, the home state of Hootie and the Blowfish.

Putting politics aside, Hootie and the Blowfish helped entertain President Bush at the recent Christmas in Washington concert.

When the New Hampshire primary rolls around less than a month from now, all eyes will be on the presidential candidates. But the key to making the big event a success are hundreds of behind-the- scenes workers. As CNN Aneesh Raman reports some of them are campaign addicts who have toiled in the trenches for decades.


ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a state where every four years a new batch of presidential candidates come courting, there are few political constants.

PAT MORRIS, KERRY SUPPORTER: Yes, it's Pat Morris. How are you?

RAMAN: Pat Morris is one of them. Working campaigns in New Hampshire since Eugene McCarthy in 1968.

MORRIS: It's the romance of youth and what have you and the idealism.

RAMAN: Thirty-five years later, the candidate's different but the work is still the same.

MORRIS: I want to know if I can put this up.

RAMAN: For Pat, the streets are key to primary success. Everything from posters to purchasing holds its own political nuance.

MORRIS: The most important thing you can have are paper cups because that's coffee, that's for chili. And you need always forks. Anybody that goes to lunch has to come back with extra forks.

RAMAN: South of Manchester at Howard Dean's Salem office, another campaign veteran, 85-year-old Ray Senechal, nicknamed "The Mayor."

RAY SENECHAL, DEAN SUPPORTER: When I call I say, This is Ray. Ray who? Why don't you say you're "the Mayor"? I say, because I'm not the mayor.

RAMAN: His first campaign in grammar school working for FDR.

SENECHAL: I used run around with -- I had a cap, and right around I had "FDR" on the thing.

RAMAN: And while decades may have passed, he's still active, now with a bit more clout.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you'll be out there with a sign?

SENECHAL: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Talking to people? It will be important because...

SENECHAL: When I go in, I show them the sign and they go like this to me.

RAMAN: Ray's passion is evident even in his art. On his wall, paintings he's done of past presidents.

SENECHAL: All the years I've been living, they're the guys that made America what it is.

RAMAN: They both see politics as much more than a pastime.

SENECHAL: It's in your blood. You want to help. It's to help people that can't be helped.

MORRIS: I've always looked at it as -- politics as your social obligation.

RAMAN: And in New Hampshire, they've found a place where smalltown life coexists with big time politics.

MORRIS: This is a state where you can put two people in a room and say I'm going to run for president or I'm going to run for office. And you can do it. It's not done anyplace else.

RAMAN: For these campaign addicts there's no place they'd rather call home.

Aneesh Raman, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.


CROWLEY: That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Come see us again tomorrow. I'm Candy Crowley. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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