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Iowa Countdown; President Bush in Mexico for Summit of Americas

Aired January 12, 2004 - 15:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: All roads lead to Iowa. One week before the Democratic presidential caucuses, is Howard Dean worried about stalling?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What you really want is the endorsement of the Iowa caucus-goer. And that's what gets decided next Monday night.

ANNOUNCER: Dick Gephardt hops aboard our campaign bus to talk to Judy about the campaign mileage he's seeking in Iowa.

Undecideds rule. We'll ask those all-important Iowa fence sitters what they're waiting to hear before they make up their minds.

South of the border, President Bush talks with his Mexican counterpart about topics that are political hot buttons back home. We'll carry their news conference from Monterrey, Mexico live.



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us for an earlier and expanded edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

Democrats here in Iowa haven't seen such a tight campaign caucus season in 16 years. And we have a front row seat traveling, as you can see behind me, with the CNN election express.

One week before the first big presidential contest, a new tracking poll shows Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt running neck and neck, 26 percent to 23 percent. In the apparent race for third place, John Kerry has 16 percent, inching a bit farther ahead of John Edwards, with 12 percent.

Today, Kerry is touting an endorsement from Iowa's first lady, Christy Vilsack, even though her husband, Governor Tom Vilsack, is staying neutral until after the caucuses are over. Although the Dean- Gephardt showing here in Iowa has been getting the most attention, the Kerry-Edwards dynamic is increasingly interesting, as well.

CNN's Bob Franken is with me here in Des Moines. Bob, you've been here for several days. All right.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And what's so interesting is we all know the expression "perception is reality." Well, right now, nobody knows what the reality's going to be and everybody's trying to shape the perception. And of course the perceptions include the fact that Howard Dean is ahead, reinforced by the polls.

They show that Dick Gephardt is very close to him, reinforced by the polls. They show that the others are trailing. And of course there's a certain ritual in politics that when somebody isn't leading in the polls, he pretends the polls don't matter.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't mean to take on polls, but they don't necessarily know how to screen the caucuses. They don't -- look, I'm moving here in Iowa. We've got energy.

Iowa's are extraordinarily independent minded. Not a vote has been cast, and some people are trying to already say, well, what happens if this or that? I have absolute confidence, confidence in my campaign, confidence in my candidacy, confidence that I'm addressing the real concerns of people of Iowa and of the country.


FRANKEN: And of course, for somebody who doesn't have a tangible poll result, he claims intangibles, like energy. Of course there are tangibles like endorsements. Possibly the one that's raised the most eyebrows of late is the one from the "Des Moines Register," the state's largest newspaper. That went to senator John Edwards, who is just hoping to make a not bad showing here, if you could put it that way, so he can come out of here having been successful in the expectations game. You can expect that the main winner here is going to be the person who knows how to best spin the results here.

WOODRUFF: And that's what they're doing a lot of. By the way, it looks like every one of these candidates has gotten one or another newspaper endorsement. But the "Des Moines Register" being the main city in the state of Iowa. It counts for a lot.

OK. Bob Franken, thanks very much.

Now we're going to take a little closer look at the state of the Democratic presidential race here in Iowa by the numbers. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, has been comparing the latest crop of polls.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): When you're dealing with caucuses, polls are not very good at predicting. But they do set expectations. Right now, they say you can expect a close race between Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt. Both in the 20s, just three points apart in the latest tracking poll, with John Kerry and John Edwards in the teens.

The "Los Angeles Times" poll of Iowa caucus-goers shows the same thing. Dean first, followed by Gephardt then Kerry, then Edwards.

The Research 2000 poll shows Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards. How about that? For once, the polls are in agreement.

Iowa is supposed to be a Gephardt state. It's got lots of farmers and blue collar workers who respond to Gephardt's message: jobs, jobs, jobs.

GEPHARDT: I led the fight for the Clinton economic program in the '90s. It created jobs, 22 million new jobs.

SCHNEIDER: But Howard Dean's message is also resonating in Iowa, particularly with young, well-educated voters. That message: Iraq, Iraq, Iraq.

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The President of the United States has misled the American public, and he has been misleading us for two years.

SCHNEIDER: If Dean loses Iowa, it means he's vulnerable. If he wins big in Iowa, it means he's done better than expected.

Meanwhile, both Kerry and Edwards are claiming late momentum in Iowa. No energy crisis here.

KERRY: I'm very excited about the energy that I've got in the campaign.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And we've seen an enormous amount of energy.

SCHNEIDER: Kerry's JFK-style message appeals to the same upscale voters as Dean.

KERRY: We can do better than we're doing today. People know that.

SCHNEIDER: While Edwards' economic populism is a younger, fresher version of the Gephardt theme.

EDWARDS: We have two economies. We have two tax systems. We have two public school systems. One for those who live in affluent communities, one for those who don't.


SCHNEIDER: There's a varsity game in Iowa between Dean and Gephardt. And a junior varsity game between Kerry and Edwards. If Kerry or Edwards makes a strong showing in Iowa, then they'll look good when they get to play varsity. Kerry in New Hampshire, Edwards in South Carolina -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, looking at the national polls, the Democratic horse race shaking out differently. Our new CNN-"USA Today" Gallup survey shows Dean with 26 percent among registered Democrats around the country. Wesley Clark, who is not competing here in Iowa, is the only candidate who comes close to Dean. He's got about 20 percent.

Rank and file Democrats apparently do not see Dean and Clark battling for the future of the party. About two-thirds say that it would be good for the party if either candidate won the nomination.

Also worth noting, about a fourth of all likely voters say they are waiting to see who the Democrats nominate before they decide who they'll vote for in the general election. Fourteen percent of Democrats nationwide, meantime, say they are unsure about their choice for the presidential nomination. And here in Iowa, the latest tracking poll shows 14 percent of likely caucus-goers yet to make up their minds.

CNN's Kelly Wallace has been out talking to some of those undecideds.

Kelly, what have you found?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, you see how fluid the race is. Even a poll this weekend showing 40 percent of people who say they made up their mind, could decide to change their mind in the end.

So we sat down with three undecided voters. All three people either watched the debate on television or watched it in person. And the first person you're going to hear from says she was a Howard Dean supporter, but she says she has changed her mind, in part, after watching the pointed questioning by Al Sharpton of Howard Dean's makeup of his cabinet. Here's what she had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I took him off my shopping list because race is important and it needs to be addressed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. I just -- I like Edwards. I like Dean. I liked him better before I saw him in person. And I don't know why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm more turned off both with Gephardt and Kerry for attacks on Dean. I think they should be positive in their own right and say, here's what we're going to do, we can do it better than anyone else.


WALLACE: And our undecided voters there say they receive a half- dozen e-mails every day, sometimes as many as four to five phone calls left on their answering machines. But they say they still don't see anyone really breaking through. What they did, Judy, is they've exchanged e-mails with each other, thinking that they can each help each other along the way to make a decision.

WOODRUFF: There's no other place like this in the country, where these individual voters get this kind of individual attention from the candidates.

WALLACE: And that these individual voters you find -- you can almost pick them off the street -- are so politically aware of the issues and all the candidates.

WOODRUFF: Where everybody stands. They set a good example for all of us.

WALLACE: They do.

WOODRUFF: Kelly Wallace, thanks.

Well, checking our "Campaign News Daily" now, and the two Democratic hopefuls not competing in Iowa, retired General Wesley Clark began his day in New Hampshire, where the primary now is just 15 days away. Clark visited a yogurt shop this morning in Londonderry, where he held a roundtable discussion on equal pay for women. He travels to Texas this evening to pick up the endorsement of Congressman Martin Frost.

Senator Joe Lieberman is also skipping Iowa. He's in Oklahoma and Arizona today. Lieberman had breakfast with supporters in Tulsa, where he discussed his plan for a middle class tax cut. Later, he headed west for stops in Tucson, Phoenix, and Scottsdale.

Well, the rest of the Democratic pack will be working overtime here in Iowa, until caucus day next Monday. And so will we. Tomorrow, we're going to travel aboard the CNN election express to Ames, home of Iowa State University.

Then it is off to Iowa City, the one-time state capital.

Thursday, we'll pull into Cedar Rapids, hopefully for breakfast, as the city is billed as the oatmeal capital of the world. You can follow all our travels on the Web at And you can even e- mail us as we roll across the state, at

Well, we're about 15 minutes away from President Bush's news conference with Mexico's President Vicente Fox. We're going to carry that live when it gets under way.

We'll also see what the Democrats -- where the Democrats stand on a hot topic in Mexico, free trade.



GEPHARDT: Iowa caucus-goers really focus in on the issues. They really try to evaluate what you're talking about.


WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt talks to me about the issues, endorsements, and whether he can pull off a needed win here in Iowa.

All right. We are going to quickly go down to Monterrey, Mexico, where President Bush has been meeting with Mexico's President Vicente Fox.


WOODRUFF: President Bush in Monterrey Mexico, about 150 miles south of the Texas border, meeting with Mexico's President Vicente Fox, answering questions after their meeting of several hours. Questions that ranged from President Bush's new immigration policy, his policy expanding rights for workers who are in the United States right now undocumented, questions about free trade.

And at the very end, we heard President Bush asked about the new book by his former treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, who said that the Bush administration had it in for Saddam Hussein from day one. They didn't wait until after 9/11, that there was a plan already in place.

CNN White House correspondent, Dana Bash, is in Monterrey, Mexico, with President Bush.

Dana, back on the immigration question, if the president went down there to get support, he seems to have found it from President Fox.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He certainly does. President Fox sounded a lot more supportive, at least a lot more solid in his support of the proposal coming out of this bilateral meeting that the two men just had before this press conference, more than he did last week, five days ago, when President Bush first announced it.

But he did make it clear that he understands it's not going to be easy for President Bush to get this through the Congress, saying that he hopes it has a happy ending. And he has mentioned in the past couple of days that he's expecting to take some trips up to the United States in order to lobby, to get this proposal through.

Also, Judy, you heard the president, when he was asked about the politics of this immigration bill. Of course there's been a lot of discussion, particularly among Democrats, that President Bush proposed this in order to court the Hispanic vote, that very important swing vote block, if you will. The president deflected that question but did make it fair he understands it's not going to be easy to get this through Congress and there could be a lot of politics there -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dana Bash, you're right. The president said no politics involved in his decision. He said he did what was right for the American people. He did acknowledge, though, as you said, there is some politics involved with the Congress.

Dana Bash reporting from Monterrey. Thank you very much, Dana.

Well, we're going to get back to politics here, INSIDE POLITICS on CNN. When we come back from a very short break, my interview earlier today with Congressman Dick Gephardt, hot and heavy, looking for a win in the Iowa caucuses one week from today.


WOODRUFF: Back INSIDE POLITICS. We're in Des Moines, where Iowa is considered a make or break state for Congressman Dick Gephardt's presidential campaign. He is from the neighboring state of Missouri, and he won the caucuses here in Iowa back in 1988.

This morning, Congressman Gephardt joined me on the CNN election express.


WOODRUFF: Congressman Gephardt, we're on the road from Des Moines to Atlantic Iowa, to down to the final stretch here. The latest polls have you locked in a tight race with Howard Dean, but with John Kerry and John Edwards moving up quickly. And both Kerry and Edwards seem to be getting the newspaper endorsements.

How do you deal with this?

GEPHARDT: Well, endorsements are great. And you want all of them. But we got a few newspaper endorsements.

But what you really want is the endorsement of the Iowa caucus- goer. And that's what gets decided next Monday night.

I really believe I'm going to win. And I'm going to win because we've got the best organization to actually get our people out. And we've been working hard here for a year, getting across my message and my ideas of health care, trade and jobs, education, energy and environment, international minimum wage.

These are the issues that people care about. And Iowa caucus- goers really focus in on the issues. They really try to evaluate what you're talking about.

WOODRUFF: You know the state, Congressman. You campaigned here before. You've been here, in the neighboring state. And yet, the home state senator, Tom Harkin, turns around and endorses Howard Dean.


WOODRUFF: What does this mean? I mean, you've got all these unions that are supporting you, and yet he does this. He has been close to the unions in Iowa. Does this hurt you? How much so?

GEPHARDT: Tom Harkin has been my friend and always will be my friend. I have enormous respect for him.

I really, though, don't think that it makes a measurable difference on this race. And I'm not saying that in disrespect to Tom. It's just these people are fiercely independent. They do not listen to anybody.

They can see all of this 10 times, sometimes in a day. So they don't need to hear from somebody else. You have husbands and wives here who disagree on who they ought to be for.

So it is really an unusual place. The voters get lots of exposure to all the candidates. And endorsements are great, but they really don't have much impact on the final result.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned issues. One of the issues that has come up here in the last days of this campaign are middle class tax cuts. John Kerry is coming after you, and Wes Clark are coming after you and Howard Dean, for wanting to roll back the Bush tax cuts.

Are you ultimately going to be vulnerable on that? In effect, giving the middle class a tax increase?

GEPHARDT: I help the middle class more than either Wes Clark or John Kerry or George Bush. Because my health care plan, unlike Howard's, really helps middle class people and average families more than the Bush tax cuts and more than their tax cut suggestions.

I give everybody in the country, I mean everybody, a minimum of 60 percent of the cost of whatever health care they choose. And this health care is the economic issue you hear about out here.

WOODRUFF: Now you have Howard Dean saying, well, let's look at rolling back payroll taxes. He would take money out of the general fund to give people a payroll tax. This is going to help working families. It's going to help the economy. Isn't it? Or wouldn't it?

GEPHARDT: Well, his probably is that his health care plan is not as helpful to people as mine is. I put $3,000 a year into the average family. The Bush tax cuts put in $500 to $700 a year. That's a $2,500 difference. And even if you did a payroll tax cut, which I think is inadvisable, because you don't want to undermine Social Security trust fund...

WOODRUFF: He said it would come out of the general fund.

GEPHARDT: I understand. But when you start fooling around with the Social Security tax, any way you do it you're going to raise questions about the future. But put that aside. If you put together everything Howard does for the middle class, I think my health care plan will exceed in money what that family gets.

WOODRUFF: Two other quick questions, Congressman. One is on Iraq. Senator Kerry is now saying that you, in going to the White House and voting, working with the president, in effect undercut what Senator Kerry and other Democrats were trying to do. That you cut a deal with the president that ended up in a worse plan in terms of going to war with Iraq.

What do you say to Senator Kerry? GEPHARDT: That's just not an accurate reflection of what happened. I was negotiating with the White House, and so was Tom Daschle. We were doing it together. We were never going to get a two-step resolution. We were never going to get this White House to agree to coming back to the Congress...

WOODRUFF: But how do you feel about Senator Kerry saying this at this point in the campaign?

GEPHARDT: Well, it's unfortunate. It just isn't a true reflection of what happened. And I think he would know that if he looked at the facts.

Look, I did what I thought was right. He did what he thought was right. We in no way undercut him. The Biden-Lugar resolution that I think he's referring to didn't come up until the last weekend, until we had concluded negotiations. And there was no way that you were going to get it.


WOODRUFF: Congressman Dick Gephardt talking to me earlier today.

Well, as you've seen from our coverage earlier this hour, President Bush is in Mexico. Coming up, a look at where the president's opponents stand on one of the issues that came up in Mexico today, free trade.


WOODRUFF: We know that trade is a sticky issue for the U.S., Mexico, and Latin America. You heard President Bush and President Fox being asked about it a minute ago. We know also it's going to come up during this week's Summit of the Americas, which the president and President Fox will be attending in Monterrey.

Free trade also is a priority among the president's opponents. Here now is a look where all the Democrats stand.


GEPHARDT: I think I bring the right contrast on trade. I don't think Howard Dean does. I don't think the other candidates do.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Dick Gephardt wants Iowans to know he's the only top presidential contender who opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement a decade ago. The other five major candidates all have supported free trade to one degree or another in the past.

While frontrunner Howard Dean supported NAFTA as governor of Vermont, he says promises were not kept to protect jobs in the U.S. Dean, John Kerry, John Edwards and Wesley Clark all urged stronger labor and environmental protections and better enforcement of trade agreements. Among the '04 Democrats, Joe Lieberman remains the staunchest defender of free trade, which he sees as a cornerstone of the Clinton economic legacy. SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: On trade, my motto is going to be, made in America and sold abroad. It's the same formula President Clinton used to create the strongest economy in generations.


WOODRUFF: Trade is also a hot button issue in South Carolina's important February 3 primary. That state has lost tens of thousands of textile jobs.

Well, the gloves are coming off at the Democratic presidential debates. Coming up, Al Sharpton brings up the race issue in an attack on Howard Dean.

Not many people are noticing, but there is a presidential primary tomorrow. We'll tell you where.

Plus, a refresher course on what happens at a caucus.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back. When you are in this state a week before the presidential caucuses, you never know what candidate might show up where. Maybe here at the state capital, at a local diner, or even at your next door neighbor's home.

Most of the '04 Democrats are making the rounds across the state today, as another poll confirms Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt are in a close race for first place next Monday. So, could frontrunner Dean be starting to feel the pressure? Let's check in with our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, who's been here for days and days and days.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems like only years and years.


CROWLEY: You know, look, the answer to that question is, it looks like he's feeling the pressure. I think you saw a little bit last night in the debate, when he was, you know, clearly in the bull's eye. And you saw today a return to the Dean that made him so popular. This is a man who is now returning to that sort of outsider, populist, it is us against them, repeatedly today.

We were in southeast Des Moines, southeast in Pelan Sigourney (ph), where he talked to senior citizens, and he was -- it was all about us versus them. They're the insiders, I'm the outsiders. He was very clearly trying to rally his base.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: By this time, all the Washington folks have figured out what the right thing to say is to get you to vote for them. They want it -- now of course they can't be against the war because they all voted for it.

But they want to say that they're all against the establishment. They are the establishment.


CROWLEY: He went on, you know, to say they're attacking -- they're not just attacking me. They're attacking us. Also called his opponents the front-runners, which is really sort of interesting, because I think in the end, what you're seeing here is a return to Howard Dean six months ago.

Another bite that sort of illustrates that.


DEAN: When you see again and again all these attacks by all these front-runners, against our campaign, it's not me they're trying to stop: us. It is the enormous campaign that we've put together to change this country.

We need real change, and we don't just need a change in presidents. We need a change in Washington. And we're not going to get it by hiring somebody from Washington.


CROWLEY: I think you can see. Subdued it seemed a little bit, but still some really rough words. You know, we can't fix things if you get somebody from Washington.

At one point he said, "We're in a struggle but we're stronger than they are. And they are very clearly the Democrats in Iowa are beginning to give him a few problems, at least by the polls.

WOODRUFF: No question. Your point is he'd gotten away from that, and now he seems to be getting back to something that was successful for him before.

CROWLEY: Yes. I just think reminding people. And that's what you do, as you know, in your last week of your campaign. You remind people, you know, what your roots are and where you started.

It's just that this also has kind of the polls hanging over him and a very rough night last night.

WOODRUFF: Yes. Candy Crowley, thank you very much.

Well, the closest these caucuses do get, the more Howard Dean's rivals have been laying in to him, as you just heard. In their final Iowa debate last night, Al Sharpton went off Dean on the forum's primary issue, race.


REV. AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems as though you discovered blacks and browns during this campaign. How you can explain not one black or brown working for your administration as governor?

DEAN: Well, actually, I beg to differ with your statistics.

SHARPTON: This is according to your paper in Vermont, Associated Press, and the Center for Women in Government.

DEAN: Well, perhaps you ought not to believe everything you read in the press.

SHARPTON: Are you saying they're incorrect?

DEAN: We do have African-American and Latino workers in state government.

SHARPTON: No, I said under your administration, did you have a senior member of your cabinet that was black or brown?

DEAN: We had a senior member of my staff on my...

SHARPTON: Of your cabinet?

DEAN: No, we did not.


WOODRUFF: All right, with me now, Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times" who watched that debate, has been thinking about it today.

Ron, Al Sharpton really went after Dean in a way we hadn't seen. I mean, the other guys have gone after him. But this was very pointed and very personal.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": One of the most uncomfortable moments, it had to be, for Howard Dean in this entire campaign.

Look, Judy, as this race proceeds, it's asking Howard Dean to do something he never had to do as governor of Vermont, which is appeal to African-American voters in large numbers.

As Sharpton's criticisms and questions suggest, he doesn't have much of a pedigree that he can draw on, much of a record to make the case to that constituency.

But he does have two things going for him, as we look down the calendar. One is, as he pointed out, he does have a substantial amount of endorsements from African-American and Latino leaders, which should help establish his bona fides.

I think more importantly, there's the question of compared to what? None of these other Democrats really have deep connections in the black community. You could argue that, compared to any Democratic race since 1976, you'd have to go back to find a race that was as wide open in terms of black support as this contest.

WOODRUFF: In fact we even saw the specter of Carol Moseley Braun almost coming to Dean's defense, saying to Sharpton, you know, you can make race an issue anywhere. But that's not what we need.

Talk about Dean's supporters. Dean, close on his heels is Dick Gephardt. Talk about the different constituencies that they are looking at here.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, very close race here in Iowa. But we have two very different coalitions that are on the battlefield against each other.

I mean, if you look at the people who are supporting Dick Gephardt in the "L.A. Times" poll we just completed, in the polling that's going on by John Zogby, it is a coalition of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson would have recognized.

It's blue collar, it's older, it's more moderate, less affluent. Many of them tend not to be college graduates. It's the Democratic Party of the New Deal era through the 1960s.

Howard Dean's coalition here is very different. It's much more the modern Democratic Party that's grown more important in the last 30 years. Much stronger among college graduates. Much stronger among upscale voters. Much stronger among those who consider themselves liberals.

These are very different coalitions that are sort of colliding here. And right now they're almost at exactly the same size, with a slight edge to Dean because he is drawing better on Gephardt's side of the field than Gephardt is on his.

WOODRUFF: All right. What about going after these constituents? What's different about the tactics that they have to use to go after their respective constituents?

BROWNSTEIN: You can really see it in the message. I mean, Howard Dean fits into the tradition that we've seen, really, for decades in the Democratic Party, of politicians who present themselves as outsiders and reformers.

We can go from Eugene McCarthy to Gary Hart to Paul Tsongas to Bill Bradley. They always run well with these college educated voters who respond to those kinds of themes.

Now, look at Dick Gephardt's message. It is a lunch bucket liberalism. It is very much of a bread and butter agenda. He talks about trade. He talks about Medicare. He talks about Social Security.

Day-to-day concerns for people who feel more economic pressure in their average -- in their daily lives than the Dean voters do. It's a very different message and a very different constituency.

But as I say, the advantage Dean has here is that he is cutting into Gephardt's side a little better, significantly better than Gephardt is into his.

WOODRUFF: ... than the reverse. Very quickly, Ron, in less than a minute we have left, what does that leave for Kerry and Edwards?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, they're both drawing kind of evenly across the board here. They seem to be in the remainder.

Look, Iowa is a blue-collar state. In theory, it should lean toward Gephardt. Less than half the electorate has college degrees here. But as I say, Dean is doing better at poaching.

The question as you move down the road is whether anybody can consolidate that side of the party, that blue collar side of the party, against Dean, who I think is going to be very, very strong among the more upscale Democrats.

New Hampshire, about 60 percent of the electorate has a college degree. Makes Howard Dean very hard to beat there.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to hold you to these descriptions of what's going to happen in the future. Ron, thank you very much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: "Los Angeles Times."

Now, checking our second edition of our "Campaign News Daily."

Online retailer plans to join the political process this election year.

According to "Roll Call," Amazon plans to post a link on its web page to allow customers who purchase books about a presidential candidate to make donations directly to that candidate's campaign. The Capitol Hill newspaper says that all costs associated with the plan will be covered by the campaigns. celebrity judges will choose a winner tonight in the group's contest to produce an anti-Bush campaign ad. Fifteen-hundred entries have been narrowed now down to 15.

Tonight, in New York, Jeanine Garofalo, Michael Moore and others will pick the winner. The group plans to air the ad the same week as the president's State of the Union address.

Al Sharpton is the only presidential hopeful campaigning in Washington today. The D.C. Democratic primary will be held tomorrow. The primary is nonbinding, and no delegates will be assigned.

Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich are the only candidates on the D.C. primary ballot.

As we've been telling you, a caucus is a lot different from a primary election. Coming up, a preview of what happens a week from tonight across the state of Iowa. And later, you may surprised at where many voter, young voters are getting their information about the presidential campaign. But there is no doubt the candidates remember the top place for the breaking political news. We'll have a case in point.


WOODRUFF: One week from tonight there will be 1,393 precinct caucuses -- count them -- across the state of Iowa; 13,490 county delegates will be selected. And Iowa Democrats will literally stand up and be counted.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): Sunday afternoon at Plymouth Church in Des Moines. The congregation's gone, but another faithful flock is assembling.

KATHLEEN MURRIN, CAUCUS GOER: Well, I've been to every caucus since I moved here. But I thought there's always more to learn.

WOODRUFF: Indeed, caucusing involves a lot more than casting a ballot. First of all, it will eat up an entire evening. Second, you've got to be ready to speak your mind in front of your friends and neighbors.

JANE LIBBY, CAUCUS GOER: Caucus goers also have an opportunity to talk about the issues that you want the party to follow.

WOODRUFF: Most important, you must declare your choice for president. Here at the church, organizers staged a mock caucus to show 100 or so Iowans the ropes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Hi tech.

WOODRUFF: No, it's all pretty old school, really. First come the pitches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We ask -- the campaigns have to designate one person to give a speech on behalf of their candidate.

WOODRUFF: Or pseudo-candidates today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The joy of Pepsi: has caffeine to get you going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coke. Coke is the real thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lemonade. No caffeine.

WOODRUFF: Root beer is in the mix, too, and so is...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uncommitted. There are a lot of other great drinks.

WOODRUFF: With the options on the table, it's decision time, as caucus goers physically divide into groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Root beer on this side.

WOODRUFF: Then caucus math kicks in, as the precinct captain takes a tally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got 20 in Pepsi. And I have 32 in uncommitted. Is that correct?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give us one moment, we'll figure out what viability is.

WOODRUFF: Viability, the key to the caucus. A candidate must have the support of a certain percentage of those assembled, a number determined by how many delegates a precinct is allotted.

Candidates who cross that threshold get at least one delegate to the county convention. The candidate who emerges with the most delegates overall wins.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, but the lemonade group and the Pepsi group will have to realign.

WOODRUFF: Which means lemonade and Pepsi junkies must either go with a second choice or convince other caucus goers to join their team.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So if you see a neighbor in a group, you know, you literally can make a beeline for them across the room and try to get them back into your group.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Root beer is great! Root beer is great!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Root beer is great! Root beer is great!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Root beer is great! Root beer is great!

WOODRUFF: In our mock caucus each drink ultimately mustered enough support to win delegates, as did that stubborn group of uncommitteds.

Up next, more math.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now, there's another formula that will tell us how many delegates each group is entitled to

WOODRUFF: A formula we won't get into right now, except to tell you that Coke won the mock caucus with three delegates.

When the counting is complete, the precinct captain phones in the results to a new 800 number. And Iowa Democratic headquarters state party Chairman Gordon Fischer walked us through the new technology.

ROBOTIC VOICE: Press pound to confirm your caucus results. Or press star to clear the delegates.

GORDON FISCHER, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: It's automatically transferred, once it's done, to electronic data, which goes up on our Web site. It's really almost transparent. I mean, people can see in more or less real time the results come up and be confident in our totals.

WOODRUFF: Moving the most old-fashioned of political events into cyberspace.


WOODRUFF: Well, for more on the caucus process and its impact in years past, I'm joined from Iowa City by University of Iowa political science professor Peverill Squier.

Professor Squier, how did these caucuses get started?

PEVERILL SQUIER, UNIVERSITY OF IOWA: Well, Iowa has always used a caucus, with the exception of 1916. But prior to 1972 nobody really paid much attention to them. And it was only with the changes in the Democratic rules nationally that the Iowa caucuses began to gain much attention.

In 1972, Iowa moved to the front of the line purely by accident, and when Jimmy Carter used the caucuses in 1976 to catapult to the presidency, the importance of the caucuses became obvious to everyone.

WOODRUFF: How do you explain this process, Professor Squier, to people from the rest of the country who are looking at this and saying, "Wait a minute, isn't it a whole lot easier just to go to the polls, pull a lever, or punch a place on a touchtone screen, and that's it?"

SQUIER: Primaries are certainly a lot easier, and they'll encourage more people to attend. But what you get in the caucus that you won't get in a primary is a chance to really discuss the issues, to talk about things with your neighbors.

And if you're in one of those groups that's not viable, you'll get a chance to cast your second place vote and move to a candidate whose campaign you would also like to give some backing.

And so what you'll see on caucus night is really something out of the 19th Century: a place where Americans will stand up and in public talk about the candidates they support, and also vote in public.

WOODRUFF: It really is democracy at its rawest sense.

Professor Squier let's talk about what's going on this year. There are projections that there could be as many as, say, 125,000 Iowans, Democrats, turn out a week from tonight. And that hasn't really happened, what, since 1988.

What's the difference? What's happened over time? And do you see similarities with 16 years ago? SQUIER: This current campaign really is a throwback back to 1988. And it's not just because Dick Gephardt was active in both of them.

This is an occasion where, like 1988, the Democrats really don't have a single dominant candidate, and they have a rather crowded field. So if you look here in Iowa, we really have four candidates who are very seriously and very vigorously contesting the caucuses.

And for the voters that means they have to spend a fair amount of time and effort to try to figure out who among these candidates they would really like to support.

And I think on caucus night we'll see a winner will probably get maybe 30 percent of the vote, and votes will be scattered among a number of candidates including some who may not even have participated here. So it really is very much like 1988.

WOODRUFF: Could we be surprised, Professor Squier, a week from tonight? I mean we've all been looking at the polls. Everybody likes to know ahead of time what's going on. Could we be surprised, do you think?

SQUIER: I think we could be surprised. Certainly we know there's a tight contest between the people we think are in the lead, Gephardt and Dean, and also for third and fourth place, with Edwards and Kerry looking like they're pretty close.

And the one thing you can't really determine in advance very well is who's likely to turn out next Monday night. We try to predict as best we can. But the caucuses require a fair amount of time and commitment from people, and depending on the weather, people may not want to show up.

But my guess is, we probably will have a high turnout like we did back in 1988, about 125,000 people. And you can never be quite sure how people are going to decide to vote when they finally get the chance next week.

WOODRUFF: We're not going to think about bad weather. We're just going to think about a big turnout. Professor Peverill Squier of the University of Iowa joining us from Iowa City.

Good to see you. Thanks very much for helping us understand how these caucuses work. We appreciate it.

SQUIER: My pleasure.

WOODRUFF: For a lot of people, campaign news is just a point and a click away.

Up next, a new survey of how Americans get their political headlines. The sobering news for traditional media outlets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOWARD KURTZ, "RELIABLE SOURCE" HOST (voice-over): ... and 42 percent of Republicans say the media tilt the other way, a five-point jump from 2000.

The bottom line: for the first time ever, the country is evenly split, 39 to 38 percent, on whether campaign coverage is biased.

And they are voting with their remote controls. Forty percent of Democrats but only 24 percent of Republicans rely on CBS, NBC and ABC as their main source of campaign news. Nearly twice as many Republicans as Democrats to Fox News and to conservative dominated radio.

The Pew survey is bad news for much of the establishment press. As sources of campaign information, newspapers are down nine percentage points from the 2000 election. Broadcast nightly news, down ten points. Local TV news down six points. Newsmagazines down five points.

Only cable news is up by four points.

And where are the defectors getting their political fix? From this man.


KURTZ: And this man.

DARRELL HAMMOND, AS DICK GEPHARDT: This is my 19th time running for president.

KURTZ: For Americans under 30, one in five say they regularly learn about the campaign from comedy programs such as "Saturday Night Live," and Jon Stewart's "Daily Show."

But these younger folks aren't learning that much. Only 15 percent could say which Democratic candidate was an Army general, or which one was House majority leader.

Another big winner, the Internet, with nearly one in five of those surveyed saying they regularly or sometimes get their political news online. Those figures even higher for Howard Dean supporters.

(on camera): Reporters like to say that if everyone is mad at us we must be doing a good job. But there's no good way to spin the vote of no confidence in this survey.

Some bias is in the eye of the beholder. Many Republicans didn't like our coverage of President Clinton, and lots of Democrats can't stand our coverage of President Bush. But numbers don't lie, and the press now faces a serious credibility gap.

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


WOODRUFF: Something we all need to take seriously.

So, if the public is expanding its sources of news from the political headlines, what about the candidates? Howard Dean plugs what we think is the only place for campaign news, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.



WOODRUFF: There's no question which political news program is modestly, in our opinion, the most comprehensive on television. But, of course, you would expect us to feel that way.

Yesterday, during a presidential debate on another network, Howard Dean mentioned a past TV appearance as he defended his stance on a possible payroll tax cut.


DEAN: Under no circumstances will we take the money to cut payroll taxes out of the Social Security trust fund. That would be absurd.

I said so a year ago on Judy Woodruff's show, INSIDE POLITICS, that a payroll tax holiday is irresponsible for the same reason a payroll tax cut shouldn't cut the money going into Social Security is irresponsible.


WOODRUFF: For the record, Dean was on our show almost exactly a year ago, January 14, 2003. See? It pays to watch INSIDE POLITICS.

That's it for today's edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I am Judy Woodruff. Join me again tomorrow when the CNN Election Express will be in Ames, Iowa, as we continue our tour of the Hawkeye State, leading up to Monday's caucuses.

I'll also talk to Democratic candidate John Edwards. That's tomorrow, 3:30 Eastern.

That's all for today. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now. Literally right now.



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