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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Dean's Dilemma: What Does he do now?; The Expectations Game Risky Business

Aired January 28, 2004 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Going South.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We know we can't win every one, but we always try to win everyone.

ANNOUNCER: Can Howard Dean come up with a winning strategy by February 3?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on!

ANNOUNCER: As if John Kerry didn't have enough to celebrate, the now undisputed front-runner picks up another key endorsement. We'll talk to Kerry's campaign manager about the next round of contests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think Kerry has the best chance to get Bush out of office, and that is my main goal.

ANNOUNCER: The driving issues for Democrats. What does the New Hampshire vote tell us about the race ahead?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: And thank you for joining us. It's good to be back home after our whirlwind travels through New Hampshire and Iowa.

Most of the '04 Democrats, though, cannot say the same thing. They are scrambling to the states that hold contests next Tuesday.

New Hampshire winner John Kerry left New England today for a rally in St. Louis Missouri. Then he heads to South Carolina. His campaign aides tell us that in St. Louis Kerry will pick up the endorsements of former Missouri senators, Jean Carnahan and Tom Eagleton, as well as Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack. And in South Carolina, aides said that Kerry was set to get another key endorsement from congressman and African-American community leader, Jim Cleburne. But Clyburn's chief of staff is telling CNN the congressman has not yet formally decided who he will endorse.

Kerry is appealing to South Carolina's sizable military community with a New ad in that state. It features a testimonial from a fellow Vietnam veteran. Kerry is running similar spots in the six other states that are Democratic battlegrounds on February 3.

Well, Howard Dean is taking a break from the campaign trail. He's at home in Vermont. But he may not be getting much R&R, for that matter. Or, for that matter, much comfort, after his second-place showing in New Hampshire.

Our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, is with Howard Dean in Burlington -- Candy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. After you lose two high-profile elections that you expected to win, the question always is, what next? And that's what the Dean campaign is trying to figure out right now.

The candidate spent this morning in a hotel doing satellite interviews, both radio and television, to most, if not all, of the February 3 states. We caught a brief glimpse of him amidst rumors and reports that the staff is trying to figure out where to go next and that there may be some staff changes.

Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: There's not going to be any changes to my staff today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are there going to be any changes in coming days?

DEAN: I'm not asking anybody to leave. There may be some additions, but nobody's leaving. At least I hope they're not leaving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: More importantly, of course, then, who's going to be on the staff is what is the strategy, where do they go next. That has not yet been decided. We do know about tomorrow. Some interesting choices.

Before he goes to South Carolina, the governor is going to go to Michigan. That is not a February 3 state. That is a February 7 state, but one that the Dean campaign has hopes in. He then, of course, goes to South Carolina. Cannot afford, of course, to miss that debate.

Meanwhile, I'm told that this is what the staff and the consultants are struggling with. What they want is a clean shot at John Kerry. They want to be in a place where the race becomes between John Kerry and Howard Dean. That's a race they say and a place they want to be.

Also, there are still some really outstanding questions about the Dean campaign. Listen to this last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: I just noticed a whole lot of people came out here from San Francisco. I can't believe all these people.

(APPLAUSE)

DEAN: Florida. Anybody here from Alaska?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alaska!

DEAN: You know something? We are going to take our country back.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: So, here's the former governor in New Hampshire right next door talking to an audience where he notices, of course, that there are people there from San Francisco. What we saw, Judy, a lot of people who are in Iowa. And here's the outstanding question for the Dean campaign.

This was, of course, an Internet-driven, an Internet-spawned campaign. It had yet to prove that they can put that into grassroots. They will follow him around, but getting the vote out has been an entirely different thing. And that remains an open question -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Candy, they've got some tough decisions to make. And they don't have much time to make them in. When are you expecting to learn the answers to some of these questions you're raising?

CROWLEY: Today. The governor's in a conference call right now, we presume with some of his staff.

Look, here's the main dilemma for the governor's staff. And that is, do you play in all seven of these states next Tuesday? Or do you hone in and emphasize the states where you have a really good chance?

What they're trying to do is to get to those Saturday states. And they're pushing back pretty hard. I think you can see from going to Michigan against the notion that he has to win something on February 3. So they're fighting a lot of expectations here, as well as trying to figure out, do we just go for the whole megillah and play in all seven of those states, or do we hone in where we think we have the best chance. And where they think that is is in the Southwest, Arizona and New Mexico -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Candy Crowley on a snowy day in Burlington, Vermont. Candy, thank you very much.

Well, John Edwards made a beeline from New Hampshire to South Carolina. He also has campaign swings through Oklahoma and Missouri today. But South Carolina is at the center of Edwards' February 3 strategy. The North Carolina Senator is hoping for an advantage in the first contest in the South, especially after his better-than- expected showings in Iowa, and his fourth place finish in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the Democrats and Democratic voters want to put their chances on for the first time in American history, a Democrat getting elected without winning any southern states, they can make that choice. It's a very risky choice.

I believe that I can win in southern states. And I think we have to win not just in the South, but everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Edwards again rejected the idea that he might be running for a vice presidential nod if John Kerry were to get the nomination. Edwards says that he intends to be the Democratic nominee.

Well, Wesley Clark was supposed to visit South Carolina today after barely edging out Edwards for third place in New Hampshire. But the stop had to be scrapped because of a miscommunication with the Air Charter Company. The retired general is probably hoping that the drill goes better during campaign events in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. Clark brought several hundred voters in Tulsa to their feet today when he said that military action should be a last resort.

Oklahoma also is on Joe Lieberman's travel itinerary today with campaign stops in Oklahoma City and McAlester. The Lieberman campaign again strenuously denying rumors that the Senator plans to drop out of the presidential race after coming in fifth in New Hampshire.

Well, as we head into the next round of primaries, we are essentially back to square one in the expectations game. Back to the time well before the Dean surge, when John Kerry was considered the front-runner. Just another reminder that living up to expectations can be tricky.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EDWARDS: We're going to see great victories on February 3. Yes we are!

WOODRUFF (voice-over): He'd better. Ask John Edwards whether he needs to win South Carolina on Tuesday, and he'll tell you...

EDWARDS: That is correct. WOODRUFF: And so, a line is drawn in the sand. An expectations set. If John Edwards doesn't win the state where he was born, he's toast. He said so himself.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless you all.

WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt set a bar for himself in Iowa, but it was too high. He fell short and dropped out. When a candidate sets an expectation threshold, he has to meet it. But what about when expectations are thrust upon you?

CROWLEY: John Kerry cannot sustain a loss in either Iowa or New Hampshire, much less both.

WOODRUFF: John Kerry nearly buckled under the pressure of expectations. For a while, when he trailed Howard Dean in the Granite State, people were writing his political obituary. They didn't think he could do it. And when he did, he didn't just meet expectations, he surpassed them.

DEAN: We're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico. And we're going to California and Texas and New York!

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean didn't really have a trademark must-win state. He was widely expected to run the table. No pressure there.

Well, it's not happening. And that's taking a serious toll. It's hard to take your eyes off a falling star.

LIEBERMAN: So the battle goes on. And the battle goes on with the confidence that I am ready to be the president America needs now.

WOODRUFF: Of course there is something worse than striving to meet high expectations, trying to persuade people they're not expecting enough of you. A problem Joe Lieberman faces. Proving that low expectations can be as frustrating as lofty ones.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, meanwhile, John Kerry is hoping to emerge from the expectations game as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Up next, how does he navigate the hurdles ahead? I'll ask his campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill.

And we'll look back at the issues that made Kerry a winner in New Hampshire.

Plus, the South Carolina political landscape. The state's Democratic party chairman joins us to handicap the race.

And later, a source of political sparring on the hill, testimony about the failure to find Iraq weapons of mass destruction.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: If George Bush wants to make national security the central issue of this campaign, we have three words for him we know he understands: bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bring it on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bring it on!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: All right. You heard him and you saw the numbers. John Kerry now holds the undisputed title of front-runner among the Democratic presidential hopefuls. His campaign manager, Mary Beth Cahill, is with me now to talk about Kerry's strategy for the contests that lie ahead.

Mary Beth Cahill, congratulations to you and the campaign.

MARY BETH CAHILL, KERRY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thank you very much, Judy.

WOODRUFF: John Kerry has won Iowa and New Hampshire. But you now face a series of states with a very different population. More urban in some respects, and more diverse in many ways. How do you know that he's going to appeal to the voters in these states the way he did in Iowa and New Hampshire?

CAHILL: Well, we have a plan. We've had it all along. We've executed it very well, where John is speaking directly to voters about things that matter to them.

He's not getting caught up in the polls. He's not getting caught up in the process. As he is focused, we've done better and better. And that's what we plan to do on February 3.

WOODRUFF: Now, you have a -- what, four opponents instead of one? There were those who said if you were just up against Howard Dean, that was going to be easier. Does it make it more complicated to run against four different people?

CAHILL: Sure. It's hard to be in seven states at the same time with four different opponents. But this is about the voters and John Kerry and what they hear from him. And we think that we're very well positioned to play well in all these states, to pick up delegates in all these states, and to have the voters here decide that he is the president that they need.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about something coming out of the Dean campaign. Governor Dean reiterating again this morning that, as far as he sees it, it's a two-man race. He sees it as the establishment. His campaign is saying the establishment campaign against the insider, the candidate who stands up for what he believes in, versus the candidate who just blows in the wind and changes positions all the time.

What do you say to the Dean campaign?

CAHILL: Well, I remember two weeks ago when we were 20 points down in New Hampshire and declared dead, and he was surrounded by all of the Democratic leaders. And we were standing by ourselves in Iowa, with the governor's wife, Christy Vilsack.

We fought our way back from that. And he can talk about it any way he wants to. But the voters so far have decided that John Kerry is the best person to beat George Bush.

WOODRUFF: Now, I want to also quote you something. There's a Democratic activist radio talk show host in New Hampshire quoted in "The New York Times" as saying, "Is John Kerry a better candidate, or did he just luck out because Dick Gephardt was beating up on Howard Dean?" He goes on to say, "John Kerry doesn't excite anybody."

What do you say to these kinds of skeptics out there?

CAHILL: Well, I look at his successes in Iowa and New Hampshire. I look at the size of his crowds. I look at the flocks of support that he's gotten.

You know, I think this is the sort of thing where it's easy to critique what's newest, what's most exciting. And John has been slow and steady -- steadily built support and built momentum. And that is the way that we're going to go forward, going steadily, step by step.

WOODRUFF: Are you prepared for the onslaught that -- I mean, assuming he moves -- the better he does, the more criticism you're going to get from the White House, from the Bush campaign organization. Are you prepared for that?

CAHILL: Well, I don't think anybody is ever prepared for the sort of onslaught that we know is coming at us. They've been raising millions and millions of dollars, and an unprecedented amount of money, and they've been hunkered down for over a year, you know, with I understand a vast office in Virginia. And obviously we have to get through the primaries first. And that's what we're focused on at the moment.

But, you know, John Kerry has been in public office for 35 years. He's endured a lot of public scrutiny from the press and from his opponents in previous races. You know, we think that the voters are going to decide that John Kerry is the person who should be president and who can beat George Bush.

WOODRUFF: Speaking of those primaries, how many of those seven primaries next Tuesday does he need to win to remain in his front- running position?

CAHILL: I don't think he needs to win any of them.

WOODRUFF: Not any?

CAHILL: Not any. I mean, I'm not going to speculate on where he's going to win or not.

We're going to pick up delegates everywhere. We're going to do well everywhere. We are going to go to each of those states.

We have television ads on in all of those states. We have wonderful organizers, some of the best and most experienced operatives in the Democratic Party in those states for us. We're going to do the best job we possibly can.

WOODRUFF: And very quickly, the James Clyburn endorsement in South Carolina, his chief of staff saying, hold your horses, he hasn't made a decision yet. Your campaign saying that endorsement is coming. What's the story here?

CAHILL: My understanding is that Mr. Clyburn has said that he's going to make an announcement tomorrow. And we look forward to hearing that announcement.

WOODRUFF: Maybe the Kerry campaign got out front too quickly on this?

CAHILL: Well, I'm not quite sure that it was the Kerry campaign. But somebody got out front quickly on this.

WOODRUFF: OK. Mary Beth Cahill is the campaign manager for Senator John Kerry. Thank you very much for being with us.

CAHILL: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

CAHILL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

Our Bill Schneider's been pouring over the exit poll data from the New Hampshire primary, and he found several important reasons why John Kerry came out on top.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: The man who had the most influence over the New Hampshire Democratic primary wasn't anywhere near New Hampshire. In fact, he's not even a Democrat. It was President George W. Bush.

Half the Democratic voters in New Hampshire said they were angry at the Bush administration. These are Democrats who feel bullied by the Bush White House and the Republican Congress and the conservative talk show hosts. They were expected to rally to Howard Dean, the candidate who promises to stand up to Bush and the conservative bullies. But they didn't. John Kerry edged out Howard Dean among angry Democrats. The thing that makes Democrats most angry is the war in Iraq, the issue that ignited the Dean campaign. Nearly two-thirds of New Hampshire Democrats said they disapproved of the U.S. decision to go to war with Iraq.

And how did they vote? For Kerry over Dean. Kerry took Dean's signature issue away from him.

There were two kinds of voters in New Hampshire. Issue voters said they were looking for a candidate who agreed with them on the major issues. They tied between Kerry and Dean. Strategic voters said they were looking for the candidate who had the best chance of beating Bush. No contest there. Kerry won on electability.

Despite their opposition to the war, Democrats do not want to make this election a referendum on Iraq. The most important issues to voters were health care and jobs. Iraq came third.

Democrats clearly want to talk about domestic issues. But in order to do that, they have to find a candidate who can match President Bush on military expertise and national security. That's what they see in John Kerry.

New Hampshire Democrats are very liberal. And Howard Dean got his strongest support from the most liberal Democrats. Dean did not have much appeal to moderates. But he'll be facing more and more moderate voters next week as the primaries head south and west. Not friendly territory for Howard Dean.

Bill Schneider, CNN, Manchester, New Hampshire.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, South Carolina's native son, John Edwards, is hoping for a good showing in next week's primary. But he's going to get plenty of competition. Coming up, I'll ask the state's Democratic Party chairman about all the Yankees who are headed his way.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: South Carolina's first-in-the-South Democratic primary is next Tuesday. The Palmetto State is getting a lot of attention, and even generating a little controversy. The state's Democratic party chairman, Joe Erwin, joins me now from Greenville.

Joe Erwin, how are you today?

JOE ERWIN, SOUTH CAROLINA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Judy, I'm doing very well. It's a pleasure to be with you.

WOODRUFF: Well, we appreciate it. First of all, the results coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire giving John Kerry front-runner status, how important is that to the voters of South Carolina?

ERWIN: Well, Judy, I think it has the potential to be very important. You know, people looking at those two early tests, and you have to give Senator Kerry and his team a lot of credit.

People were ready to write him off, as you well know, just a matter of a few weeks ago. And I expect Senator Kerry and his organization to get some bounce coming into South Carolina next week. And as you know, he'll be participating in our debate here in South Carolina tomorrow night. And I understand he started some new advertising in the state, as well.

WOODRUFF: Right. That's what we understand, as well. What would you say voters in South Carolina are maybe looking for that might be different from Iowa and New Hampshire voters? Or is there a difference?

ERWIN: You know, it's a good question, Judy. And I don't know. But the one thing -- some of the issues here that are really sharply in focus are about jobs.

This state has been hit so hard by job losses since President Bush took office. Over 70,000 textile and manufacturing jobs have left South Carolina. Unemployment is in double-digit figures in several of our counties. And that is one of the most important, if not the chief issue, that candidates who've been coming to South Carolina have been talking about.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, we just heard the campaign manager for John Kerry say that the supposed endorsement by Congressman Clyburn, it sounds like they're still expecting to get it, although somebody may have gotten out in front of themselves in terms of announcing it. That will help him?

ERWIN: I don't think there's any question, Judy. Congressman Clyburn is a man who is very revered in this state throughout the African-American community. He's our only African-American elected federal official. So that would be a big endorsement if that's true.

WOODRUFF: All right. Very quickly, John Edwards was born in South Carolina. He had a lead in the polls until yesterday. What about his chances?

ERWIN: I think Edwards will be very competitive here. I think it's a wide-open race here, Judy, still. And I think Edwards will do very well in South Carolina.

WOODRUFF: Despite the fact that he came in fourth in New Hampshire?

ERWIN: Yes, I think so. I don't think their expectations were to do any higher than third. And essentially he was tied for third. So I think the Edwards entourage is ready to compete here.

WOODRUFF: And very quickly, Al Sharpton?

ERWIN: Al Sharpton will do well in South Carolina. People need to remember that Al Sharpton has visited this state probably more than any other candidate. And as you know, Judy, 40 to 50 percent of our electorate will be African-American. And Al Sharpton has done a good job in the African-American community.

WOODRUFF: All right. Democratic Party chair in South Carolina, Joe Erwin, giving us an early look at the landscape for that primary coming up next Tuesday. Thank you very much.

ERWIN: You're welcome, Judy. Any time.

WOODRUFF: Well, South Carolina leads the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Democrat Al Sharpton has two new radio ads hitting the Palmetto State airwaves. One of him features hip-hop star Russell Simmons. The other ad showcases a very well known criminal attorney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY COCHRAN, ATTORNEY (voice-over): This is attorney Johnny Cochran. There's one candidate for president who's fighting to keep Dr. King's dream alive, Reverend al Sharpton, the candidate with the boldness of Adam Clayton Powell, the courage of Rosa Parks, and the commitment of Robert Kennedy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The voice of Johnny Cochran.

President Bush walked away with yesterday's GOP primary in New Hampshire, but some voters registered their displeasure with the president. Mr. Bush got 85 percent of the GOP primary votes. But two percent wrote in John Kerry, and another two percent wrote in Howard Dean.

A few voters said they did it as a protest. Others said they were Independents but had forgotten to change their registration.

John Kerry's wife says that her husband was shaving when he learned that he had won the Iowa caucuses. She tells CNN that he was busy again last night when he learned he had won in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: He was in the shower when finally, you know, it came along. So (UNINTELLIGIBLE). But he was very happy.

It took a couple of seconds for it to dawn on him that it was done. But I was, of course, dressed and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The last time in Iowa he was shaving when I told him. So it seems to be a bathroom event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Mrs. John Kerry talking to the press, talking to CNN last night.

A judge's report in Great Britain is sure to have repercussions on this side of the Atlantic. Coming up, how today's big news for Prime Minister Tony Blair could affect the Bush White House.

Also ahead, we'll hear from more states that are getting a chance to shape the race for the Democratic nomination.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID KAY, FMR. CHIEF WEAPONS INSPECTOR: The intelligence service believed that there were WMD. It turns out we were all wrong, probably, in my judgment.

ANNOUNCER: Former Iraq weapons hunter, David Kay, testifies on Capitol Hill. Did he give Democrats ammunition against President Bush?

Carolina on his mind.

EDWARDS: Now the job that all of us have to do is continue this momentum, this energy, and this campaign here in the state of South Carolina, the state of my birth.

ANNOUNCER: John Edwards looks to capitalize on a home field advantage.

Who's got momentum in Missouri? We'll get the lay of the land in a state up for grabs with Dick Gephardt out of the race.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. It is the gateway to the south. At least in this 2004 presidential primary season. And that is one reason that South Carolina is getting the star treatment in the lead- up to the Democrats' multistate showdown next Tuesday. CNN's Frank Buckley joins us from Columbia with the latest on the campaign there and how last night's results in New Hampshire are figuring in. Hello, Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Judy. Last night's results mean that John Kerry, when he comes here to South Carolina tonight, he will be coming with momentum. And the operatives that I've talked to in South Carolina say that momentum may be even more important than that face-to-face familiarity that the voters here in South Carolina are used to.

That, of course, would be bad news for John Edwards. Edwards, the native of this area who grew up in South Carolina, he returned here today to kick off his February 3 run at South Carolina State University, a predominantly African-American university. That underscores the importance of the African-American vote here.

South Carolina is the first test of the candidates among a sizable group of black voters. Up to half of the voters will be black on primary day. It is also the first test in the south for the candidates. Now front-runner John Kerry has said that a candidate on the Democrat side can win in the general election in November without winning any states in the south.

Today, I asked John Edwards if he agrees with that assessment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If the Democrats and Democratic voters want to put their chances on for the first time in American history, a Democrat getting elected without winning any southern states, they can make that choice, it's a very risky choice. I believe that I can win in southern states. I think we have to win not just in the south, but everywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCKLEY: Still it will be John Kerry we are told who is going to be getting the much-coveted endorsement of Jim Clyburn, the African- American Congressman from South Carolina. He is the most influential black politician here in South Carolina. Everyone has been going after his endorsement, and a source close to the congressman tells me that that announcement from Jim Clyburn will be coming tomorrow.

Meanwhile, another southerner, another southern candidate Wesley Clark, was supposed to be here in South Carolina today. He made his speech last night in New Hampshire, and then was headed here in his charter aircraft. Then there are some miscommunication with the charter aircraft about where they would be going next. Apparently there was a crew rest issue. So the charter plane ended up going to Oklahoma, instead. The event here in South Carolina was canceled for today. Of course General Clark will be back at some point between now and next Tuesday. All of the candidates, in fact, are expected back here tomorrow for a debate -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: What is the sense that the endorsements may not matter as much as the momentum that Kerry's getting out of New Hampshire?

BUCKLEY: Well, they're saying that the momentum is much more important in the sense that the voters here in South Carolina, they say, are independent-minded. They're saying that on the African- American voters, that they don't vote as a bloc. And that yes, while Jim Clyburn is an influential politician and what he says carries a lot of weight, it won't necessarily mean that voters will change their mind. So, that's what they're talking about, Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK. Frank Buckley reporting for us from Greenville. Thank you, Frank.

Meantime, Howard Dean says his senior advisers are urging him to focus on one or two of the states that are holding contests next week. But Dean tells the Associated Press that he wants to compete in all seven battlegrounds. Back in his home state of Vermont today, Dean denied that any staff firings are in the works, after his second-place finish in New Hampshire.

Wesley Clark's campaign aides suggest they are staking their hopes on Arizona, New Mexico and particularly Oklahoma. After Clark squeaked past John Edwards to come in third in New Hampshire. Meantime Joe Lieberman had his Oklahoma hopes lifted today when a small state newspaper endorsed him. Lieberman is eager for a win after skipping Iowa and coming in fifth in New Hampshire.

Heading into the February 3 battlegrounds let's see where the Democrats stand in terms of the numbers that matter most, delegates. Figuring in delegates won in Iowa and New Hampshire and the so-called super-delegates, Howard Dean actually leads the pack with 113 delegates. John Kerry has 94, John Edwards 36, Wesley Clark, 30, Joe Lieberman 25, Al Sharpton 4, and Dennis Kucinich 2.

269 delegates are at stake in the seven states that hold contests this coming Tuesday. The biggest primary day, though, is March 2, super Tuesday it's called with 1,151 delegates at stake. There are 2,161 delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination. You got all that?

Well, now we turn to the politics right here in Washington that could have fallout for President Bush in his re-election bid. Former chief U.S. weapons inspector in Iraq, David Kay, testified on Capitol Hill today. Let's check in with our new congressional correspondent Joe Johns. Joe, welcome to CNN.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Judy. Glad to be here. There was something in this testimony for just about everybody. An extraordinary Capitol Hill cross-examination. The main message today from David Kay in his judgment, the U.S. intelligence community was probably all wrong about the intelligence that led to war with Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KAY, FORMER CHIEF U.S. WEAPONS INSPECTOR IN IRAQ: I believe that the effort that has been directed to this point has been sufficiently intense that it is highly unlikely that there were large stockpiles of deployed, militarized chemical and biological weapons there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Now, in his testimony, Kay also helped the administration by arguing that there was no attempt to improperly influence analysts who are handling intelligence in the run-up to war. Let's listen to what he said about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAY: I think the aim, and certainly the aim of what I've tried to do since leaving is not political and certainly not a witch-hunt at individuals. It's to try to direct our attention at what I believe is a fundamental fault analysis that we must now examine. And let me take one of the explanations most commonly given. Analysts were pressured to reach conclusions that would fit the political agenda of one or another administration. I deeply...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: But he did also say today that there is a need for an outside investigation to look into these issues, if only to protect intelligence for future generations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAY: I must say, in my personal view, and it's purely personal, is that in this case, it will -- you will finally determine that it is going to take an outside inquiry both to do it, and to give yourself and the American people the confidence that you have done it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Now, McCain, John McCain of Arizona, a key Republican here on Capitol Hill, obviously a maverick Republican as well, said today that he does support an outside investigation. In fact, he's the person who asked David Kay the question about an outside probe. So a lot more to be said on this on Capitol Hill. The administration, of course, would like to get this over with as soon as possible -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Joe Johns, with what is turning into a real issue for this administration. Joe, thank you very much. Again, welcome to CNN.

You can hear more from the former chief weapons inspector when David Kay is a guest at 5:00 eastern today on "Wolf Blitzer Reports."

The failure to find weapons of mass destruction is making headlines in great Britain, as well. A judge investigating a BBC report that claimed that the British government exaggerated the case for war has found that the report, quote, "was unfounded." Shortly after today's report was issued the chairman of the BBC resigned his post. Prime Minister Blair has been under intense criticism since the BBC report first aired. Today, Mr. Blair said he accepted Lord Hutton's report in full.

Back here in the United States, Missouri was considered a safe state for Congressman Dick Gephardt. Coming up I'll ask the state's Democratic chairwoman which way voters are leaning now that their favorite son is out of the presidential race.

And we won't forget about Oklahoma, the Sooner state's primary is also next Tuesday. Democratic contenders have noticed.

Also, the top Democrat in the House levels scathing criticism at a prominent Republican colleague.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A new poll in the Show-me State shows John Kerry leading the pack. Kerry got 25 percent of the Missouri poll with Senator John Edwards a distant second with 9 percent. More than a third of those polled have not made up their mind even though the Missouri primary is next Tuesday. And by the way, you can't quite tell when that poll was taken. I assume it was before the results were known in New Hampshire.

Joining us in St. Louis is Missouri Democratic Party Chairwoman May Scheve. Thanks very much for being with us. How much does Iowa, New Hampshire affect your voters?

MAY SCHEVE, MISSOURI DEMOCRATIC CHWMN.: I think at Iowa and New Hampshire are going to affect our voters. But what's really going to affect our voters is how many times the candidates do come here and address the issues that are very important to Missourians.

WOODRUFF: And what are those issues?

SCHEVE: Those issues are just the same as they are across the country, jobs, health care and education. Those are what Missouri voters are really looking for.

WOODRUFF: The fact that John Kerry is in there first today, I guess, of all the candidates, does that make a difference for him?

SCHEVE: Well, it might for him, but what we're really looking forward is to a heated debate that we have coming up on Monday, the day before the February 3 primary. And we're hoping that all the candidates will attend so that Missouri voters can really see the people. We are the Show-me State and we want these candidates to come here and talk about the issues to the Missourians.

WOODRUFF: The fact, May Scheve, the fact that Senator Kerry is, we're told, getting endorsements today from former Senators Jean Carnahan, Tom Eagleton. Are those kinds of endorsements likely to help Senator Kerry?

SCHEVE: I think that those endorsements are important because those are great Missourians. But I think the endorsements that are going to be important are those people who go out to the polls.

As you quoted not too long ago, there are over 35 percent of the people who are undecided. That is definitely the large block of the people that we have voting here. They are undecided. We were solidly behind Dick Gephardt and we don't have a second choice. We need to see the candidates and hear from the candidates and figure out who our second choice is going to be.

WOODRUFF: Will the fact that the state was so solidly behind Dick Gephardt, none of the other campaigns had really done very much in Missouri -- what is that going to mean? I mean there are only six days left until voters go to the polls.

SCHEVE: That's right, Judy. That's why the Missouri Democratic Party, along with a major group of media partners, have come together and realized that we need to put together this debate to make it a one stop shop for them so that they come in one time, meet with a lot of people.

We have an outlet, we have our local NBC affiliate, our public television, public radio, CBS public radio, and many, many others who are coming together to make this available to the voters of Missouri who are undecided.

WOODRUFF: Can you quickly size up how the candidates are doing in terms of organization? Or is there just so little on the ground there's really not much to talk about?

SCHEVE: I think there is very little organization on the ground. I think what is really going to matter is in a debate form, people are able to sit in their living rooms or listen on their radio and hear what the candidates have to say. I think that that is really what's going to drive home the message for our voters and send them to the polls on the next morning.

WOODRUFF: Some talk here in Washington that Howard Dean may be hurt because of the tough exchanges with Dick Gephardt in the Iowa contest. Is he disadvantaged because of that?

SCHEVE: I think it's an open playing field here in Missouri. Obviously we're very disappointed that the congressman is no longer in the race and we were very solidly behind him. But the Democrats here in Missouri want to make sure that we do one thing, and that is defeat George W. Bush this next time around.

WOODRUFF: All right. May Scheve, she's the chairwoman of the Democratic Party in the state of Missouri. Thank you very much.

SCHEVE: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate you talking with us.

All right, in just a minute we head southwest from Missouri to Oklahoma, its primary also next Tuesday. And a number of the presidential candidates already heading to the Sooner State.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Four and counting. Four of the seven presidential candidates on the Democratic side, Joe Lieberman, Dennis Kucinich, John Edwards, and Wesley Clark all are visiting Oklahoma today. Why? Because Sooner State voters are looking forward to even more candidate visits in the week ahead, because their primary is next Tuesday.

Joining me from Oklahoma City, state Democratic Party Chairman Jay Parmley. Jay Parmley, I want to ask you what I asked the party chairs in South Carolina and in Missouri this hour. And that is, how much do the results in Iowa and New Hampshire affect your voters in Oklahoma?

JAY PARMLEY, OKLAHOMA DEMOCRATIC CHMN.: Well, not a whole lot, Judy, because these candidates have been campaigning here now for several months. I think the latest polls in Oklahoma have Wesley Clark and John Edwards sort of slugging it out for first-place finishes. John Kerry's gotten a big bounce out of Iowa and New Hampshire, but I'm really not convinced that it's going to be enough to put him in first place. So I'm not so sure that Oklahoma Democrats are really looking to Iowa and New Hampshire as sort of the guide through this process. We're waiting for the first time we've had this opportunity to see these candidates up close and personal.

And also our Democrats here are a little more conservative, a little more moderate than probably the Democrats in New Hampshire and even Iowa.

WOODRUFF: All right. A little more moderate, a little more conservative. What do you mean? Be a little bit specific there. How are they more moderate?

PARMLEY: We're pro-gun, we're absolute absolutely -- in terms of the economy -- the war isn't even on the radar screen in Oklahoma. Democrats are concerned about jobs. They're concerned about health care, and education, which I think is across the board.

But our voters tend to support pretty conservative Democrats at the state level. And at the national level our congressman's considered a blue dog. I mean we're not typically voting for progressive to liberal Democrats.

WOODRUFF: All right, quickly size up for me how you see the Edwards organization there and the shape that John Edwards is in?

PARMLEY: You know Edwards has a strong organization. He has a great staff. They've been working very hard for some time. This is his 13th visit today.

And General Clark also has a large staff, and competing on the ground well. Howard Dean -- I mean, Howard Dean's here, so is Joe Lieberman, so is -- Dennis Kucinich has a staff here. And most of them are all on television. So it's going to be interesting for the next five days.

WOODRUFF: And what about Joe Lieberman? I mean here's somebody who didn't compete in Iowa, came in fifth in New Hampshire. But I gather he has some interest, garnered interest there.

PARMLEY: He does, Judy. He could be the sleeper for Oklahoma. The latest polls have him at about 10 percent. Our attorney general, our state treasurer, our congressman all endorsed Joe Lieberman. And he's here today. I think he's here tomorrow. I think he's back on Saturday. This is a state that he can do very well in on February the 3rd. And I know that he's really working hard to compete here.

WOODRUFF: So, John Kerry, watch out, in other words?

PARMLEY: I think so, Judy. I'm told his campaign today is telling me that he'll be here on Saturday. He started ads here this morning. Latest poll had him at about 18 percent because of the Iowa and New Hampshire bump.

So I think John Kerry's competitive. But he's not probably going to be the top finisher in Oklahoma next Tuesday. WOODRUFF: All right. Jay Parmley, the man we wanted to hear from in Oklahoma. Chairman of the Democratic Party in the Sooner State.

PARMLEY: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. We appreciate. Good to talk to you.

PARMLEY: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Well, the top Democrat in the House of Representatives is up in arms over a report that one of her Republican colleagues may be leaving for a high-paying job. Louisiana Congressman Billy Tauzin reportedly is considering an offer to head up a pharmaceutical industry lobbying group. Tauzin helped negotiate the new prescription drug benefit for Medicare. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says it is, quote, "abuse of power and conflict of interest for Tauzin to consider the job."

Up next, looking back at New Hampshire's big night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: We're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: How virtually all the candidates found ways to claim victory, regardless of where they finished.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: John Kerry won the primary, of course, but judging by the rallies held after the votes were counted, all of the candidates found ways to claim victory in New Hampshire. Here's a look back at how the party hopefuls rallied the troops.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KERRY: I love New Hampshire!

DEAN: I really appreciate all that you've done. People of New Hampshire have allowed our campaign to regain its momentum, and I am very grateful.

CLARK: Four months ago we weren't even in this race. We had no money. We had no staff. We had no office. All we had was hope and a vision for a better America.

LIEBERMAN: You and I both know that the national pundits didn't expect this, did they? As a matter of fact, this morning, a national newspaper put four of the candidates on their front page, not me. But today, the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring and that's where we're going to stay. EDWARDS: And here in New Hampshire, ten days ago, we were 20 points behind General Clark, and look at what we've done. This momentum is extraordinary!

(CHEERING)

KERRY: If George Bush wants to make national security the central issue of this campaign, we have three words for him we know he understands -- bring it on.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: See what we told you? They're all claiming victory.

That's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS. Now that we're back in Washington, tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS, we're going to be talking with New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson about his state's Democratic caucuses coming up next Tuesday.

Thanks for joining us, and "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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