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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Clark Expected to Endorse Kerry; Interview With Wesley Clark; Dogs and Politicians

Aired February 12, 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: He's hunting for votes. But can John Edwards really capture Wesley Clark supporters?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now that he's out of the race I think a lot of those voters will be attracted to me.

ANNOUNCER: Why did the general surrender?

WESLEY CLARK (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People want George Bush out. They want a front-runner in there who can do it.

ANNOUNCER: Judy speaks with the former presidential hopeful about why his campaign ended and what's next.

CLARK: We're considering all the options.

ANNOUNCER: On the trail in Wisconsin.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The media would like to end this candidacy.

ANNOUNCER: The doctor battles on in the Badger State. Can Howard Dean march on without a victory?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

Well, within the last hour, Democratic presidential front-runner John Kerry has added even more to his political momentum. CNN has confirmed Kerry's one-time rival, Wesley Clark, plans to endorse Kerry tomorrow in Wisconsin. The retired general dropped out of the presidential race just yesterday. Wesley Clark will join me in just a few minutes.

But first, let's join CNN's Kelly Wallace, who's standing by in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Kelly, some pretty good news there for Senator Kerry.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good news, Judy, for John Kerry. That is sure.

Democratic sources are telling us that the Kerry campaign was notified of this yesterday. One Democratic source saying this is a significant step for the Kerry campaign and shows that the party is solidifying around the Massachusetts Senator.

Perhaps one person who is likely to be very disappointed is North Carolina Senator, John Edwards. He is currently on a plane headed to Los Angeles to appear on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." Earlier, though, he was at small rally in Racine, Wisconsin. And earlier than that, he was on NBC's "Today Show," and that is where he said that with Wesley Clark out of the race, he said that would be a boost for his own candidacy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARDS: General Clark's a terrific man, he was a great candidate. And now that he's out of the race, I think a lot of those voters will be attracted to me because they know I'm the one person left in this race who has won a really tough race in the South.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And our producer, Sasha Johnson, who is traveling with Howard Dean today, reports that the Dean camp is saying, in regards to the Clark announcement, what the Kerry campaign has said before, according to the Dean folks, that endorsements don't matter very much when it comes to electability. Now, the former Vermont governor is traveling with someone who he calls his new best spokesman, and that is his wife, Judy Dean. They toured a health care facility in Madison earlier. And then Howard Dean trying to appeal to Wisconsin's independent spirit, saying this race is far from over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: The media would like to end this candidacy. They claim the contest's over. They say your voice doesn't matter. They say your vote doesn't count. They expect you to rubber-stamp the choice of others. You don't have to listen to them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: And on the plane, we are told Howard Dean talking to reporters, saying he is hoping he wins on Tuesday here in Wisconsin. He was asked, what if he doesn't win? He says he would go back home and figure out what to do -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kelly Wallace reporting from Wisconsin. Thank you.

And a couple of more notes on Senator Kerry, who remained off the trail for a second day, getting rest and gearing up for his return to the campaign tomorrow. Kerry has the rally scheduled in Wisconsin at midday tomorrow, and then he heads to Nevada for a rally with Las Vegas Democrats. Kerry's also getting support now from representative Charles Rangel of New York, and Marion Berry of Arkansas, who were early Clark supporters. The two are actively encouraging other Clark supporters in the Congress to follow their lead.

Here in Washington, the White House continues to downplay suggestions about the president's National Guard duty and allegations by Democrats that he missed part of his final year of service. The Associated Press has contacted now more than a dozen former members of Bush's unit. None of them say they could remember seeing Mr. Bush, but all of the men noted that the unit included up to 800 members and, at the time, Mr. Bush was not well known.

The National Guard controversy is the latest example of how Vietnam-era political battles never seem to go away.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Three decades later, the question remains, where were you during the Vietnam War?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I figure I owe this man my life.

WOODRUFF: John Kerry, soldier and then dissident, is embracing his past, enlisting veterans to his cause, highlighting his military credentials, leaning on a record of service.

John McCain and Al Gore, Vietnam vets whose personal stories document a history of patriotism and sacrifice. Weaving gravitas and experience into their political quests. They were among the men who went. There are, of course, the ones who didn't.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did not -- I did not do anything illegal or wrong in the draft.

WOODRUFF: Bill Clinton avoided military service and was pummeled for it. Dan Quayle avoided combat duty, serving in the National Guard. He, too, felt the heat on the campaign trail.

And George W. Bush still does. He, too, spent the end of the war in the Guard, and today he's still answering questions about his military service.

Then there's the flip side to it all. The protests. Kerry was there, too, leading Vietnam veterans against the war. There with Jane Fonda, among others. Her role at the time hasn't been forgotten, either, leaving Kerry straddling a strange fence.

JANE FONDA, ACTRESS: How can you even suggest that a Vietnam veteran like Kerry or any of them were -- are not patriotic? He was a hero there.

WOODRUFF: But does any of it matter? Do Americans care who went and who stayed home? Does Vietnam still matter to the voter? The men who went haven't made it to the White House yet. The men who didn't have.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And a reminder. Tonight at 8:00 Eastern, "PAULA ZAHN NOW" focuses on Vietnam, George W. Bush and John Kerry. Join Paula for "Two Men, Two Choices: The War Records Battle and its Impact on the Presidential Campaign."

Checking the headlines now in our "Campaign News Daily," Republican national chairman Ed Gillespie goes on the offensive again tonight in a speech in Nevada. According to an advanced copy of his remarks obtained by CNN, Gillespie plans to defend President Bush on the whole National Guard controversy while also warning of what he calls slanderous charges against Mr. Bush that he says are still to come from the John Kerry campaign.

Democrat Dennis Kucinich launched a new TV ad campaign in Wisconsin today. One of the ads says a lot in a very short period of time. It focuses on the candidate's electability.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VOICE ACTOR: Congressman Kucinich, you're only 5'6", but you really cut those other guys down to size in those debates. You're the only one who voted against the war in Iraq and against the Patriot Act and who will repeal NAFTA. The only one with a plan for national health care and free college, and you have the courage to be for gay marriage and you're pro choice.

You've only got one problem. The media says you're unelectable.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But I am electable, if you vote for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Fellow Democrat Al Sharpton is apparently facing a cash crunch. The Sharpton campaign reportedly has a debt of almost $500,000, with only a few thousand dollars left in the bank. A Sharpton spokesman says the campaign expects its finances to improve with federal matching funds and with upcoming fund-raisers.

What went wrong and right for the Wesley Clark campaign? The retired general and now former presidential candidate will join me in a moment to look back and ahead to tomorrow's big endorsement.

President Bush was on the road again today visiting a state that just happens to be one of the biggest electoral vote prizes on Election Day.

And you don't expect to see presidential candidates on a fashion runway. But Esquire Magazine is admiring somebody's fashion sense. We'll tell you whose.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Wesley Clark ended his presidential campaign on Wednesday without endorsing any of his rivals for the nomination. But apparently that's about to change.

General Clark standing by now in Little Rock, Arkansas. General Clark, Democratic sources saying you're going to endorse John Kerry.

CLARK: Well, I am going to see John tomorrow. But you know, I'm really happy about where we've ended up on this, Judy. We got a strong field in the Democratic Party, and we've got some huge issues to take to the American people. And I'm just proud of the team we put together and the opportunities we had to take those issues out.

You know, we've got a president who's misled us into Iraq. We've got an economy that's not creating jobs. And we've got an administration that just doesn't want to level with the American people. And those are the issues that I've talked about in the campaign and I'm still talking about them. And I will continue to talk about them.

WOODRUFF: But it looks like, though, you may be endorsing somebody that just a few days on the campaign trail you were saying disagreed with you on fundamental questions like the decision to go to war in Iraq, the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind Act. Aren't these the kind of fundamental issues that it would be difficult for you to agree with someone on?

CLARK: I think when you look at where we are in the Democratic Party, what everybody said is how closely people are aligned. I think everybody in this party recognizes, I think, now that there was no imminent threat in Iraq, everybody realizes the president went to war without a reason to do so, without our allies on board, before diplomacy had finished. And he went to war without a plan on what to do next.

And, you know, everybody wants to make it a success, or almost everybody does, but the point is this administration doesn't have an exit strategy. And it hasn't had one from the beginning.

WOODRUFF: I hear you, General, but my point is that you were critical of John Kerry because you said he was with President Bush on some issues that you very strongly disagreed about. Now you're about to endorse his campaign.

CLARK: Well, you know, what I'm doing, Judy, is I'm moving the ball forward for the American people. Because what I'm talking about and what I've talked about consistently in this campaign is the need for a different approach, an administration that comes in and levels with the American people. An administration that doesn't give tax cuts to the wealthy, but gives help to the people that need it most. And an administration that works with our international partners and uses all the assets that are at our command, international law and diplomacy and economic power and all of that, before we call on the men and women in uniform.

WOODRUFF: But you also said...

CLARK: And nobody knows the importance of that more than someone like me or other veterans who have been in uniform and see what happens. WOODRUFF: But you also said...

CLARK: War is a last resort.

WOODRUFF: But you also said the country should not have a Washington insider as a president. And John Kerry is certainly an insider.

CLARK: What I've said is the country needs the best president it can get. And the country needs a change in administration in Washington. And we're going to get that change, Judy. I'm just convinced that we can do that.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's look back on your campaign, General. I can tell you're not going -- you're not going to go where I'm asking you.

Did you underestimate how hard it would be to run for president when you had literally no political experience?

CLARK: No, I never underestimated that. What I did is I answered a call to duty. And I had 50,000 people, including a lot of people in Congress and others, who were asking me to run. They said the country needed a choice.

They were concerned and they asked me to step forward. They knew what it was going to be like. And so did I. But when somebody offers you the opportunity, and says this is your duty, you do it.

And I did because every soldier that died in Iraq, I would have felt guilty about the rest of my life had I not come into this race. I've done everything I can to make a difference for the men and women in uniform and for working people around this country.

We're not producing jobs in this country. And there are issues that need to be brought to the attention of the American people. And when somebody gives you an opportunity to do it you have to do it, Judy. No matter what the risk, no matter what the challenges.

WOODRUFF: And General, already at the same time, the analysts and the political scientists are alreadying poring over your campaign. They're pointing to the difficulty you had answering the question initially about whether you would have voted to go to war in Iraq. They point to the regrets you had about skipping Iowa. You yourself lamented that. They talked about the difficulty you had with abortion.

Which one of those things do you think hurt you the most?

CLARK: I don't think anything hurt me. I think that what you do when you're in an election is you make the best case you can before the American people. My views on Iraq were very clear. You've heard them expressed on this show many times, Judy. And you yourself know very well how I felt about Iraq.

That's the reason I was attacked all through the war by guys like Dick Cheney for being an armchair general, because they knew I was against what they were doing. And they were right. And now we see why everybody should have been against it.

The decision on Iowa wasn't a decision. I mean, it was just a reality. We weren't going to be in Iowa.

And on the other stuff, the voters aren't watching that. Maybe the elite media is watching it. But the voters were sensing something else.

And what's out there in this election is an incredible determination. An anger, a seething sort of fury at George W. Bush, and where he's taking this country. And, once again, it steam rolled so many of us there was hardly any way to get a message out. It was the moving forward.

And they settled on a couple guys in Iowa that they liked. I like them, too. I they they're all good people. And I like Howard Dean, too.

WOODRUFF: And speaking of Howard Dean, one last question. Howard Dean is out there saying right now that John Kerry is part of the same politically corrupt fund-raising mechanism that President Bush is part of. Is Dean right about that?

CLARK: Well, I think everybody in a race tries to draw distinctions between themselves and other people. But I think what all Democrats share is a determination to change the administration in Washington, to change our foreign policy, to change the way we're regulating and driving ahead with the economy so that we help ordinary working families in this country.

That's certainly what I stand for. And that's what I'm going to continue to speak out on, Judy. Whether I'm in this race or not is less important to me than the opportunity to speak out and make a difference in this country. And I intend to keep doing it.

WOODRUFF: Let me try one last time. Are you going to endorse John Kerry tomorrow?

CLARK: Well, I'm looking forward to seeing John tomorrow, Judy. And I'm looking forward to going to Wisconsin.

WOODRUFF: Sounds like an endorsement.

CLARK: And we'll have more to say about what's happening tomorrow. But I hope that all of your viewers will look at what's happening among the Democrats in this country. And you're going to see a unity that's unprecedented in the Democratic Party.

It's exactly what George W. Bush said. He was going to pull people together. He did; the Democrats. And we're determined to change that government in Washington.

WOODRUFF: All right. Wesley Clark, thank you very much. We appreciate it. CLARK: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And we'll be watching you in the months to come.

CLARK: All right. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, despite the long odds, the man we just mentioned, Howard Dean, is pressing ahead with his fight for the White House. I'll talk with Dean's media adviser, Steve McMahon.

Plus, Men's Journal Magazine said you had better think twice before trying to mess with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. We'll tell you what that's all about when INSIDE POLITICS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean has yet to win one of the 14 Democratic presidential contests held so far. But that is not stopping his fight to become his party's nominee.

With me now to talk about the former governor's effort, Dean campaign media adviser Steve McMahon.

Steve McMahon, a blow that Wesley Clark is reportedly going to endorse John Kerry, even though he just wouldn't confirm it with me. We're hearing it from everywhere.

STEVE MCMAHON, DEAN MEDIA ADVISER: Right.

WOODRUFF: Is that a...

MCMAHON: Well, Wes Clark is entitled to his own opinion. But his supporters are also entitled to theirs. And if you look at why people were supporting Wes Clark, I find it a little ironic that the person who got into the race because he cared so deeply about the war and thought it was wrong would be endorsing somebody who voted for that war and supports it to this day.

We think his supporters are going to make their own judgment. And if there are any Wes Clark supporters out there who would like to vote on the war, there's only one candidate left now who opposed it. That's Howard Dean.

WOODRUFF: Dennis Kucinich.

MCHMAHON: I'm sorry, one major candidate. You're right. Dennis Kucinich did oppose the war as well.

But Howard Dean ran on the war. He was one of the first out there. He was one of the strongest out there in his criticism of the war, No Child Left Behind, and the fact that Washington insiders have run this town and run this game for a long, long time. And it's time for someone else. It's time for voters to run the game.

And if Wes Clark wants to jump in bed with the Washington establishment, that's up to him. But his supporters are going to make their own decisions.

WOODRUFF: In 14 states, Governor Dean has not been able to win. What makes you, as somebody who believes in his campaign, think Wisconsin is the place he's going to turn it around? There are polls showing he's trailing. People have done interviews with Wisconsin voters. They're saying we want a winner.

MCMAHON: Well, listen, when you win primaries, people start to think that you're the person who can beat George Bush. I would remind you that it wasn't so long ago that Howard Dean was considered that person, was the front-runner, and came under an unbelievable onslaught from the media, from his opponents, from secretive third-party groups that it now turns out some of Kerry's biggest supporters were funding.

That just came out and attacked Howard Dean and beat the daylights out of him. And he's gotten up off the mat. He's going to make his stand in Wisconsin.

His strategy after Iowa was to become the alternative to the front-runner, who is now John Kerry. And that's still his strategy. And we think that's the strategy.

Since only 15 percent of the delegates have been selected, we think that, you know, there's a lot of time left, there are a lot of votes left. There are a lot of delegates left. And John Kerry is a long, long way away from having this nomination locked up.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about what Howard Dean is saying in Wisconsin about John Kerry. Among other things, he's lumping him in with President Bush, saying they're both part of the so-called same political corrupt fund-raising mechanism. The Kerry campaign coming back and saying this is a sign that Governor Dean is desperate.

MCMAHON: Yes. Well, I'm sure that's what Senator Kerry's saying. But let's look at the facts.

The facts are that John Kerry has taken more money from special interest lobbyists than any senator, Democrat or Republican, in the last 15 years. That's the way George Bush funds his campaign. And you can -- you know, voters can make a choice.

The kind of government that you get is a function of the find of money that is invested in the candidates who provide it. And John Kerry and George Bush are funding their campaign the same way, with special interest lobbyists or big corporate money. And Howard Dean is simply pointing that out.

He's made a choice to fund his campaign differently. Eighty-nine percent of his contributions are from people who donate under $100. We think that's an important way to change the power structure in this city and in this government away from the special interests and the money interests and back toward the people. And that's what's needed, and that's what Howard Dean is talking about.

WOODRUFF: The Democratic governor of the state of Wisconsin, Jim Doyle, asked that candidates not do the kind of negative campaigning that some would say Howard Dean is engaging in. What do you say to Governor Doyle?

MCMAHON: Well, I say, you know, we respect you, Governor Doyle. Where were you back in Iowa when all of the other candidates were going after Howard Dean?

I mean, Joe Lieberman, who wasn't competing in Iowa, wasn't running in Iowa, used to fly to Iowa so that he could certainly attend debates to personally attack Howard Dean. John Kerry in Iowa was saying some of the most awful things about Howard Dean, as was Dick Gephardt.

Look, Howard Dean is out there simply saying, look, you have a choice voters. You can go with the Washington political establishment and the money interests that are supporting it, or you can stand on your own two feet. You can exercise your independence if you're Wisconsin voters.

You can demonstrate your (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You can vote for somebody who was against the war, who's against the tax cuts, who's against the president's No Child Left Behind policy, or you can vote for somebody who caved in. And that's the choice in Wisconsin.

WOODRUFF: Will Governor Dean stay in if he loses Wisconsin?

MCMAHON: Governor Dean is going to stay in until it becomes clear to him that he can't win the nomination. Right now, with 15 percent of the delegates selected, we're a long way from that point.

WOODRUFF: All right. That is true.

Steve McMahon with the Dean campaign. We thank you very much.

MCMAHON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

MCMAHON: Take care.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate your stopping by.

There's a new label today for New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Men's Journal Magazine says she's a "tough guy." Clinton is the first woman to make the magazine's annual list of the 25 toughest guys in America. She weighs in at number 25.

Senator John McCain and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also are on the list. The magazine says Clinton made the list because of what she's been through and what she represents. So far, no response from the senator.

Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry's picked up another endorsement, but it isn't political. It's strictly fashion. The upcoming issue of Esquire Magazine will single out the senator as "the best dressed candidate" as part of its annual Best Dressed Men in America poll. The Boston Herald points out that between Howard Dean's self-confessed preference for cheap suits and Wesley Clark's argyle sweaters, Kerry may not have had much competition.

Democratic voters seem to like the idea of a Kerry-Edwards ticket. But there are reports the campaigns aren't thrilled with the idea. Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile consider the possibilities.

We'll also see which dogs in the Westminster Dog Show remind our Bill Schneider of current politicians and presidential candidates.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is nice to be back in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

ANNOUNCER: George W. Bush visits the Keystone State for the 25th time since he's become president. Why is Pennsylvania such a key state in the race for the White House?

Can John Kerry lock up the Democratic nomination and run against President Bush at the same time? We'll get the take from the left and the right.

Do you think political campaigns are like dog shows? What if the presidential candidates were judged by their gate, their coat and their bark?

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

Well Wesley Clark's decision to endorse John Kerry tomorrow in Wisconsin only adds to the challenges facing John Edwards and Howard Dean. Both candidates are on the trail in the Badger State today. And both are under intense pressure to perform well in Tuesday's primary.

But it is John Kerry who is taking the day off, and Wesley Clark who's no longer in the race, who lead today's headlines. With me now for more on all this our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley.

Candy, Wesley Clark endorsing, even though he wouldn't confirm it. We're told that he is going to do it tomorrow. How much difference does it make?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, practically speaking, none. Let's face it, they're in Wisconsin now. If Wesley Clark's draw was in the South, I'm not sure how helpful that is in Wisconsin.

Second of all, if Wesley Clark had enough voters to pass on he'd still be in the race. And voters don't just pass on like that.

However, when you look at it from a perception process, it adds to the snowball. Oh, now he's out and he's endorsing Kerry so it's Kerry, so it's Kerry. We are after all leading with Kerry's the front runner, Clark, you know.

So that's helpful. But practically speaking, at this point when you've got someone who seems like such a formidable front runner, it seems to me that the endorsers get more out of it than the endorses.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the other candidates in the race, Candy. What about John Edwards? He seems to be there making valiant efforts. Still running a supposedly positive campaign. Is he getting any traction out of this?

CROWLEY: Well, let's see. He's getting traction, the question is for what race? And sure because he's getting a lot of kudos for his positive race.

By the way, we also should note he said he thought he'd benefit from Wesley Clark's voters. So he kind of loses in this a little bit.

But the fact of the matter is, Edwards has gotten a lot of kudos for this positive race. Even though some in his campaign have said to him, you've got to hit Kerry. Somebody's got to trip him up and slow him down, Edwards has refused to do this.

Now there's two theories. A, he wants to run again and he wants people to remember him well. B, he'd like to be the vice presidential candidate.

But I'll tell you that there is a very real part of John Edwards whom you believe maybe really thinks that over time he wears very well. And that something may happen out there that trips up Kerry and leaves John Edwards there.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Howard Dean doing the opposite. He is going harder than ever on John Kerry. We just heard it from Steve McMahon. Where does that get Dean?

CROWLEY: Well, it keeps him -- it keeps the faithful happy. And right now I think that that's what this campaign is about. It's about those people who were there at the beginning, who continue to believe in Howard Dean.

They have, it seems to me, made that pivot from campaign to movement. And that's exactly where they're going with all of this.

And you know, your famous phrase that Al Gore said to you and to several people, "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." I mean, Dean really feels that the insiders conspired either tacitly or really to keep him out of this.

So he's got no bridges left to burn. And he feels that his loyalty is to those people who were with him at the very beginning. And I think that's who he's playing too.

WOODRUFF: Some would argue that he's right about that. OK, Candy, thank you very much. Back in Washington for a few minutes. CROWLEY: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: From the campaign trail.

Well President Bush, another candidate in all this, paid a quick visit to Pennsylvania today, a state he lost in 2000. It was the 25th time that he's been there since his election. With 21 electoral votes, this state is crucial to his re-election this time around, you could say.

His focus today was on education and the economy, the latter being particularly a sensitive topic. We get more on all that from our White House correspondent Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dale Kerns (ph) owns this coffee shop in suburban Philadelphia. Business is not exactly booming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My cash register has gone down over $200 a day.

BASH: Despite tough economic times, security is his top issue. He's a Republican planning to vote for President Bush. At the train station across the street, others aren't so sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's, you know, some issues that he may not have made the best decisions.

BASH (on camera): Like what?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe like the war in Iraq.

BASH (voice-over): The president lost electoral-rich Pennsylvania by 4 percent in 2000. He's been back to court voters now 25 times. It's a tough sell. More than 85,000 people here lost their jobs on the president's watch.

After this mill changed owners, Jeff Pilsitz was fired.

JEFF PILSITZ, FIRED WORKER: A lot of people are talking about this war, but I don't think this war is the big issue. The economy is the main issue.

BASH: And this is central Pennsylvania, known as Bush Country. He has even bigger challenges elsewhere.

(on camera): This Philadelphia suburb, Delaware County, is historically Republican, but went for Al Gore in 2000. Many believe it is here the president must win over voters in order to win the state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still weighing the issues.

BASH (voice-over): Moderate GOP voters like Franklin Fitzgerald (ph), a car salesman. He sees the president's appeal as a decisive leader with good values, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not voting on character as much as issues.

BASH: For JoAnn Lawson (ph), a registered Republican, health care is the issue, and she's made up her mind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will definitely not vote for him.

BASH (on camera): Why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no way. I'm just not happy with any of the job that he's done.

BASH (voice-over): The president has proven he can make it to the White House without Pennsylvania. But political experts say for the Democratic nominee, it's a must-win.

PROF. TERRY MADONNA, MILLERSVILLE UNIVERSITY: You'll find John Kerry literally camping in the state if he wraps up the nomination in the next couple of weeks.

BASH: The Democrats will be battling Mr. Bush for people like Mary Ann Degregorio (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The economy's got me a little worried. And we are wanting some family.

BASH: Concern for her family's finances and terrorism and undecided. Like so many living along these tree-lined streets, whose votes are up for grabs this fall.

Dana Bash, CNN, Pennsylvania.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Dana Bash reporting.

Well John Kerry is fighting a two-front battle. He's taking on his Democratic rivals as well as President Bush. And if he's the nominee, the senator needs to pick a running mate. Coming up, Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile are ready to offer some advice for the senator's list of things to do.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

I want to ask you both very quickly first about Wesley Clark endorsing John Kerry. Is this going to make any difference, Bay?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: I wouldn't have even told the candidate if I worked for John Kerry. It's meaningless. Absolutely meaningless. DONNA BRAZILE, FRM. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: No. Absolutely. Look, John Kerry wanted to bring the party together, so this is one less person he has to call once he cliches the nomination.

(LAUGHTER)

WOODRUFF: All right, let's move on. John Kerry is not only running against his fellow Democrats, the ones left in the race, John Edwards and Howard Dean, he's also really running against the Bush campaign already. How does he do that, Bay?

BUCHANAN: The first thing is, it's time for the Democratic leadership of the party to get these other guys out of the race. He's clearly won this nomination -- unless something explodes here down the road.

But he's won it. He should start moving ahead, start bringing this party together and focusing on the president of the United States.

His problem is he's winning votes now because he appears to be electable. He has to start transferring those to people who want to see John Kerry as president.

BRAZILE: Bay is absolutely right. John Kerry wants to start his general election campaign tomorrow. But unfortunately he has to clinch the nomination in the next two to three weeks.

But he should continue to spend most of his time, I think, talking about the general election, putting his vision out there.

At the same time, he cannot totally ignore John Edwards and Howard Dean. They still have a little life in them, a little energy and I think they will continue to take swipes at him.

WOODRUFF: But how does -- what do you mean by not ignore them? I mean what -- should he -- I mean Howard Dean is going after John Kerry, you know, hammer and tong right now. Talking about being part of the same political fund raising machine that President Bush is part of. I mean, how do you ignore that?

BUCHANAN: I think you have to, you know, just say it's a disgruntled candidate. He's out of the race and desperate and just move on and let your campaign manager handle it in the press.

I think he really should start looking presidential. And when you start messing around with the John Deans (sic) who have clearly lost this thing and it's over, their last days were many days ago. And I think that's what he has to do.

BRAZILE: I agree with you, Bay, because I think Dean needs to clear his throat, get it out all of his system. After all, they attacked him, beat him to a pulp. He wants to clear the record, clear the air.

But at the same time the party needs to remember that George Bush and Republicans are very disciplined, very focused on the message. And Kerry needs to, you know, begin to focus on his general election message.

BUCHANAN: The more he focuses on the Democrats the happier George Bush and Karl Rove are.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about President Bush's campaign and this whole National Guard Issue.

Bay, is this going anywhere? The press, there are still more stories today. The latest one about whether some records, medical records, part of a record was erased and marked out. Where does this go?

BUCHANAN: I think it goes nowhere. I think, you know, first of all John Kerry has made it quite clear when Clinton was running that this should not be an issue what one did during the Vietnam War, should not be an issue.

This man, George Bush, has said early on, long ago, that he was in the National Guard, he's honorably discharged, he served his country in that manner. And he's commander in chief and has proved himself to be a most competent one.

So I think this is a non-story. The president's got to handle it for a couple of days but I don't think it's going anywhere.

BRAZILE: I agree, Bay. I think he should just go ahead release all of those records, medical records, give the press everything they need tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. so you can get it out of their system and then next week he can explain why, you know, how he's cut the veteran benefits, he's cut benefits to the National Guardsmen.

That's what Democrats should focus on. What he's doing now. Not what he did 20 years ago.

ANNOUNCER: When you start doing that, Donna, it will be interesting because then you'll go back to look at John Kerry who claims to be, you know, the man that's this great hero. Indeed he was, a hero, who has never supported a military bill since.

So he's never given any support to a stronger defense in this country. And those issues are very legitimate, will be raised and the president of the United States will win on every one.

BRAZILE: John Kerry is prepared to defend his record in the Senate. he's prepared to also outline his vision for the future.

BUCHANAN: And that's what we should be discussing.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: So drop the National Guard? Is that what you're saying? BRAZILE: I say drop the records tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. and then...

WOODRUFF: You're saying make them public.

BRAZILE: Make them public.

WOODRUFF: With nothing erased.

BRAZILE: The president said...

BUCHANAN: You know, I read the stories, too, Judy. And it suggests that somebody said they thought they messed with the records. But then they went to two or three sources and said there's absolutely no truth...

BRAZILE: Then why did they use a blackout? The had a little markie.

BUCHANAN: I don't know. Maybe it was underlining.

(LAUGHTER)

BRAZILE: Mascara.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile. It's Thursday. Thank you very much.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

Well, Bay Buchanan, our guest, will have an interest in our second edition of "Campaign News Daily." That's because several former third party presidential candidates have filed a lawsuit against the commission on presidential debates.

Pat Buchanan, who of course ran on the Reform Party ticket, and Ralph Nader, who ran with the Green Party in 2000, are among the plaintiffs who want the commission removed from sponsoring future debates. They argue that the group is biased in favor of the two major parties.

Democratic Senator Tom Harkin is making plans to reassess his endorsement of Howard Dean. Harkin endorsed Dean in a high-profile event just before his home state Iowa caucuses.

In Harkin's words, "At some point you have to recognize reality." He says that after Tuesday's Wisconsin primary, quote, "there's going to have to be a reckoning here," end quote.

Front runner John Kerry looks to be in a strong position heading into next month's New York primary on Super Tuesday. A Quinnipiack survey of likely primary voters gives Kerry 53 percent. Howard Dean in second place with 12 percent. This poll was taken before Wesley Clark dropped out. He tied John Edwards with 8 percent. A newly published book takes a critical look at the Bush administration. Coming up, one of the co-authors defends the book's very controversial contention that the president is misleading people.

Later Bill Schneider finds some caricatures of the presidential candidates at of all places, a dog show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: New books about the Bush administration were arriving in stores even before this election year got started. One of the very latest is called "The Book on Bush: How George W. Misleads America." It is by Eric Alterman and by Mark Green who was a former New York City public advocate and unsuccessful Democratic candidate for mayor. I spoke with Mark Green a couple of days ago and asked why the book comes to the harsh conclusion that this is the most radical, most divisive administration in history?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARK GREEN, CO-AUTHOR, "THE BOOK ON BUSH": 150,000 words and 1,400 footnotes later we had to arrive at some conclusions. There are been presidents who have fibbed or misled or even lied. Eisenhower said his greatest mistake was the lie about the U-2. George W. Bush we found is different.

The Niagara of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is so great, not just 16 words in last year's State of the Union, but hundreds of thousands of words on everything from global warming to stem cells to the economy to Iraq and terrorism, and so we did not -- Eric Alterman and I did not simply want to list misstatements. We don't call him a liar, we can't know that. But we can show things that are documentably false. Then the issue is why, and how does it lead to bad policies that hurt America?

WOODRUFF: But there have always been people in the other political party who disagree with what a president does in office. How is what you're saying about this president different from say all the Republicans who violently disagree with Bill Clinton and his policies?

GREEN: Well, you're allowed to disagree on policies. We're not talking about what level dairy price supports should be. And it's hard in five minutes. But when you have a president who says there's no proof that there's global warming while the polar ice caps are melting. Says we don't need more stem cell lines to try to cure Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and says there's 60 such lines, there are only 11, so scientists are going to London.

When you say there will be weapons of mass destruction and cheering crowds in Iraq, and there aren't. On small issues when you see Enron's Ken Lay didn't support me, he supported my opponent Ann Richards for governor, which is false. So the issue we found was why this level of misstatement, Lincoln once said of a rival, he has such a high regard of the truth. He uses it sparingly. President Bush unlike most presidents, instead of facts leading to conclusions, whether you like Nixon or Clinton, they analyzed information. With President Bush, it seems that conclusions lead to facts.

WOODRUFF: But the policies you're citing, Mark Green, reflect what most Republicans in this country, most conservatives, agree with, whether it's global warming, stem cells, how do you avoid the perception that this is really more of a disagreement over the policy than an analysis of whether he's telling the truth or not?

GREEN: Well, forgive me, if you read -- if you can't in five minutes here, the book lays out how often he says clean skies will clean the environment. When you compare it to his father's environmental record, it increases pollution. When you say, gee, the Medicaid drug prescription will cost $400 billion, but it cost $550 billion, now conservatives are complaining.

The problem is that we have not only a credibility gap, I think that's pretty clear, Republican or Democrat, as you will, we have a reality gap, and when you say certain scientific things that are untrue, like global warming, when you say you have to transfer -- shift federal fiscal accounts from $5 trillion surplus to a $4 trillion deficit that will help the economy, either then you change your policies, Reagan and Bush 41 increased taxes when the deficit rose. Or you are in a denial -- a bubble called denial, and President Bush will not change his policies. He'll change the facts. And our book tries to lay out the consequences for America in the -- in this comprehensive connect the dots book. There are other books have done quite well at it. It holds up based on our documentation. The issue is not motive, but basis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Mark Green. And we want you to know that next Wednesday we'll be interviewing an author who came to the opposite conclusion about President Bush, the author is John Podhoretz his book is called "Bush Country." I'll be interviewing him next Wednesday, February 18.

Dogs and politicians. Could there possibly be a link between the two? Our Bill Schneider tackles that unDarwinian question when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The grand finale to the Westminster Kennel Club dog show was Tuesday in New York. And that got us to thinking. Are there any similarities between the highly trained canines and politicians? Especially the breed seeking to be president? Who better to ask than our senior political or canine -- or political analyst Bill Schneider -- Bill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Want to know how to pick a winner? Look at how the Westminster Kennel Club does it. The candidates have to go out on the road so they can show their stuff. These contenders are just like politicians. They require an awful lot of care and attention. But they also have to endure a lot of close scrutiny. The judges may dress a little more formal than New Hampshire primary voters but they are no less focused.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at that concentration.

SCHNEIDER: Let's look at the contenders. Why there's Dennis Kucinich.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Great little dogs. They think they're a big dog.

No, they know they're a big dog.

SCHNEIDER: Everyone loves John Edwards, so friendly and good natured.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't say enough good things about golden retrievers. I had a great golden retriever.

SCHNEIDER: But can he win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never won best in show. Maybe that will change tonight.

SCHNEIDER: Now here's a very impressive candidate, John Kerry. Wonder if he's had Botox treatments? Nah.

Look! It's Al Sharpton. What has he done with his hair? How about this Dean dog?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His heart is fearless.

SCHNEIDER: But he's had some problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This breed has been deliberately reduced to be a lap-size companion.

SCHNEIDER: Too bad General Wesley Clark got eliminated. He had impressive credentials.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Briard was the official dog of the French army. His intelligence, loyalty, strength and agility allowed him to keep on the move for long hours, as he keeps his flock within his gaze.

SCHNEIDER: Hey! There's Barney, President Bush's dog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Scottie owner must be firm enough to earn a Scottie's respect. Reasonable enough to satisfy the Scottie's strong sense of fair play. And confident enough to love a dog that openly feels superior to its owner.

SCHNEIDER: Sounds like a good dog to have in the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Westminster crowns the one, the only best in show.

SCHNEIDER: OK. Who's the winner? Oh, my God, it's Al Gore. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was here last year and didn't win.

SCHNEIDER: He certainly sounds like Al Gore.

AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He betrayed this country. He played on our fears.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: The Westminster dog show may have the right idea. There are no endless debates and they get the whole thing done in a few days. Woof.

WOODRUFF: Our phones are ringing off the hook. The campaigns are calling to complain. Bill Schneider.

SCHNEIDER: I think the dog lovers might be calling.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, thanks. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. We can't do any better than that. I'm Judy Woodruff. "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



Clark; Dogs and Politicians>


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