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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Super Tuesday Face-Off; Gun Control Showdown on Capitol Hill

Aired March 2, 2004 - 15:00   ET

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

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, we're lifting the press up. We're elevating the press.

ANNOUNCER: John Kerry looks for an uplifting Super Tuesday. Will Democrats in 10 states give him a sweep or a surprise?

John Edwards's campaign on the line. Will the biggest primary day of the season be a new beginning or the beginning of the end?

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: Once again, we find ourselves in a political season and once again we find ourselves debating and arguing about gun ownership in America.

ANNOUNCER: A gun showdown on Capitol Hill highlights political divisions and prompts cameos by the presidential candidates.

Inside the Bush/Cheney campaign. We'll get the vice president's take and go one on one with campaign manager Ken Mehlman.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now, LIVE FROM CNN's Election Headquarters in Atlanta, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you very much for joining us for this expanded of edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

More than any other day in the presidential primary season, this one is about cold, hard numbers, 10 states, including the coastal powerhouses of New York and California and a treasure trove of delegates at stake, 1,151. How will it all add up for Democratic front-runner John Kerry and his main rival, John Edwards?

Candy Crowley is with Kerry in Washington. Kelly Wallace is covering John Edwards here in Atlanta.

Candy, to you first.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, John Kerry started off his day not far from where you are in Atlanta.

He went to a truck depot, where he talked to some Teamsters that were there, talking not only in John Edwards' backyard -- that is the South -- but also talking about John Edwards' main topic in the campaign. That, of course, is jobs. Kerry has taken on a number of new campaign themes since this all began, jobs being one of them that has a lot of resonance both in the South and in the industrial states like Ohio.

However, time for his day job, so the senator flew back here to Washington. It is the first time he has been on the Senate floor this year and he came back for really what is an issue the Democrats are following very closely. And that is the gun issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KERRY: President Bush promised the American people that he would work to renew the assault weapons ban. But now, under pressure, he's walking away from that commitment, as he has from so many other promises, from education to the environment to the economy. This president says that he will sign this giveaway to the gun industry, but he's refusing to sign the assault weapons ban that he told America he would support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: The gun issue, of course, Judy, is one that Democrats have been looking at ever since 2000. They do believe that they have been painted as the party that is anti-gun, that they lost a lot of the gun owner vote that might have helped them in 2000, so they want this year to be on the side of those who will protect both gun owners' rights, as well as have in place some safety issues.

John Kerry himself, Judy, is, of course, a gun owner and a hunter and has made quite a topic of that as he's campaigned through some of the more rural states. Tonight, every reason to believe he is going to be at a victory party. They still don't talk like that, but there is a definite feel in this campaign that we are nearing completion of the primary process -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Candy, in Washington, D.C. right now with the front-runner, John Kerry -- thanks, Candy.

And now we want to quickly turn to Kelly Wallace. She's with John Edwards, who was in Washington and now returning to Atlanta -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Judy, John Edwards expected to return to Atlanta within the hour, this after he was, as you said, in the nation's capital, he, alongside John Kerry, casting votes on those three gun control amendments.

He didn't do any television interviews on this day and he seemed to be dodging reporters in Washington and also here in Atlanta. This is a day where, if he does not enjoy much success, he could face some very tough decisions tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE (voice-over): It was a brief 2 1/2-minute visit to greet supporters outside a suburban Atlanta polling place. Then John Edwards took off, heading for Washington. He ignored a pack of reporters waiting for him, which aides say is his standard Election Day ritual.

But it also allowed him to avoid the question he got all day yesterday: Who would he do if he does not win any states today?

EDWARDS: I plan to be in this until I'm the nominee.

WALLACE: Although the senator from North Carolina conceded that, at some point, the math just might make that impossible.

EDWARDS: Of course. At some point, I've got to start getting more delegates or I'm not going to be the nominee. But I intend to be in this until the end.

WALLACE: There were signs yesterday of a campaign losing momentum, smaller crowds as usual and a candidate who just did not seem as pumped up. Privately, Edwards' advisers believe victories in Georgia and Minnesota are possible. Ohio, in the words of one aide, just doesn't feel as good. Aides are also hoping, though, that Edwards wins enough delegate in New York and California to help him continue into the next round of Southern primaries.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WALLACE: But, if there are no victories, there will no doubt be some pressure from some Democrats for Edwards to step aside, especially with President Bush planning to begin running his first reelection ads later this week. Privately, Edwards' advisers say he is staying in this race, but, Judy, they also indicate this, that this is a decision that could always be reevaluated -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace, right here in Atlanta, expecting the return of John Edwards -- Kelly, thank you. And, of course, we'll be talking to you in the next half-hour, along with Candy.

Well, right now, let's take a closer look at that gun vote the two senators went back to Washington to participate in and why it was so important that they did that.

Let's turn to our Joe Johns, our congressional correspondent, for the very latest -- hi, John.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

This of course is a bill to help the gun industry by limiting lawsuits, but it's also a victory, at least temporarily, for gun control advocates. Of course, in there, you have closing the gun show loophole, as well as renewing the assault weapons ban, which expires in September. There has been pessimism among advocates of the ban, almost all of the way up to the vote, but in the end a pretty healthy number of Republicans voting for the bill, by one count, about 10.

On the Democratic side, Senator Charles Schumer credited Senators John Kerry and John Edwards with changing the momentum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: When John Kerry and John Edwards said they would drop everything and come back here, it changed the tide. People saw how important it was. People -- people saw how important this was. People saw that we thought we could win it. You know, we haven't had a real victory in this area in a very, very long time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: But the base bill here is a bill to limit lawsuits against the gun industry. And when this bill goes to conference with the House, the gun rights advocates are expected to try to get rid of the gun control language. The administration has been very clear it wants a clean bill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRAIG: So our federal government is going to decide to regulate one more activity of commerce out there on the free marketplace. Why? To set up a charade that hasn't worked and won't work any differently than it is outside the gun show. Let's stay with the laws we've got. Let's go after the criminal element. Let's keep 1805 a clean bill so that we can get it to the president for his signature.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: So the question, of course, is why did the gun control measure survive today here on Capitol Hill? The answer among a number of folks on both the House and Senate side, Democrat and Republican, is, there has been just a lot of support here for these gun control measures coming from law enforcement around the country -- Judy, back to you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Joe Johns, this is one that bears further reading on the part of all of us, because of the confusion of having both protection for the manufacturers and gun control all wrapped up in the same measure. But, as you say, we'll watch and see what happens when they get to conference. Joe Johns, thank you.

Well, underdog candidates Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton both cast their primary ballots today. Kucinich voted in his home state of Ohio, where he is not predicting a Super Tuesday victory. But on CNN, earlier today, the congressman told me that he does hope to pick up more delegates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm hopeful to pick up delegate in a number of states, including Massachusetts, Ohio, Minnesota, and California. And, you know, we have some chances in other states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Al Sharpton cast his ballot in the New York primary and predicted that he will pick up delegates in the Big Apple and other large cities, where Democrats are voting today. I also spoke with Sharpton earlier and he dismissed the pundits who say that the Democratic race is all but over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's inside baseball. I understand your show's INSIDE POLITICS. I'm dealing with outside needs and grievances and concerns of the voters.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Reverend Al Sharpton. Stay with CNN throughout the evening for up-to-the-minute primary and caucus results. It all begins at 7:00 Eastern. I'll join my colleague Wolf Blitzer for the first poll closings and vote tallies. The live coverage continues through "LARRY KING" at 9:00 eastern and on into the early morning hours. After another hour of "LARRY AT" midnight eastern, Aaron Brown will be along with recap of all of the results at that point.

So what can we expect tonight? We'll game out the possibilities next.

Also ahead, what is on voters' minds? We'll get a first read on information from our exit polls.

Plus, dueling takes on the presidential race from Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman and later from DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe.

And Arnold Schwarzenegger's stake in today's vote in California. Could his political career and the state's finances go bust?

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: While all of us have been concentrating on just getting to Super Tuesday, now that it's here, what can we expect tonight and what lies ahead?

Joining me from Washington are Dan Balz of "The Washington Post" and "TIME" magazine's Karen Tumulty.

Good to see both of you.

Dan, I'm going start with you.

Based on what you're hearing, what you're feeling out there, what should we be looking for tonight?

DAN BALZ, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think everything has pointed for the last several days to a big night for John Kerry. I think the question is just how big a night it is and if it is as big as a lot of people expect, what that means for John Edwards.

All the indications going in and most of the polling that had been done in states where they had polling was that Kerry was ahead everywhere. So the question is, will John Edwards win a state or two and if he does, what does he do after that?

WOODRUFF: And, Karen Tumulty, what does he do?

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "TIME": Well, that's a really good question, because if he -- even if he does win a state or two, the pressure as of tomorrow is going to be very, very intense on him to drop out.

And, presumably, again, if it turns out to be as big of a night for John Kerry as the polls would indicate, Kerry is going to come out of this within striking distance numerically of all of the delegates he needs. So particularly if John Edwards wants to maintain the option of ending up on the ticket as John Kerry's running mate, the wisdom here would probably be to get out pretty quickly, although he keeps pointing out, he's got a schedule all ready for the rest of this week for the next round of primary states.

WOODRUFF: And not only that, Dan Balz, as long as John Edwards is in the race, John Kerry keeps reminding everybody that he's a winner. He's got somebody he's beating every week.

BALZ: Well, that's true and that's certainly been a benefit for him. But I think they reach a point in this race where it is less helpful to Senator Kerry to have John Edwards in the race if there's real no way that he can win the nomination, because the Bush team is ready to start their advertising in a couple of days.

Senator Kerry, if he is going to be the nominee of the Democratic Party, needs to begin to put most of his attention on the general election. My guess is that John Edwards, who has talked about staying in and has wanted to keep this fight going as long as he does, is also a realist. He's run a smart campaign so far. And my guess is, if it's a very bad night for him, he may not go on, as he has been talking about doing.

WOODRUFF: If he doesn't, Karen Tumulty, is the Kerry campaign prepared for what the Bush campaign is going to throw at him?

TUMULTY: Well, I think it's really interesting that the first place he goes tomorrow is Florida. It is a primary state, but, of course, it has a lot of significance that goes well beyond that fact.

And the first thing that he is going to be talking about in Florida is national security. He's going right to the issue that George Bush thinks will be his strength. So it's been very clear for a while that John Kerry has been focused on the general election this whole week. He's barely mentioned John Edwards when he hasn't been answering a direct question about him. He is very obviously focused on the general election race. And he has to be, because, essentially, it starts this week with those Bush ads that are going to start.

WOODRUFF: Dan Balz, before we entirely leave John Edwards, it has to be -- obviously, it's enormously disappointing, but he must feel his own pressure to want to stay until the Southern primaries next week. BALZ: Well, I think they would like nothing more than to be able to compete certainly in Florida and Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Some of their folks have said they have had some good work done already in Texas. They would love to do that.

But I think -- you know, I think that Senator Edwards, depending on how things go tonight, will have to face the reality that, is it good for him, is it good for the party, is it good for the party's prospects of beating George Bush if he continues if there's no real way that he can win the nomination? So I think that that's the consideration that they'll all have to face. He is scheduled to go on to Texas later tonight. If somehow that changes and he is heading somewhere else other than Texas, then we will know what his real intentions are tonight. But we have got to wait to see how these states actually break down.

WOODRUFF: And, very quickly, Karen Tumulty, any speculation at this point on John Edwards on the ticket or, as Kerry people keep telling us, is it really too early?

TUMULTY: Well, it is too early, because that decision is going to be made into the summer when John Kerry has a better sense of precisely what he needs in terms of balancing his ticket.

But certainly, again, a graceful and relatively quick exit on the part of Senator Edwards at this point would make -- enhance his chances at the very minimum.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're all trying not to get ahead of ourselves here. But we're only hours away from knowing the answer to whether John Edwards was able to pull off a win or more than a win on Super Tuesday.

Dan Balz, Karen Tumulty, great to see both of you. Thanks very much.

TUMULTY: Thank you, Judy.

(CROSSTALK)

WOODRUFF: Thanks for coming by.

Well, the same-sex marriage issues gets the attention of none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just ahead, we'll find out what the California governor says he would do if the voters or the courts in his state approved of gay marriages.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger faces the biggest test yet of his young political career today. On the ballot in the Golden State, twin propositions aimed at keeping California from going broke.

Here now, CNN's Frank Buckley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arnold Schwarzenegger is pitching the propositions the way he sold his Hollywood movies, to crowds at rallies that sometimes resemble Hollywood premieres, on the road in a bus tour, one voter at a time at a diner. Watch how he pushes the kitchen sink omelet and Propositions 57 and 58 all at the same time.

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Everything gets thrown in there and it makes it feel really good when you finish, but not as good as if you vote 57 and 58 yes. This really makes you feel good.

BUCKLEY: Last night, he even appeared on "The Tonight Show" with the governor he ousted in the recall, Gray Davis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")

SCHWARZENEGGER: I hope you are here plugging my Proposition 57 and 58.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCKLEY: Proposition 57 would allow California to borrow up to $15 billion to pay off its debt.

SCHWARZENEGGER: We consolidate the debt and then we refinance it and then we tear up the credit cards and throw it away, so that our politicians can never, ever do that again.

BUCKLEY: Proposition 58 would force balanced budgets and create a budget reserve in the future. Schwarzenegger is not alone in selling the balance measures.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: There is a solution.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCKLEY: Democrat Dianne Feinstein is on TV in support. So is the state's Democrat controller.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE WESTLY, CALIFORNIA CONTROLLER: Join us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BUCKLEY: The bipartisan push is also supported by various interests.

WESTLY: We stand before you with the support of labor and the Chamber of Commerce, support with the teachers and the Taxpayers Association, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party.

BUCKLEY: But opponents, like California's treasurer, say the measure simply shifts the pain of debt on to future generations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When it's all said and done, the interest alone on this bond will cost over $4 billion. And that's an optimistic projection from the governor's office, which is equivalent to 400 elementary schools. This is not chump change.

BUCKLEY: But a double-digit lead in polling suggests that Schwarzenegger's relentless campaigning is paying off. And if the ballot measures pass, the already popular governor will have even more clout in the capital, possibly to the detriment of the Democrats who are rooting for him to win this one.

DANIEL WEINTRAUB, "SACRAMENTO BEE": Democrats, by coming out so strong and helping Schwarzenegger pass his measures, they are turning him into a stronger governor. He will then use that strength against them, as it were, in negotiations to come.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BUCKLEY: And the flip side of that, if the measures fail, Schwarzenegger's honeymoon is over. Painful cuts in government services and increases in taxes are almost certain. And Schwarzenegger's threat to go over the heads of legislators, going directly to voters, may not pack the same punch in the future -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And that's why he's working so hard to get this one.

BUCKLEY: He is.

WOODRUFF: All right, Frank Buckley, thank you very much.

And, meantime, in a break with President Bush, Governor Schwarzenegger says that he would not object if the courts or if California voters designed to change state law and make same-sex marriages legal. Schwarzenegger talked about the issue in that appearance last night on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO")

JAY LENO, HOST: The big issue here in California is this gay marriage thing. What's your position on this? How do you deal with this? What do you do here?

(LAUGHTER)

LENO: Seriously.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Are you trying to ask me?

LENO: No, no, I'm not trying to ask you.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Be honest, jay.

LENO: No, no, no. I'm serious.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Come on. You can admit it.

LENO: It's a big issue. All right, I admit it. I'm in love with you. All right, fine.

(LAUGHTER)

SCHWARZENEGGER: Finally. Give him a big hand.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Until now, Schwarzenegger has sent mixed message on the issue. He has ordered California's attorney general to stop San Francisco's mayor from allowing same-sex marriages, but he has done nothing to enforce that order.

Well, we're getting an early look at what's on voters' minds today. Coming up, our Bill Schneider has the highlights of what people are telling our exit pollers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to our special 90-minute Super Tuesday edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, has been checking, as he always does, the early results of those exit polls.

So, tell us what you're seeing that voters have on their minds.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we looked at Ohio. That is a critical state today in Ohio, hotly contested.

John Edwards always said his voters are late-deciders. And you know what? In Ohio, they certainly were. A majority of the voters said for Edwards in Ohio said they only made up their minds to vote for him in the last week, whereas fewer than one-third of Kerry voters said they made up their minds to vote for their man in the last week. Two-thirds said they knew before that. So the late-deciders, that is the Edwards people.

Now, Edwards is a populist. He says there are two Americans, the wealthy and the privileged vs. the working people. Well, guess what? Edwards, a majority of his supporters, have incomes over $50,000. Fewer than half of Kerry's voters have incomes that high. So if there are two Americans, Edwards does better in, of all things, the wealthier and more privileged Americans.

And finally, Edwards is running very hard on the trade issue. He says the trade issue is losing jobs for people in Ohio and all over the country. And look at this, yes, Ohio Democrats agree. Seventy- one percent say that the trade with other countries loses jobs for Americans. It's not even close.

Only 14 percent believe trade with other countries creates jobs. Seven percent say no effect.

So Edwards latching on to the trade issue. It looks like he knew what he was doing, because that's an issue where Democrats in Ohio, a crucial manufacturing state, are overwhelmingly agreeing.

WOODRUFF: And we also heard Kerry talking about that issue as well.

SCHNEIDER: Yes, he's tried to do it, too.

WOODRUFF: Bill, what else are you going to be looking for in tonight's exit poll information?

SCHNEIDER: Well, we're going to be looking for whether -- how satisfied the Democrats are with either Edwards or Kerry as the nominee. Because it's been a pretty applicable primary so far. There haven't been a lot of fireworks.

So one thing we'll be looking to see is, in these states all over the country, as diverse as New York and Georgia, very different kinds of states, would both of those states be satisfied with Kerry? Would both of those states be satisfied wither wards? Or are the democrats really divided? That's what we're going to be looking at.

WOODRUFF: A lot of interesting information to come out tonight.

SCHNEIDER: Right.

WOODRUFF: Bill is going to be the source of all of it. Thank you.

SCHNEIDER: I will. I'll try.

WOODRUFF: Well, for more on the voters, the candidates and the most competitive primary, let's join CNN national correspondent Bob Franken. He's standing by outside a polling place in Annapolis, Maryland.

Bob, is it the same polling place you were at a few hours ago?

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. We are planted here.

WOODRUFF: Good. OK.

FRANKEN: And it's been a steady flow of voters. Of course, Maryland is one of the states that's considered moist competitive.

John Edwards, however, is spending the evening in Atlanta, Georgia. He is headed down there where he's hoping that Super Tuesday becomes renamed the upset special.

As for John Kerry, he let us watch him throwing a football today so we could shamelessly come up with sports terms to describe his endeavors. He's hoping, of course, for a touch down. He's hoping to score tonight 10-0 and hoping that the game is over. And to that end, his workers are everywhere.

For instance, at our polling place here we found Dorothy Walsh among the Kerry supporters, who are buttonholing just about everybody going in to remind them that John Kerry was on the ballot, as if they needed reminding. Why does she do this? Because it's political activism, she thinks, plus it's fun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DOROTHY WALSH, KERRY SUPPORTER: You come out and you talk to your neighbors and you talk to other poll workers from other campaigns. And you compare notes and you compare stories. And it makes it for a fun day.

And you bring a pot of coffee to share. And it makes it more community activist.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FRANKEN: Now, here was something very unusual for these United States senators. John Kerry was on the Senate floor today participating in the debate over gun control. So was U.S. Senator John Edwards. They were both on the Senate floor.

And as a matter of fact, we can breathlessly report, Judy, that they spoke to each other, perhaps to prove that that New York Times article this morning that said they didn't like each other just wasn't true, that they really, really like each other. They wanted to prove that. Of course, we'll find out tonight exactly who has to prove what in the remaining campaign -- Judy/

WOODRUFF: All right. Bob Franken reporting for us from Annapolis. Thank you.

We take a moment now to consider the number two slot on the presidential ticket in our "Campaign News Daily." John Edwards and Colin Powell are the top choices for vice President in a New survey by Case Western Reserve University.

Edwards is the top pick among people who have a preference for the Democratic running mate. Hillary Clinton was second, but undecided was the top choice, with 27 percent.

On the Republican side, Secretary of State Colin Powell was the top pick, with 32 percent. He was followed by the guy who holds the job, Dick Cheney, who had 24 percent. Elizabeth Dole and Condoleezza Rice also picked up support.

President Bush has asked that Congress, meantime, for $1 million in money that is normally set aside to pay the transition expenses of newly elected presidents. The administration says that the money would be used to train incoming officials who would join the president's team if he won a second term.

Democratic critics say the money is set aside for New presidents, not for incumbent whose get re-elected. They say the money Bush is requesting should come from existing agency budgets.

The Republican National Committee has kicked off a voter registration drive featuring a 56-foot 18-wheeler. The truck features computers, plasma TVs and other multimedia equipment. All of it designed to showcase the Republican Party message. RNC officials say the truck will be used at festivals, college campuses and NASCAR races over the next eight months.

Well, the Bush re-election campaign hits the airwaves later this week. Coming up, I'll talk general election strategy with Bush-Cheney campaign manager Ken Mellman.

Also, Vice President Dick Cheney sits down with our Wolf Blitzer to talk politics and his role in the number two spot on the Republican ticket.

And later, Chuck Todd tells us what he's hearing about the careers of some prominent members of the U.S. Senate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The vice president of the United States sat down with my colleague, Wolf Blitzer, today in Washington, to talk about his role as vice president and the big re-election battle that lies ahead.

Wolf is here with me now to tell us some more about what the vice president had to say -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We spoke mostly, Judy, about substance, about policy issues, the war on terror. The vice president making it clear that he sees an al Qaeda fingerprint what happened in Iraq today, the latest terrorist bombings, Ansar Al Islam, this group that Abu Musab al Zarqawi is affiliated with. He sees that as a loosely-connected al Qaeda operation.

We spoke a little bit about his fears that there's still plenty of opportunity for al Qaeda to strike right here in the United States. He refused to back away from his prewar intelligence on Iraq, insisting that there's still a possibility the U.S. may find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, even though they haven't found it yet.

But as far as politics were concerned, he's gung-ho. He's ready to go. He made it clear he wants to be on the ticket. In fact, let's listen to this exchange I had with him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Is there any doubt whatsoever that you will be on the ticket with the president?

DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not in my mind. He's asked me to serve again, and I said I would be happy to do that. And I think that will be the ticket in 2004.

BLITZER: How do you feel?

CHENEY: Very good.

BLITZER: Everything all right?

CHENEY: Everything's great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: He was clearly enthusiastic, and he's ready for a campaign. He looked good, he felt good, and he was determined to move forward.

WOODRUFF: When you asked him how he's feeling, of course that's a reference to his heart problems.

BLITZER: Right. And he always makes the point that his wife, Lynn Cheney, is keeping a close watch on everything he eats. He's in pretty good shape, he says.

WOODRUFF: All right. Wolf, thank you very much for stopping by. Of course, you're going to see the entire interview that Wolf did with the vice president at 5:00 Eastern right here on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Wolf, thanks again.

BLITZER: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

Well, unlike his Democratic rivals, President Bush has not had to worry about primaries or caucuses this year, at least knot from a competitive standpoint. So what does Super Tuesday mean to the Bush campaign, and how will its outcome affect campaign strategy?

With me now from Washington, the Bush-Cheney campaign manager, Ken Mehlman.

Ken Mehlman, good to see you.

KEN MEHLMAN, BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: How are you, Judy?

WOODRUFF: I'm doing well.

MEHLMAN: Good.

WOODRUFF: And thank you for joining us.

MEHLMAN: It's my pleasure.

WOODRUFF: Has it been hard for you, for your campaign to sit back and watch the Democrats out there going back and forth and, in effect, over the last two months knocking down the president's favibility rating?

MEHLMAN: Well, it's been kind of a one-way conversation. And the good news is there's now about to be a two-way conversation. And we're going to talk about the clear choice that the American people are going to face on November 2, 2004, a choice between continuing to go forward with our economic plan that's turned a recession into a recovery, and to grow more jobs, versus a plan to raise taxes in the first 100 day in office.

We're going to talk about how we want to make sure we continue to protect the homeland and win the war on terror by taking the battle of the terrorists abroad. There's an alternative to that, too, Judy. And that's a different approach that wants do go back before 9/11 and say that we don't actually have to fight a war on terrorists.

So we look forward to this conversation. And we look forward -- we think the American people have a very important choice to make on November 2, 2004.

WOODRUFF: A number of people have said to me, Ken Mehlman, that they've never seen in their lifetime the Democrats so United as they are United this year, focused on finding a candidate who can defeat President Bush. More so than they saw against Ronald Reagan when he ran for president, more so than they saw when running against George H. W. Bush, the president's father.

What do you account -- how do you account for that?

MEHLMAN: Well, I think both sides are United. I think that Americans across the political spectrum understand the transformative power of this president. They understand the tests our country has faced, the steady leadership he's shown, and they understand how this president can help transform this country and this world.

And there are folks that disagree with his approach, and they're pretty intense about it. But I think our supporters are pretty intense, too. And I'm confident that when the American people consider the clear choice they have, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will have four more years in office, which will be good for America and will be good for the world.

WOODRUFF: Ken Mehlman, it's been reported that your campaign decided to move up not only the ads which are going to be coming out this week, but also the statement by the president where he very clearly was referring to John Kerry, even though not by name, in remarks last week to Republican governors. How much have you had to step up your campaign effort?

MEHLMAN: We always said that when the choice became clear, we would be engaged. And the choice has become clear. It's become clear in the past few weeks.

A choice between continuing to go forward toward economic recovery. And Senator Kerry's plan last week, he said his plan is to give workers a pink slip earlier. We think that we want workers to keep their jobs.

It's going to be a choice between the president's plan to fight and win the war on terror by fighting in Boston and Kandahar, so that Boston and Kansas City are safe. They have a different approach. WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about jobs. As you know, the Democrats have made a major issue out of the loss of more than two million jobs since President Bush took office. The White House put out a projection a couple of weeks ago, saying 2.6 million jobs would be created this year. The president has distanced himself from that.

Is your campaign saying how many jobs it does think will be created this year?

MEHLMAN: Our goal is to create as many jobs as we can. We were very pleased when last month $112,000 jobs were created. We were very pleased that the last two quarters have had the strongest economic growth in 20 years. We're working very hard to create jobs. But this is the question, Judy, it's a choice.

The president has a six-point plan: make the tax cuts permanent, reduce the cost of hare care so it's more affordable, reduce energy costs, make fewer lawsuits, and reduce regulations. If you do all of those things, there's more money to employee workers.

Senator Kerry has a long career for voting for higher taxes, more regulation, more lawsuits. He's opposed efforts to reduce energy costs, and he's opposed efforts to reduce healthcare costs. So there's going to be a clear choice.

WOODRUFF: What I was going to say was, in the middle, though, of all of this, the president last week very visibly came out for an amendment to the United States Constitution to prohibit gay marriage. Let me just quickly read to you what the Democratic Party chair in the state of Pennsylvania, a man named T.J. Rooney said.

He said, "Every time the president's poll numbers tank," he said, "they tried out a wedge issue. They're trying to distract voters from issues that really matter. But the issue that matters is jobs, and they can't run away from that."

What would you say to Mr. Rooney?

MEHLMAN: I would respectfully disagree, Judy. I would say that the vast majority of Americans, like President Bush, believe that marriage ought to be between a man and woman. That's hardly a wedge issue. The president has a principled position on this. And given what's been happening in some Massachusetts courts and elsewhere, the president thought this was necessary to protect that principle and to allow the people of this country and the states to have their voice.

WOODRUFF: Does it concern you that Governor Schwarzenegger last night said he disagrees with the president on this, thinks it should be up to the states?

MEHLMAN: Well, Judy, one thing about our party, people will disagree on this and on other issues. But nevertheless, the president strongly believes marriage is between a man and woman, and he intends to work to make sure that's the case.

WOODRUFF: Ken Mehlman, he is the manager of the Bush-Cheney campaign. And we are delighted to see you. Thanks very much for coming by.

MEHLMAN: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

Well, there are a lot of states to keep track of tonight. Coming up, Bill Schneider is back with us. He'll have a list of things that we'll all want to watch for as the results come in

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: You can be sure all of us will be watching to see if John Kerry can sweep all 10 of Super Tuesday's contests. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, says we need to keep our eyes on some other things as well.

What are they?

SCHNEIDER: That's right. Here are some things to watch for tonight.

One state, Minnesota, that is a caucus state. You know what? Edwards could win it because it could have a low turnout.

Democrats are liberal there. A lot of Dean support who may go for Edwards. And that's a state with big job losses and an isolationist tradition that could respond to Edwards on the trade issue.

Georgia -- no, first of all, Vermont. Vermont. Dean could win Vermont. Dean could win Vermont.

All right. Here's Georgia. Kerry would win Georgia by a convincing margin, as he did in Virginia and Tennessee. And that would undermine any justification for Edwards to stay in. He may not even turn out to be the southern regional favorite in a one-on-one contest with a Massachusetts Democrat.

Kerry could win -- oh, now let's go to Vermont. OK. Dean could win in Vermont. Dean's name is still on the ballot in Vermont, and Edwards is not on the ballot in Vermont. Diehard Dean support and resentment of Kerry as the establishment candidate could give Dean, shall we say, a posthumous boost in his home state.

And finally, Ohio. Kerry would win a victory in Ohio, and that could be a warning sign to President Bush. Ohio is a must-win state for Bush, and it's lost an awful lot of jobs in the last four years. A heavy Democratic primary turnout, plus a big vote for John Kerry in Ohio could be a signal that Democrats there, that voters in Ohio, are very angry at President Bush.

WOODRUFF: And we are fond of saying now almost hourly, no Republicans ever won the White House without Ohio.

SCHNEIDER: Without carrying Ohio.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill, thank you. And we'll see much of you throughout the hours to come.

Well, John Kerry and John Edwards aren't the only U.S. senators worth keeping an eye on these days. With the latest on some other Senate members, I'm joined by Chuck Todd, editor in chief of "The Hotline," an insiders' political briefing produced by "The National Journal."

Hello there, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD, "THE HOTLINE": Hey, Judy.

WOODRUFF: First of all, let's talk about Evan Bayh and how much money he's been raising. And he's not even running for president.

TODD: Well, it's interesting. He's -- of all of the potential running mate possibilities for John Kerry or John Edwards, Evan Bayh either -- seven million reason why Evan Bayh's very attractive.

I mean, he's sitting on a very, very large war chest. Only Charlie Schumer in New York has a bigger war chest than Evan Bayh these days on the Democratic side of things. And having all that money -- he doesn't have a big opponent, a targeted race in 2004, when he's up in November.

If all of that money is suddenly usable in a presidential race, that could be an interesting infusion. Lawyers are looking at the legalities, does he have to spend that money on his Senate race, or would he be able to spend it if he were also the running mate in some of the key markets that bleed into Ohio, into Michigan, into Illinois? You know, Indiana is surrounded by swing states. So it could be a very interesting pick for Kerry going on.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's move out West, a little bit further West, anyway, and look at a Republican Senate incumbent, Ben Knighthorse Campbell in Colorado. What are you hearing about him?

TODD: Well, there's been a lot of -- there were some worried Republicans over the weekend around town that maybe Campbell might reconsider running. You know, the filing deadline in Colorado is not until June 1. And there's already been -- some of the speculation has actually finally made it into press that he would retire and Republican Governor Bill Owens would suddenly come in and run for the seat.

But we're hearing that Campbell's in a much better place in the last couple of days, that both Bill Frist and George Allan, who are in charge of keeping Republican in control of the U.S. Senate, have had good conversations with Senator Campbell. And that he feels pretty renewed, and that maybe these retirement rumors -- its nervousness.

That said, June 1, remember Fred Thompson in 2002, he danced with retirement for a very long time and ended up retiring and not running, even though he said he was going to run. So we're keeping a very close high on what Ben Knighthorse Campbell does between now and June 1, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We have been hearing stories about competition for Campbell in Colorado, even if he stays in the race.

TODD: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right. Finally, what about on the contest for the leadership of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee? This, of course, is a committee that focuses on keeping senators in the Senate and re-elected. What are you reading about that?

TODD: Well, there's an interesting -- you know, there's always a subprimary going on in this town, and there's one developing between Lindsay Graham of South Carolina and Norm Coleman of Minnesota. Both would love to be in charge of the Republican Senate Campaign Committee for 2006.

Well, both have things to prove in 2004. If Lindsay Graham can make Earnest Hollings' Senate seat in South Carolina and go from the Democratic column to the Republican column, that would be a feather in his cap.

And Norm Coleman is somebody the Republicans are counting on to see if they can get Minnesota into the Bush column, and move it from being a blue state to a red state in 2004. If either one of those guys are successful at doing that in their home states, then suddenly they might have an extra bump in their little competition to see who is going to replace George Allen. It's a long way away, Judy, but these are things we keep an eye on.

WOODRUFF: For sure. You never take your eye off of them, in fact.

TODD: Yes, ma'am.

WOODRUFF: All right. Chuck Todd, thanks very much. "The Hotline," as everybody knows, is an insiders' political briefing produced every day by "The National Journal." You can go online to nationaljournal.com for subscription information.

Another half-hour of INSIDE POLITICS is just ahead. Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe will join me to talk about Super Tuesday and about the road ahead.

Also, President Bush marks the first anniversary of one of the biggest bureaucratic reorganizations in U.S. history.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: The road ahead. Can John Edwards march on without a victory tonight?

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANIDIDATE: At some point, I've got to start getting more delegates in here or I'm not going to be the nominee.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are taking the offensive against the terrorists abroad. We're talking unprecedented measures to protect the American people here at home.

ANNOUNCER: On a day when he's touting his war on terror, President Bush faces questions over the violence in Iraq and the crisis in Haiti.

From campaign rivals to best friends?

GRAY DAVIS, FMR. CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: He's helped me a lot with acting, particularly with my pronunciation.

JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: Really?.

ANNOUNCER: We'll tell you about a late night love-fest.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Now live from CNN election headquarters in Atlanta, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to this Super Tuesday edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

We have been talking a lot lately about what may happen tonight when the results come in from Democratic contests in 10 states. But for many political observers, the bigger question is, what will happen tomorrow?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KERRY: OH, are you ready to vote?

AUDIENCE: Yes.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Chances are, after tonight the whole game will change.

EDWARDS: At some point I've got to start getting more delegates in here or I'm not going to be the nominee.

WOODRUFF: But right now it is looking bleak for John Edwards as polls across the Super Tuesday states forecast a John Kerry route.

Still, the primaries will roll on. One week from today, Southern Tuesday brings nominating contest in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Edwards vows to press forward regardless of tonight's results.

EDWARDS: Just think for a minute your own mind how many times somebody has said to you, you can't do this. You know, we've all been there. The truth is, you and I can do this together.

WOODRUFF: But without a Super Tuesday win, it will be the toughest of tough sells.

JOHN MERCURIO, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: The intensity with which the race between Kerry and Edwards has been fought will lessen significantly and the focus will shift to Bush. It'll be a Bush-Kerry race starting tomorrow.

WOODRUFF: For the Democratic front runner, it already is.

KERRY: He's not multiplying the jobs, he's trying to divide America. And so I think our solution, we ought to subtract tract George Bush from the political equation of the United States.

WOODRUFF: Kerry has avoided his Democratic rival for some time now, focusing his fire on the president. Still, even if the Massachusetts senator effectively locks up the nomination tonight, he is expecting to keep campaigning in key states, including the four March 9 Southern Tuesday contests.

MERCURIO: The reason for that has nothing to do with the Democratic nomination and everything to do with George Bush who intends to start unloading his $140 million war chest on Kerry as soon as possible.

WOODRUFF: The president's been gearing up for months.

BUSH: Nothing that we can't overcome in America.

WOODRUFF: He will start unloading his campaign arsenal later this week.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: While Kerry and Edwards had been out on the trail and in the Senate on this Super Tuesday, you can be sure that their campaign strategists are busy thinking about what does come next. Candy Crowley is with John Kerry in Washington. Kelly Wallace is with John Edwards here in Atlanta.

Candy, to you first. In terms of John Kerry, and tomorrow, I mean, flat out, it is -- it is him and George Bush after tomorrow, isn't it?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is. But as you also noted, it has been for some time. No matter what happens tonight, I don't suspect you're going to see much different from John Kerry, at least over the next couple of days.

First of all, he won't declare himself the winner because mathematically he can't get there tonight. He also wants to wait should Edwards decide to pull out.

But in the long term, they are looking forward to that time where they begin to step back from the rallies and maybe even some of the policy speeches and they do sort of smaller settings with workers and union members and people looking for jobs so that they can use those forums to bring sort of a real-people aspect to the campaign. They're getting more and more comfortable obviously with John Kerry in those settings. So they want to move forward to that.

However, we've got a lot of primaries to go. And what those primaries to do, even if John Kerry tomorrow is seen as the winner and everyone agrees, even John Edwards, that he's the winner, you will see him in those states because, first of all, it gives you a good setting to keep having that discussion with the American people and it keeps John Kerry in the headlines. That's free media after all.

And he has to raise money. That's another thing. This has been a long campaign. Even though it seems like it was over quickly, he started more than a year ago. So they are looking to have to raise some money and also to those smaller discussions going forward -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly Wallace, what about on the Edwards camp? What do you hair about him going forward?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Judy, this is a very loyal campaign. Aides very loyal to senator, so much that when you talk to them privately and ask them what will happen if John Edwards doesn't have any victories today, they really won't say anything beyond what the senator is saying himself, that he is in this race to become the nominee.

The thing is, if you look at what he says, though, Judy, he says he's in this to become the nominee. If he decides that looking at what happens today that he cannot become the nominee, if the math is not on their side, which is already pretty impossible and the momentum, ultimately aides are indicating his decisions could be reevaluated.

Right now, really tight lipped. The senator himself came back from Washington, D.C. He is at a hotel here, making some phone calls. And obviously hoping to enjoy some success tonight -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We do tend to rush them for these decisions, don't we? Kelly Wallace, thanks very much. She's also in Atlanta where Senator Edwards is. Thank you to you and to Candy both.

Turning now to the man in the White House. Mr. Bush had a lot of presidential business on his plate today, from marking a milestone on the war in terror to deadly new bombings in Iraq. Let's check in quickly with Kathleen Koch at the White House. Kathleen, let's start with the war on terror. What are they saying?

KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president gave a speech marking the one-year anniversary, the creation of Department of Homeland Security. The speech really serving a dual purpose. The president wanted to thank the 180,000 employees of the new department for what he said was a job well-done. That while the president himself though did initially oppose the creation of this massive new bureaucracy.

The president also wanted to sound what has become his main campaign themes that his administration is winning the war on terror. And that the security in the nation is at stake when Americans go to the polls in November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: We are taking the offensive against the terrorists abroad. We're taking unprecedented measures to protect the American people here at home. The goal of the terrorists is to kill our citizens. That's their goal. And to make Americans live in fear.

This nation refuses to live in fear. We will stand together until this threat to our nation and to the civilized world has ended.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KOCH: Critics insist the Department of Homeland Security has fallen short. The U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting complaining that 3/4 of cities still haven't received any of the $1.5 billion in federal funds promised for first responders to train and equipment them. Only 42 percent of courts have received promise to grants to help with security there.

There's also been much security of the color-coded threat alert system from cities whose say it's much -- it's not very specific. It's much too vague and costs them millions of dollars in additional security.

But still, the president made a point that he believes the country has made significant progress in improving the safety and security since 9/11 -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kathleen, of course, a huge issue for the White House these days is Iraq. Today there were those two terrible suicide bombings, over 150 people dead. What is the White House saying about this?

KOCH: Judy, the administration strongly condemned the bombings as a terrible tragedy. In an interview that Wolf Blitzer had today with Dick Cheney, they described them as desperation moves. The vice president says the United States does not know who is responsible but the attacks resembled some described in a recent letter from a suspected al Qaeda operative, Abu al Zarqawi.

That letter to Zarqawi's associates outlined for a plan for just such terrorist attack in Iraq to spark sectarian warfare. But spokesman Scott McClellan here at the White House today said that would not work. Such efforts would fail and the time line for the turnover of power in Iraq, that June 30 timeline, would remain in place.

WOODRUFF: Separately, Kathleen, very awkward situation with the former Haitian leader, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The U.S. officials were sent to fly him to a country in Africa. He now is saying that the U.S., the Bush administration pushed him out of office. What's the latest on that from the White House?

KOCH: The White House continues to say that those charges are simply absurd. Vice President Cheney again in his interview with Wolf Blitzer said it's completely untrue that the United States in any way forced the former president to leave his country. The vice president, though, did add that he's happy that Jean-Bertrand Aristide is gone. He believes the Haitian people are better off for it.

And Scott McClellan in his briefing today said when it comes to these accusations that the United States lacks initial involvement help precipitate the removal of a democratically-elected president. McClellan insisted it was Aristide's own failed and corrupt government style, his way of running his country that precipitated his own ouster. Not any actions or lack of actions by the United States.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kathleen Koch bringing us up to date on a number of things going on this Tuesday at the White House. Kathleen, thank you very much.

We suspect that even White House officials will be keeping an eye on the Super Tuesday vote results tonight. A reminder, CNN will have live coverage throughout the evening, beginning with the first poll closings at 7:00 Eastern and well into the night, wrapping up with Aaron Brown and a vote recap at 1:00 a.m. Eastern.

The Democratic Party has a big investment in the outcome tonight, of course. Coming up, I'll ask DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe about the Super Tuesday states and the bigger battle against President Bush.

Plus, the bottom line on Super Tuesday, ad spending an the big gun about to be fired by the Bush camp.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We want to take you quickly to Washington. A surprise development on Capitol Hill. I guess some would say it's a surprise. Joe Johns our congressional correspondent is there. Joe, this was a bill intended to help the gun manufacturers. Others tried to make it support for gun control. What happened?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I think I'm safe in saying it's a very unusual result, Judy. This, of course, was supposed to be a big win for the gun industry, giving protections from lawsuits for makers and sellers of guns. But that bill apparently is just going down in flames on the Senate floor.

A number of conservatives who were expected to vote for that bill now voting against it, along with a number of people who are gun control advocates voting against the bill as well. The reason, I'm told, according to one senior senator, is that the National Rifle Association, the NRA, apparently started making calls to a number of members who generally support its positions an telling them not to vote for the bill on final passage. This, of course, because a couple amendments were slipped in by gun control advocates.

Those amendments, of course, anathema to many gun rights advocates. Those include the assault weapons ban, renewal of the assault weapons ban which expires later this year. Also, a bill essentially to require background checks for people purchasing weapons at gun shows. That also was included in the amendments that passed on this bill. So what we're told right now by one senior senator is that the National Rifle Association told senators who support its views that it no longer supported this gun liability measure and that apparently is why senators started voting against it on both sides -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Interesting how much clout the National Rifle Association has in the Senate.

JOHNS: Certainly true.

WOODRUFF: Joe Johns, thank you very much. We appreciate it. INSIDE POLITICS continues in just a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It's now been six weeks and a day since this political season started with the Iowa caucuses. Can we believe it? The Democratic party has come a long way since then. Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe joins us now. Terry McAuliffe, good to see you.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Judy, great to be with you.

WOODRUFF: Now you have said for a long time that March 2nd, this day was going to be a turning point of sorts for your nominating process in the Democratic party. Comes down to this. If John Edwards doesn't win one of the contests today, should he stay in this race?

MCAULIFFE: Well, clearly, Judy, John Edwards is going to have to make his own decision up tomorrow morning. I have always said from day one that we will probably have a nominee by March 10, which would be after the March 9 contest. Today we have 1,151 delegates at stake. We're getting very close to having a nominee of the party. So we're all very excited. But Senator Edwards tomorrow or going forward is going to have to make an assessment. These candidates are all going to do the right thing. This is about beating George Bush.

As you know, in 36 hours the Bush-Cheney campaign will light up with their $103 million war chest to go on 17 states advertising. As soon as we can get together with our nominee, the Democratic National Committee, I can begin to go up also with our advertising. We have millions of dollars in the bank. The party's in the best shape we have ever been in. We're missing a nominee but I think that's going to come very quickly.

WOODRUFF: Well, there are already -- there have been questions raised, Terry McAuliffe, though, about this front-loading process something that I know you have been an advocate of. None other than Pat Cadell, a familiar name to you, a long-time pollster and strategist in the Democratic party, dating back to Jimmy Carter, quoted just today saying that what you don't get in this front-loaded process is a real testing. Kerry, he said, may be the next Bob Dole. In other words, if it ends now, will John Kerry have really been through the kind of tests that one needs to go through to win?

MCAULIFFE: You know, I love all the pundits who know so much about this business. We have a new calendar. And the old calendar -- we used to have three days of voting. Iowa, New Hampshire and Super Tuesday and it was over. As you know, after Super Tuesday Al Gore and George Bush were both the nominee. We will now have 38 states instead of 19 states voting over you know, six and a half weeks versus a different process than before.

Our candidates have been in this race for 14 months. They have been battle tested, literally gone all through last year. They are ready. We need to get a nominee because what is different from any other time and Pat Cadell which was great, he was backing Jimmy Carter in 1976, we are about to face $103 million assault on advertising, which has never occurred before, so we need to be unified, organized, getting our message out there. It's a different day than it was in 1976, I'll tell you that. But I got to tell you, the end result is our party has never been more energized. You have seen the least evasive primaries we have ever had, Judy, before. We're raring to go. People are excited and we're beating Bush in the polls today.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about the jobs issue. This is what the candidates are talking about, you're out there talking about every day. Particularly jobs lost in the industrial Midwest. Today, though, we read and we've been reading this, that many of these jobs are from sectors that may not come back. And the call has been, there's one quote I saw in the "Boston Globe," a woman in Cleveland saying the Democrats say they want these industrial jobs back but that's not the future. The future is education so we can attract high-tech jobs. In other words, she's calling on Democrats to be honest with the voters about that.

MCAULIFFE: Well, let me tell you, Judy, it is George Bush who cut nine billion from his own Leave No Child Behind. We want jobs across the board. Bill Clinton and Al Gore created 22 million new jobs as you know, in all different sectors. George Bush, yes, he's lost a lot of millions of manufacturing jobs but he's lost all types of jobs, as you know, his own chairman of his economic advisers says it's a good thing for us to be outsourcing jobs.

It isn't only manufacturing jobs, it's all jobs. One out of two Americans today now live in fear that they're going to lose their job. This election is going to be fought on the jobs issue. We proved the Democrats that we can do it. George Bush has been a failure. The first president since Herbert Hoover who has lost jobs during his tenure as president. So I agree with the woman.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to leave. That wasn't the point, though. We'll continue this conversations the next time we talk.

MCAULIFFE: All right, Judy. You bet.

WOODRUFF: Terry McAuliffe, thanks you very much. She was raising the point that it's a different kind of job, but we'll talk about it later.

Just ahead, crunching the numbers in the political ad war. John Kerry and John Edwards battle for supremacy of the airwaves. Who is spending the big money and where are they spending it when INSIDE POLITICS returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: CNN advertising consultant Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence has been tracking the television ad spending leading up to Super Tuesday. TNS Media Intelligence tracks ad spending in the nation's top 100 media markets.

Evan Tracey joins me with the latest numbers. All right, Evan, first of all, what's the breakdown on the Super Tuesday ad spending by John Edwards and John Kerry?

EVAN TRACEY, TNS MEDIA INTELLIGENCE: It's been a not so Super Tuesday for the broadcast industry. They've only run advertising in three states, Georgia, Ohio, and New York. In Georgia the Edwards campaign has spent about $400,000 to Kerry spending about $260,000. In Ohio, Edwards spent a little bit more, $712,000 to Kerry's $500,000. In New York, both candidates have spent about $290,000 and $300,000 respectively. Really just concentrating on the less expensive upstate markets.

WOODRUFF: What about -- widen the picture out for us. What about overall ad spending?

TRACEY: Well, overall, the Kerry campaign spent about $9 million. And the Edwards campaign has spent close to $8 million. The candidates themselves have combined for about $46 million in total spending, but really because the primary schedule was so condensed, about 33 percent of that total spending was in Iowa and New Hampshire.

So it's been very hard for these candidates to move the opinion polls with their advertising since the New Hampshire primary.

WOODRUFF: And finally, Evan, what about the new Bush-Cheney ad campaign which they're going to start talking about tomorrow which I guess will start running on Thursday.

TRACEY: Right. We're hearing the same thing, that that campaign is going to start on Thursday. I think the interesting thing so far we're picking up is there's going to be a network cable component to this. That follows on the point that this has been a cable election.

The Democrats have been majority of their advertising spending, I think if you look at Kerry specifically, about 75 percent of his spending has been basically running negative ads against Bush. A lot of this has been talked about in network cable and the Bush campaign has targeted network cable to get a response out to the last six months of the Democratic candidates talking about his record.

WOODRUFF: Just quickly. Is it because it's less expensive to do it this way or do you reach more people, or what?

TRACEY: Cable's really reached a point that it's almost in as many places, in as many households as broadcast television.

Also, in political media, the equation is really time divided by money and Bush has both now and cable's a very efficient way for him to get this message out, not only in the 17 swing states but nationally. So he's going to target cable as a way to kind of make up for lost time over the last six months.

WOODRUFF: OK. Evan Tracey, TNS Media Intelligence. We always learn a lot.

TRACEY: See you.

WOODRUFF: You, too.

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS, California's current governor and the man he succeeded shared some laughs when they meet face to face. The story in just a bit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LARRY CRAIG (R), IDAHO: It wasn't convoluted, it was clear and it was clean. And I worked on it a long while as have many others. I'm proud of our work product and I'd love to see this bill pass.

But I now believe it is so dramatically wounded that it should not pass. And I would urge my colleagues to vote against it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Idaho Republican Larry Craig, the author of a bill that would have protected gun manufacturers from lawsuits. That bill went down in defeat after it was amended to include measures that were designed to support gun control.

That was the author. He was telling his colleagues to vote against it, they did. It wound down to defeat as Larry Craig requested.

Gray Davis didn't have much of a reason to laugh back in October when he was recalled as governor of California and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Last night, the laughs came easily as two men met face to face on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAY DAVIS (D), FRM. GOVERNOR OF CALIF.: I talked to Arnold a little bit about some of the state problems, but he's helped me a lot with acting. Particularly with my pronunciation.

JAY LENO, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Really, really?

(LAUGHTER)

GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I know there would be a cheap shot. Thanks. OK. Go ahead, guys.

LENO: I heard you talking. You foolishly say "California" which of course is ridiculous.

DAVIS: And I didn't know how to say...

SCHWARZENEGGER: What? That's actually the right way to pronounce it. In Spanish it's "Cali-for-ney-yah" not "California."

(CROSSTALK)

DAVIS: I used to think I knew how to say "I'll be back." Now I know it's "I'll be back."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: That's right. As Arnold said, in Spanish, it's "California."

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. CNN's Super Tuesday night coverage begin in two and a half hours from now at 7 p.m. Eastern. Join us then and throughout the night for the latest results.

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



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