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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Fall Battle Begins for John Kerry; John Edwards' Exit

Aired March 3, 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: Kerry versus Bush. Eight months before Election Day the battle begins.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People in this country deserve more than words and empty promises.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm George W. Bush, and I approved this message.

ANNOUNCER: The president unleashes his first campaign ads. Will voters get his message?

Is it so long for now, or could we see John Edwards on a Kerry ticket? We'll cover his formal exit from the presidential race live.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

A Florida getaway may sound appealing to John Kerry now that he's all but clinched his party's presidential nomination. But it's fair to say that the Democratic Senator can't afford to take it easy in Orlando, on what is essentially the first full day of the general election campaign.

We begin with John Kerry taking aim at the president and taking over the role of standard bearer. Here now, our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Phase two of the Kerry campaign for president is well under way. There is a vice presidential search team in the making. It will be headed by a man named Jim Johnson. Johnson is a Washington businessman who has been a senior adviser to former vice president Walter Mondale, as well as a longtime friend to John Kerry.

Also on the agenda, putting what is delicately called a presence at the Democratic National Committee. Now, the Kerry campaign and DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe have had have a few disagreements over time. But sources within the Kerry campaign say they are not looking to oust him, though they would like a presence of the Democratic National Committee.

Then there's the convention. The Kerry team would like, of course, to have a big say in how those plans are going. They are putting together a team that will integrate itself with a team that is already going. In the meantime, some announcements about the convention have been postponed while team Kerry takes a look at them.

As for the candidate, he is following the calendar. There are still primaries going on. And he will use those primary states to put out his message. Today, it was in Florida, where Kerry gave what was basically his major stump speech that he has given all along, but now he knows he's not just talking to Democrats.

KERRY: I think there are reasonable Republicans out there who know that there's nothing conservative or mainstream Republican about what George Bush is doing with the deficits of this country. There's nothing conservative or mainstream Republican about letting your attorney general abuse civil rights.

CROWLEY: One last little item, money. While Senator Kerry is in Florida, he will be meeting with various state fund-raisers to try to get that mechanism in place here in this very important state.

In addition, we are told since 8:00 last night, the Kerry campaign has raised $1.1 million over the Internet over a 17-and-a- half hour period that well surpasses Governor Dean's record on the Internet. In addition, the Kerry campaign says 1,500 volunteers signed up.

Now, according to the many aides here in the campaign, they are less worried about money than other things. They believe that now that Kerry is the presumed front-runner he will get some help from various entities. Although they add, "We're never going to raise as much money as George Bush."

Candy Crowley, CNN, Orlando, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, it sounds like both the candidate, Kerry, and our reporter, Candy Crowley, are losing their voices. We hope they both get a little rest in the near future.

Well, Kerry's soon-to-be former rival, John Edwards, faces a different set of challenges today as he prepares to formally exit the presidential race about a half-hour from now. Many Democrats will be reading between the lines of Edwards' remarks, trying to figure out what he wants to do next.

CNN's Kelly Wallace is with John Edwards in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Hi, Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. Well, one thing we know John Edwards says he wants to do next, yesterday in a phone call to John Kerry he said that he would raise as much money as he could for the Democratic -- presumed Democratic nominee. You can see behind me crowds are gathering. Hundreds and hundreds of people, really, gathering here at this high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the Senator will speak.

He will say some very strong things about John Kerry in excerpts, which his aides have released. He says, "Senator Kerry has fought back in this campaign and he's won because his heart is good."

But most of this speech, Edwards' advisers say, is really focusing on his very own campaign and the contributions he believes he has made. He talks about the tone of the campaign, and he says, "Those of you who cast your votes for me, cast your votes for a New kind of politics. You wanted a positive campaign and you got one, for a change."

Now, it could be a very emotional moment for the North Carolina Senator here, because he is speaking in the very same high school where his son Wade attended before he was killed in a tragic car accident in 1996. We are told, in fact, that when John Edwards met with supporters earlier today, the whole scene was rather emotional.

Of course, there's lots of speculation, as well, about the vice presidency. John Edwards and his advisers are indicating, of course, that if he is asked he would not say no, he would say yes. But at the same time, they're saying, Judy, that right now this is a time for John Kerry, that John Edwards will help and do anything he can to help.

The two men expected to meet sometime soon. But they also say talk of the vice presidency is really for some time down the road -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kelly Wallace, reporting from Raleigh. Just about 25 minutes from now, that's when we'll be hearing from John Edwards.

Kelly, thank you very much.

And, off course, CNN will bring you Senator Edwards' remarks live at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

Now it's on to the Bush camp and its entrance into the ad war. The campaign today unveiled its first TV spots which begin airing tomorrow on national cable outlets and selected local affiliates in competitive states.

Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" has been analyzing the ads.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HOWARDD KURTZ, CNN, "RELIABLE SOURCES" (voice-over): President Bush's first commercials don't resemble Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" ads.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country's history.

KURTZ: In fact, they're filled with images of America's darkest hour. But Bush uses the September 11 attacks and the recession to tout his theme of steady leadership.

Why dredge up 9/11? Bush strategists say they're reminding people about the problems facing a self-described war president. Because they've been hammered for months by ads like this one.

KERRY: I don't think we should be asking the middle class to be the people who are going to pick up for George Bush's mistakes.

KURTZ: Bush doesn't have much to boast about in the economic arena. But the ads try to neutralize the problem that plagued his father: the perception that he was out of touch with people's problems.

BUSH: And as the economy grows, the job base grows, and somebody who is looking for work will be more likely to find a job. I know exactly where I want to lead this country. I know what we need to do to make the world more free and more peaceful.

KURTZ: The ads offer no specifics. None. But there are pretty pictures of ordinary workers and ordinary families, most of them paid actors, while Bush makes some upbeat statements.

BUSH: I'm optimistic about America because I believe in the people of America.

KURTZ: And in an element that may appeal to women, there are also some words of praise from the president's biggest booster.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: ... the strength, the focus, the characteristics that these times demand.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KURTZ: By opening with positive spots, the Bush team wants to repair the president's image after months of battering by the Democratic candidates. But one advertising expert tells me it may be difficult to boost Bush's numbers with upbeat ads because people already know so much about him. That means a lot may depend on act two, the coming advertising barrage against John Kerry -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And not only pretty pictures, but very soothing music, we should add. Howie, I also want to ask you about the decision to put these ads out, mainly on cable, and then in selected markets around the country. What's the thinking there about doing it mostly on cable?

KURTZ: Well, no surprise that the ads would go on local markets, Judy, in about 16 battleground states. You and I can figure out what they are, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Florida and so forth.

But cable offers them a chance not only buying CNN and the cable news networks, but they're buying time on ESPN and Fox Sports and I'm told even a NASCAR event to reach people around the country who have been hearing all the Democratic ads who are not news junkies, who watch sporting events, who watch other kinds of entertainment programming. It's a different kind of way for a presidential campaign to get a message out, particularly at this early stage.

WOODRUFF: And one other quick question, Howie. They're also putting out one of these ads in Spanish, getting a head start I guess on reaching Latino voters.

KURTZ: Yes. And those ads will be airing, as you might expect, in Florida, the Southwest, the South. And on that ad, the president does a brief Spanish voiceover. And to my untutored ear, it sounded like he did it pretty well.

WOODRUFF: OK. He said his name. But he said "George Bush," and whatever it is in Spanish.

KURTZ: He approved the ad in Spanish.

WOODRUFF: OK. All right. Howard Kurtz, thank you. Appreciate it.

A Democratic-leaning online group is working to counter the president's multi-million-dollar ad blitz. Moveon.org begins running its own spots tomorrow, targeting Mr. Bush in those 17 presidential battleground states. Here's a clip now from one ad criticizing a move to eliminate overtime pay for more affluent workers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NARRATOR: Two million jobs lost. Jobs going overseas. And now, no overtime pay. When it comes to choosing between corporate values and family values, face it, George Bush is not on our side.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: The price tag for moveon.org's five-day ad buy? $1.9 million.

So how will the Bush team respond to attacks ahead? Up next, I'll talk to the president's campaign spokesman about strategy, message, and the challenge from John Kerry.

Months before the convention balloons drop, how are Kerry and the Democrats positioned for the battle ahead? We'll get clues from the exit polls.

And later, live coverage of John Edwards' expected exit from the presidential race. Listen closely to how many times he says the name Kerry.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With the Democrats now all but settled on their presidential nominee, the Bush versus Kerry election debate today landed in the halls of Congress. Congressional correspondent Joe Johns has more on the competing claims by members of both parties.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Just hours after Kerry's big Super Tuesday, top congressional Republicans at last had one target to aim at. The speaker of the House zeroed in on Kerry's economic proposals.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: My friends, the Kerry plan does not add up. We don't need higher taxes aimed at job creators.

JOHNS: The House majority leader got in a dig about Kerry's upbringing.

REP. TOM DELAY (R), MAJORITY LEADER: He's either insincere about his new spending, dishonest about his new taxes, uninterested in the deficit, or they just didn't teach him arithmetic at the European boarding school that he went to.

JOHNS: In the Senate, Majority Leader Bill Frist hit Kerry with a battle-tested Republican attack line.

SEN. BILL FRIST (R), MAJORITY LEADER: The approach traditionally of the most liberal Democrat United States senator today, John Kerry obviously is very different. It is more bureaucratic control, more running things out of Washington, bigger government.

JOHNS: The Democrats were not taking it lying down, counterattacking the president on jobs and the economy.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D), MINORITY LEADER: Contrary to the administration's assertion that shipping jobs overseas is a good thing for the economy, many of us believe that that's a hard message top send to the nine million people who are currently unemployed.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: One-size-fits-all answers to every economic problem, which are huge tax cuts for wealthy people. And I never thought I'd be so well taken care of by President Bush in the post-Clinton years.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JOHNS: And the Kerry campaign has begun to coordinate message and tactics with Senate Democrats. So we can expect this occasional skirmishing to take on the flavor of an organized war in the months ahead -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: An organized war. All right. Joe Johns, thanks very much. And one quick programming note. You just saw Senator Hillary Clinton. We want to tell you she'll be a guest on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Well, for more on the November election and those new Bush campaign ads, I'm joined here in Washington by Terry Holt. He's the press secretary for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

Good to see you. Thanks very much for coming by.

TERRY HOLT, PRESS SECRETARY, BUSH-CHENEY CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having us. Sure.

WOODRUFF: All right. John Kerry has just barely locked up this nomination, and your campaign is already out getting those ads out there tomorrow. The American people don't deserve a break from politics?

HOLT: Well, the American people deserve a question and answer that hasn't been in this Democratic primary process. And what is at stake, what's really on the table here for the American people here during this election?

And the fact of the matter is, the Democrats failed to say it. And what it is that we need steady leadership, times of change. We've had a lot of things faced over the last three years, from 9/11 to the recession, and the wars. Who's better prepared to take us into the future given all of that? And we think that our ads attempt to set that out there for folks.

WOODRUFF: Here's what some people have said to me, Terry Holt, $4.5 million of TV advertising in, what, 17 or 18 battleground states. Eight months before the election you've got the vice president out their giving interviews, criticizing John Kerry on his record on defense. You've got these members of Congress, Republicans, criticizing John Kerry on his economic record, and so forth.

People are saying, does this mean President Bush is feeling under attack, if you will? Feeling on the defensive right now?

HOLT: Well, 14,200 negative spots ran against the president over the last few months. That's been a pretty heavy burden on the American people. They've got to be a little bit tired of all the attacks. But it is time during this period where the race shapes up in the general election that we begin to lay out the choices, and they're very stark.

On the one hand, you have a president who's proven himself as a leader. And on the other hand, you have a candidate who's yet to prove himself that he can even be consistent on some issues that are really important.

So we'll take some time to set that out there. And I think the American people know it's a serious election and it demands a serious debate. WOODRUFF: These first ads, it's been clear -- you all have described them -- they are positive for the most part. But the negative is coming from others. The members of Congress, even the vice president criticizing John Kerry.

HOLT: Moveon.org attacking the president.

WOODRUFF: So my question, though, is this going to be the pattern for awhile? The president stays positive, others go negative?

HOLT: Well, we don't want to disclose too much about strategy. But I think that it is important that the members of Congress who've worked with John Kerry and know his record begin to put some of the information out there for people to decide. It's important that people have the record, and John Kerry can't run from that record.

WOODRUFF: Let me quote something that John Weaver is quoted today in The New York Times. He, of course, ran John McCain's campaign against George Bush, the primaries of 2000.

HOLT: Right. And turned Democrat, I think.

WOODRUFF: OK. You can point that out. You're allowed to do that.

He says, "What's going on now is a definition race." He said, "The Bush-Cheney forces will try to define John Kerry as quickly and negatively as possible in the coming months based on his experience."

HOLT: Well, I think that it's more important to say that over the next few months we'll learn a lot more about both of the candidates and what they want to do for the country. John Kerry got through the primary season with a lot of unanswered attacks against the president, and yet has a very defined record of cuts in defense, and increases in taxes.

Those are fair things to say. And I think the American people need to know those things before they make a choice.

WOODRUFF: One other quote. Today in The Washington Post, quoting an unnamed veteran Republican, saying, "President Bush has seen" -- this Republican saying -- "off his game for the past two months, unusually defensive and unpersuasive." He said, "I think he's feeling overwhelmed."

HOLT: No, I think that's kind of silly. The president is a confident leader. I think the spots today show that he has a clear vision for the country. And I think that he has the political courage to take some tough decisions.

I mean, having the job of president is not easy. But he has done it with a sense of optimism, a sense of hope, and a sense of direction that I think people demand from their president.

WOODRUFF: Terry Holt is the spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign. We're going to be hearing a great deal from you in the coming eight months.

HOLT: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: We're delighted to have you with us. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

HOLT: All right. Bye-bye.

WOODRUFF: Well, John Kerry, of course, has many people to thank for sowing up the Democratic nomination. But you might be surprised who our Bill Schneider says ought to be the number one person on his "thank you" list. Find out who it is when INSIDE POLITICS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Our Bill Schneider has spent the entire night and this day studying the exit polling from the entire primary and caucus season so far. He's discovered that John Kerry and the Democrats owe a debt of gratitude to one man. Believe it or not, it's President Bush.

Here's Bill to explain why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Ten Democrats competed for their party's nomination this year. No Republican challenged President Bush. But right now, as the starting gun for the general election campaign goes off, the Democrats look more united than the Republicans. In primary after primary, overwhelming majorities of Democrats said they would be satisfied with John Kerry as the Democratic nominee.

KERRY: I believe that in 2004, one united Democratic Party, we can and we will win this election.

SCHNEIDER: What created such remarkable unity among Democrats? George W. Bush.

HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will do everything I can to beat George W. Bush. I urge you to do the same.

SCHNEIDER: John Kerry's message that he was the best candidate to beat Bush rallied the Democratic Party base. In the New York primary, Kerry piled up huge majorities among seniors, Catholics, and Jewish Democrats. Kerry even beat Al Sharpton among New York's African-American voters, Sharpton's own constituency in his own state.

Blacks are just like other Democrats. Their highest priority is beating Bush, not making a statement. There was no significant anti- Kerry vote, which is why John Edwards couldn't make any headway.

Kerry's biggest challenge is to appeal to voters outside the Democratic base. Southern whites, for instance. In Georgia, White voters went strongly for Edwards. Independents were also problem for Kerry. They, too, went for Edwards. Meanwhile, President Bush is facing criticism from his fellow Republicans over deficit spending, and immigration reform. The president tried to rally his conservative base by endorsing a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, only to generate criticism from moderate Republicans.

SEN. LINCOLN CHAFEE (R), RHODE ISLAND: why, why, why are we going to take on the challenge of forbidding two people who love each other from getting married and going to the extraordinary lengths of amending our Constitution?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: What a spectacular irony. President Bush has done a better job of uniting the Democratic Party than he has the Republicans -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Who would have thunk it? Or wait a minute, no, that's not grammatical. Who would have thought it? All right.

SCHNEIDER: Correct.

WOODRUFF: Bill, thank you very much.

Checking in on the Super Tuesday also-rans in our "Campaign News Daily," Dennis Kucinich says the demise of the John Edwards campaign helps his cause. Kucinich tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that his voice is needed in this campaign. "With fewer candidates, my contrast with Senator Kerry will be much more apparent."

Voters in Kucinich's own congressional district, though, apparently aren't convinced. Kucinich finished third among primary voters in Ohio's 10th district, 15 points behind John Kerry. Kucinich was re-nominated, though, to run for his House seat.

Al Sharpton tells CNN that he will make a decision soon about the future of his presidential campaign. Sharpton says that he will decide before next Tuesday whether he should remain in the race. Sharpton also repeated his statement that he is in the race not just to win the nomination, but to represent voters whose concerns are not being addressed.

Howard Dean, as we know, won his first primary on Super Tuesday, even though he has already suspended his campaign. Home state voters gave Dean a 2-1 victory over John Kerry in Vermont. John Edwards was not on the ballot.

Well, in just a minute, we will go live to Raleigh, North Carolina, where we will expect -- we do expect Senator Edwards is going to end his campaign for the presidency.

And later, we will look at the pressure among some of the party faithful for a Kerry-Edwards ticket

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANIDIDATE: We have been the little engine that could. And I am proud of what we've done together, you and I.

ANNOUNCER: The ride's over for John Edwards. But will he emerge in a new role in the race for the White House?

He's effectively wrapped up the Democratic presidential nomination, but John Kerry still has a large "to do" list.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Democrats who had hoped John Edwards would be the party's 2004 presidential nominee may see his remarks this hour as the end of the line. But as we wait for John Edwards to formally pull the plug on his campaign, many say they still believe he has a bright political future. We'll have live coverage of that speech when it begins momentarily. These are live pictures coming in to us from Raleigh, North Carolina.

Meantime, while we wait, there is more evidence today that the Kerry campaign is quickly jumping into the running mate selection process. Today, Kerry named Washington businessman and former Walter Mondale chief of staff Jim Johnson to head his vice presidential search. A search that may focus on some familiar faces.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): By bowing out of one race is John Edwards jumping into another?

EDWARDS: He's run a strong, powerful campaign, he's been an extraordinary advocate for causes that all of us believe in.

WOODRUFF: The former candidate heaped praise on his former foe John Kerry last night. And Kerry returned the favor.

KERRY: John Edwards brings a compelling voice to our party, great eloquence to the cause of working men and women all across our nation. And great promise for leadership for the years to come.

WOODRUFF: So, is a Kerry/Edwards ticket in the works? We won't know for awhile. Perhaps a long, long while. The longer Kerry deliberates, the longer the news media covers the process. The more the senator keeps his name in the news. Which will otherwise be challenging once the nominating contest is essentially over. And Edwards is by no means a shoo-in, anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greet the next president of the United States, John Kerry.

WOODRUFF: Dick Gephardt, and a posse of his '04 Democratic brethren have also been talked up as potential No. 2s. There's Wesley Clark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got a friend in Bob Graham that's what everybody's saying.

WOODRUFF: And Bob Graham, of ever-important Florida. His Sunshine state Senate colleague Nelson's name has also come up. Out west, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson's been touted as a top contender. Someone who could bring regional and ethnic balance to the ticket. There are countless others like Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, mentioned as someone who could attract voters in the Midwest. And though it's unlikely, there's always talk of the junior senator from New York.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Guaranteed to get attention.

CLINTON: Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Hillary Rodham Clinton, in case you couldn't tell. With us now as we wait for John Edwards to make that speech in Raleigh, North Carolina, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, she's president of American Cause. First of all, we're waiting for John Edwards. While we're waiting let's talk about John Kerry. He's got the nomination wrapped up, Bay, but what does he have to do now in order to make sure that he doesn't get swallowed up by the Bush campaign?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, obviously the first thing he's going to be looking at is vice presidential candidate to help moderate that ticket. I think somebody who has some weight, some gravitas, who can actually deliver a state or two or some special interest, make a special interest group very enthusiastic. They vote in large numbers. And there's a number of people he could do that with. In addition to that he really has to be aware that the president's going to have him on the ropes, basically, on his record, his voting record. And he'd going to have to explain that.

WOODRUFF: Donna, what does John Kerry need to do?

DONNA BRAZILE, FMR. GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Two words, message and mobilization. On message he has to define himself. A lot of the voters don't know him. He needs to introduce himself to new voters in the upcoming states in primaries. He has a couple of weeks to do that before the Bush campaign uses some of that $100 million reserve to paint a negative portrayal of him.

Secondly, mobilization. He needs to quickly put a team into ground on the battleground states and the key states Democrats must carry in the fall. This is that moment that the Kerry campaign has been planning for for the last couple of weeks. They've transitioned to the general election. Now it's time to accelerate and put more people out there, surrogates. More people on the ground. And I think they will do a great job, and bobbing and weaving against the Bush attacks.

WOODRUFF: Reality check. The election is eight months from yesterday. Does this all really need to happen right now?

BUCHANAN: Yes, it does. Because basically, the Bush campaign is taking a look at this. They don't want this fellow to get any more attraction than he might already have. They want to knock him off his game as quickly as possible. As Donna said, who's going to define this candidate? Is it going to be George Bush with his $100 million? Or is it going to be John Kerry. If Bush manages to define who John Kerry is, they'll lose.

BRAZILE: First of all, I think John Kerry is ready for a long race. He knows it's a marathon. He's an athlete, by the way, Bay, so those long legs...

BUCHANAN: That means there's two of them in this race.

BRAZILE: That's right. I want to see that run.

WOODRUFF: We've seen him throw footballs. What else does he...

BRAZILE: Well, he's a championship surfer. He's a wind surfer.

BUCHANAN: You're right. And he plays ice hockey. I've got to get up to speed.

BRAZILE: I'm getting up to speed myself. The Kerry campaign is absolutely ready for this phase of the campaign. They are putting together a real good team of surrogates to go out there and to make a case across the country for John Kerry. They're also accelerating all of the plans that they have now at the DNC to put in place good people to help articulate their message.

I feel confident that the Kerry campaign is ready. They know that this moment, four years ago when Al Gore was running, this is a defining moment in any presidential campaign where you want to get out there and tell the American people a little bit more about yourself so they get to know you.

WOODRUFF: You trying to say this isn't hopeless even though the Bush people are trying to raise, what, Bay, $175 million?

BUCHANAN: The amount of money that the Bush people have is, they already have is enormous, more than any other candidate at this time ever in the history of the country. But, in substantially more, and I think that's where the Democrats have to be concerned. The president not only has the incumbency he has this huge advantage with money. And he also has the Kerry record. This is something he can use very legitimately. It's -- no one is going to say that it's not appropriate. And he's going to send it out there and John Kerry's the champion of the liberal cause.

BRAZILE: Excuse me but George Bush also has a record. He has a record of high budget deficits, a record on unemployment. A record on, you know, people losing their health insurance. I mean, George Bush will have to spend some of that money, Judy, defining himself, reinventing himself, and trying to tell the American people that all of this mess didn't happen on his watch. Democrats will remind Americans that a lot of this mess did happen on his watch.

BUCHANAN: Democrats have been going negative on the president now since September. Very, very heavily. Kerry, 55 percent of his ads were against the president. So now the president's been defined as poor, you know, they've hit everything, thrown everything at him that they could. And the president is still holding at 50. He'll start climbing with his positive ads. He has been defined. People know who the president of the United States is. They have not seen the real John Kerry. This has been a very easy primary. No mud has been thrown his way. No real exposure as to what John Kerry is about.

BRAZILE: The Republicans have been in control of Congress now for almost a year and a half and what have you done for workers lately? What have you done for seniors lately? What have you done for young people lately? That's what the American people want to hear. They want to hear a vision. They want to hear where George Bush will take this country over the next four years. And that's why John Kerry must tell the American people what kind of president he would be.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly before I let you go, because we are going to go to Raleigh now, we think John Edwards is about to speak. What are the odds that John Edwards is going to be in the finalists for the vice presidential pick?

BRAZILE: Jim Johnson is a very good leader of our party and he's going to do a great job in scrutinizing all of these candidates. He was the chairman of the Mondale campaign and he helped the Gore campaign. I believe the odds are 50/50. He should be on the short list. He's a great guy, he's a great Democrat and he should be on the list.

BUCHANAN: Sincerely, obviously, he should be on the list but I don't think he should win. i think they could do much, much better. You get somebody like Bob Graham possibly could actually deliver the state of Florida. You get someone like Sam Nunn who might be able to deliver several states in the south actually. You get somebody like Richardson who could make -- Governor Richardson from New Mexico, who could get the Hispanic vote very enthusiastic. They have to look at that and also the Midwest.

BRAZILE: You get somebody like Dick Gephardt, you get somebody like Janet Napolitano, there are a lot of Democrats to choose from.

WOODRUFF: Governor of Arizona. All right. I'm sure the Kerry people are listening to both of you as we sit here.

Donna Brazile, Bay Buchanan, thank you both.

BRAZILE: Good to be with you.

WOODRUFF: We're going to head back to North Carolina to Raleigh, the capital right now. John Edwards to give a speech at this hour. Pulling out of the campaign. Our Kelly Wallace is on the phone. She's been following the Edwards campaign. Kelly, there's a little holdup.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A little holdup, Judy. Of course we're expecting Senator Edwards any moment now. He is running a little bit late. But that's really no surprise. During this Democratic presidential primary contest, a lot of these candidates often a little bit behind schedule. But one thing, one little headline to give you, the fire marshal apparently had to start turning people away because this gymnasium is now at capacity.

Some 1,500 people gathered here, supporters, campaign staff, and students, waiting to hear from John Edwards. We're expecting him to speak. He'll be here with his wife Elizabeth, his daughter Cate, two little children, Emma Claire (ph) and Jack (ph). A lot of attention will be on exactly what he says. And aides say he'll have very strong words for John Kerry.

We've been given excerpts of his expected speech, and in one of those excerpts he says, quote, "Senator Kerry has fought back in this campaign and he's won because his heart is good. He believes that America is at its best when we all have an equal stand, and equal opportunity to do our very best."

But much of his speech, Judy, will be looking back at the 13 months or 14 months, how this campaign feels very, very good about the issues he was able to get attention to and about the positive tone John Edwards believes he was able to bring to this Democratic presidential process -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly, while we wait, did the Edwards people give you an idea why this venue? Why this high school was chosen? This, we know, was the high school attended by his late son who was killed some years ago in a car accident. His daughter went to school there. Did they say why they chose -- this has to be an emotional connection of some sort for the senator.

WALLACE: It is an emotional setting and a very emotional moment. As you said, this is the place where his son, Wade, the school he attended before he was killed. And there is a memorial here, in fact, in a science lab in Wade Edwards' name.

We've asked advisers if the significance of coming here, and if the senator will allude to that during his remarks? Earlier in the day an adviser couldn't answer, said it was possible.

But you know, Senator Edwards has not really talked about this at all. There's some speculation that the tragedy really impacted him, of course, and that it was one of the factors that may have influenced him to give up his very successful work as a trial lawyer and pursue politics. Although that is not something the senator has ever said.

So it's not clear exactly if he'll allude to that. But clearly a place that's important to his family and his children and to the community -- Judy. WOODRUFF: And now, of course, he will be -- has given up politics, getting out of the presidential race and having already announced that he will not run for reelection for his Senate seat.

All right, Kelly, we'll continue to keep a close eye on those cameras there in Raleigh at that high school auditorium, and we'll come back there just as soon as this event gets under way.

We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Still waiting for that event to get under way in Raleigh, North Carolina. Senator John Edwards to announce he is pulling out of the presidential race after losing all ten of yesterday's Super Tuesday contests. We will go back to Raleigh, we'll go there just as soon as Senator Edwards shows up.

It was not that long ago, for instance in mid-December, that just about any political observer would have told you that John Kerry's presidential campaign was in disarray and going nowhere. Bruce Morton looks at how things went from nowhere to all but clinching the nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Usually the Iowa caucuses narrow the field. This time they picked the winner. How did Kerry who once languished in the polls come back?

STUART ROTHENBERG, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think three things. Iowa, Iowa and Iowa.

MORTON: The early front runner of course was Howard Dean. That changed.

DAVID YEPSEN, "DES MOINES REGISTER": Howard Dean captured the anger early on that many of them felt toward the war in Iraq. But John Kerry ultimately was able to trump Dean's message by simply saying to caucus goers, don't send a message, send a president. This is about winning an election, not about making a protest.

MORTON: In a sense Howard Dean is one reason Kerry is the nominee. He was maybe too hot, too angry. Remember the post-Iowa scream?

But the other man who helped Kerry was president George W. Bush. Democrats really want to beat him.

YEPSEN: I think that was very persuasive with Iowa Democrats at the end, who were so angry at President Bush, that they went beyond their anger, in making a statement, and to try to find a candidate who they thought could win.

ROTHENBERG: I think Senator Kerry won Iowa because Iowa voters looked at all the candidates and he looked like a president and sounded like a president and they figured he could be president.

But after Iowa I think the other voters decided he was a winner. He won in the first test and they wanted a winner and they jumped on the bandwagon.

MORTON: You can argue that other things help. The staff shake- up last November when Kerry replaced his campaign manager. The fact that he was a veteran who had seen combat, been to war. He himself gave credit to "my band of brothers."

But if you're looking for the two men who had the most to do with Kerry's success, aside from the candidate himself, you have to pick George Bush, whom the Democrats really want to beat, and Howard Dean, who was, they decided, the wrong man for the job. The question now is, is Kerry the right one?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: And as we wait for John Kerry (sic) to make that speech in Raleigh, I am joined by Steve Elmendorf who is the deputy campaign manager for John Kerry, formerly with the Gephardt campaign. Good to see you.

STEVE ELMENDORF, KERRY CAMPAIGN: Judy, how are you?

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for being here.

All right, we haven't heard what John Edwards is saying today but we know that last night he had some very nice things to say about John Kerry. He talked about the good fight that he's fought for the issues that matter to him, and to other Democrats.

Does this mean that all the other things he said about Kerry during the race are forgotten about John Kerry is an outsider? John Kerry is wrong on trade?

ELMENDORF: You know, I think we've had a good primary campaign. And whether it was Dick Gephardt, Wesley Clark, John Edwards, I think we've had a spirited discussion of the issues. It hasn't been personal or dirty. Every candidate doesn't agree on every issue. We've certainly within the party have had some disagreements.

But we're all united in the intense desire to change the country, and get rid of George Bush.

WOODRUFF: So my question is, has all that been forgotten?

(CROSSTALK)

ELMENDORF: And sure they had some disagreements just like John Kerry had disagreements just like John Kerry had some disagreements with every other candidate.

But those disagreements are on 10 percent of the issues and on 90 percent of the issues all the candidates who ran disagree on most everything. And they all agree that we've got to change the direction this country is going.

WOODRUFF: Your man John Kerry has now for all intensive purposes, you've wrapped up the campaign. But the Bush/Cheney people are already raining on your parade. They're spending over $4.5 million running ads in 17 battleground states, and elsewhere. All painting at this point a positive picture of President Bush's accomplishments. How in the world do you compete with that money that they have?

ELMENDORF: You know we're raising money at a very fast clip. We had a great night last night on the Internet. We're going to be competitive with the Bush campaign. The Republicans always have more money. But that doesn't mean they win every election. And we think that no amount of money he spends is going to cover up his record on jobs and health care and the economy.

WOODRUFF: Let me cite for you, Steve Elmendorf, something I saw in "The New York Times" today which points out that a study done by the Annenberg Election Survey at the University of Pennsylvania found that just over one-third of registered voters -- these are the Super Tuesday states -- said they -- who said they intended to participate believe that they had learned enough about the candidates to make an informed choice. And they found a like percentage in the 21 states that haven't voted yet.

Doesn't that present a real challenge for the Kerry campaign?

ELMENDORF: We have eight months before election day. There's a long time for Senator Kerry to move around the country and meet a lot of new voters. In the places where he did spend time and meet voters...

WOODRUFF: But you're not going to be doing it in a vacuum. You're going to have the Bush/Cheney campaign out there describing John Kerry before you have a chance to.

ELMENDORF: We have described John Kerry in this campaign to a national audience. And I think the fact that he's currently in all the national polls beating George Bush shows that we made a pretty good impression. It's going to be a campaign. One side is going to say one thing and the other side is going to say another thing. We're confident that our message going forward is going to be very compelling to the American people.

WOODRUFF: But don't you think those polls at this point are pretty much based on not a great deal of knowledge? People have watched John Kerry winning primaries. They see him as a winner. It's not really based on a deep knowledge of who John Kerry is.

ELMENDORF: But there's a lot of time to go here. There's many months of this campaign. But we'd rather start out in a good position than start out in a bad position. I think the Democratic primary process has been very good for John Kerry. He's run a great campaign. He hasn't had to go, you know, to one side or the other of the spectrum. The party is more unified than I had ever seen it. Everybody is together about wanting to beat George Bush. And so we feel very good about where we're going.

WOODRUFF: It's not just the Bush/Cheney campaign. You've got congressional Republicans. Today they held a big news conference on the steps of the capital. Talked about how fiscally irresponsible John Kerry has been. They talked about how he wants to raise taxes. He's proposed all these bureaucratic proposals that dwarf our budgets. Are these messages that are somehow going to get through to people?

ELMENDORF: Well I think that the Republican attack machine is going to come at John Kerry every which way. And as a campaign and as a candidate we're ready for it. And we're going to respond aggressively, and we're going to talk about John Kerry's positive message of where he wants to take the country. And if the Republican slime machine wants to attack us at every level we'll be ready.

WOODRUFF: When is John Kerry going to choose a running mate?

ELMENDORF: Don't know. As you know he announced today Jim Johnson is going to head up the search for a running mate. It's a process where we want to look wide and far and talk to a lot of people. As you know, he just cinched the nomination last night in terms of where we are. We haven't really had a lot of time to think about it.

WOODRUFF: Somebody said it's good for you all to drag this process out because you get a lot of free news coverage out of it. Is that how you all look at it?

ELMENDORF: We haven't really thought about how we look at it. We're ready to start it tomorrow but it's, you know, we're very busy winning primaries. We've taken nothing for granted through last night. So we haven't spent a lot of time planning for the next step.

WOODRUFF: Would you like to see your former man Dick Gephardt?

ELMENDORF: I love Dick Gephardt, he's a great friend. I think he'd be a great vice president. So would a lot of other people.

WOODRUFF: Steve Elmendorf being diplomatic there at the end. Thanks very much. Deputy campaign manager for John Kerry. It's good to see you. We are still waiting for John Edwards to step before the lectern there at that high school auditorium in Raleigh, North Carolina. When the event gets underway, we'll take it live. In the meantime, a short break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Republicans will face an added challenge this fall as they try to hold onto their slim Senate majority. Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell said today that he will not run for re- election. He said health concerns played a role in the decision. Campbell, who is the only American Indian in the Senate was elected as a Democrat in 1992, but he switched parties in 1995. Well, we are still waiting for the start of John Edwards' announcement in Raleigh, North Carolina. The speech that announces he is pulling out of the presidential race. CNN will bring it to you live as soon as it gets underway. But for now that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff on this day after Super Tuesday. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

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