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CNN CAPITAL GANG

Kerry Sweeps on Super Tuesday; Edwards Drops Out

Aired March 6, 2004 - 19:00   ET

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

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.
MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to THE CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields, with the full CAPITAL GANG: Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne and Margaret Carlson.

Senator John Kerry made a big sweep on Super Tuesday, winning 9 out of 10 contests to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have no illusions about the Republican attack machine and what our opponents have done in the past and what they may try to do in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Senator John Edwards bowed out with an endorsement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Kerry has what it takes right here to be president of the United States, and I, for one, intend to do everything in my power to make him the next president of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Senator Kerry began his vice presidential search, and Senator Hillary Clinton was asked whether she was open to being on the ticket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: That is totally up to the nominee. And I don't think I would ever be offered. I don't think I would accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: A poll of registered voters conducted for the Associated Press by Ipsos Public Affairs showed 46 percent supporting President Bush, 45 percent supporting Senator Kerry and 6 percent backing Ralph Nader.

Kate O'Beirne, what does the Kerry campaign strategy, at this point, appear to be?

KATE O'BEIRNE, CAPITAL GANG: Well, as we saw in the set-up, John Kerry desperately wants to establish ridiculous ground rules, and he's counting on the media to enforce them for him, that any criticism of his record becomes part of the Republican attack machine, however factual and fair it might be. He also wants to scream his patriotism, and does scream his patriotism's being questioned, if you challenge any of his national security votes, because he is vulnerable there.

And then, in general, he wants to change the subject from anything to do with national defense to jobs, jobs, jobs -- not just the economy because the economy's pretty good, but jobs, jobs, jobs. There's some sign that that is working. The administration does look defensive and worried about his pounding away at jobs.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, this is a remarkably unified Democratic Party, though, that John Kerry...

(CROSSTALK)

AL HUNT, CAPITAL GANG: I was going to say, Mark, the one thing he doesn't have to do is reach out to different elements of the party or pacify any other former -- former contenders, the way Democratic candidates have had to do for the past 30 years. This is the most unified Democratic Party since 1964. He really has two tasks in the months ahead. One is fund-raising. He's got to raise enough money so he's only outspent by Bush 2-to-1, rather than 5-to-1.

And secondly, he's got to pick a running mate. And he at least is off to an auspicious start there because he tapped Jim Johnson, who is an incredibly talented grown-up to direct that search. My guess is they're going to go all around, they're going to look for someone other than John Edwards, and they're going to say, This guy was great, That guy was great. And in the end, they're going to say none of them quite measure up to John Edwards.

SHIELDS: But Bob Novak, doesn't he also have the responsibility to define the campaign and to define himself? People don't really know John Kerry, at this point, do they?

BOB NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: That's right. And it looks to me like in the very few days since he clinched the nomination on Super Tuesday, he's continuing the same bashing of George W. Bush as the whole campaign. It's going to get awfully wearisome in eight months, but I think they're going to try it for a while.

I would like to just correct you on one thing historically. It's a lot more unified than it was in 1964. I was there. The party was bitterly divided between Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy that...

SHIELDS: No, '68 that was, '64 was when Johnson ran for reelection.

NOVAK: That's exactly right. They were bitterly divided, believe me. There was a huge -- a huge anger. I really know what I'm talking about because I was there. And this is the most unified party. But it's all unified of hatred of George W. Bush, and I don't know how far that goes.

HUNT: I accept the Novak amendment.

MARGARET CARLSON, CAPITAL GANG: Well, wanting -- wanting...

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Wanting to get rid of George Bush and his policies is a unifying factor, and not a bad one, and especially among Democrats, who tend to splinter into their -- into their groups of gay rights and black rights and other things. Now, Kerry this week did go after jobs because after that disappointing report that only 21,000 jobs were created last month, why wouldn't he go after jobs, because the economic recovery is not a job recovery.

And he did a smart thing. He picked up on the Army secretary, Lee Brownlee's (ph), testimony, in which he said that the country was not prepared to fight any counterinsurgency in Iraq, even with the barest-bones equipment, like armored Humvees and body armor. And that's going to be another road that he's going to go down...

NOVAK: So you think -- you think he can run his whole campaign on attack Bush, attack Bush, attack Bush, without saying what you really stand for.

CARLSON: No, I think he'll say what he stands for, as well. But certainly, when -- when -- you know, it's a two-step process. The country has to want to divorce George Bush before they're going to want to marry John Kerry.

HUNT: And I assure you, it won't be any more negative than George W. Bush's 2000 campaign, when he ran against Al Gore and...

NOVAK: It wasn't negative.

HUNT: It was. It was a total attack mode.

NOVAK: It wasn't negative at all!

HUNT: It was. It was about 87 to 13 back then, but...

NOVAK: Oh, come on!

HUNT: Look, the reason this unity is so important -- it's not just, Isn't it nice everyone's in the same tent -- is one of the things that Democratic interest groups tend to do, they make you grovel. They make you come in and beg and say, Boy, I'm with you 110 percent. I think because of this unity, because of this desire to win, that some of these groups -- I'm thinking, for instance, of gay and lesbian groups, you know, for starters -- are not going to make Kerry grovel, the way they would have in the past...

NOVAK: Can I say...

HUNT: ... and that's good news for him.

NOVAK: Can I say...

O'BEIRNE: Can we -- can we put one thing to rest, that poor John Kerry's going to be so outspent? There are tens of millions of dollars being raised independently by left-wing groups that's going to be spent on John Kerry's behalf. He's going to have all the money he needs...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Can I say something about vice president? I think, from what I hear from the Kerry people, they want somebody who will put electoral votes on the table. I think they're very unconvinced that John Edwards can guarantee North Carolina. I'd keep my eye on Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. He will bring in Indiana. He's very popular and...

HUNT: You think he would, really?

NOVAK: I think -- I think...

CARLSON: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) voted for the tax cut.

NOVAK: Indiana -- if you'll pardon me if I speak while you're interrupting? He voted for the tax cut -- one tax cut, the first time around. He voted no on all the others. He is rather moderate. That's 11 electoral votes from Indiana.

O'BEIRNE: He voted -- he supports the ban on partial-birth abortion, which, of course, puts him with the...

NOVAK: That's the one. That's the one.

O'BEIRNE: ... puts him with the majority of the American public but puts him very much at odds with the feminists and...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: It will not be Evan Bayh, but that's -- that's OK...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Why do you think that?

SHIELDS: I don't think -- I don't think Evan Bayh is probably going to be the choice, but I do think that they're making a mistake, quite frankly, by limiting themselves to who can help them in a particular state. I think that's a very short-sighted way of looking at it. I think it's a far bigger choice. You got to look at (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as a macro choice and...

NOVAK: Oh, Joe Lieberman was a macro choice, huh?

SHIELDS: Joe Lieberman was a macro choice...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: ... Johnson was a macro choice.

O'BEIRNE: Al Gore was a macro choice.

CARLSON: Yes.

HUNT: I think you can make -- I think you can make the case that...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: You think Lieberman helped...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: You can argue someone else might have helped him more, but I think Lieberman definitely helped him.

SHIELDS: I want to pick up on one point Margaret made. Of the 21,000 jobs created, I'd just point out they were all in the government sector. And there were 34,000 (ph) of the jobs created were temporary jobs. So actually, the job-producing machine of this great tax-cut administration did -- lost jobs in the month of February.

NOVAK: What are you going to say when the -- when the job creation steps up in the months to come, which I guarantee you it will?

CARLSON: They're not going to get to...

NOVAK: What are you going to do?

CARLSON: They're not getting...

SHIELDS: Bob, they got -- they've got seven months...

CARLSON: ... to 2.6 million.

SHIELDS: They've got seven months to get away from the Hoover record...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: The GANG of five we'll be back with President Bush under attack on his first campaign ads.

ANNOUNCER: Here's your CAPITAL GANG "Trivia Question of the Week." What issue did one third of all Super Tuesday voters claim as their top priority, A, national security; B, the economy; or C, the ability to beat President Bush? We'll have the answer right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: Before the break, we asked which issue did one third of all Super Tuesday voters claim as their top priority? The answer is C, the ability to beat President Bush.

SHIELDS: Welcome back. President Bush attacked Democrats for being negative and then began running positive campaign ads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So far, all we hear from that side is a lot of old bitterness and partisan anger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Depiction of 9/11 came under attack from the firefighters union and relatives of victims of the terrorist attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB MCILVAINE, LOST SON ON 9/11: I would beseech the president to pull the ads.

RITA LASAR, LOST BROTHER ON 9/11: We're saying find some other way to run a campaign without stepping on the bodies of our dead.

RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: President Bush played a very, very big role in bringing our country through the worst attack in our history. So it's an appropriate thing for him to point out as part of his record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Meanwhile, Vice President Dick Cheney was asked whether there was any doubt whether he would be on this year's ticket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not in my mind. He's asked me to serve again, and I've said I'd be happy to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, did the Bush campaign make a political mistake in using the 9/11 footage?

HUNT: Mark, I don't know if it was a mistake, but it was a little unseemly. Look, this is the same White House that has resisted mightily the 9/11 commission. They've been kicking and screaming, made it kick and scream to get anything out of them. And if I were one of those family members, I can see how I would find this really offensive. Also, they have resisted more resources for first responders like -- like firefighters. It's a little bit like the Top Gun "Mission Accomplished" gambit. But this is an election that's not going to be settled on what ad you run and what ad -- what ad some people object to.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak? NOVAK: This is a very interesting story. The amount of that ad we showed, which is the one that's causing all the fuss -- the amount of time that they show the dead body is two-and-one-quarter seconds -- two-and-one-quarter seconds. But you have to look at it carefully. I looked through that ad six times today, and I couldn't do it. Now, I believe there is no way that these relatives of the dead victims of 9/11 could have been offended by that unless they were programmed by somebody.

And this is part of the whole Democratic thing. Anything you do, they're out of the box with something nasty because there is -- I defy you to look at that -- at that commercial and find out -- and just tell me, where is the dead body? You got to look at it six times. It's absolute propaganda, and the media has just swallowed it and turned it into an issue. On many programs, they talk about how terrible the ads are, they don't show the ads.

CARLSON: You know...

SHIELDS: Margaret?

CARLSON: You don't need to program the families. The families respond to anything. They're very, very sensitive. So I dispute that anybody political ginned up their response.

NOVAK: Come on!

CARLSON: And the firefighters, of course, are still upset about not getting the money that they feel they need to respond to the next 9/11, should there be one. Bush, on the other hand, has to run on 9/11 because it was his greatest moment as president. He doesn't want to run on the Iraq war, and he doesn't want to run on jobs. And so he has to hark back, and maybe he thinks he's getting out the worst reaction early.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne?

O'BEIRNE: It's a perfectly legitimate ad. Look, it was a defining moment for our country. 9/11 does not belong to the families who lost people in those direct attacks. First of all, the families don't agree. They're not a monolith. Liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans lost people, and now you get liberals complaining because they're helping Kerry. The attack on Pearl Harbor did not belong to the families of the sailors killed at Pearl Harbor.

I think the Democrats have made a mistake, though, carrying on so about these ads being the wrong idea. It makes it so apparent yet again they do not want to talk about 9/11, they do not want to talk about this president's record as a wartime president because they are unprepared with any plan to meet the terrorist threat. They keep playing the ad over and over again as part of the controversy. And the key question in raising the controversy about this ad is, Should 9/11 -- does it matter in the upcoming race? And that's a very helpful debate to be having for the Republicans...

NOVAK: But nobody... (CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: Nobody responds to what I'm saying. Can anybody pick out what they're so upset about, the two seconds of it? I couldn't find it.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Hey, Bob, let me tell you...

O'BEIRNE: ... any reference to 9/11.

HUNT: ... I watched that ad. I didn't think it was Mardi Gras. I didn't think it was the World Series.

NOVAK: Oh!

HUNT: I knew what that ad was about, and everybody watching...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Now, you -- that's a separate issue...

O'BEIRNE: Any reference to 9/11's going to be considered illegitimate, Bob. They don't want to talk about it.

SHIELDS: Let me make a point. First is, this administration forbids the first (ph) camera from being at Dover Air Force Base to see any dead American coming back from Iraq. And yet in its first political opening salvo, it shows a dead American being carried off of the site. But now you're telling me in one case...

NOVAK: It's two seconds!

SHIELDS: One case...

NOVAK: It's two seconds!

SHIELDS: In one case, it's a -- it's a -- we know it's a...

CARLSON: It's a 30-second ad.

SHIELDS: ... straight political -- it's a straight political decision -- it's a straight political decision...

NOVAK: I can't believe -- I can't believe...

SHIELDS: ... to bar -- to bar cameras...

NOVAK: ... I'm hearing what I'm seeing!

SHIELDS: ... well...

NOVAK: I'm sorry. Go ahead.

SHIELDS: ... to bar cameras from Dover Air Force Base because it's an unpleasant -- this is an attempt to identify with it. And I would -- I would suggest that the brilliant maneuver that scheduled this convention for September in New York City, close to the third -- could very well be courting a political...

(CROSSTALK)

SHIELDS: ... swing against them.

NOVAK: Some people hope so. But I will say -- I can't let this time go by without -- Margaret talking about the firefighters -- this was the firefighters union.

O'BEIRNE: Union, right.

NOVAK: And they are the heart of the Kerry campaign,. When all the rest of labor was for somebody else, the firefighters were at every rally for him. And these are the people who are blowing off steam about not enough money for first responders.

O'BEIRNE: But Bob...

NOVAK: It's all political!

O'BEIRNE: But Bob, they're just union members. There are a million firefighters nationwide, professor and volunteer. I wouldn't, if I were Kerry, make a bet that the majority of rank-and-file firefighters will vote for John Kerry.

HUNT: Why, are those leaders appointed? They aren't elected, are they?

O'BEIRNE: No, they are elected...

HUNT: Oh, I see.

O'BEIRNE: ... but they're union leaders!

(LAUGHTER)

O'BEIRNE: They're union leaders!

HUNT: They're elected by the firefighters.

CARLSON: And I think that right after 9/11, we were all grateful and recognized firefighters, and we didn't treat them...

(CROSSTALK)

NOVAK: I'm talking about the union! I'm talking about the union!

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But firefighters belong to the union!

(CROSSTALK) SHIELDS: ... makes a very telling point. When -- I mean, Republicans have spent their lifetime running against public employees and union members.

O'BEIRNE: Not cops and firemen!

SHIELDS: These are the only...

O'BEIRNE: Not cops and firemen!

SHIELDS: These are the only public employees that Tom DeLay and every conservative wants to be seen in the company of. George Bush can't get -- he wants to be joined at the hip with a firefighter.

Next on CAPITAL GANG: Is Jean-Bertrand Aristide coming back to Haiti?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE, HAITIAN PRESIDENT: I call it a real coup d'etat, the modern way to have modern kidnapping.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Claims by Jean-Bertrand Aristide that the U.S. forcibly removed him as president of Haiti and forced him into exile were denied in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: He was not kidnapped. We did not force him onto the airplane. He went onto the airplane willingly. And that's the truth.

CHENEY: That's simply not true. I'm happy he's gone. I think the Haitian people are better off for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: President Aristide denied that he had resigned. Quote, "There is a document that was signed to avoid a bloodbath, but there was no formal resignation. I'm not the kind of person to stay in exile. If I have to make a stopover in South Africa, I will, before going back home."

Bob Novak, will the Bush administration keep the elected president of Haiti from returning to power?

NOVAK: It isn't a matter of keeping him from returning from power, it's a question of installing him in power. The only way he ever got back in -- he is so unpopular with so many people and creates such chaos -- was by the U.S. expeditionary force to go in. That was under President Clinton. President Bush, I am sure, will not send an expeditionary force to reinstall him. Maybe President Kerry, if he's elected, will do it. The whole idea that -- that -- this guy was so frightened, he was begging to be taken out of the country. He was afraid he was going to be murdered, and then saying he's kidnapped is the kind of perfidy and the bloodshed that he caused during his reign.

I just believe that the United States Marines are there to protect U.S. property, and I am distressed that now they're starting to get into the question of nation-building and trying to create some kind of a political solution in Haiti, when we've done such a bad job there for a couple hundred years.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, the -- there seems to be little doubt that an offer was made to him that he couldn't refuse, from the United States and the French...

HUNT: Right.

SHIELDS: ... that they would not back him in any way. And now the Caribbean nations have asked for an investigation of what went on. This is beyond just Aristide now. Is it in any way a political problem here?

HUNT: Yes, no, I think it is. And as I tried to explain to Bob last week, the issue was not whether we'd send American military forces in. The question was when. It happened a couple days later. And the vice president may be delighted that Aristide is gone. I think he was a terrible leader. But you know something? He was elected. And that's...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: He was elected.

NOVAK: When?

HUNT: He was! By the people. It was...

NOVAK: It was a phony -- it was not recognized by the Caribbean countries!

HUNT: Guys, I am sorry. The other -- the other people down there -- I don't even care if Aristide comes back, but if we're going to go and support people like Guy Philippe, who is a murdering thug, far worse than Aristide, then we're going to just have more and more problems. And Bob, you may not like it, but baby, we're into nation- building in Haiti, and George Bush is going to do it, the same way Bill Clinton did. They just may pick different favorites.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne?

O'BEIRNE: Look, he got himself overthrown. The only place where he could win a fair election is among the Congressman Black Caucus here. The people of Haiti want no part of him. He's brutal. He's corrupt. He's ripped off one of the poorest countries on earth. It's to Haiti's benefit that he's gone. That wasn't a fair election. Nobody -- nobody thought that he won in any way, shape or form the support of the Haiti people last time he ran. I thought it was amazing to see the Kerry campaign rally to the defense of this Marxist thug, but they did.

SHIELDS: The juntas -- are we suggesting that the juntas were preferable?

NOVAK: Yes. Oh, there's no question they were -- they were preferable. They were -- there was -- private -- private property was respected. There was...

HUNT: If you were rich.

CARLSON: Yes.

NOVAK: No, if you were -- if you had any private property -- there was -- there was -- there was less -- there was less violence. There was no violence on the streets at that time. But I would -- I would say this. If you watched the congressional hearing, where they had the chancellor of the university told how he was beaten by Aristide's thugs because he -- he had political criticism -- what I can't understand is why liberals...

O'BEIRNE: Yes.

NOVAK: ... liberals -- would defend this guy!

O'BEIRNE: Right.

NOVAK: I -- I -- it just -- it just staggers my mind! It means that as long as you're on the left, you can do anything you want!

CARLSON: You know, if there'd been nation-building after Aristide was restored to power after being democratically elected, we might not be in the situation we are in. Aristide went bad. Everything Kate said about him is true.

NOVAK: He always was bad!

CARLSON: He went bad.

NOVAK: Oh!

CARLSON: And Haiti's poor turned against him. But Bob, you're talking about juntas who -- who protected people who were in gated communities, who paid off the police. There wasn't a better life for the people of Haiti when -- you know, under prior military...

NOVAK: Well, I'm going...

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Bob, I'm touched -- I am touched by your -- by your compassion for the Haitians. I really am.

NOVAK: I'm -- no, you should be.

HUNT: And therefore, I am waiting for you to denounce people like that thug, Colonel Cedras, who had death squads... NOVAK: Well, first place...

HUNT: ... and killed and pillaged that whole land.

NOVAK: ... he was General Cedras...

HUNT: I'm sorry!

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: I demoted him.

NOVAK: But he was -- he was...

HUNT: Was he a thug?

NOVAK: He was not a thug. He was -- he was...

HUNT: Did he kill people?

NOVAK: He was a very -- I don't believe he killed anybody. I'll tell you what...

HUNT: You don't?

NOVAK: You know so little about Haiti. I'm going down there in a couple weeks. You want to go with me?

CARLSON: Bob, I don't want to go to dinner with you.

(LAUGHTER)

SHIELDS: Last word -- and a good one it was! -- from Margaret Carlson, speaking for multitudes!

Coming up on the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG, we'll reveal a new anti-Kerry ad and ask is it fair or just dirty politics. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the guilty verdicts against Martha Stewart. And our "Outrages of the Week." That's all after the latest news headlines.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields with the full CAPITAL GANG -- Al Hunt, Robert Novak, Kate O'Beirne and Margaret Carlson.

Citizens United, a conservative political organization next week will begin running this ad against John Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry. Hairstyle by Christof's (ph), $75. Designer shirts, $250. Forty-two-foot luxury yacht, $1 million. Four lavish mansions and beachfront estate -- over $30 million. Another rich liberal elitist from Massachusetts who claims he's a man of the people, priceless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, is this fair campaigning or is it below the belt?

CARLSON: Well, it's an independent expenditure. The DNC will complain about it and Kerry will complain about it, just as the RNC complained this week about a MoveOn.org ad. But these are out there, and as these things go, I mean, it was such a good parody of a classic advertising campaign on the part of Visa (sic), that you have to kind of hand it to them. It's certainly well done.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: They really probably shouldn't complain, because if they do it's going to get a lot more attention than it would otherwise, and because John Kerry is not yet defined in the public's mind, you know, they don't know an awful lot about him, and he is trying to do this populist, man of the people stuff. It's not helpful to have him defined in this way, truthfully, as an elitist. The firefighters aren't going to like the $75 haircuts, Mark.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt, in our history, though, American history, recent revolutions that we've had have been led by aristocrats, whether it was FDR or even Teddy Roosevelt. Probably the most revolutionary Republican. I mean, is this a liability against Kerry?

HUNT: Two wealthiest presidents of all time were George Washington and John F. Kennedy, who are probably the two of the three or four most popular presidents. Look, it's a funny ad, there is no question, I agree with Margaret. But if I were Kerry, I wouldn't spend a lot of time talking about it, but there's one thing I really resent in that ad, I deeply resent in that ad. They make a reference to beachfront estates. And if they start attacking beachfront estates, you'll soon attack Bob Novak, who has a beachfront estate. I think that would be a cheap shot. Right, Bob?

CARLSON: But not $250 shirts, obviously.

HUNT: No, but he does have (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

(LAUGHTER)

NOVAK: Or a $75 haircut.

SHIELDS: That would be $11 for a hair.

NOVAK: Well, since I'm being abused, as usual, as a matter of fact, I think (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ad, and I think it's an important ad, because all this stuff about putting statistics about how many times he voted against defense or how many times he voted against the intelligence budget and he voted for this and he voted for that and he's in the "National Public Journal" has him as -- "National Journal" has him as the most liberal member. I think the mind boggles by people who are -- whose vote you're trying to get, but they look at this guy and they wonder, is he an effete snob? And they've got this dopey picture at the end, where his eyes are like that. I think that's worth a million arguments, and I thought it's the best ad I've seen of the year, and I think it's really damaging to him, because it goes against the image of the fearless Navy lieutenant and Vietnam hero.

SHIELDS: I think it does, and do you think that when President Bush called him Tuesday night to congratulate him on his victory that they swapped war stories?

NOVAK: Well, that's a funny little thing. You've been -- you've been -- I think you've used that -- you're retreated that joke about half a dozen...

SHIELDS: The Republicans keep giving me the opportunity to do so.

(CROSSTALK)

HUNT: Well, I would make one quick point, that both John Kerry and George Bush were born into privilege. There is one difference. John Kerry achieved things without using his family. George Bush got nothing without counting on daddy's help. He got the whole way through family connections. Kerry, starting with Vietnam, did it on his own, whether you like his politics or not.

O'BEIRNE: Al, there is one important difference...

HUNT: That's a pretty big difference.

O'BEIRNE: The public has watched George Bush for four years and they see him as a likable, down-to-earth, normal, natural sort of guy.

HUNT: He's got a lot of...

O'BEIRNE: They have not concluded that about John Kerry, who is a liberal elitist and out of touch. That's why this ad is so damning.

SHIELDS: Don't we really see John Kerry running to become a populist, and George Bush, who was born with a Kennebunkport estate and everything else, running to prove he's one of the people? I mean, it's just...

(CROSSTALK)

O'BEIRNE: The question is, are you a liberal elitist? No, George Bush is not. Yes, John Kerry is.

HUNT: George Bush is a right-wing elitist, a conservative elitist.

CARLSON: But the question is, certainly Bush has done the bidding of the elitists in the four years he's been in.

NOVAK: Done the bidding. I love that.

SHIELDS: That's a very good point. (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

Coming up on the CAPITAL GANG Classic, our own Pat Buchanan, blown out and blown of some 12 years ago.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: Welcome back. On super Tuesday 1992, President George Herbert Walker Bush swept eight out of eight primaries against challenger Pat Buchanan. And after the results were in, the Republican National Chairman Rich Bond attacked Pat Buchanan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICH BOND, RNC CHAIRMAN: Look, he's going to basically hijack David Duke's message on race and religious tolerance and put a jacket and tie on it and try to clean it up. I'm just not comfortable with that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Pat Buchanan refused to end his candidacy, and called for Rich Bond's removal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It seems to me he has ended his usefulness as an objective leader of the Republican Party.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I endorse the strong defenders I have out there and I am very pleased that they're out there, getting the message out loud and clear.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: CAPITAL GANG discussed this on March 14, 1992. Our guest was the then secretary of labor, Lynn Martin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HUNT: Bob, is the Bush message that Pat Buchanan and his followers have no place in the Republican Party?

NOVAK: This is just ridiculous. If you want Pat Buchanan to be on the team, you don't -- you don't attack him and you don't attack his people. That's dumb politics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pat is going through a tough time. It's hard to lose eight out of eight. I've lost an election. It's not easy. You lash out at somebody.

MARGARET WARNER, NEWSWEEK: I think he's realizing that just as he lived by the press and by expectations, he's about to die by them.

SHIELDS: George Bush has enormous political problems. This past week, we had evidence of that. Eight out of eight, terrific. Very impressive. National match-up, "Washington Post"-ABC poll against two Democrats who we just said were very flawed candidates -- Bill Clinton is running ahead of George Bush, and so is Paul Tsongas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, in retrospect, did the first President Bush pave the way for his own defeat that November by not making peace with Pat Buchanan after super Tuesday?

NOVAK: Absolutely. The attacks on him -- you remember, that followed a whole bunch of stuff, calling him a fascist and an anti- Semite, and you compare that with the Democrats making nice to each other this time and last time, too. Just wonder if the Democrats are supposed to be the divisive party -- internally divisive party, but the Republicans in '92 were self-destructive.

SHIELDS: Self-destructive, Kate O'Beirne?

O'BEIRNE: It was, of course, crazy to be talking about disaffected conservative Republicans the way Rich Bond was. That was crazy. But by March 1992, it was much too late to make it up to those disaffected conservatives. The problem had happened months before with the first President Bush, about his policies.

SHIELDS: Margaret.

CARLSON: You know, it never hurts to make up with your enemies, especially if you're (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and you might pick up on Bob. But you know, Pat Buchanan is a lock-and-load guy. I'm sure he's kind of happy to have Rich Bond do that, so he -- he had the steam to keep up his own anger.

SHIELDS: Al.

HUNT: I agree with Kate, I think the Buchanan candidacy was a symptom, not a cause of George Herbert Walker Bush's problems and defeat.

SHIELDS: You know, it's interesting. Because of the attacks of Rich Bond, they had to make up to him at the convention in Houston, and gave him the speech, which got a lot more attention and which, if you recall, robbed Ronald Reagan of his victory in prime-time. When Ronald Reagan got on, it was 10 minutes after 11 in the East.

NOVAK: That campaign could make multiple mistakes, one after another, and I wonder if the second Bush campaign has the same capability.

SHIELDS: Well, you bring to it, Bob, a perspective that the rest of us just revere and respect.

Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at a guilty Martha Stewart. CNN's Allan Chernoff will join us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SHIELDS: Welcome back. A federal jury in New York City convicted Martha Stewart of obstructing justice and of lying to the government about a stock transaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID KELLEY, U.S. ATTORNEY: If you are John Q. Citizen, or Martha Stewart, or Peter Bacanovic, we are going to go after you if you make these types of lies.

ROBERT MORVILLO, MARTHA STEWART'S ATTORNEY: We are confident that once we get our day in the Court of Appeals, the conviction will be reversed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Martha Stewart did not testify in her own defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

R. COURI HAY, MARTHA STEWART'S FRIEND: I can tell you, quite frankly, that Martha wanted to testify and that she was basically told not to. She listened to the lawyers, and in retrospect that might have been a very big mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHIELDS: Joining us from the district courthouse in lower Manhattan is Allan Chernoff, senior correspondent for CNN and CNNfn. Allan Chernoff covered the entire Martha Stewart trial from beginning to end. Thanks for coming in, Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SR. CORRESPONDENT: A real pleasure, Mark.

SHIELDS: Allan, was Martha Stewart so personally unlikable to the jurors? Would she have been better off pleading?

CHERNOFF: Perhaps she would have been better off pleading if she had struck a plea deal with the federal prosecutors. They certainly had been looking to do such a deal. There were many reports of that, but she didn't want to, and many people say that it really was hubris that brought Martha Stewart down.

Frankly, it was really the cover-up. And I know you folks are very familiar with that old phrase, but it was certainly true in this case, because if she had fessed up way at the beginning, and then she would have pretty much probably gotten a slap on the wrist, pay a fine to the SEC, and life goes on. But the federal prosecutors really brought this case because they believed that she had lied to the investigators, and that was something they simply could not tolerate.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak.

NOVAK: There is a kind of sense by the government in its case that they put this in the same sense as a really landmark case. It seems to me so trivial compared to the corruption of WorldCom and Enron. Would this even be considered of any interest, except for the fact that she is a world-class celebrity?

CHERNOFF: Bob, no question about it, the dollars here certainly were peanuts. No question. Martha Stewart avoided about $50,000 of a decline in the stock of ImClone because she made her trade when she did. For Martha Stewart, absolute peanuts. As I said before, this case certainly was all about obstruction of justice and that's why they've brought it. Martha Stewart, of course, being a big name, made it perhaps a little more of an attraction to the federal prosecutors, because when they get lots of media coverage they depend on that sending a message, and that's exactly what David Kelley, the U.S. attorney, told the media right after the conviction.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Allan, I understood at the time that one reason Martha Stewart didn't play is that the prosecutors wouldn't go along with no jail time, so it wouldn't have been a slap on the wrist, and secondly, the jurors yesterday seemed to indicate that they were disappointed that Martha didn't go on the stand, and that the defense had such a short and brief case. It kind of blew off the prosecutors' case.

CHERNOFF: When I'm talking about a slap on the wrist, I'm talking about back when Martha Stewart was first interviewed by the investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Attorney's Office. If back then, she admitted, yes, I did get the tip that Sam Waksal, the former head of ImClone was trying to dump his stock, if she had just confessed back then it really would have been a minor thing.

As you correctly pointed out, later on it wouldn't have been a simple slap on the wrist, once the federal investigators were certain that she had obstructed justice.

Now, with regard to putting on a minimal defense, as Robert Morvillo, Martha Stewart's attorney, had described it, lots of people think that perhaps has been a mistake. Morvillo brought only one witness to the stand during his own presentation of his case. Most of what the jury heard from the Martha Stewart side was cross- examination, and they also heard tons and tons of cross-examination from the attorneys for Peter Bacanovic, and frankly they were not impressed not at all and neither was the judge. The judge really was quite annoyed with the attorneys for Bacanovic. She felt that they were incredibly repetitive, constantly telling them, "let's move on."

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: Allan, what kind of prospects do you court watchers give for her appeal, and should she be sentenced to prison in June, is she allowed to stay out on bail pending that appeal?

CHERNOFF: Well, I believe she certainly is allowed to stay out until it's all settled. But in terms of the chances for appeal, they don't appear to be terribly good. That's what plenty of legal analysts are saying. Keep in mind, Judge Cedarbaum actually did throw out the most serious charge against Martha Stewart, securities fraud. Lots of her rulings in the case were actually against the government. So it didn't appear that she was certainly leaning one way or the other in this case. So I'm not sure exactly what grounds Robert Morvillo is going to be able to demand an appeal.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Allan, just following up on that for a minute. I've been told by a couple of lawyers that this is a really good judge, a really very -- a highly respected judge who rarely gets overturned. Is that right? I didn't follow the case; you did. And second question, if you will, the value of insider trading cases or cover-up cases as a deterrent. Does the prosecution argue that this conviction is going to serve as a deterrent?

CHERNOFF: Well, certainly a deterrent in order to get people not to lie to the government. Let's remember that in this specific case, the criminal prosecutors didn't bring an insider trading charge against Martha Stewart. The Securities and Exchange Commission actually does have a civil case of insider trading coming against Martha Stewart, and she's going to have to confront that down the road.

In terms of Judge Cedarbaum, no question, well respected. She did not tolerate wasting of time in the court. She did not tolerate repetition. She was a tough judge, and it's certainly -- she did tell the attorneys any time that they were out of line. So she kept quite an orderly court.

The one area where the judge maybe was overturned -- certainly was overturned, some people thought out of line, she did not permit the media to observe the voir dire, the interviewing of potential jurors to sit on the jury. She blocked the media out from that, and the Court of Appeals actually overturned her after the fact, but at least the media did win for a precedent purposes.

SHIELDS: Allan Chernoff, you have been enormously helpful. You've enlightened us. We're grateful. Take good care. Thank you, Allan Chernoff.

Thanks for being with us. THE GANG will be back with "The Outrages of the Week."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHIELDS: And now for "The Outrages of the Week."

The University of Georgia is publicly humiliated, and rightly so, by public disclosure of the alleged exam administered by assistant basketball coach Jim Harrick Jr. to so-called, alleged student athletes in his four-credit academic class.

Here are a few questions on the exam: How many points is a three-point goal count for in a basketball game? How many halves are there in a basketball game?

This is not a hoax. But it is a disgrace. And it raises very serious questions about what constitutes a student athlete in 2004. Bob Novak.

NOVAK: On Super Tuesday, Vermont delivered a landslide in the Democratic presidential primary for their former governor, Howard Dean. Apparently, Vermonters had not heard that Dr. Dean dropped out a week before. Apparently, Dr. Dean also forgot. He issued a victory statement.

Quote -- "I look forward to continuing the energy and the campaign for the change that our movement began" -- end quote. Not a word about John Kerry. It's me, me, me for Howard Dean, which may be why he lost 17 out of 17 states before Vermont gave him a win.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: The Senate sergeant-at-arms this week found that top Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans hacked into Democratic computers, and leaked what they found to friendly reporters at The Wall Street Journal and other places to embarrass Democrats. Republicans say Democrats are to blame for not keeping their computers more secure, although the hackers studied how to break in, and because they found that Democrats were indeed plotting to block their nominees.

Remembers how Watergate started as a burglary and turned into much more? Two staffers have resigned, but these high-tech thieves should be prosecuted.

SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.

O'BEIRNE: The House passed the Ongoing Victims of Violence Act that recognizes that if a pregnant woman is murdered or severely injured, there are two victims of the crime. Desperate to deny an unborn child any legal status, Republican Congressman Sherwood Boehlert of New York joined other committed ideologues to oppose the bill. Days after the vote, the irony-impaired Boehlert is hosting a child-safety summit, to show his dedication to the protection of children. As long as protecting the most vulnerable doesn't conflict with his extreme abortion rights agenda.

SHIELDS: Al Hunt.

HUNT: Two Washington lobbyists, Jack Abramoff (ph) and Michael Scanlin, both confidants of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, shook down Indian tribes for $45 million over the last several years. DeLay said he was shocked if anyone was using his name for such sleazy endeavors. Shocked.

That's worse than the renowned piano player in the cat house who feigns shock at what is going on upstairs. DeLay directs Washington's biggest special interest, money-grubbing cat house. It's a scam called political fund-raising.

SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying good night for THE CAPITAL GANG.

Coming up next, "PEOPLE IN THE NEWS."

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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