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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Clinton, by the Book; Interview With Robert Reich; Southern Strategy: The Bush-Cheney Plan

Aired June 21, 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: The big buildup just hours before Bill Clinton's book goes on sale.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I welcome the president's book and I welcome the president's book tour.

ANNOUNCER: But is john Kerry getting anything out of it?

He's not just whistling "Dixie." But does President Bush really have an election year lock on the South?

Nader naysayers: some Democrats are giving the Independent presidential candidate an ultimatum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our message to Ralph Nader is that if he wants to see this country go on a progressive path, as opposed to a backwards path, then he should get out of the race, period, simple, immediately.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Many Americans have seen and heard more about Bill Clinton in recent days than they had since he was president. And whether that leaves you excited, angry or indifferent, Clinton's book promotion is a full-fledged media event. And to hardly anyone's surprise, the former president's comments about the Monica Lewinsky scandal and impeachment are generating the most reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me, that whole battle was a badge of honor. I don't see it as a great stain, because it was illegitimate. On the day I die I'll still be glad I fought them. And I'll still be glad that I beat them. And I'll still believe that it was a bogus, phony deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WOODRUFF: The "60 Minutes" CBS interview with Clinton that aired last night was a cornerstone of the pitch for his book titled "My Life." And with copies going on sale tonight at midnight, there is no end to the media blitz in sight. Is the book and all the hype doing anything to help Clinton's party reclaim the White House? Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In 2000, Al Gore was criticized for trying to distance himself from President Clinton. John Kerry doesn't intend to do that.

KERRY: I welcome the president's book and I welcome the president's book tour. I think that both are going to remind Americans about some very, very good years in terms of the economy of our country and the policy directions we took.

SCHNEIDER: But is the book really reminding Americans about Clinton's policies or something far more controversial, Clinton's character?

DAN RATHER, CBS ANCHOR: He understood from the beginning that questions were going to be asked about what he's called the darker aspects of his personality and his personal life.

SCHNEIDER: Gore tried to distance himself from Clinton's personal problems. That's one of the big reasons he named Senator Joe Lieberman, Clinton's severest Democratic critic, to the ticket. But in the process, Gore failed to embrace Clinton's successful record. Clinton himself is fully aware of the discrepancy, as he explained in "60 Minutes" Sunday night.

CLINTON: I was involved in the -- as I tried to stay in the book, two great fights, a struggle with the Republicans over the future of the country, which I won, and a struggle with my old demons, which I lost.

SCHNEIDER: Which struggle do people really want to read about? Kerry wants to remind voters that they were making pots of money under Clinton and that happy days could be here again.

KERRY: So I'm very happy to have the president out there reminding people about the direction that we could go in with different leadership.

SCHNEIDER: Many Clinton policies brought the country together. His behavior and stance on hot-button social issues tore the country apart. Reviewers in The New York Times and TIME Magazine say, in the book, Clinton's account of his presidency is consumed with settling scores with his tormenters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The second half of the book about his presidency is really kind of an assault on Ken Starr.

SCHNEIDER: That's likely to bring back memories of the terrible divisions of the country under Clinton. Divisions that gave George W. Bush his opening in 2000 to be a uniter, not a divider, a promise polls show he failed to deliver.

Kerry needs to show he can be that uniter. A book that revives memories of how divided the country was under President Clinton won't help.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: If Clinton's book were called "My Record," instead of "My Life," it might help Kerry. But how many people would buy such a book -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good point. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well, now, let's talk a little more about the Clinton book and the politics surrounding it with a member of the 42nd president's cabinet. He is the former secretary of labor, Robert Reich.

Good to see you again, Mr. Secretary.

ROBERT REICH, FMR. LABOR SECRETARY: Hi, Judy. How are you?

WOODRUFF: If the Clinton book is, as Bill Schneider says, more about Clinton's character and the demons in his life, whether it was the Monica Lewinsky scandal or a dysfunctional childhood, is that going to help John Kerry?

REICH: Well, Judy, I don't think it's going to hurt John Kerry because John Kerry wasn't part of the Clinton administration. Unlike Al Gore, he certainly did not serve as part of an apology and a cabinet or an administration that tried to apologize for Bill Clinton. No, I think at most, and probably at best, the book is going to remind people, as John Kerry suggested it would, of very good years.

You know, one of the issues here is the old -- the old question, are you better now than you were four years ago? And most people, if asked that question, reminded perhaps by Bill Clinton, are going to answer a resounding no.

WOODRUFF: But so much of the coverage so far, as Bill Schneider was just reporting, has been on the -- the Lewinsky affair, has been on Clinton's childhood, has been on Clinton, in the words of one reporter, settling scores with his tormenters.

REICH: Well, Judy, no president in modern history has been so sliced and diced and analyzed, and, you know, his personality dissected for years. That's was done on television I think partly because of Monica Lewinsky, partly because of the impeachment, but also even before then.

The first baby boomer president to become president, a man of extraordinary charisma and charm. But a lot of people in America also disliked him. But I don't think that that carries over to John Kerry.

John Kerry is a man of sobriety, a man of dignity, a man who people have criticized for maybe not having enough charisma and not having enough of that kind of charm. So I think we're dealing with completely different people and different issues entirely.

WOODRUFF: Do you -- is what your -- I know you have not had a chance to read the book yet, all 950 pages. But what you're hearing so far, Bob Reich, does it ring true?

REICH: Well, it does ring true, from what I've heard. I think it's going to make great summer reading, Judy. Although there will be a problem in lugging the book to and from the beach.

WOODRUFF: And again -- and maybe I'm asking the same question I asked originally -- do you think it's wise for Clinton to write so candidly about these personal aspects of his life?

REICH: Well, that's what people are interested in. And again, that's what much of the Clinton presidency was about. If you look at the presidency through the lens of the press, it was about Clinton as a person, not as much as those of us around him hoped would be about Clinton and his accomplishments.

Although I gather there is much in the book about the good economy, about what was accomplished in foreign policy, about the expansion of the earned income tax credit, the rise in the minimum wage. You know, they were very good years. And I certainly am proud to have been part of an administration that presided over the best economy and the longest economic expansion we've had in the modern times.

WOODRUFF: Robert Reich, I'm going to give your book a plug. You've just come out with a new book titled "Reason Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America." But I also want to ask you about...

REICH: It won't do quite as well as Clinton's book, though.

WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about the book, though, that you wrote right after you left the administration in 1997. And among other things, you said in so many words that Bill Clinton's principles can wander to wherever or whoever the last persuasive speaker was. Basically, you're saying that he's a man who lacks conviction?

REICH: I don't think so, Judy. My -- I was struck when I was in the cabinet that, like perhaps many presidents, if you could get to Bill Clinton before he made a decision, if you could make your case, you had a very good chance of actually getting that case implemented.

In fact, I remember other members of the cabinet used to be a little bit frightened of me because I'm so short. I could wedge myself into the presidential limousine, right in front of Bill Clinton, and get -- make my cases to him really after everybody else had made their cases.

WOODRUFF: Memorable title to that book. It was "Locked in the Cabinet." We remember it well. Bob Reich, good to see you again.

REICH: Good to see you, Judy. Bye-bye. WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for joining us.

Well, former President Clinton will give his first live primetime interview to our own Larry King. And the former president will take your phone calls. That is Thursday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, 6:00 Pacific right here on CNN.

And now an update on a Clinton friend who testified in the Monica Lewinsky investigation. In the thick of the hype about the Clinton book, the Kerry campaign announced today that it has tapped attorney and political powerbroker Vernon Jordan to be Kerry's lead presidential debate negotiator. Verdon Jordan will be my guest tomorrow here on INSIDE POLITICS.

By most accounts, John Kerry is lacking Bill Clinton's appeal in at least one area of the country, the South. Up next, the Bush-Kerry battle for votes below the Mason Dixon Line. I'll talk with Bush's southern strategist, Ralph Reed, and with Democratic Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas.

Also ahead, Ralph Nader makes a big announcement even as he faces new heat from some Democrats in Congress.

And later, the Connecticut governor is set to use an escape hatch to avoid possible impeachment.

With 134 days to go until Election Day, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for election news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: President Bush and Senator Kerry headed back to the campaign trail today. The president has an event scheduled near the top of the hour in Cincinnati, where he plans to visit a social service agency and talk about ways to strengthen families. He also has a private fundraiser later tonight before returning to Washington.

Senator Kerry is in Colorado this afternoon, where he accused the White House of putting political ideology ahead of scientific research. He cited stem cell research and research budget cuts as examples. The Kerry campaign also released an endorsement letter signed by 48 Nobel Prize-winning scientists.

Vice President Cheney is also out West in Nevada. This morning, Cheney said that Kerry has "a pessimistic outlook." And he compared Kerry's economic plans to those of former President Jimmy Carter.

Polls show President Bush remains the front-runner across much of the South. But with Florida still up for grabs, and with North Carolina's John Edwards still a potential Kerry running mate, Democrats insist that the region will be in play come November.

More now on John Kerry's southern strategy in a few minutes, though. But first, we want to look at the GOP view from Ralph Reed. He is the Bush campaign's Southeast regional chairman. We spoke a short time ago, and started by asking about his recent comments that there has never been an effort like this one to reach out to social conservatives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RALPH REED, BUSH CAMPAIGN SOUTHEAST CHAIRMAN: Well, never been an effort of this size and scope, Judy, to reach out to voters of all ethnic backgrounds Independents, swing voters, women, Hispanics, social conservatives, small businessmen and women. We are well on our way at the Bush campaign of reaching our goal of one million volunteers. We will exceed our goal of three million registered voters.

This is my seventh presidential campaign. And I've never seen a grassroots organization of this size and scale, a challenger or incumbent. And I believe in a very close election, and this will be a close election. It will be one of the factors in a Bush victory.

WOODRUFF: Does George W. Bush have a lock on the South, do you think?

REED: I think lock would overstate it. I think the president is very strong in this part of the country. The most recent region-wide poll we have, Judy, is a Zogby poll from late May that has the president up 15 points.

John Kerry put a million dollars on television in Louisiana, went down there three times, gave a commencement address, and sent his wife down there. And he went from 14 down to 19, down in one month. So I like our chances, but we are not overconfident. And we are working hard across the South, including, obviously, in the all-critical state of Florida.

WOODRUFF: How much difference would it make if Kerry puts a southerner on the ticket, whether it's John Edwards or Bob Graham or someone else?

REED: I don't know that it's clear. But I think voters here, as in the rest of the country, vote not on personality but based on issues. And on those issues, no matter who Kerry tries to put on the ticket, he's for higher taxes, he's vacillated in the war against terrorism, and he's simply out of sync with where voters are on values.

So, again, I don't want to be overconfident. It could cause some races or some states to tighten. But I think the main issue here is issues. And John Kerry is out of sync with southerners, and, indeed, Americans on those issues.

WOODRUFF: You were at a -- the Southern Baptist Convention. I think they were meeting in Indianapolis a few days ago.

REED: Right.

WOODRUFF: And I know you were speaking to a group of ministers. The question has arisen again about how appropriate it is for the Bush-Cheney campaign to be asking ministers and others to spread the word about the Bush-Cheney campaign among their congregations. Is there a concern on your part that you begin to step over the line of separation of church and state?

REED: No, not at all. I -- what we recommended that those pastors do at that meeting was that they do three things. Number one, make sure their members are registered to vote. I would hope we would all be in favor of that. Whether it's a predominantly Democrat constituency or Republican constituency, everybody should be registered to vote.

Number two, they should be educated and informed.

And number three, they should exercise that franchise to vote.

So we're going into small businesses and chambers of commerce. We're going into shopping malls, we're going into synagogues. We're going into Hispanic community meetings and African-American community meetings.

We're reaching out to all voters and encouraging them to be on our team. And I think it would be unfair, wrong, and undemocratic to exclude from that outreach effort people whose -- apparently their only crime is that they have faith in god.

WOODRUFF: There was a poll done last month, I believe a CBS poll, that showed almost two-thirds of Americans say they don't believe it's appropriate for religious leaders to urge people to vote for or against a political candidate.

REED: I really wouldn't disagree with that if they are doing it from the pulpit in their official capacity. But we have not asked any religious leader, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Protestant or Catholic to do that.

What we've asked them to do -- let me be clear -- make sure people are registered to vote, make sure they're informed on the issues, and make sure they go to the polls. Not only is it correct and proper for them to do that, Judy, It's their civic responsibility. We should be being applauded for encouraging people to do that, not criticized.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Ralph Reed is running the Southeastern part of the Bush-Cheney campaign in the Southeastern United States.

Well, Democrats say they have a plan to break the GOP hold on much of the South. Up next: guns, god and John Kerry's southern strategy. My conversation with Arkansas Democratic senator, Mark Pryor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor says he knows a Democrat can win in the South because he won his seat two years ago by defeating a Republican incumbent. Are there lessons for John Kerry to learn in his search for southern votes? I spoke with Senator Pryor a little while ago and I asked him if Democrats are intimidated by what Ralph Reed has described as the Bush campaign's unprecedented effort to appeal to all voters, including social conservatives.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. MARK PRYOR (D), ARKANSAS: It doesn't intimidate me at all. You know, they tried that against me in Arkansas two years ago. And we just ran our kind of race, talked about our issues. And, you know, we did quite well.

And I think the Kerry campaign probably feels the same way. They -- they look forward to the battle in the South. They look forward to going down there and fighting hard and trying to earn every single vote.

WOODRUFF: Well, you know, they say that George Bush does not have a lock on the South. But they sure make it sound like they don't think John Kerry has much of a prayer. What do you think?

PRYOR: Well, I would disagree with that. I think that John Kerry is going to run a very vigorous campaign. He's going to talk about issues that people in the South care about.

He's going to talk about jobs, he's going to talk about the economy. You know, in my state, we've lost 3,000 manufacturing jobs in the last three years, and that has been true all over the South. You look at health care, the South basically as a region is the most uninsured part of the country.

I mean, you can go down the list. And those are very good issues for John Kerry and very good issues for the Democrats. And then when you throw on top of that the war in Iraq, and how things are going there and -- you know, for example, in Arkansas, we have over 3,000 soldiers in the ground -- on the ground in Iraq, fighting every single day, and this is a very real war for people in the South because we have a disproportionately high number of young people who are in the armed services.

WOODRUFF: If the issues look so good for the Democrats, though, Senator, why is George W. Bush ahead of John Kerry in every southern state?

PRYOR: Well, I don't -- I don't want to say that the issues look great for Kerry or that they look great for Bush. This is going to be a long campaign. It's going to be a roller coaster.

And one thing I think we all love in politics and certainly in the media, we love the horse race. We love to talk about it every single day. But the truth is, the people in this country, by and large, will not focus on this campaign really until after Labor Day.

September, October are the key critical months for this campaign, and certainly finishing strong in that first week in November. So all I know is that it's going to be a very hard fought campaign, not just in the South, but all over the country. It's very close.

There are going to be a number of tossup states in the South and, of course, around the country. And they're going to be in there fighting for every single vote. So it will be a lot of fun this fall to watch this race.

WOODRUFF: If John Kerry picks a southern running mate, whether it's John Edwards or somebody else, does that make a difference for him in the South?

PRYOR: You know, it very well could. I think John Edwards is a wonderful person. I happened to serve with him in the Senate.

I've gotten to know John and his wife. They're just absolutely great people. And I think he would be a real asset to the ticket, as well as Wesley Clark. And there are other people that are from the South or have southern roots that really could bolster the ticket.

But again, I trust John Kerry on that. He's going to make that decision based on his own rationale, whatever it is. I have no inside information on that. So we look forward to knowing who that is, because, you know, I think it's important for the ticket and for Democrats all around the country to know.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me also ask you about Republicans soliciting support among church goers, even among ministers. There was an e-mail that went out a few weeks ago in Pennsylvania soliciting ministers.

Ralph Reed was just saying to me that went out to them as individuals. But the point is, there is clearly an effort to reach out to congregations all over the South. Do you know of anything inappropriate going on in that regard?

PRYOR: You know, I don't know of anything inappropriate. But I do know that the Republican Party is very focused on, you know, trying to get all these churches and church groups together and go Republican.

That does concern me a little bit as a Christian. For one thing, as people get to know John Kerry, they'll know that he's man of faith and very deep faith, and very strong personal convictions. And to sort of oversimplify this race and say it's a Christian versus a non- Christian, I think that's very dangerous and very misleading. I think we have two people of faith running this year, and I think -- I know that both of them look forward to debating those issues.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Senator Mark Pryor, Democrat of Arkansas.

Well, Ralph Nader made a big announcement today. It wasn't the one that many Democrats are looking for, but it's still important. Stay tuned for the details.

Also coming up, the presidential candidates step into the culture wars. We'll look at the potential pitfalls of emphasizing family values.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Who will he pick as his running mate? It's a question everyone is asking. Today, we'll get an answer, but not from the candidate you're thinking about.

A political controversy in Connecticut. Facing possible impeachment, the state's governor plans to call it quits tonight.

The battle over Ronald Reagan's legacy. Are Democrats using the former president's name to beat back the Republican agenda?

REP. STENY HOYER, (D-MD), MINORITY WHIP: It is absolutely appropriate.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), CHIEF DEPUTY MAJORITY WHIP: I just think it's disrespectful for them to be doing something like this.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Some diehard Democrats are getting ready to send a message to Ralph Nader that John Kerry pointedly refused to deliver when he met with his independent presidential rival. Our congressional correspondent Joe Johns has the story. Hi, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

Well what's going here on is a lot of Democrats, particularly in the Congressional Black Caucus, are concerned about a repeat of the election of 2000. And they're concerned also, obviously, that Nader could take votes away from John Kerry.

So members of the Congressional Black Caucus are expected to meet with Nader tomorrow. The message is expected to be tough and blunt, calling on Nader point-blank to get out of the race and if necessary, demanding that he do know.

I spoke a little while ago with Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIJAH CUMMINGS, CHAIRMAN, CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: Our message to Ralph Nader is that if he wants to see this country go on on a progressive path, as opposed to backwards path, that he should get out of the race, period. Simple. Immediately.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: Today, at his news conference where he announced his vice-presidential running mate, Nader suggested he has another agenda for that meeting. And as he has, before also suggested he has no interest in talking about getting out of the race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My understanding is they wanted to discuss subjects of common interest. I'll have to call up Congressman Cummings's office to make sure that's now clear. When I met with John Kerry, he had the courtesy not to even raise the issue.

I'll make sure before we meet that they agree that they're not going to bring it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Our apologies. We have some difficulty with the audio and I guess video, the picture of Joe Johns, our congressional correspondent. Joe, our apologies and my apologies to the audience.

So, as you just heard, Joe's reporting on Ralph Nader's pick to be his vice presidential running mate. And frankly if anybody needed proof that Nader is moving ahead with his campaign, they did get with it his choice. And we're going to talk a little bit more about "Ticket Talk" with our own political editor, John Mercurio.

All right, we know it's Peter Camejo, the man that Ralph Nader chose. We've have heard this name before. He was -- he was a Californian. What can you tell us?

JOHN MERCURIO, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Yes, sort of close watchers of California politics will remember him. He ran in 2002 against Gray Davis. He ran last year in the recall campaign against Arnold Schwarzenegger. He didn't do too well in either of those races. He drew single digits. About three to five percent in those races.

But apparently Ralph Nader is a huge fan. In fact, he had a chance to sort of talk about his qualifications during a press conference earlier today. Let's listen to what he had to say.

WOODRUFF: We are losing -- we don't have that sound. So tell us a little bit of what he said or what we should know about Peter.

MERCURIO: Well he's a financial -- he's an investment analyst. He's been with the Green Party for several years. He was actually sort of one of the top contenders to be the Green Party's choice for president this year, which I think sort of factored into Nader's decision to choose him.

WOODRUFF: Does this matter, in terms of the overall campaign?

MERCURIO: Well I mean it does and it doesn't. I mean Peter Camejo is certainly not a household name. I mean probably not even in his native California. If you listen to him, he doesn't really ooze charisma or star appeal.

You know, he might help Ralph Nader appeal to some Hispanic voters. But I think the real significance of Nader's move is that he decided to -- is that it could actually increase the likelihood that Nader himself could pick up the Green Party's endorsement, and along with that, you know, the ballot access to...

WOODRUFF: Which means he'd be on the ballot in...

MERCURIO: He would be on the ballot -- the Green Party has access to...

WOODRUFF: More 20 states.

MERCURIO: Twenty-two and the District of Columbia, which is a big deal. The Green Party is meeting in meeting in Milwaukee starting on Wednesday to pick their nominee. Camejo, as I said, had been one of the top two contenders for the race.

I think it also sends a signal to these Democrats who oppose Nader, you know, that he's in this race to stay, at least for the, you know, for the long term. And I think that they had really been hoping that he was on his way out.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's talk about that other vice presidential selection process, the John Kerry selection process. What are you hearing about that?

MERCURIO: It was an unusually or unexpectedly quiet weekend in Nantucket. Kerry was up in Nantucket. His VP search captain, Jim Johnson, was on vacation separately. So not a lot of work got done.

And this week, we're looking at the schedules for Kerry and for his VP contenders. And none of them are going to be in the same cities. Kerry's going to be out west. He's going to be in Colorado, New Mexico and California later this week.

We know that John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, Tom Vilsack, Bill Richardson, John Breaux, a lot of the -- Evan Bayh. They're all going to be in different places. None of them crossing paths with Kerry.

So at this point, we're, you know, we think that the only thing that Kerry needs to do is sort of sit down and do these face-to-face meetings with these contenders. None of it's going to happen in the early part of this week which means that if they still want to keep to their sort of, you know, early July announcement, that they're going have to do a lot in the next week or next week.

WOODRUFF: They're got to get moving unless they never meant that anyway.

John Edwards, very quickly. One of the raps on that choice has been, well, he and John Kerry don't really get along all that well. What's the truth to that?

MERCURIO: Right. Well I think it's sort of interesting. I talked to three Kerry campaign officials over the past day. All three of them made a point, going out of their way to dispel this sort of notion, this sort of "myth" they called it, that Kerry and Edwards don't get along and that would somehow have -- or that their relationship would have an impact on Kerry's choice. I mean they said, you know, Kerry is competitive. Kerry likes to win. But once he's won, he doesn't hold grudges. He doesn't hold grudges, especially in a situation like this where it could effect the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Very interesting that they're saying this right now.

MERCURIO: Imagine that. I know. Or it could just be again...

(CROSSTALK)

MERCURIO: ... throw us off the chase.

WOODRUFF: Well, I'm sure they would never try to do that.

MERCURIO: Right, of course not.

WOODRUFF: John Mercurio. Our political editor. Thank you very much.

MERCURIO: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: All right, our apologies again about Joe Johns, our congressional correspondent. I'm told there was a power outage at the Capitol. Now Joe is back with us to finish up, Joe, what you were telling us about Ralph Nader's reaction to this call by the Congressional Black Caucus to get out of the race.

JOHNS: Right, Judy. Well at that news conference where he announced his vice presidential candidate, he a;so made it clear that he really wasn't interested in talking about getting out of the race. But his spokesman, Kevin Zeese, was much more blunt about it when I talked to him on the telephone.

He speak to me. And we have a little graphic to show you.

Among the things he said, Nader is going to make it clear that nothing they could do or say would make him leave the race. He called it insulting and inappropriate to ask Nader to with draw. Also said, "We're going to talk about how the African-American community is on a downward spiral and the Congressional Black Caucus is not doing enough to stop that from happening."

So it's pretty clear Nader does not plan to get out of the race after talking with the Congressional Black Caucus. Members of the CBC are clearly having no illusions right now, they don't have much hope that he will get out of the race. But they are hoping that by going on the record as sternly opposing his candidacy, they will send a message, in other words, to affect the amount of support he gets, the amount polling he gets.

And you have to note that in -- four years ago, in 2000, he had 40 percent approval from African-Americans, but only two percent said they'd vote for him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Very interesting. Well, we're going to watch, see where that goes. Joe Johns. Thank you very much. And again our apologies about the picture and the sound.

And now we turn to the state of Connecticut where the governor, Republican John Rowland, is preparing to make an announcement of his own about two hours from now. He is expected to call it quits rather than wait to see if lawmakers recommend that he be impeached. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in the Connecticut capital of Hartford. Hello, Deborah

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, we can tell you CNN has confirmed that Connecticut Governor John Rowland will resign effective July 1. He is scheduled to make that announcement at about 6:00 this evening when he will address the state by television.

Now this comes three weeks into impeachment inquiry. The governor charged with accepting gifts and vacations from people looking to do business with the state.

Now Rowland is a Republican. Both the House and the Senate here are controlled by Democrats. In both cases by nearly a two-thirds majority. In the words of one political insider, the governor saw the writing on the wall. His budget director today defended Rowland.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ultimately, what John Rowland has been about his entire career is trying to be the best governor he can and trying to recognize when and when he cannot be effective. And the decision he's going to announce tonight really goes to that issue. It's about what is in the best interests of the state, what is in the best interest of the people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: The governor was considered a star in the Republican Party. He was the nation's youngest governor-elected back in 1994. He was also on the short list of cabinet appointees under the Bush administration.

Today, one Republican described him as having done an effective job in the state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On balance, on policy, this governor's been a great governor. His personal misconduct, his ethical lapses have forced him to give up what the people gave him. And that's a sad thing. But it doesn't diminish what he's done as governor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: Governor Rowland had also been the focus of federal investigation as well into corruption. Connecticut has been plagued by corruption scandals. And one political watcher said that that's sort of what did him in, all of these allegation. His resignation will be sort of like a cleansing of the political psyche for the state. And though in the eyes of an outsider what he did may not seem so bad, in the words of this one political watcher, he said, "It's like bleeding to death slowly by a thousand tiny paper cuts" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Deborah Feyerick reporting from Hartford, thank you very much.

And by the way, according to Connecticut state law, Governor Rowland's resignation process begins when he submits a letter to the Connecticut secretary of state. The letter must spell out a final work day. Once that is received, the state can begin arranging the swearing in of Republican Lieutenant Governor Jody Rell. State Senate President Kevin Sullivan who was a Democrat will automatically replace Rell as second in command. The state senate will choose Sullivan's replacement in a special session. Again, Governor Rowland, a scheduled news conference for 6:00 p.m. today to announce his resignation.

Back on the presidential trail, President Bush is talking today about values. Are the culture wars making a comeback this election year? Authors try to find out ahead.

Plus a cash crunch or money to burn? We'll update the Bush and Kerry campaign's bottom line?

And why would some new moves in Ronald Reagan's name make Republicans mad?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Well, you might say that President Bush is playing the family values card this afternoon. He is in Cincinnati for an event promoting traditional marriage and community service programs as ways of strengthening community values. Here's a live picture of the president in Cincinnati right now. Our political analyst Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times" joins me now to talk about how both campaigns are looking at the social values debate, we might call it. How central a role are social values, social issues going to be playing this year, do you think?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIME": I think absolutely essential. No matter how much the candidates talk or don't talk about the issues. What we saw in 2000 was that the electorate divided much more along the lines of cultural affiliation than economic interest. Married or single, rural or urban, gun owner or non-gun owner and especially regular church attender or not regular church attender. These were the best predictors of how people vote. George Bush ran much better with people on the culturally conservative side of all of those divides than he did on the other. We're seeing the same pattern in 2000. And whether or not the candidates want to stress these issues, they have become a fundamental dividing line in the electorate and will see largely a similar pattern 2004?

WOODRUFF: More so than Iraq foreign policy?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, you know, it's interesting. It sort of plays in together at this point. There's no doubt that we have two coalitions in this country now that are defined, I think, more by their cultural values than their economic status and the opinions about Iraq have even tracked, to a considerable extent along this same access. For example, people who attend church regularly have been more supportive of President Bush in Iraq than those who don't.

But underlying it is a different sense of values. It's not that there is a single-issue voter out there, there are large numbers of single-issue voters that decide on gun control or abortion or even the gay marriage amendment which the president is promoting this year, it's that they take all of these issues together and develop a picture of whether this candidate who shares my values or not. And that has proven extremely powerful and increasingly powerful over the last 25 years or so in dividing the electorate or deciding the vote.

WOODRUFF: Ron, a question about the Bill Clinton book. It's coming out tonight at midnight but we've already started to get a sense of it, the "60 Minutes" interview, the "New York Times" reviewed it yesterday. Is this going to affect the campaign?

BROWNSTEIN: Probably at the margin only. But from the "60 Minutes" interview -- and I have not read the book, like the vast majority of Americans -- the "60 Minutes" interview, if that's going to be the tone of the coverage, it's hard to believe it will be good for Democrats. The first sentence out of Bill Clinton's mouth was that the economy was the thing he was the most proud of. That's what Democrats wanted to talk about. I don't think it came up again for the next 59 minutes.

The whole rest of it was about his moral lapses, impeachment, his feelings about Ken Starr, and his personal growth. These are not the subjects that Democrats really want voters, I think, to be reminded of. I think they would rather talk about the 23 million jobs, the big decline, and poverty, the budget surpluses.

(CROSSTALK)

BROWNSTEIN: ...Clinton steered the debate in that direction, it will be a challenge for him as a messenger because if this is what he's talking about, Judy, I cannot believe the John Kerry campaign, in the end, will be happy to have a month of was he persecuted or did he deserve to be impeached?

WOODRUFF: I was just going to say we know that those are the kinds of questions, however, that reporters tend to want to ask about.

BROWNSTEIN: Good politicians get their message across no matter what they're asked. It's not clear that he really did that last night.

WOODRUFF: Good point. Ron Brownstein joining us today from Los Angeles. Thanks very much.

And now checking the Monday edition of "Campaign News Daily." The Bush and Kerry campaigns spent a lot of money during the month of May. John Kerry spent more than $32 million last month, about $10 million more than the Bush-Cheney campaign spent over the same period. At the end of May, the Bush-Cheney campaign reported having about $63 million in the bank while the Kerry campaign reported more than $27 million in cash on hand.

A new poll finds President Bush holding on to a slight edge among voters in the showdown state of Arizona. The "Arizona Republic" survey gives Bush 44 percent and John Kerry, 41 percent. Ralph Nader, who's campaign reports that it has turned in enough signatures to get on the Arizona ballot got 2 percent. Bush carried the state against Al Gore in 2000.

Gay rights activists continue to criticize Mary Cheney, who is the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. The group's quote Don'tamend.com, and the Equality Campaign are sponsoring this web ad, which targets Mary Cheney for not speaking out against the Bush administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

Well, it has been 20 years since Ronald Reagan last campaigned for office. Coming up, why we may be hearing quite a bit about his legacy in this year's election and not all of it from Republicans.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Ever since former President Ronald Reagan passed away, it has become politically fashionable to invoke his name and legacy. Interestingly, however, Republicans are not the only ones doing it as our congressional correspondent, Ed Henry reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before Ronald Reagan died, Republicans were making the case that President Bush is the rightful heir to the Reagan legacy given their similar crusades for large tax cuts and defense build-ups. But in a political twist, Democrats are trying to wrap themselves in the Reagan aura on select issues infuriating Republican leaders.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), CHIEF DEPUTY MAJORITY WHIP: This is really reprehensible. I just think it's disrespectful for them to be doing something like this.

HENRY: Democrats have already been touting Nancy Reagan's support for stem cell research. Now they hope to get mileage out of a letter from gun control advocates, Jim and Sara Brady that uses Mr. Reagan's name to urge Congress to extend the ban on assault weapons. And during last week's battle over the corporate tax bill, the Number 2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer claimed Mr. Reagan would have opposed the bill. Hoyer laughs off the Republican charge he's engaging in political opportunism.

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MINORITY WHIP: Heaven forbid that anybody would exploit Reagan's name. I don't think we have to wait for the Republican National Convention for George Bush to wrap himself in the Reagan legacy. Ronald Reagan was a very popular individual. George Bush would like to be as popular. He is not. HENRY: Democrats have also dipped into the Reagan playbook to borrow a signature line from the 1980 campaign.

RONALD REAGAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are you better off than you were four years ago?

HENRY: Democrats are vowing to use those words as a weapon in the current battle for the White House.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D), CALIFORNIA: Mr. Speaker, that old question remains relevant. Are you better off today than you were four years ago?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Democrats say there is nothing new here. They point out that it was just last year that a conservative group ran a television ad claiming that the late President John F. Kennedy would have supported President Bush's tax cuts. Democrats say if that was fair game, it's certainly in bounds for them to point out where they agree with the late President Ronald Reagan so the political battle over the Reagan legacy has commenced -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Surely sounds like it. It's never dull over there. All right. Ed, thank you very much. We've seen wrestlers run for office and win. But can pro wresters get more young people to the polls? Up next, the Smack Down Your Vote campaign tries to boost the turnout of the under-30 voting bloc.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: You want to pay attention to this. President Bush and Senator John Kerry responded to a survey from the voter education group known as Smack Down Your Vote. Bush and Kerry both filled out a detailed questionnaire created by the World Wrestling Entertainment Group focusing on issues important to younger voters. Smackdown (AUDIO GAP) and the Harvard Institute of Politics, not what you expected. You can see the results at Smackdownyourvote.com.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

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