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'Ticket Talk'; Interview With John Danforth; Interview With Senator Chuck Hagel

Aired July 1, 2004 - 15:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: The hunt for a winning ticket.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.

ANNOUNCER: It's not the lottery. It's the veepstakes. And John Kerry may be very close to naming his running-mate. We have the inside story.

Saddam Hussein, defendant: Does he have another new role as a player in the Bush-Kerry presidential race?



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

There is nothing quite like the announcement of a running mate to give a presidential challenger a surge of TV face time. And his campaign hopes a boost in the polls. And today, there is some reason to believe John Kerry is close to revealing his VP choice.

CNN senior political editor, John Mercurio, is here with the latest "Ticket Talk."

All right, John. You've been working the phones. What have you learned?

JOHN MERCURIO, CNN SR. POLITICAL EDITOR: Well, as you said, it sounds like we are within a week of finding out who John Kerry's running mate is going to be. I mean, this is crunch time. One Democrat that I talked to today who works closely with one of the VP candidates said that the Kerry campaign is talking to his office almost hourly this week.

You know, Democrats are confirming to CNN that the Kerry campaign is doing a couple of things. They're searching for a site, an announcement site, and they're asking three top Democrats, at least three of the top candidates, for detailed contact information, cell phones, work phones, home phones. Essentially, they want to have them ready to go as soon as possible. And the Democrats we're talking about are Dick Gephardt, Tom Vilsack and John Edwards.

WOODRUFF: The same names we've been hearing.

MERCURIO: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: Not ruling out other, but those are the ones...

MERCURIO: Not ruling out others, but those are the ones we've been able to confirm have been in contact with the Kerry campaign.

WOODRUFF: Now, is there a day next week that you're hearing more talk about?

MERCURIO: Yes. They're being told to leave next week open for a, quote, "possible" announcement either Tuesday or Wednesday, are the days that we're hearing. Although, my thinking is that it's actually probably more likely to be on Wednesday. Kerry has two big speeches on Tuesday in Washington and Indianapolis that would be hard for him to back out of.

So, on Wednesday, we believe we're going to have -- or we speculate that we're going to have an announcement. And that would leave Kerry then to make the announcement on Wednesday with his VP, and then on Thursday to take his new VP running-mate up to New York City for this big major celebrity-studded fundraiser that they're holding at Radio City Music Hall, similar to one he held last week in LA, where they raised $5 million.

WOODRUFF: In LA. Now, aside from talking to these possible VP staffs, what else is the Kerry campaign doing to get ready?

MERCURIO: Well, they've been preparing for weeks for this, obviously. And from what we've been able to tell, there are certain staff members who have already been devoted to this campaign.

There's a woman named Ann Castagnetti, whose maiden name is actually easier to pronounce. It's Cahill, which is familiar to some people -- Mary Beth Cahill, the two of them are sisters. She's actually been working for several weeks on the VP preparations.

WOODRUFF: Mary Beth being the campaign chairman.

MERCURIO: Mary Beth being the campaign manager.

WOODRUFF: Manager, right.

MERCURIO: Unclear exactly what role Castagnetti's going to play in the actual VP staff, but we understand she will be working with them.

Also, Peter Shere, who is a former Senate aide and worked in the Clinton administration, Commerce Department, deputy trade representative, he apparently is going to be serving as the VP's campaign manager. Obviously, the VP, whoever he is, will bring his own staff as well. So...

WOODRUFF: But campaigns traditionally get people lined up before they announce who the person is.

MERCURIO: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: How much do candidates, John, benefit after they pick a veep? What does history show us about that?

MERCURIO: Well, they always get a bounce, or at least in recent polling, it showed us that they always get a bounce. You know, a bounce is just a bounce. You go up and then you come right back down.

But we have some polling that was conducted over the past 12 years that shows us that several candidates have. 1992, of course, Clinton, right after he picked Gore, got an 11-point bounce. 1996, Dole picked Jack Kemp; over the next couple days, nine points.

In 2000, Bush, after he picked Cheney, increased his support by three points. Gore-Lieberman, five points.

You know, so if recent historical patterns hold, Kerry, after he names his running mate, is probably going to get a bounce. The question, of course, is who he picks, what sort of bounce he'll get.

WOODRUFF: How much. And also how long it lasts.

MERCURIO: Right, exactly.

WOODRUFF: OK. John Mercurio, thanks very much.

MERCURIO: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We'll let you go right back to working the phones. Thanks.

Well, the three VP prospects said to be on call with the Kerry camp have been working to master the fine art of campaigning for the job without letting anybody see them as too eager.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): For John Edwards, the stumping never really stopped. The senator took barely a breath between his campaigns for president and vice president.

U.S. SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC): No, I don't want to be vice president. I'm running for president.

WOODRUFF: A standard sound bite during the primaries, but even then skeptics groused the North Carolina senator was really running to be running mate. In the past few months, Edwards has worn his hopes on his sleeve, barnstorming the country in support of John Kerry in a slew of Democratic candidates raising fist loads of cash for the nominee from a vast network of contributors.

Edwards is a star. He seems to know it. And many of his Senate colleagues argue that he would boost Democrats from the top of the ballot to the bottom. But could the hard sell backfire? U.S. REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO): I've known and worked with John Kerry for a long time.

WOODRUFF: He has, and perhaps that history has made Dick Gephardt less open about his VP ambitions. After endorsing Kerry in February, he largely dropped out of sight, keeping a low profile, refusing requests for interviews.

GEPHARDT: I am the candidate that will fight for the middle class.

WOODRUFF: He does have a vocal lobby in labor, though. Unions have been pitching hard for their long-term ally.

GOV. TOM VILSACK (D-IA): I really am focused on the job that I have.

WOODRUFF: Sure, but Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's already been day dreaming in public. In an unusual interview with The New York Times, he was already looking ahead to a vice presidential debate. "I look forward to the opportunity to talk to Dick Cheney. We'll have a nice conversation," he joked.

Vilsack, too, has been a loyal soldier for Kerry, crisscrossing the nation, raising money and touting the nominee's agenda. He's eager. But he's know no showboat, which may be just what Kerry's looking for -- or not.


WOODRUFF: In case you can't tell, we can't wait to find out who it is.

Well, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily" today, John Kerry raked in a lot of campaign cash during the month of June. Kerry supporters donated more than $34 million last month, bringing his overall total raise to more than $180 million. The campaign says about $100 million of that comes from total -- or rather total comes from contributions of $100 or less.

The Republican National Committee has released the names of the party's so-called "Super Ranger" fundraisers. The "Super Rangers" are the top echelon of GOP fundraisers, bringing in at least $300,000 each for the party. The list includes lobbyists and corporate executives, as well as the majority owner of the Cincinnati Reds, the chairman of the Univision cable network, and Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman.

One prominent GOP donor has given money to independent candidate Ralph Nader. The Boston Globe reports that billionaire Richard Egan, along with several family members, have given Nader the maximum individual contributions of $2,000 each. Some Democrats have accused Republicans of supporting Nader in hopes of siphoning votes away from John Kerry.

Another nationwide presidential poll indicates the White House race remains incredibly tight. A survey by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News gives both Bush and Kerry 47 percent. When Ralph Nader is included, Bush and Kerry are separated by a point, and Nader picks up 4 percent.

The White House says President Bush watched a replay of some TV news coverage of Saddam Hussein's court arraignment in Baghdad today. The administration brushed aside the former Iraqi leader's assertion that President Bush is "the real criminal." Slightly gaunt, but still defiant, Saddam was read the preliminary charges against him and he argued with the judge over legal points. President Bush did not mention Saddam during today's swearing in ceremony for the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, but Vice President Cheney did during a speech in New Orleans.


RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As I was on my way to the museum today, I couldn't help but think of my last visit here on April 9, 2003. That was the same day that Saddam Hussein statue came down in Baghdad.


CHENEY: Today, 15 months later, Saddam Hussein stands arraigned in an Iraqi court, where he will face the justice he denied to millions.


WOODRUFF: Whatever Bush administration officials may or may not say about Saddam Hussein, they know that his fate is linked to some degree with the president's political future. Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Any day Saddam Hussein appears in the news is a good day for President Bush. The weapons of mass destruction have not turned up. Investigators have found no links between Iraq and 9/11. Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship remains the last convincing justification for war with Iraq.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One of the most evil and brutal regimes in history no longer exists. Iraq is better off today. America is more secure today because Saddam Hussein sits in a prison cell.


SCHNEIDER: Even better for Bush, Saddam remains defiant.

SADDAM HUSSEIN (through translator): Saddam Hussein, the president of the republic of Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: The real president of Iraq had this to say...

GHAZI AL-YAWER, IRAQI PRESIDENT: There will be no political aspect to his trial.

SCHNEIDER: Oh, really? Saddam said in court: This is all theater, the real criminal is Bush. This couldn't have come at a better time for Bush. He's been facing mounting criticism of his Iraq policy.

In March, most Americans felt that in making the case for war with Iraq, President Bush gave the most accurate information he had. Now, more people believe President Bush deliberately misled them to make the case for war. Politically, that's a dangerous perception.

Saddam Hussein's capture in December certainly had a political impact. Two impacts: One was on the race for the Democratic nomination. Support for Howard Dean, a fierce critic of the war, had been growing rapidly in national polls of Democrats until Saddam's capture. That's when Dean support started to drop off, dooming him in Iowa a month later.

Saddam's capture also boosted President Bush's job ratings. Immediately after the capture, more than 60 percent of Americans said they approved of the way Bush was handling his job. By mid-January, Bush's numbers were back to where they had been before the capture. President Bush's Saddam bounce lasted exactly one month.

Can President Bush get another Saddam bounce? If there were a televised trial, Bush would surely benefit. Americans know from trials.

In early February, two-thirds of Americans said they would be "very interested" in the trial of Saddam Hussein, a number that dwarfs public interest in the trials of Scott Peterson and Martha Stewart and Michael Jackson and Kobe Bryant.


SCHNEIDER: The bad news for President Bush, the trial of Saddam Hussein is unlikely to get under way before 2005. But there will be a detailed indictment to come this year with charges of war crimes and genocide and crimes against humanity, all making President Bush's case: This war was justified.


WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thank you very much.

The United States has a brand-new representative at the United Nations. He is a familiar face in the Show Me State and inside Washington's beltway. In a moment, my conversation with former U.S. Senator and now U.S. Ambassador John Danforth.

Later, President Bush marks a watershed event in race relations. It was an election year then, too, and the president was also from Texas.

Also, from agriculture secretary to Hollywood's man on the Hill, the film names its new Washington advocate. With 124 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: About an hour ago, former Republican Senator John Danforth was sworn in as the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He replaces John Negroponte, who is the new U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

When I spoke with John Danforth earlier today, I asked him about a recent article by former Clinton adviser Samuel Berger, who argues that, because of what he labels "gratuitous unilateralism," America has never had greater power, but it has rarely possessed so little influence.


DANFORTH: Well, I say exactly what President Bush said to me when he asked me to do this, which was the United Nations is very important, the war against terrorism cannot be won without the United Nations. It's very important to have the cooperation of the rest of the world.

We have serious problems, really different from anything that we've ever faced before as a world, because it's no longer the threat of nations. It's the threat of people who are religiously motivated, groups of people, rogue states, people who have immense power to destroy us and are willing to take their own lives in doing that, who target civilian populations.

All of this is a whole different world than what we knew just, say, 10 years ago. And therefore it's essential for the world to pull together to find common ground to deal with this terrible issue.

WOODRUFF: But what about the point that the U.S. has rarely possessed so little influence as it has today?

DANFORTH: I think that that's somebody else's conclusion. But obviously, when there's a different -- I mean, it's obvious to me, anyhow, that when there's an entirely different kind of problem that we're facing -- this is not the old Soviet Union, which was very powerful, but also was sane.

This is different. Therefore, there's a lot of debate going on in the world. But I think the good news is that with the recent Security Council resolution relating to the future of Iraq, there is an indication that the world is beginning to pull itself together. And the goal going forward is to try to build on that and have the world move in one direction.

WOODRUFF: It is a new situation, Mr. Ambassador, but there are a number of Democrats and Republicans, including Senator Chuck Hagel, whom I know you know, who argues that the war in Iraq has made it even worse. He said, America has, by engaging in this war, terror cells have now been spread around the world, the terrorists have more targets, including American soldiers who are in Iraq. In other words, he's saying that the war has exacerbated the problem.

DANFORTH: Well, you know, we weren't at war with Iraq when planes were flown into the World Trade Center. We didn't ask for that, and yet we got it. So we have a situation in the world, and I don't know that you can say, well, somehow we brought it on ourselves. I really don't believe that.

Clearly, there's a debate on how we deal with this situation. Clearly, there was a debate and is a debate on whether we should have gone into Iraq. But we did.

And now the question isn't whether we should constantly rehash old issues, but: What happens next? Where do we go from here? And with the Security Council resolution of last month, with the commitment of NATO countries to train the new security forces in Iraq, there are signs that we are beginning to move forward, we are beginning to get our act together.

WOODRUFF: Do you think the U.S. should have gone into Iraq as it did, when it did?

DANFORTH: Personally, I do. I think that, given the noncompliance with previous U.N. resolutions, we were in a position where it was either do absolutely nothing and let Iraq simply, really thumb its nose at the United Nations and turn the United Nations into something that was just really passing resolutions and doing nothing about it, or whether somebody was going to try to enforce the rule of law. So that was my view.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Ambassador, finally a question about Sudan. You were appointed as a special envoy to Sudan in 2001. But since then, that country, of course, has continued to see killing, the displacement of many hundreds of thousands of refugees, especially in the western province of Darfur. You now have people at risk of dying who have been herded into refugee camps.

The U.S. position right now is waiting for the U.N. Security Council to act on this. But in the meantime, the death toll climbs. Is this not genocide, Mr. Ambassador? And if so, doesn't the U.S. have a moral obligation to act right now?

DANFORTH: The U.S. has a moral obligation to act, and the U.S. is acting. And the U.S. has been very, very engaged in this tragedy in Sudan.

As you know, Secretary Powell has been there. He's been to Khartoum, he's been out in Darfur, which is this terrible region. President Bush himself has spoken out on the tragedy in Darfur. President Bush has spoken with President Bashir of Sudan.

I have raised the issue repeatedly. The United States has been instrumental three different times in briefing the Security Council on this. The United States has drafted a resolution to place before the Security Council on this.

The United States is focused on Sudan. So is the United Nations. The secretary general also is in Sudan. The world must rivet its attention on Sudan, and especially on Darfur, if this problem is going to be resolved.

WOODRUFF: Is it genocide?

DANFORTH: Whether it's genocide or not is a legalistic question. But whatever you call it, it's a terrible, terrible situation. A lot of people have been killed. A lot of people have been abused. A lot of people have been displaced. And it has to come to an end.


WOODRUFF: My conversation earlier today with John Danforth, the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Well, today's Iraq news is clearly dominated by Saddam Hussein's court appearance, but the violence continues. A roadside bomb killed two coalition troops, including a U.S. Marine. Other explosions killed six Iraqis, and insurgents damaged a power plant that supplies Baghdad with electricity. To talk about the challenges ahead in Iraq and more, I'm joined by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Senator, thank you for being with me.

To talk about the challenges ahead in Iraq and more, I'm joined by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska.

Senator, thank you for being with me.

Let me turn quickly back to what I asked Ambassador Danforth about, and that is your contention that the war in Iraq has made the war on terror more difficult; it has spread terrorists around the world, given them more targets. I believe you heard his answer to that, he said, Well, we weren't seeking out an enemy when we were attacked on 9/11, when they came after the World Trade Center. How do you respond to that?

HAGEL: Well, first of all, the quote that you ascribed to me was part of a longer answer I gave to what have we learned from our one year involvement in Iraq. And I focused that answer on many dimensions, one including terrorism. So that's where that answer came from.

But I also said that we are where we are, and we can't turn back. And we now must do everything we can to help the Iraqi people win their freedom and independence.

As to your second question, Judy, I think we can continue to debate this for some time. And I think history will show a rather significant debate.

But the fact is, we are where we are. And we're going to need the United Nations. I'm very pleased that this administration has seemingly moved in a new direction over the last few months, seeking the U.N. effort and involvement through that new U.N. resolution, seeking NATO involvement, seeking our allies involvement, a wider and deeper involvement of our friends and allies, because we cannot sustain -- the United States cannot sustain any policy anywhere without our allies.

So I think the administration has started to understand that and is doing something about that.

WOODRUFF: So are you essentially saying the debate over whether the war was the right thing to do or not is behind us, an old issue, as Ambassador Danforth said, and not really worth discussing it much anymore?

HAGEL: Well you can always discuss it. And it's fun to talk about it. But that discussion is over. That debate is over, Judy. We are where we are.

We have 141,000 American troops in Iraq. We have major consequences here at stake, not just for Iraq. But the Middle East, the Israeli-Palestinian issue, the future position and role of democracy in the world, so many big things are now wrapped up into our efforts in Iraq. And again, it brings us back to the legitimacy of internationalizing our effort as we are now doing.

WOODRUFF: Did seeing Saddam Hussein today before a judge in Baghdad make you feel any more -- that the war was any more worthwhile?

HAGEL: Well, the argument is not about was Saddam Hussein a guy who could have been somehow readjusted and recalibrated, and somehow redeemed into something he never would be. That was never the issue. The issue was how do you deal with him and under what circumstances and process?

Of course, we're glad he's gone. I don't know of anybody who's not glad he's gone. That isn't the question. The question is, we now have him in custody. He is going to be tried, appropriately, in Iraq by the Iraqi people. And of course, Iraq is better off that he's gone.


HAGEL: But the other part of that is -- again, takes us back into the part of the old argument, how we did it. We weren't prepared for an occupation. We made a tremendous amount of mistakes. We did, essentially, go after this in a unilateral way.

But the good news is, as far as I'm concerned, we've adjusted, we've shifted. And now we are understanding that it's going to take this international effort.

But in the end, it's the Iraqi people, Judy. In the end, it will be the Iraqi people that determines Iraq's future.

WOODRUFF: Senator, Vice President Cheney said today that America is safer. He said the world is more secure because Iraq and Afghanistan have been liberated. Is he right?

HAGEL: Oh, I think it is too soon to make that determination. I would like to think it is. But we won't be able to determine that for a few more years.

Why is that? Because we have dispersed, forced out terrorist cells all over the world. We have decentralized that by forcing ourselves into those areas with large force structure components. We are an easy target now for all those terrorist groups.

Whether we've made the world safer or not, I don't know. I hope we have. I hope that we'll be able to sustain these policies that will acquire this internationalization and international effort. But that remains to be seen.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to leave it there.

Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, it's always good to see you.

HAGEL: Thank you. Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

And we are standing by for the president's remarks on the 40th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Mr. Bush is expected to speak at the top of the hour at the White House. We plan live coverage just minutes from now.



SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I reached out a lot and I listened to people about the feelings in the black community across America.

ANNOUNCER: Polls show black voters overwhelmingly back John Kerry. Can President Bush turn things around? This hour, he marks the 40th anniversary of a crucial civil rights law.

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


WOODRUFF: Welcome back. As we just said, this hour, President Bush is set to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. It is a ceremonial event with some political implications, as both the Bush and the Kerry campaigns reach out to minority voters. We are going to be taking the president's remarks live in just a moment. Right now, let's go to CNN's Elaine Quijano. She's at the White House.

Hello, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Judy. About 130 people were invited to attend this event taking place in the East Room of the White House in just a few moments. Among them, of course, Bush administration officials, but also two adult children of two figures central to the civil rights movement.

The first, the daughter of the late president, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Luci Baines Johnson Turpin, is expected to be on hand. Her father, of course, signed the landmark legislation into law 40 years ago.

Also we are expecting to see the son of Thurgood Marshall, Thurgood Marshall Jr. Of course, his father, the Supreme Court justice who was the first African-American to be appointed to the high court.

Now this event taking place nearly 40 years after the signing of the act in that same room it took place, the signing, in the East Room. The Civil Rights Act being signed into law by then-President Johnson after a contentious debate and being stalled in Congress.

The president now getting ready to make his remarks.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Thank you all for coming, and welcome to the White House. I am so pleased you could join us to celebrate a great anniversary of justice and equality in America.

I appreciate members of my Cabinet being here and a lot of members of my administration. I want to thank many of our distinguished guests who have joined us today. I'm so pleased to see Dr. Dorothy Height.

Thank you so much for coming.


We've got two lieutenant governors, Michael Steele and Jennette Bradley, with us. Thank you both for being here today.


Marc Morial. Where are you, Marc? He's somewhere.


There he is.

Thank's for coming. I didn't recognize you outside the Big Easy.


Lou Sullivan is with us.

I'm honored you're here, Lou. Thanks for coming, sir.


My friend, Bob Woodson, president of the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise, is here. Thanks for coming. I'm glad you're here.


Bill Coleman, former secretary of transportation, I'm honored you're here.


Thurgood Marshall, Jr. is with us today.

Thank you so much for being here. I'm honored you're here.


It's pretty neat to have a great father, isn't it?



I'm going to save one announcement for a little later, a special announcement, but I do want to recognize Jack Valenti, who was the special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson.

Jack, we're honored you're here. Thank you for coming.


Forty years ago in many parts of America basic rights were observed or denied based entirely on race. Offensive laws regulated every detail of society: where you could get your hair cut, which hospital ward you could be treated in, which park or library you could visit.

A person looking for a job or even a place to stay the night could be turned away merely because of the color of his skin. And that person had very little recourse under federal law.

Forty years ago this week, that system of indignity and injustice was ended by the Civil Rights Act signed into law in this very room.


As of July the 2nd, 1964, no longer could weary travelers be denied a room in a hotel or a table at a restaurant, no longer could any American be forced to drink from a separate water fountain or sit at the back of a bus just because of their race.

All discrimination did not end that day. But from that day forward, America has been a better and a fairer country.

Today we have here on display, outside this room, the first and last pages of the Civil Rights Act and one of the pens that President Lyndon B. Johnson used for the signature.

BUSH: That law was a long time in coming. And before it arrived, the conscience of America had to be awakened.

That conscience was stirred by men and women who held sit-ins at lunch counters, who rode the buses on Freedom Rides, who endured and overcame the slurs and the fire hoses and burning crosses.

The conscience of America was outraged by the ambush of Medgar Evers, by kidnappings and terror bombings and by the murder of four young girls in a church on a Sunday.

Our nation's conscience was moved by hundreds of thousands who marched right here in the nation's capital to demand the full promise of the declaration and America's founding law.

President John F. Kennedy heard the voices of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others and took up the challenge. Five months before his death, the president said our nation was confronted with a moral issue as old as the scriptures and as clear as the American constitution, and he called on Congress to pass civil rights legislation.

After President Kennedy was assassinated, some wondered if the new president, a son of the south, would carry forward the work of civil rights. Very soon, they would know the answer.

During a Senate debate on Civil Rights Act, one of the longest debates in Senate history, President Lyndon Johnson used all his powers of persuasion, and they were considerable.


No one escaped the L.B.J. treatment -- not senators, not their staffs, not even their families. It is said that when President Johnson called reluctant senators at home and a child answered, he would say, "Now, you tell your daddy that the president called."


And he'd be very proud to have your daddy on his side.


It was more than the force of Johnson's personality that helped win the day. It was the force of President Johnson's conviction on behalf of a just cause.

As a young man, he'd seen the ugly effects of discrimination. As president, he was determined to fight it by law regardless of the political risk.

One southern senator warned him: It's going to cost you the election. He replied: If that's the price I've got to pay, I will pay it gladly.

Lyndon Johnson is known to history as the president who championed and signed the Civil Rights Act. And we recognize and remember the contributions of this strong Texan and great American. And we're honored to have his daughter, Lucy Baines Johnson, with us here today.

We're honored you're here.

Thank you for coming. Appreciate you coming.


We also remember the legislators of both parties who worked tirelessly to bring the bill to passage. In particular, Senator Mike Mansfield of Montana, Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois and Senator Hubert H. Humphrey of Minnesota.

When it mattered most, these principled men rose to the responsibility of their time, and our nation honors them today.

After the Civil Rights Act became law, the change was felt immediately all across America. In 1964, Dale Long was a 12-year-old boy living in Birmingham, Alabama. One day before the law was passed, Dale and his brother convinced their father to take them to a movie, where blacks had to enter through an alley, and could only isn't the upstairs balcony.

"I could see the look of humiliation on my dad's face," he remembers. A few months after the Civil Rights Act, the Long brothers returned to that theater, because as they remember it, they were with a friend.

"We went to see a James Bond movie," Dale says. And this time they entered through the front door and sat where they pleased.

The indignity of Dale Long's first experience at that movie theater seems like something that happened many lifetimes ago. Yet such experiences are within the living memory of millions of our citizens.

These past four decades in American life give witness to the power of good laws to prevent injustice and encourage the finest qualities of our national character.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives all Americans another reason to be proud of our country.

The work of equality is not done, because the evil of bigotry is not finally defeated. Yet the laws of this nation and the good heart of this nation are on the side of equality.

And as Dr. King reminded us, we must not rest until the day when justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I'm honored you all are here today. We'll have a reception on the other side of this beautiful house. Thank you for coming. May God continue to bless America.

(APPLAUSE) WOODRUFF: President Bush bringing a collection of members of his administration, members of the Lyndon Johnson administration to the White House to remember the 40th anniversary, the passage of the Civil Rights Act, 1964. President Bush, that was the year he graduated from high school, his father was running for Congress in the state of Texas that year. And President Bush remembering this.

Worth noting that this is the second time in just a matter of a few weeks that the president -- the president there saying hello to Lyndon Johnson's daughter, Luci Baines Johnson -- this is the second time President Bush just in the last couple of weeks has honored former Democratic presidents. He had Bill Clinton at the White House just a few weeks ago. Today, honoring the memory of Lyndon Johnson, talking about what a persuasive man he was, remembering the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964. We'll be right back with more INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Quick correction: A moment ago I said President Bush's father, first President Bush was running for Congress in 1964, actually, he was running for the United States Senate. Thanks to Bob Novak for straightening me out.

Quickly now recapping the day's top headlines. Saddam Hussein and 11 other former Iraqi leaders were arraigned today in Baghdad. At one point, the deposed dictator dismissed his court hearing as "theater" designed by President Bush, who he called a criminal, to win the elections.

Today's top political headline concerns John Kerry's list of potential running mates. Democratic sources says the Kerry campaign has told Senator John Edwards, former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt and Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack to be ready to join him, quote, "as early as Tuesday for campaign-style events." We don't know if he's told others that as well.

Well, for more political headlines, let's join Bob Novak from the CROSSFIRE set at George Washington University for some inside buzz. Bob, thanks again for straightening out our history.


WOODRUFF: An update first of all on your 2004 electoral map. What are you finding?

NOVAK: We find that although George W. Bush has had a couple of good weeks and John Kerry hasn't been doing so well, the Evans-Novak political report still finds it at 291-247 unchanged. But we're going to be looking very closely right now at what's going to happen after the handover in Iraq and the arraignment of Saddam Hussein. Is that going to be a bump out of that, particularly in the state of Florida, which is almost dead even? We give it slightly to Kerry right now. If it switches to Bush that would mean he will be, if the election were held today, slightly ahead.

So it's another very tight race.

WOODRUFF: Let's focus on the Republican convention, the run-up to it. Is there going to be a fight over the platform?

NOVAK: I don't think so. We have been used to Republicans having very vigorous fights going all the way back to 1960 on their platforms. This White House doesn't want that kind of a fight. They are reducing the amount of time the platform committee will be meeting. The chairman of the platform committee, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, will be doing what the White House wants. And some of the platform committee members would like to argue about abortion, and taxes and things, may be disappointed. But the White House does not want a fight. A short statement of principles may be all that is in the platform.

WOODRUFF: The state of Georgia, the Republican Senate primary, a potential for surprise?

NOVAK: Yes. Congressman Johnny Isakson was considered a cinch to have the Republican nomination against the vacancy left by Zell Miller's retirement. But a entrepreneur, an African-American entrepreneur, Mr. Herman Cain, who used to own Godfather's Pizza is moving up fast for this primary. There may be a runoff later on.

This would be -- if Herman Cain were to be nominated and elected, he would be the first black senator, Republican senator, from the deep south, a very important development. He is supposed to be a good candidate, and that's a hot race for that Republican nomination. And the Republican nominee is going to be heavily favored to win in the general election.

WOODRUFF: All right. Very quickly, an update on relations between the Republicans and the one labor union we associated them with...

NOVAK: James Hoffa, the president of the Teamsters, they've been trying to get that marriage together between him and George W. Bush for two years. But he just resigned from the president's advisory committee on trade policy and negotiation. Hoffa said he thought the committee was a sham. Of course he opposes President Bush's Central America free trade zone.

Judy, people tell me this not a bump in the road in the relations between Bush and Hoffa; this is heartbreak hotel, it's a divorce between them. The biggest hope of the Republicans for a breakthrough in the labor movement seems to be gone and Jimmy Hoffa is safely back with the Democrats.

WOODRUFF: Sounds serious. Bob Novak, and we'll see you on CROSSFIRE shortly. Thanks very much.

A Washington figure goes Hollywood. Ahead on INSIDE POLITICS, what does the movie industry see in a former agriculture secretary?

Plus after a string of political hits, actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger faces a flop. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The movie industry has chosen its new leading man in Washington. Former Clinton Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman will be the new chief of Hollywood's most powerful lobbying group, the Motion Picture Association of America. our congressional correspondent Ed Henry has more on the challenges Glickman faces and the big shoes he has to fill.


ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nearly 40 years as Hollywood's man in Washington, which made him a towering figure on both coasts, Jack Valenti is exiting the stage.

JACK VALENTI, MPAA PRESIDENT: I know a lot of you been saying, "When is that old son of a bitch going to leave?" Well...


VALENTI: ... this is it. It's been a long ride, it's been a great ride. I've really never failed to wake up in the morning eager to be about my chores because I really love this movie business and all the people who work in it.

HENRY: Valenti will now raise money for non-profit that's fighting the AIDS crisis. He's turning over the motion picture industry to a fellow Democrat, former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. And that has infuriated Republicans.

GROVER NORQUIST, CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST: This one of the most foolish decisions an industry has made to prior to this election: insult the president, insult the Republican leadership of Congress.

HENRY: Conservatives recall that when Democrats dominated Washington, they scooped up top lobbying jobs such as when Valenti left the Johnson White House in the mid-1960s. Now that the GOP controls the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republicans believe they should get the spoils.

The Motion Picture Association interviewed Democrats and Republicans. The job was first offered to Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin who turned it down. While the association essentially settled on a Democrat, Valenti said nobody should read into that.

VALENTI: This is not a partisan job. This is a nonpolitical job. This is an American job because to preserve, protect and defend the American film here and around the world requires all members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.


HENRY: Judy, Dan Glickman said today that he was bipartisan and tried to be bipartisan when he was a member of the House, and he's going to operate the same way now when he leads the movie industry. But republicans like Grover Norquist are warning that they believe that the Motion Picture Association made a political calculation. You hear that President Bush will lose in November, so it's safe to pick a Democrat. Norquist said that may come back to haunt the association when they come knocking on Capitol Hill looking for favors. So stay tuned.


WOODRUFF: They wanted a Republican.

HENRY: Now doubt about it.

WOODRUFF: OK. All right, Ed Henry. Thanks very much.

A rare political defeat for Arnold Schwarzenegger. California's governor failed to reach a budget agreement with Golden State lawmakers before today's start of the new fiscal year. Schwarzenegger made on time passage of the budget a priority. He promised during last year's recall campaign to slash pending and help balance the budget to help get California out of the red.

Connecticut's new governor, Jodi Rell, was sworn in today in Hartford. She says she hopes the state can join her in a healing process following the resigning of former Governor John Rowland. Rowland resigned last month amid a federal corrupt investigation and calls for his impeachment.

Rell was his three time Republican running mate. She is only the second female governor in Connecticut's history.

In Florida today, a state court judge ordered the Board of Elections to immediately release the list of nearly 50,000 suspected felons. CNN and other news organizations had sued the state for access to copies of the list used to determine voter eligibility in the November presidential election.

After the disputed Florida vote in 2000, state officials acknowledge barring thousands of eligible voters, many of whom were African-American because they were incorrectly listed as felons.

Playing dirty in New Hampshire? When we return, we'll take a look at one man's '02 election day ploy. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Looking ahead to the Republican Convention, New York City officials have issued ten permits to groups planning protests during the GOP gathering. Planned Parenthood, People for the American Way and a coalition of labor groups are among those receiving permits.

Convention organizers also said today that 10,000 people have signed up to volunteer at the convention. Some protest groups, however, have urged supporters to sign up as volunteers and then refuse to show up or cause disruptions. Watch this space. Finally, we noticed and interesting court case in New Hampshire. The former head of a Republican consulting group has pleaded guilty to jamming Democratic telephone lines on election day in 2002. The jammed lines were set up for voters to call if they needed rides to the polls.

New Hampshire Democrats lost some close contests that day, including the U.S. Senate race. A Justice Department investigation is continuing, we are told.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS this Thursday. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. CROSSFIRE starts right now.


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