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Bush, Kerry on the 9/11 Report; Interview with Thomas Kean, Lee Hamilton

Aired July 22, 2004 - 15:30   ET


ANNOUNCER: Hot off the presses: the 9/11 Commission report points fingers and cites failures.

THOMAS KEAN, CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: This was a failure of policy, management, capability and, above all, failure of imagination.

ANNOUNCER: Judy talks live to the panel chiefs about their findings and recommendations.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I look forward to studying their recommendations.

ANNOUNCER: Does the 9/11 report hurt or help the president's reelection bid?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We must do better. And there's an urgency to our doing better. We have to act now.

ANNOUNCER: In the Bush-Kerry match-up, is there any movement one way or another? Our new poll gauges the race and whether voters are fired up.



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us again today across the harbor from the Fleet Center. You can see it over my shoulder. That's where the Democratic National Convention begins in just four days. Once again, we are at the Boston National Historical Park, home to the legendary Navy ship the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides.

Here in Boston and across the nation, people are digesting the 9/11 Commission report that was released today, looking for answers about what went wrong and holding out hope that problems can be fixed. The panel cites 10 missed opportunities by the Clinton and the Bush administrations that could have hindered or stopped the attacks on America. Among other conclusions in the unanimous report, that neither administration totally appreciated the al Qaeda threat, that intelligence responsibilities were spread too widely, and that no collaborative relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq was found. Recommendations in the report include proposals for a national counterterrorism center, a national intelligence director, more emphasis on information sharing among intelligence agencies, and reform of congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence. The bipartisan commission's chairman and vice chairman urged political figures not to let their report get bogged down by election-year wrangling.


KEAN: We are in the mist of a presidential campaign. Two great parties will disagree. And that is right, and that is proper. At the same time, on this subject, we must unite to make our country safer.

LEE HAMILTON, VICE CHAIRMAN, 9/11 COMMISSION: Tom and I have been enormously pleased by the reception we have had at -- in the Republican and Democratic caucuses in the House and in the Senate, by the extraordinary reception we had this morning by the president and the vice president of the United States. And so we entered the fray here optimistic that we can get some important things done.


WOODRUFF: I'll be talking live with commission chairman, Thomas Kean, and vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, just a short while from now.

The commission chiefs personally delivered their report to President Bush this morning. For the administration reaction, let's go to our White House correspondent, Dana Bash. She is with the president today in Glenview, Illinois.

Hi, Dana.


Well, as you know, it has been a bumpy ride with the president and the commission. The White House had resisted the creation of the commission in the first place, and then over the past 20 months there had been a series of tug of war about issues like what kind of documents from the White House the commission would see, and also whether or not Condoleezza Rice would testify. But the name of the game at the White House today was to embrace this report.


BUSH: They recognized what I recognize and what America recognizes, is that there's still a threat, and that we in government have an obligation to do everything in our power to safeguard the American people. And the report that they are about to present to me puts out some very constructive recommendations.


BASH: Now, as of last night, the event that you just saw in the Rose Garden wasn't planned. The White House had not planned to have anything public at all. But the fact that they at the last minute did decide to have this made-for-TV Rose Garden appearance is quite telling in the way the White House has now decided to handle this report.

They're certainly not signing off on recommendations, but the White House spin from this morning on has been that the commission essentially supports what the president has already been trying to do in restructuring the government. That's why the president is making his way here to Illinois.

This is not like the other mad-dash trips that Mr. Bush has been making leading up to the convention. Illinois is quite a Democratic state, not necessarily a battleground state. He is here instead to highlight an area where they have been working on first responders so that he can have the backdrop, the imagery to show and to say that he has been working to make the homeland more secure. Certainly expect to hear that from the president today.

Now, Judy, as for the report, certainly you heard from the chair and vice chair they don't want politics to play into this already. We've seen that. We've gotten e-mails from the Kerry campaign, for example, pointing out some parts of the -- of the report that show that think George Tenet, for example, warned the president. The Republicans are saying the same thing about the Clinton administration.

But the fact that this does not conclude that the president really was at fault is a political plus for the White House that they are certainly trying to play up. And expect the president and his aides to continue to do that, because they know that they have to regain some of what they have lost over the past several months, in part perhaps because of the hearings and some of the things that have come to light during the 9/11 Commission hearings that has really chipped away at what was the president's biggest asset, and that was his fight against terrorism. It still is a plus, but not what it used to be. And expect the president to try to use this report now to say that it should be a plus again, and here's what he's trying to do, and here's what he'll do in the future -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dana Bash, thank you very much. And we'll be talking with one of the president's top advisers, Dan Bartlett, coming up in the next half-hour.

Well, the president's opponent, John Kerry, is calling for quick action on the 9/11 Commission's findings. And if that doesn't happen on President Bush's watch, Senator Kerry says it would happen on his if he wins the White House. CNN's Frank Buckley has more on Kerry's reaction and his day in Michigan.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator John Kerry didn't mention the report in remarks before the Urban League. And in a news conference that followed, he didn't directly criticize the Bush administration's response to 9/11.

KERRY: This is not a time for bickering. This is not a time for politics. When it comes to protecting our security in the homeland, there are no Democrats, there are no Republicans. There are just Americans.

BUCKLEY: But in saying intelligence reforms are long overdue, he accused the president of not acting quickly enough.

KERRY: Unfortunately, this administration's had an ongoing war between the State Department, the Defense Department, the White House. People have been at odds. Everybody knows it. They'll deny it, but everybody does know it. And the fact is that it struggled -- it has created a struggle that has delayed our ability to move forward.

BUCKLEY: Kerry promising to address the issue with what he called an emergency security summit if he became president and reforms weren't in place.

KERRY: It brings together leading Democratic and Republican members of Congress, as well as the leaders of the agencies that play a vital role. And we will put together the rapid agenda necessary, the administrative and legislative changes necessary to protect this country.

BUCKLEY: The release of the 9/11 Commission findings trumped most of Kerry's intended message of the day, that he's the candidate in touch with African-American voters. While President Bush also speaks to the Urban League on Friday, Kerry did take another shot at the president for skipping on an invitation from the NAACP last week.

KERRY: And the issues that we're grappling with today are, as Mark Morial (ph) said, especially important. So let me make it clear, as I have from the beginning, I'm happy to discuss them anywhere, anytime, with any American.

BUCKLEY (on camera): As Senator Kerry enters his final week before the Democratic national convention, the field finally cleared. Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio finally endorsing the presumptive nominee.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's unite to create a new government, a new direction, a new opportunity, and new progress.

BUCKLEY (voice-over): Frank Buckley, CNN, Detroit.


WOODRUFF: We have more ahead on the 9/11 Commission's findings and the political fallout. My interview with panel chiefs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton just ahead.

Plus, our new presidential poll numbers. We know that Bush and Kerry are spoiling for a fight, but what about the voters?

And a preview of what filmmaker Michael Moore is up to during convention week here in Boston.

With 103 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: As the Democrats prepare to gather right here in Boston, the latest CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll once again finds the race for the White House remains extremely close. In head-to-head match-up, Senator Kerry has a two-point edge over President Bush, 49 percent to 47 percent. When Ralph Nader is included, Kerry leads Bush by one point and Nader picks up 4 percent.

Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, has arrived here in Boston, and he's got more on these numbers -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, as you say, Judy, the race this year looks just as close as it did in 2000, but there's one big difference.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): When voters are split 50-50, it can mean one of two things, they're indifferent or intensely divided. In 2000, voters were pretty indifferent. They could vote for either Al Gore or George W. Bush. It was sort of a 50-50 choice for many voters.

In October 2000, three weeks before the election, 38 percent of voters said they felt more enthusiastic about voting than usual. Right now, three-and-a-half months before the election, a whopping 60 percent say they're more enthusiastic about voting than usual. That's anything but indifference.

In October 2000, 46 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats said they were more than usually enthusiastic. Republicans were a little more excited than Democrats, but the overall feeling about 2000 was, eh. But look at it now, months before the vote. Republican enthusiasm is up to 51 percent.

BUSH: Listen, you have a duty. Get your neighbors to go vote. Please go vote.

SCHNEIDER: And look at Democrats. Wow! Sixty-eight percent are raring to go. Remember Florida!

KERRY: We cannot and we will not accept a repeat of 2000.

SCHNEIDER: The voters are spoiling for a fight. This year, the 50-50 split doesn't mean whatever, it means we're pumped!

Democrats are gathering under the banner, stronger at home, respected in the world. Can they pull it off? To most Americans, strong means Bush. He has a clear advantage over Kerry as a strong and decisive leader.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are John Kerry's priorities the same as yours?

SCHNEIDER: The Bush campaign has spent tens of millions of dollars this year to try to convince voters Kerry is a flip-flopper. Did they get what they paid for? Yes. By a sizable margin, voters picked Bush as the candidate who does not change positions for political reasons. But, when it comes to being respected in the world, it's a different story.

Do Americans believe leaders of other countries have respect for President Bush? No. Do they believe leaders of other countries would have respect for John Kerry? Yes, they do.


SCHNEIDER: The intense division we're seeing right now is very much like what we saw in 2000 after Election Day, when the Bush-Gore race became a sporting event that went into overtime. People who were pretty indifferent in October suddenly cared desperately who won during the Florida recount. And right now, the mood of the country is very much like November 2000.

WOODRUFF: In many ways those strong feelings haven't gone away.

SCHNEIDER: They've never gone away.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider, thank you, here with us for the duration.


WOODRUFF: Well, anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore is headed here to Boston. Up next, details on Moore's convention week plans and his expected appearance with a one-time presidential hopeful.


WOODRUFF: Two showdown state polls lead the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Florida and Missouri are living up to their billing as presidential battlegrounds. A new Insider Advantage Poll in the Sunshine State finds Bush and Kerry tied with 46 percent each. In Missouri, a Market Research Institute Survey gives Kerry 76 percent to Bush's 44 percent, Ralph Nader receiving one percent.

Two political groups on the right are joining forces to advance their views and to combat lift wing 527 groups in the race for the White House. Empower America, which was co-founded by Jack Kemp, and Citizens for a Sound Economy, chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Army, are merging their operations to create something called Freedom Works. The new group plans to dispatch campaign staff to a number of battleground states, including Florida.

Anti-Bush filmmaker Michael Moore will be right here in Boston during next week's convention. Moore will appear at several events, including a Take Back America rally with former presidential hopeful Howard Dean. Moore will also speak to the Congressional Black Caucus, and he plans, we are told, to attend a special screening of his film "Fahrenheit 9/11" with members of a public employees union.

We'll, Republican Chairman Tom Kean and Democratic Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton managed to guide the 9/11 Commission to issue a unanimous bipartisan report. Next on INSIDE POLITICS, both will join me to talk about their work and their hopes for the future.

Later, as we promised yesterday, I'll take aim with a cannon and a peaceful spirit aboard Old Ironsides.


WOODRUFF: Joining me now from Washington are the leaders of the 9/11 Commission. Former New Jersey Republican Governor Tom Kean is the commission chairman, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton is a former Democratic congressman from Indiana.

Gentlemen, it's very good to see you. Thank you for talking with me.

I want to begin, before I ask you about your recommendations, you draw what is truly a devastating conclusion here in saying the government of this country failed to protect its citizens. If that's the case, why have there been no consequences? Why has no one, in effect, walked the plank as a result of this, Chairman Kean.

KEAN: Well, you know, the idea of us trying to find one person who is responsible and saying, walk the plank from the Clinton administration or the Bush administration doesn't make much sense us to. This was massive failure on all sorts of levels.

I mean, people were allowed into the country on phony documents that should have been stopped at the borders. Intelligence agencies that were supposed to work together didn't work together and pigeonholed information, didn't share it. And as a result, terrorists were not caught who perhaps should have been caught.

People were allowed on those planes who shouldn't be allowed -- shouldn't have been allowed on the planes. Nobody presented to either president in all the documents I read a full history going back to things like Black Hawk down, showing that this al Qaeda, with bin Laden, just had a determination to kill every American they could. It didn't matter whether they were military or civilian. And they built up to 9/11 these threats.

Nobody, nobody recognized the severity of it. And as example, the 2000 presidential campaign, with all the rhetoric and all the -- all the words that had come out in the presidential campaign, we can find "terrorism" mentioned only once. We were not paying attention.

WOODRUFF: Well, Congressman Hamilton, are you saying that the families, the 9/11 victims' families, Americans all over this country aren't right to be angry that no one or no institution has suffered the consequences of this?

HAMILTON: I can understand that anger. We have dealt with that a lot in the course of the commission's hearings. But we really think the causes of 9/11 were more systemic than individual.

You really had hundreds of individuals, hundreds -- thousands of individuals that could be accused of bearing some responsibility. Indeed, I would take the position, I think, that while I would not single out any official and say you're responsible for 9/11, I'd go the other way and say that everybody in a position of responsibility bears some responsibility for 9/11.

So what you really had, however, more than individual responsibility or accountability, was a systemic failure. We did not...

WOODRUFF: Governor...

HAMILTON: That's all right. We didn't use our imaginations enough, we didn't have enough capabilities, we didn't have enough of the right policies. We didn't manage things right. Those are the reasons we -- 9/11 occurred.

WOODRUFF: Governor Kean, the president, President Bush, said today that he's going to be studying your recommendations, working with the Congress. My question though, is there enough urgency on the part of the administration, on the part of the Congress to deal with what you're saying needs to be done?

KEAN: We hope so. And we met today with the families and decided that, as a unified group, members of the 9/11 Commission and the families of 9/11, the victims, are going to work together to reestablish that sense of urgency and unity in this country that we honestly felt that morning of September 11. We need that back.

In the past, this country has always come together in time of crisis. This is time of crisis, and we need to come together once again.

Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman just decided to introduce a bipartisan measure with a number of other senators. Chris Shays, and a group of bipartisan congressman are working in the House. There are people there with a sense of urgency. There are people who know that time is not on our side and we have got to make these changes to make people safer. And we're going to work with those people to make it happen.

WOODRUFF: But as I'm sure both of you know, the leadership of the Congress, and particularly the Republican leadership in the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert and others are saying there is just no way, there isn't enough time this year to deal with the recommendations in the Congress that you are making. You had Roy Blunt, who's another Republican leader in the House, saying the fact that the report of the commission was two months late makes it almost impossible to deal with it.

HAMILTON: The Congress only has 20 or 30 days left in the session under the present schedule. They're at a status of some gridlock now. They're not getting very much done. They have not yet passed even some elements of the budget. So it's a difficult environment there.

We don't control that. It's possible the Congress will come back into session, I'm told, after the elections. It may not come back into session until January.

Tom and I have this sense of urgency. We want to get it started yesterday and not tomorrow. But we don't control it. And we're going to do everything we can to impress upon the congressional leadership, leadership in the executive branch and the people across the country, that we must not be complacent here.

There is a sense of urgency to get moving. We've been fortunate, and this is very important to realize. We are now almost on the third anniversary of 9/11. And no terrorists attacks have taken place in this country.

We can be very grateful for that. We can point back with some pride that that's happened. What we've done I think represents a deterrent to the terrorists thus far. But we know their hostility and we know their capabilities.

WOODRUFF: Governor Kean...

HAMILTON: So we...

WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, on top of this reluctance by the Congress, you also have statements like the very prominent op-ed article in "The Wall Street Journal" today by Congressman Chris Cox, a Republican, saying that your commission has been hyper-politicized. Can -- is there a cloud now over the commission's findings do you think that's going to make it hard to act on any of your recommendations?

KEAN: Well, I have great respect for Chris Cox. I haven't read the article, and I don't know what he meant by it, whether or not people in both parties are trying to -- I think people who try to politicize our work on this commission are going to do so at great political risk, because I think the country is sick and tired of that.

Now, I come from outside of Washington, and I recognize this town is about as partisan as it can be. But the country is not. The country is sick of this business about you have to do it a Republican way or a Democratic way.

We came together as 10 people who forget about the party labels, came together to make recommendations to make the people safer. Now, we believe the country will rally to that kind of a cause. We believe the leaders will get that sense of urgency. We got very good receptions today from the president, from Senator Kerry, from -- from Senator Edwards, and from a number of congressmen we talked to, and we're going to keep on working.

We believe, as do the families of 9/11, we haven't got all this time. We've got to move as rapidly as we can. And god forbid there's another attack before we make some of these reforms.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. We here you loud and clear. Governor Tom Kean, Congressman Lee Hamilton, gentlemen, we thank you very much.

HAMILTON: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

And the second half-hour of INSIDE POLITICS continues in 90 seconds.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back to Boston, our home away from home in the days before and during next week's Democratic National Convention. We have been enjoying the sites here at the home of the USS Constitution. I literally had a blast aboard the historic warship today and you're going to get to see a little bit more of that later.

But right now we turn back to this day's top story, the release of the 9/11 Commission's final report. From President Bush on down there has been widespread praise for the bipartisan panel's work. But many are wondering when and if the recommendations in the report will be carried out, especially given the current election year political climate. Senator john Kerry is urging action sooner rather than later. He says Americans are not as safe as they could be, in part because of turf wars within the Bush administration. A number of Kerry's colleagues on Capitol Hill went before the microphones today to share their reactions to the commission report.


REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: President Clinton is not blame for these attacks, President Bush is not to blame for these attacks, al Qaeda is to blame for these attacks.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D-IN), INTELLIGENCE CMTE.: The opportunities to break through the partisan gridlock, the bureaucratic turf jealousies and the general inertia in Washington to accomplish something truly lasting on behalf of our country are all too rare. This is one of those moments.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R-KS), CHMN., INTELLIGENCE CMTE.: This report is going to cause a little concern up here in terms of people who really care about turf.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: And so the report is basically a wake-up call that we can't win this war on terror without strong efforts here at home to protect our homeland.


WOODRUFF: Many lawmakers say they do not expect any significant action on the commission's recommendations until after the presidential election and possibly not until next year. Let's talk about what happens next and what it means for this presidential race with White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett.

Dan Bartlett, very good to see you.


WOODRUFF: I just spoke with -- thank you. I just spoke with Chairman Kean and Co-Chairman Hamilton. They both say it is urgent that the government move quickly to address the problems that helped lead to 9/11 not being prevented. How urgently does this president look on this report?

BARTLETT: Well, Judy, President Bush obviously takes threats to America very seriously and treats them as urgent as possible. That's why we have taken so many dramatic steps today. And I think the 9/11 Commission pretty much endorsed or has said it is consistent with the president's strategy in approaching this war on terror. That we need to stay on offense, we need to go after the terrorists, we need to think differently about what we're doing here at home.

And we have taken actions that different here at home. We've completely transformed our government. We talk about the turf wars, we talk about what's going on with Congress. Well, President Bush took that issue on by creating a Department of Homeland Security. That took functions in 23 different agencies and put them all under one roof with the single mission of protecting the American people.

So he knows the obligation he has, the administration has and the American government has in protecting the people. And we will act on these recommendations as we can see it can help the American people. They're important recommendations, the president welcomed the report today. And we will work with Congress and we will work here within the executive branch on those actions that we believe we can take on our own.

WOODRUFF: But do you -- is it fine with the president, is it sufficient if action is not addressed -- or taken in the Congress until next year, which is what we're hearing from the Republican leadership in the House right now, that there's just no way they can get this done before next year?

BARTLETT: Well, Judy, it's important that we take a good look at these proposals. These are fundamental changes in some respects about what we're doing with -- particularly on intelligence capabilities and gathering. And those require careful consideration, they require careful study. But I think that the United States Congress, I know this president is committed to doing what it takes to protect our country.

And in fact, the intelligence community knows that as well. They're working tirelessly every day to do everything they can to protect us. We have changed and addressed many of the systemic problems that we saw before 9/11. We have law enforcement community and the intelligence community communicating in a way they never did before. We tear down the wall that everybody has talked about. And we will keep taking actions in order to do everything we can to prevent the next terrorist attack.

WOODRUFF: I'm sure you know Senator John Kerry said today he's not critical of President Bush's actions before 9/11, but he said turf wars inside the Bush administration since 9/11 have prevented it from acting more quickly in response to the problems.

BARTLETT: Well, it is a little unfortunate Senator Kerry would take such a day full of bipartisan support for moving forward in order to try to score some sort of political point on the campaign trail. What is clear is this president has moved heaven and earth here after 9/11 to do everything we can to protect our country.

We transformed government, we're doing things differently, we're doing everything we can to protect our country here at home. And more importantly, he's treating this war as a war, not as a law enforcement operation, but as something that requires us to go on offense, find them before they find us and make sure we do everything we can to protect our country. He's not going to be deterred by a presidential campaign from doing his duty as president of the United States and commander-in-chief. And he'll keep focusing on what's best for the American people.

WOODRUFF: Dan Bartlett, who is communications director for President Bush, we thank you very much.

BARTLETT: Thanks for having me.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you, Dan. Thank you.

We're turning a corner now. And as we continue our look at Boston's preparations for the Democratic Convention, there is word that the 2-year-old dispute between this city and its police union have been settled. For more now, I'm joined by Boston's mayor, Tom Menino.

Mr. Mayor, what has happened?

MAYOR THOMAS MENINO (D), BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS: Well, the arbitrator, at 4:00 this afternoon came down with an arbitration decision which gives the police Patrolmen Association a 14.5 percent increase over the next four years. It's a little more than I thought they would get, but I agreed to live by their arbitration decision and this afternoon will submit an order to the city council to have that contract funded.

WOODRUFF: Is the policemen's union accepting this?

MENINO: I couldn't tell you what the policeman's union is going to do. But I said we would go to binding arbitration. They came down with the arbitration decision. And I will submit that to the city council this afternoon for their action.

WOODRUFF: Now very quickly, I understand this is a little more than splitting the difference, it's a little bit more in favor of what the union with asking for and what you as the city were prepared to give them.

MENINO: Well, the union was at 17.5 percent and I was at 12 percent. And so basically...

WOODRUFF: It's about at... MENINO: It's about in the middle. And that's what the arbitrator did. They didn't give them residency, they didn't give them longevity pay and health benefits, so those are other issues that were on the table. The union wanted residency, they didn't get residency. They were looking for longevity pay, they didn't get longevity pay.

WOODRUFF: Is this resolved?

MENINO: To my mind, it's resolved. We went to an arbitrator and he made the decision and I'm going to live by that arbitrator's decision.

WOODRUFF: And if for some reason the union was not to accept it, we don't know what their decision is because we have not heard from them yet, what would that mean?

MENINO: I don't think they have any choice. I'm going to submit that to the city council this afternoon and let the city council take action as quickly as possible. They can do it within 24 hours to have a special meeting of the city council.

WOODRUFF: Who's to blame that this dragged on so long, right up to the start of the convention?

MENINO: Well, first, Judy, I was ready to go to give a contract tonight (ph). I asked for that arbitration a year ago. And they refused to go to arbitration a year ago. And it finally went to a mediator, and the mediator says, we can't this done, we should go to binding -- expedited arbitration. And we did go to expedited arbitration. We've gone there for the last few days. And finally a decision has come down.

WOODRUFF: There is word we're getting from some of the different Democratic delegations around the country that even if this resolved, they're still not going to cross these informational picket lines, as they're called, that may still be there by the police union. The convention still could be affected, right?

MENINO: No, it can't be. I mean, we've got 75 percent of our city unions under contract now. The police union should not stop anyone from going through those lines. It's an informational line. And also there's a court order about them picketing at the FleetCenter from previous actions they had.

WOODRUFF: But the chairman of the California delegation told me just a couple of days ago, Art Torres, that he's not crossing any line no matter what it is.

MENINO: Well, that's his decision. I think we are going to have a great convention in Boston. And Art Torres and some of the other ones, if they want to side with a minority of the unionized workforce in the city of Boston, let them. But ACSFME, teachers union, SEIU, the municipal police, all the other unions are working now under contractual agreements. And you know, the police union, the fire union -- I mean, the fire union, remember, it's four times and they continue to go backtrack on their deals. And it's unfortunate. I can't sell this city away.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Mayor, stepping back for a minute. Is Boston ready for this convention?

MENINO: Well, I think we're ready. There's a buzz in the city. People are working hard. And we're going to have a great convention in Boston this year. It's the first party convention the city has ever held.

WOODRUFF: But a lot of Bostonians are leaving town we hear.

MENINO: Well, that's what you hear. That's what the media says, right? But I think a lot of people are staying in town. We're going to have a great time, a lot of events in the city, over 200 parties over the four days. And I just think it's going to be great. It is going to show off Boston's past, Boston's future. And that's we wanted to do. And also our delegation parties are in the neighborhoods of Boston. No other convention has ever done that. I want to show the strength of our city, the strength of our city is where our people live, work and send their children to school. And that's where I want to show the neighborhoods of Boston off.

WOODRUFF: I'll tell you one thing, it's a beautiful city.

MENINO: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: We are thoroughly enjoying our stay here.

MENINO: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And thank you for hosting us.

MENINO: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Mayor Tom Menino, very good to see you, thank you for coming by.

We're going to have more on that new contract for the Boston police from our bureau chief here, Dan Lothian.

Also ahead. Our Bob Novak has the inside convention buzz including the saga of the invisible man.

And later, my close encounter with a cannon aboard the historic USS Constitution.


WOODRUFF: A deadly train wreck in Turkey. The death toll has climbed to 128, another 57 people were injured and 19 others are missing. The high speed train was on its maiden voyage from Istanbul to Ankara when a number of cars derailed. The cause of the accident is not yet known. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: We just broke the news here on INSIDE POLITICS. A longstanding dispute in Boston has been settled. An arbitrator deciding that a contract will be settled between the city's policeman union and the city.

Joining me now, CNN's Boston bureau chief, Dan Lothian. Dan, I was just talking to Mayor Tom Menino. He says the union has really no choice but to accept this decision by the arbitrator.

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: That's correct. The decision is binding. They both went, both sides, going into this knew that whatever was decided today they would have to agree with it. What's going on right now is that the final numbers are being brought before the union members, they're having a meeting not far from here in Roxbury.

It really is more of an informational meeting for the union leadership to tell them about the numbers. It's unclear how they will respond to this. Some no doubt will be happy. Talking to some union members yesterday they said, "listen, if we can get 14.5 I'll be at home with my child."

WOODRUFF: Splitting the difference in essence as the mayor said between what the city was offering and what the policeman's union was asking for.

Dan, a separate story we're following, you've been following in Boston, protesters wanting space to peacefully protest outside the Fleet Center, the convention hall but they're very unhappy with something that came down today.

LOTHIAN: Very unhappy. They did go to court, they tried to get more access to the delegates who are going into the convention center. They're in an area that they're describing as a pen fenced in with barriers, having some netting over the top. The judge being very sympathetic to their cause but saying that nothing would change, they would have to stay in there. He did give them the opportunity to have a protest parade on Sunday right in front of the convention center.

WOODRUFF: In effect, it's fenced-in pen. High walls just outside...

LOTHIAN: It is. And they feel that they don't have access to any of the delegates. And I talked to an official at the ACLU and she told me that this is a very sad day for Boston, a very sad day for the First Amendment.

WOODRUFF: Dan Lothian, CNN's Boston bureau chief. Thanks very much, Dan. We appreciate it.

Back in Washington. This afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the Marriage Protection Act, it's called. The measure would prevent federal courts, including the Supreme Court from ordering states to recognize gay marriages recognized in other states. The Bush administration supports the legislation which passed the House by a 39-vote margin. The measure phases a tougher fight in the Senate. Last week, the Senate failed to advance a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriages.

A prominent Democrat still faces questions about his handling of secret government documents. Bob Novak joins me next with the inside buzz on former national security adviser and former Kerry adviser, Sandy Berger.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak joins me now with some inside buzz. All right, Bob, you've been getting some reaction from Democrats to this investigation surrounding Sandy Berger, President Clinton's former national security adviser. What are they saying?

BOB NOVAK, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": They're saying that -- the line is that the Republicans leaked it at the proper time just before the convention and the 9/11 commission report. But privately Democrats are very upset with Mr. Berger. They feel he's an experienced person. They can't understand how they could maybe make a mistake, or even asked if there is something sinister.

What they're really upset about is that it kind of spoils the run up to the convention. It undermines, they're trying put a positive spin on everything going into the convention. I have just checked with Washington. This federal investigation on Mr. Berger is going on still.

WOODRUFF: And it's been going on, I gather, since October. Bob, what's this, I was just talking to Mayor Tom Menino, he thinks that the dispute with the city's police unions has been resolved. But there still may be walkout or refusal to cross the picket line I should say?

NOVAK: That is a problem. The result, the contract dispute is settled by arbitration. But the union is very angry. This is a very united Democratic party, no doubt about it. The moment of truth may come when Mayor Menino gets up to welcome the delegates and Art Torres is the California chairman and Dennis White, the Ohio chairman walk out with their delegations as they've threatened. That would really upset a lot of people, a lot of other mayors who didn't like Senator Kerry not crossing the picket line for the U.S. Conference of Mayors when it was held in Boston last month. And Mayor Menino was, I think, very upset by some of these Democratic leaders, who are saying that -- getting involved in a labor dispute with a union that very often supported Republicans.

WOODRUFF: So the walkout could still happen?

NOVAK: It still could happen.

WOODRUFF: We'll wait and see. All right. Somebody who is a prominent figure in this state but we're not seeing a whole lot of him this time.

NOVAK: Governor Mitt Romney, the Republican governor of Massachusetts. It used to be days when any convention, if the governor of the host state was of a different party, they would put him on and he would welcome the delegates. But it's clear that the Democrats don't want Governor Romney to speak. He doesn't want to speak under these conditions.

He has gone a step farther. He has even turned down invitations to the "New York Times" and "Boston Globe" parties. He refuses to take any invitations to television programs including CNN and he is just staying away from that convention. He has helped them out on resolving this labor dispute. Some of the Republicans thought they should let the dispute simmer on and also he is the one who enforced the homeland security edict on taking out some of these newspaper bins close to subway stations for security purposes.

WOODRUFF: I know some other Republicans that will be in town and they're going to be trying to get their message out next week. Last thing, Bob, Republicans in Georgia, pretty happy about the outcome of their primary?

NOVAK: They are delighted. Johnny Isakson won it without a runoff. He's almost a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Democrat Zell Miller. The people who aren't so happy are the pro-life people. Zell Miller though a Democrat has a perfect pro-life voting record while Johnny Isakson, the Republican congressman, although he says is not pro- choice, he has voted on many issues as a pro-choice position. Voted to overturn Bush's Mexico City position, voted to fund abortions on military bases, voted for going to shops to perform or counsel abortion and so on.

So he's had a lot of pro-choice votes. That's a step backwards for the pro-life movement. But the Republicans are delighted because they have one almost sure switch Democrat to Republican even though Zell Miller always voted as a Republican.

WOODRUFF: All right. a little Georgia politics. And Bob Novak, before I let you go, I just want to tell our viewers some sad news. The wife of a good friend of ours, longtime Washington journalist Mort Kondracke, Millie Kondracke who's been fighting a long battle with Parkinson's Disease passed away today and we want to extend our condolences to the Kondracke family.

NOVAK: Let me join in that. She was a very courageous woman and Morton has been a courageous husband in supporting her.

WOODRUFF: He sure has been.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Every day at 8 a.m. and again at sunset U.S. Navy crewmen fire a cannon from aboard the USS Constitution. This morning I got the chance to head down to the gun deck on Old Ironsides. And with the help of Seaman Kyrel Drosnan (ph), take part in that ceremony.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First of all, when we take off the cover and the cover's off, as you can see, you need to look in the bore of the gun, make sure it's clear, there's nothing in there.

WOODRUFF: Yes. You can see all the way through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. That's very good. Then, you grab this handle and you bring it all the way down three times to make sure it works.

Go ahead.

WOODRUFF: Do it now?


WOODRUFF: Nothing's going to fire, right?


WOODRUFF: Oh, god. What if I can't bring it down?





WOODRUFF: You have to release something over there.




All right. Beautiful.

And we load it. This is how you do that. You put it right here. So that's it. The gun is loaded.

WOODRUFF: Pretty cool.



WOODRUFF: And they promised that if I hadn't made it through, the "CROSSFIRE" gang was going to take over for INSIDE POLITICS.

That's it for today's program. I'm Judy Woodruff. Tomorrow I'm going to be live from another of Boston's most famous landmarks, Fenway Park, home of the legendary Boston Red Sox.

Have a good evening. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

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