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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Porter Goss Nominated as CIA Director; Bush, Kerry Court Veterans

Aired August 10, 2004 - 15:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: The next CEO of the CIA. The president tapes congressman and intelligence veteran. Will Porter Goss' resume work for or against him?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's the right man to lead this important agency at this critical moment in our nation's history.

ANNOUNCER: John McCain, back in the picture. He's providing backup for Bush. But will others who served in uniform fall in line?

Going nuclear in Nevada. John Kerry takes a stand on the Yucca Mountain controversy, looking for a boost in a showdown state.

Now, live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today. I'm Candy Crowley.

Even before President Bush nominated Porter Goss to be the next CIA chief, there were rumblings about the timing and politics of the announcement, par for the course in an election year, but even more so in this post-9/11 climate.

The president emphasizes Goss' experience: a former Army intelligence officer and CIA officer, congressman, House intelligence chairman, and member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: His experience on Capitol Hill will serve him well at the CIA, because he's respected on both sides of the aisle and because he understands the important role Congress must play in the effort to improve our nation's intelligence capabilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: After the announcement, Bush made a beeline to Florida, Goss' home state, but more importantly a presidential battleground.

Our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux, is traveling with the president -- Suzanne. SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, President Bush offering that position to Goss at the White House when they had dinner last night together.

A logical choice of the Bush administration, given his background: more than a dozen years at the CIA. Is also the chair, as you had mentioned, of the House Intelligence Committee. A big Bush supporter, one who has framed himself -- framed himself, really, as a reformer here.

But his Senate confirmation is far from certain. Prominent Democrats immediately calling, saying that they will oppose this appointment here. They are saying that he that he's much too close to the intelligence community, that he's too partisan, essentially, to be effective in this post.

Now, as you had mentioned before, this is an announcement that came in Goss' home state of Florida.

This is a day where the president is whipping through three different cities in a bus tour, rallying his most loyal supporters, of course. These are the people that put him into office.

This is also where there's a huge military presence. And that is why, arguably, his most effective and strongest weapon here is the man who is traveling with him. That is Senator John McCain, back in 2000 his biggest rival when it came to the presidential nomination. Now, on the stump speech, in support of his military policy.

And President Bush, again, making the argument that it was the correct thing to go to war with Iraq. And he says that he believes that Senator John Kerry backs him on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: After months of questioning my motives, and even my credibility, Senator Kerry now agrees with me that, even though we have not found the stockpile of weapons, we all believed were there, knowing everything we know today, he would have voted to go into Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

I want to thank Senator Kerry for clearing that up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Now, Candy, this is an important part of the Bush strategy. Essentially they do not want any kind of difference between the president and Kerry on this matter. The president making the case that he did the right thing to go to war. He wants to have Senator Kerry on record, as well -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Suzanne Malveaux, thanks so much.

John Kerry is actually in Las Vegas today, working to improve his odds in a showdown state Bush narrowly won four years ago. Our John King is on the road with Kerry. John, hard to look at Porter Goss' resume and not see that there's a lot of qualifications there. Does the Kerry camp have any argument with the Goss nomination?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're being very careful, Candy. Senator Kerry, as you know, here in Nevada campaigning live as we speak at a school on the outskirts of the city of Las Vegas.

The Kerry campaign and Senator Kerry in a written statement being very careful, some Democrats back on Capitol Hill will question whether Porter Goss is committed to dramatic reforms in the intelligence community. Senator Kerry choosing on this day, and of course he will be one of the Senators who have to vote soon on this nomination, to focus on a bigger picture.

In a statement, Senator Kerry says there should be expeditious hearing on the Goss confirmation. But he says, quote, "But the most important position is one that hasn't been created yet: national intelligence director with real control of budgets and personnel. We need to move urgently on this and other recommendations by the 9/11 Commission to make America safer. I hope that Congressman Goss shares this view and will now support the creation of this important post."

There you see the line the Democrats, including Senator Kerry, will draw. They want to see if President Bush will support this new cabinet level position.

So far the president says yes. But not inside the White House, which is where Senator Kerry believes that position should be drawn.

So look for the Goss confirmation process to focus not only on his qualifications to lead the CIA, but the bigger debate, and it is a campaign debate, as well as a policy debate, over intelligence reform.

Now here in Nevada, as you noted, a key battleground state. A small state, but still one both campaigns think could be decisive this fall.

Senator Kerry focusing on a key local political issue. He says that President Bush has now broken a promise that he made to the people in Nevada late in the 2000 campaign to go slow and to look very carefully at the science as to whether to build a nuclear repository, a nuclear waste repository here in Nevada at Yucca Mountain.

Senator Kerry saying just moments ago the president promised to take a close look and then tried to rush that project into completion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Promises kept and promises broken. Because the fact is that the person I'm running against in this race for president of the United States came here to Nevada, stood up in front of Nevada, and made a promise to Nevada that this waste would not come to Yucca Mountain, and to Nevada. And within weeks and months, that was reversed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, three states, one won by the Democrats four years ago, Candy, two of them, Arizona and Nevada. This state won by President Bush.

But the Kerry campaign feels very confident about it and they are hoping to pick up the electoral votes in this region, again including the state of Nevada, to offset what they concede will be probably a not terribly strong showing across the South -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks so much. Senior White House correspondent, John King.

Over on Capitol Hill today, some of Kerry's fellow Democrats may feel more free than the candidate to raise questions about Porter Goss' nomination to be CIA director.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: I served with him in the House. He's a fine guy. He cares about intelligence services. I like him. But I think there are going to be some real questions here.

Many of us were very troubled when the president sort of gave a lukewarm endorsement to the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the director of national intelligence have full budgetary and hiring authority. If you don't have that, you're a toothless tiger.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: We'll have a report from the Hill later on the Democrats' reaction to Goss, as well as new pressure they're trying to put on President Bush.

With his nomination today, Porter Goss entered a kind of limbo, as the potential boss of an organization targeted for reform.

Our national correspondent Bruce Morton looks at the history of the job and its uncertain future.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So you want to be head of the CIA. It isn't easy. Remember Allen Dulles, dumped after the unsuccessful invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs?

William Casey, signing arms to Iran and using the money to buy guns for the Contra guerrillas in Nicaragua?

Remember the mole, Aldrich Ames, who betrayed American agents to the Soviets?

But for men (ph), like the late Senator Pat Moynihan, wanted to abolish the agency.

What is the job President Bush has now offered Porter Goss? The title is director of central intelligence. You really are in charge of the CIA, but in theory, you head the other agencies that gather intelligence, except that you really don't.

Five agencies mostly gather and analyze intelligence: the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, military intelligence; the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, maps and so on; the National Reconnaissance Office, airplane and satellite information; and the National Security Agency, electronic eavesdropping.

But other agencies deal with intelligence, as well: the military services, the State Department, the Energy Department, and so on. The director of central intelligence doesn't run them.

The CIA, which he does run, gets maybe 20 percent of the estimated $40 billion a year the U.S. spends on intelligence. Most of the rest goes to the Pentagon. And Defense Secretary Rumsfeld won't want to change that.

The figures, by the way, are secret. These numbers are often published guesstimates.

(on camera) So you're not in charge of everything now, and Congress is debating the 9/11 Commission's report to create a new intelligence director.

Would he be inside the White House, outside it, with control over the budget or not? And if the new man controls the CIA budget, is the CIA chief a chief or a lap dog?

The fact is, President Bush has appointed Porter Goss to a job nobody right now can define, a job which may change drastically as the Congress and the White House continue to debate the 9/11 Commission's report. We've never had a nomination quite like this one.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Obviously Porter Goss is the talk of this capital city today. Up next, insights into the man and his job qualifications from Senator Bill Nelson, from the same state, but a different party.

Also ahead, the veterans' vote. We'll have the latest on recruiting efforts by both camps in our "Hotline Tip Sheet."

And later, the evolution of Teresa Heinz Kerry. Has she changed on the trail, or has her P.R. just gotten better?

With 84 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: While President Bush draws fire over his nomination of Porter Goss as CIA director, supporters of Goss are also speaking out, among them Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, who is also from Florida.

I talked with Nelson a short time ago. My first question was about criticism that Porter is a politician and this may be no time for a politician to lead the CIA.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BILL NELSON (D), FLORIDA: I don't think that's the issue, because if John Kerry were president, I'd be supporting Bob Graham to be the CIA director.

I think what is at issue, and why I think it will be a raucous confirmation hearing for Porter, is, does he support the 9/11 Commission recommendations?

And if he supports what the president has said, that's not the full recommendation of a national intelligence director that has line item authority over all the directors of the intelligence agencies, as well as budgetary authority over them.

CROWLEY: So if Congressman Goss disagrees with any element of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, you would then be against his nomination?

NELSON: No, personally, I'm going to vote in favor of him, because I think he's a good man, and I know him. And I think his character is solid.

But I think he's going to run into a storm of protests, including from Governor Kean and Congressman Hamilton and the commission, which has gone out and so forcefully stated that they think you've got to get one hand of the government knowing what the other hand is doing, and the only way to do that is through a national intelligence director that's not a figurehead but has real authority.

CROWLEY: Lee Hamilton and Tom Kean have, in fact, called it a good choice. So whether or not they, you know, they've gotten into the 9/11 Commission part, I'm not sure.

Let me ask you about the timing of this. Look, we're almost to November. Why don't you just leave the acting CIA director in there, and then whatever happens in the November election, then make the appointment? What is the big rush?

NELSON: Well, if I'd been president I would have done that. And there may be different motives for different things.

As a practical matter, with the Congress only being in session in September, we're going to be coming back after the election anyway into a special session in November and December. So I would expect that's when it would be finally acted upon.

CROWLEY: So do you worry that this undercuts the acting director, having a name out there?

NELSON: No. There's too much importance attached to our intelligence gathering now. And I think the existing acting director is going to do exactly what we have to have, which is, if we're going to thwart terrorists, we have to have accurate and timely intelligence.

CROWLEY: Stansfield Turner, who as you know, was the Carter CIA chief, who is a John Kerry supporter, called Porter Goss the worst appointment that's ever been made, and that the only reason George Bush made it was to win votes in Florida. Do you agree?

NELSON: No, I don't, because I know Porter, and I think he's a class act. But I can certainly see with the timing of this, that you could draw that interpretation.

Why didn't the president make the choice back when George Tenet announced that he was going to resign? And the more that he waits like this, close to the election, the more it's subject to that kind of suspicion.

CROWLEY: So you're sort of for it, but you question that -- I mean, it seems like maybe you want to have it both ways there, though. I mean, are you for this guy? Or do you think it ought to wait?

NELSON: Yes, I am. I've told you, I am for Porter. I announced that right when I heard about Tenet's resignation. And I will vote for him.

CROWLEY: Is there any way, Senator Nelson, as a last question, to take the politics out of this choice?

NELSON: Do the final confirmation after the election, that's the way that you take the politics out of it. Go ahead and have your hearings, and expect them to be tumultuous. But do the final selection right after November the 2nd.

CROWLEY: And you don't think national security will in any way be hampered by that scenario?

NELSON: No. Because I think McLaughlin is doing a good job.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: Conventional wisdom and polls say veterans mostly vote Republican. But John Kerry is working hard to change that.

Up next, how the two campaigns are battling for support among former members of the military.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: George Bush has John McCain at his side today. And John Kerry rarely strays from the side of one of his Vietnam band of brothers.

So with both sides courting veterans so heavily, we turn now to Chuck Todd. He's the editor-in-chief of "The Hotline: An Insider's Political Briefing," produced daily by the "National Journal." So, what's in the veterans' vote? Why are they both so assiduously courting this group?

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Well, of the approximately 20 showdown states, veterans make up at least 12 percent of the population in each one of those states.

It is a much larger and probably significant voting block than I think a lot of us have realized before this election. In fact, one- third of these veterans, of all veterans, are Vietnam veterans. And so that makes it doubly important to John Kerry.

So this image campaign on John Kerry as a veteran, and with George W. Bush campaigning with John McCain is very, very important.

Five states in particular have a veteran population of 15 percent or more: Florida, Virginia, Washington, Arizona, and Oregon, obviously five fairly heavily targeted states.

CROWLEY: So how are they doing it? I mean, how do you come up with veterans?

TODD: Well, interestingly, it's been a very difficult thing for both parties to do and, surprisingly, hasn't been done very often.

The Kerry campaign, for instance in Iowa, found a little loophole, because Iowa -- the state of Iowa offers property tax discount or credit to veterans. So they were able to go on to the tax rolls and identify people who applied for this credit, and they were able to increase veteran turnout in the caucuses.

So they're trying to find these little things, these little nooks and crannies in different states. The VFW is very guarded with their list, Veterans of Foreign Wars. They don't want to look like they're politicized, because they want friends on both sides of the aisle.

But both parties are trying very hard to establish these target lists.

CROWLEY: And can you tell -- I mean, since we have no real baseline of how veterans have voted in the past -- we were just talking about how exit polls haven't asked if you're a veteran. Can you tell who's -- is anybody making gains? Or...

TODD: This is what's so difficult. I mean, you instinctively in your promo, you know, instinctively the conventional wisdom says, OK, veterans are probably a Republican voting block.

At the same time, this is an older voting block. And older voters are usually very much more split or even lean Democrat, because they more lean on the government safety net.

We've seen a couple of polls. CNN/Gallup poll had Bush narrowly ahead among veterans. I think it was 51/46.

So we're not quite sure. It's clear both sides are worried about it. Kerry made his last stop before the convention, Norfolk, Virginia, a big military town. Where's the president today? Pensacola, Florida, a gigantic military part of the state of Florida.

So both parties aren't sure where they stand with veterans. But they know they need to stand somewhere.

CROWLEY: So is it -- I mean, have you been able to sort of look at the pitch? I mean, is the pitch conservative values? Is the pitch Iraq? Is it a little bit of both? Do you know what the appeal is?

TODD: It is more -- it seems on the Kerry side, it's a little bit on the Iraq, and a little bit of sort of, I've been there, I'm going to be more cautious going to war.

And if you think about a third of the veterans' vote are Vietnam veterans. And instinctively they may be a little less -- a little more gun-shy on war.

With Bush, the pitch has been values, has been, sort of, you know, who do you want to trust as your commander in chief? The Republican Party has been there for you.

So it's -- it's nuanced. Kerry doesn't really like to get into all the other parts of the Democratic Party when he's courting these folks.

CROWLEY: Got to play to your strength.

TODD: Yes.

CROWLEY: Chuck Todd from the "Hotline," thanks so much.

TODD: You got it.

CROWLEY: "The Hotline: An Insider's Political Briefing" is produced daily by the "National Journal." Go online to NationalJournal.com for subscription information.

Bill Clinton says he has noticed a lot of fire and intensity in this year's race for the White House, on both sides. He says that's a good thing.

The former president put in an appearance last night on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart. And while he weighed in on some serious issues, Clinton also drew some laughs over his new book, "My Life."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I didn't have any writer's block for two years and two months.

JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": Really?

CLINTON: No. But I actually, you know, wrote too much, and I -- believe it or not I took a lot out of this book. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Bill Clinton says he has noticed a lot of fire in the campaign. The former president's book, by the way, is huge. It runs nearly 1,000 pages.

President Bush might want to keep an eye on his mailbox. A couple of weeks after the release of the 9/11 Commission report, Democrats are sending a letter aimed at holding the president's feet to the fire.

Also coming up, hip-hop stars get together to sing the praises of voting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A top appointment for the post-9/11 era.

BUSH: His experience on Capitol Hill will serve him well at the CIA.

ANNOUNCER: Do Senate Democrats agree?

NELSON: I like him. But I think there are going to be some real questions here.

ANNOUNCER: She's found her voice.

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, SENATOR JOHN KERRY'S WIFE: Four more years of hell.

ANNOUNCER: But some Democrats wish she'd just be quiet. We raise the curtain on the Teresa show.

And it's election day. With big Senate primaries in Georgia and Colorado. We'll rate the stakes.

Now, live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Welcome back. I'm Candy Crowley, sitting in for Judy today.

First up this hour, a different kind of warning. Congressional Democrats are putting the president on notice again today that they want quick action on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.

At the same time some Democrats are questioning how Bush's nomination of Congressman Porter Goss to be CIA director figures into proposed intelligence reforms.

For more on the Goss nomination, and terror politics, we want to go, of course, to our congressional correspondent, Ed Henry -- Ed. ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Candy.

Republicans up here on the Hill are feeling very good about what happened today. They think Porter Goss's nomination is in pretty good shape in the Senate already. And they also feel that the president stole some of the Democrats' thunder today that you mentioned.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi had called all of her 205 members back into town. She's demanding a special session of Congress. She's written a letter to the president about that. Only about half of her members actually showed up, because obviously people are on vacations, scattered all around the world.

But the bottom line is Democrats were holding a press conference this afternoon in order to try to bring attention to what they believe is inaction on the Republicans' part.

And the bottom line is, Republicans now feel that by -- with one fell swoop, the president went into the Rose Garden, by naming Porter Goss, he seized the initiative and has really taken -- taken it back and is actually putting Democrats on the defensive a little bit.

What we've seen already today is obviously a lot of Republican support for Porter Goss, but not just among conservatives. Also among moderates like Olympia Snowe of Maine in the Senate. Also, Democratic senators like Bob Graham, Bill Nelson from Florida, Goss' home state saying good things and perhaps most importantly Tom Kean, the chairman of the 9/11 Commission also today on Capitol Hill talking to House Democrats but also at a House armed services committee hearing. He, before that hearing, told CNN that he believes that Porter Goss is a good pick for the CIA chief.

So that's all very interesting for Republicans. Now on the Democratic side Nancy Pelosi though did point out that she agrees with Jay Rockefeller the senator who is the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee that maybe Porter Goss is too political of a pick, at a time in the post-9/11 world where there should be more bipartisanship on national security. Here's what Pelosi had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), MINORITY LEADER: But I will say what I said before is that there shouldn't -- a person should not be the director of central intelligence who has acted in a very political way when we're dealing with the safety of the American people. Intelligence has to be the gathering and analysis and dissemination of information, of intelligence without any political -- any politics involved at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: But Republicans are saying today that they believe there's egg left on Pelosi's face because in fact Republicans are moving today again, as I mentioned, they had 1 of some 15 hearings they're having in the month of August. They had another one today. There's another one tomorrow in Mr. Goss' committee and also Republicans pointing out that with President Bush's appointment, his nomination of Porter Goss today, the president is again moving forward on trying to reform, trying to shake up the intelligence community.

What Democrats say though is this is all talk, it's not action and naming a new CIA director does nothing to deal with those 41 recommendations from the 9/11 commission -- Candy.

CROWLEY: OK, Ed. Let me ask you first. Seems the Democrats wanted to make it a big show of why aren't we moving fast enough? What's Republicans' response, when do they see that they'll be taking some action on the recommendations?

HENRY: Republicans say there's no reason to move too quick. They want to hold a lot of hearings now. But what their plan is in terms of action is Republican aides in the House are saying either in the first week or the second week of September, right after the Republican National Convention, they're going to bring up most of the 41 recommendations. That's what they're vowing to do. Get them passed in the House right on the eve of the 9/11 anniversary -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Ed Henry on Capitol Hill. Thank you, sir.

The presidential candidates and their top surrogates are all over the map today, scoping out battlegrounds from Florida to Iowa, to Nevada. In Las Vegas, John Kerry is taking aim at the Bush administration's plan to store nuclear waste at nearby Yucca mountain. His wife Teresa is with him.

Running mate John Edwards is enjoying downtime on a North Carolina beach.

In the Florida panhandle, the president took direct aim at Kerry's latest remark about his vote to authorize Iraq war. The senator said yesterday he still would have voted yes even if he had known no weapons of mass destruction would be found.

Vice President Cheney is in Iowa playing up the president's tax cut and anti-terror policies in a suburb of Des Moines. First Lady Laura Bush is stumping in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota, reaching out in particular to women who own small businesses.

Should Teresa Heinz Kerry become the next first lady, don't expect her to exactly follow in Laura bush's footsteps or anyone else's for that matter. She's always been known as a tell-it-like- she-sees it, do-it-my-way kind of woman. But lately, Mrs. Kerry has seemed a little bit different on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF JOHN KERRY: You know, if John had told me ten years ago, "I am going to run for president one day," I would say, hello, not with me you're not. Not because I don't think it's important but it would have scared me.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CROWLEY (voice-over): Frightened? Hard to believe because baby, look at her now. Teresa Heinz Kerry, hanging out with construction workers, waving to the throngs, and sometimes, oh, so very Teresa.

HEINZ KERRY: And I have a husband, all of nine years, um, so you know, it's past the seven-year itch.

CROWLEY: Mamie Eisenhower she's not but the Kerry campaign has done an artful pivot with Mrs. Heinz Kerry, that loose canon reporters wrote about and the campaign fretted about...

HEINZ KERRY: They want four more years of hell.

CROWLEY: Is now lauded as a strong outspoken woman and it's 2004. Who could argue with that?

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She speaks her mind and she speaks the truth. And she's pretty quick on her feet, too.

CROWLEY: Those stream of consciousness riffs on the benefits of sunscreen and growing up in Mozambique are mostly gone. Now, she's more likely to introduce her husband by giving his speech.

HEINZ KERRY: You never want to go to war unless it's the last thing you have to do.

CROWLEY: Still, in the highly stylized Kabuki theater that is now the campaign trail, Teresa Heinz Kerry adds an element of street theater.

KERRY: Yes, sir? Let me just -- before you get up on that, I've got a note here from...

CROWLEY: The candidate who can take a hint turned over the microphone so his wife could discuss the wonders of organic farming, a speech not entirely welcome by the crowd of Missouri farmers.

Still she is no Eleanor Roosevelt, no Hillary Clinton. Her views on first ladyship are very Mamie Eisenhower.

HEINZ KERRY: I will keep him honest and humble.

CROWLEY: She calls herself an old-fashioned modern woman. It's as good a description as any.

HEINZ KERRY: You go, girls!

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY: More takes on Teresa Heinz Kerry ahead when I talk to some reporters who have been covering her performance on the trail.

Plus, Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama takes issue with some strong words from his new opponent, Alan Keyes.

And later, if they are what they eat, which presidential candidate is the most fit for office? With 20 days until the Republican National Convention, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. We want to show you a little politics as it's happening. You're looking, of course, at President George Bush. He is in Knightsville (ph), Florida, at one of his Ask President Bush events. We just want to take a quick listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...of keeping our charter high school and making it flourish and continue to flourish like it is.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good question. First of all, let me ask you, sir, how many of you are going to college?

That's good. job. Secondly, high schools are chartered not by the federal government, and they will not be chartered by the federal government so long as I'm the president. That's not local control of schools. Schools need to be locally controlled. The high schools are chartered by the state, and that's where they should be, by the county, by somebody other than the federal government. You don't want your federal government running the schools.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: That, of course, is President Bush. You can tell when they roll up their sleeves they're ready for a town hall meeting. In Knightsville, Florida. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GERALD FORD, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear -- in all my public and private acts as your president. I expect to follow my instincts of openness and candor with full confidence that honesty is always the best policy in the end.

HARRY S. TRUMAN, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I deem this reply a full acceptance of the Potsdam Declaration, which specifies the unconditional surrender of Japan.

ROBERT DOLE (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I accept your nomination to lead our party once again to the presidency of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: As we have seen, Teresa Heinz Kerry's role has changed, or at least the campaign's promotion of it as her husband moved from presidential hopeful to Democratic nominee. With me in Washington to talk more about the transformation, Karen Tumulty of "TIME" magazine, and in Boston, Glen Johnson of "The Boston Globe."

Glen, I want to start with you, only because we were busmates going through the Midwest, and we talked a little about Teresa Heinz Kerry at the time. She really seems to have taken to this role.

GLEN JOHNSON, "THE BOSTON GLOBE": Oh, absolutely. And it was interesting: She was out with us for the first couple days of the bus tour as we made our way through her adopted home state of Pennsylvania, and then she took a day off to go visit a relative.

And when she came back and delivered her introduction of Senator Kerry last Monday in Wisconsin, it was pretty sharp. It was a promotion of him through sort of criticism by omission of President Bush. She talked about what the country needed in terms of a great leader, somebody who was willing to stand in the line of fire, and subtly was making a very strong case against President Bush.

CROWLEY: Karen, which I'm not used to -- I mean, I've heard her -- and the joke has always been she talks more -- Kerry was almost an afterthought with her.

What's changed here?

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME" MAGAZINE: In fact, to the degree her convention speech was criticized, it was because -- it was people were saying that she was talking more about herself and her own story.

I think that it's a degree of focus. I don't think that Teresa Heinz Kerry is ever going to be sort of the stereotypical political wife. I don't think she's ever going to be able to sit there and gaze at him adoringly as -- you know, as though she's just never heard this speech before. You know, I just don't think that there's -- she's manageable. I don't think she's handle-able.

CROWLEY: And Glen, you know, when you look at her now out on the campaign trail, it does seem like she's a little more in sync with their message. We do see these sort of things that come off the top of her head about her seven-year itch and that sort of thing.

But you have covered her for nine years, I'm assuming, since you've covered John Kerry forever. Is she manageable? Is she a campaign handler's nightmare?

JOHNSON: Well, I guess in the politico sense, she could be a nightmare in that she likes to speak her mind, and she's not afraid to, you know, speak whatever is -- just comes to her mind at that moment. But I also think that they've done some work with trying to put her in sync with him. They hired Marla Romash, who was a communications official in the Clinton administration, to be her communications director.

And when she came back from that break last week, she was showing him on the ferry across Michigan notes, and then she came out and delivered that introduction in Milwaukee. So, I think that there is, you know, some attempt there to try and put her in coordination with the campaign. However, you know, on the rope line, people seem to like, you know, the freeness with which she speaks. And Senator Kerry always seems to talk about it, as he did after she made her comment in Milwaukee last week to the Bush supporters.

CROWLEY: And Glen brings up, you know, something -- let me throw you this theory. She tells the reporter to "shove it" during the convention. The next night, she comes out and gives a speech. And what's the main line in there? It's that strong outspoken women -- I can't wait until women are seen as outspoken and not, you know, pushy and aggressive.

Seems to me the campaign has done a very nice pivot, Karen, from, "Holy cow, here's a loose cannon," to ,"She's an outspoken woman." And who can argue with that?

TUMULTY: And she is an outspoken woman, but a woman who, you know, unlike say Hillary Clinton, Teresa Heinz Kerry has never shown any ambition to take over, you know, public policy or to, you know, even influence her husband's -- she will tell you, "I don't influence how he votes. I talk over things with him, but I have never told him how to vote, what to do."

And I think she is more easily fitting into this role, however, as somebody who is there on the stage because of what she can tell people about her husband, what kind of man he is, about his character.

CROWLEY: Do you think she can stay in that role, Glen? She just doesn't strike me as someone who's always just going to be about him.

JOHNSON: No, I mean, she's very much her own person. She's managing these foundations under the Heinz family name, which give millions of dollars every year to all different endeavors.

I think it's interesting to look at both campaigns. You have the president now in the panhandle of Florida today and you have Laura Bush up in the Midwest by herself. You have Senator Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry wrapping up their trip through the western states. And each campaign is using the candidate's spouse and the candidate's children to some effect in this campaign -- both trying to humanize each of the candidates.

And with President Bush, you have Laura Bush presenting a very home-spun, down-to-earth air. And much like Senator Kerry, you have Teresa Heinz presenting a more continental, sophisticated air to her. And in each way, the spouse mirrors the candidate to whom they're married.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you both -- and we've got about a minute left, so I'll keep it a short question. Sometimes in the Midwest when you talk to people in the crowds, they'll say, "You know, she speaks with an accent. She's just a little too --" you know, they find her a little too exotic.

Does she work for him or against him? TUMULTY: Well, I don't know. I saw her in Iowa when he was really against the wall, and her getting up and telling her own immigrant story -- and she was really able to relate to people, and particularly in small groups.

CROWLEY: Glen, what do you think? Are there pockets that you don't think she can win over?

JOHNSON: Well, I'm sure that there's -- you know, the Republicans have done a good job of trying to portray her as some sort of alien being, but there are many people who go into the crowds who tell her she's a role model.

I've often felt that the two biggest challenges for the Kerry campaign is will people feel that Senator Kerry is straight with them and do they get a straight answer from him, and are they willing to accept somebody who's a little bit more exotic in the role of first lady? Laura Bush presents a very down-home image, as does President Bush, and the Kerrys are offering a slightly different image.

CROWLEY: Glen Johnson of "The Boston Globe," thanks, Glen, for joining us. Karen Tumulty...

JOHNSON: You're welcome, Candy.

CROWLEY: ... of "TIME" magazine, you, too.

TUMULTY: Thanks, Candy.

CROWLEY: Hip-hop and rap stars pool their talents for a political cause. Up next, laying down a '60s remake in hopes of making a difference at the ballot box.

ANNOUNCER: These are the stories CNN is following tonight.

Polls say John Kerry didn't get a bounce from the DNC. At 5:00, numbers in key states that may surprise you.

At 6:00, how special interests groups play their own brand of politics to get what they want from you representatives.

And at 7:00, Christiane Amanpour reports on the dire situation in Sudan as the children of the Darfur region struggle to survive.

Stay with CNN, the most trusted name in news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CROWLEY: Checking the headlines in our Tuesday "Campaign News Daily," Secretary of State Colin Powell will not be attending the Republican National Convention. Powell spoke at the 2000 party convention, but a State Department spokesman says Powell has no plans to attend this time. The spokesman pointed to Powell's recent remarks that as the nation's secretary of state, he stays out of what he called "parochial debate." The anti-Bush group The Media Fund has expanded its TV advertising to four more states. The group was already spending millions on anti-Bush TV ads in five showdown states. Now the group has added Iowa, Oregon, Wisconsin and West Virginia to its list.

Music producers Russell Simmons and Babyface Edmonds are behind a new recording of the 1960s "Wake Up Everybody." Mary J. Blige and Missy Elliott are among the hip-hop and rap artists who perform on the recording which benefits the liberal political group America Coming Together. The song is featured on a CD coming out next week to benefit the group's voter registration drives.

Voters are deciding congressional primaries today in several parts of the country. In addition to congressional races in Connecticut, there are tight Senate primaries in Colorado and a Senate runoff down South in Georgia.

In the race to succeed retiring GOP Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell in Colorado, former Congressman Bob Schaffer and beer executive Pete Coors are squaring off for the GOP Senate nomination. Attorney General Ken Salazar and educator Mike Miles are battling for the Democratic nomination.

In Georgia, Democrats Cliff Oxford and Congresswoman Denise Majette are in a runoff. The winner faces Republican Johnny Isakson for the Senate seat now held by the retiring Democrat Zell Miller.

And looking ahead to the Florida Senate primary later this month, Democrat Peter Deutsch has started running this TV ad statewide, touting his support for stem cell research, it's believed to be the first political ad to focus on the stem cell debate.

It didn't take long for the Illinois Senate race to heat up, one day after Alan Keyes hit the campaign trail he drew fire from his Democratic opponent. Barack Obama is blasting Keyes after the Republican ripped into Obama over his voting record on the abortion issue. Here's what Keyes had to say yesterday on INSIDE POLITICS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALAN KEYES (R), ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE: Barack Obama is somebody, for instance, who on abortion takes a stand that turns its back on the principles, on the basis of which slavery was abolished, the principles on the basis of which Martin Luther King argued against segregation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: And Obama wasted no time firing back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA (D), ILLINOIS SENATE CANDIDATE: I do suggest that he look even to members of his own party to see whether it's appropriate to use that kind of language.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Obama says in the Illinois legislature he voted against a late-term abortion ban because it contained no exception to protect the life of the mother.

By the way, a napkin used by Keyes is attracting a lot of attention on eBay. Keyes used the napkin to wipe his forehead after his emotionally charged announcement that he would accept the GOP nomination in the Illinois Senate race. Right now the bid is up to $520.

CROWLEY: When presidential candidates say they are fit to hold the office, they're usually not talking about their fat-to-muscle ratio or the quality of their diet. Coming up, who is more physically fit for the job, Bush or Kerry?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(MARKET REPORT)

CROWLEY: President Bush and Senator John Kerry have at least this much in common, both seem to get lots of exercise and tend to watch what they eat. But who would be a better role model for healthy living? According to a survey by a leading online diet site, 41 percent of those polled rated Bush as the healthiest candidate, compared to just 18 percent for Kerry. That may be one of the areas where Kerry needs to define himself better for voters. Get it?

In the Same survey, burger-munching, weight-battling Bill Clinton got slightly higher marks than Kerry as a role model for healthy living.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Candy Crowley. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.

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