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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Who Won Clash in Cleveland?; Interview with Ken Mehlman, Ann Lewis; Bush Fires Away at Kerry; Cheney, Edwards Unprepared For HIV/AIDS Question
Aired October 6, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: George Bush fires away at John Kerry.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said terrorists are pouring across the Iraqi border, but also said that fighting those terrorists is a diversion from the war on terror.
BUSH: You hear all of that and you understand why somebody would make a face.
ANNOUNCER: Is the president trying to make up for his debate performance?
The clash in Cleveland. Who do you think was the winner? We'll ask some experts.
Fact or fiction?
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That was a complete distortion of my record.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Your facts are just wrong, Senator.
ANNOUNCER: Did the candidates have trouble getting it straight last night?
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Cleveland Museum of Art, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us in Cleveland, Ohio, outside, as you just heard, the Cleveland Museum of Art.
We are once again alongside the CNN Election Express, near the site of last night's vice presidential debate. Dick Cheney and John Edwards have already left this city. Both men headed south today to the showdown state of Florida. It was George W. Bush, not Cheney or Edwards, who was first out of the blocks on the morning after the vice presidential debate. With John Kerry off the trail and preparing for the next presidential debate this Friday, Bush made his 38th trip to Pennsylvania and opened new lines of attack against his opponent. The president went back to basics, criticizing Senator Kerry for his stands on everything from Iraq to health care to tax policy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: ... middle-class tax relief. He voted instead to squeeze another $2,000 per year from the average middle-class family. Now the senator's proposing higher taxes on more than 900,000 small business owners. My opponent is one of the few candidates in history to campaign on a pledge to raise taxes.
BUSH: And that's the kind of promise a politician from Massachusetts usually keeps.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: On a conference call today, Kerry adviser Roger Altman disputed the president's remarks about the economy and Senator Kerry's tax record and accused Bush of being out of touch with working families.
We'll have more reaction from the Kerry campaign and more from our own Bill Schneider on the president's speech later on this program.
With their one and only debate now behind them, Dick Cheney and John Edwards today headed to separate regions of the state of Florida. Cheney is spending this day in the GOP-leaning northern part of the state. Edwards hit the more heavily Democratic southeast coast.
Our Dana Bash traveled with the vice president to Tallahassee. CNN's Joe Johns accompanied Senator Edwards to West Palm Beach.
Joe, let's begin with you.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, after a late night, it was a fairly high-energy event here in Palm Beach, Florida, for John Edwards. He was back on the road blasting the administration.
JOHNS (voice-over): Arriving in Palm Beach County, Florida, John Edwards took it up a notch from Tuesday night's debate, accusing the Bush-Cheney ticket of being in denial about the problems facing the country.
EDWARDS: They're not going to level with the American people. Let me tell you something. Come November, the American people are going to level with them and they're going to level with a three-word message to George Bush and Dick Cheney: President John Kerry.
JOHNS: Later, in a statement to reporters, Edwards expanded on the theme, referencing a new report that said Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction at the time of the invasion.
EDWARDS: Now we have a report today that there clearly were no weapons of mass destruction. All of that known and Dick Cheney said again last night that he would have done everything the same. George Bush has said he would have done everything the same. They are in a complete state of denial.
JOHNS: Back at the rally, Edwards also attacked the vice president for asserting in the debate that this was the first time he'd ever met John Edwards, insinuating that the senator didn't spend much time on the job in the Senate.
Cheney apparently forgot a February 2001 prayer breakfast where he and Lynne Cheney sat with Senator Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth. Edwards used the lapse to assert a broader point, that Cheney has a problem with candor.
EDWARDS: You also saw that we have a vice president and a president who still struggle with the truth, right?
JOHNS: With the debate behind him, the challenge for Edwards will be to keep all that energy going. He leaves here on to North Carolina, then to New York, and that's just today, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Joe Johns watching John Edwards.
Now to Dana Bash, keeping an eye on the vice president -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, Tallahassee was the first of three stops for the vice president here in Florida today. And he noted that neither he nor the president have spent much traditional campaign time in this state because of the four hurricanes that have devastated the state of Florida, but he was all too happy to repeat some of his debate lines for Florida voters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNNE CHENEY, WIFE OF VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: How did you like that debate last night?
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BASH (voice-over): At a town hall in Tallahassee, Lynne Cheney found a coy way to correct her husband, who chided John Edwards for saying he was so absent in the Senate, they never met, but they actually did twice, first at a prayer breakfast.
L. CHENEY: I know all of us will agree it is a really good thing to go to prayer breakfast. But don't you think the senator ought to go to the Senate once in a while?
The vice president reprised other debate zingers for Florida voters, what Mrs. Cheney described the greatest hits.
D. CHENEY: The problem with that is, there isn't anything in John Kerry's background since, oh, for the last 30 years that gives you any reason to believe that he would in fact be tough in terms of prosecuting the war on terror.
BASH: And with all the talk of him being a heartbeat away from the presidency, this question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just wanted to know, how's your health?
D. CHENEY: Well, it's very good.
BASH: The night before, just down the street, locals watching here in Tallahassee called the vice president impressive, but say his debate won't sway them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that his expertise is a really good point. And I don't know. I'm still reserving any final rights or opinions about who I'm voting.
BASH: Carlos Balano (ph) says he supported the war at first, but feels duped.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now I'm just, like, they lied. They definitely lied.
BASH: Team Bush counted on Mr. Cheney's face-off to reassure rank-and-file Republicans, those disappointed by the president's first debate performance. For supporters here to see the vice president, it seemed to work.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He looked tired. And he seemed not to be on top of things all the time. I think Cheney was able to take command of the day, be straightforward, hit the points and do what the president needed to do last week.
BASH: Now, several Republicans here said that they are still holding their breath for the rematch between President Bush and Senator Kerry on Friday.
But one organizer said at least for now, she thinks that the vice president went a long way in reenergizing the base with his performance last night -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: OK, Dana Bash traveling with the vice president, thanks to you and to Joe Johns. We appreciate it. Well, now to the question on a lot of people's minds after each of these debates: Who won? According to an ABC news survey of registered voters who watched the debate, Cheney was the winner by a small margin. But something to keep in mind; 38 percent of the viewers who were surveyed were Republicans, 31 percent Democrats and the rest were independents.
CBS News surveyed 178 debate watchers who described themselves as uncommitted voters; 41 percent said Edwards won, 28 percent said Cheney and 31 percent called it a tie. As for the focus group of mostly undecided voters assembled by CNN and given electronic meters to rate the debate as it unfolded, Dick Cheney got the most reaction when he expressed his personal views on the subject of gay marriage.
The response to John Edwards reached its peak when he talked about the economy and the outsourcing of American jobs. Afterwards, our panel had mixed reactions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard far more definitive answers than I heard from the previous debate between our presidential candidates. I still heard too much he said, she said, you said accusations, but there were definitive answers to specific questions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They talked a lot about the war, but I would have liked to hear more about how and when we're pulling the troops out, not how we got there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think both candidates, vice presidential candidates, missed the boat on the flip-flop issue. I think any reasonable person should take new information as it comes and incorporate it into their decision-making. If you make a decision in 2001 and ignore all that's happened since then, I think you're just being stupid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: CNN plans to assemble another group of undecided voters to watch this Friday's second presidential debate.
Well, more on the vice presidential showdown straight ahead. We're going to check the facts in the race -- in the face-off between Cheney and Edwards and find out where that Web site Cheney Web mentioned really goes.
The Senate takes up an intelligence reform bill, but some big hurdles remain. Our Ed Henry reports from Capitol Hill.
And later, critics on the left draw a link between Ralph Nader and the group Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. Details in our "Campaign News Daily."
With just 27 days until the election, you're watching INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.
WOODRUFF: A 90-minute debate gives candidates a lot of time to make a lot of claims and counterclaims about policy and about each other.
Our Jeanne Meserve checks the facts on some of what was said in last night's showdown.
EDWARDS: What the vice president has just said is just a complete distortion.
D. CHENEY: They're trying to throw up a smokescreen.
EDWARDS: These distortions are continuing.
D. CHENEY: You're just dead wrong.
EDWARDS: They got it wrong.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Both candidates are right. Both candidates got things wrong.
D. CHENEY: The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight.
MESERVE: But pictures show Edwards and Cheney crossing paths at the 2001 National Square Breakfast and the swearing-in of Senator Elizabeth Dole last year. Many misstatements concerned Iraq.
EDWARDS: First Gulf War cost America $5 billion. We're at $200 billion and counting.
MESERVE: Actually, we're at $120 billion, though costs may rise to $200 billion by the end of this fiscal year.
D. CHENEY: I have not suggested there's not a connection between Iraq and 9/11.
MESERVE: Cheney has in the past repeatedly implied a connection, bringing up now discredited accounts of a meeting between lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta and a senior Iraqi intelligence official.
EDWARDS: We've taken 90 percent of the coalition casualties.
D. CHENEY: The 90 percent figure is just dead wrong. When you include the Iraqi security forces that have suffered casualties, as well as the allies, they've taken almost 50 percent of the casualties in operations in Iraq.
MESERVE: If you do not count Iraq as part of the coalition, Edwards' number is correct. If you do and use Pentagon estimates, out of more than 1,900 coalition deaths, 750 have been Iraqi, more than 1,000 American. D. CHENEY: We heard Senator Kerry say the other night that there ought to be some kind of a global test before U.S. troops are deployed preemptively to protect the United States.
MESERVE: Kerry did talk about a global test, but he also said this.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'll never give a veto to any country over our security.
EDWARDS: While he was CEO of Halliburton, they paid millions of dollars in fines. They did business with Libya and Iran, two sworn enemies of the United States. They got a $7.5 billion no-bid contract in Iraq.
MESERVE: The General Accountability Office says the contract was popper and Cheney was not CEO when the company violated sanctions on Libya. Although Halliburton did pay $7.5 million in fines for accounting irregularities, Cheney was not charged with wrongdoing.
Domestic issues and numbers got twisted, too.
EDWARDS: In the last four years, 1.6 million private sector jobs have been lost; 2.7 million manufacturing jobs have been lost.
MESERVE: Technically correct, but if you factor in gains in public sector jobs, the net job loss is closer to 900,000.
D. CHENEY: We've added 1.7 million jobs to the economy.
MESERVE: Yes, but it still looks like the Bush-Cheney term will end with a net job loss.
MESERVE: At one point, Cheney referred to FactCheck.com when he meant FactCheck.org. It's a mistake he probably regrets. FactCheck.com redirects visitors to the Web site of avid Kerry supporter George Soros. Its headline, "George Bush is endangering our safety, hurting our vital interests and undermining American values." Oops -- Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: OK. Jeanne Meserve checking the facts for us -- thank you, Jeanne.
Well, with me now from Capitol Hill to talk more about last night's vice presidential debate and the Bush-Kerry battle are Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Senator Norm Coleman from Minnesota.
Senator Landrieu, to you first.
Time and again, the vice president hammered away, even though he was sitting there with John Edwards, hammered away at John Kerry's inconsistency, inconsistent positions on the war in Iraq. Why is it that the vice -- that John Edwards was not better able to undo that impression?
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: Well, think John Edwards did a beautiful job of defending his record, president to-be Kerry's record, and laying out the plans to win the peace, stabilize Iraq and get this economy moving in the right direction.
But, Judy, the reason that the vice president continues to lambaste John Kerry's record is because they don't want to talk about their record. They came into office promising a surplus, inherited a $5.6 trillion surplus and have turned it into a $2.3 trillion deficit. They promised, Judy, to invest in education, to support their reforms under way for our children in America. And they pulled the rug right from underneath their feet.
They use our military in props and commercials, but they continue to leave them out of the budget. So the American people are getting the straight story from these debates. The president did such a dismal job being able to give a coherent argument for the positions that he has taken these last few years that I think, as these debates go on, the momentum is going to continue with the Kerry campaign.
SEN. NORM COLEMAN (R), MINNESOTA: By the way, Judy, if folks go to FactCheck.org, they'd note that in fact education funding has increased by 50-something percent from this president over President Clinton.
COLEMAN: Folks should check that out.
The bottom line is that John Kerry has a dismal record, and the vice president laid that out. He has got a 30-year record of being wrong on defense issues, of trying to cut defense programs in the '70s.
COLEMAN: So the bottom line, though, is that record is a terrible record. You can make all of the promises you want, but if your record shows you can't deliver, you can't trust John Kerry to lead the war on terror.
WOODRUFF: Senator Coleman, I want to ask you, though, about something that John Edwards said at the beginning of the debate. He looked at the vice president and said, you're not being straight with the American people. You're not acknowledging, you and the president, not acknowledging the problems that exist on the ground in Iraq.
Is it not the case that the vice president and the president have yet to acknowledge what the American people are seeing in the news every day out of Iraq?
COLEMAN: Judy, the president says on many occasions that this is going to be difficult. This is going to be hard, that mistakes have been made. It's not perfect.
But you have to contrast the fact that, yes, there are some difficulties with the optimism the vice president has that here, we have got elections going on in Afghanistan coming up shortly; 10 million people have registered, half of them women. We just had a great victory in Samarra just recently, working with the Iraqis.
When you have got on the other side is this doom and gloom and negativity, dismissing, ridiculing the efforts of the Iraqis and in fact not even counting them in when you are talking about casualties.
COLEMAN: We have got Iraqis today on the front line. And Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards simply disregard any contribution and have nothing positive to say about the effort of trying to win the war on terror.
LANDRIEU: And, Judy, could I just add
LANDRIEU: Could I just add something and to go back to education?
WOODRUFF: Very quickly.
LANDRIEU: I did not say that there was not an increase in education funding, which is what they continue to say.
I said that the president promised to fully fund No Child Left Behind that, but his priorities are elsewhere. He wants to rebuild schools in Iraq and invest in Iraq and won't invest right here in America. Now, the facts -- those are the facts. And when it comes to debating the truth, I think that John Edwards laid out the facts and the truth. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
Bremer has said that they didn't put enough troops on the ground, not John Kerry, but Paul Bremer. The Duelfer report came out today that said there were no weapons of mass destruction.
COLEMAN: Judy, I'm glad my colleague is recognizing the fact that we have substantially increased funding in education, but then, at the next statement, says that we're not doing enough.
COLEMAN: The reality is that John Kerry a year ago told Tim Russert that we should spend billions more in Iraq. Today, of course, he's changed his position.
WOODRUFF: I'd like to ask you each a final question. I'd like to ask Senator Coleman, first of all, Vice President Cheney never responded when John Edwards made the point that as a House member, he had voted against the Martin Luther King holiday. He had voted against a resolution endorsing the release of Nelson Mandela, that he had voted against Head-Start program for preschoolers.
Conversely, Senator Landrieu, John Edwards did not answer when he was asked about his dismal attendance record in the Senate. I want to ask each of you very quickly to comment on that.
Senator Coleman, you first.
COLEMAN: Well, two things.
First, I think the reason that the vice president didn't respond is, what are we debating? He's been vice president for four years. He served this country admirably as defense secretary, chief of staff of the president. So he's got a long, long record. Judge him on the record. That's what we like the American people to with John Kerry and John Edwards. Judge him on his record.
He has an abysmal record on defense issues. He tried to cut intelligence $6.5 billion. Judge people on their record. I think that's the fair way to evaluate candidates.
WOODRUFF: Senator Landrieu.
LANDRIEU: And I think people were quite startled, at least in Louisiana, to know that Vice President Cheney voted against Martin Luther King, against Nelson Mandela, and had no real answer, not, I'm sorry, I should have done it, nothing.
WOODRUFF: And what about the attendance question?
LANDRIEU: And I think the attendance is that, you know when John Edwards met Dick Cheney? They were sitting next to each other at the prayer breakfast when both of them were keynote speakers. And there's a picture of it in the newspaper.
COLEMAN: You notice, they weren't on the Senate floor, though, where John Edwards hasn't been.
LANDRIEU: Dick Cheney did not remember meeting him at the prayer breakfast. And when Dick Cheney comes here on Tuesdays, he goes to the Republican Caucus. He doesn't come to the Democratic Caucus, which is a problem.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to have to leave it there.
Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Norm Coleman, good to see you both. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. COLEMAN: A great pleasure. Thank you.
LANDRIEU: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
Well, it is music with a message this election season. Big names in the music business are getting involved. Coming up later, the push by those rockers to get young people to dance all of the way to the polls.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Wolf Blitzer, reporting from Washington. Coming up at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, about 90 minutes from now, from outlawed militia leader to political candidate? A possible cease-fire with the radical Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, engaged in a bloody battle with U.S. forces.
A rush of flu shots after word of a severe vaccine shortage. It's a worst-case scenario at the worst possible time. What health officials plan to do about it. We'll have a report.
Plus, there's been a shocking announcement from the country's top shock jock. Details of Howard Stern's surprise move.
That's coming up, all those stories. In fact, much more later today on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."
Now back to JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: The day after, both Vice President Cheney and Senator Edwards hit the trail again in Florida. Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, live in Cleveland, just blocks away from the site of last night's debate.
Two days ahead of his next face-off with Senator John Kerry, President Bush is on the offensive. In a stinging attack today in Pennsylvania, Bush blasted Kerry on both Iraq and the economy. Then the president headed to another showdown state, Michigan. CNN's Elaine Quijano is with us from Farmington Hills, Michigan.
Elaine, nothing subtle about what the president said today.
ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there is no doubt about it, certainly a more aggressive tone out of the president today. Good afternoon to you.
President Bush fresh off a forceful speech in Pennsylvania, now rallying his supporters here in Oakland County, in the suburbs of Detroit Michigan. Michigan. of course, a crucial state for President Bush, one that he lost to Al Gore by five percentage points back in 2000. A lot at stake here. Seventeen electoral votes up for grabs. The president very much wants to put those in his win column, making his 20th visit to this state since taking office.
Now, earlier, at the campaign stop that I mentioned in Pennsylvania, the president took an unmistakably sharper tone, zeroed in an attack to John Kerry's record in the Senate, as well as his record as candidate Kerry. Now, over the course of his 45-minute speech, the president devoted more than half of it to blasting Kerry on issues ranging from taxes to health care to the Iraq war.
The president called him a tax-and-spend liberal who favors policies that hurt middle class families. And in a jab clearly meant to appeal to his base, the president criticized Kerry's plan for health care. The president, in fact, saying that the senator's plan amounted to Hilary -- to Clinton care, rather.
Now, the president also hammered John Kerry on the topic of Iraq. At one point, Mr. Bush even making reference to those well-publicized, those well-known grimaces that he made during the presidential debate, and he blamed John Kerry for them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said terrorists are across the Iraqi border, but also said that fighting those terrorists is a diversion from the war on terror. You hear all of that and you can understand why somebody would make a face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUIJANO: Now, the Kerry camp has shot back. They say that this speech was way over the top. They say it was a dishonest presentation and a sign, they believe, that the Bush team is now desperate.
Meantime, back here in Michigan, the president, after wrapping up his rally here today, will head back to Washington. And then tomorrow, off to Wisconsin for a campaign event there before finally moving on ahead of that presidential debate Friday in St. Louis -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Elaine Quijano, thank you very much.
Well, while Senator John Kerry is off the campaign trail today, as you just heard Elaine say, his staff was quick to respond to President Bush's latest attacks. CNN's Frank Buckley is keeping track of the Kerry campaign in Englewood, Colorado.
FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Senator John Kerry prepared for the next presidential debate at this resort in Colorado, letting John Edwards and advisers respond to President Bush's blistering criticism of Kerry during a speech in Pennsylvania.
MIKE MCCURRY, KERRY CAMPAIGN SR. ADVISER: Well, this is a greatest hit reels of all the negative attacks they've had for the last month. There was nothing new that the president had to say today about Iraq, about our economy, about health care, about where America will be four years from now.
BUCKLEY: Senior strategist Mike McCurry tried to refocus reporters' attention on Iraq and a final report on WMD, which reportedly concludes that Saddam Hussein did not have stockpiles of weapons and was not moving to produce them when the war began.
MCCURRY: And it all adds up to one thing. This president did not level with the American people about the reasons for going to war. This was a damning report.
BUCKLEY: Tuesday night, Kerry watched the vice presidential debate with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, in his hotel suite. Journalists allowed in after the debate to watch as he spoke to his running mate by phone. Kerry getting a free shot at his own post- debate spin.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You were so strong on correcting the facts. They keep distorting things. And I look forward to going out and just taking on those distortions. These guys can only resort to fear and distortion, and they're unwilling to deal with the truth. So you held them accountable and you did a great, great job.
BUCKLEY: Senator Kerry is not expected to campaign during his visit to Colorado. His airport welcome rally his last scheduled public appearance. But strategists are hoping his visit will help in a state that went to Bush by eight points in 2000. Kerry and Bush are both spending time and money here.
BUCKLEY: And right now, Senator Kerry remains engaged in his debate prep here at the Inverness Resort and Hotel just outside of Denver. A ballroom here at the hotel, we're told, has been converted into a town hall-style setting.
Once again, Greg Craig, one of President Clinton's former attorneys during impeachment, playing the role of President Bush. We're told that staff members are playing the roles of audience members who are asking the questions -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: That's right. This debate has a different format. The town meeting with questions from voters. All right, Frank, thank you very much.
Well, we have had two down and we have two more to go. The debates in this year's race for the White House are half finished.
With me now to talk about last night's vice presidential face-off and coming Friday night's presidential debate are CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times." He's in Washington. And in Englewood, Colorado, where we just heard from Frank, Dan Balz, of "The Washington Post." Ron, I want to ask -- come to you first, but I'm going to ask both of you, talk about last night's debate. But in particular, how did each one of these candidate, vice presidential candidates help the man at the top of the ticket -- Ron.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, Judy, that's the right question because, in the end, people don't vote for vice president. And these debates usually matter to the extent they advance the arguments that the top of the ticket want to use to frame the race. And I thought last night was very revealing of where we are in this contest.
You saw a very spirited tug-of-war between Edwards and Cheney that was often pretty fierce about where the focus should be. More effectively and consistently than President Bush, Dick Cheney consistently and repeatedly tried to turn the focus of the election back to John Kerry's voting record and, to some extent, John Edwards' voting record, whereas Edwards was trying to keep the focus on President Bush's performance over the last four years.
He took the line that John Kerry used about Iraq last week, where he said reelecting President Bush would get you more of the same, and he draped it over the entire range of domestic and foreign issues. I think, in summation, the difference they're offering is what is the greater risk, change or continuity? And that was, I think, very much clearly on the table last night.
WOODRUFF: Dan Balz, how do you size up what happened last night? How did -- how did each one of these candidates help or not help their own ticket?
DAN BALZ, "WASHINGTON POST": Well, I think in a couple of ways, Judy. I think Ron's absolutely right on the -- on the broader point, and that is that the first debate between President Bush and Senator Kerry was a debate in which I think Senator Kerry was able to put President Bush on the defensive about what is happening in Iraq now, what his own policies are in Iraq, and whether they are going in the direction that is going to provide for success in Iraq.
Last night, Vice President Cheney turned the tables and put the focus back on Senator Kerry's record. As Ron said, that tug-of-war is going to go on through the rest of these debates.
I think what's important is the degree to which outside events continue to work against the president on that front. The latest being the report on weapons of mass destruction, which continue to bring the focus back toward where are we in Iraq and what is it that President Bush is doing, as opposed to Senator Kerry's record. But that's where the Bush campaign is pushing on this, and they pushed very hard on that.
I think where Senator Edwards was helpful last night for Senator Kerry was in showing that on the domestic side they have a series of arguments that they want to raise. And as these debates make the transition from national security policy to domestic policy, I think the Democrats feel that they're going to be able to score some points. WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk specifically, Ron. What is it that -- that John Kerry and George W. Bush need to do in their next debate -- well, the next two debates coming up?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think John Kerry, as Dan suggested, and I guess repeating -- sort of extending on what I said, I think the overwhelming priority for John Kerry is to put the focus on George Bush's performance over the last four years. You saw John Edwards last night beginning to make more of the case on domestic policy. He talked repeatedly about the increase on the number of uninsured under President Bush, up over five million. He talked about the job performance over the last four years, the deficit.
When you look at polling, Judy, the public is more closely divided on whether George Bush has done a good job than they have been in the horse race between Bush and Kerry. And I think the clear imperative for Kerry is to drive home those questions.
For Bush, I think it is both to defend his record, but also, as we saw in his speech today, to try to shift the focus back toward a different question, which is do you trust John Kerry to be commander in chief in this difficult time? And you saw in his speech today he went beyond the argument of flip-flop that has dominated the Republican discourse to basically argue that Kerry has flipped and flopped into the wrong conclusions and to try to draw a kind of ideological line on both domestic and foreign policy issues.
WOODRUFF: And Dan, we are going to hear more about domestic policy in these next two debates. How do you see what these candidates need to do going forward?
BALZ: Well, I think there was so much focus after the first debate on President Bush's demeanor that one of the things he's going to want to do on Friday night's debate is show that that performance he gave in Miami a week ago is not the real George W. Bush. He wants to put forward a President Bush who is the likable President Bush, that was popular in the 2000 election and going forward.
I think that's going to be a major imperative. He tried to do a little of that in that speech today, but over 90 minutes he's going to have to focus that.
I think Senator Kerry, having done as well as he did in the first debate, now has to continue to try to meet or exceed those expectations. He came into that debate with, in many ways, a low bar, which was to debunk the image that the Bush campaign had pained of him. And he was successful in doing that, which is why I think he was judged to be the winner of that debate.
Now he's got to stand on that new image and go forward on that, and continue to press the arguments. I think these debates are going to be very, very spirited and tough for both men.
WOODRUFF: Dan Balz, Ron Brownstein, thank you both. We always learn a lot when we talk to you. We appreciate it. Thank you.
BALZ: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Well, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily" now, new state presidential polls find extremely close races in two showdown states and a slight rebound for John Kerry in the seesaw race in New Jersey.
In Florida, a new American Research Group Survey gives Kerry 47 percent and Bush 45 percent. Ralph Nader with 2 percent.
In New Hampshire, Bush and Kerry are deadlocked at 47 percent each. Ralph Nader receiving one percent in the ARG Survey.
And in normally-Democratic New Jersey, Kerry has a narrow three- point lead over Bush. According to a Quinnipiac University Poll two weeks ago, the two candidates were tied at 48 percent.
Four of the so-called third party candidate are scheduled to debate tonight. Libertarian nominee Michael Badnarik and Socialist Walt Brown, Green Party nominee David Cobb, and Michael Peroutka of the Constitution Party all will take the stage at Cornell University. Ralph Nader declined an invitation to take part in the event.
The liberal group Up for Victory is criticizing Nader for accepting money from conservative donors, including five people that the group says gave money to the anti-Kerry Swift Boat Veterans for Truth organization. Up for Victory says federal records show that Nader has also accepted money from donors to the anti-tax group Club for Growth. It also claims that Nader has accepted help from GOP consultants and lawyers.
In response, a Nader spokesman told CNN, "It's a surprise to us."
Well, the question is, will Congress act on the 9/11 Commission's recommendations? With the legislative session scheduled to end in two days, it's coming down to the wire. We'll have an update after the break.
WOODRUFF: Congressional leaders are racing the clock as they push legislation addressing September 11th Commission recommendations on intelligence reform. Lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the year this Friday. Ed Henry is on Capitol Hill with our report.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Senate is on the verge of passing a 9/11 intelligence reform bill. The House will finish its version later this week.
Republicans want to get a final product to President Bush later this month for a dramatic Rose Garden signing ceremony right before the election. But 9/11 families fear a deep divide between the House and Senate will scuttle those plans.
BEVERLY ECKERT, 9/11 WIDOW: Reasonable minds are differing on certain things, and they're significant. And they could actually derail this legislation.
HENRY: The Senate bill follows the 9/11 Commission's's guidance with stronger versions of a national intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center. But the House bill has tougher anti-terror measures not included in the Senate version, dealing with issues like border security and deportation of terrorists.
House Republicans privately say without those provisions they may be willing to go home for the year, with no final deal before the election. And House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is already trying to lay blame for any stalemate at the feet of Democrats.
REP. TOM DELAY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: What the Democrats are doing are trying to rip out the provisions that keep America safe.
HENRY: At a closed-door meeting, DeLay was blunter, telling colleagues this is playing out like the fight two years ago over creation of the Homeland Security Department. By DeLay's estimation, Democrats pushed for a softer version of that bill and paid at the polls. But DeLay's calculation is complicated this time by the fact he's not just fighting Democrats, but also Senate Republicans who have wide bipartisan support for their version.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think constituents understand this very well. They want us to act and they want us to act together in a bipartisan way.
HENRY: Democrats are eagerly exploiting the split between House and Senate Republicans.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) MINORITY LEADER: House Republicans stand alone as the only obstacle in the way of passing a 9/11 bill that will make America safer.
HENRY: Even some Republicans privately admit that House GOP leaders will probably have to compromise on at least some of those key provisions that have become sticking points. The pressure to get this done before the election will be intense, especially if 9/11 families and the 9/11 commissioners crank up their lobbying campaign -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Ed, any chance it will go beyond this week?
HENRY: Well, I think what's going to happen is the Senate, just moments from now, is probably going to pass their version of the bill. The House is likely to pass it on Thursday or Friday. Then all members will go home.
It will go into a conference committee. And what House and Senate leaders are saying is they are very likely to call rank and file members back to town about a week or so before the election to try to get that dramatic Rose Garden signing ceremony for the president -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: A week before the election.
HENRY: That's right.
WOODRUFF: All right. Ed Henry, thanks very much.
When we return, "The Hotline" is out with a new electoral map. Editor Chuck Todd joins me with a look at the latest numbers for President Bush and Senator John Kerry.
WOODRUFF: Back here in Cleveland for yet another day. But with less than four weeks until Election Day, the focus remains on the battleground states.
With me now from Washington, Chuck Todd. He's the editor-in- chief of "The Hotline," an insider's political briefing produced daily by "The National Journal."
Chuck, let's have a national focus first. We are keeping an electoral scorecard at CNN, but so are you every day, five days a week. You put one out. How does the race look across the country right now?
CHUCK TODD, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Well, I'll tell you, for the first time in a month, Judy, we actually have President Bush under the magic 270 number. And we base our scoreboard and our scorecard on the most recent reputable polls and come up with our number that way.
And our numbers right now, we have Bush leading in 29 states worth 258 electoral votes. Kerry leading in 18 states worth 209 electoral votes. And then we have four states in our disputed or tied category worth 71 electoral votes.
And pretty much in the last week, since this first presidential debate, we've seen Kerry's improvement in a number of states. And that's what's moved the -- at least a lot of these states out of Bush's category, and either in Kerry or the disputed category.
WOODRUFF: Now Chuck, we've also seen a shifting battleground lately. Some of the states that were in play no longer in play. Tell us about that.
TODD: Well, from about March until about September, there were as many as 23 states that saw some TV advertising in it and some serious, you know, staff hirings by either Kerry or Bush. We are now down to 14 states where there's still active TV advertising going on by both campaigns.
I'll quickly run through them: Oregon, Nevada, New Mexico Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida, Maine and Ohio. The things that have dropped off are -- and the big states that dropped off are things like Missouri, Arizona, two states in particular, but about five or six others as well. But those two states in particular are ones that a lot of people thought were going to stay battlegrounds. And they really haven't.
WOODRUFF: Now, we know, Chuck, that Bush and Kerry both -- or each, I should say -- are struggling in some of the states that their party carried back in 2000. Which states are they having trouble with?
TODD: Well, it's interesting. Within this sort of smaller battleground of about 14 states -- and one could even argue it's smaller than that -- the states that Bush carried in 2000 that he's struggling the most with, Nevada, Colorado and Florida, all have sort of one thing in common. They've all been the growth states.
They've all had huge population expansions in the last four years. You know, we know a lot of that has been Hispanic, new Latinos in Colorado, and Nevada in particular. And, of course, Florida is just always growing, and that's where he seems to be struggling, where there are new voters to be found by the Democrats.
Conversely, Kerry is struggling. His three states that he's struggling to hold that Al Gore carried in 2000, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. The thing they have in common is they sort of have had stagnant population growth, and they're really -- they lack demographic diversity. And it seems like the less diverse the demographic is of a state, the harder it is for Kerry to be doing well in that state.
He's behind in polling in Iowa. He's behind in Wisconsin. And he's struggling in Minnesota.
And part of it is, in the other states where he does well -- and there's always a large maybe African-American population or a large Latino population, or just a bunch of new voters that he can tap into -- and with Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, it's just not there. So it is interesting that both are struggling sort of with conflicting problems with the population.
WOODRUFF: It's got to be frustrating on both sides. All right. Chuck Todd, thank you very much.
TODD: Absolutely. You bet.
WOODRUFF: Well, we know "The Hotline" an insider's political briefing. We can tell you it is produced every day by "The National Journal." You can go online to nationaljournal.com for subscription information.
Chuck, thanks again.
More now on today's speech by President Bush. That's coming up right ahead. Our Bill Schneider considers this speech and the theme of last night's debate at the top of the hour.
Also, two views of the campaign ahead. I'll talk with Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman and Kerry adviser Ann Lewis. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(STOCK MARKET REPORT)
ANNOUNCER: Turning the tables.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My opponent was against all of our middle class tax relief.
ANNOUNCER: Is President Bush trying to turn the table and make this election all about John Kerry?
Politics and music. This year rock'n roll takes a stand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a whole different ball game.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Cleveland Museum of Art, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to Cleveland where we continue our coverage of the race for the White House and the aftermath of last night's vice presidential debate. While Dick Cheney and John Edwards clearly were the center of attention here in Ohio, our Bill Schneider reports this overall campaign has focused mainly on one particular candidate.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: The vice presidential debate had a theme.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT: The Kerry record on taxes is one basically of voting for a large number of tax increases. A record of 30 years of being on the wrong side of defense issues. His judgment is flawed and the record is there for anybody who wants to look at it.
SCHNEIDER: Cheney framed the debate as an attack on John Kerry's record so John Edwards spent a lot of time defending Kerry's record.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Kerry has voted for the biggest military appropriations bill in the country's history. John Kerry has voted for the biggest intelligence appropriations in the country's history.
SCHNEIDER: You'd think the main topic would be the president's record. Did the debate really focus more on Kerry than on Bush? Let's look at the record. During the debate, Kerry's name was mentioned a total of 65 times. How many times was Bush's name mentioned? Answer -- 8. OK, but to be fair a lot of times Bush was referred to as the president. So let's add those mentions and see what we get. Total mentions of Bush by name or as the president, 35. The debate gave nearly twice as much attention to Kerry than to Bush. That's a problem for Kerry. The election is turning into a referendum on the challenger. Why? Because Republicans are keeping up a relentless focus on the challenger. Kerry's approach to world affairs.
BUSH: Senator Kerry approaches the world with a September 11 mind set.
SCHNEIDER: Kerry's health care plan.
BUSH: Senator Kerry's proposal would put us on the path to Clinton care.
SCHNEIDER: Kerry's inconsistencies.
BUSH: Senator Kerry assures us that he's the one to win a war he calls a mistake, an error, and a diversion. But you can't win a war you don't believe in fighting.
SCHNEIDER: Even Kerry's consistencies.
BUSH: My opponent says he has a plan for Iraq. It should sound pretty familiar. It's already known as the Bush plan.
SCHNEIDER: George W. Bush is the president of the United States. He's running for reelection. It's in the best interest of the Kerry campaign to keep this a referendum on him, whether he should be rehired or fired. But you know, somehow, that's not happening -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: So, Bill, what do smart people say John Kerry should do to rebut these attacks?
SCHNEIDER: No matter what he's asked, no matter where he's speaking, no matter what the subject is, talk about the Bush record. It's all about the Bush record. If someone asks him about the weather, talk about the Bush record on global warming. He needs to relentlessly keep the focus on the Bush record just as relentlessly as the president and vice president have tried to keep the focus on his record.
WOODRUFF: All right. Well, maybe the Kerry people are listening. I'm sure the Bush people are listening because we're about to talk to one of them right now. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.
The Bush and Kerry campaigns are trying to build momentum, as you would expect, after what each says was a victory in last night's vice presidential debate. First for the Republican perspective we're now joined by Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman. Thank you for joining us, Ken Mehlman. First of all, I think everybody agrees no knockout punch last night. But there were a few sessions done with undecided voters. And in most of those that I've seen, they said John Edwards came out better. How do you respond to that?
KEN MEHLMAN, BUSH CAMPAIGN MANAGER: I would respectfully disagree. Here's what I saw last night in the debate, Judy, that I thought was very interesting. I thought the vice president laid out a very compelling case of what this administration has done and will do to keep our country safe. And also to make sure that we have economic growth in this country. Here's what was most interesting. They put John Edwards on the ticket because he was the best lawyer they could find in the entire United States Senate. Even the best lawyer in the U.S. Senate couldn't defend the Kerry record. He couldn't defend 30 years of being wrong on defense. He couldn't defend how having 11 positions on Iraq makes you consistent. He couldn't explain how you can simultaneously say you're for middle class tax cuts and then miss the vote when the middle class tax cuts which as the vice president put it out last night, both Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards did. And he certainly didn't explain how, if you can't stand up to Howard Dean in Iowa you are going to be able to stand up to the terrorists in Iraq.
WOODRUFF: Well, Ken Mehlman, I'm sure you know, Democrats are saying there were a number of questions that Vice President Cheney didn't answer. In particular, the inconsistency between the administration continuing to insist for a long time there was a connection between Iraq's Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda, and the fact that now the evidence -- there is no evidence to indicate there was a connection.
MEHLMAN: Well, Judy, I don't think it's just the administration had said that, the Butler report said that, the 9/11 commission said that, the Senate intelligence committee said that everyone has recognized that Saddam Hussein had terrorists operating out of his country, that he associated with terrorists. One of the biggest differences you heard last night was the difference between a pre-9/11 and post-9/11 world view. What the president and vice president understand is in a post-9/11 world, you can't let threats gather. The fact that terrorists were operating out of Iraq, the fact that there was association between the two, and that Saddam Hussein had an established record of using weapons of mass destruction and invading his neighbors and was a state sponsor of terrorism meant that we had to connect the dots, and that's after all, Judy, what all Americans said on 9/12 we needed to do to keep us safe.
WOODRUFF: But you still have the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saying this week, he knows of no concrete evidence that there's a connection. But let me quickly move on to this new report by the former chief U.N. weapons inspector on Iraq saying there is no evidence that after 1998 when the weapons inspectors left Iraq that Saddam Hussein pursued a program of weapons of mass destruction. No evidence at all.
MEHLMAN: Well, what's interesting, Judy, is that both Senator Kerry and President Bush agreed that Saddam Hussein represented a threat to the world in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. They both agreed it was an unacceptable risk. They both agreed that weapons inspectors were insufficient. And the president supported and Senator Kerry voted to send our troops to battle. What changed it is President Bush from the beginning has said we needed a commitment to success and to victory and John Kerry changed based on the politics. And the last thing we need when we face a terrorist threat is a commander-in-chief whose bottom line is politics as opposed to national security.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly, one comment John Edwards made that he did get praise for was -- or some credit for, anyway, when he was asked about his lack of experience, about Senator Kerry's experience. He said, given what this administration has done, he said the American people can't take four more years. I'm not sure the vice president answered that. Did he?
MEHLMAN: I thought the vice president did. The vice president talked about what our goal is for the next four years. How our goal is to make sure that when people change jobs, they don't have to change doctors because we have a health care proposal. How our plan is to make sure that we reform the tax codes so that it is simpler and flatter and easier to fill out. How we're going to continue to take the battle to the terrorists to make America more secure and more safe.
Our proposal for opportunity zones, so that Americans in places where there's been job loss have regulatory relief, have tax relief, and we can make sure we bring jobs there.
Our plan to take No Child Left Behind and expand it to high school, so that every high school degree means real, meaningful...
WOODRUFF: All right.
MEHLMAN: ... accomplishment can be attached to a job. He talked about all those things. We're very excited about our agenda for the next four years, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Ken Mehlman...
MEHLMAN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: ... aggressively defending the president and the vice president. Thank you for talking to me.
MEHLMAN: Thanks a lot.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.
WOODRUFF: And now for a different take on last night's vice presidential debate and the overall state of the race, Ann Lewis, who is a senior adviser to the Kerry campaign.
Ann Lewis, how do you respond to the point you just heard from Ken Mehlman, that the vice president continually -- and Bill Schneider said this a minute ago -- the vice president continually kept the focus on John Kerry and what's missing in his record.
ANN LEWIS, KERRY CAMPAIGN SR. ADVISER: Because they don't want to talk about their own record. And I thought Bill Schneider made a very good point. We know what the record of Bush/Cheney administration is. We know about jobs lost, good jobs with benefits. We know that family incomes have gone down. The cost of healthcare has gone up. The cost of gas keeps rising, which now means the cost of home heating oil is rising.
We know that we see increasing casualties in Iraq, while the size of the coalition has been shrinking. We're going in the wrong direction. The majority of Americans agree this country is going in the wrong direction.
John Kerry and John Edwards say we've got plans to turn it around. New leadership fighting for the middle class, that's what they're going to do.
WOODRUFF: Ann Lewis, John Edwards never really answered another point that Vice President Cheney made, and that is about his spotty Senate attendance record. At one point, the vice president said you record is undistinguished. Did he answer that?
LEWIS: Well, there was just so much time in the debate. If he'd had a little more time, he might have pointed out to the vice president that he was there on the floor of the Senate fighting for a Patient's Bill of Rights when Dick Cheney was fighting against it.
So, John Kerry has been there in the Senate fighting for the middle class. Again, that was just one more misstatement, shall we say, by Dick Cheney. He wanted to tell us that he's been in presiding over the Senate every Tuesday. We now know that that actually has been a lot fewer days than that.
He claimed last night that he had not met John Edwards. We now know that they had met on several occasions. It's just -- again, they don't want to talk about their own record. They're trying to change the subject.
WOODRUFF: President Bush today, Ann Lewis, seemed to belittle John Edwards as a lightweight. He said last night the American people saw a contrast between two visions and two hairdos. He said, "I didn't pick my vice president because of his hairdo." Is John Edwards vulnerable because of his looks and his inexperience?
LEWIS: Oh, I hardly think so. I think the American people are a lot smarter than that.
They saw John Edwards speak for himself last night. They saw somebody who was a credible advocate, who was clear, who said we're going to fight for the middle class. They heard somebody who talked about the economy, who talked about jobs, who said, "I know what it's like for middle class families who are being squeezed."
And the contrast with Vice President Cheney, who seemed so out of touch, who flatly just wanted us to believe that everything was fine and we ought to keep going in the right direction, I thought that was a very strong contrast, and it definitely works to the Kerry-Edwards team favor.
WOODRUFF: Ann Lewis, advising John Kerry and John Edwards. Thanks very much. We appreciate it.
LEWIS: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Well, it was -- thank you.
It was a question neither candidate appeared to expect. Up next: How Cheney and Edwards responded to the question about AIDS and its effect on African-American women.
Also, we head over to the Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to see how music and politics have merged in this election.
WOODRUFF: Some big name rock and roll stars are taking sides to help get out the vote this year. Ahead, we'll stop by Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to find out how they're trying to get people out on Election Day.
WOODRUFF: Iraq, terrorism, the economy. It often seems like these are the only issues anybody's talking about this campaign season. And indeed, during last night's vice presidential debate, neither candidate seemed completely prepared for a question about AIDS. Kathleen Koch reports.
KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The question, what to do about AIDS in the U.S. where black women between 25 and 44 are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than white women.
CHENEY: I had not heard those numbers with respect to African- American women. I was not aware that it was that sever an epidemic there.
KOCH: Beri Hull has been living with HIV since 1993.
BERI HULL, HIV PATIENT: My first thought was, the real response should have been, I don't care about what's going on versus I'm not aware of what's going on.
KOCH: Hull counsels HIV/AIDS patients at a clinic in Washington, D.C. She and others believe the answer reflects a lack of understanding and commitment to fighting AIDS in the U.S.
HULL: I believe that this were happening to a different race besides the African-American race, things would be a lot different.
KOCH: African-Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but 42 percent of people living with AIDS. AIDS activists at home and abroad have protested administration policy on AIDS.
They say federal funding for AIDS care, prevention and treatment have remained flat for the last four years. But the Bush administration insists it has increased funding by 27 percent. And is taking the issue seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The president is committed to turning the tide of HIV/AIDS both globally and here at home.
KOCH: HIV/AIDS organizations were more satisfied with Senator John Edwards' answer.
EDWARDS: Here at home, we need to do much more.
KOCH: Though it did not specifically address the plight of African-American sufferers, activists believe whoever ends up in the White House can no longer tolerate the fact that 16,000 Americans die from HIV/AIDS every year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the equivalent of five September 11s. If somebody outside this country was doing this, we would treat this like a homeland security issue. It's not being treated that way. It's not...
KOCH: Kathleen Koch, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: AIDS, one of the many issues we haven't heard much about in this campaign. More INSIDE POLITICS in a moment.
WOODRUFF: Back here in Cleveland, well, during this 2004 election season if you think about it, it seems that some musicians want to do more than give fans something to dance to. There is a move by some big name rockers to have an effect on the results.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) aside, it has always been about more than just sex and drugs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Vote for change.
WOODRUFF: But this year, rock and roll has come into its own as a political force. And no one's more surprised than the keepers of the flames here in Cleveland.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a whole different ball game.
WOODRUFF: Even here at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the elections in the spotlight this year. Cue the smoke machines.
HOWARD KRAMER, ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME: People are coming out and they're specifically endorsing a candidate and saying, the current president is the one we've got to get rid of, we need to elect this guy. That's very different.
WOODRUFF: For the biggest rock stars, that means showtime. KRAMER: Bruce Springsteen has come out and sided with a particular candidate for any particular reason. And for a guy like him who is so respected to come out and endorse a candidate really says a lot about the nature of this year's race.
WOODRUFF: Of course, Republicans can rock, too.
Kid Rock, for example.
KRAMER: He seems to be openly Republican. Actually, it seems to work with his base, which is very working man, beer drinking. He's kind of the ultimate NASCAR emblematic character.
WOODRUFF: Not this guy. Believe it or not, Alice Cooper, he of leopard print boots and guillotine props, is a Republican, too. Welcome to someone's nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get out and vote. Everybody, get out and vote.
WOODRUFF: And then others just keep their politics quiet. And let the music speak for itself.
WOODRUFF: How about that. We had to talk about rock and roll while we're here in Cleveland.
Another light note from the presidential campaign, it appears that politics can affect one's beverage choice. John Kerry said no thanks last night, we are told, when a flight attendant asked if he would like a Coors beer as his campaign plane flew into Denver near the beer's brewery. Of course chief executive Pete Coors is on leave to run for the Senate as a Republican. According to Kerry, the flight attendant then said, quote, "I guess I shouldn't offer you a Busch beer either." Somebody's got a sense of humor. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. From Cleveland, I'm Judy Woodruff. Tomorrow I'll be live from St. Louis as we get ready for round two of the presidential debates.
Have a good evening. "CROSSFIRE," my friends Tucker and Paul right here. They're next.
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