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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Falluja Worth the Cost?; Howard Dean to Lead Democratic Party?; How Conservative Is President Bush?; What's Next For John Kerry?

Aired November 9, 2004 - 15:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: The fight for Falluja. At what point will the mission be accomplished and at what price for the troops and their commander in chief?

HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're not retreating, and we're not giving up. And we're not going to stop fighting.

ANNOUNCER: There he goes again. Is Howard Dean the man to lead the dispirited Democratic Party? We'll explore the possibilities.

Voting religiously. We'll discuss the political value of moral values and whether it's been overplayed in '04.

Like father, not like son. Bush 41 and Bush 43 on opposite ends of the conservative wing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

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

U.S. and Iraqi troops battle their way into the center of Falluja on their second day of pounding the insurgent stronghold in that Iraqi city. About two hours ago, the Pentagon's ground force commander in Iraq put the number of American casualties at around a dozen. But he would not get more specific or say if that number included the wounded.

Earlier, six U.S. battle-related deaths were reported. Coalition forces are said to be facing sporadic, but fierce resistance from insurgents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. THOMAS METZ, MULTINATIONAL FORCE COMMANDER: We're looking at several more days of tough urban fighting. I'm very pleased at the position that we have the force in right now and the situation that the enemy is facing. He doesn't have an escape route because we do have the cordon around the city very tight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: That report from the field commander just a little while ago.

Now a report from the battlefield. CNN's Jane Arraf is embedded with U.S. troops in Falluja and she joins us on the telephone -- Jane.

JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Judy, after almost two days of almost constant artillery fire bombardment, airstrikes, there seems to be a lull in parts of the city.

We're in an industrial sector, a place that had been a stronghold, according to U.S. officials, of foreign fighters. Indeed, there are no civilians to be seen here. They said the fighters, the insurgents and foreign fighters had created booby traps which they showed us, entire streets rigged to explode. Civilians, they said, were prevented from coming here. And what we have seen here is desolate destruction, buildings damaged, some destroyed, smoke still rising, and insurgents still in some buildings.

We took some fire as we came into this part of the city with U.S. troops and Army units, Task Force 22 of the 1st Infantry Division. These are insurgents in small numbers, it seems. And military officials are saying they're less organized than they had expected -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jane, are you able to talk to the soldiers, to the commanders? What are they saying about what's going on?

ARRAF: Well, they were really prepped for a fight, we have to say. Soldiers are -- at any time, they would much rather actually be doing something than sitting around and waiting. So there was that element to it.

And added to that was the fact that their commanders have been telling them that this would be a decisive battle, this could end the insurgency, it was a battle that was needed, and that Falluja was a stop on the way home for them, essentially saying that, to prevent other forces from coming in such numbers for years to come, they had to stop the insurgency now. And Falluja was the way to do it.

So they have been very positive about what they're doing. The battle is still going on. It's much too soon to tell really what they'll think of it at end of the day. But so far they seem to believe it's going well -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jane Arraf, she is embedded with U.S. forces just inside the city of Falluja. Jane, thank you very much.

Well, even as the Falluja offensive played out today, President Bush went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center here in Washington to visit with wounded soldiers and their families.

Let's go to our White House correspondent Dana Bash -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

Well, the president is still at Walter Reed Medical Center. The White House expected him to meet with about 50 wounded soldiers there. And it is his sixth trip to Walter Reed, but he hasn't been there in about eight months, since March 19. You see video of that there.

That was of course the year anniversary of the Iraq war. Now, the White House denies that the campaign, either the campaign schedule or politics, was the reason for him not visiting wound soldiers there in eight months. But they say at this point what's important to note is that the commander in chief feels it's important to personally express gratitude to those who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and those of course who are wounded.

Now, this trip comes as the Pentagon announced six U.S. soldiers were killed in Falluja. The White House says the president is keeping tabs on what is going on there, but not being specific about how often he is being briefed. The White House is still very careful, Judy, to say that decisions made on ground in Falluja are being made not only by U.S. commanders, coalition commanders, but by the Iraqis as well.

Now, the president has kept a pretty low profile since last week. He hasn't had any public events since his press conference last Thursday. He has been taking some calls from world leaders, congratulatory calls, including one today from Jacques Chirac, the French president, somebody he hasn't had exactly close relations with.

And of course the most important thing, according to the White House, that the president is still doing is meeting with his chief of staff, trying to figure out who will stay and who will come in a second term. A lot of speculation, but they're still keeping that very close to the vest -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Yasser Arafat is in a Paris hospital. We're learning today his health situation is deteriorating. What are they saying at the White House about that?

BASH: Judy, they're being very careful not to say very much at all. They recognize and even admit privately that this is a very delicate diplomatic dance here.

Now, it's no secret how the president feels about Yasser Arafat. He has never had him to his White House. He didn't engage in the Mideast peace process until there was somebody other than Yasser Arafat to engage with. That, of course, at the time, a year, more than a year ago, was Mahmoud Abbas. And he was very upset publicly about the fact that he felt that the prime minister at the time was, as the president put it, shoved out by Yasser Arafat.

So there is no question that this White House has no love lost for Yasser Arafat, but they also recognize that getting involved now, any public statements could be an impediment to the succession process. And they don't want to certainly hurt who could potentially be in charge, especially if it's somebody like Mahmoud Abbas, who the White House really thinks is somebody they can work with, because the president has worked with him and has said some nice things about him.

So they're being very careful not to say much publicly at all now, but certainly we expect, if and when we do hear of Yasser Arafat's death, that they'll make some public statements -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: He's someone viewed as more of a moderate. All right, Dana Bash at the White House, thank you very much.

BASH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, meantime, a top aide to Yasser Arafat says the Palestinian leader has suffered a brain hemorrhage as his condition does continue to deteriorate.

CNN's Fionnuala Sweeney is in Paris.

Hello, Fionnuala.

FIONNUALA SWEENEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Judy.

Yes, indeed, that top Palestinian official being Saeb Erekat is Ramallah. He is the chief Palestinian negotiator. And in an emotional news conference, he said that Yasser Arafat had suffered a brain hemorrhage, forcing Palestinian officials to think the unthinkable, where to bury him.

meanwhile, here in Paris, meanwhile, it has been a day of comings and goings for the senior Palestinian delegation following a visit to the hospital here in West Paris and consultations with doctors. We had the first definitive news about Yasser Arafat's state of health from the Palestinian authorities.

Nabil Shaath, the Palestinian foreign minister, saying that doctors could still not figure out what ails the 75-year-old Palestinian Authority president. They had ruled out cancers, malignancies, and, interestingly enough, poisoning, also saying that the conditions he had been living in over the past three-and-a-half years, plus his age, had possibly contributed to his deteriorating health.

But still here, no news and -- since then on the condition of Yasser Arafat. The comings and goings continue, and we will continue to update you as necessary -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Fionnuala, can we expect these Palestinian leaders to wait in Paris until further word?

SWEENEY: No.

They held a news conference just about three hours ago here in central Paris and have already embarked on a plane to go back to Ramallah via Amman. They are also sending, in return, a senior Islamic cleric here from the West Bank and Gaza, and he is to be at Yasser Arafat's bedside there to maintain Islamic traditions in the event of his death -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Fionnuala Sweeney reporting for us from Paris -- Fionnuala, thank you very much.

We're going to talk more about the situation in Iraq and the ramifications for the Bush administration ahead with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar. We'll also talk about the Middle East. Plus, Howard Dean to the DNC? We'll tell you whose names are being tossed around to take the helm of the party. Democrats on Capitol Hill are pondering their position after Election Day losses.

And later, the final snapshot on the marriage gap.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," John Kerry's brother says it is possible that the just defeated Democratic hopeful could make another run for the White House. Cam Kerry, the senator's younger, brother tells "The Boston Globe" that another race for president by Senator Kerry is, quote, "conceivable." Our Candy Crowley will join me later in the program with more on John Kerry's future plans.

Former Democratic hopeful Howard Dean continues to maintain a high profile. Dean supporter and former DNC chairman Steven Grossman says that Dean is -- quote -- "thinking about" a run for the post of Democratic Party chairman. Dean says he hasn't made a decision about trying to lead his party. "The Hotline"'s Chuck Todd will join me with more on the battle for the Democratic Party leadership in just a few minutes.

Moderate GOP Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island has decided it's best to be in the majority. Chafee, who acknowledges that he did not vote for President Bush last week, says that he will remain a Republican. The senator had openly considered leaving the GOP if Bush won reelection, but out of concerns the president would move the party further to the right.

In Florida, Republican Governor Jeb Bush says he can't be any clearer about his future plans. He says he is not running for the White House in four years and he's also not running for the Senate in two years, period, he says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. JEB BUSH (R), FLORIDA: I'm not running for the United States Senate in 2006. And I'm not running for president in 2008. I'm governor for two more years, and I intend to carry out my duties with enthusiasm, passion, a dose of humility, and a lot of hard work. And that's it.

QUESTION: Might you change your mind?

J. BUSH: No.

(LAUGHTER)

QUESTION: Why not?

(CROSSTALK)

J. BUSH: This is -- why am I not believable on this subject?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: So, maybe we've heard the last from Jeb Bush on this.

Turning our attention to Capitol Hill now, where Democrats are assessing their election losses and looking ahead to the next Congress, our congressional correspondent Ed Henry joins us now with more.

Hi, Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Judy.

That's right. Senator John Kerry, there are more and more signs that he's going to play a very active role in trying to help Democrats up here on the Hill pick up the pieces after those stunning election results. In fact, in just about an hour, we've learned, Senator Kerry will be meeting here in the Capitol, his first trip to Capitol Hill officially since the election. He's going to meet with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, also the incoming Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid.

They want to talk a little bit about such issues as who will be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee. As you mentioned a moment ago, people like Howard Dean now perhaps putting their names out as there as potential DNC chairman. They're going to talk about that. But also, Nancy Pelosi, when asked about what will happen at this meeting, she joked a few minutes ago, we're going to talk about -- quote -- "saving civilization as we know it."

That's a sign, obviously a joke, about the fact that Democrats are very much in the wilderness right now. In fact, this meeting with Senator Kerry is coming after a day in which Nancy Pelosi had several hours of meeting with her House Democratic colleagues, trying to figure out what their message will be moving forward from this election, also trying to figure out in fact how to answer the question of will they fight the president or will they work with him on his agenda.

Nancy Pelosi said they'll do a little bit of both, but she said a short while ago that, with the Republicans leading the House, Senate and White House, she plans to hold their feet to the fire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: Accountability. The president won't be able to blame anyone because the Republicans have full control. You know that they've had it for a couple of years already. But the American people did not know that. And now they do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENRY: Now, over in the Senate, Harry Reid, the incoming Democratic leader, as I mentioned, he also is trying to strike that balance, trying to figure out, in the wake of Tom Daschle's defeat, the Democratic leader who went down in South Dakota, how hard to fight the president, whether or not to work with him in the second term.

I spoke by phone last week with Harry Reid. He said he had a very cordial phone conversation with the president last week and planned to work with the president. But just yesterday, Harry Reid had a television interview in Nevada in which he started talking a little tougher, like Nancy Pelosi, saying in fact that he's going to fight the president on some issues.

One of the things Harry Reid is that -- quote -- "There's not going to be a laydown." He said that on some issues, he will fight the president hard, for example, on the issue of Social Security and how to reform that. Harry Reid said, if the president pushes for privatization, Harry Reid said he's going to have to look for somebody else -- quote -- "to go to bed with."

And so, obviously, Democrats, you can see, are trying to find that balance between fighting the president, but also pushing forward their own priorities and working with him on some other ones -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Ed, over on the Republican side on the Senate, what's the latest on Arlen Specter, who is in line to head the Judiciary Committee? We talked to him here yesterday. He's very much going after it. But are there signs of opposition to him among the GOP leadership?

HENRY: So far, I've talked to a lot of conservatives up here on the Hill who say that they think Arlen Specter still has a little bit of explaining to do. He's not quite out of the woods yet. But they feel like he could get this chairmanship.

And in fact, Republicans are saying that may not be such a bad thing if there are some Supreme Court nominations that Arlen Specter would have to oversee, that he would have to lead those confirmation hearings as Judiciary chairman, the reason being that Republicans are privately saying it's good to get this fight over with right now while the leadership has leverage over Arlen Specter. And they're now saying, in the words of one Republican aide, if Specter gets this chairmanship, he'll be on a -- quote -- "very short leash."

And what they're saying there is that Republicans point out there has been a firestorm from conservatives going after Arlen Specter. This is now on the table. It's not a secret. And they say it's looking like he may get the chairmanship as long as conservatives like Rick Santorum continue to support him. But they say now it's out in the open and Arlen Specter is going to owe the leadership if in fact he gets this job.

And so, if there are Supreme Court nominations down the road, he's going to be a short leash, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Ed, still, overall, some unfinished business in the Congress. What can you tell us about this upcoming lame-duck session?

HENRY: I think, basically, you are going to see two major issues dealt with. The spending bills, a lot of leftover budget work that wasn't done earlier this year, they're going to try to get that out of the way. And that's something they have to do.

The second issue to watch is the 9/11 intelligence reform bill. That, as you know, wasn't finished before the election. There is a lot of hopeful signs from the Senate that in fact moderates like Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman maybe see their leverage slipping away with more Republican votes coming in, in the new Congress. So they're trying this lame-duck session to work out a compromise.

There are some signs that maybe there could be one. But I can tell you, in talking to some conservative Republicans in the House, they say they may not have a deal right now in this lame-duck session next week because there will be more Republican votes in the House and Senate next year when they come back, and they might prefer to deal with the intelligence bill then, when they can push harder to make sure the Pentagon, for example, has more power over a new national intelligence director -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ed Henry, keeping an eye on it all over at the Capitol, thanks very much.

HENRY: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: One more note on Democratic strategizing. Centrist Democrats are hosting a forum this hour here in Washington to analyze and discuss the results of last Tuesday's election. The Democratic Leadership Council is sponsoring this event. The DLC was formed to pull the Democratic Party toward the political center.

Last week's election may force Democrats to take a tough look at themselves and make some changes. Could a leadership shakeup at the Democratic National Committee be coming soon? We'll talk about that after the break.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

Almost immediately after the results of last week's election started to become clear, talk began of a possible leadership shakeup in the Democratic National Committee.

Here to update us on the speculation is Chuck Todd, editor in chief of "The Hotline," an insiders political briefing produced every day by "The National Journal."

All right, Chuck, with Terry McAuliffe expected for some time now to step down, there is buzz about a number of people, in particular former Vermont Governor Howard Dean. What are you hearing about Dean and who is the front-runner? What are you hearing?

CHUCK TODD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Well, what's interesting with Dean is that he has a following within some facets of the Democratic National Committee who favor, who like the idea of his energy that he brings and the following that he has on the Internet and the following that he has in the activist community.

But what's not clear with Dean is whether he would be willing to pledge not to run for president himself in 2008. And to many members of the DNC, that's going to be very important, that this person, whoever is the DNC chair, isn't using it as their own personal stepping stone. And I think that that's -- it's going to force Howard Dean's hand early on that.

As far as front-runners are concerned, it's hard to nail down one. But if there is one from what I understand, it's Donna Brazile, who was -- of course, she managed Al Gore's campaign. She is a member of the DNC. And of all the potential candidates you hear, she may be the one that knows more members of the DNC by a first-name basis than any other potential candidate. So she has these personal relationships, which may matter most.

WOODRUFF: And of course, we know Donna because she's on INSIDE POLITICS every Thursday, along with Bay Buchanan.

Chuck, what about some of the other names you're hearing?

TODD: Well, you hear a lot about this idea that they need a governor, because this person has to be a messenger more than they have to be a mechanic, building an operation.

They've got a voter file. They've got fund-raising abilities, but what they need is a messenger. So you hear about, Bill Richardson has been talked up. And from what I understand, there is some interest there by the governor of New Mexico. Mark Warner's name gets thrown around. He was the Virginia Democratic Party chair before he became governor. So he has some experience doing that.

But again, both Richardson and Warner have this potential presidential ambition of their own, and that's not clear. Another name I keep hearing is former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen. That's a new rumor running around.

WOODRUFF: Who else? What other names are we hearing?

TODD: Well, they're got -- it's amazing. It's almost like who don't you hear?

But John Breaux, the retiring senator from Louisiana, some people would like to see him. But again, would have you both Harry Reid and John Breaux in leadership positions? You would have two pro-life Democrats as two of the leading party members. Roy Barnes, former governor of Georgia, has been floated. Harold Ickes, who has run one of the 527s, like Donna Brazile, knows more of these -- more DNC members on a first-name basis. It's not clear, though, that he's all that interested because of his ties to the Clintons.

So, it is amazing the number of candidates you're hearing vs. the number of people not interested.

WOODRUFF: Is anybody taking themselves out of the running?

TODD: Well, there are two people that I understand have taken themselves out of the running.

One is this John Edwards idea. This has been floated by a number of people who think that Edwards, he has no Senate seat anymore, he has no position, and that he would need a position. He's a tremendous fund-raiser with his access to the trial lawyer community. But apparently, he has no interest. The people around him would prefer that he focus on policy initiatives and either get involved in a think tank that already exists or start his own.

And then there's Tom Vilsack, the governor of Iowa, who has been floated a lot. And from some folks I've talked to, the only thing he has an interest in, potentially, is running for president himself. And so getting involved in the process side of the Democratic Party apparatus is something he's not interested in. And again, it's not clear about Harold Ickes. There are a lot of people inside the DNC that would like to see him run. But my understanding is, he may not be as interested as other people think he is.

WOODRUFF: Chuck, very quickly, tell us what the process is. When are we going to know who the next DNC chair...

TODD: Well, there's over 400 members of the DNC. And it works like an election. And how -- the rules of the election itself, it's not clear. The meeting where this all gets decided actually will be in early February, just after the inauguration. So we're going to have a couple of months of speculation on who can run for DNC chair, not a couple of weeks.

WOODRUFF: That's what we love, speculation.

TODD: That's right.

WOODRUFF: OK, Chuck Todd, thank you very much.

As we know, "The Hotline" is an insiders political briefing produced every day by "The National Journal." You can go online to nationaljournal.com for subscription information.

Chuck, thank you.

TODD: You bet.

WOODRUFF: The fight for Falluja. Will this week's battle clear the way for Iraqi elections come January? I'll speak with the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when we come back.

And later, exit polls show that most people who attend religious services every week voted for President Bush. So how do the Democrats close the gap on this moral values question? All that ahead.

(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to the second half-hour of INSIDE POLITICS. We are expecting any moment to hear some remarks President Bush made this afternoon leaving Walter Reed Medical Center, where he spent, we're told, over an hour and a half visiting with wounded soldiers who have served and been hurt -- been wounded in Iraq. We're going to get the president's remarks. He talked about those soldiers, he talked about the fighting in Falluja in Iraq, and we're told he also had some comments about the condition of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader.

Meantime, while we're waiting for that, the street fighting in Falluja continues as U.S. forces battle to rid the Iraqi city of anti- government insurgents. For an update, let's turn now to our senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre.

Hi, Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Judy.

U.S. and Iraqi troops are meeting less resistance than they expected and are ahead of schedule, according to U.S. military commanders, in their offensive to retake the city. That's raising some interesting questions about just how many insurgents are really left there.

U.S. and Iraqi forces meeting resistance described as sporadic, somewhat ineffective. The enemy is fighting hard but not to the death, according to Lieutenant General Thomas Metz, who spoke at the Pentagon by way of a satellite hookup earlier today.

The U.S. and Iraqi troops are finding fewer roadside bombs and booby traps than they expected. So far the casualties have been light for urban combat. In the first 48 hours, 10 U.S., two Iraqi troops have been killed, about two dozen wounded. U.S. commanders concede, though, that the most wanted man in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is likely gone, along with his senior leaders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

METZ: We're looking at several more days of tough urban fighting. I'm very pleased at the position that we have -- we have the force in right now and the situation that the enemy is facing. He doesn't have an escape route because we do have the cordon around the city very tight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCINTYRE: Tight cordon, but only put in effect a few days ago. The question is, how many of the estimated 2,000 to 3,000 insurgents who may have left with Zarqawi before the U.S. forces effectively sealed off the escape routes by encircling Falluja based on hotspots that are seen by infrared cameras, then plotted on digital maps? The U.S. still believes a significant number of militants are in the city. The next few days should tell the story -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.

We are looking at this map of Falluja. And I wanted to ask you -- I was having a little trouble with my audio. And forgive me if you've just answered this, Jamie, but my question is, does this mean that these insurgents have melted out into the countryside and are going to present a much greater hurdle for the U.S. forces down the road?

MCINTYRE: Well, they could have melted into the countryside. But the Pentagon is saying to keep in mind that the objective of this operation was to get them out of Falluja, allow Falluja to take part in the political process, and then reassess.

They do think it's going to hamper their operation if they can't use Falluja as a base of operations. But I think they've been saying for days that they never expected that this operation would break the back of the insurgency.

Obviously, there is a hope that they can get as many as they can here. There was some hope that they might be able to get Zarqawi. But realistically, it appears that there is going to be plenty more counterinsurgency operations after this one. The goal here, though, is to get Falluja out from under their control and back into the political process.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jamie McIntyre, thank you very much.

And as we await those comments from the president, as he was leaving Walter Reed Army Medical Center just moments ago, we want to bring in right now the senator who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar of Indiana.

Senator Lugar, hearing these reports out of Iraq on how the fighting is going, what is your sense of it? Is -- is -- are you surprised that the insurgents seem to be either giving up or disappearing in some form or fashion?

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R-IN), FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: Well, one of the options always mentioned was they would do just that, that they would live to fight another place. And in fact, their strategy is to wear down the United States and the allies and the new Iraqi forces.

I think, however, that you have to be optimistic about these developments in the sense that many Iraqis felt that perhaps Falluja was a bridge too far at this point given the training of the Iraqis. And apparently Prime Minister Allawi felt the timetable of the January election really dictated that they begin to move, that, in fact, Falluja might be a real stumbling block, but it had to be met.

Now that has occurred. And as Jamie McIntyre has reported, the insurgents may have gone elsewhere. But the fact that they can't congregate in Falluja, have that as a stronghold, then Falluja conceivably might be governed now by the Iraqis, and that will be the test.

WOODRUFF: Senator Lugar, we're going to ask you to stand by...

LUGAR: Yes, indeed. WOODRUFF: ... because we want to listen to some remarks from President Bush just moments ago leaving Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... upstairs, I am -- every time I come to Walter Reed I'm struck by the courage and the bravery of our men and women who wear the uniform. It's such an honor to meet the troops who have been wounded. And it's so uplifting to see their spirit, their drive to become rehabilitated, their love of their country, their support of the mission.

Laura and I spent time with the moms and dads and husbands and wives of those who were wounded. And I was struck by, you know, just the patriotic sense that they have, and that they have strong support for their loved ones.

Every time I come to the hospital, one of the things I try to determine is whether or not our troops and their families are getting treated with first-class care. That's very important for all of us involved in decision-making to know that the troops who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan are immediately brought to good care and to a person.

They were very strong in their support and praise for how this hospital is run. I want to thank the generals, the doctors and the nurses for running this hospital. I mean it's -- it's such a comforting sense for me to be able to tell a loved one, your loved one will get the best care possible.

And finally, we've got troops in harm's way in the Falluja area right now. And our prayers are with the soldiers and their loved ones, as they're doing the hard work necessary for a free Iraq to emerge.

There are still terrorists there who are trying to stop the march of freedom. And at the request of the Allawi government, and alongside of Iraqi troops, coalition forces are now moving into Falluja to bring to justice those who are willing to kill the innocent and those who are trying to terrorize the Iraqi people and our coalition, those who want to stop democracy. And they're not going to succeed.

And so we wish our troops all the best. And god speed to them as well.

Thank you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: President Bush talking to reporters on his way out of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he did spend some time with wounded soldiers who have come home from Iraq.

Senator Richard Lugar with me, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator, the Bush administration quoted today -- the secretary of defense is quoted as saying they think defeating these insurgents in Falluja would be the key to tipping public opinion in Iraq in favor of the United States. Is that how you see it?

LUGAR: Well, it certainly will be a confidence-builder. But it remains to be seen as the press gets into Falluja and visits with the Iraqis, what their feelings are.

One of the Iraqi factions was opposed to any military action with regard to any city in Iraq. And that type of feeling, likewise, is there.

I would say they -- that what's going on in Samarra now with the Iraqis in charge, this is probably the keystone. The fact that Iraqis can bring about order, can maintain order, it offers a choice. And the people of Falluja may well want that option as opposed to having terror by the insurgents, to which they've been subjected.

WOODRUFF: Well, it may be what you're referring to, but we know an influential group of Sunni Muslim clerics is calling for a boycott of the January elections to protest the Falluja attack. Could this backfire in some way in the United States?

LUGAR: I don't think so. The Sunnis were already of that mind. Very clearly extraordinary diplomacy among the Iraqis themselves is going to be required to get Sunni participation in the elections quite apart from the constitution (INAUDIBLE). And it's very important that that occur. But that's a long way down the trail. And for the moment, the Sunnis are uncooperative, and once again have used perhaps the Falluja situation to demonstrate their lack of confidence.

WOODRUFF: Senator, you've been critical at various points in the past for aspects of the administration's approach in Iraq. How do you size up the Bush administration's strategy right now?

LUGAR: Well, I like very much what I hear about Falluja, specifically following the fighting. And it's not over. And we've had at least good movement, as you've heard reported.

But the administration on this occasion is prepared now to move in with reconstruction funds, with other support situations that may not win hearts and minds but are likely to get people back to work, to make the economy stronger in Falluja. I think this is critical. And I appreciate the movement that's occurring not only there, but elsewhere. But I cite Falluja specifically because that has been made very clear by the administration.

WOODRUFF: Senator, turning you to the Middle East, with Yasser Arafat's condition deteriorating he may be close to death. Secretary of State Powell said today this -- was quoted today as saying that the administration is ready to seize this opportunity aggressively. Very quickly, what do you believe the U.S. needs to do?

LUGAR: Well, we need to be visiting with the Israeli government. We need to be visiting with President Mubarak in Egypt, who is prepared to play a sizable role in stabilization of territories as settlers come out. If Israelis are effective in bringing about that change, then that then puts things on track for some negotiations that are serious with potentially a more moderate group of Palestinians coming into governance.

WOODRUFF: Senator Richard Lugar, by the way, any interest in the position of secretary of state should Colin Powell step down?

LUGAR: Oh, I'm just grateful to continue as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I'm grateful that we have a new mandate.

WOODRUFF: Senator Richard Lugar...

LUGAR: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: ... chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, as you just said, we appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Straight ahead, like father, like son? Bruce Morton looks at two Republican presidents, both named Bush, and their two different brands of conservatism.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Left wing, right wing, conservative, liberal, labels we hear thrown around a lot. But within each term there are many subtle and sometimes not so subtle nuances. Case in point, George W. Bush and his brand of conservatism. Bruce Morton reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): George W. Bush is a conservative. He says so, so do his critics. But what kind of conservative?

Traditional in some areas, but in others radically different from his predecessors. Take foreign policy. This president's father was a traditional conservative, wanted to maintain traditional alliances, keep old NATO friends like Britain, France and Germany, use force to fight for, drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait after he invaded it, but not eager to upset the status quo. Didn't overthrow Hussein because that would have fractured the coalition he assembled.

This president has a much more dramatic vision, a U.S. that brings democracy to the world. Iraq, the theory went, would embrace democracy and help transform the Middle East, for instance.

G. BUSH: It's an historic opportunity to spread democracy and hope as an alternative to hatred and terror and violence for export.

MORTON: Another area? Fiscal policy.

A decade ago, conservatives wanted a balanced budget. One article in Newt Gingrich's Contract with America was a proposed constitutional amendment requiring one. Not George W. Bush. He has funded two wars and pushed big tax cuts through Congress.

The public national debt, the money the U.S. owes people and other countries, was roughly $3.3 trillion in September 2001. At the end last September, it was roughly $4.3 trillion, an increase in just three years of 30 percent.

In other areas, Bush is a traditional conservative, pro-business, for oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve, for letting timber companies do more logging in federal forests. He's anti-union. Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, George W. Bush told Homeland Security Department employees they couldn't join a union. And he's been strong on the religionist rights issues, anti-abortion, for an amendment to the federal Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

(on camera): Still, it's worth remembering, as he begins his second term with increased majorities in the House and the Senate, that in foreign and fiscal policy George W. Bush is a new kind of conservative taking country in some new directions.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: By a couple of percentage points, moral values was cited more often as the most important issue by voters going to the polls last week. When INSIDE POLITICS continues, can the left find a way to appeal to voters who use their faith as a guide?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: There has been much discussion about the role of religion and moral values in last week's election, and the degree to which the president and other Republicans capitalized on their ability to attract voters by appealing to values. Exit polling showed when people were asked what issue was most important to them, 22 percent agreed it was moral values, compared with 20 percent who said the economy and jobs, 19 percent who cited terrorism, and 15 percent who said Iraq.

Is the matter of values the exclusive domain of Republicans? Well, Rabbi Michael Lerner is the editor of "Tikkun." It is a magazine of thought for the religious left, and he joins us from New York.

Rabbi Lerner, George Bush got 51 percent of the vote overall. But 61 percent of the vote of those who attend church weekly or regularly. Why?

RABBI MICHAEL LERNER, EDITOR, "TIKKUN": In part, because the liberal and progressive forces in this country are tone deaf to the real spiritual crisis. There is a real spiritual crisis in American society, an ethos of selfishness and materialism that has become deeper and deeper, has undermined families, has undermined loving relationships and makes people very desperate. But the only people who speak to that is the political right. The left says "It's the economy, stupid," and assumes that it can win simply on economic issues. It's tone deaf to the reality of a spiritual crisis, yet they don't have to be, because if they were to understand that the ethos of selfishness and materialism is rooted in the economic system, in the competitiveness of the marketplace, and in the values that the right espouses for corporations when it tells people all day long, look out for number one, maximize the bottom line of money and power, those values that people learn all day in the world of work are brought home into personal life and create a real spiritual crisis for people.

WOODRUFF: Rabbi Lerner, what should the Democrats be saying? What should the message of John Kerry have been, or what should the next Democratic nominee be saying?

LERNER: They should say that we need a new bottom line in American society. We need a bottom line in which institutions are judged efficient, rational and productive, not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity. And our capacities to respond to the universe with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.

Talk in a spiritual language. Emphasize the ways in which liberal and progressive policies can be understood as a deeper way to achieve a spiritual vision. But the liberal and progressive forces had no spiritual vision. All they had was what they were against, no vision of what they were for.

WOODRUFF: But what makes you thank message would get -- would come across, would be received well by the electorate?

LERNER: The reason why significant sections of the electorate switched to the right is because the right at least understands that there is a spiritual crisis. The liberals think that the only thing that hurts people is economic needs.

Well, yes, people care about economic needs. But for a very large number of Americans, the real crisis in their lives is spiritual.

It is the way in which people feel lonely, they don't know who they can count on, they feel that their relationships may at any point be undermined, the family life is being undermined. And the only people they hear speaking about it is the right.

If the liberal and progressive forces in the Democratic Party and outside were to talk in this discourse and be sensitive to the spiritual crisis, then it would be possible to argue the content of what's the best way to challenge the selfishness and materialism in this society. But if you just give that to the right, then of course everybody who cares about that is going to respond to the right.

WOODRUFF: But how does that square with what we know is written in the American Constitution, you know, where there is supposed to be a separation between church and state? How is it that you would have politicians addressing the spiritual needs of voters?

LERNER: You see, the right already is doing that. All that's happened for the Democrats and the liberals is they say we want to make sure that those values don't get into the public sphere.

They're already in the public sphere. The only ones who are arguing for them are the right, with right wing values and right wing spirituality.

There is an absence of a liberal or progressive articulation of that alternative. So it's not a case keeping us out of the public sphere. That discourse is already happening in the public sphere. But only on the side of the right, because the liberal and progressive forces don't even recognize how critical it is to be in there and to talk to those needs.

WOODRUFF: Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of "Tikkun" Magazine, one of the voices with some strong ideas about what the Democrats should be doing the next go-around. Rabbi Lerner, good to see you. Thank you very much for talking with me.

LERNER: Thank you so much.

WOODRUFF: I appreciate it.

LERNER: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, to put it mildly, these are not the best of times for Democrats on Capitol Hill. Still ahead, the party symbolized by the donkey gets kicked. We'll talk to one congressional Democrat who -- about living with the election outcome.

And a stamp of approval for the Reagan legacy when INSIDE POLITICS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It is just after 4:00 on the east coast. And as the markets close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Lou Dobbs in New York with "The Dobbs Report." Hi, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Hi, Judy.

Here in New York, stock prices trading flat. As the final trades are now being counted, the Dow Jones Industrials are up just a little better than two points, and the Nasdaq Composite up about four points.

The Federal Reserve is widely expected to raise interest rates by a quarter point when they meet tomorrow. It would be a fourth increase this year.

There was another sharp decline today in oil prices. Crude oil down nearly $2 a barrel today, and that's down 15 percent from the record high set just two weeks ago. The retreat due in part to easing concern about supplies of heating oil this winter. And the dollar recovering a bit today, as well, gaining ground against most major currencies. Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin issuing a warning, saying the dollar's decline could accelerate and send interest rates surging if Washington does not act decisively to cut the federal budget and trade deficits. Those comments coming from Rubin, who served in the Clinton administration, after the dollar plunged to a record low against the euro.

Shares of Merck today down more than two percent. Merck disclosed that it is the subject of a criminal investigation by the Justice Department related to its handling of the recently withdrawn drug Vioxx. The SEC has also begun an informal investigation. At issue: what the company knew of Vioxx's health risks before it began marketing the painkiller. The company already faces hundreds of private lawsuits and potentially billions of dollars in liability as a result.

The huge contracts to air NFL games have led to huge losses at both CBS and FOX. But both networks have renewed their contracts with the NFL. In fact, they'll pay a combined $8 billion to extend the rights to air Sunday football games through 2011, a more than 40 percent increase from the current contracts despite a shrinking audience and margin problems.

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," we continue our week-long series of special reports, "The Bush Agenda." Tonight, we take a look at the president's promise to push through education reform during his second term. Just a day after his reelection, President Bush made it clear education remains a top priority.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

G. BUSH: In the new term, we'll continue to make sure we do not weaken the accountability standards that are making a huge difference in people's lives and these kids' lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: Also tonight, I'll be joined by the man slated to be the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter will be my guest. We'll be talking about his chances of becoming the next chairman, and we'll get his perspective on possible Supreme Court nominees.

Proposition 200 passed easily in Arizona, essentially cutting off state benefits for illegal aliens there. The mayor of the City of Phoenix, Phil Gordon, will join me. He opposed the legislation, and may be laying the groundwork to avoid the effects of Proposition 200. We'll find out tonight.

And immigration reform also a top priority for the Bush administration. Granting legal status to millions of illegal aliens will be a key topic during Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to Mexico.

That's tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Please join us.

Now back to Judy Woodruff -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: Lou, you spoke about the comments from Robert Rubin about the sinking dollar. My question is: How big a problem is this? And please, Lou, I'm asking you to speak in language that those of us who didn't major in economics will understand.

DOBBS: Well, Judy, that's kind of easy, because it is really a very simple issue.

The fact of the matter is that the dollar has been under extraordinary pressure because we, all of us, are buying far more imported goods than this country can afford. A $600 billion trade deficit. We have $4 trillion in debt as a result of those imports that we're buying from overseas. We have a national debt approaching $8 trillion.

We're simply spending beyond our means. And the dollar is certainly less attractive to our trading partners, and that's what the former Secretary of Treasury Bob Rubin was cautioning everyone in Washington about.

WOODRUFF: All right, a primer from Lou Dobbs. Thanks very much. And we'll see you at 6:00.

DOBBS: Thanks, Judy. Got a deal. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: American and Iraqi troops on the attack in Falluja. We'll have the latest on the second day of fighting in the rebel-held Iraqi city.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will also do everything in my power to ensure that my party, a proud Democratic party, stands true to our best hopes and ideals.

ANNOUNCER: But does that include another run for the White House? We'll take a look at what may be next for John Kerry.

Democrats lost ground on Capitol Hill, so what role will they play in the next Congress? We'll talk with a top member of the minority party.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Exactly one week after a presidential election that focused to a great degree on Iraq, Bush administration officials are keeping a close watch on the U.S.-led battle to re-take Falluja. After 48 hours of fighting, military officials say they are on or ahead of schedule in their mission to oust insurgents from the city. But they say there could be several more days of intense fighting, and that could mean more casualties.

Today the coalition ground force commander refused to specify how many American troops have been killed in the operation, saying only that casualties can be counted at about a dozen. But a U.S. Military official is telling CNN that 10 U.S. troops and two Iraqi soldiers have been killed in action in or around Falluja. That official says the number of wounded is at at least 22.

Now, a view from Capitol Hill on the fighting in Falluja and other stories. I'm joined by Congressman John Spratt of South Carolina. He is the assistant minority leader and the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, as well as a member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Congressman Spratt, I know that in the past you have been skeptical of the administration's approach in Iraq. What's your sense right now on how things are looking in Falluja?

REP. JOHN SPRATT (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: My concern in the past has been that we need to build up an Iraqi army. I'm glad to see their army fighting with our army. But we're only building an army of 35,000 at the current time. We have got 140,000 troops there, which indicates to me that we have a long way to go before we can turn over to them the lion's share of the responsibility for securing their own country. That's a concern.

WOODRUFF: What needs to happen next? I mean, once Falluja is routed -- and we're told the opposition is not as fierce or putting up as much of a fight as was expected -- what is next? Is the road clear to elections in January?

SPRATT: I'm sure that they'll go to the next Falluja, which will be a less tension-torn area, and they'll try to take out the opposition there. It looks like they're going to try to take out any kind of opposition that might disrupt the elections in January, and they're doing it now so as to lay the basis for January.

Then, they're hoping that the election will lead to a legitimate government which will help quell some of the insurgency.

WOODRUFF: Congressman, I want to turn your attention to the election and some issues about facing your party, the Democrat party, after this election. You were just reelected, what, to your 12th term...

SPRATT: Twelfth term, yes.

WOODRUFF: ... in the House of -- representing your home state of South Carolina. This is a state -- you won, I looked it up, 63 percent of the vote. Is that right?

SPRATT: Yes, I had a good man running against me, but he didn't run a strong campaign. So, my races are usually tighter than that.

WOODRUFF: John Kerry got, what, just over 40 percent in South Carolina. Was he doomed from the beginning in your state?

SPRATT: I don't think he ever had chance of carrying South Carolina. Certainly John Edwards helped the ticket. He's a native South Carolinian. We were hopeful that Inez Tenenbaun could win. She was a strong candidate, a good candidate...

WOODRUFF: For the Senate.

SPRATT: ... for the Senate, the United States Senate.

And unfortunately, she was able to muster only about 44, 45 percent of the vote. That was a disappointment.

WOODRUFF: What do Democrats have to do to do better in your part of the country?

SPRATT: Well, we have to keep putting up good candidates, and they have to start talking about issues that really matter to people. I thought Inez was on message for the most part, but she needed more than the message she had. She made a good race. I can't really fault her too much for what she did.

WOODRUFF: But what about at the presidential level? Just a moment ago, we were showing a picture of John Kerry saying maybe he's going to run again for president. You shook your head.

SPRATT: Well, I -- only because I hate to see us get started on another presidential election campaign only a week after the last one ended. But no, he would not have chance in South Carolina under any circumstances. Doesn't mean he can't win nationwide or that he didn't run a good race. I thought he did, but not good enough.

WOODRUFF: Who are some Democrats -- well, let me back up. What are some -- is it -- in your mind, is it a matter of the Democrats deciding what they believe in that is going suit more voters that'll get them a majority, or is it a matter of coming up with an individual?

SPRATT: We need an individual. We need an individual. I think our policies are within the mainstream of what South Carolinians believe in and support. We need a strong individual -- a Dick Riley, if you will -- who can come back and talk to the average person and galvanize...

WOODRUFF: The former Education Secretary Dick Riley.

SPRATT: Exactly, yeah. He was governor for two terms. A very successful governor. Another Dick Riley could get elected again in South Carolina, I'm convinced.

WOODRUFF: But what about for president?

SPRATT: The president -- for the president? Well, Jimmy Carter could get elected. He...

WOODRUFF: But he's not going run again. I mean, are there any names that come to mind when you think of who your party could win -- could pick up some votes in the south?

SPRATT: Well, a Jimmy Carter-type could get elected. A Sam Nunn-type could get elected in South Carolina. It wouldn't be easy, because it's a strong Republican vote there, but some centrist candidate still has a chance in South Carolina. Our concern is to elect a governor, because that's important for the state. It's also important for traction of a political party.

WOODRUFF: Let me just quickly quote you what the majority leader in the House, Tom DeLay, a Republican said, "We're going to be able to lead this country now in the direction we have been dreaming of for years. We're going to put God back into the public square."

What do you say to that?

SPRATT: Well, let's wait and see what the policies are that are implied by that statement. He's got tough problems. And I think the Republicans have every reason to be a little euphoric and proud, but they need to be on guard against hubris right now, against overreaching.

Look at the twin deficits. The trade deficit is at a record height -- $600 billion. We had great news last week about employment. What happened to the dollar? It plummeted against the euro and the yen because the trade numbers are bad. Even agriculture for two months in a row now has suffered a deficit in trade. We've never had deficits in years in the agriculture sector.

So, the Bush administration has a lot of free trade agreements -- the Central American Free Trade Agreement -- waiting in queue to come up. It could be a harder task to pass that that with the trade stats we have got today than in the past.

And next week -- next week, we will have to increase -- Congress will have to increase the debt ceiling by $690 billion. It was only 18 months ago that we increased the debt ceiling by $984 billion. And 18 months, this administration, its fiscal policies have run through $984 billion of debt, and we have to raise the debt ceiling again to accommodate the budget for 2005.

WOODRUFF: Sober perspective from Congressman John Spratt. Congratulations. Newly reelected...

SPRATT: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: ... from the Fifth District in...

SPRATT: South Carolina, yeah.

WOODRUFF: ... to your 12th term. We appreciate you joining us.

SPRATT: Thank you. WOODRUFF: Ranking member of the Budget Committee. Thank you very much -- and the assistant minority leader.

John Kerry has promised to promote political healing after his election loss. Up next, is he going to make good on that pledge? Our Candy Crowley will share what she's hearing about his future.

Also ahead -- married voters versus singles. Bill Schneider considers the great divide between those who have and have not walked down the aisle.

And later, the Ronald Reagan stamp -- signed, sealed, and delivered.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The Bush administration is moving forward today on an issue that is important for many conservative Christians. Attorney General John Ashcroft asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the nation's law allowing doctors to help terminally ill patients die more quickly. The appeal had been expected since May.

Ashcroft is challenging a lower court ruling barring the federal government from punishing Oregon doctors involved in assisted suicide. Oregon voters approved the law. The Supreme Court probably will decide early next year whether to hear the case.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: When you have run for the highest office in the land and you have lost, plotting your next career moving can be tricky, to say the least. John Kerry is in the early stages, we're told, of thinking about his political future. And after many months of covering Kerry, our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has been doing some reporting.

Candy, what are you hearing?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a couple of things.

First of all, this is -- someone told me this is a little bit like mourning. You go through various stages once you have lost an election. And that's where John Kerry is right now. And there's sort of the grieving stage, and then there's the, you know, what next stage.

And what I'm told is, first of all, that he is going to show up for the lame duck session. He is in Washington now. He was supposed to meet Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid today to talk about the DNC. So, he's -- you know, he's back in the side game at this point, although not seen in public.

It's not only what we're hearing, but what we're reading. There was an article today in "The Boston Globe" where Cam Kerry, Senator Kerry's brother, was quoted. The first quote talking about his brother.

"He," meaning John Kerry, "is in a position of national leadership. He's going to exercise that role and be a voice for the 55 million people who voted for him. The position he's in gives him a bully pulpit."

Described to me as, first of all, there's a void right now at the head of the Democratic party. Tom Daschle will be gone. You know, Bill Clinton is still the powerhouse there, but you're beginning to hear about Hillary Clinton. John Kerry obviously wants to have a leading role. He's got those 55 million votes.

But I don't hear so much talk about -- he's got four years left in the Senate. They want to use some of his power, maybe form a pack similar to the one he did helping Congressmen and the Senators before he ran for office -- the Citizen Soldier Pack. Legislatively, people tell us he's in an energy bill -- energy independence. The things we heard about -- Iraq, stem-cell research, vets, he wants to fight Anwar -- exploration at Anwar.

The other thing that has caught everybody's attention that came out of this "Boston Globe" was this other quote -- again, from Cam Kerry, the brother of Senator John Kerry.

Another White House race, he's talking about, "is conceivable. I don't know why," talking about last week's loss, "should necessarily be it. I think it's too early to assess, but I think he's going to continue to fight on for the values, ideals, and issues this campaign is about."

So, overblown, overblown, overblown. Everybody says this is not an announcement that he's going to run in '08. But they say, you know, basically the question was is it -- you know, could he run again in '08? Well, that's not something you can say absolutely not, particularly if you're the brother. You have to hear that from the candidate.

But you know, most people don't quite see that right at this -- it takes a lot out of you to run. So, most people say, look, that's an overblown thing. It leaves the door open, but...

WOODRUFF: Quickly, Candy, is it your sense that other Democrats are receptive to John Kerry staying active and at least thinking about '08?

CROWLEY: Insofar as John Kerry can help the Democratic party, but he's got competition out there already. I know that the Democrats don't want to talk about '08, as we heard from Congressman Spratt, but the fact of the matter is there's already names bouncing out.

And you know and I know that the people who actually are thinking about a race in '08 are thinking about it already. So, you know, it obviously hasn't happened that often in history, but John Kerry is going to be one of 100 people now back in the Senate. It's not just John Kerry, the Democratic nominee. It's Senator John Kerry again. He's got 99 other people that are going to vie for attention.

So, he's trying to figure out a way. He's still got his Web site up, trying to figure out a way to kind of use the support that he got and turn it into something else. But what that something else is, we'll see.

WOODRUFF: Well, we'll certainly keep an eye on him. It's certainly a way for us who can't let go of this election to stay connected to it.

CROWLEY: That's right, exactly. Exactly.

WOODRUFF: OK. Candy Crowley, thanks very much.

The so-called gender gap is apparently old news. Get ready for the marriage gap. Up next, our Bill Schneider spotlights a growing divide among American voters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: When it comes to men, women, and elections, we have all heard a lot about the gender gap in recent years. Our Bill Schneider reports there's been a shift of sorts, and the gender gap is no longer the only gap that matters.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): It is official. The marriage gap is now bigger than the gender gap. Married men and married women both voted in larger numbers for George W. Bush. A majority of unmarried people, both women and men, voted for John Kerry.

That is not good news for Democrats. More than 60 percent of the voters last week were married. Married men are your hardcore Bush supporters. In 2000, they favored Bush over Al Gore by 20 points. This year, they voted about the same -- a 21-point margin for Bush over Kerry.

Married men are the most bullish on the economy, and the most enthusiastic about Bush's tax cuts. They're status quo voters.

Unmarried men are different. In 2000, they split between Bush and Gore. This year, Kerry led among unmarried men by eight points. Why? One word -- jobs. These days, you need a two-income household to make ends meet. Most unmarried men don't have that. They're struggling voters.

Struggle is nothing new for unmarried women. They don't have the economic security of a husband. Unmarried women voted for Gore by nearly 2-1 four years ago. This year, same margin for Kerry. Unmarried women are safety net voters. They fear Bush is pulling the government safety net from under them.

One group shifted noticeably to bush this year.

ED GILLESPIE, RNC CHAIRMAN: Let me also talk about the women's vote, though. We did make gains amongst married women, particularly.

SCHNEIDER: Yes they did. In 2000, married women were split between Bush and Gore. This year, Bush surged to an 11-point lead among married women. These are the security moms.

CELINDA LAKE, POLLSTER: They saw this as a wartime presidency. And ironically when they called it a wartime presidency, it wasn't the Iraq war that they were talking about, it was the war on terrorism.

SCHNEIDER: Many of them have children after all.

For unmarried voters, the issue was the economy, and the choice was Kerry. For married voters who are economically more secure, issues like moral values and terrorism mattered more. And Bush benefited.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(on camera): We saw two crosscurrents this year. Married women to Bush and unmarried men to Kerry. But since married women outnumber unmarried men by better than 2-1, Democrats lost the election -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: So, Bill, what would happen if more single people got married? Would that help the Democrats or the Republicans? Never mind. You don't...

SCHNEIDER: Well, in theory, it should help the Republicans.

WOODRUFF: OK. That's one we can think about for the next four years.

SCHNEIDER: Yes.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks very much, joining us from Boston.

Well, there's a new honor for the Great Communicator. Ahead, a stamp of approval for Ronald Reagan unveiled by the former first lady.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A tribute to the nation's 40th president was revealed in California today. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan and the Postmaster General unveiled a replica of a postage stamp honoring Ronald Reagan. It took place at the Reagan Presidential Library. There's usual a 10-year wait after a person dies to be featured on a stamp, but that rule is waived for presidents.

The stamp will be available to the public on February the 10th.

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

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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