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History's Judgment of President Clinton; Iran and Nuclear Weapons

Aired November 19, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening and welcome to PRIME TIME POLITICS. Glad to have you with us tonight.
That is President Bush arriving in Santiago, Chile, just a short while ago for an economic summit, his first international trip since his election. But there is a lot more than economics on his mind, new fears about weapons of mass destruction, all because Secretary of State Colin Powell says Iran may be on its way to becoming a serious nuclear threat. And because leaks about Iranian nukes are annoying the Bush White House, we'll look into that, too.

But we begin tonight with a former president, Bill Clinton, not the smiling senior statesman, but the other Bill Clinton, who faced down impeachment, who has a temper, and that flashed rather unexpectedly last night with an interview with ABC's Peter Jennings, who told Mr. Clinton that, according to a survey of historians, his presidency is ranked next to last in terms of moral authority, ahead of only Richard Nixon.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I made a terrible public personal mistake. But I paid for it many times over. And in spite of it all, you don't have any example where I ever lied to the American people about my job, where I ever let the American people down.

And I had more support from the world and world leaders and people around the world when I quit than when I started. And I will go to my grave being at peace about it. And I don't really care what they think.

PETER JENNINGS, ABC NEWS: Oh, yes, you do, sir.

CLINTON: They have no idea.

JENNINGS: Oh, excuse me, Mr. President. You care. I can feel it across the room. You feel it very deeply.

CLINTON: No, I care.


CLINTON: You don't want to go here, Peter. You don't want to go here, not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr, the way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked. No one has any idea what that is like.


ZAHN: And joining us now from Washington is someone who knows Bill Clinton very well . Illinois Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel was a senior adviser to the president during his administration.

Congressman, welcome. Good to see you.

REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: EMANUEL: Nice to see you, Paula.

ZAHN: So, what did you make of that exchange?

EMANUEL: Well, I listened to it. And, again, I haven't seen it. And that was the first time I heard it. I read some stories about it today.

But I would say this. I don't think that other journalists, I don't think other journalists and people who teach classes on journalism, I don't think that period of time was the finest hour for journalists. I don't think it was the finest hour for the judicial system, the finest hour also for Washington as kind of a city or a town.

And also as it judges to the president and President Clinton, I would say, like all of us in our lives, we get judged by the totality of our actions. And his presidency will be judged by his totality. That will be a piece of it. It is part of what happened in the history of his eight years, but it is not the thing that happened.

ZAHN: But, Congressman, what was really striking about this interview is, he went on to tell Peter Jennings that there was this entire apparatus out there that was out to get him. Did you see evidence of that when you worked with him day in and day out, the good times and bad times?


EMANUEL: I sometimes joke, Paula, even paranoid people have enemies.

So what I will say to that is there was an apparatus. There were people that from the moment of his presidency -- it goes back to the days as governor. I still believe the Lewinsky investigation was way off from the focus of what Whitewater was, which turned out to be nothing at the end of the process. And I think that there were people who were determined as political opponents to not allow his presidency to succeed.

ZAHN: But let's come back to the substance of some of this reporting President Clinton was talking about. He seemed to be singling out ABC in particular. Do you understand why?

EMANUEL: No. I can't remember a specific thing that ABC -- you get specific about. But if he sees this tonight, he may call me and remind me. But I can't remember anything specific. I will tell you at a time in which I worked at the White House, Paula, there was a feeling that what got reported was rumor, rather than being substantiated. I think you would agree, Paula, at that point, you all felt under tremendous pressure, not wanting to get beat.

And rather than doing the kind of fact-checking that normally goes with a story, you ran with certain stories for not wanting to get beat. There's a pressure that exists in your profession. I would be surprised in any honest exchange that you say that doesn't exist. And things happened there that I don't think are the finest hours for anybody, whether it was a journalist, the legal system or, in that case of the political system, who would say that was an example of when Washington worked best.

ZAHN: And, finally, I know how proud you are of some of the achievements of the Clinton presidency. Are you, as a man who was very close to the president and obviously took hits along with the president and took them personally, are you troubled that the Monica Lewinsky-Whitewater chapter will overshadow his presidency?


As individuals, we will be judged in our lives by the totality of our actions. Not one thing will stand out. And I think that's how we get judged by our colleagues and that's how we get judged by the good lord. And that's what will happen in life. And the good and the bad come. And I'm not -- in any way believe that his presidency will in some way be only shadowed by Lewinsky. It is a part of the presidency. It existed in the way that Whitewater will exist on the record of the press.

ZAHN: Congressman, thanks so much for your thoughts tonight.

And if the president calls you after this interview, will you call us back on Monday and let you know who else he might have attacked in the media?

EMANUEL: No. I think I'll wake you up at 2:00 in the morning when he wakes me up.

ZAHN: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.


EMANUEL: See you, Paula.

ZAHN: Another intrusion I'm sure my family will welcome. Have a great holiday.

EMANUEL: You, too.

ZAHN: And joining me now with two very different views of the Clinton legacy, Katrina Vanden Heuvel. She's the editor of "The Nation." And, in Washington tonight, John Fund of "The Wall Street Journal."

Good to have both of you back.


ZAHN: So, Katrina, do you think the press was out to get Bill Clinton by going with unsubstantiated rumors?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Well, I think the press didn't do its job in a fundamental way, that we ended up, at the end of all of this money spent by a press, which, by the way, blurred the lines between entertainment and news gathering in this period, with an out-of- control prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, who abused his legal discretion, according to many legal experts, spending the taxpayers' money, $70 million worth.

ZAHN: That story didn't go completely unreported, Katrina.

VANDEN HEUVEL: It didn't go unreported, but you know what strikes me, Paula? And you've been in the media business for a long time.

What is the role of the media in a democracy? It seemed to me that there was a disproportionate amount of attention paid to the tabloid elements of Bill Clinton's life and legacy and administration, not enough to the politics. Now look at what the media has been doing in these last couple years. It's given this president, who has subverted the Constitution in serious ways, a pass in a run-up to a war, an unnecessary war. To me, that is the failure of the media.

ZAHN: John Fund, has the press had it both ways here?

JOHN FUND, COLUMNIST, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Look, I think Bill Clinton's presidency had lots of good elements and lots of bad elements. And, obviously, it should be judged by the totality. But come on.

ZAHN: Was the press fair to Bill Clinton?

FUND: Yes, largely. And I'll tell you why.

Whitewater was not nothing; 17 people pled guilty, including the governor of Arkansas and the third high-ranking official in Bill Clinton's administration in the Justice Department. So come on. "The Nation" magazine, which Katrina edits, talked about Bill Clinton's sleazy fund-raising, the Lincoln Bedrooms, the White House coffee, the memos that showed that he deliberately evaded and avoided the campaign finance laws.

Katrina, you know that Bill Clinton was deliberately avoiding the 1996 campaign finance laws. You go into the fact that -- look, let's separate out the Lewinsky thing, although that's ultimately...

VANDEN HEUVEL: How can you separate that out, John?

(CROSSTALK) VANDEN HEUVEL: Your paper spent reams of copy on the private life of a president.

FUND: No. No.


VANDEN HEUVEL: I make a distinction between public morality where you engage in corrupt affairs of state, and subverting the Constitution, shredding international law, and private affairs.

Yes, Bill Clinton lied. And you know what? Yesterday, with Peter Jennings, he apologized. We now have a president who believes being president means never having to say you're sorry, when many legal experts consider this administration in violation of all kinds of law and consider this war unnecessary.

Misleading a nation into war, you're telling me that that is not something the press could have done a better job in delivering news to the American people about?

ZAHN: OK, John, take a pass at that and then we're going to have to take a break.

FUND: Katrina, you obviously didn't read the paper. We talked about the rule of law. Bill Clinton ultimately gave up his law license. He paid a large fine for perjury. All of what we talked about was the rule of law. It was not anything about what you mentioned. That was some other paper, not the one that you pretended to read, but didn't.

ZAHN: Katrina, John, we're going to have to leave it there.


VANDEN HEUVEL: Vince Foster read your paper quite a bit.

ZAHN: We're going to continue our conversation on the other side of this break about President Clinton and the new Bush Cabinet, plus a lot more ahead right here on PRIME TIME POLITICS.


ZAHN (voice-over): From Boston to Berkeley, how colleges and universities are bastions of liberal thought. Now some conservatives are pushing for room in the ivory tower. Will the liberal arts be the liberal arts much longer?

And they trudge through the snow. They wait patiently in the pouring rain. And they even talk when they don't have a voice. Tonight, what it takes to be a president and who is already thinking of 2008.

All that and much more tonight on PRIME TIME POLITICS.


ZAHN: And welcome back. I'm joined again by Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor of "The Nation," and John Fund of "The Wall Street Journal."

Welcome back.

Let's watch one more time what President Clinton had to say about the media last night in an interview with ABC.


CLINTON: You don't want to go here, Peter. You don't want to go here, not after what you people did and the way you, your network, what you did with Kenneth Starr, the way your people repeated every little sleazy thing he leaked.


ZAHN: So, John, how guilty was the media of going with unsubstantiated rumors?

FUND: Well, in the case of the Lewinsky example, obviously, any time you have sex enter into the situation, you have a feeding frenzy, and the media was stumbling all over itself. But I have to tell you...

ZAHN: It was not our finest hour, was it, John?

FUND: The White House, however, constantly withheld...

ZAHN: You didn't answer that question, John.

FUND: The White House constantly withheld evidence. The White House constantly basically made stuff up. The White House was constantly lying. Therefore, the media, unfortunately, sometimes fell into the trap of saying, well, they're lying about everything else. I guess we're just going to have to say that they're probably lying here.

Obviously, there were excesses. The media has spent a lot of time in seminars looking over their behavior there. It could have done better. But the Bill Clinton presidency constantly was playing hide and seek with every document and every request from every prosecutor and every media organization. It was stonewalling. It was doing what Richard Nixon did.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Paula, I come back to what we were talking about before.

I think it's Ken Starr and his out-of-control prosecutorial investigation that was abetted by a media which didn't have its finest hour. But I come back to today. Look at the media today. There were no lives lost in the Clinton administration in the sense of an affair. We now have an administration which has lost lives by manipulating intelligence, by cowing the media, which went AWOL in a crucial moment in this country's history.

And to me, that is something we should reflect on now, maybe use Clinton's attacks on the media to think about the role of a media in a democracy. We failed.

ZAHN: John, a brief rejoinder to that, because there are a lot of people who come back from Iraq who feel that the American press wasn't critical enough of this administration in the run-up to war because of the fear of either being considered unpatriotic or in some way undermining the effort of the U.S. government. That is true, isn't it?

FUND: There is something to that.

There is also something to the fact that Bill Clinton -- and we know this from Richard Clarke, who was his terrorism deputy -- was asleep at the switch for part of the eight years that he was president. They didn't spend enough time on terrorism. I think the administration under Clinton should have gotten a lot more scrutiny under terrorism and so should the administration under Bush with Iraq, both failures. We needed to a better job on all fronts.


ZAHN: Let's move on to another controversy brewing in the Bush administration. There are a lot of critics out there suggesting that, in moving the kind of people the Bush administration is into the Cabinet positions, you're doing it not because of competency, but out of loyalty, leading to what they say will be a dangerous group think mentality. Do you see it that way?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Yes. Paula, if competence was an issue here, you wouldn't see any of these people in this administration. We have defined failure down.


ZAHN: How can you say that, Katrina? Across the board?

VANDEN HEUVEL: Because the staggering lack of accountability, where you have the very people who were in charge of the disastrous policy failures, the postwar Iraq, Abu Ghraib, anti-Americanism in this world, are now rewarded by being promoted to the positions they're in.

ZAHN: You're basically saying Condoleezza Rice, and, of course, her No. 2 that now takes over her job...

VANDEN HEUVEL: Absolutely. Condoleezza Rice -- don't listen to me. Listen to Richard Clarke. Listen to David Kay, the weapons inspector who came to Congress in August to indict Condoleezza Rice for her incompetence and her ideological blindness.

ZAHN: John Fund, are you comfortable with the balance now that you're seeing shaping up in this Bush administration or do you think voices of dissidence are being wiped out here? FUND: I think, if we're after reasoned analysis, the general smear that we just heard about people in the administration is probably a bit much.

Look, I think a lot of the people in the administration recognize that one of the mistakes that they made were not enough people were held accountable after 9/11. There were failures. We are seeing some people held accountable now in the CIA, the Defense Department, the State Department. There are going to be some changes, some personnel changes.

ZAHN: But what about the people who have been promoted?


FUND: But to smear -- look, just because you make mistakes doesn't mean that you have to be shoved out the door. Condoleezza Rice has nerves of steel. She's done a good job as national security adviser. Colin Powell has as well. He supported Condoleezza Rice taking his position. So, down through the list...

ZAHN: So you're saying you don't see any potential of group think here?

FUND: The group think occurs in every administration if you don't constantly reassess yourself and reevaluate.

Now, the wakeup call we had in Iraq with weapons of mass destruction I think would tell any administration we have to make doubly sure that, for example, when we're looking at Iran, which is apparently developing nuclear weapons, of course, we have to be certain in our intelligence. And that's why Colin Powell came out today and said, I am darn sure that we have intelligence. And he's already being attacked for using supposedly a single source.

VANDEN HEUVEL: John, he had one single source.


FUND: This administration cannot survive policy by leaks. You conduct your administration debates within the administration. You don't leak to the media.

ZAHN: I'm sure I can bring you the two of you back for plenty more spirited debate in the days to come.


ZAHN: Katrina, thanks for your time.


ZAHN: John Fund, yours as well.

Good weekend, the two of you. In Santiago, Chile, a big welcome tonight for President Bush from fellows heads of state. But on the street, a different story, the U.S. still taking heat from the rest of the world. That's next.


ZAHN: And welcome back.

President Bush is in Santiago, Chile, for an economic summit. But he's also flown into a controversy involving nuclear weapons, Iran and information made public by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Senior White House correspondent John King is traveling with the president. He joins us from Santiago tonight.

Good evening, John.

Some new word out of Iran late tonight that it has now admitted to producing more uranium than originally thought. What's the reaction from the White House?

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House says this is more proof, at least to the White House, that Iran is rushing ahead, trying to get as close as possible to developing nuclear weapons before the timing of a new deal with Europe kicks in.

Iran has agreed to stop producing uranium that could be used for nuclear weapons. Secretary Powell, as you noted, even saying that he thinks now Iran is developing a missile that can fitted with a nuclear warhead. Now, many are questioning the quality of that intelligence, saying it's not verified. But the administration thinks, frankly, the European community is underestimating the threat, the nuclear threat posed by Iran.

So Secretary Powell, in his final weeks in office, escalating the U.S. rhetoric, if you will. But this is brining up a ghost of the Iraq debate, many saying, your intelligence about Iraq was wrong. Why should we trust you now?

ZAHN: Well, come back to the politics of all of this, John, because it's very confusing. You have Colin Powell out front and center on this issue and then people from the administration honestly sniping at him, saying that he went with unvetted information.

KING: Well, it is an interesting time.

Secretary Powell obviously believes that this is an issue that has to be dealt with. Some in the administration saying, we should do this in a more judicious way, if you will, perhaps wait until the new regime takes part in the State Department. But no one in the administration questioning the urgency of the argument. They believe that the European community and particularly the International Atomic Energy Agency keeps turning a blind eye or at least accepting the best judgment, making the best-case scenario when it has inspections in Iran or when Iran makes a presentation about its nuclear program. The administration believes it's critical to keep the heat on not only Iran, but the international community. But there are some saying that Secretary Powell is, perhaps, causing too much of a dustup here.

ZAHN: Too much of a dustup. Is it intentional?

KING: Well, certainly on the secretary's part, it is. And the State Department says it stands by everything the secretary has said. Again, some are questioning the intelligence. And this is one of those catch-22s for the Bush administration.

Any time now it makes a case to put pressure on someone in the world and says it is based on sensitive U.S. intelligence like spy photos or like sources in a country, everyone is going to say, you said the same thing about Iraq and it turned out not to be true. Why should we trust you now? (INAUDIBLE)

ZAHN: Hate to have to do this to John King. We're having a little trouble with our signal out of Chile tonight. But we appreciate that late information coming from where the president is attending an economic summit.

And now we move onto the other side of Capitol Hill and the intense debate going on, on the issue of Iran.

And joining me now, New York Democratic Congressman Gary Ackerman, who is on the House International Relations Committee.

Welcome, sir.

REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Good of you to join us on your birthday. Happy birthday.

ACKERMAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: Let's talk about what is going on in Iran. Does Iran pose a threat to the United States?

ACKERMAN: Iran with a nuclear program, with missiles that they have, with a short time frame that we know and others know they have, within a year can be ready to deliver a nuclear weapon.

ZAHN: What's the danger right now?

ACKERMAN: The president had it right when he named the axis of evil. He named three countries. Unfortunately, he picked the wrong one out of the three as the real imminent danger to international security and to the United Nations.

He picked the one that didn't have a nuclear program. A.Q. Khan of Pakistan, for example, the father of the Islamic bomb, as they call him, made deals with North Korea and Iran, tried to make a deal with Iraq and didn't. Why we're in Iraq instead of Iran, I don't know. But the real problem is, we've blown off credibility if we try to put together a coalition to do something about Iran. ZAHN: Do you think we needed to something militarily to stop this program?

ACKERMAN: I think militarily should be the absolute last resort, which it should have been with Saddam Hussein. If it comes to that -- I think it would be unwise to take it off the table.

ZAHN: But what's going to stop their program? What is going to slow it down?

ACKERMAN: Economic goodies. They need some help. They're concerned about economic sanctions. We've seen some movement on their part that we've never seen before, that there is a certain sensitivity that never before we detected about what the international community is thinking, public relations, if you will, and also the economic viability of themselves as a country.

If the world, you know, shuts them out of dual-use technology and other things that they desperately need, cuts off their imports, they're going to be in big trouble. Pressure could build from within and the region could be overthrown.

ZAHN: You're just back from the Middle East, where you met with Jordanian, Israeli and Syrian officials.


ACKERMAN: And Egyptian.

ZAHN: And Egyptian.

ZAHN: Is there a consensus that these economic sanctions would work?

ACKERMAN: The only way to really resolve the problem in the region is speak softly and let them know you have a big stick. They already know that we have the big stick.

But all of the Arab nations and the heads of state government of those countries are urging dialogue, engage the Iranians in dialogue. And I think the same message is clear from the Israelis as well.

ZAHN: And finally tonight, sir, one thing that I don't understand are all of the contradictory accounts of what this intelligence is telling in particular our secretary of state. He went public with some of that intelligence and concerns about what a real threat Iran poses at the moment. And then you have unnamed sources from the administration coming out and saying this intelligence is flawed. What are we to believe? What's the truth here?

ACKERMAN: Well, I think they didn't like the idea that Colin Powell was getting a step ahead of them to establish his own -- reestablish his own bona fides, if you will, that he does what's going on, and I certainly believe that he does, to attack him and discredit him for getting out in front of them, because they still don't have a plan with regard to Iraq, let alone Iran. ZAHN: Congressman Ackerman, thank you for sharing part of your birthday celebration with us tonight.

ACKERMAN: Thank you.

ZAHN: And now the view from the other side of Capitol Hill and the other side of the partisan aisle. Senator Sam Brownback is a Republican from Kansas and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Welcome back to our broadcast. Good to see you.

SEN. SAM BROWNBACK (R), KANSAS: Thank you, Paula. It's good to be back.

ZAHN: Well, thank you.

So, what kind of a threat do you think Iran not only poses to its region, but to the United States?

BROWNBACK: It poses a substantial threat.

It is the lead sponsor of terror around the world. It has missile capacity that can reach to Israel and a number of our positions throughout the Middle East. It's working on missile capacity to move even further on out. And on top of all of that, it has a very radical ideology that was built under Ayatollah Khomeini that called for the destruction of Israel, the United States, "The Great Satan," and to attack us.

And so you've got both the mixture of the means and the ideology, the desires to sort of -- of really difficult circumstances for our security interests in that region and around the world.

ZAHN: So, if all of that is true, why do you have unnamed administration officials now basically questioning the intelligence that Secretary of State Powell shared with the public about the threat Iran actually poses to the United States?

BROWNBACK: Well, there's a division of mind of what people think should take place with Iran. There's been a long-term thought that, well, we should engage and try to work with them and move them on forward and get the moderates to come on forward.

And then there's the other viewpoint that, look, you just don't negotiate with terrorists. You confront them.

ZAHN: But these people are blatantly attacking the validity of this intelligence.

BROWNBACK: I think you can question it, but mostly based upon our experience coming out of Iraq, where all of the intelligence said that the Iraqis had biological and chemical weapons and were working on nuclear.

And yet now we look at the situation and saying, we're not finding that.

ZAHN: Do you think this administration plans to attack Iran at some point militarily?

BROWNBACK: No, I don't.

But I think they are really wrestling with the issue of, what do you do? I think they're really trying to get this to the Security Council at the United Nations. The Europeans have backed us off of that in their direct negotiations.

A number of people think we need to move forward aggressively on some sort of sanctions on a multilateral basis, so that you get a lot of countries involved in it. And then there's a pretty strong support base for a push of civil disobedience within the Iranian society, of us supporting those elements seeking civil disobedience. But the whole plot and the whole plan has not come together and galvanized yet.

ZAHN: Senator, do you think economic sanctions would work?

BROWNBACK: On a multilateral basis, I think they would have substantial impact. On a unilateral basis for the United States it would have some impact. But we've already got heavy sanctions there. It really needs to be on a broader basis and it needs to include a lot more. We're going to need the Europeans involved in it. I think the notion of working with exterior groups and groups internal within Iran for changes inside of Iran is something we really should aggressively look at and be supportive of.

ZAHN: Senator Brownback, thank you for your time.

BROWNBACK: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Travel well over the holidays.

BROWNBACK: Have a happy Thanksgiving.

ZAHN: Thank you so much. That brings us to tonight's voting booth question. Which country poses the biggest threat to the security of the U.S.? Go to The results a little bit later on in this hour. In the White House on Capitol Hill, conservatives rule. But maybe that's not a case on college campuses. A new study that's giving new meaning to the term liberal education next.


ZAHN: Liberal arts, liberal education now have some new meaning on America's college campuses according to a new study published today. Democratic professors outnumber Republicans by a margin of 7 to 1. And humanities and social sciences and many on the right says that backs up their contention that conservative ideas aren't welcome on college campuses. Here's Tom Foreman with that part of the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Campus police are still sorting out what happened election week at San Francisco State. What they know is that Republican students were handing out literature when an opposition crowd of 250 others gathered around yelling insults, driving them away.

CHRIS ANARELLI, JUNIOR: We were assaulted, threatened, harassed.

FOREMAN: Now the Republican students say they do not feel safe.

LUCIA VANDENHOF, SF STATE COLLEGE REPUBLICANS: Had there been a group saying homosexuals off our campus, it would have been an outrage. The administration would have done something about it. To me, I can't even understand why this isn't being treated the same.

FOREMAN: Campus police did protect the young Republicans. And the administration says students may be disciplined. But the new national study from a Santa Clara University researcher shows Democratic professors outnumber Republicans three to one in economics. 28 to one in Sociology and 30 to one in anthropology. So some Republican students say they're being silenced by a litany of leftist propaganda.

SARA DOGAN, STUDENTS POR: President Bush is a coward, Cheney is a coward. The war in Iraq is evil. It's all about oil. Students hear these comments day after day in the classroom and if you're a conservative student hearing that, there's no chance you're going to speak up and express your viewpoint.

FOREMAN: Nonsense, Democrats say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So we could come up with those stories as well.

FOREMAN: The Young Democrats of America cite their own studies showing $37 million was spent in 2002 by conservative groups spreading their message on campuses.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't think that's the case. There's a lot of healthy dialogue on campuses, both conservative and liberal of young people and where they stand on issues.

FOREMAN: Academics also take exception to these accusations of bias. Even if some colleagues go too far, they say their own ethics keep most within reason. Back at San Francisco State when there are complaints...

PROF. ROBERT CHERNEY, SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIV.: Students need to bring that to the attention of department chairs and deans so that something can be done about the situation.

FOREMAN: But some conservative students insist lessons in life are making them skeptical.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ZAHN: That was our Tom Foreman reporting. Joining me now from Los Angeles, someone with a lot of experience in campus politics, David Horowitz, who was a left wing activist in the 60s. But something happened along the way. His intellectual journey led him to neoconservatism. His books include "Unholy Alliance," "Radical Islam," and "The American Left." Always good to see you. So let's say we buy into those numbers. You're not telling me that every professor in America intentionally spreads his or her Democratic beliefs on their students.

DAVID HOROWITZ, NEOCONSERVATIVE WRITER: No, of course not. Perhaps the majority are honest people and scholars. The reality is that somebody has caused conservatives to disappear from college faculties. When you have figures like 30 to 1, you know you have an informal blacklist going.

ZAHN: A lot of people say it's actually more simple than that that only left wingers or liberals would be drawn to a profession where they're basically starving and they'll tell you that's not where Republicans and conservatives tend to be drawn to.

HOROWITZ: Professors are making $100,000, $200,000 -- Cornell West probably makes $300,000 a year. They work nine months out of the year. They work six hours a week in the classroom. They get seven months' paid vacation. There are plenty of conservatives. All the conservative think tanks are individuals who are well qualified to be on university faculties but can't get hired because of this blacklist. The blacklist has a corrupting influence on what goes on in the classroom. Professors now very frequently -- and you heard Sara Dogan, who is the national coordinator of Students For Academic Freedom say this, use the classroom as a political platform. There was a Spanish professor when I spoke at Rippon (ph) College who the class was translating "Long Live the King" in Spanish. And she blurted out, "I wish George Bush were dead" in the classroom. What kind of impact does that have on her Republican students?

ZAHN: But aren't there also left wing professors that are helping you and trying to get this academic bill of rights through...

HOROWITZ: I have one. I would welcome others. There are honest people everywhere. First of all, it's unhealthy for our body politic to have a university system under the control of one political faction. You can't get a good education if they're only telling you half the story, even if you're paying $20,000, $30,000 a year. In America, there's got to be two, three or four sides to every story. The exclusion of libertarians, religious people, and conservatives from college faculties is unhealthy. And something needs to be done about it. I have an academic bill of rights which would commit states to intellectual diversity that is ignored but should not be on college campuses. We have gotten the whole state of Colorado to adopt it. I have legislation moving in 19 states. This is an idea whose time evidently has come.

ZAHN: Well, we will follow the debate from here. We should mention though at the same time, Dave, we can't ignore the fact that some $37 million were spent by conservative groups on college campuses in 2002. I just read their message. David, I've got to leave it there. I'm going to bring you back another time. Plenty to talk about.

HOROWITZ: The left spends hundreds, hundreds of millions compared to those 37.

ZAHN: All right. Thanks for your time. Take care. Well, it's way too early to think about the next election, unless you're thinking about running for president. Next, some of the familiar faces who may be doing just that.


ZAHN: All right. Get this, just 1,146 days until what? Well, the next presidential election. Who's counting? Well, maybe Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton, maybe Republican Senator Bill Frist and maybe even Arizona Senator John McCain.

And last night, he was in New Hampshire. He won the 2000 Republican primary there. But when asked about 2008, he told a newspaper reporter, "I'm not ruling it out, but I'm not ruling it in."

Our Ed Henry traveled to New Hampshire with the Senator.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The election is over.

ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, really? So why is John McCain giving a speech in New Hampshire? Could he already be gearing up for another White House bid?

MCCAIN: I'm neither tan nor rested nor ready.

HENRY: But during his stop in Manchester, McCain sparked big headlines by saying he's not ruling out a presidential run in 2008.

As he stood in the hotel lobby where his 2000 campaign was based, McCain grew wistful about the days when the Straight Talk Express was rolling through this state.

MCCAIN: We had a wonderful time, just wonderful. Some of my happiest memories are right here, really. I can't tell you how happy I am to be back.

HENRY (on camera): So the door's open?

MCCAIN: No, no. There will be plenty of time.

HENRY (voice-over): But New Hampshire Republicans like former governor Steve Merrill think McCain is eying another run.

STEVE MERRILL (R), FORMER N.H. GOVERNOR: I don't think it's a coincidental that John McCain has chosen the first in the nation primary state to give a speech so soon after the last election.

HENRY: It may seem strange McCain is visiting the Granite State so quickly, but veteran pols know otherwise.

JOHN E. SUNUNU (R), FORMER N.H. GOVERNOR: Is it two weeks? He's a week late.

HENRY: The 2008 campaign is already influencing both parties. Some Democrats are blocking Howard Dean from becoming chair of their party, fearful it will position him for another presidential bid.

Conservative Republican groups, meanwhile, know Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist wants to run for president, so they're urging him to block moderate Arlen Specter from becoming judiciary chairman.

(on camera) Senator McCain is just one of many Senators, governors and other politicians who will be making their way to New Hampshire for a race that's still four years away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the best indication was during the national convention is in New York. I think we had Senator McCain visiting one morning, Bill Frist visiting the next day, Rick Santorum, Governor Pataki, Mayor Giuliani.

HENRY: Some Republicans here believe McCain could have a leg up on the competition, because he won the New Hampshire primary in 2000. And McCain's unifying message may resonate in a state where voters are known for fierce independence.

MCCAIN: Thank you. Whatever our differences, we are all Americans, first, last and always.

HENRY: He may sound like a candidate, but McCain is being a little cagey.

MCCAIN: I promise you that I have no thoughts about the year 2008, except one thing I'd be confident of, and that the good people of New Hampshire will have an opportunity to meet many, many candidates.

HENRY: It's safe to say that's one political prediction bound to come true.


ZAHN: That was Ed Henry reporting for us tonight.

Welcome to the age of the never-ending campaign. Even Senator Kerry is back on the offensive. We'll share that with you tonight.

Joining me now from Los Angeles, on the Democratic side, Bill Carrick. And the Republican side, Mike Murphy.

Mike, I noticed you smiling broadly, listening to the man you used to formerly advise. What kind of planning is going on for a potential presidential bid for John McCain?

MIKE MURPHY, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: It brought back the memories watching John there in New Hampshire. I don't think there's any planning going on. This is a phenomenon...

ZAHN: Come on. You don't go to New Hampshire by coincidence, do you?

MURPHY: Well, you go to New Hampshire because you were invited, I think, months and months ago. He was in New Hampshire a bunch earlier this year, campaigning for the president. Nobody said he was running for president.

The fact is, McCain's a huge force in the Republican Party. And 2008 is a long way away. And if he wants to run, he'll be one of very the strongest candidates.

But I think he -- I take him at his word. I mean, I talk to him about this stuff all the time. He's a good friend of mine. He's focused right now on helping the president get some things done and moving his own agenda forward in the Senate.

So I think this is an over blown story, because we -- the campaign ends. We all have nothing to do, so we immediately start thinking about the next campaign.

ZAHN: Somehow I kind of know that if John...

MURPHY: That won't stop the -- you know, the speculation.

ZAHN: But I also know if John McCain shared a personal thought with you, you're not going to share it with us here on cable television just yet. But maybe you will a couple months down the road.

Bill, I want to share something that John Kerry had on his web site tonight. At a time that he was thanking some of his supporters, he appeared to be opening yet a new salvo against Republicans. Let's watch.


SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Despite the words of cooperation and moderate-sounding promises, this administration is planning a right-wing assault on values and ideals that we hold most deeply. Healthy debate and diverse opinion are being eliminated from the State Department and the CIA.

And the cabinet is being remade to rubber stamp policies that will undermine Social Security, balloon the deficit, avoid real reforms in health care and education, weaken homeland security and walk away from critical allies around the world.


ZAHN: So Bill, is he running for something?

BILL CARRICK, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, I'd give Senator Kerry some advice: give it a rest. As soon as this Senate adjourns, Congress adjourns, go on a vacation. Cool it out. Let the adrenaline calm down. This is too early for any of that kind of stuff.

ZAHN: Mike, I see you laughing.

MURPHY: It's true. Back to Easter Island. I mean, I think the last thing the country is ready for right now is the senator to get back into a partisan political mode. I thought he had a gracious concession speech, and he's going to be off the stage for awhile.

I think there's a little insecurity in the Kerry world that there's so much bad-mouthing of his campaign he'll no longer be a prospective candidate in 2008. I think it's all a little overrated and he needs to kind of chill out.

ZAHN: You might think it's overrated, but gentlemen, take a look at these polls, which basically still shows John Kerry in the running in 2008, if he chooses to run. Not in his home state, where 59 percent say stay home. Don't consider running again.

But when you look at the broader statistic, there's Hillary Clinton at the top of the list, followed by John Kerry and then John Edwards.

Isn't Hillary Clinton the kind of northeastern liberal that many Democrats now think the party should be running away from, Bill?

CARRICK: Well, I think the one thing about Senator Clinton is she is very smart. She knows a lot about politics. She is a good strategist. She has good convictions. She'll be a really good candidate if she runs.

But we're a long way from that. She's going to have to go through a reelection before that. She'll be focused on that.

I don't think we're going to be making any judgments about who's going to be running for president. But a lot of people are going to do the preliminary work so they can be a candidate for president. They might be able to take advantage of that work later on, but they're not going to make actual decisions now, none of them.

ZAHN: Mike, let's look at your side and what names are in the running for possible 2008 presidential contender? You've got John McCain, hovering around the same number as Rudy Giuliani, followed by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Do you like that list?

MURPHY: I think -- Well, I'm officially endorsing Hillary Clinton tonight. I hope she runs.

CARRICK: I think Murphy is at 12.

MURPHY: Yes, I'm going to be moving up late, you know. I know this early stuff doesn't sound -- we have a lot of -- we have a lot of strong people in our party.

CARRICK: I can always tell the guy from a swing state. MURPHY: You will run my campaign, Bill, if I do it.

CARRICK: Absolutely.

MURPHY: For the middle man will be my slogan. But seriously, you've got a whole bunch of people who I think are big players out there. You've got John McCain.

You've got, you know, Jeb Bush. You never know. He says he won't run, but you never know.

You've got Mitt Romney in Massachusetts. You've got George Pataki in New York. You've got George Allen, the former governor and now senator from Virginia.


MURPHY: You've got Bill Owens in Colorado, another kind of good conservative governor there. There are a lot of people who are very attractive potential candidates. You have Bill Frist.

ZAHN: And you'll have many, many months to mull this over, gentlemen. Bill Carrick, Mike Murphy, nice to have you two back together. First time you've had a joint appearance since the election. Glad you can actually talk to each other. Have a good weekend, guys.

MURPHY: Thank you.

CARRICK: Thanks.

ZAHN: And no matter who decides to run in 2008, they can always count on one thing: rain on their parade. The many indignities for the man called Mr. President, next.


ZAHN: In the hands of Winston Churchill, an umbrella was a symbol of steely statesmanship, a symbol that a politician had the right stuff. But yesterday the umbrella took on a whole different significance during a soggy event in Arkansas.

Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're a manly politician, there is an unwritten rule, ditch the wimpy umbrella, even when the camera gets to wear a raincoat.

But in this case...

BONO (singing): When the rain comes they run and hide their heads...

MOOS: Even the manliest of politicians was forced to hide his head, giving us a rare glimpse of leaders skewered by their spouses.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (singing): Oh, say can you see...

MOOS: See? Chelsea was almost blinded by her mom's umbrella. And Senator Clinton was herself bonked.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: ... the dedication of this extraordinary institution.

MOOS: Usually being tall is an advantage for a politician, but it only made John Kerry more of a target, while President Bush had to check under an umbrella to make sure he got the right wife.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Welcome to my rainy library dedication.

MOOS: Bubba may have "rained" supreme, but Jimmy Carter got the caption, "Once a president, always a gentleman," for wiping off his wipe wife's seat.

And the elder George Bush donated his raincoat for Laura Bush to sit on, though he eventually took it back.

They were singing in the rain...


MOOS: ... and praying in the rain, but mostly they were dripping in the rain.

For security purposes, organizers handed out umbrellas without pointy tips.

VIPs like Al Franken were given ponchos from Wal-Mart. John Glen looked more like a blue Teletubby than an astronaut. Even Bono surrendered to the elements.

BONO: Can I chicken out?

MOOS: Back in 1841, President William Henry Harrison spoke at his inauguration in pouring rain, declining the offer of an overcoat. He died within the month of pneumonia, no doubt a coincidence.

B. CLINTON: If my beloved mother were here, she would remind me that rain is liquid sunshine.

MOOS: The soldier holding the umbrella didn't seem too convinced. He got almost as much face time as P. Diddy's manservant.

But we wondered why, in the downpour, Mr. Clinton still had to lick his fingers.

There is one good thing about huddling under an umbrella: like two peas in a soggy pod, umbrellas inspire intimacy.


ZAHN: That's our own Jeanne Moos. She doesn't use them.

The results of tonight's "Voting Booth" question right after this. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: And now it's time for tonight's "Voting Booth" question. There it is. North Korea comes in first, with 59 percent, posing the biggest security threat, according to those of you who logged onto our web site. Thanks for participating.

That wraps it up for all of us. On Monday, a controversial turnabout. A former Marine who spoke for the Pentagon changes his mind. He'll share his story with us.

Thanks for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend. "LARRY KING" is next.


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