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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

Michael Chertoff Nominated as Homeland Security Chief; Security Being Beefed up for Inauguration; Public Not Behind Bush Social Security Proposal; GOP Congressman Urges U.S. to Get Out of Iraq; Critics Accuse Chertoff of Partisanship; Rahm Emanuel Chosen to Head Congressional Campaigns for Dems

Aired January 11, 2005 - 15:30   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Take two. In his second try to replace Tom Ridge, President Bush nominates a former top prosecutors as homeland security chief.

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: If confirmed I pledge to devote all my emergency to promoting our homeland security and, as important, to preserving our fundamental liberties.

ANNOUNCER: But just who is Michael Chertoff and does he have a partisan past?

Are you worried that terrorists will soon strike here at home? Our new poll results may surprise you.

Fighting words...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By the time today's workers, who are in their mid 20s, begin to retire, the system will be bankrupt.

ANNOUNCER: President Bush says Social Security is in a crisis, but can he sell his plan to Congress?

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

A month after the Bernard Kerik nomination imploded, President Bush announced his second choice to be the next homeland security secretary. And by some accounts, Judge Michael Chertoff was not an obvious choice.

We begin our coverage with our White House correspondent, Suzanne Malveaux.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: The nomination of Judge Michael Chertoff. SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush's second pick for homeland security: federal appeals court judge Michael Chertoff.

BUSH: Mike has shown a deep commitment to the cause of justice and an unwavering determination to protect the American people.

CHERTOFF: On September 11, 2001, I joined members of dozens of federal agencies in responding to the deadliest single attack on American civilians ever.

MALVEAUX: Chertoff's nomination came as a surprise to most in Washington. He'd been left off the widely circulated short list for the secretary's post. But Sunday morning after the president's bike ride, Mr. Bush quietly called Chertoff from his motorcade to offer him the job.

Bush aides say privately Chertoff is a compromise, considered by administration officials as the anti-Kerik, a reference to President Bush's first former New York police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who withdrew his nomination after the White House vetting process raised questions.

BERNARD KERIK, FORMER HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY NOMINEE: Conclude, I want to apologize to my family, my friends, the president, President Bush.

MALVEAUX: The president took no chances the second time around.

BUSH: He's been confirmed by the Senate three times.

PAUL LIGHT, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: There are going to be no surprises about him, as he moves through this process, and that's clearly an advantage compared to Bernie Kerik.

MALVEAUX: His role as a key figure in shaping the government's legal response to the 11 makes him someone the president can trust.

Chertoff's critics question whether his resume might be too partisan for the job. During the Clinton administration, Chertoff was the chief counsel to the Republican Senate Whitewater Committee that investigated President Bill and Hillary Clinton's Arkansas business dealings, a probe widely seen then as politically motivated.

LIGHT: I don't think it's going to be a major issue. I think the more significant issue is his lack of management experience.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MALVEAUX: Now experience aside, of course, Chertoff does have some similarities with Kerik, strong ties to the New York area. Interestingly enough, Judy, the last time his confirmation came around, the only person to vote against it was Senator Hillary Clinton.

Her counterpart, Chuck Schumer -- rather Schumer, today saying that he would, in fact, endorse him -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So it will be interesting to hear what Senator Clinton has to say this time around.

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: All right. Suzanne, thank you very much.

And we'll have much more on Michael Chertoff's nomination and his partisan political history.

Fewer Americans apparently now believe the United States is winning the war on terror than did one year ago. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed in our new poll think the U.S. is winning the fight against terror, down from 51 percent last January.

And 39 percent say they believe an act of terrorism is at least somewhat likely in the next several weeks, the lowest level since the 9/11 attacks.

Fears of an imminent attack are down, despite the fact that President Bush's second inauguration is just nine days away. Outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge briefed reporters today about inauguration security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BUSH: So help me God.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): When George W. Bush takes the oath of office again, a quarter of a million people are expected to be there, including most of the nation's most powerful government officials, members of Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the cabinet, along with a president and vice president.

So unprecedented security is planned for this first inaugural since the 9/11 attacks, even without a specific threat to the festivities.

TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: It is the greatest manifestation as to who we are and what we stand for in our country. And whatever we need to do to ensure the safety of the participants and the safety of the citizens of the city around the inaugural, we will do.

WOODRUFF: Some 6,000 law enforcement officials from dozens of federal, state and local operations will be involved in protecting the swearing in ceremony, the inaugural parade and inaugural ball.

CHIEF TERRANCE GAINER, CAPITOL POLICE: There will be a full array of military, Secret Service, police, technology employed in this, almost anything the imagination can envision we'll be using.

WOODRUFF: About $40 million in private donations will be spent on inaugural festivities, but that does not include security expenses. The federal government will pick up most of that tab. RIDGE: It's in the millions and I don't know how many millions. We'll get that information for you. I mean it's just -- we haven't calculated it yet.

WOODRUFF: Washington, D.C., officials, though, say they know how much the inaugural security will cost the city, and they're not happy about it.

Mayor Anthony Williams says the district will have to divert $11.9 million from homeland security projects for the inauguration, because the Bush administration is refusing to reimburse most of the costs.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Tom Ridge tried to sidestep questions about this flap. Mayor Williams, who had been scheduled to take part in today's news conference, was conspicuously absent. His office says he has a cold.

More "Security Watch" tonight when Anderson Cooper takes an inside look at what it's like to be one of the spies entrusted to protect America's security. That's at 7 p.m. Eastern. Stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

And now to another top priority in President Bush's second term: Social Security reform.

Mr. Bush held a panel discussion on that subject today. It was another opportunity for him to portray a system in crisis, and to promote his plan for personal retirement accounts.

As our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, explains, the public may not be being his pitch.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Social Security reform may be President Bush's top priority, but the public is losing confidence in him on that issue.

Look at the number who disapprove of the way Bush is handling Social Security. It was 31 percent when President Bush first took office in 2001 and 40 percent a year later. Now, a majority says boo.

People have been hearing about the president's idea of allowing workers to invest some of their Social Security tax money in private accounts in return for a reduction in guaranteed benefits. Most Americans say bad idea.

President Bush warns of big trouble ahead for Social Security.

BUSH: I want you to think about a Social Security system that will be flat bust, bankrupt, unless the United States Congress has got the willingness to act now.

SCHNEIDER: Only 18 percent of Americans believe the Social Security system is in crisis. Most people say the system has major problems.

The president has to convince them his plan will solve the problems. So far he hasn't. Even among people who believe Social Security is in crisis, 60 percent say the president's plan is a bad idea. They think less of the plan than people who don't see a crisis.

Democrats warn...

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: All of the Republican ideas we've heard would take money out of the Social Security trust fund.

SCHNEIDER: And people have heard the news that the government wants to reduce guaranteed benefits on the expectation that they can make up for it with earnings from their private accounts.

JOHN ROTHER, POLICY & STRATEGY DIRECTOR, AARP: And over, say, 40 years, you'd see benefits cut relatively speaking in half.

SCHNEIDER: The public's response to the president's plan is shaped by how much they expect to depend on Social Security. Young people, who don't expect much from Social Security think the president's plan is a good idea. Seniors strongly oppose it.

The closer Americans get to needing Social Security, the less they like the president's plan.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: Reducing guaranteed benefits seems to be part of the president's solution, but most Americans think that's not the solution, that's the problem.

WOODRUFF: The president has some more persuading, some more selling to do.

SCHNEIDER: I find it utterly amazing, that the more serious you take this crisis, it has no effect whatsoever on whether or not you support the president's solution. There's just no correlation.

WOODRUFF: Well, the White House has its work cut out. Bill, thank you very much.

We're turning now to Iraq. Are some fellow Republicans losing confidence in the president's battle plan? We'll hear from one GOP lawmaker next.

Also ahead, Michael Chertoff's Whitewater connection. Will his role in that investigation haunt his nomination to be homeland security chief?

Plus, Washington state governor elect Christine Gregoire. On the eve of her inauguration, Republicans still demanding a revolt.

And Howard Dean makes his bid for DNC chairman official. Is he any closer to getting the job? (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: There are reports of up to 20 Iraqis being killed today as violence continues 19 days before that country's election.

Seven Iraqi police officers were killed by a suicide car bomber who targeted a police station in Tikrit. Eight people were killed in an attack on a minibus south of Baghdad. And five others in roadside bombings in northern Iraq.

As the violence continues, a Republican congressman is joining calls for the Bush administration to consider pulling out of Iraq.

Yesterday I spoke with Representative Howard Cobel of North Carolina. I started by asking him why he's having misgivings about the presence of U.S. troops in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. HOWARD COBEL (R), NORTH CAROLINA: Well, Ms. Woodruff, let me give you some background.

I have been vocally critical of the Clinton administration for having failed to respond appropriately to at least five terrorist attacks. And having criticized the Clinton administration, it is my belief that if I'm going to be consistent, I need to voice concerns, if I have concerns or questions about the Iraqi involvement.

And that's what prompted me to suggest over the weekend -- in fact, I had been discussing this for several months -- that the issue of troop withdrawal needs to at least be placed upon the table for discussion and consideration.

Now, I've never suggested abrupt troop withdrawal, and I may -- and I may suggest no troop withdrawal at all, but the issue seems to have been lost and I don't want that issue lost in the shovel. I don't want American men and women serving in Iraq eternally.

WOODRUFF: The president has argued the United States needs to fulfill its commitment, and that is to see this country come together with a strong democratic government.

COBEL: Well, and I don't think my suggestion will defeat that effort. I just didn't want withdrawal to be cast aside, and it's been conspicuously absent.

I'm not in favor of abandoning Iraq, but I am in favor of the Iraqis to start doing a little more heavy lifting, as we have been doing, and hopefully to assume more responsibility as we approach the upcoming election and then subsequent days following that.

WOODRUFF: Have you shared your views with the White House?

COBEL: I have not shared my views with the White House.

WOODRUFF: Will you do that? COBEL: Well, I would like to because it is -- I'm hoping that the White House agrees with me when I contend that I am not being disloyal to President Bush by raising this issue.

I voted to dispatch troops to Iraq. I think it was appropriate, because I was convinced and remain convinced that the U.N. was not going to do anything to reign in Saddam. But when I cast that vote, I was hoping that a sound post-invasion strategy was in place, and now I'm not sure whether there was one in place or not.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, are you hearing from your constituents on this?

COBEL: I'm hearing from my constituents about the daily report of fatalities. Most of my constituents down here remain in favor of the war effort, but they're becoming disheartened, as am I, with these continual reports.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Republican Congressman Howard Cobel of North Carolina.

And one programming note tonight: on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS," Wolf talks with the Iraqi ambassador to the United Nations about the rash of pre-election violence taking place in Iraq. That's at 5 p.m. Eastern, 2 Pacific.

And we'll have more on the president's nominee for homeland security secretary and his past role as a Whitewater investigator straight ahead.

Also, he's not considered an expert on agriculture, so why was Rudy Giuliani the featured speaker at a convention of farmers? The story in our "Political Bytes."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The president's choice of Michael Chertoff to be the next homeland security secretary gives the White House a seasoned Washington veteran to present for Senate confirmation.

But Chertoff has also played a role in some highly controversial moments in recent Washington history.

Here now, CNN's Bruce Morton.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Chertoff has always been a hard charger. As U.S. attorney in New Jersey investigating organized crime, as a lawyer in private practice and on 9/11, as the assistant attorney general in charge of the criminal division, some 800 people. He flung himself into the war on terror.

CHERTOFF: Those who commit acts of terror against Americans, whenever and wherever, will be hunted, captured, and brought to justice.

MORTON: Critics, civil libertarians mostly, accused him of going too far, stepping on America's traditional freedoms. He disagreed.

CHERTOFF: In fact, in conducting this investigation, I should point out we are already making use of the tools which the Congress passed in the recently enacted USA Patriot Act, for which we commend the Congress in acting so swiftly.

MORTON: But he may have been most visible a few years earlier when he was the majority council for then New York Senator Al D'Amato's committee investigating Bill and Hillary's Arkansas Whitewater real estate deal.

CHERTOFF: In response to the question about whether official documents were commingled in files.

MORTON: Early, before Monica Lewinsky, the hearings focused on the Clinton's Arkansas business dealings. Republicans accused the first lady of trying to obstruct their probe. She offered to answer written questions.

CHERTOFF: As you know, the committee is now in the process of trying to obtain all the relevant evidence including electronic mail generated the at White House, all documented relating to the Whitewater investment, and testimony about Mrs. Clinton's work for Madison Guarantee and the handling of Rose Law Firm records.

MORTON: In the end the first lady answered written questions. Years later, when President Bush nominated Chertoff to be a court of appeals judge, he got only one negative vote in the Senate, hers.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Well, during that time when he was on the staff of the committee in the Senate, a number of the young people who worked in the White House were, I thought, very badly treated by the Senate staff investigating Whitewater.

MORTON: Chertoff will be confirmed this time, too, everyone thinks, but it may not be unanimous.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Turning to our "Tuesday Political Bytes."

Democrats apparently see a chance to hold onto the governorship in a red state, and they are spending a lot of money to make it happening. Outgoing DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe today announced the national party is committing $5 million to Virginia gubernatorial hopeful Tim Kaine. It is the largest and earliest DNC contribution ever to a candidate for governor.

Here in Washington, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce says he prefers that Congress focus on making the Bush tax cuts permanent, instead of trying to overhaul the entire tax code. President Bush recently named a panel to recommend ways to simplify the tax laws. Donahue told members that he favors, quote, "keeping the good things that we've done, as opposed to a complete rewrite of the tax code."

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was the featured speaker at the convention of the American Farm Bureau Federation in North Carolina. Giuliani got a few laughs when he offered to share his knowledge of New York City agriculture. He also turned away questions about whether his appearance yesterday served as an early effort to court the farm vote in a future race for the White House.

Well, keeping our focus on future campaigns, Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel has been named to lead his party's efforts to retake the House of Representatives. He will head the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, replacing his late colleague. Bob Matsui, who died on New Years Day.

Congressman Emanuel joins me now.

Thank you for being with us and congratulations.

REP. RAHM EMANUEL (D-ILL), CHAIR, DCCC: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. The Democrats are, what, 30 some seats behind the Republicans in the House. Some would say you're taking on a hopeless cause.

EMANUEL: First of all, as you know in history you're in the sixth year of a presidency, history should have a tide for you.

But, you know, I have always believed in my whole life you make your luck your don't have luck. You have to go down and do the fundamentals, recruit the candidates, raise the resources so they can run effective campaigns and create an issue environment that's conducive to our candidacy.

And I think that the upcoming debates about tax reform, Social Security and immigration are going to be exactly the type of issues we want to take to the American people.

WOODRUFF: We are living in an era, Rahm Emanuel, when all these districts are drawn to protect the incumbent. How does that work to your benefit?

EMANUEL: First of all, there will be a fair share of open seats. Gibbons out in Nevada is thinking of running for governor. There's Congressman Nussle, a friend of mine, is running for governor in Iowa, a Republican seat. Today Congressman Simmons in Connecticut flip- flopped on Social Security.

There will be ample opportunities to -- I agree with you. I understand the structure of what happened in redistricting. It set certain parameters. But you know, there's nothing set in stone, as you know that from 1994. We know that from 1974. We know that from 1998. We know that nothing is set in stone. You can create an environment and also a dynamic that changes just what, you know, what are some considered two years out the parameters of the election.

I understand that challenge. I'm willing to accept it. We are going to soon be announcing the new head of recruitment efforts at the DCCC, because the future for our majority is in getting candidates who are state senators, state reps, business individuals, people involved in other types of community life to run for Congress.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk quickly about that other Democratic Party race that's yet to be settled ahead of the Democratic National Committee. Governor Howard Dean, former governor, former presidential candidate, announced today he's in there. What do you make of his candidacy? Are you for him?

EMANUEL: I'm not for him. I'm going to work with whoever the chair is of the DNC. They've got a big responsibility to continue to build the infrastructure of the party, not only, A, for the upcoming elections for House and for Senate and for governor; B, start preparing our party for the redistricting challenges, and most -- and also, in addition, to prepare the party's infrastructure capabilities for the presidential election.

And so whoever that chairman or chairperson is, I'm going to work with them so the parties are ready for elections.

The most important thing is do we have a party that is building the base, ready for elections so when we have candidates running, they have the infrastructure to be competitive? We have the issues on our side. We've got to get the resources and the infrastructure on our side.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, any misgivings about Tim Roemer's candidacy, since he is someone who is anti-abortion rights?

EMANUEL: Well, I think Tim has an ability. He's a friend, somebody I've worked with. I think he did a wonderful job on the 9/11 Commission. He has something to offer. Howard Dean has -- he showed how you can energize and use the Internet.

Everybody -- my view is let the flowers bloom. Somebody's going to come forward. We're going to work with them so we can take our vision where America needs to go to the American people.

WOODRUFF: Last quick question. You were a senior advisor in the Clinton White House when Michael Chertoff was heading up the Senate Whitewater investigation. He's now been named by President Bush to run the Department of Homeland Security. Your thoughts on Michael Chertoff?

EMANUEL: Well, I am sure that he will get a nice reception at the Senate, and he'll now know how it feels to sit on the other side.

WOODRUFF: What do you think? Is he qualified for that job? EMANUEL: He's been -- he's worked in the Justice Department. I think he brings -- one of the things that he brings is energy and determination. I don't agree with him on a lot of stuff, as you know, Judy, but I think energy and determination is a very important kind of character quality you need if you're going to change and move a bureaucracy.

But we have a lot of differences as you know, and they go way back. But he brings, I think, a determination, and in anybody I respect that. And that bureaucracy is going to need some taming.

WOODRUFF: All right. Some sobering comments from Congressman Rahm Emanuel, newly elected head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

EMANUEL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for talking to it.

EMANUEL: I look forward to it. Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Look forward to talking with you down the road.

She gets sworn in tomorrow. But her opponent is still contesting the election. Coming up, I'll speak with Christine Gregoire, who won one of the wildest governor's races ever by only 129 votes.

Plus, we'll take a closer look at President Bush's new choice to lead homeland security. Is Michael Chertoff up to the big task?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: It's 4:00 in the East and as the markets close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Lou Dobbs in New York with "The Dobbs Report." Hello, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Judy, thank you.

Stocks lower again today. It's a disappointing start to the earning's season. Alcoa said its quarterly profits fell and advanced microdevices warning about its results. As the final trades are now being counted, the Dow Jones industrials down just about 59 points. The Nasdaq is down just about one percent as well. Intel shares also losing ground. Its earnings are due to be reported within the hour and could determine what happens on Wall Street tomorrow.

Apple's i-Pod and i-Mac have been huge successes and are likely to be even bigger success. Company's chief Steve Jobs today unveiled new, scaled-down models of each product, models that will cost less than half the price of the originals. The new i-Pod Shuffle weighs less than a pack of gum and sells for $99. Apple also unveiled a new computer, the Mac Mini, which is priced under 500 bucks. But that doesn't include a monitor or a keyboard.

General Motors is doing something different. It might start insourcing some of its brands and that's likely to outrage a few Europeans. The head of G.M.'s European division says the company is considering building some of its European models right here in the United States. Which brands unclear at this point, but his comment came in response to a newspaper report that G.M. Saab division just might shut down all together. G.M. denied the report, but said it was looking for ways to improve performance at Saab, which could include moving some of its production outside Sweden.

The American arm of Daimler Chrysler says it doesn't have any plans to cut jobs this year or next. Chrysler has cut jobs for each of the past five years. Chrysler says it's banking on a rise on auto sales and new products.

And coming up on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," we continue our special report, "Overmedicated Nation." Tonight we investigate the degree to which big pharmaceutical companies are influencing both research and oversight of the drug industry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MERRILL GOOZNER, CTR. FOR SCIENCE IN PUBLIC INTEREST: A lot of the FDA decision-making has been infiltrated, if you will, by scientists who are on industry payrolls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: Also tonight, as many as 40 people are feared missing after a huge mudslide in California. More than dozen homes washed away, at least three people are known dead. We'll have a live report for you from Southern California.

And President Bush today asserted his commitment to reform Social Security. We'll take a look at the various plans being proposed and we'll be joined by Senator John Sununu. He's a major proponent of Social Security reform and he has a few ideas of his own about what should be done next. All of that and more coming up here on CNN tonight at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. Please join us.

Now, back to Judy Woodruff -- Judy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Lou, the choice we've been talking about, Michael Chertoff to head Homeland Security, surprising just about everyone I've talked to. Chertoff has been involved in a number of controversial issues, as you know, over the years. What's your sense of this?

DOBBS: He is, first of all, a bright and able attorney, no question about it. His role as chief council to the Senate investigation on Whitewater, obviously making him a highly controversial figure. His role in supporting the Patriot Act in the early stages of the campaign against terror under John Ashcroft, attorney general, while he was deputy attorney general. The man has, without question, as I said, capacity. Judgment is something that is going to be interesting to see how he applies it. For example, in the outbreak of the corporate scandals, Judy, in 2001 and the collision with Arthur Anderson, one of the top accounting firms, he chose to indict the firm rather than executives. While that cost 85,000 innocent people their jobs, not a single executive has gone to jail from Arthur Andersen and the Justice Department has abandoned the practice of indicting firms rather than guilty individuals. So we're going have an interesting personality to watch in that new role.

WOODRUFF: And an interesting set of confirmation hearings in the weeks to come. All right, Lou, thanks very much and we'll see you at 6:00.

INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: President Bush picks a new candidate to defend the country from terrorism.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Mike has shown a deep commitment to the cause of justice and an unwavering determination to protect the American people.

ANNOUNCER: We'll take a close look at Michael Chertoff and his history in the war on terror.

It took an election and two recounts, but tomorrow Christine Gregoire is scheduled to become Washington state's next governor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am humbled, frankly, that I am where I am. Who would have ever expected this historical race in the first place and this historical result. It's national history.

ANNOUNCER: But her opponent isn't calling it quits.

Howard Dean puts his hat in the ring, but is the former presidential candidate the right man to lead the Democratic party?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I left the governor's office, we had Democratic governors in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. If I become chair, we're going to do that again.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Welcome back. President Bush's latest choice for Homeland Security secretary is no stranger to partisan politics. But so far the response to Judge Michael Chertoff's nomination has been pretty bipartisan, getting kudos from Republican Rudy Giuliani and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. The man Chertoff would replace also had good things to say about him today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: He's got great intellect, great energy. He has been an extremely successful lawyer in both the public and the private sector. We talked a little bit about making sure the transition goes as smoothly and effectively as possible. Frankly, I really look forward to working with a judge. He comes well-equipped by experience in temperament and background to be a very effective and capable secretary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Let's take a closer look now at Chertoff's qualifications for the top Homeland Security job. We're joined by CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena. Kelli, what can you tell us about Michael Chertoff?

KELLI ARENA, JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, for starters, Judy, Chertoff has a reputation for being a good manager and a very aggressive prosecutor. Now, his aggressiveness sometimes rubs people the wrong way some law enforcement officials say that may be just what the Department of Homeland Security needs, someone who's not afraid for shaking things up.

For the last year and a half, Chertoff has been a federal appeals court judge. Before that, I got to know him as the head of the criminal division at the Justice Department and he played a very key role in crafting the nation's legal response to the September 11th attacks. In an interview just about two years ago, he defended very staunchly the government's role in trying to prevent attacks rather than to react to them. Here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: What we want to be doing, actually, is anticipating attacks well in advance. We want to be anticipating circumstances where people might be available to us as terrorists well in advance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ARENA: Now, well, you mentioned he had drawn some Democratic support, The ACLU, for one, says that it's troubled by Chertoff's record. But supporters are quick to remind that Chertoff joined a group of conservative lawyers to question the indefinite detention of enemy combatants being held at Guantanamo Bay, which they say shows some very independent thinking.

Now for those who are interested in more of his bio, Chertoff's name -- he first made his name back in the mid '80s by winning the conviction of Mafia bosses in New York and that success brought him to the job of top prosecutor in New Jersey. And Judy, you probably remember that he served as special counsel for the U.S. Senate Whitewater Commission.

WOODRUFF: That's right. And that's what got him a fair amount of attention because Whitewater was zeroed at the Clinton White House.

ARENA: That's right.

WOODRUFF: OK. Kelly, thank you very much.

ARENA: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: You're welcome.

And please stay with CNN in primetime for more on Homeland Security. Tonight on "PAULA ZAHN NOW" a look at what might happen if disaster struck in a town with half a dozen chemical plants nearby. That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN. Stay tuned to CNN day and night for the most reliable news about your security.

Now we turn to Washington state, where Democrat Christine Gregoire is due to be sworn in as governor tomorrow after an extremely close and still disputed election. Her opponent Dino Rossi and the state Republican party are challenging the election in court and seeking a statewide re-vote. They say the election was riddled with serious errors that undermined voter confidence and put the final tally in doubt.

Christine Gregoire joins us now from Olympia, Washington. Ms. Gregoire, thank you very much for talking with us. We appreciate it. For results that are so fluid, given how this thing has gone back and forth since election day in November, how can you be confident that these results are the right ones?

CHRISTINE GREGOIRE (D), WASHINGTON GOV-ELECT: Well, under Washington law, we're at the end. The manual recount was all that our law provides. It doesn't provide for a new election and, in fact, I have no indication whatsoever that our election officials in this state did anything wrong to the contrary. They were the best of professionalism and did their jobs well, so, I'm confident they did their job and the count is over and I will be inaugurated tomorrow.

WOODRUFF: The election supervisor in King County there in Seattle says something like 1,800 votes are unaccounted for. Now, you said last November that the race was not over until every vote was counted. Isn't this a similar situation? Every vote not accounted for?

GREGOIRE: Oh, no. What was at stake before was votes that should have been counted had not yet been counted. And what has happened in the two recounts is all of the legitimate votes have been counted. And the idea that they can't reconcile some of those ballots with the number of votes cast, as I understand it, happens literally every election season and in this particular year it was actually much better than in times past. So again, no fraud. No illegal acts. Everybody has done their job and done it well. We don't have a perfect election system in our state or for that matter, anywhere in the country, but we have a good election system and one that has played out well and I think the result is as exactly the voters intended it to be.

WOODRUFF: Governor-Elect Gregoire, you also said back in November when there was a 42-vote difference, you said that is a tied race. So, my question is, if 42 votes was a tied race out of 2.9 million votes cast, why isn't the current difference of 129 votes also a tied race?

GREGOIRE: Well, Judy, the reason for that statement was whether we should go for a manual recount because we had to raise the $730,000 to have the manual recount done. It was done at our expense, not taxpayers' expense. So I consulted with experts and they said it was a virtual tie. So, if you don't go for a manual recount when there is a 42 votes differing, when would you ever go for a recount? That was the context in which that statement was made. In the end, after the manual recount under Washington law, the race is over, it's been certified and now it's time for us to move on as a state and address the very many and difficult issues that are facing our citizens. We have got to step up, come together and solve our nation and our state's problems.

WOODRUFF: Indeed, the inauguration is scheduled for tomorrow. You're not concerned that even as you take office there is a cloud over this election?

GREGOIRE: You know, Judy, it doesn't matter who was going to be elected in this race. Obviously, with as close as it is, there was always going to be that question about do we have a mandate? Well, in the end, I do think we have a mandate. The mandate is it is time for us to move on, solve the problems facing the state of Washington, come together and do the work that the people want us to do. That, I think, is the mandate of this election.

WOODRUFF: Governor-Elect Christine Gregoire, due to be inaugurated tomorrow. Thanks very much. We do extend our congratulations.

GREGOIRE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it. Thank you for talking with us. .

GREGOIRE: You bet.

WOODRUFF: Meantime on the national stage, some top Democrats are duking it out for the job of party leader. Up next, Howard Dean's bid for the DNC job moves into a more official phase. Is that spurring some Democrats to find a "stop Dean" candidate? All the latest party wrangling ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The one-time presidential candidate who shook up the Democratic party now says he's ready to lead his party to new heights. Howard Dean today, officially entered the race for chairman of the Democratic National Committee marking a year long transformation from political insurgent to campaigner for the ultimate inside job.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(voice-over): He stormed on to the national stage.

HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know something, we are going to take our country back.

WOODRUFF: A rallying cry for millions of disaffected Democrats fed up with D.C. pragmatism and Clintonian centrism, yearning for a return to the roots.

Like a comet at first he burned bright and flamed out. But Howard Dean didn't disappear. The one-time maverick turned loyal soldier stumping for his former nemesis John Kerry.

DEAN: We're on the same team.

WOODRUFF: Raising money for Democrats across the country.

DEAN: We had candidates in all kinds of states, we won in Alabama, we won in Georgia, we won in Idaho, we won in South Carolina, we won in -- we did.

WOODRUFF: Now Dean is running again, hoping to lead the establishment he once denounced. He argues the Democratic party needs to coalesce around a set of guiding principles.

DEAN: If we're going to win any issues, we better frame the agenda, not them. Secondly, I think we lost because we didn't appear to know what we stood for.

WOODRUFF: Not surprisingly, Dean announced his intention to run on the Internet, the tool he used to shatter fund-raising records in his presidential campaign. The implicit promise he'll energize the faithful and use their passion to fuel a sophisticated grassroots political organization. Not everyone is convinced. For one thing, Dean wasn't able to deliver for himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to meet as many people as we can.

WOODRUFF: His perfect storm was more of a drizzle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure hoping you're planning on caucusing Monday night.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I'm not.

WOODRUFF: Others muse the former blue state governor who once vowed to be the candidate for guys with confederate flags in their pickup trucks shouldn't be the face of today's Democratic party. Dean says he's learned his lesson and is ready to reach out.

DEAN: Want to know my southern-western strategy -- show up. People will respect you and they won't respect you if you don't show up. You want to know why we have a tough time as Democrats? Because we don't show up.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: So, where does Howard Dean stand and the crowded DNC feel? That's one of the questions I'll ask Chuck Todd after a quick break.

Is there a move to stop Dean among the party rank and file? Inside scoop from the editor of "The Hotline" next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With me now to talk more about Howard Dean and the race for DNC chairman is Chuck Todd, editor-in-chief of "The Hotline" an insider's political briefing produced daily by the "National Journal." We know Howard Dean threw his hat officially in the ring, where does he stand?

CHUCK TODD, "THE HOTLINE": The field finally has an 800-pound gorilla. It had been lacking this dominant figure in the race. A lot of people didn't think Dean would ever get into this race, at the end of the day he would say, OK, if I can't win, I'm not going to run. By announcing, it is signaling, because the Dean people I talked to for a long time have always said he will only run if he knows he's going to win. So they must think they have pretty close to the 200-plus votes that they need in this thing.

WOODRUFF: Simple majority.

TODD: A simple majority is what they need. May take multiple ballots but it's interesting that they are in because it also signals he is out of White House 2008. That has sort of been an underreported...

WOODRUFF: Because he said he wasn't going to run for president.

TODD: That's right. It's sort of an underreported part of this story a little bit.

WOODRUFF: Is there a movement to find a -- literally a "stop Dean" candidate?

TODD: There seems to be this fear of Dean and it's among some Washington Democrats, whatever you want to call it. It's why the Tim Roemer candidacy got legs when Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the leaders, congressional Democrats pushed that. It's my understanding president Clinton through an intermediary reached out to Wesley Clark in the last couple days to see if he would have any interest in being DNC chair and Clark emphatically said, I want to run for president again. So he didn't want to do that. So there is a movement, but it's not clear if the movement at all is inside the DNC itself. That's sort of the -- that's sort of the missing part here because the "stop Dean" aspect of this whole thing, it's not that people disagree with what Dean wants to do with the party, it's the fear of Dean as the face of the party that some of these folks have and I think Martin Frost and Tim Roemer both are trying to position themselves to be the "stop Dean" or anti-Dean candidate but they have yet -- it's not yet clear whether -- which one it will be.

WOODRUFF: I want to ask you about this event in Atlanta over the weekend -- but what is it that they fear about Dean? TODD: It's more of that Dean already has an image, that Dean has this image of a liberal and that no matter what Democrat running in any state will say, you know, this is the party of Howard Dean and that he has this established image that the Republicans created of him of being this left-wing guy from Vermont that eats Ben & Jerry's rather than a mainstream Democrat.

WOODRUFF: Does Dean have an answer to that?

TODD: That's what Dean hasn't -- I think Dean hasn't answered, but it's not clear yet whether he (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Does he have to spend time to not only reestablish the Democratic image in these states but his own image and I think that that's sort of the question he has to answer for any DNC members on the fence.

WOODRUFF: Finally, this gathering in Atlanta, what was the buzz coming out?

TODD: It was Dean. Dean once again sort of dominated the field. Remember the first gathering, Ron Kirk (ph), who was a candidate at the time, Wellington Webb, mayor of Denver sort of had a big buzz. This time not so much with Webb, but two other smaller candidates or I say smaller candidates, candidates that have not been getting the attention of the media Donnie Fowler and Simon Rosenberg both seem to get some decent buzz out of this event. Neither of them are going away. I think a lot of people thought they were sort of not going to be mainstream candidates in this thing, but Simon Rosenberg has a member of the Kerry family supporting him, Chris Heinz is now supporting him and they're rolling out more endorsements, although they have yet to roll out an endorsement of anybody in the DNC and Donnie Fowler of course has his father's name which has helped and he's been circling the country. One of those guys may surprise us come voting day.

WOODRUFF: That's interesting to whether either one would want to work with a Howard Dean if Dean were to...

TODD: And that's what hurts them is that their message is similar to Dean's.

WOODRUFF: OK. Lots more to talk about. Chuck Todd, we always appreciate it.

"The Hotline" an insider's political briefing produced every day by the "National Journal." You can go online to Nationaljournal.com for subscription information.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) 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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