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The Battle Over Schiavo; Intelligence & Iraq; Rumsfeld's Warning

Aired March 29, 2005 - 15:29   ET


ANNOUNCER: Another political figure gets involved in the Terri Schiavo case.

REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW PUSH COALITION: This is one of the profound moral, ethical issues of our time, the saving of Terri's life.

ANNOUNCER: What, if anything, did Jesse Jackson accomplish?

Not all Republicans see eye-to-eye about Schiavo's fate. Is that a problem for the party?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The free people of Iraq are now doing what Saddam Hussein never could -- making Iraq a positive example for the entire Middle East.

ANNOUNCER: President Bush plays to his political strength, promoting the spread of democracy with a little help from his wife.



JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. I'm John King. Judy is off today.

Many conservative Republicans and social conservatives have positioned themselves as champions of keeping Terri Schiavo alive. But today a liberal Democrat and one-time presidential hopeful put himself at the center of the story at the invitation of Schiavo's parents. The Reverend Jesse Jackson went to Florida on the 11th full day now of the fight to reconnect the brain-damaged woman's feeding tube.

CNN's Bob Franken is outside the hospice in Pinellas Park -- Bob.

BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And John, the first thing Reverend Jackson started doing was working the phones, talking to members of the state Senate, trying to convince them to reconsider legislation that had been laid on the table that would result, they believe, in the feeding tube being reconnected, even as the family was fighting a perception that it may be too late. And in that regard, just a short while ago Terri Schiavo's mother came out and spoke to reporters.


MARY SCHINDLER, MOTHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: I wanted to thank the Reverend Jesse Jackson for coming, giving us his support and supporting our family and praying with us. It was wonderful.

Second of all, I'd like to appeal to the Florida senators to please, please pass this new bill. Terri is still fighting. She's still alive. She's trying with all her might. She does not want to die. I'm begging them to please fight and give Terri a chance.


FRANKEN: Now, Reverend Jackson was invited by the Schindlers after they had expressed frustration that the polls showing that their losing support around the nation might be influenced by the heavy presence of people from the religious right. But Jackson had more practical matters on his mind.


JACKSON: I was on the phone today talking with members of the Senate, asking them to be creative enough to try to fashion some emergency legislation to stop the starving, to stop the dehydration. We called the governor's office. He's to get back to us. We did call Michael Schiavo and asked if we could go in and have prayer with Terri, and he finally got back and said he thought not.


FRANKEN: Now, virtually everybody from the Florida legislature with whom CNN has spoken, John, says that it would be almost impossible to get any legislation out before the middle of next week. Most experts would tell you that would be too late for Terri Schiavo -- John.

KING: Bob Franken. Another difficult and developing day in Pinellas Park. Thank you, Bob.

A group of religious conservatives fighting to preserve Terri Schiavo's life protested for a second day here in Washington. This time the Reverend Pat Mahoney and supporters pressed their case outside the Supreme Court. But their message was aimed yet again at Republican leaders on Capitol Hill, urging them to enforce their earlier efforts to keep Schiavo alive.


REV. PAT MAHONEY, CHRISTIAN DEFENSE COALITION: If they don't bring contempt citations, which we asked Speaker Hastert to do, if they don't schedule this hearing, then this definitely was -- these subpoenas were a political stunt. They were an absolute political stunt.

And guess what? A woman's life is in the balance here. So that's where we're at. If they do not act, if they do not issue contempt citations, this is a political stunt on the part of the House of Representatives.


KING: Congressional leaders and the White House say they have done all they can legally to intervene in the Schiavo case. Today the White House said again that Mr. Bush supports Schiavo's parents and stands on the side "of defending life."

We'll have much more ahead on the political implications of this story, especially for conservative Republicans.

President Bush's decision to intervene in the Schiavo case is one factor, at least when it comes to public opinion, in what is anything but a second honeymoon for a president just two months into his second term. His approval rating is at its lowest point of his presidency. His signature domestic initiatives, Social Security reform, is in early political peril. And now a new report from a presidential commission will revive the debate about Mr. Bush's controversial decision to wage war in Iraq.

The president will meet Thursday with the commission he appointed to examine U.S. intelligence lapses, including the bad intelligence about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs. Our sources say this report offers yet another scathing critique. Yet, Mr. Bush was upbeat about Iraq today during an event in the Rose Garden.

Our White House correspondent Dana Bash joins me now with more -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you know, if I would have told you three, four months ago that the president would want to talk about Iraq because that's where the good news is, you probably would have laughed me right off of this show. But that's almost exactly what happened in the Rose Garden today.

The president came out at a time where the news has been about Terri Schiavo, about school shootings, about gas prices, to give an optimistic speech about what he sees going on in Iraq. He did speak shortly after the National Assembly in Iraq tried to meet and pick its leaders and adjourned without resolution because of bitter divisions. So what the president tried to do today was to give them a little push, say in democracy you need to compromise.


BUSH: We expect a new government will be chosen soon and that the Assembly will vote to confirm it. We look forward to working with the government that emerges from this process. We're confident that this new government will be inclusive, will respect human rights, and will uphold fundamental freedoms for all Iraqis.


BASH: Now, democracy in Iraq is the primary justification now from this White House about going to war in Iraq. But interesting to note that, just as the president was talking about democracy, it comes two days before what the reason the White House gave before the war -- namely, weapons of mass destruction -- before that issue becomes front and center once again here at the White House.

We are expecting a commission that the president put into place about a year ago to file its report with Mr. Bush in just two days, on Thursday. We are understanding from sources that this is going to be a hard-hitting assessment of the intelligence -- the faulty intelligence that said there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which, of course, never surfaced, and other harsh intelligence assessments.

Now, certainly this is a failure the White House officials would not want to be reminded of. But you remember, John, that when this commission was put into place there was a lot of criticism about it ending after the election, saying that they wanted to take this out of politics. And from the point of view of the White House, they understand that this is something that's not going to be helpful to them. But the election already happened, the president won, and that's the bottom line here for them.

KING: The president won that election, Dana, but he is in the middle of another campaign to get his domestic agenda, principally Social Security, through the Congress. They cannot be happy at the White House about the timing of this. Are they worried?

BASH: Well, certainly they understand here that the president's credibility and that his public support is really crucial to getting his domestic agenda passed, primarily Social Security. And they do understand that his poll numbers, as we've been reporting over the past several days, have -- they have been going down.

But what they're banking on here is that the American people hearing that the intelligence was faulty in Iraq, that no weapons of mass destruction were there, is not news to them. They heard it through hearings over the past year, through several -- through the 9/11 Commission report, through reports from Congress. So they're banking on the fact that Americans hearing that, they're not going really be surprised. It's going to sound like old news and they're sort of going to move on.

KING: And at the beginning of that event today, Dana, the president mentioned something else, not Iraq.

BASH: Not Iraq at all. It was interesting.

The president came out into the Rose Garden to talk about Iraq, but the first thing he talked about was the earthquake yesterday in Indonesia, talking about the fact that the American public expressed their condolences -- he did it on their behalf -- and that the American public does stand ready to help in any way, shape or form.

Now, this is noteworthy, of course, because we all remember that just over three months ago, when the tsunami happened, the president was harshly criticized by some for not coming out of his Texas ranch for four days to speak publicly about it. And it's also noteworthy that this also comes at a time when the president's reaction in general is under the microscope.

Of course, just last week, the president flew back across the country to rapidly sign legislation on the Terri Schiavo case. And just after that, he was criticized by some in Red Lake, Minnesota. Why? Because they say that it took him five days to come out publicly and say that he is upset and expressed his condolences over school shootings there -- John.

KING: And quickly, Dana, we learned this morning by surprise that Laura Bush is not home today.

BASH: You know, it was -- at least we weren't in Crawford, Texas. I was thinking about that, and thinking that the president and the first lady were at the ranch having some Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, we did -- we were told this morning that the first lady was taking a surprise trip to Afghanistan. She's there very briefly, just for about five hours. The reason, she's wanted to go for a long time...

KING: Dana, I'm sorry. I need to interrupt you. We need to go live now to Florida. Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, speaking to reporters.

BOBBY SCHINDLER, BROTHER OF TERRI SCHIAVO: ... administered Terri Holy Communion, which Monsignor will talk about in a second. As a Catholic, Terri is afforded the right to communion every single day that she's alive.

When we went -- I'm sorry -- we got a call back from hospice just a few minutes later, and we were told that Michael Schiavo denied -- has denied for the hospice priest to come to the hospice, and subsequently, denying Terri Holy Communion.

Monsignor and I went over to visit with Terri, and when we got there, there was three policemen in the room. And we're told if that Monsignor tried to administer Holy Communion to Terri, that he would be essentially -- essentially arrested immediately. So Terri, as a Catholic, who has a right to Holy Communion every single day, has been denied her religious freedom by Michael Schiavo.

And Monsignor will tell you just a little bit about -- we're not here to talk about Terri's condition or what she looked like. Terri's still alive. But we're just here today to tell you that Terri is being denied by Michael Schiavo Holy Communion.

MONSIGNOR THADDEUS MALANOWSKI: This is to inform you the teachings of the Catholic Church.

QUESTION: Can you speak up?

MALANOWSKI: Yes. The Catholic Church teaches that a Catholic individual who's in danger of dying is... KING: We're going to leave this news conference now in Florida. A priest speaking now, a Catholic priest. Earlier, Bobby Schindler, the brother of Terri Schiavo, saying she now is being denied communion, a decision she blames on her husband, Michael Schiavo.

More on the Schiavo story as INSIDE POLITICS continues.

We want to return now to another major story. We talked a bit earlier with Dana Bash at the White House about the politics of this new intelligence report. Now CNN national security correspondent David Ensor joins me with the policy.

David, what is the biggest thing you are learning about this new report?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: John, there are going to be recommendations in this report. The commission wants to have an impact on the future of U.S. intelligence. There are going to be some very specific recommendations about what they think the president and the new director ought to do in order to make it work better after the mistakes that were made prior to 9/11 and the mistakes that were made over weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

As Dana said, the language, we understand, is quite harsh about the failure to predict correctly that Iraq didn't have apparently weapons of mass destruction. And there's also some -- but that, of course, is not news to most people. There's also some -- we understand, some criticism as well on how U.S. intelligence has handled issues relating to Iran and North Korea -- some suggestions perhaps that it should have been possible to get more human intelligence on Iran, for example.

However, they're pulling their punches on those issues because they don't want to give America's opponents too much information about what the U.S. does or doesn't know about them. So there will be criticism, some of it quite harsh. And some specific recommendations. They're being very close-held, these recommendations.

There are several issues out there, though, John, that they're probably going to address. One is, who exactly is going to be in charge of operations against terrorists? It's a little ambiguous in the new intelligence reform law. So there may be a suggestion that that needs to be clarified.

KING: And one of the issues, as you well know, a lot better than I do, is sometimes people as close as you and I in the intelligence community are not communicating. Do they get into that?

ENSOR: They do, as I understand it, yes. We understand that the commission visited the National Counterterrorism Center, which is an entity that was set up post-9/11 to try to fix the so-called stovepiping problem where intelligence agencies had information about the terrorists who were trying to attack the United States but hadn't exchanged everything they had with each other and didn't connect the dots. So this agency was set up, but apparently the commission found that there is still not enough communication going on, even in the NCTC. They feel that there are still analysts still sitting next to each other connected up to perhaps the FBI or the CIA, you know, intelligence, but not to each other's. They want to see more intelligence sharing.

KING: Much more on this in the days ahead. David Ensor, thank you very much.

And is the new Iraqi government up to the task of running the country? Words of warning today from the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. Our Barbara Starr joins us now live from the Pentagon with Rumsfeld's tough talk -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon to you, John. Well, indeed, a lot of talk today, all the way from Baghdad to Washington, because Iraq's new assembly so far has been unable to pick its new leaders.

Now, here at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spoke sometime after President Bush spoke in the Rose Garden. Secretary Rumsfeld saying at first that he wasn't very concerned, saying that it was all politics, Iraqi style.

But make no mistake, there is a great deal of concern as the days tick by. Now two months after the Iraqi election, no new leaders. And so there was a warning, a message, if you will, Rumsfeld style.


DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: It also would be preferable if the people that went into office were competent and capable of conducting themselves in a way that would assure that the funds that are being spent by the Iraqi people and the international community, including the United States, are spent in an intelligent, efficient way without corruptions.


STARR: And the secretary also making it very clear that he wants to see Iraqi leaders in security ministries in Iraq that are also going to keep some stability, not add to the turbulence, he said, after all the time and money that the United States has spent. More than a billion dollars on getting those Iraqi security forces trained up -- John.

KING: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Thank you, Barbara.

And another story we're following this hour. The Reverend Jerry Falwell is listed in critical condition at a Lynchburg, Virginia, hospital, suffering from a recurrence of viral pneumonia. Doctors say Falwell is on a ventilator and that his condition has stabilized since he was hospitalized overnight.

He is said to be alert and responding to questions. The 71-year- old Falwell battled pneumonia a month ago.

Back now to the Terri Schiavo case. Activists campaigning to keep her alive say their battle is beyond partisan politics. But are they preparing to turn their outrage into a cottage industry? That story ahead.

Up next, Republican divisions over the Schiavo case and the possible fallout for the GOP. Will this all be forgotten by the next election? A prominent Republican pollster will weigh in.


KING: As we have seen over the past 11 days, many conservatives see the Terri Schiavo case as clear-cut, but not necessarily in the same way. Our Bruce Morton looks now at the split between different wings of the political right.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Conservative evangelical Christians have always been the heart of this president's political base -- anti-abortion, in favor of religious symbols on the courthouse lawn, and so on. But on Terri Schiavo some are conflicted -- libertarians, who think the government has no business interfering, others who think she must be saved.

DAVID KEENE, AMERICAN CONSERVATIVE UNION: I think the healthy reaction of Americans in this area is that government shouldn't be doing anything. Of course, one branch of government was doing one thing, and another was doing another. At the same time, if you ask those people, do you think that the parents should be allowed to -- you know, to let Terri Schiavo live and to help her and support her, they'd say yes.

MORTON: It's a harder issue than, say, abortion.

STUART ROTHENBERG, ROTHENBERG POLITICAL REPORT: Well, I think we clearly have seen some division within the conservative movement over the Schiavo case, the social conservatives, the pro-life community. Many evangelicals, though not all, supporting Congress's actions, the president's actions. But the more business-oriented, country club Republicans, traditional Republicans, more skeptical about government action in this case.

MORTON: Wisconsin Republican James Sensenbrenner, normally a federalist who is strong on states' rights, introduced the bill Congress passed. But polls do show many evangelicals opposed to it.

ROTHENBERG: Well, a majority of Americans and a significant number of Republicans and even conservatives think that the government ought not be involved in this case to the extent that it is.

KEENE: My reaction is the government shouldn't get involved. But if I were in that situation, or my loved one was in that situation, and it was as murky as this one is, I'd far rather have the government on the side of keeping me alive than on the side of killing me off.

MORTON: And some conservatives are not conflicted at all. The conservative weekly "Human Events" ran this cartoon.

Who will remember this at election time, 2006? Probably the most passionate who want their government to feed Schiavo. But the Democrats wouldn't be likely to get their votes in any case.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


KING: And polls show the public quite skeptical about the motives of politicians who push for intervention in the Schiavo case. Up next, will Schiavo's life and pending death have any lasting effect on the GOP and its election prospects?


KING: Some religious conservatives have warned Republican leaders will pay a price if they fail to save Terri Schiavo's life. Let's take a closer look at the possible political fallout with GOP pollster Glen Bolger.

Now, let's start with that basic premise. The groups that are critical to the Republican base say intervene. But -- and you're familiar with this -- let's show our viewers quickly first this poll.

If you poll the country, the CBS poll, 82 percent of the American people -- 82 percent, hard to get in this polarized political environment -- say wrong, Congress and the president should have nothing to do with this. What are the stakes for Republicans here?

GLEN BOLGER, GOP POLLSTER: I don't think they're quite as high as people are making them out to be because by the time November 2006 rolls around this issue will be -- I can't say forgotten, but it will recede dramatically. It's akin, I think, a little bit to the Elian Gonzalez case, also a Florida situation, which caused -- evoked a lot of emotion and a lot of talk about the political impact, but ultimately other events overtook it.

And essentially, I think in less than two years, but along -- still a long way away, you're going to see Social Security, the war on terror, Iraq, the economy. I think you're going to continue to see those issues dominate.

The other factor is there's probably going to be a Supreme Court vacancy, and there's certainly going to be significant fights on the judiciary confirmations. I think that those will be more important ultimately to religious and moral values voters than this case will be.

KING: At this moment in time, though, is there a significant schism in the party between the social conservatives who say do anything to save this life, and the more Libertarian Republicans if you will, who say keep the government out as much as you can? BOLGER: Well, I think that's pretty clear from the polls because, as you pointed out, when you have 82 percent -- and other polls showed a little less than, but generally you're seeing anywhere between 60 percent to 80 percent -- expressing kind of doubt about what the involvement of the government in this. When you see that, clearly, there are values conservatives who are saying, yes, the government should be involved in this, and then there are other Republicans who are saying, no, I don't think this is the -- should be the role of government.

KING: How much does majority disapproval with intervention in the Terri Schiavo case have to do with what is a pretty significant drop for the president in his approval rating? In our CNN polling we have his approval rating now at 45 percent, 45 percent, the low point of his presidency. Other polls have shown relatively consistent numbers in the 40s.

A very tough number for a president starting a second term trying to sell a very tough domestic agenda. Social Security at the top of the list.

How much of this is because of Terri Schiavo in your view?

BOLGER: Oh, it's very difficult to say. I mean, clearly, the president has a very focused agenda. It's a controversial one -- Social Security.

This has obviously been in the news. There's been some mixed economic news as of late as well. And people still are wondering, OK, you know, where are we going next in Iraq?

So I think all of those factors have brought the president from the low 50s into the high -- mid to high 40s. I'm not sure that you can attribute, OK, two points of this is because of Schiavo, one point of this is because of Social Security. I'm not sure you can do that. I think it's all kind of pulled together.

KING: Well, he's at 45 percent, let's say, according to our poll, somewhere in that ballpark. He's leaving for Iowa tomorrow to try again to get some traction for Social Security. But this week, a new report, a damning report about the intelligence failures, prewar in Iraq, will revive this whole debate over should the United States have gone to war in the first place.

How big of a ditch, if you will, politically is the president in as he tries to be a salesman but has a very modest approval rating?

BOLGER: I'm -- again, I'm not sure that 45 percent is a huge problem. You know, I think it's when you start dipping into the low 40s, 42 percent, 40 percent, that you see a president be on much more shaky ground.

It's hard to tell what impact this intelligence report on Iraq will have. The country has debated Iraq. It had an election since Iraq, and the people spoke pretty clearly about that. There's been improvement clearly that, you know, the president did not go to war in Iraq based on what he believed were faulty intelligence reports. So I'm not sure the people will hold him personally responsible for that.

KING: We will track that as we move ahead. Glen Bolger, thank you for your time today.

BOLGER: Thank you.

KING: And we know that the fight over Terri Schiavo has become polarized. But what about the marketing of the struggle? That story when we return.

Plus, the battle over the Schiavo case is also playing out online. We'll go inside the blogs later on INSIDE POLITICS.


Christine Romans in New York with THE DOBBS REPORT.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN GUEST HOST: Thanks, John. Well, I wish I had better news for Iowa because stocks are sliding lower on Wall Street today. Kind of a big decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Final trades still being counted but the Dow now down about 80 points and the NASDAQ is one percent lower. MCI has agreed to merge with venison. Those two companies had a deal last month and then Qwest, another phone company, tried to scuttle it with a better offer. Verizon then had to sweeten that bid by nearly $1 billion to $7.6 billion. That's still lower than Qwest's offer but MCI said it chose Verizon because it is a stronger and more competitive company.

Billionaire Warren Buffett facing questioning from securities regulators. They want to know if he was involved in a controversial transaction between his company, Berkshire Hathaway and AIG. AIG is under scrutiny in an investigation of bid-rigging in the insurance industry and now AIG's chairman, Hank Greenberg, one of the industry's most powerful executives, he has resigned in wake of that ongoing scandal.

Most Americans will meet the upcoming federal tax deadline very well on April 15th, but many aren't paying what they actually owe. The IRS says it comes up short by nearly $300 billion each year. Even with IRS enforcement and late payments the government still gets shortchanged. The major reason: individual and taxpayers underreport their income.

Delta Airlines is sending American jobs to Canada in order to avoid bankruptcy. Starting this summer the airline will outsource its aircraft maintenance and as many as 2,000 technical jobs will be eliminated. Delta says it will save $240 billion over four years but claims it is not exporting American jobs since the work will still be done in North America. We'll have more on this story on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT.

Also tonight, broken borders, literally. In San Diego a gaping hole in the fence between United States and Mexico allows illegal aliens and potential terrorists very easy access into our country. We'll take a look at why this safety threat has not been addressed. And we'll speak to House Judiciary Chairman James Sensenbrenner who has plans to close that hole in the U.S. border.

Plus, the Homeland Security Department expected to add 500 new agents to patrol the Arizona border. A special report on that at 6:00 Eastern on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT. Now back to John King in Washington. John?

JOHN KING, CNN GUEST HOST: Thanks, Christine. We'll be watching. INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.

MARY SCHINDLER, TERRI SCHIAVO's MOTHER: I brought Jesse Jackson here for moral support.

ANNOUNCER: A leader of the left teams up with the parents of Terri Schiavo.

JACKSON: We reach out to people of faith across lines that divide, across these political lines and ideological lines that divide.

ANNOUNCER: Cashing in on the Schiavo case? Will thousands of those who've given their time and money now be the target of conservative direct mailings?

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

KING: Welcome back. I'm John King sitting in for Judy today. The Reverend Jesse Jackson explains his new role in the battle over Terri Schiavo by saying this is about civil rights. Jackson is in Florida at the request of Schiavo's parents to give them moral support and back their effort to get their daughter's feeding tube reconnected. He's urging black state lawmakers to support emergency legislation that failed to pass last week. Jackson tried to see Terri Schiavo but was denied access to see here by her husband Michael who has urged the public to let her die in peace.

A short while ago Terri Schiavo's brother has told reporters that Michael Schiavo refused a priest to give her Holy Communion. Her father, Bob Schindler, describes the 41-year-old woman as failing after 11 full days now without food or water. Doctors have said Terri Schiavo will probably die within two weeks of having her feeding tube removed.

Activists fighting to keep Terri Schiavo alive say Jesse Jackson's involvement shows this is not a fight just between the left and the right. But others see new evidence of political motivation. Here, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Terri Schiavo issue has stirred plenty of outrage.

REV. PATRICK MAHONEY, CHRISTIAN DEFENSE COALITION: Are we to say that the entire federal government is powerless to help her?

SCHNEIDER: In politics, outrage can be marketed. It's already happening in the Schiavo case. Last month Bob Schindler, Terri Schiavo's father, sent out an email plea to raise money for the legal fight to save his daughter. Those who responded are now on the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation active donor lists. Response Unlimited, a direct mail and telemarketing firm, has advertised the lists for rent. One has names of more than 6,000 donors for $150 a month. The other for $500 a month lists more than 4,000 email addresses. The outrage industry works for both the right and the left.

The American Progress Action Fund calls House Majority Leader Tom DeLay "the very picture of political opportunism and hypocrisy." Click and donate. You need to target devil, says an experienced liberal fund-raiser.

ROGER CRAVER, DIRECT MAIL CONSULTANT: The business of political causes an issue a lot like professional wrestling. There is good and there is evil.

SCHNEIDER: Who is the devil in the Schiavo case? Her husband?

MAHONEY: Why should a man who is in a ten-year relationship with another woman, fathered two children and has gone on with their life by some archaic, arcane law now speak for a woman that he has no emotional connection to.

SCHNEIDER: It's hard to see a political payoff from attacking Michael Schiavo. Conservative activists see a bigger target.

RANDALL TERRY, SCHINDLER FAMILY SPOKESMAN: In the past year we have seen the Pledge of Allegiance come under attack because of "under God." We have seen the Ten Commandments removed from a state courthouse. We have seen homosexual marriage created out of thin air, and now an innocent woman being starved to death.

SCHNEIDER: So, who's the devil?

TERRY: The mood of the country is ready for chief executives and for legislators to tell the judiciary, "No. No more. No."

SCHNEIDER: The outrage industry is at work and judges are a target.


SCHNEIDER (on camera): One problem with the Terri Schiavo list. Some of the devils in this case are Republican office-holders like Jeb Bush and Tom DeLay and even President Bush. A lot of outrage is being directed at them for not doing enough to save Ms. Schiavo.

KING: Bill, as you know, quite a debate about this. Some questioning the appropriateness, especially in the middle of the fight. I understand the family foundation spokeswoman has tried to clarify the family's position on this today. SCHNEIDER: That's right. We have a statement from Pamela Hennessy, who is a spokesman for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation and in the statement she says, "Never at any time did Mr. Schindler" -- that's Terri's father -- "ask me to sell those names. I don't believe he fully understood the terms of this deal. It was never his intent to accept money." And then speaking for herself she says "These carpetbaggers are coming in at the 11th hour and taking advantage of this girl and it makes me sick."

KING: Part of the continuing political debate. Not always very pleasant. Thank you, Bill Schneider.

We want to go now to a live update to the latest developments in the Schiavo case. Our Randi Kaye is standing by in Dunedin, Florida, which is the office of George Felos, of course, the attorney for Michael Schiavo. Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it was in this very parking lot outside George Felos' office on Saturday when George Felos told us that Terri Schiavo would not receive communion on Easter Sunday as has been requested by her parents, the Schindlers and her brother and sister. And then it turns out on Sunday she did receive communion, just a drop of wine was given to her. Now, the communion issue continues to rise here because just today, just a few moments ago, Bobby Schindler had visited with his sister at the hospice and came out saying that apparently Michael Schiavo is denying his sister her right as a Catholic to receive communion on a daily basis.

Now, the issue of communion goes back to the courts because it was a court order according to George Felos and Michael Schiavo, a court order that would only allow Terri Schiavo to receive communion one more time. She had received communion on March 18th, which was the day that her feeding tube was removed and she was only allowed, according to this court order, to receive it one more time, which she apparently did on Easter Sunday.

So, the issue, again, still, communion. Monsignor Thaddeus Malanowski inside the hospice room with Bobby Schindler. Bobby Schindler describing the scene there, three armed police officers inside and apparently threatening the monsignor that if he tried to give Terri Schiavo communion he would be arrested. So this issue of communion and denying her right as a Catholic, according to her brother, still going on. John?

KING: Randi Kaye in Florida. One of the many disagreements between Terri Schiavo's parents and brother and her husband Michael.

And there's plenty of outrage to go around in the Schiavo case. Up next, her plight and the politics surrounding it. In the CROSSFIRE with Paul Begala and Bay Buchanan.

Also ahead, what the bloggers have to say about Jesse Jackson's cameo in the Schiavo saga. Find out when we take you "Inside the Blogs."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: And joining us now from George Washington University today's CROSSFIRE co-hosts, Bay Buchanan and Paul Begala.

Bay, I want to begin with you with the appearance of Jesse Jackson in the Schiavo political debate today. Apparently, the family members, the parents, thinking they have been too closely identified with religious conservatives. What do you make of this?

BAY BUCHANAN, CNN CO-HOST: I think it's wonderful. It shows without question that it's not a political partisan issue here. This goes across the political philosophies. And people across this America want to see this woman saved. This is about the culture of life and I recognize there is good Democrats and good Republicans in that camp.

KING: Paul Begala, inappropriate?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN CO-HOST: Well, sure, Reverend Jackson has a right to do whatever he wants. I'm amused that just yesterday on this very set Bay was attacking Jesse Jackson for interviewing Michael Jackson on his radio show and allowing Michael Jackson to say some pretty ridiculous things. Jackson -- Michael, that is, has compared himself to Nelson Mandela, which is foolish. I do think it's amusing to see my friends on the right all of the sudden find the heroism in my pal Jesse Jackson.

BUCHANAN: You know, Jesse Jackson can have anybody he likes on his radio show. I wasn't criticizing him for having somebody, I think he might have wanted to be a little tougher with Michael Jackson, however, he chose not to be. But this is something that I think is very significant that we have a real bipartisan effort here and I think it's going to be very humbling to Democrats when they recognize that so many millions of Americans watched as they stood by and almost encouraged this process to happen, for this poor woman to be killed.

KING: Well, you mentioned a bipartisan effort, Bay, with the efforts of Jesse Jackson -- and I want to start with Paul to get both of your thoughts. Two of the Republicans who started this fight were the House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and the Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. They led the fight for federal intervention but since that effort failed in the courts and since the polls have shown that it is wildly unpopular with the American people, they have been silent. Why, Paul?

BEGALA: Well, I think at least you have to give Reverend Jackson credit for taking an unpopular position. Dr. Frist and Congressman DeLay clearly were following the polls, John -- there is no other explanation for it -- when they thought this would help. There was a memo that went around to senators that was later released by leaks, rather, and ABC News put it up on their website. It said this is a great political issue for us.

So, it was politics that was driving this from the start. Don't forget, it was Bill Frist who attacked John Edwards during the presidential campaign for mentioning Christopher Reeve's paralysis and how stem cell research might help that. Dr. Frist said it is wrong to make a political issue out of someone's suffering. Well, then there was Dr. Frist making a political effort out of someone who was suffering.

BUCHANAN: You know they can say what they like -- and I don't know what really motivated these individuals, these Republicans -- but there's no question when you heard them speak that they spoke from their heart, John. They were very sincere and they wanted to do something to save this woman. And I think it's a real travesty that those who still have power to save her having stepped in and sent in the troops and done, and really made certain that this woman doesn't die under these circumstances.

BEGALA: Send in the troops? They won't even speak, John. There's just no other way to analyze it. If they were acting on principle -- and politicians often do, believe it or not. If they were in this case, they would follow through on their principles and President Bush should not be forgotten in all of this. He is a man who is clearly consulting the polls to find his own deeply-held principals on this case.

BUCHANAN: You know, Paul can say what he wants. I just ask you, where are the Kerrys? Where are the Clintons? Where are the Pelosis? Where are the Reids? There is no leadership in the Democratic Party on this issue. They have been in the high grass hiding out.

BEGALA: They should be. Politicians shouldn't be in this case. That's where they should be, is off away, and let this poor family deal with their suffering in privacy.

KING: Let me ask you this question: Where are the lines? Today reports about the names of people who are donating money to help the Schindler family with their legal bills in this fight. Those names are now being sold and conservative activists using it for fund- raising?

BUCHANAN: I think it's appalling. I think the focus of this whole effort should be on Terri Schiavo. I think there should be real effort by everybody to see what we can do to help her parents save her life. And I don't think we should even go into what the polls say or what everybody's motivation are. We should try to save her life and to be talking about buying lists that maybe we can use at some other time is, I think, reprehensible.

BEGALA: I do think this is a new low, even for the right wing to try to make money off of this woman's suffering is really beneath content. I didn't think anything they could do could be beneath my contempt. But they found a new low, John.

KING: And Paul, you were talking earlier about the president in all of this. Quickly, he had 45 percent on our poll and trying to go back out on the road to sell Social Security. How does the president get out of what is a difficult political situation for him right now?

BEGALA: Well, I think the heart of his strength was that he always took popular stances and seem to be a conviction politician. He would say you may not like where I stand, but you know where I stand. Here, here's not behaving like a conviction politician. He's cutting and running like a politician who is following the polls. I think that's why he's tanking.

BUCHANAN: I happen to think that the president really had an opportunity here, John. You know, whether the polls said good or bad, he should have acted like an executive and sent in federal troops and saved this woman's life. That is real action and I think the American people would have responded and recognized, they may disagree with him, but it's a man of real true conviction and he'll put down -- all his popularity on the line in order to save a person's life. That's a noble thing.

KING: Bay Buchanan, Paul Begala joining us on INSIDE POLITICS today and more on the Schiavo case coming up at the bottom of the hour where when they host CROSSFIRE and of course, the Schiavo case continues to spark vigorous debate online.

Up next, we go "Inside the Blogs." Find out what bloggers are saying about the Reverend Jesse Jackson's role in the Schiavo debate.


KING: Time now for our daily trip online to find out what people are talking about in the blogosphere. Our blog reporter Jacki Schechner is standing by along with CNN political producer, Abbi Tatton. Jacki, I assume the Schiavo case and maybe Jesse Jackson's entrance remains a hot topic.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, they are talking about it. There is four developments today in the discussion on the blogosphere in regard to Terri Schiavo and that scenario. Let's go over to That's "d-e-d." And they have got a list of the four things they're talking about. The first there is a death threat on Michael Schiavo's sister-in-law in Philadelphia. Also an autopsy of Schiavo that is going to be performed after she passes away.

Michael Schiavo ordered that for two reasons. One, he wants to prove he she was in a persistent vegetative state. The other is to disprove that he's got any wrongdoing there. To disprove some things people are saying. The other is Reverend Jesse Jackson's appearance on the scene. A lot of people are saying, who is really surprised by this?

Over at Martini Republic they say it should have been predictable. "One of the greatest media gluttons of all time jumping into a coliseum-size media circus." The final one on Dedspace that I want to talk about that's really causing controversy, let's see if this pulls up here. But it's the fact that Bob Schindler has sold a list of people to Terri's cause to a direct marketing firm and that is the one causing all the outrage.

ABBY TATTON, CNN PRODUCER: Go to for some of the outrage. "Spam for life" is what she calls it. Interesting point: she morally and ethically and politically disagrees with the protesters, but I have to say I feel for those people who just wanted to speak out and now they get their just reward American style, spam, spam, spam.

SCHECHNER: Over at at World O' Crap they have the title ghouls and they're digging into the back background of Gary McCulllough, who is the spokesman for the Schindlers and director of the Christian Communication Network wondering why the mainstream media isn't taking a closer look at this guy since he's been very vocal and visible lately. He says he was there when Bob Schindler sold the list and how he has a long list of anti-abortion activism and he is the one who defended murderer Michael Griffin by claiming killing an abortion provider is justifiable homicide. It's an interesting long read there.

TATTON: A different story moving on here. In Washington the Supreme Court got high-tech as justices tackled the problem of file sharing on the Internet. Now, the case involved MGM Studios who lost billions, they say, from the illegal distribution of their copyrighted property and two software companies on the other side. Those are Grokster and Streamcast networks. Now the justices today were looking that question of whether the software companies by having the software out there are actually encouraging Internet piracy. A lot on the blogs starting up today. has a round up of different people who are blogging. One of them was really interesting here. This is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They're actually defending one of the companies involved and they sent some bloggers today to cover this. Here they are at the Supreme Court arriving there last night at about 10:00 p.m. they said. They've been looking at this case all day, blogging from the steps of the Supreme Court.

Justices asked the right questions in this case, they say. Over and over, the justices hammered the lawyer with questions about the potential impact of their ruling in favor -- against small investors. The guy in the garage as Justice David Souter put it. Now the justices will rule later this summer and we'll keep following that one.

SCHECHNER: Another story we want to tell you about, the National Press Club is getting itself some press in the blogs and not good press at that. They put together a panel. We have got a visual to show you here to show you what's going on. They put together a panel on April 8th to talk about journalism and bloggers and who is a blogger and who isn't. Who is a journalist, for that matter.

They found the list of people who were going to be included in this panel and it was an incomplete list and it got the left side upset because they were afraid that their voice wouldn't be heard. So in a preventive strike they put together a letter at the Agonist. Abby has that list if you can swing around and take a look at it, a bunch of bloggers who signed up and said they wanted to be represented in this panel. We have to say the latest update is that Matthew Iglesias has been included. The final list is over at the National Press Club, which is You can click on more information here telling you who is going to be included.

But Matthew Iglesias is now on that list and he is on the left side of the blogosphere. So they did say over at the National Press Club, while they were aware of the uproar, that they did have an incomplete list and now it is complete. So they knew what was going on. That wasn't the reason why they invited Matthew, but he has been included. John?

KING: Alrighty. Those hard feelings smoothed over. Thank you, ladies.

The road is long, but the 2008 race for the White House is already under way. Up next, we catch up with some of the potential candidates in today's "Political Bytes."


KING: News about two potential White House hopefuls leads off our Tuesday "Political Bytes." Former Democratic senator and vice presidential candidate John Edwards is heading back to Iowa. He is scheduled to make stop in the Des Moines area Thursday and Friday to discuss ideas for fighting poverty. He's delivering a speech on that subject today in North Carolina.

Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold is traveling in Alabama this week, a state that has not voted for democratic presidential candidate since 1976. Feingold is visiting Montgomery and Birmingham today and tomorrow. Yesterday he mended fences in Greenville where some residents were upset last year by Feingold's description of their hometown. In an online commentary Feingold had questioned why cities like Greenville kept voting republican.

And an interesting note in the last campaign. In a survey by the political analysis firm Folidata (ph) reported by "The Washington Post," it finds voters in just 59 of the nation's 435 House Districts split their support between a presidential candidate of one party and a House candidate from the other party. The study found 215 House districts were carried by at least 20 points by either George W. Bush or John Kerry.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. We had promised you Karl Rove today, he had jury duty. Can't fault a man for keeping up his civic duty. I'm John King, CROSSFIRE starts right now.


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