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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS

President Busu Begins Europe Trip; Tony Blair Wins Third Term; Bolton Nomination Debated; DeLay Travel Issues Affecting Entire House

Aired May 6, 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: President Bush travels to Europe for a celebration that could put new strain on his relationship with the President of Russia.

TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: I've listened and I've learned. I think I have a very clear idea of what the British people now expect from this government for a third term.

ANNOUNCER: Tony Blair celebrates his election victory. But is there an even bigger winner in Britain?

Then, Antonin Scalia. Is the combative justice campaigning for the top job on the high court?

JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT: That's a very seductive philosophy.

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. President Bush landed in Riga, Latvia a short time ago. His first stop on a European trip commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Mr. Bush will be performing something of a diplomatic balancing act as he heads from Latvia to the Netherlands and onto Russia and the Republic of Georgia. We'll have a live report from Latvia ahead on the issues that are making the president's European swing more complicated.

On his way to Europe aboard Air Force One, President Bush telephoned British Prime Minister Tony Blair to congratulate him on his re-election. As expected, Blair won a historic third consecutive term in yesterday's vote. But his Labor Party's majority in Parliament shrank, in part because of public opposition to the Iraq War. Blair says he has listened to the British people and he's learned.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BLAIR: I know that Iraq has been a deeply divisive issue in this country. That's been very, very clear. But I also know and believe that after this election, people want to move on. They want to focus on the future in Iraq and here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: Blair is promising a, quote, "very, very big agenda" for Labor's third term, but how long will Blair be around to carry out his plans? Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins us from London, looking beyond Blair's victory. Hi, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Judy. Well, as you know, as you just said, here in Britain, Tony Blair may have been re-elected, but the political "Play of the Week" goes to another chap.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now you know what job he does, don't you? Do you know what job he does? He looks after all the money in the country.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): He's Gordon Brown, Tony Blair's chancellor or finance minister. They're longtime rivals for power in the British Labor Party. In the last two British elections, the campaign was all about Blair. This year, Blair and Brown were a team. They campaigned all over the country together. They made a chummy campaign commercial together. They shared ice cream.

Why did Blair need to reach out to his rival? Look at their job ratings in a YouGov poll last month. Only 46 percent of the British think Tony Blair is doing a good job. 66 percent think Gordon Brown is doing a good job.

Blair's burden was Iraq. On election night, Blair stood in embarrassment while a rival candidate in his own district, a father who lost a son in Iraq, delivered a concession speech in which he attacked Blair's war policy.

REG KEYES, CHALLENGED BLAIR IN ELECTION: Tonight there are lessons to be learned. And I hope in my heart that one day the prime minister may be able to say sorry.

SCHNEIDER: The prime minister was chastened.

BLAIR: And I've listened and I've learned.

SCHNEIDER: Labor took just 36 percent of the vote, the smallest share ever for a winning party. Labor can stay in power, but may wish to replace Blair as prime minister, something that can be done in Britain. What the voters were saying was, we want to keep Labor in because the economy is good, but we want to get Blair out because we don't trust him after Iraq. Blair is expected to hand over leadership to Brown sometime before the next election.

(on camera): Gordon Brown has been next door to power for eight years, literally. The chancellor's office is at Number 11 Downing Street. A vacancy at Number Ten could come soon.

(voice-over): The irony is, Brown supported Blair's Iraq policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would have behaved in an identical way to Tony Blair, faced with the same circumstances?

BROWN: Yes.

SCHNEIDER: But Brown was identified with a different policy.

GORDON BROWN, BRITISH FINANCE MINISTER: We asked the British people are you better off than eight years ago?

SCHNEIDER: Now Brown is in position to topple Blair. As cartoonist Geryl Scharf (ph) suggests, Number Ten Downing Street will be Brown's. Just like the political "Play of the Week."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: There is endless chatter here in London about how Gordon Brown's views compare with Tony Blair's. And I would say that Brown is considered to be more in tune with the traditions of the Labor Party. Does that mean he's to the left of Tony Blair? No one knows for sure -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So Bill, you said there could soon be a vacancy at Number Ten Downing Street. How soon?

SCHNEIDER: No one knows that, either. But the poor showing -- the relatively poor showing of the labor party does put pressure on Blair, because clearly he got a rebuke from the voters. The cliche of the moment here in London is, he was re-elected but he got a bloody nose. So there will be some pressure on him, I think, to give up power, probably within the next couple of years.

WOODRUFF: And Bill, how can it be someone in Gordon Brown's position, people don't know where he stands?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they know that he stands with Tony Blair on most issues. What they don't know if he is really to the left of Blair on issues, if he's to the right. Because he has been on Blair's team, and when you are on Blair's team, you have to be loyal. And in the campaign, as you saw in that comment about Iraq, he didn't let any distance show up between himself and Tony Blair.

The one instance I can report to you is that, at a party conference a couple of years ago, Tony Blair said, labor must be -- we are at our best when we are at our boldest. And Gordon Brown said we are at our best when we are Labor. And there was a nuance there that a lot of people picked up.

WOODRUFF: All right. Bill Schneider reporting it all for us from London. Thank you. And we look forward to having you back home. Thanks, Bill.

So, we look ahead to the next presidential race here in the United States in our Friday "Political Bytes." A new Marist College poll shows how some of the people mentioned as potential White House candidates in '08 are doing.

Among Republicans, Rudy Giuliani was the top choice, with 27 percent. John McCain was next, followed by Florida governor Jeb Bush and former House speaker Newt Gingrich. Senators Rick Santorum and Bill Frist tied with three percent.

Among Democrats, Senator Hillary Clinton was the runaway favorite, with 40 percent. 2004 nominee John Kerry was second, with 18 percent, followed by his former running mate, John Edwards, Senator Joe Biden and retired general Wesley Clark.

Senator McCain tells "Men's Journal" magazine he thinks Senator Kerry is thinking about another White House run. As quoted in "The Boston Herald," McCain told the magazine, quote, "It's pretty obvious." McCain went on to offer Kerry some advice saying, quote, "I'd advise him to be the best senator he could be and put those ambitions aside for a while."

Senator Kerry, meanwhile, has some advice for his fellow Massachusetts Democrat. He says the state party should not add support for gay marriage to its official platform, a move that is expected to happen at next weekend's state convention. Kerry says he doesn't think that most Massachusetts Democrats are in favor of gay marriage.

A Supreme Court justice has been speaking out about political pressure on judges. Up next, we will look at the ways Antonin Scalia has been raising his profile amid speculation that the chief justice job will be open sooner rather than later.

Also ahead -- federal money and medical research. Is the government spending enough to find cures and save lives?

And later, new second-guessing of evolution. Jack Valenti and Ed Rollins will offer their theories about the political consequences.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the nation's judges should remain free from outside political pressure. In recent weeks, some congressional Republicans have criticized certain court decisions and some have even raised the idea of removing judges from the bench. But in a speech yesterday at Texas A&M University, Scalia said judges must remain independent so that they can protect the rights of the individual.

The current Chief Justice William Rehnquist has battled cancer in recent months. And there's been speculation that Scalia has stepped up public appearances hoping to succeed Rehnquist.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF (voice-over): Now playing, the Antonin Scalia show.

SCALIA: I do not regard the constitution as being the instrument of change by letting judges read Canadian cases and say, it would be a good idea not to have any restrictions on abortion, that's not the way we do things in a democracy.

WOODRUFF: Pugnacious and poetic, charming and combative, the colorful jurist is a rarely seen act beyond legal circles. Hard to believe, but he's almost camera shy.

SCALIA: Could we stop the cameras?

WOODRUFF: But in recent months, in the eyes of many, Scalia has been increasing his public profile, showing up frequently at social events and softening his up to now anti-media stance, now allowing TV cameras to cover some of his often entertaining speeches.

SCALIA: It's a very seductive philosophy.

WOODRUFF: Is this a kinder, gentler Antonin Scalia? Or is this, as his detractors claim, a campaign to become chief justice?

NAN ARON, PRES. ALLIANCE FOR JUSTICE: I don't know that his charm offensive will work in the long run only because a lot of people have seen all sides of Antonin Scalia, and not just the affable, sweet side that he'd like most of us to see.

WOODRUFF: With Chief Justice Rehnquist ailing, there's wide speculation the 80-year-old will step down in June when the current term ends. Scalia's name has come up frequently as a potential successor, but angling or campaigning for the job is considered bad form. He's a longtime favorite of the right, particularly President Bush.

Scalia's supporters say a Senate confirmation battle could get nasty.

KING RING, AUTHOR, "SCALIA DISSENTS": He's the most articulate defender of the philosophy that the president shares for Supreme Court justices. So if you're going to have that fight anyway, it's probably best to put your best foot forward and that would be Justice Scalia.

WOODRUFF: Scalia even joked about the speculation, telling a group of wildly cheering conservatives in November right after the election about this Democratic campaign flier titled, "Are You Ready for Chief Justice Antonin Scalia?"

But sources close to the 69-year-old Scalia scoff at suggestions he's running for anything, saying he's quite content in his current job, and would chaff under all the administrative duties required of a chief justice.

RING: I don't think he's wavered one bit, if the campaign means to moderate his views, I don't think you've seen that at all.

WOODRUFF: So expect to see more of Antonin Scalia, "Nino" to his friends. Just don't expect his views or his apparent dislike for cameras to change.

SCALIA: I thought I announced that, you know, couple of shots at the beginning is fine but click, click, click, click. Thank you. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: But we'll be prepared if it does.

Just ahead, politics and medical research. I'll talk with the director of the National Institutes of Health about whether there's too much of the former in the latter, as well as the impact of a recent drop in federal funding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: The budget at the nation's medical research agency, the National Institutes of Health, doubled over a five-year period ending in 2003. This year, however, Congress is giving the NIH its smallest percentage increase in more than 30 years. I spoke this week with Dr. Elias Zerhouni, he's the director of NIH. And started by asking him if the current funding level is too small to accomplish important research goals?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Doctor Zerhouni, thank you very much for joining us.

DR. ELIAS ZERHOUNI DIRECTOR, NIH: Thanks for having me, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk money, first. Everybody is interested in that. After having your budget doubled the last five year, this year Congress is giving NIH its smallest percentage increase since 1970. Is this too little to get done what you want to get done?

ZERHOUNI: Well clearly, we're going to have to make some tough choices. I mean this is -- these are not easy budgetary times. This is still an increase compared to what we -- other agencies have experienced. And it's clear that we're going to have to strategize what we have in very, very tight ways.

Clearly, medical research is making great progress. And we want to see that continue. And we'll certainly work with Congress and with all of the stakeholders to make the best of it.

WOODRUFF: Will you have to eliminate, though, some worthwhile projects? And this comes right as you've announced what you call the roadmap, some really interesting scientific research across disciplines.

ZERHOUNI: The road map is going to stay. I mean, all the directors have really come together in the unique way. I have to say, NIH has been very farsighted in its investments. And we're going to continue with what's strategic and key. On the other hand, we have to make choice. We can't serve everything. The NIH budget, as large as it seems, the $28 billion is $96 per American per year, and we have to make the right decisions to address all of the diseases that are affecting us.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the new ethics rules in the news recently. You imposed -- announced new rule on the scientists at NIH affecting how they can earn outside income and where the income can come from. Some at the NIH are saying that you let the government lawyers pressure you into doing this, is that what happened?

ZERHOUNI: That's not a good characterization. The key point here is this. Is that when you are running an agency like NIH and the American people trust NIH for NIH's advice and integrity and giving scientific advice, you cannot afford to have it tainted in any way. The public trust is essential. Research is supported, because the public believes what we say. So, first and foremost we need to guarantee ourselves that the advice that you receive from NIH is unimpeachable, untainted. That's goal number one. Know, I also understand that when governments make rules, rules can overreach. In this particular case, we made the rules to be interim rules. We never said they are final. We said that we're going to make them interim and evaluate their impact.

WOODRUFF: But aren't you losing scientists? Are you afraid you're going to lose some because of this, and do you think maybe it went too far?

ZERHOUNI: In certain aspects that's exactly what we're adjusting. In other words, in the decisions that were made about stock divestitures and restrictions on interactions, I think that is what we are looking at right now to adjust. But the intent was all along, first and foremost, we have to preserve the integrity of NIH. And second, to do it in a balanced way, and that's where we're going to be and I'm sure we're going to get there.

WOODRUFF: I hear people arguing that today there is more political interference in medical research than they've ever seen before. Do you feel that's the case?

ZERHOUNI: I don't believe that there's more political debate about scientific issues and stem cell is a good example of that. Political interference, I haven't seen that myself. Every time we've been asked questions, we've responded with scientific facts. You know, I have a very simple philosophy. I want to be factual, not factional. NIH has to stay above politics.

WOODRUFF: In terms of political announce on the peer review committees, committees that look at research that you're doing?

ZERHOUNI: I have not seen any of that. Every member of our peer review committee has been appointed by us. There's never been a political appointment to any of those. Those are rumors that you hear, but I don't believe they've had been impact.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned stem cell research, are you at all concerned that the Bush administration restrictions on the use of human embryos is going to push research to the states and away from the federal center?

ZERHOUNI: Again -- again, you have to be factual. First and foremost we need to give credit where credit is due. President Bush, the first one to fund this research. There's no limit on the amount funding NIH can give. We have 22 cell lines that are available to the public. Now from the purely scientists tell you that 22 cell lines are not enough and we are discussing this issue from the scientific standpoint. Ninety percent of the research we need do can be done with what we're funding currently, but it needs to expanded. But that cannot happen without consideration of all the other issues around this. This is where, when you say about politization of science, this is a typical example where two sides are polarizing debate, when in fact, we should stay with the facts. Because you know at the end of the day, what's important for me, I know friends who have children with juvenile diabetes, I want to save their lives as well. I want to make their lives better. And at the end of the day, we're going to come together as a nation about this issue.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Dr. Elias Zerhouni, the director of the National Institutes of Health.

President Bush overseas to talk about war and peace and flash points in the former Soviet Union. We'll have a live report ahead.

And will a committee vote for the president's nominee for U.N. ambassador be delayed again. We'll discuss the latest threats and allegations when INSIDE POLITICS continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: It's a couple of minutes before 4:00 on the East coast here, and as the markets get set to close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Kitty Pilgrim in New York. She has the "Dobbs Report." Hi, Kitty.

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy, thanks.

Well, stocks moving modestly higher, and that's after a report on strong jobs creation last month. So let's take a look. Dow Industrials, they're up about -- well they were up 20 a second ago, now they're only up two. We may not even hold that lead as we close. Nasdaq a few points higher also.

Now, let's talk about that jobs report. There were a lot more jobs created in April than expected. Employers added 270,000 more jobs, that did ease concerns about the economy slowing. March and February numbers also revised upward by another 93,000 jobs. The best part of this is that workers also earned more, average hourly earnings rose to a record $16 an hour last month. And the unemployment rate remained pretty much the same, 5.2 percent.

Well, talking about jobs, lets talk about Steve Jobs. He's the CEO of Pixar, and he's been in talk with Disney's Bob Iger. It's pretty good news for the fans of animated films like the "Incredibles" and "Finding Nemo." The two companies my collaborate on more films. They're current deal was set to expire next year.

Well, coming up on CNN, 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," should illegal aliens get workers compensation? South Carolina may deny it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK CALHOUN, ATTORNEY: It also creates a greater incentive for American employers to hire not just Hispanics, but illegal immigrants. Because if that worker does get injured, they're insurance company won't have to pay the bill, so their worker comps premiums stay low.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PILGRIM: Also tonight, Harvard Professor George Borher joins us to discuss promises and problems of globalization.

And then we'll talk with representative Ellen Tauscher about -- about why she won't support CAFTA.

Also, a challenge to Lou Dobbs Tonight, Jose Quinonez, the founder of bluelatinos.org, tells us why he thinks our reporting on illegal immigration issues in this country is skewed. So that will be a good one.

Tonight, 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." But for now, Judy, back to you.

WOODFRUFF: Thank you, Kitty. And we'll be watching. Now back to INSIDE POLITICS.

President Bush is kicking off his European trip in the former Soviet Republic of Latvia and Russian President Vladimir Putin apparently isn't happy about that.

Let's get the latest on Mr. Bush's tour and potential conflicts along the way. Our chief national correspondent, John King, is with the president in Riga. Hello, John.

JOHN KING, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hello to you, Judy.

This is a fascinating and very challenging diplomatic trip for the president. As you noted, it begins here in Riga, Latvia. Mr. Bush arriving with first lady, the secretary of state, other senior members of his delegation, a short time ago here in Latvia, a former Soviet republic, but now a thriving and independent democracy.

And Mr. Bush will make clear tomorrow here in Riga as he celebrates not only Latvia, but other Baltic nations -- Mr. Bush will emphasize their welcome into the European community, their welcome into West. And that has the Russians a bit upset, as you noted.

Let's look first at where Mr. Bush will go in the next five days. There are four stops in all. Again, he begins here in Latvia. Then Mr. Bush will move onto the Netherlands. He will speak there at an American war cemetery, marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, also thank the government in the Netherlands for its support in Iraq.

Then Mr. Bush moves onto what is the main event of this trip, and it will be remarkable. The president of the United States standing in Red Square for a military parade, marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. Mr. Bush paying tribute to the extraordinary Russian sacrifice in that war. And then Mr. Bush moves on from Moscow to Tbilisi, Georgia. Again, a former Soviet republic, now an independent democracy. Mr. Bush will meet with the president of Georgia, other regional leaders there, celebrating their freedom and democracy.

And it is those first two -- the first and the last stop -- excuse me -- the bookends of trip, that have the Russians upset. They believe it is showing insensitivity to their big main event in Moscow that Mr. Bush is coming to Latvia, then going to Georgia, to celebrate freedom and democracy in two countries that, of course, came under Soviet occupation at the end of World War II.

The Russians were already upset and then Mr. President wrote this letter to Latvia's president that's posted on her Web site, now circulated all across Europe: "In Western Europe, the end of World War II meant liberation. In Central and Eastern Europe," Mr. Bush wrote, "the war also marked the Soviet occupation and annexation Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and the imposition of communism."

Tensions still high between many of the Baltic states and Moscow. The leaders of Estonia and Lithuania, for example, will not be going to that celebration. The president of Latvia did decide to attend but, Judy, as the Bush administration, and as the president continues to promote his big second term initiative, freedom and democracy, he is putting to the test how -- what he calls a close personal relationship with President Putin of Russia can survive now this and several other strains. So as the president travels over the next five days, quite a test. Delicate diplomacy -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, John, why is it that the Bush administration feels it can afford to irritate President Putin and the Russian leadership?

KING: Well, it feels it has to walk a very fine line. Mr. Bush needs Mr. Putin's help when it comes to the nuclear standoff with Iran, when it comes to the nuclear standoff with North Korea. Mr. Bush certainly appreciates Mr. Putin's help immediately after September 11th in the war on terrorism. But the relationship has become quite strained of late because of anti-Democratic steps in the White House view. Mr. Putin taking government action against the Yukos oil comapany, Mr. Putin taking government action to shut down television outlets in Russia.

So there is tension in the relationship right now. And Mr. Bush frankly, after having made democracy and freedom his signature second- term international initiative, feels he simply cannot take part in an even tin Moscow that has great nostalgia for Stalinism when, of course, most of Eastern Europe fell behind the Iron Curtain after World War II. So again, a celebration of freedom and democracy, at the same time while Mr. Bush tries to pay respect to Russia's extraordinary sacrifices in the war against the Nazis -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Fascinating, all the layers involved here. All right, John King reporting on the president's trip beginning in Riga, Latvia. John, thanks very much. Back here in Washington, yet another hurdle has come up for the president's choice to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Senate Democrats are threatening to delay a vote on John Bolton's nomination a second time, unless the State Department turns over documents that are requested by the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senator Joe Biden says those documents get at one of the issues the panel is investigating: whether Bolton drew exaggerated conclusions from intelligence data. That concern and others caused a scheduled vote on Bolton last month to be put off until next Thursday.

Well, we'll get dueling takes on the Bolton controversy, ahead and discuss an evolving political battle pitting biology versus theology.

Plus, we'll tell you how the controversy over Tom DeLay's travels is putting a crimp in other lawmaker's travel plans.

And when go "Inside the Blogs," reaction to a church that gave the boot to non-Bush supporters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: With me now to talk about some of the stories making headlines, Jack Valenti. He is a former aide to president Lyndon Johnson. And veteran Republican strategist, Ed Rollins. Gentlemen, good to have you both with us.

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you. Jack, to you first. Let's talk about John Bolton, the nominee by the president to be the ambassador to the United Nations. Now we have a Democrat on the Senate committee that's overseeing this, Joe Biden, saying he wants to put off these hearings yet again because he wants some documents from the State Department about Mr. Bolton's dealings. Where is this nomination headed?

JACK VALENTI, FMR. AIDE TO PRES. JOHNSON: Well, I think obviously, in time, Bolton will get confirmed. But I've talked to some people, members of the committee, and there is some concern about some documents they think they ought to have to fill out the Bolton resume, as it were.

There's some concerns about his management style, about the way he treats people who bring him intelligence that he doesn't like. I'm not saying that's true or false, I'm merely saying it does concern members of this committee, who are real sincere about it. This is not something that they're doing just to be interrupters of the plan, of the journey, of Mr. Bolton. I think in time, of course, that he will be confirmed.

WOODRUFF: Ed Rollins, should those documents be turned over?

ED ROLLINS, GOP STRATEGIST: I mean, I would assume that they should be turned over. The State Department shouldn't have anything to hide, and certainly John Bolton has a very long and distinguished career. He has nothing to hide.

I think the critical thing here is to get this going. We need an ambassador critically in the United Nations today. And this is the president's choice.

WOODRUFF: And Jack , you are confirmed he is going to be confirmed despite this unhappiness.

VALENTI: Well, I think that the most down a party line vote, he'll be confirmed. And probably come out of committee maybe on a party line vote. But the point is that there is some sincere people on that committee who are concerned, deeply concerned about the way that Bolton has treated intelligence carriers, for example, that causes them a little angst.

WOODRUFF: Ed Rollins quickly, do you think the Bush administration underestimated the problems they were going to have with this?

ROLLINS: I think they did. I think this was clearly Dick Cheney's choice. And I think to a certain extent, John has been a conservative, and he's been an advocate for his point of view. And so I think there's been some opposition both from the State Department and on the Democrats on the Hill before.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you all about a different story. It's a different subject. And that is the dispute involving Washington lobbyists Jack Abramoff and his connections with Tom DeLay. The story that the Associated Press is moving just this afternoon is that in the Bush first year being in office, the Abramoff lobbying firm had over -- they say, around 200 contacts with the Bush administration. Is that significant, Jack?

VALENTI: Well, yes and no. My judgment in this case, it's not that significance. How much do I think this guy Abramoff, whom I do not know, is a magician getting $82 million out of Indian tribes, that a kind of mystical, hypnotic, some kind of a firm he has.

But my judgment is that every lobbyist in town wants to go visit the White House. And the White House just isn't Karl Rove and a few high-ranking officials. There are dozens and dozens of people in the White House that comprised, quote "a contact" unquote. I think he probably exaggerated all this, because he wanted to tell his clients how smart he was and how able he was. And tripled, and double and quadrupled his fees, but actually it's not a big deal.

WOODRUFF: Does this say something, though, Ed Rollins about the influence of money and lobbying money in Washington decision-making?

ROLLINS: Well, it's become more and more prevalent obviously. Jack and I have been around for a long time. And we're not surprised by much of anything. But I think that this guy has kind of pushed the limits a little bit.

He did have contacts. And I think there are a lot people very anxious to get relationships with people in the White House, and certainly Tom DeLay. And he certainly had them. I think he's violated those trusts. I think that's clearly going to come out in the Justice Department reports.

VALENTI: I certainly agree with that. I think this guy stepped over the line. As I said, I don't know him. But from what I have read in the press, and if part of it is true, it's a singular difference in the way most lobbyists operate in this town.

WOODRUFF: Third subject I want to bring up with you quickly with all of you. In the state of Kansas, they've begun hearings, called by the State Board of Education to look at how the origin of life is taught in science class. Is there something wrong, Ed Rollins, with make room for multiple views for how science is taught in public schools?

ROLLINS: I don't think so. I think the more that these kids can get educated today and the access that they have to Internet and what have you, the teach only one way, or one method is foolish.

VALENTI: Well, that's like saying, I'm not going to take Euclid geometry, I'm going to teach some other kind of geometry. The fact is, I think that evolution is a scientific fact. It's got shades of 1924, for goodness sakes. The Scopes trial, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow here, it erupts again here in the 21st Century. I think it's kind of laughable and amusing to me.

WOODRUFF: Ed?

ROLLINS: I totally concur. As I say, these kids today know a lot more than Jack and I did when we were going to school. And you just can't limit what they can be educated in the classroom, because they can go on the Internet and elsewhere. So you ought to give them the full education.

WOODRUFF: But you're saying creationism and so-called intelligent design are appropriate?

ROLLINS: I think they are. I mean, I think there's a whole variety of teachings that are out there today. It can be faith-based, evolution can be part of the religious creation process, and I think lots of...

VALENTI: I don't think evolution is anti-Christian or Muslim or anti-Jewish or anything else. I think it's a scientific fact that most -- 99 percent of the scientific establishment believes in the evolutionary process. And this intelligent design is a kind of -- I suppose a skeptical way to try to rebut evolution, but it is there. And you can not wish it away, or intelligent design it away.

WOODRUFF: On that note, we're going to leave it there with two intelligent guys. Jack Valenti and Ed Rollins, good to see you both. Thank you very much. And we'll see you both next week. Appreciate it.

Straight ahead, you might call it a DeLay reaction. Questions about Tom DeLay's past travels are affecting planned trips by other members of Congress. Bob Novak joins me next with the "Inside Buzz."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: A secret British government memo has been made public, and it has the blogosphere all abuzz. We check in now on that and more with CNN political producer Abi Tatton and Jackie Schechner, our blog reporter. Hi Jackie.

JACKIE SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.

Tony Blair won an unprecedented third term last night, but not without getting hammered by the British public over the past week, specifically in regard to a top-secret memo. A British intelligence memo from July of 2002 that was leaked to and printed by the Sunday Times regarding the war in Iraq.

Now a lot of the bloggers had been linking to this memo and discussing its ramifications throughout the week, but now in the wake of the election, they're wondering why it's not getting more coverage in the U.S. media.

Over at JuanCole.com, Informed Comment the name of his blog. He is a professor of history at the University of Michigan. He has reprinted the memo in its entirety and discusses one of most interesting parts. A British intelligence official's perceptions of President Bush's aims in Iraq. He says Bush was lying to the American people at the time in saying that no final decision had been made on the war. Many of the bloggers reading the memo interpreting that President Bush had, in fact, already made his decision.

ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Now, Ken Saunders is a blogger out the Tucson, Arizona. He writes at politicsofdissent.blogspot.com. Ken takes to task to both the U.S. media and the U.S. public of not doing enough on this story, for not take note. Clearly, however, he says "as far as the U.S. press and the general public are concerned, the Iraq issue has gone away for Bush." That post entitled "Where's the Outrage?"

Now outrage over at "Daily Kos" over a story out of North Carolina, nine members of a church there, the East Waynesville Baptist Church say that they were excommunicated yesterday for being Democrats. The pastor reportedly told them that by voting for John Kerry they were going against the ways of the church.

No comment right now from the church, but the members you can read some of the things that they were saying over there at the site. And Kos readers are taking action, contacting the IRS, contacting the ACLU, writing to senators.

This is what they say, "this is not something we have to deal with just as Democrats, but something that should not have been done regarding political affiliation. The Democrat in me is offended by this, but I would have been just as upset if the -- the organization had expelled them for being Republicans or Greens or for any political reason. That's from Georgia10, a diarist over at Daily Coves. SCHECHNER: Another story making on the blogs today, is "USA Today" Pentagon reporter Tom Squitieri resigned in the wake of evidence that he lifted quotations from other publication without proper attribution. So, usually the bloggers like a good mainstream media scandal story, but this time around they're taking a look at the larger picture.

We start at moderatevoice.com on this story. A Joe Gandelman a verteran journalist himself over there, saying that he thinks that the newspaper managers are trying to minimize the pain and humiliation of getting journalistic black eyes. Maybe going a little too far in this case.

TATTON: James Joyner writing at the conservative blog, Outside The Beltway. His point, this is a shame, Squitieri's reputation was sterling and he was a solid reporter. Still I failed undergraduate students for plagiarism less egregious than this. Goes on to wonder if, maybe this is fallout from Rather-gate which is what bloggers like to call the Dan Rather case.

SCHECHNER: Over at dcmediagirl.com, she herself a former journalist and political producer. She's got a link to the official "USA Today" statement on Squitieri's resignation. She's not a fan of his. And it was also one of the comments at her site that caught her eye. Sounds like Tom Squitieri got a raw deal. Bloggers can hyperlink, meaning you can link to another quote or another Web page. Journalists can't for their print edition. And then he says, I still think "USA Today" went overboard. If "USA Today" has a policy on this, they should have sent Tom Squitieri a harsh letter and not fired him.

TATTON: Now, bloggers and journalism is one topic being discussed at a conference of bloggers this weekend, that's blognashville.org. You can find the details at blognashville.o-r-g. That's organized by the Media Bloggers Association doing lots of things there. One of them including a two-day journalism boot camp for bloggers, so they can learn the tools of the trade -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, and that's the week looking at blogs. We'll see you both next week. Abbi and Jackie, thank you.

When we come back, the affect the Tom DeLay investigation is having on the other travel plans of members of Congress. Bob Novak will be with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: We learn conservatives are planning a salute to embattled House Majority Leader Tom DeLay next Thursday right here in Washington. One organizer tells CNN the event is designed to "Literally rally around DeLay and show the conservative movement support for him." Host organization are putting up $10,000 each to defray costs of the dinner. They say they hope to have 1,000 people at the event including a member or a number of GOP VIPs.

Speaking of VIPs, Bob Novak joins us with some "Inside Buzz." So, Bob, on the subject of Tom DeLay, his activities have apparently had some affect on Congressional travel.

ROBERT NOVAK, CROSSFIRE CO-HOST: It's just beginning. This weekend, the word has been around there was supposed to be a Republican Main Street Partnership Political Action Committee there, Republican organization who tries to elect liberals to moderates. Somewhere in the Caribbean, they were supposed to have a meeting where corporate lobbyists would come in and pay for the whole thing. It is -- I found out it was going to be in Bermuda in a luxury hotel. Well, all of the Congressmen because of the DeLay thing have canceled. So, the corporate lobbyists got prepaid plane tickets and rooms. The question is if they go down to Bermuda, they have a nice weekend of golf and whatever they like to did, but they're not going to see any Congressman.

WOODRUFF: Now, Main Street Republican, now this would not have been a DeLay -- an organization DeLay Belonged to.

NOVAK: No, no. No, no, it's liberal.

WOODRUFF: All right. John Bolton, his appointment to the U.N., what is this on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee between Mr. Lugar and Mr. Biden?

NOVAK: They usually get along very well. And Joe Biden, the ranking Democrats, put through a -- just a plain request -- a routine request for a lot of documents from the State Department. And the word came out to Dick Lugar, who was home in Indiana at the time, he said, absolutely not. He said this is just stretching this thing out. They said -- Biden said they were going to speed it up. And so he denied them any corporation getting the documents, won't get the documents. He's trying to get it out on the floor by a week from today.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's turn to some politics. The governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney, you've learned something about his thinking going forward?

NOVAK: Yes, I mentioned, I think on last week on this program, that he was going to be -- he was going to meet some top national political operatives, political consultants at a restaurant called the Caucus Room in downtown Washington, where lobbyists hang out. And I found out a little bit what happened at that meeting. And that is that Governor Romney, said he didn't think it'd be possible to run both for president in 2008 and governor for re-election in 2006. And the people there got the idea. Although he didn't say so, that he's not going to run for governor -- for another term for governor, but he is going to run for president. We'll see.

WOODRUFF: That's very interesting.

All right. Finally, we've just been talking about fund-raising for Tom DeLay. What you are learning about fund-raising on the part of the Democrats? NOVAK: When Howard Dean became chairman of the Democratic National Committee, some of the old line muddy people said, gee, he will dry up funds, people won't give to him. And the Dean supporter said, he'll bring in all that new money that supported his campaign. While, the results of the first quarter and in the Republican National Committee raised twice as much as the DNC under Dean.

And so far as the individual contributions he's supposed to bring in, he had 13 million -- the DNC had $13 million and the RNC had $31 million in individual contributions. So Mr. Dean who's been running all over the country, not doing much media, but he's off on the wrong foot on fund-raising.

WOODRUFF: Hmm, all right. And Bob Novak's watching what's going to.

NOVAK: Take care.

WOODRUFF: Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz" and we'll be seeing you on "CROSSFIRE." Thank very much.

NOVAK: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: So that is it for this INSIDE POLITICS this Friday. I'm Judy Woodruff, thanks for joining us. "CROSSFIRE" does start right now.

END

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