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INSIDE POLITICS

CIA Chief Say He Knows Where bin Laden's Hiding; Shooting at a Seattle Courthouse; Possible Recess Appointment for John Bolton.

Aired June 20, 2005 - 16:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
FOREMAN: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. Time for our strategy session on today's hottest political topics with U.S. Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. I started not to even introduce you as I should of. And Bay Buchanan, the president of American Cause.

Up for discussion today, CIA chief Porter Goss says he's got an excellent idea of where the head of Al Qaeda is. So where is Osama bin Laden? Senate Republicans want to move ahead and vote on John Bolton's nomination as U.S. ambassador to the U.N. And Joe Biden says he's looking at the White House. Does the Delaware Democrat have a chance

First up today, we're going to take a look at this issue of what's happening with the search for Osama bin Laden. The CIA director Porter Goss tells "Time Magazine" quote, "I have an excellent idea where he is."

Do you guys think he has an excellent idea?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, there's no question they know approximately where he is. We've heard generals talk about the fact that they think they will have him in the next six months -- obviously, must have a feeling where this man has been hiding out.

But I think it's significant what he said and I suggest that if he is in a location they cannot reach, they simply cannot get into those mountains up there in Pakistan, that they may have put this out deliberately as to give Osama bin Laden some concern that we know where he is and he may get on the move and that's when we can pick him up.

FOREMAN: Donna, you buy that?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, after three-and-a- half years, I hope we have some, you know, information that would lead us to know exactly the vicinity of where he is. We may not know the hut or the cave he's in, but I'm sure we know what mountain top he's trying to, you know, call the shots from.

Look, it's important that the intelligence czar and all the other ones continue to compare notes, work with Pakistan, work with Afghanistan, work with everyone else to try to narrow down the search and capture this man, hopefully, before the next anniversary of September 11th.

BUCHANAN: And the politics of it are: If they were to catch him, there's no question that this would be a huge boost, just as when we captured Saddam Hussein, a huge boost to the American people and to George Bush; the American people regaining faith in what he's doing with respect to foreign policy.

FOREMAN: Do you think both parties are satisfied that, a question we raised earlier here, that Pakistan is fully cooperating in this? Because there's been this push-pull that's gone on and on: Pakistan is helping us, we're moving forward, we're moving forward. Then all of a sudden there's a little roadblock of some sort. It doesn't seem to be an overt resistance, but nonetheless some kind of resistance.

BUCHANAN: Yes. Well, Pakistan has to be extremely careful because of the strength of the Islamic movement inside that country and so, of course, when he was -- the general had an attempted assassination on his life he took -- he was very, very strong and active in capturing the individuals involved. But I think they have to be very cautious playing with us; doing what they can, but at the same time not undermining his position as president.

BRAZILE: I think Mr. Musharraf is being very helpful but he could be even more helpful. Look, we have to infiltrate some of those tribal leaders along the border. We have to beef up our resources along the border so that we can get this intelligence. But look, I also believe that Porter Goss put this information out so that bin Laden perhaps could, you know, start moving again because every time he makes a move, we learn something.

FOREMAN: So, you're in agreement on: There's a possibility.

Let's go to the White House real quick. We have some sound here from Scott McClellan at the White House talking about this very issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think what the director was referring to was that he has an excellent idea of what area he may be in. If we knew exactly where Osama bin Laden was, we would go get him and I can assure you of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Keep that in mind.

We're going to come back and talk about that in a moment, but right now we're going to jump back to Seattle, that story we've been covering up there about the shooting in the federal courthouse. The police are about to speak about that.

Now, let's go to Seattle, live, and hear what they have to say.

GIL KERLIKOWSKE, CHIEF OF POLICE, SEATTLE WASHINGTON: We don't have an identification. Right now the ATF and others are checking cars, checking the building for any other possible devices.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us a little bit about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's the team looking at now?

KERLIKOWSKE: Right now, they were examining the backpack and they were also looking for any other devices that may be around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard he was yelling threats. What was he saying?

KERLIKOWSKE: I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell us a little bit about the evacuation. Are you content with the way that it went? how many people were evacuated? and did it go as quickly and smoothly as you would have hoped?

KERLIKOWSKE: Well, I think from what I saw and actually, I was right around the corner so when I saw what was being done: The coordination with the federal law enforcement officers, how people were being secured, the perimeter, as you could see, that was set up very quickly -- so far so good.

We will take a close look at it. does not appear that anyone else was in danger. It appears that the proper protocols were made. Courthouse security is certainly a serious issue, but from what I can see so far, I am very, pleased with the coordination.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Perhaps for the FBI, can you tell us, you know, will this prompt you to re-examine or perhaps change either the configuration of security or anything else in that building?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, We'll have to work with the Marshall Service with regard to that and we'll certainly look into it as we proceed with the investigation which will obviously be done jointly with Seattle Police Department and ATF.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you satisfied with the way courthouse security worked in this case?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, everything was taken care of very quickly and as the chief said, the crime scene was roped off very quickly and we were all here within a matter of minutes. So, I think everything worked as best as we could've hoped.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did he -- Could he get through security? Was he on which side?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He did not. He was right inside, as far as we know, right inside the glass doors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of items were in the backpack? It's been X-rayed. Do you think it contained nothing dangerous?

KERLIKOWSKE: I do not believe it's an explosive device. I don't know what else was in there. They were just unzipping it and opening it up. But you know, the bomb squad moves very methodically, very slowly and our greatest concern, of course, was him holding what appears to be a World War II type grenade in his hand.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one more. When you say he may be known...

KERLIKOWSKE: I don't know. I don't know what this said.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you say this individual may be known, are there some people who say they recognized him or is a familiar sight around there?

KERLIKOWSKE: There's been some tentative information and I'm sure within the next couple of hours we'll have a lot more for you.

Thank you very much.

FOREMAN: That was Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske talking about the incident at the federal courthouse in downtown Seattle where a man walked in, had a backpack and had something that was some type of grenade device or seemed to be one. Police were called. They shot the man and then they were -- called in the bomb squad to check out this device after evacuating the building.

But we'll have more details on this all evening long. But a tense situation in Seattle which seems to a least been resolved to a certain degree. Now, it's a matter of doing the investigation and figuring out what really happened.

Stick with us here on INSIDE POLITICS.

When we come back, more on this unending fight over John Bolton and where it's going to wind up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: Our "Strategy Session" continues on INSIDE POLITICS with my two favorite bookends of political punditry: Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan.

John Bolton's long-standing nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations still stalled.

In little more than an hour, the Senate is expected to vote on whether to end debate on Bolton, but Democrats say they can block that effort. But even if there's no up or down vote on Bolton, he could still get the job -- if you can keep track of all of this.

The White House isn't ruling out a recess appointment. Those occur when the president names someone to a post during a Senate recess. The Senate has a Forth of July holiday recess and a month off in August. A recess appointment would allow Bolton so serve until January 2007. President Bush said today he still believes in Bolton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: I nominated a -- John Bolton to be the ambassador to the United Nations for a reason. I am sharing this now with my friends here. The American people know why I nominated him, because the U.N. needs reform and I thought it made sense to send a reformer to the United Nations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: One way or the other, it's like the American people are being held hostage here by both parties. What's -- when is this going to end?

BUCHANAN: It's going to end tonight. They're going to -- now, he's not going through. He's not going to pass. The Democrats are going to hold it up, and I believe, then in two weeks, you'll see, on the 4th of July, you'll see a recess appointment, which is exactly what the president will do. It's good politics. He says the Democrats will not give him an up or down vote. He deserves an up or down vote. I'm putting him in as a U.N. ambassador. He'll be there 18 months, and he will do a fine job and American people can see what kind of a fine ambassador he becomes.

BRAZILE: Well, Democrats saying that they are ready to give Mr. Bolton an up or down vote, but they've been asking the White House for over two months for very important information on whether or not he intercepted some highly classified intelligence material to figure out who his enemies were, and also they are worried about whether or not Mr. Bolton cooked up the books on Syria in terms of the alleged weapons of mass destruction.

So Democrats are saying, look, give us this information. If you give us this information, we will give you an up or down vote. They've been asking -- they have requested this from the administration. That's their job. They are supposed to hold oversight over this administration. The Republicans don't want to do their job in keeping the administration accountable. Democrats are saying, we get paid to keep this administration accountable, and we will hold them accountable.

BUCHANAN: You know, I think this hurts Democrats. The first rule of politics is you got to pick your fights, pick and choose your fights. You pick the wise ones, the ones you might be able to win or the ones you can make a really fine principle. But to constantly block administration appointees -- just constantly block them, don't offer (ph) different reasons -- this one's because the man doesn't have a warm and fuzzy personality and they also want something the White House won't give them, and so we'll hold them up -- it gives the Democrats, who I think have an opportunity next year in off-year elections, to make some -- to move ahead. But you can't move ahead when the American people see that you have no agenda except to be against things, and that's all that's coming out of this. Opposition, opposition, opposition. BRAZILE: It's not about his personality or (INAUDIBLE) politics. It's about his policy and this is a guy who even some Republicans are reluctant to embrace. Even of the Republicans who worked with him at the State Department are saying this guy, when it comes to public policy, you know, he's not...

(CROSSTALK)

FOREMAN: This is a very, very, very, very important job, in the sense that -- we can all agree on this, left, right and middle, we have an image problem in this world right now. A lot of people don't think as well of us as a nation or as a people as they once did.

BRAZILE: Do you want somebody with no credibility?

BUCHANAN: You know who has a worst image problem -- who has the worst image problem? The U.N., a corrupt organization that has been exposed as taking all kinds of money...

FOREMAN: Is it any good to argue over who has a worst image when ours is bad?

BUCHANAN: But, the key is, who do you want to send up there? Somebody who's nice and pleasant, you know, who like -- who can show -- that's the secretary of state's job and we got a terrific one to do that and give us a good image. We send up to the U.N. somebody tough and the American people realize that the money they send up there, their money, is well-used and that's what John Bolton's...

BRAZILE: We want somebody with credibility, and credibility that came from having the United States Senate pass on the confirmation. You want someone that, when you say, he speaks for the United States, and not just one side. You want somebody with credibility like Jack Danforth who served in that position.

FOREMAN: You -- let me ask you both this question. Let me ask you something. You feel like he's a reasonable candidate for this thing...

BUCHANAN: Sure. He's an excellent candidate.

FOREMAN: ...but out of all the many, many, many people in this country, isn't there somebody else that would have more support from both sides? We have a lot of great people in the country.

BUCHANAN: Tom, it's the president's choice.

BRAZILE: There's a lot of good conservatives.

BUCHANAN: The president decides, and if he's qualified, then he should be con -- at least have a vote. And, the key here is, if there were a vote, and Donna would agree to this, he will pass. He has the majority of the Senate support and he has -- and he will have the majority of the American people's support when the president appoints him and goes up there and he starts talking tough about cleaning up.

BRAZILE: The rules are the rules. He doesn't have the votes.

FOREMAN: How much do you think both parties, though, because this has been dragging and dragging and dragging -- I am sick to death of hearing about John Bolton....

BUCHANAN: And you won't hear much more about him except in two weeks.

FOREMAN: ...and how much do you think the American public feels the same way? He's going to blame both parties.

BUCHANAN: They don't know who John Bolton is.

FOREMAN: Well...

BRAZILE: All I know is that George Bush once again would like to rubber stamp some appointee.

FOREMAN: Oh, you guys have cleared nothing up for me on this one. Thanks for trying.

Seventeen years after his first run for the White House, Senator Joe Biden is ready to try again. The Democrat says he wants to take his game on the road. Well, are voters going to play? We don't know. That's coming up on INSIDE POLITICS' "Strategy Session." Stick with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. Coming up at the top of the hour, the CIA director says he has an excellent idea of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts, so why hasn't he been caught? We will take a closer look.

The families of 9/11 victims are angry about plans of a memorial at ground zero. We'll tell you what's going on.

And we'll also have the latest on that desperate search in northeast Utah for a missing Boy Scout. All those stories, much more minutes away, on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Now back to INSIDE POLITICS.

FOREMAN: "Welcome back."

Our "Strategy Session" continues on INSIDE POLITICS with Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, and -- one member of the Senate is making future plans. Democrat Joe Biden expects to make a run for the White House in 2008. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: I'm acting now, in terms of finding that out, as if I'm running. My intention now is to seek the nomination.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: What do you think, ladies? Can he do it? Is this one of those moments in political trivia where you'll say, who ran first?

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, he's been testing the waters for 17 years. I mean, he ran in 1988. He was a candidate for about four months, and then he was forced to withdraw. Look, I think Senator Biden has enormous credentials, and a lot of good skills. But when you talk about the skills that he would bring, foreign policy experience, well, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Wes Clark, they all have that experience. When you talk about, you know, his other great experience in the Senate, you know, fighting for domestic violence, Hillary Clinton -- I mean, so, this is going to be a crowded field.

We also have Governor Vilsack of Iowa thinking about it, Governor Warner of Virginia, and, of course, John Edwards, who also may consider it. So, this is going to be an exciting field, and let me just say this: we will have so many Democrats running that we could take a nap in between debate sessions next year.

FOREMAN: What about the Republican side?

BUCHANAN: Well, first let me talk about Biden, here, just for a quick moment. I think he's more attractive than is being suggested here. You know, the person to beat is Hillary, and she's -- Donna says lots of other people, and they may be in there -- but they're going to have to start early, and they're going to have to get out there, because Hillary's going to be a tough person to win in the primary. And Biden brings two things to the table that are, that I think are good opposition for Hillary, and that is that he is strong on national security, and if that is the key issue, he has a chance of beating her because a lot of people outside the East Coast believe she's not tough enough on national security. And secondly, he has an, I think, attractive strength in his own personality. I think he's very good on TV, very -- I think he'll be tough competition for Hillary. He can...

FOREMAN: Hold on a second. Donna, do you trust Bay picking the pitcher for your team?

BRAZILE: Look, I mean, Bay probably wants Joe Biden because she knows his weaknesses.

BUCHANAN: Joe might give me a little cash here on the side.

BRAZILE: Oh, I don't think so. But look, I do believe, on terms -- in terms of national security, I mean, Wes Clark, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, you -- these are muscular Democrats. They have a coherent policy, but I believe bread-and-butter issues will dominate 2008, and on those issues, you will find the governors may be in a better strategic position than a United States senator.

BUCHANAN: Yes, but Biden's a fresh fake -- face. You're talking Kerry and Clark..

BRAZILE: Fresh? Fresh face?

BUCHANAN: Oh, yes, but he hasn't run in how many years.

FOREMAN: OK, tell me about the Republicans.

BUCHANAN: But let me talk about Republicans. We've got lots of people...

FOREMAN: I hate to ask this, because I don't even want to talk about 2008 politics for president, but tell me...

BUCHANAN: And, you know, the names could all change...

FOREMAN: Give me top names.

BUCHANAN: Of course, you have John McCain running, and you have Frist running, Senator Frist, and you have Senator Brownback from Kansas is running, and I think Senator Allen in Virginia will also be running. Then you've got a couple governors. Mitt Romney's obviously starting to build a strong team already out of Massachusetts, and I hear, Huckabee down in Arkansas, the governor down there. And then you have a congressman, Ted Credos (ph), thinking on running on the issue of immigration.

BRAZILE: And let me...

BUCHANAN: You're going to have, you know, a full bench.

BRAZILE: You've got the the pro-gay rights, pro-abortion rights Republican Rudi Giuliani might also.

BUCHANAN: He's already ruled himself out.

BRAZILE: He's ruled himself out?

BUCHANAN: Yes, he's ruled himself out because he -- somebody said to him, you have zero chance. Not even a little, .0001. You have zero chance of winning the Republican primary.

BRAZILE: See, she's ruling him out.

FOREMAN: Is this going to be -- and again, I even hate to talk about this because it just seems so far away and we are going to have to talk about it so much. But, look, from this distance, you hear Joe Biden talking -- do you find yourself saying, hey, this is going to be a great presidential race, or do you find yourself saying, already, this is going to be really sloppy, really messy, and boy, will the American public be tired of it by voting time.

BRAZILE: As someone who's worked a presidential campaign, and Bay as well, you gotta start early. You got to start planning. You got to go to those early states. Senator Biden has been to Colorado. He's been to Florida. He's testing the water in Ohio. He's going places now to build up his name recognition and try to build up a bank chest.

BUCHANAN: And also, he helps with Democrats because he is a strong figure. He's a very experienced senator. He's a national leader and it shows that you all have a bench bigger than one, you know, over there with Hillary. For months now, we hear, Hillary is in, it's all over. Let's move on to the Republican side.

BRAZILE: Because Hillary is a dynamic figure, not only within the Democratic party...

BUCHANAN: I wonder who she supports.

BRAZILE: I have a bias.

BUCHANAN: There's no question you have a bias, but I think Biden is smart, and I think -- I'll tell you what his -- not only national security, he will sell himself as somebody that can win the general election, and I think Hillary is going to have a hard time on that count, and I think Democrats are already discounting her because of it.

BRAZILE: Well, I think Hillary is electable, but I also think that are some of the other Democrats I mentioned are very electable, and Biden will have a very tough time winning a Democratic primary that's dominated with progressives.

FOREMAN: OK.

BUCHANAN: Could you put John Kerry on the top of that ticket? We would just love it.

(CROSSTALK)

FOREMAN: First time you get totally put on the spot: make your prediction. Who's the Democrat? Who's the Republican?

BRAZILE: Hillary Clinton.

BUCHANAN: I'd go Hillary Clinton.

FOREMAN: On the Republican side, let me hear it.

BUCHANAN: Ah, no prediction from here.

FOREMAN: No prediction!?

BUCHANAN: Too open, too open.

FOREMAN: So, the Democrats...

(CROSSTALK)

BRAZILE: But I will also go with Democrat John Kerry, Wes, John Edwards and the rest of them.

BUCHANAN: I can tell you a couple that might -- will definitely not -- McCain will not win. I will say that. McCain will not be the nominee.

FOREMAN: Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile.

BRAZILE: And if Hillary is not a nominee, I will go with the rest of them.

FOREMAN: We'll be talking about this endlessly, I'm sure.

Hey, we have more news out of New York in that Adelphia case. We told you a short while ago about the one sentence there of 15 years. Now, the son of the founder of Adelphia, Tim Rigas, has been given 20 years for fraud in that case. So, big news shaking the business community in New York this afternoon. People will be talking about this a lot as we look at all these other big profile cases in business.

A major newspaper got more than it bargained for when it tried to get an online community involved with a special project. We'll find out what happened with that when we go back "Inside the Blogs," and that is just ahead, so sit tight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

FOREMAN: The excellent newspaper "The Los Angeles Times" got a much bigger response than it expected when it tried to get the online community involved with its editorials. For that story, we check in now with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton, and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter. Tell us all about it.

SCHECHNER: Hi, Tom.

Well, when the Internet is at its best there is a real sense of community, a real sense of sharing information online. The "L.A. Times" tried to take advantage of this community of culture and so far it is not going very well. We want to give you a term. It's called a Wiki, w-i-k-i, and it's a web application where users can add and edit content to create something new, to get something down to its best possible state. A good example of this is Wikipedia. It's an encyclopedia online where people add to entries to make them better.

TATTON: Look -- for an example of it working, look at Deep Throat entry here at Wikipedia. When more information came out, when Mark Felt was revealed, that entry on Deep Throat evolved. Pictures were added, quotes were added. That's it working.

Well, "The L.A. Times" wanted to embrace the online community and they tried an experiment, a wikitorial, an editorial -- this one on the Iraq war on Friday -- where readers could scroll down, see what they thought and then edit, rewrite that editorial with their own opinions. It didn't go too well. When we checked this morning, we saw that they'd removed this feature, and we asked them why. They said, over the weekend, they discovered repeated posting of obscene language and photos, and removed the feature. Imagine that -- obscene language on the internet. They seemed prepared for this. They did say on Friday that this experiment may lead straight into the dumpster of embarrassing failures.

SCHECHNER: Now, anyone who's been online for a while, has any experiment -- experience, excuse me -- with usenet groups, with chat rooms, with anything like that, knows how out-of-control these things can get. MicheleMalkin.com -- Michele talking about how she had to close down her comment section once when she posted something that drew a lot of unwarranted -- or unwanted, sorry -- attention, but Jeff Jarvis (ph) over at BuzzMachine.com offers an alternative, saying this was an editorial, and a wiki is a collaboration. So, instead of having one big collaboration, what they should've done is had two separate venues, created two very strong arguments, and then created the equivalent of an Oxford debate using software. So, that was his alternative. No one who had any experience was particularly surprised, Tom.

FOREMAN: Abbi, Jacki, thanks so much. No surprise there at all, I don't suppose. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Tom Foreman -- lot of news happening, so stay around. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.

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