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Inside Politics

President Bush Calls European Leaders on Eve of Missile Defense Speech

Aired April 30, 2001 - 17:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today marks our 100th day of working together for the American people.


ANNOUNCER: But that doesn't mean we've stopped thinking about tomorrow, when the president zeros in on missile defense.

Compared to media coverage of the early Clinton presidency, is Mr. Bush getting an easier ride?

Plus: The Democrats, and the 2004 speculation game.



BUSH: In my family, with all those kids in the tub, it's not arsenic in the water I'd be worried about.


ANNOUNCER: Snapshots of presidential humor, from G.W. to FDR.

Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: And we're coming to you from Atlanta today, and thanks for joining us. We begin with President Bush's efforts to smooth the way for his controversial goal of building a missile defense system. He spoke by telephone today with the leaders of Britain, Germany, France and Canada, and with the NATO secretary- general. Mr. Bush is reaching out to allies who are cool to his missile defense plan before he gives a key speech on that subject in Washington tomorrow.

CNN's David Ensor has more on the speech and the president's nuclear arms strategy.


DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's speech will highlight sweeping changes he plans in the way the U.S. defends itself, and announce that he is sending a team to hear allied concerns before he spells out the specific details later this spring.

BUSH: It should be possible to reduce the number of American nuclear weapons significantly further.

ENSOR: The final decisions are not made yet, but officials are preparing proposals for dramatic unilateral cuts in the U.S. nuclear arsenal, taking it from over 7,000 weapons down to as low as 1,500; slashing the number of bombing targets in Russia in the event of war; adding a small number of new targets in China; increasing by as much as $7 billion research and development of strategic and theater ballistic missile defense systems; adding sea-based and space-based systems to the land-based plan already in testing under the Clinton administration.

BUSH: At the earliest possible date, my administration will deploy anti-ballistic missile systems.

ENSOR: The problem for Mr. Bush: the earliest possible date for missile defense may well be after he leaves office.

JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, CARNEGIE ENDOWMENT: We have years to go just in testing and research to find out if there is anything worth deploying.

ENSOR: What's more, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty clearly forbids any kind of national missile defense. So, kill the treaty now? A debate is raging within the administration. Secretary of State Powell and his aides favor going slow.

CIRINCIONE: I think withdrawal from the ABM treaty would cause a major international crisis at this point. It could dominate the president's first year in office, and he doesn't need that.

ENSOR: On the other side, administration hawks, like Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and their aides, are pushing hard for Mr. Bush to abrogate the ABM treaty this spring and go it alone on nuclear weapons.

RICHARD PERLE, FORMER ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY: We should decide what we need, keep only what we need and no more than that, and then proceed to shape our strategic forces consistent with what we judge our requirements to be. There's no reason to ask the Russians for their approval any more than we should be asking anyone else for their approval.


ENSOR: Some are also arguing for the development of new nuclear weapons that can penetrate deep into the Earth to go after chemical or biological weapons facilities or leadership bunkers. But still others within the administration argue that to do so will put the president on record in favor of new nuclear weapons at a time when he's trying to convince the world he's in favor of defense, not offense -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, David Ensor reporting from the White House. Well, selling his missile defense plan is just one of many challenges Mr. Bush faces as he moves beyond his first 100 days in office. The president marked that early milestone of his tenure today by hosting some of the lawmakers who can make or break his agenda.

Let's go back to the White House now to our senior White House correspondent John King -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, that luncheon here a pause for celebration, if you will, by an administration that initially rejected the 100-day benchmark as the threshold for any fair analysis. All 535 members of Congress invited, fewer than 200 showed up.

Still, in very brief remarks, Mr. Bush thanked them for their cooperation and support so far, but he also acknowledged that the negotiation, the compromises all still to come.


KING (voice-over): Measure by results is this president's motto, and he sees substantial progress so far.

BUSH: Today marks our 100th day of working together for the American people. We've had some good debates, we've made some good progress, and it looks like we are going to pass some good laws.

KING: The debate over taxes and education isn't settled, but Mr. Bush can claim headway. Congress is on track to pass a 10-year tax cut of at least $1.2 trillion, and the president's calls for more testing and accountability are reflected in the major education bills taking shape.

ANDREW CARD, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: This is the first budget process where the president's budget wasn't thrown in the wastebasket. The budget that was passed by the House was based on the president's budget. The budget that was passed by the Senate was based on the president's budget.

KING: Mr. Bush has deliberately focused on just a few top priorities in the early days, trying to build a record of achievement and some political capital.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: One of the things we learned from Ronald Reagan is to rivet the public's attention and then the Congress' attention on one or two priorities at a time. And the more you repeat it, the more you stay focused, the more you are straightforward with the American people, the more that message sinks in and people tend to rally around you.

KING: But the narrow focus means putting other agenda items on hold: Social Security and Medicare reform, a Medicare prescription drug benefit, and a so-called HMO patients bill of rights. Leading Democrats say the price of the early Bush agenda will become more clear in the second 100 days.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Our country's not a one-note country. The people know that if the tax cut is too large, it crowds out our ability to deal with other issues that they care an awful lot about: Medicare, Social Security, education.

KING: The environment was a frequent flashpoint.


NARRATOR: President Bush has already acted to ignore global warming pollution.


KING: Mr. Bush calls the criticism unfair, but says his greatest disappointment in the first 100 days is the perception he is anti- environment.

PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: He has alienated what I would call a whole progressive group of Americans, as well as worrying about the suburban group on the basis of the environment. It was something that didn't work against him in the election; it can work against him during his presidency.

KING: Major reviews of military spending and national energy policy remain works in progress, and almost certain topics of future controversy.


KING: So, the president's view that he is off to a good start in these first hundred says is challenged not only by his critics, but tempered by the realization that the second 100 days will be far more important than the first 100 in determining his success in selling and implementing his agenda -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, John, when they add it all up, what have they primarily learned from these first 100 days?

KING: They learned in the first 100 days that these Democrats in the last few weeks are being much more aggressive in challenging this president. They've also learned that while the president stayed away from being directly involved in the negotiations earlier on, now as he tries to reach that final figure on tax cuts, the final spending level for elementary and secondary education, it is the president himself meeting one-on-one, working the phones to get those votes, primarily targeting the Democrats right now.

They have learned, and this is no surprise, I guess, but they have learned that with a 50/50 Senate and an evenly-divided House, it is very difficult to get things done.

WOODRUFF: And John, when you talk about Social Security, when you talk about Medicare, patients' bill of rights; are these things that are now on the runway and ready for them to take off with and do something about in the second 100 days?

KING: Certainly, the patients' bill of rights is, Judy. This president would like to move on that issue. He believes that he can reach a bipartisan compromise, although there are difficulties both in the Democratic and the Republican Party in doing so. Still the big issue, the right to sue and how would you broker a compromise on that issue.

He would like very much, though, to get that done this year, we are told, and then next year -- he will announce the commission soon on Social Security, move next year, an election year for the Congress, on Medicare and Social Security reform. Mr. Bush says he's confident he can get people to address those issues in an election year. Many on Capitol Hill are quite skeptical.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King reporting from the White House. Well, to a large degree, the future of Mr. Bush's agenda rests in the hands of that evenly-divided U.S. Senate.

Our Jonathan Karl reports on how the 50/50 split is figuring into the political equation, particularly for the Democrats still smarting over losing the White House.


JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the first 100 days of the Bush era, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill had to quickly come to grips with life as an opposition party. At the start, they vowed to put the controversial election behind them and give the new president a chance.

SEN. PATRICK LEAHY (D), VERMONT: He is president. He has all the powers. He has all the obligations, all the duties of the presidency, and all the legitimacy of the presidency. I have no question about that.

KARL: If there was a honeymoon, it seemed to end almost immediately as Democrats cried foul over the choice of John Ashcroft as attorney general. Ashcroft was confirmed, but all but a handful of Democrats voted against him.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: It's a shot across the bow in terms of Supreme Court nominations.

KARL: Yet the smoke had barely cleared from the Ashcroft battle when the Bush charm offensive kicked into high gear. The president took the unprecedented step of visiting Democrats at their annual Democrats-only retreats.

SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D), MINNESOTA: I said, hello, and he said me Pablo. I like anybody who calls me Pablo.

KARL: But Democrats complained loudly when the first piece of legislation, a measure overturning Clinton administration regulations on workplace safety, narrowly passed the Senate largely on party lines.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: They're coming in here with a blunderbuss and saying, "We've got the votes. We're playing hardball."

KARL: When it came to taxes, miffed Democrats wondered why the president, instead of trying to work with them, was off campaigning for his tax cuts in the home states of key Democrats.

Democrat leader Tom Daschle responded to a Bush visit to his home state with a campaign ad.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: We should work together for real tax relief.


KARL: Republican leader Trent Lott, who has largely let the White House call the shots during the first 100 days, expresses sympathy for the out-of-power Democrats.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: It's very difficult when you're in the minority, and the other party also has the White House. It forces the leaders of the party in the minority in the two houses to get out there and be critical, be negative, and be attacking, which puts you in a negative position.

KARL: On biggest vote of the first 100 days, the president's budget outline, Republicans didn't get the tax cut they wanted, and neither did the Democrats. Instead, John Breaux, once known primarily as a maverick Democrat, emerged as the power broker. So did previously obscure moderate Republicans Jim Jeffords and Lincoln Chafee.


KARL: That first debate over taxes and budget showed that in a Senate evenly-divided between Republicans and Democrats, power can sometimes lie with neither party, but instead with a handful of moderates in both parties willing to cross party lines -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: Jon, as you know, the president invited every member of the Congress, all 535 of them, over to the White House today for a reception. How did that go?

KARL: Well, there were more than 340 no-shows, Judy, and in fact, less than 50 Democrats showed up. But there were also a large number of no-shows on the Republican side. Now, this, largely a matter of scheduling conflicts, as everybody who didn't go said.

Monday is a day when most members of Congress are either out of town back in their districts, or doing things unrelated to work here on Capitol hill. No votes today, hence, not many members around here today. That's why they weren't there. But some Democrats had said quietly, and even some Republicans -- complained that the president had not given them enough notice on this invitation. They only had about a week's notice on this -- complained about the Monday scheduling. To that, Dick Armey, who did go to the lunch today, had this to say:


REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: My first reaction was very simple. The president of the United States has invited me to lunch. Obviously, that's a big deal. You go to lunch with the president. It's nice of him to ask.

And for those who did not avail themselves of what I think is -- this extraordinary opportunity -- to then say somehow the president was inconsiderate in the matter, is -- just sort of boggles my imagination.


KARL: Now, Armey quickly added that he was not talking about Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, one of the no-shows today. Hastert was back in Illinois. He said he had previously-scheduled events down there that he simply could not cancel.

But some of those who didn't show up were not back in their home states, were actually in town. One person was over in neighboring Virginia, that was Don Nickels. He is the No. 2 ranking Republican in the Senate -- Nickels, not at the White House. Instead, playing golf at a Republican fund-raiser in Virginia.

Also in town was Senator Ted Kennedy. Kennedy, instead of going to the White House, had lunch with his niece, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is the lieutenant governor Maryland -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We'll find out whether they were taking names at the White House. Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Now, the view of the president's first 100 days in office from his own White House chief of staff. I spoke a little earlier with Andrew Card, and I began by asking him the same question I put to John King, what he and others in the administration, including the president, have learned during their early days in the White House.


ANDREW CARD, BUSH CHIEF OF STAFF: How important the change of civility in Washington, D.C. is. The dialogue that takes place between the Republicans and the Democrats frequently had not been constructive.

Today it's constructive. The president is a very good listener. He's encouraged Democrats to come in and make their case. He has encouraged Republicans to come in and make their case. And I think as a result, we're all talking to each other, and that means we'll probably get something done for America. WOODRUFF: Well, what the Democrats are saying, at least the Democratic leadership, is that the president may be talking to some Democrats, but he's not reaching out, negotiating, and being prepared to compromise in a way that is going to produce results.

CARD: Well, I think we are working hard to bring results to reality. We're working hard, literally, today on the education reform package that's so important, so that no child is left behind. And we've also been working with some of the Democratic leaders on a tax and spending bill. We know how important tax relief is to our economy and how important fiscal discipline is to our government.

So there's a lot of negotiating going on today. But the first 100 days, you know, the president proposed a very important budget to Congress. The House passed a version. The Senate passed a version. So we've just started the process of negotiating.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about -- you mentioned the budget, Andy Card. Let me ask you about the tax cut, because Dick Gephardt, the House minority leader, is saying this tax cut is so big that it is crowding out the country's ability to deal with other issues that he says are important -- Medicare, Social Security, and education.

CARD: Well, first of all, we're funding education to record levels. The president's top priority is education, and the budget that he presented is 11.5 percent growth over the budget that President Clinton provided. We're also making sure that we set aside money to pay for Social Security. And the president has also put forward a Medicare reform package, and starting with the helping hand that will lead us to meaningful changes there.

So this budget is very, very responsible. Dick Gephardt is professionally obligated to criticize the president. He's of a different party. He is the leader of the opposition. But most of the Democrats in Congress are working with us to try to get something done.

WOODRUFF: Let me separately quote from an editorial. The "New York Times" did an extensive editorial yesterday sizing up the president's first 100 days. Among other things, it said -- and I'm quoting -- "We find a deep-rooted, un-nuanced, almost truculent conservatism from a man once regarded, even by many Republicans, as a moderate."

How do you respond to that?

CARD: Well, President George W. Bush is a compassionate conservative in the truest senses of both words. He's committed to change. He is committed to meeting the responsibilities of being president. He is the president of all of the people, and he wants to make sure that we understand that with those responsibilities come tough choices.

But this president is committed to the environment. He is committed to education. He wants to see new technologies brought in so that we can meet our environmental obligations in a responsible way. But even more than that, he's the commander in chief, and he's leading the military with great pride.

WOODRUFF: Andy Card, you say, of course, that he is committed to the environment, but as you know, there has been a great stir over the president's moves to back off of a worldwide treaty with regard to global warming; with regard to his statements on the Alaskan Wildlife Preserve; with regard to arsenic in the water; with regard to job safety. Across a range of issues...

CARD: I have to interrupt you, Judy. What he has done is, he said he wants our environmental regulations and laws to be based on science and sound economics. The Kyoto Treaty that was being talked about around the world was never going to be ratified by the Senate in the United States. In fact, only one European country has ratified the treaty. So the president acknowledged that that treaty wasn't going to work the way it was written.

It was a flawed treaty to begin with, and the president says he wants to do something about global climate change. And in order to do something about global climate change, you have to take a look at science, understand economics, and then work with the world community. So he's pulled together the experts to come up with a meaningful solution that will actually work.

WOODRUFF: But are you concerned, and are others in the White House concerned that when you add up everything the president, the White House has done with regard to the environment in these early days of the administration, you're sending a signal that is not a signal that these -- that environmentalists and others who care about the environment, welcome. It makes them more worried than anything else.

CARD: Well, this president cares deeply about the environment. But he wants to be responsible at the same time. And you have to pay attention to science, and acknowledge that new technologies are there that can help us to accomplish some of our economic goals, and meet our environmental responsibilities.

And that's what he'll be doing. So he is not allowing emotion to drive the environmental debate. He wants the environmental debate to be driven by sound science and recognition of economics, and doing what's best for our country.

WOODRUFF: Let me, separately, Andy Card, and finally, ask you about something that the "Washington Post" columnist, David Broder, wrote a few days ago. In saying, there were many people who, perhaps, were tired of President Clinton being out there almost every day, commenting on whatever was going on.

But in -- what David Broder, at least, observed, he was saying that this president seems to be going to the other extreme. Not speaking to the American people enough -- being quiet during a time when there were flooding in the Midwest, when there were riots in Cincinnati that reminded us of racial divisions in our country and so forth. Is there a concern inside the White House that the president needs to speak up more?

CARD: No, actually, he's been very visible. He's had more press conferences and press availabilities than most presidents during this first 100-day period of any administration. He's also been responsible in allowing other people to take center stage. And that's a -- that's a nice thing to do.

He talked a lot with the attorney general. He had me talk with the mayor of Cincinnati, for example, during the strife that they were undergoing. And we pledged to do anything we could at the White House to help. I think the mayor was pleased with how the federal government responded, and the attorney general is certainly a partner in that process.

With regard to the troops coming home from China, it was the president who said: "Let those families have center stage. Let them celebrate the Easter-Passover period together, rather than have the president interrupt the reunion that they would be having." So I think this president is managing exactly the right way.

WOODRUFF: Well, all right. Well, Andy Card on the 101st day, or I should say the first day of the second hundred days of the Bush presidency...

CARD: That's right.

WOODRUFF: ... thank you very much for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.

CARD: Thank you, Judy.


WOODRUFF: And coming up, we'll talk with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman and hear his thoughts on the president's first 100 days.

Also ahead, Senator Lieberman is just one Democrat who might run for the White House himself. Our Candy Crowley will take an early look at other would-be candidates. Plus: President Bush and the news media -- how was he treated during the first 100 days?

And later...


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here I am with my fifth-grade science project.


Built it myself, and it's still meeting our energy needs.


WOODRUFF: The president tries to leave them laughing. Jeff Greenfield considers the political power of a sense of humor.



WOODRUFF: Joining us now to talk more about the first 100 days of the Bush presidency and other matters political, Senator Joe Lieberman.

Senator, how has he done?

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: I'd give the president an incomplete grade. It's only 100 days, but not much has been accomplished. I'd say what has been most surprising to me, perhaps not surprising to you, having heard this from others, is that the president, who campaigned as a centrist, really has governed very often from the right in these first 100 days.

Right from the beginning in that first week when he said that he would not support federal funding of stem cell research, which can help develop cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, that's not mainstream America. The same is true of all the environmental protection steps backward that we've taken: arsenic in water, drilling in the Arctic Refuge and national parks. And one that's not talked about much, but throwing the American Bar Association out of the judicial review process -- the ABA is not exactly a left-wing group, and I think the fact that the president did that also showed that he is tilting far to the right.

WOODRUFF: You know, when I raised that point about the president, according to some campaigning as a moderate a moment ago with Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, he said that's not the case. He said the president is and was and will always be a compassionate conservative. He said there's no secret about that. So...

LIEBERMAN: Well, look, this -- the president seems to me, on the occasions I've been with him, certainly to be a decent person. But if you look at some of the policies, the environmental protection rollbacks, the fact that so much of this budget that he's proposed goes to this enormous tax plan and doesn't leave much money for the things that most people would consider compassionate, like a real prescription drug plan for the elderly, like more money for child care, like more money for health care, like more money to invest in education.

So I think we have such great times now economically, we have a tax cut if it's a reasonable size. We can pay down the debt to keep interest rates low. We can also have some money to invest in real compassionate programs.

WOODRUFF: Well, senator, it's almost as if there are two diametrically different views coming from you and some of the other Democrats from what we're hearing out of the White House. Again, we just heard Mr. Card say that we, meaning the administration, funding education to record levels. He said, we're working on Medicare reform, we are -- we're focusing on children, leaving no child behind. How do you account for two such opposite views of what's happening?

LIEBERMAN: Two very different perspectives, two different parties, unfortunately. I just would share my concern that you can't spend over $2 trillion of the projected surplus of 2.7 trillion -- it's only projected -- you can't spend money on a tax cut that we're not sure is going to be there and still feel any confidence that you are going to have enough money left over to do the things that the American people want us to do, like invest in education and heath care and child care...

WOODRUFF: Well, he did say...

LIEBERMAN: ... and prescription drug plans.

WOODRUFF: Excuse me, senator. He did say again, we, meaning the administration, we're funding education to record levels.

LIEBERMAN: I don't see it. And it's actually right on the table right now. I am in the middle of negotiations with several other senators on the education bill that we hope to bring up in the Senate. We're making real progress on demanding results from our school systems, our states, our teachers. But it's not going to happen unless we put some money into it to help them do that.

And in the budget for next year -- just give you this one example, Judy -- $200 billion projected surplus. The president so far has put about 2 billion of that 1 percent on the table for education, and 69 billion, almost 35 percent, for that tax plan. And that's the wrong set of priorities. A little more education and some less in the tax cut.

WOODRUFF: Let me quickly point out on the environment, which is something you brought up, again, the administration saying, we want policies based on science, not on emotion. They talk about the Kyoto Treaty, which had to do with carbon dioxide levels as being a flawed treaty that nobody thought was going to work in the first place.

LIEBERMAN: Well, this is definitely one where the president has left the mainstream. I mean, I think in America -- Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives -- people want to protect the environment, protect our natural resources, and protect us, people, from the impact of environmental pollution. And you know, just pulling back that limit on arsenic, which we have a limit because it causes cancer -- that's a step backward and not right.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me ask you about another comment the White House and its friends are making, and that is that Democrats are out there carping and criticizing because they're having such a hard time getting used to the idea of being out of power. You're not in the majority in the House or the Senate, and you've lost the White House, and their comment is that Democrats don't know what else to do right now except criticize.

LIEBERMAN: Well, not true. I mean, I think the fact is that Democrats in the Senate where I'm privileged to serve are up to 50/50 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) have gained in the House. What we were hoping for was some of the bipartisanship that the president promised in his campaign. And you know, our leaders are hardly ever called in. The president's been very tough on environmental protection, on consumer protection, on energy, very ideological, not reaching out to try to protect consumers.

On education, there's one area where there's common ground. And I said from the beginning, that where there's common ground, I for one, and I think most Democrats, are not going to hesitate to occupy it just because President Bush is also there. That's why we're here, to get something done and work together.

But where there is not common ground and where the president and the administration have not reached out to us, such as on the tax plan, then we will stand our ground, because we think that is what is best for America.

WOODRUFF: Did you accept the president's invitation to the White House today?

LIEBERMAN: I did. I thought the invitation was a good faith invitation and I wanted to respond to it in good faith as the way of expressing my own hope that, beyond a social engagement such as this was today, that the president and the administration will reach out more to Democrats. Because I think that a lot of us are ready to work with him to make the country better. And I hope that is what will happen in the second 100 days and beyond.

WOODRUFF: All right, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, thank you very much.

LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it; good to see you again.

LIEBERMAN: You too, see you soon.

WOODRUFF: There is more political news ahead. But first, a check of the day's other top stories: including the latest on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques and the controversial U.S. bombing exercises.


WOODRUFF: We will have more of the day's political news coming up. But now a look at some other top stories.

The Navy is ready for more demonstrations on the Puerto Rican island, Vieques. After a break on Sunday, Navy warships are firing at the island's practice range again. Over the weekend, roughly 70 demonstrators were arrested and charged with trespassing. They included a U.S. congressman, Democrat Luis Gutierrez of Illinois.

The State Department officially released its annual terrorism report just a little more than an hour ago, but unlike last year, there's no extensive mention of alleged terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. A senior State Department official tells CNN the U.S. government made a mistake in focusing so much energy on bin Laden and "personalizing terrorism."

still, Secretary of State Colin Powell says efforts to fight global terrorism will remain consistent.


POWELL: The results are clear: state sponsors of terrorism are increasingly isolated; terrorist groups on under growing pressure. Terrorists are being brought to justice, we will not let up. But we must also be aware of the nature of the threat before us. Terrorism is a persistent disease.


WOODRUFF: The secretary of state did go on to say that South Asia, particularly Afghanistan, continues to be the focal point for terrorism that is directed against the United States.

Around the country today, a deadline has prompted a rush to federal immigration offices. Thousands of people who are in this country illegally have until midnight to take advantage of a temporary loophole in immigration law. The INS says of the estimated 7 to 10 million undocumented workers in the United States, about a million may qualify for temporary legal status. Today, thousands lined up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People would love to be able to work and get a job and take care of their families without being rushed off or civil wars.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have so many freedoms, freedom of religion. In someplaces just for religion alone, I mean, you are killed.


WOODRUFF: Applicants for temporary legal status need a sponsor, such as a close relative or an employer, they must pay a fine of $1000, and file their request by midnight.

The world's first tourist in space appears to be having the time of his life. Dennis Tito arrived at the International Space Station today aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, a trip he reportedly paid $20 million to take. The 60-year-old traveler seemed to have no trouble adjusting to life in orbit.


DENNIS TITO, SPACE TOURIST: Great trip here and I don't know about this adaptation that they talk about; I'm already adapted. So, I love space.


WOODRUFF: NASA raised concerns about a paid visitor in orbit. Russian officials say Tito will spend most of his time aboard observing.

Up next: testing the waters for 2004. The early line on potential Democratic challengers to George W. Bush.


WOODRUFF: In a city where it seems like the next election is never very far away, the list of Democrats who harbor presidential ambitions is a long one. Some of the names are familiar, others are not. And some have already made trips to Iowa and New Hampshire. For an inside view, we asked CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley to take a look at who is making plans for a White House run.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is head of the Democratic Leadership Council. It's a nice, high-profile position, where a national scene newcomer can meet, greet and otherwise schmooze the party's movers and shakers. By the way, Bill Clinton used to head the DLC.

QUESTION: Are you running for president?

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: No, I am trying to be the very best United States senator I can be.

CROWLEY: You wouldn't believe how many Democrats aren't running for president; speaking of which:

LIEBERMAN: As the result of being given the honor and opportunity to running for vice president, I also have a chance to be a spokesperson for my party nationally, and I am trying to do that, talking about what I think will improve America's future. So right now, I am focused on today and tomorrow, and 2004 is a long way away.

CROWLEY: Granted, but politically obsessed Washington can't help itself. Lists of 2004 possibilities have been out there long enough for the governor of energy-deprived California to be on and then off.

GOV. GRAY DAVIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I only have one focus, keep the lights on, do it in a fair and appropriate manner and run for re- election. I'm not focused on anything else.

CROWLEY: Also outside the Beltway, Governor Tom Vilsack of Iowa and Georgia's Roy Barnes, both also, we are told, consumed with affairs of state.

(on camera): There are plenty of reasons not to be running for president right now. First, it's obscenely early. Second, the minute you are in, everything you say and do goes is looked at through a political prism. Third, people tend to like politicians better when they're not running for anything. And fourth, you can peak too early.

(voice-over): So the key now is to work quietly below the surface, gather up consultants, make the contacts, reach out to state party pros. Publicly, stay visible without being obvious.

Six Democrats thought to harbor presidential ambitions made the list of 16 who have appeared most often on the Sunday news shows this year. The Capitol Hill newspaper "Roll Call" found that Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has gotten the most face time.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I am doing exactly what I have done my entire career in the United States Senate, which is trying to speak out on the values and on the issues that I think are really critical to us as a country.

CROWLEY: So too it is with North Carolina's John Edwards, who in March, chose to speak out in Iowa; and Delaware's Joe Biden who wound up in a St. Patrick's Day parade in, of all places, New Hampshire.

LIEBERMAN: Somebody once said to me if you're a senator, inherently you're thinking about running for president. And sometimes it's true, it seems to be true. I think this is all speculation. A lot of it is natural, because there's not Democratic incumbent.

CROWLEY: Or is there? The Democratic Party seems split on the question. Those who think Al Gore really won last time and is clearly the frontrunner for 2004, and those who think a guy who can't win with a booming economy and a popular president at his back shouldn't lead the party again. He has not weighed in on anything.

AL GORE (D), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: I'm following a policy of not jumping into the middle of ongoing political debates right now, and I'm going to continue to follow that rule.

CROWLEY: In many respects, the vice president is the lead domino in 2004. If he decides to run, some others down the line will be pushed out. Those closest to Gore don't expect to see, much less hear much from him until this fall. For now, he is on the list.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And one piece of unfinished business from the last presidential election: the Supreme Court today turned down an appeal by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. Last year, Nader sued the Federal Election Commission in an attempt to bar corporations from underwriting the presidential and vice-presidential debates.

Nader argued that it was wrong for corporations with regulatory and legislative interests to help pay for the debates. Nader was not allowed to join the debates, and he claimed that the debate system hurt his chances in the general election.

Straight ahead on INSIDE POLITICS: what about the news media's performance in the first 100 days? Did George W. Bush get a fair shake from the reporters who covered him? A new study of the nation's news outlets has some interesting results.


WOODRUFF: Historically, news media coverage of a president's first 100 days focuses on the president's early successes and failures. But what about the media's performance? A survey of stories by multiple news outlets uncovered some intriguing and surprising results.

Joining me now to discuss those findings is Tom Rosenstiel. He is the director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, and the co-author of "The Elements of Journalism: What People Should Know and the Public Should Expect." Tom Rosenstiel, what did you find in your survey that surprised you?

TOM ROSENSTIEL, MEDIA ANALYST: Well, the first thing is, we like a lot of people, thought that George Bush had had a very good coming out party with the press. He had made a good first impression, and certainly better than Bill Clinton's fractious first 100 days.

The results showed us that his coverage was actually slightly less positive than Clinton's had been. The reason was that Bush had made a very good first impression in his first month, when the press was largely focusing on what kind of leader was he, was he up to the job in the most basic way. And that, he may have benefited, in fact, from low expectations.

But in his second month, as the press began to focus on his legislative agenda and his policy agenda, he began to get hammered a little bit, and this was particularly true on the opinion pages, the editorials and the op-ed pages of newspapers.

His agenda is more controversial, and I think to some extent, it was not something that was vetted quite so much with the kind of thinktanks in Washington that write op-eds for the newspapers.

WOODRUFF: So, do you make -- you do make a distinction here between what we call straight news coverage on the news pages of a newspaper and a television newscast, and what you are calling editorial, the opinion of columnists, right? I mean, you are making a distinction, and what I see in your survey is that that editorial opinion, the opinion of the columnists and commentators, was much harsher than you expected?

ROSENSTIEL: Yes, it was. Particularly at a time when a lot of people think that the opinion pages of newspapers have become somewhat more conservative and have more conservative writers on them...

WOODRUFF: Well, how do you...

ROSENSTIEL: ... although the coverage...


ROSENSTIEL: Well, I think it's because he has a legislative agenda that is controversial, and that is having a hard time in Congress, and that on -- is a little bit dissident with the impression that -- at least, we were left with during the campaign, that he was kind of moderate conservative or a new kind of conservative.

We are seeing op-eds now, even from sort of moderate writers saying that he maybe be more conservative than Ronald Reagan on some fundamental issues.

WOODRUFF: Tom, what about the amount of coverage? I thought it was interesting what you found there.

ROSENSTIEL: This was across-the-board. Bush has received 41 percent less coverage than Bill Clinton did in the same period of time in the beginning of his administration. And I don't think this can be explained simply on the basis that Bush is somehow hiding out in the White House. He -- one report is that he actually traveled more than most new presidents, or that his agenda is bland or boring. Quite the contrary.

I think this is a reflection in part of the softening of the focus of so much of the media culture now, the move away from hard news, seems to have come to the White House to some extent. And that has interesting implications I think for Bush's administration.

WOODRUFF: What are those implications?

ROSENSTIEL: One is that a politician's ability to survive is often dependent on having a deep impression -- or leaving a deep impression with the American public. And the less that's written on your blackboard, the more new negative thing can sway public opinion.

I think we have to assume, based on the lack of coverage, that the impressions of Bush are shallower and potentially more transitory.

The other thing is that the debate we are having over Bush's agenda is frankly smaller in number. It's less likely that Americans will be familiar with what's in his program and what the implications are. That may make the harder for him to sell it. At the moment, because the polls suggest it's still a divided country over whether it supports his agenda.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Tom, back on your point about the editorial coverage being harsher; do we interpret that to mean the writers themselves more liberal, more moderate or not?

ROSENSTIEL: I think so. I think that it suggests two things that the papers we studied, the "New York Times" and "Washington Post", have more liberal than conservative editorial voices on them.

It also interestingly suggests that that differences that journalists insists between the editorial packages and the news packages and that opinion is kept off and that the editorial views of the newspaper don't slant the news, may actually be true.

WOODRUFF: Well, we certain hope it is true. Tom Rosenstiel, thank you very much and good to see you; we appreciate it.

ROSENSTIEL: My pleasure, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Up next on INSIDE POLITICS, an all important presidential attribute. Jeff Greenfield on the chief executive and his required sense of humor.



BUSH: My family with all those kids in the tub, it's not arsenic in the water I'd be worried about.



WOODRUFF: I wonder what he meant by that?

That was President Bush poking fun at his family and the recent flap over arsenic rules during the White House correspondents dinner Saturday in Washington. The dinner is just one of many events where the sitting president is expected to speak and to be funny. For more on this tradition, we turn to our Jeff Greenfield in New York -- Jeff.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: Hi, Judy. Yes, it was another Saturday night in a Washington hotel ballroom, another crowd of thousands in tuxedos and gowns, watching another in what has become a compulsory presidential ritual, demonstrating a public sense of humor.


BUSH: Tonight I present a Bush family album.

GREENFIELD (voice-over): It was the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner, and President Bush and his team put together a photo album designed for this president's favorite humor topic: self- deprecation. Here, the president displays a report card from childhood days filled with A's.

BUSH: So, my advice is, don't peak too early.


GREENFIELD: Just last month, at another Washington correspondents' dinner, the president took a look of his struggles with the English language and simply repeated them.

BUSH: Most people would say, in speaking about the economy, we ought to make the pie bigger. I however am on record saying, we ought to make the pie higher.


GREENFIELD: This is all part of a venerable tradition of presidents who like to take themselves down a peg. When John Kennedy was asked how he became a war hero, he answered, "it was involuntary; they sank my boat."

And President Reagan often used his age to great comic effect. In 1992, he commented on claims that Bill Clinton was similar to Thomas Jefferson.

RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew Thomas Jefferson. He was a friend of mine.


And Governor, you are no Thomas Jefferson.


GREENFIELD: Speaking of President Clinton, he probably triggered more jokes than all other presidents put together, usually aimed his humor at others, but last year, he did parody the idea that he had nothing much to do in his last year with this home movie. Here, he's delivering a paper bag lunch for Hillary.

By contrast, it's hard to think "funny" when you think of Lyndon Johnson, or Jerry Ford, or Jimmy Carter, or George Bush the elder. Coincidentally or not, none of them were reelected. Nor was Richard Nixon ever thought of as a laugh-riot, but as a candidate in 1968, he did try to leaven his stuffed-shirt image with this appearance on "Laugh-In."


GREENFIELD: Humor can sometimes be dangerous. During the Civil War, Lincoln's political opponents attacked him for his habit of telling funny stories, saying it was inappropriate in such serious times. But properly handled, it can be the most potent of weapons, as when FDR blew his opponents out of the water in 1944 by coming to the defense of a beloved "family member."

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT, 32ND PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These Republican leaders are not in contempt with the past on me or my wife or on my sons. No, not content with that. They now include my little dog, Fala.


GREENFIELD: So far, George W. Bush has used humor to defang the notion that he may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. But there may be a limit to this here. As one attendee Saturday night said, "if he keeps telling us he's not that bright, sooner or later we might start to believe him." Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, he was funny Saturday night, that's for sure. Jeff Greenfield. Thanks very much.

There is much more ahead in the next 30 minutes of INSIDE POLITICS, including reviews from the Hill on the president's pledge of bipartisanship. Has the chief executive reached across the aisle and successfully changed the tone in Washington?

That and much more as INSIDE POLITICS continues.


WOODRUFF: After 100 days and a bevy of public opinion polls, how are all of the numbers adding up for President Bush?

We'll get an update on the emerging bush energy policy, and one of the powers behind it, Vice President Dick Cheney.

And later, the upcoming trial of a former fugitive evokes memories from a turbulent time in America's past.

ANNOUNCER: This is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff from CNN Center in Atlanta.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. President Bush attempted today to end his first 100 days in office in much the same was as he began tenure, but touting bipartisanship. Mr. Bush invited all 535 members of Congress to lunch at the White House. Although well under half showed up, in many cases because of scheduling conflicts, Mr. Bush didn't let that dampen his pitch for political unity.


BUSH: I know we always don't agree, but we are beginning to get a spirit here in Washington where we're more agreeable, where we're setting a different tone, so when the good folks of this country look at our nation's Capitol they see something they can be proud of.


WOODRUFF: Despite some disputes with lawmakers, most of them Democrats, the president seems to believe that he is living up to his promise top create a different atmosphere in Washington, but not everyone agrees.

Our John King has more on the tone of the first 100 days.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I George Walker Bush do solemnly swear.

KING: From the beginning, he promised to bring a different tone to Washington.

BUSH: We must live up to the calling we share. Civility is not a tactic or a sentiment. It is the determined choice of trust over cynicism, of community over chaos.

KING: One hundred days later, the White House view is mission accomplished. ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: President Bush has created this new environment, this new atmosphere in Washington, which makes it harder for people to engage in such naked partisanship, harder for them to take the gloves off.

KING: But Democrats say it is mostly a mirage, all this talk of bipartisanship just that.

DUBERSTEIN: If you define bipartisanship as surrendering, then they have a point. But nobody's saying that the president, George W. Bush, should sacrifice his principles. There are places to hold firm. There are also places to compromise.

KING: Early on, Mr. Bush called the Congressional Black Caucus in for a meeting. But its leaders say he has done little to follow up. Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle had a one-on-one lunch, as did the House Democratic leader, Dick Gephardt. But the White House relied on Republicans to advance the president's tax cut plan.

GEPHARDT: He has a lot of meetings, but it is all show and no go. It is, it seems, at least up until now, to be for the cosmetics of changing the tone but not really changing the result.

KING: But the tone is different. President Clinton rarely consulted with Congressional Republicans and frequently took after them.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their way is the wrong way for America.

KING: Mr. Bush takes a kinder, gentler approach.

HART: Certainly in setting the right tone, the president's done an excellent job. The American public was looking to turn the page and he has delivered on that.

LINDA DUVALL, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: The most interesting thing to me is that for eight years it seemed that conservative meant that you had to be intolerant and rude, and now George Bush is conservative and people are surprised that you can be optimistic, happy, a pleasant person to be with and still be a conservative.

KING: But a more civil tone goes only so far in healing the wounds of a bitterly-contested election.

HART: We are still very split as an electorate, that is, Republicans like George Bush very well. Democrats and independents are much more divided and negative. He really hasn't been able to reach across the aisle and corral many Democrats.

KING: Broadening the president's political base is a challenge for the second hundred days and beyond.


KING: And White House officials readily acknowledge in the long run, the president will be judged more for what he gets done than by the tone he takes in conducting business here in Washington. But in the early days of this administration, they believe if the American people find the president to be likable and believe he's conducting himself in a civil tone, they will be more open to embracing his policy agenda -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House. Thanks, John. During his early days in office, Mr. Bush has publicly expressed a disinterest in the public opinion polls. The same cannot be said of our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider; right, Bill?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Judy, it's 100 days into the Bush presidency, and you know what that means: a deluge of polls; eight just in the last week, including our own CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup Poll. So, what have we found out? Let's take a poll of polls.

How is the new president doing after 100 days? Pretty well. Bush's job ratings average 59 percent. And remember, he got elected with just 48 percent of the vote last November. It's going up. The president's strongest qualities, according to the polls: Leadership. Americans see President Bush as a strong and decisive leader. And the vision thing: Not a problem for this President Bush. People thinks he stands for something, whether or not they agree with it.

His weakest qualities: What I call the Clintonian virtues, like empathy. Bush gets relatively low marks as somebody who cares about the needs of ordinary people and intellect, low marks also as someone who understands complex issues.

Now, most people say Bush is about as conservative as they expected him to be. Only about a third seems surprised that Bush really is a conservative. Hello. But one criticism does resonate. Several polls show widespread sediment, over 60 percent, that big business has too much influence in the Bush administration. That is a dangerous perception. If the economy goes sour, people are likely to see President Bush as a rich guy who's out of touch with ordinary Americans. Sound familiar?

WOODRUFF: So Bill, how do ordinary Americans see this president?

SCHNEIDER: Well on the issues, President Bush gets his strongest ratings on defense and international affairs. Is that his father's reputation? Possibly, but it's also his own calm and firm resolution of the China standoff, which receives very strong acclaim from the American public. Bush's poorest subject; that's the environment.

He made the same mistake Congressional Republicans made under Newt Gingrich. He underestimated the public's deep commitment to environmental protection. People are profoundly uncomfortable with politicians who sound like they want more arsenic in the drinking water.

Now, President Bush has enjoyed two notable policy successes: one domestic, the other international. His biggest domestic achievement, getting a big tax cut through Congress. Not as big as he wanted, true, but a lot bigger than the Democrats wanted and his biggest international achievement, clearly, China.

Now, do the polls show any lingering resentment of the U.S. apology to China? Nope. By two-to-one, the public says the U.S. rather than China was the, quote, "winner," unquote, in that showdown. Now, Bush has had two failures: one domestic, the other international, and they're related. He's been forced to backtrack on the environment in order to showcase his sensitivity to the public's concerns. And there's his repudiation of the Kyoto Global Warming Agreement. That had huge repercussions overseas.

You know, "The Washington Post" poll found a striking gulf between the public's philosophy of government and that of the president. By two-to-one, the public says providing needed government services is more important than holding down the size of government. But by two-to-one, Americans believe holding down the size of government is more important to President Bush. Now, that's a warning to the White House as they start to deal with spending cuts in the new budget.

Now, finally, is there any lingering residue from last year's disputed election result? A solid majority of American's consider Bush the legitimate president, but a stubborn minority, about a quarter of Americans. simply refuses to accept him, and they show no sign of going away -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider. Thanks very much.

In the next few weeks, the president's energy task force is expected to offer its recommendations to Mr. Bush. Today, the head of that task force, Vice President Dick Cheney, said there are no short- term solutions to America's energy problems. He said the country will have to, in his words, rely on more oil, coal and perhaps nuclear power than on energy conservation.


RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Conservation is an important part of the total effort, but to speak exclusive of conservation is to duck the tough issues. Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis by itself for sound, comprehensive energy policy.


WOODRUFF: Mr. Cheney spoke at the annual Associated Press luncheon in Toronto, Canada. The vice president also spoke recently about energy policy with "TIME" magazine's Washington correspondent Michael Weisskopf.

Michael, thank you for joining us.

MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, "TIME": Good to be here, Judy.

WOODRUFF: The vice president and his energy task force he's been working with -- tell us, first of all, who's on that task force. WEISSKOPF: It includes several Cabinet members, including those with energy backgrounds. The energy secretary, of course, Spencer Abraham, who is very popular, when he was a senator, very popular with the energy industry. Vice President Cheney, and the commerce secretary, Don Evans, are both oil men. And finally, you have Paul O'Neill, the secretary of treasury, who once ran ALCOA, which was a huge electricity guzzler. We call this -- this group "The Fossil Fuel Club."

WOODRUFF: So the composition of the task force affecting the outcome of their recommendations?

WEISSKOPF: There -- of course, there are others on the task force, but these are probably the most influential. There are those who represent the environment in the form of the EPA administrator and the interior secretary. But the dominant voices are said to come from those gentlemen.

WOODRUFF: And Michael, in your reporting and what we're learning is that there is one particular energy source that's turning out to be the big winner in what this task force is recommending.

WEISSKOPF: A little surprisingly to some and not to others, the coal industry is really headed for revival. It had been orphaned by the Clinton administration as a kind of dirty legacy of the Industrial Revolution, blamed for everything from acid rain to increased incidents of asthma. This administration sees great virtue in coal.

First, it's very plentiful. We are sort of the Saudi Arabia of coal. It's also cheaper to transport than oil and gas. And there are political benefits to reap as well.

Coal underlies America's heartland, battleground states in the middle -- in the Midwest and also the Southeast: states, which the Bush-Cheney team, either squeaked by or lost.

WOODRUFF: So, Michael, how is what they're seeing and what they're recommending with regard to energy different from what we saw out of the Clinton administration?

WEISSKOPF: It's a much more concentrated approach. The Clinton administration really put its eggs in one basket, natural gas. This is an administration that is looking for a much greater diversity of supply. It's really -- really winners and winners.

Everyone -- all -- all the energy, all the arms of the energy sector will rise, including the nuclear industry, which will probably be in in-line for some incentives.

WOODRUFF: Michael, the White House, Vice President Cheney already being criticized by some for having this task force on energy meet in secret.


WOODRUFF: Is this going to be a problem for them? WEISSKOPF: Well, it is at this point anyway. As long as their work is done behind closed doors, it reminds everyone of Hillary Clinton's infamous health care reform task force. This is quite different, however.

First of all, it is, as I said earlier, one in which everyone will come out a winner. Mrs. Clinton was trying to decide who would be -- who would benefit and who wouldn't in a revamped health care system.

WOODRUFF: And just quickly, what is the timetable, when does this come out?

WEISSKOPF: We're expecting it to go to the printer sometime this week with a rollout in mid-May. The president is scheduling, planning two or three days on the road to sell it, much like he did his tax program.

WOODRUFF: All right. Michael Weisskopf from "TIME" magazine, thanks very much. Good to see you.

WEISSKOPF: My pleasure.

WOODRUFF: When we return, INSIDE POLITICS travels to 1970s California. A flashback to a time of political radicalism and a woman police say took her activism too far.


WOODRUFF: A Los Angeles judge today rejected a request to delay the trial for attempted murder, the trial of Sara Jane Olson. The case dates back from 1975, when Olson was known as Kathleen Soliah and she was accused of planting bombs under Los Angeles Police cars.

CNN's Charles Feldman reports that Olson and her alleged crimes bring back memories of a far different time in American political history.


CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was 1975 and America was tired. The Vietnam War and the campus protests it ignited for various causes had come to an end.


PROTESTERS: Equal pay for equal work. (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...


FELDMAN: Americans needed a catharsis, a way to purge themselves of the tensions that had built. They turned to the movies. They turned to "Jaws." It was safer to face a nightmare fictional fish than the very real North Vietnamese.

Disco was liberating the dance floors. The Bee Gees ruled. While celluloid sharks were munching and teenagers were discoing, federal prosecutors say Kathleen Soliah was plotting: plotting, they say, to kill cops by planting bombs.

DET. TOM KING, LOS ANGELES POLICE: There was a restaurant in Hollywood where two policemen attempted to drive away to answer a radio call and a citizen found a large bomb underneath the police car.

FELDMAN: Soliah, they say, was part of the Symbionese Liberation Army, a self-described band of revolutionaries whose genesis was the prison rights movement, but whose avowed purpose was to foster social revolution.

TOM FINDLEY, FORMER "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE" REPORTER: They thought of themselves in terms of being able to succeed in an urban revolution in the United States.

FELDMAN: They fell far short of fermenting revolution, not even close, but they did capture headlines by capturing Patty Hearst, the real-life granddaughter of the legendary publisher William Randolph Hearst, who was lambasted by Orson Welles as "Citizen Kane."


ORSON WELLES, ACTOR: I made no campaign promises.


FELDMAN: The kidnapped Hearst, transformed into "Tania," a female Che Guevera equipped with a gun and a criminal record. Once, she helped rob a bank owned by her best friend's dad.


PATTY HEARST: I have been given the choice of, one, being released in a safe area, or two, joining the forces of the Symbionese Liberation Army and fighting for my freedom and the freedom of all oppressed people. I have chosen to stay and fight.


FELDMAN: While Hearst later claimed brainwashing as a defense -- she says she was locked in this closet for 57 days, raped and threatened with death -- that didn't stop her from serving time. The other SLA members faced a far worse fate.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are better armed. They have more ammunition than the police do.


FELDMAN: They perished in a shootout in L.A. with law enforcement agents. If there was an SLA left, that is when Kathleen Soliah reportedly joined it. This videotape purports to show her at a pro-SLA rally.

KATHLEEN SOLIAH, SLA PARTY MEMBER: SLA soldiers, although I know it's not necessary to say, keep fighting. I am with you. We are with you.

FELDMAN: The plot to bomb police cars allegedly soon followed. No police officer was hurt.

KING: She's wanted for attempted murder of police officers and conspiracy to bomb two Los Angeles police cars.

FELDMAN: But Kathleen Soliah was now a fugitive, and then she was no more. Soliah vanished and, unknown to authorities, Sara Jane Olson was born.

She lived in Minnesota. She married a doctor. She made new friends. She was a new person. Then it all fell apart. A TV show ran an old photo of Kathleen Soliah and Sara Jane Olson's alleged criminal past finally caught up with her. She was arrested.

SARA JANE OLSON, DEFENDANT: I was not in Los Angeles. I did not plant those bombs under those cars.

FELDMAN: And she will now stand trial in a Los Angeles courtroom, where for the next few months, it will be 1975 all over again.


WOODRUFF: And now, Charles Feldman joins me from Los Angeles. Charles, what does today's decision by this judge mean to the case, and when do we think this trial is actually going to begin?

FELDMAN: Judy, it means a substantial delay. They are going to go -- her defense lawyers will go to an appeals court on Monday. A decision is expected in the middle part of the next week. If the trial goes ahead and the appeals court denies the delay, then jury selection should begin in about three or four weeks' time. The case is expected to take as long as six months.

Now this delay, by the way, although requested by her lawyers, seems to be a problem for Sara Jane Olson.


OLSON: I am very anxious to go ahead with this. It's been almost two years, as the district attorney pointed out, since I was arrested. And I need to get ahead with this trial, so I can get on with my life.


FELDMAN: And Judy, we'll will know, as I said, by about next Wednesday whether or not she is going to have a chance to get on with her life, sooner or later.

WOODRUFF: All right. Charles Feldman reporting from Los Angeles.

When we return, a bipartisan White House visit, as Republican staff members play host to television's popular Democrats.


WOODRUFF: There is more INSIDE POLITICS coming up, but first, let's go to Willow Bay for a preview of what's ahead at the bottom of the hour on "MONEYLINE." Hi, Willow.

WILLOW BAY, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, Judy. Coming up next on "MONEYLINE," the Nasdaq composite comes roaring back to live in April. It's up 15 percent as investors bet the market has bottomed. Plus, "MONEYLINE" brings you a report card on President Bush's first 100 days. Tonight, we'll focus on taxes, and we'll talk live with Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill. Those stories and more, next on "MONEYLINE."


WOODRUFF: The staffers of a fictional Democratic administration met their real-life Republican counterparts this weekend. The cast members of the television drama "The West Wing" were invited to tour the White House, while in town filming for the show. The actors, who play Democrats, were treated to a tour by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. President Bush did not meet the staff himself. Martin Sheen, who plays President Bartlett, and has been critical of Mr. Bush, also did not attend.

And we'll leave it at that. That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's allpolitics.come. AOL keyword: "CNN."

And this programming note: with the first 100 days under his belt, what's next for President Bush? That's the topic on "CROSSFIRE" tonight, starting at 7:30 Eastern.

And later, Denise Rich, back on stage and telling Larry King her version of the controversial presidential pardon of her former husband, Marc Rich.


LARRY KING, HOST: Has this changed you? I mean, your bubbling effect, your songwriting and all of this, what changes has this -- had it? When you get this kind of illumination, changes have to occur?

DENISE RICH, DEMOCRATIC DONOR: Yes, great changes. Well, first of all, I mean, all the accusations that I had an affair with the president, which I never did have, that I...

KING: You knew that would come though?

RICH: Never!


RICH: That I slept over in the White House? I have -- they said I slept more than -- a 100 times more than Abraham Lincoln. I don't even know what the Lincoln bedroom looks like, and I have never slept in the White House, not even once.


WOODRUFF: You can see all of Denise Rich's interview on "LARRY KING LIVE," that's tonight starting at 9:00 Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "MONEYLINE" is next.