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D.C. Police Want Congressman to Take Lie Detector Test
Aired July 10, 2001 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff. Police want something more from Congressman Gary Condit, as the parents of missing intern Chandra Levy keep questioning his credibility.
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DR. ROBERT LEVY, CHANDRA LEVY'S FATHER: The longer it goes without answers, the worse it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: President Bush enjoys some New York moments, but they are overshadowed by a flap involving the Salvation Army and gays. Plus...
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WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hello, I'm Dr. Schneider. Stay tuned and I will analyze your political dreams. Very interesting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Now Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. Well, as you heard live on CNN just moments ago, Washington police investigating the disappearance of Chandra Levy want to take their questioning of Congressman Gary Condit to a new level. They want him apparently to take a lie detector test.
For more on this unfolding story, let's check in with CNN's national correspondent Bob Franken.
Bob, bring us up to date.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you recall last night, Judy, during the evening hours, the congressman's attorney, Abbe Lowell, held a news conference where he offered to allow police to search the apartment, offered to discuss with police the possibility of a polygraph test and a DNA test.
Well, police have said they want to take him up on that offer. So just a few minutes ago, the police chief of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, Charles Ramsey, came out and made his announcement.
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CHIEF CHARLES RAMSEY, D.C. METROPOLITAN POLICE: We have spoken with Congressman Condit's attorney about the offers that were made yesterday relative to collection of DNA samples, search of the apartment, and taking a polygraph examination. And we want to take him up on that offer. So we are working with Mr. Condit's attorney in order to arrange dates, times, locations and so forth in order to make that a reality.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: Of course, we've already sought comment from Congressman Condit's attorney. Anybody from the Condit camp thusfar have not been successful. You're looking at a live picture of the congressman's apartment building in the section of Washington known as Adams Morgan. The apartment search, of course, would be coming 10 weeks after the disappearance of Chandra Levy. The police made it clear that this was a matter they had discussed before, but now are taking advantage of the fact that they don't have to go through the legal wrangling because the congressman's attorney has volunteered this.
Meanwhile, the Levy family does not believe that this was -- the apartment search is going to yield much result because it comes so far into this investigation.
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DR. LEVY: That's what they want to do now, but you know, it's -- 10 weeks ago would have been a good time, I think like I told the police that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRANKEN: And most interesting is the comment by the police chief Charles Ramsey that the polygraph is needed, Judy, for clarity and verification, suggesting that they want to make sure that in the interviews, Congressman Condit has been truthful with them.
WOODRUFF: So Bob, new suggestions today from the police that Congressman Condit has not been as forthcoming as they indicated earlier.
FRANKEN: Well, the police have said all along that he was cooperative. The police have said all along that he is not a suspect. They continue to say that. But the lawyer for Congressman Condit has taken that and saying that the -- that Congressman Condit answered all the police questions. The police chief pointed out that, in fact, that only occurred after three interviews.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken, thanks very much. Questions about Gary Condit proved to be something of a distraction on Capitol Hill today, as lawmakers returned to work after a holiday break. As our Jonathan Karl explains, one of those questions was: Where is Congressman Condit?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the Blue Dog Democrats, a conservative group co-founded by Gary Condit, held a press conference on energy policy -- an issue of paramount importance to his California district -- Condit was a no show.
REP. MAX SANDLIN (D), TEXAS: The notices were mailed out. We don't know about the schedules of everyone, but most of our members are here.
KARL: These are Condit's political soul mates, but they brushed off the chance to defend his handling of the Chandra Levy case.
REP. ALLEN BOYD (D), FLORIDA: I want to just stop this line of questioning now. I mean, we didn't -- these members didn't come here to talk about that.
KARL: Condit's publicist says he has not significantly altered his schedule and is going about his job as a congressman as usual despite the controversy. But Condit's latest no-show is a sign it is anything but business as usual as he spends much of his time avoiding the crush of TV cameras.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a fellow California Democrat, told CNN she personally told Condit a few weeks ago that, quote: "I thought he should go very public with it, that I thought he should step forward and say whatever it was they had between them." Feinstein adds she is disappointed Condit has not taken her advice.
In the weeks before the July 4th recess, several Democrats, including Democratic House leader Dick Gephardt, came to Condit's defense.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Obviously, he is concerned about finding this young woman. He is as worried as everybody is that this search succeed. And he wants it to succeed and he's doing everything he can to help the investigation.
KARL: But since then, the Levy family has come forward accusing Condit of impeding the investigation. Several Democrats who had come to his defense have gone underground on the issue, refusing to make any comment at all about Condit. House Democratic sources tell CNN that in the days before Congress went on its July 4th recess, Condit had one-on-one conversations with at least 15 House members, telling them he did not have an intimate relationship with Chandra Levy, contradicting what police sources say Condit has now told investigators.
(END VIDEOTAPE) KARL: Back in Condit's district, Republican Bill Conrad, a Republican member of the city council for the city of Modesto, has said today that he is beginning to raise money for a run against Condit. And it's not exactly a surprise. Conrad has run against Condit in the past back in 1996, bot less than a third of the vote, and is not considered a top-tier Condit by either national leaders here in Washington or Republican leaders there in California. And as a matter of fact, Tom Davis, who is in charge of the Republican campaign effort for the House this year, said that Condit's district would become a major battleground but only if Condit vacated his seat. And he added that he does not see any sign that Condit is vacating his seat. As a matter of fact, Davis told reporters on a conference call, quote, "He is not as weak as you all think he is." Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl at the Capitol.
Well, now to President Bush and his distraction of the day. The spotlight was supposed to be on Mr. Bush's trip to New York, but some of the focus shifted to a report of a secret political deal. Our Major Garrett has more on the story and the White House response.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Top of my game.
MAJOR GARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president was upbeat, but senior aides scrambled to deny they cut a backroom political deal to advance Mr. Bush's faith-based initiative. At issue, a "Washington Post" story asserting the Salvation Army agreed to lobby for the initiative but only if the White House pushed for new federal rules to protect the army's right to discriminate against homosexuals. The White House denied a quid pro quo, but confirmed it was reviewing federal rules covering hiring practices of the Salvation Army and other religious groups. It's one of many legal issues embedded in Mr. Bush's drive to send federal tax dollars to faith- based groups that provide social services.
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The administration is going to review this matter on its own merits in keeping with the president's message that he believes that groups of religion should have the right to hire in accordance with their faith as protected under the civil rights act.
GARRETT: Federal law allows religious groups to discriminate in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. Mr. Bush's faith-based initiative, now pending in the House, would not only preserve that federal right but also block an increasing number of state and local laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. A proposed regulation sent to the White House by the Salvation Army would go even further, giving the army and other religious groups the power to discriminate against homosexuals and nonmarried heterosexual couples. Vice President Cheney said the goal was to protect religious groups from having to act against their principles.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Not intended to discriminate against anybody. GARRETT: "The Post" quoted a Salvation Army spokeswoman saying the White House would accept the army's proposed regulation. But on Tuesday, a public relations specialist hired by the army denied any deal.
DAVID FUSCUS, SALVATION ARMY SPOKESMAN: There was an overstatement there about the White House's intention. The White House never said that they WARE: going to go to this.
GARRETT: Despite these denials, top Senate Democrats said the revelations dealt another blow to the president's plan.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: Clearly, it raises a lot of questions and I think may actually imperil the president's efforts to get something passed.
GARRETT: Judy, there's been yet another development in this story. I just got off the phone with Dan Bartlett, a senior counselor to the president, and he just informed me that there is no longer a review at the Office of Management and Budget about any regulation dealing with the hiring practices of religious organizations. In this piece, Ari Fleischer had said that the administration was actively reviewing federal regulations. That process has come to a complete halt -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Very interesting. And I know you'll be doing some more reporting on that aspect. Major, let me also ask you, we understand that the president is going to be going to the Hill tomorrow. What's that all about?
GARRETT: Well, you know, it's always troublesome to use baseball metaphors with this president. He loves baseball too much. It's almost become a cliche. But I think one really fits now.
You know, when a baseball team isn't doing so well, they retire to the clubhouse, have a team meeting. Well, I got off the phone a while ago with the press secretary to the speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. His name is John Feehery. And he said the team needs to get together, because it needs to play together now more than ever. There are key issues for this White House and the House Republicans to address this month of July.
First and foremost on the president's agenda, rallying House Republicans to support, a patients' bill of rights that would have far more limited rights to sue in state and federal court than the one that passed the Senate. The White House considers House passage of that bill absolutely vital to its strategy of finding a patients' bill of rights that it can sign, which is very high on the president's agenda. Also, he wants to tell House Republicans, who are not satisfied with education reform bill, that it's the best they can do right now. He wants them to get onboard. He would like those two bills passed this month. And if he gets those two bills passed, he will tell House Republicans, "You'll be in better pinnacle of shape and so will I." Judy. WOODRUFF: All right, Major Garrett reporting from the White House.
We'll have more on the president's day when INSIDE POLITICS continues, including details on Mr. Bush's trip to New York, his first one since taking office.
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BUSH: Strong faith and great influence.
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WOODRUFF: The president honors the late cardinal John O'Connor and maintains his political contacts with two key voting blocks. Also...
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REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Opportunity for a group of members of Congress to make a difference. And I believe that we are up to the challenge.
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WOODRUFF: The day of reckoning approaches for campaign finance reform as the two major House bills compete for the undecided.
WOODRUFF: One more note now with regard to the case of the missing intern, Chandra Levy. Now this is in response to a statement just moments ago by Washington, D.C. police chief Charles Ramsey in effect saying that the police are now working with Congressman Gary Condit on his offer to have his apartment searched and offering to take a polygraph, a lie detector test. This comment coming from Condit public relation spokeswoman Marina Ein. She says, quote, "Mr. Lowell," referring to Abbe Lowell, who is Condit's attorney, "would not have made the offer that he made last night if it were not serious. The police have decided to take him up on it and details will be worked out," end quote. Again, that's a comment from Marina Ein, a spokeswoman for Congressman Gary Condit.
President George Bush, W. Bush, today returned to New York, a state that he lost to Al Gore last November by almost 25 percent of the vote. CNN's White House correspondent Kelly Wallace reports the visit included stops filled with symbolic appeal designed to reach far beyond New York borders.
KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president in the pulpit of St. Patrick's Cathedral paying tribute to the late cardinal O'Connor and courting a key political constituency.
BUSH: And the world will remember the gallant defender of children and their vulnerability, innocence and their right to be born.
WALLACE: Mr. Bush clearly enjoyed the sustain standing ovation. Ever since he angered Catholics with an appearance during the presidential campaign at South Carolina's Bob Jones University, a school whose leaders have espoused anti-Catholic views. The president has been aggressively courting the Catholic vote, inviting Catholic bishops and cardinals to the White House and receiving an honorary degree at the University of Notre Dame.
Last year, Mr. Bush and Al Gore essentially split the Catholic vote, but the president faired better with Catholics than the two previous Republican nominees, former senator Bob Dole and his father, the former Republicans. And top Bush advisers believe Catholics could make the difference in 2004 in states like Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Mr. Bush lost to Al Gore by a narrow margin.
ANN WAGNER, RNC CO-CHAIRWOMAN: The president's message resonates with Catholic voters. It's a message that's pro-family, it's pro- life, that's pro-religious culture, especially from the aspect of the president's own religious faith.
WALLACE: The president's desire to appeal to Catholics could complicate a decision he faces: whether to allow federal funding of research on stem cells from human embryos, a move many conservative Catholics oppose, comparing it to abortion. Political observers say the abortion issue motivates traditional Catholics, but that overall, Catholics do not vote as a block.
JAMES THURBER, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: They don't go to the Catholic Church where the priest tells them how to vote and then they vote that way.
WALLACE: Catholics are not the only group getting special attention. Mr. Bush's first stop in New York, Ellis Island, to honor newly sworn U.S. citizens, part of his effort to court Hispanics, the fastest growing ethnic group in the country.
WALLACE: Republicans believe this outreach is critical to boosting the president's standing, especially with religious Catholics and with Hispanics, many of whom are Catholic themselves. Democrats, though, are reaching out as well making these two groups some of the most targeted voters for 2002 and the next presidential election -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Kelly, one of the passengers on Air Force One on this trip to New York was none other than New York senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, former first lady. Kelly, any sense of the conversation between the president and the former first lady?
WALLACE: Well, it appears Senator Clinton telling reporters that they mostly talked about New York. The senator saying she was showing off New York to the president. They did talk about one local issue -- Governor's Island, which is here in New York. The senator wanting the federal government to turn over control of that island to the state and New York City, but some in the administration and in the Congress thinking it should be privately sold. Still, though, Judy, both these two people who have obviously dramatically different political philosophies didn't seem to engage in any serious debate. They both agreed it was good to be in New York. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, which is where our Kelly Wallace is. Kelly Wallace from New York, thanks.
WOODRUFF: Well, back here in Washington, the House prepares to take up campaign finance reform.
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MEEHAN: Soft money is never good money. Soft money is the reason i said earlier...
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WOODRUFF: Will soft money soon be history? Some political allies are on opposite sides. The story when INSIDE POLITICS continues.
WOODRUFF: Round two of the debate over campaign finance reform moves to the House of Representatives this week. The proposed soft money ban has emerged as the main sticking point, and some lawmakers who once favored a the ban now have second thoughts, as the prospect of major changes in political fund raising laws moves closer to reality. Here's CNN's Patty Davis.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With the House vote on campaign finance reform still too close to call, Republican Senator John McCain and other proponents rallied the troops.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: And we will succeed in taking the government of this nation out of the hands of the special interests and giving it back to the people of this country.
DAVIS: On the other side, House Republican leader Dick Armey calling the vote "a junk ball." The battle over competing versions of campaign finance reform is shaping up to be a knock-down drag-out fight in the House. One version, by Republican Christopher Shays and Democrat Martin Meehan, backed by McCain, bans unregulated soft money contributions to the national political parties. The other, by Republican Bob Ney and Democrat Albert Wynn, caps those contributions at $75,000.
REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Our opponents know that the stakes are high, and they're doing everything they can to break our bipartisan, bicameral coalition.
DAVIS: With both sides claiming at least 190 solid votes in their favor, the focus has turned to undecided black and Hispanic Democrats and Republican moderates.
REP. BOB NEY (R), OHIO: It's going to be a very close vote, and I think that every member that you can talk to is going to be crucial, so the undecideds are important.
DAVIS: Three members of the congressional black caucus, Harold Ford, John Conyers and John Lewis sent out this letter Tuesday to shore up support for the Shays-Meehan bill. Their message: "We do not believe that a soft money ban will cripple minority voter registration and get-out-the-vote effort," trying to stem defections from those worried Shays-Meehan's ban on soft money would hurt efforts to register black voters.
DAVIS: Now, Judy, talk this afternoon to entice members of the congressional black caucus, clarifying language in the Shays-Meehan bill, perhaps that making it very clear to members of the congressional black caucus that there will still be money for their get-out-the-vote efforts, their voter registration effort.
That meeting taking place between Shays, Meehan, also Congressman Gephardt of the House Democratic leadership, and Senate sponsors of the bill, McCain and Feingold, this one of many changes or at least clarifications that Shays and Meehan are considering to entice as many members as they possibly can to vote for their bill -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Patty Davis, reporting from the Capitol.
And coming up next: two members of the congressional black caucus on different sides of the soft money debate.
WOODRUFF: As Patty Davis reported, some members of the congressional black caucus are divided on the proposed soft money ban. Joining us now from Capitol Hill, Congressman Albert Wynn of Maryland who cosponsoring the leading alternative to the Shays-Meehan bill. We are also joined by Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, he supports the Shays-Meehan legislation and the ban on soft money.
Congressman Wynn, to you first. You have split off now from the vast majority of your Democratic colleagues in order to oppose a ban on soft money. Why?
REP. ALBERT WYNN (D), MARYLAND: Well, I think we need a more balanced approach. It's true, we need to reduce the immense amounts of soft money. But at the same time, we also need to maintain some revenues for get-out-the-vote, voter education, voter mobilization. I think Florida showed us we need more money for voter education and also showed when you invest money in voter mobilization, you can increase the minority vote. I think that's significant for us Democrats.
WOODRUFF: Well, Congressman Lewis, you must be just as concerned as Congressman Wynn is about that. How come you have a different view of what to do with regard to reform?
REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: Well, Judy, I truly believe that we must be on the side of reform. No one but no one in this Congress has spent as much time being involved in voter registration, get-out- the-vote, citizen education as I have during the past 40 years.
There's not one thing that will prevent people from doing voter registration or get-out-the-vote. Under the tax reform of 1969 that led to the voter education project that I headed for several years, people can still use tax-exempt dollars for nonpartisan voter registration, citizenship education and get-out-the-vote.
Soft money has corrupted and polluted our political process. This is the right thing to do.
WOODRUFF: Are you saying there is enough money elsewhere to do what Congressman Wynn believes should be done?
LEWIS: I think there is enough money elsewhere, money that doesn't necessarily have to go to political parties, but to organizations, to indigenous organizations and civil groups all across America.
WOODRUFF: Well, Congressman Wynn, what about that?
WYNN: Well, I think you can have other organizations doing these activities. They've done it. But the fact of the matter is, we need to do a lot more, and it seems that's the core responsibility of the Democratic Party.
You have to keep in mind we've been out of the majority for the last two terms. Rather than spend less, we need to spend more to get out the vote. It's fine for other organizations to do it, but you need the targeting and the priorities that a national party can establish if you're serious about getting our your base vote.
LEWIS: Judy, what I would say to my friend Albert Wynn, who is a good friend of mine, we must not do what is just good for the Democratic Party or what is just good for the Republican Party. We must do what is good for the political process, what is good for America. We must restore that sense of confidence and that sense of faith in our political process.
WOODRUFF: Congressman Wynn, you are supporting a alternative that would allow, as we understand it, in each election cycle for a married couple to give up to $900,000 to the political parties through its various committees. Is this truly reform, in your view?
WYNN: Well, I don't like your math. Let me put it this way. Right now, campaign contributions of soft money are totally unrestricted and unregulated. We regulate it, we say $75,000 per contributor, we also say only to be used for voter registration and voter education.
Now, let me get back to John's comment about whether this is good for America... WOODRUFF: So, you are disputing the 900,000 per cycle? If you add up all the different committees and the husband and the wife?
WYNN: I would suggest that that's a highly hypothetical analysis. The fact of the matter is, we need more participation, political participation in America. That's what's good for America. We need to have the political parties as well as other groups involved in voter registration and voter education.
LEWIS: Well, we don't encourage greater participation if we allow high-rollers to give 900,000 or 500,000 or 100,000. What about the low people? What about opening up the process and let all of the people come in?
WOODRUFF: What about that, Congressman Wynn?
WYNN: Well, if you check the records, you'll find that the leading contributors are, in fact, the labor unions -- among the top 10, probably six are labor unions, so the fact of the matter is, that the, quote, "little guy" is represented in this process.
But ultimately, it comes down to a question of, do you want to maximize voter participation and shouldn't you earmark some money, set it aside just for this purpose? We can eliminate the large amounts of soft money and still maintain the integrity of our political system.
WOODRUFF: Is that right? Is that right, Congressman Lewis, that you can do that with this reform?
LEWIS: I don't see it. I think the piece of legislation that Mr. Ney and Mr. Wynn have set forth is a distortion. It's a big loophole there, and all types of trucks and buses and trains and planes can fly and sail and walk and drive through really.
WOODRUFF: So let me finally ask the two of you, how do you think the Black Caucus will come down when its members vote tomorrow? Will it vote for one reform proposal over another?
LEWIS: Well, I hear John resorting to high exaggeration to defend his position. I would just say there's a difference of opinion within the Congressional Black Caucus. We respect that difference of opinion. I think you'll see that reflected in the final vote.
LEWIS: I think a great majority of the Black Caucus members will be on the side of reform.
WOODRUFF: And the final outcome altogether, what do you think in the House?
LEWIS: It's going to be a very close vote, but I think in the end we will prevail.
WOODRUFF: Congressman Wynn? WYNN: Well, I think it will be a close vote. I think people will step back and say: Can't we accomplish this through compromise, can't we create a more balanced approach? I think they will support the Ney-Wynn approach.
WOODRUFF: All right. Well, we will see on Thursday. The Senate -- or rather the House will be voting on this measure that has passed the Senate.
Congressman Albert Wynn of Maryland, Congressman John Lewis of Georgia, thank you both, gentlemen. Good to see you.
LEWIS: Good to see you. Thank you.
WYNN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.
After the November presidential dispute, what are the states doing about election reform? We'll find out next on INSIDE POLITICS. And later, scary movies give many of us nightmares, but are members of one political party more likely to be spooked by their dreams? We will have a very unscientific report.
WOODRUFF: Coming up a little later on CNN, on "FIRST EVENING NEWS" at 6 o'clock Eastern, our Bob Franken will be interviewing the assistant Washington, D.C. police chief, Terrance Gainer, for the very latest on the Chandra Levy disappearance investigation. Also, we want to let you know that we're expecting at any moment a news conference with Billy Martin, who is the attorney for the family of Chandra Levy. And we will carry that live when it gets under way.
On back now to INSIDE POLITICS, just days after the December 12th Supreme Court decision ended the Florida recount, the National Conference of State Legislatures created a task force to study reforming state election laws. Now the task force is meeting here in Washington this week, and the two legislative chairs of the group join us now to discuss their work: Republican Marty Stevens -- he is speaker of the Utah Statehouse -- and Democrat Dan Blue, former speaker and now member of the North Carolina Statehouse.
Gentlemen, thank you very much for being with us. We appreciate it.
Dan Blue, to you first. It has now been eight months since everyone voted or most people voted in this country for president. What has the -- we know that Florida has acted on election reform. What about the other 49 states in this country? Has the reality sunk in that election reform is needed or not?
DAN BLUE (D), NORTH CAROLINA STATEHOUSE: It has. And there's been a comprehensive approach by state legislatures to look comprehensively at their legislative -- their election laws. There have been over 1,500 bills introduced in the last six or eight months dealing with election law reform, over 250 of them have passed.
Each state looked at their own election laws, and some needed more comprehensive changes than others. At least five states, I think, have enacted comprehensive election law reform: Florida, of course...
WOODRUFF: Five. Including Florida?
BLUE: I think five, yes. Florida, Maryland, Georgia, and there may have been a couple of others. In our legislature, there are still several bills pending. But all states aren't in need of the kind of comprehensive reform that occurred in Florida, and we've been in this task force looking at different approaches that different states have taken and approaches that they can take to ensure that every vote is counted and that every vote counts.
WOODRUFF: Marty Stevens from the state of Utah, how many -- is it possible to quantify how many states need to do something with regard to election reform?
MARTY STEVENS (R), UTAH HOUSE SPEAKER: One of the things that we found is this, of course, happened in November and December. Most of our legislative sessions start the second or third week of January, right after the first of the year. So it's been a very short timeframe to get something done.
There are about 28 states that have actually put together commissions or task forces to go into depth in their own state laws to see what changes need to be made. So you're not going to see a lot of changes in the first six or eight months while those task forces are working, but you're going to see most of those happen later in the year and the first part of next year.
WOODRUFF: And is that satisfactory as far as you're concerned?
STEVENS: Well, I don't know what else you do, because there's no use rushing into something and solving problems that don't exist. So you've got to go into detail into what your state laws say and what problems are created by those laws, and then fix those.
WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about, because here in Washington we've looked at what Congress -- we are told there are hundreds of bills that have been proposed. There are two that are getting a lot of attention. One in particular by Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Dodd would impose mandates on all states to meet a minimum federal standard established by an outside panel after a study period.
Dan Blue, is this the kind of remedy that you think would be appropriate?
BLUE: No. I think that's just the opposite direction that we need to go in. States have been conducting elections, states are the major administrative units that conduct elections, and we've been doing it for over 200 years, pretty successfully I might add. To mandate what states ought to do with elections without taking into account the experiences that states have, the different approaches that they can take to addressing specific issues I think is to fly in the face of reality. So as an organization, the National Conference of State Legislatures is not supportive of those kinds of mandates.
WOODRUFF: But Mr. Stevens, what about the view that, well, these are federal elections? You're electing a president, a vice president: Why shouldn't the federal government want -- expect some uniformity in the states?
STEVENS: It's difficult to say that there is just federal elections, because at the same time we hold federal elections we're holding our state elections, our county elections, our city elections, all of the other elections that are involved. You don't have a separate election for each one of those. Sometimes you have off-year elections, but they're all together and so we all have to work together in finding those problems.
There are some things that the federal government can do. There are problems with the motor voter lack -- we can't get people who have moved out of the state for two federal cycles afterwards even off the voter rolls. It allows people to fraudulently come and vote in more than one state. There are a number of things that they can do, and we're supportive of those things.
WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you, Representative Blue, about another bill proposed by Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senator Charles Schumer -- a more voluntary approach. They would provide grants to states that meet national standards. Now is this the more acceptable approach?
BLUE: It's more acceptable if you have grants without all the strings attached. Understand, Judy, that...
WOODRUFF: But these grants would be only if stakes took certain steps?
BLUE: Well, that's sort of a carrot-and-stick approach, that if you really want the carrot, you've got to take the stick that goes with it.
I'm suggesting that state legislatures can work closely with the Congress in trying to form a remedy for the problems that we saw coming out of the Florida election. A grants program without strings attached is the best way to do it based on the experiences that the states have had. Again, as I say, 50 states, 95-plus percent of the elections do not involve federal officials. They are state elections, municipal elections, for various referenda.
And states have the experience in this area. States themselves are setting standards that they want achieved. And our task force, there will be certain standards and goals that we hope each state will aspire to it. But Congress, if they are going to make money available, ought to make these grants available in a block grant form, so that states collectively can decide the best way to achieve the goals that Congress sets forth.
WOODRUFF: Are you confident that that is what the Congress is going to do?
STEVENS: One of the difficulties we have with McConnell bill is the funding source, they say they are going to give us the grants if the states will do these certain things. But you look, it's what's called contention funding, where the money is there but they have to take it from another source. And the other source they are going to take it from is other state programs.
There's no additional money they're putting into this, so it's kind of a Ponzi scheme: we will take it away from you from Health and Human Services, and give it to you for elections. These are the kind of things you have to fight behind the scenes, and we will help work with them.
WOODRUFF: This is something we clearly want to come back to. Let me thank both of you, Utah State House Speaker Marty Stevens and State Representative Dan Blue, the representative of North Carolina.
We appreciate it.
STEVENS: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Now, with a look ahead at what's coming up later on "MONEYLINE," here's Lou Dobbs.
Lou, first of all, what sparked today's losses on Wall Street?
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Basically, weakness in biotech grabbing the market today, Judy, and stocks slumping across the board as a result. The Dow losing 123 points just over 1 percent on the day, and the Nasdaq tonight is below 2000, losing 63 points just about 3 percent on the day. So it was a tough day starting with Genentech, which lost an FDA approval on an asthma drug, so it was a very tough day for investors on Wall Street, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All the more reason to catch up with "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE," at 6:30 Eastern on CNN. See you later, Lou.
DOBBS: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Political nightmares are not uncommon here in Washington. Are Democrats and Republicans sleeping peacefully, or waking up screaming? We'll hear from our dream analyst Bill Schneider next on INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Probably anybody close to Sigmund Freud can tell you dreams provide a window to the mind for psychoanalysts. But, what about for political analysts? Our Bill Schneider promises he won't put us to sleep, but he may give us a few laughs -- Bill.
SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, this just in: Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to have nightmares, this according to a paper to be presented tomorrow to the 18th Annual International Conference of the Association For the Study of Dreams taking place at the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Now, we can't vouch for the science here, but that finding got us to thinking. What kind of nightmares do Republicans have? Who is their worst hobgoblin? The answer is obvious. He's lurking in the shadows right now, like the political un-dead, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting Republicans. It's the Clinton monster.
The worst nightmare for Republicans? That somehow the Twenty- Second Amendment to the Constitution is repealed and Bill Clinton gets elected president again. He's back! And to make this nightmare complete, Democrats take control of Congress.
Imagine Senate Majority Leader Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. Speaker of the House Barney Frank of Massachusetts. Pretty scary, huh, boys and girls? Hey, wait a minute. That's not a nightmare. Some of it actually happened. Back in Clinton's first two years when the Democrats held both the White House and Congress.
Republicans woke up from their nightmare in 1994 and discovered their dream had come true. They controlled Congress for the first time in 40 years. That's the good thing about nightmares. The world looks so much better when you wake up.
Democrats, the researcher will report, what would a Democratic dream look like? Mario Cuomo dashed the Democrat's dreams in making him president. But they can still dream of Cuomo making him chief justice of the Supreme Court. Any doubt that, after consulting St. Augustine, he would have allowed the Florida recount to continue.
But who would Democrats pick as their dream candidate for president? How about this scenario, Secretary of State Colin Powell gets fed up with being constantly undercut by the Bush White House, he resigns and he declares himself a Democrat. That would instantly make him a Democratic hero and their dream candidate for president.
To balance the ticket, Hillary Clinton for vice president. For Democrats, that would be utopia. Now, if you're an independent who feels left out, or a Republican who never has nightmares, we urge you to take your complaints to the researcher, Kelly Bulkeley, at the Web site www.asdreams.org. Sweet dreams.
WOODRUFF: You are something else, Bill Schneider!
SCHNEIDER: You will get my bill.
WOODRUFF: All right, I am told that at this moment the attorney for Billy Martin, the attorney for the Chandra Levy family is about to talk with reporters in Washington. Let's listen.
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