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Inside Politics

President Bush Calls on China to Return Crew of Spy Plane; Campaign Finance Reform Passes Senate

Aired April 2, 2001 - 5:00 p.m. ET


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


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I sent a very clear message and I expect them to heed the message.


ANNOUNCER: President Bush is troubled by China's response after the emergency landing of a U.S. surveillance plane. Are we headed for a Cold War-style standoff?

After much debate, the Senate plans to vote on campaign finance reform within this hour. We'll bring you the vote, and tell you what happens next. And also...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida has become the pivotal state in presidential politics.


ANNOUNCER: Florida, it's not just for orange juice any more. Democrats and Republicans are trying to squeeze out votes.

Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

At this hour, the Bush administration still embroiled in its biggest international challenge yet: A tense standoff with the Chinese government over the fate of 24 crew members of an American spy plane detained on an island off the China coast.

China is refusing to grant diplomatic access to the crew nearly two days after the plane made an emergency landing after colliding with a Chinese fighter jet. The standoff is likely to test President Bush's often-repeated campaign pledge that he would take a tougher line with China than did his predecessor, Bill Clinton.

Here now, CNN's senior White House correspondent John King.


JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president abandoned the low-key approach and made clear to Beijing his patience is running short.

BUSH: Our priorities are the prompt and safe return of the crew, and the return of the aircraft without further damaging or tampering. The first step should be immediate access by our embassy personnel to our crew members. I am troubled by the lack of a timely Chinese response to our request for this access.

KING: Mr. Bush summoned his national security team to the White House, and three U.S. Navy destroyers were ordered to waters about 150 miles east of Hainan Island, where the an EP-3 surveillance plane like this one made an emergency landing early Sunday.

U.S. officials protested China's decision to board the plane. Unclear was whether the crew had destroyed or disabled the sensitive U.S. military technology on board.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: It certainly has the capability and their crew members have the expertise to be able to destroy a lot of that, if they have time to do it. But until we get the facts, we just don't know.

KING: U.S. diplomats were on hand to interview the crew members, but were told they had to wait until Tuesday. That angered the White House.

BUSH: Failure of the Chinese government to react promptly to our request is inconsistent with standard diplomatic practice, and with the expressed desire of both our countries for better relations.

KING: China's vice premier visited the White House just last month, and Mr. Bush accepted an invitation to visit Beijing in the fall. But the smiles couldn't mask the tension. Beijing is upset at the recent defection of a Chinese army officer. Washington is protesting China's detention of visiting American scholars. And Mr. Bush must decide this month whether to sell sophisticated U.S. military technology to Taiwan.

BATES GILL, BROOKINGS INSTITUTE: We already knew there was going to be no breakthrough in the relationship this year, and an incident like this under any circumstances is a problem. But, now under the current conditions, it really will exacerbate the situation and the relationship worse.


KING: The standoff is, of course, the first major international challenge for Mr. Bush, and at that national security meeting this morning, top administration officials debated whether the president should personally intervene and pick up the phone and call top Chinese leaders. But they decided against that approach, at least for now -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, why does the administration believe the Chinese are delaying permitting access to the crew and the plane?

KING: They believe there is internal tensions within the Chinese government, that the Chinese military would view this as a victory of sorts to have a U.S. military plane held captive, at least for now, and a U.S. crew in custody of Chinese officials right now, that the military would view that as a success to perhaps inflame nationalist tensions in China.

While at the same time, U.S. officials believe that China, top officials, at least, would realize that from a diplomatic standpoint, they want this over as quickly as possible. The next key step, in the view of U.S. officials, is getting those U.S. diplomats in to meet with the Navy crew and getting some U.S. military personnel to take a peek at that plane to see whether it has been damaged.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, at the White House. Thanks very much.

Joining with now with more insight on the situation with the spy plane and its crew in China are Samuel Berger, who was former President Clinton's national security adviser, and Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. We're going to hear from Senator Hutchison in just a moment. But we begin with Samuel Berger.

Mr. Berger, how serious is the situation?

SAMUEL BERGER, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, we have to be, obviously, concerned about the well-being of our crew, and the right thing for China to do at this point is to give our diplomats access to the crew, and release them, and release the plane. I think as time goes on and this is not resolved, obviously, it becomes more of a problem.

WOODRUFF: When -- we heard -- we just heard our correspondent John King say that the delay may well be due, the administration believes, to disagreement within the Chinese government between, on the one hand, diplomatic officials and on the other hand military officials. Would you make the same -- do you have the same reading what's going on over there?

BERGER: Well, Of course, it's speculation, but I suspect that may be part of what has made this go on longer than necessary. But I think it's important for the Chinese leaders now to take control of the situation, if they haven't before, and to see that proper diplomatic practice is carried out.

WOODRUFF: What do you mean for the leaders to take control of the situation?

BERGER: Well, if there is any disagreement within various parts of the Chinese government, it's time for the Chinese leadership to resolve this, and grant access to our diplomats and release our crew members as soon as possible. WOODRUFF: Well, when they say they are going to make the crew and the plane or the crew available Tuesday night their time, is that soon enough in your view?

BERGER: Well, I think as soon as possible. I would prefer it had have been done earlier than this, but I think the longer this goes on, the more trouble it causes in terms of the atmosphere of relations between the United States and China.

WOODRUFF: Is there any doubt in your mind that the plane was flying over international waters, international airspace?

BERGER: Well, you know, the United States government, the administration has said that it was flying over international airspace. I have no reason to question that. I believe the Chinese may dispute where the line is, but even -- in any case, this is a plane that was engaged. It was involved in a collision.

It's appropriate under international practice for that plane to seek emergency landing at the nearest location, and it's appropriate for the Chinese to give our diplomats access to the crew and then release them and release the plane.

WOODRUFF: The administration is saying that there have been several instances in recent months of Chinese planes flying dangerously close to U.S. reconnaissance flights. Did this happen during the Clinton administration as well?

BERGER: Well, it's not unusual for Chinese planes to intercept American planes which they may believe have some monitoring or surveillance function. This happens from time to time, so that's not unique. Whether this has happened more aggressively or with more frequency in recent weeks. I don't know.

WOODRUFF: Do U.S. spy planes routinely fly over Chinese territory?

BERGER: Well, first of all, I'm not going to -- I don't want to characterize this particular plane. I don't know what this plane may have -- what its function was. But we do conduct, of course, surveillance over international airspace. This is not a surprise to the Chinese. This is a common occurrence.

WOODRUFF: And finally, Samuel Berger, if the Chinese have indeed, as they apparently have, boarded the plane and gotten a good look at it, is there some -- what should the United States do about that?

BERGER: Well, I think the first thing we should focus on, as the president has said, is getting our crew back and getting the plane back, and then we can evaluate what happened and why it happened and decide what is appropriate going forward. But it's not a time for polemics. It's a time for clarity, and the president was very clear today, and it's a time for intense activity on the ground. We've got some very good people in China to work this problem and see if it can be resolved as quickly as possible. WOODRUFF: Samuel Berger, former national security adviser to President Clinton, we thank you very much for joining us.

BERGER: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: And now, as promised, we are joined by Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas. Senator, I know you've been talking with, not only your colleagues on the Hill, but also to your colleagues in the Bush White House. What are they saying about all this?

SEN. KAY BAILEY HUTCHISON (R), TEXAS: Well, of course, I think that President Bush is saying exactly the right things publicly. But clearly, this is a concern to us. You know, we're trying to establish relationships with China. We're trying to open trade, and I think the world and this White House are going to be looking at how they handle this situation, and hoping that they will do what they have agreed to do under treaties that would allow our people to able to leave.

WOODRUFF: I think you may have heard John King reporting that at the White House there is speculation that the delay may be due to a disagreement inside the Chinese government between on the one hand, diplomatic, and on the other hand, military officials. Are you hearing that as well?

HUTCHISON: Well, you don't know for sure what is going on within the Chinese government. But the Chinese do have a responsibility under international law to be -- keep the crew safe, not to enter the airplane, and we have not had contact with the crew since they have gotten on the ground, and I think it's very important that that happen very quickly.

WOODRUFF: But they've evidently already been on the airplane, have they not?

HUTCHISON: The Chinese, you mean?


HUTCHISON: Well, that's not clear. But you would have to -- well, it's not clear.

WOODRUFF: What is the proper protocol at this point? The Chinese are saying, you know, you'll have access to your people Tuesday evening. Presuming that happens, is this incident just -- we move on? What happens then?

HUTCHISON: Well, it depends on if they have gone into the airplane, and if they have violated the norms of international diplomacy by in any way tampering with anything on the airplane or tampering with our people. It is very important that the Chinese realize that everyone is looking at this incident, and we were in international waters. This was a routine mission, and there was no reason for the provocation.

So, I think it is important that they handle this in a professional way. We have an agreement with China that if there is a detainee that is an American citizen, that we would have access to that person within four days. And so it's very important they live up to that agreement and that they don't do anything that would violate the international law.

WOODRUFF: What does this do to U.S.-Chinese relations, senator?

HUTCHISON: I lost contact.

WOODRUFF: Senator, are you able to hear me now?

HUTCHISON: I can't hear.

WOODRUFF: Senator Hutchison? Senator Hutchison? Can you hear me? Senator Hutchison? All right. We're going to -- our apologies. Evidently, something has happened there with the audio line between where I am and where Senator Hutchison is at the Capitol. And evidently, we don't have that restored. And our apologies both to the senator and to you. We'll try to get that fixed.

It may require some delicate negotiations to resolve the U.S.- China dispute.

CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton has taken a look at some previous international impasses.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've been here before. In May 1960, Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced that a U.S. spy plane had been shot down while on a spy flight over the Soviet Union.

"No, No," said the United States, "a weather plane, perhaps, blown off course." But then Khrushchev said, "Oh, no, we have the pilot, Francis Gary Powers. He's alive and well, and he says he works for the CIA."

Oops. The U.S. then admitted it was a U-2 plane on an intelligence-gathering flight. Khrushchev demanded a U.S. apology. President Dwight Eisenhower declined. Khrushchev canceled a summit meeting. Powers, almost two years later, was traded for a Soviet spy the U.S. had captured.

In January 1968, North Korea captured a U.S. Navy intelligence ship, the Pueblo, and its crew of 83. The North Koreans claimed the ship was in their territorial waters. The U.S. said it was in international waters. Some in Congress called for the use of force. The U.S. launched a military buildup in the area.

As the months went by, various crewmen signed various confessions. Finally, in December, 11 months later, North Korea released 82 crew members. One had died. The U.S. apologized, admitted the ship had been in North Korean waters, and then disavowed the admission and the apology. In November 1979, Iranian students loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, whose revolution had toppled then pro-American shah, seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and captured 65 Americans on the embassy staff. Later, they freed 13, but kept 52.

In April, President Jimmy Carter approved a helicopter rescue attempt, but it failed when one helicopter developed engine trouble. Eight Americans died when two helicopters collided. The hostages stayed hostages until negotiations finally freed them January 20, 1981, President Ronald Reagan's Inauguration Day. They'd been captives for 444 days.

(on camera): What does all this prove? Negotiations often work, but not quickly. Force is chancier. It failed in Iran, and maybe, what it proves most of all is that America's reach is not infinite, its power is not absolute. There are times when even presidents have to wait and see.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Later today, CNN will take a closer look at the current tension between the U.S. and China. "SPY PLANE STANDOFF: A WOLF BLITZER SPECIAL REPORT," airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Much more ahead on this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. Still to come, senators prepare to cast their vote on the issue that has become a personal crusade for John McCain. The latest campaign finance reform just ahead.

Plus, why Florida could play a pivotal role, once again, for President George W. Bush. Ron Brownstein of "The Los Angeles Times" takes a closer look at how the state is shaping up for 2004.

Also, a Hollywood diva gives Capitol Hill Democrats an earful. We'll look at the postelection analysis by Barbra Streisand.


WOODRUFF: After two weeks of debate, the Senate is getting ready to vote this afternoon on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.

CNN'S congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl is standing by on Capitol Hill -- Jonathan.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, we are finally in final debate on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill here in the Senate. Right now, on the Senate floor, I believe we see -- there is Russ Feingold, of course, John McCain's Democratic co-partner on this effort.

The debate will be in about 10 minutes, and after 15 minutes of -- I mean, the actual final vote will be in about 10 minutes. After that vote -- everybody assumes the campaign finance bill will pass and will pass by a fairly commanding margin.

Once that happens, we will hear, once again, from McCain and Feingold. They will come out and celebrate victory here in the Senate, but acknowledge that it is not over. This still has to be passed in the House of Representatives and still must be signed by the president into law.

Meanwhile, not all is campaign finance reform up here today. As a matter of fact, Vice President Cheney as we speak is in the Capitol building, on the Senate side of the Capitol, having a meeting with Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

Just a short while ago, he also had a meeting with Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. No coincidence why he'd be meeting with those two -- those are the two Republicans that are considered undecided on the president's budget, including his $1.6 trillion tax cut.

Cheney, as the Senate is about to embark upon a week of debate on the budget, a vote at the end of the week, is trying to convince those moderate Republicans that they need to support the president on his most important vote in the Senate.


KARL (voice-over): The fate of the president's budget is largely in the hands of three independent-minded Senators. To get it passed, he'll likely need the support of at least one of them. They are: Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Republicans Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

Senator Nelson met privately with top White House lobbyist Nicholas Kelly (ph) on Monday afternoon. But Nelson remains uncommitted. As for Senator Chafee, Republicans consider him something of a lost cause, almost certain to vote against the president's budget. That puts most of the pressure squarely on Senator Jeffords.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: I think it's important that all Republicans give the president a chance. This is the first budget resolution out the gate with this new administration. This just sets the parameters, this is not the final product. This allows us to go forward.

KARL: Senator Lott made that pitch directly to Jeffords at a private meeting Monday. According to sources familiar with the meeting, Jeffords said he would vote for the president's budget if the tax cut was scaled back from $1.6 trillion to 1.4. And the education budget increased by $185 billion over 10 years. A yes vote by Jeffords could set the stage for a 50/50 vote with Vice President Cheney breaking the tie.

SEN. KENT CONRAD (D), NORTH DAKOTA: The president is getting off totally on the wrong foot. He came here as a uniter, not a divider. I've not seen any evidence of any attempt -- not even an attempt -- at reaching out in a bipartisan way. SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: He talked about a new way of doing business in Washington, about changing the culture in Washington. If they try just to look for a 50/50 tie and let the vice president break the tie. That's not changing the culture of any, it's a serious mistake.

KARL: The Senate's top Republican says if Democrats don't want to see a party-line vote, they should simply vote for the president's budget.

LOTT: One of the easiest ways for it to become broader and have more bipartisan votes is for John Breaux and others to vote for it.

KARL: Breaux has a different idea. He's trying to build support for a compromise budget that would include the heart of the president's tax cut, $800 billion to cut income tax rates, but leave the rest of the cuts for a later date.


KARL: With Democrats already complaining about the prospects of a basically party-line vote on the budget, Republicans are responding that votes on budgets are almost always along party lines, or at least largely along party lines. Saying this is nothing new, this is what you would expect -- Democrats to vote against the president's budget and Republicans to line up for them -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, Jonathan, what about Senator Jeffords' request? He's saying: "I'll vote for the budget if you'll reduce the tax cut to 1.4 trillion." Is the White House inclined to that?

KARL: Well, really, that's in the hands of congressional Senate Republicans, and that's what that meeting with Senator Lott was this morning, I'm told by sources familiar with that meeting that Lott was receptive to his idea. Obviously, Lott wants the full $1.6 trillion that the president wants, but if Jeffords is the vote that matters, if they can't get Jeffords' vote, they may have to give into his demand.

Now, what Jeffords is asking, just to be clear, is that the president's tax cut be scaled down to $1.4 trillion, and the extra .2 be put directly into education. And that's something that Lott may in the end be forced to go along with.

WOODRUFF: All right. John Karl, the Capitol. Thanks very much.

A well-known singer apparently does not think the congressional Democrats are hitting the right notes. The Capitol Hill publication "Roll Call" reports that Barbra Streisand recently wrote a letter to key Democratic congressional leaders, telling them to stop whining and start taking a more aggressive stance against President Bush and congressional Republicans.

Streisand asked -- quote -- "What has happened to the Democrats since the November election? Some of you seem paralyzed, demoralized, and depressed. She went on to say -- quoting, again -- "Why be afraid to speak out and remind the public of what happened last November? Maybe it's because some of you are up for reelection and, therefore, might be afraid to rock the boat. Well," she continued, "I disagree. Rocking the boat is what wins elections." End quote.

There's no word if, or how, the Democratic leaders responded.

Is airline service getting any better? We'll find out next, when we review the day's top stories. And later: distress in the British countryside forces a difficult decision at No. 10 Downing Street.


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

The State Department says that it will certify a $50 million economic aid package for Yugoslavia, but insists that Yugoslavia will have to cooperate with the war crimes tribunal. The certification comes after the arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who faces numerous charges in Yugoslavia, and many more if he comes before the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.

CNN's Alessio Vinci has more from Belgrade -- Alessio.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The dramatic 36-hour standoff, as you know, ended peacefully without bloodshed. But now some of the details are emerging about how tense and how dangerous the situation must have been inside that villa throughout that standoff.

Police, after arresting former President Slobodan Milosevic and taking him to jail, found a large cache of weapons in the basement of his villa. As you know Mr. Milosevic was protected by well-armed bodyguards and by some close associates who had vowed that they would fight until the last man to defend the former president. But in that cache of weapons, police found two armored personnel carriers, 30 automatic weapons, and three heavy machine guns, an anti-tank grenade launcher, pistols, and ammunitions -- enough ammunitions to sustain a long and violent fire fight.

The amount of weapons discovered is another indication that police here believes that Milosevic and his supporters may have been in the process of organizing an armed rebellion. And police say that the former president incited his bodyguards to shoot against police on Saturday morning when they tried to arrest him the first time.

You may remember those pictures of the violent fire fight that broke out after the police raided the villa, trying to get Milosevic to prison. Mr. Milosevic is accused of abuse of power and illegally funneling more than $100 million for his personal benefit. However, in a letter that he wrote to the investigative judge, Mr. Milosevic said that he is an innocent man, and his lawyer, based on this letter, will appeal to the judge, asking that Mr. Milosevic be released pending eventual trial.

I'm Alessio Vinci, CNN, reporting from Belgrade.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: An annual review of airline quality finds more travelers are getting delayed, bumped, or otherwise frazzled by air travel. CNN's Elaine Quijano takes a look at the ratings.


ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Delta was rated number one out of 10 major airlines in the Airline Quality Rating Report for 2001. The annual study was conducted by researchers from the University of Nebraska and Wichita State, using figures from the Department of Transportation.

DEAN HEADLEY, WICHITA STATE UNIVERSITY: We monitor four particular categories: on-time performance, mishandled baggage, involuntary denied boardings and a range of consumer complaints.

QUIJANO: Second and third best were Alaska Airlines and Southwest. The worst last year: America West, just below TWA and United. Across the board, the study said the industry was in a state of decline -- more delays, more mishandled bags and more dissatisfied passengers.

HEADLEY: I think the airlines are their own worst enemy. I think they understand how to do this.

MICHAEL WASCOM, AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION: I don't think we're our own worst enemy. I think we're a victim of our success.

QUIJANO: Michael Wascom is with the Air Transport Association, which represents many of the airlines studied in the report. He says the airlines are taking steps to improve service, but says a big part of the problem is soaring passenger demand.

WASCOM: We're experiencing growing pains, frankly, demand is overwhelming the capacity of the system. We do need to build out infrastructure, more runways, more capacity, to meet the demands for the public.

QUIJANO: In the meantime, researchers recommend using a travel agent who can help you if things go wrong and being more assertive to make sure the airlines follow through on their promises.

Elaine Quijano, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: When INSIDE POLITICS continues, Mayor Richard Riordan talks about the changes in Los Angeles as city residents prepare to choose his successor. We will be right back.



REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We have to make elections work. Too many Americans have given their lives in civil rights, in voting rights, in order to back up on this promise. We need to make sure that every vote cast is properly and accurately counted so that people will be willing to participate in our elections in the future.


WOODRUFF: House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt joined members of the House Democratic Caucus special committee on election reform in Philadelphia today. The hearing was the first in a series to be held across the country. The goal: to listen to the election experiences of citizens, poll workers and local officials. The Democratic committee says it plans to use the information to draft a report with legislative suggestions for reforming the election process.

Behind Gephardt's insistence on election reform lies a conviction among many Democrats that had every vote been accurately counted in Florida, Al Gore would be president today. The Democrats, of course, will get another shot in 2004, whoever their candidate is, and once again Florida is shaping up as the battleground to watch.

So what's the early word from Florida? For that, let's go to Miami for a field report from CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein of the "L.A. Times."


RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Florida has become the pivotal state in presidential politics. If you look at the Republican hold on the rest of the South and the Rocky Mountain states, and the Democratic strength along the coast and in the upper Midwest, Florida is simply the state most likely to tilt the overall result toward the winner.

And that's why, for President Bush, Florida has become what California was to President Clinton, a state he has to coddle, court, nurture, spend as much time as he can in, because it is simply the state he cannot win without.

The fact that Florida is now such a swing state is really an enormous shift in the Electoral College balance of power. From 1972 to 1988, when Republicans were dominating the White House, the Republican nominee averaged 60 percent of the vote here.

But in 1992, George Bush, the father, only narrowly carried it against Bill Clinton. In 1996, Bill Clinton comfortably carried it against Bob Dole. And in 2000, of course, Al Gore and George W. Bush ran to an absolute dead heat here. It's reached the point where Florida is a true swing state that neither party can count on as it begins it's Electoral College tabulations.

What's changed is both demographics and voting behavior. If you go back to 1988, when George Bush's father won here, 85 percent of the votes in the state were cast by whites. Now it's down to 73 percent, a lot more minority voters who are generally more sympathetic to Democrats. At the same time, within that minority vote, the share of Hispanic votes that are not Cuban is growing as well, and Cubans have been the minority vote most sympathetic to Republicans.

The second thing that's happened is that white women in Florida are increasingly voting like white women in New Jersey and Illinois or California, not like Alabama or Mississippi or South Carolina. When you take the two things together, you see an erosion in the Republican dominance of the state. Take Orange County, which is where Orlando is and Disney World.

Orange County, Florida, for a long time was as reliably Republican as Orange County, California. From 1976 to 1992, the Republican presidential nominee, on average, came out of Orange County with a 53,000-vote margin. But in 1996, because of these two changes, Clinton ran even there with Dole. And in 2000, Gore came out with a better than 5,000-vote margin against George W. Bush. That's an enormous shift in the overall balance of power in the state and one of the reasons why it's gone from reliably Republican to a true swing state at this point.

The hill in Florida is looking like it's going to get even a little bit steeper for George W. Bush in 2004. You have two separate factors working here. On is demographics, the continuing growth of the non-Cuban-Hispanic population, the overall Hispanic population up to 17 percent in the census numbers that were just released here.

The Bush campaign has already calculated that if you look at the growth and the share of the electorate that's likely to be non-Cuban- Hispanics who voted the majority for Al Gore in 2000, they're probably going to have to run 36,000 votes better with white voters than they did in 2000 just to stay even.

And they've got a second complication awaiting them, which is the possibility of state-wide electoral reform here. If you went to a state-wide optical scanning system and dropped the punch card ballots that were so controversial in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach, in those big three counties, shifting to that system would probably bring in another 90,000 votes into the election, according to calculations the Gore campaign made during the recount.

Well, those are 60 percent Democratic counties. So, if you add 90,000 vote, 60 percent go to Democrats, that's a net 18,000 increase for Democrats. So, clearly, Bush has his work cut out for him in holding Florida, and that's why you can probably expect to see a lot of him right here over the next four years.


WOODRUFF: Ron Brownstein, and for those of you math whizzes doing the addition, Ron has Bush down in Florida by more than 50,000 votes at this early point. That may not seem like a lot in a state with 11 million potential voters until you remember that Bush beat Al Gore there by just 537 votes.

Here now we want to show you some live pictures from the floor of the United States Senate, where the vote on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill is under way. It is expected that legislation expected to pass by a comfortable margin. We will bring you the results just as soon as all of the senators have voted.

Across the country, some California Democrats are expressing concern about how the state's energy crisis might affect their hold on elected offices in that state. The state's Democrats met for their annual convention over the weekend. Among the topics: the power crisis and its possible effect during the next election.

While Democrats publicly blame the crisis on the Republican administration that approved the state's deregulation, some in the party are questioning the leadership of Governor Gray Davis. Davis defended his actions and touted his efforts to try to fix the energy problem.

One of the state's most prominent Republicans, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, is wrapping up his second term in office. Next Tuesday, Los Angeles will vote for a new mayor, although the crowded field of candidates will likely result in a run-off in June.

CNN's Charles Feldman sat down with Mayor Riordan and asked him about his work and the current state of his city.


CHARLES FELDMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): How has the city of Los Angeles changed over these few years?

MAYOR RICHARD RIORDAN (R), LOS ANGELES: In 1993, the city was in depression. It had gone through the first major recession in history, it had gone Rodney King, the riots, floods, fires. Today, the city is full of confidence: confidence in the economy, confidence that we can get together and get along with each other.

FELDMAN: So does that mean that whoever becomes elected mayor inherits what sort of ship?

RIORDAN: They inherit a ship that's being run very, very well. My business team is bringing in numerous new businesses and jobs all the time. All of the departments in the city are extremely well run, with really strong managers, like our Department of Water and Power, which was bankrupt in '93, is now making about $800 million a year.

Our airport, which is breaking even, is making over $200 million a year. If you look at our libraries, 27 new libraries, the parks, the streets -- the city of L.A. is in good shape.

FELDMAN: A lot of money has been spent on this election, right?

RIORDAN: Oh, it's unbelievable.

FELDMAN: Why so much, and is it worth it?

RIORDAN: Well, I think that some of the special interest groups, particularly the unions think it's worth it. They want to make more and more inroads into government and government contracts. And as I say, I can work with them, because they know they don't own me, but they know I will be fair with them. But I think they would like to own the next mayor.

FELDMAN: Does this race say to you that there needs to be some sort of reform in terms of how much money should be spent, both out of personal funds and in terms of contributions for mayor?

RIORDAN: I would ideally like to see a law that said there will be no personal funds, no independent expenditures, no moneys by the unions, by the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and a restricted amount each candidate can get.

But the problem is the courts so far have not upheld those types of laws. And here you are trying to keep a leveled playing field while the Democratic Party is putting $1 million in for one of their candidates, and I put $100,000 in for my candidate, and the field never gets leveled.

FELDMAN: Of course when you ran, you ran to a very large degree on the notion on the need for a larger police force.


FELDMAN: We are now in the situation, where as you know, the police force is considerably, in its own view, short on the number of people it needs to be as effective as it wants to be, and it is still plagued by a corruption scandal. How does that, do you think, affect the next mayor's ability to govern this city with those albatrosses hanging around city hall's neck?

RIORDAN: I think it's a challenge to me for the remainder of my term and it's a challenge to the next mayor, but clearly there have been morale problems, starting with Rodney King and Rampart and also with disciplinary system, complaint system that probably officers figure that they dare not go into a dangerous situation, because they may be held up by the Justice Department or some outside source and their career ruined.

And we have to change that. We have -- and we are changing it, to have the complaint system so that it's fair to the officers and they are not discriminated against in punishments, because absolutely, the purpose of the police force is to serve our city and make our city safer, and too much emphasis has been put on the reform. And clearly, I don't tolerate officers breaking the rule of law. Chief Parks doesn't. By the same token, we have to look at the main goals, safety of our city.

FELDMAN: Since you were elected, of course, there has been charter revision, and so the mayor's powers are somewhat different, are they not? For the mayor that is going to come in than they were when you were first elected. How is it different?

RIORDAN: Well, the main thing has been different, and it's different for the last year for me, is that the mayor, through his commissioners, are in charge of contracts that are given out to the city. So that power is not diffused among 15 councilpeople, and the public knows it. If the contract is not a good contract, they know who to blame, the mayor. As far as the hiring and firing heads of departments, the mayor has more power. So, it's a much, much better charter today than it was before.

FELDMAN: And is it better -- is it better for the position of mayor to have that power, do you think?

RIORDAN: It's the only way. If you are being held accountable and you should be, you have to have this kind of power. Before, the power was so defused that the public didn't know who to blame.

FELDMAN: Now that you have been through your two terms, but can't for a third because of term limits, what do you think about term limits? Has it been a good idea?

RIORDAN: I think it's good to have change, particularly in the executive branch. I think the mayor -- I mean, certainly, I was telling my wife the other day, I would like to have six more months to do some things I want to get done. And she said: "Dick, six months from now, you would want even six more months." And so, there has to be a end to it.

FELDMAN: Your advice, then, to whomever it is that becomes the next mayor of the city of Los Angeles is what?

RIORDAN: Is hire the best people you can get, empower them to do their job, and they will make you look good. Also, respect everybody, hold every person, every human being in the city of Los Angeles as being just as important as you are. That's the way God wants it, that's the way Angelenos want it.


WOODRUFF: We -- that interview Charles Feldman with Mayor Riordan, and tomorrow on "INSIDE POLITICS, Charles will take a closer look at the issues that faced Mayor Riordan in his first days at city hall, as well as what awaits his successor.

Meanwhile, that vote in the U.S. Senate on McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform, they are still tallying the votes, but it is clear -- our producer there, Dana Bash, reporting that it will pass by an overwhelming number. We don't have a number to give you yet, but it clearly will pass by a comfortable margin.

Coming up on INSIDE POLITICS: a political decision in Britain as it battles to halt a foot-and-mouth disease epidemic, an action it hasn't resorted to since World War II. Stay with us.


WOODRUFF: At least part of John McCain's wish has come true. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform legislation has passed the U.S. Senate, we can now report to you. We don't have a final tally, but we know the pro votes are over 50 -- over 51, and that number is climbing. Once we have a final tally, we will bring it to you. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Britain is trying to buy some time for its officials to deal with its foot-and-mouth epidemic. Prime Minister Tony Blair announced today that he is postponing the May 3rd local elections for a month.

CNN's Tom Mintier has more.


TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Apparently, it was not an easy decision for British Prime Minister Tony Blair: Call off local elections in the middle of a national crisis.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Having carefully weighed all the arguments, I have decided that the national interest is best served by postponing these elections until June 7th.

MINTIER: The delay in local elections is a first for Britain since World War II, and it comes at a time when the country is attempting to handle a wildfire foot-and-mouth epidemic sweeping the nation.

The move may also signal just how serious the epidemic has become. Tens of thousands of animals have been slaughtered. Parts of the countryside have been turned into no-go areas for tourists and the tourism industry has lost millions of dollars.

Despite this, the prime minister attempted to offer assurance that it was safe to come to Britain, as not all the country is affected.

BLAIR: The percentage of the livestock farms that have it are under 1 percent of the livestock around the country.

MINTIER: While local elections are being delayed, there is still no firm date for national elections. They could be held on June 7th, but that may depend on where the foot-and-mouth crisis is when it comes time to call them.

(on camera): Delaying the elections comes with minor political risk for Mr. Blair. His Labor Party is well ahead in the opinion polls, but with the foot-and-mouth crisis showing no end in sight, it could also be a factor in national elections, whenever they are held.

Tom Mintier, CNN, London.


WOODRUFF: There is even more INSIDE POLITICS ahead, from the Senate vote on campaign finance reform -- they're still counting -- to memories of a woman who broke a barrier on Capitol Hill. Those stories and much more as our coverage continues here on INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: The Senate votes on campaign finance reform; the latest from the Senate floor, and Bill Schneider on how the issue changed the tone in the Senate.

Plus, testing the global mettle of the Bush administration, as the president and his Cabinet deal with a trio of international issues.

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

WOODRUFF: At this moment, the Senate is wrapping up its vote on the McCain-Feingold bill. Joining us now, CNN congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill -- Jonathan.

KARL: Well, they're still counting the votes, Judy, but more than 51 senators have voted yes on the McCain-Feingold bill. Not surprising, a victory here for John McCain and Russ Feingold in their efforts to reform the campaign finance system.

There you see the floor of the Senate. Just some final votes happening. There were three Democrats, by my count, who voted no on this measure. Three Democrats were: Ben Nelson of Nebraska; John Breaux of Louisiana; and Fritz Hollings of South Carolina. Republicans voting yes with McCain included his band of partners on this, including Fred Thompson, who's been working with him all along the way, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, but also some, perhaps, surprising votes on this, including Senator Lugar of Indiana was in the yes column; also, Senator Fitzgerald of Illinois. And, of course, Thad Cochran, who was a late sponsor of the McCain-Feingold bill, also voting yes.

We don't know the final tally because they're still tallying down there, but we know clearly they have won. Now, while this was going on on the floor, I was in the chamber. I noticed that in that back of the chamber, Senator McCain was not so much with his fellow senators, but he was huddled in the back with two members of the House of Representatives. He was there with Marty Meehan of Massachusetts and Chris Shays of Connecticut, two members of the House, also the two sponsors of the Shays-Meehan bill, which is the counterpart of course, to the McCain-Feingold bill. The next step after passage here in the Senate is to face the battle in the House of Representatives.

Now, shortly before the vote, you heard some closing speeches by the principal players; here's what John McCain had to say.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We approach what I believe will be a successful outcome for the proponents of this legislation. I can say I have never been prouder to be a member of the United States Senate. Because of my failings, I might not always show it. But I consider myself blessed to serve here in the company of so many capable leaders of our fair country.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KARL: And you hear there are marked difference in McCain's rhetoric than what you heard in previous times, this issue came up on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Previously, McCain has talked about the corrupting influence of politics and about how everybody was corrupt by the nature of the system.

He didn't talk so much like that. He had a much better working relationship with his foes on this, including Senator Mitch McConnell. Here's what Senator McConnell said in his closing statement.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: This bill is fatally unconstitutional, Mr. President. I hope senators will uphold the oaths they've taken and oppose this unconstitutional bill.


KARL: Now, we have an unofficial tally again, they haven't gaveled down the final vote. The unofficial tally by CNN's vote counters in the Senate is 59-41 -- 59 to 41, in favor of the McCain- Feingold campaign finance reform bill -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And that's about what John McCain himself had predicted. Jon, how involved is Senator McCain from now on? We know this leaves the Senate, goes to the House. Does he pretty much step back out of the picture? Will he remain involved or what?

KARL: Well, what's interesting about this debate; you had two principal antagonists here. You had Senator McCain and then his counterpart on the other side, Mitch McConnell. Both of them will continue to be part of this debate even though it leaves the Senate.

McCain working closely with people in the House of Representatives who are going to try to thrust this through. As I mentioned, Chris Shays and Marty Meehan are there now on the floor of the U.S. Senate, talking about to McCain about the strategy and Mitch McConnell also not giving up this battle. McConnell knows that should this pass into law, he will go into court with groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge the constitutionality of the bill.

And, of course, Judy, even before he got there, McConnell may still yet to be heard from, because if this passes the House, and there are slight changes in the House, it might have to go to what they call a House-Senate Conference Committee that will have to reconcile the differences between the bills passed by the Senate and the House. If that happens, you expect McConnell and McCain to be on the conference committee that would hash out those differences, so you could have a mini replay of what we've seen here, some months down the road.

WOODRUFF: And don't you wish we could cover those conference meetings.

KARL: Absolutely. WOODRUFF: Jon Karl at the Capitol. Thank you very much.

Supporters and opponents alike are applauding the U.S. Senate for it's lively debate on the McCain-Feingold measure. They say it's been a long time since so much thoughtful attention has focused on a single issue. Our own Bill Schneider joins us now with his perspective -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, remember that old coaster song, "Along Came Jones?" He grabbed her. He tied her up. He threw her on the railroad tracks. A train started coming. And then, and then -- you know what happened -- "Along Came Jones." Well, it's been like that in the Senate for the last week with the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): When the Senate debate started, no one knew what would happen, but every senator understood the significance of what they were doing.

FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: If we're ever going to do anything that's good for the country and not just look at our own self- interest, plus doing something that would be decent to challengers, this is the time to do it.

SCHNEIDER: Last Monday, trouble. A strange bipartisan coalition of supporters and opponents of campaign finance reform passed an amendment to ban independent expenditure groups from running campaign ads close to Election Day. Supporters said it would strengthen reform.

SEN. PAUL WELLSTONE (D), MINNESOTA: We very much want this legislation to be a step forward. We don't want it to be a step sideways.

SCHNEIDER: Opponents had a cynical motivation: they supported the amendment because they thought it was unconstitutional and would bring down the whole bill. On Tuesday, another threat. Senator McCain's good friend, Chuck Hagel, proposed a substitute bill, believed to have the backing of the White House, that would have protected soft money. The debate was intense and respectful.

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: My friends from Arizona and Wisconsin have offered one alternative. I believe it's the wrong approach.

SCHNEIDER: The Hagel bill failed. McCain-Feingold was saved, for the time being. On Wednesday, senators worked out a delicate compromise to increase the limit on regulated, or hard-money, contributions.

Then, Thursday, the big test: the vote on whether the whole bill would fall if the courts declared any part of it unconstitutional. The stakes were high, the outcome unknown. FEINGOLD: The American people are standing by, waiting to see whether this body will pass or fail that test. Do not let them down. There are no makeup exams.

SCHNEIDER: When the amendment failed by a surprisingly large margin, opponents acknowledged defeat. What happened to save campaign finance reform? Just this: senators got caught up in the significance of what they were doing. For the last two weeks, the Senate acted like a real deliberative body with give-and-take, honest debate, bipartisan compromise, and mutual respect.

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I admire the way he supports this special interests. I don't know of anybody who does it better. We don't have anybody on our side who can do that as well.



That brought tears to my eyes, honest to goodness.

SCHNEIDER: They were honestly legislating, something they don't do much anymore.

REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: The Senate's almost become like the house, where the leaders decide what comes up, how long the debate will be. And so this great debating body, the Senate, is now starting to act like the Senate again.

SCHNEIDER: Senators were impressed that they could still do it.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: This was the Senate at its best. Every time things were in jeopardy, the senators rose to the occasion, and that is what the Senate is supposed to be all about and hasn't been enough, I guess, lately.

SCHNEIDER: The institution billed as the "world's greatest deliberative body" finally lived up to its reputation.


SCHNEIDER: Notice that John McCain's signature issue, campaign finance reform, got through the Senate faster than President Bush's signature issue, the tax cut. Could it be that McCain came out of the 2000 campaign with a bigger mandate than Bush? After all, Democrats committed to campaign finance reform gained four Senate seats, not Republicans committed to a tax cut. So there.

WOODRUFF: We're thankful that you are counting.

SCHNEIDER: I'm counting.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you very much

If the campaign finance bill makes it though the House and is signed into law, what then? Will it really change American politics, and if so, how? CNN's Bill Delaney tried to find out.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Any parent knows a thing or two about the law of unintended consequences, like you're blessed with a beloved child or two, and then you don't get out to the movies again for about the next decade. Well, when it comes to banning the soft money that so engulfed last year's national election, some say, beware.

DOUG HATTAWAY, FORMER GORE SPOKESMAN: Reform always has unintended consequences, and we'll see that with McCain-Feingold. Candidates do have to pay for campaigns. Stamps aren't free. TV commercials aren't free. There are two facts of life that aren't going to change no matter how many reforms you make: campaigns cost money, and the cost is going to keep going up.

DELANEY: Doug Hattaway, a spokesman and strategist for Al Gore in the last campaign, echoes others now saying, PACs, Political Action Committees, funded by organizations from the National Rifle Association to environmental groups, could now assume unprecedented importance in the wake of a soft money ban.

HATTAWAY: If we ban soft money that goes to the political parties, we could very well increase the influence of the hard money that goes from PACs straight to the candidates.

DELANEY: Contributions from PACs are severely limited, compared to the unlimited soft money that's flowed to political parties. Longtime reformers though, like Ken White of Common Cause, see a soft money ban, while important, as only a beginning.

DON WHITE, COMMON CAUSE: I don't think it's a dream come true. I think it's a first step forward. Stealth PACs, 527's, PACs, you know -- there's no end to the acronyms and new ways that people discover to try and bring money back into politics.

DELANEY: Others point out, whatever finance reform Congress passes, wealthy individuals will still be able to steer what used to be soft money to buy advertising, TV time, to pitch a cause, a candidate.

(on camera): The Holy Grail for many campaign finance reformers will remain, even after a soft money ban, pure public financing of elections. But only in Arizona, Maine and here in Massachusetts are such laws presently on the books, and that's the sort of thing that's liable to keep presently proud campaign finance reformers, like all proud new parents, up nights for years to come.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.


WOODRUFF: Still ahead, President Bush tells the Egyptian president that he will remain engaged in the Middle East peace process, even as his administration deals with issues in China and Yugoslavia.


WOODRUFF: The latest developments now in the stand-off between the United States and China. President Bush is demanding prompt diplomatic access to the crew of a U.S. spy plane detained by the Chinese government, calling such access critical if relations between the two countries are to improve.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And I call on the Chinese government to grant this access promptly. Failure of the Chinese government to react promptly to our request is inconsistent with standard diplomatic practice, and with the expressed desire of both our countries for better relations.


WOODRUFF: Over the weekend, a Chinese fighter jet intercepted an EP-3 American spy plane like this one -- I think we have a picture of it -- damaging its wing and forcing it to make an emergency landing on the island of Hainan, off the coast of China.

The plane's 24 crew members continue to be held on the island. A White House spokesman says China has indicated that it will not grant access to the crew until Tuesday night, China time, at the earliest.

Even as the White House deals with the stand-off with China, the president was busy trying to ease the concerns of Middle East leaders. Major Garrett reports on the president's visit today with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.


MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Egyptian president arrived with a plea for Mr. Bush to do more to help reduce Palestinian-Israeli violence.

HOSNI MUBARAK, PRESIDENT OF EGYPT: I have great hopes that President Bush will do the maximum effort of that, so as to reach lessening the tension and resume negotiations.

GARRETT: But Mr. Bush held to current U.S. policy, which does not seek to impose a schedule or a solution in the Middle East.

BUSH: It is very important for people to realize that the United States will not set a timetable that meets our specific needs. The only lasting peace is one in which the parties involved come to the table.

GARRETT: And the president tried to quell criticism from some Arab nations that he's disengaged.

BUSH: I've had numerous telephone conversations with leaders in the Middle East. I'll continue to be actively engaged. GARRETT: Some analysts say Mr. Bush's first days have disappointed many in the Arab world.

SHIBLEY TELHAMI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: When Mr. Bush was elected, the vast majority of the Arab world was cheering for him. Expectations were high that this administration would be more sympathetic to the Arab side.

GARRETT: Fresh from last week's Arab summit, Mr. Mubarak brought word that Arab leaders are troubled that Mr. Bush has met with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon but not Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

They also complained that the president's demands for an end to Palestinian violence are not matched by demands for an end to Israeli settlements. Some see this as recipe for strained U.S.-Arab relations and more Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

MAMOUN FANDY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: This region is slipping and moving toward the abyss, and this is very dangerous for American interests. This is very dangerous for the stability of the whole region. Both Egypt and the United States have immense stakes in that process.

GARRETT (on camera): The stakes are high and so, too, are the differences over style. The Egyptians want Mr. Bush to devote his personal prestige to the peace process, while the president still prefers a more low-key approach, at least until the violence subsides.

Major Garrett, CNN, the White House.


WOODRUFF: Also on the international front, Secretary of State Colin Powell says Yugoslavia has met U.S. conditions, and the U.S. has certified an economic aid package. The aid does come with some strings attached, as our Andrea Koppel reports.


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With Slobodan Milosevic behind bars in a Belgrade prison, the message from the Bush administration: the check, $50 million in U.S. aid, is in the mail.

But the U.S. also made clear to Belgrade there are strings attached. It said continued assistance depends on Belgrade's cooperation with The Hague, in particular, whether Yugoslavia sends Milosevic to stand trial before the International War Crimes Tribunal.

RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: It remains our goal to see him face justice in The Hague. We should be absolutely clear about that. We should be absolutely clear that we want that to take place sooner rather than later.

KOPPEL: In addition, the Bush administration wants Belgrade to pass a law, reaffirming its intention to cooperate with The Hague, to arrest and hand over more indicted war crimes suspects to the tribunal and to release hundreds of Albanian political prisoners, who, the U.S. says were unjustly imprisoned by Milosevic.

For its part, the Yugoslav government says it wants to cooperate, but insists the wheels of justice at The Hague move too slowly. Case in point: indicted Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Momcilo Krajisnik, who was sent to The Hague a year ago.

MILAN PROTIC, YUGOSLAV AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Our question is, why is that so? If there was enough evidence to start to indict Mr. Krajisnik, and why are we waiting for a trial -- and they are saying that it's not going to start for another year. We don't want to get into a situation where an unclear destiny is being procrastinated for a couple of years for someone who's been claimed to be a war criminal.

KOPPEL (on camera): And now that the most infamous alleged Balkans war criminal, Slobodan Milosevic, has been arrested, the question here in Washington: will he first stand trial at home, or will Yugoslavia's president change his mind and agree to send Milosevic to The Hague?

Andrea Koppel, CNN, the State Department.


WOODRUFF: And now it's official. We have the final tally on the Senate vote on the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform: 59 votes in favor, 41 votes against. So McCain-Feingold moves from the Senate to the House, and I am told that Senator John McCain is talking to reporters now, so let's see if we can go there. There he is, walking into -- there at the Capitol. Senator McCain, along with his co- sponsor Russ Feingold and Olympia Snowe, the congresswoman from the state of Maine.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Uncharacteristically, I have very little to say, except, obviously, we're very pleased. We're pleased at the size of the victory. And we're going to be very happy this evening. And tomorrow we will begin our efforts to get this bill passed through the House as soon as possible and to the president's desk.

And I want to just say that I'm proud, obviously, to have my better half with me, Russ Feingold. But the fact is -- the better half of my partnership.


But without the individuals who are here, Russ and I could not have succeeded. I chronicled that before, but the negotiations conducted between Fred Thompson and Dianne Feinstein were critical. Thad Cochran's absolute stamp of approval was so important. The Snowe-Jeffords amendment, which was crafted over such a long period of time. Susan Collins' involvement. Carl Levin, who, frankly, is the wisest parliamentarian that I know of, that kept us on a steady course throughout. There are many others to name. Arlen Specter, who played a key role in this as well.

So, so many of my colleagues that made this happen, that deserve the credit more than Russ and I do.

With that -- Russ.

SEN. RUSS FEINGOLD (D), WISCONSIN: Well, we're extremely happy.

It's a very, very satisfying moment. I recognize, and I think many Americans do, that this is modest reform. There's much more that needs to be done to bring people back into the political system, but this is a major step in the right direction.

I know that we have more to do. John and I and all of us will be ready to work with the House starting tomorrow. We have to get the job done. We can't just rest on our laurels of this wonderful vote.

But finally, I find this to be an inspiration. The democracy has, again, shown that it can correct itself. And when you have these kinds of unlimited contributions, I think it truly was threatening the very foundation of our system.

So it's a good day. We're very happy. And I am so grateful for the help of everybody here and all the other senators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We decided to continue to follow your lead, we're not speaking.

FEINGOLD: That's it. Questions?

WOODRUFF: Smiles on the faces of Senator McCain, Senator Feingold, their colleagues who helped propel this legislation successfully through the Senate. Olympia Snowe there from Maine, Fred Thompson from Tennessee, Thad Cochran from the state of Mississippi. We'll be right back. More INSIDE POLITICS in a moment.


WOODRUFF: It turns out that April 2nd, today, is a key day for women in politics. It was on this day in 1917 that a woman named Jeannette Rankin broke into the ranks of an exclusive men's club here in Washington.

Garrick Utley reports.


GARRICK UTLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There they were in Congress, talking about reform of money in politics. But there is another reform we have all but forgotten. Do you recall why Jeannette Rankin stands in bronze splendor in the halls of Capitol? Jeannette who?

(on camera): Well, it was on April 2nd, 84 years ago this Monday, that Jeannette Rankin became the first woman to take a seat in the Congress of the United States. (voice-over): For 127 years, Congress was the ultimate men's club. The only way for women to get in was up there in the visitors gallery. But then came Jeannette. Born on a frontier ranch in Montana, she led the drive for women to get the vote in her state, and was elected to Congress even before women could vote for president.

When she arrived in Washington, she was a committed feminist and pacifist. In Europe, there was a first World War, and in Congress, a debate over whether the United States should enter it. Jeannette Rankin voted no.

(on camera): That vote contributed to her defeat in 1918. Would the first congresswoman be a one-term wonder? Not quite. Jeannette Rankin's history would repeat itself. Twenty-two years later, she was again elected to Congress...

(voice-over): ... just in time for Pearl Harbor.




UTLEY: When the vote was taken to declare war on Japan, there was only one vote against. Guess who? After the vote, Rankin took refuge in a telephone booth to call Capitol Hill police, seeking protection from angry members of Congress and the public.

Once again, Jeannette Rankin became a one-term Congresswoman. But that didn't slow her down. More than 20 years later, a war in Vietnam and protests against it, including a march she led on the Capitol at age 87, at the head of the Jeannette Rankin Brigade.

(on camera): Her motto was, "you can no more win a war than win an earthquake." Except wars are won and lost, and so were Jeannette Rankin's political struggles.

(voice-over): Today, she may not be remembered by many as Congress goes about its business. She was, after all, only a two- time, one-term congresswoman. But she was the first one, on April 2, 1917.

Garrick Utley, CNN.


WOODRUFF: And that was 1917, and here we are, 84 years later, and women are all of 13 members of the 100-member Senate and over 50 women in the 435-member House of Representatives.

And once again, a quick recap. McCain-Feingold has passed the United States Senate by a comfortable margin: 59 votes in favor; 41 votes against. It goes directly from there to the House of Representatives. That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's The AOL key word, CNN.

These programming notes: Congressmen Marty Meehan and Bob Ney will be discussing campaign finance reform legislation tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. That will be followed by a CNN special on the U.S. plane and crew being held in China. "SPY PLANE STANDOFF" will air at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. I'm Judy Woodruff. "MONEYLINE" is next.



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