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Poll Shows High Gas Prices Alarming Americans; Senate Passes Budget Framework; U.S. Lawmakers Lash Out at United Nations

Aired May 10, 2001 - 17:00   ET


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


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something needs to be done because it's unreasonable. They just keep getting higher and higher.


ANNOUNCER: As gas prices rise, the public's anxiety level is up, too. We'll check out new poll numbers and the political fallout.

Plus: on the scene in Silicon Valley. Has the high-tech bust taken a bite out of political activity?

And the latest story line in New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's marital soap opera.

Now Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. We begin with the bottom line of our new poll. The president's approval rating is down, and public concerns about energy are up. Fifty-three percent of Americans now say they approve of the way Mr. Bush is handling his job, down from 62 percent in our CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll taken a little more than two weeks ago.

Rising gas prices and California's energy crunch may not be the only reasons for the decline, but they probably have something to do with it. We'll know more in the coming weeks.

This much we do know: The percentage of Americans who say the energy situation in the United States is serious has nearly doubled since March. And as our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley, reports, that is likely to add more fuel to an already potent political issue.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are kind of getting out of hand in the Chicago-land area.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they should keep it under control. It's just getting a little crazy.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new CNN/Gallup poll found that 58 percent of Americans view energy as a serious problem, a 27-point jump in two months. That's the rough equivalent of a two-by-four to the head of politicians, which means the talk of your town has become the talk of this town.

SEN. CRAIG THOMAS (R), WYOMING: How are you going to react to this summer's prices? I'm not for price controls, but we need to have some reaction to what's happening now.

SPENCER ABRAHAM, ENERGY SECRETARY: Well, we're very concerned, as all of you are, about the gasoline prices. I was disturbed this week when I read in the paper that local dealers were already being told to expect $3 gas. I don't know how you make that kind of assessment, given the current state of information.

CROWLEY: Putting together its energy plan, the Bush administration is talking long-term: more energy exploration, refineries and power plants. And just about the time some gas prices topped the $2-a-gallon mark, the administration was warning there are no quick fixes. Congress, said one Republican, doesn't like to hear that, primarily because it's a tough sell at the gas pump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should step in and do something about it. If there's someone to blame, I think it is the government, maybe Bush. He's the president.

CROWLEY: It is early yet in the administration of George Bush. He has time to recoup from any political damage, but a third of the Senate and all of the House is up for reelection next year. And as they translated the administration's position, the Democrats signaled they see an opening here.

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: We are not willing to accept without investigation the president's assertion that we are powerless to help the American people.

CROWLEY: Though most Republicans seem to think Bush is right. that a permanent solution is a long-term project, there is evident squeamishness about how all this is translating.

SEN. GORDON SMITH (R), OREGON: People are truly going to want to see this administration appearing more engaged than it appears to be.

CROWLEY: Up for reelection next year, Senator Gordon Smith gets an earful when he goes home to Oregon. So while praising President Bush for vision and leadership, he disagrees with him on the subject of government-set caps on energy prices. Smith favors them.

SMITH: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to be far more engaged with powers they already have to enforce just and reasonable pricing. Because there's a lot of price gouging going on. No one can explain or justify why prices have gone up 1,200 percent in some parts of my state. CROWLEY: In Maine, they are hit at both ends of the calendar. Home heating prices squeezing constituents in the winter, gas prices may depress tourism in the summer. Republican Senator Susan Collins is on the watch list, meaning she could face a tough reelection bid next year in Maine.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: From what I've heard and read, it seems that it's tilted toward developing long-term supplies and that it does not provide enough emphasis on energy conservation matters. And since energy conservation efforts are what is going to help in the short run, I would like to see more balance in the administration's approach.


CROWLEY: The combination of Republican angst and a long, hot summer may well be enough to convince the Bush administration to look around for a couple of quick fixes. After all, while President Bush may not be running next year, he does have to worry are about a Congress he can work with.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.

WOODRUFF: And checking another energy angle from our new poll: Forty-seven percent of Americans now say rising gas prices have caused hardship for their families. That's up from 36 percent last year. As Democrats try to use energy as a weapon against Republican, their almost daily news conferences on the subject often emphasize the economic angle.


SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: I can tell you that the worry about a recession and the slowdown in the economy is coming home. It's coming home to families that are paying high gasoline prices. It's coming home to businesses like delivery service and florists who will be trying to deliver Mother's Day bouquets with new expenses, overhead expenses for gasoline -- for businesses that are going to have to cut back on their employment.


WOODRUFF: Senator Durbin and fellow Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota today called for an investigation into rising energy prices. And not to be outdone, some Republican leaders on the Hill are trying to show that when it comes to gas prices, they get it.

REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: We have got to address this question of energy in America just as much as taxes in order to give the small business the resources and that margin of survival that they need to keep the doors open and keep the business growing.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Dick Armey spoke at a news conference today, marking national small business week. Is the Bush administration feeling nervous about surging gas prices and rolling blackouts? Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will be the guest on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Republican-backed tax cuts got another green light today when the divided Senate narrowly approved a 2002 federal budget outline. Our Congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl, reports on the vote and what it says about the state of Democratic Party unity.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's 53 yeas, 47 nos.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Moderate Democrats proved critical as Congress moved a step closer to enacting the tax cuts, at the center of President Bush's domestic agenda. But only a handful of Senate Democrats chose to defy their party leaders by giving the Republican president a victory.

SEN. JOHN BREAUX (D), LOUISIANA: Governing in a democracy is about the art of the possible. It's not about the art of the perfect. Is this budget a perfect document? Of course not. But does it advance the cause of governing in a democracy that is almost evenly divided among the two parties? I think the answer is yes, it does.

KARL: A month ago, Democratic leader Tom Daschle declared Louisiana Democrat John Breaux the MVP of the Senate Democrats for his role in whittling down the size of the Bush tax cut. But since then, the spending levels in the budget have been reduced, angering Democrats. As a result, Breaux now finds himself in the Democratic dog house as party leaders talk about the budget he made possible in dire terms.

DASCHLE: I think this is a nuclear bomb for fiscal discipline in this country. You are going to -- I think the country will woe the day that this actually passed.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We're taking a U-turn back to the 1980s. And mark my words, we'll be back here, maybe under the same president or maybe under a different president, having to fix the fiscal situation we're throwing our country in today.

KARL: In addition to Senator Breaux, the budget resolution was supported by Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska, Max Baucus of Montana, and Georgia's Max Cleland and Zell Miller. Two Republicans voted against, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Jim Jeffords of Vermont.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: ... the passage of five Democrats. And they showed courage. This was a bipartisan vote and while it hasn't been easy, I know that John Breaux has also had a difficult time in providing the leadership that got us the vote that was necessary in this instance.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KARL: If the five Democrats that voted for this budget did so despite pressure from their party leaders, they may have done so because of pressure pack home, their constituents. All five Democrats who voted yes on this budget come from states that voted overwhelmingly for George W. Bush last November -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: So, Jon Karl, is there some sort of consensus on the Hill now, that this is a victory for President Bush?

KARL: At this point, the feeling is that this is a victory for President Bush. You saw that in the reaction of the Democrats. The Democrats were -- very strong in their rhetoric, saying this was a major mistake, this budget. Because not only did you have a tax cut of $1.35 trillion over 11 years, almost that 1.6 figure that the president had fought for, but also this budget included spending increases. And of course, these are not binding spending increases, but spending targets. A spending increase of only 4 percent next year. That's exactly the number that George Bush had in mind.

WOODRUFF: And separately, Jon, we understand in an interview today, Senator John McCain had some pretty tough comments about President Bush. What can you tell us about that?

KARL: Yes, another chapter in the Bush-McCain saga. This was actually an interview that was published today in the "Financial Times," little-noticed up here on Capitol Hill.

But McCain had some fairly tough words about George W. Bush. First, talked about how there have been virtually no consultation, no communication between the White House and McCain's Senate office. He said, quote: "I think my phone number fell out of their rolodex," referring to the White House.

But more interestingly, he took a swing at the White House for the Social Security commission, just announced by President Bush, saying that he thought that the commission was doomed to fail. McCain said, quote: "These are all administration appointees," referring to that Social Security commission, "So, this commission, I am afraid, will report out as other commissioners have -- commissions have. It is not credible."

He is saying that the problem with this is that this is not truly a bipartisan commission, that all of the appointees came from President Bush, and they all basically agree with his position on Social Security. So, some fairly tough words, direct words from John McCain.

WOODRUFF: Perhaps referring to the fact that the previous blue- ribbon panel looking at Social Security was at least half made up of members appointed by the Hill.

KARL: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl, at the Capitol. Thanks.

Well, in a House vote today, the political tables were somewhat turned. Republicans dismissed White House objections and pushed through a measure to withhold back dues from the United Nations. The vote was in response to the loss of United States' seat on the U.N. Human Rights Commission last week.

CNN's Kate Snow has more on the House striking back.


REP. TOM LANTOS (D), CALIFORNIA: I am outraged by the vote last week that put the Sudan on the U.N. Human Rights Commission and took the United States out.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Outrage shared by more than 250 members of the U.S. House, mainly Republicans, but Democrats too. The United States helped create that Human Rights Commission more than 50 years ago.

REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: Without this nation's leadership, there would be no United Nations.

SNOW: After venting frustration, the House voted to hit the United Nations where it hurts, an amendment freezing a payment of $244 million, a portion of the back dues the U.S. owes the U.N. The payment wouldn't be made until the U.S. seat on the Human Rights Commission is restored. Most Democrats oppose the action.

REP. CYNTHIA MCKINNEY (D), GEORGIA: A superpower pays its bills. A superpower leads by example. A superpower doesn't cry when it doesn't get its way, and then go and take all the marbles.

SNOW: Strangely enough, Democrats reflected the White House position. The administration urged Congress not to do anything in the heat of the moment.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We were voted off a committee in the United Nations. I was rather mad that day. I won't go into the details. It was a not pleasant day. I was disturbed. I was distressed, more than distressed for the people who believe in human rights around the world.

And for whatever reason, we got voted off that committee. And we should not now try to find a way to punish the United Nations.

SNOW: But House International Relations chairman Henry Hyde says the administration didn't communicate its concerns, and he was emphatic about -- at the very least -- sending a message.

REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: I don't like our diplomats at the U.N. walking around with a little sign on their back, "kick me."


SNOW: And the House vote may turn out to be largely symbolic. While senators share the concerns and the frustration about that U.N. decision last week, they do not seem certain whether they will go along with what the House has done in terms of rescinding this payment.

The president also seems, at this point anyway, to be unlikely to sign it, but chairman Hyde says regardless of all of that, he still sent a message. He said today: "The statement is out there for all the world to see." Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, Kate, when we hear Congressman Henry Hyde say the White House view was not really communicated, how hard was the White House fighting this?

SNOW: Well, you know, Judy, he said that twice. He said emphatically that he didn't get a call from the White House, and nor did Mr. Lantos, who of course, is the ranking Democrat on that panel. But it should be noted that this story has been in the newspapers. Certainly, there has been a lot of public comment from the White House yesterday, both from the State Department and from Ari Fleischer, the White House spokesman.

So, some have guessed up here on Capitol Hill that perhaps the White House didn't make any direct communication on purpose, because perhaps they wanted the Congress to be able to vent some of its frustration, while they sort of look the other way -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kate Snow, reporting from the Capitol. Thanks.

A new leader for the nation's war on drugs. When INSIDE POLITICS returns: who is John Walters? And what will be the Bush White House strategy for taking on illegal drugs?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whenever I see the feds, I grab my wallet, turn around and run like hell.


WOODRUFF: Silicon Valley wrestles with its decision to pour money into presidential politics.

And later...


SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: I play a character who probably is a little over the top from anybody that I've seen around in the real Senate, but an interesting character nonetheless.


WOODRUFF: A former actor turned politician makes a temporary return to the stage. This is INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: President Bush today announced his choice to lead the nation's anti-drug efforts. CNN White House correspondent Major Garrett reports on the president's pick and the strategies he plans to pursue.


MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drug use is rising, and the president tapped a take-no-prisoners veteran of the drug wars to turn the tide: John Walters, chief of staff to the nation's first drug czar, Bill Bennett. He favors deterrence in the schools and punishment on the streets, a return to policies Mr. Bush said worked well for his father, but that the Clinton White House had turned away from.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We had made tremendous strides in cutting drug use. This cannot be said today. We must do and we will do a better job.

GARRETT: Amid the tough talk, a boost in spending on drug treatment: nearly two billion more over five years.

JOHN WALTERS, WHITE HOUSE DRUG POLICY DIRECTOR: We will help the addicted find effective treatment and remain in recovery.

GARRETT: But critics say that Walter's appointment proves drug treatment will always be an afterthought.

ETHAN NADELMANN, THE LINDESMITH CENTER: John Walters has stood very firmly for the proposition that drug policy should have absolutely nothing to do with public health, or science, or for that matter the facts. It's all about punishing people for their sins.

GARRETT: When it comes to the drug war, the money just keeps flowing. $3 billion in 1982 to $19 billion this year. But the dollars appear to have been best spent in the mid-'80s when first lady Nancy Reagan waged her "just say no" campaign.

The number of drug users dropped from 23 million to 12 million in the last year of the first Bush presidency. During the Clinton years, drug use rose steadily, even as Washington spent more money.

The difference? Experts say the Reagan and Bush years effectively discouraged first-time and casual drug use, leaving behind hardcore users, who are much tougher to treat.

The number of drug addicts in 1991 was nearly 9 million, almost exactly the same number as in 1998.

JOE CALIFANO, CENTER OF ADDICTION AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE: You have to give treatment to people who really need it if we're going to bring down the number of hardcore addicts.

GARRETT: 650 White House employees have already been tested for drugs, including Vice President Cheney and the president: proof, the White House says, that a zero tolerance policy begins at the top -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Major, to change the subject just for a moment, I understand you've gotten some new information there about what the White House thinking is in terms of how to use that first-year part of the tax cut, the so-called "stimulus."

GARRETT: That's right. The way the budget resolution is currently written, there's about 4100 billion over the next two years to stimulate the sluggish economy, and there's been a good deal of conversation on Capital Hill about exactly how to do that. The White House hasn't stated its policy publicly, but the distinct preference at the Treasury Department and at the White House is for Congress to send that money back in the forms of checks, checks to individual taxpayers with their rebate.

There had been some talk on Capitol Hill of adjusting withholding tables so the American taxpayer would see a little bit less in taxes with each and every paycheck. Well, from a political point of view, this White House and the Treasury Department would much rather see a big check in the hands of every American taxpayer, particularly this summer, when they may be confronting higher energy prices, even higher than they had originally expected -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. I heard the word "energy" in there. All right. Major Garrett, thanks very much.

Almost a dozen anti-pornography groups took their cause to the attorney general today in what could signal a renewed emphasis on obscenity issues by federal law enforcement officials. The story from CNN's justice correspondent, Kelli Arena.


KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorney General John Ashcroft has suggested the Bush Justice Department would step up prosecutions in obscenity cases.

JOHN ASHCROFT, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Things that particularly undermine the integrity and respect that our citizens should have for each other, for women, who are particularly victims of pornography, for children, who have been victimized for pornography, are matters of great concern for me.

ARENA: And now, Ashcroft has had a private meeting with anti- porn groups, at their request.

BEVERLY LA HAYE, CONCERNED WOMEN FOR AMERICA: I think prosecuting pornographers really upgrades the climate of our communities. Pornographers, they run rampant, out of control.

ARENA: The adult entertainment industry is bracing for a crackdown. Critics say the industry was off the legal radar screen during the Clinton administration.

REP. STEVE LARGENT (R), OKLAHOMA: The fact is, over the last eight years the prosecution of illegal pornography -- or obscenity is the legal term of art --- has declined nearly 86 percent, and this at a time when pornography is more prevalent, more accessible, more anonymous than ever because of the Internet.

ARENA: Many in the industry are worried about a return to the days of Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese, who aggressively prosecuted obscenity cases.

While obscenity law is murky, ripe with First Amendment issues, industry insiders say the mere threat of prosecution could cause a retrenchment in the $10 billion business.

PAUL CAMBRIA, ATTORNEY FOR "HUSTLER" MAGAZINE: We saw prosecutions where the federal government would go after one company in various jurisdictions at the same time, and regardless of what the ultimate issue was concerning obscenity, the financial impact, the inability to defend at various locations simultaneously, is such that the company would be crushed and not be able to distribute materials, and of course the public, the adult public is the loser.

ARENA (on camera): The industry argues the Justice Department should continue focusing on child pornography and keep its hands off increasingly popular adult entertainment. And it wants its own meeting with the attorney general.

Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: There is new hope for leukemia patients. The FDA approves a drug that has a remarkable track record. Details just ahead.


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

A new cancer pill is being called a major breakthrough in the battle against a certain type of leukemia. The drug, called Gleevec, was approved today by the Food and Drug Administration. Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says the pill appears to change the odds dramatically for patients with chronic myeloid leukemia.


TOMMY THOMPSON, HSS SECRETARY: If this does not sound like the same arduous chemotherapy regimen that one of your friends or loved- ones have received in years past, that's because it is not. This oral drug is based on the concept of molecular targeting, and we believe such targeting is in the wave of the future.


WOODRUFF: The new drug works by seeking and destroying only cancer cells while healthy cells remain untouched. A judge in New York opened the way today for slave laborers of Nazi Germany to get payouts from a $4 1/2 billion compensation fund. The judge dismissed lawsuits that had been blocking the payouts from the fund, set up by the German government and industry. Distribution of the money could begin within a few weeks if German officials sign off on the deal.

The attorney for actor Robert Blake made a deposit today with Los Angeles Police. Attorney Harland Braun says he dropped off potential evidence that investigators may have missed while combing Blake's home in the search for his wife's killer.

Last night, police searched the home for the second time since Friday's shooting death of Bonny Bakley. The authorities towed a Mercedes from behind the guest house that Bakley lived in.

Congress is investigating the problem of flight delays at airports all across the United States. At a Senate hearing, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Jane Garvey, showcased reforms that have been implemented to reduce delays. On the House side, the aviation subcommittee is considering a bill that would allow airlines to cooperate in coordinating flight schedules. That cooperation is currently outlawed due to antitrust laws.

The Boeing sweepstakes is over and the winner is Chicago. The company is moving its corporate headquarters from Seattle. Boeing announced in March that it would relocate and it said three cities -- Chicago, Denver and Dallas -- were all in the running. Chicago reportedly offered tax breaks and incentives totaling $35 million to land Boeing. The company says it will keep its manufacturing plant in Washington state.

A cut in interest rates in Europe is being credited with helping move stock prices higher, at least for the Dow. The Nasdaq wasn't doing as well, dropping 27 points today. But the Dow gained 43 points by the closing bell.

There's much more on what factors are influencing the markets on the "MONEYLINE NEWS HOUR." That's at 6:30 Eastern, right after INSIDE POLITICS.

And from the political view from Silicon Valley, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.


WOODRUFF: California's Silicon Valley made a big splash in the last election, but what about not? I was in Silicon Valley just yesterday and found executives there hopeful about the Bush administration and the future of the tech economy, but deeply divided about how far to engage in politics.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is my honor to be with innovators and visionaries, folks that really epitomize what America is all about.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): President Bush on Tuesday to an audience of high-tech industry leaders in Washington, delivering on a campaign promise to keep the Internet a tax-free zone.

In the heart of high-tech America, California's Silicon Valley, executives view that pledge as a good start, but with a high-tech bust rolling across the region like a fog, many are hoping for more.

KIM POLESE, CHAIR, MARIMBA: The education reform area, retraining of American workers, absolutely critical. Broadband access, building out the broadband networks so that all Americans, not just the privileged, but people in under-representative -- under- represented areas and rural areas have access.

WOODRUFF: Kim Polese is the co-founder of the Internet software firm Marimba and an active Democrat. But Polese says the common interests of high-tech executives trumps partisan politics.

POLESE: I'm not just painting a rosy picture. We still differ on certain issues, certainly social issues, like environment and a woman's right to choose, that sort of thing -- very, very divided on those issues. But those aren't the technology policy issues that we're discussing and moving together, you know, to make progress on.

There are issues on the economy, like the tax plan, the administration's tax plan, where we do differ. You know, we certainly don't try to hide those differences. But what we try to do is really amass and galvanize our energy, and have a clear voice to Washington, because it's much more effective.

WOODRUFF: In fact, Silicon Valley has done well by avoiding partisanship. The region may vote Democratic -- in Santa Clara County, Gore beat Bush by 26 points, more than double his statewide margin -- but it's a different story when it comes to giving money.

The computer and Internet industry dramatically raised its overall campaign contributions from $9 million in 1996 to 39 in 2000.

But as far as the presidential candidates themselves, George W. Bush raised twice as much money as Al Gore.

Playing both sides has been effective. During the boom years, high-tech scored major legislative victories -- on visas for overseas tech workers and protection from shareholder lawsuits -- without alienating any one party.

Smart politics now that the administration has changed.

RICK WHITE, PRESIDENT & CEO, TECHNET: We've had great access and ability to have input. We've had the secretary of commerce out here twice.

WOODRUFF: Rick White is the new head of a bipartisan group of prominent Silicon Valley executives, called Technet. White is a Republican asked to do the job after it was clear Bush had won the election.

A former congressman from Washington state, White's old district included Microsoft. His mission: encourage policies to help Silicon Valley out of the bust while keeping the federal government at arm's length.

WHITE: You know, the natural instinct of government, when you have something so visible and so successful, is to make sure it doesn't get out of control. And so you have a "Department of Computers," you know, or you'd have a Cabinet, you know, level official whose job it was to regulate the computer industry. We don't want that. That's antithetical to what we want.

WOODRUFF: Silicon Valley has a strong libertarian streak and there are some here who are highly suspicious of any involvement in politics.

T.J. ROGERS, CEO, CYPRESS SEMICONDUCTORS: Whenever I see the feds, I grab my wallet, turn around and run like hell. If you look at what they did in this bubble break, all right, they made it worse. You've got Alan Greenspan and the Fed, and they decided the economy is overheated. So they started bashing the economy exactly when the economy was about to take a nosedive. So Alan Greenspan made this thing worse than it would have been if he had just left the economy alone.

WOODRUFF: T.J. Rogers is the CEO Cypress Semiconductor. He gave money to Bush last year. When it comes to the Democrats, Rogers doesn't mince words.

ROGERS: The last thing in the world I would have wanted is, for example, a drone like Al Gore to help me, technology. And that's what they were trying to pretend. When Clinton and Gore were in office, they were flying out here all the time, sucking up to a few of the locals, trying to pretend their high-tech guys, that they knew what was going on -- scared the hell out of me, because I don't want the president out here. I want him to stay in Washington and let us -- let us do what we need to do in Silicon Valley and run our businesses. We really don't need any help from them.

WOODRUFF: Technet CEO Rick White, however, says the go-it-alone camp is being politically naive.

WHITE: I frankly admire that point of view. It would be great if the world worked that way, but it really doesn't. You know, it's -- it's reminiscent of this old saying that I used to hear around here a lot that Silicon Valley works according to Moore's law, you know, productivity doubles every two years or every 18 months. But Washington, D.C. works according to moron's law, you know: It's far different.

There's an arrogance here sometimes that doesn't understand we are part of the larger framework.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: And if money is any indication, the forces of engagement appear to have the upper hand. From 1996 to 2000, high- tech vaulted up the industry rankings of political donors from No. 32 to No. 7. And while the bust may cut into the available pool of cash, it also means that Silicon Valley may need Washington more than ever.

We'll find out

An exclusive look inside Bob Novak's political notebook and 10 U.S. senators join David Letterman for some late-night fun. The notebook and a political top 10 when we return.


WOODRUFF: With those high gasoline prices, there is growing concern on Capitol Hill. Bob Novak of the "Chicago Sun-Times" joins us now with his reporter's notebook.

Bob, what kind of reaction are you hearing among Republicans about these gas prices?

ROBERT NOVAK, "CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": They are very unhappy with the administration. They don't say so publicly, but privately, they feel the administration has not given the Republicans any ammunition to counter constituent complaints. They asked for material from Dick Cheney's task force -- that report is coming out next week.

This administration is so secretive, all they have given them is talking points, which don't help. There was one meeting with California Republicans where Dick Cheney said he was going to go to California, and explain this. They said, don't go; it will look like we are defending ourselves on the brownouts, so they are very upset.

WOODRUFF: All right, taxes. You have been doing some sleuthing on what's going on. The president had proposed reducing the 39 percent top income rate down to...

NOVAK: To 33.

WOODRUFF: To 33. And what...

NOVAK: That's very important to the White House. Now I'm told by very good sources that the chairman's mark -- that's the draft of the tax bill by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley -- and they are stunned, has a rate of 36 percent in it.

The Democrats were opposing 37 percent. So that's like a final compromise. The House will have 33 percent. But it looks like the White House is very upset with Grassley with going that high on the percentage.

WOODRUFF: All right. Over in the House, Congressman Jim Traficant in a lot of trouble. What are you hearing about that?

NOVAK: He's indicted, but sources tell me, he is going to run. And he will run even if he is convicted. And so there is -- there is a problem for the Democrats that many Democrats who want to get into the primary against Traficant in this Youngstown, Ohio district, and he may win because of that in the primary. So, there's a big effort by the Ohio Democratic establishment to try to get state Senator Hagan, who comes from a famous political family out there, as the only candidate against Traficant.

But if Traficant has a multi-candidate Democratic primary, he may be elected to Congress, even if he is in prison.


WOODRUFF: That would be interesting. Bob, two other things. One is, the fund-raiser last night for Republican moderates.

NOVAK: They call themselves....

WOODRUFF: You were the fly on the wall.

NOVAK: They call themselves the mainstream Republicans. I wasn't there, but I got a good source from somebody who was there. Somebody who wasn't there besides me was Trent Lott, the majority leader, and they were really making fun of him.

They said that he couldn't come to the event because the parliamentarian wouldn't let him come. He had just fired the Senate parliamentarian, Bob Dove.

The big hero of the evening was the moderate Republican Senator -- liberal Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who today, voted against the president's budget. And John McCain got a lot of laughs when he said, "Lincoln Chafee replaced has replaced me -- McCain -- as Trent Lott's number one problem in the Senate.


WOODRUFF: Finally, a little politics here. Out in New Jersey, there -- we have access to a new poll by Quinnipiac University, Bob, showing Democrats James McGreevey leading Republican Bob Franks 44 percent to 35 percent, 18 percent undecided. But what is the reaction to this?

NOVAK: Well, that surprises me, because there's another poll by a non-biased source, I am told, that shows that Franks, who has just entered the race replacing the acting governor Donny DiFrancesco, actually has moved ahead by one point, ahead of McGreevey.

What the feeling is in New Jersey is, that this was given up as lost. This looks like a very bad year for Republicans, where they will lose all the big races. And this poll showing at least that Franks is in the ball game against McGreevey gives him a little hope.

But the bad news is in Virginia, where they've tried to get the lieutenant governor, John Hagel, to drop out of the race so they wouldn't have a contested primary for the Republican side for governor. He has refused to. Republicans are in disarray (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Virginia. So, there could be a democratic revival in Virginia. So, that's why there's not much good political news in this off year, and they are happy that Franks at least has a chance in New Jersey.

WOODRUFF: Virginia, New Jersey being the only two governorships up in the...

NOVAK: Of course, you have New York City and Los Angeles, where it looks like the Republicans will lose their two big mayoral seats.

WOODRUFF: All right, Robert Novak, thanks a lot.

Tonight in the CROSSFIRE, President Bush's first batch of judicial nominations, Bill Press and Robert Novak, who you see here frequently on INSIDE POLITICS -- they will be facing off at 7:30 p.m. Eastern

From actor to politician, and back again. Senator Fred Thompson lends his voice to a radio production about, what else, political intrigue. The story behind the senator's return to acting, next.



SEN. FRED THOMPSON (R), TENNESSEE: I'm your boy for that, Jordy. I can snoop around El Paso quietly. If I find something I'm not supposed to find, what the heck! I'm a senator. They're always investigating something.


WOODRUFF: Senator Fred Thompson puts his acting talent on display as part of the new radio production "Seven Days in May." The story is based on a novel about U.S. and Soviet relations during the Cold War, and an attempted coup by the chairman of the joints chiefs of staff.

It will air later this year on NPR, National Public Radio, and the Voice of America. Senator Thompson plays -- you guessed it -- a United States senator.

Joining me now to talk about his performance in "Seven Days in May" and more, much more, Republican Senator Fred Thompson of Tennessee. Senator Thompson, how different is this role from the real United States Senate?

THOMPSON: Well, it's a lot different in many respects. For example, we had a live audience, actually, for this play. We don't often have had a for our speeches over here.

WOODRUFF: It is -- it does take place during the Cold War. Any reminder of how far we have come since then?

THOMPSON: Yes, in many respects. And the dialogue is kind of -- kind of innocent and dated a little bit, you know, in that respect too. It really shows us how things have changed.

The book was written originally in 1962 and it was set in 1972, so they were projecting forward, and some of the references and things really showed that the world has really changed a lot in the last few decades.

WOODRUFF: So, so long ago that no real lessons in it for today, and talk about missile defense systems?

THOMPSON: No, I don't think so. I don't think it would help to overanalyze that. I don't think there is any terribly significant messages involved. I think it's just a classic political thriller, and it's -- a lot of people have enjoyed it on the radio, and television, and the movies, and the book form for years and years.

I just kind of get a kick out of sneaking off for a little while, you know, in the middle of all of this and kind of doing this with a guy like Ed Asner. I guess we're kind of the political odd couple, but we enjoy each other and it's good to work with a real pro like that.

WOODRUFF: That's right, he does belong to that other political party, doesn't he?

THOMPSON: Yes, he does.

WOODRUFF: The play, the radio production, again, "Seven Days in May".

Senator, let me ask you -- to turn the subject now to energy. We reported a little while ago on INSIDE POLITICS today, a new poll numbers that CNN and "TIME" and Gallup organization have conducted, showing 58 percent of Americans now view the energy crisis as very serious, and this is a pretty significant increase over what it was just a short while ago.

What is this -- does this send a signal to the White House that it needs to do more than what it's already planning to do next week?

THOMPSON: No, I don't think so. I think the White House is right on track. I think it's a healthy sign, though, that people are finally realizing how serious this is, and the fact that it's going to get serious.

I think what it's a sign of is the fact that we really have been asleep at the switch in this country now for several years, and that our chickens are coming home to roost. It's a simple matter in one respect, because our demand is exceeding the supply. And we haven't done anything to increase the supply, and with a growing economy, our demand continues to increase, and it will continue to increase. And the problem will get worse.

We now have over 50 percent of our oil being imported. We are getting 8 percent of our oil from Saddam Hussein. We shouldn't be that dependent in that way. So, I'm looking forward to the president's proposal. I think I know enough about it to know the approach he is going to take, and I think it is going to be a good one.

WOODRUFF: So, is the administration right? I mean, based on everything we have heard from Vice President Cheney -- right to de- emphasize conservation and to say that really is not and shouldn't be the centerpiece of this?

THOMPSON: No, Judy, I really don't think that that's a correct assessment. I know that's kind of been the impression.

WOODRUFF: But that's what the vice president said.

THOMPSON: Well, I don't -- I don't think he said that he was going to de-emphasize conservation.

WOODRUFF: He said it would not be a centerpiece.

THOMPSON: Well, I think what he's saying is that he's speaking the plain truth, and that is those who think we can conserve our way out of this problem are simply mistaken. He was at a luncheon that we had a couple of days ago with many of the senators, and he assured us that conservation would be an important part of the package and, you know, we will just have to wait and see.

But I think I can assure you it will be an important part of the package, but we can't turn a blind eye to the fact that we haven't had a new major refinery built in 20 years in this country. We haven't had a new nuclear plant licensed in over 20 years in this country. California did not have any generating capacity built for several years out there.

Can't continue down that road and think that if we turn out the lights a little sooner, that we are going to work our way out of this problem.

WOODRUFF: Senator Thompson, it is clear that the administration is focusing on longer-term solutions, and the calls that we are now hearing to do something about the price of gasoline, which is going up all over the country, don't seem to be what the administration is focusing on. Should they be looking at that? Should Congress be looking at that in the short run?

THOMPSON: Judy, the tendency is in a democracy -- and properly so in most cases -- to immediately do something and respond to a problem. The fact of the matter is, that this has been a long time coming. We haven't had an energy policy for a long time in this country. And there is nothing we can do to snap our fingers and cause it to go away or solve it. There are some things we can do to help, and I think the administration will propose those things.

Certainly, conservation needs to be a part of that problem, doing it in an environmentally sound way needs to be a part of it...

WOODRUFF: Including drilling in the arctic...

THOMPSON: It is going to take a while to work our way out of it. I think that that has to be on the table. I mean, when you have got that kind of potential supply, you can't start taking things off the table.

I mean, we have got to ask ourselves, you know, what our priorities are. We got to have more coal -- efficient technologies and environmentally sound technologies there, because we are going to depend on coal whether we like it or not for a long time into the future.

But we simply got to have sound policies that work our way out of this, so the next generation has a sound country and policies that accommodate a thriving economy and so forth.

WOODRUFF: Senator...

THOMPSON: There are no immediate solutions. Perhaps some immediate political solutions. Some people are advocating caps, for example, or price controls, but no immediate energy solutions.

WOODRUFF: Do you think caps are the right way to go?

THOMPSON: No, I don't. I think again, that might provide some political cover for a short term, but it provides all the wrong inducements. It does not encourage people to conserve, when you put on caps. It does not encourage people to produce new energy sources when you put on caps, so there -- as I say, there are some things that can be done, but they're not going to be major problem-solvers until we get a long-term plan in place and start working our way out of this in a sound way and one that's sustainable.

We have let this thing get out of hand, and now this administration has come in, inherited this problem, and they are speaking the plain truth, and it's not always pretty.

WOODRUFF: Senator Fred Thompson, we think you're pretty we, and we...


THOMPSON: Well, that's one.

WOODRUFF: We wish we could go see the radio performance tonight.

THOMPSON: A face for radio, I know what you're thinking.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: It's always great to see you. Thanks again for joining us.

THOMPSON: I appreciate it.

WOODRUFF: Well, Senator Thompson is not the only member of the Senate trying his hand at entertainment. David Letterman drafted some of Thompson's colleagues for last night's "Top 10 List."


SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: Wake me when Senator Windbag is finished.

SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Last night, Strom Thurmond and I got absolutely wrecked at the Eminem concert.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: All press inquiries should go to my pet chimpanzee Ricky.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: I promise to be the next senator I can be for the next six years, or four years, or however many years a senator serves.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Mr. President, I yield a floor to the honorable Senator Sock.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: President Bush is always using a lot of big words that I just don't understand.

SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: I am honest, bright, a hard worker, and I served my country honorably in the military. Guess I'm never going to be president.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: I'm going to raise your taxes so I can buy myself a sweet Camaro.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: My day breaks up like this: 10 minutes doing senator stuff, nine hours Sony play station.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: The House of Representatives is a bunch of dorks.


WOODRUFF: How come we don't hear them saying those things on the Senate floor? We probably won't.

Next: New York's most visible marriage and divorce. A look at breaking up in the public eye, as the case of Giuliani versus Hanover goes to court.


WOODRUFF: Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. Although President Bush still likes to bill himself as a "uniter, not a divider," some fellow Republicans are wondering if his defense secretary has gotten the unity memo. Donald Rumsfeld's independent style seems to be rubbing GOP congressional leaders the wrong way.

CNN military affairs correspondent Jamie Mcintyre reports on the conflict, and its connection to the question marks hanging over the pentagon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What's up with the Bush Administration's new defense strategy? Will the current two- war capability be scrapped in favor of a smaller military? Will the U.S. nuclear arsenal be cut below the planned 2,500 warheads? Will Cold War weapons programs such as the Army's crusader heavy-howitzer be killed to pay for missile defense?

No one seems to know. Congressional and Pentagon sources say Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has not shared his thinking with either the Joint Chiefs Of Staff or key members of Congress, and those sources say both groups are miffed about being out of the loop.

In response, sources say, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott held up confirmation of two Rumsfeld nominees, the Pentagon spokesman and general counsel. The clear message: Republicans in Congress don't appreciate being left in the dark. Rumsfeld met last week on the Hill with Lott and two other Senators in what one congressional source described as a "clear the air" session. But not all Republicans are upset.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I thin that Secretary Rumsfeld should be given some time and I believe that those recommendations will be coming over pretty soon.

MCINTYRE: For his part, Rumsfeld insists the reason he's not sharing his recommendations is that he hasn't made the big decisions.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Some people think I arrived in this job from the Pharmaceutical business with a head full of plans ready to bring out, unwrap the cellophane package and hand them over to the Pentagon. I didn't. I am very sincerely trying to figure out what I ought to think about these things.

MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld has commissioned at least 17 separate reviews, but they are secret. The pentagon won't say exactly how many there are, or who is doing them.

REAR ADM. CRAIG QUIGLEY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: All of the study's purpose is simply to stimulate his thinking on a variety of topics. And some of them are as few as one person for a few days.


MCINTYRE: Judy, following the congressional complaints, Rumsfeld has increased his consultations, in particular, with Senate arms services committee chairman, Senator John Warner and Pentagon officials say that President Bush may be ready to announce the new military strategy when he gives a speech to graduates at the U.S. Naval Academy at the end of the month. That is, if Secretary Rumsfeld, who says he's still working on it, has it figured out by then -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Jamie, what exactly do the senators want from Secretary Rumsfeld? I mean, how much consultation, how much detail?

MCINTYRE: Well, there's two parts of this. One is, what is the overall strategy? And they feel like they haven't really been consulted on that. Then there's also the practical matter of additional money for the Pentagon, the budget figures and they haven't been given much guidance on what kind of budget the Pentagon is going to need, especially a supplemental for this year.

When they have asked for the budget figures the Pentagon has no, we've got to do the strategy first. And they said, well, how is that strategy coming? They simply say, well, we are meeting on that. We will get back to you. They're feeling like they're a little out of the loop.

WOODRUFF: All right. Jamie Mcintyre at the Pentagon.

Despite White House concerns, the House Of Representatives voted today to withhold back dues from the United Nations. Which Washington had recently agreed to pay. The 252 to 165 vote came in response to the booting of the United States from the U.N. Human Rights Commission, a move that outraged many members of Congress.


REP. HENRY HYDE (R), ILLINOIS: I don't like our diplomats at the U.N. walking around with little sign on their back, "kick me." So we tried to take that sign down.


WOODRUFF: Most House Democrats oppose withholding the U.N. dues which put them on the same side as the Bush Administration.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Because the U.N. has voted the U.S. off the Human Rights Commission, we are deciding that we can break our agreement, that we can break our contract. This is wrong, and I think we would be ashamed if children acted in this manner.


WOODRUFF: There's no indication yet, whether the Senate will following the House's lead and vote to withhold the U.N. payment.

Now, for the reaction at the United Nations, let's go to CNN's Richard Roth in New York. Hi, Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. Boy, have they been down this road before at the United Nations. Years of deadlock over getting more than a billion dollars in U.S. dues paid to the U.N. Now the reaction is this: Secretary-General Annan and U.N. officials are pleased that the Bush Administration and State Department agree with them that the money on the dues should not be linked to this Human Rights Commission vote.

The Secretary-General Annan said there should be no carry over, it would be counterproductive. Within the last hour, he noted congressional frustration. He said the dust will settle soon and he hopes the U.S. will return to the Human Rights Commission soon. KOFI ANNAN, U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL: I think we should focus on the future, developing relations with the allies and other member states, to give the U.S. the opportunity to play its natural leadership role in the organization. I personally do not think that attaching amendments to dues due to the U.N. is the right way to go. I have always maintained as secretary-general that the members should pay their dues in full and on time and without conditions.

ROTH: Secretary-General Annan said that he was pleased that Congress did not hold back on the big chunk of money, $582 million, which will be coming to the United Nations and there are several U.N. Agencies that are very eager to get that money, a lot of countries that contribute troops to peacekeeping missions.

But there's also resentment still in the hallways. Some countries feeling that the U.S. power and just the fact that they are the biggest contributor here overall does not give them the right to act like they're the number one king pin here and can decide to go home if they don't like something or pull out of UNESCO if they want to or rejoin it, that kind of tone -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Richard, how -- what is known about how exactly this vote came about? It was done in secret, right?

ROTH: Yes, it was in secret. You thought the Florida election and the presidential race in the U.S. was conflicted. Here, nobody is really coming out, and revealing on camera what they've done. There were 53 voting nations in the overall group that voted on the Human Rights Commission.

We do know that Venezuela, Argentina said they voted for the U.S., so did Canada. Portugal says they voted for Sweden which just beat out the U.S., but they said they U.S. -- they weren't going to vote that way. And the Sudanese Ambassador, his nation has come in for a lot of criticism, he told us a short time ago, Sudan voted against the U.S. for the Human Rights Commission, but actually voted in favor of Washington for the U.N. Narcotics Board, the other agency the U.S. was eliminated from -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Richard Roth at United Nations, thanks.

Former President Bill Clinton is speaking about an area of global concern for the Bush administration. Clinton is in China, and as you might expect, recent tensions between Washington and Beijing have come up in his conversations there.

Here's our senior Asia correspondent, Mike Chinoy.


MIKE CHINOY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At a time of heightened tension between the U.S. and China, a call for cooperation from former President Bill Clinton.

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this kind of world, America clearly has a fundamental interest in promoting stability, prosperity and partnership in Asia. The key is getting the China relationship right.

CHINOY: In a speech to corporate chieftains at the Fortune Global Forum, Mr. Clinton made clear he believes the Bush administration, with its hawkish approach to China, has got it wrong.

CLINTON: Of course, as always, there are difficulties and bumps in the road in our relationship -- the recent incident involving the airplane, in my time, the terrible accident in which American planes bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, something I still profoundly regret.

The important thing, it seems to me, is not to assume that the relationship is inherently adversarial, but instead to take what we know is the truth: that the world would be a better place over the next 50 years if we are partners.

CHINOY: On Wednesday, before a public appearance at the famous Hong Kong racetrack, Mr. Clinton held a private meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, with whom he worked closely when in office to build warmer Sino-American ties.

The former president reportedly urged Jiang to be patient with the new administration in Washington while the Chinese leader is said to have expressed a desire to maintain good relations with the United States. As Bush administration officials tour Asia, seeking to generate support for the new president's controversial missile defense system, Mr. Clinton also told the forum he wasn't sure the project was necessary.

CLINTON: The most likely threat to our security is not from incoming missiles over the next 20 or 30 years, it's from increasingly smaller, more sophisticated, more difficult to detect weapons of mass destructions, using chemical, biological, or God forbid, small-scale nuclear devices.

CHINOY (on camera): The Bush administration has gone out of its way to stress that Mr. Clinton was not carrying a message or in any way acting as an intermediary with Beijing. Still, the Clinton-Jiang meeting and the former president's speech here have served to underscore both Beijing's unease with current American China policy, and just how much that policy has diverged from the so-called strategic engagement that was the hallmark of Mr. Clinton's approach to China.

Mike Chinoy, CNN, Hong Kong.


WOODRUFF: Will a judge trim the guest list at Gracie Mansion? Ahead, Mayor Rudy Giuliani's divorce, and the issue of visits to his official residence.

Plus, celebrating a pivotal moment in civil rights history.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani has never been one to shy from controversy, but the latest questions facing the mayor reach beyond city hall, all the way to the mayor's residence.

CNN's Brian Palmer has more on the mayor's legal dispute involving his divorce from his wife, Donna Hanover.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After breaking ground for a new wing of the Museum of Modern Art with a gleaming designer shovel, New York's habitually talkative Mayor Rudy Giuliani was uncharacteristically mum when it came to a particular subject.

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: I cannot comment on the case. I -- there's nothing I can say about it. As I explained yesterday, there's a temporary restraining order that says that the parties involved in the case cannot talk about it.

PALMER: The topic: his wife Donna Hanover's effort to bar his companion, Judy Nathan, from Gracie Mansion, the mayor's residence.

Hanover continued her public appearances.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are no cameras in here.

PALMER: But she isn't talking, either, because the judge in their divorce case imposed a gag order. Their lawyers have been silenced, too. But plenty of others are weighing in.

CECIL WEICH, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: I think from a point of view of the children's position, if you will, I think that Judy Nathan should be barred from the private residence of the mayor and his wife.

PALMER: Former Mayor Ed Koch believed the judge may be able to bar Nathan from Gracie Mansion, because the court's primary consideration in the divorce case is the welfare of the children.

ED KOCH, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: Their security, in mind and body, and their sensibility is most important. That's what should be in the judge's mind.

PALMER: Some say the private life of the mayor and his wife are not matters of public policy and should stay private.

LESTER WALLMAN, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: I feel that questions of marriage, divorce, separation, should be private matters. And even though this divorce involves the mayor of the biggest city in the world, nevertheless, it's a personal affair, and I think it should be private.


PALMER: But in the media capital of the world, that won't be easy, with or without a gag order.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.

WOODRUFF: The debate over whether Mayor Giuliani's companion should be barred from Gracie Mansion will be the topic later this evening on "THE POINT." Joining Greta Van Susteren will be defense attorney Gloria Allred and divorce attorney Marvin Mitchelson. That's at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

A Republican Congressional candidate is getting some presidential assistance. Bill Shuster is the GOP nominee in next week's special election in Pennsylvania's ninth district, to replace his father, Bud Shuster, who resigned earlier this year.

Democrat Scott Conklin is also vying for the seat. President Bush is asking voters to support the younger Shuster in a radio ad running throughout the district this week.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bill Shuster's a good man. You can trust him to do the right thing for you and for America. We're changing the tone here in Washington, and I need Bill Shuster here to help me.


WOODRUFF: This is the first campaign ad President Bush has done since taking office. The ad will run until Tuesday's election.

This month marks the fortieth anniversary of a key event in the civil rights movement: On May 4, 1961, 13 activists boarded a bus here in Washington for a trip across the South designed to focus attention on segregation.

Today in Washington, a ceremony marked the anniversary of the trip, whose participants became known as the Freedom Riders. The Freedom Ride was mostly peaceful, until the group reached Alabama, when the bus was set on fire by a mob in Anniston. The group switched to another bus and traveled to Birmingham, where the Riders were assaulted by a mob.

WOODRUFF: Georgia Congressman John Lewis was one of the original Freedom Riders. Earlier on CNN, he talked about the trip, and the violence the group faced at stops along the way.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: It was very violent. It was 13 of us on the original ride, seven whites and six blacks. The bus was burned in Anniston, Alabama. We were beaten in Birmingham, and later, met by an angry mob in Montgomery, where I was hit in the head with a wooden crate. It was very violent. I thought I was going to die. I was left lying at the Greyhound Bus Station in Montgomery unconscious.


WOODRUFF: The Freedom Riders never made it to their final stop in New Orleans. But later that year, Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered the Interstate Commerce Commission to enforce a 1960 Supreme Court decision integrating bus and rail travel.

Putting politics on the menu. Bill Delaney will travel to a burger joint that serves up laughs at politicians' expense.




BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before the then- first lady even got elected, Joe says, he had a Senator Hillary Clinton burger.

JOE BARTLEY, OWNER, BURGER COTTAGE: Mushrooms, sour cream, cole slaw and our famous onion rings, enough to feed a village. I figured, I used to talk to people in New York and they'd come in and they'd say, "I don't know if she's going to win or not," and I'd say, "boy, she's one smart cookie, I bet that she is going to win."

It's all in fun. If you don't have a sense of humor at this stage of the game, then, in politics, or in life, you probably shouldn't be doing what you're doing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A Ted Kennedy, medium-rare, please.

DELANEY: Customers don't seem to take it all to heart, except maybe the cholesterol.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It does make it more fun.

DELANEY: Fun with politics, though, may not be quite what it used to be.

(on camera): Anyone serving up political laughs knows, as does Joe Bartley, that a delicious era has now passed: the incredibly juicy Clinton years.

The Clintons, at Joe's place, are still the whoppers. Bartley is a big fan of President Bush and has dedicated a Texas barbecued burger to him. But where's the beef?

BARTLEY: See, now, look it -- there's a Bush there. He's not funny, you know what I mean? He's a nice guy, but he's not funny. You can't, like, do things with him that you can do with Bill.

DELANEY: Not that some aren't quite content right now with a more low-calorie political diet.

BARTLEY: Let's hope he isn't as amusing as the past president was.

DELANEY: All a matter of taste.

Bill Delaney, CNN, Cambridge, Massachusetts.


WOODRUFF: I'm ready for a burger. It make me hungry to look at all that.

That's all for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. But, of course, you can go online all the time at CNN's AOL keyword: CNN.

This programming reminder, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will be discussing the rise in gasoline prices tonight on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

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



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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