Skip to main content /transcript


President Bush Goes Green in California

Aired May 30, 2001 - 17:00   ET


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

The president goes green in California. Critics say his environmental promises fall short, but Mr. Bush says his commitment is real.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A healthy environment is a national concern and requires an active national government.


ANNOUNCER: They are big, they are brawny, and they are everywhere. More than a suburban status symbol, can SUVs serve as a political barometer?

Plus: a lesson in history from an eight year old political whiz kid.


PRAVEEN POLAMRAJU, ELEMENTARY STUDENT: Thomas Jefferson was the third president. James Madison was the fourth president, James Monroe was the fifth president. John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren...


ANNOUNCER: Now, Judy Woodruff takes you INSIDE POLITICS.

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

President Bush took his energy message back to nature today, with a stop among some of the country's great natural wonders: the giant trees of Sequoia National Park. The California event was meant to showcase the president's commitment to the nation's natural treasures, and to burnish his image among critics who say he promotes the interests of industry at the expense of the environment.

CNN senior White House correspondent John King traveled with the president on his California trip. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A look across the great western divide, a walk to marvel at the giant Sequoias, including the largest living tree on earth.

BUSH: They were here when the Roman empire fell, and they were here when the Roman empire rose. And had Christ himself stood on this spot, He would have been in the shade of this very tree.

KING: It was a visit designed to highlight a Bush promise to give national parks like Sequoia a face lift, so a hand up and no comment when asked about plans by California's governor to sue the federal government over electricity prices here.

The president pledges to eliminate a $5 billion maintenance backlog over five years. His budget for next year includes a $440 million down payment, a 30 percent increase over this year's Park Maintenance budget. $1.5 million of that would be for removing pavement and other man-made threats to the roots of the giant Sequoias here. And the administration also will act to control emissions from coal and other power plants blamed for haze at some national parks.

BUSH: Americans are united in the belief that we must preserve our natural heritage and safeguard the land around us.

KING: There are 384 national parks, 83 million acres in all, attracting nearly 300 million visitors a year. The National Parks Conservation Association says it gives Bush a "D" grade so far for parks protection, and some environmentalists say scenes like this are designed to mask policies that harm the environment, like the proposal to drill for oil and natural gas at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and on other federal lands, and the easing of Clinton administration rules setting new pollution controls on mining.

MELANIE GRIFFIN, SIERRA CLUB: President Bush knows he's in trouble on environmental issues,so he is trying to paint himself as an environmentalist. It would have been more honest for him to go stand in front of an oil derrick and talk about his energy policy and the threats that it poses to public lands.

KING: It was the last stop on Mr. Bush's first visit to California as president.


KING: Now over time, here in California and across the country, administration officials insist that Mr. Bush's record on the environment will come to be viewed as favorable, or at least as balanced, but it will take more than a few speeches, more than a few visits to majestic places like Sequoia National Park to convince his many skeptics -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John, the president seemed today to be stepping off of his message about energy. What's that all about? KING: Well, he did not. He specifically -- you can see him refuse to answer a question about his feud with the California governor over energy. That part of the administration's political strategy, No. 1, they wanted to focus on the environment here, a very important issue in the state of California, and elsewhere.

No. 2, they do not want to be involved in a daily squabble with the Democratic governor here. They believe that is the worst thing for the president, to politicize the issue, to be seen as politicizing the issue, to be seen as getting in a daily back-and-forth finger- pointing. This is your fault, Governor -- no, this is your fault, Mr. President.

So, Mr. Bush hoping to have a much more upbeat final day here. Aides say he is already planning to come back to California in the weeks or months ahead. The last thing they say they need is a spitting match -- if you will -- with the governor of California, although they know this political debate will continue, and in quite soon, it is likely, if the governor keeps his promise, to end up in the federal courts.

WOODRUFF: All right, John King, traveling with the president in California.

President Bush is receiving some friendly assistance as he promotes his energy policy. A group calling itself the 21st Century Energy Project, funded by some prominent conservative groups, has started running print and radio ads, defending the White House plan, criticizing the idea of price caps, and invoking the memory of the 1970's energy crisis. The radio ads also belittle California's reliance on conservation.


ANNOUNCER: California ranks second in energy conservation. If conservation alone could solve the problem, California wouldn't be facing high rates and rolling blackouts.

The 21st Century Energy Project applauds President Bush's approach, a balanced 105 point plan, including over 40 recommendations to increase conservation, as well as a proposal to reduce dependence on foreign oil while using 21st century to produce clean, abundant, and affordable energy.


WOODRUFF: For more on the president's energy plan, and the battle it has fueled on Capitol Hill, I'm joined by CNN Congressional correspondent Kate Snow.

Kate, what is the latest on the possibility of Congress imposing price controls on electricity rates?

KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Something a lot of folks are talking about, particularly Democrats. There is one bill on which they are pinning some hopes, a bill that's been pending in the House Energy Committee. It is still at the committee level now, they think they may be able to bring that up, next week.

What the big sticking point is, of course, is price controls, sort of a bad word as far as Republicans are concerned. Republicans say, though, that they are optimistic, they have made some progress in trying to negotiate some kind of a compromise that would give some relief to Californians without that dreaded "price control" word, and again, they think they might be able to take that up next week.

Separately, one other thing going on, Democrats trying to force the issue onto the floor of the House: they've got a petition that they want to bring up called a discharge petition, a way to get something on the floor. That is another price control measure. They say they are going to bring that up in a few weeks, June 18th, and start gathering signatures to try to force the issue on to the floor.

WOODRUFF: Kate, separately, back in the Senate, as it moves toward moving to Democratic control, how does that affect the strategy on all of this?

SNOW: It affects it clearly. I mean, Democrats are very hot on this issue right now, and in fact, Leader Gephardt from the House has been traveling around California for the last couple of days, trying to put the pressure on the Bush White House. I think we have some of what he said yesterday.


REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Now the president has not listened to people of California. I think part of the president's job is to listen to people, and to deal with crises. This is a crisis, and he should listen, and he should act.


SNOW: Now, that is the House side of course, and on the Senate side, some concern as well. But we should point out that the Senate has not been quite as aggressive on this front. Senate Democrats not really into the idea of price controls. In fact, Senate Minority Leader -- who will become Majority Leader -- Tom Daschle, personally doesn't favor the idea of price controls, neither does Senator Jeff Bingaman, who is going to be chairman of Energy Committee, so it will be interesting to see how they work out that balance, whether price controls are really something that can be pushed for.

But as one person put it to me earlier today, it is those who are in the front lines -- those House members, all those House members from California, even Republicans, were really pushing to do something on California.

WOODRUFF: And feeling the heat.

Kate, what about on rising gasoline prices? What do you see and hear on that?

SNOW: Separately on that, Senator Carl Levin, who is going to become the chairman of a subcommittee on the Governmental Affairs Committee, and Investigations Committee, he is going to call for his staff -- has already called for his staff to investigate whether mergers between various gasoline companies have led to price increases, decreasing competitiveness, that has already happened.

And also today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost sending a letter to the president calling for the president to call on OPEC, to try to force a greater supply of crude oil, thinking that that will drive down the cost. Again, the politics of it -- Democrats, pushing this issue hard, knowing they can win some political points back home, if they are seen as the ones trying to do something about it.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow, our congressional correspondent, thank you very much.

And as Kate just mentioned, Michigan Senator Levin soon will become chairman of the Senate's permanent subcommittee on investigation. And his plans to investigate the oil companies are an early sign of how Democratic control in the Senate will influence the overall energy debate.

Just a short time ago, I spoke with Carl Levin and I asked him why investigation is necessary.


SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: There's a huge increase in gas prices with no particular explanation right before the holiday weekend. All the gas stations at one time in Michigan are going -- went up 20, 25 cents a gallon, together. And it's -- it's just simply wrong. It's inexplicable. There's no justification that I can see in terms of the cost of oil per barrel to the refiners. The supplies of gasoline seem to be now at their normal level in terms of the inventories of refined gasoline. We don't see the shortage here causing an increase in price.

Quite the opposite. What we see is the oil companies gouging us in terms of price. And I was amazed, frankly, I got to tell you, Judy, when the other day the vice president of the United States said that he doesn't see any evidence of price gouging. Those are his exact words.

I wish he'd come to Michigan and the other Midwestern states, because he'd see plenty evidence of price gouging. And this is just has to be taken on. We've got to fight back.

WOODRUFF: Well, Senator, as you know, the industry says there's no price gouging, and they point to two recent Federal Trade Commission investigations, neither one of which showed any wrongdoing on their part.

LEVIN: Well, what the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, was unable to do was to show evidence of collusion. That doesn't mean there's not price gouging going on. And the same Federal Trade Commission did find that least in one case a company was able to withhold supply and increase price even though it had the supply. That means that it had enough control in that area that it in and of itself, without any collusion, was able to manipulate the price of gasoline in that area.

That shows a real absence of competition, and so we've asked the Federal Trade Commission to take a look at the recent large number of mergers and consolidations in the oil industry and to tell us whether or not those mergers and consolidations -- involving most of the major oil companies, by the way -- have led to a lack of competition.

WOODRUFF: Well, what the industry is pointing to, senator, is No. 1 they're saying world oil prices are high, and second, they're talking about an infrastructure, a distribution infrastructure for getting gasoline around the country from refineries to delivery point that they say is just outdated.

LEVIN: What they can't explain is why every gas station in the region goes up 20 to 25 cents per gallon within two hours, all at the same time, and it is not explainable by those kinds of excuses about infrastructure. That is or isn't true, and to whatever extent it's true is a constant problem. It doesn't explain the 20 or 25 cents per gallon spike right before a holiday weekend. We have no explanation for that. It is not explained in terms of a price -- the world price of oil per barrel. It's not explained by how old the infrastructure is. It is simply price gouging.

And we are going to go after them. We're going to use whatever tools we have at our command to fight back against an industry which does not have adequate competition.

WOODRUFF: Well, have you personally asked, posed that question, as you put it just now, to the heads of these oil companies?

LEVIN: That's exactly what we're going to be doing in the next few weeks when our investigation is under way, and that'll come after I become chairman of the committee. I'm not yet chairman of that subcommittee, the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. But when I become chairman, we will then launch that investigation. I expect that'll happen within the next week or so.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me, if I -- if you don't mind, turn the corner now and ask you a question on the military. You're not only going to become chairman of that Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, you're also going to become chair of the Armed Services Committee. And in that connection, the president's missile defense plan, Secretary Colin Powell, secretary of state, in Europe yesterday trying to sell the European allies, he appeared to me, with almost universal opposition. What message should the administration take away from this?

LEVIN: Well, I hope they take away the message that the unilateral deployment of a national missile defense here, ripping up a treaty that we have with Russia, could lead to our being less secure. It could leave the nation less secure than it is now and less secure than it would be by a unilateral deployment of that system. And that's what our allies are telling us, that we have to worry about what will be the response in Russia in terms of no longer destroying or dismantling nuclear weapons, therefore having more nuclear weapons on their soil in response to facing this unilateral deployment of a defense shield.

And that's the concern, and we have to look at the complexities of this issue. We don't want to start, hopefully, Cold War II. We just left the Cold War and we shouldn't be starting an arms race.

Now if we can negotiate something with Russia to modify the treaty so both countries together can move toward defenses, that's stabilizing and that may make sense, providing you can get something that works and that's cost-effective. But we're a long way from doing that, and that's what our allies are cautioning us about.

WOODRUFF: Finally, senator, you know that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in the middle of a top-to-bottom review of military policy. Are you in favor of what appears to be plans for a restructuring of the entire military?

LEVIN: Well, we don't know what those plans are nor does he. We were -- we met with him just last week, and he assured members of the committee that he does not know what his proposals would be. So it's kind of hard to react to them. He also gave us assurance that he would be far more open in terms of seeking a reaction to whatever proposals he does come up with, both from Congress, the public and from our military leadership.

There has been some criticism of him for not involving even our top uniform leadership, our military leadership, in the design of these plans, but he says that they are not complete and he will welcome that involvement.

WOODRUFF: All right. Senator Carl Levin, thank you very much.

LEVIN: Judy, good being with you.


WOODRUFF: One place the president's energy plan inspires smiles, behind the wheel of some of the nation's largest vehicles. Our Bill Schneider on these mobile Bush supporters. Plus, the looming challenges of a Democratic Senate and the White House search for a new Capitol Hill strategy. And later, the administration goal that is ruffling international feathers. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: The president's energy plan has not been well-received in power-strapped California or by environmentalists across the country. Democrats were criticizing the plan for its lack of conservation, even as the White House announced its main goal of increasing the nation's energy supply. But there is one group that wholeheartedly approves of the Bush direction on this issue, and for more on that we turn to our own Bill Schneider.

Bill, where is the support for the president energy plan coming from? Mainly conservatives, Republicans, what? WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Actually, we here at INSIDE POLITICS have identified a whole new political constituency that's been activated by the Bush energy program. It's a powerful, heavily-armored group whose way of life is threatened and who are ready to fight.

You know, a few weeks ago, Vice President Cheney said that under the Bush administration's energy plan, Americans can save energy without sacrificing their standard of living. Now, that was good news for a lot of Americans whose standard of living involves driving their families around the suburbs in what look like armored personnel carriers. Yes, folks, we're talking about that downtrodden and despised minority who own sport utility vehicles, and who are panicked over the prospect of paying more than $2 a gallon for gasoline to fuel vehicles that get only slightly better gas mileage than a 747.

Now, SUV owners have found their cause and their champion. We reported last week in our CNN-"TIME" magazine poll that President Bush's energy plan is not popular. Only 38 percent of Americans favor it. But look at how SUV owners feel about it: 50 percent support it, compared with just 35 percent among non-SUV owners. When Bush and Cheney argue that there is no way Americans can conserve their way out of this energy problem, SUV owners say, "We hear you!" For SUV owners, the answer is more gas. Drill we must.

WOODRUFF: It's amazing what you can find in a poll. All right, Bill, how many Americans drive SUVs?

SCHNEIDER: Well, Judy, you may be impressed, or depressed, to hear that 20 percent of Americans, that's one in five, have an SUV in their household. Now, that is a big constituency with big cars. Aren't SUV owners concerned about the environment? Well, I'm sure they are. But as far as they're concerned, President Bush is doing a fine job on the environment. At least, that's what a majority of SUV owners tell us. Non-SUV owners are much less happy about President Bush's environmental policy.

WOODRUFF: So are SUV owners simply wealthier and more Republican?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they are. Almost half of SUV owners have incomes of over $50,000 a year, compared with just over a quarter of non-SUV owners. SUV's cost a lot of money to buy and to maintain. But it's not just their income that drives their politics. Let's look at high-income Americans. High-income SUV owners are just crazy about the Bush energy plan. Sixty-one percent favor it. But among high- income Americans who don't own an SUV, support for the energy plan is 20 points lower.

The same thing is true among lower-income Americans. If you own an SUV, you are much more likely to support the president's energy plan. We'll find more gas for you, the president is saying. You won't have to endure the humiliation or the risk, of driving your kids around in a compact. SUV owners are the new soccer moms. They're President Bush's armored division in the energy wars. After all, a man's car is his castle. Now, you don't own an SUV?


WOODRUFF: I can't talk.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, Bill. That was wonderful. All right, thank you very much.

Well, do Americans use more energy than people from other countries? You can find that out, as well as what the California energy crisis means to the rest of the United States. Check out the in-depth special on, AOL keyword CNN.

I'm sorry, Bill. I did take your report seriously.

SCHNEIDER: Of course.


International and domestic terrorism: the latest, as the embassy bombing trial moves into the next phase.

And Timothy McVeigh has a decision to make as his execution date approaches again. Stay with us.


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

Attorney General John Ashcroft today vowed to fight any attempt by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh to postpone his June 11th execution. That, in response to word that McVeigh's attorneys are expected to seek a delay in the execution tomorrow. In a statement, Ashcroft said: "After an exhaustive review, it remains clear that none of the belatedly produced material raises any doubt about McVeigh's guilt. because these documents cast no doubt on the surety of his guilt, the Justice Department will vigorously oppose any attempt to further delay the imposition of the sentence."

As you will recall, Ashcroft postponed the original execution date to give McVeigh's lawyers time to review numerous FBI documents that were never turned over during the bombing trial.

In New York, federal prosecutors today asked jurors to sentence to death two men convicted in the bombings of American embassies in east Africa. Yesterday, four men were convicted in the two attacks in 1998, which killed 224 people. Two of the convicted could receive the death sentence. The U.S. government says all four were involved in a conspiracy with suspected terrorist Osama Bin Laden to kill Americans. Bin Laden, believed to be in Afghanistan, is one of 13 people still wanted in the case. An Algerian man convicted in the U.S. of plotting terrorism has reportedly said that Los Angeles International Airport was to have been a target. "The Los Angeles Times" says Ahmed Ressam had planned to place a large bomb at the airport.

Golfers are today reacting to yesterday's Supreme Court ruling. On Tuesday, the court ruled that professional golfer Casey Martin has the right to ride in a cart at PGA tour events. Martin has a leg condition that makes it difficult for him to walk. The decision was hailed by Martin's old college teammate and roommate, Tiger Woods.


TIGER WOODS, PRO GOLFER: I think walking a regular golf course is part of our game. And I think what, ultimately what, decision with Casey, I'm extremely happy for Casey. And Casey is one of my friends, I've played with him. He was my roommate on the road in college my freshman year. And to see Casey now be able to go out there and play with some peace and quiet, finally, without having this over his head, I think is going to be beneficial for him.


WOODRUFF: For the second time in just over a month, President Bush's daughter, Jenna, is involved in a case concerning underage drinking. This time, Jenna's twin sister, Barbara, also is involved. Police in Austin, Texas, say they were called last night to a restaurant where the president's 19-year-old daughters allegedly tried to purchase alcohol using someone else's identification.

The police statement says no arrests were made but the case is being investigated. Jenna Bush was ordered to complete eight hours of community service and take an alcohol awareness class for an underage drinking incident on April 27th. An administration official says the president telephoned Jenna this morning. The official described Mr. Bush as "not happy."

How will President Bush deal with the power shift on Capitol Hill? The White House is developing a new strategy. Details when we come back.


WOODRUFF: Next week, Democrats formally take control of the U.S. Senate, giving the president a new set of political challenges. In the days remaining before the power shift, the White House is working on new Capitol Hill strategy. Joining us from the White House is CNN's Major Garrett.

Major, how is the White House regrouping after losing the Senate?

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, the White House strategy is really under construction. It's reflective of two problems, senior white House advisers see: one is a numbers problem. Clearly, the numbers won't favor them in the Senate come next week. And they also have a perception problem. That's not a local problem, not a senatorial problem, but a national problem. The perception that the Jim Jeffords defection left with some voters, but Mr. Bush simply cannot work with moderate Republicans, or for that matter, moderate Democrats.

The White House is debating right now how to deal with both of those problems. And the internal debate turns on different points of view. Some people within the White House, who spent a lot of time on the campaign trail with President Bush -- then-Governor Bush -- believes the president needs to do something to change the story, change that perception that the president can't work with moderates. And they are looking for ways, events, speeches, to try to do that.

There are other camps who say look, let's just plow ahead on our straight legislative strategy, the one that has produced a bipartisan victory on the tax bill. One that will, in the very near future in all likelihood, produce a bipartisan bill on education reform -- the president's two top priorities.

They say, let Jeffords' comments stand as they are, but these two victories speak louder for the president, that debate still going on -- Judy

WOODRUFF: Perhaps related, Major, we understand there's some debate there about how the president should observe the signing of a tax cut legislation when he does that. Tell us about that.

GARRETT: These two camps will feed in directly how that is decided. The president has a big signing ceremony to conduct, the biggest so far of his presidency: $1.35 trillion tax cut over ten years, the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan, putting him in a pantheon of Republican political leaders like Ronald Reagan.

The White House knows this is an attempt to show the president has delivered on key campaign promise, worked with Democrats -- 12 Democratic senators supported that bill. The question is, how to drive that message home. Some in the White House believe, let's have that ceremony here on the White House on the South Lawn. Invite all the coalitions who supported the bill, and as many lawmakers here as we can, pass out the pens in a very traditional way.

There's another camp who says, hey, wait a minute, let's go outside the Beltway. Let's go maybe to Iowa, for example, where the president, as a candidate for the presidency, outlined the tax bill first. That would speak to the Heartland of America. Show the country that he's delivered on a key promise and cares about delivering that message closer to them, not stuck somewhere inside the Beltway.

Again, that hasn't been resolved, but this debate illustrates how the White House is trying to come up with a way to prove the president can deal in a bipartisan and deliver on campaign promises, but do so in a way that changes the story.

WOODRUFF: Separately, Major, given the new makeup of the Senate, what is the status of the president's education reform plan?

GARRETT: Well, this is a huge priority for the White House. That goes without saying. And they were this close to getting it through Congress, under the old Republican control of the Senate and Republican control of the House. That changes now.

There are now two Democrats who stand in the way of the president passing that bill speedily. One is Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, who will now chair the Education Committee. The other is Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, who will chair the Appropriations subcommittee on education.

Now, about a couple months ago, the White House and Ted Kennedy got into a very quiet but severe debate over how much to increase education spending in the next fiscal year. Senator Kennedy wanted at least $4.8 billion. The top level the White House would go is $4 billion.

I talked to senior Kennedy aides today who say, that $4.8 billion number is no longer there. Ted Kennedy wants at least $10 billion more to education spending in next year alone. The White House knows if it goes that high, it will lose support from conservative republicans in the House and the Senate. It will be a very difficult needle to thread on the president's second most important domestic priority. They're working on how to deal with that just now.

WOODRUFF: Fascinating. Finally, Major, any worry about any other more Republican defections?

GARRETT: There's always worry about that, after you lose someone like Jim Jeffords, abandons the party after so many years in it. The White House is concerned they've heard the same rumblings, a lot of reporters have heard about possibly Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island defecting, becoming independent.

There's concerns that John McCain may seek some revenge and also become independent. The White House is trying to reach out the best it can, but also it does not want to convey the imagine to Republican moderates that it's kowtowing.

Before Jim Jeffords switched parties, Lincoln Chafee had phoned the White House, asking if he could have a meeting with the president. It wasn't arranged right away, because the president was trying to deal with the tax bill and the education bill. But the White House is trying to schedule that meeting just as soon as it can, and find other ways to reach out and keep in touch with those Republican moderates, so they don't lose any more.

WOODRUFF: All right, CNN's Major Garrett from the White House.

For Secretary of State Colin Powell, the push for a shield against enemy missiles proves a tough sell overseas. In a moment, we'll hear the view of the allies.



DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We find ourselves in a time when people worry about cultural trends, when the values of discipline and loyalty need explaining, when idealism often runs in short supply. In such a time and such a culture our military and its service academies only seem more exceptional and more admirable.


WOODRUFF: Vice President Dick Cheney speaking today to the class of 2001 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Turning now to a key Bush Administration military issue, a defense shield against enemy missiles. The State Department is expressing satisfaction with the response it got from NATO yesterday on the controversial plan. At the meeting in Brussels, Secretary of State Colin Powell apparently though, failed to persuade the alliance that the threat of a missile attack against their countries actually exists.

But State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher says Powell was not seeking NATO's approval, not yet. And other officials say the administrations arguments are gaining favor.

Joining us now to talk about missile defense and the allies, Washington correspondent Christiane Meier of ARD German television. And from New York, Jerome Godefroy of RTL French radio. I'm going to turn to you first, Mr. Godefroy, is it accurate to say, based on your reporting, that the NATO foreign ministers were universally opposed to what they heard from Secretary Powell?

JEROME GODEFROY, RTL FRENCH RADIO: Well, the language yesterday was not that sharp. It's true that there is a lot of dissatisfaction among the Europeans about this proposal by the Americans because like many things coming from the states these days, this is imposed without real consultation.

And also, the main problem we have is, about the definition of the threats. The strange things we feel in Europe is that the United States has decided on a list of threats of certain countries and we don't really feel the threat as strong as the Americans do. So we have to really find and to talk more about those threats to go further.

WOODRUFF: Ms. Meier, what about the French government. Does it see the threats that the United States, this Bush Administration is outlining?

CHRISTIANE MEIER, ARD GERMAN TELEVISION: The German government, which is the government of my country, does not seem to see the threats. That is actually one of the big questions they were asking. They said, where are the threats, who is the enemy and what is going to be the remedy. And there seems to be very mixed feelings about what the Americans do because the Europeans, especially the Germans, are quite afraid of a new arm's race. And they felt very secure with the ABM treaty and now this is threatened. And since they don't really seem to see the threat to Germany, especially, they don't really know why we should need that and why we should give up a very good treaty, the ABM treaty, for something we don't even know.

WOODRUFF: Mr, Godefroy, at the same time, the Bush Administration is saying today that they did make some headway, that at least they are pointing out the foreign ministers didn't talk about the ABM treaty and how sacrosanct it is as a treaty, as a document. Have they made any headway with the allies, do you think?

GODEFROY: I think ministers of Europe and especially the French foreign minister, Hubert Vedrine, wanted to be more polite than anything else because the ABM treaty is very much on their minds when they think about this missile shield, American missile shield project.

So the ABM and many other treaties would be threatened or destroyed by this new U.S. project. And this is still on their minds very much so.

WOODRUFF: Ms. Meier, again, on the German government, do you see any flexibility in your government's view of this issue? Or is it just -- I mean, it's the French government and the German government that are described as the most opposed, but do you see any flexibility there?

MEIER: Well, yes and no. You have to look at it from a maybe a more psychological aspect. Germany was the country where the weapons were stationed and we have lived with these treaties for a long time and they gave us the sense of security and safety we've relied on. And now we are, of course, very reluctant to give that up.

So, there might be room for negotiations but that is certainly very much up to the United States how they do that, because so far, they have been -- well, not consulting, but informing us and even now, I mean, Colin Powell said that they are going on or you are going on with whatever you do, the missile defense shield, and still at the same time consulting, but the Germans are pretty upset that the consulting is more like a little bullying us around.

So, that doesn't really help when it comes to negotiating the treaty. And Apart from that I think there would be room for negotiations if the Germans would be absolutely sure that something really good to replace the ABM treaty, and before that happens, there will not be a lot of room, I think.

WOODRUFF: Jerome Godefroy, you also mentioned the, as you termed it, the lack of real consultation by the United States. Is it -- do you know -- is it your government's view that this is perhaps less consultation than under the previous administration, under President Clinton? How is it different?

GODEFROY: I mean there is this feeling not only with the French government, but the French public, the people of France, that many things are imposed by the United States. Not only this shield but also, you know, your genetically food, the pollution. You only represent 5 percent of the population of this planet and suddenly you want to impose to the rest of world many things, among them is this shield.

So, we want to talk about it. We don't say no, necessarily, but we want to be consulted and we want to be included, not imposed something.

WOODRUFF: Ms. Meier, we read today and we've been reading that increasingly it's the Russians who will have an important say in international reaction to what the U.S. does here. What is your sense from talking to people in the German government about how important the Russian view is of missile defense?

MEIER: The Russian view is extremely important. I mean, they're the ones who really have to be happy with whatever comes out of this, because otherwise there will be new arm's race, maybe, and I think Mr. Putin is not really happy about what's happening now and the foreign minister isn't either. And although they offered obviously, or are going to be offered, a good deal by the Americans, what they consider a good deal with money and weapons, they still insist, so far at least, that the ABM treaty has to stay, you know.

And before this issue is solved, I don't think there's anything happening, and I think the Russians and the Germans alike fundamentally believe in political solutions and also in diplomacy and in other forms of political pressure, so they don't really want to engage in further arm's race. They rather want to engage in better politics.

WOODRUFF: And just finally, Mr. Godefroy, where do you see this issue going from here? More talks?

GODEFROY: Oh, yes, definitely we have to talk much more about it. And I think the Americans have to realize that they cannot have this attitude of -- very strong attitude -- all the time. There is something called Europe, which is becoming a real power, a big force and Americans have to deal with us. And we have to talk before this deciding on anything.

WOODRUFF: All right. Well, Jerome Godefroy of RTL French Radio and Christiane Meier with the ARD Television in Germany, we thank you both very much for joining us. We appreciate it.

Politics attracts some unlikely followers. Just ahead, a young man with a passion for presidents shows off his aptitude for political facts. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: There is no shortage of people here in the nation's capital and beyond the Beltway who are fascinated by politics. You might call them political junkies. Recently, I met a boy who may very well be the youngest political junkie in the country.

Praveen Polamraju is an 8-year-old at Gilbert Linkous Elementary School in Blacksburg, Virginia, with a surprising talent for presidential trivia.


POLAMRAJU: George Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia and died in 1799 in Virginia.

WOODRUFF (on camera): Yes. And when was he president?

POLAMRAJU: He was president from 1789 to -- I mean, to 1797.

WOODRUFF: And who was his wife?

POLAMRAJU: His wife was Martha Washington.

WOODRUFF: Martha Washington. That's right. What was it about presidents that you thought was interesting?

POLAMRAJU: They were great people.

WOODRUFF: They were great people. That's true. That's true.

Now, tell me about the election last year. When you were watching the election, what did you notice about how many votes people were getting and how many electoral votes and things like that? What did you notice?

POLAMRAJU: California has 54 electoral votes.

WOODRUFF: And who got them?

POLAMRAJU: And Gore got them.

WOODRUFF: Gore got them. What about -- any other state you can think of that was interesting that you paid attention to?

POLAMRAJU: Tennessee.

WOODRUFF: Tennessee, that was where Al Gore was from, right? His home state.

POLAMRAJU: And Bush won it.

WOODRUFF: Bush won. Do you remember how many electoral votes in Tennessee?


WOODRUFF: How about Texas? How many electoral votes?

POLAMRAJU: Thirty-two.

WOODRUFF: Thirty-two.

POLAMRAJU: And Bush won it.

WOODRUFF: And what about New York? POLAMRAJU: New York has 33 electoral votes and Gore won it.

WOODRUFF: If you started with Washington, how far could you go?

POLAMRAJU: All the way to George W. Bush.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's see how far you can go. You can start now, OK.

POLAMRAJU: George Washington was the first president, John Adams was the second president, Thomas Jefferson was the third president, James Madison was the fourth president, Monroe was the fifth president, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, and William Henry Harrison. Bill Clinton was the 42nd president, and George W. Bush was the 43rd president. He's the 43rd.

WOODRUFF: Wow! Give me five. That's great. What would you like to be when you grow up? Do you have any idea yet, Praveen?

POLAMRAJU: A president.

WOODRUFF: You want to be president?

POLAMRAJU: And then a dentist.

WOODRUFF: And then a dentist. I see. Now, why president first?

POLAMRAJU: Because I can get more money.

WOODRUFF: Yes, yes, yes. And then what about as a dentist, why would you want to be a dentist?

POLAMRAJU: To make people's teeth clean.



WOODRUFF: This is real. This young boy is just extraordinary. His father sent us an e-mail, we went to meet him. They are a delightful family. So, Praveen, you're the best. Thanks. You set a good example. You put us all to shame.

Was the president's visit to California a success or a political misstep? We'll talk energy and the California crisis with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson just ahead, as INSIDE POLITICS continues.


WOODRUFF: The president takes a California nature walk and takes a break from the debate over energy to score political points on the environment. A day after the president just said no to price caps, protesters delivered their response in San Francisco. Plus, golfer Casey Martin can compete in a cart, but what does the ruling say about the Americans With Disabilities Act?

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

WOODRUFF: President Bush used his last day in California to step away from the ongoing debate over the details of his energy policy and to focus instead on the related issues of the environment. Against the picturesque backdrop of Sequoia National Park, Mr. Bush announced a series of measures to upgrade and improve the nation's national parks system.

The president has faced withering criticism from environmental groups since he announced his new energy policy will rely heavily on new energy exploration. Today, Mr. Bush announced plans to spend $5 billion over the next five years to improve the nation's parks.


BUSH: Over the next five years we'll protect nearly 4,000 miles of river and restore nearly 5,000 acres of park lands to their natural conditions. We have more than doubled the budget to help us better study our park's natural resources, learn better ways to protect and restore them, and teach visitors about how they can help.


WOODRUFF: While the president enjoyed the outdoors, fall out continued from his meeting yesterday with California Governor Gray Davis. Protesters gathered outside the San Francisco Office of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. About 50 consumer activists, labor leaders and environmentalists marched to demand electricity price caps in the state.

Members of the California Public Utilities Commission, which has no control of wholesale prices, joined the protesters. This afternoon, California Governor Davis announced he will give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at least 30 days to respond to his request for rebates or price controls.

If federal regulators will not act, he repeated his pledge to take them to court.

California got a small increase in its electoral generating capacity today, when a new hydroelectric power station went on-line, far ahead of schedule. CNN's Frank Buckley has more on the plant and the technology that makes it work.


FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in a very loud (UNINTELLIGIBLE) worth water-pumping plant near Riverside, California. The sound you hear -- the loud sound of electricity being generated here by these turbines. They're also water pumps that are used to pump water, but they have been converted, at least four of them, into turbines to generate electricity.

Where does the water come from to help turn these turbines? Let me take you outside to show you the Diamond Valley Lake, that's a man- made lake of 800,000 acre feet of water. That water coming to this location courtesy of the Colorado River, via aqueduct. That water comes to the location, and normally the water is pumped from that aqueduct up into the reservoir into the man-made lake, stored for use by customers in Southern California.

In this case, the process is being reversed. The water is coming from the pumping station, through these four turbines which turn and generate electricity. I'll take you outside and show you where the water goes, as it comes through the pumping plant, it then comes underneath and goes into this reservoir here, and that water then leads to the San Diego Canal, and that's how it's distributed to customers.

Joining me now to explain it a little more is Phil Pace, he is the executive director, the chairman of the board of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Tell us what you're doing here today.

PHIL PACE, METROPOLITAN WATER DISTRICT: Well, today we're turning on the first phase of our new water generating facility here at Diamond Valley Lake. We have a 12 pump facility. Today we've turned on the conversion of the first four pumps that will generate approximately 13 megawatts of power. That translates into providing power for about 13,000 homes within Southern California.

Ultimately, when we get completely on-line, we will be able to generate 40 megawatts of power, and that will provide enough power for 40,000 homes in California. That, combined with the additional programs that we have of conservation, and the agreement we signed with the state of California this last month to shut down our pumping plants along the Colorado River aqueduct when necessary, will provide up to 150 megawatts of power -- now, that's real power. That's the difference between a blackout or rolling blackouts, a major black out, and not having one here in Southern California.

BUCKLEY: And you actually accelerated the program to convert these pumps into turbines and were able to do it within a year?

PACE: That's exactly right. Additionally, our plans were to come on-line with this initial project a year from this coming summer. Because of the power crisis here in California, we pushed it and with the help of our very good qualified staff, we were able to put it on- line a year sooner than what we had originally projected. So, it's good for everybody.

BUCKLEY: Right. Phil Pace, thanks very much.

It's not going to solve the energy crisis in Southern California, but in a state where every megawatt counts, now there's enough electricity coming from this plant for an additional 13,000 homes.

Frank Buckley, CNN reporting from near Hemet, California.


WOODRUFF: One of the ironies of the energy mess in California is that the policy now being blamed for the crisis, deregulation, enjoyed wide support when it was passed in 1996.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle supported deregulation, as did California's beleaguered public utilities through some major league political spending. According to the watchdog group the Center For Public Integrity, Edison International spent $24 million from 1994 to 2000 on campaign contributions and lobbying efforts. The now- bankrupt Pacific Gas And Electric Corporation spent $22 million, and the San Diego Based Sempra Energy spent $5 million. Total political spending by the big three utilities, $51 million.

And according to the center, the vast majority of that was spent supporting deregulation, including $39 million fighting Proposition Nine in 1998, a ballot initiative that would have watered down the deregulation legislation. The utilities now face possible ruin from the unforeseen effects of deregulation, a policy they actively supported.

Joining us now with their take on the president's trip to California and other political matters: Margaret Carlson of "Time" Magazine and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."

Tucker, the president's trip to California, meeting with Governor Gray Davis -- has been his arch enemy, on the subject of energy, anyway -- was this a smart move?

TUCKER CARLSON, CNN'S "CROSSFIRE": It was a big debate in the White House. Part of the chorus said, obviously, you don't want to go because you don't want to be a convenient person for Gray Davis to blame for his own political troubles over the energy crisis.

And the other hand, you don't want to be seen as somebody doing nothing. It strikes me that Bush sort of walked into almost a set-up. Davis got 60 percent unapproval -- 60 percent of California is saying he's doing a poor job.

Bush shows up, and all of a sudden, he becomes the focus of the story. It's not the Davis that has spent two years messing around rather than fixing the crisis. Bush, there four months, has fouled it up. I don't know -- it strikes me as a victory for Davis.

WOODRUFF: Margaret.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: California is so unfriendly to Bush. I think there's only one statewide elected official there who is a Republican. But he probably needed to go there to the larger state, and you know, and try to build a bridge and repair fences. I thought he was going to hug one of those trees, he's so anxious to reverse the environmental damage he's done to himself by being anti- conservation and the arsenic and the whole list of troubles he's had since he's taken office.

WOODRUFF: Well, aside from his own issues, doesn't he have to be responsive to Republicans running for office next year in California? They're facing the voters sooner than he is.

T. CARLSON: Sure. But it's sort of a weird argument that Bush -- who by all accounts, unpopular in California -- that his presence is somehow going to buck up the Republicans in the California delegation. It does seem to me he could use the opportunity to make a pretty strong environmental argument against price caps.

You could say, look, artificially low energy prices don't offer an incentive to conserve energy. You're not going to turn the lights off if -- because of price caps. You're not paying market value for energy. If you're really an environmentalist, you don't want price caps. It's a clever and true argument.

WOODRUFF: You're saying he didn't make it?

T. CARLSON: He didn't make it.

M. CARLSON: Also, it's such a dicey situation. Deregulation is associated with Republicans. Deregulation is what the industry paid for and what they got. In this case, they didn't get their money's worth because deregulation has caused some of the utilities to go bankrupt. It's a mess for everyone. There's so much blame to go around, that any blame shifting -- Davis is trying to shift it, Bush is trying to get it back on hand. But there's too much blame, and it's not going help either one of them to be associated with it.

And Bush going there at this time could only help them environmentally. I don't think it could help with this energy crisis in California.

T. CARLSON: But it does help Davis, though, because he gets to say, look, this is part of the out-of-state Texas oilman conspiracy that's responsible for all of the state's troubles. I'm struck that he almost sounds like Pete Wilson blaming illegal immigrants...

M. CARLSON: No! But Davis is in a political blackout. There's really nothing that can help him.

WOODRUFF: What about the president's energy plan, Tucker? Where does he go in terms of selling it from here?

T. CARLSON: Well, you know, more production. It's interesting that he's got Democrats agreeing to that, at least California members of Congress, are saying, yeah, in fact, it is true. The president is right, that we need more energy production. This is another great argument against price caps. Who's going to want to invest in new power plants if they are not going to be profitable? Of course, capping prices makes them much less likely to be profitable.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying this is not an argument the White House has been making?

T. CARLSON: I haven't heard that argument articulated publicly. I mean, I heard someone at the White House privately make it yesterday, but not on television.

WOODRUFF: We'll take a short break. We'll come back, we have more to talk about, including what happens to the White House now that the Senate is Democratic. We'll be back with Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson.


WOODRUFF: Back now with our analyst Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE," Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine. Margaret and Tucker, just in, thanks to the Associated Press -- we're learning that Trent Lott, the senator from Mississippi, I guess you'd say outgoing majority leader in the Senate accusing Senator Jeffords, who switched, left the Republican Party to become an independent last week of -- quote -- "mounting a coup of one that stripped the GOP of Senate control, handed power to the Democrats."

He goes on to say the American people, the people of Vermont didn't vote to put the Democrats in control of the Senate. One man has trumped the will of the American people. Margaret, what do we make of this?

MARGARET CARLSON, TIME MAGAZINE: That Karl Rove must have switched the blame back to the Hill, and Trent Lott -- because last Friday, Trent Lott was hugging his fellow singing senator, saying, we didn't want him to go. Everything was fine, I looked after him. I protected his interest. I don't understand what happened. And it's a coup of one, so the blame has -- at least temporarily, he's feeling the heat.

TUCKER CARLSON, "CROSSFIRE": Well, that's maybe because Jeffords has left the singing senators. You know, he's the Yoko Ono of the Singing Senators.

M. CARLSON: Has he left the Singing Senators?

T. CARLSON: Apparently, the news is. It's interesting that the blame has not come to rest on either the White House or on Trent Lott. No consensus, I can tell anyway, has formed either way. Apparently Lott's office is getting a lot of inerrancy in general. A lot of calls from Republican donors who make the point, gee, we gave money to the party. Jeffords took in his reelection bid a couple months ago, and then he splits on us.

I think it's a valid point. The guy ran as a Republican and he's offered not a single specific reason for what changed his mind over the last four months.

WOODRUFF: Is anyone accepting the White House explanation that they really had no way of knowing that this was coming, that it was done in secret, in collaboration, collusion with Democratic senators and there was no way they could have known?

M. CARLSON: Well, if you always think something could happen, you then let your guard down and don't think it can happen, because it's just a state of being. Jeffords was always more independent than Republican. So they may not have had any immediate signal but they also might not have been doing the things, and I think that's obvious, that you might do to keep him.

They were doing end run around him. They were letting Senator Judd Greg run the education bill. He didn't have a seat at the table, he was given the silent treatment and they punished him in little ways whenever they could. So it couldn't be a surprise that he might have reacted to being left out of the Republican party.

T. CARLSON: But they all say that. Billy Tauzin when he switched parties in '95 he was still complaining of how Clinton had lied to him about BTU tax, and Senator Shelby the same thing - let me give you a ticket to the football game, the Alabama football game.

I do think though, in fairness, if it's possible to be fair to Senator Jeffords, that may be there may be some truth in that, and if it's split 50/50 you probably ought to take constituent relations, if you're the White House pretty seriously. Jeffords was a constituent, maybe they should have fallen all over and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) .

M. CARLSON: I mean, in a 50/50 Senate, Senator Jeffords was a king as were the rest of them.

WOODRUFF: What different should the White House be doing now -- other than paying more attention to moderate Republicans?

M. CARLSON: They'll be returning Olympia Snowe's calls. Remember, she called Andy Card several times and didn't get called back. I think the moderates will have a little bit more say, that Bush will move to the center and govern a little bit more in the way he campaigned.

T. CARLSON: He's already in the center, for one thing. And the most ludicrous line from Jim Jeffords was, well, moderates in the Senate, we just don't have the voice we used to. In a split Senate people like Jeffords have more power than they've ever had. He'll have less power now. But when left, the day he left he had more power than Jesse Helms.

And it's hard to imagine the moderates being more empowered and it's sort of chilling.

M. CARLSON: I think the country is far more in the center than the Bush White House. And they will move there if they want 2002 to be a successful midterm election.

WOODRUFF: Nothing chilling about the two of you. Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, thank you both. Great to see you.

Advocates for the disabled say the U.S. Supreme Court has boosted their cause by ruling that disabled golfer, Casey Martin, can ride in a cart in tournaments. But some legal analysts say the case is likely to have little direct impact beyond Martin himself.

Either way, as CNN's Charles Bierbauer reports, yesterday's ruling is another example of how the courts have molded a major act of Congress, the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act.


CHARLES BIERBAUER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Casey Martin's biggest victory came in court, not on the course.

CASEY MARTIN, PRO GOLFER: If this can open doors for people in sport, in golf, or just in life in general, then I think that's great.

BIERBAUER: But the Supreme Court plays on narrow fairways, assessing each case individually.

CHAI FELDBLUM, GEORGETOWN LAW CENTER: There won't be a flood of lawsuits. The people who need to get in to where they need to get into will be helped by this decision.

BIERBAUER: ... if they, like Martin, can prove a restrictive rule is not essential. Previous cases have not always helped those who thought they were covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act. The justices decided the law covers a person with the HIV virus, but not high blood pressure that's treatable with medication.

It covers state prisoners but not state employees seeking to sue the state. Advocates for the disabled say there's public backlash when the court broadens the law.

ANDY IMPERATO, ADVOCATE FOR THE DISABLED: They'll say it should just be about people in wheelchairs, blind people and deaf people. And clearly that was not Congress's intention.

FELDBLUM: When we worked on passage of ADA in Congress, people with epilepsy, people with diabetes, people with prosthetic legs were all assumed to be people with disabilities.

BIERBAUER: Feldblum says now that Congress knows the court's parameters, it should amend the 1990 law to include, for example, impairments that can be treated or corrected, such as cancer and eyesight. But some of the disabled community want encouraging signals from Congress and the Bush Administration before risking what they've already gained.

IMPERATO: We were worried that we might end up with amendments to the law that would make it worse or weaker, not stronger.

BIERBAUER (on camera): Meanwhile, more ADA cases are coming. May an airline employee with back problems buck the seniority system to claim a different job? Must an assembly worker with carpal tunnel syndrome be accommodated because she can't do all her required tasks? Both cases are on the court's fall calendar.

Charles Bierbauer, CNN, the Supreme Court.


WOODRUFF: Does Canada have an image problem in America's eyes? Up next, a look at the lack of U.S. interest in the only neighbor to the north. Plus, Canada's reaction to American apathy.


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

Hi, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Judy. Coming up, a warning from Sun Microsystems sends a dark shadow across technology stocks and the Nasdaq itself, the Nasdaq down 4 percent today. Tonight, we'll hear from Charles Schwab on the brokerage business and the direction of these markets. Also, two of Wall Street's best-known voices, Joe Battipaglia and Brian Finnerty, will join us and give us their views. Also Jesse Jackson tonight on leadership, boycotts and minority economic power. And former White House aide Sandy Berger tonight on missile defense and global terrorism.

Please join us for "MONEYLINE."


WOODRUFF: Calling the slowdown in the U.S. economy a danger to Canada, that country's central bank has cut the benchmark lending rate today. Canadian economists are keeping an eye on U.S. markets, an indication of how closely the two nations are connected. But as Bill Delaney reports, for the most part, Americans rarely take notice of their neighbor to the north.


BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Beautiful, yes. Big, very: the second-largest country on Earth. The thing about Canada, though, there's a third b-word that does come up.

(on camera): Having to do with Canada, allegedly, not being all that interesting. What is it about us down here in our little patch of North America when it comes to Canada?

(voice-over): Maybe it's just we're such good friends, the place just doesn't much keep us up nights. Or is it really the place kind of puts us to sleep?

Do you find cluelessness about Canada, even in Boston, Massachusetts, where the state's governor, for Pete's sake, just even quit to become U.S. ambassador to Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not talked about. It's an afterthought. It's there, but nobody talks about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's like Canada doesn't -- you never really hear about it, you know?

DELANEY (on camera): Who's in charge up there? Who's the leader?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, good question. I don't even know what his name is.

DELANEY (voice-over): Do you? And if you do, can you spell it? Mary Clancy, Canadian consul-general in Boston, names and spells Jean Chretien, while conceding her prime minister's a bit less known down here than the American president up there.

MARY CLANCY, CANADIAN CONSUL-GENERAL: We think about you a hell of a lot more than you think of us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The topic is why are parking lots so small at donut places, OK?


DELANEY: There's just this sense, not much discouraged by great Canadians like the McKenzie brothers or the immortal Doo-Right, that the USA is just that much more mighty, macho.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meanwhile at the Mounty camp...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dudley, will you walk with me? The marigolds are in bloom.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, Nell. I have something else to do.


DELANEY: Self-importance -- Canadians do feel.

CLANCY: We're 30 million next to your 300.

DELANEY (on camera): An inferiority complex?

CLANCY: Oh, that might be the word that you would use.

DELANEY (voice-over): Yet Canadians are as multifaceted as Peter Jennings, who's always so neat and tidy; Neil Young, who always dresses so cool; and then there's Alanis Morisette, who sometimes doesn't bother to dress at all. All three, of course, do live in the United States, not helping temper that American superiority complex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We happen to have better-looking women here in the States.

DELANEY (on camera): You're sure of that?


DELANEY (voice-over): Well, debatable. And at least they have universal health care.

And anyway, complexes get complicated. CLANCY: It's an inferiority complex that sometimes hides itself with a superiority complex. You know, there's an old saying that Americans are arrogant and Canadians are smug, and Canadians are really glad that Americans are arrogant, because it gives Canadians something to be smug about.

DELANEY: As for women, Canadian Margot Kidder was Lois Lane, you know? Even Superman fell in love with one of the many, many greatnesses of the Great White North. And can you blame him?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Blame Canada, blame Canada!


DELANEY: Bill Delaney, CNN, Boston.


WOODRUFF: You know what they say? If it's north of the border, it's got to be good.

Well, 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. Our e-mail address is

And this programming note: Robert Kennedy Jr. will be discussing the Bush environmental record tonight on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

I'm Judy Woodruff. "LOU DOBBS MONEYLINE" next.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

Back to the top