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Republican Consultant Scott Reed Talks About the Senate Shift, John McCain and President Bush's Trip to Europe

Aired June 9, 2001 - 19:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.

MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson. Our guest is Republican consultant Scott Reed, who managed Bob Dole's 1996 campaign for president of the United States. It's great to have you back, Scott.


SHIELDS: Thank you. On the eve of the Democrats assuming majority control of the Senate following the switch of Vermont Senator James Jeffords from the Republican Party, GOP leader Trent Lott issued a battle cry.

Quote: "This coup of one puts at peril the agenda that Republicans were given a mandate by the American people to deliver," end quote. But by the time Democratic Senator Tom Daschle actually took over as majority leader, both sides sounded conciliatory.


SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I really, truly believe that bipartisanship isn't an option, it is a requirement.



SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: We commit and pledge our best efforts to finding a way to make it work and to pass important legislation.


SHIELDS: Senator Daschle yesterday signalled the Democrats had no more give on the patients bill of rights.


DASCHLE: We've compromised about as much as I think we possibly can.


SHIELDS: As for confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominations, he indicated no retaliation for past Republican obstruction.


DASCHLE: I have convinced my caucus not to participate in payback. I think, by and large, people deserve a vote, and you know there will always be exceptions to every rule.


SHIELDS: Bob Novak, should we look for cooperation or confrontation in the Democratic controlled U.S. Senate.

ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES": Absolutely confrontation. Tom Daschle is the iron fist in the velvet glove. He is as tough and mean as George Mitchell, but with a smiling face and a pleasant demeanor. He is going to be very tough. He's going to use the Democratic agenda, and there's two very important things that he said that we just heard, he said he is not going to compromise any more on the patients bill of rights.

So, he is saying no compromise, so that's still a paradise for the trial lawyers, a major source of funding for the Democratic Party, and secondly, he said we are going to have give everybody a vote for judgeships, but there's going to be exceptions. What are the exceptions, he was asked. He said I couldn't tell you right now.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, do you see it the same way?

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, he doesn't have the judges yet, Bob, and he's going to do a lot more than Republicans did for Clinton when he was in when 45 percent of the judges never got a vote. So, whatever they do is going to be better treatment than Clinton's nominees got.

You know, Trent Lott set a terrible tone, coming out of the box saying we're at war. I mean, he's in the first stage of grief, which is total denial, as if the Senate had not changed hands and there's no moral authority and the Democrats only have a plurality. Tom Daschle is -- it's not a 50/50. You get the committee chairmanships, you should get more people and you get to decide when those judges get to the floor.

SHIELDS: I have to say this, Scott Reed, and that is that Trent Lott talking about a mandate is about as silly as the Democrats talking about a mandate. A mandate, in this case, is a leather bar in the Bay area. There is no mandate, is there, in this Senate right now?

REED: It sounded like a bit of an overreach by Lott, but look, this has both short-term and long-term ramifications. Short-term, it is trouble for the Republican Party. We have to deal with the agenda, we have to worry about all the appointments, mostly you have to worry about the fact that right now they're going to be hot potatoes that the Senate can throw over to the House and cause the House to have vote on things they don't like and split the caucus...


SHIELDS: Including what, the patients bill of rights?

REED: Patients bill of rights, but also vote on all these budget busting issues that are going to cause Republicans to have some problems. But in the long-term, there is a silver lining. Bush now will be faced in this White House with putting together a broad center-right coalition to govern, and part of governing, this will have huge ramifications on the upcoming presidential election because he'll be, believe it or not, in a stronger position as he goes into the re-elect because of the way he has to govern with this center- right coalition.

SHIELDS: I've heard that same fear expressed by some Democrats, Al, that George W. Bush would take a page out of Bill Clinton's playbook.

AL HUNT, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Well, it would be a fear if Daschle were a different person. The worst mistake a congressional leader can make is a hubris of a fictionalized mandate. Newt Gingrich comes to mind, for instance.

Daschle is much more like a Howard Baker. He's an enlister, he's a guy who reaches out and he knows that to get anything done he needs 10 or 11 Republicans votes at a minimum. There will be cooperation much of the time, there will be confrontation some of the time. When he thinks he has the high political ground, such as a patient's bill of rights, because most Americans, Bob, worry much less about trial lawyers than they do the HMO's who they know are leeches.

And so, therefore, he knows that's a win-win for him. You can ask Spence Abraham, who lost an election by and large part because of that issue. And on judges, I'd love for Bob to make a wager right now, I'll take what Margaret said. I'll bet you that there is far less obstructionism among judges in the next year and a half than there was during the Clinton years. I'd love to see if you'd take that wager.

NOVAK: There's been enormous obstructionism for the last two presidents.


NOVAK: I'm not going to bet with you, but I think...

HUNT: I didn't think you would.

NOVAK: .. there's going to be plenty of obstructionism. There was Republican obstructionism. Unlike you, I can see it on both sides. The only...

(CROSSTALK) HUNT: I said basically what -- there clearly has been obstructionism in the past, I'm saying there will be less now, not that there won't be any. That is the point. That is what I wish you would bet.

NOVAK: No, the only similarities, Al, that Howard Baker and Tom Daschle have -- there are two similarities. One is they're good sources of yours, and number two, they speak with a very soft voice. Howard Baker, who I like very much, a fine gentleman, ambassador to Japan, gave away the store at every opportunity, any time he could.

Tom Daschle has written -- has read, as I said, George Mitchell's playbook. He is going to make life hell for George W. Bush, but unlike George Mitchell, he is going to smile when he's doing it.

SHIELDS: Democrats, though, have a ticking time bomb here, and that is that before they took control, the budget was adopted. And you were talking about that. They can deny responsibility and paternity for it, but they've got live with that reality, don't they.

REED: They do.

SHIELDS: And the budget limits.

REED: And this was a great week for Republicans, a historic tax cut, the budget is now in place. I think Republicans are feeling good, and thank God we got this done before Jeffords jumped ship.

SHIELDS: Last word, Scott Reed. Scott Reed and the gang will be back with where John McCain is really going.


SHIELDS: Welcome back. Republican Senator John McCain hosted Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle at McCain's Arizona home last weekend. That followed speculation denied by Senator McCain that he might follow Senator Jim Jeffords out of the GOP.

In an interview with Jake Tapper and this week, Senator McCain described talks with Democratic senators about party switching. Quote: "I don't think they ever thought I was going to switch. I think they thought that maybe they had to say it. But I never saw an excitement: `Oh, gee, I think we're going to get him.' I think they realized my loyalty to the Republican Party," end quote.

Senator and Mrs. McCain were guests of president and Mrs. Bush at the White House Tuesday night.

Al Hunt, you were with Senator McCain in California this week. What the hell is he up to?

HUNT: Mark, he's reveling in the fact that, outside the president, he probably has as much influence as anyone in American politics -- campaign finance reform, HMO reform, soon I think we'll see it on defense issues. But I think John McCain realizes that those stories of several days ago, suggesting he was about to switch, really were harmful. They were the product of some supporters who, he did not reign in, certainly, and did not discourage from doing that. But they were hurtful, Mark, because his maximum leverage for now and the foreseeable future is as a maverick Republican. Might he run in 2004 as an independent? I suppose so.

He and Bush don't like each other. I don't know who was the food taster the other night at the White House. But John, for a guy who spent five and a half years in a prison war camp, he knows that that kind of long-range planning is folly.

SHIELDS: Bob Novak, it -- I don't think he ever had Trent Lott out to Arizona for a weekend, John McCain?

NOVAK: Not that I know of?

SHIELDS: What's he up to?

NOVAK: Everything is personal with John McCain. I think the one thing he really believes in is campaign finance reform. But he's been treated badly by his fellow Republicans. They don't like him, he doesn't like them. And the Democrats have been but buttering him up.

So he spent a lot of time with 100 percent liberals like John Edwards, who -- and so he has been lurching uncontrollably and insensibly to the left on issue after issue. Supporting and introducing bills that he opposed in the past, on gun control, on taxes, on health care issues. And what the dinner at the White House was, was a belated attempt to try to get him back on the reservation, to try to find some things that he could find common cause with the president.

I understand they talked a little bit about fighting the pork barrel bills in the Democratic Senate under Senator Bob Byrd, the king of pork. And there are other people who say the John McCain is going to help on Social Security reform.

The good news, I think is, because I think Senator McCain is a valuable person, is that now they're going to try to reign him in and to stop this precipitous, senseless movement to the left, where he's the friends of John Edwards and Al Hunt.

CARLSON: So he's be my friend, too.


SHIELDS: The curse anybody could have, Howard Baker or Tom Daschle -- is to talk to Al Hunt.

Margaret Carlson, you know John McCain, what do you think he's up to?

CARLSON: I think that John McCain has peaked -- had an intermediate peak here for the moment in interest in John McCain, and his power will now become quieter as he does stay in the Republican Party and as he does find a little bit of common ground with Bush, because Bush will move towards McCain, who sensed during his campaign where all the independents were, and the moderates that Bush needs to govern.

And without a mandate, he'll be moving over here. And at the White House -- you're right about the pork barrel thing. It was one of the few things that they had in common to discuss. It's good they had their seconds there, their wives there, to kind of ease the chit- chat.

But it was the first time that Bush has really reached out to him, which makes no sense at all.

SHIELDS: Scott Reed, I think it was first meeting -- the first time they've talked since the inaugural, if I'm not mistaken. But further, didn't John McCain -- wasn't he diminished by this -- all this speculation that was fueled by the meeting?

REED: I think those stories over the weekend did diminish him overall, and brought him down a few levels that he shouldn't have been brought down.

But look, this week was a turning point for the White House strategy of ignore, ignore, ignore John McCain. That's now over. Not only did they have him over for dinner, but the day after the meeting they had the secretary of Health and Human Services in his office talking to him for the first time ever.

Look, McCain is a good Republican; I don't believe he's going to leave the party. He's going to look for some common ground. Look for him to work close with Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld on missile defense, on this defense supplemental, which everybody agrees is not big enough. And I think he's going to find some common ground.

SHIELDS: I'd just point out with Scott Reed here, that John McCain last November led gun control initiatives for Americans for Gun Safety in both Colorado and Oregon that closed the gun show loophole. So he's not a Johnny-Come-Lately on this subject.

NOVAK: He's is now -- since you're bringing it up, he is now sponsoring a gun loophole proposal to gun shows, which is trying to shut down gun ownership in America. He is -- yes it is. And he is supporting a proposal that he -- he is supporting proposals that he voted against in 1999.

HUNT: Bob confuses me, because Bob and I interviewed John Edwards last week, and afterwards Bob said that all -- what he described as the great litmus test of this year, the Ashcroft, Olson, Norton nominations, the budget vote and the tax-cut vote, that Edwards was a liberal on all of them.

Well, on four of five John McCain voted with the conservatives, and yet Bob has...

(CROSSTALK) HUNT: ... I'm sure there will be a show down the road where Bob will explain...


NOVAK: I'll be happy to, since you asked.

HUNT: No, I don't want it now.

NOVAK: Well, I will, though. Just a minute -- you mentioned me -- he is lurching to the left, but he hasn't got there yet. And what the White House dinner was, was an attempt to prevent him from this destructive path, and I think some progress was made.

CARLSON: You know, he's not going to lurch to the left, he's not going to give up being a Republican because that's where his power lies. And for the first time when he went back home, he was met with protesters. And that's going to do more than anything to keep him in the Republican Party.

SHIELDS: Last word, Margaret Carlson.

Next on CAPITAL GANG: George W. and global warming.


SHIELDS: Welcome back.

A report on global warming requested by President Bush was presented to him by the president of the National Academy of Sciences.

Quote: "The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes are also a reflection of natural variability," end quote.


ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has always said that the temperature of the earth is rising. There's no question that part of the cause is human activity. The question is how much of the cause is human activity.


SHIELDS: President Bush will address global warming on Monday before leaving that night for his first trip to Europe as president.

Margaret Carlson, is the president turning as green as Al Gore on global warming?

CARLSON: I think he turned a little green, but not from the environment, when he got handed the report, because he doesn't want scientific evidence that confirms what we all knew. He's been speaking as if global warming was up in the air -- like there wasn't any scientific basis for Kyoto or for reducing fossil fuel emissions. Now he's got it. And he's so deeply in the hole, having done a turn-around on carbon dioxide emissions, having abandoned Kyoto, that he's got to climb back and he's, especially, got to try to climb back with the Europeans, where he's going this week. And he's empty handed. He doesn't have any proposal at all on global warming, and he's going to come under tremendous heat, no pun intended.

SHIELDS: Scott Reed, there is a scramble back. I mean, there's no question -- explained to me this week by a leading Republican who said that, if California is out of play, then you're trying to get 270 electoral votes out of 290. And you better start appealing to some of those suburban Republicans in places like Michigan and Illinois and Pennsylvania if you're going to be competitive.

REED: But it's also important on this trip that Bush sends a message to the world that whatever we do is not going to crush the U.S. economy. Let's get serious here; everybody has Kyoto as the norm, and let's remember that went down in the Senate 99 to one, it was a ridiculous argument.

But the most refreshing thing about this trip this week for Bush is that, unlike the previous president, he will not be having a fund- raiser on his way out the country or on his way back. And once again, we will be able to look up to our president as someone we honor and trust.

SHIELDS: Geez, honest to God...


SHIELDS: Now, let's go from there. Let's go the high road to Novak.

NOVAK: I hate to tell you this, but if you read that report from the National Academy of Sciences, it's, on the one hand this, on the other hand that, there is some evidence here, there is some evidence there, it wasn't hard evidence and it was very badly reported in a lot of papers.

But the fact of the matter is, there is a debate going on in the White House, but the good guys won the debate. And when he goes to Europe, he's going to be against Kyoto. He thinks it's a bad treaty. In fact, the Japanese and the Germans are not living up to that treaty, nobody is.

He's going to say, yes there is a problem with global warming, I think that's bad science, but there's some -- who knows how it's happening, and it's not a serious problem. But the answer is, anti- Kyoto treaty. He is not going green on that, Margaret.

CARLSON: Yes, wait, just let me say one thing. You misinterpret that -- the National Academy of Science report, and it predicts that the seas are going to come up another two feet. They're going to be lapping at your bed at Bethany Beach, Bob. Then you'll get it. Then you'll turn green. HUNT: Bob is an environmentalist when it comes to erosion, there are some things that Bob is green on. Look, I think that George Bush has gotten all of Al Gore's old earth color tones on, now he's hugging every tree in sight. I expect to see Dick Cheney adopting a caribou soon. I mean, there clearly has been a tremendous change in style.

I don't think there's much change in substance. I think they're paying some political price for it and I think they are hoping to defect that, but Bob is just wrong in saying that this report wasn't a kick in the teeth for them. It was.

SHIELDS: I will just close this with one observation: this was an administration of cool veteran hands, and if I'm not mistaken, Korea, the Middle East and global warming, we saw U-turns, all three, this week. We'll be back...


NOVAK: ... U-turn on global warming.

SHIELDS: We'll be back on CAPITAL...

NOVAK: That's just not true.

SHIELDS: He is admitting it, and he is going to confront it!

NOVAK: No, he's not.


SHIELDS: ... on "CAPITAL GANG Classic," the California election primary three years ago this week.


SHIELDS: Welcome back. And now for, the "CAPITAL GANG Classic," going back to the California primary election three years ago, this is what your CAPITAL GANG said on June 6, 1998.


SHIELDS: In the most expensive primary election ever, veteran office holder Gray Davis easily won the nomination for governor. Running on the slogan "Experience Money Can't Buy," the lieutenant governor defeated two self-financed millionaires.

NOVAK: Rich millionaires who are -- who have no political experience throw money around, the time when they can buy an election may be ending, and it's certainly ending in California.

KATE O'BEIRNE, "THE NATIONAL REVIEW": What I think is interesting, again, is the status quo. Al Checchi said frequently, if you like the status quo, don't vote for me. Well, people liked the status quo, and they didn't vote for Al Checchi.

SHIELDS: Al (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by margin of two to one. Voters in California last Tuesday, coming out in the CNN/"Los Angeles Times" poll said they felt the state was headed in the right direction, rather than off on the wrong track.

HUNT: I had breakfast a couple of months ago with Walter Shorenstein, who is the big Democratic money man, a very wealthy person. He told me he was supporting Gray Davis, and I told him with all my knowledge and years in politics, I said: "Gray is the one candidate who is not going to win, it's going to be one of the other two guys," which shows you why Walter is where he is and why I'm where I am right now today.

O'BEIRNE: Really exciting race has been set up for governor, the most liberal Democratic candidate as one...


O'BEIRNE: ... attractive, bright conservative.


SHIELDS: The Republican was Dan Lundgren who was overwhelmed by Gray Davis in November general election. Bob, were you premature in saying that rich guys could no longer win elections in the U.S.?

NOVAK: I'm afraid so. I mean, look at Jon Corzine who bought the New Jersey election, Maria Cantwell who bought the Washington state election with money she didn't even have, but -- so I was a little wrong on that, but Gray Davis -- we were all wrong on Gray Davis, and boy were we ever wrong in thinking this was going to be a good race. It was a terrible race, it was a runaway for him in the fall.

SHIELDS: Al, was Walter Shorenstein making any other predictions?

HUNT: I didn't ask him about this, but I'll tell you this: I won't make the same mistake twice. I will tell you right now, I think because of the disaffection with George W. Bush that Gray Davis, for all his troubles, is going win again next year.

SHIELDS: He'll be re-elected. OK. Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: I am all for rich guys buying elections. It's better than spending money on Rolexes and Porsches and other things. And you know, I'm all for rich guys in fact, in general.

SHIELDS: Do we have an 800 number we want to put up?


CARLSON: Yeah, I'll take the Porsche, provided that they can run for office.

SHIELDS: Welcome to "The Dating Game." No, Scott Reed.

REED: I just wanted to say the recent field poll, highly respected poll out there, has two-thirds of Californians thinking the state is headed in the wrong direction. That's a political death warrant for the chief executive of the state, and these blackouts will be coming this summer, and if Republicans do it right, by the end of the summer, they will be called rolling Gray-outs. It will all be about Gray Davis.

NOVAK: And the mayor, the mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan, if he runs -- he is not much or a Republican -- but if he runs with the -- he can be a strong candidate.

SHIELDS: I will say this, that George Bush's favorable job rating in California dropped one week after his meeting, his summit meeting on that energy crisis on price caps, from 56 down to 43 favorable.

NOVAK: Is he running for governor?

SHIELDS: Well, I mean, I'd say.

HUNT: If Gray Davis has his way, he will.

SHIELDS: I would say that Gray Davis would rather run against George W. Bush in California next year than he would run against Richard Riordan. But I am not sure Riordan is a great statewide candidate.

Thanks for being with us, Scott Reed. We will be back in our second half-hour with two "Newsmakers of the Week," Katherine Graham and Ben Bradlee of the "Washington Post" and the 30th anniversary of the publication of the Pentagon papers.

And "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the Los Angeles mayoral election, with veteran California reporter Bill Boyarsky and our "Outrages of the Week," all after a check of the hour's top news.


SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of the CAPITAL GANG. I'm Mark Shields with Al Hunt, Robert Novak and Margaret Carlson. On the 30th anniversary of publication of the Pentagon papers our two news makers of the week played central roles in that historic event.

Katharine Graham, age 83, publisher of "The Washington Post" in 1971, currently chairman of "The Post" executive committee, author of "Personal History," a Pulitzer prize winner 1998. Benjamin C. Bradlee, executive editor of "The Washington Post" in 1971, currently "The Post's" vice president at large, author "A Good Life: Newspapering And Other Adventures."

This week our Margaret Carlson sat down with Mrs. Graham and Mr. Bradlee at Katharine Graham's home here in Washington.


CARLSON: At a certain point Ben calls you on the phone here and you say, despite there being a big split, let's go, let's publish. It was a very brave thing to do. How did that come about?

KATHARINE GRAHAM, "WASHINGTON POST": The Pentagon papers, everybody has forgotten what they were, but it was history of the Cold War -- how we got into it, how it developed -- and it really wasn't -- didn't have any secrets. So all this was literally about nothing.

BEN BRADLEE, "WASHINGTON POST": It's a bigger deal than Katharine is suggesting because "The Post" was still looking for a seat at the big table. We weren't at the big table yet. We very much wanted to go there. And the time was just wrong for "The Post." They had just gone public...

GRAHAM: No we were going public -- worse.

BRADLEE: ... going public, worse. And so if, you know -- and that's a skittish time for everybody. And a judge in a New York court had said that it did violate section blah, blah, blah of the U.S. code saying what whoever published this classified information is guilty of treason.

CARLSON: And a treasonous corporation isn't going to have a good IPO. BRADLEE: I mean, I'd be pumping gas if we didn't have the rights.

CARLSON: I'd like it see that, Ben. That would be a good picture. You write, Ben, that one of the presidents who got along with the press was JFK because he liked the press and we liked to be liked. Most of them don't like us. Clinton didn't like the press, George W. Bush is uneasy about the press.

BRADLEE: I was working for "Newsweek" during the Kennedy administration so that I was not on -- breaking much news, but you had good insights and Kennedy was very forthcoming as far as trying to explain his actions -- spinning, if you will.

GRAHAM: Ben, you have to make a revelation that you and he were friends.

BRADLEE: Oh, sure.

CARLSON: Do you feel that OK, for instance, friendships between a president, a vice president, and anyone in the press can really take place the way they did in JFK'S time?

GRAHAM: I think it could happen, yes.

CARLSON: Does it happen? Has is happened to you?

GRAHAM: I was friends with Nancy Reagan.

BRADLEE: But you weren't interviewing her all day. You weren't getting a lot of scoops or at least you didn't tell them to me.

CARLSON: She kept a few things for the book, Ben. You have to read it. BRADLEE: She gave us a lot, too.

CARLSON: Today, if you were doing Watergate in the 24-7 cable coverage...

BRADLEE: I wonder.

CARLSON: ... how with it unfold? Would it unfold differently?

BRADLEE: Well, not only the 24-7, but the number of journalists and the number of media is so much larger now. I mean, there were really only a handful of papers involved in the beginning of Watergate, the first six months, anyway, until it got into the federal courts. I think you'd have a tough time doing it.

GRAHAM: I think too, Ben, that Watergate is a particular incident that happened that could -- you can't imagine a thing like it again.

CARLSON: Didn't it feel as if Washington was the center of the universe then, the capital of the world?

BRADLEE: It sure did.

CARLSON: How does it feel now?

BRADLEE: When news stories get this town by the throat, that's a wonderful feeling, if you're in our business.

GRAHAM: People used to line up in the alley where "The Post" came off the press to get them.

BRADLEE: And the guys -- your buddies would call you up before they left for work at 7:30. They could not wait for that first edition.

CARLSON: Do you see that kind of painstaking work that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward did, going on today in other than say, your paper and "The New York Times?"

GRAHAM: I think they do a lot of investigative journalism, and I think that this is certain snobbism of us on the East Coast that everything is here, "The New York Times" or "The Post," and there's a lot of work going on in smaller community or western communities.

CARLSON: Kaye, do you have another book in you after a personal history? Is there another volume?

GRAHAM: Well, I'm trying to write another book, but it's more or less about Washington over the years. And I don't know -- I never said this in public, because I don't think I'll -- you know, in case it never comes.

CARLSON: At your retirement party, I think it was, and you recounted it in your book, Ben, you said God bless her great, ballsy soul. Could you elaborate on that? (LAUGHTER)

BRADLEE: No. Where do you want me to go with that, Margaret?


SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson, what does the publication of the Pentagon papers mean now, 30 years later?

CARLSON: Well, there may be a little less secrecy, and on May 22nd, there was a Supreme Court decision saying that the tapes could be published in a newspaper that were intercepted from a phone conversation, citing the Pentagon papers. What I found amusing was that in the last bit of the Nixon tapes that came out, he's talking about Katharine Graham being on a TV show discussing the Pentagon papers, and he refers to her as that terrible old bag.


SHIELDS: Bob, looking back 30 years, what does it mean today?

NOVAK: There was a terrible effort by the Nixon people to have prior restraint of a newspaper's publication, which is a violation of the First Amendment going all the way back to the Alien and Sedition Acts under John Adams 200 years ago.

But it was also, to me, a sadness, that as Mrs. Graham said, there wasn't any revelations or secrets really in the Pentagon papers, but it was a time when the American people were very much opposed to a war that their young people were fighting. I think Ben was very excited about it. I think it was a sad period for the country, but I certainly credit Ben Bradlee and Katharine Graham for fighting for the freedom of the press.


HUNT: I do, too. I think they are the most significant publisher and editor of the last half century, Mark. I wasn't in Washington then, but Mrs. Graham's late husband, Phil Graham was an extraordinary and captivating figure, yet it was only under her that "The Post" became a truly great newspaper. And I've been blessed to work for several great editors, but God, I wish I could have worked for Ben Bradlee.

CARLSON: What fun.

SHIELDS: Last word, Al Hunt. Next on CAPITAL GANG, distinguished Los Angeles journalist Bill Boyarsky joins us to look at his city's election for mayor.


SHIELDS: Welcome back. City attorney Jim Hahn was elected mayor of Los Angeles, defeating the bid by former assembly speaker Antonio Villaraigosa to become the first Hispanics to lead that city since 1878. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM HAHN (D), LOS ANGELES MAYOR-ELECT: Our campaign put together a coalition as diverse as this great city.





SHIELDS: Late in the campaign, Jim Hahn ran this commercial:


NARRATOR: Fact: The father of a convicted crack cocaine dealer contributed money to Antonio Villaraigosa. Fact: Villaraigosa wrote the White House pardon office for the drug dealer, claiming he was wrongly convicted. Fact: Villaraigosa falsely claimed the crack cocaine dealer had no prior criminal record.


SHIELDS: Joining us now from Los Angeles is Bill Boyarsky, award-winning former city editor and columnist of "The Los Angeles Times," Ronald Reagan biographer and currently working on a biography of California's legendary political boss Jesse Unruh. Thanks for coming in, Bill.


SHIELDS: Bill, did that commercial -- which ended with the words "Los Angeles cannot trust Antonio Villaraigosa" -- did that swing the non-Hispanic vote to Jim Hahn last Tuesday?

BOYARSKY: Well, it was the knockout blow, but Hahn had set up Villaraigosa and Villaraigosa had set up himself weeks before. A series of commercials by Hahn portrayed him as the law and order prosecutor candidate when actually his office handles a lot of civil suits, including a lot of slip and fall suits.

But he had a great commercial with his -- with some acts -- with some attorneys that looked like the cast from "Law and Order," and that kind of set up this campaign. He defined himself that way. His opponent didn't really define himself except to tell his, you know, inspiring life story up from poverty. And so when this ad -- when this ad hit and others before it which emphasized the trust issue hit, Villaraigosa was defenseless.

SHIELDS: OK, and on this, looking at this race, what strikes you is that Jim Hahn, the more conservative candidate, won with the African-American vote being central and overwhelming in his support, but crucial to his victory.

BOYARSKY: It's absolutely impossible, and this is what Villaraigosa's campaign manager said before the election, how can you win -- how can a liberal win without the African-American vote? I mean, it's true in Los Angeles, it's true around the country. The African-American vote is, you know, is in a lot of places the guts of the Democratic Party, particularly the liberal Democratic Party, and here was a man who had very little chance of getting it. In fact, he got 20 percent.

SHIELDS: And that was the legacy, of course, Bob Novak of Kenny Hahn, Jim Hahn's father, who was a legendary political figure in supporting the community.

NOVAK: Well, it might have been something more than that, Mark. It might have been just a real hostility by the African-Americans towards the Hispanics. And it seems to me, Bill, that the equation in Los Angeles, if you're going to elect that Hispanic mayor that everybody is saying is going to happen, you have to -- you're not going to get the black vote and you're going to have to have a more conservative Hispanic than Villaraigosa, who is going to cut into the white vote, to the people in the San Fernando Valley.

I found a lot of my Republican friends, who are political operatives like Stu Spencer and Ken Kharchigian who had endorsed Villaraigosa, but the Republican rank-and-file voters, and including the only two members of the city council, voted and supported Hahn. Do you agree with that analysis?

BOYARSKY: Yes, I do. In fact, the person who was elected city attorney, Rocky Delgadillo, is a Latino who is more conservative than Villaraigosa. And if you look at the last couple years, up and down the state, Latinos have been elected to the state legislature enough to elect two speakers of the assembly who are Latino, and almost to a person, those Latino candidates have been more moderate, more conservative people, who would you know, cross over ethnic lines and that's -- that's -- that is going to be the first Latino mayor of Los Angeles.

SHIELDS: OK, Margaret Carlson?

CARLSON: Bill, from back here, it looked like that was a successful negative ad. Remember in the presidential election, when McCain did the negative ad, he got hit for going negative. The negative ad didn't work because the backlash is so bad. Was it because this one reminded people of the pardons and Clinton? Or what made it work so well?

BOYARSKY: Well, I mean, it was an awful ad, but it was an absolutely great negative ad. I mean, it had the grainy image of -- of Villaraigosa -- and these images of him kept getting grainier and more black and white, you know, as the campaign went on.

And meanwhile, Hahn has this very bland personality, and he said, you know, he looks bland and he looks very pleasant, and when he was asked about the ad, he says: "You know a campaign is not a prom date." CARLSON: It did have the advantage of being true, that ad.

BOYARSKY: That's right. It had the advantage. He sent the letter, he did everything in the ad. And he -- you know, he knew this was coming up, and never really confronted it.


HUNT: I'm not sure I agree with Bob about blacks and Latinos not being able to form a coalition. They have in lots of other places, they agree on a lot of economic issues. They agree on affirmative action, they agree on some other things, so I think that's still possible.

But I'd like to ask Bill: Bill, I can't help but to think back to 30-some years ago when Tom Bradley was beaten out the first time out. You know, he was soft on law and order, it was said. Came back four years later and then served as mayor for 20 years. Is there any parallel, do you think this time, or do you think that Villaraigosa is dead?

BOYARSKY: Well, he's not dead. He's a tremendously ambitious, energetic and charismatic person.

Bradley, at that time, was -- had an office. He was the city -- he was the most famous member of the city council, so the day after he lost, he started his campaign for mayor, and he had this forum and he was going around the city -- and his opponent, the mayor, was -- was -- was getting more and more unpopular.

I think that if he wants to run again, and if he wants to run for another office, he's just going to have to start right in. He waged a good campaign. I'm sure he learned a lot. I'm sure he won't make the same mistakes twice. And -- and the guy is charismatic enough and smart enough and, you know, to have a future.

SHIELDS: Bill Boyarsky, thank you for being with us. Good look on the Jesse Unruh biography. The GANG will be back with the "Outrage of the Week."


SHIELDS: Now for "The Outrage of the Week." The men and women who defend our country are patriots, so too are teachers, police, nurses and firefighters, all of whom pay the U.S. taxes they owe. What is unpatriotic is the selfish conniving of the super rich to evade their responsibility by hiding income in offshore tax havens like Panama and the Caribbean.

The Bush administration has abandoned the law-abiding patriots and instead cuddles tax evaders who are rightly pursued for what they owe by Western democracies except the United States. Thanks to "The New York Times," we know former seven former IRS commissioners have urged the Bush administration to close the tax loophole used by those who love their money more than they love their country -- Robert Novak. NOVAK: It's called tax freedom, Mark, it's called tax freedom.

That $300 rebate that you're expecting from the government, $600 for couples, don't bank it if you live in one of these nine states: Alabama, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah. Their laws will actually impose the state income tax on the money we receive in rebates. What an outrage!

This will be a test to see whether -- which -- which of these states will exempt their citizens from those brutal taxation, especially the five states with Republican governors.

SHIELDS: Margaret Carlson.

CARLSON: Brutal indeed! Mark, the president was so anxious to look eco-friendly when he visited the Everglades this week, he almost hugged an alligator. As he waxed rhapsodic over, quote, "this slice of heaven," he wrongly claimed his $219 million for the Everglades restoration was a one-third increase over Clinton's. In fact, it is smaller.

Nearby, he may allow construction of an airport, the Florida coast is up for grabs too. Even his brother Jeb is fighting him on drilling there. Protesters dressed as oil barrels argued that every time he visits a national park, it becomes an endangered species.


HUNT: Mark, Wade Horn has been nominated by President Bush for a top HHS post. Experts, including some liberals, say he is a smart, qualified conservative. But some feminist groups are trying to kill the nomination.

Why? Because he was the founder of the Fatherhood Movement and a starch advocate of polices that encourage marriage. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan has long reminded us, the best guide to a child's success is an intact family. Dr. Horn ought to be confirmed, and the National Organization of Women ought to be condemned.

SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying good night for the CAPITAL GANG. "CNN TONIGHT" is next.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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