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Votes on Campaign Finance Reform have Begun; Are Democrats Behind Bush to Put Pressure on Hussein?

Aired February 13, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. As the president turns up the heat on Saddam Hussein, are the Democrats behind him?

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kate Snow on Capitol Hill. The first votes on campaign finance reform have begun, and poison pills are on the table.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider, with a look at the president's balancing act on campaign finance reform, and the force that's pushing him along.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Bruce Morton. The man who lost the White House by a whisker is back in the spotlight. Is it time for him to shave?

WOODRUFF: Thanks for joining us. On the House floor, the campaign finance reform competition is under way, with strategy as complex as anything you'll see in Salt Lake City. And risks, politically speaking, that might daunt a downhill racer.

Our Congressional correspondent, Kate Snow, is following all the action. Kate, tell us, where does it stand now?

SNOW: Well, Judy, right now, they're voting on, effectively, the Shays-Meehan legislation, named after Mr. Shays and Mr. Meehan, who are sponsors of this campaign finance reform bill. It looks, from the vote count right now, that they've got 40 Republicans on their side. That, they will tell you, is a very good sign. I just got off the phone with one of those who works with the campaign finance reform advocates, saying if they win this vote here, they're going to take that as a very good sign for what bodes for the rest of this everything.

All day long, Judy, Republicans have been trying everything they can to stop the legislation. One message coming out from Republicans I got this morning, first thing this morning, when I talked to House speaker Dennis Hastert -- and then it was echoed by several other Republican leaders. They're worried about one key provision in the bill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: My favorite loophole of the soft money ban, and the only one I'll talk about, because there are so many loopholes, is the one that popped up last night around midnight.

SNOW (voice-over): Republicans say a provision in the fine print of the Shays-Meehan bill would give Democrats the ability to do something that is not allowed by law now. The bill says a national party committee can use soft money to pay back "outstanding debts or obligations incurred" before the new reforms become law.

REP. TOM DAVIS (R), VIRGINIA: It means that political parties could borrow hard dollars in this year's election cycle and replace them with soft dollars that they could raise. So, soft dollars basically can pay for hard-dollar borrowing. This is exactly opposite of what this legislation is intended to do.

SNOW: Davis says the provision puts the bill in jeopardy, not because it won't pass the House, but because it might not pass muster in the Senate. Republicans seized on the issue, and hard. At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House spokesman joined the chorus, echoed moments later on the House floor.

REP. TOM DELAY (R), MAJORITY WHIP: It's not an honest drafting error. It's intentional, so that they can use their good soft money and pay for it later with other soft money!

REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: We believe the interpretation of the gentleman from Virginia and the majority whip is absolutely incorrect --wrong! It does not do what they say it does.

SNOW: But supporters of Shays-Meehan deny there is any loophole. The language, written by an outside group, was not meant to change current law.

REP. MARTY MEEHAN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: In fact, no one can raise any soft money under this bill after the next election. So, what you're saying just simply isn't so. It's illegal to do that.


SNOW: Obviously, a very intense debate, Judy, about this particular point. Supporters of the bill say that they think this is all just a last-ditch effort by Republicans to try to derail their efforts. They say it's really the last straw. And they say it's not over yet. They think they are going to win on this vote that they're taking right now.

There are 13 amendments that are going to be considered tonight though, Judy. Many of them are from the Republican point of view. Many of them are meant to put changes into the law. Democrats and supporters of campaign finance reform will call them poison pills. Republicans will say they're improvements to this bill.

But either way, if the bill is significantly changed on the House side, that could raise some real issues, Judy, because then of course, it doesn't match what they passed in the Senate last summer. And then it would have to go to a conference committee, and some say it would die there -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And, of course, that's what many of the Republicans want, and what many Democrats don't want.

SNOW: Exactly.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow, thanks a lot. We'll talk to you later.

President Bush did not mention any new loophole in the Shays- Meehan bill when reporters asked about campaign finance reform earlier today. But he did weigh in on when reform should happen, if he decides to sign a campaign finance bill into law.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to sign a bill that improves the system. And it seems like to me, that if they get a bill out the House of Representatives that improves the system, it ought to be in effect immediately. But we'll see what comes my way.


WOODRUFF: Although Mr. Bush signaled again that he is open to campaign finance reform, some Shays-Meehan supporters say that a move to make the legislation effective immediately would discourage support among lawmakers who'd prefer to put off a ban on soft money until after this election year.

Well, now the view from the campaign finance reform trenches. I spent some time yesterday with an opponent of the Shays-Meehan bill. And today, I tagged along with supporters.


(voice-over): 10:30 a.m., the battle over campaign finance reform in the House of Representatives is in full swing. For Democratic point man, Marty Meehan, that means floor action, a press conference with his allies, and tactical discussions with minority leader Dick Gephardt.

MEEHAN: So we're sort of organizing our people, and figuring out who is going to be there for what portion of the debate.

WOODRUFF (on camera): Why do you have to be so careful about all this?

MEEHAN: We want to make sure. One of the things we want to make sure is that our arguments get across. The opponents of reform, in some instances, believe it or not, Judy, are making up things, in terms of what our bill does. They keep saying that our bill doesn't allow issue ads 60 days before an election, and that's just not true. We do allow issue ads 365 days a year. Campaign ads, we even allow. They just have to use hard money to do it. Which makes sense.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Gephardt, how are you? We're just trying to cover the vote today. You've got the Republicans offering the original Shays-Meehan, the Republicans offering a complete ban on soft money. What's to argue against it?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: It's a clever and cynical ploy. The Senate passed a different bill. We have to have 60 votes to get it out of the Senate. If we pass the original Shays- Meehan without the Senate changes, it means it goes into conference, which is a graveyard, because it will never come out of the conference.

Republican leadership in the House has the ability to keep it in conference, and we have no way to get it out. So the only -- we have to thread the needle, here. We have to pass it in the house in a shape that it can get 60 votes in the Senate, not go to conference, and go straight to the president.

WOODRUFF: But they can say to their moderate members: vote for this and you can say you voted for campaign finance reform.

GEPHARDT: It's the ultimate cynical maneuver. It is clever -- too clever by half -- because it's saying you're a moderate, you vote for original Shays-Meehan. You can go home and say you voted for Shays-Meehan, and nobody at home will ever figure it out.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): As well as giving wavering moderate Republicans political cover, Gephardt says the G.O.P. leadership is putting them under intense political pressure.

GEPHARDT: They're being, I'm sure, threatened. But they're not, in my view -- they're going to face down those threats.

WOODRUFF (on camera): Threatened with what?

GEPHARDT: Read the newspapers. They're being threatened with coming off committees and running people against them in primaries. This is serious business. This is Armageddon, to use the speaker's words.

MEEHAN: They don't have a program of their own. They don't have a reform proposal of their own. They're just trying to do anything they can to force us into the graveyard of a conference committee. So I'm a little surprised there isn't some philosophical basis for what they're for. There are none. They're just against reform.

But it's going to be difficult to overcome the Republican leadership's attempts to try to keep all their members in line. I hope Republican members will vote their conscience in the end. I think they will.

WOODRUFF: And in your gut, what do you feel?

MEEHAN: In my gut -- look, I'm guarded. I want to make sure we do all the things we need to do. We have to defeat these amendments. But in my gut, I think in the end, the American public will win, and the Congress will support the bill.

WOODRUFF: Are you nervous?

MEEHAN: I wouldn't say nervous. I'd say more making sure...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He feels like the Patriots did before the Super Bowl game.

MEEHAN: I feel a little better. I think I probably feel the way Adam Vinatieri felt just before the field goal. I'm more optimistic than I was before the Super Bowl started.

WOODRUFF: Even I know what that means.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): Meeting over. Marty Meehan heads out to try to keep Democrats in line, and to refute Republican accusations that his bill would let candidates pay off campaign loans with soft money after the election.

WOODRUFF (on camera): What are you going off to do right now?

MEEHAN: I'm going onto the floor to talk to some of my Republican colleagues, to make sure this delay rumor about some kind of soft money loophole -- make sure I talk to the Republican members and get them to understand that that isn't the case. Go over the language with those Republican members, and work the floor. This is going to be a long process. I'll be on the floor, probably until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning.

WOODRUFF: We'll be watching.

MEEHAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it, congressman.

MEEHAN: Take care. Bye.


WOODRUFF: That was several hours ago. And joining us now, Congressman Roy Blunt. He is the Republican deputy whip, and he is a leader of the opposition to the Shays-Meehan bill. Congressman Blunt, first of all, on this line that the Republicans have been pushing today -- and that is that there's is a loophole in here that would allow soft money to repay hard money debts.

You just heard Congressman Meehan saying that is not true. Why are the Republicans continuing to say this?

REP. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: Well, I think it's clear it is true, Judy. And this is what happens when you file a bill at 10:00 or 11:00 on at night to vote on the next day, and say that bill is perfect, can't be amended, can't go to a conference committee, can't go through the regular process. It's clear they, either intentionally or unintentionally, they have written this bill in a way that it couldn't be amended, because we didn't see the bill until time that the amendments had to be filed. Couldn't be amended, that says you can pay off hard money expenditures with soft money that's collected during the campaign, that you happen to have on hand after the election.

I just put into the record on the floor less than an hour ago, the opinion of two of the current FEC commissioners, that unquestionable, you can pay off hard money loans with soft money. And not only do you have loopholes in the future, for the election we're in right now, you totally knocked the door down that protects the system from soft money.

WOODRUFF: Congressman, I would just say that Meehan's office -- sorry, Congressman Shays' office has sent me a letter within the hour, saying they've talked to a former FEC chairman and general council, who say that that's not the case. I don't think we're going settle that right here.


BLUNT: Let me make the point, though, that that's why these bills need to be handled in the right way. They should have had a committee hearing, probably should have even had a conference.

WOODRUFF: They also say that the other substitutes from the Republican leadership came in even after theirs. But let me ask you about leader Gephardt's comments, that it's a very cynical maneuver for the Republican leadership in the House, to be proposing language that it, in essence, doesn't believe in -- a soft money ban.

BLUNT: Well, certainly, if you're going to ban some soft money, we think you should ban all soft money. I think that's always been out position on soft money, that you should ban the corporate soft money, the union soft money. You shouldn't allow $40 million building fund for the Democratic National Committee when there's no similar fund of that size on the other side. You should ban all of this money -- if it's evil, it's all evil.

WOODRUFF: Is that something you favor, because we heard Congressman Meehan saying this is something -- and I'm quoting him. He said, "Republicans don't have a program of their own. They have no philosophical basis for what they're proposing."

BLUNT: I think if you look at what the president proposed last year during the campaign, over a year ago during the campaign, that was one of his top proposals: ban all soft money, have immediate disclosure, have real penalties if you violate the law. So, the president was out months ago talking about that as one of his principles.

The White House has expressed real concern today for the first time, real concern about this bill, because of that huge loophole that either intentionally, or unintentionally, is in the bill that really will distort politics this year if this bill passes. WOODRUFF: Finally, Congressman, what do you think is going to happen?

BLUNT: I think it's going to be very tight. I don't know what we'll do with these amendments, nor whether the Senate will just decide they want to subvert the process and not go to conference or not. I think we'll change the bill some. It's changed already from the Senate bill. I assume they're working hard to convince Senate supporters of what they're trying to do, that they should just accept whatever happens in the House. And we'll see what that is, late today.

WOODRUFF: All right, Representative Roy Blunt, we thank you very much for joining us.

BLUNT: You bet.


We go international when we return. Is the Bush administration closer to taking action against Iraq's President Saddam Hussein? Senators Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel will go "On the Record."

Frat boys have a cameo role when our Jeff Greenfield flips through the new political calendar.

And later...


RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: But in Brooklyn, if I started calling myself Sir Rudy, they'd say, "Hey, wait a second. Knock that off, or we'll knock it off you."


WOODRUFF: Keeping it in perspective, as Rudy the Rock becomes Rudy the Knight. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: The president's use of the phrase "axis of evil" in last month's State of the Union address has focused new attention on the potential next target in the war on terrorism. Earlier today, Mr. Bush said when it comes to Iraq, he is keeping his options open.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake about it. If we need to, we'll take necessary action to defend the American people. And I think that statement was clear enough for Iraq to hear me. And I will reserve whatever options I have...


WOODRUFF: The president's one-time opponent, Al Gore, last night largely endorsed White House policy toward Iraq. As a threat to the U.S., Gore said Iraq is -- quote -- "in a class by itself."


AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: This time, if we resort to force, we must get it absolutely right. It must an action set up carefully and on the basis of the most realistic concepts. Failure cannot be an option, which means that we must be prepared to go the limit.


WOODRUFF: For more on U.S. international policy, I spoke "On the Record" today with two members of the Senate foreign relations committee: Democrat Joseph Biden of Delaware, the committee chairman, and Republican Chuck Hagel, of Nebraska.


WOODRUFF: Senators, thank you for joining us. Let me start off by asking you, with stronger language now coming out of the Bush administration, with a Democratic presidential nominee in 2000 sounding as if he's onboard, is it fair to say that Democrats and Republicans are now on same page in wanting military action to remove Saddam Hussein? Senator Hagel?

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Well, I certainly can't speak for any of my colleagues, but I don't know if I would frame it in that general a way. There is no you one up here, I don't believe, that does not fully comprehend the seriousness of what we are dealing with here, and the dangers and the threats that Saddam Hussein presents. That's obvious.

The question is, how do you deal with Saddam Hussein? When do you deal with him? On what terms? And all the strategies and policies that would dictate that, and I think in the end, it always must also include a coalition to be with us on this. So, I'm not sure that the military option is that clear cut up here.

WOODRUFF: Senator Biden, doesn't it sound as if we are moving in that direction, military action?

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: Well, Judy, it does sound that way. I have now met, including specific meetings off the floor of the Senate, with at least a dozen senators of both parties so far. And one of the questions -- there's a number of questions we want to know the answer to. The easy part is going to be, in a bizarre sense, taking Saddam out.

The hard part is, what do you do after? And here we are in Afghanistan. The administration has done a phenomenal job so far. But there is some real debate as to whether we're going to stay and finish the job, or whether American troops are going to be on the ground, and so on.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you both to listen to what Secretary of State Powell said yesterday on the Hill. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: With respect to Iraq, it's long been, for several years now, a policy of the United States' government that regime change would be in the best interest of the region, the best interest of the Iraqi people. And we're looking at a variety of options that would bring that about.


WOODRUFF: Senator Hagel, I come back to you again. Military action, it sounds as if, is the first and foremost option that they're looking at.

HAGEL: Well, that's certainly an option. But Secretary Powell also said yesterday that there were no plans in the works, for imminent military action to attack Iraq. One of the things that I'm sure the vice president will be talking seriously about to our allies and friends in that region next month, will be all the options.

Is military option an option? Of course it is. Is it the only option? Maybe it will be. But I think that we must be a little careful here, that we don't jump out to that option first. Because what Senator Biden said is really the issue, here.

What happens after it's all over? What is the outcome? Do you in fact destroy Iraq to the point where you break it up, and you make it even more dangerous? Do you destabilize the area even more than it is now? I don't think that's in the interest of Israel.

So, those kind of strategic policy issues have to be thought through carefully, in my opinion, before we talk about launching any military strike. And especially if it needs to be in coalition -- in coordination with a coalition.

BIDEN: And, Judy, I think that's what the secretary is saying. He said that there's options. I assume what's happening is, I assume we're talking to the Europeans. I assume the administration is talking with the Turks. I assume they're talking with the Israelis. I assume we're talking with the Russians about smarter sanctions. I assume we're going to set down markers that say you have to let inspectors in.

If you don't, then we, as a coalition, we're going to take further action against you. This is a process. Will it result in military action? If you ask me, my guess is it probably will at some point, but we're not there yet.

WOODRUFF: I want to quickly, finally ask you both about the language the president used in the State of the Union, describing putting Iraq in the same basket with Iran and North Korea, putting all three together. We had Tom Daschle, the Senate majority leader, saying a couple of nights ago, we have to be careful with rhetoric of this kind. Senator Hagel, do you agree?

HAGEL: Well, I have not only said I agree, but I have spoken out on the point. We have to remember, Judy, that words have meaning. And words and meaning have consequences, many times, unintended consequences. Also, commitment and expectation goes with that.

But here's the real point, I think, behind that. If we are to use that rhetoric, and to lump those three countries together -- which I don't think makes a lot of sense for other reasons -- then there should be a purpose behind that. What do we want to fulfill? What is it that we want to accomplish, to change behavior and alter relationships?

And always remember, we should be reaching out to try to enhance America's position in the world with relationships. So there should be something behind all of that, and maybe there was. But I think we have seen some negative response to it.

WOODRUFF: Senator Biden, do you have a trouble with lumping the three together?

BIDEN: I have a trouble with not explaining what you mean, Judy. They are evil. I think the government in North Korea is evil. I think that the leadership in control of Iran primarily is evil now. I'm not sure that it's useful to talk about that, but that's true.

But what I have trouble with it is: what do you mean? Look what's happening now. The secretary of state is running around the world and the country, as well as the president and everybody around him, saying, oh, by the way, we think Iraq is a little different. We want to talk with Iran. We're willing to talk with North Korea.

Well, that's the explanation. If the president said: there are three evil countries out there I'm worried about. With one, we should treat it this way. The second one, we're willing to talk. And the third one, we're willing to do the following. Well, I'm not sure he would have chosen the same language he chose. He's saying something that's true, but at least he's explained what it is that we're about.

We've confused the living devil out of people here, and I think we've confused -- I think even the administration is confused, because now they're running around -- that's wrong. They are trying to explain what distinctions exist between the three now. It would have been better if it were done at the same time.

WOODRUFF: All right. Gentlemen, we're going to have to leave it there. Senator Biden, Senator Hagel, it's good to see you both.

BIDEN: Thank you.

HAGEL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.


The INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle" is next, including an update on the campaign finance debate. Plus, the politics of figure skating. Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson add their opinions to the controversy that just won't disappear.


Byline: Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, Mark Shields, William Schneider, Jeff Greenfield, Walter Rodgers, Bruce Morton

A quick glance now at the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle": The International Skating Union plans to review its judging procedures. The move follows the controversy over the outcome of this week's Olympic pairs competition. Judges awarded the gold to a Russian team, but many observers say the sliver medalists from Canada should have won the gold.

U.S. troops at the Kandahar airport have released seven captives taken this morning after a firefight with a group of attackers west of the base. U.S. military officials have determined the seven were not involved in the exchange of fire. No U.S. forces were wounded in the incident.

Well, joining us now: Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine, Tucker Carlson of "CROSSFIRE".

Tucker, this whole skating controversy, collusion is what some are saying among the judges. If that's the case, what should be done?

TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I must say, watching the coverage of this is like watching the "Saturday Night Live" version coverage of it. Who knew there was so much melodrama in figure skating?

We all did know, though, that it is a subjective process, judging it. And who is to say? That's the judges' decision. And it strikes me as there is a bit of sour grapes to say, oh, it was stolen from them. I don't know. Apparently, the Russians had a more technically challenging version. And they didn't skate to "Love Story" like the Canadians did twice in the past three years. Maybe they deserved it.

MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": Anything that doesn't include "Love Story" should get a prize?

T. CARLSON: Yes, exactly, that's the spirit, Margaret.

M. CARLSON: But the Russians fumbled twice and the Canadians were nearly perfect. And it seems to be the Cold War Olympics, where the Russians and the Chinese vote together. And then the French, just because they are so perverse, go with the Russian and Chinese judges. Just because Canadians and Americans don't pronounce (SPEAKING FRENCH) properly when we go to Paris, they are getting back at us.

WOODRUFF: Have we opened up a Pandora's box? Is this major scandal or is this just a blip on the Olympic screen?

T. CARLSON: Well, think of this way. Three months from now, a month from now, who is going to be on the Wheaties box? Is it going to be the Russian team, who won the gold, or it is going to the Canadian team, who won the silver? It is going to be the Canadian team. They're the ones, these two skaters are the ones who, in the end, are going to benefit from all this. It's just hard to be too upset about it when you keep that in mind.

M. CARLSON: And they should get a prize for not whining.

T. CARLSON: Oh, I don't know. I have heard some whining.

M. CARLSON: They have really held back.

No, they have not done the whining. Others have done it for them.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk about campaign finance reform -- talk about a change subject, from Salt Lake City to the Capitol -- a lot of complicated maneuvering going on, a lot of amendments being added. They are voting on the substitutes right now.

Tucker, how much of this is genuine debate over the substance and how much of it is maneuvering because the Republican leadership fears that this thing may really pass?

T. CARLSON: I think it's a combination of both.

But I must say to describe, as the Democrats and Republican campaign finance supporters do, as a poison pill this effort to make this legislation binding when it passes is ridiculous. There are lot of Republicans who say, look, if you pass this, if campaign finance reform is so vital, why not make it apply to this upcoming election? But this current proposal, of course, would make it apply the day after the election. It's ridiculously hypocritical.


M. CARLSON: They are voting themselves a NicoDerm patch, which is: We are so addicted to money, we have to wean ourselves from it in future elections. We can't do it immediately. A real poison pill would be if they made it retroactive and said, listen, give back the soft money from the last six months. WOODRUFF: But what about the idea that today it's Dick Armey, the Republican leader in the House, who is introducing a legislation to ban all soft money? And, presumably, that's not his


M. CARLSON: Well, anything you can do to differ from the Senate bill is going to get it into conference and cause gridlock and probably...

T. CARLSON: Let's hope so.

M. CARLSON: ... its failure.

T. CARLSON: Well, I would say the real poison pill is that is unconstitutional. The idea that you can limit people or prevent people from expressing their political opinion 60 days before an election is wrong and it's against the First Amendment.

M. CARLSON: No, what is wrong is a country where free speech belongs to the person who can pay for it.

T. CARLSON: Oh, please. These are groups that exist living off donations from middle-class and poor people who believe in certain issues.

WOODRUFF: Who are the real winners and losers here going be? Can we even tell at this point, Margaret?

M. CARLSON: Well, it's hard to tell. If it passes, John McCain and Christopher Shays are winners.

WOODRUFF: Is either -- the Republicans and the Democrats?

M. CARLSON: Either party?

You can't figure out who it's going to hurt. Republicans, of course, think it is going to hurt them most, which is why they are so opposed to it. But I think it's a wash in the end.

T. CARLSON: Well, I will tell you who is going to hurt, are television networks, if this lunatic idea that political candidates ought other have heavily discounted ad rats. Congress is essentially awarding itself cheap time for its own ads, the equivalent of voting itself a pay raise here. I think the media loses and the politicians win.

WOODRUFF: But it's something the networks have lobbied very hard to get.

T. CARLSON: I hope so. And they ought to be lobbying against it.

WOODRUFF: Tucker Carlson...

T. CARLSON: Growl. M. CARLSON: Free enterprise.

T. CARLSON: Growl, that's right.

WOODRUFF: Tucker Carlson, Margaret Carlson, thank you both. See you later. Growl.

For a firsthand account of that skating controversy we've been talking about, you can tune in tonight to "LARRY KING LIVE" at 9:00 Eastern. He will have as his guests the Canadian skating couple who are in the middle of this firestorm.

And up next: a live report from California on the increasingly heated campaign for governor. Mark Shields will be with us.


WOODRUFF: The California governor's race is always a major political event, but this year's campaign is showing signs of becoming one of the most contentious yet.

Joining me now from Los Angeles with the "Inside Buzz" on the Golden State campaign: Mark Shield of CNN's "CAPITAL GANG" and "NOVAK, HUNT & SHIELDS."

Mark, Enron is one of the things making Governor Davis vulnerable out there?

MARK SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, what is remarkable is, Gray Davis, who is unchallenged for renomination in the Democratic primary, has already gone after Dick Riordan, the front- runner, the former mayor of Los Angeles, in the Republican primary, on television. And now the Republicans are responding in kind by pointing out that Governor Davis was the largest individual recipient of Enron's largess politically.

WOODRUFF: Well, Mark, you mentioned Riordan, Riordan right now doing very well in the polls, but he hardly has the typical Republican profile.

SHIELDS: No, you are right, Judy.

And it's interesting. If one thinks about California, Since World War II, the Republicans have won eight White House elections. Six of those elections, they have had a Californian on the ticket. California has been crucial to Republican fate, fortune and well- being.

But the last three presidential elections, the Republicans have really not been competitive here. Gray Davis won a landslide victory here in 1998. And so, as Stu Spence (ph), the longtime Republican wise man, said to me, this is a Democratic state now, this California. And the only hope, in his judgment, Spencer's judgment, was that the Republicans nominate somebody who can reach out and appeal to Democrats. And that's what a lot of Riordan supporters think they have in the former mayor of Los Angeles. WOODRUFF: But how do the other Republicans who don't necessarily agree with Richard Riordan on some of these issues feel about that?

SHIELDS: Well, Bill Simon, the Republican business man, first- time candidate, who has shown some movement in most recent surveys, emphasized the fact that he is a conservative. He believes as Republicans do. He is critical of taxes. He is pro-life.

He is critical of gun control, while Dick Riordan and Bill Jones, the only statewide elected Republican, Judy, the secretary of state running for governor, trailing in most surveys most recently -- they are debating tonight, as a matter of fact, at Long Beach State -- and I'll be there -- but has emphasized the fact that Nancy Daly Riordan, Dick Riordan's wife, a longtime Democratic activist, he had a charge yesterday that she has been raising money for Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, running for governor or Maryland, and that this was proof that Dick Riordan obviously wasn't even a closet liberal.

This was just following the pattern. He had contributed, had Riordan, to campaign of Tom Bradley, the former mayor of Los Angeles, when he ran for governor. He had contributed to Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer. So they're emphasizing the fact that, look, maybe the guy can win, maybe he can't, but we don't want to sell our soul and birthright just on the prospect that he might win.

WOODRUFF: Well, I can imagine the other Republicans would be wanting to point that out.

All right, Mark Shields, next time we talk to you, we will talk about women and how they are voting in California. But we'll do that the next time we see you. All right, Mark, have a safe trip back.

SHIELDS: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

SHIELDS: Thanks.

WOODRUFF: President Bush has managed to stay out of the major debates over the campaign finance reform bill. By calling for a measure that will -- quote -- "improve the system," he's been able to stay above the political fray.

CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider joins me now with more on the president's so-called strategic positioning -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, for the past year, President Bush has sent the same message to Congress on campaign finance reform: Don't count on me to veto this. So you can't say President Bush's position is in response to the Enron scandal. It's in response to, well, something else.


(voice-over): For President Bush, the key figure is not Kenneth Lay; it's John McCain. A third of the voters in 2000 called themselves McCain supporters. They are reform voters, like McCain. President Bush has been sounding a lot of McCain-like themes recently: his aggressive international policy; his call for national service.

And campaign finance reform? The White House claims that President Bush deserves credit for reviving the issue after certain forces tried to kill it. What forces? Listen carefully.

ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It used to be a debate where the Democratic Congress would send a bill to former President Bush knowing he was going to veto it. It used to be a debate on which former President Clinton would make a proposal to the Republican Congress knowing it was going to go nowhere.

SCHNEIDER: Former President Bush, the GOP Congress? He is blaming Republicans. Somehow, a story got on the front page this week saying that the White House was secretly trying to kill campaign finance reform.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I read in one of the major newspapers, "The New York Times" this morning, that the White House is working through the RNC in trying to block passage of this legislation. I hope that -- I hope that that is not the case.

SCHNEIDER: Then McCain wrote in an op-ed article: "Congress should give President Bush his chance to emulate Teddy Roosevelt by taking on the special interests."

That is as much a challenge to President Bush as it is Congress.


SCHNEIDER: Long before the Enron scandal, President Bush was seen as the candidate of big business who raised record amounts of money from his rich buddies. Now he can be the president who signs campaign finance reform into law. Politically, you know, that may prove to be irresistible -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks.

And we will look at presidential primary seasons past and future. Next on INSIDE POLITICS: Does a long haul help or hurt candidates? Our Jeff Greenfield will review the political calendar.


WOODRUFF: Our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, had some thoughts on the new presidential primary calendar and the lessons of history in today's "Bite of the Apple."

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Judy, only 10 years ago, the presidential nominating process stretched from the Iowa caucuses in February through the California in June. Next time, it will all be over by March at the latest. Why? Because the Democrats have squished the calendar together like a frat boy with a beer can. Why? Out of the firm belief that a lengthy battle for the nomination hurts the ultimate nominee. One problem with this firm belief: It ain't necessarily so. Just look at the last two presidents.


(voice-over): 1992: Bill Clinton, rocked by controversy over the draft and Gennifer Flowers, finishes second in New Hampshire, doesn't win his first primary until March, gets knocked down again in Connecticut and has to win a fractious New York primary to prevail.

President Bush, meanwhile, despite a moderately strong challenge in New Hampshire by Pat Buchanan, has no real opposition. But, by the Democratic Convention, Clinton's struggle has made him a stronger candidate and helped him to ultimate victory.

Or look at the last campaign. While Bill Bradley never really mounts a serious challenge to Vice President Al Gore, Governor George W. Bush, the odds-on favorite, is clobbered by Senator John McCain in New Hampshire, triggering a weeks-long fight that does not end until Super Tuesday in March. Bush emerges from the struggle a tougher, better candidate, one key to his ability to battle Gore to a tie the following November.

Indeed, history doesn't show any real pattern here. John Kennedy had to battle until the end for his nomination, but he narrowly beat the all-but-unchallenged Nixon back in 1960. Eight years later, Nixon sailed to the nomination and narrowly beat the battered and bruised Hubert Humphrey. In fact, the only clear lesson from history is this. When an incumbent president is challenged hard for renomination, either he or his party loses in November.

LBJ chose not run again in '68. Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter staved off renomination challenges only to lose in November.


GREENFIELD: Now, there's no consensus about who's helped by a short calendar. Some think the well-financed front-runner. Others think it will be a candidate who can surge to an early victory and stampede the process. I don't know. But if the Democrats think that an early decision is automatically going to help them in November, they cannot prove it by the track record -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, and we hereby challenge them to try to do so.

Jeff, what's on "GREENFIELD AT LARGE" tonight?

GREENFIELD: We will be live watching the House of Representatives debate campaign finance reform. We are going to be talking to Senator Russ Feingold and humorist P.J. O'Rourke. How is that for range?

WOODRUFF: That is range. GREENFIELD: All right.

WOODRUFF: And we will be watching. Jeff Greenfield, thanks.

Well, from the Big Apple to Buckingham Palace. Up next: a knight in London. Rudy Giuliani says his thoughts are still with New Yorkers.


WOODRUFF: After September 11, Rudy Giuliani was embraced as America's mayor. And now, weeks after leaving office in New York, he has a new title.

CNN's Walter Rodgers reports from London on Giuliani the knight.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was heady stuff for the grandson of Italian immigrants: Buckingham Palace a red carpet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable Rudolph Giuliani, lately mayor of New York.

RODGERS: Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair, nominated the former mayor of New York City for an honorary knighthood. And Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth did the honors, presenting Giuliani with a medal making him a knight of the British empire for rallying New York's police and fire departments September 11 and for raising New Yorkers from despair in the days thereafter.

RUDOLPH GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: She congratulated me on my leadership during a very horrible time. She said it must have been hard and awful. She said that she had watched a lot of what happened and what I had done and that she wanted to express her admiration.

RODGERS: Meeting with Britain's home secretary, Giuliani also offered advice on how to rein in London's soaring crime rate, the former federal prosecutor telling the British to pay more attention to the small things.

GIULIANI: In New York, at least, we had been doing that for a long time. We had been ignoring street-level drug dealing, street- level prostitution, graffiti, minor vandalism. And, as a result, things were getting much, much worse.

RODGERS: Giuliani played a little, too, visiting Winston Churchill's War Cabinet Room, where Britain's wartime prime minister coordinated the Allied defense against the Germans. Giuliani constantly referred to Churchill as his own inspiration in the dark days after September 11.

Later, meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, Giuliani observed: GIULIANI: It's quite possible that September 11 was the worst day in the history of our country, certainly the worst day in the history of our city. And the only reason we emerged from it stronger than we were before is because, yes, the people of New York have great strength, the people of America have great strength, but we have good friends.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: The leadership that you showed, as the people having to deal with those terrible events following the 11th of September in New York, the leadership that you showed is an inspiration for people everywhere.

RODGERS: Giuliani's honorary knighthood does not include the privilege of being called "sir." And he said perhaps that is just as well.

GIULIANI: In Brooklyn, if I started calling myself "Sir Rudy," they would say: "Hey, wait a second. Knock that off or we will knock it off you," something like that.

RODGERS (on camera): If there was one underlying theme to Rudy Giuliani's visit to London, it was not so much about knighthood or other honors, or even a meeting with the queen and the prime minister. The underlying message of Giuliani's visit to Britain clearly was just how desperately the man misses politics and being at center stage again.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, London.


WOODRUFF: Well, even if we were are not supposed to call him "sir," we can still say congratulations.

We will split hairs next on inside politics. Many Afghan men are getting rid of their beards these days. Should political figures in this country follow suit?


WOODRUFF: As you may have noticed, former Vice President Al Gore chose to give his first big policy speech since losing the White House on Abraham Lincoln's birthday. Is there a connection?

Here's our national correspondent, Bruce Morton.



BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's back, the former vice president, making speeches and all that. And he's still got that beard. Well, there is precedent. Abraham Lincoln had a beard, but not always. During his 1860 campaign, 11-year-old Grace Bedell wrote, "If you let your whiskers grow, you would look a great deal better." After the election, Lincoln did and stopped off on his way to his inauguration to thank and kiss his unpaid campaign consultant. "The New York World" wrote, "Her peachy cheek must have been tickled with a stiff whisker."

But that was then. Five presidents had beards. Benjamin Harrison was the last, more than 100 years ago. Somewhere back then, straight razors -- one shake of the wrist and you could cut your throat -- went out and safety razors came in. More men started shaving. Thomas Dewey was the last candidate with even a mustache, and he lost twice, labeled the little man on the wedding cake.

Bill Clinton had a scraggly beard when he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, but got rid of it when he started running for office. Beards come and go. Alexander the Great wanted clean-shaven soldiers so the enemy couldn't grab a soldier's beard with one hand and stab him with the other. The Taliban, of course, levied fines for beards that were too short. In today's America: one beard in the Senate, Corzine of New Jersey, half a dozen or so in the House, no beards in the Cabinet, none on the Supreme Court.

Ronald Reagan did nominate two bearded men, Robert Bork and Douglas Ginsberg. But they lost, got Borked, or bearded, maybe. Author John Updike wrote, "The scissors cut the long-grown hair. The razor scrapes the remnant fuzz. Small-jawed, weak-chinned, big-eyed, I stare at the forgotten boy I was."

What do you think? Should he keep it?

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Send us an e-mail. Tell us what you think.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.




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