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Is U.S. Changing Rules on Nukes?; Is Government Trying to Take Away Your SUV?; The Hottest Race in Texas

Aired March 12, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. There is more heat on the White House today to answer the question: is the U.S. changing its rules for using nuclear weapons?

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brooks Jackson. Is the government trying to take away your SUV? I'll check the claims and counter claims in the debate over fuel standards.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley. We'll focus on today's Texas primary, the hottest race and the political angles that have escaped the national radar.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, a trip to the gym to talk about tonight's face-off on whether Mike Tyson should be allowed to box in the nation's capital.

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

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We begin with international concerns about where U.S. global policy is heading. Both President Bush and Vice President Cheney are getting earfuls today. President Bush has been meeting with the Russian defense minister at the White House. Along with many U.S. allies, Russia wants the president to explain his nuclear weapons policy, after reports of new Pentagon review created confusion and some alarm.

Our White House correspondent Kelly Wallace is here. Kelly, what do you know so far? What can you say they were expected to talk about, the president and the Russian minister?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, I can tell you the defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, is still here at the White House. It appears he wrapped up his meeting with Mr. Bush, but must be meeting with other U.S. officials. You could say that Mr. Ivanov was looking for some clarification.

Talking to some Russian journalist, they say the Russian government was simply stunned, basically feeling that the U.S. has said that it considers Russia no longer an enemy. So, stunned to learn that the U.S. has ordered the Pentagon to come up with some contingency plans to use against Russia and at least six other nations. Now, Judy, as you know, officials have been out throughout the weekend, and yesterday and again today, really downplaying the reports. Saying that U.S. policy has not changed, saying that the U.S. still very much intends to reduce its nuclear arsenal. But also saying one way to deter the use of nuclear weapons, to make the case that the U.S. certainly has contingency plans to use them -- but again, as a deterrent strategy. No first strike by the White House -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly, a summit planned for this May between President Bush and Russia's President Vladimir Putin, as far as you know, is everything on track in terms of planning for that?

WALLACE: It appears on this issue, too, definitely running into some problems. Again, both countries definitely pledging and willing to reduce their nuclear arsenal. But the U.S. is saying it would like to shelve or store some of those excess nuclear warheads to use in the case of an emergency. The Russians are saying that's simply not acceptable. But that's not really arms reduction.

So clearly, they have to work this issue out. The hope is, as you said, they can work it out in time for Mr. Bush going to Moscow for that summit in May, but it's not clear if they'll be able to do that -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly Wallace at the White House.

And now to Vice President Cheney and his effort to drum up Arab support for tougher action against Iraq. In Jordan today, King Abdullah warned Cheney that a U.S.-led attack on Iraq would pose a danger to security and stability in the region.

And the king underscored the importance of the Bush administration's new effort to ease the cycle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. Israel stepped up its military offensive today. In addition to an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, deadly clashes were reported at the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, and in the West Bank town of Ramallah.

As U.S. envoy Anthony Zinni prepares to head to the Middle East on Thursday, the Bush administration faces a balancing act between the Middle East crisis and the possibility of a U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Let's turn now to our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Bill, tell us about that balancing act.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, there is not supposed to be any connection, Vice President Cheney says, between the U.S. efforts to build a war coalition against Iraq and the peace process that's just beginning to get started between Israel and the Palestinians.

But that linkage itself has become an issue, because the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Egypt and Jordan may be in agreement with the U.S. on the need to get Saddam Hussein out of power in Iraq. But they dare not side with the U.S. without taking great risks to their own survival, because the U.S. is seen as too pro-Israel by a lot of Arabs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Arab leaders want to see a breakthrough in the peace process in the Israel-Palestinian conflict before they can openly support the U.S. against Iraq. So, Cheney is really doing a high wire act. He's trying to keep a balance between the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and building a war coalition against Iraq.

But you know, Judy, for Arabs, the Israel-Palestinian conflict is the main event. Its not a side show.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, Thanks. And, Bill, we'll be talking to you again in just a few minutes on a very different subject. So hang around.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate began debating a short while ago on a bill to raise fuel economy standards for automobiles. Opponents claim the measure would have serious consequences for those modern-day staples of suburban life: SUVs and minivans. Brooks Jackson checks the facts.


JACKSON (voice-over): The debate over making gas guzzlers more efficient is getting a little nuts. Just listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't want to get into a political thing about it.

JACKSON (on camera): It's not a political thing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure it is. The government wants to take away my SUV.

JACKSON: Take away sport utility vehicles? Come on! A false claim by the auto industry. SUVs would not be banned, only required to burn less fuel. SUVs, pickups and minivans now have to get only an average of 20.7 miles per gallon. For cars, it's 27.5. What's being proposed in the Senate is a gradual increase to 36, average, for all new vehicles by the year 2015.

But that's got the automakers howling, and fibbing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trying to legislate an SUV into getting the same miles per gallon as a car. That's like taking a tuba and calling it a whistle.

JACKSON: Funny, but false again. SUVs would not have to get the same mileage. Thirty-five is an average. They could still get less if smaller cars by the same maker got more. Senate critics say higher mileage will be expensive.

The Senate Democrats, under this bill, they're going to raise the price of your vehicle by at least a couple thousand, if not $3,000 or $4,000.

JACKSON: Four grand? That's an exaggeration. A National Academy of Sciences panel estimated much lower costs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's conceivable that the price of an SUV could go up by, say, $2,000 or more. I think it's unlikely it would go up by as much as $4,000.

JACKSON: Furthermore, lower fuel costs would offset most or even all the higher sticker price. Here's the scariest criticism: better mileage could be deadly.

Will fatalities go up if we pass this bill? The answer is yes. By the thousands.

JACKSON: Well, maybe. But maybe not. In fact, experts disagree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Certainly, it would result in additional fatalities. I would probably put the number in hundreds, but it could be thousands, if you add this up over the years.

JACKSON: The Highway Safety Institute says lighter vehicles get better mileage, but their passengers are more likely to die in a crash. But the Science Academy study says SUVs may not have to be lighter, just use better engines, streamlining and such.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there's enough time, then the technology is there that these fuel economy standards could be met without significant adverse effects on safety.

JACKSON: For now, gasoline is cheap. Big vehicles are popular. Why regulate SUVs at all? Arab oil is one argument. Environmentalists just rolled out this ad for mandating better mileage.

ROBERT REDFORD, ACTOR: I'm Robert Redford and I think we'd all agree that that's a good idea, especially reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

JACKSON: Wait -- reduce dependence? Wrong. Imports would continue to grow, just not as fast. Under current rules, oil imports are projected to grow 59 percent by the year 2020. But even with a 35-miles-per-gallon standard, very close to the 36 now being proposed, imports would still grow 47 percent, according to the Federal Energy Information Administration.

(on camera): So, don't believe everything you hear from either side. Check the facts. Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And now we turn to the state of Texas, where voters are casting primary ballots today. And there appears to be a new source of contention in a hot contest for the Democratic nomination for governor. At issue: dozens of polling places in the San Antonio area did not open this morning. Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times" joins us. Ron, we just learned from our affiliate, KAAB, that Dan Morales, one of the two Democratic candidates, is in court right now at this hour, trying to keep some of the polling places open longer.

RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": This race has been a throwback from the beginning, to rough-and-tumble Texas politics of the past. So it's perfectly appropriate, I think, that it ends in court.

Basically, Judy, what happened is that last night the Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, Democratic Party had its meeting to prepare for the polling today. They discovered about 50 of the people who were slated to work as election judges were not going to be showing up for their jobs. They consolidated, they shut down those 50 polling places from about 325 to 275. Most of them turned out to be on the west side of San Antonio, where Morales was born, where he is strongest against Tony Sanchez, the businessman. He's running against another Latino candidate.

The Morales campaign suspects foul play, some sort of effort to try to suppress his vote. There is a tradition of that in south Texas that goes way back. But the county party and the Sanchez campaign said it had nothing to do with it. Mr. Sanchez, I was told today, was asked if he would oppose an effort to keep the polls open longer, and he said no. So this may affect what happens tonight in San Antonio.

WOODRUFF: Sanchez was seen as running ahead in the polls leading up to today.


WOODRUFF: Whoever wins, is Rick Perry, the incumbent governor, vulnerable?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, the question for the Texas Democrats is, can they fast-forward history? Over the last 15 years or so, Texas has migrated to become a one party Republican state, as white voters have realigned, both rural and suburban. Now, both sides say that over the next 10 years or so, the growth of the Hispanic population in the state is going to make it competitive again. The question is, can they compress that history with the Latino nominee, radically drive up the Latino turnout to as much as perhaps a fifth of the vote.

Because if -- Sanchez is presumably the favorite to be the nominee -- if Sanchez can get the vote up that high, he does have a shot at Perry. He's not as strong as Bush. And if you do bring up the vote that high, Democrats can be within reach. But to do that, Judy, you have to get a presidential level turnout among Latinos in the gubernatorial year. And that's not easy to do, even for a Latino candidate.

WOODRUFF: And just to underline, Sanchez had an enormous money advantage.

BROWNSTEIN: Sanchez outspent Morales 36 to 1, in the last report. He's been spending over $2 million a week in this primary, which will put him on pace, though the primary, to spend as much money as anyone has ever spent in Texas in a primary and general election.

So this is someone who's not only going to spend probably on TV for the general, but is going to spend on the get-out-the-vote effort up and down the ballot, which is what Democrats really hope will bring them back. Not only the governor's race, but lieutenant governor. Maybe an outside chance in the Senate race, though that is tougher. The U.S. Senate race.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're talking about the governor's race in Texas, and they're voting today, and we'll know more tomorrow.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. The Senate race we may not know. We may have a runoff in April.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ron Brownstein, thanks very much. We'll talk to you about all this later.

And later, we'll have more on the Texas primary in this program, and some of the nasty ads that have been on the airwaves. But up next, we'll discuss the growing questions about where, when and why the U.S. might use nuclear weapons. Former Senator Sam Nunn will go "On the Record."

Jeff Greenfield will focus on political pictures worth a thousand words. Could a new photo possibly top this one?

And my chat with boxing promoter Rock Newman, about the pros and cons of Mike Tyson going into the ring here in Washington. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: In 1981, when officials from the new Reagan administration suggested the U.S. could fight and win a limited nuclear war, a nuclear freeze movement broke out. Now reports say the U.S. has contingency plans for using smaller-scale nuclear weapons. Will this create a new political controversy? I'll go "On the Record" in a moment with former Senator Sam Nunn. But first, some analysis from our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Since September 11th, fear of terrorism has replaced fear of nuclear war. Most Americans believe terrorist groups like Osama bin Laden's have access to nuclear weapons. And most Americans believe terrorists are likely to explode a nuclear weapon in the U.S. in the next 10 years.

So, are Americans now willing to use nuclear weapons to attack terrorists facilities? No. Most Americans are not willing to use nuclear weapons preemptively. But they are willing to use nuclear weapons defensively.

If terrorists use weapons of mass destruction, such as radioactive or nuclear weapons, against the U.S., a solid majority of Americans favors a U.S. nuclear response. Remember, the United States is the only country that has ever used nuclear weapons in warfare. And 50 years later, Americans still supported the decision to drop A- bombs on Japan, a country that had attacked the U.S.

Today nuclear weapons are widely accepted for defensive purposes. Are there hurdles to their use? Of course. Those hurdles are strategic and technological and diplomatic, but not political. Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Just about an hour ago I discussed U.S. nuclear policy with former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. He was a member of the Senate for almost a quarter-century. Now he's co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative. It's an organization he co-founded with CNN's founder, Ted Turner. I started by asking Nunn's reaction to reports about the U.S. contingency plan to use nuclear weapons.


SAM NUNN, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE: First I want to know whether it was accurate and true. And second, I read the transcript of Secretary Powell's dialogue on Sunday. And it seemed to be more contingency planning, conceptual thinking, from the way I heard his description. And then I read today the cover letter that Secretary Rumsfeld submitted to the Congress, where he called it a major change in offensive forces, and a transformation of our forces and our posture.

It seems to me that there's a real contradiction. So maybe there is some confusion here within the administration. And I think they really have to get it straightened out, because nuclear weapons are not like any other weapon. It's not like a discussion of conventional weapons or ships or planes.

We always have debates on those. But when you cross certain thresholds, in terms of your announced intention regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons, it sets off repercussions throughout the world, including repercussions in terms of other nations that may decide they themselves have to have nuclear weapons.

So it's a very important kind of discussion we're having here. And the other big question is whether this has found its way into a presidential decision directive, which would mean it has become policy. Or whether it is simply contingency planning. There's a big difference in that.

WOODRUFF: Well, if it does represent -- and we don't know yet about whether it's part of a presidential directive -- but if it is something the administration is taking seriously, and it does represent a transformation, is this the wisest and best use for nuclear weapons by the United States?

NUNN: Judy, we, for a long time, have had a position that if any nation hit us with nuclear weapons, or our allies, that we would retaliate. So that's deterrence, making sure they understand that they could not do that without devastation. That's the No. 1 primary posture of nuclear weapons, and purpose.

Second, we made it clear in the Warsaw Pact days, that if a nonnuclear state were to attack the United States, but if that state were affiliated with a state like the Soviet Union, that we would also reserve the right to use nuclear weapons. That was to deter conventional war in Europe.

Third, we've had a policy of not ruling out nuclear use if we were attacked by a nonnuclear state that attacked us with another weapon of mass destruction, like biological or chemical...

WOODRUFF: Attacked the United States.

NUNN: Attacked the United States with biological or chemical. And that's the array of things. It seems that this has gone much further, if I'm reading it correctly, from the news reports. And we're now saying that we may -- certainly, may, the president has to decide -- use nuclear weapons against a country that has not attacked us at all. But it may possess certain weapons in caves, and so forth.

WOODRUFF: For example, it talks about if Iraq goes after Israel, if there's a confrontation over Taiwan. Now, are those uses that you think would be smart for the United States to have in its arsenal?

NUNN: I think we pay a huge price diplomatically for a discussion that may be a theoretical discussion, but could give the wrong implications around the world. We are trying to keep countries around the world from having nuclear weapons. We're trying to prevent those that have nuclear weapons, like India and Pakistan, from deploying them in a way that is dangerous to both themselves an the whole region.

And we're trying to do everything we can to discourage countries from handling nuclear weapons and materials in a way that terrorists groups could get those weapons. It seems to me that this new announced draft, or whatever it is, contradicts President Bush's stated intention, that he stated over and over, that he wants to downplay the use of nuclear weapons.

Because, if the greatest conventional force on the face of the earth, ie, the United States military forces, need nuclear weapons for responding to things -- or not even responding, for preemption, of countries that do not have nuclear weapons and have not launched an attack against the United States. Then, i.e., every other country could likely conclude that it might need nuclear weapons, too.

So I think it's counter to what I've heard President Bush say. And I think it's counter to any kind of successful nonproliferation policy.

WOODRUFF: But at the same time, we know the Bush administration is very focused right now on the war on terrorism. And Secretary Powell said a day or so ago: We think it's best for any potential adversary out there to have uncertainty in his calculus.

NUNN: Well, the uncertainty is certainly there with chemical and biological. And I think we ought to preserve that ambiguity. We should not take off the table the possibility that we might use any weapon in our whole arsenal, including nuclear weapons, if we are hit with a nuclear, or chemical or biological attack, in addition to the nuclear.

But this goes much further. This basically is saying that we would certainly envision the possibility of preemption against a country that has not yet launched an attack. And there are a number of countries in the world that have biological and chemical weapons. So if you count up all the ones that have nuclear -- I mean, not nuclear, but chemical and biological weapons -- then you've got a whole array of countries now, that could be, at least theoretically, targets in the United States.

But I do believe it's important for us to say that this has not yet become, as far as we know, presidential policy. And I think the White House certainly has an obligation and responsibility for a very careful review. Because it's one thing if it comes out of the Pentagon. But it's got to be -- to get the U.S. policy, you have to take into account all the political ramifications throughout the world, and all of the things that are not purely military, but are enormously important.

WOODRUFF: So, how important is it that the White House clarify this?

NUNN: I think it's very important. I wouldn't rush it. They ought to take their time. But I think they ought to announce promptly that they are going to review this Defense Department report, and decide whether it is national policy, and make it clear to the world whether it is or isn't.

WOODRUFF: And if they don't?

NUNN: Well, I think we're going to have continued debate and confusion around the globe. And I'm not sure that's what we want right now.

WOODRUFF: Former Senator Sam Nunn, we thank you very much for being with us.

NUNN: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

NUNN: Thank you.


WOODRUFF: And to reiterate, Sam Nunn quoted from Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld's forward to the Nuclear Posture Review Report that was issued in January. Among other things in the forward, the defense secretary said this review puts in motion a major change in our approach to the role of nuclear offensive forces in our deterrent strategy. Inside the Texas Democratic Senate primary after the break: first, a news cycle, including an update on the Andrea Yates murder trial.


WOODRUFF: Time for a quick update now from the INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle." The fate of Andrea Yates is now in the hands of a jury. In closing arguments, prosecutors said Yates knew right from wrong when she drowned her five children. Defense attorneys argued that Yates is mentally ill, and not guilty by reason of insanity.

An attorney said today that the Boston archdiocese has reached am multimillion-dollar settlement with dozens of people who claimed they were sexually abused by former priest, John Geoghan. The settlement is expected to cost the church between 15 and $30 million.

In Lynbrook, New York, today, a man police say burst into a Catholic church during mass and opened fire is in custody. The priest and a 73-year-old woman were killed when gunman fired at least six shots from the rear of the church.

Returning now to our top political story this day, the primary election in Texas. The Democratic Senate race, for the seat held by retiring Phil Gramm, includes three candidates with very different styles and backgrounds. With an inside look at the race, we field reports from our Dallas affiliate, WFAA.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA (voice-over): By the time he launched his campaign for mayor in 1995, Ron Kirk already had been a senatorial aide in Washington, a lobbyist in Austin and Texas secretary of state. His pitch in '95 was simple: stop the blame game at city hall and let's get the dirt flying. It worked. He won, and did both. But not without a dust-up now and then.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm happy to discuss it with you as long as you want to.

RON KIRK (D), FMR. MAYOR, DALLAS: Well, I'm glad you found the light.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA: Despite an occasional public feud, Kirk pushed through two bond issues: build the American Airlines Center and develop the Trinity River corridor. He is the first African-American ever elected mayor of Dallas. And now he's gunning for the U.S. Senate.

RON KIRK (D), TEXAS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to be in this runoff. And I'm going to win that primary and help to lead this Democratic ticket to victory in November.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA: As mayor, Kirk had the strong backing of the largely Republican Dallas business community. The question now is: Will they stick with him as a Democrat? If Ron Kirk ultimately is elected, he would become the only African-American in the U.S. Senate and could easily find himself as the new de facto spokesman for black America.

REP. KEN BENTSEN (D), TEXAS: Ken Bentsen. So nice to see you. How are you? Good to see you.

Throughout my career in business and my career in government, I have shown one who understands and tries to understand the needs of everyday people.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA: Bentsen says that is what he has been doing for eight years in the House of Representatives, where he serves on the Banking and Budget committees and last week challenged President Bush's prescription drug plan because, at first, it only covers the poorest seniors.

In a state where being a professional politician is sometimes a liability, Bentsen sees his eight years in Congress as his prime asset. He is hoping voters will agree and send him to the Senate instead of back home.



UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA (voice-over): High school teacher Victor Morales revels in his second run for U.S. Senate. This night, as a guest lecturer at Eastfield College, he tells students of his one-man, one-truck 1996 Senate campaign. He raised a fraction of his opponent's campaign funds, but almost beat him incumbent Senator Phil Gramm.

VICTOR MORALES (D), TEXAS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: Unless we change the way we elect officials, meaning where money is not the overriding factor, then nothing changes. And, therefore, people will continue to be cynical, apathetic, saying, "Victor, they are all bought."

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WFAA: So, Morales considers his top priority tougher campaign finance reforms.

In 1996, Morales went without his teaching salary and tapped into his savings to cover his campaign costs. He says he finished his campaign with $2000 to spare and no debt. That, he says, is the sign of a true fiscal conservative. Limited campaign funds limit his ability to communicate that to voters, but he feels, if they hear him, they will support him.

MORALES: Hear what I have to say about all the issues. You can see that this prevailing thought among the pundits that I don't know about the issues or speak the issues is totally wrong.


WOODRUFF: Those profiles of the three Senate candidates from our Texas affiliate WFAA.

We're joined now by our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley.

Candy, such an interesting race. You could have the first African-American senator from the state of Texas. You could have the first Hispanic senator.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And you have a nephew of Lloyd Bentsen.

It really is. It's a great race. It's been overshadowed by the governor's race that you talked about a little earlier. And not only is it a great race for an African-American, a first Hispanic, and then someone who has a family history of politics, but it's really close. And no one knows what's going to happen, other than there will probably be runoff.

WOODRUFF: Why is it so close?

CROWLEY: Well, I think it is close because the politics in Democratic circles in Texas, there is not a whole lot of difference. And also, these are all compelling candidates in their own right. I mean, Ron Kirk has a city base, obviously. Victor Morales has an Hispanic base. And Ken Bentsen has been elected in the state before. So they all have sort of different bases within the Democratic Party.

And it has made it close. And it has been, actually, a pretty nice race, comparatively speaking.

WOODRUFF: But there is pretty much broad expectation there is going to be runoff, right?

CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely.

WOODRUFF: Candy, on the governor's race -- I did talk a little bit about this earlier with Ron Brownstein. You were just telling me about you know what's happened in that race runs counter to what a lot of people expected after September 11.

CROWLEY: Well, we thought -- September 11, what did we say? We said, look, politicians now, people are going to be looking for experience.

Well, the most experienced one in this race is Morales. Sanchez, as far as we know going into the polls...

WOODRUFF: Morales, the attorney general.

CROWLEY: Morales is the attorney general. He has had a long history in the state in state politics. Sanchez is a businessman, certainly has a lot of business experience. But the more government- experienced person is Morales. As far as we know, going into the polls, Sanchez was ahead.

What was other thing we said? It's going to be a lot nicer now. People are going to be really -- this was really a mean race. This has been a mean race. And what it shows are two things, all those things we know about politics. Money does talk. Sanchez has spent an awful lot of money, as you talked about, in this race. And it has gotten him some traction, a lot of traction in that race. And when things get close, things get very tough rhetorically.

WOODRUFF: Candy, talk about, whoever wins this the Democratic governor primary on the governor's side and the Rick Perry -- and the challenge to Rick Perry and the Hispanic vote.

CROWLEY: Well, you know, obviously, whoever wins this is going to have at least a step up with the Hispanic voters. There has been an increasing Hispanic population in Texas, as you know.

The question is: Does Texas go the way California did? Remember when the Latino population, the Hispanic population in California continued to grow, it got more and more Democratic. Now, the Republicans have always said this is a different kid of -- Texas is different. Not only is Texas different, but that the types of Hispanic Americans that are in Texas are different, come from different backgrounds.

George Bush had just begun to really court Hispanics, had done pretty well in his second election as governor. But, still, it's a pretty heavily Democratic constituency. And you would have to think that, when an Hispanic-American Democrat is running, that that would bring up the Hispanic vote. And that is the challenge. But Rick Perry is very popular in the state. I think the last time I saw his approval ratings, they were in the 60s. So it is still a challenge for a Democrat in what has largely been, at least statewide, a Republican state.

WOODRUFF: All right, well, you can see why we are watching this one closely, while we will be talking about it tomorrow and all the way to November.

CROWLEY: Great race.

WOODRUFF: Candy Crowley, thank you.

Leading up to this Texas primary day, the ads, as Candy just said, have been plentiful and they have been nasty. Up next, our media consultant, David Peeler, looks at the spots and the potshots.


WOODRUFF: And now we turn our focus on today's Texas primary to the very negative Democratic race for governor.

Businessman Tony Sanchez, as we've been telling you, has spent millions of his own fortune to define himself to voters and to redefine his opponent, former Attorney General Dan Morales.

CNN consultant David Peeler has the bitter truth about the big spending.


DAVID PEELER, CNN MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: What's all this money going for? Negative -- no, make that nasty ads.

Try this one from Sanchez:


ANNOUNCER: Dan Morales secretly tried to funnel $500 million of the tobacco settlement to a close personal friend.


PEELER: Ouch! Dan Morales says those claims are false. He says Texas voters are witnessing a desperate man.

DAN MORALES (D), TEXAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: They are seeing a man here who I think is worried, really fearful that his $20 million dollar investment to attempt to purchase the office of governor of Texas is going down the drain.

PEELER: Morales is using his much smaller budget for negative ads of his own. And he's getting a lot of bang for the buck.

Here is what one ad says about Sanchez.


ANNOUNCER: But he didn't tell you that, while he ran his Savings & Loan, it laundered $25 million in Mexican drug money.


PEELER: The candidates have also worked to attract the Hispanic vote. Sanchez has spent $200,000 on Spanish ads since January 1. Morales has also bought a few Spanish ads as well.

The candidates also held a much-publicized debate in Spanish. Morales, however, says Sanchez has focused too much on issues like language and affirmative action, accusing Sanchez of dividing state residents.

Let's crunch the numbers. Sanchez has spent more than $4 million on ads this year, almost $19 million on his entire campaign. He has no choice, he says, because Dan Morales is so well known.

MORALES: He has spent 15 years, all of his adult life, as a professional politician, raising millions of dollars for his campaigns. I've had to do in 20 months what he did in 15 years.

PEELER: Dan Morales is better known. He's a former attorney general. But compared to Sanchez, he is starved for cash. He has spent just over $5,000 on ads and less than $1 million on his entire campaign.

The winner will face Republican incumbent Rick Perry in November. The question is: Will the brutal primary leave today's winner so damaged that he is unable to recover for the general election?

For INSIDE POLITICS, I'm David Peeler.


WOODRUFF: And tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS, we will talk to the Republican governor of Texas, Rick Perry, about the race ahead.

And now we have some "Inside Buzz" from Capitol Hill and our producer Dana Bash. The political battle over President Bush's nomination of Charles Pickering to a federal appeals court led to a strange bedfellow scene on the Hill today. Three Mississippians cornered Democrats on their way into a caucus meeting to press for a full Senate vote on the embattled nomination.

Well, joining Pickering's son, GOP Congressman Chip Pickering, in the lobbying effort were two Democrats: former Mississippi Governor William Winter and Al Gore's brother-in-law, Frank Hunger.

Checking news now from the trail in our "Campaign News Daily": Janet Reno's Florida truck tour hits the end of the road today. Reno's 2,500-mile drive across the state took her from the Alabama line to her home outside of Miami. The 15-day tour was designed to reintroduce Reno to state voters as she pursues the Democratic nomination for governor.

A new sign today that Robert Ray is inching closer to a possible run for office. Ray resigned his post as independent counsel this afternoon, just days after he issued his final report on the investigation of former President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Ray is reportedly close to joining five other New Jersey Republicans in the race to take on incumbent Democrat Robert Torricelli in the Senate. In a statement, Ray said he was returning to New Jersey and -- quote -- "looking forward to new challenges" there.

Well, let us know what you think about Ray's possible run and our other news at Plus, don't forget to e-mail Bill Schneider with your ideas for this week's "Political Play of the Week."

Well, we will consider the power of pictures next on INSIDE POLITICS. Our Jeff Greenfield looks at some familiar images with an obvious impact and a new one that may be far more complicated.


WOODRUFF: Politics, to some degree, is about image, which why is our Jeff Greenfield is pulling out the photo album today.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Judy, if a picture is really worth a thousand words -- I'm not quite sure who did the counting, but never mind -- then there are times when a picture can be worth thousands of votes one way are the other.

Now, sometimes it is easy to figure out the impact. Other times, as you are going to see in a minute, it can get very tricky.

Now, here is one that clearly didn't help. That is Michael Dukakis, of course, in that tank in 1988.

And here is one that clearly did help: Vice President Gore putting a lip-lock on Tipper at the 2000 convention. Maybe the Earth didn't move, but the polls sure did.

But now check out this picture in today's "New York Post." It shows New York State Comptroller Carl McCall -- he's a candidate for governor -- squeezing off a few rounds with an M-16 on a recent visit to Israel. OK, now, if you are a candidate for any office in New York, you are a strong supporter of Israel. So this picture should help, right? Well -- but New York is also a state where most voters, especially most Democratic voters, are very strongly in favor of gun control. So maybe this picture hurts McCall by suggesting he has a taste for weaponry.

But Upstate New York is a place where hunting is a very popular sport, where guns simply don't have the same meaning as they do in a big city. So maybe that picture helps McCall with those voters. But New York is also a state where Democrats tend to be liberal, where the whole Clint Eastwood, "Dirty Harry" school of deterrence is really not all that popular. So maybe this picture hurts McCall by suggesting something Draconian in his law-enforcement views.

Now, McCall, you understand, fully understands the political thin ice. Here, in a statement, is what McCall said: "Given the enormous firepower of this and similar weapons, it is clear that our military and our allies' military must have them. But," he said, "it provides further evidence that such weapons should not be readily available to citizens in America or anywhere else in the world."

Well, if that picture is worth 1,000 words, McCall still has about 955 to go. You know, Judy, sometimes it is so hard to stake out the right position, a candidate could throw his back out.


WOODRUFF: And no accident that picture was released.

GREENFIELD: Well, no accident, but now we are going to have to see how it plays out. We'll be watching this for months and months.

WOODRUFF: OK, Jeff Greenfield in New York, thanks.

Well, many people would agree that boxer Mike Tyson has, at the very least, an image problem. Up next, we will talk about tonight's face-off here in Washington over whether Tyson should be allowed to box in the nation's capital.


WOODRUFF: Here in Washington, the D.C. Boxing Commission is expected to vote tonight on a divisive and emotional issue: whether to give Mike Tyson a license to fight Lennox Lewis for the heavyweight championship of the world.

The mayor, Anthony Williams, wants the fight. He says D.C. needs a high-profile event to shake off the post-9/11 tourism slump. The fight could also help Washington's 2012 Olympic bid. The argument against it is partly financial. It's not clear that Washington would benefit. But it's mostly moral.

So, is anyone sticking up for Tyson on moral grounds? Well, as a matter of fact, yes.


(voice-over): Welcome to the round one boxing gym in Capital Heights, Maryland, training ground of champions. There are middleweights, bantamweights, and some heavyweight opinions whether Mike Tyson should fight in the nation's capital.

Boxing promoter Rock Newman managed former heavyweight champ Riddick Bowe. In the political debate about the Tyson fight, you can count him in Iron Mike's corner.

(on camera): You are very aware of all the arguments why this should not happen. Mike Tyson has served time in prison on a rape conviction. There has been the road rage incident. He bit off the ear of Evander Holyfield. There is this incident recently in Las Vegas.

Why should Washington, the boxing commission, trust the fact that something like this won't happen again?

ROCK NEWMAN, BOXING PROMOTER: If Mike Tyson were a bus driver or if Mike Tyson were a truck driver, and he had committed the crimes that he has committed and done the time that he has done, paid the penalty, that most people would argue that, as a bus driver or a truck driver, he would have a right to earn a living.

I would submit that he should not be treated any differently than a common laborer, because he is go going in that boxing ring to labor to earn a living. And I really do think that the nation's capital is showing some independence of thought, is showing some courage, and judging him on the merits of his particular case and not falling lockstep with some of the other commissions around the country.

WOODRUFF: Where should the lines be drawn, do you think?

NEWMAN: You know, that is a very interesting question about where the lines should be drawn. And I think you get into several moral compass questions there.

I think, for example, the line should have been drawn when you had a criminally bigoted racist like J. Edgar Hoover and you have a monument here, our building of justice, named after him, after all the things that we find out about him. You know, something about Washington, D.C. that we seem to have a keen sense of is the duality of man. There have been people who have made laws to send our kids off to be slaughtered in Vietnam. You can hijack a national election and still work in this town.

WOODRUFF: Are you equating in any way Mike Tyson and his record, what he brings to this fight, with President Bush or any other politician?

NEWMAN: What I'm saying is that, here in Washington, D.C., we see the frailties of men all the time, and that the duality of man, that when you fall down, you can get back up, given an opportunity to perform and work. And those of us without sin, let's cast the first stone.

WOODRUFF: Rock Newman, we thank you very much for joining us on this day when the boxing commission will take a vote on this.

NEWMAN: A big day for D.C.


WOODRUFF: Rock Newman, the boxing promoter.

And we'll get the latest on the art of political self-promotion. Next on INSIDE POLITICS, we will tell you about Governor Gray Davis' post-primary tactic and why some Republicans say he has crossed the line.

But first, here is Wolf Blitzer with a preview of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thank you very much, Judy.

Our Mark Potter has an exclusive report. He's learned that, six months after September 11, a Florida flight school received notification of student visas for two of the hijackers. What's going on at the INS? And the homeland security director, Tom Ridge, releases a new color-coded warning alert system. Will that make a difference? It's all coming up right at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: Californians who search the Web for state government information have a good chance of finding a smiling photo of Governor Gray Davis. That's because, according to the "San Francisco Chronicle," the governor's office issued a reminder to state agencies last week that Davis' image appear on every state Web site. His photo is used as a link to the governor's office and an e-mail address. The Republicans are crying foul. They say the governor is using state Web sites to promote his reelection campaign. But a Davis spokeswoman says the links are there simply to provide good government service.

That's all for INSIDE POLITICS for now. CNN's coverage continues with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us.


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