CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Will Bill Clinton be on the Ballot this Year?; Interview with Jane Swift; Interview with Rahm Emanuel
Aired March 20, 2002 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. I'll ask Jane Swift about her exit from the Massachusetts governor's race, and what it says about the struggles of women in politics.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jonathan Karl on Capitol Hill, where I've been talking with Senator John McCain about the long campaign finance reform battle he is said to win any minute now.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield. Bill Clinton is not on the ballot this year, or is he?
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, I'll ask Rahm Emanuel if his primary victory bodes well for other former Clinton officials turned candidates.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS WITH JUDY WOODRUFF.
: Thank you for joining us. After seven years of skirmishes and setbacks, advocates of campaign reform legislation are just about to realize their dream. The Senate is expected to give final Congressional approval to the bill shortly.
Members gave a green light to the measure earlier today when 68 of them, eight more than needed, voted to end debate on the issue, clearing the way for a vote. Our Congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl, is on the Hill -- Jonathan.
KARL: Well, Judy, shortly before that critical vote I caught up with Senator John McCain, as he made his way from his office to the Capitol building and talked about what next in this battle for campaign finance reform.
So, Senator, do you expect when this is all done the president will invite you down to the White House for a high-profile signing ceremony, signing a bill that of course he bitterly opposed during his campaign? What do you think?
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I don't know. I hope that there would be a ceremony, not for my sake, but it would be an opportunity for others who, you know, worked so hard for this legislation to be part of the ceremony. It means a lot, you know. There are people who have been working on this issue for 20 years. I have only been working on it for seven.
KARL: One of the short-term consequences of this bill is one of the greatest soft money juggernauts in history -- the greatest, short term. The Democratic Party's got three or four record donations they're ready to announce. What do you think about that? everybody's trying to get their last soft money in before this becomes law?
MCCAIN: I'm not surprised. It's a system that has become awash in this special interest money. So they're taking their last opportunity. It also means that they think that this new law will dramatically, either reduce or end their ability to do these things.
KARL: And some of these, especially the Democratic side, I'm getting, are having second thoughts about this. The people that have to run these elections are now wondering, what have they done?
MCCAIN: There are always second thoughts, but it's going to take $500 million out of political campaigns. Whenever people in power see that kind of reduction in money, of course they are going to have second thoughts. In fact, some of them may even panic. So it's a sign that this bill will have effect.
There are some critics who say, oh, it won't matter. There are others who say it protects incumbents, although we already have a 98 percent reelection rate.
KARL: Opponents of campaign finance reform here in the Senate are congratulating John McCain on a hard-fought victory. But they are determined, Judy, to make sure it is a short term victory. I spoke with Senator Mitch McConnell who, of course, has been leading the campaign against this. And his message to McCain is: see you in court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: It's not over. We're going to court. We're going to court soon. We're going to have an exciting legal team to announce in the very near future, which will span the ideological spectrum in this country. So the fight goes on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: And the bill does allow for an expedited legal review of this. It'll go to a three judge panel at the district court level, and then immediately to the Supreme Court -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl following the action on the Hill.
And on the Senate floor today, there was an emotional tribute to the man you just saw, Mitch McConnell, by another leading opponent of campaign finance reform legislation, Senator Phil Gramm. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: I don't know whether they'll ever build a monument to senator from Kentucky. But he's already memorialized in my heart. I will never forget the fight that he has put up on this bill. And I want to thank him.
The document does not work by itself. It requires a few good men. The senator from Kentucky is one of those good men. I yield the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: In his remarks, Senator Gramm also contended that President Bush plans to sign the campaign finance reform bill because of -- quote -- "the pressures of the moment and the consensus of the media," end quote.
Some lawmakers on both sides of the campaign finance reform debate have offered dramatic predictions about what the measure will mean for the political parties. CNN's Kate Snow reports on the rhetoric and the realities.
KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's hard to sort out how severe a blow campaign finance reform will be to the national political parties. Both sides have their spin.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: So this bill destroys, in most respects, political parties and their ability to have influence on election.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: I don't believe that this is going to adversely affect our party. Frankly, I don't think it's going to adversely affect the Republicans, either.
SNOW: Ask the national parties themselves and both say they're completely prepared for a world without soft money.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you have anybody else out there that wants to give...
SNOW: Well before November, when the new law kicks in, Democrats plan to break ground on a new Washington headquarters, paid for with soft money. They've been buying up mailing lists and e-mail addresses, knowing the focus after November will be on finding smaller hard money donations, $1,000 or $2,000 a pop.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Come 2004, I need to make up, I know, a hundred million dollars in soft money that the DNC raised in the 2000 presidential campaign. I know we have to make that up with federal money. We're going to do it.
SNOW: At the RNC, Chairman Racicot says he doesn't anticipate losing any staff. But the new law may put more emphasis outside Washington, on the local level and with outside interest groups.
MARC RACICOT, RNC CHAIRMAN: I don't believe that it's the death knell, but clearly it will probably change some of the operations of the parties. What we've had in place for a long period of time is a system where there are contributions made to an identifiable entity with a very long history of participation in the political affairs of this nation.
My suspicion is that what we will see after November 6th, if the bill passes and is signed, is the proliferation of additional groups that are not as identifiable.
SNOW: Outside observers agree the role of interest groups may grow, but only those that have established grassroots networks.
MICHAEL MALSIN, CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM INSTITUTE: The really effective political action under McCain-Feingold will be coming over the telephone, through the mails, or at your doorstep. Organizations that can engage in those kind of activities, or hire others to engage in those activities, will do it.
SNOW: Now, those groups won't, for the most part, be able to run political ads in the run-up to a general election within the last two months. That's why the grassroots efforts are so important. But the political parties, importantly, won't be able to coordinate with those outside interest groups.
As it is in the law right now, Judy, it's already prohibitive for them to coordinate with those groups under this bill that we expect to expect to pass the Senate very soon. It actually will become more strict, in terms of coordination between the parties and outside interest groups -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Kate Snow at the Capitol. This is one we're all going to be watching to see how it unfolds. Thanks.
In Illinois, two former Golden Glove boxers have won the right to duke it out for governor. Congressman Rod Blagojevich narrowly snagged the Democratic nomination in yesterday's primary. He says his party will make an all-out push to regain an office that it hasn't held since 1976.
Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan won the Republican nomination by a more comfortable margin, after a divisive primary campaign. He is hoping to hold onto the seat now held by the Republican George Ryan, who, dogged by a bribery scandal, decided not to seek a second term.
In the Senate race in Illinois, state Representative James Durkin won the Republican nomination, which could create some name confusion as he squares off with incumbent Democrat Dick Durbin in the fall. We have to keep those names straight.
In a high-profile House race in Illinois, former Clinton aide, Rahm Emanuel, won his Democratic primary contest. That is tantamount to an election victory in Chicago's heavily Democratic fifth district. Rahm Emanuel is with us now from Chicago. Congratulations.
RAHM EMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS CONG. CANDIDATE: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Rahm Emanuel, a former Clinton, Bill Clinton aide. Was this a help or hindrance in the end?
EMANUEL: Well, it was definitely a help. You know, the record I ran on was the record I was allowed to help build by President Clinton's side. That was the children's health insurance program, that insured over 178,000 children here in Illinois who had no health care, but parents worked full-time.
And I talked about it. Here in Illinois it's known as Kid Care, and I talked about expanding it to family care. So if you work full- time, you get health care. I talked about my record on fighting for the Brady law, an assault weapon ban, and my desire for a juvenile Brady, so kids who murder other kids at 15 or 16 don't have the right to a handgun at 18.
So it was definitely an asset, as well as my work with Mayor Daley -- two people I have been honored to work for, who I think exemplify what is best in public service. And they've both been friends and mentors.
WOODRUFF: Not a bad idea to mention the mayor.
EMANUEL: He does have the same area code as I do, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Very true. Rahm Emanuel, obviously this is one Congressional district. But does this bode well for other former Clinton aides running for election this year?
EMANUEL: In this sense, every election is different, every context is different. I believe the record I was allowed to help establish by the side of the president was important. And I'm not going to judge whatever other anybody is doing, what they're going to do or try to draw bigger meanings out of it.
I can tell you I was honored to work for President Clinton when I was there. I was honored to run on that record, as well as the agenda that I'm going to put forth. It addressed very much the needs of people in this district.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about money. This was said to be perhaps the most expensive Congressional race in Chicago's history, some $3 million. You put something like a half million of your own money into it. Do you feel good about that? Is this a troubling precedent?
EMANUEL: Well, I said always that my budget was going to be about $1.5 million, which it was, exactly what we raised. But when an outside group came in and spent soft money against me, I decided that I needed to match that. They ended up spending a total, their campaign plus the independent, about 1.3 million. I only ended up spending about -- not only, but I spent about 2 million.
But I had no intention of doing that until I was attacked with a negative ad by an independent group. So it's not what -- it was actually done within hours of the campaign finance reform bill being passed in Congress.
So it is what it is. It's not -- you know, does it bode well? Is it unfortunate? It's not what I wanted to do. I did it, and you know, that is the system. And I did it within the laws of the system and that's fine. That's not how I intended to do it. I never had an intention of putting my own personal money into it. That's not what I wanted to do.
WOODRUFF: All right, we hear you, Rahm Emanuel. Again, congratulations. And as we said earlier, in that very Democratic district, this is tantamount to election. But we'll have to wait and see what happens. Thanks very much. Good to see you.
EMANUEL: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Meanwhile in Massachusetts today, acting Governor Jane Swift met with Mitt Romney at the State House a day after he entered the governor's race and she got out. Romney welcomes Swift's support and the path that she cleared for him to win the GOP nomination, with her surprising decision to call it quits. Jane Swift joins us now from Boston.
GOV. JANE SWIFT (R), MASSACHUSETTS: I only hear you right now and not the show.
WOODRUFF: Governor Swift, are you able to hear me now?
SWIFT: I am.
WOODRUFF: Governor Swift, thank you for joining us.
SWIFT: Hi, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Hello. Some people are still asking how this happened. You yourself said you're not one to give up on a fight. What happened here?
SWIFT: I think the decision that I made was in the best interest of our state, because Massachusetts has been served well by two-party government here in Massachusetts. Two-party government has been largely the Republican holding the governor's office.
And I believe that our best chances of upholding that office are to unite behind Romney early in this race. And that was not on easy decision for me, but I think it was the right one for the party.
WOODRUFF: But you are the incumbent. You currently hold the office. Do you resent the fact that he's come along now with a lot of money and in essence pushed you out?
SWIFT: I don't resent it at all. I think that he is going to fight for the very things that I believed I stood for, that Bill Weld and Paul Cellucci brought to the state, which is protecting taxpayers from gigantic tax increases. Standards and accountability, coupled with investment and public education.
Those are things that our part has created through two-party government. I am both a Republican and a realist. And when Mr. Romney decided to enter this race -- and this is a democracy. And I like challenges, but my ability to compete with his unlimited funds was a reality that I had to face.
WOODRUFF: You said yesterday that something had to give, either in governing or in politics. And you cited the demands on your family, the demands on a working parent. But aren't we really talking here about a working mother? You have a 3-year-old daughter, you have 1-year-old twins. We don't hear men in politics talk about this. Isn't there a double standard here, or not?
SWIFT: Well, I think obviously, well-financed candidates present a challenge to any candidate. It's not a secret that I'm not wealthy, and I think that probably was one of the biggest considerations in the reality that I was facing. I hope that we get to a day in society where it's not news that any candidate or any person would establish some pretty strong boundaries for what their commitment is and time and attention to their family. And then we make decisions based on that.
Things have changed significantly, in governing with the big deficits that we're facing, as well as politically, with the entrance of Mr. Romney. And I guess it has become news that my time with my family was non-negotiable. But I don't think that should a stunning statement. I think many, many families around the country put their families first.
WOODRUFF: I hear you. But my question is, you don't hear it with -- these days you don't hear it about men running for office. You do hear it about women. And my question is, is it different? Is it harder for women?
SWIFT: I don't know if it is harder. And as I have said, some of those gender questions, I think I'll need a little time and distance to reflect on. One thing that I am sure of, I have made a lot of decisions in my life. The best decision I ever made was to become a mother and to have my children.
And the saddest thing I read in the newspaper this morning wasn't this disruption of my political career. It was some young women saying that the lesson that they might take from this is that you shouldn't try to combine work and family. I think we should fight for everybody, whether they're men or women, to achieve a better balance in their lives.
WOODRUFF: Some people are making a big deal out of the fact that you were tearful yesterday. How do you feel about that today?
SWIFT: You know, it was a very emotional day for me. I worked hard for 12 years. I fought for a lot of issues, and a lot of the people who have stood by me, in thick and thin -- and some days it seemed like there was a lot more thin than thick -- were in that room. I was emotional. I'm not embarrassed about it.
But I try not to show my emotions, and I think it was appropriate to do it there. But as I told the press yesterday, I think my armor is fully back on and ready to engage in the tax battles I'm sure I'll be waging in the coming weeks with the Democrats.
WOODRUFF: All right. Acting Governor Jane Swift, we appreciate your joining us. Thank you very much.
SWIFT: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. We'll be talking to you soon.
Coming up next, questions about aid to the poor. What do wealthy nations owe the developing world? Billionaire philanthropist George Soros will go "On the Record."
The controversy grows over sexual abuse by priests. Margaret Carlson and Tucker Carlson will take on that issue and one another.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's got a running mate if he wants it. Dump Hillary and go with her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The big to-do in a small town over the stripper who became mayor.
WOODRUFF: President Bush will attend a U.N. development conference in Monterey, Mexico later this week, where early attention has centered on his plan to increase USA aid to developing countries. First announced last week at $5 billion, White House officials yesterday said the increase would actually be $10 billion.
Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros, among the participants in Monterey, had been critical of the lower amount. Earlier today I asked Soros why it's important for wealthy nations to help the developing world.
GEORGE SOROS, PHILANTHROPIST: They're not in a position to do so. They don't have good government. They don't have their -- the capacity. They don't have the laws. And they don't have the opportunities. So they do need help from the outside. And there is a lot of talk about how inefficient it is, but the amounts are very small and a lot of good work has been done. WOODRUFF: You and others were critical last week when President Bush announced an increase in foreign aid. But just yesterday the administration announced that instead of $5 billion more over three years, it's going to be 10 billion more over three years. Is this what you were looking for?
SOROS: I think this is now a significant step forward, because it will end up by 5 billion more a year, in 2006. However, I would really like it to start next year, when we can have a supplemental budget to increase our defense by 48 billion in 2002. Why do we have to wait until 2004 to start this new scheme? Other than that, yeah.
WOODRUFF: I was just going to say, speaking of defense, you have argued that the war on terrorism should be fought on two tracks, the military on the one hand, and then the social and political on the other. We know the Bush administration is putting out a lot of money on the military side. They proposed something like $50 billion. Is enough being done on the other, the social and political side?
SOROS: No, obviously not. But I think this would be a good beginning. As I say, it really should start now instead of waiting until 2004.
WOODRUFF: And have you told the administration this?
SOROS: Yes. Well, I said so publicly. And I hope that Congress will push this point. I think that there has been a greater awareness in American public that what goes on in the rest of the world is of vital importance to us. And we can't have failed states and corrupt and inefficient governments in the rest of the world, if we want to be safe and prosperous.
WOODRUFF: President Bush said last week, George Soros, that USAID should be focused on nations where there is democracy and where there are free market policies. Now, you have said that that's too much like what was done during the Cold War. But why shouldn't countries that are giving the money use democracy and free markets as criteria?
SOROS: No, I very much support that. I said that if the U.S. were to do -- decide unilaterally, it may fall back of the error of the Cold War years, when we were helping our allies, irrespective of whether they were oppressive or not. So I am actually very much on the same wavelength on this. And I think this could really work.
Because we would select countries, for instance, in Africa, which have had reelections, like Ghana and Senegal and so on. And we would invite them to submit a plan which would have well-defined criteria. And it is like a business plan. And then we could check that whether it works or not. So that this aura that foreign aid doesn't work could be dispelled.
I think then the American public would be willing to spend more. The American public doesn't realize that we are only spending 1/10 of 1 percent of our gross national product on foreign aid. And we really do need to spend more, but we must first demonstrate that it really works.
WOODRUFF: You've been pushing a plan to change dramatically the way rich countries give foreign aid out. Essentially you're arguing the money could be part of a pool of money, and the International Monetary Fund would decide where the money goes and how it is spent. Now, you've said the U.S. -- we know the United States is against this idea until this point. What argument do you make to them to say, you should give up control for deciding how your foreign aid is spent?
SOROS: I was not arguing that we should give up control. And actually, this scheme, if we cooperate with our allies and the other donors, could in fact achieve what I was aiming at. So I'm very keen on making this proposal work. And I'm just a little anxious to get it started. But I -- I'm very supportive of this initiative.
WOODRUFF: And is the Bush administration working with you on this approach?
SOROS: I'm certainly ready to work with them if they want me to. I think they are very open. We are working along similar lines in Central Asia. As you know, I have a pretty large operation and I think that we could work together.
WOODRUFF: Philanthropist George Soros at the U.N. development conference in Monterey, Mexico. Thank you very much, Mr. Soros. We appreciate you joining us.
And George Soros added that he believes -- he likes to believe that his criticism of the earlier Bush aid amount helped contribute to the Bush decision to increase the aid amount over the period of the next three years.
The Carlsons will join me after a short break and the "Newscycle," including an update on Vice President Cheney's travels and the chance that he may return to the Middle East as soon as this weekend.
WOODRUFF: Among the headlines in our "Newscycle": Supporters of campaign finance reform are close to victory. The Senate is voting on the measure now. And indications are that it does have enough votes to pass. The bill then would go to the White House. President Bush is expected to sign it into law.
Vice President Dick Cheney is on the way home from his 11-nation trip through the Middle East. CNN has learned that Cheney could return to the region as soon as this Sunday for a meeting with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Attorney General John Ashcroft today announced another round of what he called voluntary interviews with international visitors to the United States. Ashcroft said the interviews will target about 3,000 people who -- quote -- "might have information regarding terrorism." With us now to talk about some of the top issues of the day: Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine, and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE".
The Catholic Church in the midst of a terrible scandal, if you will, about so many priests accused of molesting young people, and some not so young.
Tucker, how much damage does this do to the Catholic Church?
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think quite a bit, not just the fact that this happened, but that it was apparently covered up.
In many cases, the church didn't go to law enforcement when it should have. I have to say, though, it sort of plays in exactly to the criticisms of the Catholic Church, some of them politically motivated. The idea that this somehow came about because the church is a patriarchy or something like that strikes me as ridiculous. There's no evidence of that. It strikes me that this came about because people were tolerant of deviant sexual behavior. And that's kind of the lesson, rather than a patriarchy results in sexual abuse.
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": Well, it's an authoritarian culture, in which not only was there a cover-up of what the priests did by the bishops and the cardinals, but it enabled the priests to go on and do more of it while the cardinals and the bishops had to know that they were still doing it. And the patriarchy or the authoritarian church is going to, I think, become a democracy as a result of this, because people are withholding their contributions.
And the insurance, in fact, which is not covering this kind of negligence, so some of these cases the church is actually going to have to pay for. And people like me, who sit in the pews, are not going to be contributing to pay for what the cardinals and bishops let happen.
WOODRUFF: What more does the church need to do, just quickly, Tucker?
T. CARLSON: Well, I guess not to pass the plate to Margaret, because it is going to come back empty.
T. CARLSON: Well, first of all, not tolerate sex with young men between young men and priests. That seems fairly basic. There's talk, as you know, asking priests to sign a statement saying, "I will not have sex with young men." It sounds reasonable to me.
M. CARLSON: Do you notice that the nuns are also celibate? And there's never been a case, as far as I know. Maybe there is somewhere. But nuns don't misabuse children in their care. So I go back -- maybe there is a patriarchy here.
T. CARLSON: So, is the point that men and women are different? Yes, you win.
M. CARLSON: Maybe the nuns who did it are gone, in fact.
WOODRUFF: All right, a very different story, the governor's race in Massachusetts: On the Republican side, the acting governor, Jane Swift, got out yesterday. Mitt Romney is in.
Tucker, she today -- I just talked to her a few minutes ago. I know you weren't able to hear that. But she is sort of pulling back from the idea that there is a double standard for working mothers here.
T. CARLSON: Oh, please. Give me a break.
The whole thing, her whole reign as governor was insulting to those of us with small children who don't have state staffers there to babysit for them. And I have to say, if you're trying to defeat the stereotype that you're emotionally fragile, it's probably best not to burst into tears at a press conference.
I don't think that people criticized her because she was a woman and did that, simply because politicians don't usually cry over getting out of a race. And one more thing, she apparently convinced former Governor Weld to endorse her just the day before she pulled out, which sort of raises questions about when she made the decision to pull out, and also must be leaving Weld pretty steamed.
WOODRUFF: She said she made the decision the night before -- I mean the night after Weld endorsed her.
M. CARLSON: Yes. I'm sure it was an emotional roller-coaster, so when she talked to Weld, she may not have known.
Her ineptitude transcends gender. As a working mother, I am not going to defend her as a working mother, although I will say that the one piece of ineptitude I do support is her taking a helicopter home to a sick child.
Mitt Romney, though, who was bailed out -- who got a government bailout, in fact for his own candidacy by the U.S. Olympics. The government poured in billions of dollars and Mitt Romney is rehabilitated as a candidate.
WOODRUFF: Into the Olympics.
T. CARLSON: So he's sort of like Chrysler, is that what you're saying?
M. CARLSON: Yes, absolutely. And, by the way, he's a free- market guy, so he might want to explain that particular bailout.
T. CARLSON: If she can take a helicopter to visit a sick child, she can pay for it, I guess would be the difference. M. CARLSON: No, I would say she should have paid for it, but, in fact, the woman is not a good example of how a mother should behave in office.
T. CARLSON: Amen.
WOODRUFF: Nothing dull about Massachusetts politics. Nothing dull about the Carlsons. Thank you both, Tucker and Margaret.
M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you.
Well, you can cast your votes now for this year's IPpys. Go to CNN.com/INSIDEPOLITICS and tell Bill Schneider who you think should get the IPpy for best actor and actress. And he will announce the results on Friday.
As we've been telling you, a number of top aides to Bill Clinton are running for office, so why doesn't the former president have a key role in the their campaign -- some thoughts from our Jeff Greenfield when INSIDE POLITICS returns.
WOODRUFF: Top advisers to former President Clinton are on the ballot across the country this year. But in some of the biggest races, Mr. Clinton is staying on the sidelines.
Here now senator analyst Jeff Greenfield with today's "Bite of the Apple."
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: At first glance, it seems little short of remarkable: five key figures in the Clinton administration running for high statewide offices. That's not counting Rahm Emanuel, who is almost certainly heading for the House after his primary victory.
And maybe it is not surprising that, as the first two-term Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt, Bill Clinton would still hold a powerful grip on voters, at least Democratic voters. But look more closely and you will see how local conditions make this Clinton factor very hard to figure out.
(voice-over): Former Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles is seeking a Senate seat in North Carolina, but Clinton never carried that state. And his designated heir, Al Gore, lost North Carolina by 13 points. Maybe Jesse Helms did step over a line when he suggested Clinton might need extra protection if he came to the Tar Heel State, but those coattails don't look very long.
On the other hand, look at Massachusetts, where former Labor Secretary Robert Reich is running for governor. Clinton won big there twice. So did Gore. But Reich and Clinton are not exactly members of a mutual-admiration society. Reich has sharply criticized Clinton for not being progressive enough. And Clinton has all but endorsed one of Reich's primary opponents.
OK, but surely Clinton would be a help in New York, where his housing secretary, Andrew Cuomo, is running for the governor chair that Cuomo's dad once held. Clinton and Gore won landslides. And another Clinton now holds the Senate seat.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a mockery of the democratic institutions.
GREENFIELD: But Cuomo is in a primary battle with Carl McCall, the state comptroller and the first African-American to win a statewide election in New York. There is no way either Clinton is going to step into this primary fight. So Clinton's enormous popularity with black Americans is not going to help Cuomo here.
And then there's former Attorney General Janet Reno. She is running for governor in Florida. Clinton actually won this state in 1996, but the last time out, well, you remember Florida, don't you? In fact, there is a case to be made that Janet Reno cost Al Gore the state and thus the White House when she dispatched Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba. If Gore had gotten anything like Clinton's vote among Cuban Americans, he would have won Florida.
Indeed, more than a few Florida Democrats are not all that thrilled with the idea of Reno on the ticket in November with that kind of baggage.
(on camera): You know that famous quote from Tip O'Neill: "All politics is local"? That's a wild overgeneralization. Sometimes war or recession or scandal can make politics national. But this time, it's true. Depending on where you look, that Clinton factor is a help, a hindrance or almost totally irrelevant.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.
And we're going to go quickly to the United States Senate, which has just passed campaign finance reform.
Here's Jon Karl -- Jon.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, this just in: They're still counting the votes, but we've gone over 50 votes, so campaign refinance reform is over the top and will now become law, or go to the president's desk at least for him to sign it into law.
We don't have the final tabulation yet, but we know more than 50 senators have voted yes on this -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Jon Karl, I suppose you could say it's anticlimactic, but this is a day that some people have been waiting literally years to see happen.
KARL: Seven years since Senator McCain first started talking about campaign finance reform in the Senate.
WOODRUFF: All right, thanks very much.
INSIDE POLITICS continues right after this.
WOODRUFF: We're looking at some live pictures of the United States Senate, where the long, hard fight over campaign finance reform is finally over. It has passed; 60-40 is the final count, we're told by our Jon Karl and others on the scene. And now all that has to happen, it goes to the president's desk. He is expected to sign campaign finance reform into law.
Well, as we just reported, Vice President Dick Cheney is on his way back to the United States after his tour of the Middle East. While overseas, Cheney grappled with matters of war and peace, but there were some lighter moments and interesting photo opportunities as well.
Our senior White House correspondent, John King, has been taking notes.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That is, of course, the vice president coming down the stairs, so this flight has the designation Air Force Two. But take a close look at the gleaming 747. This is the president's plane on loan from the boss for Mr. Cheney's high-stakes Middle East diplomacy. It is, without a doubt, more comfortable for the long hauls than the 757 that usually carries the vice president and on this trip served as a backup plane for most of the traveling staff and press.
On his way to the Middle East from London, Mr. Cheney had a stunning view of the snow-covered Alps. But the cold soon gave way to the hazy heat of the Arabian Peninsula and the marvel of the sunrise over the mountains in Muscat, Oman.
Top adviser Mary Matalin is among those at the vice president's side during his Middle East travel and, at some stops, getting a firsthand reminder much of this region is very much still a man's world. After the vice president arrived in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates on Saturday, Matalin was among the Cheney staffers in the official greeting line. All went fine until the very end, when a Emirates military official refused to shake her hand.
What the vice president eats gets a fair amount of attention because of his history of heart trouble. Aboard the USS John C. Stennis, Mr. Cheney chose salmon as his main course -- no word as to whether, after reporters were ushered from the room, the vice president enjoyed a piece of this cake made in his honor.
Aides say Mr. Cheney also watches what he eats aboard Air Force Two. A poached salmon salad was his choice one day when everyone else was served chicken. And note the knife: the real thing, something you don't get the luxury of using on commercial air carriers since the tragic events of September 11.
(on camera): Flashy is not a word that comes to mind when traveling with the vice president. Top aides joke Mr. Cheney has two moods: serious and really serious. Mr. Cheney himself says he is here to make headway, not headlines. And rhetorical flourishes are hard to come by.
(voice-over): But he is nothing if not consistent: Friday, a pep talk to sailors and Marines aboard the aircraft carrier John C. Stennis.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States will not permit the forces of terror to gain the tools for genocide.
KING: And a day earlier, vising U.S. peacekeeping troops along the Sinai Peninsula.
CHENEY: The United States will not permit the forces of terror to gain the tools of genocide.
KING: These troops from Arkansas own a little bit of history: the first National Guard troops deployed to the Sinai peacekeeping operation in its more-than-20-year history.
Traveling with the vice president means fewer trappings than presidential trips: a smaller staff, smaller motorcades, and sometimes a small crisis. Rush hour in Oman, Jordan Wednesday morning: the press bus disconnected from the Cheney motorcade, the streets clogged despite the best efforts of the local police. And then, just when we thought things couldn't possibly get worse, a train not at all worried about the members of the Fourth Estate. For the record, the vice president waited patiently.
John King, CNN, Jerusalem.
WOODRUFF: "Serious and really serious," I like that line, John.
A very different political view is coming up next. Is a mayor in Colorado indelibly marked by her past career as a stripper?
WOODRUFF: You often hear politicians boasting about their former careers in the so-called real world. But in Colorado, one mayor's past experience is a big part of her political problems.
Here's CNN John Vause.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hopefully, she would have a little bit dignity left if she would resign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The major of Georgetown faces felony charges tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, she's horrible.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What are those discordant voices that have woken the good town of Georgetown from their winter solstice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like her personally. I think she needs to walk away.
VAUSE: She is Koleen Brooks. The stripper-turned-major of this small Colorado town who has been at the epicenter of scandal since being elected in April last year. It started with accusations that she exposed her breasts in public.
KOLEEN BROOKS, MAYOR OF GEORGETOWN, COLORADO: It never happened. You know, I have a compass on my tummy. And if that was anything, I was showing the bartender. She showed me hers. If I have flashed in the past, I have not done it since I have been mayor.
VAUSE: Then a local policeman claimed the mayor tried to take out a contract on him after a long-running feud. She denied it. And an investigation by state authorities found no evidence. But critics say she got undue help in the investigation by the local prosecutor, who she was dating at the time.
(on camera): True or false?
BROOKS: False, very false.
VAUSE (voice-over): Nonetheless, it has led to a recall petition.
Dexter Fountain was among those pushing for a new vote for mayor.
(on camera): It's sex, scandal, intrigue, impeachment. It sounds like the White House under Clinton.
DEX FOUNTAIN, DEXTER'S TAVERN: I'm telling you, we've gone from a bad Monday-night movie to a miniseries now. Clinton, he's got a running mate if he wants it. He can dump Hillary and go with her or something. I don't know.
VAUSE: (voice-over): For newspapers and magazines, both here and overseas, it's been like a soap opera.
(on camera): How many fan letters do you get a week?
BROOKS: Maybe between 30 and 50. My biggest week was 62.
VAUSE: And they come from where?
BROOKS: They come from correctional facilities. They come from London. VAUSE (voice-over): Her Web site receives, on average, 1,000 hits a day. Lately, there's been more messages of support after Brooks claimed that she suffered cuts and bruises when she was mugged. But police have charged her with filing a false report to try and win sympathy before the new election.
But Brooks has hired a bloodhound, private detective, and a psychic to find her attacker.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't you protect your face?
BROOKS: Because I didn't want my breast implants to rupture.
VAUSE: And the mayor asks, what was this town expecting? After all, she campaigned on the back of a motorcycle promising to get Georgetown jumping.
FOUNTAIN: I didn't vote. I didn't vote at all. I was busy. But from everybody I've talked to, everybody wanted a change.
VAUSE: Which proves once again: Careful what you wish for; sometimes you get it.
John Vause, CNN, Georgetown.
WOODRUFF: And that's a story that speaks for itself.
More INSIDE POLITICS in just a moment, but first let's join Wolf for a preview of "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" coming up at the top of the hour.
WOLF BLITZER, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Thank you very much, Judy.
The Pentagon is about to release details of those controversial military tribunals awaiting al Qaeda and Taliban detainees. We will have a preview. And the attorney general, John Ashcroft, says he wants to question more individuals who might have information about suspected terrorists. Some question whether that is ethnic profiling. All that, plus a survivor speaks to us about being hit by a hockey puck -- all that right after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Quick preview of what's in the works on tomorrow's INSIDE POLITICS: I'll interview New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Torricelli. Plus, Jonathan Karl continues his "Subway Series" with Missouri Senator Jean Carnahan. Friday on INSIDE POLITICS, former independent counsel Robert Ray stops by. He is running for the GOP nomination to challenge Senator Torricelli this fall.
CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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with Jane Swift; Interview with Rahm Emanuel>