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Arafat Claims to Want Cease-Fire; Marion Berry Attempts Comeback; Bush Weighs Arafat's Words

Aired March 28, 2002 - 16:00   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington. Yasser Arafat says Palestinians are ready to implement a cease-fire. But Israel isn't buying it.

MAJOR GARRETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm Major Garrett in Crawford, Texas, where a vacationing President Bush is weighing Mr. Arafat's words very carefully.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Hollywood, where TV executives have been watching Washington and saying, "That's entertainment."

CROWLEY: Also ahead, a setback or a set-up? The controversy surrounding Marion Berry's attempt at a political comeback.

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

CROWLEY: Thanks for joining us. Judy is off today. We begin with a still unfolding story. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat indicates he is ready to take a new step toward peace on this day after the Passover Massacre is Israel. For details and reaction, let's go right to CNN Jerusalem bureau chief, Mike Hanna -- Mike.

MIKE HANNA, CNN JERUSALEM BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Candy, the announcement came in the West Bank city of Ramallah, a place that Yasser Arafat has been under virtual house arrest since the beginning of December. At a hastily summoned news conference, the Palestinian leader announced that he was ready to accept an unconditional cease- fire, based on the principles of the George Tenet plan.

Now, the Tenet plan is a blueprint for a truce drawn up by CIA director George Tenet just under a year ago. But there is a catch to this. The Tenet plan has been the point of discussion between Israelis and Palestinians in recent days. The whole aim to negotiate a truce based on this plan. But Israel had wanted to make some amendments to it.

The Palestinians have been saying they will accept the plan as it stands, with no alterations, no amendments. So Yasser Arafat has basically reiterated his position on this. He has effectively challenged the Israelis to accept a cease-fire based on the Tenet plan as written, cutting short the negotiations that had been taking place. Well, Israel certainly fairly dismissive off of Arafat's statement. Israel saying that it would prefer to see cease-fire commitment measured in actions rather than words, adding that it would rather see action on the ground than spoken words from the headquarters in Ramallah.

Well, even as Yasser Arafat was making the statement about a cease-fire, ongoing violence in the region, at the Jewish settlement of Elon Moreh, near the West Bank city of Nablus. Two Palestinian gunmen burst into the settlement armed with machine guns. They opened fire, killing at least three Israeli settlers. Another two Israelis were wounded in the attack.

After a lengthy standoff, Israeli forces shot and killed the two Palestinian gunmen. This incident of violence followed the massive bomb attack in the seaside resort town of Netanya yesterday. In that attack, 20 Israelis were killed, well over 100 injured. And the Israeli cabinet has been meeting to decide what will be its response to that Netanya attack, whether it will exert a military option and take military action against the Palestinians.

Or in general, what reaction it will take, in the wake of the Netanya bombing. Well, at this stage there are reports of a number of tanks massing outside the West Bank city of Ramallah. Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza are bracing themselves for an Israeli military attack -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Jerusalem bureau chief Mike Hanna. Thanks, Mike.

Now let's bring in our White House correspondent, Major Garrett, with the president in Texas. Major, I assume the White House knows about Yasser Arafat's statement. What's been their reaction?

GARRETT: The reaction is generally noncommittal, Candy. The White House saying it is looking and analyzing Mr. Arafat's words, and remains in constant contact with the Palestinians and the Israelis. One, at a time like this, looks for the White House to say something along the lines of, well, it's a step in the right direction. We believe it's a piece of progress.

Nothing like that coming from the National Secretary Council or other White House officials CNN has spoken with. Generally speaking, the White House believes that it's not a really good idea for them right now to get into the play by play commentary on each and every incremental step in this process.

Safe to say this, Candy. The White House knows these are trilateral talks on achieving a case-fire between the Israelis and the Palestinians. An what that means is, when the cease-fire has been achieved, you will see all three parties there announcing it. The Israeli government, the U.S. government and the Palestinian Authority will all be there to explain exactly how that cease-fire is going to work, how it will be implemented, and how it was a product of intense negotiations.

Absent that, I think it's fair to say this is in no way seen by the White House as any type of breakthrough -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Major, let me ask you something on a slightly different line, but same area of the world. The Arab League Summit in Beirut ended today. They endorsed the Saudi Middle East peace plan, but they also rejected any attack against Iraq. Does any of that play into the White House figuring of what goes on next in Iraq, or in the Middle East in general?

GARRETT: The fascinating answer, Candy, is, it does in some respects and it doesn't in others. Here is a respect in which it does. The White House, very praiseworthy of the Saudi Arabian proposal unanimously adopted by the Arab League, talking about at least a notion of Arab nations recognizing Israel's right to exist, provided -- and these are a couple of big provisos -- Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders and makes some arrangement on Palestinian refugee return. That's a very complicated set of issues. Nevertheless, the White House declared that as progress.

As to the unanimous Arab League sentiments against any attack against Iraq, well, the White House position is, well that really doesn't mean as much as it might sound like it means. The White House says that it believes all nations throughout the Arab world are acutely aware of the threats posed by Iraq's regime, understanding that it is trying to achieve weapons of mass destruction, has in the past used poison gas and weapons of mass destruction, meaning sarin gas, against its own people. The White House says that is in fact a difficult and big problem, but the region understands. So any statements saying that there shouldn't be U.S. military action in Iraq don't mean as much as they might appear -- Candy.

CROWLEY: White House correspondent Major Garrett, thanks.

The United States has decided it will seek the most severe penalty if the first person charged in connection with the September 11th attacks is convicted. CNN's Deborah Feyerick is in New York with more on the case against Zacarias Moussaoui.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Candy, the French government is not particularly happy about the government's decision to go ahead to seek the death penalty. They say they regret the decision, but that they are going to be standing behind the United States, as they have done all along. This, as John Ashcroft makes his announcement formally seeking the death penalty today.



(voice-over): ... or die. That's what a jury will be deciding if they find terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui guilty of conspiracy. Attorney General John Ashcroft going ahead, seeking the death penalty.

JOHN ASHCROFT, ATTORNEY GENERAL: We have alleged numerous reasons, called aggravating factors, which we believe indicate why the death penalty is appropriate. Among these reasons is the impact of the crime on thousands of victims. FEYERICK: Prosecutors planning to prove, even though Moussaoui was already behind bars at the time of the attacks, he knew people would die because of what he allegedly planned to do. Carrying it out, says the government -- quote -- "in an especially heinous, cruel and depraved manner in that they involved the torture and serious physical abuse to the victims."

Three-thousand people died. Thousands more left to deal with physical and emotional scars. Moussaoui's lawyer accuses the government of trying the case in the media. Frank Dunham telling CNN, "we do things on the record in the courthouse."

Death penalty expert David Baugh represented a now convicted al Qaeda soldier during last year's embassy bombings trial.

DAVID BAUGH, DEATH PENALTY EXPERT: We might be prosecuting and trying to kill someone who was involved in an activity, a general activity, who had no idea of the specifics.

FEYERICK: Prosecutors say they'll prove Moussaoui came to the United States to study flying, in order to kill as many American citizens as possible. Moussaoui, of Moroccan descent, is a French citizen. France, firmly anti-death penalty, issued a statement saying it regrets the decision, but stands with the United States in its fight against terrorism.

ASHCROFT: We ask our counterparts in the international community to respect our sovereignty. And we respect theirs.


FEYERICK: The death penalty could become a matter of debate. We spoke to two 9-11 family members. One woman who lost her brother says the death penalty is appropriate. A husband who lost his wife says no, terrorists are not afraid to die, it's is what they want. And therefore, in his opinion, Moussaoui should be kept alive.

Is Moussaoui sorry? Well, prosecutors say no, citing what they call a lack of remorse. Opening statements are slated to begin October -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Out of New York, Deborah Feyerick. Thanks very much.

We are about to turn to Texas politics. Coming up, I'll ask Ron Kirk and Victor Morales how race may affect their run-off for the Democratic Senate nomination.

And in our "Taking Issue" segment, is a new report from New Jersey on speeding drivers an attempt to justify racial profiling?

And, if politicians had been watching some of the latest TV fare, they might say, as Sally Field once did, "You like me, you really like me."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: "On the Record" this Thursday, the race for the Texas Senate seat held by retiring Republican Phil Gramm. A few hours ago, President Bush helped raise cash for the Republican candidate, Attorney General John Cornyn. It was Mr. Bush's first Texas fundraiser since he moved to Washington.

Two Democrats are in an April 9th run-off to see who will face Cornyn, In a moment, I'll speak with school teacher Victor Morales. But first, my conversation with his opponent, Ron Kirk. I started by asking the former Dallas mayor about tonight's scheduled debate with Morales, and the difference between the two candidates.


RON KIRK (D), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE: I think ultimately this is going to come down to a personal decision among the voters as to who they feel best reflects their values, cares about their issues. And then who they believe can be effective in addressing those, in a very evenly-divided and partisan United States Senate.

CROWLEY: Mr. Kirk, isn't that sort of a nice way of saying that this may come down to race? You're an African-American. Your opponent is a Hispanic American. And much has been made, when you read the clips -- when you see the coverage, it's about how you get most of the black vote, he gets most of the Hispanic vote, and the fight is really over the white vote. Is that a healthy way for America to approach an election?


KIRK: I don't know if it's a healthy way. I think that may be a little bit of a 45,000-foot view analysis of the vote. But again, Candy, I contrast this -- at least compare to my, races when I ran for mayor of Dallas, in which I was able to be elected by very broad support, across all of our ethnic groups. I fielded Democrats, Republicans, independents -- Dallas doesn't have a majority African- American population.

And I think one reason people find my candidacy appealing is my demonstrated ability to go out and appeal to Republicans, independents, Democrats, Anglos, African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews -- people of all persuasions, around common denominators. Find out what is it that we all care about that defines us, rather than by the labels we put on ourselves.

And then convince people, if we can start attacking problems instead of trying to define ourselves by the lowest common denominator. That's the way you make change. That's the way you get things done.

And one of the messages I've tried to really strike with people as I have talked to them, is the reality that no matter who is privileged to represent the state of Texas in this next United States Senate, this is going to be a Senate that's as bitterly divided and evenly divided as it is now. And the only people that are going to be effective in that environment are those that are able to govern from the Senate bill coalitions to get things done. That's how we got an education bill passed.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you on that score, and following up on that, can you work with George Bush?

KIRK: Absolutely. Particularly where I believe what he is putting forth is in the best interest of the people of Texas. I know the -- I don't want to -- we're not, you know, fraternity brothers. But I know the president and Mrs. Bush well. I worked well with him during my tenure as mayor of Dallas.

CROWLEY: Let me quickly ask you -- and I'll tell you, the reason I asked that question is that Democrats in Washington see Texas as a place where maybe they have a chance to embarrass George Bush. Is that how you see the general election?

KIRK: Well, that's inside Washington tone. I mean, I'm proud that my race has attracted the attention and interest of people all over the nation. But frankly, I'm not interested in being, you know, a spear catcher for the Democratic Party. I'm interesting in going to Washington to make a real difference in the way people live and work and raise their families in the state of Texas.

CROWLEY: Ron Kirk, Democrat Senate hopeful in Texas. Thank you so much for your time.

KIRK: Thank you so much. I look forward to visiting with you again.


CROWLEY: That's the word from Texas Senate candidate Ron Kirk. His Democrat run-up opponent, Victor Morales, is with us now, from the school where he teaches in Kemp, Texas.

Mr. Morales, thank you so much for joining us. I hope someone is watching the children while you're with us.

VICTOR MORALES (D), TEXAS SENATE CANDIDATE: Well, no, the bell just rang. This is the way life is. Real people have to work, and the bell just rang and they left.

CROWLEY: Well, thanks for hurrying over. I wanted to ask you first, I know you didn't get a chance to hear all of my interview with your opponent. One of the questions I asked him was about the race issue here. You're both Democrats, you have a lot of similar opinions. And it looks, coming from the outside looking in, like all of the analysis has been that you're the Hispanic candidate, he's the black candidate, and the fight is over who is going to get the white vote.

MORALES: Right. It's sad that so much is concentrated on race. We obviously know that that is an issue. But I said from the very beginning in 1996, there's no one that can win without cutting across the board, the spectrum. And I can do that.

CROWLEY: So, tell me why it is that most of the official Democratic Party is backing your opponent.

MORALES: Well, establishment is going to back establishment. Money is going to back money. And don't forget, I made a lot of people very angry when I defeated the two congressmen and the wealthy lawyer in '96. And now, here I've won again. And it shows that people all want independence, and are not ready for the status quo anymore.

And so, there are some people working very hard to defeat the independent maverick, as they like to call me.

CROWLEY: So, what is your best pitch to official Democrats, or to Democrats you need to come out and vote? You had, in the primary, a big pull from Mr. Sanchez, in getting people to the polls. You're not going to have that in a runoff. Does that worry you? And what's your basic strategy, moving into the run-off?

MORALES: Amazing, but you just made a point. It just amazes me, the fact that no one ever seems to give me credit for the 80,000 miles I traveled, for the 510 days, for the wonderful people that have worked so hard across the state, and are working very hard now, for us to defeat these other folks.

And it seems like something always has come up. Tony Sanchez, you just mentioned, last time his confusion with Dan Morales. The reality is, we worked very hard to get the votes. It's not simply a matter of being Hispanic. Certainly not a matter of Tony Sanchez running.

My strategy, I'm booked consistently from day to day, nights, weekends. And I will do the best I can to bring out my voters again. If they do come again, we'll win, for the fourth time in a row in the Democratic primaries and run-offs.

CROWLEY: And let me move you a little past the run-off. If you should win, do you think you can work with George Bush? A lot of Democrats in Washington are framing the gubernatorial race in Texas, as well as the Senate race, as a way to kind of embarrass George Bush in his home state. How do you view it?

MORALES: Obviously, any senator is going to have to work with 99 other senators as well as 435 other congressman. You've got to get both houses to work on the same bill, get it passed. And the president. So I look forward to working with Mr. Bush, as long as I believe that it's the best for America, and for Texas.

CROWLEY: Victor Morales, Senate candidate in Texas. A primary run-off on the 9th. Thanks for joining us.

MORALES: Thank you very much for the opportunity.

CROWLEY: A quick check of the day's top stories up next in our "Newscycle," including the latest from the Middle East and reaction to Yasser Arafat's cease-fire offer.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CROWLEY: Checking the headlines in our "Newscycle." Yasser Arafat said today that Palestinians are ready to implement an immediate cease-fire, in his words, "without any conditions." Israeli officials dismissed his comments, however, and called on Arafat to arrest those who are carrying out terrorist acts.

Also today, Israeli police said gunmen entered a Jewish settlement near Nablus and killed three settlers.

Writer/director Billy Wilder is dead at 95. We want to take a look back at his life with Sherri Sylvester.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE ACTOR: ... I'm ready for my closeup.

SHERRI SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He looked into the lens with a cynical eye. And out came some of the most memorable characters in cinema history. At a time when Hollywood was focused on heroes, Billy Wilder explored the misfits: the fading film star of "Sunset Blvd.," the abusive alcoholic of "The Lost Weekend."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: Come on, man. Come on.

SYLVESTER: The less-than-perfect POWS of "Stalag 17."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ACTOR: It'll cost you a cigarette or a half-a bar of chocolate apiece. You couldn't catch much through that steam.

SYLVESTER: The "Seven-Year Itch" explored a married man's fantasies of infidelity.

MARILYN MONROE, ACTOR: Don't stop. Don't stop. Don't ever stop.

SYLVESTER: Those who passed through the apartment practiced it, and the adulterers of "Double Indemnity" plotted cold-blooded murder.

Billy Wilder believed the director should be invisible to moviegoers, but was serious about his responsibility as a storyteller.

BILLY WILDER, DIRECTOR: You can put the camera anyplace you want to. Any kind of a lens. Did we choose the right spot? That's the question. If you have all the liberty in the world, anything you want to, that becomes a very, very heavy responsibility. Do I tell it right?

The expert director, he knows exactly if he moves the camera a little bit to the right, then he will disclose the face in the background, which he should. But it's experience, also luck.

SYLVESTER: We caught up with Wilder in his 87th year. An avid art collector, he bought masterpieces, built his own pieces, and commissioned others to create unusual works. His wife regularly made him sell some off to clear out the house.

WILDER: I would buy six trinkets or drawings, a piece of sculpture, something. And I will keep it in the trunk of my car, like, for three months. I'm afraid of bringing it up to the apartment. Because we go through that thing again.

SYLVESTER: He was penniless when he first came to the U.S. Born in Vienna in 1906, he worked as a reporter before becoming a screenwriter. When Hitler came to power, the Jewish filmmaker fled. His mother and stepfather died in Auschwitz.

"Ninotchka" was his first Hollywood success as a writer. His career would bring 20 Oscar nominations for writing, producing and directing. He won six, along with the Irving Thalberg award. Billy Wilder moved easily from bitter dramas to stinging comedies. He never made an action picture, a sequel or a special effects film. His stories were about the characters.

WILDER: They just fade out, slowly.


CROWLEY: Once again, director Billy Wilder has died at the age of 95.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


CROWLEY: With us now to discuss some of the day's top issues, Don Wycleff of "The Chicago Tribune," and Byron Jork of "The National Review."

Don, let me start out with you in the Middle East, a hot topic now and for the last couple of weeks or so. Bush policy in the Middle East, as you've been tracking it, has it helped, hurt, or done nothing?

Byline: Bob Novak, Jeff Greenfield, Bill Schneider Guest: Don Wycliff, Byron York, Jonetta Rose Barras,

Bush policy in the Middle East as you have been tracking it, has it helped, hurt, or done nothing?

DON WYCLIFF, "CHICAGO TRIBUNE": I have long believed that the administration should have gotten involved much earlier and much more aggressively.

I don't pretend to be an expert on the Middle East, but this momentum, this deadly momentum, downward spiral, has been evident for some time. And I think they waited much too long to become involved actively.

CROWLEY: Byron, let me ask you, do you think anything would have changed had the administration said, "OK, even though there's violence going on, we'll get in there"? The Middle East just sort of seems like something, a vortex that sort of sucks presidents in and nothing ever happens.

BYRON YORK, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Actually, I think it wouldn't have changed.

The problem is, so far, that, as far as Arafat and the Palestinians are concerned, the suicide bombings are helping them accomplish their goals. And, as long as that is the case, and more suicide bombings provoke an Israeli action, which provokes an outcry against Israel and demands that Israel pull back on its self-defense actions, then the Palestinian Authority is going to keep overseeing this kind of stuff.


CROWLEY: Go ahead, Don.

WYCLIFF: I'm not sure what you mean when you say helping them accomplish their goal. If their goal is a state of their own, they're no closer to it today than they were a month, two months ago.

YORK: Well, the Arab League has just passed this peace plan, which basically calls for Israel to give up land. And what Israel gets in return is, from a Palestinian point of view, "We'll stop killing you."

I think it seems clear that, so far, Arafat's strategy has worked. And it will continue to work as long, I think, as people treat his policies as legitimate.

CROWLEY: Let me jump in here, Don, because if I don't, I won't get you on another subject I want to hear you talk about.


CROWLEY: And that is the study in New Jersey which came out and said, look, black drivers drive faster than white drivers, and that's why police tend to stop so many more, percentage-wise, blacks than whites. So racial profiling, there's a reason for it? How do you read this study?

WYCLIFF: Well, I certainly wouldn't dismiss it out of hand. I never do that before I've read it. And I got it only about a half an hour ago.

All I've seen is an AP story and a press release in which the New Jersey attorney general himself said this in no way contradicts the evidence of racial profiling that previously existed and resulted in the consent decree under which the state police there now operate. I have not evaluated the study itself yet, however.

YORK: Well, I think, in the racial profiling issue, the big issue is: Why were police stopping disproportionate numbers of black drivers?

And one of the things we did not know before this study was, was there perhaps a legitimate reason? And I believe the study has shown that blacks appear to be more likely to speed at higher speed levels, not the 55 limit. But at 65, 90 miles an hour, it appears the percentage of black speeders is twice the percentage of white speeders. And this was based on a study that actually identified around 27,000 drivers. So it is a pretty large sample.

WYCLIFF: Well...

CROWLEY: Byron York of "The National Review" -- I'm sorry to cut you, Don Wycliff of "The Chicago Tribune." Our time is a little limited today, but we really appreciate you giving us some insight.


CROWLEY: Bob Novak's "Inside Buzz" is straight ahead. And he'll tell us how airline security created something of an international incident.


CROWLEY: Here now with some "Inside Buzz": our Bob Novak.

Bob, so I have been reading all along how all sorts of things are getting through security. We had that study. And you're here to tell me not so in Atlanta?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Last Thursday, a week ago today, Romano Prodi, a former prime minister of Italy, now the president of the European Commission, and his entourage was on the way to Mexico, going through Atlanta.

The State Department fixed it up so he cleared immigration and customs, but they didn't clear him with Delta Air Lines. And Delta Air Lines gave him the full treatment. His aides had their feet checked. And Senior Prodi had a body check. And he was livid. They complained to the State Department. The State Department has made no announcement, but they were really very upset. It does seem a little unnecessary that the president of the European Commission has to go through that.

CROWLEY: Well, they don't check them and we yell at them and they do check them and we yell at them, right?

NOVAK: Right.

CROWLEY: There is a new Republican poll out which was sort of a mixed bag?

NOVAK: Yes, Linda Divall, who is a very reputable Republican pollster, came out with a huge plus for President Bush, still at 80 percent. It shows that, 3-2, the American people don't want more government.

But there's one nasty little poll. It shows, on the generic favorability of Republicans or Democrats for Congress, a dead heat: 35 Republican, 34 Democrat. That means that the Republicans in Congress are running way behind George W. Bush. And the way the Republicans read it, right now he has no coattails.

CROWLEY: I must say, coattails have always been sort of overrated.


CROWLEY: Let me ask you about judicial nominations. When Congress left, bad taste in the mouth of the Senate. Is it going to continue?

NOVAK: The Republicans have two decisions -- there's two decisions for the Republicans to make, because the Democrats obviously are not going to confirm the kind of nominations for appellate judge that President Bush has sent up.

No. 1, the first question is, will the Senate Republican leader, Trent lot, say, "I am going to bring the Senate to a halt unless they provide a floor vote on every nomination"? And, secondly, if he makes that decision, can he sell his own troops to bringing the Senate to a halt? If he doesn't do those two things, if those two things don't happen, then there will be no appellate court judges approved that don't meet Pat Leahy's standards, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

CROWLEY: Fifteen seconds, anti-cloning bill, what is going to happen to it?

NOVAK: It is too close to call right now. It all depends on the only doctor in the Senate, Senator Bill Fritz, a good Republican, anti-cloning in principle, but he has not endorsed this bill, which many of his colleagues in the medical profession oppose. His future in the Republican Party may depend on whether he goes with the conservative Republicans or his medical researcher colleagues.

CROWLEY: Bob Novak, always know many things about lots of stuff, thanks.

NOVAK: Thank you.

CROWLEY: Now, the question: Who is the highest-paid lobbyist? We have a preview of the list "The National Journal" will publish tomorrow, based on IRS reports from 1999 and 2000.

Frank Zarb of the National Association of Securities Dealers is ranked as the highest-paid executive of trade organizations and other lobbying groups. His total pay package: more than $6 million. Jere Ratcliffe of the Boy Scouts of America takes in more than $2.5 million, followed by Paul Reid of the Mortgage Bankers Association at $1.8 million. Rounding out the list: Eugene Upshaw of the NFL Players Association, with a total pay package of more than $1.4 million. Just behind Upshaw: John Crum of the American Chemical Society.

Now an "Inside Buzz" follow-up: Sources told us yesterday that Senator John McCain was upset that the president signed the campaign finance reform bill behind closed doors at the White House without any fanfare. But today, McCain suggested otherwise in an interview with radio host Don Imus. McCain said he appreciates the fact that Mr. Bush signed the measure. And, he added, that the president never promised him a rose garden.

Time to check the headlines in "Campaign News Daily": Philadelphia's former democratic mayor, Ed Rendell, is asking Republicans to help him in his race for governor. Four Republicans have signed a Rendell campaign letter urging fellow GOP members to change their registration so they can vote for Rendell in the primary.

In New Orleans, District Attorney Harry Connick Sr. is retiring after almost 30 years in office. Connick defeated DA Jim Garrison in 1973. And through the years, he made a name for himself as a no- nonsense prosecutor. As father of the famous singer, Connick Sr. is also known for his regular singing gigs at a downtown hotel.

Republican Mitt Romney says he will not sign a no-new-taxes pledge in his campaign for Massachusetts governor. Romney's decision is a break with acting Governor Jane Swift and other recent Republican Bay State governors. Romney says he is against tax increases, but he does not want to put that pledge in writing.

A campaign visit from the president is what a lot of candidates yearn for, but does a president's popularity trickle down to the state level? Some thoughts from our Jeff Greenfield when we return.


CROWLEY: These are new pictures that are coming into CNN now. What you are seeing is a four-engine prop plane that has gone down in Seattle's Elliott Bay. Now, we are told that eight people have been rescued and put aboard -- are being taken to a boat launch. We are told they are in good condition -- again, a four-engine prop plane down in Seattle's Elliott Bay.

President Bush's Texas fund-raiser today follows a tradition of so many presidents before him, but do presidents really make a difference when they go on the campaign trail?

Senior analyst Jeff Greenfield has more in today's "Bite of the Apple."

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: So, President Bush is hitting the campaign trail for Republicans, and his party is delighted. And why not? Apart from all that money they raise, incumbent presidents do wonders when they campaign for their fellow party candidates, don't they? Well, uh, actually, no they don't.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) (voice-over): You couldn't be more popular than Dwight Eisenhower. The World War II hero had swept into the White House in a landslide, but two years later, Republicans lost the House and the Senate. By 1966, President Johnson had seen his popularity fade under the hammer blows of Vietnam and domestic upheaval. He campaigned hard for Democrats, who lost 47 House seats.

President Nixon couldn't save the GOP from losing 12 House seats in 1970, though Republicans did manage to pick up seats in the Senate. And, as for the Gipper himself, Republicans lost 26 House seats in 1982 and, four years later, with Reagan on the campaign trail, lost control of the U.S. Senate.

As, for Bill Clinton, he presided over a crushing Democratic loss in 1994, when both Houses went Republican.


GREENFIELD: So, is there any time when an incumbent president actually helped a lot? Well, sort of. In 1998, when Bill Clinton was in the middle of that Lewinsky mess on his way to impeachment, his party actually gained five House seats, the first such gain for a White House party since 1934.

So, what's the lesson? Maybe President Bush should ask an intern to bring in a pizza -- Candy.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Jeff.

Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. Up next: former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry back in the headlines and stirring public emotions all over again.


CROWLEY: Former Washington Mayor Marion Barry has a national reputation. And it is safe to say his name means very different things to many different people.

On our "Back Page" today: Marion Barry's decision to attempt a return to politics and his latest run-in with the law.


(voice-over): To bring you up to date: About a month ago, the famous and sometimes infamous ex-mayor of Washington, Marion Barry, decided to put his name on the ballot for D.C. City Council.

Late last week, U.S. Park Police put Barry's name on a criminal incident report. They say Barry, parked in a no-parking zone in a remote area, had a powdery substance around his nose and $5 worth of crack in his car, not enough, they said, to arrest him. Barry says the police are lying because they are out to get him. Then came the protests.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: White power! CROWD: Black power!

MALIK SHABAZZ, ACTIVIST: This smacks of a setup. This is suspicious. This looks like a political attack on Mr. Barry.

CROWLEY: The current mayor is walking lightly.

ANTHONY WILLIAMS (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: All I am saying is, it is a difficult situation. I pray for him. I hope he gets whatever help he may need in a difficult situation.

CROWLEY: This is sounding familiar. Twelve years ago, when Barry was still mayor, the feds took this videotape of Barry smoking crack and arrested him. The city was divided between those who thought the mayor disgraced them and those who thought the feds were out to get him.

Barry was tried and convicted on one drug count relating to an earlier incident. After jail and rehab, the mayor ran again and won four more years in a city that still has very, very mixed feelings about him, which is why the current mayor is not enthusiastic about the ex-mayor's plans to run for city council.

WILLIAMS: I'm saying that he speaks to that division. We have to recognize that. But I'd like to think we can move our city forward and advance our city's interests without getting into distractions of he said/she said and all this.

CROWLEY: And that, so far, is where we are.


CROWLEY: For more on Marion Barry's political career, his successes, and his failures, Jonetta Rose Barras with us now. She is the author of "The Last of the Black Emperors: The Hollow Comeback of Marion Barry in the New Age of Black Leaders."

Well, I feel like we've passed this way before.


JONETTA ROSE BARRAS, AUTHOR, "THE LAST OF THE BLACK EMPERORS": Yes, deja vu all over again. What is crazy about this is that I think people have forgotten that, in 1996, Marion Barry, as mayor then in his comeback, had actually -- was suspected of actually having a relapse.

There was great news and consternation about him going to a retreat. And then later, he went to a substance abuse treatment center in St. Louis. And all of this, to me, feels more like that than it does 1990, quite frankly. It feels like there is some possibility that Marion Barry, when he was arrested recently in Southwest in Buzzard Point, was actually maybe involved with drugs and maybe had relapsed.

He is a recovering addict. And I think a lot of people seem to forget that.

CROWLEY: We should point out that he actually wasn't arrested. They stopped him and let him go.

BARRAS: Right.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you this. He was reelected mayor after serving time in jail on a drug charge. Is there any reason to believe that this incident hurts him in Washington D.C. as it is configured today with the population?

BARRAS: I think then people were really concerned with how the bust with the FBI took place. There was real concern that it was entrapment.

I think now, who led Marion Barry to Southwest to Buzzard Point? There was no one following him. No one's been chasing him since he left office in 1998. This is clearly a case where Marion Barry drove his Jaguar to Southwest, and was in there, and the police came and approached him.

So, I don't think, as Malik Shabazz and several people, a small kind of gaggle of people who are very Barry loyalists and who are racialists seem to think, that this is some kind of case where a black politician is being hunted down by the white National Park Police. That is just not the case. This is a recovering addict who may not have been very vigilant in his recovery.

CROWLEY: So, do you think it hurts him politically? Do you think he has a shot at this D.C. Council race?

BARRAS: I think that there are a number of people who will vote for Marion Barry no matter what he does.

But I think that, more than anything, it hurts the image of the city. The city is just now coming back and recovering and improving its image from the days of Marion Barry. So, I think, if Marion Barry, who is now considering whether he is going to actually follow through with his decision to run for at large, I think it would be in the best interests of the city, and probably in Marion Barry's own recovery, that he not run.

CROWLEY: Jonetta Rose Barras, author of "The Last of the Black Emperors," thank you so much for joining us.

BARRAS: Thank you. Thank you.

CROWLEY: If you need any proof that politics and government can be entertaining, you will get it next. We'll check out some new TV shows with our political trend-spotter, Bill Schneider.


CROWLEY: Now a plug for INSIDE POLITICS: We didn't produce it. The makers of "The West Wing" did.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: What the hell is going on?

ROB LOWE, ACTOR: Well, Monday morning, there was a little incident during the satellite interviews.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: I read about it. How did you let something like that happen?

LOWE: OK. For everybody who works outside the building, I'll fall on the sword. But for everybody who works inside the building, I wasn't there.


LOWE: Didn't get much of a tan.




CROWLEY: Our thanks to the folks at the fictional Bartlet White House, who have become real trend-setters in the TV world.

We get more on that from our own Mr. Hollywood, Bill Schneider -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Candy, politics, it's a hot concept out here in Hollywood.

You know, TV shows about government and politics are all over the screen: the CIA, the White House, an American Embassy, and not one but two new shows about the Supreme Court. What's going on?


(voice-over): "The West Wing" blazed the trail. It went on the air in 1999, nine months after President Clinton's impeachment. A lot of people believe the show was inspired by Clinton or what Clinton might have been. Certainly, Hollywood was inspired by Bill Clinton.

MARK SCHWED, "TV GUIDE": No doubt about it, Hollywood was in love with Bill Clinton and, in many ways, still is. He's like their -- the Kennedy they got to really work with.

SCHNEIDER: "The West Wing" dared to put the political process on the air. Here's my favorite part.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Forty-one percent would reelect him; 37 would elect a new person.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Twenty-two percent don't know. UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He's in the ball game.


SCHNEIDER: In Hollywood, they say imitation is the sincerest form of television. Well, "The West Wing" was a big hit and it won a lot of Emmys.

SCHWED: What that does is, it tells other network executives, "Hey, maybe politics isn't so boring."

SCHNEIDER: So this year, we get the imitators and the spin-offs. Only, something happened after all those new shows were in the works: September 11. That gave government a new seriousness. Cynicism was out. Public service became a noble calling.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: We recruit extraordinary people, Emma. There were 20,000 applicants your year. We hired 254.


SCHNEIDER: Government workers became quiet heroes.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: You did a great job this week.

GIL BELLOWS, ACTOR: Well, every day we're not in the news is a day we won.



SCHNEIDER: But two shows about the Supreme Court, what's that about?

SCHWED: Maybe it was going through the election, the Supreme Court getting involved. Some guy could have been sitting at home watching and saying, "Hey, we've never had a real good show about the Supreme Court." And, boom, all of the sudden you do.

SCHNEIDER: Here's Hollywood's version about how the Supreme Court starts its annual session.


JAMES GARNER, ACTOR: First Monday in October, let's go out there and make history.


SCHNEIDER: Cynicism is out, remember, even on television.


GARNER: Now will you toast with me?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Now I'll toast with you.

GARNER: To the Constitution.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: To the Constitution.



SCHNEIDER: If these shows turn out to be hits, just imagine the possibilities: "White House Intern, "Capitol Page." And I got it: "The Gary Condit Story."

Candy, I think I'll go take a meeting.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Mr. Hollywood. Come back home. We're very hot back here now.


CROWLEY: CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." I'm Candy Crowley.


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