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Interview with John Edwards; Powell Searches for Peace; Law Faces Mounted Pressure in Boston; Feds Bracing to be Cheated Out of Millions

Aired April 11, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Secretary of State Colin Powell has arrived in Jerusalem. We have a live update on his search for peace.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Frank Buckley in Boston, where Cardinal Bernard Law is facing mounting pressure to step down, as anger grows over sex abuse by some priests.

BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Brooks Jackson in Washington. April 15th is almost here and the Feds are bracing to be cheated out of billions.

WOODRUFF: And our Kate Snow is in Cleveland, where we're waiting for the verdict to be read in the corruption trial of Congressman James Traficant.


WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We want to go right now to Jerusalem, where Secretary of State Colin Powell's daunting diplomatic challenge soon begins. CNN's Bill Hemmer is covering the search for peace in the Middle East -- Bill.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, good evening. Daunting indeed, and this is a major task for Colin Powell. There are a lot of opinions on a lot of different sides of this issue, who frankly do not give the secretary of state much of a chance right now on the ground.

About an hour ago, his plane did touch down just east of Tel Aviv. The secretary of state arriving after a short trip in Amman, Jordan. During that time he met with King Abdullah to talk about the current crisis, and to also talk about what each side might be willing to give upon Powell's visit in his meetings over the next several days here.

Also in Amman, the secretary of state reiterated a fact that the U.S. government, and the White House, for that matter. The White House and President Bush wants the military incursions to end at this time. Here is Colin Powell in Amman, two hours ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: I think the president has made his position clear. He wants the incursion stopped. He has noted some progress, but he wants to see more progress. And this is what I'll be discussing with Prime Minister Sharon in the morning.


HEMMER: In the morning, where a three-hour meeting is now on the schedule between Ariel Sharon and Colin Powell. After that, Powell will meet with the defense minister to talk about the current military operations still under way in the West Bank. On Saturday, he'll meet with Yasser Arafat in that compound in Ramallah.

In terms of the military incursions today, the fighting in Jenin has died down substantially. Reports on the ground indicate that the violence has stopped there, that we have reported on for the past seven days running. Only sporadic gunfire described as Israeli tanks again continue to move in and around that area.

That refugee camp, some reports indicate that bulldozers were working their way through. But again, most of the violence in Jenin that we've been reporting on has died down on Thursday. As we talk about that though, two more incursions took place about 24 hours ago -- two small towns, one near Hebron, the other near Ramallah.

At the same time the Israeli army was saying that about two dozen towns and small villages, 24 in total, with military tanks right now, were moving back and away. The White House, throughout the week, has demanded that the incursion stop immediately. However, in the past day, the word "immediately" has not used.

It's important to point out that yesterday Ariel Sharon was asking the U.S. essentially to back off and back away. And today when Colin Powell was asked if he would use the word immediately, the secretary of state backed away from going that far. In Hebron, there was a suicide bombing that was foiled. Several bystanders injured there, Judy, and the suicide bomber lost his life. That again, in the West Bank town of Hebron earlier today -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Hemmer. The situation remains a very, very difficult one for Secretary Powell. Thank you, Bill.

Now we turn to a crisis of a different kind, the priest sexual abuse scandal. The big question in Boston today, will Cardinal Bernard Law step down, as a growing number of Catholics and critics are demanding? We get the latest from CNN's Frank Buckley, who is in Boston. Hi, Frank.

BUCKLEY: Hi, Judy. No official word today from Cardinal Law, with regard to what his intentions. In the past, as you know, he has suggested that he has no intention of resigning. But as you say, the drumbeat is growing louder here from people who are suggesting that he do -- that he should step aside.

Among those suggesting that, two gubernatorial candidates. Also two major newspapers in this area, including "The Boston Globe," which editorialized this week that he should in fact step aside. And Thomas O'Neill III, the son of the former House speaker, who is considered a friend of Law's, among the people in his cabinet who has been advising him. Another person who has been supporting him. And he this week also suggested that Law step aside.

Also today, what's believed to be the first wrongful death suit filed in connection with the sex abuse scandal involving some priests, the parents of James Frances, a 16-year-old boy who was killed in a car accident in 1981, is suing the archdiocese. And also, Father Ronald Paquin. Paquin was at the wheel, according to James Francis' parents, when their child, 16-years-old at the time, was killed.

These parents say that Paquin, they have learned, was sexually abusing their child. They say the archdiocese knew about this. And that if in fact they had removed this priest years before, that somehow their son would not have been killed. Today we were not able to reach Paquin for a comment and so far the archdiocese hasn't commented on this -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Frank Buckley reporting from Boston. Truly a tragic story that continues to unfold up there.

There's a new poll that's offering more evidence of the pressure on Cardinal Law. A Quinnipiac survey of 252 Massachusetts Catholics found that 60 percent of them believe the cardinal should resign. Our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, is here now. Bill, why has this controversy over the cardinal suddenly reached a boiling point?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, because of new revelations that raise far more serious charges against the church leader. Charges that even his strongest supporters can't rationalize.


(voice-over): In January, after the initial revelations of priestly sexual abuse, Cardinal Law apologized to his archdiocese.

CARDINAL BERNARD LAW, BOSTON: I wish I could undo what I now see to have been mistakes.

SCHNEIDER: The cardinal articulated a very clear policy.

LAW: That someone who is guilty of this kind of abuse simply cannot be placed in that position of trust.

SCHNEIDER: And he defied his opponents.

LAW: I do not intend to resign as your archbishop.

SCHNEIDER: But this week a far more serious charge came out, namely that the cardinal has been dishonest. Attorneys for an abuse victim released 800 pages of documents obtained in a lawsuit against another priest, Father Paul Shanley. Shanley is accused of raping and sodomizing minors and openly advocating pedophilia. The records, which the archdiocese tried to suppress, reveal that Cardinal Law and other church leaders knew about Shanley's predatory behavior.

GREGORY FORD, PRIEST ABUSE VICTIM: I am very upset that a lot of people knew about him and what he was doing. There's been 26 complaints. In my belief, I think he molested hundreds over his 30- year reign of terror.

SCHNEIDER: What was especially damaging was the evidence that Cardinal Law and his archdiocese had supported Shanley for parish positions, including director of a Catholic hostel in New York that accepted teenagers as guests.

RODNEY FORD, FATHER OF ABUSE VICTIM: ... with the full knowledge that he had, would assign Father Shanley to St. Gene's Parish, with the knowledge of him being a pedophile. Cardinal Law, with the knowledge, elevated him to pastor.

SCHNEIDER: In 1997, Shanley received a valedictory letter from Cardinal Law saying: "This is an impressive record and all of us are truly grateful for your priestly care and ministry to all whom you have served."

"The Boston Globe," "The Boston Harold" and "The Manchester Union Leader" called for Law's resignation.


SCHNEIDER: Cardinal Law now finds himself abandoned by influential lay leaders of the church, by parishioners who had organized a campaign to support him. And, as we just reported, by most rank-and-file Catholics in the polls.

WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

And now for a variety of views on the cardinal law controversy, we are joined by Deal Hudson of "Crisis" magazine, which offers a Catholic perspective on culture and politics. We're joined by Bob Sullivan of "TIME" magazine. And in just a few moments, joining us will be David Nyhan of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Let me begin with you, Deal Hudson. Is having the cardinal resign or step aside going to be the only way the church can put this matter behind it?

DEAL HUDSON, "CRISIS" MAGAZINE: Well, Judy, I feel that the Vatican should remove Cardinal Law. I don't think his resignation really makes the points that needs to be made, and that is the church can take care of it, this situation itself, that the church sees the rot that's been exposed and is going to take steps to do something about it.

I mean, rather than letting the -- whether it's the media or the popular sentiment govern what's done, I think the church needs to take charge, and I think Cardinal Law needs to step down. But I think step down in a way that indicates that the Vatican and that the hierarchy of the church is in charge of this matter.

What is certainly not going to solve the problem -- because other bishops have similar situations, not as bad, hopefully -- in their diocese. If Cardinal Law is removed, it may lead to demands for other bishops to be removed.

And this is the problem with this sort of rallying cry for him to resign. I think the Vatican needs to step in and act and I think we have to look at the reformation of seminary standards for the entrance of homosexually disposed priests. I think we have to look at a lot of things to correct this problem over the next 20 years.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask Bob Sullivan of "TIME" magazine. Deal Hudson is making the point that it needs to be the Vatican that takes this action. What is the role of the Vatican here? It's so behind the scenes. What is its influence here?

BOB SULLIVAN, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, that's an interesting question. And as Mr. Hudson knows, I think his point is a good one, that if the Vatican stepped in and really made a statement here with this case, it would go a long way.

However, I don't think they're going to. Cardinal Law...

WOODRUFF: Why not?

SULLIVAN: Well, Cardinal Law is probably as close to Pope John Paul II as any American cardinal. He's a conservative, he's backed him all the way. He's even listened to by the Vatican. He helped put the archbishop in Chicago with his influence.

I think John Paul will not cut him loose. I don't think he's going to do that. He might have been -- behind the scenes, the pope might have had something to do with the prelate stepping down in Poland, the bishop resigning in Ireland. Even the bishop in Palm Beach, who resigned in another sex case. He's clearly accepting these resignations. But I don't think he's going to come out and publicly fire someone. He doesn't act like a CEO.

WOODRUFF: But what does that say about the Vatican, if it's not willing to step in when the circumstances are so egregious?

SULLIVAN: I think what it says is that the Vatican is a different animal than we understand in Democratic America. Again, he doesn't purport to act like a CEO. He thinks that, you know, the American diocese are responsible for themselves. And that it's not his job. You know, he puts cardinals in place, but he doesn't fire them.

WOODRUFF: David Nyhan, if that's the case, and if it's not going to be the Vatican taking action here, what's the reaction going to be? What is the reaction already, among rank and file Catholics in the Boston area?

DAVID NYHAN, HARVARD: The majority feel the cardinal should resign. Catholics laypeople, with the most influence in Boston, think that it's only a matter of time, of days even, before he will be forced out.

There's been a drastic falloff in contributions to organizations like Catholic charities, half of whose recipients are non-Catholic. But it's been decimated. There have been layoffs and a sharp turndown in contributions. The leading Catholics of Boston are voting with their checkbooks and they're saying Cardinal Law has to go.

WOODRUFF: Are they making a distinction, David, between the cardinal doing this of his own volition and the Vatican forcing him out?

NYHAN: The prominent Catholics in Boston feel that the Vatican is very distant from the American church. Law is considered the -- of the 13 American cardinals, the one closest to the pope, as Mr. Sullivan said. And also reflecting much more the Vatican's centralized authority, than the views of the American church.

Law has been a conservative who's promoted only conservatives. He has had great influence on conservatives. And for instance, he's led the charge in the American church against abortion. When he first came to Boston, he called it the primordial evil of our time.

WOODRUFF: Deal Hudson, back to you. What has the church, given all this, what does the church need to do now to restore confidence?

HUDSON: I think it has to very clearly articulate the reason why priests are asked to be celibate in the first place. Why there is an unmarried clergy. It needs to step up and say, the answer to this is not doing away with celibacy, it's not admitting women priests or more married priests. But the answer to this is having priests live up to the ideal that is set before them, the calling they have.

And then, enforce that at the level of vocations, directors, the entrance into the seminary and in seminary formation. And especially when young priests go out into parishes where they're often isolated, living one or two only to a rectory.

WOODRUFF: But I hear you, I hear Bob Sullivan saying, that's not the way the church operates. Bob Sullivan?

SULLIVAN: Yeah, I don't think it is the way the church operates. And frankly, American Catholicism, as it's practiced now, is not necessarily John Paul's favorite form of Catholicism. It's too loose. It makes issues out of things that he feels dogmatically should not be issues.

I think celibacy, though, now is on the table. I think -- because this is a worldwide crisis. It's happening in other countries as well. And I think that there are thinkers over there. I mean, John Paul is a philosopher. And I think he's going to look at this.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. Gentlemen, all three, we want to thank you. David Nyhan, Deal Hudson and Bob Sullivan, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

We will talk with another would-be first couple next on INSIDE POLITICS. Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, tell me how they would handle a brutal presidential campaign.

We'll check new poll numbers on Al Gore and debate his presidential prospects before he and other Democrats head to Florida for the first cattle call for the 2004 campaign.

And later...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... a dramatic rise in flagrant, flat-out cheating.


WOODRUFF: Where does the buck stop when so many Americans are cheating the IRS?


WOODRUFF: My latest "On the Record" interview with a Democrat considering a race for the White House is with Senator John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth. I started by asking the senator about the qualities he thinks are important to the voters.


SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Both in terms of Senate leadership and in terms of leadership for the country, I think it is really important and I think the American people are hungry for what I would describe as principled leadership. Leadership that comes from in here. People who have real values and deep beliefs, and things they're willing to stand up for, no matter what the political wind is on any given day or any given week.

I think that kind of leadership matters in this country, and people are desperate for it. I think that needs to be a component of whoever the presidential candidate is from the Democratic side. And we have some terrific people who I think would fit that bill.

WOODRUFF: I'm asking about the factors because it does have an impact on your family -- lack of privacy. You are putting yourself pretty much out in the open for the American people, for the press, to examine. You have two very young children at this point. If this decision were made, that would have some bearing, wouldn't it, on your lives?

ELIZABETH EDWARDS: I think it would. Although, frankly, I think our children are ideal ages. Our daughter will be 4 in two weeks and we have a son who will be 2 in a month. So they're very young and, in a sense, immune from this. I think if you had someone who's a little older, might be more susceptible to some hesitation about being in the limelight. And then we have a 20-year-old, who's a very self-assured young woman.

And I think that our children are really, if you were going do it, if I had to have children and do this and pick the ages, I think I might pick either someone who was grown enough to put it in perspective and children were who were young enough to maybe enjoy the opportunities, without feeling the pressure of the light.

J. EDWARDS: Elizabeth and I have been married for 25 years this summer. And we stand on a very firm foundation. But our kids are, and our whole family, is the most important thing in my life. And anything we do, whether it was running for the Senate or the work that I'm doing going around the country, in addition to being a senator now, obviously can have an impact on our kids.

And we're a very connected physical family. We do everything together. We always have. And sort of our embracing of our family is an enormous part of our lives. Every single minute of the day.

I get up in the night and change Jack's diapers. We get up in the morning and take my three-year-old, Emma Claire, to day care. Whenever I'm in town, I do that. This is a huge part of what we do, in anything we do, no matter what it is. We have to take into consideration what impact it would have on our kids, that we love so much.

WOODRUFF: Campaigns at notoriously, at the same time, brutal. I mean, they're really hard on people. Really mean things are said about people. Your family has clearly already been through tragedy with the loss of your son, seven years ago now?

E. EDWARDS: Six years ago.

WOODRUFF: Six years ago, when he was 16. Does that have any bearing at all, as you look forward? Clearly it's left a deep mark on all of you.

E. EDWARDS: My feeling about it is that I don't think anybody could throw anything at us now. So what they're -- somebody is going to say something mean about us? You know, so what? I mean, you know, we've sort of been through the worst things that could happen to somebody, as anyone who has been through this experience knows. And the rest seems pretty inconsequential, frankly.

So if somebody says something about you, it's just -- they really -- it's not that we can't be hurt. We can be hurt. But not to the same degree. I think it provides you with a shield that really nothing else can.

WOODRUFF: From the time that it was clear that Al Gore was considering you as a running mate, you have been -- your name has been mentioned. You've gotten a lot of press coverage, a lot of it's been favorable. Has this been easy to deal with? Has this been a piece of cake? How do you feel about all that? Mrs. Edwards?

E. EDWARDS: I have to be honest. Sometimes we'll come home from something and say, "wow, we just talked to Judy Woodruff. That is so cool."

WOODRUFF: Somehow I doubt that one.


E. EDWARDS: No, but it's true. It's -- you meet fascinating people and you have these incredible experiences. And really, if you don't say wow, if you're so jaded that you don't come home and say, wow, then there's something wrong with you. And we do. We think this is a tremendous opportunity, that we get to talk to the people we get to talk to and do the things we get to do. This is absolutely fabulous.

And so our response has been, I think, I hope we don't hold our mouth open too many times when we sit around you. But you have that reaction, as a natural.

WOODRUFF: Maybe the flip-side of that is some people say, well, you've gotten too much attention too fast. It's flash in the pan. How do you deal with all that, Senator?

J. EDWARDS: I'm perfectly happy to let anybody make their own evaluation. I actually have an enormous amount of faith in the American people. I think they have good sense and good judgment. I don't think they can be fooled. I think they will figure out very quickly.

I happen to believe that because of the lives -- where both of us come from and the lives that we've lived, that we are very well grounded and very solid. And I hope, very principled. I do believe we are.

WOODRUFF: Senator Lieberman said to us earlier this week, whoever is running has got to decide by the end of 2002, because there's too much money to be raised, too much organizing to be done. Timing?

J. EDWARDS: I honestly don't have a timetable in my head about this. For good and bad, remember that I tend to not think like a politician. I mean, I do think that the things that -- the issues we have talked about today, and the things that have affected people's lives, are going to drive how successful Democrats are in the 2002 election and in the 2004 election.

And obviously, the timetable says the decision will have to be made sometime in the next year, year and a half. That makes sense to me.


WOODRUFF: We will be bringing you more of these conversations in the days ahead as we talk with the candidates and their spouses about the political and the personal challenges involved in a campaign for president.

We want to bring you this news just coming in from Cleveland. And that is that a jury has found Ohio Congressman James Traficant guilty on at least four of the ten counts against him. These were counts of bribery, as you know. The congressman was accused of taking kickbacks for accepting free gifts. He's also accused of filing false tax returns. And as soon as we have more information on what the jury verdict is, we will bring that to you.

An update on Colin Powell's mission to the Middle East straight ahead. The secretary of state has arrived in Israel. We preview his planned talks with both Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat, next in our "Newscycle."


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Newscycle": Secretary of State Colin Powell arrived in Israel a little over an hour ago after meeting in Jordan with King Abdullah. He plans to meet tomorrow with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and on Saturday with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah.

Israeli forces pulled out of about two dozen West Bank villages today, but they also entered two other towns. Prime Minister Sharon says his troops will not leave major cities until -- quote -- "The terrorists who are still there agree to surrender." Earlier, Secretary Powell backed away from the U.S. demand for immediate withdrawals. He said his focus is to work toward -- quote -- "a negotiating summit."

Well, as we told you just a moment ago, there are now verdicts in the trial of Ohio congressman, nine-term Congressman James Traficant.

And for the very latest, let's go to Cleveland and to our Kate Snow -- Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, a surprise here -- 10-counts, federal indictments and 10 charges of felony against Jim Traficant. He has been found guilty on all 10 counts.

That includes a RICO count under the racketeering statue, includes charges of bribery. The government had argued that he was bribed in turn for political favors. They had argued that he took money as kickbacks from some of his congressional staff. They also made the case that he had forced staff members from his congressional office to work on his farm and also on his houseboat in Washington D.C.

Apparently, the jury, 10 women and two men, believing the case the prosecution made here over the last eight weeks. They have come back with guilty verdicts on all 10 of these counts against Jim Traficant, the Democrat from Youngstown, Ohio.

Now, we don't know exactly what his sentence will be yet. It will likely take a matter of weeks before the judge comes back. It will be up to her discretion, Judge Lesley Wells, to determine how long he will spend in jail. Judy, the maximum sentence would be up to 60 or so years. That, we're told, is very unlikely, though, because more likely a federal judge would have him serve terms consecutively -- or not consecutively -- rather, at the same time for several of these crimes at the same time.

So probably more likely that he would serve somewhere between three, 10 years, perhaps a little bit more than that, we're told. But at this point, Judy, 10 guilty verdicts on all 10 counts against Congressman Jim Traficant -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow, bringing us the latest from Cleveland, those verdicts just handed down moments ago. Thank you, Kate.

Democrats are gathering in Orlando, Florida, where the first so- called cattle call of the 2004 presidential campaign begins tomorrow. Among them: Al Gore. But our new poll shows only 43 percent of the Democrats nationwide now say they want Gore to run for president again. That's down from 65 percent back in August. Only one-quarter of all Democrats say that it is very likely Gore would win his party's presidential nomination if he were to run. But they do support Gore in at least one way: 82 percent of Democrats surveyed say Gore should continue to mostly hold his tongue and not criticize the policies of President Bush.

Well, joining us now to talk about that and a little more, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile, and Bay Buchanan, the president of the American Cause.

Donna, Al Gore, is he going to come out swinging this weekend against President Bush?

DONNA BRAZILE, FORMER GORE CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Well I haven't read the speech and I haven't talked to the speechwriter. I think Al Gore is actually writing this one himself for the weekend.

I think he is going to give a very uplifting, galvanizing speech that will bring together the party, Democratic Party. This is the largest state party conference in the history of the Florida Democratic Party. He has a lot to say, I believe. And I think Al Gore will lay out a real wonderful agenda that the Democrats can run on in 2002.

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Donna, I happen to think that Al Gore makes a big mistake going down there. This is a cattle call, five or six presidential candidates. He's the former vice president of the United States. He was the nominee of the party. He was a man that won but lost. He has enormous...

BRAZILE: I like that. He won.


BUCHANAN: Won, but lost. See, that's the end of the sentence.

But the problem is, he should not be bringing himself to their level. He should be going into states and raising money on events where he's the only speaker, collecting those IOUs, kind of like Richard Nixon did back there after he was vice president. And I think he makes a mistake when people can sit there and compare him to the other candidates.

WOODRUFF: Should he be going, Donna?

BRAZILE: Absolutely. Visibility is viability, especially in a Democratic Party that is hungry for leadership, hungry to hear not only from Al Gore...

WOODRUFF: But he has got name recognition.

BRAZILE: Well, he has name recognition, but you also have to -- look, Florida is a delegate-rich state. It is also a wonderful base in which to begin the road map back to 2004 and 270 electoral votes. And if Al Gore decides to run sometime later this year, he will need Florida. He will need the Floridians on his side.

BUCHANAN: He can go to Florida. He can spend two weeks there and go to every single county if he wants and raise money for it.

BRAZILE: Bay, I think you're afraid that Al Gore is going to get there and set fire to the Democratic Party and turn them out in 208 days.


BUCHANAN: I'm glad to hear you're going, Donna, because I know it is the scene of the crime and maybe you and your fellow Democrats can get a little closure from all of this. I think this could be a healthy step.

BRAZILE: Well, actually, you're right in one sense. This is my first trip back since the 2000 election. And I'm looking forward to seeing my fellow Democrats.

WOODRUFF: Let's turn, very quickly, to the Middle East -- very tough mission on the part of Secretary Powell.

Donna, what is the bottom line that he has to accomplish? I mean, what must he come home with from this trip?

BRAZILE: Well, I think, first of all, this is a general. He is a man who understands how to execute a plan and a strategy. And I think, if the administration is really serious about bringing these two sides to the table, then Secretary Powell will leave that region perhaps this weekend, perhaps next week, with a game plan, a road map back to the negotiating table. And I think he is the person who can do it.

BUCHANAN: There's no question, Judy. The situation is even far worse there now than it was a week ago when he left. I don't know see how he could come back with a cease-fire. But if he could just get both sides to even start talking, and Israel to truly make a public statement that they will start to pull back, and get some of these Arab nations then to come out and criticize the bombists, the terrorists, that will help.

But what is very, very disconcerting is, here in the United States, they ask -- so many people in this country wanted to see George Bush more involved, both people in Congress and party in his people, people in the Democrats. Then, as soon as he gets involved, if he has any criticism whatsoever of Israel, then they criticize him. He can not resolve this situation at all unless he is going to be the fair broker. BRAZILE: That's because his policy has been inconsistent and incoherent.


BRAZILE: And we don't know from one day where he's at, if he's giving someone the red light, the green light, withdraw, stop.

BUCHANAN: That's not the case. You have Congress suggesting now that they pass resolutions in support of Israel, and criticizing the president of the United State, when all he's trying to do is send over Colin Powell over there and try to bring some kind of cease-fire here, some little piece, a little hope for these people. And it's not time for Congress just to say, "If he criticizes Sharon, then he's on the wrong side." There's something wrong with that.

BRAZILE: Well, the administration had a hands-off approach for so long. And the situation got out of hand.

BUCHANAN: And you can see why.


WOODRUFF: Views on both sides are so passionate. Donna Brazile, Bay Buchanan, thank you both.

BUCHANAN: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.

BRAZILE: See you in Florida.

WOODRUFF: Yes, I will see you, Donna, in Florida.

We'll tell you about it next week, Bay.

The "Inside Buzz" coming up next:" On the day Elton John found a new stage on the Hill, we'll tell you which lawmaker feels like dancing.


WOODRUFF: Pop singer Elton John tells CNN that he wanted today to appeal to the humanitarian side of the Senate and America's generosity.

Appearing before Senator Edward Kennedy's Health and Education Committee, John urged the United States to spend a lot more money to stop the spread of AIDS around the world.


ELTON JOHN, MUSICIAN: When our lives are done, won't we want it to be said that we saw millions of people suffering with disease, millions more at risk, millions more abandoned, a whole continent in danger of dying, and we refused to let it happen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WOODRUFF: It was serious business, but some lawmakers and reporters did have a little fun with their brush with a superstar.


QUESTION: Did the issue that you actually attended a Barry Manilow concert within the past week, did that issue come up today?

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: We didn't talk about Barry Manilow. But I told Sir Elton John that I was a fan of his music as well.


WOODRUFF: Gephardt was asked if he would consider a duet with Elton John.


GEPHARDT: No, but I'd be willing to dance, you know, on the stage.


GEPHARDT: Mr. Manilow has a custom of bringing women up, not men. And they sing and do a little dancing. I'd be willing to think about that.


WOODRUFF: And you can bet we'll have the cameras there if the congressman decides to try that the next time he's out on the campaign trail. Good to know.

Our "Campaign News Daily" begins with a Washington appearance by former President Clinton. He is in town to present an award to Maryland's lieutenant governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend. The Democratic Leadership Council awarded Townsend its Clinton Center Award for leadership for her work promoting the idea of national service. She is considered the heavy favorite to win this year's Democratic nomination for Maryland governor.

A new poll shows New Hampshire Congressman John Sununu has widened his lead over fellow Republican, Senator Bob Smith. Sununu leads Smith 51 percent to 33 percent among likely GOP primary voters. Congressman Sununu has gained about seven points since a poll taken in February.

President Bush is heading to the Heartland to campaign for Congressman Greg Ganske. Mr. Bush travels to Iowa Monday to raise money for Ganske in his Senate race against the incumbent Democrat, Tom Harkin. The trip is designed in part to deflect criticism that Mr. Bush has ignored this race because of Ganske's roles in battles over campaign finance reform and the patients' bill of rights. Question: Is there any reason for optimism in the Middle East? Up next: our Jeff Greenfield on Colin Powell's mission and why comments by the king of Jordan revealed rare signs of hope.


WOODRUFF: Before arriving in Israel a little more than an hour ago, Secretary of State Colin Powell met with Jordan's King Abdullah. After their meeting, the king told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that Powell's mission is what he called a make-it-or-break-it trip. The king also said he opposes suicide bombings, but some Palestinians, he said, see the bombings as a way to retaliate against Israel.


KING ABDULLAH II, JORDAN: There is desperation, there is anger. And, unfortunately, when you get to the extreme level of hatred that is now on the street, desperate people will do desperate things, unfortunately. And we have to realize that humanity has gone out of the window and we have to bring some sort of balance and fairness, I mean, at the same time atrocities are happening across the board.


WOODRUFF: More on what the king had to say now from our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, in today's "Bite of the Apple."

Jeff, any reason, do you think, for optimism, based on what King Abdullah had to say in this interview?

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Well, I guess we're at a point now, Judy, where you could be optimistic that the leader of what is probably the most moderate country in the region didn't take a much harder line.

He was, as you said, critical of the suicide bombers. He was striking notes about peace rather than some kind of "Let's all join the jihad." But when you remember that this is one of the two countries that has diplomatic relations with Israel, that fought the Palestinians 30 years ago, that is at the opposite end of the kind of Iran-Iraq and Syria approach to Israel, had he taken a much harder line, it would have been a cause of pessimism. So you can at least say, well, that canary in the coal mine didn't die. We don't have to at least worry that that moderate nation is now moving away.

I also think it would have been highly unlikely that the king would have come out of a meeting with the secretary of state of the United States and then turned on it. But this is a thing where you're grasping at straws looking for optimism. And I suppose that's part of it.

WOODRUFF: So, Jeff, optimism, but I presume you're saying there are limits to that.

GREENFIELD: Oh, yes. And the limits are the same as they've been not just the last two weeks, but, to one extent or another, for most of the last six decades, give or take a Sadat-Begin meeting or a Camp David accord. You have got most of the nations who not only don't have diplomatic relations with Israel, they nurture and finance some of the suicide bombers, not just Iran and Iraq, but Saudi Arabia as well.

You have got a Palestinian leadership that the current Israeli government regards not as a partner of peace, but as an agent of terrorism to be swept away. And I think, under those circumstances -- I keep saying this, I guess, Judy -- we're an all-news network. We are in the Middle East. We'll be covering these events, every entrance, every exit, every press conference, as we should.

But I do think that realism suggests that, unless there is some genuine sign of a breakthrough, this is more noise than it is meat.

WOODRUFF: Well, it is important that we all remain with our feet planted firmly on the ground. Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much. We'll see you later.

On Capitol Hill today, evidence that millions of tax cheaters are prospering. That story is next, as Americans count down to the tax- filing deadline day.


WOODRUFF: Well, if you are still scrambling to finish your tax forms and get square with the IRS, this is a story that is not going to make you happy.

As CNN's Brooks Jackson reports, Congress got an earful today about tax cheaters.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Should honest taxpayers feel like chumps? Maybe so. New evidence surfaced at Senate hearings Thursday that more and more Americans are getting away with tax fraud.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee set the tone:

SEN. MAX BAUCUS (D), FINANCE CHAIRMAN: We are talking about thousands and maybe even millions of people remaining right here in this country, but shifting their income to Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, or some other tax haven, and then hiding their income from the IRS.

JACKSON: Featured witnesses included two tax cheats who did not get away, including a California man who laundered his income using accounts in Austria and the Isle of Man. He was an orthopedic surgeon before going to federal prison.

DANIEL BULLOCK, CONVICTED OF TAX EVASION: I have 18 months to serve. I work as a janitor. JACKSON: The commissioner of internal revenue admitted that the IRS can focus only on the most egregious cases. That means most tax crooks get away. And their numbers are growing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing undermines the confidence in the tax system more having the impression that wealthy or unscrupulous taxpayers are allowed to getting out -- getting out of paying.

JACKSON: The IRS estimates that more than half a million Americans used offshore schemes in tax year 2000, with losses estimated at $20 billion to $40 billion. And that guess may be low. A money-laundering expert hired by the IRS estimated the losses at $70 billion a year, involving offshore accounts used largely by the wealthy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the investments that are typically the wealthiest people in society go into.

JACKSON: Most Americans have to be honest. Wage income, interest income and deductible mortgage payments are all reported to the IRS by employers and banks and matched by computers against individual returns.

But there is little check on business owners and self-employed professionals, like Dr. Bullock. He was caught only after his bookkeeper turned him in.


JACKSON: And how likely is the IRS to catch a rich tax cheat? The IRS staff has been cut so much that even persons making over $100,000 can now expect an IRS audit in person or by mail once every 127 years -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Wow, that gives them a little time to work things out.

JACKSON: Good news for tax cheats, I guess.

WOODRUFF: Depressing. Brooks Jackson, thanks very much.

Well, we have more INSIDE POLITICS just ahead, but first let's check in with Wolf Blitzer for a preview of what is ahead next -- Wolf.

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

The waiting part is over. Secretary Powell is in Israel right now. But can his search for peace be successful? I will ask a man who has been in Powell's shoes: international peace negotiator George Mitchell. And just when you thought the Catholic Church faced enough allegations, there's now a wrongful death lawsuit -- and a medical discovery for those of you who don't like to exercise. It's all coming up right at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Looking ahead to what's in the works for Friday's INSIDE POLITICS: I'll be reporting tomorrow and through the weekend from the Florida State Democratic Party Convention in Orlando, where many of the party's presidential hopefuls will be appearing.

Tomorrow, I will be interviewing Florida delegates to ask them what they think the party should be doing and saying these days. I'll also interview the two national party chairs, Republican Marc Racicot and Democrat Terry McAuliffe. Plus, our Candy Crowley will bring us up to date on the candidates considering a White House run in 2004.

CNN's coverage continues right now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Thank you for joining us. I'll see you tomorrow. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Law Faces Mounted Pressure in Boston; Feds Bracing to be Cheated Out of Millions>



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