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Fierce Fight in Pennsylvania; Bush Enforces Embargo Against Cuba; Likelihood of Another Terror Attack Gaining More Attention in Washington.

Aired May 20, 2002 - 17:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Pennsylvania where Democrats are gearing up for tomorrow's primary showdown for governor. I will hit the road with Bob Casey and Ed Rendell for the final hours of this campaign.

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kelli Arena in Washington. The FBI director says it is inevitable the U.S. will one day suffer a suicide attack. I will have the latest on intelligence efforts.

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King in Miami. President Bush serves notice the embargo on Cuba is here it stay unless Fidel Castro endorses democracy. If Congress tries to challenge him, the president says he has his veto pen ready.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in suburban Philadelphia. Location,, location. I will tell you why geography may be destiny in primary race for governor.

WOODRUFF: I'm reporting today from Pennsylvania's capital city of Harrisburg. Tomorrow Democrats across this state will choose their nominee for governor. The election will end a spirited race, featuring stark contrasts and personality and in political views. Both Ed Rendell and Bob Casey Junior are familiar to state voters here and both of them hope to become the next chief executive to serve Pennsylvania here in Harrisburg.

Before we focus on events here, we want to take you back to Washington. CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena is standing by with the latest on the word with new terror threats here in the U.S. word from FBI directors Bob Mueller.

Kelli, the FBI director did have some pretty disturbing comments about the inevitability of suicide bombings here in this country.

ARENA: That's right, Judy. This isn't the first time we heard the suggestion that a suicide bombing was possible in the United States but this is the first time that we have heard it so directly from the FBI director himself.

The quote given today at a private conference was not open to the press, as I read, "I think we will see that in the future, I think it is inevitable." This was in direct response to a question about the possibility of suicide bombings. Where does this come from? It comes from intelligence gathered since the September 11 attacks, from information and documents and computer disks that have been found in raids in Afghanistan, from interviews with people in U.S. custody, from intelligence gathering efforts, from countries that we are working with and some that we're not used to working with.

But all of the information gathered suggests that a suicide bombing could be a possible motive attack. Judy, I think it is very important to underscore that we do not have any information, intelligence does not have any information regarding a specific target, a specific date or time or persons that may be involved in such attacks, but that the general notion has been cited by several sources and so the FBI director today very publicly said so.

WOODRUFF: And Kelli, if the information is as general and nonspecific as you say it is, what then do they believe is the purpose of getting it out there?

ARENA: Well, political motivations aside, the law enforcement community really does believe that in order to successfully fight this war on terrorism, that U.S. citizens need to be as involved as investigators in this battle. This, as you know, Judy, is not a culture that is used to looking out for suspicious packages or suspicious people.

There was a heightened level of alert in the weeks immediately following the 9-11 attacks. But that has since diminished somewhat around the country. There is a mess that law enforcement needs to get out there to make people aware that they play as much a role as law enforcement in being aware and protecting themselves.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kelli Arena our justice correspondent reporting from Washington. Now

And now for word on how President Bush is reacting to these new possible terror threats, we turn to CNN's John King traveling with the president today in Florida.

John, we heard Kelli say, politics aside, but what is the thinking? Is the thinking there among people you are talking to that politics has any role to play in getting the word out on these vague unsubstantiated threats?

KING: Judy, the administration say no, some of its Democratic critics and questioners, if you will, in the Congress say they are not so sure. The administration says it is putting this information out because it is asked about it. Senior administration officials, including the vice president and Condi Rice, the national security adviser, out over the weekend, answering questions of course about what did the government know before September 11.

They say, when asked the questions they need to tell the truth. Some critics in Congress say, why didn't they say it before? Why did they wait for the controversy to bubble up? Why hasn't, for example, the homeland security office increased threat level in the United States if the chatter is so loud? Chatter being the word they used about the intelligence.

So the administration says it releases the information as it is asked about it or as it reaches some critical threshold. Some critics suggest here the administration trying to change the subject, make this about the threat of future attacks, not so much about what Congress wants to investigate, which is what did the administration and various agencies within it know before the prior attacks.

WOODRUFF: John, turning now to the reason for the president's trip to Florida, Mr. Bush, just about a half an hour ago spelled out U.S. policy toward Cuba in a speech in Little Havana. He had some pretty harsh words for Fidel Castro. Here is part of what he had to say.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One hundred years ago Cuba declared her independence and nearly 50 years ago, nearly a half century ago, Cuba's independence and the hopes for democracy were hijacked by a brutal dictator who cares everything for his own power and nada for the Cuban people.



WOODRUFF: John, what is the president hoping to accomplish with these comments?

KING: Well, Judy, No. 1, he is trying to prove that current presidents have a lot more power and influence than former presidents. This policy review has been in the works for months, but the speeches today come of course just after former president Jimmy Carter wrapped up his trip to Cuba.

Mr. Carter says the 40 year-old economic embargo is a failure. It hurts the Cuban people, does not hurt Fidel Castro. Many in Congress, even many conservatives say we have supported the embargo in the past, but we don't see that it is working. Maybe it is time to try something new. Mr. Bush serving notice today and threatening to use a veto if necessary that the embargo is in place so long as he is president.

The only exception, Mr. Bush said, would be if Mr. Castro moved toward democracy, and on that front though, Mr. Bush told Mr. Castro directly, if you want the embargo lifted, meet this list of demands.


(voice-over): Free political prisoners, allow opposition parties to organize and speak freely, hold competitive national assembly elections next year with international monitors and allow a national referendum to gauge Cuban support for speech and other civil liberties.

Mr. Bush did make overtures aimed as easing poverty and increasing contacts between Cuban-Americans and their families reducing barriers to U.S. aid groups looking to work in Cuba, allowing government money to some of those humanitarian efforts and offering to resume direct mail service between the United States and Cuba.

During the last presidential election, polling here found that only 26 percent of Cuban Americans in South Florida believed the embargo was working well. But 64 percent wanted it kept in place nonetheless, and 78 percent says a candidate's position on Cuba was important in determining their vote.


Mr. Bush says this is good policy. This is no time to relax the embargo on Mr. Castro. His critics of course say this is about politics, about the critical Cuban American vote here in South Florida, the state that decided the last election, of course, and Mr. Bush, while here in Florida tonight, will raise $2 million for his brother Jeb, who is on the ballot of course, seeking reelection this year, just like his brother, counting very much on the Cuban-American vote -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: John King, traveling with the president. As John suggested when it comes to poll success, the president's visit to Florida goes beyond the need to restate U.S. policy towards Cuba, to include more immediate political concerns. CNN's senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, joins us now with more on that. He is in Boston. Hello, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Judy. You know, am I'm my brothers keeper, the Bush brothers might ask. The answer is yes for both Governor Jeb and President George. Like true brothers they share the same basic need. Not love, Florida.


(voice-over): Jeb needs Florida in 2002. George needs Florida in 2004. Out of that mutual need, a beautiful relationship is born.

G. W. BUSH: There is no doubt in my mind that he is not only one of the great governors of Florida's history, he is one of the great governors of our nation and he deserves a second term.

SCHNEIDER: Both brothers face a single imperative -- keep Florida happy.

JEB BUSH (R), GOVERNOR, FLORIDA: Thank you very much for your enthusiastic welcome to my bro. I love it when my brother comes to the state of Florida.

SCHNEIDER: The president has come many times bearing political gifts like $219 million to reclaim and protect the Everglades. The Bush Administration favored oil drilling in Alaska. But in Florida, the administration scaled back plans to allow drilling off the coast.

The Bush Administration agreed to let snow mobiles continue using Yellowstone National Park. But in Florida, it wants to ban off-road vehicles from the Big Cyprus National Preserve.

G.W. BUSH: I know deeply ingrained in Jeb's heart is a desire to protect the natural beauty of the state of Florida.

SCHNEIDER: When President Bush deals with issues of special interest to Hispanics, he has his eye on Florida -- like ending the U.S. Navy's bombing Viequez, in Puerto Rico. Like making it easier for Mexican immigrants to gain legal status, like toughening the U.S. embargo on trade with Cuba. There is more going on here than brotherly love -- there's politics -- naked politics.

G.W. BUSH: In fact, here is a picture of the governor of Florida.

SCHNEIDER: Here is some more naked politics: If Florida is unhappy, Jeb is a one-term governor and George is a one-term president.

G.W. BUSH: I told Jeb I will do anything he wants me to do to get him elected.

SCHNEIDER: Before September 11, both Bush brothers were in political trouble. Now, President Bush's soaring popularity is bailing out brother Jeb. If Jeb is reelected in Florida, two years from now, he will be in a position to return the favor -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider. I guess only a sibling can show those kinds of pictures. Thanks.

Back to the reason I'm here in Pennsylvania and that is tomorrow's Democratic primary for governor ending what has been a spirited slug-fest between two Democratic heavyweights. Ed Rendell, the former big city mayor with a hint of celebrity and Bob Casey Junior, the earnest inheritor of a family steeped in public service. Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley takes a closer look.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Bob Casey Junior is auditor general of Pennsylvania.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, my mother said to me, you know that guy has an honest face.


CROWLEY: Unassuming, almost shy, Casey has the personality and manner of, well, of an auditor general.

CASEY: I'm the only candidate who, as governor of Pennsylvania, will fight for increase in the state minimum wage.

CROWLEY: A pro-gun anti-abortion Democrat with a popular streak, Casey runs well in the vast expanse between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, in the small fertile steel and coal towns of yester-year.

CASEY: I think this was the first poster in this campaign.

CROWLEY: Casey is not just a name in Pennsylvania politics, it's an adjective -- Casey democrats became a part of political punditry by twice electing Bob Casey Sr. governor of Pennsylvania in the late '80s and early '90s. Bob Casey Jr...

CASEY: We have to change some of these signs here.

CROWLEY: ... looks to the same neighborhoods for his own victory. Casey democrats are social conservatives, largely working class voters with a liberal economic strain and a huge distrust for the big city.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bob Casey lives among us. But the other candidate lives 315 miles away.

CROWLEY: 350 miles away, Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philadelphia is working his city.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When he was mayor of this city, we were alive. It was exciting in Philadelphia. I think he was our best cheerleader.

CROWLEY: Brash and high energy, Rendell has the personality and manner of, well, a big city mayor.

ED RENDELL (D), PENNSYLVANIA GOV. CANDIDATE: In shopping centers I deluged. I have to sign autographs. I think I'm a rock star. All that love doesn't mean anything unless it is translated into votes, right?

CROWLEY: A new Democrat, Rendell battles regional bias and history. No Philly mayor has been elected governor since 1914. But he doesn't hide his Philly roots, he works them.

RENDELL: Philadelphia has to show we have voting strength. You will see two candidates and only one of them is going to have the word Philadelphia under his name. Only one. So you decide.

CROWLEY: After a competitive often nasty, really really expensive Democratic primary, Tuesday's results turn not so much on abortion, gun control or even education and prescription drugs.

(on camera): How badly do you need a significant turn out in this area?

RENDELL: I can't live without it. Of course if the next question is what is significant is, that's a comparative term. It depends on the turn out in the rest of the state.

CROWLEY: What's the difference between winning and losing?

CASEY: I think it depends upon the turnout I guess.

CROWLEY (voice-over): And it is not just how many voters turn out, but where they turn out to vote. (on camera): After two terms of Republican governor, the odds of history are in favor of whoever wins this Democratic primary. For nearly half a century, each party has succeed the other into the governor's office every eight years.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.


WOODRUFF: Whoever emerges from this Democratic contest will face a rested and ready Republican opponent. Pennsylvania attorney general Mike Fisher is unopposed in his bid for the Republican nomination. We will have more from Pennsylvania when INSIDE POLITICS return. As the final hours approach I will go on the road with both Ed Rendell and Bob Casey as they work to energize their base and the turn out the undecided.

And later...


KATHY SLOBOGIN (voice-over): The William Penn School District is supported by five small towns. Towns where the property tax base is evaporating.


WOODRUFF: CNN's Kathy Slobogin on Pennsylvania property taxes and the diminishing returns in education funding.


WOODRUFF: The focus of our "On The Record" segment today is the hotly contested race for the Democratic nomination for governor here in Pennsylvania. Earlier I was able to spend some time on the campaign trail with both Ed Rendell and Bob Casey. I began with Rendell, the former Philadelphia mayor and asked him about the bitter turn this campaign has taken. Rendell says that his opponent, Bob Casey would not agree to sign a pledge forswearing negative campaign ads. I asked him if he was saying that Casey is the main reason the campaign has been so negative.


RENDELL: It is clearly his fault. He started an incredible barrage of negative campaign.


ANNOUNCER: Under Rendell, Philadelphia school children scored in the bottom 1 percent of the state; 50 percent failed basic math and reading. Rendell left his schools with a billion dollars in debt.


RENDELL: I now have been the target of higher percentage of crosswise of negative campaigns of any elected official in Pennsylvania history.

WOODRUFF: You are doing negative...

RENDELL: We are responding. We are doing response. And I said the day he rejected the no-negative pledge, I said, look, you are not looking at Mike Dukakis. If we are attacked we will strike back and we struck back and struck back hard.


ANNOUNCER: On education, Bob Casey, no solutions, no experience, a negative campaign.


WOODRUFF: But here you are in a state where you had a Republican governor for so many years. This is an opportunity to elect a Democrat. And you have the two Democrats fighting each other tooth and nail.

RENDELL: I said back last year, I said look, we ought to get together. I'm 57, he's 41. I said, I will make a deal. If they can make me 41, I will run for lieutenant governor and he can be governor. But the deal didn't happen. And there is really not much of a party structure here to make such a deal like that happen.

And I -- it is interesting, when Bob Casey ran in '96 for auditor general, first time, he wasn't endorsed by the party. I endorsed him. I stood by him and I campaigned for him and gave him money and I like him a lot. But this has been just unbelievable. There is an ad out that calls me a liar and which is as over the top as anything I have seen in politics.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about education. As you know, Bob Casey is saying students in Philadelphia ranked in the lowest 1 percent and so on and so on. How do you defend your education record and your education bill?

RENDELL: Sure. Let's first talk about the record. There is no big city school district in the country, Judy, as you know, that performs well. Zero out of the 20 biggest urban school districts, they are all poor performers. There are a lot of reasons for that. Let's take a look at what happened in the eight years I was mayor and controlled the board of education.

Then I became mayor one-half of children went to one-half day kindergarten, the other half went to no kindergarten. Under my eight years as mayor, for the first time in this cities history all kids go to kindergarten, full-day kindergarten.

Second, when I became mayor, the ratio of computer to kids was 30 kids per computer. We cut that to nine kids to computer. We were the first school system in the state to impose strict standards and accountability. Best of all, our kids test scores went up five straight years in a row. WOODRUFF: Let me quickly move on to guns. As you know, the National Rifle Association is paying for ads across the state saying you don't respect the rights of gun owners, that if you were elected you would move to take away some of those rights. Are you concerned not only that what they are saying, but about their ability to organize. This is a highly organized and motivated group.

RENDELL: They got into this very late in the game with six days to go. So I think the impact will be minimal, but you know, it is the usual false assessment of a position of a candidate. There is nothing that I would do that would impact adversely on hunters or law abiding gun owners -- absolutely nothing. I am not for licensing, I am not for registration.

Only the good people would license and register. I have joined with the NRA on tougher law enforcement initiatives. The thing that they don't like is I am for one-gun-a-month legislation which as you know, Judy, has past Virginia and South Carolina -- not exactly liberal states.

One gun a month says that you, the lawful law abiding gun owner can buy one handgun a month. That's 12 a year. That doesn't seem to me to be a big infringement on your rights. But what it does so is it stops the mass purchasing.

Every day in Philadelphia, every other day in Pittsburgh, every week in Johnstown, or Altuna, or Erie someone goes into a gun store and buys 20 9-millimeter semiautomatic Baretta pistols. The gun owner knows, the police know, the ATF knows that person will sell them on the streets to felons and juveniles who can't legally buy guns. What is wrong with trying to stop that gun trafficking?

Fifty percent of the traceable gun crimes in this state come from mass purchases. Come from multiple purchases.

WOODRUFF: All right, Ed Rendell, thank you for talking with us.

RENDELL: Thank you.



WOODRUFF: Bob Casey, thank you very much for talking with us.

CASEY: Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Are you enjoying this?

CASEY: Oh, yes. This is the most fun, in a campaign, the end, because you are seeing people one on one and you are traveling across the state and not raising money.

WOODRUFF: It is fun now, but clearly this has been for the last few weeks, months, a pretty personal, even bitter campaign it has been described as. Why has it gotten that way? CASEY: It's been a tough campaign, but I think campaigns for governor this state are always tough. What you are saying to the people of Pennsylvania, is you want them to entrust you with enormous power. The ability to have an effect of tens of billions of dollars. I think people expect and are entitled to a really vigorous debate.

He went on television across the state and talked about his education record in Philadelphia and left out some facts, that the school district was a billion dollars in debt after he left. That as the leader of that school district as mayor, the test scores are in the bottom one percent and that it was a failing record.

WOODRUFF: Any concern that the tough, tough nature of this primary could hurt whoever the winner is, the survivor, in November?

CASEY: Not really. I think that in this state we have always had tough primaries. Especially in our party. We tend to do more of that. The other party picks their candidate in a back room. And it has been my experience that even after tough primaries, the Democratic Party always comes together.

I think the big loser on Tuesday will be the Republican Party. Because they are really worried because they know, especially if I win, they know they will have a tough time beating me. I have beaten them a couple times before. This entire administration is fearful of that.

WOODRUFF: Mr. Rendell says NRA in running these ads about him is saying things that are not true. That he is going to slap all sorts of new gun restrictions on people. That's not his intention. Is that really big issue in this campaign?

CASEY: I think it is one of many issues. I do think that there is a clear difference. He is for gun control and I'm not. We are for the enforcement of the current laws. This state, long before a lot of other states, closed the gun show loop-hole. We have laws on the books to keep guns out the hands of children. Those are the laws that should be enforced.

WOODRUFF: And abortion? He says he has been going after Republican women, even in the suburbs of Philadelphia, arguing that his view on choice is going to be the one that will prevail now and in November.

CASEY: I think that is another issue where there a clear difference. I do think that when you look at the votes he is trying to garner, he is reaching across the aisle in a primary. We are trying to get Democratic votes. And I think that people across this state understand the basic differences on those issues.

But they also understand that and those two issues are clear and they were evident from the beginning. But since the beginning of the race, now there a fundamental difference in the minimum wage. I had a fight for the state level. He wants to go to Washington. There is a clear difference on health care. He hasn't made it a priority. There is a fundamental difference on prescription drug coverage. We had most comprehensive and detailed plan to expand it to hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians and he criticized the plan and then he embraced it. So we are happy for the company, but I think the priorities of the next administration for working families an health care and education will be fundamentally clear to the people of the state when they vote tomorrow.

WOODRUFF: Last question, campaign style. The observation is made that Mr. Rendell is more outspoken. That you, Bob Casey, are more quiet, even more cautious. Is that a disadvantage, do you think?

CASEY: I don't know. I think people in this state vote for people based upon a lot of considerations. And style may be one of them. I do think they know we are facing already a billion dollar deficit and a billion dollar deficit next year or maybe greater. I think they want straight talk. They don't want fast talk and glib answers. They want you to be able to pay for every proposal you talk about and they want you to earn their trust.

And on of the ways you earn their trust is by being straight with them in a campaign and making sure that you can pay for everything that you promise.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.

CASEY: Thanks, Judy. Thank you for you time.


WOODRUFF: Well, one key factor in tomorrows here and the primary election here in Pennsylvania could be the weather. And the outlook does not look very sunny. The forecast calls for scattered showers, with a high around 60.

Just ahead: Otto Reich, a Cuban-American who is an assistant secretary of state, will speak out about his homeland and President Bush's tough talk about Cuba.


WOODRUFF: Checking our INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle": The likelihood of another terror attack is gaining more attention in Washington. The FBI says one possible new target could be apartment buildings. Also today, FBI Director Robert Mueller says he believes it is only a matter of time before suicide bombers strike on American soil.

The body of an American soldier killed over the weekend in Afghanistan is on its way home from Ramstein Air Base in Germany. Sergeant Gene Vance was ambushed by enemy forces.

President Bush is talking tough on Cuba as he visits Miami. He is vowing not to ease trade and travel restrictions on Cuba until political and economic reforms are in place.

Well, we turn now to our senior White House correspondent, John King, who is in Miami with President Bush to talk about the president's tough talk. With him is Otto Reich. He is a Cuban- American who is the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs -- John.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Judy, Secretary Reich a somewhat controversial figure in politics back in Washington, a key architect of the new policy the president outlined today.

And, sir, let me ask start by asking you this. President Bush made a long list of demands today: If Castro wants the embargo lifted, free prisoners. Have free elections. Allow monitors to come and essentially make Cuba a democracy.

Is there any expectation in this administration that Fidel Castro is prepared to do that?

OTTO REICH, ASST. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, we don't see why not, because Cuba right now is the only country in the hemisphere that is a not a democracy. So, although the list of demands may have been long, it was not unreasonable.

KING: Now, Mr. Bush, also in his speech, served notice. Obviously, President Carter was just there. There is a working group in Congress that includes many conservative Republicans who have supported the embargo in the past, but who think: "You know, it has been 40 years. It hasn't worked. Castro is still there."

The president said today: "I will use my veto if necessary." Is that a position of strength, presidential power, or is it a reflection of the fact that he realizes he may no longer have the majority support on this issue in Congress?

REICH: No, I think the president was simply trying to express the conviction that he has that the United States should not be the first to lift this negotiating instrument that we have, that it should be Castro that, after 43 years, should finally allow the people of Cuba a say in their system of government.

KING: Now, the president said no diplomatic recognition, no normal relations until you have a new government. I assume that means until you have no more Castro. But he did say these things take time and the United States would recognize that and perhaps reciprocate. What can Mr. Castro do in terms of interim steps that would get him economic aid, the travel ban lifted, things like that? What can he hope for in the short term?

REICH: Well, for one thing, for example, he could allow Cuban journalists to do exactly what you are doing here or what CNN does in Havana. Why are American journalism organizations allowed to ask questions in Havana, but Cuban citizens are not allowed to ask questions? That's the first thing. A free press is the basis of any democracy. That is the first thing Castro ought to allow. Instead of jailing journalists, they should allow them to do exactly what you're doing. KING: Two more quick questions. You came here 20 years ago with Ronald Reagan when he was the president and you served in his administration. President Reagan gave a very similar speech. Fidel Castro is still there. How do you answer the critics who say this policy has not worked?

REICH: Well, at that time, the Soviet Union was propping Castro up to the tune of $5 billion a year. And there's no question that that is what helped Castro last for 30 years. But since the end of the Soviet Union, Castro has been desperately looking for hard currency. And he is looking to the U.S. market to prop him up.

And what the president said today is that there is not going to be any entry into the U.S. market, no American tourists spending dollars until Cuba is a democracy.

KING: And, sir, lastly, this is INSIDE POLITICS. I want to ask you a question about yourself.

You got this job in a recess appointment because the Democrats in the Senate would not consider your nomination. They believed you were out of touch, if you will, in their view. Has the president committed to you that he will reappoint when the Congress goes home at the end of this year, or could this be your final few months in your job?

REICH: The president has reappointed me and it's one senator who is holding me up.

KING: One senator.

REICH: One senator.

KING: So, you will be here for the whole first term?

REICH: I'll be here as long as president wants me to be here.

KING: All right, Judy, back to you -- Otto Reich, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs and a key architect of the policy President Bush outlined here in Miami today.

WOODRUFF: All right, thank you, John. And thank you, Secretary Reich.

The "Inside Buzz" from Bob Novak is next. Robert Reich is having to work hard for his money in the Massachusetts governor's race. What is the connection to Bill Clinton?


WOODRUFF: Here now with the "Inside Buzz": CNN's Bob Novak of "CROSSFIRE."

Bob, first of all, what are you hearing? What's the buzz on this Pennsylvania Democratic primary for governor?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what I hear, Judy, is there are some private polls that show the margin is much, much closer than the big lead that the private polls show for Ed Rendell. And these same polls show about a 12 percent undecided vote. That is fairly substantial. And if the race is close, if Rendell's lead is relatively small, that means that it is up for grabs.

The interesting thing about the race, of course, is that Rendell loses every place in the state to Casey, but he just kills him in Philadelphia. The Republicans, to bring that in, they really rooting for Rendell, because they don't believe they can beat a pro-gun, pro- life Democrat. The question is: Can a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat win the primary?

WOODRUFF: All right, now, what is this about the Massachusetts governor's race and a role being played by Bill Clinton?

NOVAK: Massachusetts sources tell me that Governor Clinton has cut off the California funding for Robert Reich, the former secretary of labor, who was in some polls the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.

He, President Clinton, split with Reich. Reich was very critical of him during the impeachment fight and later. And he has cut off his money. And the president has endorsed former Democratic National Chairman Steve Grossman. Grossman is not going to win it. If Reich does not have the funds, Shannon O'Brien, the state treasurer, may be the Democratic nominee. The polls show that Reich would be the strongest of the Democratic candidates against Republican Mitt Romney, but not by much.

WOODRUFF: All right, now down to the Florida governor's race: What's this about Janet Reno having opposition both from Democrats and Republicans?

NOVAK: Organized labor, I am told by sources down there, feel that Janet Reno as the nominee -- and she is way ahead in the Democratic primary -- would be a disaster against Republican Governor Jeb Bush and maybe bring a lot of other people down to defeat. And so they are quietly putting their support behind Bill -- not so quietly, actually -- putting their support behind Bill McBride, who is the lawyer for a big Florida law firm.

McBride has been rising in the polls. He is still far behind Reno. But the labor, I am told, has not put their money where their mouth is. And without a lot more funding, McBride won't win. I can tell you right now that the Republicans are praying for Janet Reno to hold on, because they think that she would be the easiest candidate and would bring in the whole ticket of Florida statewide constitutional offices besides the governor for the Republicans.

WOODRUFF: All right, they are putting that word out.

Bob Novak with "Inside Buzz" -- thank you, Bob.

NOVAK: You're welcome.

WOODRUFF: And now let's check the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Al Gore is raising more cash for his political action committee. About 20 people are expected to attend a small fund-raiser Wednesday at a private home in Maryland. Now, Gore has used the PAC to help a number of Democratic candidates around the country, including California Governor Gray Davis.

A new poll shows Alabama Governor Don Siegelman trailing his potential Republican challenger. GOP Congressman Bob Riley leads Siegelman 42 percent to 35 percent in a hypothetical head-to-head match-up. The same poll shows Riley with a 20-point lead in the Republican primary.

Oregon voters are taking their time turning in their ballots for tomorrow's primary. All the ballots are due by tomorrow night. As of Thursday, only 19 percent of registered voters had returned their ballots. That is the lowest return rate since Oregon began vote-by- mail in 1996.

Well, nationally speaking, the state of Pennsylvania has lost political clout in recent years, but its key role in American history is undisputable. When we return, our Jeff Greenfield will tell us more about Pennsylvania politics now and then in his "Bite of the Apple."


WOODRUFF: Since Colonial days, Pennsylvania has played a key role on the American political stage.

In his "Bite of the Apple" today, our Jeff Greenfield takes a closer look at the state's long and colorful political past.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): Pennsylvania is where America was born. A Continental Congress hammered out the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776. And a little more than a decade later, the first generation of Americans returned to draft a Constitution.

Philadelphia was even supposed to be the capital of the United States. It was for about a decade until an old-fashioned political deal put the capital 100 miles or so south. But Pennsylvania did become a different kind of capital a century or so ago: America's energy and industrial capital. Anthracite coal from the Northeast heated American homes and powered steam locomotives. Bituminous coal from the West powered the steel mills of Pittsburgh. And that steel was the skeletal structure of America's great cities.

Today, many of the coal mines are shuttered. So are many of the steel mills. And with the loss of industrial clout, Pennsylvania has also lost much of its political clout. It delivered 36 electoral votes to FDR back in 1940. By 2004, it will have only 21. It will, in fact have less power in Washington than at any time since 1811.

Politically, Pennsylvania is complicated. In every close presidential race of the last 40 years, it has gone Democratic, for JFK, for Humphrey, for Carter, for Gore.


AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to win Pennsylvania!


GREENFIELD: But in the last 40 years, it has voted only once for a Democratic senator. The parties swap the statehouse with clock-like regularity every eight years.

In one respect, Pennsylvania looks like a lot of other states. The big city, Philadelphia, often battles the rest of the state. Cities, suburbs and rural communities fight with each other as well. But, while the state has moderate and liberal Republicans -- Senator Arlen Specter, for example -- it also has a strong strain of socially conservative Democrats.

The last Democratic governor, Bob Casey, was very liberal on economic matters, but was a strong abortion opponent.


GOV. BOB CASEY (D), PENNSYLVANIA: The issue which determines who lives and who dies.


GREENFIELD: So much so that he was barred from speaking at the 1992 Democratic Convention.

(on camera): This unusual political history means each candidate for governor of Pennsylvania faces a challenge. The unopposed Republican candidate, Mike Fisher, has to battle that historical eight-years-and-out history. Robert Casey Jr., an abortion foe like his father, might face resistance from the more liberal Democrats. And Ed Rendell, former mayor of Philadelphia, would face the fact that no big-city mayor in Pennsylvania has gone on to higher office in more than 40 years.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.



WOODRUFF: The cost of educating Pennsylvania's children is a live political issue across this state. In the last decade, the price tag for education has jumped dramatically. And you won't be surprised to know the issue has now reached a boiling point with state taxpayers.

CNN's Kathy Slobogin has more.


KATHY SLOBOGIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jeff Coleman says he is campaigning door-to-door in Armstrong County on a single issue: property taxes.

JEFF COLEMAN, PENNSYLVANIA ASSEMBLYMAN: This is an issue that my constituents repeatedly have asked me to go to Harrisburg to solve. They are all demanding the same thing: "We want property tax reform. We want it now."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are stealing money from landowners' infrastructure. My house I bought for $100,000.


SLOBOGIN: Across the state, in William Penn School District outside Philadelphia, homeowners are also angry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe we will have to do without programs. Maybe we will have to fire teachers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This school district is bankrupt.

SLOBOGIN: The school board here is considering a 27 percent property tax increase to pay for the budget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The difference between you and me is that, eventually, I can keep using credit cards to pay my bills and pay my bills and pay my bills. But, at some point, the credit cards are going to say no. You have the advantage of continuing to go to taxpayers again and again and again. We don't get to say no.

SLOBOGIN: The cost of educating children in Pennsylvania has gone up 44 percent in the last decade. While most states pick up about half of local school costs, Pennsylvania's state share has declined in the last decade to only 36 percent. That means local property owners shoulder the rest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to educate kids fully or do you want to keep your home? That's what it comes down to in the state of Pennsylvania.

SLOBOGIN: The William Penn School District is supported by five small towns, towns where the property tax base is evaporating. Local businesses have disappeared. Charles Sanders was once the mayor of his town. He has lived in his house for 53 years. Now retired, he has to take out a loan to pay his property taxes.

CHARLES SANDERS, FORMER MAYOR: People are doing away with things, OK? It gets to things of necessity like prescription drugs, food, clothing. Things they will do without, they will cut down. It affects people directly.

SLOBOGIN (on camera): Just to pay their property taxes?

SANDERS: Yes. That's how bad the tax is.

SLOBOGIN (voice-over): Sanders says the school property tax is devastating the community.

SANDERS: I know people personally that are existing just on a Social Security income and eventually are going to lose their homes.

SLOBOGIN: Many residents are choosing to sell their houses rather than stay and pay. Critics say the entire system of relying on property taxes simply perpetuates inequities.

(on camera): Just a few miles away in this affluent neighborhood, the school district has nearly twice as much to spend on students as in William Penn. Yet property owners here have one of the lightest tax burdens in the area. William Penn has one of the heaviest.

(voice-over): Compounding the problem is a taxpayer loss of faith in the public schools. Despite their hefty school tax bill, Tony and Joyce Giunta pay to send their daughters to private school.

TONY GIUNTA, FATHER OF PRIVATE SCHOOL CHILDREN: You send all this money somewhere and you have no guarantee that it is being used, essentially, the way it's supposed to be used. I mean, there's no guarantee that you are going to get quality of product.

SLOBOGIN: The Giuntas have decided to move to where the schools are better and the taxes lower. For the families who stay here, the rising cost of educating their children and the declining tax base are on a collision course.

Kathy Slobogin, CNN, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.


WOODRUFF: And there's more INSIDE POLITICS straight ahead, but first let's find out what is at the top of the hour with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS."

Wolf is in Washington -- hi there.


We all know that suicide bombers have become a deadly fact of life in Israel, whether in coffee shops or malls, but could those kinds of suicide bombers be heading our way? I will ask the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Porter Goss. And in a subject close to my heart, I'll speak with Frank Rich of "The New York Times" about the future of network news programs and their longtime anchors.

It's all coming up right at the top of the hour right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: INSIDE POLITICS will watch the Pennsylvania vote tomorrow. We'll have results on Wednesday.

CNN's coverage continues now with "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." From Harrisburg, thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Against Cuba; Likelihood of Another Terror Attack Gaining More Attention in Washington.>



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