CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Moussaoui Swears Loyalty to bin Laden, Attempts Guilty Plea; Republican Congressman Speaks Out Against Operation TIPS; Traficant Shocks and Entertains
Aired July 18, 2002 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Shocking admissions in court by the man allegedly slated to be the 20th September 11 hijacker.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Deborah Feyerick in Alexandria, Virginia. Zacarias Moussaoui tried to plead guilty, but a judge said not this week, anyhow -- Judy.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Mattingly in Stanton, California where police are said to have promising leads as they hunt for the killer of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion.
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm John King at the White House with a look at Dick Cheney's tenure as a corporate CEO, subject of growing political and legal scrutiny.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. Well, everyone in the courtroom seemed to be caught off guard when accused 9/11 conspirator, Zacarias Moussaoui, tried to enter a guilty plea today and the hearing continued to take a strange turn when Moussaoui went on to pledge his loyalty to Osama bin Laden. CNN's Deborah Feyerick was in the courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia -- Deborah.
FEYERICK: Judy, Moussaoui was the only one who apparently knew what he was about to do. Three small words, I am guilty, he told the court, then ignoring the judge who tried desperately to try to cut him off. He said, "I am a member of al Qaeda. I have pledged bayat -- the loyalty oath -- to Osama bin Laden. He admitted being part of the conspiracy since 1995 and said of September 11, "I know who did it, which group and how it was decided."
However, he has always maintained that he didn't play a direct role in the attacks themselves. Now the judge finally was able to cut him off and at that point, Moussaoui raised his hands in the air as if he was surrendering. He kept them there for a good 30 seconds. The judge warned him that anything he said could be used against him and she said, Mr. Moussaoui, if you're going to plead guilty, you cannot pick and choose.
You will have to plead guilty, you're not going to be able to pick and choose. You will have to plead guilty to everything that the government has alleged against you and that includes terrorism, conspiracy, as well as conspiracy to murder U.S. nationals.
Now after she said, I'm giving you a week to think about this, Judge Leonie Brinkema stood and basically adjourned the court for the day. Moussaoui, still in the midst of speaking, being led away by U.S. marshals.
It was clear that Moussaoui was confused at times because after pleading guilty he said that he wanted then to get the trial over with as soon as possible so that it would give him a chance to explain. Prosecutors did say in the court that they would accept that guilty plea, but right now it is not clear if there will be any sort of a deal whatsoever because Moussaoui has completely refused to talk it his lawyers -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Deborah Feyerick reporting from the courthouse in Alexandria. Thank you.
And we have this breaking story. CNN has confirmed that AOL Time Warner Chief Operating Officer Robert Pittman will be resigning from the company. That word coming today from a board meeting being held in Dulles, Virginia this afternoon. CNN's Greg Clarkin is there on the seen and he is reporting that the word has come out that Mr. Pittman will resign after what is being called a transition period during which a replacement will be found. We are working on getting more details on this developing story and we'll bring them to you about this as soon as we have it. Of course AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.
Well, back to that surprising news from the courtroom in Alexandria. We're going to turn to Dahlia Lithwick. She's a senior editor and legal correspondent for the online magazine "Slate."
Dahlia, my first question is, was it really all that surprising that Moussaoui's pleading guilty? I mean, after all, a month ago, he tried to plead no contest.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, "SLATE" MAGAZINE: Well, it's surprising in that he didn't understand the significance of a no contest plea and he doesn't understand the significance of a guilty plea. In other words, it's surprising only in that it further shows us how completely unaware he is of the nuance of the legal system.
WOODRUFF: But he is trying to say I'm guilty? Do we know that he understands the meaning of the word guilty?
LITHWICK: I think he's in a real bind. I think he doesn't want to plead not guilty because he knows things and he doesn't want to say that things that are alleged against him are not true. He thinks it'll undermine his credibility with the jurors. And so in his sense of logic, this makes perfect sense to therefore plead guilty. He thinks he is going to explain it at the penalty phase.
WOODRUFF: Why isn't the judge just going ahead and accepting this?
LITHWICK: Well, because pleading guilty means he is guilty of every single thing alleged against him. Again, he thinks he can pick and choose. He thinks he's going to be able to explain at some point, well I know some stuff and I knew some guys and yes I had knives.
WOODRUFF: How is it known that that's what he's thinking? Is this coming from the lawyers that worked with him or from what he said in court or what?
LITHWICK: Well, this is something that the judge said today that made really good sense. She said based on your pleadings, I think the reason you don't want to plead not guilty is you are afraid there's some truth in these allegations. That doesn't matter. Plead not guilty. And he is so determined to take control of this trial, his response is, if the judge wants it, it is bad for him. He pled guilty.
WOODRUFF: All right, Dahlia Lithwick with "Slate" magazine, thanks very much. We appreciate it.
And now quickly back to that story we just told you. That is CNN has learned that Robert Pittman, the chief operating officer of AOL Time Warner, CNN's parent company, is going to be resigning. For the very latest from AOL Time Warner headquarters out in Dulles, Virginia, let's go to CNN's Greg Clarkin. Greg?
GREG CLARKIN, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi Judy. As widely expected, the news is that Robert Pittman will indeed be leaving America Online Time Warner. In addition to his COO duties at the company, he is also in charge of the America Online unit specifically.
So what will take place will be a transition unit where the company searches for a new leader for the America Online unit specifically and once that leader is in place, Mr. Pittman will be leaving the company. So a transition period first and then the departure of Robert Pittman. Now equally as important today was the new operating structure for the company.
AOL Time Warner has elevated two long time executives into more prominent positions. One of those is Don Logan. He will now oversee what has become known as the Media and Communications Group. That will include everything from America Online to Time Warner publishing to Time Warner - Time, Inc. rather, the publishing unit and Time Warner Cable.
Now, Jeffrey Bewkes. He presently oversees Home Box Office. He will now be chairman of the Entertainment and Network group overseeing HBO, New Line movie studio, Warner Brothers and Warner Music Group. So again, Mr. Pittman to leave the company and a new operating structure in place. And Judy, this is all basically to help give more of a definition to the company. A lot of investors have said that it's just too hard to figure out and they're looking to basically clear up some of the management questions. Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Greg, just quickly, that meeting still going on or has it wrapped up?
CLARKIN: From what we understand it is just wrapping up as a matter of fact. The company just making this announcement moments ago.
WOODRUFF: All right. Greg Clarkin with that news coming to all of us from Dulles, Virginia, the headquarters of AOL Time Warner. Thanks very much.
The head of the new federal agency charged with overseeing security at the nation's airports has resigned. White House press secretary Ari Fleischer says John Magaw is leaving for health reasons. But government sources tell CNN that Magaw was forced out as head of the Transportation Security Administration because of problems between airport operators and Capitol Hill.
There's been growing dissatisfaction with the way Magaw ran the agency as the TSA scrambles to meet a year-end deadline to screen all bags at airports. Magaw's deputy, James Loy, will be taking over the top job.
And to Capitol Hill now where there is movement towards creating a new homeland security department. It may tick off a few political figures. Let's get an update from our congressional correspondent, Jonathan Karl. Jonathan, what's going on?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, Majority Leader, House Majority Leader Dick Armey is the person that the House Republicans put in charge of putting the president's plan into legislative language, into a bill. He has come up with his proposal. Here are the highlights. They track very much along the lines of what the president wanted. For one, the Coast Guard and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, will both be part of this new department of homeland security.
That is despite the wishes of powerful Republican committee chairman who oppose those two moves. Also the Immigration and Naturalization Service, its law enforcement function, will go into this new Homeland Security Department under Armey's proposal, but not the service function. That will stay at the Justice Department.
Armey's proposal also interestingly includes some provisions on privacy. First it bans national ID cards, even though that was not part of the president's proposal, but Armey says he never wants to see a national ID card so he's putting it in as a precaution. And secondly, this thing prohibits, his proposal prohibits Operation TIPS, which is one of the president's proposals. It's a program that would essentially encourage citizens to become informants if they see any suspicious activity. Asked why he included that prohibition in this bill, this is what Armey said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RICHARD ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: I just don't think it fits our concept of our liberties in America. I don't think there's a threat that justifies a program of this nature. More importantly, there are better ways, I think, to productively involve a local community and people within that community in the whole question of homeland security.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: This proposal is already making some powerful Republican committee chairman unhappy. John Mica, the chairman of a powerful transportation subcommittee told CNN a little while ago that right now he would vote against Armey's proposal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN MICA (R), FLORIDA: Every year I serve I come away with a little bit more skepticism. So a big national security agency, domestic security agency, gives me great concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Armey's special committee will consider this bill tomorrow, vote in committee, and then next week Judy, the full House will debate and vote on this proposal. And you can bet it'll be a very contentious debate. Judy.
WOODRUFF: No doubt about it. John Karl reporting from the Capitol.
We turn to California now where investigators are checking out potential suspects in the kidnapping and killing of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion. But they went before reporters about an hour ago to stress that they have not made an arrest. CNN's David Mattingly is covering that case -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY: Judy, authorities today cautioning the news media not to jump to any conclusions as they report on this investigation. This happening after a report came out today that a man has been arrested in connection with this case. Turns out according to our sources, what had happened was that a man was arrested in Fresno, California.
That's about two-and-a-half to three hours from here on a traffic violation. He had some resemblance to the description of the killer and for that reason he was somehow connected to his case, but police are saying there was no arrest in connection with this case.
In fact they're saying that they're trying to lower expectations that an arrest is imminent in this investigation. What we saw today, they reminding us that they have hundreds of leads they're trying to track down as they continue in this investigation to cast an ever- widening net.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE JARAMILLO, ASSISTANT SHERIFF, ORANGE CO.: This will go as far as it needs to go. It may be at dozens now. It may grow to hundreds. The focus may be in southern California now. It may go statewide and then nationally and internationally. We want to make sure the public understands that this is a broad net and a very effective net that has been cast and we remain as the sheriff said yesterday, very confident that arrest will be made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTINGLY: And that confidence coming from the fact there is an abundance of evidence that has been collected, both from the site of the abduction and at the site where Samantha's body was found a day later.
Now what happened to this little girl is every parents' nightmare. She was snatched by a stranger while playing in front of her home. Her body found the next day. She had been sexually assaulted and murdered. This next picture, now the most reviled face in southern California.
The suspect described as Latino, age 25 to 40 years, slicked back hair, thin mustache, driving a green car with chrome wheels and in the past couple of days Judy, the police have been very aggressive in enlisting the help of the public. A reward last report was up to about a quarter of a million dollars. We're told more money is pouring in as more leads continue to pour in. Police now, literally hundreds of leads they need to check out. Back to you.
WOODRUFF: All right, David Mattingly, what an awful case. Thank you very much. With us now, former FBI agent Keith Warburton who also spent 14 years as prosecutor in New Jersey and Representative Nicholas Lampson. He is chairman of the congressional caucus on missing and exploited children.
Congressman Lampson, how difficult -- we see this information about the suspect in southern California, but aren't these cases very difficult to solve?
REP. NICHOLAS LAMPSON (D), TEXAS: Indeed they are. Oftentimes there is no solution. Oftentimes, there are so few clues that police and other law enforcement agencies will look for years. And unfortunately the parents receive no closure to the loss of their child. Sometimes we are -- we get lucky, they get lucky and are able to track something down. Sometimes the people finally turn on themselves and destroy themselves.
WOODRUFF: Keith Warburton, former FBI agent, are there tell-tale traits for most people, most people complete strangers who take children in situations like this?
KEITH WARBURTON, FMR. NEW JERSEY PROSECUTOR: The problem, we teach our kids not to talk to strangers. And the problem is that most of these people don't look strange. Examples might be Ted Bundy or Wayne Williams. So they really rely on the fact that they can blend in and like the Congressman said, it is tough to catch them because of that fact.
WOODRUFF: Given that, Congressman Lampson, short of just keeping your children at your side all the time, what are parents to do?
LAMPSON: Well, there are a lot of things. First of all, they need to have a very frank talk with their children. Make sure that the children understand about strangers and whose cars they can get into. Don't ever let a child go anywhere by themselves. Teach them three simple rules. Don't go anywhere by yourself, always tell an adult where you are going. And if something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, say no, get away, and tell an adult.
WOODRUFF: But in this instance, this little girl was grabbed and taken.
LAMPSON: But also one of the lures was used. It's very common. Help me find my puppy, my dog. There are a lot of lures. Come, I have candy in my car. Would you come over and as soon as they get close enough, somebody can reach out the window, grab them and yank them through the window. Those are simple lures against which one can be taught to protect themselves.
WOODRUFF: Keith Warburton, why shouldn't just parents -- in the aftermath of these kinds of things, just be hesitant to even let their children go out into the yard at all.
WARBURTON: Parents should be careful and aware. They shouldn't subject their kids to fear. They should teach the kids. They should trust the kids when they say, hey, mom or dad, there's somebody strange in the neighborhood or in the playground. And they should also take a few seconds themselves to look around the neighborhood. Is there anything odd? Look around the playground that they're at or the ball field.
Everybody's got a cell phone. Give a call to the local police. Say there's a guy hanging out here. He is alone in his car. He's just hanging and the police will come. They'll check it out and maybe it might lead to other things that they know about this guy. Everybody has to be the eyes and ears. The police can't be everywhere and we all got to help them out.
WOODRUFF: Congressman Lampson, is that the sort of thing that really will make the difference here?
LAMPSON: Absolutely. These are things that can make a difference. Parents certainly should not panic. They should be aware that there are things they can do about contacting their schools. Make sure that the children are learning personal safety, personal awareness, what's going on around them just as the officers just said. Make sure that we contact our law enforcement agencies and make sure that they have a plan, what happens if they receive that horrible telephone call that none of us want it make. My child didn't come home, what do I do? Those are things that indeed can be done quickly and easily and effectively.
WOODRUFF: And just finally and quickly, Keith Warburton, is there a trait that people should be looking for? I know you are saying these people often look like everybody else. But other than the fact they may be loners, is there any characteristic that one should look for?
WARBURTON: A lot of them might have committed what they call gateway offenses, peeping toms, expose themselves before. But as far as parents are concerned, it is not going to be the scruffy drooling kind of guy down the corner. It is unfortunately going to be people you don't suspect. One thing I would suggest that people, they can do role playing with their kids. One of the best commercials for the anti-drug program that I saw was a dad pretending to be a drug dealer and the kid giving them the right answers. You could do the same thing with and not to scare the kids but you can do the same thing with your children. Like the congressman said, this is a classic example of a lure that he used. My puppy or I need directions or other things. And they can play those roles and help the kids out.
WOODRUFF: Helpful information for a lot of parents who are worried, no doubt after this terrible news from California. Keith Warburton, Congressman Nicholas Lampson, thank you both, good to see you both. We appreciate it.
An accounting of the vice president days as a CEO. A CNN investigation is up next. John King zeros in on Dick Cheney's record as head of the Halliburton and why it is now a political liability.
REP. JAMES TRAFICANT (D), OHIO: You know, I'm getting tired of all these legal eagles, and I don't waive a damn thing. I'm either going to be there or not.
WOODRUFF: Another judgment day for convicted Congressman Jim Traficant, and once again, he's not mincing words.
Neither will Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan.
And our Washington interns following in Monica Lewinsky's foot steps. I'll discuss the results of a new survey on intern, sex and dating with Dr. Drew Penski (ph) of the Love Line.
WOODRUFF: The recent outbreak of corporate accounting investigations includes Halliburton. That's the company once run by Vice President Dick Cheney. In the first of a two-part series, we take an in-depth look at Vice President Cheney's tenure as a corporate CEO and how the probe could affect his political fortunes. Here now our senior White House Correspondent, John King.
JOHN KING (voice-over): Back in campaign 2000, time as a corporate CEO, viewed as a major political plus.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...spent the last five years running a company, global concern, and have been out in the private sector, building a business, hiring people, creating jobs.
KING: But that big business background is at least temporarily a political liability now. Halliburton's accounting practices are under government investigation. Mr. Cheney's five years as CEO facing new scrutiny because of the election year focus on corporate corruption.
PETER HART, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: Business experience isn't a liability. What is a liability are people who figure out the angles, the people who are not leveling with the public. If you don't level with the public, you are going to pay a price in 2002.
KING: Access is why energy and construction giant Halliburton hired Mr. Cheney back in 1995. A one-time congressman and White House chief of staff familiar with Washington's power players, a former Defense secretary with deep ties in the oil producing Arab world.
JAMES WICKLUND, BANC OF AMERICA SECURITIES: Cheney came in with the ability to open doors, not get business, but at least open doors in places like the Middle East and southeast Asia that most energy executives wouldn't have had.
KING: There is no question, the experience benefited Mr. Cheney's bottom line, $11 million in salary and bonuses, a retirement package worth $13 million and $660,000 Halliburton shares Mr. Cheney sold for $35 million when he decided to join the Bush ticket.
Less clear is his legacy as a CEO. Halliburton doubled its work with the Federal government during Mr. Cheney's five year tenure from $1.2 billion to more than $2.3 billion. The company's stock performance also skyrocketed during that time. It was $20.75 a share when Mr. Cheney took the helm and $53 when he stepped down.
But the stock opened at just $12.85 Thursday as the company confronts a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and billions of dollars in potential asbestos claims, issues that date back to events that happened on Mr. Cheney's watch. Democratic ads talk of Enron style accounting and Enron and Halliburton both employed the Arthur Andersen firm. Mr. Cheney even once taped an Arthur Andersen testimonial.
CHENEY: They have a traditional role to fill as our auditors. They do that extraordinarily well.
KING: Halliburton says its accounting was by the books and a long-time industry analyst says Halliburton is no Enron.
WICKLUND: I think that they have been a good solid corporate citizen. I don't think there have been any accounting problems of shenanigans with the company.
KING: The president says he is confident Mr. Cheney did nothing wrong. The vice president himself is refusing comment until the investigation is completed.
KING: And sources here in Washington and in Texas familiar with that investigation say there have been no efforts by the SEC to contact or question the vice president. The sources say investigators are not so much concerned with the changes Halliburton made in its accounting practices but are much more focused on why it took the company roughly a year to publicly disclose it had made those changes. Now because of the political questions about this, most important to the vice president's office is when will the investigation be over. None of our sources could give a good answer to that question. -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King at the White House. And tomorrow, John, you're going to be taking a look back at President Bush's corporate background?
KING: Beginning with his days in Midland, Texas as an oil man and the questions now about his own role, not as a CEO, but as a big businessman before he entered politics.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King, thanks. With me now to talk more about accounting at Halliburton and other political dangers facing this White House, our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Bill, how much of a problem for the administration is this SEC investigation into the vice president's background?
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Judy, I think it's a lot bigger than President Bush's problems over Harken Energy. Bush's dealings with Harken Energy date back more than 10 years in the past and they have already been investigated by the SEC. The Cheney matter is new. The SEC investigation is just now getting underway and the vice president cannot claim that this is old news, that it's already been investigated and that there's nothing there. Halliburton is also a bigger deal -- 18,000 jobs have been lost at Halliburton since 1999, and Cheney made a lot more money when he sold his stock at an opportune moment than George Bush did.
WOODRUFF: Any precedent for what's going on?
SCHNEIDER: Well, the closest parallel would be the investigation of Spiro Agnew in the '70s when he was Richard Nixon's vice president. Now you recall that Agnew was ultimately forced to resign. Now no one is suggesting that Mr. Cheney is another Agnew, and Cheney's personal integrity is not under investigation by the SEC.
But Cheney's problems could damage the Republican party this fall. Polls, like one in today's "New York Times," show that people see a big difference between President Bush and his party on the issue of corporate governance. They see Republicans and members of the administration as dominated by corporate interests, much more so than the president himself.
Democrats would love to make Dick Cheney the poster boy for the Republican's corporate governance problems.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you. One more note on an issue linking this White House with corporate accountability questions, Army Secretary Thomas White, who was a former Enron executive, told a Senate hearing today he had no knowledge of any attempts by Enron to manipulate California energy prices.
He also said that he is ashamed of what happened to Enron and quote -- "the damage it has done to all of us." Some of the most intense questioning at the hearing involved phone calls that White made to former Enron colleagues in the days preceding the company's collapse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: It doesn't look good to have all these escalating number of phone calls. The divestiture of stock following those, calling all those insider people, it just doesn't look right, just like it doesn't look right for Martha Stewart to call her best friend to talk about a number of things.
THOMAS WHITE, ARMY SECRETARY: Most of the people that I talked to on this list, like Bob Hurt (ph), are my old friends. They were my friends in the Army before we got together in Enron. They are my friends today. Most of them are gone from Enron.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: White went on to describe the collapse of Enron as an absolute tragedy. After the hearing, he said he has no plans to resign his post as secretary of the Army.
Just ahead: a shakeup in the ranks of AOL Time Warner, an update next in the "Newscycle."
Plus: Congressman James Traficant, under fire for ethics violations, battling to the bitter end.
WOODRUFF: Among the stories in our "Newscycle": Accused terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui tried to plead guilty today in an effort to avoid the death penalty. The judge denied Moussaoui's request and she recessed the court for a week.
AOL Time Warner announced this hour that chief operating officer Bob Pittman is stepping down. Jeff Bewkes, the current chairman of HBO, will take over the company's entertainment and networks businesses. The current chairman of TIME, Don Logan, will head the media and communications division. AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.
The House Ethics Committee is weighing the punishment of Congressman James Traficant. Earlier, the Ethics Subcommittee found the congressman guilty of ethics violation. Traficant was convicted on federal racketeering and bribery charges in April. He could be fined, reprimanded or expelled from the House. Today's hearing featured some of the colorful statements for which Traficant is well known.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Traficant, are you ready to proceed?
REP. JAMES TRAFICANT (D), OHIO: No, I'm not. I am worried that you are going to do something that is going to be very bad, foolish for yourself, and is going to force me to move on the floor to have each and every one of you expelled, with not only sanctions, but some corporal punishment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: That was James Traficant at today's ethics hearing. And we're going to talk some more about that in just a moment.
But, right now, some tape has come in from the White House: the president meeting with some Arab foreign ministers.
Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... I'll call on the people and then we need to get to our meeting.
I want to thank the ministers for coming today. Secretary of State Powell has been working hard to work on an initiative that we believe will bring peace to the Middle East. Our vision of peace says that there ought to be two states living side by side in peace.
Our vision for peace recognizes that there must be security in the region. Our vision for peace understands that too many Palestinians suffer. They suffer from lack of food, basic services. Our vision for peace understands that all parties have got responsibilities. The United States has a responsibility. The neighborhood has a responsibility. The Israelis have a responsibility. The Palestinians have a responsibility. And we will continue to work with all parties to achieve the pathway to peace.
I want to thank the ministers for coming. They represent governments that are anxious to work with us, anxious to work toward achieving the vision that we all hope will happen soon. It's in the best interests of the world that we do achieve peace in the Middle East. I'm looking forward to continuing our dialogues.
I'll answer a question of questions.
QUESTION: Mr. President, would you be willing to consider a permanent Palestinian state that included Chairman Arafat in some sort of ceremonial role or as president?
BUSH: As I mentioned, I think it was yesterday, I think, at a press conference (UNINTELLIGIBLE), the issue is bigger than any single person, and our discussions will center on how to have institutions in place that will truly represent the will of the Palestinian people, that will give confidence to the world that we can spend money in a way that helps the Palestinians, that when we talk about security there are security forces there aimed at protecting people from terrorist attack, as opposed to enabling people to stay in office.
You know, it's very interesting that these leaders came to our country to discuss peace and the terrorists attacked. It's clear that a few want to damage the hopes of many. And by working to put institutions in place that will help on security and finances and government, institutions which will outlast any single leader.
And so that's what we're going to discuss today.
QUESTION: Mr. President, what do you think of the idea of having troops and others from the Egyptian and the Saudi and Jordanian sides help train security forces for the Palestinians? And certainly, you know, yesterday, there was another double suicide bombing just after you used the word progress. Do you think that's a coincidence?
BUSH: I -- you know, I'm beginning to think that every time we have a high-level meeting, something happens, is not coincidental. I think the enemies of peace try to send signals, try to derail peace and try to discourage us.
And one of the things I'm going to tell the leaders today is, we refuse to be discouraged. We're going to continue to work for peace, continue to push hard for peace because we think it's -- we know it's in our vital interests.
In terms of who trains whom for security, that's part of the ongoing discussion, and that's what we want to discuss. Secretary -- George Tenet has laid out a plan, and part of the plan is to work with the nations present here as to how to affect a security arrangement that will be effective and will work. That's what we want to do, and that's what we want to discuss.
Listen, thank you all.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you all very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: President Bush meeting with three Arab foreign ministers and saying, as you just heard him: "We will continue to work toward peace. We won't be deterred by incidents" like the ones over the last two days in Israel, where a number of people were killed in a pair of suicide bombings.
Our coverage continues. We'll be back with Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile.
We'll be back.
WOODRUFF: With us now: former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.
Donna, first of all, James Traficant, we heard a little bit of his testimony today. He went on and on. He feels he is being railroaded, in effect. Should he be expelled from the House?
DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: No, I think he should take the high road and allow Scotty to finally beam him up.
You know, I worked on the Hill for 10 years. And he would go on the House floor for those one-minutes and say, "Beam me up." I think he should be beamed up. It is hard to talk ill of the dead, but he is a dead man walking.
BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: You know, Judy, I'll say something about James Traficant. He has made some mistakes and he is a big enough man that says: "I'll accept the jury's decision. And I'll accept my colleagues' decisions."
But this is a man that I think makes an excellent point when he talks about the rest of Congress and he says, "Look, I haven't been doing anything anybody else hasn't been doing." What he has done he has been found guilty of. But these other fellows, it's legal corruption. And he never sold his votes. I believe every vote he made was in the best interests of his country, what he believed was the best interests.
But these other fellows, they vote for what is in the best interests of their own career, day in and day out. And that's far more harmful to this country than anything James Traficant ever did.
BRAZILE: He's now been convicted by his peers. And now his colleagues are set to either force him to resign or fine him or expel him from Congress. And I think he should do the right thing and resign and trade in his two-piece denim jean suit for a jumpsuit.
BUCHANAN: And Congress will lose something.
BRAZILE: What will they lose, somebody who never had a haircut in the last 10 years?
BUCHANAN: You know, is that the worst thing that can happen? Look who we got up there.
BRAZILE: Are we missing the bell-bottoms now?
BUCHANAN: I'll tell you what I will miss. I will miss the personality, the earthiness, the fellow that says things as he sees it, who's got some guts, who's not so pro forma as these other guys with their nice haircuts.
BRAZILE: Well, maybe he'll get a talk show. He'll get a talk show.
WOODRUFF: Well, he'll be in prison.
BUCHANAN: Of the people up there, he's named -- I can't name 10 that he wouldn't be in the number if I had dinner with. That would be one of my fellows I would want to go to dinner with.
You can have the others, Donna.
BRAZILE: Beam him up. (LAUGHTER)
WOODRUFF: All right, from James Traficant to a global treaty on women's equality: It has been signed by 170 different countries. The only countries that have not signed it, ratified it, are the United States and some Muslim nations: Sudan, Syria.
BRAZILE: Syria, Iran.
WOODRUFF: Is this something, Donna, that the Bush administration, which has been saying no, should let go?
BRAZILE: Bay is anxious to get at this.
BUCHANAN: I sure am, Donna.
BRAZILE: Bay is trying to show her feminist credentials today. And I understand that.
But, yes, we're the only industrial nation that has not approved this. This is just a treaty that has set about principles of standards for women and equality, women in terms of education, equity in the work force. We should rename it "leave your burka behind" and I think perhaps the Republicans will get behind it.
BUCHANAN: A little respect for people's religion here would go a long way, Donna.
Listen, the situation is quite clear. This is an attempt by feminists to have a global ERA. Your little friends in this country have not been able to do it here. So, there's going to go for a global one. It's a bureaucracy that is led by bureaucrats. There's 23 people now who oversee it.
And you know what they have complaints about? Belarus celebrates Mother's Day. They have a problem.
BUCHANAN: Oh, yes, they had...
BRAZILE: This law will not do anything to stop Mother's Day from being celebrated across the world.
BUCHANAN: They have a complaint about Mexico. It doesn't have as easy access to abortion as it should. Now, what does that have to do with discrimination?
BRAZILE: This treaty is neutral on abortion.
BUCHANAN: Well, it is how it is interpreted. It is how it is interpreted. These are complaints coming out of the committee that oversees it. They have a problem with Luxembourg because they promote the stereotype of men as heads of households. This is a treaty that is being interpreted to undermine a pro-family...
WOODRUFF: Women in Afghanistan have asked that this be ratified.
BUCHANAN: What does that have to do with anything, Judy? There are feminists in every country.
WOODRUFF: I'm asking you.
BUCHANAN: Judy, these feminists -- this is a feminist manifesto. They want to promote feminism.
BRAZILE: They are trying to promote the rights of women and young girls across the world who have been discriminated against. And this is just standards. It is not a law that supersedes our laws. It's just putting in place standard so that we can measure
BUCHANAN: It is how it is interpreted and how it's promoted. You believe in single-sex education. This group has said no single- sex education. None. That is not good. And it believes that Austria should introduce gender studies to their universities so they can dummy them down, like they've dummied ours down.
WOODRUFF: We have got to leave it there. We are going to come out of this remembering that Bay wants to have dinner with James Traficant.
BUCHANAN: You're going to remember that.
BRAZILE: Yes. Isn't the something? Beam her up with him.
BUCHANAN: Let's make that date.
WOODRUFF: We want you both. We don't want either one of you beamed up.
Our Bob Novak delivers the "Inside Buzz" up next, along with an order of pizza and a slice of name-calling on Capitol Hill.
WOODRUFF: Here now with some "Inside Buzz": our Bob Novak.
All right, Bob, corporate reform, and some are ready to capitulate. What's that all about?
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The House Republicans, who have a much softer bill than the Senate Democrats, are ready to throw in the towel on penalties. They are willing to accept the Senate penalties, tougher penalties. They don't want to be looking like they're soft on corporate crime.
But they have a few other changes they want to make in the bill. But that may not be good enough. The House Republicans have a weak hand to play. And if Senator Sarbanes says, "We want the whole Senate bill," I got a hunch the House Republicans will capitulate, even though there is some problems with the Senate version, and that President Bush will sign it.
WOODRUFF: This is notwithstanding Chairman Oxley?
NOVAK: That's right.
WOODRUFF: All right.
Trent Lott and pizza, what's going on?
NOVAK: This is a wonderful little story.
Last Friday, Senator Byrd, the president pro tem of the Senate, got up, very nasty. He referred to the Senate budget director -- I mean the U.S. budget director, Mitch Daniels, as "little Caesar." Now, Trent Lott, the Senate Republican leader, was on the other side of the Capitol. He heard he was calling Bush "little Caesar." So, he runs across the Capitol to take umbrage. He found it's only a Cabinet member. So, he doesn't take issue with Byrd.
But what he did do -- and I just found out -- is, he sent three Little Caesars pizzas to Mitch Daniels, trying to make light over a potentially very ugly little situation.
WOODRUFF: Well, you have just helped their sales.
WOODRUFF: All right, some bad news now for the Republicans for somebody wants to be elected, what's this all about?
NOVAK: Governor Janklow, Bill Janklow of South Dakota, was running for the House of Representatives -- a governor running for the House, considered a cinch, a very popular governor. I was shocked to learn that he is running behind in the polls against the Democrat, a young lady named Stephanie Herseth, who is the granddaughter of a former governor of South Dakota.
And she just returned to South Dakota last fall. She had been living out of the state. That is not -- if that holds up -- which, of course, there's a long way to the election -- that is not a good omen for the Republican Party.
WOODRUFF: What kind of spread are you talking about? NOVAK: Pardon?
WOODRUFF: What kind of spread in the polls?
NOVAK: It is almost even.
WOODRUFF: Finally: questionable ethics in a Texas House race.
NOVAK: I love this. This is one of my favorite little stories.
There's a guy, a judge in Texas, a district judge named John Carter who resigned as a judge to run for Congress as a Republican, got the nomination in a sure Republican district. Now, usually, when you are elected for -- when you are running for Congress, you resign from a lobbying firm. Now, he resigned from a judge and he joined a lobbying firm called Potts and Riley (ph) in Austin, Texas.
Now, I don't think Mr. Carter has been reading the newspapers that maybe there ought to be a little different ethical climate. The idea that he could join a lobbying firm as he is elected to Congress, I wonder if that is going to hold.
WOODRUFF: Well, if he is watching you on television, he may get the signal.
NOVAK: He'll say it is a law firm.
NOVAK: I know. I can tell the answer already.
WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, thank you very much, with "Inside Buzz."
And INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Mayor Michael Bloomberg fares well when New Yorkers are asked who they would like to see elected mayor in the next election. The Quinnipiac University poll finds 40 percent of New Yorkers say they'd like to see Rudy Giuliani return to office in 2005. But 36 percent say they'd like to see Bloomberg reelected.
The AFL-CIO is targeting Republican House and Senate candidates who favor new trade authority for the president. The union is running TV ads in eight states, including this one targeting North Carolina's Robin Hayes. The ads criticize votes in favor of fast-track trade authority, which the union says is a bad deal for American workers.
In Missouri, Republicans think they see one of their own in a new ad for Democratic Senator Jean Carnahan. The ad touts Carnahan's ability to work across party lines. It shows her speaking with a man the state GOP says is supposed to look like the state's Republican senator, Kit Bond. Democrats deny the claim. In fact, they say a lot of men, including some at CNN, probably look like Kit Bond when seen from behind. They sent along these four suggestions to illustrate their point.
Did you get a look at those guys?
I'll be back in a moment, but now let's take a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS," Kate Snow sitting in for Wolf -- hi, Kate.
KATE SNOW, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Hi, Judy. Thanks.
Authorities in California want to corner a child killer. As they close in, we'll go inside the mind of a predator with the help of a profiler. Also, is there payback for the police officers in that controversial videotape? And a courtroom bombshell from the only man charged in the September 11 attacks -- it's all coming up at the top of the hour, after INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Chairmen of the Democrat and Republican parties, Terry McAuliffe and Marc Racicot, join us tomorrow on INSIDE POLITICS.
That's it for today. "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next. Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
Plea; Republican Congressman Speaks Out Against Operation TIPS; Traficant Shocks and Entertains>