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Holbrooke Urges Diplomacy on Iraq; White Powder Found at Gore Offices; Bush Meets with Saudi Ambassador

Aired August 27, 2002 - 16:00   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Another former U.S. diplomat urges caution on Iraq. Richard Holbrooke shares his thoughts on how the U.S. should handle Saddam Hussein.
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": I'm Ron Brownstein. Iraq is not the top issue for most voters but there are signs the pressure is growing for candidates to take a stand.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Los Angeles. Folks here like to think of themselves as laid back until someone mentions moving the Oscars to the big apple.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, cracking the glass ceiling in the corporate media, a new survey on the progress of women in the executive ranks.

Thank you for joining us. In just a moment we turn our focus to U.S. policy toward Iraq. But first we want to tell you about some breaking developments at this hour at the Tennessee offices of former presidential candidate Al Gore. Joining me now on the telephone, a Gore spokesman, Jano Cabrera. He is here in Washington. Hano, we understand that a small envelope containing an unidentified white powder was received. What can you tell us?

JANO CABRERA, GORE SPOKESMAN: I can tell you, Judy, that our office manager, Mary Patterson, was opening the mail at approximately 12:15 p.m. Central Time. She opened up a letter that was addressed to Al Gore. When she did so, a white powdery substance came out of the envelope. She called out to a coworker and said, Robert, this envelope has powder in it. Robert McCardy (ph), our Tennessee director, immediately told Mary to stop what she was doing, to go and wash up. He then went into the room where -- I'm sorry, closed the door to the room where Mary had been opening the mail, turned off the air conditioning, quickly reviewed procedures in case we receive a suspicious package, and notified local authorities.

WOODRUFF: Was there any identifying material or mark on the envelope or the letter?

CABRERA: It was postmarked from Tennessee and there was a stamp on the back that said, this letter has not been inspected by the corrections department and at this point, we are still trying to get more information.

WOODRUFF: And we understand that there are hazardous materials people in the offices now.

CABRERA: That's correct. A hazmat team was dispatched a few minutes later. They suited up downstairs and then came to the seventh floor and is currently going over the office.

WOODRUFF: And where is former Vice President Gore right now?

CABRERA: He's in California. He was immediately notified. He called both Mary and Robert personally, talked to them at length, asked if they were OK, and is getting updates as they become available.

WOODRUFF: So no more identifying information about this material or about what it might be?

CABRERA: The only thing I have for now to share with you.

WOODRUFF: All right, Jano Cabrera, talking to us from Washington. But he is the spokesman for the office of former vice president, Al Gore. Thanks, Jano, very much, and as we get more information, we of course will bring that to you.

Meantime, the debate over U.S. policy toward Iraq continues to play out on the public stage with party labels, rarely serving as a reliable guide to the views of those offering the president their free advice. As the political discussion continues, Mr. Bush met in Texas today with Prince Bandar, the Saudi Arabian ambassador.

The meeting was billed as a casual get-together but it was expected to include talk of a lot of sensitive issues, including Iraq. With me now from Crawford, Texas, CNN White House Correspondent Kelly Wallace. Kelly, is the president making any headway persuading the Saudis to relax the government's opposition to military action against Iraq?

KELLY WALLACE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Short answer, Judy, no. The Saudis went into this meeting opposed to any military attack on Iraq. They came out of that meeting feeling the same way. White House officials, though, are looking at this as an opportunity for the power of the personal, for the president to sit down face-to-face and make his case to Prince Bandar about why he believes Saddam Hussein must go.

Ari Fleischer, the president's spokesman, saying the two men agree that Saddam Hussein is a threat who must be dealt with. And interestingly, Fleischer said the president never even brought up the possibility of a military attack against Iraq, because he has not made up his mind.


ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY: The president stressed that he has made no decisions, that he will continue to engage in consultations with Saudi Arabia and other nations about steps in the Middle East, steps in Iraq, and the president made very clear again that he believes that Saddam Hussein is a menace to world peace, a menace to regional peace and that the world and the region will be safer and better off without Saddam Hussein.


WALLACE: But this administration still faces an uphill battle because the Saudis right now believe the threat is dealing with Saddam's potential weapons of mass destruction, not really advocating regime change. They want diplomacy first, getting weapons inspectors back inside this country. But right now, the administration saying President Bush will consult with Congress, consult with allies, still has not made up his mind -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Kelly, do the people around the president really believe that he needs support from the Saudis before the U.S. does anything?

WALLACE: Well, they believe he needs support in some way. Look at what happened during the Gulf War, of course. The Saudis definitely on board. They allowed half a million U.S. ground troops to base there for the attack on Iraq. This time around, the Saudis are saying no way.

You will not be able to use Saudi soil to launch an invasion of Iraq. The hope is that down the road as the administration makes its case, it could get some support from the Saudis, perhaps fly-over rights allowing U.S. planes to fly over Saudi Arabia for air strikes on Iraq, a symbolic show of support that would send a lot of messages to the rest of the Arab world. So the hope is, as the president continues to think about this, and once he makes up his mind that one day down the road they would have some support from the Saudis -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kelly, thanks very much.

A former top U.S. diplomat today called for a prominent United Nations role in any military action against Iraq. In today's "Washington Post," former U.N. ambassador Richard Holbrooke argues that international support is crucial to the success of any U.S. action. In his words, quote, "to build such support, a new Security Council resolution is necessary, one that authorizes the use of force if Saddam Hussein refuses to allow an airtight weapons inspection regime, no notice inspections anywhere anytime."

The White House is signaled its top priority remains the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. Vice President Cheney yesterday arguing the time to act is now.


RICAHRD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. These are not weapons for the purpose of defending Iraq.

These are offensive weapons for the purpose of inflicting death on a massive scale. Should all his ambitions be realized, the implications would be enormous for the Middle East, for the United States, and for the peace of the world. The argument comes down to this. Yes, Saddam is as dangerous as we say he is. We just need to let him get stronger before we do anything about it. Yet if we did wait until that moment, Saddam would simply be emboldened and it would become even harder for us to gather friends and allies to oppose him. As one of those who worked to assemble the Gulf war coalition, I can tell that you that our job then would have been infinitely more difficult in the face of a nuclear armed Saddam Hussein.


WOODRUFF: For more on the Iraq policy debate we turn to former Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. He's in New York. Mr. Ambassador, if the vice president is right that Saddam Hussein will fairly soon have nuclear weapons, why does the U.S. need the approval of the U.N. Security Council?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: I agree with all of the excerpts of Vice President Cheney's speech that you ran, which makes their ignoring of the U.N. even odder, because the last sound bite you used, he talked about the value of assembling that coalition.

The countries which we need, from Britain to Turkey to Saudi Arabia, will all require some degree of U.N. Security Council approval in order to move forward. And why the administration, which has laid out the correct goal, regime change, has then gone on to implement it so far in a way that shows disregard for the countries we need most, is a thing which troubles me the most. A footnote here, President Bush senior, did best exactly what this administration so far is not doing well at all, which is assembling the coalition, and to hear Cheney talk about it in a very eloquent and effective speech makes it all the more ironic and puzzling.

WOODRUFF: But one of the arguments you hear that I'm sure the administration uses is that they believe Iraq is going to play games. They may say, OK, we will let inspectors in, but we are going to decide where they go, that there will then ensue this back and forth that the French will have one view, the Russians another, the Chinese another. You will eat up time and during that time, Saddam Hussein will be able to get those weapons whether it is nuclear, chemical or biological in order and ready to move.

HOLBROOKE: Well, first of all, they will play games. There will be an effort in the Security Council to water down the resolution. The United States has to stand firm for what you quoted in my article, a no-notice, any time, anywhere air tight inspection regime.

I don't think Saddam will be able to agree to that. If he agrees to that, I'm sure he'll violate it. If we fail to get that resolution in the U.N., once again, we will at least have made the best faith effort. Countries from Tony Blair's Great Britain to Turkey, indispensable allies want that kind of effort. It will rally support. As far as losing time, Judy, the buildup that's going to be required for military action will be highly visible and will take months anyway. So we're not losing time. On the contrary, we are wasting it. We have wasted the summer not building the kind of international coalition. Furthermore the debate over congressional support is equally odd. Of course the Congress will support the president. Most Americans will. I certainly will. But he needs to do what Cheney did yesterday, make the case and then get congressional support, which I'm sure will be forthcoming.

WOODRUFF: So this argument that any squabbling that would take place among the U.N. Security Council members again, eating up time and ends up playing into the hands of Saddam Hussein. You're saying that's not going to happen.

HOLBROOKE: Well, we're not going to be eating up time. The time is the buildup. The time is the military planning and laying the basis for the regime change. We should be in the Security Council right now, working on this, because military action is still months away. And everyone, including above all CNN, will be able to watch it, because the buildup will not take place in secret.

This isn't going to be some kind of sneak attack. The world will see it coming just as they did in '91. So it isn't a loss of time. As for squabbling in the U.N., sure there will be some back and forth on the words. But if the Putin-Bush relationship is as good as it appears to be, and this is a major achievement of this administration, building I might stress on the Clinton-Yeltsin relationship, if it's as good as it appears and the Russians go ahead and support us as they did in 1991, the French will be there.

The Chinese will not veto. So the three countries you named will all be manageable. And I think what Kelly's report from Crawford illustrates another issue, which is the Saudis. She talked about regime change versus weapons of mass destruction, and I want to underscore something, because she made a key point. Once you start a military action, even if it's ostensibly going after weapons of mass destruction, it will inevitably become a quest to change the regime. It will not stop as it did 12 years ago, in a historic mistake of 1991, simply with the limited objective.

WOODRUFF: All right, former United Nations ambassador from the United States, Richard Holbrooke. We thank you very much. Good to see you.

HOLBROOKE: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Appreciate it. As the midterm elections approach, candidates in both parties are handling the issue in very different ways. With me here in Washington to talk about the political angles in play, Ron Brownstein of the "Los Angeles Times." Ron, we have heard more and more people speaking out both political parties before Ambassador Holbrooke today.

You've had former secretary of State Jim Baker, former national security advisor Grant Scowcroft, Republicans, all urging caution. At this point, how is this going to affect or is it going to affect the midterm elections? BROWNSTEIN: Well, mostly the people you're hearing noticeably are not on the ballot this fall, and I think particularly for Democrats in close races, there's going to be a desire to avoid taking unequivocal position if they can get away with it through the election.

I think you will see something of a split here. In politics, as in physics, every time there's a reaction, there's an action, there's an opposite reaction. And as this has become invading Iraq has become identified as more of an administration goal, you're seeing more grass roots resistance among partisan Democrats.

I saw it when I was in Minnesota last week. You saw it in your poll earlier this month when now a majority of self identified Democrats oppose using ground forces in Iraq, a big change from earlier this year. That's going to put pressure on more Democratic politicians, I think, to come out in opposition. But the ones who are in close races this fall I think are going to try to avoid an unequivocal position.

WOODRUFF: From a political standpoint, Ron, what are the most powerful arguments against doing something about Iraq?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the arguments right now that are being raised by critics will tend to be process arguments. They will be that we don't have our allies lined up. We don't have the U.N. lined up.

WOODRUFF: As we just heard.

BROWNSTEIN: As we just heard. There will be process arguments about we need, we should have congressional approval. We should have a debate. I think you're going to see very few people argue that we should not do it at all. In fact I think that the dominant argument is going to be from both parties that we support the goal but we need to talk about the specifics with the president. We need to have a conversation with the Congress and the American people.

WOODRUFF: Well, you would think that the administration would deserve some credit for at least getting the meat of the argument. But at that point, do you believe that Iraq will be a pivotal issue on November 5th?

BROWNSTEIN: I would say not a pivotal issue. I don't think that the evidence is that unless something happens between now and then, that it will crystallize to that point. We've seen the shift back toward economic issues as the central focus. That's probably helped Democrats in a number of places. What this could do though is like 9/11, provide a favorable backdrop for an argument that Republicans are trying to make in some states already. Minnesota, South Dakota good examples, trying to emphasize national defense and strength on national defense.

To the extent Iraq becomes more salient and relevant, I think it provides more salience and relevance for their argument that they are stronger and will protect the country better. That is an area where polls still give them big leads, and if this does, in its own way, shift the focus back in that direction, it could benefit some Republican candidates.

WOODRUFF: OK, Ron Brownstein thanks a lot. Good to see you.

Two House members in charge of making their respective parties the majority, next, I'll talk with Representative Tom Davis and Nita Lowey on the record.

President Bush claims executive privilege on documents related to last minute pardons by former President Clinton.

Can New York and Los Angeles share the Oscars? Our Bill Schneider reports from Hollywood on the brewing bad feelings over the biggest night in show biz. And later, a political truce between city hall and tennis officials. The mayor of New York attends the opening ceremonies of the U.S. Open championship.


WOODRUFF: On the record today, Congresswoman Nita Lowey. She's the chairwoman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. She's in Detroit, and in Philadelphia, Congressman Tom Davis. He's the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. Let's talk first about the budget, the Congressional Budget Office putting out new projections for deficits for the next 10 years and somehow, miraculously, that $1.7 trillion surplus that was predicted just a short time ago, in fact last year it was $5.6 trillion, is now down to just $330 billion. Is this vanishing surplus going to be an issue in November, Tom Davis?

REP. TOM DAVIS, CHMN, NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE: I don't think it's going to be an issue. I think people are more concerned with the here and now. What we really need to be doing is getting the economy moving. That's why the budget disappears, because the receipts coming into the Treasury and in state treasuries across the country are down.

The president couldn't get all the stimulus package passed because the Democratic Senate held it up. But we are on the road to recovery and I think as we start seeing the economy recover, those numbers will help. We also need to hold spending in line. Something we are trying very hard to do in the House.

WOODRUFF: Congresswoman Lowey, is he right, that people are going to look at this and say, we understand what's going on. It's the economy we are more focused on than any deficit.

REP. NITA LOWEY, CHAIRWOMAN, DEMOCRAT CONG. CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE: Well, frankly the economy is the issue in this election and as I travel around the country, Judy, people are really worried. Many are out of work. They've lost their 401(k)s. They are worried about how they're going to pay college tuitions, how they are going to pay their mortgages. They're looking for other jobs.

I do believe that the people I'm talking to understand they can't afford four more years of Republican leadership in the House managing the economy and they are concerned about the deficit. But they are concerned about the deficit as it connects to their own lives. This is why Social Security is so important and this election, in my judgment, will be a referendum on Social Security.

WOODRUFF: Tom Davis, before we get to Social Security, let me take you to a Gallup poll, CNN "USA Today" Gallup poll. Speaking of the economy, people were asked whether it was going to be the economy or Iraq. With all the recent discussion about Iraq, that it was more likely to affect their vote for Congress. By 55 percent to 36 percent, they said the economy. What does that mean for Republicans?

DAVIS: Well, I don't think it means anything except we need to continue to address the issue. I think we're doing a good job. Interestingly enough, we are seeing no evaporation of Republican margins in key congressional districts across this country.

There are about 40 districts that will decide what happens in the House in terms of majority control next November. We are seeing no erosion in Republican support there at all. There is an uneasiness about the economy and the stock market, but I don't think anybody who understands has blamed President Bush or the Congress. We acted, I think, right away, putting forward a corporate responsibility bill. We passed pension protection bill in the House that the Senate hasn't acted on. The president came forward through his SEC asking CEOs to verify and certify the numbers that they were releasing to Wall Street that stopped this trickle down of rewrites and recomputes of corporate numbers. I think we've acted responsibly in trying to stabilize the stock market and the economy is showing some growth. This started well before President Bush took office.

WOODRUFF: Nita Lowey, if they're not seeing any erosion, that's problems for the Democrats.

LOWEY: Well, Judy, I strongly disagree. Number one, when Tom Davis said the Republicans acted, they had to be pulled kicking and screaming to pass the Paul Sarbanes bill that came over from the Senate for corporate accountability way back in March.

They passed their own bill, and only a trillion dollars of loss later did they realize that their bill did almost nothing. Secondly, they talk and Tom talked about an economic stimulus package. You are talking about the $250 million tax cut for companies like Enron. We want to be sure that companies off shore have to pay their taxes, and they can escape from paying their taxes. None of the average person can escape from paying their taxes.

So, it's unfortunate, Judy, that there has been no leadership in the House to really get the economy moving again to do something about corporate malfeasance. Sure, it finally happened after we took them kicking and screaming. What are they doing to make sure that Social Security is preserved and protected? I heard Lawrence Lindsey on TV just a week ago talking about borrowing a trillion dollar more to privatize Social Security. Is that what that's all about?

DAVIS: Nita, your party wrote the laws that allowed them to go off shore and escape that. Those were written under Democratic Congresses (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

LOWEY: Tom Davis, what kind of leadership have we seen to pass legislation to make sure that everyone gets a fair break to make sure that people have confidence in the markets again?

WOODRUFF: You get five seconds to respond, Tom.

DAVIS: Well, I hope they'll support the Archer Bill pending before Ways and Means. The ranking Democrats are opposing it, so we hope they'll join us in closing these loopholes.

WOODRUFF: We are going to have to leave it there, as much as we love to talk to both of you. Hope to see you again very soon. Tom Davis, Nita Lowey, thank you.

And still to come, the son of the suspect in murders of two Oregon teens is speaking out about his father. We'll tell you what Ward Weaver's son says about the case.

But first, let's turn to Allan Chernoff at New York Stock Exchange for a market update. Hi, Allan.



WOODRUFF: Checking today's INSIDE POLITICS "Newscycle," investigators in Nashville, Tennessee are checking a suspicious white powder found in an envelope sent to former Vice President Al Gore's office. Gore's office manager opened the package, discovered the substance and then called authorities. A hazardous materials team is on the scene.

The son of the man suspected of killing two Oregon girls is speaking out. Francis Weaver says he believes his father, Ward, is guilty of kidnapping and killing Ashley Pond and Miranda Gaddis, and he says he is disgusted by what has happened. Ward Weaver denies any involvement in the crimes. He's in jail on unrelated charges. The girls' remains were found over the weekend on his property.

Fighter jets escorted a US Airways jetliner to Baltimore- Washington International airport today, after ground controllers feared the plane was hijacked. The FAA says controllers were alerted after the pilot mistakenly used the code word for hijacking. The plane, with 45 people onboard, landed safely. The flight originated in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Iraq is said to be one of several topics on the agenda as President Bush meets with the Saudi ambassador to the United States. The ambassador flew to Texas today for talks with Mr. Bush at his ranch. The Saudi government has said it opposes military action against Iraq.

With us now from the CNN "CROSSFIRE" set at George Washington University, James Carville and Tucker Carlson. Gentlemen, first on the subject of Iraq, the president's attorneys, the White House attorneys are saying the president doesn't need congressional approval. On the other hand, even Republican senators like Chuck Hagel of Nebraska are saying quote, "if the president is going to commit this nation to war, he had better have the support of the Congress and the American people with him."

James Carville, who is right here?

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": I think what are you going to do, go to the Supreme Court and get an injunction against the invasion or something? I mean it's kind of ludicrous on its face, and I think Senator Hagel is right, if you want to do a big thing like start a war, you should go to the Congress. You should go to the American people and make the case for that and garner the proper support.

But it's a little bit of I think a ludicrous statement to make because how would you stop -- if he did this and said, are you -- you already have this authority under what the Congress did in 1991, and suppose you didn't have it, how could you stop him anyway? So I think not from a legal standpoint, but from a standpoint of democracy the president ought to go to Congress and make his case and get congressional approval.

WOODRUFF: You mean the White House attorney's statement is ludicrous?

CARVILLE: Yes, yes, because it doesn't matter if it is or isn't. There's no legal remedy if they invade without the authority.


TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Well, I mean I think the president will go to Congress and I think Congress, when it gets back, ought to authorize the use of force abroad so it frees up the president's hand, and I think he will.

It's striking that Nita Lowey on a minute ago saying the midterm elections are going to be about Social Security or prescription drugs.

And the fact is, we're balanced on the precipice of war. And Democrats have had virtually nothing to say about it, other than to snipe at the president for doing this or not doing that, etcetera. They have no coherent position on Iraq. And I think they ought to get one and they ought to start by authorizing the use of force.

CARVILLE: Well, I find that odd, because the president has no coherent position on Iraq, and he's the commander-in-chief. And the congressional Democrats are waiting for a coherent position on Iraq from the commander in chief.

CARLSON: Really. Why are they waiting? It seems to me their big boys are smart men. They can come up with their own position without waiting for the president.

CARVILLE: But the president don't have a position and he has the intelligence and everything else. Why don't the president give us a position?

CARLSON: I think Dick Cheney outlined the position yesterday fairly clearly.

CARVILLE: Right, the president has. The real president has given it. I'm talking about the one that the Supreme Court appointed.

CARLSON: Presumably, they speak with one voice.

WOODRUFF: All right, while we're talking about the Bush administration, let's talk about another step taken by the president's attorneys. And that is that they now claim that executive privilege applies not only to advice given to any president about whether to issue a pardon or not, but applies to any documents. Now that is, in effect, going to protect the documents that applied to President Clinton's last-minute pardons as he was leaving office.

And let me just now quote the president of Judicial Watch, a man named Tom Fitton, who said "The Bush administration is now covering up for Bill Clinton, Marc Rich, and Pinky Green," referring to Pincus Green, the financier.


CARLSON: Well, I find Judicial Watch annoying, too, so I can see why the administration would just kind of reflexively turn down any requests from them.

But I think one of the enduring mysteries of the Clinton administration is, why would President Clinton pardon corporate criminals and crack dealers? And we don't really know the answer. There are suggestions that these pardons were paid for in the form of payoffs to the president and first lady's siblings. But I would like to know more.

You can at least say this administration, they are consistent. They made the same argument about the vice president's energy task force and they're carrying it on. If he hated -- this president hated the former president as much as his enemies say he did, he would release this stuff. And I wish he would.

CARVILLE: Again, this is more silliness. It's all total silliness.

CARLSON: Of course.

CARVILLE: Of course.

All of these things have been in the possession of the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, who, of course, has found that President Clinton did nothing wrong, as was the case in Whitewater and Travelgate and all this other right-wing foolishness.

The question is: Should they make them public? Why not, just like they ought to make the energy task force public. The public has a right to know. I have no problem with that. The Justice Department has these documents. Hell, let the public have them, too. What difference does it make?

The idea that, somehow or another, there's this great conspiracy to keep all of this secret, it's in the possession of these people.

WOODRUFF: Are you saying that nobody wants this material to be kept secret?

CARVILLE: I don't know if anybody does. I'm saying that, right now, they are certainly subpoenable by -- there was an investigation by the United States attorney, who found that President Clinton engaged in no wrongdoing. How many times do we have to go through this, where they make all of these ludicrous, unfounded allegations that turn out to be nothing but just air?

CARLSON: The fact that Marc Rich, a corporate criminal, was pardoned, that was not done by the right-wing. President Clinton did that. There's no dispute about it.

CARVILLE: Again, he may have pardoned him.

CARLSON: He did pardon me.

CARVILLE: But the idea that there was something nefarious behind it is silly.

WOODRUFF: All right, nothing nefarious about the two of you. Thanks.

CARLSON: Well, thank you, Judy. Appreciate that vote of confidence.


WOODRUFF: At least as far as we know.

Tucker Carlson, James Carville, thank you both.

Coming up: In the Florida governor's race, former Attorney General Janet Reno unveils her first TV ads of the campaign. We will tell you what she has to say about some of the key issues.


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Just hours before tonight's debate among the three Democrats running for Florida governor, Janet Reno has unveiled her first TV ads. The ads feature Reno explaining her stands on several issues -- mainly prescription drugs -- and plenty of shots of the Reno red pickup truck.

The South Dakota Senate race remains a toss-up, according to a new poll. Democrat incumbent Tim Johnson and his challenger, Republican John Thune, both received 40 percent in a recent survey by KELO Television. And in a race where every vote looks crucial, libertarian Kurt Evans comes in with 5 percent. In Minnesota, Tim Penny is making clever use of his name as the Independence Party candidate for governor. Penny's Web site features several likenesses of the 1-cent piece. The campaign also is handing out pins made from actual pennies. But it is illegal, apparently, to attach advertising to bills or coins. The Penny team says they cleared this idea with the U.S. Mint before making the campaign pins.

Well, in the battle for control of the Senate, Democratic incumbent Paul Wellstone of Minnesota is locked in a tight race with Norm Coleman, his Republican challenger.

Norm Coleman is with here me now to talk more about this race.

You have got a lot going on in your state, a governor's race and a Senate race.


WOODRUFF: Let me cite something that your opponent, the incumbent, Paul Wellstone, is saying. He says he is the watchdog for the people's interests. He says you are the one who's taken contributions from big corporations. He says you've worked as a lobbyist for corporations. He's on the side of the little people.

What's your...

COLEMAN: Well, while I have worked as a lobbyist for a corporation. I was a prosecutor in the attorney general's office for many years, and a lawyer.

But beyond that, it is tough being pro-jobs and anti-business. And the economy is the issue. You talked about it a little bit earlier. And I have worked in partnership with the business community. I think people in Minnesota who are concerned about the economy don't want someone who's always fighting against what they're against in a very, very partisan way.

So, in the end, if folks are looking for somebody who -- I was a mayor of St. Paul -- we grew 18,000 jobs during the time I was mayor -- they'll turn to me. I've prosecuted folks who have done bad things. I think that's the issue there. Folks do bad things, you take care of it.

WOODRUFF: You were virtually hand-picked to run by President Bush. He came down. He talked Mr. Pawlenty into not running for the Senate. He wanted you to run. Is it fair to say that you agree with this president across the board on just about everything?

COLEMAN: Oh, no, no, no.

In the first place, I think it is good thing to have a president as a friend. If you need somebody, it's nice to have the president on your side. On the other hand, I disagree with the president over issues such as trade with Cuba. I disagree with the president over drilling for oil in ANWR. And Minnesota is a farm state. I would like to develop a biodiesel industry.

But, again, it is this thing. Are you always fighting against somebody? I can disagree with the president today. And I will when it's in the interest of Minnesota. But then I work with him tomorrow to do something good for the people of Minnesota. And I think that's what they want. I think they're tired of all this kind of fighting against, all the partisan bickering.

WOODRUFF: What about attacking Iraq? The administration is saying this is something that must -- there must be military action if Saddam Hussein doesn't do something to stop making weapons of mass destruction. Where do you come down?

COLEMAN: I think the administration has to make their case to the American people, make it to Congress. When they do, we rally behind our commander in chief. But, clearly the case hasn't been made yet.

I think we saw the beginning of that yesterday with Vice President Cheney. If the president makes that case, Americans tend to rally around their commander in chief. Saddam Hussein is a threat. I remember, growing up as a kid, John Kennedy and looking at those pictures of those silos in Cuba. If there's a crisis, there's a challenge, the president will make the case, and we will then rally around him.

WOODRUFF: I am going to have to interrupt you, Norm Coleman, because I'm told there's a hearing under way right now. And we'll try to come back to you in a moment.

There's a hearing under way in Los Angeles on a request by attorneys for Robert Blake to delay his preliminary hearing until November. Now, Blake is charged with murder in the death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley. Blake's attorney says the delay is needed to give him time to review new evidence just disclosed by prosecutors.

Defense attorneys, meantime, say the evidence includes a tape in which Bakley complains to her parole office that -- quote -- "she has been almost killed a half-dozen times." They say this new information could lead to other suspects in her murder. Prosecutors say they would like to have the preliminary hearing next week.

We apologize for that interruption, but that hearing is under way right now.

Iraq, the administration attorneys saying, "We don't think we need congressional approval"?

COLEMAN: I think what I heard the vice president say is that we'll consult with Congress. And that's what we should do. And we'll consult with the American people.

So the president has made it very clear he's not going at this alone. He understands the importance of consulting with the Congress. But, on the other hand, he's the commander in chief. He sets foreign policy. And, again, he has got to make that case. But assuming he does, Judy, Americans tend to rally around their president when our nation is at risk, when there's harm out there.

And so if the case is made, I anticipate this should be a nonpartisan issue. God forbid we get into the kind of partisan wrangling that we saw with prescription drugs when it comes to issues such as the security of the country and dealing with Saddam Hussein.

WOODRUFF: You mentioned the environment, or you mentioned drilling in the ANWR, the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, a little while ago, and said that's one of places you disagree with the president. Your opponent, Mr. Wellstone, has said, well, you originally were for that, but you came out against it when it was clear the public in Minnesota was against it.

COLEMAN: Well, I don't think it is a matter of being clear the public was against it.

You look farmers in the eye in Southwest Minnesota who are looking at not a lot of optimism. We have soy. That's a big thing in Minnesota. And so we've got this whole -- our oil fields are in our soy fields and our corn fields. And that's all that is. So it's not a matter of going back or forth or anything. You work for Minnesota. I'll be the senator for Minnesota. Senator Wellstone says that.

But, on the other hand, my race is going to be about who can get something done. I was a mayor for eight years, 18,000 new jobs, first AAA bond rating in the history of the city. We brought a National Hockey League team back to St. Paul, a big thing in Minnesota. And the senator has been the guy that has been fighting against stuff for 11 years. And I don't think the public wants that anymore.

WOODRUFF: All right, Norm Coleman, he is the candidate for the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota. And we really appreciate you dropping by...

COLEMAN: A great pleasure. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: ... while you're in Washington. It's good to see you. Thank you.

New York makes a red-carpet appeal to host the Oscars, but some Californians are not in the mood to share. Up next: political analyst Bill Schneider on efforts to keep the Academy Awards from leaving their Hollywood home.


WOODRUFF: New York and Los Angeles are longtime rivals, but their latest potential rift cuts to the heart of the West Coast identity.

For more, let's turn to our Bill Schneider. He is in Los Angeles.

All right, Bill, I understand the California state legislature has scheduled an important vote this week?

SCHNEIDER: That's right, Judy.

Tomorrow, the state assembly, which is struggling to resolve a $20 billion budget shortfall by the end of the week, will also take up a resolution urging the Motion Picture Academy to keep the Oscars here in Los Angeles next year. Why? Because two weeks ago, New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki and a group of New York entertainment executives urged the academy to move a significant part of the Oscar ceremony to New York next year as a show of solidarity and to help New York rebuild.

But, you know, to suspicious Californians, somehow sharing the Oscars began to sound like moving the Oscars. Columnist Steve Lopez wrote in "The Los Angeles Times" that it "tells you something about the mentality of New Yorkers. They routinely trash L.A. and everything it stands for, but they secretly aspire to flip-flops and cool ocean breezes. They'd beat us over the head in a New York minute to host the Academy Awards.

WOODRUFF: But, Bill, won't it look a little heartless for California not to help New York out in its moment of need?

SCHNEIDER: Well, a legislative staffer that I spoke to put it this way. He said: "We are not taking anything away from New York. They're trying to take something away from us." A letter to "The L.A. Times" called it -- quote -- "a shameless attempt to use the tragedies of September 11 as an excuse to rob Los Angeles of its rightful place as the home of the Oscars."

Now, I ask you, is there any other cultural event associated with Los Angeles -- well, I guess at least since the O.J. Simpson trial? People here call the Oscars the crown jewel. And this is a city that won't give up its title as the entertainment capital of the world, even though -- and, Judy, here's a little secret just between us -- they actually did share the Oscars with New York for about five years back in the 1950s.

WOODRUFF: So, pride, Bill, is the main issue here?

SCHNEIDER: Well, here's a surprise. It is also about money.

Remember, I said the state was struggling with a huge budget shortfall. Well, the Oscars bring in $60 million to Los Angeles and jobs. And the city needs that money. New York wasn't the only place affected by 9/11, one entertainment executive told me.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, we're assuming that resolution is going to pass. We'll expect a report from you tomorrow.


WOODRUFF: Thanks, Bill.

Ahead here: a report on the glass ceiling in the corporate media.

Plus, New York's mayor ends an eight-year political dispute by attending last night's ceremony at the U.S. Tennis Center. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: At a time when more women than ever are given a good chance of winning top political offices, a new report showing how few women hold senior jobs in U.S. communications companies is sure to draw interest. It also makes one wonder whether more women at the top of big businesses would affect corporate responsibility and governance.


(voice-over): From AT&T to Verizon, from GE's NBC to AOL Time Warner, and from "USA Today" to "The Wall Street Journal," these are the companies that run communication in America. You don't get much more powerful than that.

And yet, according to a study by the Annenberg Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the number of women at the top of these powerhouses is pathetically low.

SUSAN NESS, ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION: Well, the results continue to be appalling.

WOODRUFF: The second annual study of its kind finds that, across four major sectors in the industry -- entertainment, telecommunications, publishing, and e-companies -- women hold a small portion of the top jobs and an even smaller share of seats on boards of directors.

Are there not enough qualified women?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People aren't looking hard enough.

NESS: It really requires the CEOs of the major companies to say, "This is a priority for me and for my corporation."

WOODRUFF: And why does it matter?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think we make 80 percent of the buying decisions. We represent 50 percent of the population.

NESS: This makes a huge difference for society. We are talking, in this instance, about communications companies, those who provide the public with their news and information so vital to our daily lives.

WOODRUFF (on camera): This hard look at the numbers of women at the top of communications companies comes at a time when all businesses are under the microscope for bad financial decisions and ethical misbehavior, which raises the question: Would more women at the top make companies act better?

KAREN JURGENSEN, EDITOR, "USA TODAY": I don't know if women do things any differently, really. But I'd to think that maybe they would not be quite so greedy. I don't know.


KIM KELLY, PRESIDENT & COO, INSIGHT COMMUNICATIONS: I don't mean to be flip, but I did notice the report highlighted two companies that had neither women executives or women directors, NTL and Adelphia. And they are about the two biggest bankruptcies we have had this year.

WOODRUFF (voice-over): No one at today's public release of the report suggested women are more honest, but they did note that women tend to take their responsibilities more seriously, and:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When an organization is in crisis, they typically go after women, because women's egos are not as invested in an organization. And they can take on all the issues. And they are not worried about how they are perceived.


WOODRUFF: And with us now from Philadelphia: Kathleen Hall Jamieson. She is dean of the Annenberg School for Communication.

Kathleen Hall Jamieson, does it really matter if women are in these top jobs? After all, you have women delivering the news all over the place. Why do women need to be in these executive suites as well?

KATHLEEN HALL JAMIESON, DEAN, ANNENBERG SCHOOL FOR COMMUNICATION: First, let's applaud the fact that women are delivering the news. And, increasingly, at the local news level, women are executive producers.

That means that the talent pool has increased dramatically. But it also means that a lot of people who, in the past said women couldn't deliver the news, couldn't produce the news, now realize that, not only do they do it, they do it really well.

What difference does it make in the board room? We know, from our study of political communication, that the public believes that women on average are more honest and more ethical. That's an advantage women candidates have in political office. I believe, at a time in which you have corporate scandals all over the place, that companies would be well served, even if they don't believe that women make a practical difference, to put women in place, because strategically, it would increase the perception that the company is taking ethics and accountability seriously.

I think, because women have been outsiders in the board room for a very long time, their outsider perspective is more likely to challenge the business-as-usual that got us into these big corporate messes. I think, not only do they deserve to be there, are they ready to be there, they would help the situation a lot.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying women would manage in a materially different way from men?

JAMIESON: We don't know that that's true, because we haven't been able to study enough women in executive leadership in communication companies to find out.

But I would bet that those that have been denied access to those positions of responsibility haven't become acculturated to the assumptions that have been highly problematic in those board rooms, and, as a result, at the minimum, would bring a fresh perspective at a time when a fresh perspective is needed; and, secondly, that the public's perception that women are more ethical and more honest would help some of those companies rehabilitate their image. And some of them, as you know, are in bad need of that.

WOODRUFF: So, you're saying, at the very least, for P.R. reasons.

All right, let's get very specific. What needs to happen now? I heard one of the woman at this announcement today say time alone is not enough; the people at the top have got to start bringing more women in.

JAMIESON: We've been saying since the 1970s that, if you just increase the size of the pool, eventually women would rise to the top. Well, it is time to say that that was the great lie. We...

WOODRUFF: Our apologies. It looks like we have just lost Kathleen Hall Jamieson from Philadelphia. I don't know what happened, but she was in the middle of making her final point. I just want to thank her once again. Kathleen Jamieson, of course, is the dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. Apologies.

Still to come: The love affair between New York and the U.S. Open tennis tournament is back on again. We'll tell you more.

But now let's take a look at what is coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" -- hi, Wolf.


We are continuing to follow the day's breaking news: a scare at the office of the former vice president, Al Gore; also an elimination round in the quest for the Olympic Games. Two U.S. cities will see themselves out of the race. Another two will survive. Learn the outcome as it's announced live. That's coming up. Then: target: Saddam. President Bush goes eye-to-eye with a prince. What did he say to one of Iraq's neighboring nations?

Those stories, much more coming up at the top of the hour, right after INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: New York City Hall's eight-year snub of the U.S. Open tennis tournament is over. Mayor Mike Bloomberg attended a center- court ceremony last night dedicated to the heroes of September 11. And he drew cheers when he thanked the U.S. Tennis Association for its continued commitment to New York City. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the USTA battled over noisy flights from nearby La Guardia Airport during the tournament. He skipped the Open for both of his terms.

And that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Our apologies again to Kathleen Jamieson.

"WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" is next. Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.


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