CNN INSIDE POLITICS
House Passes Resoultion Authorizing Use of Force in Iraq; New Jerssy Supreme Court Hears Arguement For, Against New Democrat on Ballot
Aired October 2, 2002 - 16:00 ET
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. In the showdown with Iraq, the White House scores a victory at home by reaching a bipartisan compromise with the House.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in Washington where Al Gore is challenging the president again today on the economy. Is it proof he's planning to challenge Mr. Bush in 2004?
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Washington. I'll tell you why people are so obsessed with the stunning ins and outs of the New Jersey senate race. In some ways it's deja vu all over again.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us. We begin with members of Congress literally rallying around the president to send a message to Saddam Hussein and to some of their reluctant colleagues in the Senate. Surrounded by lawmakers from both parties, President Bush announced the agreement with House leaders on a compromise resolution authorizing military force against Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The text of our bipartisan resolution is clear, and it is strong. The statement of support from the Congress will show to friend and enemy alike the resolve of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The White House has not reached a similar compromise with a Democratic-controlled Senate. But several senators introduced a bill mirroring the House version, including former Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: I'm grateful for the opportunity to stand with my colleagues from both parties and both houses, and with you, Mr. President, in offering this resolution to authorize you to take military action to protect the region and the world from Iraq under Saddam Hussein...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The compromised Iraq resolution green-lighted in the House requires the president to notify Congress before any military strikes if feasible. The scope of military action would be limited to Iraq. The use of force must not interfere with the war on terror and the White House must report to Congress every 60 days on military operations and planning for what comes after the war.
Suzanne Malveaux joins us now from the White House.
Suzanne, does this resolution strengthen the president's hand elsewhere -- at the United Nations, and with other countries?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House certainly hopes that it does. Really, this was a watershed moment for the Bush administration. The president really basking in the bipartanship, but clearly a sign that he's going to get the kind of Congressional resolution that he would like to see, not only from the House, but also from the Senate in the weeks to come.
The message today was really to present an unified front, not only to the American people, but also to the United Nations, to other world leaders. And the president very carefully selected what he was going to emphasize today. That was mainly that the president going to be pursue all diplomatic means before taking military action -- that that military action would really be the last resort. That it would be limited to Iraq, not the region. And that the U.S. would continue to seek consultation with the United Nations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: None of us here deserve to see military conflict. Because we know the awful nature of war. Our country values life. And never seeks war unless it is essential to security. And to justice. America's leadership and willingness to use force confirmed by the Congress is the best way to ensure compliance and avoid conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now, what was really most striking about this, Judy, was really Mr. Bush's tone -- almost conciliatory. There was no mention of preemptive action by U.S. forces. No mention of regime change -- rather he talk about, as a last resort, that we may have to defend ourselves -- that we'll go in there to use military action.
Really the hope is that the United Nations Security Council members will be able to sign on to a U.N. resolution that they too will be able to use military force backing of the president, as well as the United Nations against Saddam Hussein. That is the hope that the bush administration has conveyed today -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Suzanne, why the change in tone on the president's part? MALVEAUX: We've actually seen this in the last couple of weeks -- no longer the fist-pounding, regime change talk. Really the reason is because the other permanent members -- China, Russia as well as France -- none of them have been receptive to that message of regime change. They are looking more disarmament, they are looking at getting those inspectors back in, they are not looking at -- as quick a timetable as the U.S. administration is pushing for. That's the kind of language they would like to hear and it's the kind of language that the administration thinks that they'll sign on to.
WOODRUFF: All right. Suzanne at the White House, thanks.
Meanwhile, in England today, former President Bill Clinton said he supports President Bush's efforts to get tougher with Saddam Hussein. But in his speech to the British Labour Party, Mr. Clinton warned that military action against Iraq could give the Iraqi leader an incentive to use weapons of mass destruction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As a preemptive action today, however well-justified, may come back with unwelcome consequences in the future. And because I don't care -- and I've done this. I've ordered these kinds of actions. I don't care how precise your bombs and your weapons are, when you set them off, innocent people will die.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Clinton called for one more chance for weapons inspections in Iraq. he said the United Nations needs to approve a tough resolution demanding unrestricted inspections.
Well, Al Gore has been less cautious than his former boss about criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq policy. Just nine days after his big speech on the threat from Baghdad, Gore tried to change the subject of the floundering economy.
Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley has more on what Gore said and the motivation behind his words.
CROWLEY (voice-over): Several blocks from the White House, Al Gore bemoaned the state of the economy and blamed -- oh, you know what he blames.
AL GORE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Unfortunately the president's economic plan based on what you might call -- for lack of a better phrase -- Enron accounting. They're projecting revenues that will never appear. And they're hiding expenditures that will appear.
CROWLEY: In tone and undertone, the speech was a lot like one last week in San Francisco blasting the administration on Iraq. Later this month, Gore plans the first trips of the year to Iowa and New Hampshire. What are we to make of this?
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MINORITY LEADER: I guess he's trying to get back into the dialogue, some way. I guess he's trying to figure some way to become relevant for 2004. But I think he missed the boat. It's too late.
CROWLEY: What do you expect from a Republican? More troublesome for Gore is the lukewarm water within his own party.
REP. CHARLES RANGEL (D), NEW YORK: I haven't spoke to him since Florida. So, I would not know what he's up to.
CROWLEY: Where is Al Gore and what's he doing? It's a question they don't have to ask about other '04 possibilities. They are in front of the microphones and on the airplanes, racking up frequent flyer miles to New Hampshire and points beyond. And they are spending big bucks to help fellow Democrats.
And inside New Hampshire and Iowa, top politicos have noted Gore's absence. The '04 nomination, they say, not a gimme for gore. And there are questions about his bottom line. Gore's fund raising by mid-year was below all but one of his potential rivals.
MARK MELLMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: People aren't interested in giving Gore money if he won't run for president. When he makes the decision, he'll go out and big a significant fund raising effort. And that's one of the big questions, frankly, will he be able to put together the necessary money?
CROWLEY: Gore says he won't make up his mind until December leaving the faithful and watchful to look for signals. For instance, one reporter wanted to know why Gore -- who arrived this morning with his wife -- no longer wears his wedding ring.
GORE: Because I gained so much weight I couldn't get it on.
CROWLEY: So now you know.
CROWLEY: Politically, there is much for Gore to weigh over the next three months. His '04 hurdles go beyond money raising and party griping. Since 9/11, Gore's ratings have gone south. He is now viewed unfavorably by nearly half the population -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Candy, you've been talking to a lot of people. Reactions with Democrats universally negative toward Gore?
CROWLEY: No, it's mixed. A lot of what you're hearing really isn't grass roots in sort of the hardcore Democrats. And, some of those, you know, in the party say they think that Gore has done himself some good in the past couple of weeks because he has given voice to those who didn't feel they had a voice in Washington. You know, they just were dying for someone to stand up to George Bush and Al Gore did that. Now, you know, his rivals and a lot of people say, Yes, but he made it look so political. They felt like with Iraq, they sort of had the upper hand, the Democrats felt that way and that they felt that Gore made a political -- and again, put his rivals -- his possible '04 rivals in a box. But somebody said to me, But he didn't care about putting them in a box. He wanted to come out and do this.
So, you know, it's mixed but it's surprising how much negative reaction you do get.
WOODRUFF: OK. Candy Crowley, thanks very much.
Now, to the battle in the New Jersey Senate race. Coming up next -- will former Senator Frank Lautenberg be allowed to replace Robert Torricelli? We'll have that latest from the state supreme court, and on the politics this political drama. The party chairman -- national party chairman will join us to spar over Torricelli's exit. And the politics behind Al Gore's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or speech making. And later, Phat Farm politics with Hip-Hop big shot Russell Simmons. INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.
WOODRUFF: As we told you a moment ago, President Bush today had House members -- House leadership rallying around him, literally, today as they came together in agreement on the language of a resolution with regard to Saddam Hussein and what to do about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. Meanwhile, the question is, what's happening in the United States Senate?
For that, let's turn to our Jon Karl who's been walking the halls of Congress this day and can bring us up to the minute.
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, some extraordinary developments here in the Senate as well as the House, as several key Democrats have come to the president's aid in pushing for that resolution giving him the authority to wage war against Iraq.
KARL (voice-over): As the president surrounded himself with Congressional leaders in the Rose Garden, including Democrats Dick Gephardt and Joe Lieberman, there was one face notably absent: Senate Leader Tom Daschle.
About five hours earlier, Daschle had emerged from the White House talking about making more changes to the Iraq resolution.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: We'll continue to work to see whether we can find some either procedural way with which to address the differences or come together on a resolution.
KARL: But Daschle found himself cut off. The victim of fellow Democrats eager to strike a deal with the White House.
House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt not only embraced the proposal, but touted it at the Rose Garden event even as Daschle held out for more changes.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT (D), MINORITY LEADER: I have worked to draft a resolution that reflects the views of a large bipartisan segment of Congress.
KARL: And in the Senate, Joe Lieberman helped kill Daschle's chances to win a compromise by going to the Senate floor to introduce the president's resolution.
SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: This resolution is our attempt to express our support of the president as commander in chief in seeking international backing for action against Saddam.
KARL: Now, Joe Lieberman's -- for a long time -- been a committed hawk on the question of Iraq so it's not surprising that at the end of the day he came around to support the president. But the timing here is surprising to many, especially over in the House.
And one thing that I've been told by Democratic strategists over there that is -- drive the decision -- is the horrible public relations disaster the Democrats felt they suffered when Jim McDermott and David Bonior went to Baghdad and criticized President Bush. As a result of that, many Democrats felt under pressure to get out there and to show that Bonior and McDermott do not speak for the majority of Democrats when it comes to Iraq.
Now, Judy, as far as Senator Daschle is concerned -- Senator Daschle has put out a statement reacting to all this -- saying that he had hoped and continues to hope that there would be some more changes made to this resolution. But he said at the end of day -- quote -- "I am certain the Senate will adopt with broad support a resolution that clearly provides the president the authority he needs to deal with Saddam Hussein."
So, now Democrats up here in the Senate who had been hoping for more changes are beginning to sense the reality that this battle's essentially over. Of course, there will be a big debate still. That debate will take place later this week in a vote probably by next week -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Do you think it will get underway this week in this Senate?
KARL: I think it will get underway this week in the Senate, but not to see a vote on this until next week.
WOODRUFF: All right. Jon, thanks very much.
From war politics to a political war, in New Jersey, the attempt by Democrats to replace Senator Bob Torricelli on the November ballot landed in the state supreme court earlier today.
CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports now from Trenton.
Deborah, what can you tell us about the state supreme court proceeding?
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, sources are telling us the supreme court is trying to reach a decision sooner rather than later. Clearly time is of the essence. If new ballots are to be reprinted, and if the name of Senator Frank Lautenberg is to appear on them.
FEYERICK (voice-over): New Jersey's seven supreme court justices grilled lawyers for both parties, focusing questions on mail-in ballots, legal deadlines and voter rights when it comes to candidates swapping so late in a race. Democrats say they're entitled to a candidate on the ballot and they urge Republicans to drop their legal challenge.
ANGELO GENOVA, ATTORNEY FOR NJ DEMOCRATIC PARTY: There's a difference between legal rights and the morality and ethics of an election. And the morality and ethics of this elections, in our mind -- the right thing in our mind is to allow voters to have a choice.
FEYERICK: The man who monitors New Jersey's elections, the attorney general, told the supreme court it's administratively feasible to reprint all the ballots to change the Democratic candidate without jeopardizing the November election.
DAVIS SAMSON, NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL: You're pass not past the point where this train moved so far down the track that we can't perform all that needs to be done to meet the election.
FEYERICK: Now clerks in New Jersey's 21 counties also up to the challenge. A lawyer for them saying that, yes, they can reprint the ballots in time. However, there is a catch. They need unlimited money, somebody in the lawyer's words with very deep pockets.
Democrats estimate that this could cost about $800,000, and it would be the Democratic state committee that would be shelling this out in order to get the new candidate's name on the ballot. That is replacing the old ballots with Senator Robert Torricelli with new ballots that say Senator Frank Lautenberg.
The Republicans very, very skeptical. They say it simply cannot be done. They said even during the hearing, they heard no guarantees 100 percent that, in fact, all ballots would be counted. Their big argument is military and absentees voters would not be able to get the ballots in time, mail them in and have the votes accurately registered.
The supreme court asked what would happen if they extended the date for votes certification, but again Republicans saying they don't believe it will happen and they believe if -- those voters will be disenfranchised.
WOODRUFF: All right. Deborah Feyerick reporting from Trenton, thank you very much.
Well the election countdown continues here on INSIDE POLITICS as New Jersey officials are well aware, there are just 34 days left until election day.
With me now to talk a little more about this, and other issues, the two national party chairmen, Terry McCall, leader of the Democratic National Committee. Mark Racicot, chairman of the Republican National Committee.
I think I know what you're going to say. The answer is, Mark Racicot, but should a party be able to change its candidate on the ballot this close to an election?
MARK RACICOT, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, absolutely not. The fact of the matter is our candidate, Doug Forrester's going to focus on the issues in this case. I know that's a preface to the question you asked and he's very comfortable and confident about addressing those issues.
But the election laws of this country and every individual state are set and decided upon and those are the rules of the game. Just think of the chaos virtually every place -- if you can -- because your candidate may not be striking the mark you wanted him to strike -- simply abandon them as the Democrats have done here with the Senator Torricelli. And then reinvent the game.
So our concern is that you can't invent something in the middle of this process when there's already a specific remedy provided by law.
WOODRUFF: Terry McCall?
TERRY MCCALL, DNC CHAIRMAN: Went through this in 2002 when Al Gore actually got more votes for president and the Supreme Court of the United States actually came out -- five people -- and disenfranchised 51 million Americans. So I believe everybody ought to have a chance to vote. This is the greatest democracy in the world. Doug Forrester always said, you know, Bob Torricelli should not be on the ballot for the Senate...
WOODRUFF: But what's the point of a primary if a party -- if a candidate can look at the polls and say, OK, I'm behind, I'll drop out. And it's a few weeks before the election. Why couldn't you have that in every election?
MCCALL: Well I don't think you would because most people decide that they don't want to drop out. Bob made that decision. I think the citizens of New Jersey ought to have the right to vote for a candidate, have a discussion on the issues. Frank Lautenberg's been in the Senate for 18 years, knows the issues inside and out. But the citizens ought to have the right to go into the ballot booth and vote for Democrat or Republican.
RACICOT: They do. They definitely do have that right. They've picked a primary candidate. That candidate is on the ballot and ironically, the principles that the chairman is talking about, are the principles applicable here. You do not change -- it's a matter of Constitutional law -- the rules after the process begun.
WOODRUFF: Terry McCall, what if the court rules that Frank Lautenberg and no one else can replace the Torricelli name on that ballot?
MCCALL: Well we wait. And I think the decision will be out sometime tomorrow. We'll wait to see what the court decides and then decide how we go forward from there.
But listen, we believe the citizens of New Jersey should not be disenfranchised. Bob Torricelli is no longer going to sit in the United States Senate. He is not running for reelection.
RACICOT: Well he could resign.
MCCALL: Let's put somebody -- he might. He may make that decision. We don't know that here today.
But we need to have a candidate on the ballot who will run and fight for the issues of New Jersey.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask Mark Racicot, if the court says, Yes, the Democrats can replace him, will the Republican party fight it to the U.S. supreme court?
RACICOT: We're not parties to the litigation. Quite frankly, we're focused on the positive aspects of Doug Forrester's campaign. Obviously, that's a decision that's probably within the primary threshold -- discretion of the New Jersey State Republican Party.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you both about something that Al Gore said today. We heard from him a few days ago about Iraq. Today he weighed in on the economy. Said that the economy should be the president's first focus right now, Iraq after that, he said. And he went on to say, There's a crisis of confidence around the world in this president's economic team.
RACICOT: Well, I think that that's (UNINTELLIGIBLE) nonsense to be very honest with you. I frankly found his remarks about Iraq incredibly mysterious and I think most people on both sides of the isle did. They were inconsistent, they didn't provide a clear path of direction to the future. They made no solid recommendations and was full of -- with vagaries. And I think, frankly, his remarks today reflect much the same thing. He didn't offer any proposals at all, he just simple mentioned the word economy.
WOODRUFF: Terry McCall?
MCCALL: I was there today when Al Gore was saying is that George Bush needs to spend as much time on the economy as he is spending on Iraq. We're halfway through the term now. Right now, as you know, 2 million people out of work, $4.5 trillion has been lost in the stock market. As you know, a long-term unemployment as high as it's been in this country. All Al Gore is saying today, Mr. President, let us focus on the economy. We're halfway through the term. The economy in horrible shape today. Wee need to do something, let's do it in a bipartanship way. That was his message today.
RACICOT: Well there was a veiled suggestion that maybe he wants a tax increase and I'm not all together certain that's what he meant. But frankly the president is addressing this issue. It's the Democrats that won't take up the issues.
WOODRUFF: Well let me ask you about something. We know that the economic news the last few weeks -- some of it's been grim. The stock market is moving down in general, the household income we saw has gone down for the first time.
Steven Moore of the Club for Growth -- is very conservative group -- quoted today saying -- let me read this quote if I can find it here very quickly -- "... if voters take out their disgruntlement on these losses..." -- and he's talking about the 401k retirement account, these quarterly reports that people are going to get -- "... they are going to take out their rage on Republicans."
Are you worried as the leader of the Republican Party about what people say?
RACICOT: Well the economy is always an issue. We're worried about every issue and we want to address it forthrightly.
But quite frankly, it's the Republicans in the House and the president and the Republicans in the Senate that embraced the opportunities to address the economy. That's why they've moved aggressively with terrorism insurance reform, just as one example and the budget is another. So we're very comfortable addressing the issues. We're looking for partners and -- quite frankly -- can't find any, particularly in the form of Senator Daschle.
MCCALL: George Bush has been office two years. Our economy is in shambles today. Seven out of ten of the leading economic indicators are down. Two million people have lost their work. 401ks are shattered all across America. $4.5 trillion dollars are lost in the stock market. George Bush is the president of the United States. It is his responsibility to lead. The Republicans control the United States House of Representatives. It's some point -- Republicans got to stop blaming and they got to step up to the plate and say it's not this person's fault or that. And show leadership on the economy. We have not had leadership on the economy. And that's what people are going to vote on November 5 and why the Democrats are going to do well in the governors, Senate races and the House of Representatives.
WOODRUFF: Mark Racicot?
RACICOT: Judy, just one example, and we could go on at some length. Pension reform. The president proposed it, the House enacted it. And it lies latent at the doorstep of the United States Senate because Senator Daschle will not take up the issue. That's just one example. We're limited by time or I could give you a plethora of other examples. That's the sad circumstance. They're absent without leave. I don't want why the Senate is paralyzed but they cannot or will not take...
WOODRUFF: What about that?
MCCALL: What the Senate will not pass is bad legislation. The pension reform passed by the House of Representatives is horrible. It was not true pension reform. It does not do what we need to do to protect people for their 401ks. The House can take credit. They passed a $254 million tax break for Enron. They passed a prescription drug bill in the House that only covers 20 percent of the seniors and the pharmaceutical companies put a $5 million to buy ads to support it. Now the industry you're regulating, if their putting up money to go out and do it, I think you're in horrible shape today and that's why we're doing well.
WOODRUFF: One quick last word.
RACICOT: Well I would like to say, if they don't like the pension reform, why don't they embrace a bipartisan proposal? But they're absent without leave, they won't even allow it to be scheduled or heard or talked about.
WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there, but it's always good to see the two of you. Mark Racicot, Terry McCall -- I know you're always glad to see each other.
WOODRUFF: Thank you both. Take care.
Just ahead, our Jeff Greenfield checks recent history to see how other states made last-minute ballot replacements.
Plus, the stormy political lengths between Bob Torricelli and the Democrat who would replace him, Frank Lautenberg.
But first, let's turn to Rhonda Shaffler at the New York Stock Exchange for a market update.
Rhonda, it was a little bit down and then it was down some more. Where did it end up?
RHONDA SHAFFLER, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Way down, Judy. Stocks closing deep in negative territory unable to follow through on one of the best rally of the year yesterday.
Worries about corporate profits again returning to investors' minds. Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbling 183 points, or 2 1/3 percent lower. It did close near session lows today. Of course, just yesterday the Dow surged some 350 points. On the big board Dow Chemical fell 2.5 after warning about third quarter profits.
Meantime, the Nasdaq closed near its worst levels, down about 2 percent. Cisco Systems down 8 percent today. Negative analysts comments on Cisco there.
General Motors lost nearly $2 in one of the Dow's biggest losers. The automaker says the shut downs on the West Coast threatening to halt production at a California plant. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) plant is used for a joint venture between GM and Toyota -- will be out of parts tomorrow.
Finally, Enron's former Chief Financial Officer now faces criminal charges including securities fraud and conspiracy. Andrew Fastow surrendered to authorities in Houston today and was later released on $5 million bond. He's accused of setting up secret deals to hides billions of dollars of debt at the company. The government has 30 days to indict Fastow now.
That is the latest from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break including a "News Alert" update on Hurricane Lili now a dangerous Category 4 Storm.
WOODRUFF: In our "News Alert": Hurricane Lili is racing across the Gulf of Mexico toward the Louisiana coast, packing sustained winds of 135 miles per hour, making it a dangerous Category 4 storm. People along the Gulf Coast are scrambling for supplies and boarding up buildings. More than 200,000 Louisianians are under mandatory orders to evacuate.
Orelon Sidney with me now with an update from the CNN Weather Center -- Orelon, hello again.
ORELON SIDNEY, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hello.
And it's going to be some kind of night, Judy, across the Texas coast and Louisiana. Already now we're starting to see some of the rain bands, very outer rain band moving in to the Louisiana Panhandle. It does look like things are going to go downhill from here. So, if you have to get evacuate, you got to get after it, because things are not going to be improving; 135 miles per hour winds moving northwest at 15, now 325 miles south of New Orleans.
Looking at the wind speed, tack on about 10 more miles an hour at landfall, currently, again, 135. At 1:00 a.m. this morning, looking at about 145 mile-an-hour winds, expected to go in as a strong Category 3 storm, somewhere between Galveston and New Orleans at about 145 miles an hour. So this is going to be a very, very dangerous situation., if have been advised to evacuate, you need to do so -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Orelon, thanks very much. And we'll come back to you for updates, of course, as the hours go by.
Now we want to go back to the political melodrama that has been playing out in New Jersey.
Our Jonathan Karl returns now with the latest on the fallout from Senator Robert Torricelli's sudden exit from the 2002 campaign.
Jonathan, we know that the Democrats' choice to replace Torricelli on the ballot, former Senator Frank Lautenberg is not someone who's been on the best terms with Bob Torricelli. So how is the exiting senator looking at all this?
KARL: That's a wonderful understatement, Judy.
Bob Torricelli fought very hard to make sure that Frank Lautenberg was not the person to replace him. That's why Lautenberg was the fourth choice of New Jersey Democrats. He was their fourth choice after the three others bowed out. Most recently, Frank Pallone yesterday, who had accepted the spot, forgot to tell his wife. When she got around to telling his wife, she objected. And then New Jersey Democrats were forced to go to Frank Lautenberg.
Bob Torricelli, by all accounts, is not happy with this at all. And to give you a little background on their feud here, at one point, there was a "Roll Call" story up here on Capitol Hill about three years ago that really caught some attention about a dramatic battle the two had over at the Library of Congress.
There was a Democratic retreat. The two got into a fight. And we can pull up one significant quote that came out of this fight. This was in front of Democratic aides and other Democratic senators. Torricelli said to Lautenberg, "I'm going to cut your testicles off." That might be a slightly cleaned-up version of the quote. But this argument, this screaming match came in full view of all these senators and Democratic aides.
The two clearly do not like each other. And now Bob Torricelli has to live with the added insult to injury that his nemesis in New Jersey is going to replace him.
WOODRUFF: Jon, Torricelli obviously had raised a lot of money at this point in the campaign. What is going to happen to that money? Does it automatically go to Lautenberg if he ends on the ballot as the Democratic candidate?
KARL: No, it doesn't. There's about $5.5 million left in Torricelli's bank account.
Democrats had expected that he would automatically turn that over to the state party, so it could help elect whoever would take his place on the ballot. And now people are unclear. And the bottom line, Judy, is the Democrats, I've been told by several in New Jersey, have not had the nerve yet to ask Torricelli about the money. They certainly hope he'll turn the money over to the party to help Lautenberg get elected, but nobody knows for sure.
WOODRUFF: OK, Jon, thanks for that.
Now our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, is here with us with his take on the ballot battle created by the Bob Torricelli decision to drop out -- hi, Jeff.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST: Hi, Judy.
Well, New Jerseyites are going to have to wait and see whether the high court will let former Senator Lautenberg replace Senator Torricelli on the ballot. But there is no shortage of debate about what is the right thing to do. And it's a debate where -- surprise, surprise, as we've just heard -- what you think is fair depends a lot on which party you pledge allegiance to.
So let us take a step back and let's look at some history here and see what's happened in the past. And the curious thing is, it's a history that gives encouragement to both sides.
GREENFIELD (voice-over): The most recent history: the Missouri Senate race two years ago. On October 16, 2000, three weeks before Election Day, Governor Mel Carnahan, running for the Senate against John Ashcroft, was killed in a plane crash. It was too late to remove his name from the ballot.
But the new governor, Roger Wilson, announced that, if Carnahan got more votes than Ashcroft, he would name Carnahan's widow, Jean, to the seat until the next election. He did. She was, despite some Republican arguments that, as a dead person, Mel Carnahan votes shouldn't be counted at all.
This year, Hawaii Representative Patsy Mink, who died last week, will be on the November ballot. If she wins, a near certainty, her seat will be filled in a special election. That has happened in other states with other House members who died late in the campaign season. That case suggests one possible answer for New Jersey.
SEN. ROBERT TORRICELLI (D), NEW JERSEY: You never stop. You never give up.
GREENFIELD: Keep Senator Torricelli's name on the ballot while he declares his intention to resign if he wins the most votes. That would let Democratic Governor Jim McGreevey name Frank Lautenberg as his replacement. Democrats, of course, don't want that, because they see the Torricelli name as damaged goods. They prefer a different history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN GRUNSETH (R), MINNESOTA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to press forward no matter what.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: In 1990, the Minnesota governor's race was shaken by a last-minute grenade. Republican nominee John Grunseth, was accused of a variety of sexual improprieties, ranging from adultery to nude frolics in a swimming pool with very young women.
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GRUNSETH: I always haven't been a perfect person.
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GREENFIELD: He withdrew from the race. The Minnesota secretary of state ruled that, under the state's law, the runner-up in the primary, Arnie Carlson, should be the gubernatorial candidate. A divided state Supreme Court agreed. And Carlson, that last-minute substitute, wound up defeating incumbent Democratic Governor Rudy Perpich.
GREENFIELD: Now, this suggests, that history, that, well, there is precedent for a very late last-minute switch. And Democrats will argue that if the voters don't like it, if they smell backroom politics, they can always vote against the Democratic candidate.
But there is that little detail of the New Jersey law, which seems to say, if you want to withdraw, you have to do it 51 days out before the election. After all, Republicans will argue, that Senate Ethics Committee admonishment of Torricelli, that happened two months ago. There was plenty of time for the Democrats then to make a switch. And, they will argue, it was only when the party smelled defeat that they acted.
And there is one more wrinkle to New Jersey's somewhat muddled law. Apparently, if Torricelli waits five more days and resigns from the Senate -- and I say apparently -- then the governor can name a temporary replacement and cancel the Senate election for a year. But, Judy, I have a feeling that ploy is beyond even the patience of the increasingly patient New Jersey electorate.
WOODRUFF: All right, I think you're right.
Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.
And we do have this breaking story just in from the Associated Press. And that is, the man accused of trying to blow up a transatlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes is said now by his lawyer to be planning to plead guilty on all eight charges against him. Of course, we are talking about the man named Richard Reid, who had wanted to avoid the publicity of a trial and his lawyer now says the negative effect that it would have on his family.
Reid is a British citizen. He is accused of attempting to kill all the passengers and crew on board an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami last December -- again, his he attorney saying he is now planning to plead guilty to all the charges.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: The New Jersey ballot battle has grabbed headlines nationwide. And the reasons have as much to do with events in Washington as in New Jersey.
With me now with more on this, our senior analyst, Bill Schneider -- Bill. SCHNEIDER: Well, why are so many people obsessed with the New Jersey Senate race? Because, politically, in many ways, it's still November 7, 2000.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The 2000 presidential election was a perfect tie. George W. Bush got just one electoral vote more than the required majority, while Al Gore edged out Bush in the popular vote by half a percentage point. The outcome in the Senate was a perfect tie: 50 Republican senators, 50 Democrats.
What's changed over the past two years? Well, Bush became a lot more popular. That's for sure. And in May 2001, Senator Jim Jeffords jumped off the Republican side to become an independent, giving Senate Democrats a majority of one. On every level below president, the 2000 stalemate persists.
In the 2002 election, both parties are trying to break the stalemate. In the race for control of the Senate, both parties are equally vulnerable. Analysts see four toss-up Senate races in seats currently held by Democrats: South Dakota, Minnesota, Missouri and now New Jersey. Those are precisely balanced by four toss-up races in Republican-held Senate seats: Colorado, Arkansas, Texas and New Hampshire.
Wow. Four and four. Anything that tips the balance in any one of those races could determine who controls the Senate for the rest of Bush's term and whether President Bush's agenda is completed or blocked.
SCHNEIDER: Ever hear the phrase, "Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party"? That's exactly what Bob Torricelli and Frank Lautenberg just did.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill, thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: The recent trip to Iraq by members of Congress one of the topics coming next in our "Taking Issue" segment.
That's right after this.
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REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: We went to Iraq because we care about what happens to Americans, what happens to American soldiers, what happens to American people. We want this country to be safe. We have no delusions about the truthfulness of Mr. Hussein. Saddam Hussein is not a good person. He's not to be trusted.
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WOODRUFF: Let's talk about Congressman Jim McDermott's controversial trip. And along with two other Democratic congressmen, they did go to Baghdad and more.
Let's talk about it all with Margaret Carlson of "TIME" magazine and Tucker Carlson of CNN's "CROSSFIRE."
Did these members of Congress, Tucker, cross the line when they went to Baghdad and tried to make the case against rushing to war?
TUCKER CARLSON, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": On the very day, probably at the very moment they were speaking, the Iraqi army was firing missiles at American pilots.
Now, I think what they said open to debate. Fine if they said it on the floor of the House. But I agree with John McCain. It's outrageous, at this time and in this circumstance, to make those statements from Baghdad, the capital of the country that's firing on American soldiers. It's outrageous.
MARGARET CARLSON, "TIME": Tucker's right.
Nothing that was said, were it said here, would be a problem. But said there, it does remind you of Jane Fonda and make you wonder when's the exercise video coming. It was ill-advised to do it at this time. There may never have been a good time to do it there.
T. CARLSON: But I do think the bright side here, though, is that Jim McDermott will never get an exercise video on the market successfully.
WOODRUFF: Does this do lasting damage to the Democrats? You now have the House Democrats apparently moving quickly to support the president. There may be a few holdouts, but most of them now are going to be on board with the president on this anti-Iraq resolution.
M. CARLSON: Democrats were already fearful of putting too much distance between themselves and the president before Bonior and McDermott went to Iraq.
T. CARLSON: Well, yes. I think it's an improvement, actually, because at least you have Democrats expressing an opinion, taking a stand on this, rather than picking at the edges of the debate, which is what they have been doing pretty much the whole time: "We ought to have more allies on board. The resolution ought to read this way rather that way," issues that are not central to the real question, which is: Ought we invade Iraq or not?
M. CARLSON: But good that some of those issues got discussed, finally.
WOODRUFF: But, meanwhile, you've Tom Daschle sitting over in the Senate. What does he have left in the way of any sort of support for an alternative to the president's language?
M. CARLSON: The president was always going to get his resolution. And the question was whether there was going to be any discussion or whether it was going to be shut down entirely by Republicans saying, "If you discuss it" -- and I'm leaving out Bonior and McDermott -- "you're somehow not purely American and patriotic."
T. CARLSON: The beauty of this is, the White House kind of suckered Democrats into voting on this before an election by saying a couple of months ago, "We don't even need a resolution," thereby getting Democrats mad. It was actually, I think, a very clever political move. So they're going to be on record supporting this. And that kind of ends the debate afterwards.
WOODRUFF: Very quick question: Should New Jersey put another name on the ballot in Bob Torricelli's place, yes or no?
M. CARLSON: Yes. Republicans should not get to run against nobody.
T. CARLSON: The idea of Democrats sticking it to Torricelli after he gives up his whole life for the Democratic Party, and they put the guy he hates most in his place?
M. CARLSON: Hates. Yes.
WOODRUFF: But should they have the right to do that?
T. CARLSON: How mean. I think people ought to be able to vote for people who are actually running, I have to say, as sleazy as it is.
M. CARLSON: Talk about salt on an open wound.
T. CARLSON: He so deserves it.
WOODRUFF: All right, Margaret Carlson, Tucker Carlson, see you later.
M. CARLSON: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
More hip-hop politics from New York next in our "Campaign News Daily"; also, the back-and-forth from last night's debate for Massachusetts governor.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": The Massachusetts gubernatorial debate that we previewed yesterday featured lively exchanges between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Shannon O'Brien. The candidates clashed over issues like abortion and economic development, as well as O'Brien's claim that she reduced state debt during her term as state treasurer.
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SHANNON O'BRIEN (D), MASSACHUSETTS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: When we have a surplus, we're going to pay down that debt. We're going to continue to do just as I've done as treasurer, make sure that we have the cheapest cost of debt. There's only one person who can say that they've actually saved money on our debt.
MITT ROMNEY (R), MASSACHUSETTS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: You didn't have to do anything besides refinance our debt. And people all over the commonwealth are doing that when they refinance their debt at their homes. Do you take credit for the fact that Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: California Republican Bill Simon has launched a new commercial designed to deflect a wave of negative ads run by his opponent, Governor Gray Davis. Simon talks about his success in business and acknowledges he is not a perfect candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
BILL SIMON (R), CALIFORNIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Maybe because I've made money, I'm not corrupted by it, like Gray Davis. I'm not a politician and I'm not perfect, but I will clean up Sacramento.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Music producer and fashion designer Russell Simmons is the latest hip-hop figure to take sides in the New York governor's race. Simmons says that he will rename one of his Phat Farm athletic shoes in honor of Democratic candidate Carl McCall. The shoe is now known as the Phat Classic. It will be called the Carl McCall running shoe during the month of October. Simmons also plans to cut radio ads on behalf of the McCall campaign.
More INSIDE POLITICS right after this.
WOODRUFF: That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Thank you for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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New Jerssy Supreme Court Hears Arguement For, Against New Democrat on Ballot>