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Gephardt Officials Gives Up Leadership Position

Aired November 7, 2002 - 16:16   ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: On to politics now. When President Bush opened his news conference just a couple of hours ago, you might have thought he was a loser in Election 2002 instead of a winner. A low key Mr. Bush was very careful about keeping his enthusiasm in check. He declined to claim a mandate, and insisted that the candidates deserve the credit. A subject that finally got him fired up.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was proud to help some of them the best I could, but the way you win a race is you convince the people of your state or your district that they can trust your judgment, they can trust your character, and they can trust your values.

And it takes a lot of work to do that, and these candidates get the credit. You know, I appreciate you pointing out that some people are giving me credit. The credit belongs to the people in the field.


WOODRUFF: The president also spoke forcefully about his legislative agenda, and the situation in Iraq.

Our senior White House correspondent, John King, is with us -- John, the president sounding optimistic about being successful at the U.N.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, he had every reason to sound optimistic. Not long before he walked into the room for the news conference, the president spoke to the French president, Jacques Chirac, and sealed a deal, an agreement with France, on the language of that Security Council resolution.

It will be, unless there is a late slip up, it will be voted on tomorrow in the Security Council. That is why the president, as you noted, he was quite humble when it came to domestic issues. His language quite muscular when it came to Saddam Hussein and Iraq.

Mr. Bush saying he was confident now the United Nations would step up to its responsibilities, and that would mean sending weapons inspectors back into Iraq if this resolution, as the White House believes, passes, those inspectors would go back in relatively soon. Mr. Bush using this news conference to make crystal clear to Saddam Hussein and the world what will happen if there is any Iraqi interference with those inspections. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BUSH: Should we have to use troops, should it become a necessity in order to disarm him, the United States, with friends, will move swiftly with force to do the job. You don't have to worry about that. We will do -- we will do -- we will do what it takes militarily to succeed.


KING: Now, Mr. Bush declined, as you noted, to take any personal mandate from the elections, expressing his humility, saying the credit goes to the candidates, but that is part of a deliberate White House strategy. They know those candidates, the new Republicans coming to Washington ran on the president's agenda. Mr. Bush was emphatic, he wants the lame duck session of Congress to give him a terrorism insurance bill, and to give him the new Department of Homeland Security.

In the next Congress, the Republican controlled Congress come January, Mr. Bush will push things like making his ten-year tax cut permanent. He also will go again for that controversial energy bill that would include drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

One interesting note, Judy, many conservatives are urging the president to seize the moment. Push his judges again, those rejected by the Democrats. Renominate them. Push to partially privatize Social Security, push -- a quite controversial item -- more restrictions on abortion. The president would not answer directly on those issues. He did laugh and say he's getting plenty of advice these days.

WOODRUFF: He made it pretty clear his own timetable on those things. But John, the president did make a pretty significant piece of political news today, he said who his running mate is going to be in '04.

KING: And he feigned that he had not made his own decision in saying so. The president has said he is still digesting the 2002 results, and that if he runs, the president saying, if he runs for re- election, make no mistake about it, he will -- that Dick Cheney will, in fact, be his running mate.

Now, Mr. Cheney, in the past, has said that he is willing to do that. Now, Mr. Bush saying Mr. Cheney indeed would be on the ticket.

He called him a fabulous vice president, he said his advice was invaluable. Now, Mr. Cheney, of course, himself has said that he has no presidential ambitions.

So, some thought, perhaps, Mr. Bush would seek a younger running mate, someone who might want to succeed him if he were successful in winning a second term. But conspiracy theorists already saying Mr. Bush wants to run again with Mr. Cheney so that there is a clear, open Republican field for brother Jeb come 2008.

WOODRUFF: Already the speculating starts. John, thanks very much.

Well, on the heels of the Democrats' devastating performance on Election Day, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt did live up to expectations. Today, as anticipated, he announced that he will not seek re-election to his leadership post.

Our Kate Snow joins us from Capitol Hill -- hi, Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy. Earlier today, Dick Gephardt held a conference call and invited all of the 200-plus Democrats to be on the call. He told his colleagues that while he would have liked to have seen -- he said, I desperately would have liked to have seen a different result on this Election Day, he said he was proud of them and no one had anything to apologize for.

But he also said, I've always done my best, and sometimes my best just isn't good enough. I need change, Dick Gephardt told his colleagues. The caucus needs change.


SNOW (voice-over): The door to Dick Gephardt's office in the Capitol is almost always wide open. Not today. Gephardt kept a low profile, his first official statement on paper only. It said what everyone already knew, he won't be Democratic leader any more.

"I've concluded that in fairness to my friends and colleagues in the House, they need a leader for the next two years who can devote his or her undivided attention to putting our party back in the majority," Gephardt wrote.

He talked of looking forward to having the freedom to speak for himself, rather than always having to represent a diverse caucus, and said he wanted to step out of a day-to-day management role, and talk to a broader audience about our nation and our goals for our children.

Translation -- he's likely to run for president, and he can't do that if he's tied down trying to speak for and control a fractured caucus, many of whom are angry about Tuesday's election loss.

Already, the number two and number three Democrats are racing to fill the void at the top.

REP. MARTIN FROST (D-TX), DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS CHAIRMAN: Now, our party must make a choice. It must decide whether we want to speak to the broad center of the country, or whether we want to speak to only a narrow spectrum of the country.


SNOW: The argument from Frost that he represents that center, and that his opponent in this race, Nancy Pelosi, the House minority whip, Frost says represents the liberal fringe.

Now, Pelosi aides counter that argument saying this shouldn't be about Democratic ideology, what this should be about is who can draw the deepest distinction between Democrats and Republicans. Pelosi's aides obviously think that she can better do that. They say she has strong support, although, Judy, we have not heard from Ms. Pelosi directly today, she has not made any public statements today, and we are expecting a written statement from her at some point, but that hasn't arrived just yet. Judy, this race shaping up to be really about a battle over who represents the Democratic Party, who's going to be the new face of the Democrats, at least here in the House, and on the national scene -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: And we are going to watch and scrap it out, every step of the way. All right. Kate, we appreciate it.

And we want to tell you that Dick Gephardt will be our guest tomorrow here on INSIDE POLITICS.

Well, at least one Republican is already putting his spin on the Democratic leadership battle in the House. In the process, he's invoking the name of a favorite target of many Bush supporters these days, actress Barbra Streisand.

A statement from Deputy Republican Majority Whip Mark Foley says, "It is absolutely jaw dropping that after this election, the Democrats would revert back to the extreme left of their party. Martin Frost," -- this is continuing the quote -- "Martin Frost and Nancy Pelosi are so liberal they make Larry Flynt look like Charlton Heston. What's next, Barbra Streisand as DNC chairman?" -- end quote.

Again, that's from Republican Party official in the House, Mark Foley.

Now, let's bring in our senior political correspondent, Candy Crowley. Candy, you've been thinking about this for a day or two now. What are the pluses and minuses of Dick Gephardt thinking about running?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Dick Gephardt does bring some strengths to the table, and the first one has got to begin with geography, and that is in Iowa, which is where the caucuses first are. There's always someone in a caucus every four years that Democrats refer to as the third senator.

It's definitely Gephardt, he has a geographical proximity coming from Missouri. He is very well known in Iowa, having run before, but also having been there any number of times on behalf of any number of candidates. So that's first. Second, you have to look at union support. No one is liked better by union on the Democratic side than Dick Gephardt. They are sort of split, because there are, obviously, some unions that back Al Gore, but definitely unions, not only in the primaries when they can get out the vote, but later on can be very effective in helping a candidate, and after that, let's face it, Dick Gephardt has been the minority leader, the leader of the Democrats for eight years. He has picked up a lot of chips along the way, campaigned for a lot of people. Spent some money, raised some money. So he has that.

WOODRUFF: He also has the disadvantage of having run in 1988 and thought about it ever since. Candy, if he does go ahead and run, which many people now expect him to do, how does that affect the rest of the Democratic field?

CROWLEY: Well, you know, Gephardt basically, I think, jumping in probably hurts Al Gore the most, simply because they tend to draw from first the same pool of supporters, and second, and probably more importantly, the same pool of finances. So it begins to split who's going to go with who, and in a primary while they still hedge their bets, there's still just sort of a finite amount of money at this point that can even be given to candidates.

The other thing, obviously, for Gephardt that is one of the downsides is, right now what you hear in the Democratic Party a lot of, We need somebody new, and we need some new faces, and that's not Dick Gephardt.

WOODRUFF: OK, Candy Crowley. Thanks very much. I'll see you tomorrow.

Well if, as we are hearing, Dick Gephardt announces his presidential intentions in the first week of December, that may prove to be a busy political time.

In early December, we're scheduled to interview Al Gore, who has pledged to make his decision about an '04 race before the end of the year.

In the meantime, Gore and his wife Tipper are promoting two new books celebrating the politically correct theme of family. One is a collection of photographs that includes a couple of nice pictures of the Gore clan in earlier years.

Well, President Bush may have a no-gloat policy, but a GOP pollster may be less restrained. Up next, the man who is behind the memo on why so many voters railed behind Mr. Bush and his party.

Plus, a Democratic pollster who isn't feeling quite as warm and fuzzy. How broad and deep was the White House win on Tuesday? We'll look at the big picture from coast to coast.



DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": It was a long night -- long night for the Democrats. You know your party is in trouble when your bright young star of the future is Senator Frank Lautenberg. You know -- that's the problem. But it wasn't a complete disaster for the Democrats. They did keep control of "West Wing." So that's something for them.


WOODRUFF: Ouch. Well, the big topic in political circles since Tuesday has been the Democrats' poor showing at the ballot box. Two pollsters are with me now to talk about what the voters were thinking, and why they voted the way they did.

Republican Matthew Dowd is with us from Austin, Texas. Democrat Michael Meehan is in Washington -- gentlemen -- let me start with you, Matt, Matthew Dowd.

Did anybody call this right ahead of time?

MATTHEW DOWD, RNC POLLSTER: I think there was a sense that we were in the position to defy some historic patterns, but I don't think anybody sort of expected what happened in the U.S. Senate.

Our goal was to sort of compete in these five or six close races and the candidates were going to do the best they can. But we knew a lot of them were going down to the wire. We had a sense of the House. The Senate was a surprise.

WOODRUFF: And Michael?

MICHAEL MEEHAN, DNC POLLSTER: Well, I think that, in 10 of the races in the Senate that were decided, the president carried nine of them in 2000. And his popularity in South Dakota was at 79 percent, 20 points higher than it was in the country. That's a lot of favorable turf for these close races.

But Republicans defeated two Democratic incumbents. We defeated one. It's a net change of two. So, after this election, they have 51 senators. After the election in 2000, they had 50 senators. I know it's a big switch in terms of the power, but this country is still evenly divided. A seat here or there tipped the balance in the Senate. Congratulations to the Republicans on that. But we're going to have plenty of Democratic senators fighting for our agenda.

And I think the governorships are a 25/25 possibility. And the House is still a 51-49 possibility.

WOODRUFF: Matthew Dowd, despite the modesty coming out of the White House, wasn't this an affirmation of President Bush two years in to his term?

DOWD: Well, the fact that we defied any historical pattern -- this is the first time this has happened in the history of the country, that a party in a midterm took back the Senate and then had gains in the House. It's never happened before.

So, something went on. A lot has to do with the candidates in the local races. But a tremendous amount has to did with the president and his agenda. And those candidates that ran on it, explained it and talked about it won.

And one thing, one point to sort of go back at Michael on, I know this country is very close. But if you look at the totals in the races, this is the first time in eight years where Republicans, when you add up all the votes for the Senate and add up all the votes for governor and add up all the votes for the U.S. Congress, in each of those cases, Republicans have a 5 percent or 6 percentage-point advantage. And they have not had that in eight years. MEEHAN: If you turned 41,000 votes out of the 77 million cast, we would have won New Hampshire and Missouri. So, I still think it's very narrow.

About just about the midterm mystery, President Clinton was at 66 percent and gained five House seats just the last midterm. This president was over 60 percent and gained five House seats. I think the midterm mystery is, recent history shows that you gain seats when you have a popular president. It's just been done by this one. It was done by the last one.


DOWD: Judy, just one point on that, I'm talking about the first midterm of a president, which Michael knows, traditionally, you lose 30 or so seats and you don't pick up seats in the Senate. The first midterm is usually a disaster for the party in power. This is the first time this has ever happened in 150 years.

MEEHAN: When Matt and I talked last time, he said that this president had no coattails in 2000. We agreed. He didn't have them in 2001. We agreed. And he had a wind in his face. So I'll give you credit.

DOWD: Well, I don't think Michael wants me to bring up all the things he said about what they were going to do, so I'll just leave it at that.

WOODRUFF: Let me quote something that John Sweeney, the head of the AFL-CIO -- and I'm going to read this. He said: "Union members said neither party has a plan to strengthen the economy. This is a particularly strong indictment of the Democrats. They needed to be crystal clear what they stand for and they were unable to do that."

Is that true, Michael Meehan?

MEEHAN: There's no question that we have a hard time communicating a message from a Congress vs. a president who's very popular, who used the bully pulpit very well in these elections. The White House gets credit for stumping for all their tough candidates in states where they had great favorability.

We also had to face a quarter of a billion dollars in special interest ads, more than the Democrats were able to raise, where you had a lot Republicans running on our issues: prescription drugs for everybody that are affordable. Close your eyes and listen to these Republicans. We should have an agenda that should be able to move pretty quickly, given what all the campaign dialogue was in this year. So we look forward to moving forward on some of this.

WOODRUFF: So, Matthew Dowd, that's what it was? It was Republicans running, many of them, on Democratic issues?

DOWD: Well, I don't know if the tax cut is a Democratic issue. And I don't know if homeland security is a Democratic is. And I don't know if education is a Democratic issue, all of which we won on. And I thought the economy and education were supposed to be Democratic issues, which we won on.

And one point, Judy. I've heard all this spin in the last 48 hours about money and how the Democrats were outspent. The Democrats outspent the Republicans in Georgia, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Missouri and Texas, all of which the Republicans won. Look at front page of "The New York Times." They have the numbers. Democrats outspent them. We won the races.

WOODRUFF: Wait a minute. What are you counting there? Are you counting party money?

DOWD: I'm talking about all party money. Now, there's no way of adding up what the AFL-CIO spent or what other interest groups on either side spent. I'm talking about the dollars that the campaigns spent. Democrats spent more than Republicans.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have leave it there. We could go on a for long time on this subject. And maybe we can continue this next week. We'll certainly try to do that.

Matthew Dowd, Michael Meehan, two pollsters who I'm sure are tired 48 hours after this election, thank you both.

DOWD: Thank you.

MEEHAN: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you.

Well, for the record, our poll that was released two days before the election was an accurate predictor of the Republican gains in the House. When we asked likely voters about their choice for Congress, 51 percent said they would vote Republican; 45 percent said Democrat. And so we are patting ourselves on the back.

A tally of actual House votes nationwide shows 52 percent of Americans voted Tuesday for a Republican in Congress, 45 percent for a Democrat. So we're not being as modest as the White House.

A look at a few races still officially undecided still ahead. Also: The president did campaign hard for Republican candidates. And we'll examine the election impact of the man and his message.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: Well, no doubt you've heard more than once by now that Tuesday's GOP gains in Congress were historic. But what you may not yet know is how truly wide and deep this victory was across the nation.

But our Bill Schneider does -- Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, how big a win was it for the GOP? It's the first midterm since 1934 the president's party has gained strength in both the House and the Senate. Democrats expected to gain the majority of the nation's governors. They failed. For the first time in 50 years, Republicans will hold more seats in the nation's state legislatures than Democrats. And it was truly nationwide.

The Northeast: Republicans won six out of seven races for governor. Liberal Massachusetts elected Mitt Romney, the fourth Republican governor in a row. Republican Don Carcieri won Rhode Island, where Republicans are scarce. A Kennedy got defeated in heavily Democratic Maryland, where Republican Bob Ehrlich won the governor's race.

The Midwest: Not only did Minnesota elect Republican Norm Coleman over Walter Mondale for Senate. It elected a Republican governor to succeed Jesse Ventura, Tim Pawlenty. Republicans won several tough House races. In an Ohio district formerly held by Democrat Tony Hall, Republican Mike Turner beat's Hall's former chief of staff. In Illinois, Republican Congressman John Shimkus beat a Democratic colleague downstate. In Indiana, Republican Chris Chocola defeated former Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson in a hotly contested race.

The South: huge for Republicans. They won seven out of nine Senate races, with Louisiana still undecided. Big upsets in Georgia: Democratic Governor Roy Barnes loses, Democrat Senator Max Cleland gone. Longtime Democratic Statehouse Speaker Tom Murphy is out. Texas: Republicans control the governor's office, both chambers of the legislature, every single statewide office for the first time since Reconstruction.

Let's go West. Hawaii elects its first Republican governor in 40 years, Linda Lingle. California: Gray Davis reelected. Hold it. Wait a minute. He's a Democrat. Yes, he won, as expected, but he did not get a majority against an inept Republican opponent, 48-42, a grudging victory.

Now, how did this big Republican sweep happen? Republicans have an answer and it's a four-letter word: Bush.


(voice-over): The key factor in election 2002: a Bush job approval rating of 66 percent, according to GOP pollster Bill McInturff, whose firm interviewed 1,000 voters on election night.

Republican voters love President Bush. Love? Well, yes; 93 percent approval can be taken as a sign of true love, among independents, 61 percent, Democrats a respectable 38 percent approval. Even more impressive, Bush's numbers did not go down among Democrats and independents during the last few weeks of the campaign. That's when you might expect critics of the president to rally. They didn't.

Late-deciders were crucial in this midterm, as they have been in the past. They made up a whopping one-quarter of all voters. Among those late-deciders, President Bush got a 69 percent job rating. And they voted Republican for Congress.

What about the issues? Didn't they favor the GOP? The short answer is no. The top issue to voters, according to this Republican poll: the economy and jobs. Voters concerned about the economy went Democratic by eight points. After the economy came education, also a Democratic issue, then Social Security and Medicare, again advantage Democrats.

You have to get to the fourth-ranked issue, moral values, before Republicans have the advantage. Hey, wait a minute. What about 9/11 and the war on terrorism? Didn't those issues dominate the voters' minds on Tuesday? Not at all. The poll shows only 26 percent of voters citing the situation with Iraq as an important issue, half as many as the economy.

And 17 percent cited the war on terrorism. And, yes, both of those issues worked to the Republicans' advantage.


SCHNEIDER: So, you can say that international issues helped counteract the Democrats' lead on the economy in this election, but you cannot say that international issues dominated the election. What you can say is that the election outcome was not determined mainly by issues. It was determined by President Bush's personal popularity -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK, the White House isn't willing to say that publicly...


WOODRUFF: ... but Bill Schneider just did.

OK, thank you, Bill.

Well, a look at some of the races still officially undecided in this latest edition of "Campaign News Daily": Incumbent Democrat Don Siegelman and GOP challenger Bob Riley are both claiming victory in the race for Alabama governor. Results from the GOP stronghold of Baldwin County were first reported as breaking for Siegelman. The totals were later revised in Riley's favor. Officials blame a software problem. The results are expected to be certified tomorrow.

The Associated Press says Arizona Democrat Janet Napolitano has won that state's governor's race, but Republican opponent Matt Salmon has not conceded. Napolitano leads Salmon by about 23,000 votes. But tens of thousands of early ballots are still being counted. Napolitano would become the first Democrat elected Arizona governor in two decades.

In New York, Republican Congressman Felix Grucci is trailing Democratic newcomer Timothy Bishop. Bishop leads Grucci by about 2,000 votes, with only about absentee ballots left to be counted. The final results are expected to be announced next week.

Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile just ahead.


WOODRUFF: With us now, as we continue our discussion of Tuesday's election and the political fallout: former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

Donna, to you first. What went wrong for the Democrats?

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Well, Judy, clearly, the Republicans got out its votes and they got out more votes than the Democrats. I also think that they nationalized the elections. They were successful in doing that.

But, look, Democrats did a great job, despite the odds of being outraised and outspent by the Republicans. And Bay Buchanan right now is sitting in a proud new Democratic state, Oklahoma. So I think, by and large, that we learned a big lesson on Tuesday. And that is, we need to have a single message, a single focus. And, hopefully, we can get out it across the national airwaves and Democrats will be able to return to power in 2004.

WOODRUFF: Bay, do you share her interpretation of what went wrong for the Democrats?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: No. Donna has had a couple bad days. Looks a little pale there, to be quite honest, Donna.


BUCHANAN: The key here is clearly George Bush, as Bill Schneider just pointed out.

And as I watched him those last couple of days, something came across. He is, first of all, enormously likable. But the people trust him. After 9/11, enormous respect, and they trust him. And he went across this country and he asked for something. He didn't mention: "Look, there's this big, heavy war. There's this. I'm worried about Saddam Hussein."

He just said: "Look, there are some things back there. And I need some help. I am working on them. We're going to succeed, but I need some help. If you guys could just send me the Senate, just a team I can work with, I think I can accomplish an enormous amount. I really need this help from you."

And it really reached out to Democrats and to the undecided and to the swing voters. It was Reaganesque, though, Judy, in his approach. It was almost, "Oh, shucks, help me out."

BRAZILE: Bay, let me just remind you, like 2000, Republicans went out there and campaigned like Democrats on moderate issues. They promised to help fix Social Security. They also promised to give seniors a prescription drug benefit. So, I hope Republicans keep their promise now that they control all three branches of the government.

BUCHANAN: There's no question there's going to be an accountability. But there's nothing better than having the responsibility with that accountability. And that's what George Bush has now.

He built his base. His base was energized by the Democrats for screwing around with the judges, his judges, as I talked to you about it last week. And then he went out and made a very simple request. And the people responded overwhelmingly across the board. They went Republican. And I think...

BRAZILE: It was not overwhelming, Bay.


BUCHANAN: Two-hundred seats.

BRAZILE: Forty-thousand votes would have changed the equation. Had we carried those 20,000 more votes in Missouri and 20,000 more in New Hampshire, today you would look a lot paler than I do.


WOODRUFF: Donna, I really want to ask you all something. And that is, what is it that the Democrats need to regroup? Al Gore was quoted yesterday as saying Democrats should not mistake the magnitude of this. There's got to be some regrouping.

Donna, you mentioned that the Democrats have got to come up with a message. Be more specific. What message?

BRAZILE: Well, there's no question that, when you run a race against a popular president, you have to have something that resonates with not only your base voters, but swing voters and moderates who make up the electoral landscape.

And Al Gore is right. We've got to come out and fight like alley cats. We've got to protect and preserve the environment, protect a woman's right to choose, protect and defend civil rights and civil liberties, and protect workers' rights and collective bargaining rights. And if Democrats are able to do the defense very well, then I think, on the offensive, there's no question that Republicans are going to overpromise to special interests. They won't deliver.

Their base will become frazzled. And Democrats will be able to reclaim those seats in 2004.

WOODRUFF: Bay, is that going to be the right strategy?

BUCHANAN: Donna needs to get some sleep here.


BRAZILE: That's true. BUCHANAN: The key here is that what George Bush has done is, he's claimed the center. He's considered conservative, but a very moderate conservative, where the people have responded. He has now claims to the center.

And so the Democrats, in order to define themselves as different, are going to have to go to the left. This is not going to be popular with the nation. I think it is something they have to do to in order to become different, but I think George Bush has just done an incredible job of really claiming the center and the right as his own.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there.

BRAZILE: But this is not about left or right. It's about getting America back to work and will the Republicans be able to preserve jobs and bring home the bacon.

Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: You are both good at getting your points across. I have to give you both credit for that. Thank you.

BUCHANAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile, you both go get some sleep. But you did very well. Thank you very much. Great to see you.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, the soft money ban is now in effect, but the loopholes are already forming. Up next: how the law is already under assault by fund-raisers in both parties.


WOODRUFF: As of yesterday, the two political parties are banned from raising any more so-called soft money. But the new law won't effect the one undecided Senate race. Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu is in a December 7 runoff with Republican Suzanne Terrell.

Now, no new soft money can be raised for the two parties, but any soft money left over from the general election can be spent on this runoff. Terrell got 27 percent of the vote on Tuesday, but all three Republican candidates combined for 51 percent.

The long-term effect of the ban on soft money is, of course, still not known.

But, as our Brooks Jackson reports, fund-raisers in both parties are working to find ways around the new regulations.


BROOKS JACKSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yesterday was not just the day after the election. It was also the first day the new McCain- Feingold law banned soft money in congressional and presidential elections. So, does that mean we've really seen the last of those huge political donations from business corporations and labor unions and wealthy individuals? Don't count on it. The soft money ban is already under assault from all directions.

(voice-over): The first cracks were opened up by the Federal Election Commission, which is supposed to enforce the law, but some of whose members have publicly opposed it. The law's congressional sponsors are suing, saying the election commissioners have arbitrarily opened up a host of loopholes to keep soft money flowing.

Also weighing on the ban: the courts, which are being asked by congressional opponents of the law to strike it down, or at least limit its effect. A Supreme Court decision is not expected until late next year.

And then there's what the soft money ban doesn't cover in the first place. Issue groups will still be allowed to bundle millions directly to candidates, run phone banks and attack-mail, sponsor TV ads. And now both political parties are staging end runs around the ban, setting up what some are calling shadow committees that can keep on taking and spending soft money.

Here's one: the Democratic Senate Majority PAC. Here's another: the Republican State Leadership Committee. Both just filed papers this week, ready to start taking in money.

(on camera): So this is not the end of soft money. It's just the start of a whole new round of loopholes, evasions and legal battles.

Brooks Jackson, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: One more story we'll be following.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: That's it for this Thursday-after-the-election edition of INSIDE POLITICS.

I'm Judy Woodruff. Thank you for joining us.


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