CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Republicans Accused of Rolling Back Clean Air Standards
Aired November 22, 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 HOST: INSIDE POLITICS begins right now.
ANNOUNCER: A controversial change in the air. Is the Bush administration going easy on pollution from power plants?
Exactly 39 years after JFK was shot, why are we still so eager for information about the man and that dreadful day?
Pop and politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: Fill 'er up. Right to the brim.
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ANNOUNCER: Why one state has launched a campaign that the soda industry finds hard to swallow.
TOM FEDERLE, SODA INDUSTRY SPOKESMAN: We cannot tolerate being vilified in the same vein as tobacco. We are not that. We are not that.
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Rush Limbaugh program.
ANNOUNCER: What a rush -- a talk radio legend returns to center stage.
LIMBAUGH: People who listen to my program do not look at me as a clown nor my program as the circus.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.
Democrats are accusing the Bush administration of the most serious attack on the Clean Air Act ever.
The Environmental Protection Agency is moving today to ease clean air rules at power plants.
Senator Joe Lieberman is going so far as to call for EPA Chief Christie Whitman to resign.
The rules change would allow utilities, refineries and manufacturers to avoid new pollution controls when they expand their operations. The EPA says that will increase energy efficiency and encourage emissions reductions. But environmentalists in some states plan to file suit challenging the changes, making this a legal battle as well as political one.
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REP. ED MARKEY (D), ENERGY COMMITTEE: When it comes to education, the Bush administration promises to leave no child behind. But when it comes to protecting our air, the Bush administration policies leave all children behind with an inhaler. Regulate softly and carry a big inhaler may be the new motto at the Bush EPA, but it's not what the American people want or deserve.
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WOODRUFF: Our Jonathan Karl will have more on how the Democrats are pouncing on this issue.
But first, I asked "Time" magazine's Jay Carney to explain what the change in clean air rules really mean.
JAMES CARNEY, "TIME MAGAZINE": Well, it's been long expected but it's not surprising that they postponed it until after the midterm elections because what it means is that electric, coal and other utilities companies will basically be able to avoid the kind of restrictions and regulations that were in place prior to this ruling to force them to limit the amount of pollution they put in to the air.
It -- there's a thing called new source review. And these regulations will kick in to effect whenever a utility built a new plant or did so much significant maintenance on an old plant that it would qualify as new source. It liberalizes those rules and basically rewards the utilities and the energy companies.
WOODRUFF: So this is a fairly significant portion of the energy industry?
CARNEY: It is. It really covers the spectrum of the energy industry and it is something that was sought by these companies against the wishes of environmentalists and certainly some people who work in the EPA.
WOODRUFF: What's the significance of the timing of this, Jay, coming almost three weeks after the election -- the midterm elections?
CARNEY: I think there's no surprise that it came after midterm elections. Even though the administration had telegraphed that they would be liberalizing these rules, the actual decision -- by making it now after the elections means that the Democrats were not able to use it as an issue in the midterms and, frankly, this is the kind of environmental issue unlike, say, the spotted owl, that really resonates with suburban families who can react negatively to a ruling that affects the air that we breathe. WOODRUFF: Well, we're almost two years away from the next election. Are the Democrats going to be able to get political mileage out of this?
CARNEY: Well, I think they should be able to, if they play it smart. Again, play it as an environmental issue that affects the average American as opposed to something obscure and boutique, like a rare or an endangered species.
And this will probably not be the first occasion that they will have to criticize the administration for rewarding big business over the little guy.
WOODRUFF: And this is an industry you and I were talking about earlier that has contributed money to the Bush campaign?
CARNEY: Well, disproportionately contributed money not only to the Bush campaign in 2000, but to Republicans. I think the electric utilities contributed something like -- for every $10 they gave, $8 to Republicans during this midterm cycle. Coal, I think it was $2 out of $3 to the Republicans. So, it's an industry that knows where its friends are politically, and they've won the rewards of their contributions.
WOODRUFF: So basically, what you're saying is, it's up to the Democrats now to see whether they can make an issue or not out of this?
CARNEY: They have to see if they can make it an issue, see if they can effectively, as Bill Clinton did, make the environment a widespread concern among voters as opposed to one just limited to people on the far left.
WOODRUFF: OK. Jay Carney. "Time" magazine. Thanks very much.
CARNEY: Thanks for having me.
WOODRUFF: Appreciate it.
WOODRUFF: And now quickly to Capitol Hill where the Democrats apparently do believe the Bush administration has handed them a potent political issue.
Here now our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl. Jon, what are the Democrats saying about this? Is there any doubt in their minds they can make some hay out of it?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, look at it this way, Judy. There's been a competition among presidential candidates or potential presidential candidates on the Democratic side to win the support of the environmental movement. And in the wake of this decision by the White House, four of the top contenders here in the Senate -- possible contenders for the White House, all put out very harshly worded statements criticizing the White House. John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, John Edwards and Tom Daschle immediately had statements on this.
One of the strongest came from Joe Lieberman, who called on Christie Todd Whitman, the Environmental Protection Agency's administrator, to resign. His statement read, "Time and again her advice has been overruled by a White House determined to gut common sense environmental standards. Out of principle and protest, she should step down." That from Joe Lieberman.
And in a bit of one-upmanship perhaps, John Kerry put out a statement saying -- quote -- "Today's environmental assault by the Bush administration underscores what's at stake -- to safeguard the environment we don't just need a new EPA administrator, we need a new president." Presumably, John Kerry would step forward to take up that if offered.
But as we go forward through this, the other -- more statements came out. Tom Daschle actually accused of the president of political timing on this, saying that he waited until after the elections because he knew that voters would reject this if he had done it before the elections.
And Judy, it's not just Democrats that are jumping all over this. Republicans -- some moderate Republicans are also concerned. There's already a statement out from Olympia Snowe, the moderate Republican from Maine saying that this decision will mean dirtier air for the state of Maine. She's concerned about this.
And if there's any question as to whether or not the EPA Administrator Christie Whitman would take Lieberman's advice, we've just been told by the EPA that Administrator Christie Todd Whitman has absolutely no intention of stepping down. And this -- in a statement she said that -- her spokesperson said that "Whitman has a solid record on clean air and clean water" -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Jon, one other issue that's been very much in the forefront, that is the extension of unemployment benefits. A number of quarters have been calling on Congress to pass legislation that would extend these benefits. The White House has been against it, though. These benefits are about to expire. What has Congress done?
KARL: Well, not exactly. I mean, the White House hasn't really been against this. This is really a pretty sad story up here. The fact of the matter is, both the Senate and the House, both Democrats and Republicans up here, have voted to extend unemployment benefits, unemployment benefits that will expire for about a million workers on September 28.
They have disagreed on exactly how to do it. Let's take a look at the plans here. On the Senate plan, a more generous plan, Democratic plan supported by Republicans here, $5 billion it would cost to extend benefits through March.
Over in the House, a $900 million plan to extend benefits through January. There are some other, more technical differences between the two plans. But the bottom line here is that both houses have voted to extend these benefits. They couldn't agree on details and now, as a result, for about a million workers on December 28, three days after Christmas, their benefits will expire.
WOODRUFF: All right. Jon, you're right, for those people, it is a sad story. OK. Jon Karl. Thanks very much.
A very different story now about doing without. It comes from the state of Maine. As CNN's Bill Delaney explains, officials their want young people to kick their soft drink habit.
BILL DELANEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Right after school. Portland, Maine. A little convenience store, like millions around the country, selling a lot of soft drinks, a ritual Maine believes its teenagers should can, because it's making too many of them overweight.
(on camera): Maine is the first state in the country to sponsor a campaign to discourage kids from too much soda drinking. A more than million dollar campaign that's being closely watched by several other states. And by the soda industry.
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NARRATOR: Fill 'er up! Right to the brim! Sweet enough for you? In just one 12 ounce regular soda, there's up to 10 teaspoons of sugar.
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(voice-over): Maine's ad campaigns called "Enough is enough." Soda makers say, You said it.
FEDERLE: We cannot tolerate being vilified in the same vein as tobacco. We are not that. We are not that.
DELANEY: True enough, say officials in Maine, but they accept USDA figures the soda industry disputes, indicating teenagers who consume soft drinks, down on average, 870 cans a year.
DR. DORA MILLS, DIR., MAINE BUREAU OF HEALTH: We have a major public health problem on our hands. We're just saying that 61 percent of Americans are overweight and obese. There are many factors causing it. We're trying to point out some of those factors.
DELANEY: Aware several states are considering following Maine's lead, the soda industry's both trying to fight back and get on board.
FEDERLE: If the state is to put out a message that soft drinks ought to be enjoyed in moderation, we would support that.
DELANEY: But that will cut into your business, won't it?
FEDERLE: That's OK. We're not driven simply by the bottom line.
DELANEY: Maine says its ads are simply urging moderation, to encourage teenagers to lose weight. But the industry has now gotten the state to release new ads, emphasizing the need for greater physical activity, not singling out just soda. The state insists, though, it's not backing down from targeting widening soda drinking as a reason some teenagers are getting wider, too.
Bill Delaney, CNN, Portland, Maine.
WOODRUFF: And there's much more ahead on "INSIDE POLITICS."
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Bill Schneider in Los Angeles. Up next, I'll have a "Play of the Week" that caused the rush to the airwaves.
JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield in New York. A look beyond the recent audiotapes released from the day John F. Kennedy was murdered and ask, What do recent revelations about him say about us?
WOODRUFF: Also ahead, Senator and would-be presidential candidate John Kerry. Does he consider himself a party animal?
WOODRUFF: Here in Washington, everybody's rushing home for the holidays, but some in Congress are packing up and leaving town for the last time. A final goodbye, when INSIDE POLITICS returns.
WOODRUFF: Time now for our "Political Play of the Week," and this week, Bill Schneider went beyond the usual cast of politicians for his selection. Bill joins us now from Los Angeles.
SCHNEIDER: Hi, Judy.
You know, getting other people to treat you as somebody important is an accomplishment. Maybe even the "Political Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): After the 1994 midterm, talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was treated as a hero by Republicans, the driving force behind the GOP takeover of Congress.
LIMBAUGH: What role do you think talk radio plays? You people in the press have got to understand something. This country is conservative. It has been for a long time. Get used to it.
SCHNEIDER: Since then, conservative radio talk shows have proliferated. Little Limbaughs everywhere.
This week, following another GOP midterm election triumph, Limbaugh was once again singled out for influence, but not by a Republican.
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: What happens, when Rush Limbaugh attacks those of us in public life, is that people aren't satisfied just to listen. They want to act, because they get emotionally invested. And so, you know, the threats to those of us in public life go up dramatically and on our families and on us.
SCHNEIDER: Was Daschle suggesting that Rush Limbaugh incites people to violence? Well, yes.
DASCHLE: My point was simply this, that sometimes the rhetoric turns to verbal abuse and sometimes verbal abuse turns to physical abuse.
SCHNEIDER: Limbaugh scoffs at the notion.
LIMBAUGH: I never once encouraged people to take action, other than to vote.
SCHNEIDER: But on his radio show, he was quick to boast about his new stature.
LIMBAUGH: Most Americans don't know who Daschle is. Well, they do now. How did they -- how did he do it? He attached himself to me.
SCHNEIDER: Daschle has been the target of physical attacks. Remember the anthrax letters?
But Daschle hasn't produced proof connecting those attacks to rush Limbaugh. Sure, words have consequences. Limbaugh agrees.
LIMBAUGH: Well, I know that. We won. Of course my words have consequences.
SCHNEIDER: Limbaugh is thoroughly enjoying this.
LIMBAUGH: Frankly, I mean, this is, you know, pleasure for me.
SCHNEIDER: Why not? Daschle's complaint pays tribute to Limbaugh's influence.
To get a tribute like that is the political "Play of the Week."
SCHNEIDER (on camera): He hit me, Daschle is complaining. Well, maybe he did. But as Findlay Peter Dunn's Mr. Dooley once said, Politics ain't bean bag-- Judy.
WOODRUFF: That's right. And he was the man who said it. All right. Bill, thanks very much.
Well, Senator Phil Gramm has spent nearly a quarter of a century on Capitol Hill. Now, he's hanging up his lawmaker's spurs and heading back to his home state of Texas.
Our Jonathan Karl spoke with him about his years on the Hill and what lies ahead.
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KARL: What are your thoughts as you pack up this office for the last time?
SEN. PHIL GRAMM (R), TEXAS: Well, I think only a -- I think anybody who has done this job for 18 years in the Senate, six years in the House, two-thirds of their adult life, that doesn't think they're going to miss it when they leave is not being honest with themselves. I think I have a pretty clear picture.
I'm going to miss my colleagues. I'm going to miss the cause. I'm going to miss the struggle. But I am leaving happy I came, proud of what I did while I was here.
KARL: What are the biggest regrets? You know, we tend to look...
GRAMM: I really don't have many regrets. I think if somebody said to me, You could go back knowing everything you know now and be a freshman member of the House, I would not be willing to throw a hand back in, reshuffle and redeal it.
KARL: Maybe you would start off as a Republican this time? I mean, after all, you came here to this town as a Democrat?
GRAM: Well, I don't know. You know, I couldn't -- I grew up in a family where my grandmother was a Democrat, because of those guys in blue shirts who burned down her grandmother's barn. So I couldn't change that without changing who I am.
I guess -- the beauty of my situation is, is that I had a great career. On the last day of the session, we won on a big issue, homeland security, that I was a leader on.
KARL: Yes, you weren't much of a lame duck. I mean, you stayed in the game right until the end.
GRAMM: Well, we were dealing with issues that I cared about. The president asked me to be involved in that issue. And also, it's sort of like, How many old braves on their last war party come back with a scalp? Not many. And I had the privilege of doing that.
KARL: But you came to this town as an advocate of a smaller government, limited government, lower taxes, you know, one of the true believers of a conservative -- kind of a movement conservative.
You're leaving -- I mean, the government's bigger. There's been no major programs eliminated. I mean, do you have in regrets that you...
GRAMM: No. Well, first of all, the government as a percentage of the economy's actually smaller than it was when I came. I was a key leader in both the Reagan tax cut and the Bush tax cut. I mean, how much glory does somebody want in one lifetime? KARL: So what are you packing up here? You've got...
GRAMM: These are Texas animals. These are copies of the, what I call the Texas Audoboun. So this is a jackrabbit. This is the armadillo.
KARL: So these are portraits of the jackrabbit and the armadillo? You don't actually have any jackrabbits in here, right?
GRAMM: No, sir. These -- this is a picture of a jackrabbit, a picture of an armadillo.
KARL: Well, Senator Gramm, thanks for sharing some of your last moments here in the Senate with us.
GRAMM: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
KARL: Take care. Good luck.
GRAMM: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Hmmm. Homeland security department is a scalp. That's a new way to look at it.
The clean air controversy: is an ill wind blowing from Washington? The view from the right and left when we return.
Plus, politics is a family affair for one New Hampshire clan. That story coming up.
But first, the closing bell just rang and the weekend is under way on Wall Street. Allan Chernoff joins us from the market -- the place where we watch the markets.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.
Stocks did end mostly lower today after meandering during most of the session. But the moves -- they were small today. Not all that much economic or corporate developments to move the market in either direction, after two big days of gains.
They were enough to give the averages yet another winning week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average down 40 points today, but for the week, up 2.6 percent. That is the seventh consecutive weekly gain for the Dow, and that's the longest streak since the early days of 1998. The Nasdaq composite, edging higher on the day, rising 4.1 percent this week.
Investors were feasting on Krispy Kreme. Shares of the doughnut company rising 5.25 percent after it reported a very sweet 55 percent rise in earnings. Krispy Kreme's adding coffee to its menu helped to perk up its bottom line.
That is the latest from Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS after the break, including the connection between a man of sometimes controversial words and Bill Schneider's "Political Play of the Week."
WOODRUFF: Thirty-nine years to the day after the JFK assassination, we ask, What if President Kennedy had survived? Would the turbulent '60s have been a quiet decade? We'll take a look. But first, this "News Alert."
WOODRUFF: The Bush administration is easing clean air rules for power plants and refineries. The EPA says that the changes increase energy efficiency and encourage emissions reductions. Environmentalists in a group of northeast states say they will file suit to stop the changes.
With us now, Mindy Tucker. She's communications director for the Republican National Committee and Democratic strategist Kiki McLean.
Let's go straight to the argument, Mindy Tucker, that some Democrats are making. And that is that the Bush campaign in 2000 got four times as much money as the Democrats from the oil and gas industry, two times as much from the electric utilities and almost seven times as much from the mining industry. So their question is, Is this payback time?
MINDY TUCKER, RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, let's first of all get the policy straight. Nobody has yet today on the show that I've seen thus far. What we're doing is saying, If you're not going to change emissions, you're going to make some changes in a news plant -- you're not going to change emissions, not increase them, you shouldn't have to go through a lot of bureaucratic red tape to make changes for your business.
If you are, the same rules exist the same procedures exist and the same emissions limits exist. This is not going to change anything with regard to emissions limits -- it's not going to allow people to get out of rules and change things in a way that's going to harmful to our environment. And the people that say it is are simply looking for an issue to attack the president on and don't understand the policy.
It;s really disappointing to me, because what we should be talking about the is the Clear Skies initiative, which is going to reduce emissions to the equivalent of 70 million cars on the road.
KIKI MCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: This is straight -- the straight science on this is this is a rollback of standard. If it wasn't going to change anything, Mindy knows as well as you do, Judy, that they wouldn't be making this announcement on a Friday afternoon. That you wouldn't have states up in arm ready to file suit, because it's going to make it harder for them to meet the clean air standards.
And what's going to happen is, you're going to find that a pass gets given once, twice, three times again to the big donors to the Bush campaign. Nobody should be surprised that this administration wants to roll back standards on making our air cleaner, our water cleaner.
MCLEAN: Well, what I have yet to hear, is I have yet Christie Todd Whitman, say, Why and how this is better and what they're doing. She can't make that case because the science isn't there. And what you're finding that the states will say, We can't clean our air if we don't have the right to ask these folks to do it the right way.
TUCKER: They can't say what standards are going to change and frankly, it does make things better, because businesses aren't going to be under horrible bureaucratic red tape, which I realize the Democrats like. They aren't going to be under bureaucratic red tape when they're not making changes to emissions.
MCLEAN: Democrats believe you've got to make things more efficient when it works and it's the right thing to do because it pays off for everybody. But what we have right now is a Cheney administration connected with oil and utilities rolling back a standard...
TUCKER: Lots of rhetoric about how Republicans hate the environment. It's ridiculous.
WOODRUFF: All right, let's move on to these unemployment benefits expiring in a matter of weeks. The House and the Senate couldn't agree. The White House basically said, We're not going to force you to do this. Who's going to get blamed for this failure to extend these benefits that almost a million people are going to experience in a matter of -- you know, by the end of December?
TUCKER: We shouldn't be talking about blame. What we should be talking about is, you know, the House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats figures what they can agree on and getting a bill to the president. That's what this is. They both passed a bill. It's two different timelines. Figure out what you're going to do, pass it, get it to the president so he can sign it. We should be talking about blame, we should be talking about ....
MCLEAN: Mindy and I agree on something here, which is about solutions. And there has been a bipartisan solution in the Senate to make sure that we can extend benefits. What the failure is here is not about members in the Senate. The failure is on leadership on the part of the president.
We all know the kind of clout this president has with his party, the Republicans and the leadership. He set in motion change on a lot of issues with the leadership of his party from both the House and the Senate. Where we're saying is, Where is he now? He's absent in the leadership.
Three days after Christmas, nearly a million people will lose their unemployment insurance and benefits and 100,000 people a week after that. That -- you know what? That's a Grinch who stole Christmas. And what a crummy way to start a new year.
TUCKER: Frankly, you know -- the president has exercised leadership. He said, Get me a bill. He has exercised leadership on a number...
MCLEAN: How about calling -- how about getting on the phone, calling Denny Hastert, calling the Republican leadership in the House and say...
TUCKER: I know this might shock you, but we don't put a press release out every time he makes phone calls and every time he does stuff. He just -- you know, the president has made clear...
TUCKER: The House and Senate need to come together and get him a bill. We all believe people...
MCLEAN: George Bush needs to take control of the situation and make something happen here.
WOODRUFF: It's pretty clear this session goes out with a bang and not a whimper. All right -- or, depends on your perspective.
Kiki McLean, Mindy Tucker. Thank you both. We appreciate you coming by this Friday.
Still ahead: sex appeal in Washington? Does Bob Novak have anything to say about that? We know that Bob does have some "Inside Buzz" on the White House push to get its judicial nominees confirmed.
Stay with us.
WOODRUFF: The president has been reported to call, occasionally, his defense secretary Rums-stud. Well, he's apparently not the only one who recognizes that many women find Donald Rumsfeld appealing. The -- quote -- "Sexiest Man Alive' edition of "People" magazine has hit the newsstands. Inside, Rumsfeld is honored as the sexiest Cabinet member. He's described as a -- quote -- "big, flirty pussycat with a tough exterior." And, sexiest of all, he still is happily married to his high school sweetheart, Joyce.
Well, speaking of sexy and appealing people, Bob Novak joins us from the CNN "CROSSFIRE" set.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob, you just interviewed Don Rumsfeld. Did you ask him about making this list?
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. It didn't occur to me.
I don't know what Joyce Rumsfeld is going to think about that. What bothers me about that is that Rumsfeld is about the same age as I am. And nobody has called me sexy in my entire life. So I kind of feel bad about the whole proposition.
WOODRUFF: Well, I think they excluded most journalists from the contest.
WOODRUFF: All right, let's move on to the effort for President Bush to get some of his judicial appointments confirmed. Where does that stand?
NOVAK: Well, they're going to renominate some of the judges that were voted down in the Senate-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
But the most interesting thing, Judy, is a young Washington lawyer, a brilliant lawyer named Miguel Estrada. He's Hispanic. He's really a refugee from Honduras. And they have wanted to get him confirmed as quickly as possible to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to get him some time there, so they could put him on the Supreme Court, because it would be very, very hard for the Democrats ever to vote against him.
They have had him bottled up all these months. And they may try to slow it down. But they got to give him a little time on the Appeals Court before they can name him to the Supreme Court. But keep your eye on Miguel Estrada.
WOODRUFF: Another story: New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg, you're hearing something about his future?
NOVAK: Yes. There's a lot speculation, both here and in New Hampshire, on whether he is going to resign before his term ends in 2004. A lot of people have always felt he didn't want to spend the rest of his life in the Senate. He would be like to be a judge or a Cabinet member.
But what worries people is -- and he would do it as soon as they got a Republican governor, which they didn't in this election. But what worries him is that outgoing Governor Jeanne Shaheen, who ran a good, strong race, in losing to John E. Sununu, would probably then run for the seat in 2004. And a lot of Republicans are very worried they could lose that other New Hampshire seat. If he does resign, the guess is that the new Republican governor, Craig Benson, will probably name former Governor Steve Merrill to the Senate. You remember him, don't you, Judy?
WOODRUFF: I sure do.
All right, still in the Republican Party, Chairman Marc Racicot, we've talked about him before. Now, what are you hearing about whether he is going to finish out his term?
NOVAK: Well, there was a meeting at the White House this week and everybody said they want him to stay. They want him to stay because he doesn't do that much.
They have a young guy named Jack Oliver, who runs the committee. And Governor Racicot is the front man at the committee. That's just the way the White House likes it. But there's a lot of people who feel that Governor Racicot would like to resign. The story that I hear is that the president may personally ask him. And I don't think Racicot could say no to George W. Bush.
WOODRUFF: And, finally, a little information about the candidate for governor of the state of Mississippi?
NOVAK: I love this story.
Thad Cochran, the senator from Mississippi, was reelected with almost 90 percent of the vote. For the first time since there was a Democratic Party, the Democrats didn't put a candidate for senator in Mississippi. He just ran against the independent. And yet his state chairman, Senator Cochran's state chairman, was all over the state everywhere, working hard. You know why?
Because his name is Haley Barbour, former Republican national chairman, big-time Washington lobbyist. And the reason he was campaigning was not that it was a close race for Cochran. He wanted to get himself known, because he's going to run for governor. And he will be the favorite to be the governor from Mississippi, probably going to announce either at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year.
WOODRUFF: Well, you don't think it was just a coincidence, I guess?
NOVAK: Not at all, not for a guy who is getting 90 percent of the vote, to campaign hard for him.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Novak, have a great weekend.
NOVAK: You, too, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, as we mentioned earlier, Bob just interviewed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. That interview can be seen tomorrow morning on CNN at 9:00 a.m. Eastern.
Coming up next: Sparks fly down in the bayou ahead of next month's runoff election for the Senate in Louisiana. We'll hear from the challenger, Republican Suzanne Terrell.
WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": An automatic recount has been triggered in Colorado's 7th Congressional District. That's because a provisional vote count announced last night showed Republican Bob Beauprez just 122 votes ahead of Democrat Mike Feeley. The recount must be completed by December 15.
In the Louisiana Senate runoff, debate fireworks: GOP challenger Suzanne Terrell took aim last night at incumbent Mary Landrieu's campaign ad on tax cuts.
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SUZANNE TERRELL (R), LOUISIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: Mary's ad is 100 percent negative, after she told the people of Louisiana and the people in this country that she was going to run a positive campaign.
As a matter of fact, less than 36 hours after she made that pledge on national television, she came up with a negative ad and has completely run negative ads. And it's 100 percent false.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: I want to say, it is absolutely laughable that my commercial, which calls for a tax cut for all people in Louisiana, regardless of whether they make $200,000 or $20,000, is a negative ad. I just don't see the negative aspects of it. All I see are positive aspects of people who are hurting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: That from the debate last night.
Meanwhile, more big GOP guns are helping Terrell. Governor George Pataki of New York and Senator John Warner of Virginia will host a fund-raiser in New York on December 4 with special guest Bush political guru Karl Rove.
Terrell's aides tell us that they also expect a visit to Louisiana by President Bush himself before the December 7 runoff. But they say they don't have an exact date yet.
I spoke with Suzanne Terrell a little earlier this week. I first asked her if Senator Landrieu took the issue of national security off the table when she voted for the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday.
TERRELL: Well, you know, I applaud her for finally coming along and doing what was right for Louisiana, because Louisiana can be a target. We have 11 forts and a large refinery and military installations. So, I'm glad she did it. I'm sorry it took so long.
WOODRUFF: You have said that you want to be a senator, among other things, to support President Bush 100 percent. Mary Landrieu says this race should be about Louisiana.
You've got Vice President Cheney in there already campaigning for you. You've said you want the president in there. Some would look at this and say you're really trying to nationalize this campaign in order to take advantage of the president's popularity.
TERRELL: Well, I think it's very interesting. One thing is that Mary Landrieu says that I would support the president 100 percent, because there's little more she can say. She tried to attach herself to the president in the primary and now she is trying to distance herself.
I've made it very clear that, when the president and I disagree, we're going to disagree vehemently on the things that specifically hurt Louisiana, like our steel tariffs, like some of our issues in the sugar industry and the rice industry, which are big agriculture industries in this state.
WOODRUFF: I just want to ask you, there were three Republicans, of course, running for the Senate on November 5. You came out on top with a little more than a quarter of the vote.
But now there are some real questions about whether all the Republicans in the state are going to come together. You had the governor, Mike Foster, in essence, extracting a promise from the Bush administration with regard to education funding before he would even endorse you. Are you going to have the support you need in your own party?
TERRELL: Oh, absolutely.
And I think, again, that I don't think there were any deals. And I made that very clear last Sunday, that the most important thing is education, is our children, not the ping-pong of politics. And so I'm not sure that, again, that it's not a mischaracterization that there were any deals made. The governor and I have always supported each other. He did support a different candidate in the primary, which, I would suggest, as anyone is after an election, a little upset and concerned about their own candidate. But we have all come together.
WOODRUFF: Let me finally ask you about this runoff. As you know, it takes place on a Saturday in December, when voters have a lot on their minds other than going to the polls. Is this, in essence, going to be a contest of who does a better job of getting their base out?
TERRELL: It's certainly going to be a get-out-the-vote election.
All of Louisiana elections are generally on Saturday, except for the federals, which were the presidential and this primary that was held on November 7 -- I mean November 5. So, Louisianians are used to voting on a Saturday. But it is the SEC playoffs and the beginning of deer season in Louisiana. So it is going to be important for people to turn out and vote.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: Suzanne Terrell talking with me just a couple of days ago.
We should tell you, we've also asked for an interview with the Democratic incumbent, Senator Mary Landrieu. We hope to have that before the election runoff.
Well, President Bush, as we've been telling you, is in Lithuania at this hour, the first U.S. president to visit that Baltic state. Earlier, in Russia, President Vladimir Putin joined President Bush in demanding that Saddam Hussein fully comply with U.N. resolutions to disarm. But Putin warned the president that the United States should not wage war against Iraq on its own.
Our senior White House correspondent John King with Mr. Bush in Vilnius, Lithuania now.
John, how did all that go in Russia?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, White House officials say they are satisfied with the talks.
But it was clear that Mr. Putin wanted to prove he would be no pushover when it comes to Iraq or the war on terrorism. Not only did Putin say the United States should work within the United Nations if it comes to war with Iraq; he also seemed to suggest that he thought the rest of the war on terrorism deserved much more of a priority than Saddam Hussein and Iraq.
Mr. Putin, for example, said 16 of the 19 hijackers on September 11 came from Saudi Arabia and was enough being done to crack on terrorist financing. He also made note, just after Mr. Bush made a big deal about the arrest of this senior al Qaeda figure in recent months -- Mr. Bush said it was proof he was winning the war on terrorism -- Mr. Putin went out of his way to make note that Osama bin Laden was still at large.
So, these two men say they are friends, but it's clear they have some differences when it comes to Iraq and the war on terror -- Judy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): And we agree with the president of the United States and his colleagues who say that we have...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: John, we heard just a touch of what the Russian president was saying.
I know, while you're traveling internationally, you still have a chance to talk to the Bush staff about other things. And I gather you've been picking up a little information about some thoughts they're having about making some changes in their economic policy team? KING: Well, there are some reports back in the states that they are thinking about making some changes, based on some meetings Vice President Dick Cheney has been having with some economists.
But White House officials say this appears to be yet again wishful thinking by some Republicans who wish the president would shake up his economic team. One report on the wires today noting that Wayne Angell, a former official with the Federal Reserve, is among the economists meeting with Mr. Cheney in recent days and weeks, suggesting perhaps he would be a candidate to replace Paul O'Neill as the treasury secretary.
Sources here on the road traveling with the president, sources back in Washington as well say there are no plans for a shakeup at that level at all. I spoke to a close friend of Secretary O'Neill late yesterday, who said the secretary is planning to see the president just when the president gets back from this trip. White House say meetings with Secretary O'Neill are planned about State of the Union proposals on taxes and longer-range proposals on tax reform.
So, many conservative Republicans continue to complain about the Bush team, continue to say there should be some changes at the top. There will be some changes in the White House staff level, we are told. But it appears yet again, unless everybody is putting on quite a good act, that the secretary of the treasury, the secretary of commerce, the top members of the team, are here to stay -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, it certainly sounds like they've put to rest the stories about Secretary O'Neill.
All right, John King, thanks very much.
KING: At least for now.
WOODRUFF: Travel safe.
KING: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We know you're on your way back to the U.S. shortly. Thanks, John.
Coming up: Jeff Greenfield on yet more new information on JFK and what it does for the legacy.
WOODRUFF: Thirty-nine years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Just this week, new revelations have stripped more layers from the image of the man and the president.
Our senior analyst, Jeff Greenfield, has more on how the public remembers President Kennedy.
GREENFIELD (voice-over): It was the moment for the first generation of American television, those black-and-white images from 39 years ago still frozen in time.
But even now, we learn new details about that time and about the president who was murdered that day. Newly released tapes recount the conversations between Washington and the plane carrying six Cabinet members on their way to a meeting in Japan.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WHITE HOUSE: We have report quoting Mr. Kilduff in Dallas that the president is dead, that he died about 35 minutes ago. Do you have that? Over.
PLANE: The president is dead. Is that correct?
WHITE HOUSE: That is correct. That is correct.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GREENFIELD: Newly released information reveals that President Kennedy and his family covered up the truth about his health. He was indeed suffering from a life-threatening Addison's disease and was taking a battery of highly potent drugs.
The image of a young, healthy vigorous president was largely a myth, as was the image of John Kennedy, the devoted family man. We have known for years that he was given to frequent, sometimes reckless infidelities.
So, is the memory of John Kennedy simply a case of a credulous press and a generation channeling its nostalgia through the media that generation now dominates? Or is there something more to all this than a fantasy of Camelot and all that? Well, look back to the months before the assassination. A massive peaceful march on Washington for civil rights had propelled that unfinished business of America to the top of the president's agenda.
And, just months after the Cuban Missile Crisis had brought the world to the brink of nuclear war, the U.S. and the Soviet Union had negotiated a limited nuclear test ban treaty. In other words, hope was indeed in the air on many fronts.
By contrast, the first summer after Kennedy's death saw the first race riots in America in 20 years. And they were to continue for summer after summer. That same summer of '64, the Gulf of Tonkin incident occurred. It helped trigger an escalation in Vietnam, from a limited skirmish to what would become the longest, most-divisive war of the century and, with it, years of protests and upheaval.
GREENFIELD: In other words, the American climate darkened in the years just after Kennedy's death. Now, maybe it would have happened anyway. Maybe it was all just a coincidence, the random result of fate. But for those who lived through that time, Kennedy's time seemed more hopeful, more buoyant than what followed.
And that, I think, is one big reason why all the revolutions since have still not erased that sense of loss -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: There's no question about it. I think it's very hard to argue with that.
Jeff Greenfield, thanks very much.
This note: You can hear the complete tape of the conversation between the White House situation room and the plane carrying those Cabinet members on the day Kennedy was shot today on NPR's "All Things Considered." That's National Public Radio.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Finally, Senator John Kerry may have found an unusual platform to run on if he decides to seek the presidency. Kerry reportedly waxed about his earlier, more carefree years in an interview with Joe Klein of "The New Yorker." We are not sure of the context, but we do have this one quote.
Kerry reportedly said: "I knew how to have a lot of fun, sometimes too much. There were plenty of times when I was disengaged, frivolous, four sheets to the wind on a weekend" -- end quote. Senator Kerry may want to do a little explaining about that at some point. We can't wait.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us.
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