CNN CAPITAL GANG
Kissinger to Head 9/11 Commission; Inspectors Resume Work Inside Iraq; Interview With Helene Gayle
Aired November 30, 2002 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.
MARK SHIELDS, HOST: Welcome to CAPITAL GANG.
I'm Mark Shields with Al Hunt, Robert Novak, and Kate O'Beirne.
Our guest is the newly elected Democratic whip of the United States House, Congressman Steny Hoyer of Maryland. Congratulations, Steny, and thank you for coming in.
REP. STENY HOYER (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, glad to be here.
SHIELDS: Good to have you here.
President Bush named former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger as chairman of the commission to investigate the government's failure to prevent the September 11 terrorist attacks. Democratic congressional leaders named former Senate majority leader George Mitchell as vice chairman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I also hope that the commission will act quickly and issue its report prior to the 18th month deadline embodied in the legislation. After all, if there's changes that need to be made, we need to know them as soon as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: Dr. Kissinger was asked whether U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia and other Muslim states would inhibit the commission's work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY KISSINGER, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: We should go where the facts lead us, and that we're not restricted by any foreign policy considerations.
We are under no restrictions. And we would accept no restrictions.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SHIELDS: Earlier, President Bush designated Tom Ridge, currently the White House director of homeland security, to be the first secretary of that new cabinet department. Later in the week, a bloody attack on Israeli tourists in Kenya was widely attributed to the al Qaeda terrorist network.
Al Hunt, is the Kissinger-Mitchell team equipped to get to the bottom of the September 11 tragedy and disaster?
AL HUNT, CAPITAL GANG: Mark, Henry Kissinger has many skills. One of them is not unveiling government secrets. He thinks open government is a plague.
But I think if you look at what will be the likely composition of that commission, starting with George Mitchell -- and don't forget that Richard Shelby and John McCain, who I think do want to get to the bottom of this, also get to tap a member of that.
I think it's going to be very hard for any kind of cover-up here. Look, this was a cataclysm, and there's probably a lot of blame to go around. Clinton administration, earlier administrations, Bush administration, but they've got to get to the bottom of it, they got to go into very sensitive areas, intelligence. They've got to look at the Saudi role that was played in this. That's going to be embarrassing. I'm sure it may even be overly sensitive.
But what trumps all of that is the public's need and right to know here. Otherwise, for years, as long as we live, there are going to be these cranks on the left and right who are going to have conspiracy theories. Got to get to the bottom of this.
And I think Henry Kissinger may have been appointed to perpetuate a cover-up. It's not going to work, and he'll have to go along with that commission.
SHIELDS: Bob Novak,"People" magazine this week named Ben Affleck, the Hollywood star, the sexiest man alive. A recount that showed Richard Simmons, the diet guru, being the sexiest man alive would not have surprised me more than the appointment of Henry Kissinger to uncover government lapses and level with the public.
ROBERT NOVAK, CAPITAL GANG: Well, this is a very interesting story. If I could cut through some of this bombast, the people who, the people who wanted this commission from the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- from the beginning, many of them, not all of them, but many of them wanted to embarrass the Bush administration, make him look bad, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), a little too late now for the 2002 election, but they'd still like to do it.
The Bush people were guess that there's nothing that the Senate and House Intelligence Committees couldn't do that this blue ribbon, so-called, commission is supposed to do. But when they got the relatives of the victims of, of the, of the attack involved, the, the Bush administration had a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- had to succumb, had to yield to it. Now, the interesting thing, Mark, is that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Harry Kissinger -- Henry Kissinger is a hate figure by the left. They detest him. They call him a war criminal. And it's just wonderful that he has been named the head of this organization that the left wants to use as an instrument to undermine this administration.
SHIELDS: I can remember when Henry Kissinger was deplored by the right, and many on the right, on the anticommunist right.
KATE O'BEIRNE, CAPITAL GANG: I disagree with Bob on, on one point. The one thing congressional investigation couldn't get to the bottom of was congressional oversight of agencies that didn't possibly do their job before September 11. I'm hoping this new commission, and I'm not optimistic, given the track record of such commissions, but the stakes are so high, willing to go along and hope for the best. I'm hoping this commission looks at congressional oversight. What have they been doing lo these many years that the CIA and FBI haven't been cooperating?
SHIELDS: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) says that Henry Kissinger's made a life's practice of using the fig leaf of national security to prevent the information that the Congress -- congressional committees to exercise their constitutional responsibilities...
O'BEIRNE: Mark, look, if Kissinger...
SHIELDS: ... you know, from doing so.
O'BEIRNE: It's a Kissinger-Mitchell commission, fairly. He's the vice chairman, there are these other members too. And I can understand why the Bush administration embraced it.
NOVAK: But (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
O'BEIRNE: These agencies, as of September 11, several months into Bush's administration, it was Clinton's CIA, FBI, INS, that may have fallen down on the job. These agencies are now George Bush's agencies, and it seems to me he has every reason to want a full investigation in the interests of fixing what might have gone wrong.
SHIELDS: Steny Hoyer.
HOYER: Mark, let me say that obviously Kissinger has the ability, the knowledge, the skill to get out, if he wants to. And I think we could suspect that this may be his last major role in a public responsibility.
Now, he has a lot of clients. I'm very concerned about the possible conflict.
SHIELDS: Do you know who they are?
HOYER: Well, we know that -- No, he doesn't disclose them.
NOVAK: How about George Mitchell's clients?
HOYER: George Mitchell has clients too.
NOVAK: You bet he does.
HOYER: But I think the congressional oversight, Kate's right, we need to look at congressional oversight. But we need to find out, whatever administration had lapses, whatever agencies had lapses, the American public want to know what went wrong, why didn't we have better intelligence, why weren't we better able to stop this act of terrorism?
Not so much so we can place blame but so that we will not repeat the errors of the past.
HUNT: Mark, I think Steny's right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I want to correct Bob. Nobody propped up, no one got, they didn't get these families to get involved. These were people who cared deeply. They lost loved ones. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they were involved from day one, and they wanted this, and they -- no one had to get them involved in this.
Look, we went -- you said 14 months ago Osama bin Laden, dead or alive. Now we said, you know, months ago, it doesn't matter if Osama bin Laden's dead or alive because they're basically impotent. We've got al Qaeda on the run.
Well, Bali and Kenya have proven that that's not the case. We have to face up to reality. This is a very difficult problem. And we have to -- if we don't get to the truth, as Steny just said, as to what happened, we're never going to prevent it again.
NOVAK: You know, blue-ribbon commissions...
NOVAK: ... Al, generally, do a -- are, are there for two reasons. One is to make scapegoats, as in the admirals and the generals in Pearl Harbor. And the other is to prevent the truth from coming out. Did Roosevelt really know about Pearl Harbor? We'll never know because of the lousy job the Pearl Harbor...
HUNT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) didn't, by the way.
NOVAK: Well, there's a -- you know, I mean...
NOVAK: ... I mean, you, you, you're, you're, you, you're so deep into the liberal conventional wisdom...
HUNT: No, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
NOVAK: ... you won't get -- but what I'm...
HUNT: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)... NOVAK: ... what I'm trying...
HUNT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), you said Roosevelt, will you cite one historian who says that Roosevelt knew about Pearl Harbor? Just one.
NOVAK: Yes, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), there are several (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
NOVAK: The, the -- what is that guy's name, I...
HUNT: OK, all right.
NOVAK: Wait a minute, wait a minute, that's, that's a...
SHIELDS: ... want to make money.
NOVAK: ... that's unfair, I can, I can, I can come up with a lot of names for you. But there are, but there are, but the, but the, that isn't the point. The point is that the, these are, these are cover-ups and whitewashes that come out of these blue-ribbon commissions.
SHIELDS: I just say in conclusion that putting Henry Kissinger there, I think, is a pattern. We'll probably have Leona Helmsley in charge of IRS, and Charlton Heston in charge of the Brady bill.
Steny Hoyer and THE GANG will be back with the inspectors going to work in Iraq.
SHIELDS: Welcome back.
Today United Nations weapons inspectors examined two Iraqi military industrial plants and an army base. They expressed satisfaction with Iraq's cooperation, as they did after their first inspections earlier in the week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACQUES BAUTE, IAEA TEAM LEADER: We witnessed the immediateness of the access, so again, that's a good sign, and consistent with the commitments we heard earlier.
DIMITRI PERRICOS, U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: We managed to do all the things that we planned to do, we got the activities and the data that we wanted to get...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: After the inspectors arrived in Baghdad for the first time in four years, but before the first inspection, the chief of the team was asked how he would react to any Iraqi obstruction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: If they deny us access, we are report it to the Security Council. But even a delay of some little time will also be something that might be reported to the council. We are not the ones to decide war and peace. It's the Iraqi and their behavior on the one hand, and the Security Council and its members on the other hand, does decide on peace and war.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne, how would you judge the start of resumed weapons inspections?
O'BEIRNE: Fruitless, Mark. The U.N. inspections regime was designed to verify that a cooperating state has disarmed. In contrast to what these inspectors are now doing, which is chasing around, 80 of them, a country roughly the size of California looking for weapons of mass destruction needles in that size haystack.
Under the leadership of a 74-year-old Swedish diplomat, Hans Blix, who missed spotting Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program in the early '90s while he was praising how cooperative Saddam Hussein was doing.
Look, he's already shown his bad faith, Saddam. He still claims that he doesn't have weapons of mass destruction, and the entire world knows he does. And I think he's betting on the spinelessness, self- interest, and short attention span at the Security Council, and that might not be a bad bet.
SHIELDS: Bob, it was suggested that the president of the United States has been taken in and snookered by...
O'BEIRNE: The Security Council, not the president.
SHIELDS: ... this -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- but, I mean, the president went to the Security Council, and abided by that decision, requested this.
NOVAK: Donald Rumsfeld, the vice president, Richard Perle are not interested in weapons of mass destruction, they're interested in removing this regime of Saddam Hussein. That's what the debate is about. And when Secretary of State Powell convinced the president that this is really a question of weapons of mass destruction, you had to go to the inspectors.
Now, what if they don't find any weapons? Well, I was told by a, by a source, well, they're going to put out the evidence that there are weapons. Why won't they put out the evidence that there are weapons right now if they have it so we wouldn't have to go through this?
I think that the, the, the question is, if he, if these people, and I think they're well-motivated, intelligent people, I think they're courageous people, if they, if they say that the Iraqis are cooperating and they can't find weapons, I think that the people who want to have a regime change are in bad shape.
SHIELDS: There's dissension in our conservative community here, Steny, could you try and bring some light?
HOYER: I doubt that I can resolve contention in the conservative community, Mark, but -- and I won't even try, I don't think. But I do...
O'BEIRNE: It's simple. Bob Novak's wrong.
HOYER: Well, Bob Novak's wrong. Kate's given me the simple answer.
I think all of us believe that if this regime is going to work, it's got to be tough. And Hans Blix has to do what he has not done in the past, I think, and that's be tough both on Iraq, on Saddam Hussein, and tell the truth.
I frankly am not one who's been a great fan of the United Nations' actions in previous events, Bosnia being a specific point in case where I didn't support what the U.N. was doing in Bosnia. I hope Hans Blix, on the other hand, understands that the entire world is looking at him, the entire world believes that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, is developing biological weapons.
And he's got to find it. I agree with Kate, it's a very difficult task given the numbers of people and the size of the challenge. But if he is perceived to be dissembling, there isn't any doubt in my mind that President Bush is going to move.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: Well, this is the easy part right now. The inspectors are going to all the old haunts, if you will, the places where it was before, and Saddam is too smart to keep the stuff there.
I think in another eight days is going to be -- it's going to be absolutely critical, December 8 he has to -- the -- Saddam has to say, Here is what I have.
Now, my guess is he's going to be smart enough not just to say, Hey, I don't have anything.
O'BEIRNE: Nothing, right.
HUNT: He's going to say, I got a little bit of stuff. Guess what? We found this, and we found that, but it really didn't amount to much.
That's when it really gets tough, that's when I think there are going to be some people say, Now, wait a minute, he is trying to cooperate. I don't think that this administration, not just Rumsfeld and Perle and Cheney, but I think including George Bush, are going to say, No way, because I think the policy of this president, Bob, in the end is going to be regime replacement.
NOVAK: Well, I don't, you, you, I, he's not talking about regime change now, and that is a big difference.
Just as a matter of personal privilege, you asked me to name a historian and as a senior, I had a senior moment, I couldn't think of his name, is John Toland (ph), it came to me, nobody told me it. And I know you don't read those things, but look it up in the library. John Teal (ph), L-A-N-D (ph), and you might be interested in what he has to say.
HUNT: He's a really memorable figure.
NOVAK: He is a (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
NOVAK: ... he's more memorable than you are, Al.
HUNT: I can see, he, you remembered him well.
NOVAK: Well, if I were a little younger, I would have remembered him.
SHIELDS: Last word...
HUNT: I don't think so.
SHIELDS: ... last word, Robert Novak.
Next on CAPITAL GANG, is the Democratic Party in serious trouble?
SHIELDS: Welcome back.
One month after the midterm elections, Democrats were analyzing the source of their defeat and debating what to do about the future.
Last weekend, newly elected House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi returned to San Francisco to upgrade congressional Republicans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: They're not like the Republicans we know around here. These are extreme right-wing people, insensitive to the concerns of working families in America.
We're going to hold their feet to the fire on prescription drug benefits, on patient's bill of rights, on investing in education...
(END VIDEO CLIP) SHIELDS: A few days later, two leaders of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Al From and Bruce Reed, issued a draft memorandum warning the party against moving to the left for this reason, quote, "The harsh reality is that the Democratic base just isn't big enough to win. There are more conservatives than liberals, more independents than either Democrats or Republicans, more suburbanites than big-city dwellers, more whites than minorities, more nonunion workers than union workers," end quote.
Bob Novak, which way is the Democratic Party going?
NOVAK: Well, in the House of Representatives and Congress, they're moving to the left. Miss Pelosi decided that all the issues that hadn't worked for the last four elections, that since they haven't worked before, we'll try them again and just attack right-wing Republicans.
Other, other Republicans -- Democrats are concerned, including Bruce Reed and Al From, they're Clintonites, they're hardly right- wingers. And what they say in their memo is that this next election could be a very, very serious election for the Democratic Party unless they, if they are going to be the party of the left.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt, if I'm not mistaken, the Republicans embraced a patient's bill of rights, said they were for prescription drug benefits, so did George Bush in the 2000 campaign. So, I mean, I don't understand Bob's point about moving to the left and moving away (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
HUNT: Well, I, I, I, I think the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the ideology of all this is exaggerated. But I think the Reed-From memo actually is quite good, and it's quite good advice to the Democrats, in which they basically say, You cannot win an argument if you don't make one. And that's what happened to Steny's party in 2002.
And I think they're absolutely right that, like the Republicans, they ought to put, the Democrats ought to put the social issues on the second tier rather than the first tier, that they can ill afford to be perceived as soft on terrorism and defense. They ought to take the initiative and say, We need more cops, more firefighters, more first responders.
Those are the issues that they -- I think they forfeited during this election, and I think it goes on to say that the Democrats ought to take on the outrageous regressivity, as they put it, of the Bush tax cut. No more giveaways to the rich. But they ought to have an alternative, more tax cuts for people making $50,000 to $75,000 a year, and they ought to go after corporate criminals, which they say Bush is abdicated on.
I think that's pretty darn good advice, Steny.
HOYER: I think it is good advice, Al. I don't think the Democratic Party is in trouble any more than the Republican Party was dead in '64, the Democratic Party was dead in '72, or, frankly, the Democratic Party was dead in 1980 when we had the Reagan revolution. We came back strong.
I disagree with you, Bob, on the issues. I think the issues do resonate. I think we were trumped in this last election, however. We were trumped by an issue that we've been not perceived as strong on, and that's national security. I think we have got to be strong on national security. We got to have a strong defense, we got to support our armed forces. And we got to support freedom around the world, in my opinion.
Also, we have to make sure that people know we're going to keep them safe in their neighborhoods and in their streets and in their homes. I think those have been issues of -- we've been vulnerable on.
And then values. I've suppressed this for a long time. People need to know that we care about patriotism, that we care about faith, that we care about personal responsibility, that we care about the things that are important to them in their daily lives as well.
But on the issues, I went around this country and our candidates were connecting on issues. And then the president did an extraordinary thing, he went around the country as the national commander, not just the president of the United States, but as the commander in chief, and said, National security's important, you got to elect Republicans to effect that.
And as has been pointed out by Charlie Cook, 0.0006 percent of the vote made the difference between Democratic control of the House of Representatives and Republican control of the House of Representatives.
We're not in trouble. But we got to get on track.
SHIELDS: Steny, just one question before I go to (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
HOYER: And on the offensive, Al, (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
SHIELDS: ... to Kate O'Beirne, and that is, if the Democrats believe in faith, why was it Democrats who killed the faith-based initiative, what was left of it, (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?
HOYER: I don't think you can make an analogy between the two. I think clearly...
SHIELDS: They kind of recoiled.
HUNT: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) has faith in it.
HOYER: Well, no, I don't think we recoil. I think we are concerned about the separation of church and state and making sure that we're not supporting by tax dollars the proselytizing of religion. I think that's a legitimate concern that all Americans share.
However, I think as well, Democrats are in favor of volunteers and of faith-based organizations working on behalf of people. O'BEIRNE: Look, the Democrats would be in better shape if more of them sounded like Steny Hoyer. But too few, certainly, Democrats in the House of Representatives sound like Steny Hoyer. And you're right, things do change. The Republicans were thought to have a so- called lock on the electoral college all during the '80s, and then Bill Clinton picked that lock in 1992.
HOYER: Right, OK.
O'BEIRNE: But let me, let me say, had those attacks on Washington and New York taken place on September 11, 1991, Bill Clinton would never have been elected president of the United States. When the public's reminded that there's a dangerous world, they trust Republicans and have for 30 years, two to one on the national security issue.
And until the Democrats fix that problem, which, based on the House Democrats, a majority of your colleagues who all voted against the Iraq resolution, is going to be difficult to do, the public's not going to listen to them on prescription drugs until they pass the threshold question on national security.
HOYER: Let me break in, now, let me break in.
HUNT: ... elected if it happened September 11, 2000?
O'BEIRNE: Yes, possibly.
O'BEIRNE: Against Bill Clinton?
HOYER: Kate, 9/10/01, I think we win the House of Representatives, 9/12/01, we lose the House of Representatives. I think the public's focus has changed...
NOVAK: Yes, let me...
HOYER: ... to national security...
NOVAK: Let me, let me...
HOYER: ... and that's why the Republicans...
NOVAK: But see, I think...
HOYER: ... won.
NOVAK: ... I think you're right on national security, but I think that that is not the whole answer for the Democrats Party. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) something in the From memo, the From-Reed memo, that said, You cannot bribe the middle class. And that's what I think you, you say, we're going to be tough on national security, but we're still going to say, Spend and spend, tax and tax, and Americans do not like high taxes.
O'BEIRNE: Or class warfare.
NOVAK: And I think that is an enormous -- or class warfare, and when you let a leader, Nancy Peloni, Pelosi, decide she's going to continue to attack right-wing Republicans...
NOVAK: ... it's a problem.
SHIELDS: ... Bob.
HOYER: Let me respond. You're correct. We know that the middle class wants a tax cut. By the way, the president claimed credit for a Democratic proposal. That is the 306 (UNINTELLIGIBLE). The only tax cut that really had anything to do with helping the economy.
O'BEIRNE: You probably agree, though...
HOYER: So far.
O'BEIRNE: ... that the label Nancy Pelosi is extreme right-wing Republican just isn't going to fly when George Bush is the most conspicuous Republican in the country. That label is just silly.
HOYER: Of course, we deal in the House of Representatives, if you're talking about Tom DeLay, he is one of the most conservative political leaders in this country. That's...
SHIELDS: Last word, last words, Steny Hoyer.
HOYER: ... that's accurate.
SHIELDS: Last word.
HUNT: The Reed-From memo does say, Let's go after those upper- class tax cuts.
HOYER: You bet (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it does.
NOVAK: And they're wrong, that's the big thing, they're wrong...
SHIELDS: Oh, OK. Until they start playing with Bob's money, folks.
We'll be back with our CAPITAL GANG classic, the wet and wild Malta summit of 1989. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SHIELDS: Welcome back.
Thirteen years ago this week, as the Soviet empire in Europe, Eastern Europe, was collapsing, George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev held their first summit on the island of Malta, where a fierce storm limited their actual talking time to just five hours.
Your CAPITAL GANG discussed the summit as it concluded on December 2, 1989. Bob Novak was at Malta, and our guest in Washington was former secretary of state Alexander Haig.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, December 2, 1989)
PAT BUCHANAN, CAPITAL GANG: What issues did George Bush, the president, take up with Mr. Gorbachev?
NOVAK: He really excited Gorbachev, I'm told, with all the proposals he made for technical assistance, trade negotiations, and he did all of this, even though Gorbachev continued to stonewall on the question of aid to the guerrillas in El Salvador.
HUNT: Just look at what's happened in the four and a half weeks since they announced the summit. You've had communist regimes toppled in East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia. The United States defense secretary's talking about $180 billion of cuts in our Pentagon budget, and the Berlin Wall's toppled.
BUCHANAN: Have we moved too far for what you think is good for U.S. security?
ALEXANDER HAIG, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think we ought to be very, very careful. First, Mr. Gorbachev is not the cause of all of these wonderful things. He's a catalyst. The cause is the failure and the collapse of Marxist-Leninism.
SHIELDS: I just think that Al Haig, for whom I have considerable respect and even inordinate affection, that -- I think he understates Gorbachev's contribution here. There's no question it is a people's revolt, but it's been bloodless, it's been nonviolent, and there's been no use of the military. And Mikhail Gorbachev deserves a lot of credit for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: Bob Novak, what did the Malta summit really accomplish?
NOVAK: Just about zero. There was a huge tide of happening, and those people were just, just wasting their time. In fact, Jim Baker, the secretary of state, was very upset that the late Vernon Walters, the U.S. ambassador, was saying the unification of Germany hadn't come. These people were behind the curve there.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: Well, I'm just so struck by your inordinate affection for Al Haig. If nothing else, we learned about that, Mark.
SHIELDS: Well, I always -- I tried to keep it in the closet.
Go ahead, Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: Haig was -- Alexander Haig was right, though, Gorbachev doesn't deserve any of the affirmative credit, unlike Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, the pope. But you were right too, Mark, he deserves, he didn't plan on presiding over the collapse of the Soviet Union. But he deserves credit for what he didn't do.
HOYER: It made progress, and we're still making progress. The Russians still are caught in their domestic politics in helping us with a lot of the international arena. But they have been better than enemies, that's for sure.
SHIELDS: Steny Hoyer, thank you very much for being with us.
Coming up in the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG, our "Newsmaker of the Week" is Dr. Helene Gayle, head of the Gates Foundation's HIV/AIDS program. "Beyond the Beltway" looks at next Saturday's Louisiana Senate election with Louisiana political expert John McGinnis. And our "Outrages of the Week." That's all after the latest news following these urgently significant messages.
(COMMERCIAL AND NEWS BREAK)
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, THE CAPITAL GANG.
SHIELDS: Welcome back to the second half of THE CAPITAL GANG.
I'm Mark Shields with Al Hunt, Robert Novak, and Kate O'Beirne.
Our "Newsmaker of the Week" is the director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's HIV/ADS program, Dr. Helene Gayle.
Helene Gayle, age 47, residence Seattle, Washington, psychology undergraduate degree from Barnard College, M.D. from University of Pennsylvania, master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins.
Joined Centers for Disease Control's CDC AIDS program in 1987, director of CDC's National Center for HIV Prevention since 1995, currently on loan to the Gates Foundation.
Earlier this week, Al Hunt interviewed Dr. Gayle from Seattle.
HUNT: Dr. Gayle, the Gates Foundation announced an unprecedented $100 million grant this month to combat HIV and AIDS in India. Why India?
DR. HELENE GAYLE, THE BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: The epidemic is growing and increasing rapidly in India. It's estimated that within the next decade, tens of millions of people, perhaps as many as 20 to 25 million people, may become infected with HIV in India.
However, India is still in fairly early stage in its epidemic, so acting now could ultimately save tens of millions of people from getting HIV infection.
HUNT: As you know, the Indian government, or at least the health minister and the human resources minister, accused Mr. Gates and you of spreading panic by citing that number of the potential AIDS sufferers could explode to 25 million by 2010.
GAYLE: The history of this epidemic is that it takes awhile for people to understand and accept the seriousness of it. I think we were gratified that by the end of our visit, we got a strong sense of approval at the highest levels of government, meeting with the prime minister, where he gave his support to the initiative...
HUNT: Some global AIDS activists fear that by focusing such a huge amount on India, that it's throwing in the towel or at least minimizing the fight in places like sub-Saharan Africa, where AIDS already in some places affects 30 percent or more of the population.
GAYLE: I think that's wrong. I think that the more we can give models and examples throughout the world that you can, in fact, mount successful efforts, the more it gives hopes to -- hope to other parts of the world.
HUNT: There are profound differences, countries like Senegal and Uganda have made exceptional progress in reducing the AIDS epidemic, while others, like Botswana and still South Africa have failed miserably.
What common elements distinguish the successes versus the failures?
GAYLE: A continent like Africa is very heterogeneous. Where we have seen countries make a -- have a difference is where there is this high-level political commitment. It helps to destigmatize the problem. And resources make a difference.
HUNT: It was reported this week that women now comprise half of more of AIDS victims worldwide. The majority of new infections are heterosexually transmitted. What are the implications?
GAYLE: Well, I think the implications are huge. Women play such an important, vital role in our society, as caretakers, as the people who raise children and give support to the family. And so more and more women becoming sick, I think, will have huge implications on societies, on families, on communities.
HUNT: Overall, the estimates are that about $1.2 billion is spent on battling AIDS. That's about a quarter of what the Gates Foundation says is necessary. Is the United States government providing the sort of resources and the sort of leadership necessary in this fight? GAYLE: Well, no country has done enough. And the United States has increased its resources over time. But those estimates that are worldwide estimates clearly indicate the level of spending that we need a global community to be able to effectively combat this.
We know that you either pay now or you pay later. This epidemic doesn't go away without an aggressive response. So the United States but also the whole world community needs to gather together and really commit the kind of resources, because this epidemic is not going away.
HUNT: Finally, there's a strong faction within the Bush administration that argues that the core of any campaign against sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS and others, must be abstinence only. Will that work?
GAYLE: Abstinence has to be a part of it. Abstinence is particularly important for young people to make sure that they maintain safe behaviors as long as possible. On the other hand, we also have to look at what are the options for people who are sexually active, what are the options for women particularly, who may be in monogamous situations, but their mate may have multiple partners that put them at risk.
And so I think we have to think about what are the broad options, and look at what is appropriate for different people in different life circumstances.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt, listening to your discussion, 42 million are infected nation -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) internationally. Seventy percent of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. I mean, isn't the concentration on India at that expense?
HUNT: Mark, I don't really think so. First of all, I think the Gates Foundation is just extraordinary in what it's doing in its efforts around the world. And I think Dr. Gayle makes a point. You look for models. It's just beginning in India, and if you don't nip it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) country that big, if it takes off, it's going to -- those numbers will -- it'll dwarf the current numbers.
And I think she's right there. And I think they did turn the government around. The first -- there was first hostility, and I think the government began to realize that they can't be -- they had their head in the sand the way the South African governments and others have.
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: When you, when you, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) think about these numbers, Mark, it's absolutely incomprehensible, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), over 3 million are expected to die this year from AIDS, half women, 600,000 under the age of 15. Some people have criticized Bill Gates for having some mixed motives about the kind of commitment he wants to make in India. I think that's terribly unfair. How could anybody with the kind of means Bill Gates has, and familiar with what's happened in Africa, what could be happening in the -- on the -- in the, in the offing in India, be unmoved?
He has an opportunity to do enormous good and potentially save millions of lives.
NOVAK: The victims of this terrible disease are almost entirely caused by irresponsible behavior, which is helped by ignorant and corrupt officials. I'd like to see money go to research for health in this country, for cancer, rather than trying to save these poor souls when their government has abandoned them.
SHIELDS: Last word, Bob Novak.
Next on CAPITAL GANG, "Beyond the Beltway" looks at the Senate runoff race in Louisiana with John McGinnis of the "Louisiana Political Facts Weekly."
SHIELDS: Welcome back.
And next Saturday's U.S. Senate runoff in Louisiana, Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu is challenged by Republican elections commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell. Their support of President Bush was a point of dispute in their fourth debate this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: She said that the reason she was running is to support the administration 100 percent, and she even challenged me...
SUZANNE HAIK TERRELL (R), LA SENATE CANDIDATE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) say that.
LANDRIEU: ... on my 74 percent, and said, But I want to be there for the other 26. This is a perfect example of when the administration's policies are contrary to Louisiana, wanting to dump cheap sugar into Louisiana, and we need to stand opposed to it.
TERRELL: It's so funny how she wants to say she stands with the president, and then she wants to say she doesn't. And she wants to say she's for this and then she's not. And I think that what's extremely important is that the fact that she has always been so slow to come along...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHIELDS: The newest poll by Southern Media and Opinion Research gives Senator Landrieu a 15 percent point lead, and a recent poll by the Marketing Research Institute has Commissioner Terrell ahead by 4 points.
Joining us now from New Orleans is John McGinnis, publisher of "The Louisiana Political Facts Weekly." Thank you for coming in, John.
JOHN MCGINNIS, "LOUISIANA POLITICAL FACTS WEEKLY": Glad to be here, Mark.
SHIELDS: John, Louisiana, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) states outside of the Northeast and the Midwest, has the biggest Catholic percentage, I think almost one out of three voters is Catholic. And in the recent debate, it got pretty hot on the issue of abortion, where Mary Landrieu is a supporter of Roe v. Wade, and Suzanne Haik Terrell has said she would repeal it, vote to repeal it.
And Miss Terrell said this, "As a practicing Catholic," this is a quote, "I do not leave my faith, as did Mary Landrieu."
Now, this is really no holds barred, and I just want to know what the reaction has been, if any, among both Catholic voters and non- Catholic voters in Louisiana.
MCGINNIS: You know, that remark was on TV, but not a lot of people caught it at the time, but it was reported later, and, I mean, some people thought that was going overboard, even smacking of intolerance. The Terrell people said, no, they were just pointing out their policy difference.
But, you know, Terrell was really alluding to a comment that in the last six years ago in Landrieu's first race, the retired archbishop of New Orleans said it would be a sin for a Catholic to vote for Mary Landrieu, and that caused something of an uproar. But what it really hurt Mary Landrieu was among rural Catholic voters down in Arcadiana (ph), and that's where people are really looking at now to see how that issue will play there. Does it have the same potency that it had six years ago?
SHIELDS: OK. Bob Novak.
NOVAK: John, can you explain this huge discrepancy in these two polls we just mentioned? One has Landrieu way ahead, and the other one has Terrell a little bit ahead. But apart from that...
MCGINNIS: Well, the one that put Terrell...
NOVAK: ... what, what...
MCGINNIS: ... a little bit -- Excuse me. The one that had Terrell a little bit ahead was Terrell's poll, it was done by Marketing Research, which is a good firm, but there was a third poll that came out, by an independent poll, and it also showed Landrieu with a double-digit lead.
But both pollsters say, or all pollsters say, that it's going to be a close race, that Terrell's been kind of slow to consolidate all that Republican support after a very rough primary. But it's coming along now, and the president's coming in next week, and so all these polls just figure that it's going to be a very tight election...
NOVAK: Who do you think has...
MCGINNIS: ... (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...
NOVAK: ... the momentum, John?
MCGINNIS: Well, I think Terrell has the momentum now. She has a longest way to go. And -- but, you know, I think Landrieu is very close to it also. And also, you know, the president's going to be here next week. I think that's going to give a big boost to Terrell.
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: John, Mary Landrieu, of course, is a Democratic incumbent, and in essentially a Democratic state, yet seems to have a real tight race with this largely unknown challenger. Experts seem to agree that Mary Landrieu must turn out a large black vote in that race. Yet when Jesse Jackson came to Baton Rouge, she ignored him, and her campaign hastened to distance her from Jesse Jackson.
Bill Clinton hasn't been down to Louisiana. She going to be able to turn out the votes she needs without the help of those kinds of national Democratic politicians?
MCGINNIS: It's a double-edged sword, Kate. The -- if you had Bill Clinton came in here, or Jesse Jackson or her appearing with him, it would have an opposite reaction among a lot of white conservatives, probably energize that vote a lot more.
Landrieu has to concentrate on just doing a better job on the streets on election day, on getting people out to vote. The -- in the primary, whites turned out 48 percent, blacks turned out 40 percent. Had the black vote been equal to the white vote, Landrieu would have won in the primary.
So she's -- I know she's investing a lot more money, effort, they brought in more people, and some real people who know how to work with black leaders and just knock on doors and get voters out to the polls. That's what Landrieu has to do.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: John, I've had at least one Republican tell me that everything really should be in Terrell's favor now, that basically there is a Republican tide, particularly in the South, as you said, Bush is coming in, Cheney's been down there. And that the only reason that Mary Landrieu still has a shot to win this race is because they say -- this person said, at least, Suzy Terrell's not a very good candidate. Is that fair? Is that unfair?
MCGINNIS: Well, Suzy Terrell hasn't had enough of a chance to present herself to the voters. She came into this race late, she was recruited by the NRSE, the Republican Senate Committee. They poured a lot of money into her campaign. But she just popped up on the scene all of a sudden, although she was a statewide elected official.
And so in this runoff, she's been having a little better time to develop her personality. She has the good commercials where her three daughters are talking about her.
But that's, you know, in a personality-driven state like Louisiana, neither candidate has been that dynamic. And I think that the winner's going to be the one in the last week who shows some passion and some forcefulness, you know, without staying something stupid, and give the voters a feeling that they really want the job.
I think that's what -- this is an odd election for Louisiana voters to have two women running for statewide office. And interestingly, the biggest group of undecided voters are white females.
So, you know, that looks like that's where the election's going to be decided.
SHIELDS: John, we're down to just 40 seconds. I just wanted to ask you, there seems to be a parallel here almost between South Dakota, where you have a very popular senator, John Breaux, who's campaigned hard for Mary Landrieu, and yet an enormously popular Republican president. Is this a, is this a Breaux-Bush tussle in any sense?
MCGINNIS: It could come down to that. I know that Landrieu was upset that she couldn't get John Breaux on her commercials in the last week from a mess-up with programming or whatever. And -- but you'll see Breaux on the air, I think, in the last week for Landrieu. His approval ratings are every bit as high as George Bush's in Louisiana. So although Suzy Terrell's making the case, We already got John Breaux, we need someone who has some kind of connections with the majority and with the White House.
SHIELDS: John McGinnis, thank you very much for being with us.
CAPITAL GANG will be back with the Outrages of the Week.
SHIELDS: Now for the "Outrage of the Week."
Remember all that high-tech hype about how the Internet would open up China to the fresh winds of freedom? Well, now Amnesty International, the respected human rights watchdog, accuses leading American companies, including Sun Microsystems, Nortel, Cisco Systems, and Microsoft of providing the very technology used by the Chinese communist thugs to arrest and to torture Chinese Internet users for their sharing information or expressing their own ideas online.
Let's ask America's high-tech folks, whose side are you on, anyway?
NOVAK: Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill went all the way to Manchester, England, this week to put his foot in his mouth. After an interview with O'Neill, "The Financial Times" reported as follows. "Far from promising a hefty tax cut, he," O'Neill, "said the reforms that were most likely were the ones that were minimally controversial and not very costly. He even hinted at looking at some proposals to boost tax revenues, not cut them." President Bush is not for raising taxes, and if Paul O'Neill is, he should either shut up or leave.
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: The FBI's annual hate crimes report was hyped by the media with stories about the alarming 1,500 percent increase in reported crimes against Muslims. A closer look reveals little cause for alarm. The incidence, 80 percent of which were threats only or vandalism, increased from a minuscule 28 in the year 2000 to a tiny 481 in 2001, the same year there were over 1,000 anti-Jewish attacks.
So incidents of anti-Islamic hate crimes in the land of the infidels remain extremely rare.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: Mark, President Bush cut back on the pay raises scheduled for federal employees, saying we couldn't afford it in a time of terrorist threats. He also opposed the expanding unemployment benefits.
But if Mr. Bush asked Customs inspectors, Border Patrol, or CIA and FBI agents and the jobless to sacrifice, he needs to ask the same of wealthy executives and coupon-clippers, who can afford the most to sacrifice and cut back on those huge tax cuts for the very wealthy.
SHIELDS: This is Mark Shields saying, Go, Irish! And good night for THE CAPITAL GANG. If you missed any part of our show, do not despair, you can catch the replay at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and again at 4:00 a.m. Eastern.
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Inside Iraq; Interview With Helene Gayle>