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U.N. Inspections on Hold For Commemoration of Ramadan; Winter Storm Strikes East Coast; Strom Thurmond Celebrates 100th Birthday

Aired December 5, 2002 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Live, from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

Well, even as U.S. officials plan the next steps toward possible war with Iraq, people here in Washington are facing a different kind of challenge, the weather. In this new cycle, an early winter storm has dumped snow in the nation's capital and across much of the east coast. More than a million people are without power in the Carolinas. A live report on the severe weather is coming up.

Meantime in Iraq, Saddam Hussein said today that he's giving U.N. inspectors a chance to prove that he has no weapons of mass destruction in order to keep his people out of harm's way. The inspections are on hold today and tomorrow because of the holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month Ramadan.

With Iraq facing a weekend deadline to declare whether it has weapons of mass destruction, top Bush administration officials meet today to offer their options. CNN's Frank Buckley is at the White House -- Frank.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Judy, we're told this is one of a series of ongoing cabinet-level meetings of principals as White House officials attempt to determine exactly what to do on December 8 after Iraq files its declaration of its weapons programs. White House officials are skeptical that Saddam Hussein will provide a full accounting of its programs of weapons of mass destruction. In fact, top Iraqi officials continue to say that there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Today the president opened himself up for a few questions during a meeting with the president of Kenya, and the prime minister of Ethiopia. He was asked if war was likely and what would trigger it.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's a question that you should ask of Saddam Hussein. It's his choice to make. And Saddam Hussein must disarm. The international community has come together through the United Nations security council and voted 15-0 for Saddam Hussein to disarm.


BUCKLEY: In Iraq, officials are continuing to say that it's the White House, that it's the U.S. that wants war in Iraq. Tariq Aziz, speaking this week to Ted Koppel of ABC. He said that Iraq does not have any weapons of mass destruction.

Late today, Ari Fleischer addressed the subject during his White House briefing. Here's what Ari Fleischer had to say about that.


ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY: Iraq has lied before and they're lying now about whether they possess weapons of mass destruction. Tariq Aziz's statement is very much like statements that Iraq made throughout the '90s, denying that they had weapons of mass destruction, when of course, it was found that they indeed had weapons of mass destruction. And so I see little reason to believe Iraq now when they have such a history of lying in the past about this very topic.


BUCKLEY: So, now the White House already looking forward to this weekend. They expect to receive through their U.N. representative in the security council the report, the declaration from Iraq, probably by Sunday. At that point, it may take some time to digest the declaration. White House officials saying it could be hundreds, even thousands, of pages. They plan to have translators ready this weekend to begin the process of going through that declaration -- Judy

WOODRUFF: But, Frank, the bottom line from the White House is that they really don't expect Iraq to turn over any real information about weapons of mass destruction. Do they?

BUCKLEY: That's correct, Judy. White House officials are adamant that there are weapons of mass destruction still in Iraq. Iraq clearly saying over and over, through various officials, that Iraq does not have weapons of mass destruction.

So White House officials are skeptical about what they are going to get in this declaration. They are saying, for example, that there may be information about paint, for example, that, yes, we have paint factories, and there are dual uses for some of the chemicals, but they will say boo, according to this official, about weapons of mass destruction.

WOODRUFF: OK. Frank, thank you very much.

If the United States does go to war with Iraq, Pentagon officials say more than 100,000 additional reserve troops would be needed. But they say no decision to call up reservists has yet been made. The aircraft carrier "Harry S Truman" is likely to be involved in any military action against Saddam Hussein.

Today, about 8,000 sailors and marines shipped out from Norfolk, Virginia, aboard the "Truman" and its battle group. They are headed to the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf on a regularly scheduled six-month deployment, but they may wind up putting their lives on the line. We bring in our senior political analyst Bill Schneider. Bill, there's a lot as stake here, no question about it.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's true. You know, Judy, tough but unavoidable questions arise whenever the U.S. contemplates going to war. What kind of losses is the country prepared to tolerate? And what happens when the body bags start coming home?

Ask Americans if they are willing to send U.S. ground troops to remove Saddam Hussein from power without specifying the number of potential American casualties, and the answer is -- yes. 53 percent. Suppose people knew that war with Iraq would involve 100 U.S. casualties? Would they still support it? Yes. 51 percent. Just two points lower.

Suppose the U.S. had to suffer 1,000 casualties. Public support for the war drops five more points, to 46 percent. And if there were 5,000 U.S. casualties? Down another 13 points. Only one in three Americans say they would support a war that costs 5,000 U.S. lives.

As the number of U.S. casualties mounts, support for the war drops faster and faster. That seems to make sense, except for one thing. That's not the way it happened in past wars. In Korea and Vietnam, political scientist John Mueller found that casualties in the early stages of the war had a big impact on public opinion.

But as casualties increased, the impact got smaller. Once those wars started, tentative supporters turned against them after a few casualties. Hard-core supporters stayed the course, even as casualties mounted.

Why does the poll on Iraq show just the opposite? Because the war hasn't started. So the public is supersensitive to body counts. But in Korea and Vietnam, body bags were not the only issue. Those wars were seen as political wars. The U.S. was not fighting to win.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The critical question in Americans' minds is not whether there are body bags or not, but whether the operation that -- the military operation in question makes sense to them, and whether they think it's succeeding or not.


SCHNEIDER: Does war with Iraq make sense? President Bush has tried to make that case.


BUSH: Confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror.


SCHNEIDER: And unlike Korea and Vietnam, President Bush insists that in Iraq, the U.S. will fight to win.


BUSH: We will act with the full power of the United States military. We will act with allies at our side, and we will prevail.


SCHNEIDER: Americans hate political wars. Like Somalia. That was supposed to be a humanitarian mission. But the U.S. quickly got involved in Somali politics and it only took a few body bags to get the U.S. out. Judy?

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill. Some grim thoughts.

Well, in the war on terror, the end of Ramadan is renewing concerns about a possible strike against Americans or U.S. allies. An al Qaeda statement earlier this week threatened to attack, threatened an attack to coincide with the close of the Muslim holy month. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, charged today that a small number of al Qaeda terrorists are operating in Gaza, and in the neighboring country of Lebanon.

Three people were killed in a blast at a crowded McDonald's restaurant in eastern Indonesia, one of two explosions in that area today. It's not clear what caused either explosion, whether they are connected to one another, or to the recent terror attack in Bali.

Here in Washington, two top Republicans seem to be headed toward a showdown over the investigation into intelligence lapses leading to September 11. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott gets to appoint two members to the new 9/11 commission. And our Jonathan Karl reports that Lott does not want to name former GOP Senator Warren Rudman. Why is that a problem?

Because 9/11 families want Rudman, and so does Senator John McCain who originally pushed for this commission. Lott had promised to consult with McCain on the matter. The McCain camp says the McCain has been promised veto power. Look for some political fireworks on all of this in the coming days. The deadline for a decision is December the 15th.

Well, there's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. up next --


BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If he (inaudible) banana, he'd run on that. And if he had some pretty women with him (inaudible).


WOODRUFF: Bruce Morton on a century of Strom Thurmond, his politics, his personality and a birthday to remember.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Candy Crowley in suburban New Orleans. A battle in the Bayou will determine the final shape of the U.S. Senate's. In these final days, Terrell vs. Landrieu is tight and it's nasty, but it's pretty mild stuff when put up against a 100-year history of politics, Louisiana-style.

WOODRUFF: Also ahead, fellow Democrats have some fighting words for both Bill Clinton and Al Gore. This is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: A very special birthday here in Washington. The celebration, when we return.

Plus, United Airlines flies towards bankruptcy. What does it mean for you? We're back in one minute.


WOODRUFF: You see his name there at the top of longest-serving senators. Well, South Carolina's legendary Senator Strom Thurmond celebrates his 100th birthday. Current and former Washington colleagues joined members of the Supreme Court and Thurmond's family and friends last hour to honor the senator.

President Bush will host Thurmond and his family tomorrow at the White House. At today's event, former majority leader and fellow Republican Bob Dole talked about Thurmond's public career of service.


BOB DOLE (R-KS), FORMER SENATOR: The Senate's been called the world's greatest club. And of course, it's been called a lot of other things. But no one has experienced so much of its history or witnessed so many of its changes as Strom. But there are times, and this is one of them, when the Senate is more than a club. It is a family. And today the family assembles to honor its patriarch, a man who has honored us through his friendship and his extraordinary example of service.


WOODRUFF: We're going to have too find out who that blonde was who was talking to the senator a little while ago.

Well, Senator Thurmond truly has had a remarkable life. From high school teacher to paratrooper to the nation's longest-serving senator.

Our Bruce Morton -- Morton has more on Strom Thurmond and his enduring career.


MORTON (voice-over): So long ago. Imagine babies dressed like this. Imagine diapering babies dressed like this. Cloth diapers, too. No Pampers then.

No computers to e-mail your friends the news. No TV. No radio, come to that. None of these. The Wright brothers hadn't flown yet. Not many of these. Horses back then, a different kind of pollution. 1902. The Civil War and slavery had ended just 30-some years before.

George Washington took office in 1789. So the United States is 213 years old. At 100, Thurmond is almost half as old at the country. He grew up with segregation, got elected on it, but it was politics probably more than true conviction. If nudism had been in, he'd run on that and if he had pretty women with him, he'd have loved it.

He loved the ladies. People may remember that. The last line of his final Senate speech:

STROM THURMOND (R-SC), FORMER SENATOR: I love all of you, and especially your wives.

MORTON: No orator, surely. His famous filibuster speech ended, I expect to vote against this bill. No kidding, senator.

The first southern senator to put a black on his staff? Well, maybe. But mostly, I guess, they'll just remember how long he was here.

THURMOND: The Senate will come to order. The chaplain will now deliver the morning prayer.

MORTON: First elected in 1954, almost half a century, almost half his lifetime ago. What a dance to the music of time.

And now he's going back to South Carolina. Will it seem like going home? Or like leaving home? His life's been here.

THURMOND: The Senate stands adjourned and (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

MORTON: Good-bye, old man. Old legend.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Just think, to spend half your life in the Senate. And we're still trying to find out who that blonde was.

Well, all political eyes today are on the Bayou State. We'll go live to Louisiana, where it is neck and neck in the nation's last Senate race of the year.

Plus, it is a winter wonderland. Or is it? A powerful storm makes life miserable for millions from the Southeast to New England.



WOODRUFF: "On the Record" today, the story we talked about earlier this hour. Conflict at home over the war with Iraq. Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerry is getting flak for standing behind President Bush. He told almost 1,000 angry students and faculty yesterday that he would not step down as president of New School University in New York City. He also refused to resign from the board of a group formed to drum up support for Mr. Bush's Iraq policy.

Some religious leaders are urging the president to stop what they call the rush to war with Iraq. One group took out a full page newspaper ad yesterday with a message to Mr. Bush. Quote, "Jesus changed your heart. Now let him change your mind."

To get a better sense of this debate at the grass roots level, we are joined now by Pete Ferenbach of Peace Action, and Jerry Newberry of Veterans of Foreign Wars. Gentlemen, we are nearing a deadline. We had troops headed to the region today. There may be a call-up of the reserves very quickly. Mr. Ferenbach, to you, first of all, is military action absolutely in U.S. interests?

PETE FERENBACH, PEACE ACTION: Well, no, I don't think that it is, and I think it's important to take note there's a very rapidly growing peace movement in this country, and it's certainly not a California phenomenon. Our national office, for instance, is receiving request for support from places like Idaho and Arizona and Arkansas, you know, not exactly your typical hot beds of anti-war sentiment.

I think that it's growing for fairly straightforward reasons. The first is, Americans understand that increasing the level of anti- American sentiment in the world is going to make us less safe. And you probably saw the Pew Center released a poll today which indicated that worldwide, anti-American sentiment is increasing, even amongst our allies. And so...

WOODRUFF: Well let's take your points one at a time. Mr. Newberry, what about that point? The concern that anti-American sentiment is going to grow if the U.S. takes action in Iraq?

JERRY NEWBERRY, VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS: Well, we don't know that. There's nothing definite about that. There's a lot of moderate Arab nations, indications are that we will have a lot of those nations join us in our efforts against Iraq. So I don't think that's a credible argument.

WOODRUFF: And, Mr. Ferenbach, what's that other point you were going to make?

FERENBACH: You know, I think the other reason that it's growing very quickly is, that people understand the human cost.

Iraq is, you know, not a nation of 28 million Saddam Husseins, it's a nation of 28 million people. And when images of bombing Baghdad, which is where the war will likely increase, make their way on to the television screens people watching Al-Jazeera, for instance, that's only going to inflame anti-American sentiment.


FERENBACH: There's a human cost at home which I think is really leading to rapid growth in the peace movement. That is, you know, ultimately, our sons and daughters being sent in to this conflict. It may come as surprise to some people...

WOODRUFF: I'm going to interrupt you and go back to Mr. Newberry. What about the fact that as he said, Iraq is not a country of 28 million Saddam Husseins? There are a lot of innocent people living in that country.

NEWBERRY: That's correct. I think to insinuate that our military would commit wholesale bombing and kill innocent -- deliberately kill innocent civilians is not fair at all. Our military leaders are very competent. Our men and women serving in the military today...

WOODRUFF: But the same time we know that some innocent people are likely to get killed. Some.

NEWBERRY: Well, an unfortunate fact of war is innocent people do get killed.

Let me say this, as a veteran of a foreign war, just like the 2.1 million members of Veterans of Foreign Wars and Ladies Auxiliary, we know firsthand the cost of war, the consequences of war, and the pain of war. But, you know, freedom comes with a price. And sometimes you have to pay that price.

WOODRUFF: Well, Mr. Ferenbach, you know, on that point is the United States -- are you suggesting the United States is simply to sit back and do nothing as Iraq ignores one U.N. resolution after another?

FERENBACH: No. And, you know, I'd like to just touch on Mr. Newberry's point. I don't think I insinuate that about the American armed forces. In fact what I was going to say is quite the contrary which is, we're sending American troops for the sixth consecutive time in to combat in a country that previously received weapons from the United States.

And I don't understand, and I think increasingly the American public doesn't understand, how eventually as a country that promotes democracy, we're leading the world in arms exports to countries like Iraq...

WOODRUFF: Mr. Newberry what about that point?


FERENBACH: ... directed at our own troops.

NEWBERRY: I think the gentleman's getting away from a lot of things, a lot of issues.

First of all -- and, again, our organization does not in any way advocate war. Again, we know the cost of war.

But President Bush went in front of the United Nations, and, obviously, made some good arguments. Right now, the administration is working through the weapons inspection process. I don't think we're leaping headline into war. Hopefully we don't.

I do believe and the Veterans of Foreign Wars fully expects the president, has high expectations of the president's administration to make, before we plunge in to war, to go to the American people and make it very clear the reasons why and if we do.

WOODRUFF: OK. We're going to have to leave it there, gentlemen. Jerry Newberry with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Peter Ferenbach with Peace Action. We thank you both for being with us.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: From your house to the White House.

Coming up, first lady Laura Bush gives us a tour of some presidential decorations. But first, this "News Alert."


WOODRUFF: Well, just two days to go before the Louisiana Senate runoff. The contest has often been angry.

But up next: Could either candidate possibly compete with characters from that state's political past? We'll look back and ahead to Saturday's showdown.


WOODRUFF: Another poll out today in Louisiana suggests that Saturday's Senate runoff will be a squeaker. The Mason-Dixon survey has Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu leading Republican Suzanne Terrell by just two points. In a breakdown of this two-day poll, Landrieu was ahead by a wider margin in polling that was conducted on Monday. But Terrell led in polling done on Tuesday, after President Bush campaigned with her.

When the two days are averaged, Landrieu has the edge, but Terrell may have the momentum. Republicans are hoping to milk Mr. Bush's visit even more by showing footage from it in a new Terrell campaign ad.

Well, our Candy Crowley is covering the race. She is in Metairie, Louisiana.

Candy, it's windy and there's a lot going on.

CROWLEY: There is, Judy.

As you know, in these final couple of days in a race this close, what both sides are doing at this point are trying to get their base out. Both sides also expect a pretty good turnout on Saturday: first, because it is so close, and, second, because this is Louisiana, a state that loves its politics.


(voice-over): Another month, another election in Louisiana, where politics is pretty much the official state sport.

WAYNE PARENT, LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY: Politics is a full- time occupation here. And it's highly competitive.

CROWLEY: Competitive, colorful, and sometimes corrupt. The history of Louisiana politics is filled with idiosyncratic, charismatic characters, but no one has yet to hold a candle to Huey Long, a populist strongman who enraged moneyed interest in the state.


HUEY LONG, FORMER LOUISIANA SENATOR: When they failed to impeach me in 1920, they indicted me in 1921. And when I wiggled through that, I managed to become governor in 1928. And they impeached me in 1929.



CROWLEY: Governor and U.S. senator, Long took from the Louisiana oil companies and gave to the poor. And if there were certain irregularities, well, who cared, really?

PARENT: Louisiana was corrupt because it could afford to be corrupt. It wasn't the people's money.

CROWLEY: Long was assassinated in the state Capitol. Brother Earl carried on the populist tradition with three terms as governor, but his political life was eventually overshadowed by an erratic personal life. In and out of mental hospitals, Earl began dating strippers and left his wife, none of which stopped him from running and winning a congressional seat.


EARL LONG: I want you to take occasion to take a good look Uncle Earl. If I was crazy in Galvez, if I was crazy in Mandeville, I'm still crazy.


CROWLEY: The Longs dominate Louisiana's political history, but they don't own it. There is a place in every Louisianian's heart for former Governor Jimmy Davis, author of "You are My Sunshine" and this farewell address.


GOV. JIMMY DAVIS, LOUISIANA (singing): Goodbye, good luck, and may God bless you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CROWLEY: And there is Edwin Edwards a four-term governor who spent much of his life in politics or the courtroom, often simultaneously.

WALTER FOX MCKEITHEN, LOUISIANA SECRETARY OF STATE: It makes a lot better story when an Edwin Edwards goes on trial, rather than some nondescript little council guy from Chicago or even a governor from Arizona. They're not colorful.

CROWLEY: Outside his courtroom dramas, Edwards was a soap opera, plagued by rumors of womanizing and gambling.

EDWIN EDWARDS, FORMER LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: I did gamble, but I'm not a gambler. And as far as womanizing is concerned, that's a myth that grew up years ago. And I think Father Time has finally taken care of that.

CROWLEY: Edwards is now serving 10 years for extorting payoffs. A lot of people think he did nothing many of his predecessors did not. The difference is, the state is no longer wash in oil or sugar money. Louisiana now runs on taxpayer money.

PARENT: When Edwin Edwards walked into jail two months ago, that was much more than symbolic. I think Louisiana's economic situation means they no longer afford that kind of flamboyant, winner-take-all populism, where corruption is tolerated. Louisiana simply can't afford it anymore.


CROWLEY: Which means, somewhat sadly, that Louisiana politics are beginning to look a lot like politics almost anywhere else. And in these final days of the U.S. Senate campaign, that has meant a couple of days full of pretty standard political sound bites and a lot of nasty ads -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: So, Candy, are you saying Louisiana politics has really changed?

CROWLEY: Well, so they tell me.


CROWLEY: Certainly, there's nothing in this race or in the Senate races -- I mean, John Breaux is a very conventional, in standard terms, politician out of Louisiana.

But they do seem to think that those good old days, when we really saw some of that rhetoric from the good old days, that they're pretty much gone, that Louisiana is a different state now. But it's great to look back at it.

WOODRUFF: Darn. It was sure fun to cover.

OK, Candy Crowley, thanks very much. And we'll be talking to you tomorrow about the Senate contest. Candy is going to be down there for the next few days.

More spice from the Bayou when we return. We recently saw Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan cooking Creole. Well, up next, they'll get stirred up again about that Louisiana Senate runoff.


WOODRUFF: Back with us by popular demand: Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause; and, in New Orleans, former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile. We saw you both on Thanksgiving cooking Creole.

Now we're going to talk serious Louisiana politics.

Let me quickly read a quote from the historian Douglas Brinkley at the University of New Orleans. He says: "I think the Republican strategy has been a demolition derby against every aspect of Mary Landrieu's religion, personality, and political record. And it clearly has Mary on defensive, which is not where she wants to be."

Bay, is this what's going on?

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, Donna has taught me that, in Louisiana, they like their gumbo and their politics spicy. And I think that's what they're getting, some real tough politics here.

There's no question it's going to be mean-spirited, Judy. The key here is, you've got to stop the other person's momentum. Landrieu was there sitting at 46 percent a month ago. You don't want her to pick up anything. So it was going to be very strong negative to make certain she didn't pick up any momentum.

And Terrell has enormous momentum, has picked up 20 points, only has a few to go here and she'll win this in the next two days. So, it had to be negative from both sides.

DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: Well, Bay, yes, it's true that we like our food spicy and hot, but I think the politics today is quite negative.

Mary has had to overcome over $10 million worth of negative ads. They've questioned her faith. They've questioned her values. They've questioned just about everything. In fact, the ads that are running right now are basically talking about Mary's position on abortion, when everyone knows what Mary's position is. And she's been very clear. She's a practicing Catholic. She supports a woman's right to choose.

She does not support abortion on demand. And yet that seemed to be the issue. In fact, Judy, there's some company out of Maine calling on behalf of the National Right to Life Committee, or one of those groups, insinuating a (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Can you imagine that? And calling people down in Terrebonne Parish, telling them

(CROSSTALK) BRAZILE: So, it's negative, it's negative, and it's negative. It's a mud fest now. No more Jazz Fest, no more Mardi Gras. It's now mud fest, Louisiana.

BUCHANAN: It's hardball politics, Donna.

And you, of all people, Democrats should never suggest that pro- life is not an issue in a campaign, because us pro-lifers have been trashed as pro-lifers time and again in state after state. This happens to be a state where being pro-choice is not a popular position. And we're using it against Mary Landrieu, a very legitimate issue.


BRAZILE: It's not being used in a legitimate way. I think you would even have trouble with some of the ways they're using it in this state.

WOODRUFF: All right, we're going tear you both away from Louisiana politics to talk about the Iraq situation, the U.N. inspectors. I am going to quote the head of the inspection team very quickly.

He said: "The people who sent us here are the international community, the United Nations. We are not serving the United States. We are not serving the United Kingdom."

Is the U.S., Bay, giving the Iraqis enough time -- the inspectors, that is, enough time to get the job done?

BUCHANAN: They're going to give them all the time they need.

I think what happened this last week is, Saddam Hussein played a very wise public relations game, Judy. He was there. They were all smiling, look, opening doors. "We're doing a great job." And the international community was responding, suggesting that Saddam Hussein was doing exactly what he needed to do to prevent war.

And I don't believe the Bush administration wanted him to be able to pick up some momentum along those lines, and so they've started to criticize, saying they know very well that Saddam Hussein is not leveling and they are going to wait for that report. I think, when the report comes, you'll see some very tough response from the inspector generals as they get information, intelligence, from Washington to let them know that, indeed, Saddam Hussein has those weapons.

BRAZILE: Well, I think the administration should be patient. They should wait and see what happens on Sunday. We just have a couple of days.

And if it appears that Saddam Hussein is backtracking on his agreement to allow the inspectors to go out and get their job done, then I think we should go back to the United Nations and get tough with Iraq. Right now, I think the administration is off, shooting off a lot of hot rhetoric and a lot of hot air. But we should just let the inspectors do their job. And if we have information, intelligence, then we need to put it forward and get the job done by Sunday.

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Donna Brazile, down in her Creole home state of Louisiana.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much.

Bay Buchanan, right here in Washington, thank you both. We'll see you next week. And thanks again for that Creole jambalaya recipe from last week.

A quick follow-up now to yesterday's story about the Bush White House decision to reinstate performance bonuses for political appointees. The Democratic leaders in the House and Senate today called on the president to reverse the decision and to reinstate a scheduled pay increase for federal workers, that is, career workers.

In a joint release with her senator counterparts, Tom Daschle, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said -- quote -- "This action demonstrates that politics is more important to this White House than good public policy. And that's a shame." The White House defends the policy as fair for all government employees.

Well, Bob Novak has the "Inside Buzz" coming up next. He'll tell us why United Airlines' latest setback left the Bush administration stunned.



WOODRUFF: And now checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily": Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Barney Frank says that Al Gore should stay out of the 2004 race for the White House. Frank describes Gore as -- quote -- "wounded," even though, in his words, "It's unfair and it's not his fault, but it's reality." Frank said he supports fellow Bay Stater John Kerry for president.

Kerry, by the way, filed papers yesterday with the Federal Election Commission, officially setting up his 2004 presidential exploratory committee.

Federal investigators have subpoenaed campaign records from incoming Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. The subpoenas are related to an investigation of Wayne County, Michigan, Executive Ed McNamara. Granholm once served as McNamara's general counsel. Granholm says simply that she will comply with the subpoena. And she also notes that she requested the original investigation from her post as state attorney general.

Democratic activist Al Sharpton says he disagrees with former President Clinton's analysis of why the Democrats fared poorly on Election Day. In response to Mr. Clinton's comments that Democrats were hurt because they didn't get out their message on national security, Sharpton said of Clinton -- quote -- "I respectfully disagree. He should have been out there making the case for security. It was him who should have delivered that message."

All right, Bob Novak joins us now with some "Inside Buzz."

First of all, Bob, on this runoff in Louisiana we're paying a lot of attention to, what are you hearing?

ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I hear it's a real dead heat.

The Republican tracking poll the night before last, I am told, had Senator Landrieu, the Democrat, up by one point over Suzie Terrell, the Republican. It is a tossup, too close to call. And the amazing thing, Judy, is, it may be decided on the abortion issue. They're really trying to -- this is one state where it helps to be pro-life. And they're really trying to paint Suzie Terrell as a pro- choice person. She has make the mistake that she's given different answers...

WOODRUFF: You mean Landrieu is pro-choice.

NOVAK: I'm sorry. Landrieu is pro-choice.

She has made the mistake of saying two different things on answering questions to different people different ways. But that's a hot issue.

WOODRUFF: All right, let's turn to business and to United Airlines, which really affects all of us, potentially, who travel. The White House was surprised at a turn in this story.

NOVAK: They thought there would be a unanimous 3-0 vote on this board against the bailout for United. And Kirk Van Tine, the general counsel for the Transportation Department, voted the other way. So it was 2-1.

Now, the reason they're upset about that is, if they had this bailout for United, it would have hurt the tight budget policy that President Bush is trying to put in. But even more so, the other airlines didn't want this bailout, because it would be a free spending pass for organized labor if United got a bailout without constricting labor provisions and its employees.

WOODRUFF: Everybody thinks Congress has gone home, but, in fact, there's going to be a Senate hearing on Enron coming up next week.

NOVAK: I love this. You know, theoretically, the Senate is now controlled by the Republicans, because Jim Talent of Missouri has already been certified. But they haven't reorganized the Senate. So, technically, the Democrats are still in control.

And the chairman of the Senate Permanent Investigations Subcommittee, Carl Levin of Michigan, wants one last hearing on Enron. And so, this past week, officials from Citicorp and from Chase Manhattan got summons to come to Washington to testify. They thought the Democrats were out. He's got one bullet left in his gun.

WOODRUFF: And last but not least, there won't be a Teamsters senator from the state of Alaska.

NOVAK: I had to reported to you that the Teamsters were very excited. They thought that Jerry Hood, the head of the Alaska Teamsters, who worked with Senator Murkowski, now Governor Murkowski on the ANWR drilling in Alaska, that he was going to be appointed as the senator from Alaska.

I am told now that's not going to happen. The Senate Republican leadership told Governor Murkowski that Mr. Hood was a Republican in name only. He just became a Republican this year. He used to be a member of the Democratic National Committee. So isn't that a shame? We won't have Teamsters senator. I was looking forward to that.

WOODRUFF: Well, maybe next go-round.

NOVAK: Could be.


WOODRUFF: Bob Novak, thanks very much.

Well, we will go inside the White House when we return for a tour of Christmas decorations led by the first lady.


WOODRUFF: When it comes to holiday garland and glitter, there's no place like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. First lady Laura Bush took reporters on a tour today.


LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: The theme this year for the White House holiday decorations is, "All Creatures Great and Small." In this room you'll see on the mantles, papier-mache models of a lot of different animals that have lived here or worked here.

Back here are the sheep that mowed the lawn during World War I, during Woodrow Wilson's term, when everybody who had worked at the White House had gone overseas, and so they hired sheep to do the work.

Back in this corner, on this mantle, you'll see Algonquin, who was one of Teddy Roosevelt's sons' ponies, and their macaw, Earlier Yale (ph), was the name of Teddy Roosevelt's macaw.

They had a very large menagerie of animals with their seven children that lived here, but in fact every president has had some animals, somebody that either lived here with them or that they owned before. This is George Washington's horse Nelson over on this mantle. George Washington, of course, did not live here at the White House, but he and Martha Washington really started the presidential tradition of having a lot of animals, liking animals. They had dogs, and Martha Washington had a favorite bird that lived with them when they lived at Mount Vernon.


WOODRUFF: Mrs. Bush a little earlier today.

We leave you with live pictures of the National Christmas Tree. The president and the first lady are just about to light it. It's at the Ellipse here in Washington.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.


Winter Storm Strikes East Coast; Strom Thurmond Celebrates 100th Birthday>

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