CNN INSIDE POLITICS
Bush To Reintroduce Judicial Nominees Rejected Last Year by Senate
Aired January 8, 2003 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Picking a fight over Pickering. Democrats blast the president's renomination of a controversial judge as a blow to racial healing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not so different than Trent Lott's comment. Sort of a wink to say, well, what happened in the past wasn't so bad.
ANNOUNCER: Here comes Joe. Another Democratic presidential hopeful prepares to make his entrance.
A school report card. One year later, has President Bush really left no child behind?
A new enemy in the war on terror. It's part of a political drive against SUVS.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone has one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I help these kids around the world hate America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to sit up high.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sent our soldiers off to war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone has one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My life. My SUV.
ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.
JUDY WOODRUFF, ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
At the White House this hour, President Bush meets with house and Senate leaders of both parties. Just one day into the new Republican- controlled Congress with a host of hot issues already on the table. We expect to get some tape back, videotape, from that meeting soon, and we'll show it to you.
Also in this news cycle, Senate Democrats are vowing once again to block judge Charles Pickering from being promoted by a to the federal appeals court. Charging his record is hostile to civil rights.
Right now we take you live to Charlotte, North Carolina, where the director of operations at the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is talking to reporters about today's crash.
(INTERRUPTED BY CNN COVERAGE OF BREAKING NEWS)
WOODRUFF: Now, back to INSIDE POLITICS and to Capitol Hill, where Senate Democrats are waging a new battle over judicial nominees even as they learn that one of their members plans to call it quits.
Our Congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl is on the Hill. First of all, Jonathan, we got word this afternoon that Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller not going to run again in '04. What does this mean for the Democrats?
JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's a major blow for the Democrats. Zell Miller is extremely popular in Georgia. Would have likely faced only token Republican opposition if he had run. Now with him out of the state, the state looks solidly Republican. Republicans clearly now have an edge in Georgia with Zell Miller out.
There are some Democratic names that have been thrown around including, by the way, former Senator Max Cleland and outgoing Governor Roy Barnes, but those two both lost in the last cycle. One name to watch though on the Republican side: Ralph Reid, the former head of the Christian Coalition, is being talked about as a potential candidate. Reid himself, through his spokesperson, is saying that he would run if there were not another strong candidate to jump into the race, or he would at least seriously consider a run.
But Judy, this is just part of a bad picture for the Democrats. An extremely tough cycle.
Take a look at some of the other Democrats that are up for re- election in this cycle in the Senate. You have Senator Fritz Hollings, himself who may retire from Republican dominated South Carolina; Bob Graham who may retire or run for president from Florida; John Edwards who is running for president and may not seek re-election for his seat in North Carolina. And then you have Harry Reid, who won with only 48 percent of the vote last time he ran; Tom Daschle, who will face a tough race probably in South Dakota. Again, a Republican- dominated state. And Russ Feingold, who only had 51 percent of the vote when he last ran for re-election.
So clearly, this is looking like a very bad cycle for the Democrats and -- or at least a very difficult cycle for Democrats, one made much more difficult by the fact that Zell Miller's not running.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the other political story today, Jon, and that is the reaction of Democrats to President Bush's decision to go ahead and try again on some of these conservative judicial nominees, after the Trent Lott situation. KARL: And especially Trent Lott's patron, Charles Pickering, nominee for the circuit court. Democrats came out firing on this issue, complicating matters for the Republicans.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They got to get him on the floor and get him a vote.
KARL (voice-over): The firestorm touched off by the president's by the decision to renominate Judge Charles Pickering scorched the first press conference of the new Senate Republican leadership.
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: I'm not sure this press conference needs to be on Judge Pickering.
KARL: New Republican leader Bill Frist was asked for his position on the Pickering nomination five times before answering, sort of.
FRIST: But let me say that Judge Pickering is, I believe, extraordinarily qualified, based on what I've heard, to serve as an appellate judge. The American Bar Association gave Judge Pickering a well-qualified rating, a rating that the Democrats in the past have said is the gold standard.
KARL: Pickering, who was strongly supported by fellow Mississippian Trent Lott, was defeated by the Democratically controlled Senate last year, amidst charges that he had a bad record on civil rights.
Now Democrats are determined to use his renomination to a federal appeals court to prove Republicans have not put the Trent Lott controversy behind them.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: To renominate Judge Pickering, who has not built a distinguished record and is probably best known for intervening on behalf of a convicted crossburner, shows, unfortunately, that Richard Nixon's Southern strategy is still alive and well in the White House.
SEN. JOHN KYL (R), ARIZONA: I don't think that President Bush is going to be cowed by irresponsible charges of racism. Nobody accuses President Bush of being racist in the least and he has nominated the most qualified candidates for judge -- for federal judges on the district court and appellate bench ever in the history of our country.
KARL: Pickering, who wrote an article more than 40 years ago defending a ban on interracial marriage, and, more recently, sought leniency for a recently convicted crossburner, was widely condemned by civil rights groups.
But Republicans say his record was distorted.
SEN. RICK SANTORUM (R), PENNSYLVANIA: The fact of the matter is, Judge Pickering, as Mitch said, was some one who was out front leading the charge for a racial healing in Mississippi, had the support of every African-American group in Mississippi.
KARL: Actually, the conference of NAACP chapters in Mississippi opposed Pickering, but he did have the support of several prominent Mississippi Democrats and local civil rights leaders, including Charles Evers, the brother of Medgar Evers, the civil rights activist killed in the 1960s.
KARL: Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch had not said when he would bring up the Pickering nomination in his committee. It's also unclear whether or not they would have to go through another hearing. Of course, there was a hearing on Pickering last year. Republicans are saying they may want to do another hearing, in the words of one top Republican aide in the judiciary committee, "to rehabilitate Judge Pickering," who they believe had an unfair hearing under the Democratic leadership.
As for the Democrats though, Judy, they have signaled that they will do everything possible to block this nomination, including going to the extraordinary step of filibustering it on the Senate floor, which would 60 votes for Judge Pickering to be confirmed.
So that's the way it looks from here. Looks like a major battle to come, although unclear exactly when it will happen.
WOODRUFF: It hasn't taken long for things to get contentious up there.
All right. Jon, thanks very much.
Well, the Pickering renomination has put the White House back in the business of defending his judicial record, as you just from Jon. Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King.
To your end of Pennsylvania Avenue, John, what are they saying? How are they going to defend him?
JOHN KING, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start narrowly with Judge Pickering.
At the White House briefing today, Ari Fleischer coming out and quickly defending Judge Pickering, saying the president renominated him because he stands by him and believes, as Jon just noted and other Republicans on the Hill are saying, that his record on race relations and civil rights is being distorted. At the White House briefing earlier today, Ari Fleischer signaling the president is not going to back down. Remember, the last session ended with a fight with Democrats over judicial nominees? This one beginning on much the same note.
Here's Ari Fleischer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARI FLEISCHER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: This controversy, if there is one about Judge Pickering, I submit to you, this has nothing, nothing to do with race, and everything to do with the ideology of a few liberal Democrats who oppose a man who has bipartisan support, enough support to be confirmed by the full United States Senate, including having a rating of well-qualified by the American Bar Association. This is not about race. It's about ideology.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Judge Pickering is one of 30 Bush judicial nominees sent back up to the Senate. Thirty who were nominated last year, and either were voted down in committee by the Democrats or not considered at all by Democrats. The White House -- senior White House officials telling us there were discussions about whether to take a few out -- the most political, like Judge Pickering. Like Priscilla Owens, a judge from Texas, who was defeated -- her nomination defeated on the Senate floor.
But at the White House they said to do that -- to take one, two or three off the list would be to give in, to essentially accept the Democratic criticism. They said here at the White House the president was not prepared to do that. With the new Republican majority, Judy, he's prepared to fight for the nominees. They know it will be a bruising fight, but here at the White House they say it's one they welcome.
WOODRUFF: A different subject, John. A couple months ago the White House was not looking so kindly on the idea of helping people who were unemployed. But just recently we've heard the president saying he wanted to get it done, he wanted to get it done quickly and today he was signing a bill.
KING: Today he was signing a bill that was supposed to be on the president's schedule tomorrow, an event to sign that bill. But it cleared the Congress today, the bipartisan leadership here to meet with the president. They somehow quickly cleared bureaucracy that sometimes keeps a bill up here on Capitol Hill for several days. The leadership brought it to the White House. Let's listen to the president talking about signing it just a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Thank you all for coming today. I'm going have a statement and then we'll ask you to leave so we can get down to our business. I want to welcome members of the Senate and the House, both Republicans and Democrats, for this, the first of many meetings we'll have this year to figure out how we can work together to get some things done on behalf of the American people.
Yesterday and today the Senate and house acted on behalf of the unemployed workers of America. I have the extension of unemployment benefits in front of me. I want to congratulate senators Frist and Daschle and Speaker Hastert and Leader Pelosi for the good work on behalf of the American workers and right now it is my honor to sign this piece of legislation, which should bring some comfort to those of our fellow citizens who need extra help during the time in which they try to find a job. So congratulations for a good job and I am signing the bill.
I sign this -- I intend to sign a lot of other bills this year, and I know the only reason I'll be able to do so is because we're going to work together. We owe that to the American people. It's the spirit that now prevails in this room, and I look forward to working with members of both parties to get a lot done to make America a safer place, a stronger place and a better place. Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: The president voicing his commitment there to work together, noting also the new players in the room, the new Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, the Republican, the new House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California. The president signing this unemployment extension. He asked for that from the Congress as quickly as possible.
As you noted, Judy, at the end of the Congressional section, a partisan squabble between Democrats and Republicans over just what should be in that bill kept it from passing. The first signature of the new Congress. We now have it.
WOODRUFF: Well John, as I turn to you, you know, the president's talking about working with Democrats, but as Jon Karl and you are pointing out, there's already a lot of heat going between these two political parties, isn't there?
KING: There is no traditional pre-State of the Union, early week of the Congress, bipartisan honeymoon here. The Democrats are fighting Republicans over the economic plan. They say it is too big they say, it's too beneficial to the rich, it will explode the federal deficit. As we've been discussing, the Democrats are already taking issue with the president's resubmission of 30 judicial nominees and also fighting over education spending. Quickly, a partisan session of the Congress.
WOODRUFF: All right. John, thanks very much.
We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, another Democrat we've learned today is throwing his hat in the ring. Candy Crowley will tell us all about it, after this.
WOODRUFF: In today's "Campaign News Daily" another Democratic presidential hopeful's big decision. Senator Joe Lieberman has set a date and place to announce his plans for 2004.
Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley joins us now with details -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, get out your calendars and put down next Monday. That's when we expect to the hear from Joe Lieberman about his intentions for '04. He will do it in Stanford, Connecticut. That is where he was born. He will do it at Stanford High School where he went to school. That is not a location or an arena that candidates would have were they not to run for president.
But in addition to that, sources who talked to Lieberman in the past 24 to 48 hours say he has decided to go ahead and make this run. Nobody in Washington will be knocked back on their heels by this. Senator Lieberman has long made it known that he'd like to try in '04. He of course was Al Gore's vice presidential nominee in 2000. He had waited until Al Gore decided whether he was in or out, saying that he wouldn't run if Al Gore did. Al Gore, as you know, is out of the race, and we expect that Monday Joe Lieberman will be in -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Candy, what about all the political wise people you've been talking to? What do they say are the strengths and weaknesses of Joe Lieberman are?
CROWLEY: Well, he clearly thinks that he has a very good shot at the Gore infrastructure, both in terms of staff and he has been talking to a number of people who worked for Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, and that ticket in 2000. He also believes that he has a good shot at a lot of those donors.
But in addition to that, he has -- we had a poll recently that showed that even when you put Joe Lieberman up against Al Sharpton, a black civil rights activist out of New York who we expect to also run for the presidency, Joe Lieberman takes the lion's share of black votes. That is a key Democratic constituency. And I talked to a couple of African-American politicos this afternoon who said, Look, Joe Lieberman's spent a lot of time in those churches. He talks the talk. He walks the walk. And, also, he went to Mississippi in the height of the civil rights movement when he was a young man. They give him a lot of credit for that.
So he brings a lot of strength to it.
WOODRUFF: Well, here we are two years away from Iowa and the field is getting bigger by the day.
CROWLEY: It is indeed.
WOODRUFF: Candy, thanks very much.
Well, there's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS. Up next, the party chairmans square off on the economy, judicial nominees and the early presidential race.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Together we'll bring the promise.
WOODRUFF: With me now: Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and his Republican counterpart, Marc Racicot.
Terry, the president is sending conservative nominee Charles Pickering, among other judicial nominees, up to the Senate. The White House says these people deserve a fair hearing.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: Well, as you know, Charles Pickering went up last year and was defeated, didn't get out of committee.
We're disappointed. I think it goes to Charles Pickering's history of racial insensitivity. And I think it's an issue. And you add that to the president's new budget plan that he put out there, which also doesn't do anything to help the African-American community, I think it sends a very bad signal.
WOODRUFF: Marc Racicot?
MARC RACICOT, RNC CHAIRMAN: Well, I hate to dispute the chairman, as you know, but he's wrong on both counts.
RACICOT: The fact of the matter is that Judge Pickering is a distinguished jurist. The American Bar Association has recommended him with the highest recommendation they can give. The African- American leaders of Mississippi have done so as well. He testified against the Ku Klux Klan. You could go on and on and on.
And his record of accomplishment, his record of reversals is very, very low. He's a distinguished jurist that deserves a full vote by the full Senate.
WOODRUFF: There are civil rights leader, Terry McAuliffe, Al Gore's brother-in-law, Frank Hunger, has said very complementary things about Charles Pickering.
MCAULIFFE: Well, listen, we'll leave it to the Senate to debate this. But I just think the president should have shown more wisdom in this. I think, after the issues that we went through the last several weeks with Senator Lott, that it was inappropriate to send Charles Pickering's name up.
I think, in the last two weeks, the White House indicated that they probably wouldn't send his name back up. But, at a time like this, with the comments that Charles Pickering had made in the past and some of the actions that he had done, I just think it is very insensitive to the African-American community in this country at a time when we're trying to bring everybody together.
WOODRUFF: Marc Racicot, the president's economic plan, a lot of comment on both sides of the aisle. The Democrats, as you know, are saying it busts the budget. It costs too much. It's huge amount of money and it benefits the wealthy.
RACICOT: Well, that, again, is a misunderstanding on their part, at the least, and a misrepresentation, at the worst.
The fact is, it benefits 92 million Americans. And it benefits virtually every taxpaying citizen of this country in profound fashion and very quickly. It generates, I think, economic activity. It creates new possibilities for job creation. It addresses the unemployed. It's a principled approach to making certain that we get back on track.
WOODRUFF: It sounds like we're talking about two different plans here, though, Terry McAuliffe? The Republicans, the president is saying this benefits almost everybody, whereas your party is saying something very different.
MCAULIFFE: Well, I think the issue comes down to -- and I'm not going to debate the merits today of paying taxes on dividends, whether it stimulates or doesn't stimulate.
It's too expensive. It's $600 billion at a time right now we need to fund homeland security. We need to put money out there for a possible war on Iraq, North Korea, education funding. I think this will now stop a prescription drug benefit out there. This doesn't get what we need to get this economy going again very quickly.
An incentive should be to get it to the people who need it the most, do it immediately, and not break the bank doing it. And I think that's what the president's plan does. And it is not going to get the economy doing.
RACICOT: That's exactly what the plan does do. It addresses single women. It addresses senior citizens. It addresses small businesses. It addresses married couples. It addresses virtually everybody in the country. And the notion that somehow it doesn't reach virtually every American taxpayer is just a misunderstanding.
Frankly, the opposition hasn't offered anything in a cohesive fashion that I have seen yet. I've seen some plan come from some members of the House. But none of the presidential candidates have said anything. The Senate hasn't said anything, Senate Democrats. So, this is, I think, a very aggressive plan, admittedly, but one that will make sense to the American people.
MCAULIFFE: Well, the Congress did start yesterday, in fairness. And Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats came out with a great package, $136 billion. All of that money will be spent in the first year. It will go to the people who need it the most. It will go to small businesses.
And, most importantly, it's going to help states right now with homeland security expenses, with transportation expenses. That's what we need as a shot in the arm today. And that's what the House bill does.
WOODRUFF: Quickly to the '04 presidential race. One Democrat announced this week, Tom Daschle, that he's not running, Marc Racicot. But we now know Joe Lieberman is going to run. How formidable a group of Democrats is President Bush facing?
RACICOT: Well, of course, all of them, but one, are members of the Senate. And they are well-known to the American people, for the most part. I think the president takes virtually every other person that's considering running for office to be a person that has to be taken seriously.
I mean, that's how we're going to do it at the Republican National Committee. But we also have a strong belief in our capacity and with this president to be successful with the American people.
WOODRUFF: Zell Miller, Terry McAuliffe, said today he's not going to run in Georgia. This leaves Democrats in a pickle in the Peach State, doesn't it?
MCAULIFFE: Well, let's see.
WOODRUFF: Mixed fruits here.
MCAULIFFE: We'll have a candidate who will run in 2004. I'm excited about our prospects for 2004 across the country. But, as the party chair, I'm always supposed to be excited, which I am. And I think we have great candidates running for president. And they're all running for president.
This is not about George Bush. This is about our Democratic candidates with what their vision of the future is. And they're going to come with plans. And I'm very excited. We're going to have a lot of Democrats with our message out there. So, it's going to be an exciting two years for us.
WOODRUFF: Georgia tough for the Democrats, though, in '04?
MCAULIFFE: It was not the best '02 for us in Georgia. I will concede that here today. But you know what? We had a great '01. I think '04 is going to be great year for us. And we're preparing for that.
WOODRUFF: At least I know what we're calling it now. It's '04 and not 2004, or whatever.
WOODRUFF: What do you all call it?
Terry McAuliffe, Marc Racicot, thanks very much.
MCAULIFFE: Good to be back.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Happy new year.
Coming up: Is President Bush's education law making the grade? We'll get the score from the nation's education secretary and a Democratic critic.
WOODRUFF: The Bush White House is marking the one-year anniversary of sweeping federal education reforms. Among other things, the No Child Left Behind Act requires annual testing and it gives student in poorly-performing schools the option to transfer to better schools. And, under the law, schools that continue to perform poorly could lose federal funds. This was a ceremony at the White House today.
Well, "On the Record" today: Education Secretary Rod Paige and Democratic Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Their focus: the No Child Left Behind Act.
We'll hear from Secretary Paige in a moment, but first the view from Senator Harkin. I started by asking him about claims by the White House that the measure gives unprecedented access to funds and asked him why that's not enough.
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Well, quite frankly, there's some misleading figures coming out of the White House. I happen to have supported President Bush's program for Leave No Child Behind. But I said at the time it had to be met with resources. Otherwise, it's going to be a cruel hoax on America.
And that's exactly what's happening. Most of the increases that came in education happened in the Clinton administration and the year after the Clinton administration under President Clinton's budget. In fact, in this year's budget that we're trying to finish for this year, President Bush actually cut funding for Leave No Child Behind.
WOODRUFF: Well, they say, as I was pointing out, 49 percent increase, unprecedented amounts of funding. They also point out that, since we're getting ready for a possible war with Iraq, and, frankly, Senator, both political parties are talking about large tax cuts for the American people, can you really afford more money for education in this climate?
HARKIN: Look, the kind of tax cuts that he wants for the wealthiest in this country, if you were to apply that just to education, we could not only fully fund Leave No Child Behind, but we could fully fund special education and relieve our property tax payers and our states with the burdens that they have in funding special education for kids with disabilities.
So, it's really a matter of priorities. Do you want the money to go to the richest 1 percent of Americans or should we take that money and invest it in education, which really is going to pay off the best dividends for America in the future?
WOODRUFF: You just said the White House is putting out some misleading numbers. You really mean that? Are you saying they're putting out information that's not right?
HARKIN: I'm saying the White House figures that they're putting out are not right, because the president, in his budget, in his budget, actually cut funding for Leave No Child Behind.
Now, we in the Congress, both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress, actually increased funding for education, over what the Bush budget had. But I don't think the president can claim credit for that, because he fought it every step of the way.
WOODRUFF: So, you're saying that when they say that they are increasing money for the so-called Title I programs -- these are programs that fund schools for lower-income kids, schools with high minority populations -- they're saying they're putting more money into these programs, something like $12.3 billion than ever before. You're saying that's not correct?
HARKIN: Well, keep in mind that this new legislation that Bush signed into law a year ago, that they were celebrating at the White House today, put mandates. These are federal mandates on local public schools.
At the time, many people said, look, this is fine. We need to raise standards. We all want schools to be accountable. We want to raise standards. We want to have better teachers. But the resources have to be there. And so, we've added a whole new layer of mandates. That's what's not being funded.
WOODRUFF: And, Senator, just quickly, I want to quote somebody with something called the Council on Great City Schools. This is a group that represents the big city schools, inner-city schools around the country. He said, "This No Child Left Behind program, it's emphasizing results, accountability." He said, "All of this remains on the mark."
HARKIN: Well, as I said, we all want to have accountability. That's why I voted for the bill. We want to have higher standards.
But you have to have -- for example, one of the keys to this is better teacher training. Yet the Bush budget does not increase any money for teacher training. So, how can you have better-qualified teachers if you don't put the resources into it?
WOODRUFF: Senator Tom Harkin. I talked to him just about an hour ago. Well, the Democrats have crafted a letter to President Bush expressing their concerns.
The secretary of education, Rod Paige, joins me now.
Mr. Secretary, the letter the Democrats sent, including Tom Harkin, Ted Kennedy, and others who were with you on this plan a year ago, saying, "America's public schools cannot overcome the enormous obstacles they face on the cheap." In other words, you hear Senator Harkin. you know what the others are saying. They're saying the money's not there to do the job.
ROD PAIGE, EDUCATION SECRETARY: Well, there are those who would like to keep score by counting how much we spend. That's not the issue.
Those who have the narrow focus on spending not only miss the point. More importantly, they mask the problem. The problem is, even with all the spending that they recommended and achieved under the previous administration, we have a situation where two out of three of our fourth graders can't read. So, clearly, just spending alone is not the problem.
Secondly, the president's recommendations in the president's achieved budget has resulted in a 49 percent increase in spending over the last two years.
WOODRUFF: Well, I asked Senator Harkin about that. And he said that money mostly came under President Clinton. He said, from 2000 to 2002, most of that increase was 2000 and '01 and it was Clinton- recommended money.
PAIGE: Well, I disagree with that. But even if -- the case here, the point here is that the amount of money is really not the issue.
You can spend money, but, if you don't spend it wisely, you're not going to get results. What we're trying to do is change the performance culture, change from compliance to performance, change from educating some of the children some of the time to educating all of the children all of the time.
WOODRUFF: But, again, the point they're making -- and I'm quoting both Senator Harkin and the letter that he and Senator Kennedy and others sent -- they are saying, how can you ask the state to do some of these things, to hold schools accountable, to require them to take these tests, teach these children, to have good teachers, when you don't give them the funds to carry it out?
PAIGE: Well, first of all, let's go back to this part. This funding that the schools have now from the federal government is the largest increase in funding ever in the history of the federal government. And even when you look back the last 10 years...
WOODRUFF: Which increase are you talking about?
PAIGE: Well, take 1996. It has doubled. Federal spending on education has doubled since 1996.
But the point here is that those who focus narrowly on spending and try to reduce this complex problem to a simple solution of spend more not only miss the point, but they also mask the problem. And they're not providing solutions. They're actually providing problems.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about a point not only that they make. There was a study that was released yesterday in "Education Week," of course, an education journal.
Its annual report on the status of education reform indicates most high-poverty, high-minority schools in most states are not able to get qualified teachers. Again, if you can't attract good teachers with good salaries, how do you teach these kids?
PAIGE: Let's don't take that as the gospel.
There are places where teachers are being attracted. New York public schools, for example, found the teachers that they needed. The Detroit public schools found the teachers that they needed. The situation with the teacher shortage is not connected exclusively to funding. It is partly connected to the structure that we use to get teachers into the classrooms.
WOODRUFF: So, the fact that a number of states are right now in a budget crunch, they don't have the additional money to put into the schools, shouldn't that be a factor in all of this?
PAIGE: Well, let's don't conclude that money is not a factor. That is why the president has increased funding every year that he's been in office. That's why the increase has been 49 percent over the past two years.
You do need additional funding. But the point is, funding alone cannot get the job done. We have three decades of history to prove that. We have a problem now even though we've had increased funding.
WOODRUFF: So, Senator Harkin's charge that funding for No Child Left Behind went down from '02 to '03, is that wrong?
PAIGE: Absolutely, he's incorrect. And I would ask him to go back and look at that more carefully.
WOODRUFF: All right, the secretary of education, Rod Paige, thank you very much. It's always good to see you.
PAIGE: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for stopping by.
PAIGE: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Still ahead: Is there a connection between sport utility vehicles and funding for terrorists?
We'll tell what you a controversial new ad campaign has to say when we return.
WOODRUFF: On their first day back on the job, House Republicans essentially gave themselves a free lunch. They weakened their own ethics rules, making it easier for lobbyists to send food to congressional offices and allowing charity members to give members free vacations. Critics say it is a major retreat from House ethics rules, approved in a stealth fashion, without any public scrutiny.
Well, gas-guzzling SUVs are the target of a controversial new ad campaign. The ads argue that Americans' growing love affair with SUVs is in effect supporting terrorism by funneling money to Persian Gulf countries.
Our Bill Schneider tells us more.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: What can you do to help fight terrorism? The Detroit Project has a suggestion, a serious suggestion, conveyed through a parody.
(voice-over): Ever see this government-sponsored anti-drug ad?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the cartel that uses the smuggler that smuggled the pot to the dealer who sold the joint that Dan bought. And this is the family that was lined up by Dan's cartel and shot for getting in the way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: This is Arianna Huffington. She's the activist who saw the ad and got the idea to organize a group of Hollywood activists to raise the money to run the ads that you will see on your TV this month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the oil company executive who sold the gas that George bought for his SUV. These are the countries where the executives bought the oil that made the gas that George bought for his SUV. And these are the terrorists who get money from those countries every time George fills up his SUV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: It's a wakeup call to SUV drivers. Do you know what you're doing by driving that gas-guzzling armored personnel carrier to the supermarket? You're funding terrorists. Stop that right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AD)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I helped our enemies develop weapons of mass destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if I need to go off road?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone has one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I helped teach kids around the world to hate America.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like to sit up high.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I sent our soldiers off to war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone has one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My life, my SUV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't even know how many miles it gets to the gallon. (END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER (on camera): The ads are telling consumers what environmentalists have been trying to tell them for years. When you buy a new car, don't just think about finance deals. Think about what it means for the country, and, in this case, for the world.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Those ads start this coming Sunday on both network and cable political shows. So far, the Detroit Project has bought only one week of airtime for the controversial ad.
Concerned about climate changes, Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain have unveiled a new plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It would require all industries and power plants in the United States to cut down on their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The plan pushed by Lieberman and McCain could set the stage for conflict with the Bush administration and its environmental policy.
Well, from politics to sports: A New Jersey assemblyman wants the National Football League to schedule a Super Bowl in his state to make up for a botched call in Sunday's playoff game. The league has admitted that officials made a mistake in denying the New York Giants another chance at a game-winning field goal against the San Francisco 49ers.
The assemblyman wants to take legal action, demanding the NFL allow New Jersey to host a Super Bowl by the year 2006. He says the botched call denied the state tax revenue, if the Giants had advanced in the playoffs.
INSIDE POLITICS will be back in a minute.
WOODRUFF: Veteran White House reporter Sarah McClendon is being remembered today for her feisty spirit and her quest for the facts. McClendon died yesterday, after an extended stay at a Washington hospital. She was 92 years old.
McClendon is best remembered for her dogged questioning of every president since Franklin Roosevelt. In a statement today, former President Bill Clinton said: "McClendon didn't ask questions. She demanded answers," and he admired her for it.
Well, so did we. Here are some examples.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH MCCLENDON, REPORTER: This report has not been made public. Would you please let us see it and will you do something tab?
Mr. President -- and don't go away, Mr. President.
I'm not trying to be rude. I'm trying to get my questions answered.
That was picayune. What I'm talking about, I talk about the big stuff.
RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sarah, you've been here longer than I have. I haven't been here long enough to call $600 million picayune.
MCCLENDON: I'm very glad when people tell me that, you're asking questions for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: All of us who ever covered the White House with Sarah will remember her forever.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff.
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