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Eight European Nations Sign Letter Backing Bush Against Iraq

Aired January 30, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: War or exile? Does Saddam Hussein have a choice before the clock runs out?

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a matter of weeks, not months.

ANNOUNCER: "Operation Outreach": The president secures support on Iraq, but gets slammed by an international hero.

NELSON MANDELA, FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world it is the United States of America!

ANNOUNCER: Bob Graham in 200?. Facing surgery, the senator's heart still is in a run for the White House.

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: Our tentative slogan for the campaign is, "Best able to lead, most able to win."

ANNOUNCER: The last laugh? Who's the funniest celebrity in Washington?

SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Just a month ago, I was competing to be leader of the free world. Tonight I'm competing to be funnier than Dan Glickman.

ANNOUNCER: Live, from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS with Judy Woodruff.

WOODRUFF: Thank you for joining us.

Well, with the White House already claiming it has a Mount Everest of evidence against Iraq, fresh word today of Baghdad's defiance.

In this "Newscycle," Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blix says there is no evidence of more Iraqi cooperation since his Monday report to the U.N. Inspectors were not able to freely question two Iraqis today because they were accompanied by witnesses.

U.S. intelligence officials say Secretary of State Colin Powell may present strong evidence that Iraq is seeking nuclear weapons. No final decisions have been made yet on what information Powell will offer the U.N. next week.

A headline from overseas. Eight European leaders are declaring their solidarity with the U.S. stand against Saddam Hussein. The statements published in newspapers across Europe today, was signed by leaders of Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, the Czech republic, Hungary and Poland. I'll be talking with the Hungarian ambassador to the U.S. in just a few minutes.

Well, at the White House today, President Bush is stepping up efforts to secure a coalition against Iraq and addressing the question, what if Saddam Hussein agrees to exile?

Let's bring in our White House correspondent Dana Bash. Donna -- Dana, what are they saying about that there?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the president, Judy, is engaged in a massive diplomatic push, a very public diplomatic push, to try to convince reluctant allies that the time us up and, of course, to try to convince Saddam Hussein that time is up.

Now, he's working the phones. He called today, just today alone, the prime minister of Portugal, the prime minister of Sweden and he had a couple of face to face meetings here.

First, he met with the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi. And he first thanked him for supporting the United States and its efforts against Saddam Hussein, as part of a signator of that letter that you mentioned. Eight countries in Europe signing that letter.

But at that meeting we heard from the president himself for the first time say that one way to deal with Saddam Hussein peacefully is to have him go into exile.


BUSH: Hopefully, the pressure of the free world will convince Mr. Saddam Hussein to relinquish power and should he choose to leave the country along with a lot of the other henchmen who have tortured the Iraninan -- Iraqi people, we would welcome that, of course.


BASH: And the president did make clear, though, that Iraq would still have to disarm, no matter who was in charge.

But the issue of exile is something that the Saudis have been pushing. It's been a busy day here, Judy. The Saudi foreign minister also came to the White House. He met with the president. His intention in meeting with the president was to try to get him to slow down, to give diplomacy more time, to give inspections more time.

But Colin Powell is heading next week to New York, where he's going to the, the U.S. says, give the goods over, to show the evidence that the administration says that it has to prove that Saddam Hussein does have the weapons of mass destruction that they say he has. But the president also making clear today in terms of a timetable, he said that it's weeks, not months, to give diplomacy a chance -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dana Bash reporting from the White House. Thanks very much. Obviously it is a busy day there.

And on his way to the United States today, Britain's prime minister, Tony Blair said that Iraqi disarmament is inevitable. And he said it's Saddam Hussein's choice whether it happens peacefully or by force.

Blair stopped in Madrid for brief talks with the Spanish prime minister, another staunch ally of Washington's hard line against Iraq.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I believe this is an important moment for us all. It is a test of the seriousness with which we are treating this issue of weapons of mass destruction. It is a test, also, of the United Nations and the international community and how we resolve it through the United Nations, which is what we want to see. And it is also a test of our political will and political resolve.


WOODRUFF: Well, as it turns out, the political risks of a war with Iraq are as high for Prime Minister Blair as they are for President Bush. Maybe more so.

CNN's Walter Rodgers is in London.


WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Britain's House of Commons, they were nipping at the heels of Prime Minister Tony Blair before he left for the United States.

IAN DUNCAN-SMITH, BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS: Most people know that Saddam is an evil dictator. But it is also the case they want to know more detail about the potential threat that he poses to this country and our citizens.

RODGERS: Blair now risks splitting his own party, alienating his two biggest partners in Europe, France and Germany, perhaps even losing office, so unpopular is his support for a war with Iraq in Britain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So ought not the House of Commons to have a specific vote before..




RODGERS: Yet with zeal he presses on. BLAIR: If Saddam Hussein is allowed to carry on, developing weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, potentially nuclear weapons, he is not just a threat to his own region. He is a threat to the world.

RODGERS: One London newspaper, "The Mirror," even used a massive projector to put this anti-war message on Parliament building itself.

PIERS MORGAN, DAILY MIRROR: If it was to go wrong, I think Tony Blair would be gone by Christmas, and I think he knows it. And that's why he's looking tired, he's looking stressed, and I think he's fractious with the media, fractious with the British public. All the polling is 75, 80 percent against this war.




RODGERS: The strain of carrying George Bush's cause shows.

BLAIR: Who can doubt that Saddam is in breach of his U.N. obligations?

RODGERS (on camera): In a perfect world, the British prime minister would like President Bush to agree to more time for U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq. He would also like American agreement on yet another United Nations resolution, demanding Iraq cooperate on disarmament. This to appease Britain's doubters and naysayers.

(voice-over): But Tony Blair is risking everything, because he thinks George Bush right.

MICHAEL ELLIOT, TIME MAGAZINE: He has this absolute core sense that in the end, international field, there are just some binary right or wrong decisions. He's always been that way, and when he's made up his mind that something has to be done, by golly, he sticks to it.

RODGERS: So today Iraq, but after that what?

BLAIR: Well, after we deal with Iraq we then do, yes, through the United Nations again have to confront North Korea about its weapons program.




RODGERS: The long knives will be out for Tony Blair if a war goes badly. And the greatest challenge is likely to come from within his own Labor party.

Walter Rodgers, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WOODRUFF: Well, meanwhile, former South African President Nelson Mandela is blasting Tony Blair and President Bush for moving toward war with Iraq. The Nobel Peace Prize-winner accused Mr. Bush of endangering the world in hopes of getting hold of Iraq's oil.


MANDELA: What I'm condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust.


WOODRUFF: Mandela said that Israel has weapons of mass destruction, but he said because it is an American ally, the U.S. has not asked it to disarm, as it has Iraq.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says President Bush is glad that others -- quote -- "obviously think differently than Mandela."

Well, the Iraq debate played out on Capitol Hill today, with some tough questions during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

Let's go to our congressional correspondent Jonathan Karl -- Jon.

JONATHAN KARL, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we had two top diplomats for the administration, the deputy secretary of state, Richard Armitage, and also the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, facing a rather skeptical Foreign Relations Committee, particularly on the Democratic side of the aisle.

Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the committee, said that the way the White House has gone about making the case for war against Iraq had the affect of -- quote -- "confusing the devil out of the rest of the world and making us sound like a bunch of cowboys."

For Armitage's part, he said that a very solid case would be presented by Secretary of State Colin Powell next week before the Security Council. He said that Powell would be laying out a case not just to the United Nations, but to the entire world and that prompted a very testy exchange between Christopher Dodd, a senior Democrat on the panel, and Richard Armitage about whether or not Powell should first come to the U.S. Congress to make the case right here.


RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: But the sharing of the information is something that, of course, you have every right to demand. And I've just suggested might be the intelligence officers -- the intelligence committee who might better provide that. Secretary Powell's going to put it in context to support the comments that...

SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I don't care how it gets done. I'm just tired of having to hear some of these speeches given about this, and I one who supported this resolution. I'm not your opponent.

But my people want to know why we're going to do this, other than sort of speeches given that are sort of pep rally stuff. I want to know specifically and factually what we know. And I think my constituents do, I know my colleague do.

And before you go and tell the whole world about it, I think we have a right to know what's going on here.


KARL: Others, especially Democrats, demanded to know what is the rush? Why not give the inspectors more time? And one of those asking that question was a Republican, Chuck Hagel, who wanted to know, point blank, has the White House, has the administration, given up on the inspections?


JOHN NEGROPONTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: The problem isn't the inspections, it's the attitude...

SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Are we supporting continued time for inspections?

NEGROPONTE: Well at the present time, we have not taken any decision to discontinue our support...

HAGEL: So essentially, the government position is we continue to support inspections?

NEGROPONTE: At the moment, we do.


KARL: At the moment, but Richard Armitage repeated the president's words and said, This is a matter of weeks not months until all diplomatic options have run out on this.

Now, Judy, Colin Powell will be coming to the Congress, he will be before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday, the day after his presentation to the Security Council to make a similar presentation here to the U.S. Congress.

WOODRUFF: But, as Senator Dodd pointed out, the U.N. will come first?

KARL: That's right. And they're not happy about that.

WOODRUFF: OK, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

Well there's much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: I'm Jeff Greenfield in New York. Is former Senator Gary Hart really thinking of running once again for president? We'll take a look.


WOODRUFF: Some folks on Capitol Hill sent a message to congressman turned convict James Traficant: thank, but no thanks for the memories.

Up next, Senator Bob Graham talks about his upcoming heart surgery and how it will affect his plans to run for the White House.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.



WOODRUFF (voice-over): It time to check your "I.P. I.Q." Earlier today the Senate Finance Committee voted to confirm John Snow as treasury secretary. That nomination now heads to the full Senate.

Mr. Snow is the chairman and CEO of what company? Is it, A: Apple Computers, B: Boeing or C: CSX? Stay with INSIDE POLITICS. We'll tell you the answer later this hour.



WOODRUFF: Florida's Democratic Senator Bob Graham is scheduled to have heart surgery tomorrow. The procedure has delayed Graham's decision about a potential run for president. Earlier I spoke with the senator about his health and his political plans.


WOODRUFF: Senator Graham, thank you for talking with us. For someone who's going have surgery on your heart tomorrow to repair a valve, you look pretty good. How are you feeling?

GRAHAM: Well, I feel very strong and vigorous. One of the benefits of my decision to think seriously about running for president is that I did an intensive physical examination and in the course of that, a condition that I've known of for some time, what some people would call a heart murmur now appears to have reach a point where it needs to be dealt with sooner rather than tomorrow. So sooner is tomorrow morning.

WOODRUFF: Are you nervous?

GRAHAM: No, I'm not nervous. I have great confidence in the people who are going to perform this surgery and great confidence that in about a month from now, I will be better than I am today.

WOODRUFF: What's going to go into your decision? Once you come out of this procedure and will be recuperating as you say for about a month, what's going to go into that decision about whether to run? Because you were on the verge of deciding to go for it, weren't you, before this?

GRAHAM: Yes, Judy, but for this medical issue, I would have announced on Monday, February the 3rd that I would be a candidate for president. So what's going to go into the decision at the end of February will be, one, how do I feel? Do I believe that I have, in fact, reached the point of energy and strength to carry out a campaign and carry out a presidency?

WOODRUFF: Do you feel -- let me just put it this way -- has the fact that you are going to have to undergo this heart procedure given you pause, though, just about the whole idea of running? Because people do look, especially in this day and age, for a president who is healthy, who is vigorous, and who can withstand the rigors of what is surely the most pressured job in the world?

GRAHAM: Well, if this situation, as I have every reason to believe, goes well, in fact, I will have dealt with this problem now, not a year or three or four years from now, when I might be serving as president. And, second, it will make me more energetic and vigorous in order to carry out the campaign.

WOODRUFF: What does Bob Graham bring, or potentially bring, though, that these others don't bring?

GRAHAM: Well, our tentative slogan for the campaign is, "best able to lead, most able to win." The fact that I had had this executive responsibility, as well as now 16-plus years in the U.S. Senate, including the last ten years intensively involved in national security issues, the last year and a half as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I believe is a resume that would say to people, this man is prepared to be president of the United States.

In terms of most able to win -- again, the math is that four of the last five presidents were former governors, and that the last three Democratic presidents were from Texas, Georgia and Arkansas. That says something about the region of the country, where Democrats have got to be competitive if they're going to reach the number of electoral votes to be elected.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me turn you to Iraq. You were one of the Democrats whose voted against giving the president the authorization to use force. Now the administration is saying, we are going to provide the evidence. There is evidence available that they are keeping -- they have not given up their weapons of mass destruction. If you see that evidence, will that vote have been a mistake?

GRAHAM: No. It is my feeling it was -- that it was unnecessarily reckless to be starting this war against Saddam Hussein without first having dismantled, to the maximum extent possible, the capability of these international terrorist groups to kill Americans.

And I am outraged that over the last six months, that the administration has been talking, talking, talking about toppling Saddam Hussein. We have done nothing, nothing, nothing, effectively to take on these international terrorist groups.


WOODRUFF: Senator Graham was harshly critical of the Bush administration who in his words, knowingly committing countries like Syria, Yemen and Saudi Arabia to harbor terrorists while the administration solely focuses on Iraq.

Shocking political news. A hot seat puts the heat on some local lawmakers. The bizarre story, later on INSIDE POLITICS.

Plus, budget cuts allow some prisoners a get out of jail free card. The controversy, coming up.

First, Detroit has got a sweet deal for those of you who are shopping for SUVs.

And Rhonda Schaffler joins us live from Wall Street with all of the details and a look at the markets -- Rhonda.


Unfortunately, a look at the markets, not so positive. A real tumble on Wall Street and it put an end to the market's slight upswing. It was the usual one-two punch going on here. That those ongoing fears of war with Iraq and Fresh signs the economy is sputtering.

Let's show you numbers here. The Dow tumbling 165 points, falling back below 8,000, once again. The Nasdaq, down 2 percent. Shares of AOL-Time Warner plunged 14 percent in very heavy trading. Our parent company reported late yesterday it suffered the biggest annual loss in all of corporate history, nearly $100 billion.

Now let's tell you what the automakers will do for you. GM and Ford are going at it again. They're sweetening the incentive to buy an SUV. The Auto makers are throwing another $500 into the rebate pool. That means some of the top-selling SUVs can be purchased with $2500 cash back. This all begins Saturday. Consumers sensational appetite for these incentives ends up eating into the company's profits. But sells have been sluggish but so the companies don't have alternatives.

Ford, GM and Chrysler hit consumers with a flurry of rebates, and zero percent loan deals in December. Piling on an average of $3100 in incentives on every vehicle they sold.

That is the latest on Wall Street. More INSIDE POLITICS ahead including the political come back by former president's candidate Gary Hart.

WOODRUFF: Time again to check your "IP IQ." Earlier today, the Senate Finance Committee voted to confirm John Snow as treasury secretary. The nomination now heads to the full Senate.

Earlier this hour we asked, "Mr. Snow is the chairman and CEO of what company?" Is it, a, Apple Computers, b, Boeing, or, c, CSX?

The correct answer is c. President Bush named the 63-year-old railroad executive last month as his choice to replace former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who resigned under pressure late last year.


WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines now in or "Campaign News Daily." The Oregon budget cut we told you about yesterday already are having a dramatic affect. More than 100 prisoners are expected to be released from at least one county jail. The release stems from the budget cuts required after two tax hike balance measures failed. In the words of one county sheriff quote, "It is a party atmosphere at the jail today."

The president's day is shaping up to be a popular time for 2004 Democratic hopefuls to travel the country. Senator John Edwards, is the latest to announces a holiday appearance. He plans to be in Iowa to meet with activists in Des Moines.

Retired General Wesley Clark is having strong words about past U.S. policies and the rise of international terrorism. In an interview with the "Forward" newspaper, Clark criticizes the Reagan White House approach towards Saudi Arabia which Clark says encouraged the spread of the fundamentalist sect of Islam known as Wahhabism.

Reading now from the article quote, "The Reagan administration thought Wahhabism was conservative but not extremist." Clark said, "We probably have to take some blame for the terrorism ourselves."

Well, in sports and often in politics, Americans love an underdog. Gary Hart played the role when he ran for president back in 1984. But now, after years in the political wilderness, he is back. Will he make another run for the White House?

Our Jeff Greenfield considers his chances.


GARY HART, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't believe we've won the whole thing.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In 1972, he led the campaign that led lone shark George McGovern to win the Democratic presidential nomination. But a badly divided party and disaster vice presidential choice led the campaign to a landslide loss that November. In 1984, as long shot president's candidate himself, Senator Hart shocked front-runner Walter Mondale in the New Hampshire primary, and seemed headed to the primary nomination until he was derailed, in part, by this memorable debate moment.

HART: I'm reminded of that ad, "Where's the Beef?"

GREENFIELD: He was the odds on favorite for the 1988 nomination, but his campaign ended almost the moment it began in 1987. Ended by a sex scandal, a photograph and a once unimaginable press question.

QUESTION: Have you ever committed adultery?

HART: I do not have to answer that question.

GREENFIELD (on camera): In the years that followed, Gary Heart went back to school, wrote books and tried to stay in the public arena. And then came September 11. And a new role for Hart.

(voice-over): When a stunned America began asking, how could this have happened? It found an obscure report that warned of domestic terror more than a year earlier. A report Gary Hart co- authored with fellow foreign Senator Warren Rudman. He was no longer a figure from some old scandal, but a prophet whose warnings had been ignored. And he has begun to think that maybe just maybe, he might run once again for president. He was in Iowa last week.

HART: I've already taken credit, I think with some plausibility, for inventing the Iowa caucuses.

GREENFIELD: His speeches today warn of more dangers ahead.

HART: And our military superiority will not entirely protect us.

GREENFIELD: And he calls for the rebirth of true Republic.

HART: America's adrift because it has yet to relate it's massive power to it's oft-forgotten principals. And I think it will remain adrift until our principals become the foundation of a new grand strategy.

GREENFIELD: But for all the high-minded views, every step on a possible new campaign will be haunted by the lowest moment of his career.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST: How can you reassure potential supporters this time that nothing like that will happen again?



ROBERT NOVAK, CO-HOST: How do you get beyond that? How do you get rid of that?

HART: I assumed full responsibility for that, apologize to everyone concerned on national television and went on with my life.


GREENFIELD (on camera): So, is another Hart presidential campaign even plausible? On one side is the passage of time, the Clinton lesson that private misconduct need not mean public banishment, and, of course, those September 11 attacks that gave Gary Hart new stature.

On the other side, that sound you hear are the late-night comedians licking their chops as they call out, "Welcome back, Gary."

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: Expelled Congressman James Traficant remains in prison, but some folks on Capitol Hill still are trying to get rid of what they call the Traficant taint.

The new occupants of Traficant's office -- get this -- Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer, held a so-called cleansing ritual last night. Toupees, leisure suits and prison garb were not required. But Blumenauer put on polyester anyway. He says he believed that Traficant would appreciate the humor behind the party. Maybe we'll find out the answer to that.

Coming up next: a brand new development in the showdown with Iraq. Next, we will go live to the United Nations.

Plus: A controversial judicial nominee may have cleared a hurdle in the Senate, but will he get caught in the fireworks between Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile?


WOODRUFF: Is President Bush turning the tide when it comes to securing support against Iraq? Our guests take issue in a moment -- but, first, this "News Alert."

Iraq is issuing an invitation to the United Nations two top arms inspectors. Baghdad wants Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei to visit before February 10 to discuss disarmament, as well as future weapons monitoring.

CNN's Richard Roth joins us live from the United Nations -- Richard.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Judy, this could be an invitation dilemma for the international inspectors, but they have to decide now whether they want to go back to Baghdad.


ROTH: What's your reaction to Iraq's letter of invitation?

HANS BLIX, CHIEF U.N. WEAPONS INSPECTOR: My reaction is that I would like to see it first and read it in detail.

ROTH: You have said before you would go back. And are you inclined to accept it if the terms are right?

BLIX: I will study and I will discuss it with my colleague, ElBaradei. And I will probably also talk to the secretary-general. And by, tomorrow maybe we'll have some further thoughts.

ROTH: Would you the ask the Security Council what their thoughts are, the members of the council?

BLIX: I don't know yet.

ROTH: Do you find the timing interesting, just a few days before your report on the


BLIX: Well, of course. It's evident that the interest on their part is that we should have some input from their side before we go give our report to the Security Council.

ROTH: You've said before what you want to hear. But what would you want to hear from them if you do go back? What do they need to do on this quick visit?

BLIX: What we have said we need all the time is presentation of more evidence, that they must be taking -- take the questions seriously which were posed in the report with which we are familiar. And we would like to have responses to those questions.

ROTH: Have they changed their views on anything since your report, scientist interviews, U-2 reconnaissance flights? Have they compromised in any way?

BLIX: Not yet.




ROTH: Of course, the timing very interesting, Judy.

A visit by the inspectors would come just days after Colin Powell makes a presentation here at the Security Council and would no doubt take a little bit of attention away from that dramatic visit.

WOODRUFF: All right, Richard Roth, filling us in from the United Nations, thanks very much.

And -- joining us now: former Gore campaign manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

I'll never get used to that little pause that we have to take before we get started. Today, there were eight European countries that came together and signed a so-called op-ed that ran in 12 newspapers around the world expressing their solidarity, saying, we're with the United States.

Does this, in effect, shut out Germany and France and let the U.S. say, all right, you can move ahead? DONNA BRAZILE, CHAIRWOMAN, VOTING RIGHTS INSTITUTE: No.

I think we still need more support, especially support in the region from Jordan, Saudi Arabia. Kuwait is with us. But, look, it's important that we not only dance to the drumbeat our own music right now, but also get willing partners to help us. It's easy to defeat Iraq in this war, but to have allies who will help us maintain the peace, I think that's what the American people would like to see, as well as more evidence that demonstrate that there are ties between al Qaeda and, of course, Saddam Hussein.

BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: It's clear to me, from the speech the other night -- and I think the president is correct about this -- the American people, sure, and the president would like to see more of our allies with us. But that's secondary, Judy.

It seems to me that the president made quite clear, he is -- his responsibility as president, his No. 1 responsibility is to be concerned about the safety and the protection of its citizens. And he feels that is threatened. And when he feels it's threatened, it doesn't matter what France or Germany or anyone else thinks. He has to take action.

And that's the decision, a huge responsibility on his shoulders. But he's a leader and he's saying: I'm moving ahead and I'm going to eliminate this threat, no matter what anyone tells me.

WOODRUFF: Does this put to rest the argument, though, Donna, that the United States, that Bush is acting unilaterally?

BRAZILE: No, it does not.

And that's why Colin Powell, I'm sure, is working the diplomatic phones all night and all day shoring up support, bringing reluctant allies to help support this administration's position. And, clearly, Tony Blair's decision to come to the United States tomorrow will also demonstrate once again that the United States is willing to go out one more time to find allies willing to help us maintain the peace.

BUCHANAN: The key is that, all these wonderful fellows, they are all coming aboard because they're going to be on the winner's side.

The leader in this whole thing is -- and I will say Tony Blair deserves enormous credit as well, as well as George Bush. They're going against the polls. They're going to against what public opinion is, because they feel there's a real threat. And so whether we do or not, he has the information. He sees that there is a threat to American security.

It is incumbent upon him to make the decision to move and eliminate it. And I believe all will come in behind him. But he's got to do that.

BRAZILE: Bay, it's important that the administration -- look, the American people are reluctant as well. We're not totally sold on this need to go in there right now. So, I think what Colin Powell must do next week and what the president much continue to do every day is to show us the evidence and make the links clear, so that the American people understand this threat, so we'll understand the sacrifice when this happens.

BUCHANAN: No. No. Sure.

You do not need to show the evidence, because doing so may indeed harm American soldiers when he sends them in there. He will do what he can, tell us what he can. But he is saying: I need your trust. I'm the president of the United States. I know what's happening. We are threatened here in this country and I have to eliminate that. And that's what I'm going to do.

BRAZILE: "Trust but verify" -- Ronald Reagan.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the nomination of a man named Miguel Estrada to serve on the Circuit Court of Appeals, party-line vote.

Orrin Hatch, the chairman of the committee, Judiciary Committee, puts out a statement immediately talking about Democrats, Washington political operatives, Democrats wanting -- he said, "They want to smear anyone who would be a positive role model for Hispanics and who might be a constitutional -- might be for the Constitution rather than some liberal judicial activist."

BRAZILE: Well, he received a pass today without demonstrating his fitness for office.

BUCHANAN: Oh, my gosh.

BRAZILE: And what Republicans want is to have these stealth candidates who will not give their opinion on the issues, will not talk about whether or not they will adhere to the United States Constitution.

I think, Bay, that is what Democrats want to here. Otherwise, Democrats will filibuster these nominees and will try to stop the Republicans from stacking the courts with right-wing judges.

BUCHANAN: What the Democrats want is, they want liberal judges to be sent up, or at least moderates.

BRAZILE: Absolutely.

BUCHANAN: And you know what? That's not going to happen, because there happens to be a conservative in the White House.

What Orrin Hatch is doing is exactly what Democrats did. He is trying to reverse it. The Democrats demonized these judges, said they're not qualified. They could be racists. They're sexist and all these horrible things. These are terrifically qualified individuals.

And no what Orrin Hatch is saying, look, fellows, don't touch this one, because what we're going to do is demonize you guys as going after an Hispanic. But when you suggest that Estrada is not qualified, that's just laughable. This man is top of his class from Harvard, 15 years a constitutional lawyer, a brilliant man.

BRAZILE: Bay, he may look good on paper, but the most important paper is the United States Constitution


BRAZILE: Why would he waffle and not tell the United States Senate where he stands? He stonewalled the United States.

BUCHANAN: He did not waffle.

BRAZILE: And I think Democrats must take a page from the Republican playbook on these judges: filibuster.

BUCHANAN: They're going through, lady. They're going through. He's headed for the Supreme Court, the first Hispanic.


BRAZILE: Filibuster.

WOODRUFF: We always let you guys talk as long as possible. It's never long enough.

Donna, Bay, thank you both.


WOODRUFF: Well, now, some Democratic talking points about Bill Clinton: The former president is making a star appearance today at the opening of the House Democrats retreat in Pennsylvania. He's expected to share his tips on how to win in 2004.

Meantime, the Clinton camp has a bone to pick with our own Tucker Carlson. On this program yesterday, Tucker accused Clinton of doing little to combat AIDS in Africa besides giving a lot of speeches.


JIM KENNEDY, CLINTON SPOKESMAN: Well, speaking out about the problem of AIDS, as he and Nelson Mandela have done, is important, because it spreads awareness and it brings pressure on governments to do more about the problem.

But he's doing more that than that. He and his foundation are literally on the ground as we speak saving lives. And we're setting up pilot programs, which can really help bring treatment to the millions of people who will die without it. And so that's been a major focus of the Clinton Foundation and its work.


WOODRUFF: That was Jim Kennedy, who is a spokesman for former President Clinton. The leaders of eight European nations take a stand on Iraq. Up next, I'll talk with Hungary's ambassador to the U.S. about his government's support for U.S. policies and a seemingly divided Europe.


WOODRUFF: The prime minister of Hungary was one of eight European leaders who issued a joint statement today backing U.S. policies toward Iraq.

With me now from New York is Hungary's ambassador to the United States, Andras Simonyi.

Mr. Ambassador, your country, seven other countries, signed this letter. And yet a number of other countries were left out. Does this really demonstrate European unity?

ANDRAS SIMONYI, HUNGARIAN AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: I certainly believe, Judy, that this letter is meant to forge European unity. The message is that Europeans have some old democracies, some newer democracies, like Spain, Portugal, and the newer democracies, Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary, certainly care about working closely together with the United States in the trans-Atlantic relationship matters.

WOODRUFF: But two countries, of course, that would important, not only if there were military action in Iraq, but in the aftermath, keeping the peace in a post-war Iraq, Germany and France, were not part of this.

SIMONYI: Well, they were not part of it. This is pretty much a random choice of countries, countries that have a pretty clear view about the situation.

But I want to make sure that Hungary is really not interested in seeing a rift in Europe. And I want to make sure you know that Hungary is working very closely with other allies in order to push for unity on this issue between the United States and Europe.

WOODRUFF: Does your government believe that there should be -- that the inspectors should be given more time in Iraq to look for weapons of mass destruction? And if so, how much more time?

SIMONYI: I think the statement that the leaders of our countries signed is a statement about wanting to give peace a little more chance.

We want to make sure that a peaceful solution is totally exploited. But I'm afraid we are running out of peaceful solutions. And we certainly have always said that we want this resolved through the United Nations. We want to make sure that the United Nations gets all the possibilities. But, as I said, I'm afraid we are running out of time. And any military action is very difficult and is very risky, but inaction would be far more dangerous.

WOODRUFF: But, essentially, what you're saying is, the U.N. may not be in charge here, that, if too much time is given, these countries, the United States, will go it alone?

SIMONYI: We would not like to see the United States go alone. And I don't think the United States will go alone. I'd like to see all the possibilities of the United Nations be fully exploited. But, as I'm saying, we are, unfortunately, running out of time.

WOODRUFF: OK, but you won't put a timetable on that?

SIMONYI: I don't want to put a timetable, because we are all working hard, 24 hours a day, in order to give all the chances to the United -- all the chance to the United Nations that is possible.

WOODRUFF: Ambassador Andras Simonyi of Hungary, ambassador to the United States, thank you so much. We appreciate your talking with us today. Thank you.

Big names here in Washington usually deal with serious business, but sometimes they go for the laughs.


DAN GLICKMAN, FORMER SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: I was the first U.S. agriculture secretary. And people asked me, what are your qualifications for this job? And I said, well, my mother would say, eat, eat, eat!



WOODRUFF: We'll bring you some of the punch lines from the Funniest Celebrity in Washington Contest and reveal the winner.


WOODRUFF: Power may be the ultimate prize here in the nation's capital, but being funny can also have its rewards. A number of big names duked it out last night for the title Funniest Celebrity in Washington.


CAL THOMAS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Jerry Springer is talking about running for the United States Senate. You will recall, a few years ago, in Cleveland, he paid a hooker with a personal check. Actually, that's a good example for Congress, I think. They prostitute themselves with our money.


GLICKMAN (singing): President Glickman, it has a nice ring. I hope you think so, too, because I did everything to get out of Harvard and come back to D.C. Vote President Glickman. Vote me.

JAMES ROSEN, FOX NEWS: Tonight, we're going to have some chicken al Qaeda, with some Taliban sauce. (LAUGHTER)

DASCHLE: Gary Locke wrote and gave our response officially last night. But here's mine. No.


DASCHLE: No. No. No. That's our idea. So is that. Oh, a three-syllable word.


DASCHLE: Yes, America is great. Oh, I'm so going to obstruct that one. No. No. God bless America. That is it. That is it.



WOODRUFF: We thought Daschle was funny, but this was another contest he lost. James Rosen of Fox News was declared the winner. That's the sample of Washington humor.

Up next: the dispute in Detroit, details on claims by a city councilwoman that her chair massager was sabotaged.


WOODRUFF: This bulletin just in from the campaign trail: The president has endorsed Democrat Howard Dean for president. OK, not the real president, the TV one. Today, the Dean camp announced the endorsement by "West Wing" star Martin Sheen. Sheen's character and Dean both are former New England governors who have been or are waging uphill presidential campaigns. We bring you all the political news.

Now a rather strange story from Detroit, where a city councilwoman has accused the mayor of sabotaging her chair massager. Sharon McPhail says that someone cut the wires on the massager and wrapped them around the chair's metal base to give her an electric jolt. She claims that Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is behind the trick because she voted against him on a recent issue. Mayor Kilpatrick calls her claim ridiculous. He says McPhail -- quote -- "needs some help."

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



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