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Huffington in, Springer out, no Word on Schwarzenegger

Aired August 6, 2003 - 16:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: The Terminator gets ready for his close up. Will Arnold's marquis name be on the recall ballot? We'll have all the ins and outs in this high-stakes political drama.

He has never been one to shy away from a good fight, but does talk show host Jerry Springer have the stomach for a Senate race?

JERRY SPRINGER, TV TALK SHOW HOST: I can't do it at this time.

ANNOUNCER: He's the rising star of the presidential pack. Will Howard Dean be a winner or a flash in the pan? He'll join Judy to talk about his campaign and the fellow Democrats trying to stop it.

Now, live from Washington JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.

It is almost lights, camera, action time for Arnold Schwarzenegger. Will he compete for the role of California governor? His announcement is expected ,soon capping a busy day when California senior senator stayed out of the governor race and a political wife- turned-columnist got in. Our Bill Schneider sees it as a saga that is oh, so California with a dash of fairy tale thrown in.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In California you can be anything you want. Columnist Arianna Huffington, once the queen of Republican society in Washington, went to California and became a born-again Populist.

ARIANNA HUFFINGTON (I), CALIF. GOV. CANDIDATE: I will tell you how you've been tricked and ripped off and by who.

SCHNEIDER: Now she's running for governor and could draw support from liberal activists. Votes Gray Davis needs.

But the most serious threat to Davis doesn't come from the left or the right, it comes from the center. You've heard the story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears"? This is "Gray Davis and the Three Moderates".

Mama Moderate is Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has been known to defy her party on issues of principle. Despite the urging of some fellow Democrats she says, quote, "after thinking a great deal about this recall, I have decided that I will not place my name on the ballot."

But if no other well-known Democrat runs, her fellow Democrats may clamor for her to reconsider.

Papa Moderate is Republican Richard Riordan. He, too, draws support across party lines. He's anything but a hardline conservative.

RICHARD RIORDAN (R), FORMER L.A. MAYOR: We've lost a million and half women votes over the last five years and we cannot gain power back in California without bringing women back into the party.

SCHNEIDER: Davis felt so threatened by Riordan last year that he ran ads to discredit him with his fellow Republicans.

AD ANNOUNCER: For years Richard Riordan funded the anti- abortion, supported anti-choice candidates and even called abortion murder. Now he says he's pro-choice.

SCHNEIDER: In fact, he does support a women's right to choose. Riordan's moderation could help him this time around with non- Republican voters.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Very good. Bravo.

SCHNEIDER: Baby Moderate looks pretty tough, but he sounds pretty tender.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Indeed teaching those kids how to say no to drugs, no to gangs and no to violence, but to say yes to education, yes to sports, yes to hope and yes to life.

SCHNEIDER: Arnold Schwarzenegger's appeal is untested. But it's likely to do with party of ideology and a lot to do with the image of a strong leader.

By the filing deadline on Saturday, the three moderates could become one. But anyone one of them could devour Davis.


SCHNEIDER: Moderate Republicans like Riordan and Schwarzenegger find it hard to survive Republican primaries here in California. This year's recall election, where there is no primary, may be their one and only shot at winning. If any one of the three moderates run, Davis looks doomed. And if none of them runs, Davis just might be able to beat the recall because there'd be no moderate alternatives, only extremes -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Bill, now you are hearing about some private polls that have done. What are you hearing?

SCHNEIDER: What we're hearing from private polls done for the Democrats in Sacramento is that the antipathy to Davis is pretty strong and it has been increasing. Those polls show support for recalling Davis climbing into the mid 50s. And they've got Democrats in Sacramento very concerned.

I should as that the governor's office disputes the accuracy of those polls, saying that they overstate his opposition. What those polls are showing is that almost it doesn't matter who else is on the ballot, there's a hardcore of nearly a majority of Californians dead set against keeping Davis as governor, and they're determined to go out there and throw him out.

WOODRUFF: And that's what makes this whole thing volatile right up until the filing day on Saturday.

SCHNEIDER: It certainly is.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.

Well critics of the celebrity turned politician trend don't have Jerry Springer to kick around any more, at least for now. Springer announced today will not run for the U.S. Senate in Ohio next year. He says he cannot get his message out and win as a Democrat unless he quits his controversial talk show. And he says that is not happening any time soon. Our Bruce Morton has been thinking about Springer's choice.


SPRINGER: This has been a tough decision. The only decision I can make today is that I'm not running, you know, I can't be a candidate now.

BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well he's not running. Couldn't run, he said, and do the show. You could understand it. I mean the U.S. Senate's an OK place, but could it match the excitement of the show? Just today, there's the fighting, the show with bared bosoms -- both kinds. And in the Senate they don't have all those bleeped words.

You get a nice desk in the Senate, the people call you "the distinguished senator from Ohio" or whatever, but you have to think he would miss the action. But, baby I love you, just has more energy somehow.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: The senate can be exciting, but maybe not that exciting. Jerry Springer will be a guest on "CROSSFIRE" at the bottom of this hour.

Some fading political stars pop up as we turn to the presidential race. Former New York Governor Mario Cuomo is urging Al Gore to run for the Democratic nomination after. Gore spokesmen said again today that the former vice president will not be a candidate in '04. But Cuomo says the party needs Gore because, he says, the rhetoric emerging from the current contenders is, in his words, "babble."

Well needless to say, the '04 Democrats see the race differently. They got together last night at the AFL-CIO Presidential Forum in Chicago eager to wear the union's label.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): All nine showed up, but only one has a shot at the big endorsement. Union officials concede it's Dick Gephardt or no one in '04. And the congressman took pains to reminded members of his pro-labor record.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Check who was there when the fat was in the fire and we had to fight against even our own president to beat NAFTA and to beat China.

WOODRUFF: All the candidates were out to prove they're labor bonafide.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My mother is a retired member of the mail carriers.

GEPHARDT: My dad was a Teamster and a milk truck driver in St, Louis, Missouri.

WOODRUFF: But Senator Joe Lieberman broke ranks on education.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D-CT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's even try the so-called voucher program on an experimental basis just to see if we learn anything from it. You ask -- I'm going to speak the truth, I'm going to say what I think is best for America.

WOODRUFF: Lieberman also repeated his veiled attacks on Howard Dean, implying the former Vermont governor is too liberal to defeat George W. Bush.

LIEBERMAN: Do you want to go backwards to old ideas, weakness and pessimism or go forward with new ideas, strength and optimism?

WOODRUFF: And Dean fired back.

HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can't beat President Bush by trying to be like him. We tried that in 2002 and it didn't work.


WOODRUFF: Meantime -- now that was last night in Chicago -- meantime the John Edwards campaign is taking its message to the airwaves today in Iowa and New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) EDWARDS (voice-over): Growing up it seemed like almost everyone in town worked at the mill. And when it moved it was devastating. hat's happening all over.


WOODRUFF: The mainly biographical TV spots will run in the Cedar Rapids and Des Moines markets in Iowa and can also be seen in Manchester and the southern tier of New Hampshire. A campaign spokeswoman describes the ad buy as, quote, "substantial and lengthy."

Still ahead, I'll talk with a Democratic candidate who has been getting loads of free air time and headlines lately? Can Howard Dean keep the momentum going?

Are the nation's economic problem catching up to President Bush? We'll check the state of his poll numbers.

And we'll talk more about the California recall election and whether Gray Davis can survive with the governor's former campaign manager.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: A long-time force in Massachusetts politics, William Bulger, has now resigned as president of the University of Massachusetts. Bulger, having just met today, these are live pictures coming in from Lowell. This is William Bulger, also known as Billy.

Bulger, resigning over a longstanding controversy about his brother, nicknamed James "Whitey" Bulger, his brother having been on the lam, literally, since 1995, having fled the country just before his indictment on federal charges related to 21 murders.

Again, William Bulger, stepping down as president of the University of Massachusetts. Here now is part of William Bulger just had to say.


WILLIAM BULGER, FRM. PRES., UNIV. OF MASS.: In a subsequent proposal that would have eliminated the office of the president, in character attacks on distinguished members of our board of trusties, and by the creation of a stated litmus test stipulating that feature members of the Massachusetts -- U Mass board...


WOODRUFF: Again, Billy Bulger, a long-time force in Massachusetts politics, formerly president of the state senate, turning in his resignation today to the trusties of the University of Massachusetts.


WOODRUFF: As California Governor Gray Davis tries to fend off the effort to remove him from office, he has turned away (ph) former campaign manager Garry South for some advice. Garry South is with me now from Los Angeles.

Garry South, first of all, these poll numbers that we keep hearing about, the governor has to be looking at this, hearing about it and thinking, how in the world am I going to survive this?

GARRY SOUTH, FRM. DAVIS CAMPAIGN MGR.: Well a couple of points, Judy. First of all, these polls really are not very indicative of a full campaign.

Let's face it, there's been a pro-recall campaign going on here for seven months. They spent millions of dollars, they've had Web sites up, they've done spots, they've had direct mail, they've had hundreds of people flooding the supermarkets, the grocery stores getting signatures.

The campaign against the recall hasn't even begun. It just qualified about two weeks ago and the campaign against it has yet begun. People haven't heard the reasons as to why this is a terrible idea. And once that happens, these numbers will change.

Remember in California initiatives, which are all yes or no propositions, up or down propositions, one that starts out with support just over 50 percent always lose, 99 percent of the time they lose. This is not a very auspicious beginning for this initiative.

WOODRUFF: It may not be, Garry South. But isn't the governor asking the Democrats and the state of California to take an enormous risk? because by saying no Democrat should run on the replacement ballot, he's running the risk that if he were to lose the recall vote, there's no Democrat to run in his place.

SOUTH: Well, Judy, there are a couple of facts about this recall business that I think Democrats and some reporters need to get their arms around. Here's what they are.

Number one, we've looked at the recall elections in California in legislative districts of which there have been several. The fact is there is a about a 30 percent falloff between those who vote on Line A -- in other words should this person be recalled or not -- and those who go and vote on Line B for a replacement candidate.

In this case you can assure yourself of the following the fact: the overwhelming number of people who fall off will be Democrats who vote no on the recall.

There is no guarantee, Judy, even if a Democrat is plunked into this ballot that they would automatically win if the governor is recalled. In fact, the chances are, they would not.

Point number two, there will be Democrats a plenty on this ballot. Almost 500 people, 500 people have already taken out papers to run for governor. And dozens and dozens of those will be Democrats.

This is not a clean ballot where you'll have three or four Republican choices and then one Democrat who is (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ordained by a handful of state senators and two or three members of our congressional delegation. That's not the way this works.

WOODRUFF: But you're likely to have, my point is, a better known, a bigger name, Republican, on the ballot than you are a Democrat, if the governor's working this hard to keep the Democrats off.

And let me just quickly quote from Democratic Congressman Cal Dooley who says it is foolhardy for Democrats to gamble that Gray Davis can pull this off.

SOUTH: Well I respect Call Dooley, but I go back to what I just sad, Judy. We've looked at these recalls. These are a strange animal. This is not like a normal candidate election.

And in cases where an office holder is recalled on Line A, there is no guarantee ever that someone of the same party will replace them on Line B. That, itself, is a risky proposition.

If we're going to throw the governor to the wolves on Line A on the fallacious hope, somehow, that if we can just find some Democrat who is arguably viable to appear on Line B, they will automatically replace a recalled governor, that is foolhardy. That is not going to happen given the way these recalls function.

And people need to study these recalls. We've had several of these in California at the local level, we know how they work. They don't work in the way that people are suggesting they work, where you recall the governor, a Democrat replaces him, the Democrats wipe the sweat off their brow and go on. That's not the way they work. That and in itself is foolishness.

WOODRUFF: I hear what you're saying, and yet, the bottom line, people are looking at this and saying, Isn't Gray Davis saying, in essence, I'd rather have a Republican replace me than take the chance of getting a Democrat on there who could beat me.

SOUTH: That is not what he's saying at all and that is not what we are saying at all. What we're saying is, if the governor is recalled on Line A, the chances that a Democrat will replace him on Line B are minimal. That's why the effort has to be put on beating the recall on Line A.

And,Judy, let me make one other point, OK. This recall is not just about Gray Davis. The initiator of this recall has already been on media saying this is only a beginning. If Gray Davis is recalled, this is only a beginning, we're going to start going after other state-wide office holders, we;re going to start going after members of the court, we're going to have to start going after legislators. This is Pandora's box. And if we Democrats do not put all of our energy into beating this recall on Line A, then what happens on Line B is not going to be that important based on what's going to follow, which is using the recall as a weapon mass political destruction which is what this little gaggle of right-wingers have in mind.

WOODRUFF: Message heard. Garry South, former campaign manager for Gray Davis, now advising him on this recall effort. Good to see you.

SOUTH: Thank you, Judy. Good to be here.

WOODRUFF: And thanks for talking with us.

And now, checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." A clash of the Titans is set in Mississippi governor's race. As expected, incumbent Ronnie Musgrove easily won the Democratic nomination in yesterday's primary. And former RNC Chairman Haley Barbour won the Republican nom.

Democratic presidential candidate Bob Graham's criticism of President Bush's Iraq policy appears to be costing support at home. That's what poll takers in Florida say. A new Mason-Dixon survey shows President Bush leading Senator Graham in his home state of Florida by 12 points. Graham trailed by nine points back in May.

And a new poll shows President Bush losing political ground in Michigan. His job approval rating there has slipped 6 percent or rather 6 points to 52 percent in the past six weeks amid growing concerns in the state about the economy.

Coming up, Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean sets his sights on undecided voters in Iowa. And his campaign is bragging about a new total for the Dean meet ups. A live interview with the former Vermont governor just ahead.


WOODRUFF: Howard Dean's campaign says the number of people signed up to attend Dean meet-ups has topped 75,000. Some 338 Dean meet-ups are scheduled around the country just tonight, and the candidate is to be at one in Des Moines, Iowa.

The former Vermont governor is with me now from Creston, Iowa, where he 's meeting with undecided caucusgoers.

Governor, good to talk to you.

DEAN: Thanks for having me on, Judy.

WOODRUFF: I want to bring up, first of all, something former New York Governor Mario Cuomo had to say today. He's urging Al Gore to get into this race. He said the Democrats are not speaking with a single voice. He said it's not a chorus, it's a babble. And he said this a field without a positive agenda.

What do you say?

DEAN: Well, first of all, I think Al Gore's terrific, and if he did get in the race, I'd certainly welcome him.

Secondly, I think I have a very positive agenda. My agenda is jobs for America, a foreign policy consistent with American values and health insurance for all Americans and consistent with a balance budget, which is what we did in Vermont. Balance the budget, gave health insurance to all kids and all working low-income people. If we can do that in my small state and balance the budget, we can do that in America.

WOODRUFF: So Mario Cuomo is all wrong?

DEAN: Well, Maria Cuomo is a very well-respected statesman in the Democratic Party, but on that -- on the issue of not having a positive agenda, I think I would respectfully disagree.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about something your competitor Joe Lieberman had to say just two days ago. He said, talking about you and the other so-called left leaning candidates in the Democratic field, he said these are people who are going to pull the Democratic Party into the wilderness. And he said you would have a tough time winning the election if you did win the nomination.

DEAN: Well, in all due respect, I am the only one other than Bob Graham that's ever balanced a budget, that's ever appointed a Supreme Court Justice in my state. I'm the only one that's ever delivered health care in the entire field to anybody, both as a physician and a governor. So I actually think that I am -- I'm the centrist in race. Joe's a little more conservative, perhaps. But I governed as a centrist in Vermont, I'll govern as a centrist as president.

WOODRUFF: Well, what do you say, though -- that he also said at this AFL-CIO forum last night that the Democrats aren't going to win with a candidate who is weak and ambivalent on national defense,meaning -- referring to your opposition to the war.

DEAN: Well, I -- with all do respect, I think that those who voted for the war, bought, hook, line and sinker the president's assertions that there was uranium bought in Africa, which wasn't true; that there was a link between al Qaeda and Iraq, which wasn't true; that Iraq was on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, which wasn't true; that the secretary of defense knew exactly where the weapons were, which wasn't true.

If you are running for president of the United States and you accept on face value five months before the war starts, then I think you need to have some hard questions about -- asked about why you didn't ask those questions before you gave the president authority to go to war and not after.

Look, I supported the first Gulf War. I supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I will never send American troops abroad without telling the people the truth about why they're going there. That's why I think I'm electable. WOODRUFF: Governor, your opposition to this war, there are two polls -- some polls I want to cite to you now done by CNN/Gallup/"USA Today," one of them showing 63 percent of the American people still believe that war was worth fighting. Another poll showing 65 percent believe the Democrats' criticism of the president on the war are all about politics and not about valid points.

DEAN: I think some of the Democrats that may be true for, but since I've consistenly opposed the war based on principle and regardless of what the polls show, I think I would have to be excluded from that group.

WOODRUFF: But what about the fact that almost two of thirds of Americans are saying the war was worth fighting?

DEAN: Well, I don't agree. I think it's very hard to go to war when you haven't been truthful with the American public about why you went to war. And right now, I think the Iraqi people are better off and right now, for the moment, America may be safer.

We're going to be there for a long, long time. We're losing American soldiers at the rate of seven or eight a week, and I believe that in the long run we would have been better off in terms of our own safety, had we continued to contain Saddam Hussein, which we could have done indefinitely. The time to remove Saddam Hussein was in the first Bush administration, when he was murdering tens and thousands of Shiites. The United States chose not to do that at that time. I thought that was the wrong choice then because I think the United States has a right to intervene to stop genocide. But suddenly, 12 years later, to decide that Saddam is a big danger to the United States on the basis of no evidence whatsoever, I think is a mistake.

WOODRUFF: And, finally, governor, one of your rivals, John Kerry, has a campaign manager, Jim Jordan, who is saying, among other things -- he's saying, until you can convince Americans and especially women that you can keep this country safe, they're not going to hear you on the other issues you're trying to talk about.

DEAN: I agree with that and I think that my record in terms of being tough and forthright in what I believe in is what's going to keep this country safe.

This president, for examples, chose tax cuts over buying the enriched uranium stocks of the Soviet Union under the Cooperative Threat Reduction Agreement. This president chose not to inspect the 94 percent of the shipping containers that come into this country because he gave tax cuts instead. This president chose tax cuts instead of funding homeland security for the states and cities.

It seems to me when it comes to homeland security, this president has talked a great game, but it's all hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it at that. Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean talking to us from Creston, Iowa. Governor, it's good to see you. DEAN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you very much. Talk to you again soon.

INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.


WOODRUFF: And that's all the time we have for INSIDE POLITICS. Tomorrow, much more on the California recall. We'll know by then whether Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the race for governor or not.

I'm Judy Woodruff.


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