CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER
Interview With Colin Powell; Interview With Lynne Cheney
Aired September 28, 2003 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, it is noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 7:00 p.m. in Jerusalem and 8:00 p.m. in Baghdad. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for LATE EDITION.
I'm Judy Woodruff. Wolf is away.
We begin with Iraq. The costly task of rebuilding Iraq is forcing the Bush administration to ask for significantly more help from U.S. allies and the Congress. But so far it appears that the White House has a lot more persuading to do on both fronts.
This morning I spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell about where things stand.
WOODRUFF: Mr. Secretary, it's good to see you. Thank you very much for joining us.
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: My pleasure, Judy.
WOODRUFF: It has now been five days since President Bush took his case to the United Nations, since he and you began these hard discussions with leaders of other countries about helping us out -- the U.S. out in Iraq, with money, with troops and other commitments. What do you have to show for it at this point?
POWELL: I think we have to show is that there is a recognition in the international community that we have to forget what happened in the spring with respect to our disagreement over going into Iraq. And now we all have to come together and help with the reconstruction of Iraq.
And I think you saw a better meeting with President Chirac and President Bush and Chancellor Schroeder and President Bush than people might have expected.
And I'm sensing that within the Security Council, there are people who want to move forward to a new resolution, U.N. resolution, that would provide broader international mandate for what we're doing. It would involve the creation of a multinational force cover for the troops that are there.
Remember, some 31 nations are standing alongside of us in Iraq now. It's not that we are alone. We are not alone. WOODRUFF: So are you saying the U.S. is prepared to give up some power in terms of running...
POWELL: It's not a matter of giving up. The president has always said that he wanted the U.N. to play a vital role. And he said in his speech that he encouraged international efforts.
So I wouldn't call it question of giving up. It's a question of finding a resolution that satisfies the needs of some of our partners in the international community, but at the same time makes clear that the future of Iraq is in the hands of the Iraqi people through their Governing Council and their cabinet ministers, and recognizing the obligation and responsibility the United States has as the leader of the Coalition Provisional Authority.
WOODRUFF: But there's a contradiction, isn't there, in asking these other countries for their help, for their troops, for their money, and at the same time saying, we still want to run the show in the United States?
POWELL: There's no country that has said, oh, please let us run the show. Secretary-General Annan has said...
WOODRUFF: But it would be the U.N., wouldn't it?
POWELL: No. The secretary-general has not asked to run the show. What they want is a transfer of authority as quickly as possible to the Iraqis. We want that. But we can't do it in a hurried manner before the Iraqis are prepared to discharge those responsibilities, discharge that authority in a very, very responsible way.
We have to build up an Iraqi army. We have to rebuild their infrastructure. We have to rebuild their ministries. We have to rebuild their police forces. And we have to make sure that they have a constitution, let them write a constitution, let them have elections based on that constitution.
And no one would be happier than President Bush, and certainly me, when the day comes that a new elected Iraqi leadership stands up and says, we're ready, let us have it, take off the training wheels.
WOODRUFF: But in the meantime, you're asking other countries to provide troops. And as of now, you're saying there are no troop commitments from these other countries.
POWELL: No, no, no. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Twenty two thousand troops are there from other countries.
WOODRUFF: I mean new countries.
POWELL: Thirty-one other countries. So 31 countries have contributed with -- willingly contributed on the basis of earlier U.N. resolutions, or just because they felt it was the right thing to do with or without a U.N. resolution. Now, we're trying to see whether, with a U.N. resolution, there may be other nations that have more of a political mandate of the kind they say they need to take to their people. And the Turks are looking at it, Bangladesh is looking at it, Pakistan is looking at it, other nations are looking at the possibility of contributing troops. But none has made a firm commitment.
WOODRUFF: But the top military man in Iraq, General John Abizaid, was quoted in the last day or so as saying he pretty much isn't counting on any troops from other countries.
POWELL: I would expect John...
WOODRUFF: I mean, have you all pretty much resigned yourselves to the fact...
POWELL: No, we haven't resigned ourselves to it, but we also know it's not going to be a huge number that we're going to get. We would like to form one more multinational division.
But General Abizaid, as the commander on the ground, can't count on that. So he has to be thinking about the contingencies.
And one contingency is to ask for the call-up of additional reservists.
WOODRUFF: It was reported that President Bush, when he met with the president of India, President Vajpayee, that he did not ask for troops. Does this mean that a country of over a billion people has no -- you don't expect them to provide any help here?
POWELL: We had earlier conversations with the Indians about providing troops. And it's become clear in recent months that, for a variety of reasons, internal political -- domestic politics and other reasons, the Indians would not be in a position to provide troops.
WOODRUFF: But is that -- so that's a final answer?
POWELL: Well, the Indians, they have indicated they would not be in a position to provide troops. And I don't expect that position to change.
WOODRUFF: Are you disappointed?
POWELL: I would like to have seen the Indians provide troops, but, you know, each nation has to make its own judgment. We can't order troops in by dictate. We have to persuade them that it is in the interest of international order for them to provide troops. And we're pleased that so many nations have done that.
Would we like to see more nations do it? Yes. Can we count on a large number of additional troops? No. But is there still the possibility of more troop contributors? Yes.
WOODRUFF: Has this whole business of going back to the United Nations and asking these other countries for help, has it been a humbling experience?
POWELL: No, not at all. The president has always said that this was a matter for the international community. He said that last September, a year ago, when he brought the problem of Saddam Hussein once again to the United Nations.
And since the war ended, a major part of the war -- there's still war going on, but the major combat operation was over and Baghdad fell -- we have gotten two U.N. resolutions passed: 1483 and 1500. Fourteen-eighty-three authorized the presence of a coalition force in Iraq, and 1500 welcomed the new Governing Council.
So this is a third U.N. resolution since the war that we're asking for that would expand the international mandate and give the international financial institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, a basis to start doing work there and give the U.N. a more defined role than it currently has now.
WOODRUFF: Nothing humbling about it?
WOODRUFF: Secretary Powell, two things about the Iraqis. They are saying -- top-ranking Iraqi officials are now saying, we want power faster than the U.S. is willing to give it. You've talked about six-months time frame for them to write their own constitution.
When are they going to be ready to do these things? I mean, for some people, that sounds like a very fast period of time. Maybe to them it doesn't. How do you know what is the right amount of time?
POWELL: You know, well, you really don't. And that's why in the resolution we are designing, we are asking the Iraqis to tell us what they think the right time is.
Now, some Iraqis are asking for immediate transfer of authority. Other Iraqi leaders on the Governing Council are saying, "Please, don't move that quickly. We need time. We need to put our cabinet ministries back together. We need an army. We need a police force. We need a border patrol. We need a constitution. If we don't have a constitution, what kind of authority are you giving us back to?"
And so, we think that six months is an appropriate amount of time to look at for the writing of a constitution, the ratification of that constitution. And then you have to have elections. And this is a very sensible way to go about it and not give authority to just people who have been selected but don't enjoy the legitimacy of an election.
WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, you have Senator Richard Lugar, probably the most respected Republican in the Congress when it comes to foreign policy, talking about a five-year plan, that he's saying it's absolutely essential that the American people and the Iraqi people know that the U.S. commitment is there.
POWELL: I think it's important that we...
WOODRUFF: Is it going to be five years?
POWELL: I don't know what the right answer is, but I think Senator Lugar is absolutely right. We have to say to the Iraqi people that we are with you for as long as it takes.
But it doesn't mean that we have to keep this level of troop commitment for five years, nor do I think Senator Lugar was suggesting that. Nor does it mean that we have to be the authority for five years.
Nobody wants to transfer authority back to the Iraqis more rapidly than the president does or I do, or Senator Lugar, and certainly Mr. Bremer and General Abizaid. We want the Iraqis to take authority back.
But we also know we don't want to set them up for failure by saying, you 25 guys, we, America, have decided you should represent your people now, without an election, without a constitution. That isn't the way to go about this.
Write a constitution, ratify it, determine your form of government, have elections, and we'll be more than happy to accept the results of those elections and transfer power back to that new government.
WOODRUFF: The U.N. announced this week that they're pulling out most of their foreign staff inside Iraq for security reasons. They say they just can't guarantee their security. That must be discouraging.
POWELL: It's very troubling. There is a security problem, and it's essentially in the area around the Sunni Triangle, as it's called. The northern part of the country is relatively secure; the southern part of the country is relatively secure.
There are still incidents, just as there are in any country, in any city. It is the central part that we're worried about, and especially Baghdad and the triangle around Baghdad. And the U.N. has a responsibility to protect its personnel.
I'm pleased that a lot of these U.N. agencies, although they have to draw down from their presence in Iraq, will be trying to perform their services from countries nearby, out of Kuwait and out of places like that.
WOODRUFF: The $87 billion, is the administration is adamant that none of that money should be a loan, which is what some members of Congress are saying?
POWELL: The issue really is the $20 billion of the $87 billion, the $20 billion that is for Iraqi reconstruction. We really think it is best to give it as a grant and not as a loan. The Iraqi people are going to be faced with a crushing debt load now from past obligations.
WOODRUFF: But do you have any give in your position on this? POWELL: Well, right now, I think it's best that we listen to what Congress has to say about this. But right now, our position is firm, that we believe it should be a grant.
WOODRUFF: Sounds like you're leaving a window open.
POWELL: I have to let the president hear from Congress. But right now, our position is -- and I think it is a defensible position, a position we should stick with -- that it should be a grant.
What we don't want to do is to put such a burden on the Iraqi people that our reconstruction efforts don't really pay off, because the debt that they have to service doesn't allow them to get their infrastructure up and running using their own funds, because they're busy using those funds to pay off debt.
They have a lot of debt now that we have to deal with and see if we can restructure that debt. Let's not pile on the debt.
WOODRUFF: And when we return, Secretary of State Powell talks about the real threat from Saddam Hussein.
Then, an $87-billion bill for Iraq, will Congress agree to pay the check? We'll talk with Senators Trent Lott and Evan Bayh.
And later, the Democrats duke it out. Did any of the presidential hopefuls help themselves? We'll get insight from New Mexico Democratic Governor Bill Richardson and Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
LATE EDITION continues after this.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We return now to my interview this morning with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
WOODRUFF: Let me just ask you to look back for a moment, because there are some statements that have come to light in the last week or so that I think raise questions about going to war in the first place.
February of 2001, Colin Powell quoted as saying about Saddam Hussein: "I think we ought to declare containment a success. We have kept him contained, kept him in a box."
So my question is, if he was contained in 2001, how did he get uncontained by early 2003?
POWELL: He was still contained, in the sense that I was describing it, in that he no longer had the ability to project conventional power outside of his borders because the Gulf War, the first Gulf War pretty much reduced his conventional forces.
In that same February statement, I did not say he didn't have weapons of mass destruction. I believed then that he had weapons of mass destruction. How many, I didn't know if it was significant or not. We didn't think it was significant.
But a lot changed with 9/11. With 9/11, we saw what could happen with the nexus between nations that had weapons of mass destruction and terrorists who might be anxious to get those weapons of mass destruction.
WOODRUFF: But you did say, though, you said, quote, "He threatens not the United States. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction." It wasn't just you. It was Dr. Rice, later in 2001. Vice President Cheney, who said Saddam is bottled up.
I guess my question is, how did something that happened here in the United States, al Qaeda behind it, affect what was going on on the ground in Iraq?
POWELL: Because it focused the president's attention, all of our attention, on the fact that if there were nations in the world that were continuing to hold or develop weapons of mass destruction, in the aftermath of 9/11, when we saw the kinds of terrorist organizations that were out there that would stop at nothing to strike us or other civilized nations, then a nexus existed between the possibility of such terrorists getting access to these kinds of weapons.
And, also, the reality of it was that Saddam Hussein did have these weapons. The previous administration acknowledged it. The previous administration went to a mini-war in late-1998 and bombed Saddam Hussein's facilities for four days.
And here it was five years later, in 2003, the president made a decision based on this continued violation of U.N. resolutions for all these years, after taking the case to the U.N., that the world in this post-9/11 environment could no longer tolerate that kind of activity by a regime as irresponsible as Saddam Hussein's.
WOODRUFF: But you could understand why these questions are being asked. We now have the David Kay report coming out, and we're told that he's going to say there's been no weapons found.
POWELL: Let's wait to see what Dr. Kay actually says.
But let me make this point, I made it earlier in a number of interviews. Two weeks ago I was a place called Halabjah in northern Iraq, where 15 years ago Saddam Hussein gassed people on a Friday morning in March of 1988 with sarin, with VX, and killed 5,000 people. I saw the mass grave. I saw the victims. I saw those who lost loved ones.
In 1991, after the first Gulf War, we found chemical weapons. We learned a lot about the program. We put in place an inspection regime to pull it all out. By 1998, Saddam had frustrated that inspection regime. President Clinton found it necessary to bomb his facilities. The inspectors left. And then there was this four-year period that was a gap.
Are we supposed to believe that, oh, gee, he gave up all of that capability, he no longer has the intent?
Yes, we tried to keep him bottled up. But bottled up does not mean gone away. It means bottled up and still a danger. And 9/11, it seemed to us, pulled the cork out of that bottle, and it was a danger and a risk we no longer wished to take.
WOODRUFF: All right. Very quickly, some things I want to touch on. The cover of Time magazine this week shows President Bush in his flight suit on the aircraft carrier saying, "Mission Not Accomplished, How Bush Misjudged the Task of Fixing Iraq."
A Democratic friend of the administration, John Murtha, who is the ranking Democrat on Appropriations, a Vietnam veteran, is now saying somebody has to go, somebody has to be held responsible for the mistake of going into -- that were made in Iraq and the aftermath.
POWELL: When President Bush went to the aircraft carrier and made that statement, major combat was over. The battle for Baghdad was over. The regime was gone.
He was right. The regime was gone. Saddam Hussein was gone.
What we are dealing with now, in the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad, are remnants of the regime.
And they're not just attacking the United States because we're there. They're attacking the U.N., they're attacking the Jordanian Embassy, they are attacking news outlets, they are attacking humanitarian organizations. Why? Just to get Americans out? No. To try to bring back this regime that has been destroyed. And we won't let that happen.
And so even though we have some difficulties now in dealing with these former members of the Baathist regime, these Saddam Fedayeen and others, and some terrorists have migrated into the area, it's a battle that I think we'll win, just as we won the first battle for Baghdad.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly, the president met this weekend with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among other things, they talked about Iran. And afterwards, Mr. Putin said his government is -- they're going to respectfully suggest that the Iranians comply with international weapons inspections, but Russia is basically going to go ahead with its plan to help Iraq build a nuclear reactor. The Iranians are saying we're going to go ahead, even with uranium enrichment.
Are you disappointed?
POWELL: We never asked Russia to not build the plant at Bushehr. They are building a plant, and President Putin said he's going to go ahead with that plant. The issue is the fuel that goes into that plant and the fuel cycle that is created. Will we be able to control whatever fuel is going into that plant, so that it does not become a source of nuclear weapons-grade material?
What is different about the situation this year than, say, just a year ago, with respect to the Russians, is a year ago, everybody thought America was overreacting, everybody though America was picking on the Iranians. But it turned out that we had it right.
And over the past year, the evidence has become incontrovertible that the Iranians have been moving in the direction of producing a nuclear weapon. The Russians acknowledge it. The International Atomic Energy Commission acknowledges it. And we will see at the end of October another report from the IAEA.
And Iran now has to decide whether they are going to make known to the international community what they are doing. They need to sign an additional protocol, they need to answer all the questions that have been raised with respect to their nuclear programs.
And Russia has said, respectfully, as Putin says, we need to have these questions answered. But they are still going ahead with the plant. Nor did the president tell him not to go ahead with the plant.
WOODRUFF: I want to quickly turn you to a very different subject, and that is one of the candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, General Wesley Clark.
I know you've said you wouldn't comment on it, but I have to quote for you from Newsweek magazine last week, where the article said, "To say Clark was unpopular among his fellow officers in the military is an understatement. In conversations with friends, Colin Powell would privately put down General Clark as, quote, `Lieutenant Colonel Clark,' endquote, "i.e., a perpetual eager-beaver wannabe."
Did you ever call him...
POWELL: Are those my quotes?
WOODRUFF: The quote from you was "Lieutenant Colonel Clark."
POWELL: Right, he was. He was a lieutenant colonel when he worked for me for the first time in Fort Carson, Colorado, 20 years ago.
WOODRUFF: But at the time you made these remarks...
POWELL: I don't know when I made them. I don't know who says I made that remark when.
WOODRUFF: But, presumably, it was during the time...
POWELL: I've know Wes Clark for 20 years. He's one of the most gifted soldiers that I have ever had work for me. And beyond that, I really feel it's appropriate for me to recuse myself from any further comment now that he is a political candidate.
WOODRUFF: You never called him Lieutenant Colonel Clark while he was a general?
POWELL: I don't recall that quote. I called -- he was a lieutenant colonel and a very good battalion commander when I was his supervisor as a brigadier general.
WOODRUFF: And if you call somebody a lieutenant colonel when they're a general, does that mean they're...
POWELL: Look, I cannot account for these kinds of wild quotes that one sees in the media. I don't recall the quote, and I don't recall it in that context.
WOODRUFF: We watched you on David Letterman this week, and he tried mightily to get you to say whether you are going to stick around for the second term...
POWELL: Well, Judy, Judy...
WOODRUFF: ... if there's a second term in this administration.
POWELL: Judy, you have...
WOODRUFF: So since you wouldn't tell Dave...
POWELL: Shall I tell you?
No, Judy, you know the answer to the question. I always serve at the pleasure of the president. And any political appointee who goes beyond that shouldn't.
WOODRUFF: And as of right now, he's pleased with what you're doing?
POWELL: He has not suggested that he wants me to leave by sundown.
WOODRUFF: All right. Secretary of State Colin Powell, it's very good to see you again. We thank you very much for coming on.
POWELL: Thank you, Judy. Thank you.
WOODRUFF: We tried.
And up next, we'll go to CNN headquarters in Atlanta for a check of the hour's top stories. And then, questions about the cost of Iraq. Will Congress give President Bush what he wants? We'll ask two members of the United States Senate, Republican Trent Lott and Democrat Evan Bayh.
And LATE EDITION's Web question of the week: When should the U.S. transfer power to the Iraqi government? Cast your vote at cnn.com/lateedition. We'll tell you the results later in the program.
LATE EDITION continues after the headlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I proposed to Congress that the United States provide additional funding for our work in Iraq, the greatest financial commitment of its kind since the Marshall Plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: President Bush addressing the United Nations this week.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
The president's $87 billion request to Congress isn't quite a done deal. Even some members of his own party are expressing concern about the cost.
We're joined now by two leading members of the Senate, Republican Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana.
Senators, welcome back to LATE EDITION, both of you.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MISSISSIPPI: Glad to be back.
SEN. EVAN BAYH (D), INDIANA: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about this $87 billion. Senator Lott, to you first. Is the president going to get every dollar of this, including the $20 billion for reconstruction?
LOTT: I don't know that he'll get every dollar, but he'll probably get most of it. The Congress is going to want to do the right thing, in terms of the aid to our troops that are doing the job and, of course, some of this aid goes to Afghanistan, and we want to deal with securing the borders.
I think maybe we put too much emphasis on the dollar amount, as opposed to looking at this in terms of what we're trying to achieve there, trying to get the situation under control, and that the reconstruction money really is a part of the effort to bring stability and security there.
Now, the $21.4 billion for reconstruction, there are going to be more questions there. And I suspect that, as we take a look at it -- that's what the process is for. We're supposed to ask questions. We're not just supposed to say, "OK, good, here's a, you know, a blank check." And we're not going to do that.
We may find some items in there, in fact we've already found some items in there, that probably would be removed. So whether it's, you know, $19.4 billion or $21.4 billion, it will be close to that amount after we've had a chance to take a look at it and take some actions ourselves.
WOODRUFF: Senator Bayh, look at some of the items in that $20 billion: $164 million for Iraqi military training, $400 million for two new prisons, $2 million for garbage trucks.
I mean, there are questions being asked about whether the U.S. should be putting up this money when there are still obviously needs here at home.
BAYH: Well, that's right, Judy, and Trent was correct. We're going to have to go through the list to see what's justifiable and what isn't. In addition to what you mentioned, there were several million dollars to send people to business school, things of that nature.
I think the American people are willing to be very generous, whatever it takes for security, military, that kind of thing, to help our troops, without question.
This will be scrutinized more, and in particular I think you're going to see a lot of people saying, look, if we're going to pony up this money, well then the French, the Russians and others should forgive their debt, because it is not right to have those who liberated the country not get repaid, but those who supported Saddam will get repaid. That's just not right.
WOODRUFF: We've heard -- I don't know if you were able to hear, but I talked to Secretary Powell this morning, and basically he's saying it would be very unfair to put a loan on the backs of the Iraqi people, that even if it comes out of -- in terms of a debt to the French or the Germans or somewhere else, Senator Lott, it's still the Iraqi people who would bear the burden of it, and he said that would be wrong.
LOTT: I do think that Evan is right, that we need to call on very aggressively the Russians, the French, the Germans to forgive or restructure the debt that they're owed by Iraq.
Their credit rating is zilch. If we set it up where there would be some sort of loan guarantee, we'd wind up basically having to provide the full amount anyway.
Within two or three years, the Iraqis should be able to have the funds they need, about $15 billion a year for their economy. But between now and then, we have got to work with them to get the aid that's needed quickly -- you know, as long as people are not getting water, electricity, or the oil pipelines are not working, then that adds to the uncertainty and the difficulty and makes it harder to get the situation under control.
WOODRUFF: You have Senator Joe Biden now saying that this money should be paid by rolling back President Bush's tax cut on the top-1- percent-earning Americans. And we even have a poll that's showing 56 percent of the people, when they were asked about that plan, liked the idea.
Is that a good idea, Senator Bayh?
BAYH: At some point, Judy, we may need to revisit our own domestic financial situation. As you know, we've got a huge deficit we're going to have to come to grips with.
But as I mentioned, I certainly wouldn't be in favor of raising taxes on the middle class. I wouldn't be in favor of raising taxes on any American if...
WOODRUFF: But this is just the top 1 percent.
BAYH: Well, even the top 1 percent, if that money either directly or indirectly was going to repay the French and Russians. If they're willing to forgive their loans, then that's one thing. If they're not, then I would be kind of skeptical about that.
LOTT: That's why it's being structured the way it is, partially, because if we're going to be able to go the rest of the world to say, "Look, you've got to help," you know, it wouldn't work for a lot of these countries to go through a loan process.
And if we're going to be able to go to the Germans, the French, the Russians with clean hands and say, "Look, we're going our part, now you've got to do more," I think our case will be stronger if we structure it the way it is structured in the administration request, even though we absolutely have to look at it very carefully before we have a final vote on it.
WOODRUFF: Well, there's also this idea out there, over in the House, Congressman Rahm Emanuel saying that we need an amendment calling for parity, that for every dollar the U.S. spends on Iraq, we ought to spend an additional dollar on American schools, health and public works.
What about that, Senator Bayh?
BAYH: Well, with the deficit we're currently running, Judy, I think we need to be frugal with our dollars, both abroad and at home. And we need to deal with the situation in Iraq...
WOODRUFF: But he's saying parity is what's called for.
BAYH: Well, that's very -- and it puts in stark relief. I mean, it's hard to argue that we should help subsidize police on the streets of Baghdad, but ends the COPS program here at home that puts cops on the street of Jackson, Mississippi, and Indianapolis, Indiana, and Chicago. That just doesn't seem to be right. So that's why I say, we've got to deal with this loan-forgiveness issue and do right by the American people, in terms of making sure we're getting our money's worth.
LOTT: Now, Judy, it's not as if we are not putting a substantial amount of funds into education, schools. We're going to put more into roads...
WOODRUFF: In this country?
LOTT: In this country. In fire departments and police departments. We're working at that. There is a point of, how much can you force into the system at a time? So, we're trying to do that right now.
WOODRUFF: Senator Lott, very quickly, do you think that, because of this added expense in Iraq, that, for example, the additional money in Medicare prescription drug benefits, now in conference committee between the Senate and the House, should be postponed?
LOTT: You're maybe asking the wrong person on that. I have real problems with that legislation, as it passed the Senate and it's now structured.
If we could find a way to do something that would provide an immediate helping hand to our elderly citizens that really need it, low-income elderly citizens, I would like to see us do that. And we could do it well within or under the money that was identified in the budget for this.
I do think there is some legitimate argument that we've been talking about this for three or four years, there are a lot of people in this country, low-income elderly Americans, that need help with their prescription drugs. If we could come up with a plan that would accomplish that, it would be positive.
But I would be hesitant to say we should set it aside, because of all these other factors that are coming into play now.
WOODRUFF: What do you think, Senator Bayh, about that, about...
BAYH: Well, the Medicare drug program doesn't go into effect for two years, Judy, so hopefully some of these -- hopefully, the economy will have come back, the expense in Iraq will have come down, and we will be able to afford it, particularly if we target it at the sickest and the neediest. If we do that, then I think absolutely it's something we should go forward with.
WOODRUFF: Do you think this money is -- this prescription, while we've switched over to that subject -- do you think that money is going to be forthcoming? Is something going to come out of that conference committee?
LOTT: I'm not sure. I know that Dr. Bill Frist and Speaker Hastert and the president and Ted Kennedy, a lot of people on all sides of the issue, want to get something done. And I think, because they are just determined to keep pushing it, it may happen.
But they've got a long way to go. And, you know, the president is going to have to have, you know, input on it. So, I think it's 50- 50, to tell you the truth.
But it wouldn't be the end of the world. I think it's better to do it right than to just force it through and have a mess on our hands, like we did not too long ago on an issue called "catastrophic coverage." We had to retreat when we found out how it really worked.
BAYH: One of the problems, Judy, is, we don't have enough money to have a just very generous program that seniors are going to be really excited about. The sickest and the neediest we can take of, it's the folks in the middle who are likely to be disappointed.
And then you have some wrinkles like folks who currently have drug insurance through their retirement plans, we can't create an incentive for their employers, their former employers to take that away. So some of those things need to be worked through.
WOODRUFF: All right. Very quickly, double back to Iraq. General Abizaid saying, in the last few days, they've now basically resigned to the idea there are not going to be any more foreign troops helping the U.S. out, any more troops helping the U.S. out in Iraq.
Is that going to work for you, Senator Lott?
LOTT: I think we should continue to work to try to get more troops, and I think in the end we will.
Now, the secretary mentioned, I think, Turkey and Pakistan and Bangladesh, and there may be a few others, but the general on the ground can't presume or wait on what might happen. He's got to make sure he has the men and women that will be there to do the job.
And he's got to begin to pay some attention to rotation. There's a limit to how long those men and women can stay there, and they've got to have some breaks.
WOODRUFF: All right.
Senator, if there aren't many more foreign troops helping the U.S. there?
BAYH: The most likely source of additional troops, Judy, is within Iraq itself. We've got to get the Iraqi military and police forces up and running. If they're not willing to fight and die for their country, in the long run it really doesn't matter what we're willing to do.
So that's where, I think, we ought to put the emphasis. We might get some marginal assistance from other countries, but they look at this and think it's a tar baby. They're not likely to rush in.
So, the sooner we can get the Iraqis invested in their own freedom, the better we're all going to be.
LOTT: I think that's a very good point, in terms of numbers of troops in the future. In the end, the Iraqis are going to have to decide, do they want freedom and opportunity and some sort of democracy, or not?
We can't make them do it. They're going to have to make that choice. But we've got to set up the atmosphere where they can make that choice.
WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to take a break, a short break. When we come back, we'll continue our talk with Senators Trent Lott and Evan Bayh.
And later, a conversation with Lynne Cheney. The vice president's wife speaks out about her new book, the controversy over Halliburton and more.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
WOODRUFF: So, welcome back. We're continuing our conversation with Republican Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi and Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana.
Senator Lott, you are writing a book about your experiences in the Senate, in public life, including what you went through about a year ago, losing your position as majority leader.
I'm going to read to you something that you said in Time magazine, in, I guess, the newest issue.
LOTT: I take it back now.
WOODRUFF: All right, you said, quote, "I am sending the signal," this is to the administration, "that they're going to have to deal with me, and they need to keep that in mind because I can be a problem."
What did you mean by that?
LOTT: Well, I am still a senator. I'm very proud of that. I enjoy the work. I think, you know, it's just like this funds that we're talking about for Iraq.
I want to be helpful. I want to make sure we do the right thing. I need information, though, as to the justification of what would it be used for. For a while there, not only with me, we just weren't getting all the information we need.
I think that a corner was turned last week. Ambassador Paul Bremer did a really good job, and he answered some of my questions. When they were just saying, well, we can't do that because people might say, well, you know, there they are, the Americans trying to get the Iraqi oil money. When they enlarged it and put it in a broader context and talked specifically about what we're going to try to do with other countries, and how we had to take into consideration that this was a part of the security, they allowed, in my opinion, the focus to be on the dollar amount. The focus should have been on the bigger question of getting the government and the situation under control so that we can turn it over to the Iraqis.
WOODRUFF: But you, specifically in the book, you've said you're going to write a chapter on what happened to you and the administration. Are you going to name names in the White House, Senator?
LOTT: This is not going to be a gotcha book at all. I hope it'll be readable.
WOODRUFF: You're not going to name names in the White House?
LOTT: You know, I think that's been -- I don't know, I haven't written that part yet, to tell you the truth. I am writing on it, but ...
BAYH: Come on, Trent, name names.
LOTT: I've been in Congress for 30 years, 20 years in leadership. I've had a lot of interesting experiences, and I want to tell some of the inside stories about the Nixon impeachment trial in Judiciary Committee, about my relationship with President Clinton and Dick Morris.
These are some experiences that I hope will be interesting. It's not going to be a mea culpa or a blame book.
WOODRUFF: My question is, though, are people being nicer to you now that they know you're writing this book?
LOTT: Well, sometimes I feel like they're sort of skedaddling around me. You know, look, it's not going to be that kind of thing.
WOODRUFF: Senator Bayh, let's's talk about the Democratic contest for president. There are now not nine but 10 of them running for the nomination.
What's your impression of Wesley Clark? He's already moved to the front of some of the polls. He has a military background. What does he -- what comes across to you?
BAYH: Well, he obviously brings some very impressive national security credentials to the table, Judy. But beyond that, he's largely a blank slate that he is going to start filling in here as we go along. I think right now a lot of people are projecting onto him things that they hope to see in a Democratic leader. We'll just have to see whether he can translate that into real support that lasts.
WOODRUFF: Does it bother you that there is a candidate, a serious candidate out there who has no political experience at all, has never run for anything?
BAYH: Well, I think a lot of people might find that to be kind of refreshing, frankly, as long as he has the views and shows that he can surround himself with the right people that will enable him to run the country.
So we all bring to the table a variety of experiences, strengths and weaknesses. And the general needs to demonstrate that he can augment his very impressive national security resume with domestic positions that will resonate with the American people.
WOODRUFF: How do you size up the race right now? Is there a front-runner?
BAYH: Oh, I think you'd have to say that Governor Dean may still be the front-runner based upon the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire. General Clark does better in the national polls, but right now, Judy, it's still a total jump ball, to use a phrase we'd use in Indiana. I think it is anybody's to win, and the fact that the president seems to be having some additional vulnerabilities will only intensify the competition.
WOODRUFF: Have you endorsed one of these Democrats yet?
BAYH: No, I have not. I'm unaligned.
WOODRUFF: OK. Senator Lott, we just heard Senator Bayh mention Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, and let me just quote to you something that he said in a debate -- you're probably familiar with this -- a few weeks ago.
He said, "If the present administration" -- I'm sorry, let me get this straight. He said, "If the percent of minorities that is in your state has anything to do with how you can connect to African-American voters, then Trent Lott would be Martin Luther King."
What did you think when you heard that?
LOTT: Well, you probably see that that was planted, well-planned in advance by James Carville. You know, we don't expect any more than that from James Carville.
But it -- I think it does show a little bit of the edge that Howard Dean has. It's all primaries. Republicans and Democrats, over the years, they have a way of winnowing themselves out. And in the end, you probably wind up with a good candidate.
There's some good people running for the nomination with the kind of experience you need to be the nominee to be president. And obviously, I'm a friend and a fan of John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. Maybe I'm condemning them by saying nice things about them -- Dick Gephardt. But at least they've been in the process. They've had experiences in foreign policy, domestic policy. In the end, I suspect one of those will be the nominee.
WOODRUFF: You do. You've seen the same polls all of us have. Do you think the president is beatable?
LOTT: In the end, it's going to be this president that the people basically like and feel comfortable with that has shown a lot of leadership strengths, good character, against a Democrat. And when it gets to be President Bush against one other person, I think you'll see that he'll be pretty hard to defeat and deserves to be re-elected.
But that's the good thing about the American political process. It's under way, and who knows what will happen?
BAYH: Judy, if we can nominate someone who is a credible potential commander in chief, strong enough on national security during this very uncertain time, and someone who's from the mainstream on a set of values issues, then I think this election is winnable on the economy and health care.
It's not been good enough. You're familiar with the job losses. Health-care costs continue to be a sore point with small-businessmen, a lot of individuals. So that's where I think the election will be really fought.
WOODRUFF: You clearly think the president is vulnerable, can be beaten. Is that what you're saying?
BAYH: Well, I do, but it all depends on the Democrats not doing one of our occasional lemming numbers, going off a cliff. We've got to nominate someone who's credible on national security, who people can feel comfortable with, that's a potential commander in chief...
WOODRUFF: Well, who among the candidates right now is credible on national security?
BAYH: Well, I already told you I didn't endorse anybody...
WOODRUFF: I know.
BAYH: ... but look, look, there are a variety of ways you can get there. One would be life's experience. General Clark, obviously, has that. John Kerry, who served in the military, has that. Other people who have been strong on national security issues throughout a period in public service could meet that threshold.
And if we can cross that and then, again, not appear to be sort of a coastal elite on values issues, then focus on the economy and health care, I think that's the way to be successful.
LOTT: Any candidate is vulnerable the year before, if he or she does not do the right things getting ready. And clearly, there are external factors that come into play. What is going to be the condition of the economy?
But I still that the experiences -- what we've been through together, the last three years, President Bush is going to have an awful lot of appeal.
WOODRUFF: Do you think President Bush can win if the economy, if the job situation doesn't get better, and if U.S. troops are still dying in Iraq, can this president get re-elected?
LOTT: Judy, I'm an incurable optimist. I believe the economy is going to get better. I believe that jobs will be being added in the first couple of quarters in the next fiscal year. And I hope and pray that the security situation in Iraq will be much better not a year from now, but, you know, a month from now. And I think it's headed that direction.
BAYH: Well, I certainly share Trent's hopes. All of us want to succeed in Iraq. But, you know, we need to nominate someone who will be strong in defending America. That's the important thing.
If you remember, Richard Nixon was still bogged down in Vietnam. It didn't keep him from running up the score against George McGovern in 1972.
So, we got to show we'll defend the country but do better on domestic issues.
WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there. Senator Evan Bayh, Senator Trent Lott, it's very good to see both of you. Thank you for coming by this Sunday. We appreciate it.
And just ahead, we're going to get a check of the hour's top stories.
Then, political conflict in California. We'll gauge the state of the recall race with New Mexico's Democratic Governor Bill Richardson and Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
And you can weigh in on LATE EDITION's Web question of the week: When should the U.S. transfer power to the Iraqi government? Log on to cnn.com/lateedition to cast your vote.
LATE EDITION continues at the top of the hour.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back to LATE EDITION. Wolf is away today.
This week, the major candidates vying to replace California Governor Gray Davis in the state's recall race squared off. But that wasn't the only political story to grab headlines. There was also the debate between the 10 Democrats hoping to challenge President Bush next year.
For some insight into both contests, we turn to two guests. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, that state's Democratic governor, Bill Richardson. And in New York, Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
Gentlemen, welcome to both of you. We want to start with California, because there are some new poll numbers out. In fact, the first poll that's been done since the debate in California just a few days ago. Here on the first question on whether the group of voters would recall Governor Gray Davis, 63 percent say they would; 35 percent say they would not.
And here's another number I want you to look at. Arnold Schwarzenegger has now climbed to the top of the list of those people would vote for if Davis is recalled. He is at 40 percent, Schwarzenegger is, whereas Cruz Bustamante, the lieutenant governor, at 25 percent. The other Republican, Tom McClintock, at 18 percent.
So I guess my question to you, Bill Richardson, Governor Richardson, is, does this mean Arnold Schwarzenegger is on his way to the governor's mansion?
GOV. BILL RICHARDSON (D), NEW MEXICO: It's very uncertain, Judy, because referendums, recall elections, polls are very uncertain because they cannot measure the intensity of both sides.
You've got two forces generating support right now in California. The get-out-the-vote effort by Democrats, Democrats coming home, and then the other is the intensity of the pro-recall effort. It depends which of those two moves faster in this last week.
I do think that Arnold helped himself in the last debate because he was on the attack. But it did show, however, the overall debate picture that there was a free-for-all, that it brought uncertainty and, in a way, it helped Gray Davis, too.
I think, in the end, Davis will keep his job. I think the get- out-the-vote efforts of Democrats in California is very strong. And in the end, I think the voters will choose experience and credibility over inexperience that Arnold does have.
WOODRUFF: Ed Rollins, how do you read these new poll numbers?
ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I think the momentum, obviously, is going toward Arnold. I think the reality is the debate, he came off as credible and more likable.
In the end of the day, people often vote for the person they like the most. In this case, they have not liked Gray Davis for a long period of time.
Unfortunately, Bill Simon was not able to put an effective campaign together; otherwise he would have been out last November.
I think today the momentum is clearly on Schwarzenegger's -- your poll today indicates pretty much what the private polls are indicating there, so I expect him to be the next governor.
WOODRUFF: Schwarzenegger, Ed Rollins, is saying that he will not take up an invitation to debate Gray Davis. Does that hurt Schwarzenegger, or does that hurt Davis? ROLLINS: It hurts Davis. Davis has to get back in this game somehow. It's now -- it's now very much projected as a two-person race. Lieutenant Governor Bustamante has not been able to put together an effective campaign to draw the attention that he needed. He has very high negative, very much like Davis.
So I think that Schwarzenegger will draw the crowds. He'll have the attention. The closing polls here will indicate that the McClintock supporters -- who's is a very fine man -- are going to basically, in many cases, vote for Schwarzenegger because they want a winner.
WOODRUFF: Governor Richardson, how do you see that debate question coming down? Who does it help or hurt?
RICHARDSON: Well, again, I think that Schwarzenegger would make a serious mistake if he debated Gray Davis, because you would see the contrast in substance and experience, although I do think Arnold did well in the last debate.
I disagree a little bit with Ed. I think McClintock is a strong candidate, and he has a conservative base, and those votes are not coming from Gray Davis, they're coming out of Arnold.
And in a get-out-the-vote intense effort by Democrats, where Democrats also have a credible alternative in Lieutenant Governor Bustamante, I think the odds favor the Democrats in terms of the intensity of the get-out-the-vote effort, vis-a-vis those that are so enraged about the recall, that the machinery of the Democrats, I think, in the end will be decisive. It's going to be extremely close. It'll be maybe half a percent.
But, Judy, just in New Mexico, we went through a referendum and recall where polls were not accurate. You just can't measure intensity when there's a referendum like this, where so much -- where so much rage and so much concern and so much voter turnout is so unpredictable.
WOODRUFF: Ed Rollins, one quick last question on California. Can Schwarzenegger win if Tom McClintock doesn't get out, the conservative Republican still in the race?
ROLLINS: I think he can. And I give -- I don't disagree totally with Governor Richardson, who's very able and very astute. The reality is that no one knows who is going to vote, but I think there's going to be a very intense vote, and I think it's going to be a very large vote.
A lot of Democrats and awful lot of independents don't like Gray Davis and feel that he has failed their party, so I think that Arnold will win -- if it was purely a Republican primary versus all the Democrats voting for Davis, sure, Arnold would make it, with McClintock getting 14, 15 percent of the vote.
This is an open race, and I think clearly that Arnold's going to draw enough Democrats and independents, in addition to the very strong Republican base that he has, to put this thing over the top.
WOODRUFF: Ed Rollins, I want to quickly turn you, in fact both of you, to the subject of national politics. You've both have seen the polls that have come out this week. President Bush's approval rating is down.
Ed Rollins, is President Bush vulnerable next year?
ROLLINS: I think if the president is in this position six months from now, he will be vulnerable. I think at this point in time, the war has raised a lot of questions about the policy there, and I think the economy certainly has created an environment which is a very competitive environment.
Re-elections are always about the incumbent. Twenty years ago when I ran Ronald Reagan's re-election, as this point in time when I left the White House as the political director to be the campaign manager, we were running behind Mondale. A year later, we had our troops out of Beirut, and we were basically -- the economy was moving forward, and Reagan won 49 states.
President Clinton was behind in the same period of time when he ran for re-election, and obviously he pulled it out in '96.
So it's still -- it's a warning sign, but certainly not a critical point yet.
WOODRUFF: Governor Richardson, you see it that way?
RICHARDSON: I do think the president, for the first time, has become quite vulnerable. It's in the numbers, Judy. Americans are really concerned about the $87 billion, apart from the pros and cons of the Iraq war -- and I supported the president going in -- but the expense vis-a-vis domestic needs, other numbers, unemployment.
My point here is that the president can change the foreign policy dynamic by a Security Council resolution that, in essence, starts phasing us out of the international situation in Iraq and starts giving more of a burden sharing to our allies. He can fix that.
What he cannot fix, unless there's something dramatic, is the ingrained problems with the economy, high unemployment, poverty rates increasing for Hispanics and blacks, increased deficit projections, the Medicare situation unsettled.
I think he's more vulnerable on the economic side. The foreign policy side, he has the ability to change that, and we probably will make an effort to do that.
WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you both about this new -- about the 10 Democrats who are running, who want his job. There's a Newsweek poll out this weekend, taken just at the end of last week.
It has Wesley Clark out front -- again, national poll -- 16 percent, Howard Dean at 12, Kerry and Gephardt both at 10.
How do you see that race shaping up, Ed Rollins, from a Republican perspective?
ROLLINS: I don't think Clark was overly impressive in the first debate, but obviously he hasn't been in this process very long.
I think Democrats are clearly looking for someone who can be a viable candidate. I think you kind of have two tiers. I don't think there's really 10 strong candidates. I think you get four or five that are viable.
And I think clearly this is a very contracted primary season, it's really over in three weeks. So whoever does well in Iowa and New Hampshire, whoever has that money and that organization and can create a momentum, probably will be the winner.
I would assume that's going to be Kerry, possibly Dean, although I don't think it's likely, finally. It could be Clark. It could be Gephardt. One of the others may break through, too.
But I think the one that's disappointed most people and expected to be the August front-runner early was Lieberman. Lieberman has had a difficult time raising money, a very fine man, but the reality is he's not been able to build on the Gore-Lieberman ticket of the last time.
WOODRUFF: Governor Richardson, there is a CNN poll that was done about a week ago that showed, right after he even announced, Wesley Clark was beating President Bush. I mean, in a hypothetical match-up, it was Clark, 49, to President Bush, 46.
What do you make of him?
RICHARDSON: Well, Clark is a serious candidate. He's generated a lot of excitement in the race.
But this race, Judy, is not over. Just remember, Bill Clinton had not announced for president, when he was elected, until October. We're still in September, so a lot of different elements can happen.
Right now, I would say Governor Dean and General Clark are strongest, but, again, you get into these primaries, there may be a stumble, there may be alliances made between some candidates.
It is much too early, but clearly the candidates are focusing their message. They're impressive in debates. I think you were seeing the economic security message, the national security message, honing themselves.
So, again, but it's just much too early.
And General Clark, I will say, has generated here in New Mexico, for instance, with Hispanic, with other voters, he's generated quite a lot of positive interest, despite, you know, some early gaffes, which should be excused. The guy has never been a candidate ever, and the gaffes that maybe he's made have been so minor, yet they've been so highlighted.
WOODRUFF: Well, it's never dull at this point in the presidential campaign.
I want to thank both of you for being with us. Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, and Republican strategist Ed Rollins joining us from New York. It's great to see both of you this Sunday. Thank you for talking with us.
ROLLINS: Thank you.
RICHARDSON: Thank you very much. Bye-bye.
And just ahead, an exclusive interview with Lynne Cheney. The vice president's wife speaks with me about her new book and more.
Then, India's foreign minister talks about the war on terror, Iraq and his country's views on the United States' relationship with Pakistan.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back.
Lynne Cheney, the wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, is the author of a new children's book. It is the latest in a long line of accomplishments that have made her a prominent figure here in Washington.
This week I spoke with Lynne Cheney about her book, the controversy surrounding the vice president's business ties and more.
WOODRUFF: The book is, "A for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women." The author is Lynne Cheney, the wife of the vice president.
It's so good to talk with you.
This is the second book you've written for children...
LYNNE CHENEY, AUTHOR: That's right.
WOODRUFF: ... about American history. You really have a passion for American history.
CHENEY: Well, it's -- and for American history that's taught in as positive and upbeat a way as our national story deserves. And if you think about it, the story of what women have accomplished over the time we've been a nation is really just an amazing tale. And it's certainly one that all our children deserve to know.
WOODRUFF: I was looking at some of the statistics about how American children are doing in these standardized tests, and it's fairly grim. Twelfth-graders, 58 percent of them were below the basic level of knowledge of American history.
CHENEY: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Is that part of what's driving you to do these kinds of things?
CHENEY: It certainly is. I think part of the reason kids do so badly on history, and part of the reason that they think it's boring, is that they don't really understand the stories involved. You know, the story of what women have accomplished that this book tells is a wonderful tale, with a beginning and a middle and -- well, we're not quite to the end yet. But, you know, you can just stand back and say, wow, what a country, what great women who did these things.
I think we neglect sometimes to put that narrative force into the teaching of history. And so kids think it's just one boring fact after another boring name after another really-not-worth-remembering event. You have to get it all together and tell them the tale.
WOODRUFF: Wonderful illustrations in here and comments about these women. I know you love to talk about Abigail Adams...
CHENEY: Well, of course.
WOODRUFF: ... so I'm going to ask you about her. But who are some of your other, you know, your favorites, the ones who stand out in here?
And it's wonderful the way this is illustrated. Alphabetically, it is literally A to Z...
WOODRUFF: ... with a theme or a name with each letter.
CHENEY: And I have a wonderful illustrator, Robin Glasser (ph), who just draws joyful children and uplifting pictures of women.
One of my favorite pages might be the "C" page, "C is for Evelyn Cameron and the women who went West." And -- well, one of the things I like about this page, we try to include the words of women. And so this is the words of an old cowgirl.
"Cowgirl advice: Always saddle your own horse." Now, doesn't that seem like good advice to you?
Evelyn Cameron (ph) went to Montana in the 19th century and did all the things pioneer women did. You know, she planted, she reaped, she killed the chickens, she hunted, she pulled her own teeth, you know, when she got a toothache. There were no dentists around. So, the story of those things is already impressive.
But she was a photographer and she kept a record of what Montana looked like, what Montana people were doing in the 19th century, that's really one of our most valuable historical sources.
So, there were women who went West who did wonderful and amazing things.
WOODRUFF: There's also a woman in here who is -- happens to be related to you by marriage. She's on the "Z" page. Her name is Marjorie Dickey. Who was she?
CHENEY: Well, Marjorie Dickey was a softball player. She belonged to a team called the Syracuse Bluebirds. It's a tale like "Hoosiers," you know. This little team, this little town, they beat the big city, Omaha, Lincoln. They won the state championships. They went to nationals twice. They were lionized in their town.
And Marjorie Dickey is my husband's mother. She's my mother-in- law.
WOODRUFF: Which most people didn't realize, that the mother of the vice president was a softball star.
CHENEY: Dick had great women in his family, as I have in mine.
There's another woman -- and I don't want your viewers to think that I only put women I know in here, but I do think it's important to recognize that women in our lives, even though they may not have become famous, have achieved greatly. You know, our little girls should know about their grandmothers.
And in this case, there's 1852, 7-year-old Fanny Peck (ph), usually barefoot, walked the Mormon Trail. It's an adorable picture of this little girl walking the Mormon Trail.
Fanny Peck (ph) was my great-great-grandmother. And she didn't wear her shoes because, as she wrote when she was an old lady, she wanted to save them for Sunday, because the Mormons always stopped on Sunday.
But by the time Sunday got around, of course, her poor feet were so swollen she shouldn't get her shoes on. But Fanny Peck (ph) was trying very hard.
WOODRUFF: What a story. There are so many wonderful, wonderful stories in here. The idea that you focused on women -- do you think women have been underrecognized in American...
CHENEY: I think we've certainly moved in a better direction on that. Our textbooks now do tell the story of Harriet Tubman, for example, who led raids after she herself escaped from slavery, risked everything by going back into the South and helping liberate slaves who were there.
I think, though, what we haven't done is presented this picture, you know, of where we've come from since the time Abigail lived. She couldn't go to college, she wasn't supposed to speak in public, she couldn't own property in her own right. Girls weren't supposed to be educated. The story of the accomplishments of American women and the achievements of our rights, of the recognition of our rights is a really terrific one.
WOODRUFF: Does this mean that Lynne Cheney is a closet feminist, somebody who believes that women's rights need to be...
CHENEY: You know, I've been interested in the history of women since I first started writing. I wrote about Elizabeth Blackwell for my children. And when it appeared in one of their fifth-grade textbooks, they suddenly realized that, you know, maybe all that scribbling I was doing at the dining room table actually resulted in a product.
So I don't know "feminist." That word got a little bit hijacked for me. But certainly it's important to recognize what women have accomplished and achieved.
WOODRUFF: Do you think your daughters, both of whom are now -- one works at the campaign, the other one works in the Bush administration...
CHENEY: State Department.
WOODRUFF: Are they as aware of -- I mean, or do they share your view that women have been overlooked? Do you talk about this with them?
CHENEY: Well, but I'm not -- overlooked. I just wanted to tell what a positive story this is. Often, when we talk about women or minorities in this country, we tell the tale of victims. And I think what we should do is tell the tale of the people who overcame, you know?
There's another side to this story. There's the positive side of the women who went up against great odds and managed to get an amendment to the Constitution that allowed them to vote in 1920, women who worked their whole lives and maybe didn't even see it happen.
So we should tell those really -- I don't know if "heroic" is the right word, because it sounds as though it has a male gender attached to it...
WOODRUFF: It does.
CHENEY: ... but certainly tales of women who were heroines.
WOODRUFF: How many Republicans know that you have Hillary Rodham Clinton's picture in your book?
CHENEY: Well, all the first ladies are in here. You know, Robin (ph) and I talked about, should we select some? And I couldn't think of a non-problematic way to select some. So every first lady is in here. (LAUGHTER)
And I love the quote that I used on the first ladies page, which is Barbara Bush's quote. She stood before an audience at Wellesley and looked out and said, "You know, there may be some of you in this audience, one of you might succeed me someday. And whichever of you it is, I wish him well."
Because some day we will find ourselves with a woman president, and there will be a man who has to figure this thing out.
WOODRUFF: Rosie the Riveter takes up a page, "Women Who Went to War."
WOODRUFF: My own mother was a Rosie the Riveter in her time...
CHENEY: Was she?
WOODRUFF: ... in Oklahoma.
But I'm struck by how many women have individual names. Is there a story to that?
CHENEY: Well, this is drawn from an actual picture, and these are women who built this plane. It's a C-47. The women, of course, did go into the factories and put planes together, for example. And they were so proud of their handiwork that they all signed it.
And the picture, I believe, is in the New York Public Library. And Robin (ph) drew from that picture.
WOODRUFF: There were Rosie the Riveters of that day. We have women, of course, who are not just out there working on the aircraft, they are actually fighting...
CHENEY: I know, I know. It's very inspiring.
WOODRUFF: ... on the front lines and close to the front lines today.
I want to ask you about a story that was in the news this week, though, connected with women in the military. The Air Force Academy, it came to light an independent study indicated there's apparently been a cover-up having to do with sexual abuse of women, harassment of women at the academy.
Do you have any thoughts as the wife of the vice president about that?
CHENEY: Well, I think it's a great thing that, you know, we've brought the problem to light. And the film clip I've seen of it shows the new academy leadership being so open and honest about this that they've even showed some of the meatiest stories to incoming parents about this, by way of saying, "This is what we will not put up with anymore." And that's a very good thing.
WOODRUFF: Also, very much in the news this week and, of course, all of this year, has been the war in Iraq. Of course your husband has been completely supportive of the president throughout the war effort this year.
This is the time of the year, though, in September, we're starting to see some falloff in American public support for the war. A public opinion poll has come out this past week showing support with approval rating for the president has slipped, some of that in connection with Iraq.
Are you and your husband starting to worry about the election next year?
CHENEY: Well, the election, of course, is 13 months away.
And, you know, I've actually been a little shocked by some of the rhetoric that I've seen coming from the other side. It doesn't seem to be substantive; it's just sort of anti this, against that.
What I think will be useful, as we approach the election period, will be the fact that the other side will be forced to come to grips with saying what their vision is.
We are in a situation that has changed utterly since September 11th. We're engaged in a worldwide war with terrorists who would do us ill.
I think that the president's leadership has been strong. I think he's been superb in the decisions he's made and in the foresight with which he has made them.
And of course, I think the vice president isn't exactly a slouch either.
So I'm looking forward to a campaign in which, you know, we'll be able to engage in substantive debate rather than just hurl charges, which I find -- I guess I'm an English major, so I kind of, I really am troubled by the use of language for no productive purpose except to, you know, to tear down.
WOODRUFF: And I think, yet, the Democrats would say that some of this very tough language was coming from the Republicans when President Clinton was in office. Is it not turnabout fair play?
CHENEY: You know, Judy, I've never seen people who wanted to be president of the United States use the kind of negative language against their opponents that I've seen this time.
Yes, you're right. There were a lot of Republicans who had little use for Bill Clinton, and there was a lot of rhetoric. But it was not coming from people who had in mind that they should lead us.
I do think Americans want leaders who use language in a responsible way and who aren't reckless with their charges.
WOODRUFF: This past week, the president had to go to -- did go to the United Nations, asking for international support...
WOODRUFF: ... involvement...
WOODRUFF: ... more involvement in Iraq. Frankly, asking for something that the administration earlier had said it didn't need. It originally went to the U.N. for support, didn't get it, and said the U.S. is basically going to go it alone with the support of some countries.
Does this represent a reversal of course by the administration?
CHENEY: Well, you know, you could describe it in an entire different fashion, which is what I would do. And that's that the president has said international support is important all along, that we went the extra mile trying to get a U.N. resolution, that we went the extra mile in bringing together a coalition of, is it 29 or 30 countries, that are standing beside us in Iraq.
And this is the continuation of that. And I think that it shows consistency rather than inconsistency.
WOODRUFF: Well, in connection with Iraq, your husband did an interview, I think it was just two weeks ago, in which he was asked about al Qaeda, the connection with Saddam Hussein. And, in essence, he suggested that there is a connection between Saddam Hussein and what happened on 9/11.
Just a couple days after that, though...
CHENEY: Well, gosh, Judy, I must have listened to a different interview. Because as I saw Tim Russert ask that question of Dick...
CHENEY: ... he said, "Is there a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11?" The vice president answered, "We don't know."
So I must have not seen quite the same interview you did.
WOODRUFF: I guess I'm thinking of the answer where he said that we see a geographic base in Iraq on the part of the people who were responsible for 9/11.
WOODRUFF: And the president said a few days later that there is no proven connection.
So I guess my question is...
CHENEY: Yes, well, if there were a proven connection, we would know, wouldn't we? I think the two answers are pretty close.
I think what I heard Dick describe was the fact that, you know, the -- one of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Center in '93 found haven in Iraq. And I've read reports in the newspapers that the Iraqis have paid him, supported him; that the other -- one of the other masterminds of the '93 bombing was traveling on an Iraqi passport.
That Al-Zawahiri, that Colin Powell talked about when he went to the United Nations, is an al Qaeda affiliate, headed up the poisons operation that we saw in Britain, for example, where people were trying to manufacture ricin.
So there's no question that Iraq has been a haven for terrorists, including members of al Qaeda.
WOODRUFF: Something else that came up in that interview I wanted to ask you about, just give you an opportunity to set it straight. Your husband was asked about the company that he used to head, Halliburton, and whether there was in any way, he said, in any way has he received any financial benefit from Halliburton. And he said not in a number of years.
Then the story came out. It was revealed, there was a report this week, that because of an insurance policy, that there is a deferred salary through Halliburton.
CHENEY: Well, you don't have it quite straight. Let me just...
WOODRUFF: Please do.
CHENEY: Well, first of all, the charge of -- this was the most infuriating. The charge came out that Dick had 400-and-some-thousand options in Halliburton that he still owned.
Well, we went to a great deal of trouble at the beginning of the campaign in 2000 to put those options in an irrevocable charitable trust. We gave them up.
And for someone like members of the United States Senate, who do know better, to -- that's exactly the kind of rhetoric I was talking about. You know, we need to move to a positive what-I'm-going-to-do- for-the-world way of talking about things.
The deferred compensation, one of the years Dick was working at Halliburton, he said, "Don't pay me this year. Pay me over the next 10 years."
At the beginning of the campaign, or I guess it was right before Dick was sworn in, we took out an insurance policy on that debt, so that no matter what happens to Halliburton, if it goes bankrupt, if it becomes the richest company, it doesn't matter to us what happens, that debt that's owed to Dick is insured by us for several thousands of dollars, I can't remember, maybe $15,000 or $20,000. So this is what ethics lawyers recommended.
The people in the Senate who made this charge know this. And so it is the most irresponsible kind of accusation.
WOODRUFF: So you're saying there's a complete separation...
WOODRUFF: ... between this insurance policy and this salary and...
CHENEY: We have no financial interest in how Halliburton's fortunes go. Though, let me say, I think it's a fine company, and they've done good work for the United States over a number of years.
WOODRUFF: Well, I'm glad to give you the chance to set the record straight here.
CHENEY: Well, "A is for Abigail" is the main topic here, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. And that is my last question. Of all these women you've written about, or even some perhaps who aren't in the book, does Lynne Cheney have a role model? And, if so, who is that person?
CHENEY: Oh, gosh, a role model. Well, you know my own mother, who was a deputy sheriff in our town in Casper, Wyoming, is certainly a role model for me.
Or my grandmother. This is a story I love to tell. My grandmother was a seamstress in the local cleaners. She was the woman who fixed your rips and tears and sewed on your buttons.
WOODRUFF: The essential person.
CHENEY: But she was also a remarkably talented seamstress, so she would make me clothes. And she made me this wonderful red dress that had about 1,000 miles of crinoline ruffles on it. It was strapless. It was quite a dress.
I wore it the first time I went out with Dick. And I like to credit it for his taking me out a second time.
WOODRUFF: That's a great story. A succession of strong -- maiden name?
WOODRUFF: I was going to say Cheney, but I know that's not right -- of strong Vincent women.
CHENEY: That's right. That's right.
WOODRUFF: All right. Lynne Cheney, thank you very much. It's wonderful to talk to you again.
CHENEY: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: And a footnote, after we spoke with Mrs. Cheney, this week, a congressional research report concluded, separately, that deferred compensation, such as that being received by Vice President Cheney from the Halliburton company, does constitute a continuing financial interest. The report, however, suggested no illegality on the part of the vice president.
Coming up next, a check of the top stories at this hour.
And then, inside India. We'll talk with that country's foreign minister about Iraq and his country's role in the war on terror.
LATE EDITION continues after the headlines.
WOODRUFF: During his visit to the United Nations this week, President Bush attempted to bridge the divide between the United States and the world community over Iraq. But how was his message received?
Joining us from New York with some perspective is India's foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha.
Mr. Sinha, thank you very much for joining us.
YASHWANT SINHA, INDIA'S FOREIGN MINISTER: You're welcome.
WOODRUFF: Did President Bush make the case to the international community that international support must come?
SINHA: Yes, he did, at the United Nations in his speech to the General Assembly.
WOODRUFF: And yet when your prime minister, Mr. Vajpayee, met with President Bush shortly after that, there was no offer to provide troops from your country to assist the Americans in Iraq. Why not?
SINHA: For the simple reason that, you know, we have already declared quite some time ago that India will be able to consider sending troops to Iraq only if there was a clearer U.N. mandate for this.
There must be a U.N. mandate for sending multinational troops to Iraq, with clearly defined responsibilities. I believe that a Security Council resolution is under discussion. We are keenly watching the developments, and we would like to see how that resolution fares.
WOODRUFF: Well, do you believe that if the language is worked out, that your country will send troops?
SINHA: I'd like to say that we'll then be in a position to consider, but there are a number of factors which will have to be taken into account. And as our prime minister told President Bush, our national-security requirements will naturally have -- will be a major consideration.
WOODRUFF: What do you mean by that?
SINHA: You know, our troops are for duty in India, for the protection and security of India. So we'll have to look at our security concerns and see whether, at that point of time, we have enough troops to spare.
WOODRUFF: But yours is a country, Mr. Foreign Minister, with over a billion people. Some would look at the situation and say, it couldn't be that much of a burden for India to provide a few thousand troops to help the U.S., which has been a long friend of India's.
SINHA: Well, that's why I'm saying that we'll take this factor into consideration, as well as some other factors which are materials to the situation, and then take a decision, provided there is a fresh U.N. Security Council resolution for a mandate for a multinational force.
WOODRUFF: Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, this week called for a Muslim force of the troops inside Iraq. Do you believe that's a good idea?
SINHA: I don't see -- I don't see any reason why we should look at every question in the world through the blinkers of religion.
WOODRUFF: So you think that's a bad idea?
SINHA: Well, I don't support that idea.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you about another matter involving Pakistan. As you are very well aware, Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISI, has known to have been in the past supportive of, very close to Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.
Do you believe that the ISI in Pakistan is still protecting remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan?
SINHA: We have reasons to believe that the renewed regrouping of Taliban especially and their crossing in Afghanistan in more and more numbers has the support of the elements within the Pakistani government structure.
WOODRUFF: And what do you base that on?
SINHA: That's based on information that we have and others have. WOODRUFF: And how much influence do you believe, if that's the case, the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, how much influence does it have on Mr. Musharraf?
SINHA: Well, I will not be able to define this in very clear terms, but we should remember that President Musharraf is also the chief of army staff, and ISI operates under the army, under the chief of army staff.
WOODRUFF: As you know, too, Mr. Musharraf is asking the United States now for more military and more intelligence help in fighting that battle along the border. Is that help that you believe the U.S. should give to Pakistan?
SINHA: Well, as long as it is confined to helping fight against the terrorists, we should have no problem. But if equipment or supplies are given which can be used elsewhere, especially against India, then we have a legitimate concern.
WOODRUFF: I'm asking because I've heard it said that if that support is not forthcoming, then, in a way, it strengthens the hands of these so-called radical elements inside Pakistan, putting more pressure on Mr. Musharraf in a way that I would think your government would not want.
SINHA: No, nobody is supporting radicals anywhere in the world, including in Pakistan. But I think we should be very clear about who the radical elements are. I believe that some people who think that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif also represent radical elements. And one doesn't agree with that point of view. Anyone who is opposed to Musharraf is not a radical element.
WOODRUFF: Well, we are going to have to leave it there.
India's foreign minister, Yashwant Sinha, we thank you so much for being with us today.
SINHA: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Thank you. It's good to see you.
And coming up next, the results are in on our LATE EDITION Web question of the week: When should the U.S. transfer power to the Iraqi government? We'll tell you how you, the viewers, voted when LATE EDITION returns.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back.
LATE EDITION's Web question of the week: When should the U.S. transfer power to the Iraqi government? 52 percent of you said now, 25 percent said in six months, and 23 percent of you said in a year or more. And remember, this is not a scientific poll.
Up next, Bruce Morton's last word. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is, you'll remember, the president who, as a candidate, said he wouldn't get the U.S. involved in nation-building, but of course it is now involved in that in two troubled countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: When reality derails the firmest of presidential plans.
WOODRUFF: And now it's time for Bruce Morton's last word on President Bush and a change of plans.
MORTON (voice-over): "A foolish consistency," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "is the hobgoblin of little minds." Well, no hobgoblins bedevil George W. Bush these days. Or maybe he just has a big mind and doesn't notice them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We cannot be the world's policemen. We can't be nation- building all around the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: This is, you'll remember, the president who, as a candidate, said he wouldn't get the U.S. involved in nation-building, but of course it is now involved in that in two troubled countries, Afghanistan and Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Then he said the U.S. could invade any country it thinks might threaten it with or without support from any allies, and he did invade Iraq with support from only a couple of allies.
And that worked brilliantly, except that it turns out he needed fewer troops to invade than he now seems to need for the occupation of Iraq. Borders to patrol, oil fields to protect, and all that. And he's running short on American troops. Tours of duty are getting extended and so on.
So he said some international help would be good, but not surprisingly the sometime allies who weren't consulted about the war are not rushing to send troops now, and some of them don't have very many anyway. And why would they want to put them under American command?
A bigger role for the U.N.? Maybe, but Mr. Bush still seems to want to call the shots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: Mr. Secretary-General...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: French leader Jacques Chirac says the object should be to give Iraqis control as soon as possible, but it's not that simple. If the U.S. simply leaves and a civil war starts, that surely is not what anybody, including Monsieur Chirac, would want.
So it will take time, maybe a long time for public facilities, roads, water and so on to improve, and maybe even longer for the various Iraqi groups -- Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds -- to get used to the idea of living peacefully together under some kind of elected government.
So there are a lot of inconsistencies in the course Mr. Bush has followed, which doesn't mean it can't still come out all right in the end. Iraqis may be able to govern themselves peacefully. Mr. Bush's larger vision that a peaceful Iraq would breed democracy elsewhere in the Middle East seems less likely.
But one thing at a time. If Iraq can achieve some sort of peaceful self-rule, that'll be a genuine accomplishment for this president, never mind a few inconsistencies along the way.
I'm Bruce Morton.
WOODRUFF: And that's LATE EDITION for Sunday, September 28th.
For our international viewers, World News is next.
Be sure to join Wolf next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk.
And I'll be here Monday through Friday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern with Live From, and again at 4:00 p.m. Eastern with Inside Politics.
Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.
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