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Schwarzenegger Meets With California Legislators; Interview With Bill Owens

Aired October 22, 2003 - 16:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Mr. Schwarzenegger goes to Sacramento. Will he be met with open arms or open hostility in the California capital?

Third-party politics. Could another Ross Perot or Ralph Nader make a splash in 2004?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are seeing a level of activity that we haven't seen since 1990, which, of course, led to the Perot phenomenon.

ANNOUNCER: Manhattan 10021. It's the place for wealthy donors to open up their wallets and give.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) The candidates are very much aware of where the money is and which zip codes carry the biggest donors.



JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. Well, Arnold Schwarzenegger knows his way around Hollywood. But today he begins a crash course in the ways of the California state capital. The governor-elect is in Sacramento and so is CNN's Frank Buckley.

Frank, what is it that the governor-elect hopes to accomplish this day?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, mostly, Judy, his aides say that Governor-Elect Schwarzenegger simply wants to lay the foundation that he'll need with some of these legislators if he wants to get legislation passed, if he wants to have anything passed during his years here as governor in the state capital.

Right now, we are still awaiting his arrival. If you take a look from our other camera here at the west entrance at the state capital, you can see there's a crowd gathered. Not a huge crowd, but somewhere between 100 and 200 people to see the arrival of Governor-Elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Mr. Schwarzenegger is here to meet some of the very legislators he's been critical of. You'll recall during the campaign, he used a broom as a prop and he said that he was going to sweep up and clean up Sacramento. Now he's going to be actually meeting some of those legislators that he talked about during the campaign. Since the election, he's even said that he will go over the heads of some of those legislators, go right to the people if he has any problems getting through legislation.

Just a few moments ago I talked to the Senate president pro tem, John Burton, about that topic. Here's what he had to say.


JOHN BURTON (D), CALIF. STATE SENATE: Sometimes I bristle, you know if they don't do this, I'll go to the people. Fine. Why say it? Just go do it.

Governor Reagan, who was very, very popular, won by, you know, a million something votes, when that was a lot, he went over the legislature's head to the people and got his clock cleaned. You know, that doesn't hold any fear for me. I think that that's part of campaign rhetoric.


BUCKLEY: Senator Burton and other legislators are expecting generally a low-key friendly sort of a visit. I also asked Senator Burton about his meeting today, and about his relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger, what it's going to be like. Here's what he had to say about that.


BURTON: I think personally we'll probably get along all right. Politically we're going to have a beef. But that's it. I clearly will probably tell him today that, when I lose my temper and tell you to go yourself, I'm just kidding. Don't pick me up and throw me out of the window.


BUCKLEY: So you can see it's sort of a light mood here among the legislators. Already Arnold Schwarzenegger has already reached out to the top legislators, the Democrats here. Obviously the Republicans as well. But to the Democrats who control both houses, to say he wants to work with them.

They sense a positive tone from governor-elect Schwarzenegger. Today we'll see some example of that as they actually meet here. And of course, tomorrow it will be Governor Davis who Arnold Schwarzenegger will be meeting -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: We'll have to remember that. John Burton doesn't want to be thrown out the window by Governor Schwarzenegger. I don't think I've seen that much excitement around a state capital in a long time. All right, Frank, thank you very much.

Well some California Democrats don't want to see another Schwarzenegger-style upstate in their state sot hey have introduced an amendment that would significantly increase the number of signatures needed to force a recall vote. And in case of a recall, the measure would require the lieutenant governor to automatically succeed a governor who is ousted. Even supporters acknowledge that this bill, though, may be tough to pass.

Now, we turn to the political skirmishes over Iraq. This hour, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is briefing some senators about Iraq. Meantime, the Pentagon is downplaying the disclosure of a recent memo by Rumsfeld that reflects some level of dissatisfaction with the administration's war on terror.

Among other things, the -- in the memo, Rumsfeld says my impression is that we have not yet made truly bold moves. The Pentagon says the memo is in line with what Rumsfeld has said publicly. But it may give new ammunition to anti-war Democrats.

Presidential candidate Howard Dean touts his stand against the war in a new TV AD. He blasts his primary rivals in the process.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A hundred and thirty thousand troops in Iraq, with no end in sight, and a price tag that goes up daily. The best my opponents can do is ask questions today that they should have asked before they supported the war.


WOODRUFF: The Dean camp says the ad begins airing today in Boston and Manchester, New Hampshire, and that it will run for at least a week.

Let's talk Iraq, politics and more now with a Bush administration ally. He is the Republican governor of the state of Colorado, Bill Owens. Governor Owens, good to see you.

GOV. BILL OWENS (R), COLORADO: Hi, Judy. Good to be with you.

WOODRUFF: What about this memo from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and his saying that Iraq is going to be a long, hard slog, wondering if the administration is doing all it can on the war on terror. Couple that with what we're hearing from the Democrats running for president, is President Bush vulnerable on this whole thing?

OWENS: You know, I don't think he is because I think he's doing what Americans want to see done. They want to see a strong president. They want to see America defend itself. And that's what we're actually doing in Iraq.

I was with Secretary Rumsfeld last week. There was a NATO conference in Colorado springs. And what he says in that memo is what he's been saying publicly. He is a tough manager. He's pushing that Pentagon, asking the sorts of questions that need to be asked, to make sure in fact that we are all on the same wavelength in terms of what we're trying to do in Iraq.

I didn't think there was anything inconsistent between that memo privately written and what he's been saying publicly.

WOODRUFF: Let's talk quickly about 2004 politics. You are what is called a Bush "Arranger," one of those people supporting President Bush and vice president Cheney who's raised -- helped at least raise $200,000.

Yesterday there was a report out saying a number of Republicans think the Democrat they would be most worried to have to run against is Dick Gephardt from the state of Missouri because they think the Midwest is going to be a key battle battleground next year. Do you agree with that assessment?

OWENS: Judy, I think what the White House and what President Bush is simply trying to do, is do what they were elected to do, and that is, to be president.

I think that the Democrats will choose their nominee. And I think that those of us who are Republicans don't really have much to say about that.

I will say this, though, it is clear that the Democratic field is being pulled left by Howard Dean and by others who are in fact reversing what has always been a partisanship ends at the water's edge. We're seeing the Democratic field move left. And I think they're in danger of moving far too left, far more left than the American electorate.

That's what's going to be interesting to see during this primary campaign.

WOODRUFF: But what about this -- the economy as an issue? You do have job losses in the industrial sector, in a number of states in the Midwest and elsewhere around the country. This is something the Democrats are bringing up. It's increasingly Republicans acknowledge they're worried about this. What is President Bush need to do to make sure he has the economy working for him?

OWENS: I think the economy is clearly coming back and the tax cuts that have put spendable income in Americans' pockets are really helping.

I watched the Democratic debate in Arizona recently. They really focused on foreign policy as opposed to domestic policy because I think they can see what economists are telling us, the economy is coming back strongly.

Finally, jobs always lag in an economic recovery. Businesses start to recover, and they wait until the last possible minute to bring on new personnel. We're going to see the job situation start to turn pretty soon. I think the Democrats won't be able to run on the economy in 2004.

WOODRUFF: Finally, a question about Bill Owens. Columnist George Will touted you as a Republican up-and-coming politician on the rise. You're term-limited. You can't run for governor again in the state of Colorado. Are you thinking about higher office?

OWENS: You know, I'm not. George and I share a common affection for baseball. I think that's why I was able to probably get on his radar screen. He's a great columnist and I appreciated the nice things he said.

WOODRUFF: So no political plans after governorship?

OWENS: I don't have any plans to run for anything at this point.

WOODRUFF: At this point? All right.

OWENS: What I am focused on -- no, what I am actually focused on is being governor but reelecting the president. Anything further would be premature for anybody at this point.

WOODRUFF: Well, that just assures we'll have to come back and ask you again. Governor Bill Owens.

OWENS: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you, thanks very much. Thanks for talking with me.

Checking in now on the Democratic hopefuls, the guys we were just talking about in our "Campaign News Daily." A new pool finds Howard Dean is holding on to his early lead in New Hampshire. Dean is getting 33 percent in the Research 2000 survey of likely voters, followed by John Kerry at 18 percent. Wesley Clark has 14 percent. All the other candidates are in single digits.

Howard Dean achieves, by the way, a travel milestone. Later today in Iowa, when Dean arrives in Howard County this evening, he will become the first candidate in the '04 race to visit all 99 Iowa counties.

For what it's worth, Dick Gephardt visited all 99 when he ran back in 1988. This time around he's expected to have visited 70 counties by Halloween. And we are counting.

On the race to '04, we haven't heard much about the influence of third parties, at least not yet. But our Bill Schneider has been checking out the political observers and checking out the polls. And there are signs the parties may make a strong showing in next year's election.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): In 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president, third parties did well in the midterm election.

In 1980, we got John Anderson.

Third parties did even better in the 1990 midterm under the first President Bush.

1992 brought Ross Perot.

University of Minnesota professor Lawrence Jacobs has been studying third-party politics.

LAWRENCE JACOBS, UNIV. OF MINNESOTA: ...look at the midterm election in 2002, and what we see is that the third parties did even better than they had done in the 1990 election, which suggests that we should expect the third parties to be a real force in the 2004 election.

SCHNEIDER: Didn't Ralph Nader prove in 2000 that a third party candidate is a spoiler?

Democrats certainly feel that way. In the new CNN/"USA Today/Gallup poll, Democrats believe Al Gore would be president today if Nader had not run in 2000. But nearly a quarter of Americans would like to see Nader run again in 2004, a sentiment that is particularly strong among young people. Nader has not ruled out another run.

RALPH NADER, FMR. GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I won't decide one way or the other until the end of the year.

SCHNEIDER: Nader threatens Democrats. But last year, libertarian candidates did well, mostly at the Republicans' expense, like Ed Thompson, who took 10 percent of the vote in Wisconsin and helped a Democrat get elected governor for the first time in 16 years.

Third parties do well when times are bad. It was the economy in 1980 and 1992 and now.

JACOBS: The first George Bush faced Ross Perot because of the outrage in the country over the budget deficit. The current George Bush is likely to face the same kind of outrage.

SCHNEIDER: The CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll says about a third of the electorate is unaligned with either party.

JACOBS: They do seem to share a very significant frustration, perhaps even rage, about the budget deficit. They also tend to be a bit more moderate on social issues.

SCHNEIDER: Sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger could be a sign of things to come.


SCHNEIDER: There's another reason why third parties may have a decisive influence in 2004 -- because the Democrats and Republicans are so evenly matched. So close that in 2000, there were 10 states where the number of votes for third-party candidates was greater than the margin of victory for either George W. Bush or Al Gore -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Very important to point that out again. All right. Bill Schneider, thank you very much. The straw that could break the Democrats' unity. That story coming up. We'll tell you why a potential poll of presidential candidates is causing such a ruckus.

Plus, find out who is waxing poetic about Howard Dean.

And it may not have the drama of "Beverly Hills 90210," but Manhattan 10021 has something that candidates want even more.


WOODRUFF: The Democratic National Party is going to great lengths to try to prevent a presidential straw poll at this winter's Florida State Party convention. The DNC wants candidates to boycott the event if a straw poll is planned. But it is not clear if the request is going to have the intended effect.

With me now from Tallahassee to talk more about all this is the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Scott Maddox.

Scott Maddox, the Democratic National Committee not only doesn't want it to happen, they're saying the candidates have agreed not to show up.

SCOTT MADDOX, FLORIDA DEM. PARTY CHAIRMAN: Well, I've been told that by the chairman. They're going to send us a letter pretty soon about that. And we're going to try to make the best decision that's good for the Florida Democratic Party as well as the National Democratic Party.

Chairman McAuliffe is a friend of mine. He and I have been working closely on this. He has his constituents, just like I have mine. So I have got to make a good decision that's good for Florida as well as good for the national party.

WOODRUFF: But if you don't have all the candidates there -- if you've got major candidates boycotting your straw poll because of pressure from the Democratic committee, does this straw poll, this event really mean anything?

MADDOX: Well, I think what all the candidates recognize -- and we haven't made the decision yet. On November 16, the central committee will make the decision as to whether or not to have a straw poll.

But what all the candidates realize is they can't win without Florida. We are 10 percent of the Electoral College votes that are needed, and we are the only large state where the balance of power is so closely divided. Every minute of time that the candidates spend here and every dollar spent here in Florida will pay back dividends in the general election.

So I think they need to be at the convention whether we have a straw poll or not. I don't think they can afford to skip a state like Florida. WOODRUFF: Is this a way, Scott Maddox, to get around the fact that Florida moved back its primary date to March the 9th, to make Florida relevant early?

MADDOX: I think there's a tremendous amount of frustration in the state of Florida that all the attention goes to the early primary states, which are mostly smaller states. And Florida, which everyone agrees is the battle ground state -- the year 2000 showed that to us. Florida gets very little attention. And it is a way to get the candidates here for doing something other than fund-raising, to talk to our activists, to talk about the issues and let us get a first hand look at them so we can start building the excitement to win in 2004.

What our goal is, is to make sure that we change the occupant of the White House in 2004. And to do that, we've got to build excitement in Florida now.

WOODRUFF: But the Democratic National Committee, Terry McAuliffe is arguing for you to do this in Florida is going to cause a major distraction from what they're trying to accomplish in Iowa and New Hampshire.

MADDOX: I certainly see his point. He's got a different set of constituents, like I said. And I'm working with him, and hopefully we can come up with a solution that's good for Florida and good for the national Democratic Party.

But in November of 2004, Florida is going to be integral. We're going to need every possible vote to make -- and we've got to make sure they count this time as well -- we're going to need every vote for the Democratic nominee. I don't think you can wait until late spring to start paying attention to Florida, and get that kind of outcome. We need the candidates' attention, a little bit of their time and resources in our state now.

WOODRUFF: All right. Scott Maddox, who is the chairman of the Florida State Democratic Party. We definitely want to know what's going on there. So we'll be checking in with you regularly.


WOODRUFF: All right. Scott Maddox. Sorry to cut you off. Thanks very much.

The best neighborhood in America for campaign cash. Up next, we're going to take you to the zip code that is No. 1 in political donations.


WOODRUFF: Beverly Hills 90210 may be more glamorous, but in political appeal one New York ZIP code is second to none. CNN's Maria Hinojosa introduces us to the residents of the nation's No. 1 neighborhood for donating campaign money.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN URBAN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Manhattan's wealthy Upper East Side, land of the ultra elite, ultra fashionable, ultra wealthy, and apparently the ultra political.

MERRYL TISCH, PHILANTHROPIST: My husband with the first President Bush. This is my husband's grandmother with Lyndon Johnson.

HINOJOSA: Philanthropist Merryl Tisch has given money to Republican President George Bush and well-known liberal Democrat Congressman Jerry Nadler this year.

TISCH: I believe in a two-party system. And to the extent that I'm able to participate in the political process, I love to see healthy parties on both ends.

HINOJOSA: And she's not the only Upper East Sider opening up her checkbook for America's politicians. Manhattan's 10021 ZIP code has provided more money for America's political candidates this year than any other neighborhood in the nation. Over 3.5 million so far.

According to, the second largest donors base, the $1.7 million given by 10022, the ZIP code right next door. And for other Manhattan ZIP codes also made the top ten.

(on camera): The people living in this wealthy zip code have elected only Democrats to local offices this time around. But that doesn't mean they aren't willing to give their money to Republicans. This neighborhood has given more political money to President George W. Bush than any other ZIP code in the nation. More than $712,000 this year alone.

JAMES HORTENZIO, N.Y. REPUBLICAN PARTY: Frankly, I think were it not for the East Side of Manhattan providing the funds, the B-12 vitamin shot for candidates of all parties, that they might not make it to one caucus or another.

HINOJOSA (voice-over): For raising funds, the East Side of Manhattan is known as a gold coast.

TISCH: Oh, every single presidential candidate comes here.

HINOJOSA: Alan Patricof has supported Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore. Now he's raising money for Wesley Clark.

ALAN PATRICOF, POLITICAL DONATOR: The people who have been involved in these campaigns and it continues today are not people who are looking for something for themselves. Take a look at my own experience. I mean, I just did it because I believed in the candidate.

HINOJOSA: That doesn't wash with advocates of campaign finance reform.

MARK CLACK, PUBLIC CAMPAIGN: Those persons who are giving a lot of money are first in line for favors.

HINOJOSA: But Merryl Tisch says she's just looking to support democracy.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.


WOODRUFF: Remember, five ZIP codes in New York City, the top ten.

It turns out that Howard Dean's aides are poets, and we didn't even know it. Their ode to the White House hopeful when we return.


WOODRUFF: These are pictures from Sacramento, California. The Governor-Elect movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger arriving at the state capital for the first time since he won that recall election just two weeks ago yesterday. Now live pictures. You can see the governor- elect, probably never been a governor in the country with this kind of star power, working the line, shaking hands, making his way into the capital building where he'll be meeting this afternoon with legislative leaders.

The governor-elect busy in transition since that election that saw the defeat, the removal from office of the current governor, Democrat Gray Davis.

Well given the Howard Dean phenomenon that has swept the presidential race, you would think his campaign staff wouldn't have much time on their hands. But apparently you would be wrong.

Dean aides have penned a poem which they call a fairy tale about Dean's political rise in Iowa. Here's how it begins.

"There once was a doctor named Howard. Long ago he was people- powered. He diagnosed the nation, and saw great frustration, so he set out to heal what he could."

I don't know if Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost have anything to worry about. We'll find out what the end of the poem said.

That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. Thanks for joining us. I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


Interview With Bill Owens>

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