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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
White House: No Final Decision Yet on Steel Tariffs; Eye on the Hawkeyes: Iowa Caucus Controversy; Interview With Chrissy Gephardt
Aired December 1, 2003 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: No out-of-staters allowed. Are non-Iowans hoping to sneak in to the kickoff caucuses to help their favorite '04 Democrat?
It's deja vu with a twist for a White House hopeful's daughter.
CHRISSY GEPHARDT, RICHARD GEPHARDT'S DAUGHTER: I went through a period in probably eighth grade when my dad was running for president where all I wanted to do was run from it.
ANNOUNCER: But this time, Chrissy Gephardt is hitting the campaign trail head on.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.
The Bush administration, like others before it, of course, usually prefers to appear in charge rather than to present events as out of its control. But today, a senior administration official suggests the president doesn't have much choice but to repeal controversial tariffs on imported steel because of threatened retaliation from Europe and Asia. The likely bow to allied demands is a break from Mr. Bush's recent political M.O. on issues from tax cuts to Iraq.
Here now, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The Bush presidency is a high wire act. He takes big risks and shows nerve in the face of criticism. Bush's tax cuts were a big economic risk and a political risk, too, because there was not a lot of public pressure for tax cuts. Democrats' criticism?
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president's plan is too risky.
SCHNEIDER: The president campaigned on a platform of risk taking and competition. Let private schools compete with public schools. Let private investment compete for Social Security funds. Let private insurance compete with Medicare.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Medicare plan that I'm going to sign understands that a lack of competition meant that there was no real need to provide innovation.
SCHNEIDER: But no Bush policy has been as risky as the war in Iraq. Talk about nerve. The president went to war in the face of opposition from virtually the entire world.
Three pictures have already become icons of that war. The toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue in Baghdad, that took nerve and risked making Iraq look like a war of conquest. President Bush's top gun landing on the aircraft carrier. A nervy and some would say untimely display that's already showing up in Democratic campaign ads. And his daring trip to Baghdad for Thanksgiving.
BUSH: We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator, and liberate 25 million people, only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins.
SCHNEIDER: If Bush is the high wire act, Democrats are supposed to be the party of the safety net. That's how Al Gore ran in 2000.
AL GORE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My plan wasn't built on the cross your fingers economics.
SCHNEIDER: Bush mocked him.
BUSH: Every one of the proposals I've talked about tonight he's called a risky scheme. Over and over again. It is a sum of his message: the politics of the roadblock, the philosophy of the stop sign.
SCHNEIDER: Now Democrats have to decide how they're going to oppose Bush in 2004. They can run on the safety net, or they could come up with their own high wire act, like Howard Dean, who sounded pretty macho on Sunday when he said, "Mr. President, if you'll pardon me, I'll teach you a little about defense."
SCHNEIDER: President Bush comes from the world of sports and business, a man's world. Democrats have to decide if they want to go after those men. Maybe even southern men who put Confederate flags on their pickup trucks -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Hmm, where have we heard that before?
SCHNEIDER: I've heard that.
WOODRUFF: Out of the mouth of Howard Dean.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you. SCHNEIDER: Sure.
WOODRUFF: Well now turning to the Monday headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," Democratic hopeful John Edwards is running a new TV ad in Iowa calling for middle class tax relief and accusing the president of only aiding the wealthy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This president should be made to explain why a multimillionaire sitting beside his swimming pool should be paying a lower tax rate than a teacher, than a police officer, than a secretary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Howard Dean also has a new TV ad highlighting his background as Vermont governor and family doctor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: ... taking classes at night to get into medical school. Worked in an emergency room in the Bronx. And with his wife, Judy, Howard Dean became a family doctor, hoping to make a difference one life at a time. He became governor under the worst of circumstances and earned a reputation...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: On a different issue, Howard Dean says it is routine for governors to seal documents related to their time in office, and that he has nothing to hide. Dean made his comments today following new media questions about what is included in a batch of documents that he placed under seal when he left office. Dean said that President Bush has sealed documents from his own time as governor of Texas, and Dean said "I'll unseal mine if he'll unseal all of his."
A short while ago, Democrat Joe Lieberman weighed in a statement. He said that Dean, "took a long walk from straight talk" when he sealed the records. And he called on Dean to release the documents.
Meanwhile, a caller identifying himself as a Dean intern recently asked the Iowa Democratic Party if outsiders can vote in next month's Iowa caucuses. The call has raised serious concerns that out-of-state workers for the various candidates might try to cast votes, which would be against caucus rule. The party is now sending letters to all nine Democratic candidates asking them to promise that non-Iowans would not participate in the caucuses.
Well, let's talk more about that letter and presidential politics in Iowa with David Yepsen of "The Des Moines Register."
David, first of all, let's make a distinction between the out of state workers candidates have work for their campaigns, and people who can actually legitimately vote on these caucuses. DAVID YEPSEN, "DES MOINES REGISTER": Judy, you have to be a registered voter in order to participate in the caucuses. Many of these outside workers or volunteers who are coming into the state aren't registered voters. And so they're not supposed to participate.
If they've registered to vote, they could. And that's the fear, that some of them may commit fraud and attempt to sign in and register as a resident of Iowa, which they're not.
WOODRUFF: And it's the parties who run these caucuses, right? The political parties?
YEPSEN: That's right. The caucus, as you know, is a meeting, is a neighborhood meeting. In the old days, people sort of knew each other and knew who they were. But in some of these caucuses now, lots of newcomers, particularly in the urban areas of the state or in college towns.
And so there's a fear among some other campaigns, particularly that Howard Dean is going to try to bring in a lot of people and pack them. Well, legally he can't do that. But there's a fear that nobody's going to discover any widespread fraud until well after the fact, and a punishment really doesn't -- wouldn't change the outcome of the caucuses. So the party and the other campaigns are trying to be much more vigilant here about just who is participating in these events on caucus night.
WOODRUFF: All right. So legally, or according to the rules, who may participate? A resident of that precinct, presumably somebody who either owns a home or has lived there for some time, right?
YEPSEN: And who has an intent to live there. You have to be a registered voter. But you can register at the caucus site.
So somebody could show up, present themselves, say, "I'm a resident of this precinct," sign in, and not have to produce any I.D. or anything like that. Iowa election law comes from a much more innocent time. And there is certain that somebody who is willing to commit fraud could participate in the caucuses.
WOODRUFF: Has this sort of thing come up before, questions about who should legitimately be participating?
YEPSEN: No, it really hasn't, Judy. This year the caucuses have been -- the campaigns have been going on longer, there are more people coming in here to help the other campaigns. The campaigns, Dean's campaign for example, is talking about bringing 5,000 people into the state to baby sit on caucus night, to help with get out the vote stuff.
That's perfectly legal. It's just that they can't show up that night and try to sign in and be part of the event.
WOODRUFF: Since the campaign has gone on so long, David, what are people expecting in the way of turnout? Are you expecting a larger than usual turnout? YEPSEN: Yes, Judy. Huge turnout.
Four years ago, in Gore versus Bradley, there were 61,000 Democrats who showed up all over the states. Most of the party people I talk to now are expecting at least double that. I've even heard a figure of 150,000.
Some of these caucuses, Judy, are going to be mob scenes. There just won't be room in the site for them. So it's going to be very confusing. And that's prompting some of the concern here that it isn't just the old intimate gathering of neighbors that there used to be. In fact, there will be a lot of the new people who show up.
Now, the party wants to have new people participate. That's part of the idea. But not fraudulently.
WOODRUFF: And again, David, we want to make a distinction between people showing up and voting who shouldn't be and all of the out of state people coming in as volunteers for these different campaigns, for Dick Gephardt, for Howard Dean, and so forth.
YEPSEN: Oh, sure. Volunteers, they're more than welcome. And campaigns do a lot of that and have. Knock on doors, make phone calls, baby sit for somebody while they go to the caucus on caucus night.
All that's perfectly legal. The concern here is that someone in the Dean campaign was making calls to see about actually participating in the caucuses themselves. And legally, those people from out of state cannot do that.
WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it there. David Yepsen of "The Des Moines Register." Good to see you, David.
YEPSEN: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Take care. Thank you.
Well, President Bush has been stumping today in Michigan, where his likely repeal of imported steel tariffs would have wide-ranging implications for his reelection bid. Or could. We'll debate his campaign strategy next.
Also ahead, Chrissy Gephardt's journey on behalf of her dad's presidential campaign and the causes near and dear to her own heart.
And who may have the right stuff to outwit, outlast and outplay next year's competition to be the Democrats' VP nominee?
WOODRUFF: With me now to talk presidential politics are two party strategists. Republican Scott Reed is with me here in Washington. Democrat Doug Hattaway is with us from Boston. Scott Reid, let me turn to you first. The story out today in "The Washington Post" that President Bush has decided to repeal most of the tariffs that he placed on imported steel back in early 2002. In the face of retaliation, expected from the Europeans and others who were going to go after certain products and certain key electorate vote states. Scott, is this a decision that the president is going to be glad he made come Election Day?
SCOTT REED, GOP STRATEGIST: Well, I think it's a decision that he had to make. I mean, you know, every once in a while in politics I think you make a mistake. And this is one they've clearly looked back at and have seen it has not worked out.
Yes, there have been positive things in the industry over the last couple of years where they have consolidated some of these big steel companies. But the fact of the matter, the president and his campaigns were having problems in the state of Florida where the president's brother, the governor, Jeb Bush, did not like this issue.
And so where I think they're doing what is rare in politics, they're changing gears. They're moving in a new direction. And probably the state this will have the biggest ramification in will be West Virginia, which is a state they won last time and a strong steel state.
I think some of these other states in the Midwest which will be the battleground states, Ohio and Pennsylvania, it is not as big an issue. But it is an issue. But what you're seeing here is politics changing, and they're changing to do the right thing.
WOODRUFF: Doug, how do you see it? And on balance, is this going to help or hurt the president?
DOUG HATTAWAY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think on balance, it's a lose-lose. His conservative supporters said that he was selling out his free trade principles for politics when he imposed these tariffs. Now you're going to have steel workers and the companies that pushed Bush to do this saying he sold them out for politics and is breaking a promise.
I think it opens him up to a line of attack that no incumbent wants, which is that he broke a promise to voters. And I think you'll hear attacks in some of these states that he can't be trusted.
WOODRUFF: What about that, Scott? What does the president say to that?
REED: I think the president says, times have changed. And look, the big split right now in labor is not as much with this president, but it's with the wing of the labor movement that's behind Dean and the wing that's behind Gephardt. And if those two folks are not on the ticket together, I think you're going to see about half of the labor movement taking their marbles and going home next fall.
They're split. They're viscerally split. And I think that's where the real problem here is now. This is not a problem for Bush, because, as Doug said, this is a president that's getting over 91 percent of the base Republican vote support, which is very strong. And he doesn't have any problems with his base.
WOODRUFF: Doug, what about that, the fact that labor is -- potentially you're looking at a labor that's split practically right down the middle, unless Dean and Gephardt are on the ticket together.
HATTAWAY: I disagree with that. I think if anybody's doing anything to unify the Democratic base, it's George Bush. And this is another example, this is a clear example of labor in these states that the White House has been targeting that he can't be trusted on their issues.
I think this is not an issue of whose base belongs to whom, but the White House wanting to make inroads into West Virginia, which they narrowly won, Pennsylvania, which they narrowly lost. That's a big -- those are big prizes for them.
This is going to be a close election. Both sides have to motivate their base. But both sides want to make inroads like that.
It's not a surprise that Bush made this decision when he made the political calculation and saw it could hurt him in Florida, which is also going to be a very close one and also a big electoral prize. So it was a tough calculation for them. I don't think they win much in any regards. I think they feel sorry they made this decision.
WOODRUFF: All right. Let me quickly turn you both to the president's very fast trip on Thanksgiving to Iraq. In the early stages after the news came out about that, the Democrats said it was the right thing to do. Now, though, as the days have gone by, we're hearing, for example, from Howard Dean over the weekend, saying the president doesn't understand, you better keep troop morale high, rather than just flying over for Thanksgiving.
Today, Wesley Clark had this to say...
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WESLEY CLARK (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you're the commander, you should be spending Thanksgiving holiday with the troops. I always did when I was in uniform. But I don't think a two- hour photo op morale boost visit is a substitute for sound strategy.
And what the troops over there really need is a success strategy. Not a two-hour presidential pat on the back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Scott, is the president going to end up having helped himself or caused more problems with this Iraq trip?
REED: Oh, I think he helped himself, as everybody when they found about this on Thanksgiving night found out that he had gone were very pleased. This was a political master stroke. And what it had, Judy, was something that's really missing in most of politics today.
It had a huge element of surprise. And yes, the Democrats in the beginning were dumbfounded. Even John Kerry said it was a wonderful thing to do. Mike Allen, a very tough reporter for "The Washington Post," that covers the White House, appeared to even have been seduced by this move.
I think it was a good thing. But the most important part of the trip was the look in the president's eyes when he walked around that cover. When everybody saw that tear in his eye, that was emotion.
That showed that he really cared. He care about the troops. And that was the symbol.
WOODRUFF: Let me ask you, Doug, what's your take?
HATTAWAY: Well, I don't think we'd be having this conversation if it weren't for the aircraft carrier photo op which went so badly afterward. The White House thought that was a political master stroke. And what it did was raise the criticism that Bush is using the war as a backdrop for his own reelection campaign.
You can believe it's right for the commander-in-chief to boost the troop's morale. I think a lot of people agree with what Clark and Dean were saying. The best thing to boost their morale would -- given what they need to do the job over there, put in a real alliance to help bear the burdens of this. And get them home with a real success strategy, which is what's lacking. So I think it actually opens up two lines of attack from the Democrats.
WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. Doug Hattaway, Scott Reed, great to see you both.
REED: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you.
HATTAWAY: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Well, Dick Gephardt wanted to get his message across to some voters in New England. The candidate couldn't make it himself, so he sent the next best thing. When we return, Chrissy Gephardt stumping for her father.
WOODRUFF: It turns out that Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt's run for the White House is a family affair. His daughter Chrissy is out on the campaign trail, too. But that wasn't the case during Gephardt's first campaign.
CNN's Aneesh Raman gives us a closer look at Chrissy Gephardt and her change of heart.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANEESH RAMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ten o'clock a.m. at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton, New Hampshire. These students, most unable to vote, out of class to talk presidential politics. Not with a candidate, but the next best thing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Join me in welcoming Congressman Gephardt's daughter, Chrissy Gephardt.
RAMAN: Of all the children of Democratic presidential candidates, the Gephardt kids have been around national politics the longest. Chrissy's father, now in his 13th term in Congress.
C. GEPHARDT: I've been doing this for -- well, ever since I can remember. And you just sort of get used to the fact that you're an extension of the candidate.
RAMAN: And for Gephardt, it's presidential bid number two. The last, back in 1988.
C. GEPHARDT: I went through a period in probably eighth grade, when my dad was running for president, where all I wanted to do was run from it.
RAMAN: Fifteen years later, a different Chrissy. Now working full-time on her father's campaign, no longer avoiding the political spotlight, but embracing it.
C. GEPHARDT: I really enjoy coming out in the field. I love meeting the voters. I love giving speeches.
RAMAN: From Winnacunnet, we head New Hampshire Community Technical College. Addressing a lunchtime crowd, Chrissy spouts a favorite line of her father's.
C. GEPHARDT: If you want to live like a Republican, you have to vote for the Democrats.
RAMAN: Asked about everything from health care to Iraq, not surprisingly there are parts of her father's legislative history she's still learning.
C. GEPHARDT: What is the name of that act that he sponsored?
RAMAN (on camera): It's now about 2:00 p.m., and we're at stop number three, Harvard's Institute of Politics. Here Chrissy isn't just stumping for her dad, she's also advocating the issue that's come to define her public persona.
C. GEPHARDT: Another issue which is very near and dear to my heart is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender issues.
RAMAN (voice-over): Two years ago, Chrissy came out to her parents as a lesbian, divorcing her husband of four years.
C. GEPHARDT: I was worried that not only would I ruin my dad's career, but I was worried that I would lose the love and the approval of my parents.
RAMAN: Instead, Dick Gephardt embraced his daughter's decision, putting her and her story front and center. At 3:30 p.m., a quick stop at Boston College, speaking to a group of law students. Then, back to the caravan and off to Tufts, where despite an audience of five, there's no letup in the stump.
C. GEPHARDT: This election is about bold choices. It's about bold ideas.
RAMAN: The last stop, Wellesley College, a speech that ends at 9:00 p.m., and an 11-hour day that ends after hitting two states and six events. It's a lifestyle that has brought Chrissy closer to her father.
C. GEPHARDT: I definitely feel campaigning has given me a better sense of what my father has done for so many years.
RAMAN: Which leaves one final question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think you'll run for president?
C. GEPHARDT: Oh, man. Let's not go that far yet. Maybe like state rep, you know? We'll see if I can even get that far.
RAMAN: Aneesh Raman, CNN, Wellesley, Massachusetts.
WOODRUFF: She's putting in some long hours.
Well, it appears that liberals are back. And they're angry. Is this just rhetoric, or is it the real thing?
Plus, there's no snow, but it's still beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in Washington.
Stay with us for some holiday cheer.
ANNOUNCER: Memories of the '60s and early '70s. Protests against the Vietnam War and President Nixon. It's taken 30 years, but have liberals once again found their voice?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got to show we are as determined, as aggressive, as assertive as people on the other side. And we are.
ANNOUNCER: It's still too early to know which one of these candidates will win the nomination. But it's never too early to talk about who their running mate will be. We'll have the latest scoop in the VIP stakes.
He's got the money and apparently the manpower. We'll take a look at the Bush reelection machine.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back. Well, while many Americans may not think twice about steel tariffs, it is the kind of labor related issue that Dick Gephardt likes to sink his teeth into. The Democratic presidential hopeful is already blasting President Bush's expected repeal of tariffs on imported steel. Gephardt accuses Mr. Bush of making a political calculation that leaves U.S. steel makers in the lurch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
R. GEPHARDT: We're on the brink of losing the steel industry entirely. These tariffs were put on to try to hold on to at least a minimal steel industry. And now by taking them off before that consolidation has fully taken place, I think he's endangering the existence of steel altogether.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Let's bring in our senior White House correspondent John King. John, I notice "The Washington Post" today said this is what the president is expected to do. So is it a done deal?
JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We're told it's almost a done deal, Judy. Administration officials tell us the recommendation from all of the president's top advisers is to lift the steel tariffs he imposed 20 months ago. We're also told the decision will not come today, and is not likely to come tomorrow when the president's actually going to Pittsburgh to raise money. A big steel state, of course, Pennsylvania, though it is likely to come by the end of the week.
The president has until December 10 under this World Trade Organization ruling that found those U.S. tariffs to be illegal. So we're told to look for it in the next few days. We're told the president's -- the advice to the president is unanimous that he must lift the tariffs. They want to spend a little bit more time, though, Judy, talking to key members of Congress, steel makers, and other involved parties before they announce their decision.
WOODRUFF: And John, what about the political calculation here? Clearly they've looked at which states the president might be hurt, where it might even help him. What are they saying about that?
KING: They say it's a mixed bag. They say in West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, three big steel producers, it is likely to hurt the president, you're likely to have some outrage from the steel unions and the like, from the steel companies as well, corporate supporters of this president. But they say it could help in a state like Michigan, where the president was today. He was at a small company today that makes parts for the auto industry and for the oil industry. Steel is more expensive with those tariffs in place, so some small manufacturers don't like the tariffs.
And Judy, the bottom line is this, if they did not lift the tariffs they would have a trade war. The European Union alone promising some $2.2 billion in sanctions against U.S. goods. China, Japan, South Korea ready to follow suit. So then you could have products, say, from Florida or the Carolinas impacted. The White House says the cleanest way to get out of this is to avert a trade war, lift the sanctions, and they also believe both the U.S. steel industry and particularly the overall U.S. economy is in much stronger shape now than when the president put these tariffs in place 20 months ago.
WOODRUFF: All right. But John, maybe coming this week, the announcement?
KING: We're expecting it by the end of this week, perhaps even Wednesday or Thursday. But several more meetings here at the White House before they lock in a date.
WOODRUFF: All right, John King, thank you very much.
Returning now to our "Campaign News Daily," extra -- the president's opponents on the political left are close to creating a new platform to spread their message. The group hoping to create a liberal radio network tells CNN that they are near a deal to buy radio stations in five major media markets. Comedians Al Franken and Jeanine Garofalo are among those mentioned as possible hosts on the new network.
Hollywood liberals have emerged as some of the most vocal critics of President Bush and his policies. Tomorrow at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, about 100 activists and celebrities will gather at a private event. Beverly Hills gathering designed to raise awareness for two independent groups created to raise money for the effort to defeat President Bush next November.
Well, some recently published articles have focused on the idea liberal Democrats are seething with anger at President Bush. Jonathan Chait has written on that topic for "The New Republic" magazine. He's with me now here in Washington. Jonathan Chait, when you wrote that piece, what is it, back in September...
JONATHAN CHAIT, THE NEW REPUBLIC: September, right.
WOODRUFF: You literally used the word "hate."
WOODRUFF: I mean, are we talking about people who hate this president?
CHAIT: Oh, absolutely. It's a phenomenon unlike anything I've seen in a long time, and a lot of people have seen in a long time. And what I tried to argue in my article is that while this hatred can lead people in irrational directions, it's not fundamentally an irrational phenomenon. In fact, there are good reasons for people on the left to hate George W. Bush.
WOODRUFF: Well, if there were Republicans back during the Clinton regime who despised, had contempt for Bill Clinton...
WOODRUFF: ... what's different about this, whatever you're describing right now?
CHAIT: I think there are a couple of things different. One is that Clinton was a more moderate president than George W. Bush is. Clinton moved his party to the political center. And he ran as someone pretty much who he was. He ran as someone who's going to do welfare reform, and raise taxes on the top 1 percent, and try to bring the deficit under control. And that's pretty much what he did.
Whereas President Bush is far more conservative. He's further from the center of the political spectrum than Clinton was. And furthermore, Bush ran as more of a moderate than he was. So liberals weren't terribly alarmed about Bush in 2000. In fact, you saw this passion gap, where conservatives were really charged up about the election, and liberals were not. And liberals were kind of sanguine about Bush. And then it was only after Bush began to govern as a real conservative that you really saw this anger start to emerge.
WOODRUFF: What has aroused this anger, I mean, what is it that has gotten liberals, people on the left so aroused?
CHAIT: Well, his policies are part of it. I mean, he's conservative. Conservatives are thrilled with President Bush because he's a very conservative president. He tends to his base. And there's a basic rule in politics that whatever you do to energize your base will also energize the other party's base. Well, the conservative base is energized, thrilled with Bush. And naturally, the liberal base is also energized against him.
Second of all, I think there are aspects of his personality. He's really cultivated this sense of being, you know, a true Texan, and he has this anti-intellectual air about him, kind of sneering at people who use facts and figures. And I think furthermore, part of what makes people angry about him is the sense that it's not real. I think a lot of the intelligentsia that I know are aware that this is a guy who went to Andover and Yale, and is the son of a powerful family and a powerful president, and see this as very phony. This whole kind of hick schtick that he's cultivated.
WOODRUFF: Now, you know, we were just reporting on this radio network starting to get under way. The conventional wisdom is that liberal radio doesn't last, it doesn't survive, because you just are never going to get an audience like what you are for conservative radio. What are the people you're talking to saying about that?
CHAIT: Well, look, there are two sides to this. One, on one is, you're right, it's a different kind of audience. And I think conservatives are more likely to want these kinds of -- these kinds of polemics you get on the conservative side, and I think a lot of liberals like to listen to NPR, where they're usually getting a balanced, you know, approach, they like to kind of, you know, read the newspapers and ponder it and have a sense that they're getting both sides.
Although the other side of this is is liberals are really starting to get angry and getting into the same emotional state the conservatives have been for a long time, the sense that our views aren't being represented in the mainstream media, and we really need someone who will speak truth to power, and this kind of feeling. So that can really -- that can really help.
WOODRUFF: Is this the kind of emotion, whatever it is that you're describing here, that can translate itself into sustained support for a Democratic candidate, on is this kind of a flash in the pan that's going to go nowhere ultimately?
CHAIT: It can, but it's a double-edged sword. You need to have an energized base, obviously, if you're going to win in 2004. But the danger is that you demand that your candidate be strident and angry, and take out positions to the left. You know, you're seeing this I think in the Howard Dean. Anytime anyone of his opponents agrees with Bush on anything, even when Bush is right or Bush has the political high ground, you know, he'll attack them, or they'll attack each other for agreeing with George W. Bush. And so you can kind of paint yourself into a corner.
So you have to be able to manage this anger. It's a very tricky thing.
WOODRUFF: But you're saying it's not going to go away quickly?
CHAIT: Well, I don't think as long as George W. Bush is in the White House. Because of who he is and the way he's governed. I think those fundamental factors are going to remain in place.
WOODRUFF: Jonathan Chait with "The New Republic," thank you very much. We appreciate you coming in to talk to us.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
Well, anger may not be something that's pretty, but Democrats have seen it work for them -- for them, I should say, as well as against them. Here's our national correspondent Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The liberals are back and they're angry. Al Franken's book is angry. Molly Ivens' book "Bushwhacked" is angry. They're having a Hate Bush dinner in Hollywood. And the official Democratic Party Web log is called, yes, "kicking ass."
ANN LEWIS, CHAIRWOMAN, DNC WOMEN'S VOTE CENTER: I think the party is feisty, I think we're determined, I think it's very clear that if we want to move forward and tell people we're ready to lead this country, we've got to show we are as determined, as aggressive, as assertive as people on the other side, and we are.
MORTON: Liberals used to be angry years ago. They hated President Richard Nixon, nicknamed "Tricky Dick." And crowds outside the White House cheered when Watergate scandal forced him to resign. Anti-war liberals hated Lyndon Johnson, though he was a Democrat.
The chant then was "hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?" Now the chants are about George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.
Moveon.org has run an ad in which a father accuses the administration of betraying his sons, stationed in Iraq.
Liberals fell silent after Vietnam. You couldn't, after all, hate Ronald Reagan. The Gipper was just too nice a guy. And During Bill Clinton's presidency, it was the conservatives who did the hating.
Whether it was what he did as president or the Elvis side of his personality, he roused real fury in conservatives. They loved impeaching him, though the charges didn't stick. And that anger led to conservative domination of talk radio, conservative control of the presidency, and both houses of Congress. More people tell pollsters they are conservative than say they are liberal. So the libs have some catching up to do. But they are for the first time in a generation out of power, but up for a fight.
LEWIS: This is about turning this country around, it's about going in a different direction. This is not about making change at the margin.
MORTON: Could make for an interesting campaign. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: We'll see and we'll check in with the Kerrey campaign ahead. No, not John. Bob. Is the former senator a contender for a spot on the Democratic ticket?
And Al Sharpton has proved his comic timing in presidential debates. But is he ready for a bigger TV audience? This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.
WOODRUFF: Time now for our Monday "Hotline" tip sheet, with Chuck Todd. He's the editor in chief of "The Hotline," an insiders' political briefing produced daily by "The National Journal."
All right, Chuck, what's this about another name surfacing in the run for the vice presidential slot on the Democratic side?
CHUCK TODD, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "THE HOTLINE": Well, you know the way holidays get. They get a little slow, so everybody's chattering and gossiping about what's next. And we have the accelerated primaries now, so of course veep stakes and who's going to be the running mate.
And I'm getting a little more increased chatter of the name Kerrey. And it's not John, as you teased, it's Bob, or as some Democrats like to call him, Kerrey-Bob instead of Kerry-John.
But a lot of the sort of loyalists, old time loyalists to Bob Kerrey are whispering about Bob Kerrey's availability as a running mate, that he meets the sort of statesmanship but outsider Washington thing. You know, he's now an ex-senator, he's president of New School University.
This isn't Bob Kerrey campaigning to be vice president. I want to be careful about that. But these are some Democratic, you know, muckety-mucks who were loyal to Kerrey at one point, but also sort of see if Dean is the nominee, maybe Bob Kerrey can bridge the rebellious faction of the Democratic Party and the establishment faction. Bob Kerrey has played both roles when he was a senator, and it's an intriguing thing. It's just another name to add to our list, that's for sure.
WOODRUFF: And it's a way to get his name out there for maybe for somebody...
TODD: Maybe there's something else, who knows.
WOODRUFF: ... at some point. Well, at some point we're going to...
TODD: He talks to a lot of the campaigns, I hear, Bob Kerrey, but he'll talk to any of them.
WOODRUFF: All right. San Francisco's mayor's race. What does that have to do with the presidential campaign?
TODD: Well, that's what I was trying to figure out. Last week, we saw Dick Gephardt send out a release, an endorsement release, not somebody endorsing him, but him endorsing somebody, and he was endorsing Gavin Newsom, who is the Democratic essentially nominee for San Francisco mayor. That runoff is on December 9. Well, he's running against a Green Party candidate, supervisor, City Supervisor Matt Gonzalez.
A lot of this has to do, you've got to remember, the San Francisco political machine is Willie Brown, it's the old Burton machine, and it's also Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi has endorsed Gephardt, is very helpful to Gephardt. There's something there. And I've talked to some other people who say that this is as much about a financial thing for Gephardt. If Gavin Newsom is elected, he can unlock a lot of money in California, and Gephardt is in desperate need of some fund-raising. He's very -- had some very difficult fund- raising problems. Add on the Howard Dean issue. So he's gambling on Newsom pulling off this victory, and more importantly, a little quid pro quo in the next couple of weeks following the victory.
WOODRUFF: Very interesting. Now, separately, you've figured out there's a surprising place to look to see whether trade issues may be cutting in next year's election?
TODD: Well, I've talked to a lot of political pollsters who have been saying that there is an anti-NAFTA, there is this anti-trade sentiment bubbling. And it's not a Democrat necessarily issue. Not necessarily a Republican issue. But there's going to be little test cases. And one of them that we're keeping an eye on is down in the Georgia Senate primary. We've got Johnny Isakson, sort of...
WOODRUFF: On a Republican...
TODD: Republican side, exactly. Johnny Isakson, an Atlanta -- you know, from the Atlanta area, Atlanta business community very into Johnny Isakson, and he's running against -- one of his primarily opponents is Matt Collins, who's from sort of the outer (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of Atlanta, very much his district has been hit hard by these manufacturing job losses. Matt Collins is a very -- he has voted against NAFTA, he has voted against trade with China. That primary may tell us more about whether these decisions that Bush has made on steel tariffs, and you know, it's a little bit of a political chess roll, trying to figure out if somehow Isakson is hurt in that primary by Matt Collins on the trade issue, this could be -- mess up the calculus for all the electoral college come 2004.
WOODRUFF: So we're not just talking about Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and so forth.
TODD: No (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Georgia and a whole bunch of states.
WOODRUFF: And South.
All right, Chuck Todd, thank you very much. Always great to see you.
TODD: Thanks, Judy.
WOODRUFF: We'll see you in another few days. "The Hotline," of course, an insiders' political briefing produced daily by "The National Journal." You can go online to Nationaljournal.com for subscription information about "The Hotline." We read it every day.
More news and notes from the campaign trail, including Wesley Clark's proposal for fighting AIDS. How the White House hopeful plans to pay for his proposal. And a first look at his newest TV ad when we return.
WOODRUFF: Checking more of the day's developments on the presidential campaign trail. Wesley Clark observed World AIDS Day by proposing a $30 billion program to fight AIDS and other diseases in the developing world. The program is twice the size of a White House proposal. Clark says that he would pay for it in part by repealing tax cuts for upper income Americans.
Clark has also released a new TV ad in New Hampshire, which touts his Army background and his past support for improving schools and health care for military families.
Dick Gephardt was in Iowa this morning, where he called for $100 billion in new spending on homeland security over the next five years. He also accused President Bush of focusing on the war in Iraq at the expense of homeland defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEPHARDT: Iraq has become a training ground for terrorism at a time when our domestic defense against terrorism is anemic. We deserve better than a president who commits Americans to such a war, while abdicating defensive measures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Congressman Gephardt says that he would pay for his program by cutting tax breaks for special interests.
Over at the White House, they're starting to deck the halls for the holidays. Up next, an early glimpse of the greenery and a possible present for Laura Bush.
WOODRUFF: This story just in from Ohio. The Frankly County Sheriff's Office is offering a $10,000 reward in connection with a series of highway shootings on I-270 near Columbus. The reward is specifically for the person or persons responsible for one shooting that was fatal. 62-year-old Gail Knisley was hit by a single bullet as she was being driven to a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. Eleven shootings have occurred in the past seven months along this stretch of interstate.
In another developing story from Ohio, a coroner says that a man who died after a fight with Cincinnati police yesterday had an enlarged heart and traces of drugs in his system. A police videotape shows the 350-pound black man lunging at officers as they repeatedly struck him with metal night sticks. The coroner says the enlarged heart could have been an indication of hypertension.
The man had multiple bruises, but the coroner says there was no evidence of a transmission of force to his internal organs. A full coroner's report is expected later.
INSIDE POLITICS will be back in a moment. But first, this business news update.
(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)
WOODRUFF: Well, it may not be on her Christmas wish list, but first lady Laura Bush disclosed something today that she wants -- a trip to Afghanistan next spring. She told reporters about the possible trip while getting the official White House Christmas tree. It is an 18 and a half foot frazier fir all the way from Wisconsin.
And we can tell you that the holiday spirit arrived as well on the Hill today, in the form of the Capitol's official tree. We'll tell you more about that one when we get the information.
That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.
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on the Hawkeyes: Iowa Caucus Controversy; Interview With Chrissy Gephardt>