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Political Implications of Saddam Hussein's Capture; Interview With Howard Dean Campaign Adviser, Susan Rice

Aired December 15, 2003 - 15:30   ET


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good riddance. The world is better off without you, Mr. Saddam Hussein.

ANNOUNCER: The president's message to the world's most famous detainee. But how will voters respond to Saddam Hussein's capture?

Howard Dean's dilemma: is he tweaking his anti-war stance in response to news from Iraq?

HOWARD DEAN (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me be very clear. My position on the war in Iraq has not changed.

ANNOUNCER: The political battle over the war. Has it really changed all that much now that the find Saddam mission has been accomplished?



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

President Bush says there will be plenty of time down the road to talk about the politics of Saddam Hussein's capture. But the fact is, he, and his would-be Democratic opponents, are being careful to strike the right tone now. While Mr. Bush works to keep any gloating in check, anti-war candidate and Democratic frontrunner, Howard Dean, may be finding the political calculations more complicated.

Our Dana Bash is at the White House, where Mr. Bush held a news conference today. And Kelly Wallace is in Los Angeles, where Dean gave a speech on national security.

Dana, to you first. Is the White House at this point seeing any downside to the capture of Saddam Hussein?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, they certainly hoping that -- very quietly hoping that they could eventually get political mileage out of this capture. But as you mentioned, they are not going there.

When you talk to officials here, talk to officials across the river at the campaign headquarters, they are simply saying that they're not going to talk about the political implications of this at all. The name of the game over the last 24 to 48 hours has been to manage expectations. And President Bush, who held his 11th press conference since he's been in office, tried to help that, tried to encourage that, by actually bracing Americans for more U.S. casualties.


BUSH: The terrorists in Iraq remain dangerous. The work of our coalition remains difficult and will require further sacrifice. Yet it should now be clear to all, Iraq is on the path to freedom. And a free Iraq will serve the peace and security of America and the world.


BASH: Now, President Bush was asked a number of political questions at that press conference. And he wouldn't go there, even taking some playful shots at reporters for even asking the question.

Now, while Mr. Bush has spent a large part of the fall traveling around the country and raising more than $100 million for his reelection campaign, he continues to use the line that the time for politics has not yet come, and that what he is trying to do now is to protect the American people. But Judy, even in saying that, something similar to that, he said today he's starting to test drive one of his campaign themes.


BUSH: Iraq is on the path to freedom. And a free Iraq will serve the peace and security of America and the world. This achievement comes at the end of an extraordinary year for our country, abroad and here at home. In 2003, we have become a safer, more prosperous, and better nation.


BASH: And as much as the Bush team does not want to talk about the political implications, one of Mr. Bush's senior political advisors may have given a hint, saying to me earlier that the real speculation on what this all means shouldn't be here, it should be on the Democratic side -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Dana Bash at the White House.

And as we said, Kelly Wallace out in Los Angeles today, where Howard Dean made an important foreign policy speech.

Kelly, mostly about Iraq or what?

KELLY WALLACE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a good portion about Iraq, Judy. And the interesting thing, this was a previously scheduled speech, the first major foreign policy address by Howard Dean during the primary campaign. The key question, of course, what will the impact, the capture of Saddam Hussein, what impact will that have on the key issue of Howard Dean's candidacy? And that is opposition to the war.

Well, Howard Dean made it very, very clear, saying his position on the war has not changed.


DEAN: We are -- and I think justifiably so -- a nation in celebration because Saddam Hussein has been captured. That is a good thing. But the fact is, how we got there is ultimately going to make a big difference in our effort, in our effectiveness, in fighting the real danger to the United States, which is terrorism in general and al Qaeda specifically.


WALLACE: And Dean showed a bit about what his strategy is going to be in the weeks ahead. He said that even with the capture of Saddam Hussein, he does not believe that America is any safer today. He talked about al Qaeda and how he believes al Qaeda operatives are now in Iraq. He also talked about the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. He criticized the administration for what he called a "go it alone approach," and he said if he becomes president, he will first and foremost do what he can to strengthen and rebuild alliances around the world.

Now, Dean took some questions from the panel and people here at the Pacific Council for International Policy, but not from reporters. And he refused to comment about attacks coming from his Democratic rivals since the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Senator Joseph Lieberman, in fact, saying that, if Howard Dean were president, then Saddam Hussein would still be in power, not in custody. Well, Dean's aides say these attacks are nothing new. But clearly, Judy, they are keeping this strategy, praising the capture of Saddam Hussein, but Howard Dean making it very, very clear he still believes the war was wrong.

A big challenge ahead for him, though, is what happens on the ground. If the situation in Iraq improves, Dean's aides know they will face bigger challenges ahead because opposition to the war could very much go down -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right. Kelly Wallace with Howard Dean in Los Angeles. And again, thanks to Dana Bash at the White House.

Well, as Kelly was just telling you, Dean's remarks are not sitting well with some of his primary competitors. In a conference call today, as she also suggested, Joe Lieberman said that Dean's statement Saddam's capture has not made America safer shows that Dean has "climbed into his own spider hole of denial." And speaking for John Kerry's campaign, former U.S. Senator Max Cleland said today that Howard Dean had a chance to learn about the military, but instead he said he decided to go skiing in Colorado, a reference to Dean's medical deferment from the war in Vietnam.

In the end, as we know, voters will decide whose foreign policy and stance on Iraq they prefer. Our Bill Schneider has been studying our polling done after Saddam Hussein's capture.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Does this change everything? No. Last week, even before Saddam's capture, nearly 60 percent of Americans said Iraq was worth going to war over. Polling after Saddam was arrested shows that margin has increased a bit. In fact, two Democrats, John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, used the news to try to discredit frontrunner Howard Dean for his opposition to the war.

Still, some candidates are saying things like this...

WESLEY CLARK (D), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want our country to succeed, but that doesn't change the fact that we began a war that, in my view, wasn't necessary.

SCHNEIDER: And this...

DEAN: My position on the war in Iraq has not changed.

SCHNEIDER: Because that's the feeling of most Democrats in our poll. Last week, Democrats felt Iraq was not worth going to war over. And now? They still feel that way, by about two to one.

Democrats are still an anti-war party. Their basic criticism of President Bush's policy has not changed. It's too unilateral. For Democrats, that's the lesson of Iraq.

DEAN: An administration prepared to work with others in a true partnership might have been able if it found no alternative to Saddam's ouster, then to rebuild Iraq with far less cost and far less risk.

SCHNEIDER: The spin for most Democratic candidates seems to be, the capture of Saddam Hussein is great news. It means others can come in and the U.S. can get out of Iraq sooner.

DEAN: Bring in troops from other countries to replace our troops so we may begin to bring ours home.

SCHNEIDER: Do Americans believe this will enable the U.S. to get out of Iraq faster? No. The occupation gives Democrats their issue.

More Americans have been killed since the major fighting ended than during the war last spring. Most Americans now express hope that the capture of Saddam Hussein means U.S. combat losses will diminish. President Bush cautioned the public about expecting too much.

BUSH: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not mean the end of violence in Iraq.

SCHNEIDER: It's Democrats more than others who believe things are not likely to change in Iraq. And to feel, along with their frontrunner, that Iraq was a distraction from the war on terrorism.

DEAN: The capture of Saddam has not made America safer.


SCHNEIDER: The violence on the ground more than anything else is what will determine how Iraq plays out in the campaign. And that's why President Bush is warning voters, don't expect too much to change -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: OK. Bill, thank you very much.

Well, as we just heard, Howard Dean says his position on the Iraq war has not changed. Up next, I will ask a top Dean foreign policy advisor if the Democrat needs to prove that his campaign is still relevant.

Plus, many Iraqis still celebrating Saddam Hussein's capture. Are they and U.S. troops any safer now? I'll talk to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts.

Plus, Senator John Breaux's decision: will the moderate Democrat seek another term? Find out on INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: More now on Howard Dean's speech today on international affairs and national security. I'm joined here in Washington by Susan Rice. She is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and one of Howard Dean's international policy advisers.

Susan Rice, good to see you. Thank you very much for being with us.

SUSAN RICE, HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Nice to be here, Judy. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Today, with this speech, some people are saying, is Governor Dean simply trying to prove that his campaign is relevant? Because the conventional wisdom is the capture of Saddam Hussein hurts those candidates who were against going to war in Iraq the way the United States did.

RICE: Of course his campaign is relevant. Judy, this speech wasn't, in fact, primarily about Iraq. It was planned and scheduled and in fact written in large part before the capture of Saddam Hussein. It was designed to showcase Governor Dean's vision of where American foreign policy and national security policy should be headed.

Governor Dean wants to bring the United States back to our post- World War II long-standing bipartisan tradition of a centrist foreign policy, a foreign policy that respects our alliances, that recognizes that we need friends and partners around the world. He views the direction that President Bush has taken us in contrast to President Bush's father, Ronald Reagan, President Clinton, and many before us, as being fundamentally radical in nature. And this is about a return to the center. It's also about protecting the American people and dealing with the most urgent threats we face. In Governor Dean's view, that's the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. And he outlined in his speech a very visionary initiative to combat weapons of mass destruction all over the world and to deal with a threat that really hasn't been dealt with effectively thus far by this president.

WOODRUFF: Meantime, as you know, so much of the focus right now is on Iraq because of the Saddam Hussein capture, among other things. Today, Joe Lieberman, who's also vying for the Democratic nomination, had very harsh words about your candidate. He said, for him to say that the capture of Saddam has not made America safer, he said something to the effect -- he said he's put himself in his own spider hole of denial.

RICE: Well, that's charming rhetoric, but it really misses the point. The point is whether or not Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to United States national security.

If Saddam had and was prepared to use, as President Bush said, weapons of mass destruction, that might be one thing. But that in fact has not been proved to be the case.

The fact is, the most pressing threat we face continues to be from al Qaeda. Al Qaeda has been active all over the world while we have been focused on Iraq. In fact, al Qaeda may be in fact now coming into Iraq, taking advantage of the insecurity there.

We need to be focused on fighting and winning the war against al Qaeda. And we need to be focused on preventing al Qaeda from getting a hold of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons materials that may be scattered all over the planet. And Governor Dean today was focused on a new initiative to work, building on the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) program, which is to go after weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and globalize that initiative and make us serious about combating these weapons all over the planet.

WOODRUFF: I want to ask you though, in so many ways it seems to me, Susan Rice, what Howard Dean is arguing is similar to what we're hearing from virtually every other Democratic candidate for president. And that is, that the effort in Iraq needs to be internationalized. Other countries have to be brought in.

How is his view of what happens in Iraq different from the other candidates?

RICE: Well, first of all, Governor Dean is really the only Democratic candidate who's been clear from the outset that he believes this was the wrong war at the wrong time. Looking forward, I think there is a lot of convergence around the need to broaden and internationalize the presence in Iraq.

WOODRUFF: Wesley Clark has made that argument as well.

RICE: Well, I think General Clark has said different things at different times. The fact is, however, that going forward, we need to bring in NATO, we need to bring back the United Nations. And what Governor Dean has suggested is, now that Saddam Hussein has been captured, this is in fact a good opportunity for the administration, for the United States, to go back to our friends and partners, try to start fresh, and try to internationalize this effort which should have been done from the outset.

WOODRUFF: All right. We are going to leave threat. Susan Rice, who is one of Governor Howard Dean's international policy advisers, thanks very much for being with us.

RICE: Thank you very much.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

RICE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: Well, from President Bush on down, U.S. leaders are crediting good intelligence for the capture of Saddam Hussein. In a minute, I'll ask the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee what needs to be done to make U.S. intelligence gathering even better.


WOODRUFF: The commander of U.S. forces in Iraq says that Saturday's raid that captured Saddam Hussein was based on an accumulation of intelligence capped by information from an Iraqi under interrogation.

Joining me now is the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Republican Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas.

Senator, good to see you.

SEN. PAT ROBERTS (R), KANSAS: It's good to see you. Thank you for the privilege of being here.

WOODRUFF: Well, some people would look at what happened over the weekend and say, what took us so long? And others would say, thank goodness it happened.

Which way do you look at this?

ROBERTS: Well, I think both. I had hoped that we'd be able to find him sooner, and I think we were very close. I think the last several months especially that he escaped the noose. I know when people would ask me, I would say "The noose is tightening," and I think it was.

But we've had in the past two months an expanded effort and adjustment in regards to how we have conducted the intelligence. It has been much more methodical. We've really persevered.

We have cast a much broader net. It is absolutely transparent in regards to the intelligence community and the people in the field. We've had quite a team effort, a very unique team effort. We have really concentrated not so much on the people right around Saddam Hussein, but we reached out on a broader scale. And I think we came up with some real-time analysis and intelligence. We have more analysts. So I'm pretty hopeful...

WOODRUFF: What about that change? A change in approach, why?

ROBERTS: Oh, I just think it took a little time to get the capabilities in regards to human intelligence. And I think a little more time in regards to more analysts. And, as I've said, we put together quite a team.

WOODRUFF: Some information intelligence picked up with documents that were in Saddam Hussein's possession?

ROBERTS: Yes, ma'am.

WOODRUFF: How valuable has that been?

ROBERTS: Don't know yet. They're going through the same kind of document exploitation that Dr. Kay has. Obviously, that's much less of an amount. But he did have documents. We're going through that exploitation.

WOODRUFF: Your colleague on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Rockefeller, I'm sure you're aware of this, has said, it's clear, based on what Saddam was doing, living down in a hole, that he was not in charge of the insurgency, he wasn't directing what was going on. So what effect do you honestly believe his capture is going to have on the resistance in Iraq?

ROBERTS: Oh, I think you're talking about a man who ran a country like a barbarian for 30 years. When Senator Rockefeller and I were over in Iraq -- we've been over twice -- the palpable fear in the eyes of the Iraqis, when you stand on a hill and look at a massive grave site the size of a football field, any time his name came up, I don't care who you're talking to, the face would freeze and you'd see actual fear in their eyes.

That's changed. That's the end of the road. I would hope with the Ba'ath Party loyalist and the Sunnis and even the Fedayeen, that they would know that's a dead end street.

Now, what it has to do with the dedicated foreign jihadists that are in the country and conducting terrorist attacks on Iraqis, that's a different matter. They may shout his name, but I don't think they were doing it in his behalf. I think they were doing it in behalf of nationalism and the fact that they are Muslim terrorists. So I think it's a good step forward.

WOODRUFF: Do you think we'll continue to see violent attacks on U.S. forces inside Iraq, and for how long?

ROBERTS: I don't know how long. I hope with an expanded intelligence estimate -- or pardon me, capability, that we put into effect the next thing that may happen very good would be the capture of somebody like Al-Duri or Al-Tikriti.

WOODRUFFS: Who were thought to be masterminds.

ROBERTS: Yes. And I think they're more into the command and control. Saddam Hussein, my goodness, he was changing places three or four times a day. I really don't think he had any information up to date.

WOODRUFF: All right. Very quickly, Senator Roberts, update on the search for weapons of mass destruction. Any progress to report at all?

ROBERTS: Well, there's some idea that he could be helpful in that regard. But remember that he is the king of denial and deception. Now if you say candor and Saddam Hussein, that's an oxymoron of all times.

So I don't think that's going to happen. But Dr. Kay is doing his job. He will report back to the intelligence committee.

We have an inquiry ongoing as to the timeliness of the intelligence and the credibility of the intelligence, was it reasonable prior to going to war. I think there may be some breakthroughs in that regard. But I don't have anything specific to report at this time.


ROBERTS: Well, we want to get this report done hopefully in January. But then I was the one that said we ought to do it in October. So I don't know.

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to leave it at that. Senator Pat Roberts, thank you very much, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

ROBERTS: OK. Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Appreciate it.

Well, the capture of Saddam Hussein has not shut down Democratic criticism of the Bush administration, of course. In fact, some of the most recognizable Democrats were outlining their alternatives today. We'll consider them in a moment.

We'll also take stock of the presidential race in light of the huge headlines from Iraq.

And later, former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson weighs in on this campaign and more.



ANNOUNCER: The Saddam factor. Will his capture influence the presidential election?

BUSH: People can read whatever they want to read into it.

ANNOUNCER: What do Democrats do now? The delicate balance between kind words...


ANNOUNCER: ... and criticism.

KERRY: The capture of Saddam Hussein does not change the way in which this administration chose to go to war.

ANNOUNCER: Who's keeping their eyes on the prize? Former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson weighs in on the race to '04.



WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

Well, you may need a scorecard to keep track of what all the presidential candidates are saying about the capture of Saddam Hussein. Democratic frontrunner Howard Dean says that getting Saddam is good, but it does not make America safer. And Dean says the administration's decision to go to war was still the wrong one.


DEAN: The tragedy by our actions, our unilateralism and our ill- considered war in Iraq is that we have empowered radicals and weakened moderates.


WOODRUFF: John Edwards, and other Dean rivals who voted for the war in Iraq, tend to see more benefits in Saddam Hussein's capture and problems with Dean's position. In a speech in Iowa today, Edwards said the door has been kicked wide open for democracy to thrive in Iraq, but he also criticized the Bush administration's plan to turn the entire process of prosecuting Saddam over to the Iraqis.

President Bush, meantime, is trying to downplay the political ramifications of capturing Saddam.


BUSH: I'm going to do my job. That's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do my job to make this country safer.

Let me just tell you what the strategy is of this administration. Forget politics.


WOODRUFF: Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley hasn't forgotten politics. She does see the politics in all this. All right, Candy, does this mean that Iraq is front and center in this campaign to a greater degree than ever or not?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's still there is what it means. It doesn't end it. I mean, what happens here is that the tone of it is a little different because what happened was you had a success for George Bush. And insofar as it is seen as that, insofar as Saddam was a symbol of a failed policy in Iraq, I think that's what you're seeing Democrats now pushing back on.

That time-out of yesterday is over. It remains an issue. It will remain an issue as does the economy but clearly when you get a success like this Democrats feel a need to push back to show their foreign policy credentials and say, great, we've got him, but wrong way to go about it.

WOODRUFF: All right. We all know Howard Dean was perceived as the front runner before Saddam Hussein was captured but now his rivals, some of them are running around saying this was -- that this makes him vulnerable. Are they now using this as a way to get at Howard Dean and can they be successful?

CROWLEY: I don't know the answer to the last question but "yes" is the answer to the first question. That is, look, they've tried a lot of things to try to sort of stop the Dean machine. And nothing really has stuck. What they're saying now is, look, now we see George Bush's strength again. He's had a success. We need someone with foreign policy credentials that can go up against a president who's been made popular by a war.

So you see Lieberman, you see Kerry, you see Clark, a number of them out there going, well, this is what I've got on my resume and to an extent, it's what Dean is doing even though that was a preplanned speech. He has got to show that he's got the wherewithal to run foreign policy.

But they definitely see a weakness here and they're hoping -- it isn't that they think of the Dean people, that the people that support Dean, are going to move away from him but they do believe there are a number of voters in both New Hampshire and Iowa that haven't made of their minds and that the pictures of Saddam Hussein and the importance of what's going on will cause them to rethink whether they want to go with a guy who seems to have all the steam.

WOODRUFF: In fact, in talking to folks in Iowa yesterday, I'm hearing the undecideds are getting bigger because the numbers are getting bigger just because of all of this.

CROWLEY: Yes and that is a fresh pond in which to fish for all of them.

WOODRUFF: No question. All right, Candy Crowley, thank you very much. Although Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is not a presidential candidate this time around, she, too, is walking the fine line on Iraq. In a speech today in New York, Clinton called for a new international organization to replace the current Iraqi provisional authority even as she praised the administration for capturing Saddam Hussein.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We owe a great debt of gratitude to our troops, to the president, to our intelligence services, to all who had a hand in apprehending Saddam. Now he will be brought to justice and we hope that the prospects for peace and stability in Iraq will improve.


WOODRUFF: Senator Clinton went on to say that this moment, quote, "cannot be just about congratulating ourselves."

Many Democrats today are trying to get a handle on the security picture in Iraq and the bigger political picture here at home now that Saddam Hussein has been captured. I spoke earlier with Senator and former DNC general chairman Christopher Dodd. I asked him if having Saddam in custody is going to bring the resistance in Iraq to an end any sooner.


SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: No, I don't think so. I think it's clearly going to be -- there are those who are going to continue battling on because there's a power struggle in Iraq and obviously, there are those outside of Iraq who want to take advantage of the U.S. presence there to continue to pursue their own politics of terrorism.

My hope would be, Judy, though, that while we're holding Saddam Hussein and clearly for security reasons we have to do it, my hope would be we let the Iraqi judicial system try him. It's going to be critically important that this be an Iraqi trial of someone who brutalized the people of Iraq and if we try to do this on our own or some international court, I think we'll make a great mistake. I think it really ought to be done there in Iraq by the Iraqi people.

WOODRUFF: Let me ask you a more political question. In this country, President Bush obviously up for reelection. Many people have said the war in Iraq was the biggest obstacle he was dealing with. Does this take that off the table in effect as an issue in this campaign and give him, if you will, a clearer shot at the -- at winning reelection?

DODD: It was certainly great news and the president certainly has a -- deserves a day of celebration since capturing Saddam Hussein was going to be an issue raised for months if not years to come if they hadn't caught him. But there's other issues here that need to be resolved. Who's going to -- are you going to elect a new Iraqi government? Is the violence going to continue? Will the Iraqi people decide they're really going to take control of their own government?

There are a lot of issues left unresolved. This gives the administration a second chance on Iraq in a sense, this capture of Saddam Hussein. What they do with the second chance will determine not only the success of what happens in Iraq, but also what happens in the presidential politics, Iraq being an issue next fall.

WOODRUFF: By the same token, doesn't it hurt those Democratic candidates for president who were against going to war in Iraq? Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, among others?

DODD: It can be. My candidate is Joe Lieberman from Connecticut, obviously and I think Joe's statements here, clearly the world is a better place today that Saddam Hussein is not sitting as a ruler of a country that could do so much damage. The argument is United States is safer and there are better opportunities for us is certainly there provided the administration takes advantage of this.

If we try to impose a government in Iraq and don't let them choose their own leadership by direct elections, if we don't try to get others involved in this, not only in terms of relieving debt but also allowing other nations to participate in the contracting and thus helping us fight global terrorism, then the administration within a matter of days could squander this opportunity they've been given again as a result of capturing Saddam Hussein.

WOODRUFF: But my question is, does it hurt candidates like specifically Howard Dean who seems the front runner and who has made this war central to his campaign?

DODD: Not necessarily. I mean, again, I think clearly, if Iraq is run well, if their policies are run well, if Iraqis elect their leadership, then I think it's going to be a tough issue for Democrats to make the case that George Bush blew the opportunity to build, rebuild Iraq. If the administration misses this opportunity, this issue will be right back on the table again and a candidate like Howard Dean or someone else will be able to take advantage of it.

WOODRUFF: What about the candidates on the other hand, like the candidate you've endorsed, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry, and the others? Are they automatically helped by this?

DODD: Temporarily, I think they are because it makes the case that there was a reason, a purpose of being here. And again, I think it will advantage them over the coming weeks. But again, if the administration does not do the job right here, if they miss the opportunity of getting a coalition involved in the reconstruction of Iraq, if they try to impose leadership there, not have direct elections then this could turn out to be a huge mess again and the capture of Saddam Hussein, merely one chapter in a story that went bad as a result of mismanagement of the issue.


WOODRUFF: Senator Chris Dodd. More on the presidential hopefuls in our Monday edition of "Campaign News Daily." Wesley Clark is in the Hague in the Netherlands where he testified today at the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic. Later in a speech to the Netherlands Institute of International Relations, Clark said he believes in strategic alliances but he questioned the makeup of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.


WESLEY CLARK (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Were it up to me, I prefer coalitions of the committed rather than coalitions of convenience. I'd rather have capable European forces with a say in making decisions than to have Congo and the Marshall Islands with no strings attached.


WOODRUFF: Here in the U.S., the same group that recently tried to link Howard Dean to the National Rifle Association is running a new ad questioning Dean's experience in world affairs. The group "Americans for Jobs, Justice, and Progressive Values" is spending $500,000 on two ads, including this one now airing in New Hampshire and South Carolina.


AD ANNOUNCER: Americans want a president who can face the dangers ahead. But Howard Dean has no military or foreign policy experience. And Howard Dean just cannot compete with George Bush on foreign policy. It's time for Democrats to think about that.


WOODRUFF: That ad, running, again, in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Coming up, viewing the world through Democratic eyes. Today, both Howard Dean and Senator Hillary Clinton presented detailed alternatives to the Bush administration's way of doing things. We'll examine them when INSIDE POLITICS continues.


WOODRUFF: International policy is a hot political topic today from Howard Dean to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

With me to talk more about today's speeches, Karen Tumulty of "TIME" magazine and political analyst Ron Brownstein from "The Los Angeles Times."

Ron, first of all, Howard Dean says, My policy on Iraq hasn't change. What was the point of this speech?

RON BROWNSTEIN, "L.A. TIMES": I think he was trying to flesh out a bit of his broader approach to foreign policy, particularly national security, trying to keep America safer.

He tried to make the case that his opposition to the war in Iraq did not make him a pacifist or someone who was afraid to use force. And he also joined Wesley Clark and John Kerry in arguing that we need to establish what he called a "global alliance" to fight terror. Basically, kind of a new deal with our allies abroad for greater cooperation on weapons of mass destruction, law enforcement, and other efforts to resist terrorism.

WOODRUFF: And, Karen, notably as some have pointed out, he said America is no safer with the capture of Saddam Hussein.

KAREN TUMULTY, "TIME" MAGAZINE: That's right. But it's important to note this is a speech that they had planned for quite a while. It had been scheduled for a long time. And I had actually seen a couple of drafts of the speech last week.

And as I was hearing him deliver it, I was struck by how much the speech was actually the same as what he had intended to deliver even last Friday, which was essentially a message that even though he is against this particular military action, that Howard Dean wants the country to know he is not allergic to military action.

BROWNSTEIN: The problem though is going to be very hard for him if he's the nominee to truly drive that message. It's going to be a real challenge.

He is fundamentally defined in this race so far as the clearest opponent of the war in Iraq. And that is probably going to be the loudest, clearest, sharpest note that most people hear about him. And as a result, that's why you see some of the anxiety among Democrats all the way through about him as a general election candidate.

WOODRUFF: So how does he avoid getting hurt with this label, Karen?

TUMULTY: You know, at this point it's going to be so much determined by what happens on the ground. If nine or ten months from now it appears that we have a plan for getting our own troops out of Iraq, if we have a plan that is actually bringing some sort of sanity to the country, then he's stuck. He is stuck with his record on this war.

WOODRUFF: We know that Senator John Edwards also made a speech today. But I want to ask you about Hillary Clinton. She's not running for president, Ron. So what's this all about? She made a speech...

BROWNSTEIN: Well she's been out there since her trip to Afghanistan and Iraq quite a bit, giving her views.

And, Judy, If you listen carefully to that speech as I did, it was a few clicks to the right or the center of where Howard Dean and where some of the other Democrats are.

She said, we need patience in Iraq. Well many of the other Democrats are arguing the Bush policy has already failed. She said, we may even need more troops. She'd prefer international troops, but she didn't rule out American troops.

And unlike the Democrats who really put almost all the blame for the breakdown in relations with allies on President Bush, she pointed a finger at NATO and said it was not keeping its commitments, particularly in Afghanistan.

So there was a -- clearly to me a difference in nuance and emphasis from where she was, and where say Howard Dean was in his speech today.

WOODRUFF: Does that create problems, Karen?

TUMULTY: I don't think so at all. And it's also a few clicks, by the way, to the right of where Al Gore is. If what you're doing is assuming that the two of them are looking at a potential confrontation in 2008, this is clearly positioning the two of them.

WOODRUFF: The two of which?

TUMULTY: Al Gore and Hillary Clinton.


WOODRUFF: Which is what's the speculation that's out there.

TUMULTY: Absolutely.

WOODRUFF: So you're saying this is not so much sending a signal to the candidates who are running this year? We really may be looking down the line? Way down the line.

TUMULTY: And burnishing her own foreign policy credentials.

BROWNSTEIN: And that's the key. I mean I think she is defining herself in terms of 2008 as trying to be a foreign policy centrist. I mean she said she did not regret her vote on the war in Iraq. And as you know Al Gore this week -- last week said he endorsed Howard Dean because he was the one candidate who was most against it.

But the Democrats, I think aren't -- the risk they have right now, Judy, is that a downward trajectory in Iraq in 2003 fueled a very strong anti-war sentiment in the party. It's made Dean the prohibitive front runner.

The risk is that if things turn around in 2004 and improve, you're out on a limb with the candidate who is most clearly identified as the opponent of a policy that may by then be seen as more successful. As Karen said, the backdrop is going to be critical in this campaign.

WOODRUFF: All right, well a whole lot to keep an eye on here. Not just '04 but '08.

(CROSSTALK) WOODRUFF: Karen Tumulty, Ron Brownstein, thank you both. We appreciate it. Great to see both of you. Thanks.

Well speaking of Al Gore he's given his nod to Howard Dean. In a minute I'll ask former presidential candidate Jesse Jackson which if any of the '04 Democrats he's leaning toward.



JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: Still being alive was a big factor. He is seen as a global tyrant and a villain by his adversaries and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) by his friends.

And so we've really not heard the last of this tyrant, Saddam, yet, really.

WOODRUFF: Howard Dean has made Iraq pretty much the central point of his campaign. That it was a mistake for the Bush administration to go into Iraq without broad international support.

Your son, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. has endorsed Howard Dean. My question to you, though, is is Dean's campaign really hurt by these developments? Hasn't it taken away the central message of his campaign?

JACKSON: I think that capturing Saddam was a big deal. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) having him on the one hand, the killing stops. That's one scenario. Of having him and the killing continues, that is another scenario. So it is premature to judge the full impact of capturing Saddam Hussein.

In the meantime, they've got Saddam Hussein, but bin Laden and 9/11 -- bin Laden hit on 9/11. We do not have those who attacked us on 9/11.

WOODRUFF: So you don't believe that the candidates who were voting with the president to go ahead to authorize the use of force in Iraq, that those candidates are in a way benefited? Gephardt, Kerry, Lieberman, and so forth?

JACKSON: They may be in the short run. But the fact is we did not find the weapons of mass destruction, did not find the al Qaeda connection, did not find imminent threat, and we're still in the quagmire. Even -- we found Saddam yesterday, and 21 people got killed.

So that we're far from capturing some central control system to stop the daily killing of American soldiers.

WOODRUFF: Reverend Jackson, you have not endorsed yet in this presidential campaign, although you did have some kind words for Governor Dean last week. Do you intend to make an endorsement?

And as you answer that, talk about the division it seems to me among prominent black Americans. There seem to be endorsements all over the map among these nine Democrats.

JACKSON: I think blacks endorsing many people doesn't show their vision, it shows expansion. I mean Congressman Ford is chairing Kerry's campaign. On the other hand, Congressman Rangel is supporting Clark. Then Congressman Jackson and Cummings and Sheila Jackson Lee are supporting Dean.

So in some sense, that is a good thing. I think that Dean has jumped out front because he's had a message, mobilization, money and infrastructure. And until someone can overcome that he'll keep that lead.

WOODRUFF: Is it possible you could endorse him in the future, before the Iowa caucuses? Or whenever?

JACKSON: No, I'm not likely to do that. But I'm in South Carolina today, for example. What's important to me this is in this state, we've lost 75,000 jobs, 65,000 manufacturing jobs. In Georgetown, South Carolina yesterday, a steel mill closed, 1,200 textile jobs going. Even Goose Creek, South Carolina another 100 jobs leaving.

If he keeps his message on a fair trade policy, even the playing field for the American worker, and fair taxes, and keeps focuses on alternatives to our president on national policy, he'll remain strong in my judgment.

I think Gephardt's going to run strong because of his commitment with and from labor. I think Clark has been off to a slow start but he could rebound with an very well rebound because he has an outstanding resume.

The race is not over. But at this point there are real reasons is why Dean is in the front.


WOODRUFF: Reverend Jesse Jackson, saying this race is not over.

A legal appeal by Vice President Cheney heads to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Also ahead, Dennis Kucinich calls it a "celebration of light." We;; preview tonight's commemoration of his controversial showdown over a public utility.


WOODRUFF: The United States Supreme Court has agreed to settle a legal dispute over Vice President Dick Cheney's contacts with industry officials as the Bush administration created its energy policy.

Environmental and watchdog groups had sued for access to administration records which they claim will reveal improper contacts between the White House energy task force and industry officials. The high court is expected to hear the case in February and to issue a decision by June.

Today in the wake of the capture of Saddam Hussein, a lot of speculation about whether the stock market would jump up. Let's go for the very latest to Rhonda Schaffler. The stock market closed, the exchange closed, what, about 20 minutes ago, Rhonda. What's happened?

RHONDA SCHAFFLER, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, it was interesting. We did have a rally at the start of the trading day following Saddam Hussein's capture. But the initial euphoria fizzling out here.

Investors by the end of the day shifting their focus back to things like earnings, the economy. And others argue the market has run up so far, so fast, not surprising that there was a retreat here even on this day.

The Dow Industrials losing 19 points to close at 10,022. The Dow had been up about 100 points early on. Nasdaq lost 1.5 percent in this session.

That is the very latest from Wall Street. JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS returns in just a moment.


WOODRUFF: A showdown with some banks over a public utility wouldn't usually be the occasion for a campaign rally. But some might argue that Dennis Kucinich is not your usual presidential candidate.

Today in San Francisco, Kucinich plans to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his refusal as the mayor of Cleveland, Ohio to sell that city's municipal electric company. That decision forced the city of Cleveland into default.

But Kucinich says he now considers it a victory over what his campaign calls the Enron of his day. Some of course would disagree.

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


Interview With Howard Dean Campaign Adviser, Susan Rice>

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