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Bush vs. Kerry

Aired March 7, 2004 - 10:00   ET


KELLI ARENA, CNN ANCHOR: Divers, pilots and sailors continue searching Baltimore's harbor for survivors of a capsized water taxi. One person was killed and three are still missing. Twenty-five people were on board when it flipped over in a sudden squall that packed winds of 50 miles per hour.
Doctors could know as soon as today whether surgery will be required for Attorney General John Ashcroft. He's suffering from a serious gallstone condition and is in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital in the nation's capital.

Election officials in Greece report no irregularities so far in today's national vote. The voting ends in less than an hour, and first returns are expected by 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The outcome determines whether the long-ruling Socialist Party continues in power during the run-up to the Olympic games in Athens five months from now.

I'm Kelli Arena in Atlanta. Now to Kelly Wallace on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

KELLY WALLACE, HOST: INSIDE POLITICS today, now the main event: Bush versus Kerry. The national spokespeople for both campaigns face off today for the very first time.

The vice president stakes and the field of dreams. We'll examine the list of candidates vying to be Senator Kerry's second in command.

And California's governor is moonlighting in an arena he knows a lot about. We'll tell you where straight ahead.

ANNOUNCER: Live from Washington, this is INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

WALLACE: It is Sunday, March 7, and what a difference a week makes. The primary season is all but over; the presidential showdown is set.

Good Sunday morning. I'm Kelly Wallace. Thanks for joining us. Politics doesn't take weekends off, and neither do we.

We will talk to the top spokespeople for both campaigns for President Bush and Senator Kerry in just a moment. First, though, some political headlines.

A new mission to Iraq, this one proposed by Senator John Kerry. The Democratic presidential candidate revealed his plan to send a team to Iraq in an interview with TIME Magazine. Kerry says he will send Democratic colleagues and experts. Some possible names include Delaware's Senator Joseph Biden, of the Foreign Relations Committee; campaign adviser Ron Zeers; and one of his own Senate aides.

Kerry says he'll use the new assessment to develop detailed answers about how many U.S. troops are needed there and for how long. The Massachusetts senator says the group will go within the next few weeks or a month.

And one of Kerry's former rivals takes the spotlight in Washington. Howard Dean tells a luncheon crowd Americans need hope. The former Vermont governor says the election will go to the candidate who offers the hope of jobs and health care.


HOWARD DEAN, FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And the fact is, not only are we not better off than we were on January 20 2001, we're not better off than we were three or four months ago, despite promises to the future -- to the contrary.


WALLACE: And CNN's Candy Crowley reports that Governor Dean will meet on Wednesday here in Washington with John Kerry.

Political potshots: the politicos take themselves a little less seriously at the annual Gridiron Dinner. It's a 119-year-old tradition of Washington journalism. Luminaries like Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani set aside their partisan positions and poked fun at the headlines they helped create.

A highlight of last evening, columnist and CNN's very own Bob Novak taken to the stage to spoof the scandal he started by publishing the name of a CIA officer. Novak portrayed the disgruntled husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson.

And actor and California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a man of many hats, you can say. And now one more, executive editor. CNN has learned he's accepted the position with two magazines, "Muscle and Fitness" and "Flex." Officials say the governor's responsibilities -- yes, this is true -- will include long-term strategic planning. The five-year deal will provide $250,000 a year to his council on physical fitness. How much the governor will be paid was not disclosed.

More now from the campaign trail. Our Candy Crowley is following John Kerry as he stumped through the Lone Star State yesterday and he moves on to Mississippi today. Here now the highlights.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Candy Crowley with the Kerry campaign in San Antonio. One hundred sixty-eight years to the day the Alamo fell, John Kerry blasted into Bush territory for an assault of a different sort. SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As they say "Remember the Alamo," I say, remember those people who lost their jobs. Remember those kids who downsized their dreams.

CROWLEY: From Houston to San Antonio, Kerry courted voters, looked for donors, and took Texas-style jabs at the president. At an outdoor rally just blocks from the Alamo, Kerry accused the president of telling tall Texas tales when he says that Kerry will raise taxes.

KERRY: I just want to say back to the president, I hope this early in the campaign he's not running so scared that he feels he's got to already depart from the truth in this campaign.

CROWLEY: One of the most Democratic cities in Texas, San Antonio (UNINTELLIGIBLE) out for the almost nominee who says the president is guilty of a long trail of broken promises. In Houston, just about 200 miles from Crawford, where President Bush was hosting Mexican President Vicente Fox, Kerry held a town hall meeting. An hour-and-a- half event, it covered everything from the price of bottled water to the federal deficit. And inside the issues, you could hear the beginning of a Kerry defense against charges he's a Massachusetts liberal who changes his tune for political gain.

KERRY: If being liberal is wanting to keep faith with No Child Left Behind and actually educate kids and be fair about not giving the wealthiest people another tax cut at the expense of our children, if being liberal is protecting the veterans who earned the right to have a VA that works for them, they can go ahead and throw the labels around all they want.

CROWLEY: Texas is not fertile territory for national Democrats, but there is money here. John Edwards found a lot of it to fund his campaign. Kerry met with fund-raisers in Houston, in the first step to setting up his own network.


WALLACE: And Candy joins us now by phone from Jackson, Mississippi, state capital.

Good morning, Candy. Tell us, what's the latest on how John Edwards and his team might help bring in the cash for John Kerry?

CROWLEY: Well, a couple of things. There will be another meeting between the Edwards finance team and the Kerry money people next week. They are particularly interested in obviously the trial lawyer network, which heavily funded Edwards campaign.

So they want to do, really, is tap into all the donor networks that the other candidates had. They are up against a very well- financed incumbent. They know they are going to need money. They start from minus zero, and they need to jump into some other networks.

The Edwards network is one of them. They are also, according to a Dean source, meeting Wednesday with John Kerry and Howard Dean. They would love to get -- tap into his Internet sources. Whether or not he'll hand over the list of small donors, we'll see.

So they're reaching out to all the campaigns. They've already hired some people from the Gephardt campaign, from the finance department. And they are moving to kind of incorporate all of those into one large finance network for Kerry. He is well, when we go to these states, Florida, Texas, Mississippi, is trying to set up a structure within those states. So he's meeting not just with donors but with fund-raisers who can bring in other donors.

WALLACE: Candy, we have to leave it there. Thanks so much. Senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reporting from Jackson, Mississippi.

Well, John Kerry yesterday was campaigning a few hundred miles from President Bush ranch in Texas. The president is facing criticism over new campaign advertisements that feature images from the September 11 tragedy. And he's addressing the controversy for the very first time.

White House correspondent Dana Bash is in Crawford Texas.

Dana, good morning to you. What is the president saying about the controversy here?

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kelly. And the question to the president yesterday was whether or not he will pull those controversial ads. He didn't answer the question directly, but it was pretty clear his answer was no. He said that he will never forget the lessons of September 11, and he also made it very clear that he intends to use 9/11 as part of his campaign for re- election.

WALLACE: Worried this all could backfire on them and on the president?

BASH: Well, certainly they understand that this is very controversial. But, Kelly, I will tell you that behind the scenes, talking to some Bush aides privately, what they are saying is that the point of these ads were to reset the story line, were to -- after the Democrats had their primary and everybody was owe focused on them, they want to sort of reintroduce the president.

There is nothing they still think that really helps the president and shows the president in a more positive light than reminding them -- the American people -- of how they felt about him in and around September 11. So while they understand that this is controversial, they feel at least they are resetting the debate, if you will. The fact we are talking about it makes it better for them than if we were talking, for example, about what happened on Friday, which is the fact that the president got a pretty awful jobs report. And that is the issue that Democrats want to talk about.

WALLACE: Dana, all week you have been reporting how the president is really now the campaigner in chief, how he sort have ratcheted things up last week. Can we expect the same in the weeks ahead? BASH: Well, certainly he is going to continue to be out there, we're told, even tomorrow. The president is going to be here in Texas, both in Dallas and Houston. He's going to have a couple of fund-raisers, even going to a rodeo.

But on the 9/11 issue, this will continue to be an issue likely this week because the president is actually going to New York. He's going to be on Long Island to be a part after groundbreaking ceremony for a new 9/11 memorial. So this issue will continue, as I said. He made it clear he's going to continue to talk about it in his stump speeches, and he's actually going to be really in the thick of it, if you will, in New York later this week.

But in terms of the broader strategy for how much of really a high gear the president's campaign team wants to keep this in, we are told that the president himself understands that it's a long eight months. And while they want to get back in the game at this point, don't look for them to be as aggressive in the long run. This is essentially what they call a marathon, and it is.

WALLACE: Dana, thanks so much. Dana Bash, White House correspondent, reporting from the western White House of Crawford, Texas.

Well, get ready for a tough campaign for at least two reasons. Polls show President Bush and Senator Kerry in a virtual dead heat right now, and the campaigning is expected to be contentious, some say nasty. Well, let the debate begin.

Today, we are joined by the national spokespeople for both presidential campaigns in their very first television interview together. Joining me, Stephanie Cutter, communication director for Senator John Kerry, and Terry Holt, also the national spokesman for Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

Thank you for joining us.


WALLACE: Well, Stephanie, let me begin with you. The news today in TIME Magazine about Senator Kerry wanting to send his own team over to Iraq, could this in any way get in the way or undermine the U.S. mission right now in Iraq?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, PRESS SECRETARY, KERRY CAMPAIGN: Well, certainly that wouldn't be our intention. The issue is getting the right information about what is happening over there in Iraq, what our troops are up against, how much progress we're making, where the money is going. And that's -- you know, John Kerry wants to see that firsthand.

WALLACE: How soon, and who do you think could go over?

CUTTER: That's all being determined right now, Kelly. We're, you know, looking to do it as soon as we possibly can. But obviously we have to work within the system.

WALLACE: Terry Holt, your reaction? Could this in any way get in the way of what is going on in Iraq right now?

HOLT: Well, there have been a lot of delegations that have gone to Iraq. Senators and congressmen need to see what is going on there and need to make their own assessments so we have better policies here in the United States. I think the political question is a little touchy. I mean, you know, Sean Penn went to Iraq; Hillary Clinton went over Thanksgiving.

So I think it's fine. It's very close to politics. Are you going to use it for policy purposes to make better decisions and perhaps maybe next time vote for that war supplemental? Or are you going to become a little more political with the information again?

WALLACE: Ten-second rebuttal in our debate here.

CUTTER: Well, John Kerry also happens to be a U.S. senator, and has had the opportunity to go on a delegation on his own. We thought it was a little less political and a little less burdensome for our military and our security forces to send somebody other than John Kerry. So we will be sending, you know, possibly members of the Foreign Relations Committee, some colleagues of his, some foreign policy advisers, because I think that information is important in going forward.

WALLACE: Let's get to something which you know has dominated the headlines over the past few days, President Bush's re-election ads and using images of September 11. First, let's show our viewers just a little portion of one of the ads getting a lot of criticism. Let's listen to that now.

Do you all underestimate the criticism you would get here by using those images?

HOLT: Well, I think we knew that it was going tone inspire the conversation we need to have about this election. And the fact of the matter is, what happened on 9/11 and in the aftermath is foundational to this election. Homeland security, national security, our economy was suffered under 9/11. And I think most people in this country expect this election to be about a serious issue, and there's nothing more serious than what happened on 9/11.

WALLACE: But did you expect the New York newspapers' daily news storm over Bush 9/11 ad? In the future, future ads, you can talk about the record? Are you considering them not having the same images of the wreckage or the flag-draped coffins?

HOLT: I would not rule it out. I think that people want to be reminded about what is at stake at this election. You know, these ads talk about sacrifice and courage. And they uplift the American people and those who were victims during that very, very tragic day.

WALLACE: Let me get Stephanie, though. Isn't it fair that if you are going to run on records, right, President Bush's record is how he handled September 11? So isn't it fair for the president to run on that record, as well?

CUTTER: If he wants to run on national security and homeland security, we're perfectly happy to have that debate. But I think that the tragedy that befell the nation on that terrible day doesn't belong on politics. It doesn't belong to the president, it doesn't belong to any one American; it belongs to all of us.

It has no business in being in those ads. And Terry said it is uplifting to people. I think you saw by that headline it's not.

WALLACE: One question, though. There was a letter to the editor in The New York Times the other day. A woman writing in that Senator Kerry, in her words, was wrapping himself in the Vietnam era, or the American flag during Vietnam. Isn't it fair if he's doing that, for president Bush to talk about September 11?

CUTTER: Well, I think it is legitimate for the president to talk about what happened that day and to talk about homeland security, national security, what we're doing in Iraq. But to wrap himself (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is just wrong.

WALLACE: Let's talk about another issue, which is jobs, jobs, jobs. A report came out on Friday show showing that in February, I believe, 21,000 jobs created, much lower than anyone anticipated. Unemployment rate of 5.6 percent.

Terry, isn't this tough for the president? He is campaigning on saying he's going to create jobs. This report says those jobs are not there.

HOLT: Well, I think it's fascinating we're having a debate about how many jobs we are going to create and not how many jobs we're losing, especially after a war, a national tragedy, a recession. As the ads say -- going back to that -- this country has faced a lot of challenges, and they come through these challenges strongly. The president's economic proposals are at to lower taxes, to actually provide more ownership of health care and retirement.

My folks aren't concerned about jobs as much as they are about retiring. They have to work a lot longer in their lives. So we need to have ownership of these things.

And what's the close? The choice is tax increase business the Democratic candidate, who has a long record of raising taxes on everybody in America.

WALLACE: Let me quickly, though, get to you. People care about jobs, though. You know it, you feel it.

HOLT: Absolutely.

WALLACE: They care. If you are going to get job reports like this one over the next few months, it's going to have to hurt you all, and hurt the president.

HOLT: We're going to continue to talk about and it and continue to pursue policies that create jobs in this country, that create more wealth. Is your house worth more today than it was a few years ago? Is your health care better? And jobs are a huge part of the discussion in the economy overall.

WALLACE: Stephanie, question, because President Bush and Terry Holt, they're saying that, isn't it true Senator Kerry will raise taxes on some people? The wealthiest Americans, he will raise taxes, no?

CUTTER: You know, it's funny. You hear the same old arguments from Republicans about what Democrats are going to do the fix the economy. And the fact is, every time this president has spoken about the economy, every time he's tried to fix the economy, he's got the same answer, more and more tax cuts.

Clearly it's not working. Even his own cabinet are walking away from some of his job estimates. You know, we need to get Americans working again. We're not going to do that with tax cuts for the wealthy. We need to invest in middle America.

WALLACE: All right. Sit right there.

More on the economy, polls, a lot more. We have to take a short break, but we'll hear more from our two national spokespeople, Stephanie Cutter and Terry Holt.



SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Kerry has what it takes right here to be president of the United States.


WALLACE: ... who will run the race at John Kerry' side? We have a list you've got to see.


WALLACE: And welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY. Continuing our conversation with Stephanie Cutter from the Kerry campaign, Terry Holt from the Bush-Cheney re-election team.

First, Stephanie, you know you've heard from President Bush, Republicans, criticizing Senator Kerry, calling him a flop-flopper. But now you even have someone who calls herself in the anybody but Bush crowd who is questioning some of his changing positions.

Marjorie Williams writing an op-ed in today's Washington Post, and she says, "Bush is already having fun with Kerry's zigzags of the past three years alone. Kerry voted for so many of Bush's major initiatives that in order to disown them now he can only argue that they were wrongly or dishonestly implemented. This amounts to a confession that his opponent made a chump of him for the past three years." What is your response to that?

CUTTER: John Kerry has consistent leadership over the past 20 years doing what is right for average Americans. If you want to talk about the policies of the last three years and Kerry's positions, they are pretty clear.

He's for education reform, but he's not for a president who runs away from education reform. He's for holding Saddam Hussein accountable, but he's not for going to war under the false pretenses. He's pretty clear in these, and he's been very steady in his leadership.

WALLACE: And no surprise Terry Holt shaking his head.

HOLT: Well, I think, you know, we see these every day. The other day there was a story about body armor for troops. And we find out that John Kerry didn't even vote to support the bill that would have given body armor to troops.

He criticized the president for homeland security an not doing enough, and didn't even show up to vote for funding of homeland security, or in the case of defense. You know, he's going to talk about bringing more and more people into the Defense Department, but he's voted to slash defense over the last 19 years.

CUTTER: Kelly, if I could just make one point. His point in the radio address yesterday was not about the supplemental, was not about the $87 billion. John Kerry would have been happy to vote for that if, A, we could have paid for it and, B, we had a responsible policy in Iraq.

What he was talking about is your own army secretary saying that we went to war with troops that were unprepared, without the resources, technology and equipment to do the job right. And the proof is in the pudding. Our soldiers are in a shooting gallery over there.

HOLT: And you should have supported the $87 billion so that they would have had body armor and they would have had the bullets in their guns to shoot back.

CUTTER: John Kerry proposed a policy to pay for the $87 billion so we wouldn't dig ourselves deeper into a fiscal mess.

HOLT: And then voted no.

WALLACE: OK. Very quickly, let me jump in. Latest national poll, choice for president showing President Bush with 46 percent, John Kerry 45 percent, Ralph Nader at 6 percent. Very, very close.

My question, Terry, how engaged is President Bush right now? Very quickly.

HOLT: I think he's excited about the campaign. He called Senator Kerry the other night and offered his congratulations, and said he was ready for a spirited campaign. And I think that's where he'll be.

WALLACE: And a quick question to you, Stephanie. Where are we? Will you name the vice presidential nominee right here on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY?

CUTTER: Well, first, let me say we are very appreciative for that call. And we are looking for a good spirited debate on the issues that matter: the economy, national security, and what we can do to bring change to America. Vice presidential prospects, I have no announcements to make, except this is going to be a very private, thorough process that John Kerry has specific thoughts on.

WALLACE: Could it come well before the Democratic Convention this summer?

CUTTER: You know, no one knows exactly when it is going to happen. He just wants to get the best running mate possible, the best partner possible to bring change to America.

WALLACE: Stephanie Cutter with the Kerry campaign, Terry Holt with the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. Thank you so much. Your first joint interview. We know there'll be many more to come.

HOLT: Thanks, Kelly.

WALLACE: Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

Coming up next, why is retired General Wesley Clark selling his clothes? Yes, that's right. Details in our "Campaign News Daily."

And later...


JAY LENO, TALK SHOW HOST: John Edwards described his campaign as the "little engine that could." And afterwards, Bush called him, too, and said, you're not going to believe this, but I'm reading that book right now.


WALLACE: Stay tuned for the best jokes of the week. Laughing out loud on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.


WALLACE: Time for home delivery of the Sunday edition of "Campaign News Daily."

Former presidential candidate and retired general, Wesley Clark, auctioned off an autographed necktie for charity this weekend. It brought in $3,400. Clark also attended a fund-raiser for the Kansas State Democratic Party. He joked about the names of potential running mates for Senator Kerry, including his own.

Batter up. Former Housing secretary Mel Martinez is warming up to throw out the first pitch. He's at the spring training baseball game between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Atlanta Braves in Orlando Florida. Martinez is one of three Republican Senate candidates in Florida vying for Senator Bob Graham's seat. Graham is not running for re-election.

A congressman's ex-wife says her candidacy is not a personal vendetta. That even though Becky Whetstone refers to ex-husband Charlie Gonzalez's "cruelty and selfishness" on her campaign Web site, Whetstone s running as an Independent in Texas. She will face Democratic Gonzalez and Republican Roger Scott in the November general election.

Well, straight ahead, the hour's top stories.

And later, the race to be John Kerry's running mate. The inside scoop on the inside track. See what we uncovered in our story behind the story.


RENAY SAN MIGUEL, CNN ANCHOR: From CNN Center in Atlanta, I'm Renay San Miguel with the headlines.

Dive teams will spend the day in the water of Baltimore Harbor. Officials say they will be aggressively searching for three people missing and presumed dead after a water taxi capsized near Fort McHenry. The pontoon boat flipped yesterday during a sudden squall, killing one person. Twenty-one others were rescued.

School officials say they will pursue felony charges against the man hired to revamp UCLA's cadaver donation program. University police arrested program director Henry Reed yesterday on suspicion of grand theft. His arrest follows an investigation reportedly focusing on whether medical school employees stole and sold body parts from donate cadavers. The California university says more arrests are likely.

There's growing worry that ongoing violence in Iraq could delay the scheduled transfer of power from the U.S.-led coalition.

Our Wolf Blitzer talked with Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, about that.


PAUL BREMER, U.S. ADMINISTRATOR IN IRAQ: We didn't defeat a nation; we defeated a regime, a terrible regime. And so most Iraqis, I think, quite understandably, resent being occupied. And I have to tell you, it's not much fun being an occupier, either. So we have all along felt it was important to get the occupation ended in a timely fashion and we made a commitment in November to do that by next June. And that's what we'll do. We'll carry it out. And the realities on the ground will determine that timetable and have determined that timetable. And the reality is the Iraqi people want the sovereignty back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SAN MIGUEL: You can see the complete interview with Paul Bremer on "LATE EDITION" starting at noon Eastern.


WALLACE: Now that John Kerry has all but clenched the Democratic nomination, he has a couple of major challenges ahead: raising money and naming a running mate.

As to the No. 2 slot, CNN's Bill Schneider has "The Story Behind the Story."


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): There are 10 reasons for picking a running mate.

Reason No. 1, pick someone who will help you win. The other nine reasons don't matter.

How can a running help you win? Three ways: geography, demography and message.

So what are John Kerry's options? Democrats around the country seem to be thrilled at the prospect of a Kerry-Edwards ticket. Since Super Tuesday, Edwards has been sounding very vice presidential.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: John Kerry has what it takes right here to be president of the United States. And I, for one, intend to do everything in my power to make him the next president of the United States.

SCHNEIDER: What Edwards really adds is message.

KERRY: He is a valiant champion of the values for which our party stands.

SCHNEIDER: Namely, populist economic values, a sharp contrast with George W. Bush.

The most competitive Southern state is Florida, land of the hanging chads, which happens to have two Democratic senators available: former astronaut Bill Nelson and former Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham.

KERRY: And Bob Graham, obviously, beloved, now wrapping you up at least this portion of his career.

SCHNEIDER: A portion of his career? Hmmm.

But the geography Kerry is after may not be in the South. It may be in the Midwest, in states Democrats hope to take away from Bush in 2004: Ohio, West Virginia and Missouri.

Missouri's own Dick Gephardt could help with his sharply focused economic message -- jobs, jobs, jobs. You want demography? Try New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. The first Hispanic on a national ticket might create excitement in the nation's largest ethnic minority. Plus, Richardson, a former ambassador to the United Nations, has international experience.

Any women who might add demographic appeal? Well, there's Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano and Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, two states that went for Bush in 2000.

But the woman many Democrats fantasize about is this one.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: I don't think I would ever be offered; I don't think I would accept.

SCHNEIDER: That doesn't sound definitive. But would putting Senator Hillary Clinton on the ticket help Kerry win? And why not go for broke and name former President Bill Clinton to the ticket? Constitutional experts say it's OK, since you can only be elected to the presidency twice. Nothing about the vice-presidency.


SCHNEIDER: A Clinton on the ticket would instantly turn the election into a referendum on the Clintons. Bad idea. Kerry wants the election to be a referendum on President Bush -- Kelly.

WALLACE: Bill, quick question. Does John Kerry benefit more by picking someone sooner so he has extra help on the campaign trail or letting the drama continue and the mystery continue for months?

SCHNEIDER: Take his time. Let the thing -- let -- keep it -- stay in the news. Keep the story going, but don't turn it into a public spectacle. Do it as privately as possible.

WALLACE: OK. Bill Schneider, thanks so much for joining us this morning.

Well, just ahead on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY, Senator Kerry's Southern swing. The Boston Brahmin trying to make hay in Bush country. Can he do it? We'll find out when we grab a cup of CNN's "Morning Grind."

Stay with us.


WALLACE: And welcome back.

Here now with our Sunday cup of "The Morning Grind" -- I need a cup of that "Morning Grind," -- CNN political editor, John Mercurio.

John, thanks for joining us.

JOHN MERCURIO, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: Thank you. Good to be here. WALLACE: Senator Kerry, of course, traveling to some Southern states before Tuesday's primaries, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana. Which states are the Kerry campaign targeting and can he win in the South?

MERCURIO: He can win in the South. I think he is down there as kind of swinging through the South trying to help people forget that two months ago he had said -- I don't remember the exact quote, but basically he believed that he could win without winning one Southern state. Obviously, no Democrat's done that since John F. Kennedy.

Al -- apparent, Kerry talked to Al Gore on Friday night. I don't know exactly what they talked about, but hopefully Gore wasn't exactly telling him how to win in the South, as Gore didn't do very win down there.

They are more confident, though, Kerry's people right now, about winning in the South. And I think they've targeted several states, states that Clinton -- Bill Clinton won in 92 and '96, states like West Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and possibly Florida. I think they're also trying to target states like Georgia, although that's becoming increasingly difficult for Republicans.

WALLACE: How much is the Southern strategy playing a role in their decision making about a running mate?

MERCURIO: It's incredibly influential.

I was talking to a congressman from the Northeast who's supporting Kerry who told me last night that if they don't choose a Southern Democrat as their running mate, they're going to have a lot of explaining to do.

Obviously, that plays into their consideration of people like John Edwards. But he's not really -he's not the only Southern Democrat that they're looking at. They're also talking to people -- or they're at least talking about people like Mary Landrieu, a senator from Louisiana, who obviously he was visiting with in New Orleans last week. People like Sam Nunn, as a former senator, chairman of the Armed Services, who would really add military credentials. Not that Kerry needs that, but would add additional military credentials.

And Max Cleland is a Democrat you've seen with Kerry, possibly more than any other Democrat, other than maybe Ted Kennedy, who's been campaigning with him. If -- I was told by an aide that if we don't choose him as our vice president, then -- or his vice-presidential running mate, he'll have a place somewhere in the Cabinet, possibly as a secretary of Defense.

Obviously, it's very early, and who knows what's going to happen. But those are the names that are being thrown around.

WALLACE: Quickly, your sources -- are they saying that we could get someone named sooner, well before the convention, or they're going to drag this out or hold the mystery as long as they can?

MERCURIO: Well, they'll certainly do it before the convention.

WALLACE: Yes, of course. How soon before the convention?

MERCURIO: But I have a feeling, just based on the sources that I've talked to, that they got out there, they named Jim Johnson last week as the -- sort of head of their -- of the search committee. I think you're probably going to see at least a two or three months before they actually name an actual -- an actual running mate.

WALLACE: So you know the campaign, of course -- the Kerry campaign says it wants to raise more than $80 million between now and May to compete with President Bush's more than $100 million. What are your sources telling you about how they're trying to unite the party...


WALLACE: And tap into people like John Edwards, Howard Dean and others?

MERCURIO: Right, that's exactly the right word, is unite the party. I mean, they need not just endorsements and support from Edwards and Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt, but they need their donors. And that's why, as Candy Crowley reported earlier today, you have Kerry -- possibly even Kerry and Edwards themselves meeting on -- on -- later this week to talk about their financial, you know, conglomeration, or whatever you want to call it. A meeting with Howard Dean, as Candy said, is also probably -- or at least with Howard Dean's finance people is scheduled.

Kerry also has a pretty extensive fund-raising schedule over the next couple of months. I think he's -- as you said, talking about raising $80 million. It's going to be a -- it's going to be a tough fight.

WALLACE: A tough one. Let me -- a bizarre story. You know...


WALLACE: We know voting's not just for old people. But there's a T-shirt here.


WALLACE: I don't quite get it. Can you explain...


WALLACE: our viewers?

MERCURIO: I'll try.


MERCURIO: This falls into the category of a little something different to end with (ph). But Urban Outfitters is a store that a lot of people, I'm sure, are familiar with. It's a store around the country that sells sort of urban, hipster young clothing, bunch of cities. They started selling this ad -- I'm sorry, selling this T-shirt, caused sort of an uproar among Rock the Voter,, complained that they were trying to, you know, suppress the -- the youth vote.

Al Jorgsen, who's a lead singer, I think, of a bad called Ministry, wrote a letter to Richard Hain (ph), the head of Urban Outfitters and complained that, you know -- apparently, Hain is a big Republican, has given a lot of money to Republicans, thinks he was trying to suppress the Democratic vote, meaning the youth vote. So he urged him to get rid of the T-shirt. They got rid of the T-shirt. The kicker, of course, being that young voters aren't monolithic. They don't vote Democratic. They vote Republican just as much as they vote Democratic.

WALLACE: The headline is, Everyone Should Vote.

MERCURIO: Everyone should vote.

WALLACE: Everyone should vote.

MERCURIO: Don't forget to vote.

WALLACE: Don't forget.

John Mercurio, thank you so much for joining us.

MERCURIO: Thank you.

WALLACE: There is much more ahead on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

Next, the Howard Dean machine. We'll take you inside the former governor's war room for an exclusive look into the remarkable rise and precipitous fall of a presidential front-runner.

And then, the main event is finally here. President Bush and Senator Kerry are ready to race for the White House. Two political reporters examine their style on and off the campaign trail.

Stay with us.


WALLACE: He did it.


WALLACE: Once again -- well, we want to promote "CNN PRESENTS, True Believers: Life Inside the Dean Campaign." You can see that tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN, your campaign headquarters.

With more insight on what goes behind the scenes, here are two journalists who watch it every day, Jill Zuckman of The Chicago Tribune and Richard Wolffe of "Newsweek" magazine. Thanks for both of you for joining us.

Richard, let me start with you. You covered -- both of you covered Howard Dean. What went wrong inside that campaign?

RICHARD WOLFFE, NEWSWEEK: Well, in a word, the candidate.

I thought it is a great campaign in term of the supporters, the organization and certainly what he did on the Internet. But the candidate had no five-second delay on his own mouth. I mean, there was no self-discipline. And it showed.

WALLACE: Do you think -- was it the candidate or the campaign?

JILL ZUCKMAN, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Oh, I think it was definitely the candidate. And you know, I spent a lot of time in New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire state director used to say, I can original my way to victory. And it was incredibly organized in New Hampshire.

But it got to a certain point where he kept saying things and it started causing problems. And I said to her, Can you still organize your way to victory? And she was like, I don't know. And clearly the candidate is more important than the organization.

WALLACE: All right. Let's look forward a little bit.

Bush v. Kerry. We've all been saying they're going mano-a-mano, week No. 1. You both have covered both of these men on the campaign trail.

Richard, you first. Who has the edge when it comes to campaigning? President Bush or John Kerry?

WOLFFE: You know, I think they're pretty equal. I mean, I hate to say this, because, you know, they're such different characters. But they can both be awful on the campaign trail. And they can both be brilliant.

I mean, they are -- they have the capacity to bond with the audience and then just to lose everyone. And you see people scratching their heads. So both men also good on offense. Not so good on defense.

WALLACE: What do you think, Jill?

ZUCKMAN: Well, I think that President Bush is a little more disciplined on the campaign trail. He's got his talking points; he sticks to them.

Senator Kerry is wildly uneven. One day he's incredible, the next day he's horrible. And there's no accounting for -- you know, I think what he needs to be, he can be really, really good. And when doesn't need to be, like the day -- the morning after a big round of primaries, he tends kind of fallback into bad habits, talk too much, go on and on, and not be real tight and precise.

WALLACE: What about the September 11 ads, or the images of September 11?

Richard, are you picking up from any sources that they think they might have underestimated the pushback here?

WOLFFE: Yes, and you can sense it also and in the way they overcompensate and say, Oh, you know, there's no such thing as bad publicity. Well, when you're talking about ads, there is such a thing as bad publicity, because every time people look at these warm and fuzzy ads, they think about the controversy. That's not a good thing.

WALLACE: What are you hearing, Jill?

ZUCKMAN: You know, I happened to be stopping off at my dry cleaners yesterday and he lost his daughter-in-law at the Pentagon. And he said, What? Is President Bush trying to run for re-election on the backs of dead people?

I think that is a big problem for President Bush. You don't want people out there saying that.

WALLACE: So are you picking up from any sources that in future, future ads they just might talk about the record of September 11 but not include those same images?

ZUCKMAN: They may not be saying it right now, but have you've got to think they're thinking, Well, maybe we won't include those images again.

WOLFFE: But it's going to be hard. Remember, their convention is in New York in September. I mean, there's -- the whole thing has been geared up for this. I don't think they can move away from it.

WALLACE: How engaged is President Bush? It was so interesting, the reporting this week, that he is reading transcripts, watching debate coverage with John Kerry.

Jill, is this a sign that President Bush is worried about John Kerry?

ZUCKMAN: You've got -- I mean, going into a debate with John Kerry, you've got to be a little bit worried.

I mean, this is a guy who did something like eight or nine debates when he was running for re-election in 1996 against Governor Weld. He's a great reputation as an incredibly tough debater. And I think, you know, this is not going to be Al Gore again.

WOLFFE: The other thing about President Bush is that he loves this stuff. I mean..

WALLACE: He's like racing to get -- that's it, right?

WOLFFE: Right. And, you know, we saw it again and again at the start of this. He wants to get in. He wants to launch, get into if fight. You know, people make this whole thing about Karl Rove being the great strategic mind. Actually, Bush is into this as much as anyone. He showed that in 2000. He's doing it now.

ZUCKMAN: And he also was very involved in his father's presidential campaigns as a sort of back-room strategist.

WOLFFE: Right.

WALLACE: What are your sources telling you at the Kerry campaign? How are they going to do two things at once? Raise a ton of money -- more than $80 million over the next few months -- and keep the momentum going when the primary season is over?

ZUCKMAN: You know, this is something that every presidential candidate has to do. And so as Senator Kerry travels around the country, you're going to see him do an event in order to get the free media from the local television stations. And then you're going to see him go and do a fund-raiser right after. They're going to pair them everywhere he goes. You're not going to see him go anywhere and not do a fund-raiser, I would say, in the next few months.

WALLACE: Richard, what are your sources saying? How does he do it? Are they worried about it?

WOLFFE: Well, they're all worried about money. But -- and the way the Dean experience shows them -- gives them some confidence -- they say, you can spend $50 million and not have a lot to show for it. And so that gives them some reason for hope.

I don't think the Bush campaign is going to be as -- well, just unpredictable able and irresponsible as Dean. But, you know, there's some wishful thinking going on there.

WALLACE: OK. Let's -- go ahead.

ZUCKMAN: I was just going to say, Senator Kerry the other day was in Orlando and at the very end of a forum on homeland security, he said, You know I'm up against the candidate with a lot of money. He's got $200 million. I need money. Anybody, if you could just send $5, $10...


ZUCKMAN: It was -- it was pretty amusing, but he was clearly trying to tap into that Howard Dean experience of having people just go to his Web site and send money.

WALLACE: OK, let's get to the famous, fabulous, fun veep sweep takes game every four years.

First of all, if you look at some polls, when you look at how Senator Kerry does just next to President Bush, when you factor in if he's running with John Edwards, he is beating Vice President Cheney and President Bush by a number of digits.

So Edwards, is he the top guy?

WOLFFE: No chance.

WALLACE: No chance?

WOLFFE: No chance.


WOLFFE: My rule of thumb on a veep selection is you don't want a No. 2 who looks better than the No. 1 or sounds better. I mean, you just don't you want someone who's got ambition and potential and talent in that way. That's why Cheney is such an ideal guy to be a vice-presidential pick.

So John Edwards, I don't think so.

WALLACE: What are you hearing, Jill?

ZUCKMAN: You know, they're keeping a tight lid on this. Senator Kerry is just playing it close to the vest, because he didn't like Al Gore did it four years ago. He didn't like being publicly embarrassed like that.

But, you know, I'm sort of with Richard on this. I don't think it's going to be Edwards, only because I don't think Senator Kerry believes that Edwards is ready to walk into the top job.

WALLACE: Very quickly, two wild cards out there -- John McCain, Republican senator from Arizona, Hillary Clinton. Chance for either?


WALLACE: You are the source of all, Mr. Know.

WOLFFE: I just -- I -- you know, again, big characters, they would overshadow the main guy.

And, also, do you want people from the Senate to join a senator on the ticket? Again, go outside the party, go outside Washington. Don't go outside the party, outside Washington.

WALLACE: Jill, very quickly, do you think we'll get an answer well before the convention or that this will drag out?

ZUCKMAN: Yes, I think Senator Kerry wants, in the next couple months, to keep the pedal to the metal. He wants to keep people interested. And I think one of the ways he'll do that that is to pick a running mate early.

WALLACE: Thank you both for joining us Sunday. Jill Zuckman of The Chicago Tribune, Richard Wolffe of Newsweek.

Did you do your laundry?

WOLFFE: Yes. WALLACE: Good, good, good. I haven't.

Next, we will take you into the ring for a political grudge match.

And still to come, who said politics isn't funny? Must see IP coming up next.


WALLACE (voice-over): And now a campaign flashback, to March 1, 1984. Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale introduced his campaign battle cry in a debate with opponent Gary Hart.

WALTER MONDALE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm remind of that ad, Where's the beef?

WALLACE: That slogan helped Mondale clinch the party's nomination, but he lost in the general election to President Ronald Reagan.


WALLACE: The Republican Party wants you to gear up and go a few rounds with a senator from Massachusetts. But before you go lacing up those boxing gloves, let us explain.

The Republican National Committee has set up an interactive game at its Web site giving voters a chance to go toe-to-toe with the record of the likely Democratic nominee. For 30 rounds, players of Kerry Versus Kerry can examine what the RNC calls the senator's multiple positions on multiple issues.

What to play? Go to

Well, there can be little doubt comedians love it when the political campaign season gets going. Perhaps at no other time during the year can the kings of late night find such easy fodder for their jokes, and this week was certainly no exception.


DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS LATE SHOW HOST: President Bush is really trying to use this as a manipulating point in his campaign.


LETTERMAN: Yes, he's trying to -- he's hinging his entire campaign, his attack on this one issue -- gay marriage. I saw the -- did you see the new commercial?


LETTERMAN: Take a look here.

ANNOUNCER: So John Kerry says he's against gay marriages. Well, take a look at him and Al Sharpton. Looks pretty gay to me.

George W. Bush, compassionate conservative.

LETTERMAN: Compassionate conservative.

JAY LENO, THE TONIGHT SHOW HOST: John Edwards described his campaign as the little engine that could. And afterwards, Bush called him too, and said, You're not going to believe this, but I'm reading that book right now.

JON STEWART, THE DAILY SHOW: The four remaining Democrats sat down for their last televised debate on CBS. The Democrats conducted themselves with a decorum and gentility that you would expect ...


STEWART: I have the speaking stick! I have the speaking stick. You will respect ....

LENO: Edwards officially dropped out of the race yesterday. See, I love this. I love how candidates always have to make it official when they drop out. We know they lost. When a team loses the Super Bowl, they don't hold a press conference the next day -- OK, we're going to announce now, it's official. We lost. We know you lost. We were there.


WALLACE: Well, thank you for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY.

Coming up in 30 minutes, "RELIABLE SOURCES."

And at noon Eastern, on "LATE EDITION," Wolf Blitzer interviews retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark.

Have a great Sunday. "CNN LIVE SUNDAY" continues right now from CNN Center in Atlanta.


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