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Kerry-Edwards Road Test; Bush on Edwards' Turf; Interview With Senator Ted Kennedy

Aired July 7, 2004 - 15:30   ET


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Miles O'Brien at CNN Center in Atlanta. Here's a look at the stories we have "Now in the News."
New developments in the reported release of U.S. Marine Wassef Hassoun. A source close to his family says Hassoun called them today to say he's safe and sound in Lebanon. Despite the report that he's been freed from his captors in Iraq, Hassoun remains officially listed as captured by the Pentagon.

There is no word of yet another hostage -- or this is word of yet another hostage in Iraq. Al-Jazeera Television is broadcasting video of a Filipino man who has apparently been taken captive. Islamic militants threatening to kill him unless the Philippines withdraws its troops from Iraq within 72 hours.



ANNOUNCER: The debut of the new Democratic duo.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This man is ready for this job.

SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D), NORTH CAROLINA: This is a great privilege for me.

ANNOUNCER: How is the Kerry-Edwards partnership playing in the showdown states?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, they're a new team for America.

ANNOUNCER: Selling the ticket. We'll read between the lines of the new Kerry-Edwards ads and talk to campaign surrogate Ted Kennedy.

The president in Edwards' back yard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does he stack up against Dick Cheney?


ANNOUNCER: But could North Carolina now be up for grabs?



JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

If you listen closely to John Kerry and John Edwards, as we have today, you'll hear the buzz words of the new Democratic ticket: values, optimism, experience, words aimed at countering Republican critics who are portraying them as liberal, pessimistic and not ready for the top jobs. As our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reports, Kerry and Edwards are road testing their themes after a premier performance together in Pennsylvania.


CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ta- da. The first official photograph of the Kerry-Edwards ticket. Message, we like each other.

KERRY: We had a wonderful dinner last night. We sat around, we laughed, we chatted, we talked politics...

CROWLEY: And John Edwards' first public words since being tapped as number two. Message, he's on Kerry's message.

EDWARDS: First of all, you know, I grew up in a small town in North Carolina. This is the kind of man we grew up looking up to, respecting, somebody who believed in faith and family and responsibility and having everybody get a chance to do what they're capable of doing, not just a few.

CROWLEY: The newly formed Democratic ticket and families had little of substance to say, but that wasn't the point of this photo op. Picked in part to soften Kerry's remote edges, Edwards did just that by simply showing up, smiling, charming, bringing the kids.

KERRY: We want to announce today that we have a new campaign manager. Jack Edwards is taking over everything. He does a -- he does a -- he does a wild cannonball.

CROWLEY: It was a family-friendly kind of day as Kerry-Edwards move en masse from Teresa Heinz Kerry's $3.7 million farm in Pennsylvania to begin a four-day courtship of middle class votes in middle America.

KERRY: Cleveland rocks.


CROWLEY: And it was here that John Edwards' assets were on fully on display.

EDWARDS: You know about it. You know, some of academics call it the middle class squeeze. This is real.

People who -- you can't save -- you know what I'm saying. You can't save any money. It takes every dime you make just to pay your bills. If something goes wrong, if somebody that gets laid off, you have a child that gets sick, you go right off the cliff. John Kerry understands this.

KERRY: What do you think of my choice for the vice president of United States of America?


CROWLEY: John Edwards is already earning his keep.

Candy Crowley, CNN, Cleveland.


WOODRUFF: A day after President Bush welcomed John Edwards to the race, some far less friendly words from the Republican-in-chief. The dig was delivered in none other than Edwards' home state of North Carolina. Let's bring in our White House correspondent, Dana Bash -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Judy, some may say it's coincidence. Over at the Bush campaign, they're probably saying that their scheduling gods were on their side when about a week ago they scheduled Mr. Bush to be in North Carolina today, as you mentioned, the day after that senator's -- home state senator, the man now on his opponent's ticket, got the nod. Now, Mr. Bush did take advantage of being on Senator Edwards home turf by leaving no question about what his campaign's top attack line is about John Kerry's new running mate.

Let's listen to this exchange with a reporter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's being described today as "charming," "engaging," a "nimble campaigner," a "populist" and even "sexy." How does he stack up against Dick Cheney?

BUSH: Dick Cheney can be president. Next?


BASH: Now, the Democratic National Committee immediately put out a statement accusing the president of going zero to negative in less than 24 hours. The Kerry campaign followed by saying that the president's comments are proof he's, "hitting the panic button" -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Dana, that's all about Edwards' experience clearly. There is also a lot of consideration today to how much Edwards is going to help the Democratic ticket in the South. What are you hearing about that?

BASH: Well, Judy, the Kerry campaign is clearly hoping that putting Edwards on the ticket will help make North Carolina a battleground state, which it really hasn't been in the past. And they're hoping that perhaps it could make the South in play again, and that is really been Republican, particularly in 2000. It was a GOP sweep then.

And the president, today, did address that. He said that he is going to win the South just like he did four years ago. He reminded southerners that the man on the top of the ticket is from a state that, to some down there, perhaps is a dirty word.


BUSH: I did well in the South last time. I'll do well in the South this time, because the senator from Massachusetts doesn't share their values. And that's the difference in the campaign.


BASH: Now, looking specifically at North Carolina, Judy, at the election results four years ago, the president did very well there. He beat out Gore by 13 percentage points, 56-43. But look at what has happened in this race now.

The latest poll from North Carolina shows President Bush beating by -- John Kerry by only five percentage points, 47-42. And Bush political aides, Judy, admit that this is a little too close for comfort without Edwards on the ticket. But they also remind us that this time four years ago the polling looked about the same and, obviously, President Bush did very, very well.

Bush aides also are quick to point out that Edwards is somebody who is not going to run again for Senate. And they question whether or not he could have even won on his own, much less be somebody who could help win there for the presidential race. So at this point, it is unclear how much Senator Edwards will help there.

And in terms of the president when he was asked today whether or not he's worried, whether or not he's going to go back to the South more often, whether he's going to change his southern strategy, he replied that -- that they should ask the schedulers, that he is simply the candidate. But, Judy, when you talk to some of the president's senior advisors, they will tell you that he is certainly not somebody who is as uninvolved as he seems to want to come across, as he is deeply involved in the strategy. That includes his travel schedule -- Judy.

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

Well, back at the Kerry-Edwards camp, ad teams have been busy rolling out new TV spots to coincide with the unveiling of the Democratic ticket. Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES" looks at the commercials and the strategies behind them.


HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES" (voice-over): John Kerry was so determined to make a splash with his new running mate that aides put (ph) up add scripts for several possible choices, such as Dick Gephardt and Tom Vilsack, before rolling out the John Edwards version today. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One is a combat veteran with over 30 years of experience, handling toughest issues facing America. The other is a son of a mill worker, who all his live has stood up for ordinary people against powerful interests.

KURTZ: But Kerry doesn't stop there. He's unveiling five other new ads today, most of which try to offer a sense of empathy for people's problems. That's a quality Edwards has in abundance but which Kerry, with his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) recitation of issues, is often seen as lacking.

KERRY: I've met steelworkers and mineworkers and autoworkers who are now laid off workers. And some of them have told me what it's like to have to have to unbolt their own equipment, pack it up, put it in a crate and send it to another country.

KURTZ: The Bush campaign, for its part, accuses Kerry of being too pessimistic about a recovering economy that has added 1.5 million jobs since last summer. The Massachusetts senator also tries to connect Iraq to problems here at home.

KERRY (voice-over): We shouldn't be opening fire houses in Baghdad and closing them down in our communities.

KURTZ: And Kerry hits the pocketbook issues, but doesn't mention that he'd raise taxes on those earning more than $200,000, or that his health insurance proposal would cost $900 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Kerry has a plan: tax cuts for the middle class to help pay for education and healthcare.

KURTZ: And how is the Bush campaign dealing with the Kerry- Edwards blitz? Not by attacking Edwards, at least in paid advertising, but by rolling out the man Kerry first approached for vice president and turning the subject to the war on terror.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He has not wavered. He has not flinched from the hard choices.

KURTZ (on camera): Kerry has just raised his July advertising spending to $17 million, including, for the first time, some spots in Edwards' home state of North Carolina to boost his visibility before the Democratic convention. But Bush campaign officials, who also have a pile of money in the bank, aren't likely to sit on the sidelines, and now have two senators and two targets in their sights.

This is Howard Kurtz of CNN's "RELIABLE SOURCES."


WOODRUFF: Those Kerry campaign new ads are set to run in 17 battleground states, plus two southern targets, as you just heard, Edwards' home state of North Carolina, as ---- as we just heard Howard say, and in neighboring Virginia. The spots will not air in Arkansas or Louisiana, where the Kerry camp pulled its advertising last week. Well, Kerry and Edwards have a fellow senator named Kennedy firmly in their corner. Coming up, I will get Edward Kennedy's take on his party's presidential ticket and whether it packs enough of a punch against Bush and Cheney.

Also ahead, John Edwards by the numbers. What does new polling tell us about his voter appeal?

And up next, a changed political scene in North Carolina. Should the Bush camp feel threatened now that Edwards is in the race?

With 118 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: As John Edwards continue to introduce himself to the American people, I'm joined by two reporters who have covered Edwards extensively during his political career. John Wagner of "The Washington Post," who, until recently, worked for North Carolina's "Raleigh News and Observer," he's here in Washington. And Anna Griffin, she is in Raleigh. She's a reporter for "The Charlotte Observer."

Good to see both of you.

Anna Griffin, first of all, John Edwards is coming across to the American people as somebody who is sunny and optimistic and energetic. Is that who he is really?

ANNA GRIFFIN, "CHARLOTTE OBSERVER": I think it is. I mean, I think he's charming and he's attractive and he smiles a lot. And, you know, when have you that southern drawl and you're good looking, it's a lot easier to hide the competitive zeal. And I think that's something that people sometimes miss about him, that he is a lot more driven than you might -- you might sense at first glance.

WOODRUFF: John Wagner, you wrote back in March, I guess it was, when you were with the "News and Observer," you said, yes, he's optimistic, but you went on to say, "He was asking a lot of the electorate," you wrote, "to entrust the presidency to a first-term senator with few accomplishments in Washington and little foreign policy experience at a time when terrorism and the war in Iraq had become staples of the daily news."

Are -- not much experience then, not much experience now.

JOHN WAGNER, "WASHINGTON POST": No. I mean, it would be hard to argue that he's had a whole lot more legislative experience since then because, you know, frankly, mostly what he has done since then has campaigned really first for the presidency and then, you know, more or less to get on the ticket with Kerry.

WOODRUFF: How does he -- when you've covered him -- and you must have put that question to him -- how does he get around that argument about lack of experience? WAGNER: Well, he says, and I think is this probably true, that he would arrive in office with as much foreign policy experience as George Bush did, coming from the governor's office in Texas and into the White House.

WOODRUFF: Anna Griffin, let me come back to you on -- on politics in -- in North Carolina. I was just talking to Dana Bash, our White House reporter, about how the Bush-Cheney ticket is looking at North Carolina now that Edwards is on the ticket.

The poll -- the most recent poll we have seen had Bush with a five-point lead. Now, that's not the 12 points that he had over Gore. It's still a lead, but do you think the Republicans should be worried?

GRIFFIN: Well, the problem for the Republicans is that they're the guys with something to lose. Democrats don't necessarily have to win North Carolina to sort of win the greater war. As long as they can force the president and the vice president to spend some time and money here that they wouldn't spend in one of the true swing states, Edwards has done his job.

WOODRUFF: And do you think that's what's in the process of happening?

GRIFFIN: Well, the timing of the president's visit was certainly -- it was a nice coincidence. I mean, I think it was in the works for a while, but it certainly signaled that they're taking this seriously.

You know, what you hear from Republicans down here is, we want the president as much as we can get him. And what you hear from Democrats is, yeah, we would love the president to come down here because that means he's not in Pennsylvania and Florida and Missouri.

WOODRUFF: John Wagner, what about -- what about the political piece of -- the North Carolina piece of all this? Is -- does the Kerry-Edwards ticket have a real shot in North Carolina, or is this just early dreaming?

WAGNER: Well, you know, it's been -- it was last -- 1076 was the last year that Democrats managed to carry the state presidential ticket. And it's -- it's really hard to know what effect Edwards will have.

I mean, it's rare that the VP slot is what really carries the day. I think there is an interesting comparison in '88, when Michael Dukakis picked Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate. The race, all of a sudden, appeared -- appeared to be close in Texas. But in the final analysis, that wasn't the case.

WOODRUFF: Anna Griffin, I want to -- I want to come back to both of you. You know, the Republicans obviously coming after John Edwards as being liberal, being a trial lawyer. Is he vulnerable on -- on the trial point? Are there aspects of cases that he represented that -- where there might be something that would make him look bad?

GRIFFIN: It's probably more in the global than in the specific. I mean, he was a personal injury lawyer, and there are a lot of stereotypes that go along with that. And he's taken a lot of money from trial lawyers.

He was, however, a wildly successful personal injury lawyer, and what that means is that he was not taking everybody who walked in the door. He was taking one case for every 40, one case for every 50.

And the stories of the people he represented are these horrible tragedies of parents who lost their kids and kids who lost their parents. And, you know, this was a man who made juries cry, and who was also smart enough to take cases that he thought he could win and cases that didn't make him queasy. So (UNINTELLIGIBLE) tried in '98 and it didn't work.

WOODRUFF: Well, we are going to have to leave it there, but I know we're going to be talking to both of you as we -- as we get closer to Election Day. Anna Griffin, John Wagner, good to see you both. Thanks very much.

WAGNER: Thanks very much.

GRIFFIN: Thanks, Judy.

WOODRUFF: Well, when Republicans take aim at the Democratic Party, John Kerry and now John Edwards sure to be the targets. But somebody else's names almost always comes up. In a minute, I'll discuss the '04 race with the other U.S. senator from the state of Massachusetts.


WOODRUFF: Joining me now from Capitol Hill, the senior United States senator from Massachusetts, Edward Kennedy.

Senator Kennedy, thanks very much. I want to go straight to what President Bush said today. He was asked by reporters, how does John Edwards stack up against Dick Cheney? And he said Dick Cheney can be president today, the suggestion being John Edwards can't.

SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: So could John Edwards. John Edwards' life is a life -- an experience that all American families can look up to it and appreciate. The son of a mill worker, he's been fighting for the little guy all of his life.

What you need really in a president, you need judgment, you need character, you need values. John Edwards has demonstrated this time in and time out over the course of his life, both in the United States Senate and prior to the time that he came to the United States Senate. He is superbly qualified.

The first decision that John Kerry made was just a boffo decision. John Kerry took the time to make a good judgment, ran through the process, held his own council and came up with an outstanding candidate. The two of them together radiate optimism and hope for the near future. WOODRUFF: Needless to say, Senator, the Republicans are coming at it with a different view. The Republican National Committee yesterday said he is a disingenuous, unaccomplished liberal, and friend to personal injury trial lawyers.

KENNEDY: Those are the cliches and the slogans that are tired and worn out and are not ringing the bell across America. John Edwards' life has been a life of struggle and achievement: the first one of his family to go on to college, the first one of his family to go on to graduate school. He has always struggled to look out after the little guy.

And that -- and that's -- those are the people that need looking after today. It's the middle class. It's working families. It's the working families and middle class that have been ignored by this administration.

The middle class are paying higher fees in terms of the universities and schools, higher healthcare costs, and higher energy costs. John Edwards has been protecting working families and the middle class. That's what he's been all about.

WOODRUFF: Senator, let me ask you about the comments of one of your Senate colleagues, Trent Lott. He said yesterday "John Edwards is a charming guy who was a suing lawyer" -- and he spelled out S-U-I- N-G -- he said, "who dropped by the Senate for four years and then thought he was ready to be president. And now he wants to be vice president. What credentials does he have? Zero."

KENNEDY: You know, I am surprised that comes from Trent Lott. Because, as you remember, and most Americans remember, John Edwards' questioning of Trent Lott's choice for the federal district bench, Mr. Pickering, destroyed Mr. Pickering, as he should have been destroyed.

John Edwards helped lead the fight on a Patients Bill of Rights in the United States Senate. He was a key member of the Senate leadership at the time when they considered the impeachment questions. He made a very strong record in the United States Senate.

And, now, together, with John Kerry, they are the party of hope, they are the party of optimism, they're the party of strength. And that might trouble Trent Lott and some of our Republican friends, but it's being warmly embraced by the American people.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me also read you a quote from the National Association of Manufacturers...

KENNEDY: Well, I bet it's a good one.

WOODRUFF: ... Jerry Jasinowski its president. They say his -- "His record in Congress demonstrates conspicuous hostility to manufacturing and business. As a trial lawyer, Edwards bring to his job an inherent bias against innovation and the American entrepreneurial spirit that's essential to compete and create jobs."

KENNEDY: Well, the National Association of Manufacturing have never been an organization that has supported Democrats. And that's a -- that's a given. And we all understand that.

You can circle around and find individuals across America that aren't going to support John Edwards. But what you have to do is look at the facts. And the facts are John Edwards is just superbly qualified not only to be vice president, but to be the president of the United States.

John Kerry, John Edwards, this is the...


KENNEDY: ... party of the future. This is the hope for the future. They're talking about strength and optimism. Our Republican friends don't like it.

WOODRUFF: Quick last question. The chairman of the Republican Party says John Edwards is to the left of Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton.

KENNEDY: Well, another cliche, another slogan. What people are looking for are answers to their problems. They're looking for answers to the problems of healthcare costs, prescription drugs, the answers to the problems of increasing tuition, the answers to many of the challenges of trying to find a more sensible and responsible foreign policy than we've had under the Bush-Cheney deal. And they're also looking for people, leadership that aren't going to be beholden to special interests.

Hello? Dick Cheney, do you hear us now?

WOODRUFF: We're going to leave it there.

KENNEDY: OK. Thanks a lot.

WOODRUFF: Senator Edward Kennedy, we're going to be seeing you speaking the second night of the Democratic convention.

KENNEDY: That's right.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much for talking with us. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Well, George W. Bush isn't the only member of the first family on the campaign trail. We'll have more on the first lady's campaign day as INSIDE POLITICS continues.

Also ahead, there is more than just an age difference. Bruce Morton contrasts Dick Cheney and John Edwards.



ANNOUNCER: It was the campaign picture we've been waiting for. Did today's first photo op of the new Democratic ticket make the grade? We'll ask some experts. EDWARDS: You know, I grew up in a small town.

How are you doing?

ANNOUNCER: He's from the Carolinas, but where else does John Edwards help the Democratic ticket? We'll look at some new numbers.

KERRY: Cleveland rocks!

ANNOUNCER: Showdown Ohio. The Buckeye State could decide who wins the White House. We'll speak to the party chairs from that crucial battleground state.



WOODRUFF: Welcome back.

John Kerry and John Edwards take their new team for America tour to Dayton, Ohio, this hour. On their first full day as a political twosome, the Democrats clearly are remembering a rule of modern politics, that images matter.


WOODRUFF (voice-over): They came strolling over the lush green hills, hand in hand with their beaming wives, their children streaming behind them. Pretty as a picture.

KERRY: This has been so special for all of us as a family.

WOODRUFF: Just one big happy family. John Kerry introducing John Edwards who stood by rubbing the head of his young son. The third glowing image of a carefully choreographed campaign to roll out the running mate.

KERRY: Senator John Edwards from North Carolina.

WOODRUFF: The first came yesterday morning when Kerry announced his pick. The second was that afternoon when John Edwards and his family left their Georgetown home without saying a word to assembled reporters.

And this morning, there they were, together at last, and ready to shake the Bush-Cheney refrain that they're just a bunch of pessimists.

KERRY: John Edwards and his family represent life of fighting to provide hope and opportunity for people.

EDWARDS: Hope for people who are desperate to believe, again, that tomorrow will be better than today. That's what John Kerry represents for the American people. He represents hope.

WOODRUFF: And then they were off again, the presumed nominee carrying little Jack Edwards in his arms.

Up next, Cleveland and an old-fashioned campaign rally where the former rivals made like long-time buddies.

KERRY: We've got real plans. We've got a better sense of what's happening to America. And we've got better hair!

I'll tell you that goes a long way.

WOODRUFF: And Edwards began to introduce themes we're sure to hear a lot, his hard scrabble childhood for one.

EDWARDS: I grew up in a small town in North Carolina.

WOODRUFF: Kerry's record of service.

EDWARDS: ... that John Kerry has spent his life fighting for America. And I can tell you one thing, you can take to the bank -- he will always tell the American people the truth.

WOODRUFF: Truth. A word both men hammered again and again. Truth, paired with optimism.

EDWARDS: We believe that if we put our heart and minds behind it, that anything is possible.

WOODRUFF: Their bottom line -- John Kerry and John Edwards still believe in a place called hope.


WOODRUFF: So we wondered how would media experts rate the Kerry- Edwards rollout. Getting a non-partisan review apparently is more difficult than we had hoped. All four of the Democratic consultants we called gave the kickoff event at the Kerry's Pennsylvania farm an A rating. Of the five Republican operatives we contacted, three called us back and they declined to give an on the record grade of the photo op. But we tried.

Meantime, John Edwards is getting pretty good grades from the American people as they take initial stock of the new vice presidential contender, as our senior political analyst Bill Schneider explains, Edwards' appeal is surprising in some ways.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Good choice, that's the public's view of John Edwards for vice president, according to a poll taken after yesterday' announcement. Sixty-four percent of Americans said so. How does that compare with other picks for vice president?

In 2000, 55 percent said Dick Cheney was a good choice, 53 percent thought Joe Lieberman. And Dan Quayle in 1988? Not so good.

Hey, look at that! Edwards is at the top of the list. Edwards' positive style was widely acclaimed in the primaries. Then why didn't he win the nomination? Democrats were worried that he couldn't beat President Bush. Not enough experience.

An argument Republicans are now making against Edwards for vice president.

QUESTION: He's being described today as charming, engaging, a nimble campaigner, a populist and even sexy. How does he is stack up against Dick Cheney?

BUSH: Dick Cheney can be president.

SCHNEIDER: Does the public think Edwards can be president? Fifty-seven percent say yes. How many people thought Cheney was able to be president when Bush picked him? Answer, 57 percent. Americans don't see Edwards as any less qualified than Cheney was.

Edwards is strong where Kerry is weak. The South, for instance. Favorable opinion of Edwards in the South, 58 percent. Favorable opinion of Cheney in the South, 46 percent.

Then there was this theme song from the Edwards primary campaign. Lots of small town and rural voters in those Midwestern swing states. How do rural voters feel about Edwards? Fifty percent favorable. How do they feel about Cheney? Forty-four percent favorable.

Edwards is 51 years old. But he looks a lot younger. Favorable opinion of Edwards among voters 50 and older? Sixty-four percent. And among voters under 50? Forty-seven percent. Guess you can't fool those young people.

What about women? In 2000, "People" magazine called Edwards "the sexiest politician." So is he hot stuff with women? Fifty-one 51 percent favorable. No big deal. And among men? Fifty-seven percent favorable! Looks like same sex appeal.


SCHNEIDER: Republicans also intend to attack Edwards for being a trial lawyer. How scary is that? Not very, because by better than 2- 1, voters see Edwards experience as a trial lawyer as more of a strength than a weakness -- Judy.



WOODRUFF: Interesting. OK. Bill Schneider, thanks very much.


WOODRUFF: Well we are told that John Edwards and John Kerry have just arrived in Dayton, Ohio. They were in Cleveland earlier today having come there from Pittsburgh. And they've just gotten off the plane. The campaign plane. Working the crowd there at the bottom of the steps. That's Senator Kerry, Teresa Kerry, Senator Edwards. President Bush has an event in Michigan this hour after taking the hardly veiled swipe at John Edwards that you heard in Bill's report. During the president's swing through North Carolina earlier today, he sounded upbeat about his prospects in Edwards home state.


BUSH: That will be up for the voters to decide but I tell you what I think about North Carolina. I did well here in 2000 because the North Carolinian voter understood we shared values. I'm going to do well again in 2004. They know we share those values.


WOODRUFF: While Bush talked up Vice President Cheney's credentials today, apparently not all Republicans are satisfied with the GOP ticket. Former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato said Bush should consider dumping Cheney and replacing him with a running mate who could do more to ensure a Republican win, such as, he suggested, John McCain or Colin Powell.

The Bush campaign offered this terse response, quote, "Under Dick Cheney this has been the most substantive vice presidency in history," end quote.

First Lady Laura Bush leads the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily." Mrs. Bush is on the road to promote summer reading programs as well as the Bush-Cheney campaign. She began the day in Iowa at the Council Bluffs Public Library. From there she traveled to Omaha, Nebraska for a Bush-Cheney fundraiser luncheon. Mrs. Bush then headed for another reading event, this one at a Des Moines, Iowa children's hospital.

John Kerry's two daughters hosted a Hollywood fundraiser for their father last night. About a thousand people, including actor David Spade and singer Liz Phair joined Vanessa and Alexandra Kerry at the event. The campaign said the gathering raised $200,000.

There's new word of potential labor problems at this month's Democratic National Convention. A school bus drivers' union tells "The Boston Globe" that some members may picket out the convention hall. This move could put pressure on John Kerry who recently refused to cross a Boston Police Union picket line to deliver a speech. The police union has promised that it won't picket during the convention.

Convention security was the topic last night at a high-level White House meeting for House and Senate leaders. Vice President Cheney briefed officials on federal efforts to prevent terror attacks relate to the two conventions and to the November elections. All House members are scheduled to be briefed on the issue later today. The full Senate later this week.

Well, we are standing by for the Kerry-Edwards event in Dayton, Ohio. When it begins, we'll go to it live. We showed you the two senators had just arrived in Dayton. But also ahead, the lay of the political land in the Buckeye State. How does Edwards factor in to one of the biggest campaign battlegrounds?

And later, Edwards and Cheney. A study in contrast.


WOODRUFF: Some breaking news to share with you. Former Enron chairman and CEO Kenneth Lay has been indicted by a grand jury. CNN just now learning this information. We're trying to get some details. Enron, of course, the large energy company that went bankrupt just three years ago. I am told that the indictment is sealed and it is not expected to be made available tomorrow. So we can't share with you the details on what the counts are in the indictment. Attempting to get more information and we'll get that to you as soon as we can. Again CNN learning that former Enron CEO and chairman Kenneth Lay has been indicted by a grand jury in New York.

Now turning back to the campaign. This year John Kerry and John Edwards today are making Ohio the first stop on their first campaign swing together. George W. Bush has been a frequent visitor in the state as well we know highlighting the state's central role in this election.

With me now to talk more about the battle for Ohio are the two state party chairmen. Republican Robert Bennett is in Columbus. Democrat Dennis White joins us from Dayton. Gentlemen, thank you both.

Let me start with you, Dennis White. John Edwards, does that help the Democratic ticket in your state?

DENNIS WHITE, OHIO DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Yes, especially here in Ohio. John Edwards connects well with Ohio voters and we're very delighted to see him on the ticket here. I think it will be a big boost for the whole ticket here in Ohio.

WOODRUFF: How about you, Robert Bennett, for the Republicans. Does this make you quake in your boots a little bit more seeing John Edwards on their ticket?

ROBERT BENNETT, OHIO REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN: Well, I don't think so, Judy. The Kerry-Edwards ticket I think equals the Dukakis-Benson ticket of 1988 and that ticket only carried only 13 out of 88 counties here in Ohio. So I think that you have the number one and the number four most liberal senators, according to the "National Journal" on the Democrat ticket. I don't think that's going to wear very well with Ohio voters come November.

WOODRUFF: Dennis White, if they are perceived as that liberal, why would that help the Democrats?

WHITE: Well, I could just tell you, I think the last poll that just came out I heard this morning, they got the Kerry-Edwards ticket up almost ten points on Bush, so I think Bob is a little out of tune not only with Ohio but also the rest of Americans.

WOODRUFF: Well, let's go back to Bob Bennett. If it is true that the latest poll, which was done not too long ago, shows President Bush down by at least six points.

BENNETT: Well, I think the campaign in Ohio is very strong. The average 6-point lead in the polls by both the "Cleveland Plain Dealer," the Zogby Poll and I think that Denny White -- we're going to get -- the Democrats will get a little bounce out of the announcement of Senator Edwards' addition to the ticket, but that will settle back in and in a couple of weeks after the voters learn more about Senator Edwards' liberal voting record.

He's opposed tax relief for 4.4 million Ohioans. He opposed the prescription drug benefit that benefits 400,000 Ohio seniors and he's opposed energy reform, lawsuit reform and military benefits.

This is a pretty common sense state when it comes to the voters and I think that those votes -- that both Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards are out of touch with the American people and with the Ohio voters.

WOODRUFF: Dennis White, I don't know if you can all hear all that because I know you're at that rally in Dayton waiting for the two senators but...

WHITE: I heard parts of it.

WOODRUFF: But what about the voter -- the senator's voting record? Why isn't that a problem?

WHITE: I can just tell you, you know, Senator Edwards, all his life, privately and public, have worked very hard for the working middle class Americans. And that's why it connects well with voters. I think that's why they're up almost ten points is because John has spent his life working to help middle class Americans that have been, you know, mistreated by the present administration and, you know, if that's a liberal thing, of somebody spend their entire career helping working men and women who get up every day, work hard, play by the rules and have somebody like John Edwards who helps level the playing fields against corporate greed and large corporations who are not -- want to be held accountable for their actions, then, you know, I think Bob's view of what Mr. Edwards is all about is wrong.

What's wrong with standing up for the middle class hard-working Americans? And that's what John Edwards has done all of his life.

WOODRUFF: Robert Bennett, why aren't you and other Republicans worried about those, what is it, 170,000 manufacturing jobs lost in Ohio since President Bush took office?

BENNETT: Well, look. There's no question that Ohio was hit hard by the recession that President Bush inherited from the previous administration and were hit by the terrorism attacks of 9/11 and it had a great impact on Ohio's economy. But if you look at Ohio's economy today as it's growing, we've added 5,000 new jobs just in the past two months. We have record home sales in Ohio. Job growth has been predicted in every region of the state and the Federal Reserve said that Ohio's economy is strong and is picking up steam, so I think that the pessimism -- the Kerry-Edwards ticket hasn't created a single job in Ohio.

WOODRUFF: OK. Dennis White, if you could hear that, I mean, basically, he's saying you got record home sales and things are looking up in the state.

WHITE: We've lost over a quarter of a million good jobs in this state since President Bush has been president. The jobs they're talking that Bush have created have been at McDonald's and Taco Bell. Try to support your family, send your kids to school, take a vacation working second trick (ph) at McDonald's or Taco Bell. You can't do it.

Where before, when you were looking at Jeep or General Motors or these good jobs we had in this country in this state before the Republicans took charge, you could do those things. And that's a shame for Bob. He knows what's going on here in Ohio. I'll take him to lunch tomorrow. We'll go to McDonald's. We'll see these jobs that Bush has created in the state.

WOODRUFF: All right. Very quick answer.

BENNETT: I think in all deference to Chairman White, the fact of the matter is that the new jobs that have been created are in the high-tech field, they are in the medical field. They're all over Ohio and they are very strong jobs here. Not jobs at McDonald's, not jobs at Taco Bell so the economy in Ohio is improving...

WHITE: There's 9 million Americans out of work...

WOODRUFF: All right. We're going to have to...

WHITE: Nine million Americans out of work since President Bush has taken office. Three million under his watch. Come on, Bob. Wake up to what's going on here in Ohio.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it on that note.

BENNETT: Ohio's economy is moving on strong.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, gentlemen. It's very good to see both of you. Robert Bennett, head of the Republican party in Ohio. Dennis White, head of the Democratic party. Thank you both, gentlemen. We'll talk to you again I hope a lot before the election.

And we'll have more campaign news ahead plus the latest on the developing story this hour. The indictment of former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay.


WOODRUFF: More now on that story developing. We told about the indictment of former Enron CEO and Chairman Kenneth Lay. CNN has learned that a grand jury has returned an indictment. But that indictment is sealed. We won't know the details until tomorrow. All this has been confirmed to CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena.

A little background on Enron which we all remember filed for bankruptcy two and a half years ago. At one point, one of the seventh largest companies in the nation. Today, a company in ruins. A little background now from CNN's Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Enron's former chairman Ken Lay had dodged questions about the company's collapse for more than two years. But it's not because reporters and investigators haven't been asking. CNN caught up with Lay when he arrived at his office shortly after the Enron scandal erupted. No comment.

A congressional committee had questions of it's own.

KENNETH LAY, FRM. ENRON CEO: I have however been instructed by my counsel not to testify.

LAVANDERA: Now Lay is so rarely seen in public, some reporters have tried catching him going to church.

LAY: I don't think I need to give an interview here on the sidewalk here this Sunday morning. You all have a great Sunday. It's a beautiful day.

LAVANDERA: Ken Lay was once the toast of Houston's business establishment. baseball games with presidents, charity functions, wining and dining with politicians and the affluent.

"Houston Chronicle" society columnist Shelby Hodge says Ken Lay and his wife are hardly a part of this city's social scene.

SHELBY HODGE, "HOUSTON CHRONICLE" SOCIETY COLUMNIST: They're sort like the weapons of mass destruction. You can't find them. They're pretty much sort of -- they haven't totally disappeared, but they're very hard to find.

LAVANDERA: Hodge says Lay is often seen ordering take-out food from one of his favorite restaurants. He lives in this exclusive Houston high-rise. But many of his other properties have been sold off. Fearing bankruptcy, Lay's wife also sold off many of the belongings at this consignment store.

But the most high-profile Enron executives have been handcuffed, Lay's attorney continues to insist the former top man at the company is innocent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So long as everyone tells the truth, it doesn't affect Mr. lay one way or the other.

QUESTION: Is it hard to come out in public,

LAY: Not really. But thank you for being here tonight. LAVANDERA: No matter where Ken Lay goes, the questions follow. But most former Enron employees, like Rod Jordan (ph), have just question.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd really like to ask him why he could do this to so many past and present Enron employees? How can he go to church every Sunday and live with his conscience.

LAVANDERA: Ken Lay's life in Houston is no where near as pleasant as it once was. No matter where he goes, there's always someone in the crowd who thinks he's the symbol of corporate scandal.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston.


WOODRUFF: Once again, CNN has confirmed that the former Enron chairman and CEO, Kenneth Lay, has been indicted by a grand jury. CNN will continue to follow this story this afternoon and evening. More developments as we learn them.

Well an overlooked issue that could make a difference come November. up next, a similarity shared by Kerry and Edwards that goes beyond political views.


WOODRUFF: Throughout the day, John Kerry's been extolling the credentials and the virtues of his new running mate, John Edwards. And at one point, he jokingly seemed to confirm what many had suspected, that Edwards' style was a major factor in his selection. That is, his hair style.


KERRY: We've got real plans. We've got a better sense of what's happening to America. And we've got better hair!

I'll tell you that goes a long way!


WOODRUFF: The Bush camp responded with a cut of it's own, no joke. Rather than tout the president's ample head of hair or acknowledge that the vice president is follicly challenged, Press Secretary Terry Holt tried to portray the Democrats' coifs as elitist. He wondered aloud if Kerry is sporting a $150 haircut from hair stylist to the stars Christophe. Ouch.

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


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