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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Bush Camp Follows Berger Accusations; Sean "P. Diddy" Combs Launches Youth Voting Organization; Tour of Dorchester's JFK Library & Museum
Aired July 20, 2004 - 15:59 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: A family affair: The president takes his daughters on the trail, stumping in two showdown states.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I know, you're probably here thinking I'm going to spend most of the time attacking my opponent. I've got too much good to talk about.
ANNOUNCER: Will his campaign stops rally conservatives in the heartland?
Keeping the big mo going: Where are Senators Kerry and Edwards heading after the curtain comes down in Boston? We'll break out the map.
P. Diddy gets political.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN "P. DIDDY" COMBS, PRODUCER: Neither party has factored your vote to (ph) their equation. Neither party thinks you're going to step up and vote, and they're afraid of what will happen if you do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Can Sean Combs motivate young people and minorities to vote? We'll ask him. He's our guest.
Now, live from the JFK Library in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Welcome back to the John F. Kennedy Library and our view of Boston in the distance.
You know, delegates to next week's Democratic convention may want to take a little side trip here to Dorchester to learn more about a president who remains an icon within the party and to Americans in general -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We're going to be taking a tour of this library in just a few minutes.
Meantime, the Republican presidential incumbent is campaigning in the Midwest today, but he can still hear the echo of 9/11 politics back in Washington. President Bush is set to be briefed tomorrow about the 9/11 Commission's final report due out the following day. And the Bush camp is closely following a case against former Clinton Adviser Samuel Berger, accused of taking terror-related secret documents from the National Archives. Our White House correspondent Dana Bash is traveling with the president.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They haven't issued any press releases or sent any rapid response e-mails so far, but Bush campaign officials are calling reporters to remind that Sandy Berger was not only President Clinton's national security adviser, he is also an advisor and surrogate to senator John Kerry's campaign.
Now, the White House and campaign deny having anything to do with leaking to the media the fact that Berger is under criminal investigation for removing secret documents he was reviewing for the 9/11 Commission, but one senior Bush political aide pushed for questions to be asked like did the Kerry campaign benefit from this in any way? Camp Kerry denies that.
As for the president here in Iowa on his first campaign trip with both of his twin daughters together, he stayed on message. Mr. Bush lost Iowa's seven electoral votes by little more than 4,000 votes last time around, but Cedar Rapids is an area where he did well and has to do better in, in order to win this state in November.
Unlike the sharp attacks against Senator Kerry, we heard from the president at nearly every stop last week. Mr. Bush started this event here by saying it was different.
BUSH: Oh, I know you're probably here thinking I'm going to spend most of the time attacking my opponent. I've got too much good to talk about.
BASH (voice-over): In an incredibly warm auditorium, the president did tweak his opponents on the votes on Iraq and answered a few questions like his AIDS policy and his view on religion and politics. But Mr. Bush mostly highlighted a lower national average on employment rate here, his tax cuts, and even healthcare.
(on camera): But Mr. Bush's next stop is the St. Louis suburb in Missouri, an area he did take last time and has to win big again in order to retake Missouri just like he did four years ago. So, expect the president to step up his attacks on his opponents once again, particularly on social issues, in order to rally the faithful to work hard for him.
Dana Bash, CNN, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
WOODRUFF: Well, there's more news about the president in our Campaign News Daily: The Bush-Cheney campaign has released its latest filing with the Federal Election Commission. The Bush team brought in more than $13 million in June, raising its record fundraising total to about $228 million. About $64 million of that was still in the bank at the end of last month.
The Kerry team has not filed its FEC report yet, but the campaign has said it raised more than $30 million in June.
The Democratic National Committee plans to flood the TV airwaves next month on John Kerry's behalf. The DNC will use about $63 million, it says, that it has set aside to pay for the ad blitz. The ads will air in August just as the Kerry campaign pulls down its own ads as a way to save money for the fall campaign.
"The Boston Globe," meantime, reports that Senator Kerry will soon use campaign funds to repay himself for the $6.4 million loan that he gave his campaign late last year. Kerry secured that loan through a mortgage on his Boston home.
Ralph Nader supporters are claiming success in their efforts to get Nader's name on another state ballot. Nader backers in New Jersey say they have collected more than 1,400 signatures -- six days before the state deadline. Eight hundred signatures are required to be placed on the New Jersey ballot.
Well, you won't be surprised to know that the presidential campaigns watch with bated breath each month for the release of updated employment numbers. The government reports little change in June in regional and state jobless rates. Still, ups and downs in the showdown states could make a difference in the race for the White House.
The states with the biggest job gains last month include the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Missouri, and North Carolina. The states with the biggest June job losses include the showdown states of Ohio, Michigan, and New Hampshire.
Let's talk a little more about the jobs picture now with Kristin Forbes of the Council of Economic Advisers. She joins us from the White House. Kristin Forbes, we know in general that the jobs picture is getting better. Do you expect that by the end of the year the jobs lost since the beginning of the administration will be pretty much made up?
KRISTIN FORBES, COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: I try not to estimate specific numbers, but I think the key point is job gains have been strong over the past few months. We have job gains in the last 10 months and a solid clip of job creation -- we've created 1.6 million jobs since last august. And we expect a strong rate of job creation to continue through the end of the year.
Now we also know -- I hear you. We also know, though -- and the Democrats keep pointing this out -- that wages -- even as new jobs are being created, wages are not keeping up with higher prices. And we heard a little bit about this today from the Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
How does the Bush White House address that?
FORBES: Well, actually, what we think is the most important indicator is take-home pay -- more specifically, real disposable income. That's the measure of the amount of money that people take home each month and have in their pockets after taxes and after adjusting for inflation.
And if you look at the broad trends in real disposable income, so take-home income, it's actually increased recently. And over the past year, real disposable income has grown at about 2.8%, which is quite a bit above its average growth since 1980 of only 2%. So, people are taking home more money and have more money to spend, and we think that's the most important indicator to focus on.
WOODRUFF: You know, some economists are looking at the economy right now and describing it as a two-tier economy. They say those who were well off are doing well, but they're saying people in the middle class are paying higher prices for food and for fuel -- for gasoline. At the same time, they are feeling a wage squeeze.
Is this potentially a problem for President Bush seeking reelection?
FORBES: No. The day that we see suggests the recovery in the U.S. is broad based and all types of types of people in the U.S. are benefiting.
For example, take the unemployment rates. Unemployment has fallen from 6.3% last fall to 5.6% today, and the unemployment rate has fallen for people of all education groups. So, unemployment has fallen not only for people with a college education and higher, but even for people who didn't finish a high school education.
We're also seeing unemployment fall for all races and for all age groups. So the recovery is broad based, and people in all sorts of income groups and education distributions are more able to find a job today than in the past.
WOODRUFF: Let me very quickly, Kristin, give you -- Kristin Forbes, give you some comments that Republican pollster Bill McInturff made to Republican governors over the weekend.
In essence, he said the Bush economic message -- saying the economy is getting better is not resonating as well with voters as the Kerry message that the middle class getting squeezed.
Is this something you're discussing inside the White House -- in essence, changing the message that the president and others are putting out?
FORBES: This is certainly something we've been discussing, and I actually think the message is starting to get out. As of a couple of months ago, even though we'd seen strong growth into the overall U.S. economy and we've seen an improvement in the labor market and an improvement in the employment numbers, the consumer confidence numbers were still fairly low.
But in just the past month, we've seen a sharp uptick in consumer confidence. In fact, one of the popular measures of consumer confidence, the conference board indicators, is at a high for two years. And that suggests that people are finally starting to feel the benefits of the economic turnaround. And every American citizen is now realizing that their wages are starting to go up and it's easier to find a job.
So, it's taken time for the broad recovery to spill over into average Americans, but I think average Americans are today feeling that much better than in the past.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to have to leave it there. Kristin Forbes, she is a member of the president's Council of Economic Advisers. Very good to talk to you. Thanks so much.
FORBES: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: Even as the Democrats gear up for their convention here in nearby Boston, Republicans have added more names to their convention speaker schedule. The list includes Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, as well as some staunch conservatives such as Senators Rick Santorum and Sam Brownback. Many have noted that the prime-time speakers, including Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, are considered moderates.
Coming up: words and voices from the thousand days. Stay tuned and hear John F. Kennedy's thoughts on his trip to Berlin, on Richard Nixon, and women doctors.
We'll also go on a short tour through the Kennedy Library and Museum.
Also ahead: a hip-hop impresario gets political.
WOODRUFF: The John F. Kennedy Library which I'm sitting next to has made available to CNN a new batch of audiotapes recorded during the Kennedy presidency. Our Bruce Morton has been listening to the recordings and has more on what he's heard.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A voice from the past. April 1963, Kennedy muses about a speech by Richard Nixon, the man he defeated in 1960.
VOICE OF JOHN F. KENNEDY, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...pure Nixon...he just runs so true to form that he really ought to be preserved.
MORTON: "Is he a menace?" someone asks, thinking of the 1964 campaign.
KENNEDY: No, he's no menace...but the lies. Cuba is obviously the issue. MORTON: This was after Kennedy had resolved the Cuban missile crisis and avoided a world war. Another subject, should he visit the Wall of (ph) Berlin. Would he do as well there as French president, Charles de Gaulle?
KENNEDY: We'll see. We'll see. We'll see. It's hard of course. He spoke German and he had that Franco German business but I think we can do it as long as we don't get into a business where we seem to be comparing -- if we keep the press off it. I don't know how we can.
MORTON: The visit, the "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech was one of the triumphs of his presidency.
Another issue, Vietnam.
KENNEDY: I'm not sure that bombing even Hanoi would do much compared to the risk that it would entail.
MORTON: His U.N. ambassador Adlai Stevenson asks if he has a plan for getting out.
KENNEDY: We've done it to a degree...when we came in we were at the point of having to go in and fight...at least we're not going to do that.
MORTON: Though his successor, Lyndon Johnson did, of course. Finally Kennedy on women doctors. One Janet Travell was his White House physician.
KENNEDY: I am a great believer in women doctors. I've known two of them. Travell...of course to be a...like a Negro...you have to be so damn good to get there. It's like a woman doctor, she has to be terrific to get where she is.
MORTON: From 40 years ago, a voice that's hard to forget. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Some newly-released Kennedy tapes. Well, it seems that every election year, at least every year that I can remember people brainstorm ways to get young people to the polls. Coming up, a huge name in hip-hop tries his hand at getting out the vote.
WOODRUFF: The Kerry campaign today released a new 30-second ad highlighting the senator's economic plan. Kerry speaks directly to the camera about his proposals to create new jobs and end tax incentives for shipping jobs overseas. The spot will be rotated into existing ad buys.
Well, hip-hop impresario Sean "P. Diddy" Combs today launched an effort along with MTV and BET to motivate young people to vote. Citizen Change as it is being called hopes to target potential minority and young voters. Combs says that it will be nonpartisan.
When I talked to him just a short time ago I started by asking why somebody who's a successful entertainer and has enough going on in his life would worry about getting people registered to vote.
COMBS: To be honest, I've been blessed with a talent to be able to market and communicate, to be able to synergize and energize young people and to be honest, my success is due to them, to young people and to the minority communities that have supported me over the years. And over the last couple of years I've been -- I've gotten educated myself on the election process.
And I feel like this year is going to be one of the biggest elections of our lives and in history and it's important that issues dealing with the young people, 18 to 30, 18 to 34, if you want to even extend it that wide in the minority communities that really need the help, those issues need to be addressed but those issues will not be addressed if we don't stand up and vote.
And it's really just, you know, hipping the young people, any minority communities to the way the political games are played.
WOODRUFF: But you know the statistics as well as I do, I'm sure. The percentage of young people who voted in 2000 was something like half that of older people. All of the experts say young people don't feel they have anything at stake.
COMBS: Exactly, exactly.
WOODRUFF: They don't pay taxes at the rate their elders do. So, how do you motivate them?
COMBS: One of the reasons why young people are so disenfranchised is because politicians don't speak their language. They don't deal with issues that deal with them. But now, all of that's about to change, because as you've seen in today's polls, it's neck and neck.
So, this community has the power to be the deciding factor in who is the next president of the United States. And we're going to do this by a well-thought-out plan. We're going to use all of my marketing skills and my relationships to make sure that we make this vote relevant, that we make it something that's important and we make it cool and we make it sexy.
WOODRUFF: Your friend, the music mogul Russell Simmons, has said that John Kerry is taking the black vote for granted. He said that's why people are giving a serious look at Ralph Nader. Are you looking at Ralph Nader?
COMBS: I think Ralph Nader has to be thrown into the equation. Anybody running for president has to be equally thrown into the equation. I'm not here -- this is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization. We're going to reach out, and we're going to motivate, empower, and educate the 40-million-strong voters.
And I think Ralph Nader will be a factor, but I think none of the parties, none of the parties or candidates are paying enough attention to the minority vote. None of the parties or candidates are paying enough attention to the youth vote, and they will be the deciding factor. The last election was decided by less than 600 votes. We have 40 million strong. You do the math.
WOODRUFF: You met with John Kerry just a few days ago.
WOODRUFF: What did you ask him?
COMBS: Basically, I was in Philadelphia. I was doing some grassroots voter registration and he heard I was in town and he said he wanted to meet me and hear about what we were doing. And basically I told him that -- just the same thing I would tell President Bush.
The people need help, man. I mean, you have to -- we have to stop making this a political thing. It's not about being politically correct. It's about helping the people and attending to their needs. And that I would caution him to really pay attention to this community, because this community will be the deciding factor. The forgotten ones will be forgotten no more on November 2nd.
Trust me when I say that, that we know how to rile up and we know how to energize and we know how to motivate, we know how to synergize young people. We do it every day when we make clothing hot, we make cars hot, we make bling-bling hot, and now we're going to make this voting process relevant and hot by, most importantly, educating people to the process, to letting them know that if they vote they will be heard.
And it may not happen overnight. I can't promise that. But you know, just like the civil rights movement, how we are reaping the benefits of that, this movement that we started here today, our children would hopefully reap the benefits of it.
We're going to have a lot of fun. We're going to bring some energy into this election that's never been seen before. Because we're not -- you know, I'm not a stiff politician. I'm a fun guy. We're going to have fun on my campaign trail, and you can come along if you want to.
WOODRUFF: The one and only Puff Daddy out there registering voters.
Well, when we return: an insider's tour of the John F. Kennedy Library. A walk through history, including the 1960 race for the White House.
(STOCK MARKET UPDATE)
WOODRUFF: Earlier today, I had a chance to tour the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum dedicated to the legacy of the nation's 36th president -- 35th president. You know, we started with the campaign in 1960, and my guide was the Curator Frank Rigg.
All right. So, this is the convention room.
FRANK RIGG, JFK MUSEUM CURATOR: This is the convention room. Here we have some of the memorabilia from the convention: the badges and buttons and tickets that secured entry.
And here you can watch various campaign commercials. Most of the political establishment had not sort of digested this and become aware of the impact of television. I think Kennedy and his people were very, much ahead of the curve and understanding that and understanding how it could be used to communicate very, effectively.
And here we go now, we walk down the campaign trail along Main Street, USA, with the newspapers of the day recording the news as it happens. And over here, we have a replica of a Kennedy campaign office.
WOODRUFF: I was going to say a war room of the day.
RIGG: Yes, with all the -- you know, all the paraphernalia of the campaign.
WOODRUFF: Look at the buttons.
RIGG: The buttons, the bumper stickers...
WOODRUFF: If I were 21, I'd vote for Kennedy.
RIGG: For Kennedy.
And then here, you can walk into a replica -- not an exact replica, but an evocation -- of the studio in Chicago at WBBM TV where the first debate -- the first televised presidential debate took place.
WOODRUFF: And you were telling me, John F. Kennedy got there three days early to start getting ready, preparing, rehearsing.
RIGG: They knew he had to make an impact, and he was behind in the polls at this point. People who watch the campaign felt that Kennedy had won it, and he had spent three days before the debate in a hotel room in Chicago with several of his aides preparing.
Vice President Nixon flew into Chicago the night before. Did not leave any time for preparation; he came in alone.
WOODRUFF: Didn't think -- as we famously know, didn't think you needed makeup.
RIGG: Didn't think he needed makeup, exactly, and didn't look very -- very good on the screen.
And then over here, you can watch the results coming in as Walter Cronkite and then Chet Huntly and David Brinkley report the news as it's coming in. And of course, without exit polls, they really didn't know much about what was going on in those days.
So, here we portray President Kennedy's Oval Office. So, these are -- this is Kennedy's famous rocking chair.
WOODRUFF: So this is it? That's the chair.
RIGG: That's the one.
WOODRUFF: All right.
RIGG: The desk is a replica, because the original is still in the Oval Office.
WOODRUFF: So, it's still sitting in the Oval Office?
RIGG: Still in use.
WOODRUFF: President George W. Bush -- all right.
RIGG: If it could speak, it would...
WOODRUFF: It would have a lot of stories to tell, wouldn't it?
RIGG: It would, indeed.
WOODRUFF: That's right. That desk is in the office of President George W. Bush.
Well, that's it for this edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, live right here at the John F. Kennedy Library.
Tomorrow, we'll be at the site of the U.S.S. Constitution in the Boston National Historical Park.
We're going to turn you over to "CROSSFIRE" and two of my colleagues -- Bob Novak and a friend that he's picked up along the way. We'll see you tomorrow.
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