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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Interview With Michael Bloomberg; Vice President Cheney Prepares to Address Republican National Convention; Endorsement Fraught With Symbolism; The Moderate Message; Interview With Commerce Secretary Don Evans; Kerry Critical of Iraq Policy in Speech to Veterans; Buchanan: Iraq is Our West Bank; Single Women Could Decide Election
Aired September 1, 2004 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: President Bush prepares to make a big entrance in New York, with the help of local firefighters.
BARBARA BUSH, PRESIDENT BUSH'S DAUGHTER: Who is this man they call Dick Cheney?
ANNOUNCER: But, seriously, this is the V.P.'s convention night and he's likely to use it to raise tough questions about John Kerry.
Republicans see an ally. Many Democrats see a traitor. What is driving Zell Miller to keynote the other party's convention?
From the convention floor to the streets of New York, arresting developments among anti-Bush protesters.
CROWD: Let them go! Let them go! Let them go!
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Republican National Convention in New York, JUDY WOODRUFF's INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us.
Vice President Dick Cheney breaks the mold at this Republican Convention tonight as a conservative slated to speak in prime time. He will undoubtedly fire up the base here at Madison Square Garden. But he may hold less appeal for a broader audience. That's where Democratic Senator and Bush supporter Zell Miller comes in with his keynote address.
They will both set the stage for President Bush, who arrives in New York later today. In a move sure to evoke memories of 9/11, a local firefighters union plans to endorse Bush tonight, even though its national organization is backing John Kerry. We'll have more on that ahead.
Right now, let's talk more about Vice President Cheney's speech tonight with CNN's Kelly Wallace. She's on the convention floor.
Hi, Kelly. Where are you? KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I'm in Wyoming delegation, Judy. And the vice president and his wife, Lynne Cheney, having lunch with Wyoming delegates, and the vice president spending the rest of the day preparing for this speech.
A top Bush-Cheney adviser calling it a vintage Cheney speech, saying it was largely written by the vice president himself. Aides say that he will talk about the president's leadership in the war on terrorism and describe the election as -- quote -- "a momentous choice."
We're told 20 percent of the speech focusing on drawing distinctions between President Bush and John Kerry, particularly when it comes to the senator's record in the Senate on national security issues. No doubt about it, Vice President Dick Cheney is one of the most controversial running mates in recent years. But there's something else about Dick Cheney. Both sides say he is an asset for their cause.
WALLACE (voice-over): Lost in a summer of sporadic speculation about whether he would stay or go is what Dick Cheney has done for the GOP. The vice president has spent '04 raising tons of cash and revving up the attacks on Democratic Senator John Kerry.
DICK CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He said -- and I quote -- "I actually voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it." That certainly -- that certainly clears things up.
WALLACE: He might have the highest unfavorables of the four presidential campaign principles, not might have the most pizzazz.
CHENEY: I'm told that Senator Edwards got the job because he's sexy, charming, has great hair.
CHENEY: I said, how do you think I got the job?
WALLACE: But walk around Madison Square Garden and you find delegates like Joan Teres Hudson (ph) from Long Island.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His experience is invaluable.
WALLACE: And the Dabeys (ph) from Charlotte, North Carolina.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He brings stability. He brings confidence of the Republicans who really know him.
WALLACE: The social conservative helps the president shore up his base, but he's also become a lightning rod for the Democrats.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Next January, America will be proud to have a champion of the middle class replace Dick Cheney.
WALLACE: Democrats fire away at Cheney's closed meetings with energy executives, his role in the war on Iraq, and his use of the, can we say F-word, against a Democratic senator. And that all started the rumor mill. Could Dick Cheney be dumped from the ticket?
ED GILLESPIE, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: There was not any talk I ever heard in meetings with Republicans.
WALLACE: And so Dick Cheney tonight will have the largest viewing audience he has had so far in campaign '04.
And there are some risks, because if his attacks on Senator John Kerry are seen as going over the line, he could turn off some of the very swing voters this Bush/Cheney team is trying to attract -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: And we're sure that's something that the Bush/Cheney campaign has been thinking about.
WOODRUFF: All right, Kelly, thanks a lot.
Well, when Senator Zell Miller takes the stage tonight, he will hold an unusual place in political history, having given keynote addresses at both Democratic and Republican Conventions.
Let's bring in CNN's Dan Lothian -- hi, Dan.
DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF: Hello.
And I'm in Georgia, of course home to Senator Zell Miller, as you mentioned, the longtime Democrat who is now supporting President Bush and will be the keynote speaker tonight. Earlier today, he was here in the hall doing a walk-through up on the stage as he prepares for his speech. He is a maverick who 12 years ago was in this very building, the keynote for President -- at the Democratic Convention -- then Bill Clinton.
Then he was bashing Republicans and praising the Democratic Party. He still claims to be a Democrat, says he will be a Democrat until the day he dies. But he says the Democratic Party has gone too far to the left. This is exactly what Republicans like to hear because they believe that he can be effective in reaching out to those moderate Democrats who are so important, especially in the swing states.
Now, we just got some excerpts from the speech that he will be making here tonight. And I just want to read one to you. He says -- quote -- "Like you, I ask, which leader is it today that has the vision, the willpower and, yes, backbone to best protect my family? The clear answer to that question has placed me in this hall with you tonight. For, my family, it is more important than my party." Senator Miller has been very busy this week meeting with Republicans here. He had a chance to speak with some delegates from the Ohio delegation early this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ZELL MILLER (D), GEORGIA: I think that's what this race is going to come down to on November the 2nd, is which candidate has the steady resolve and the firm conviction to lead America in this time of war on terrorism. I'm on George W. Bush's side because he's on the side of freedom and he's on the side of American people. I'm also on his side because he has the right values.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOTHIAN: I spoke earlier this week with a Democratic official in the state of Georgia. He told me that Georgians, Democratic Georgians, are quite disappointed with the way that he has changed and they're also confused.
Now, Democratic officials there are running ads. They also have a Web site. They're highlighting Zell Miller then and now, and the slogan -- quote -- "Let's remember what Zell was and forgive him for what he's become" -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Well, certainly that's a generous way of looking at it.
LOTHIAN: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Dan Lothian, thanks very much. I guess you could call it turn the other cheek.
Well, outside this convention, at last report, more than 1,700 protesters had been arrested here in New York, most of them during demonstrations yesterday. And today, 11 people were arrested inside Madison Square Garden.
CNN's Jeanne Meserve is covering convention security.
Jeanne, fill us in on how all this is coming together on day three of the convention.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, as you mentioned, this is the third incident, 11 people in custody today, according to the Secret Service.
Other law enforcement sources say they are charged with trespassing, this after a scuffle broke out while the Republican Youth Convention was listening to remarks by White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. You see the video there. One of the protesters was wearing a shirt saying, "Bush, Global AIDS War." Another held a banner saying, "Stop AIDS. Drop the Debt."
These were activists, we're told, from the group Act Up. We talked to a couple of people watched events unfold. Here's how they described things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A whistle blew. And all of the sudden, the kids right in front of us stood up on their chairs and ripped off their jackets. And underneath -- they were disguised. Underneath their sports coats, they had signs on their backs. They stood on their chairs and started yelling.
And then the kids behind us stood up and started yelling for Bush, you know, four more years or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MESERVE: Now, the U.S. Secret Service says that these activists had the right credentials to be on the floor. This is the third time this has happened in three days.
On Monday night, a young man who was credentialed to be an RNC volunteer tried to climb over a low wall to get to Vice President Dick Cheney in his box. He was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a Secret Service officer. Last night, there was a young woman with valid press credentials who approached the vice president. She started shouting anti-war slogans and also waving a sign. She was detained and questioned and then released.
Now, the Republican National Committee, the host here, are the ones in charge of the credentialing. The Secret Service is telling us they do not believe this represents a security problem. They say none of these individuals posed a threat to anybody inside this hall, particularly the vice president. Nobody had a weapon. They say that those checkpoints, those magnetometers that they have set up to screen people coming in here would stop anything like that.
However, that system is not perfect. I can tell you that coming over here tonight, I went through two magnetometers. I set off the second one. No one paid any attention. I didn't receive any sort of secondary wanding to see what I might be carrying here. But the point is, Judy, you put people through a magnetometer, that doesn't screen their thoughts. You can't tell what people are going to come in here and say.
We have yet to have an extended conversation with the RNC about how they might be changing the credentialing process in light of what has been happening here.
WOODRUFF: Right. It's very interesting that those people got through given what they had in mind.
WOODRUFF: Jeanne, thank you very much.
MESERVE: You bet.
WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Well, Senator John Kerry followed in the president's footsteps today, speaking to the American Legion convention in Nashville, just as Bush did the day before. Kerry dismissed a statement the president made earlier this week and then backed away from, that the war on terror might not be winnable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: With the right policies, this is a war we can win. This is a war we must win and this is a war we will win, because we're the can-do people. And there's nothing we can't do if we put our mind and our muscle into it. In the end, the terrorists will lose and we will win because the future does not belong to fear. It belongs to freedom.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Senator Kerry speaking in Nashville today. We are going to have a full report on Kerry's speech just a little bit later.
Right now, a quick update on our report yesterday about some Democrats calling for staff changes within the Kerry campaign. Asked about that today, campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill said it would be a close race, but she said the campaign was getting better every day and she says she plans to stick around.
Well, hosting a big national political convention can have its ups and downs. Coming up next, I'll ask New York City and former Democrat Michael Bloomberg about his role in this Grand Old Party.
Also ahead, rating last night's showcase speakers. Did they get their messages across? And did the Bush twins get a last laugh?
Plus, Dick Cheney's mission tonight. Will he echo vice presidential attack dogs of the past?
With 62 days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.
WOODRUFF: He is a Republican in a sea of Democrats.
With me now, Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of this city of more than eight million people, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 5-1.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, very good to see you.
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (R), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: Judy, thank you for having me.
WOODRUFF: All right, the city has opened its arms for these Republicans, but, at the same, there was an enormous protest demonstration on Sunday, 1,700 people arrested in various protests over the last few days. Is this the welcome you wanted?
BLOOMBERG: Well, on Sunday, we had estimates of 400,000 people who acted responsibly, who protested, who got their messages out, and only a couple of hundred arrests. In the whole city, that's not a big deal.
Yesterday, anarchists from the around the country put messages on the Web site, come to New York and ruin everything. They came. We arrested them, 1,200 people yesterday. And we'll prosecute. And the answer is, if you want to have a say, you can come to New York. We even have discounts for protesters at hotels and restaurants and Scores. But if you want to break the law, you're going to pay the penalty.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Bloomberg, it's no secret that you have your differences with some of the platform of this Republican Party.
WOODRUFF: Not only that. You've hosted some events with the Log Cabin Republicans, who are a pro-gay rights, pro-choice group.
BLOOMBERG: Pro-choice friend last night, a Hispanic group.
WOODRUFF: Do you feel that this party is a party that you're comfortable with, given all that?
BLOOMBERG: Well, Judy, Northeast Republicans probably are somewhat different than Republicans in other parts of the country.
But I think you can't find any party that you would agree with everybody on everything, unless it was a party of just yourself. The truth of the matter is, all these parties have people that go from left to right, and that there have to be a handful of overriding issues. To me, the key issue here is the defense of the country. And I think what the voters should do is decide whether it's going to be Bush or Kerry based on who can stop terrorism, to the extent that it is possible to stop it, because, if the terrorists keep hitting us, nobody's going to be safe. You're not going to be able to go out of your home, and nothing else works.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about New York City, speaking of what happened on 9/11.
After that, House Speaker Dennis Hastert has come out with a book saying that he's just amazed -- I'm paraphrasing here -- at how New York seemed to be more preoccupied with dollars and cents than it did with the tragedy of what happened.
BLOOMBERG: Well, I think that's not quite fair, although, keep in mind, he sees the part where we go to Washington and ask for help.
He didn't see the part that took place here, where we tried to help the families grieve and try to recover and try to deal with it ourselves. Nobody suggests that the 2,800 lives that were lost weren't the primary thing, or maybe even more important, the attack on democracy. But what Representative Hastert sees is us going to Washington.
Washington has been generous, both Republicans and the Democrats. The president has led the fight, but Congress voted the money. And we appreciate the whole country's help.
WOODRUFF: Are you getting everything you need from the Bush administration?
BLOOMBERG: Yes, I think so. You always go to Washington, you'd always like more. The one problem we have had is getting homeland security money, which has been distributed on the basis of pork barrel, as far as I'm concerned.
I went to see the president back in March of '03, convinced him that was wrong. His supplemental budgets since have called for 100 percent risk-based. It's Congress I have got to convince now.
WOODRUFF: Very quick last question. Rudy Giuliani said, on the day of 9/11, he said to someone, thank God George W. Bush is president. Did you have a thought like that or similar on that day?
BLOOMBERG: I don't remember. It was a long time ago.
I do remember it was the day I was in a primary. That was primary day here in New York City on September 11. And I just thought, you know, how could anybody do this? How could you take so many lives? And what is it about our society that is so threatening, because we really do give everybody an opportunity? Why do some people want an opportunity for themselves, but can't stand it when others have a similar opportunity? And, sadly, today, there's still plenty of people like that.
WOODRUFF: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the great city of New York, thanks very much.
BLOOMBERG: Thank you, Judy. Happy to have you here.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you. And it's good to be in your town.
BLOOMBERG: We love you here.
WOODRUFF: Thanks very much.
And we want to thank Sara Evans, the country music star who has been entertaining us in the background for the last few minutes. Enjoying her music.
Well, President Bush's twin daughters may be out of school, but they're still waiting for their final grade. "THE CAPITAL GANG" will be here next to grade last night's speeches and to look ahead to tonight.
WOODRUFF: The speakers who got the star billing last night, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Bush daughters, and first lady Laura Bush. Who better to give them a grade on their performance than none other than "THE CAPITAL GANG"?
Mark Shields, take it away.
MARK SHIELDS, "THE CAPITAL GANG": Hey, Judy, thank you so much.
First of all, let's do them one by one. Arnold Schwarzenegger, I thought phenomenal, as well crafted a speech as delivered. I thought he hit every tone. Unfortunately, for every other politician in the room, you can't emulate it because no one else has Arnold Schwarzenegger's story.
ROBERT NOVAK, "THE CAPITAL GANG": It was an A-plus, one of the best convention speeches I have ever heard. And it even moved me emotionally.
KATE O'BEIRNE, "THE CAPITAL GANG": Oh, my God.
SHIELDS: That's right.
MARGARET CARLSON, "THE CAPITAL GANG": Let me get away.
I think Orrin Hatch and Ted Kennedy are introducing a constitutional amendment, or reintroducing, I think on Orrin Hatch's part, so that Arnold can run for president.
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: Arnold Schwarzenegger I think helped Republicans a lot last night. It wasn't just a biographical story.
O'BEIRNE: He talked about American exceptionalism, the millions of people who want to come here. You get the impression, had he been a Democrat, he could not have given the same speech. The Democrats can't or won't do these fabulous patriotic displays.
HUNT: They certainly did in Boston.
HUNT: They got criticized for it.
SHIELDS: That's right.
HUNT: ... some here.
Speakers at conventions really never move voters, but it doesn't get any better than Arnold last night. SHIELDS: Laura Bush, I thought Laura Bush last night made as strong a case as you could that George Bush had not been headstrong headlong in rushing into war from a privileged observer's point of view. I thought, in that sense, it was a helpful speech.
NOVAK: I thought it was a forgettable speech. She's a very nice lady, a C. I don't like first ladies addressing conventions. And that proved it.
SHIELDS: You don't like first ladies. Let's get on.
CARLSON: Well, you wouldn't expect her to say he wasn't thoughtful, but the moment when she's looking out the window and he's down on the lawn, that was very persuasive that he's not a cowboy and that he's a cautious, thoughtful person.
SHIELDS: A cautious, shoot-from-the-hip kind of guy.
CARLSON: A cautious cowboy.
O'BEIRNE: She was lovely. It was helpful. She underscored how important the war with Iraq is, because they had the first lady even explaining the war with Iraq.
SHIELDS: Al Hunt.
HUNT: Perfectly good. Bob is right, not memorable.
SHIELDS: I will say this, that the chances of a constitutional amendment are zip, because the people who are going to have to vote for it are the ones who want him to run for president. Let's get that out there.
All right, finally, the Bush girls. I thought three words, unhelpful, untasteful, and cheesy.
NOVAK: Well, I thought they got an F for funk out of Texas and the little school Yale. I thought -- I can't imagine how they let that script get through the censors, terrible performance and shouldn't have happened.
CARLSON: All you can think is, they're just totally headstrong. I can't imagine Karen Hughes approving it. But you have got to somehow blame the adults, because you need to restrain your 22-year- olds.
SHIELDS: Kate O'Beirne.
O'BEIRNE: It ultimately won't matter. And maybe there's some demographic that it would appeal to. But I sure haven't spoken to anybody who belongs to that demographic in the past 24 hours.
HUNT: Like all noncandidate speeches, it won't matter. Kate is right. They looked like trust fund brats.
SHIELDS: OK, now, tonight, we now know that Dick Cheney is out of an undisclosed location. He's at a disclosed location. He's here tonight. What does he have to do, Bob? He's not popular with Democrats. He's popular with Republicans.
NOVAK: He's very popular with these people. "The New York Times" survey gives him a 94 percent approval rating among the delegates. He is going to attack John Kerry, which is going to make him even more popular.
And I hear he's going to speak for only 16 minutes, which will make him super popular.
CARLSON: He brought gravitas to the ticket before. Republicans are hoping he doesn't bring gravity in the sense of bringing it down.
O'BEIRNE: This crowd will love him. He's extremely popular. He's the most consequential vice president in history. And we'll see that on display.
SHIELDS: Al, we're down to about 45 seconds. What about Zell Miller, the Democrat who is going to speak here tonight?
HUNT: Zigzag Zell. He was passionate when he was a racist 30 years, passionate when he was a populist Democrat. He was passionate when he was a new Democrat. And now he's passionate as a Republican.
O'BEIRNE: He's a 9/11 Democrat. And he'll appeal to 9/11s.
CARLSON: It will be the most conservative speech we'll hear. And...
CARLSON: ... Democrat.
O'BEIRNE: He'll appeal to 9/11 Democrats.
NOVAK: The Democratic Party is stone-cold dead in the deep South. And Zell Miller turning into a Republican keynote speaker proves it.
SHIELDS: When Bob Novak says somebody's grown, it means he's a turncoat heading his direction. Mark Shields turning it back from "The Capital Gang" to the talented, admirable Judy Woodruff.
WOODRUFF: When are you all going to learn to speak your minds? We want to know what you think.
WOODRUFF: All right.
All right, we've been hearing how popular John Kerry is with the firefighters since the primaries. Well, it turns out there's somebody else whom firefighters are interested here in New York City.
That story coming up on INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: It's a beautiful summer day in New York City, September the 1st.
Tonight, Vice President Cheney takes center stage here at Madison Square Garden. Also in the spotlight this evening, the keynote speaker, Senator Zell Miller, a Democrat from Georgia.
Welcome back to this special 90-minute edition of INSIDE POLITICS, live from the Republican National Convention. I'm Judy Woodruff.
Well, among the most enduring images of the Bush presidency is his meeting with New York firefighters at ground zero just days after the 9/11 attacks. When George Bush arrives here in New York this evening, he's heading to Queens for another show of solidarity with the city's firefighters.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): An endorsement fraught with symbolism.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you.
WOODRUFF: A nod to the president from the union that lost the most men on September 11, the Uniformed Firefighters Association -- 241 members perished in the twin towers. Now the UFA is set to announce its support for George W. Bush on the eve of his big speech, just a few miles from Ground Zero, a carefully-timed, meticulously- staged photo-op tonight in Queens with the president. And a bid to upstage John Kerry...
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two-thirds of the firehouses in the United States of America are understaffed.
WOODRUFF: ... who has been embraced by the other union representing New York's bravest, the Uniformed Fire Officers Association, which lost 102 members on September 11. Kerry also has the strong support of the nationwide umbrella union, the International Association of Firefighters.
HAROLD SCHAITBERGER, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIREFIGHTERS: This nation's firefighters are so proud to stand up for John Kerry.
WOODRUFF: Which today renewed that endorsement and criticized Bush for setting up, "a very bureaucratic method of sending homeland security funds through the states, rather than basing it on high threat areas of need like New York."
WOODRUFF: President Bush will meet with firefighters at the Italian Charities of America hall. That is about 10 miles from Ground Zero.
There's been a lot of talk this week about the primetime convention speakers, recognizable moderates, the thinking goes, who would put forward to smooth the party's more conservative edges. Our Bill Schneider reports, however, that the so-called party moderates have been keeping their less conservative views largely under wraps.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Is the Republican strategy to reach out to moderate swing voters or to rally the party's conservative base? Well, duh, look at the line-up of convention speakers. John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, all differ with President Bush and the GOP platform on at least one of the four hot-button issues: abortion, gay rights, gun control, and stem cell research. When moderates have spoken at Republican conventions in the past, they usually seize the opportunity to make a plea for their views.
GOV. WILLIAM WELD (R), MASSACHUSETTS: There are also issues where we do not agree. I happen to think that individual freedom should extend to a woman's right to choose.
SCHNEIDER: Or they would argue for a big tent, the party should welcome a diversity of views.
GOV. CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN (R), NEW JERSEY: But for all our differences, whether over choice or national defense, our party is united by this goal, electing Bob Dole the next president of the United States.
SCHNEIDER: The moderate speakers in New York offered no challenge to conservatives. They didn't even mention the hot-button issues.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: President Bush deserves not only our support, but our admiration.
SCHNEIDER: Giuliani, who differs with Bush on all the hot-button issues, brushed aside ideological differences.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FMR. NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: In choosing a president, we don't really choose just a Republican or Democrat or conservative or a liberal. We choose a leader.
SCHNEIDER: Schwarzenegger did make a passing reference to the big tent idea.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: Here, we can respectfully disagree and still be patriotic, still be American, and still be good Republicans.
SCHNEIDER: But he did not talk about anything he might disagree with other Republicans about. White House strategist Karl Rove claims he's following a two-prong strategy, mobilize and persuade.
KARL ROVE, SR. WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: We've also got to take on, you know, not just mobilizing our friends who think like us. We have to take on the job of persuading people who -- who are undecided.
SCHNEIDER: But the speeches given by McCain, Giuliani and Schwarzenegger demonstrate that conservatives are in total control. Moderates have to capitulate to that reality. The outreach to swing voters seems to be more symbol than substance.
SCHNEIDER: What's this symbol? The fact that McCain and Giuliani and Schwarzenegger are all very popular with Democrats. And Schwarzenegger has a following that goes way beyond politics. He's that rare politician who's able to reach a non-political audience -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: Bill Schneider, thank you very much.
Well, with me now to talk more about this convention and the campaign ahead, long-time Bush friend and the secretary of Commerce, Don Evans.
Secretary Don Evans, great to see you.
DON EVANS, COMMERCE SECRETARY: Thank you, Judy. Great to see you.
WOODRUFF: While you are here and others in the campaign pushing the Bush economic record, you've got a march of something like 5,000 people on the streets of New York today symbolizing unemployment. They're saying there are 8.2 million people out of work in this country, 1.2 million lost jobs since your president took office.
Doesn't that hurt your message?
EVANS: Well, Judy, first of all, I need to really remind the American people, there are more Americans going to work today than ever in the history of our country. What measures that is the Household Survey, which measures not only people that are working in companies, but it measures also entrepreneurs and sole proprietors and people working on -- in the farming sector of our economy all across this. And according to that measurement, there are more Americans going to work today ever in the history of our country, about 139, 700,000.
Unemployment has been coming down. It was at 6.3 percent. It's now at 5.5 percent.
And we've created some 1.5 million jobs since August of 2003. But is that good enough? Are we satisfied? Of course not.
Any time there is one person, one person in this land -- we don't leave anybody out in America, and we don't leave anybody behind in America. So any time there is one person out there that's looking for a job, that needs a job, we have work to do. And we know that. And the president knows that. And we're going to continuing to work very, very hard to continue pursuing the kinds of policies that are leading to the period of Bush prosperity.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about wages, and specifically women's wages.
WOODRUFF: There's obviously some outreach at this convention to women's voters. The president has been lagging a bit behind John Kerry among women voters.
Yesterday, or last night, when first lady Laura Bush spoke, there were signs held up, "W is for Women," and yet the Census Bureau had a report that came out a few days ago, saying annual earnings for women dropped last year, and that for the first time, comparatively, the wages for women compared to men, there was a wider gap. Does that hurt your ability to get your outreach out to women?
EVANS: You know, Judy, again, what I say, I think you have to look at the numbers in a total picture and completely. And what is encouraging is that real wages are up, real after-tax wages are up 10 percent since the president took office.
But we need to continue to focus on creating the environment so that women are participating in this economy just as strongly as men are. And what really encourages me about women is more and more women entrepreneurs, more women-owned entrepreneurs are starting up every year.
I saw a statistics that said there are more women-owned companies now ever in the history of our country. And so the conditions are showing that they're being created out there, where women are participating more and more, each and every day, in our economy. And that's a very good thing.
WOODRUFF: Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, had a few words of warning last week. He talked about the looming crisis, in so many words, for Social Security and for Medicare.
WOODRUFF: Do you share what appeared to be a deep concern on his part? EVANS: Well, Judy, what he's talking about is the period some 10 years down the road, when the baby boomers begin to move into the entitlement programs of Social Security and Medicare. And I think that is a matter that will need serious attention and serious concern on down the road. And, in part, the president...
WOODRUFF: In the next term of this president?
EVANS: Well, in part, the president will certainly be talking about it. And he has been talking about it for five years.
I mean, in the campaign of 2000, he talked about the importance of -- of private accounts in the Social Security system so that young people that are beginning their -- their families, but still thinking about retirement 40 years down the road, will have private accounts that would compound at a much higher interest rate than Social Security does.
Social security is about 1.5 percent. You know, you ought to be thinking about 3 or 3.5 percent. They would have much more to work with in their retirement if they're in that kind of program.
But, Judy, in the meantime, what we really need to be doing is making sure that we have policies in place that grow this economy as fast as we can, as large as we can, so that when we get to the point that it's really clear, the magnitude of these problems, we'll have more resources to work with. And that's what the president is doing.
WOODRUFF: Don Evans, he's not only the secretary of Commerce. He's a long-time and very close friend of President Bush.
EVANS: Thank you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thanks for stopping by. We appreciate it.
EVANS: Yes. Good friend of yours, too, by the way.
WOODRUFF: Good to see you. Yes. And we appreciate you coming by. Thanks again.
EVANS: Thank you. You bet.
WOODRUFF: Well, Dick Cheney is expected to label John Kerry tonight as a man who suffers from "confusion of conviction." Critical one-liners like that very much in line with the historical role of vice presidential candidates. We get more from CNN's Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What do vice presidents do? Often they're the attack dogs, allowing the presidential nominee to be more, well, presidential. The tradition goes way back. Here's Republican vice president, Spiro Agnew, attacking hecklers in 1972.
SPIRO AGNEW (R), FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I didn't know the San Diego Zoo granted paroles.
MORTON: In 1970, Agnew and President Nixon launched a campaign against radic-libs, radical liberals. Agnew led the charge, but claimed just one victim, a moderate Republican senator named (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
Or, there was Bob Dole, Gerald Ford's running mate in 1976.
BOB DOLE (R), FMR. SENATOR: If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1.6 million Americans, enough to fill the city of Detroit.
MORTON: The "Democrat wars" line would haunt Dole for years. It's a bipartisan role. Here's Democratic vice presidential candidate, Lloyd Bentsen, going after Dan Quayle in 1988.
LLOYD BENTSEN (D), FMR. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no jack Kennedy.
MORTON: Quayle, four years later, going after Al Gore.
DAN QUAYLE (R), FMR. VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Take a breath, Al. Inhale.
MORTON: Third-party candidates can play. Admiral James Stockdale, Ross Perot's running mate in 1992...
ADM. JAMES STOCKDALE, FMR. VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I think America is seeing right now the reason this nation is in gridlock.
MORTON: And the present vice president, who is good at it, too. He went after John Kerry for using the word "sensitive" about war and foreign policy.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Those who threaten us and kill innocents around the world do not need to be treated more sensitively. They need to be destroyed.
MORTON: You'll probably hear some attack talk tonight. It's a natural role for the running mate, beat up the other guy while the top of the ticket talks about the big issues of the campaign.
And Cheney is good at it. He may get mixed grades from the country as a whole, but the conservative GOP base loves him.
He is different in one way from most running mates of other years. He is a very senior advisor to George W. Bush.
Bruce Morton, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) WOODRUFF: Just ahead, a Democrat weighs in on the presidential race. I will talk with former Senator Bob Kerrey about the issues, the campaigns and the candidates in the battle for the White House.
Also, a long-time Democrat tries make it as a lobbyist in a system dominated by Republicans.
WOODRUFF: Well, one of the defining issues in this year's presidential race is Senator John Kerry's military service in Vietnam. The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, as they are called, their ads have certainly kept the issue in the spotlight.
Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey, a Vietnam veteran himself, joins me now.
Senator Kerrey, before I ask you about those ads, I want to ask you about talk over the last few days that there is frustration outside and even inside the Kerry campaign that John Kerry campaigned with lost momentum, with being on the defensive, some staff changes, bringing people in, and so forth. Do you think the John Kerry campaign is in strong enough shape to go into a rough fall?
BOB KERREY (D), FMR. U.S. SENATOR: Yes, I do. Mostly because John takes charge of his own campaign.
So he's been through these crises before, problems before. He's done it many times. He did it in Iowa, he did it in his own campaign in '96.
So he's got the stuff it takes. Indeed, it's one of the reasons that I believe he'll be a tremendous commander in chief and a tremendous president.
WOODRUFF: Did he at his campaign get on top of the Swift Boat issue as quickly as they could have?
KERREY: Probably not, but it's a brand-new phenomena, you know? We can spend a half a million dollars on a few cable shows in a limited market and then all of a sudden you're getting $50 million for free advertising. So it's a brand-new phenomena, so he can be excused for not realizing that this thing might get legs and might become bigger than the size of it, it appeared it was going to be.
WOODRUFF: You've already, Bob Kerrey, you've already criticized, of course, the -- that first round of Swift Boat ads. But the second and third round, going after John Kerry for opposing the war when he came home, for throwing medals and ribbons away -- you know, I interviewed John McCain this week, and even he says he thinks that's fair game, what happened after the war.
KERREY: Well, I think it probably is fair game. But look, the thing that Karl Rove and the Republicans and perhaps even the president himself are trying to get Americans to forgot is we lost this war. And we didn't lose the war because John Kerry protested it. This war was lost in 1968, when Lyndon Johnson decided he wasn't going to run for reelection. Both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party in '68 called for expeditious withdrawal.
What John was saying was, end it sooner rather than later. He was fighting on behalf of men who were going over there.
Karl Rove and Dick Cheney got deferments in order to avoid having to go to a very unpopular and difficult war. So, you know, they got very little standing unless they can expect Americans won't remember that in 1971 this war was heading to an end.
The only question was when, not if. And there were hundred offers thousands of men who were being sent over to fight in a lost cause. That's what John said.
Did he say some things he regrets? Yes, and he said so.
And then he went on, by the way, in 1991, and further, to work with the first President Bush and John McCain to get a resolution to the POW-MIA conflict, to get normalization. Those veterans hate him. It isn't that they're trying to tell the truth. They're trying to bring their own hatred into this campaign.
And I think the president needs to understand that that's what we're -- that's what we're bringing up again. We're bringing up all that old hatred.
We lost that war. That was our experience. We came back to the United States of America and we were greeted, not because of John McCain's -- John Kerry's testimony, but because of the way the American people felt about the military.
We weren't greeted very favorably. And it wasn't until the 1980s that we were welcomed home. In 1990s, we felt like the war was finally over. And now it's coming all back again, and it's being brought back again, I think, not just by the Swift Boat Veterans who hate John Kerry, but by President Bush and Karl Rove and others who won't disavow, who won't move heaven and earth to make certain that these ads come down.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly, is there anything John Kerry can do to put this thing completely behind him?
KERREY: I don't know. I mean, it's entirely up to the American people.
If they fall victim to this thing, and if they think these are just independent expenditures, they're not connected -- Karl Rove is quoted as saying exactly the same thing that these advertisements are saying, a man who got a deferment at a time when the war was unpopular, when John Kerry went over there and served.
John Kerry was trying to keep people from going to this war. I don't know whether it's going to hurt him. I don't know if there's any way... WOODRUFF: There...
KERREY: I think if the American people understand what's going on and if they see his record from '71 until today -- and, indeed, I think what John McCain is saying is right. Let's talk about what he did in '71. Let's talk about what he did in '91. Let's talk about what he did in '96.
I'm willing to have that debate with Karl Rove and President Bush. Because what John Kerry did was said, we're going to end this war, we're going to make peace with our enemy. And he provoked a lot of anger and a lot of people being upset about it. And he worked with President Bush's father to get that job done.
WOODRUFF: Bob Kerrey, former senator from the state of Nebraska, thank you very much. We appreciate you coming on the program.
KERREY: Other than that, I don't feel strongly about it.
WOODRUFF: We can tell. We thank you very much.
WOODRUFF: Well, he gets to schmooze with the Republican big wheels here in New York this week, but his job is certainly no piece of cake. Just ahead, we'll meet a lobbyist who is sparking some anger because he's a Democrat.
WOODRUFF: A man named Dan Glickman is one of many lobbyists who are hobnobbing with Republicans this week here in New York. Glickman is Hollywood's brand-new top lobbyist. But there's a big problem for him. He's a Democrat, and that doesn't sit well with some Republicans here.
The story from CNN's Ed Henry.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lobbyists are schmoozing with senators, journalists and celebrities at all of the hot parties in New York. This is where the real business gets done at the Republican convention.
Though he's a Democrat, Dan Glickman is here trying to reach out to Republicans. This week, he officially replaces the legendary Jack Valenti as Hollywood's top lobbyist.
DAN GLICKMAN, PRESIDENT, MPAA: I've just got to do my best to step into his shoes and build on the enormously positive relationships he's had with congressmen and senators of both parties.
HENRY: But GOP leaders have pressured trade associations to hire only Republicans for their top jobs, and are furious that the Motion Picture Association of America hired a former Clinton official. REP. TOM DELAY (R), MAJORITY LEADER: There is a Republican majority and has been for 10 years in Washington D.C. And you'd think the MPAA would understand that.
HENRY: Glickman rejects that view.
GLICKMAN: No political party ought to be able to tell business who they should hire and who they shouldn't hire. I mean, really, that's not part of the American Democratic system.
HENRY: It appears Glickman's charm offensive may be working. He got a bear hug from House Speaker Dennis Hastert at one party.
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: It's important to get out to build relationships, which is exactly what Dan Glickman is doing.
HENRY: Some in Hollywood have been bugged by the Republican whispers of legislative retribution for the Glickman hire. But actor Joe Pantoliano says Democrats also take care of their own. He compares Capitol Hill to a casino.
JOE PANTOLIANO, ACTOR: In Vegas, it's awful hard to go home a winner. That's why the buildings are so big. And I would think that both the Republicans and the Democrats would like to have the edge.
HENRY: Arnold Schwarzenegger may turn out to be a key ally for Dan Glickman. Last night, Glickman and some of the major Hollywood studios threw a big party for Schwarzenegger. And given the fact that the California governor is so popular, he may help Glickman win some powerful friends on Capitol Hill -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: That would be an interesting turn of events.
WOODRUFF: OK. Ed Henry, you're going to be talking some more tomorrow about these lobbying organizations and what they're up to in New York.
HENRY: That's right. That's where the business gets done, at these conventions.
WOODRUFF: That's right. Where are all the delegates today? They're at some of those events.
HENRY: That's right.
WOODRUFF: Ed Henry, thanks very much.
Well, John Kerry calls it the major national convention of the week. But it is not here in New York. Stay with us for a report of the senator's visit to the American Legion.
Later, a voting bloc you won't find in minivans, at soccer games. We'll look at both parties' efforts to court single women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marty (ph), you've got to come help. We need you right now, ASAP.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got the Snausages. They're in. The supply is in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The return of a White House favorite, a special convention edition of Barney Cam, as INSIDE POLITICS continues.
ANNOUNCER: The number two in the spotlight. What's Vice President Dick Cheney's main mission tonight?
Tough talk from John Kerry.
KERRY: With the right policies, this is a war we can win, this is a war we must win and this is a war we will win.
ANNOUNCER: The Democratic presidential nominee challenges the president on the fight against terror.
PAT BUCHANAN (R), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a religious war going on in this country. It is a cultural war.
ANNOUNCER: That was then. What's Pat Buchanan saying now? Stick around. He's our guest.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from the Republican National Convention in New York, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Welcome back to Madison Square Garden, with three hours to go before the convention festivities get back underway. The main attractions tonight: Vice President Dick Cheney and Democratic Senator and convention keynoter, Zell Miller.
Meantime, President Bush got a rousing sendoff at the White House before heading to a rally in the battleground state of Ohio. He'll then come here to New York for an evening get-together with, and an endorsement by, a local firefighters union.
Now, let's consider Dick Cheney's mission tonight. Our new poll shows 52 percent of Americans would choose Democrat John Edwards as vice president, compared to 42 percent who favor Dick Cheney. That underscores the challenges for Cheney.
Let's go now to our podium reporter and senior White House correspondent, John King.
So John, what is the vice president's mission tonight?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His biggest mission, Judy, is to draw the sharpest possible contrast between President Bush and Senator John Kerry when it comes to leadership and the war on terrorism.
And you underscore some of the challenge the vice president makes as he tries to draw that contrast. The American people evenly divided when asked whether they have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of this vice president.
Popularity is the one trait the primetime speakers the prior two nights have shared. We go to the polarizing tonight. The vice president, the divisive figure in American politics.
But he will make the case that more than who will lead the country the next four years is at stake.
The vice president will say, in his excerpts we have already been given, "In this election, we will decide who leads our country for the next four years, yet there is more in the balance than that. Moments come along in history when leaders must make fundamental decisions about how to confront a long-term challenge abroad and how best to keep the American people secure. This nation has reached another one of those defining moments."
We are told he will say that, in his 20 years in the Senate, John Kerry has been on the wrong side on most national security issues, has given conflicting opinions on the issues of the day, when it comes to the war on terrorism.
And say, quote, "On the question of America's role in the world, the differences between Senator Kerry and President Bush are the sharpest and the stakes for the country the highest."
So Judy, a continuation of the theme we have heard the first two nights, stressing the president's leadership in the war on terrorism.
The vice president, of course, a very controversial figure. The Democrats call him the poster boy for Enron and Halliburton. They say that he meets privately with energy companies. He is a polarizing figure in the country.
But he is very popular in this convention hall. In addition to his focus on the war on terrorism, look for him to strike a few of the conservative themes critical to the delegates in this room.
WOODRUFF: John, one of the challenges all these speakers face is the fact that they are dealing with two audiences, the one inside the hall and, of course, the much bigger television audience. How does Dick Cheney, how does the convention deal with that? KING: Well, it will be interesting to see how much Cheney deals with those issues. On the campaign trail, he does talk about respecting of culture of life, a reference to the abortion debate.
He, of course, has disagreed with the president on the issue of gay marriage. He also talks about the right to bear arms in his campaign speeches. It will be interesting to see if we hear that tonight.
But we have seen the inside/outside game, if you will, throughout this convention. On the primetime speakers, no reference at all to the big social debates in the country, about abortion or gay rights.
However, we did have Elizabeth Dole last night, in a speech not carried by the broadcast networks, but we did carry it here on CNN. She came into this hall, and she did talk about opposition to abortion and how the Republicans must continue to lead that fight. Opposition to gay marriage and defense of marriage as an institution between a man and a woman and how, in her view, Republicans must continue to lead that fight.
So a little bit of that in the hall. And outside of the convention hall, even more of it. The Bush/Cheney campaign, for example, held a reception last night here in New York with Jerry Falwell, with representatives of the Family Research Counsel and several other Christian conservative social groups.
A videotape played by President Bush stressed his opposition to abortion and gay rights, themes you are unlikely to hear from the president in this hall, at least in any detail, when he speaks tomorrow night, Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. John King reporting from the podium. We're going to see a lot of John tonight for this Wednesday night of the convention. John, thanks very much.
The president's chief strategist, Karl Rove, says the campaign has formally asked a federal court to force an end to the political ads by outside groups known as 527s.
President Bush decided to press the case in response to the controversy over anti-Kerry ads by the so-called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, even though he refused to specifically denounce those ads. Of course, the suit also tries, or seeks, to end numerous ads by big spending anti-Bush 527s.
John Kerry made a new appeal to fellow veterans today, and in the process, he took a hard line against the current commander in chief.
CNN's Joe Johns is traveling with Kerry.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Nashville, speaking before the American Legion convention, just one day after the president, Senator Kerry notched up his attack on the administration's Iraq and Afghanistan policy, accentuating where he disagrees with the administration.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When it comes to Iraq, it's not that I would have done one thing differently. I would have done almost everything differently.
I would have relied on American troops in Tora Bora, the best troops in the world, when we had Osama bin Laden in our sights. I would have given the inspectors the time they needed to do the job. I would have made sure that we listened to our senior military advisers.
JOHNS: Kerry also zeroed in on some recent attention getting remarks by the president.
KERRY: I don't think we need what President Bush has defined as a catastrophic success. I think we need a real success.
In an interview two days ago, the president said we can't win the war on terror. I know he said something different to you yesterday, but I absolutely disagree with what he said in that interview in a moment of candor.
JOHNS: After creating controversy in that interview, the president on Tuesday told the American Legion that the United States will win the war, but may never sit down at a peace table.
Senator Kerry got a generally polite reception. Some of his biggest applause when he touched on veterans' benefits and health care.
There was no mention of the swift boat controversy, even though the group that has challenged Kerry's war record was running a new ad on local Nashville TV.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That doesn't matter to me. You know, what I care about is what you're going to do for veterans today.
JOHN: Some Legionnaires we spoke with said Kerry's speech seemed to address the issues they care about, but many were noncommittal on which candidate will get their vote.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't go on the party lines. I just go by who I think will do the best job, and I reserve that until November.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't really made my decision ultimately, but I will.
JOHNS: From one front to another, Kerry aides continued to downplay reports of changes to top staff, but they say they will bring in additional people as they head down the homestretch -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: OK. Joe Johns, traveling today with John Kerry. Joe, thank you very much.
John Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, leads the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."
In Pennsylvania today, Edwards said he expected to hear negative attacks during tonight's convention speeches, and then he proceeded to use a little tough talk of his own.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS (D-NC), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Have they led us to more jobs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
EDWARDS: Have they led us to better health care?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
EDWARDS: Have they led us to a safer America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No!
Edwards: The truth is they led us from the edge of greatness to the edge of a cliff, and we're going to have to lead them right out of town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: The Kerry campaign plans to hit the airwaves in a big way as soon as the GOP convention is over. The campaign says it plans to spend $45 million on TV ads in 20 states between now and election day. The big buy will exhaust more than half of the $75 million in public money that Kerry is allowed to spend under federal rules.
Illinois Republican Senate hopeful Alan Keyes is publicly criticizing Vice President Cheney's lesbian daughter. This week, according to the "Chicago Tribune," Keyes told a satellite radio station geared to gay and lesbian listeners that homosexuality is, quote, selfish hedonism.
When asked if he included Cheney's daughter in that definition, he said, "Of course."
When asked about the remark today on CNN, Cheney's other daughter, Liz Cheney, said that she would not dignify Keye's remarks with a comment. Desk job (ph) in Florida. Voters have settled two Senate primary battles. Republican Mel Martinez with Bush White House support, won his party primary over former congressman Bill McCollum. Martinez will face Democrat Betty Caster in November.
Meanwhile, Palm Beach County election supervisor Teresa LePore lost her bid for re-election. LePore, you may recall, was the designer of the now infamous butterfly ballot back in 2000.
Many Democrats often blame Ralph Nader for causing them to lose Florida four years ago, and Nader will be back on the ballot again this November. State officials accepted a Reform Party application yesterday that will place Nader on the Florida ballot as the Reform Party candidate.
Well, the last time a sitting president named Bush starred in a convention, Republican rebel Pat Buchanan was there to shake things up. Republican -- Buchanan joins us next with his take on this President Bush and the party.
Also ahead, we will give a delegate the microphone to get a convention floor view of the convention.
And later, when you're with Republicans, it's all about the elephants.
We've been listening to country music stars Brooks and Dunn. They're going to be performing late tonight. You've been getting a little taste while we've been watching the elephants and talking about politics.
We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: This is a treat. It's the afternoon, but Brooks and Dunn, country music superstars are out there rehearsing. And we get to hear them in the afternoon, even though they're not going to perform until later tonight. They're going to be performing for a primetime audience at this Republican National Convention.
Turning back to politics, in his new book, "Where the Right Went Wrong," former presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan calls the invasion of Iraq the greatest strategic blunder in 40 years, and he accuses the president of no longer being a true conservative. Pat Buchanan joins me now.
You still think that?
BUCHANAN: Oh, yes.
WOODRUFF: Greatest strategic blunder?
BUCHANAN: I think -- I'm afraid, Judy, that it's going to turn out to be that. Some of us warned the president, "Don't do it. We'll end up with our own gigantic West Bank, our own Lebanon. And that seems to be what's happened."
I don't have any brilliant ideas on how we get out of there. But I think we've inflamed the entire Arab and Islamic world, and we could be in a war of civilizations, not just a war against al Qaeda.
WOODRUFF: If you feel so strongly about that, why are you supporting George Bush for re-election?
BUCHANAN: Well, I haven't endorsed the president, but at least the president believes in what he's doing.
WOODRUFF: Are you going to vote for him?
BUCHANAN: Well, I'm in Virginia. It doesn't matter who I vote for. I'm in a red state, Judy. Our magazine hasn't decided what it's going to do.
But let me say this. The president believes in what he's doing, and so does Cheney and Rumsfeld. I'm not sure Kerry believes in this war, and yet he voted to give the president a blank check. And now he says, "I would have given him a blank check even if I knew he didn't have weapons of mass destruction and had no ties to 9/11."
WOODRUFF: Well, he says he would get out of there differently. He says that now the important thing is to -- is to get allied support.
BUCHANAN: Well, we said -- you think the French and the Germans are going to put someone in there? These are words John Kerry -- excuse me, John Edwards said: "We will win in Iraq."
What do you think John Kerry will do if General Abizaid says, you know, "President Kerry, we need 75,000 more troops to really lock this thing up, and we're going to need them for two years."
WOODRUFF: Are the Bush people speaking to you at this convention?
BUCHANAN: Bush people haven't been speaking to me since 1991. Last time I was over there was Ronald Reagan's Medal of Freedom.
WOODRUFF: What's happened to this Republican Party? You were one of the conservative stars at that convention, you and Marilyn Quayle and Pat Robertson. This convention, it's Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rudy Giuliani. What's happened to this party? Is it still your party?
BUCHANAN: It still is. You go down on the floor, I think you'll find people -- people have said, "Pat, I agree with your book. I agree with you on these trade deficits. I agree with you on Iraq. We don't want amnesty for -- for illegal aliens."
But what we've got up there, the president is putting on the moderate face of the party. A lot of people who could not get nominated, because he wants to get the moderate liberal votes, as many Democrats as he can. I understand it. It's his convention. He's the president. He wasn't challenged this year the way I challenged his father. He's got a right to do it.
But I don't think, for example, the social views of the mayor of New York, or of Arnold Schwarzenegger represent 10 percent of the people on that floor.
WOODRUFF: Is he making a mistake by putting those people forward?
BUCHANAN: No, I think he's doing very well. He's doing what his strategy is. He believes correctly, I think, John Kerry and the swift boat thing are bringing home the base.
I saw a poll in California where, could you believe it, Kerry was getting three percent of Republicans, and the president was getting 15 percent of Democrats. And so he's relying on Kerry to bring home the base, and I think it's probably a pretty good strategy.
WOODRUFF: A conservative in your party, Alan Keyes, had some very tough words about the daughter of the vice president, Mary Cheney, who happens to be gay. Is it appropriate to be using terms like...
BUCHANAN: No, it's not. I don't agree with Alan on that.
WOODRUFF: ... like selfish hedonism?
BUCHANAN: I interviewed the daughter of Richard Gephardt. She's -- she's -- you know, she's gay. And -- but we talked about the issue there, and I don't believe you attack the family members of presidents or vice presidents.
And secondly, well, the vice president and I may disagree on the approach, we both agree -- at least I agree that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
I can understand he's got a personal view that's different from his personal experience. I respect Dick Cheney. He's been a strong conservative on a lot of issues. I disagree with him on the war. But he and I were friends back in the old days. He rescued my -- he saved my bacon a couple of times, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Pat Buchanan, somebody who was a familiar face for many, many years on CNN.
BUCHANAN: Long ago. Once he was.
WOODRUFF: It's very good to have you come back and visit. Thank you very much.
BUCHANAN: Say hello to Al.
WOODRUFF: It's good to see you.
BUCHANAN: Good to see you.
WOODRUFF: I will. And your sister Bay is a regular feature.
BUCHANAN: She's a star.
WOODRUFF: All right. That she is. Pat Buchanan, thanks.
Well, everybody knows President Bush is from the Lone Star State. But the Bush family also has ties to the Pine Tree State. Coming up, I'll pay a visit to the Maine delegation.
Up next, we'll take a look at people who have been called the "Sex and the City" voting block.
WOODRUFF: There were plenty of "W Stands for Women" convention posters on the floor Saturday night when first lady Laura Bush gave her big speech. To a great degree, this presidential race is all about winning over women, including those represented by a certain well-known television program set right here in New York.
Here's CNN's Dana Bash.
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Call it the "Sex in the City" vote. Single women now form a voting block bigger than Jewish, African-American and Latino votes combined.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't believe you're dating a politician. You're not even registered to vote.
BASH: And a jaw-dropping 22 million single women did not vote in 2000. For some, it's apathy. Take 26-year-old Diana, one of five women we sat down with in Manhattan.
DIANA FUSCO, HOTEL SPECIAL EVENTS COORDINATOR: Right now I don't plan on voting. I feel like it takes a lot of energy and a lot of time to really get down to find out about each candidate and then to weigh the decision. And that's not what I want to spend my time doing right now.
BASH: Victoria, a 33-year-old lawyer, is disenfranchised. She tries but can't get answers to issues she cares about. She's not voting and blames the candidates.
VICTORIA MICHEL, LAWYER: They need to provide educated responses to the answers of the issues on their platform. And by -- I mean taking out all the propaganda in their answers. Answering real questions about women's issues.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, which district do you vote in?
SARA JESSICA PARKER, ACTRESS: Whichever one is near Barney's.
BASH: Unlike Carrie, many single females are less worried about Manolo Blahniks, more about basics.
ANNA GREENBERG, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: They tend to be more economically marginal. Fifty percent of them make under $30,000 a year. So they are diverse. They're racially diverse. They're ethnically diverse.
BASH: Yvette is a divorced mother of two. She doesn't vote because she feels powerless, ignored.
YVETTE HERNANDEZ, LEGAL ASSISTANT: I want to hear what's going to happen now, you know? What are you going to do for us now? Not what happened 30 years ago.
BASH: a turnoff for all, what they call dirty politics. Thirty- year-old Miria actually wants to vote this year.
MIRIA SPOONER, FUNDRAISER: I feel like politics in a sense, a lot of it is -- I don't know if I should swear, but B.S. And I feel like they -- all the candidates say things and who knows if they're really going to do it.
GREENBERG: You think about the kind of impact that group would have on a very, very close election. Historically this group has been ignored and continues to be ignored.
BASH: The candidates say they're waking up. The Bush campaign launched "W is for Women" to lure hem to the polls.
Democrats have the Women's Vote Center, a grassroots effort, now emphasizing single females.
Nonpartisan groups are springing up, too.
TORREY STROHMEYER, SHE 19: My experience with single women is that they are, to say the least, opinionated.
BASH: She 19, named for the amendment granting women the right to vote, throws cocktail parties. One group puts nail files in salons, encouraging women to register and vote. And there are a growing number of ads in women's magazines.
Single women are looking for more attention, more promises filled from politicians. But for some, just hearing they are one in 22 million may be enough to push them to the polls.
SPOONER: I mean, I feel like -- I mean, my friends, certainly, when they heard that I didn't vote in the last election were, like, "Are you insane? What's wrong with you?"
MELISSA MAUNDRELL, GRADUATE STUDENT: Made me realize even more if half of the 22 million women vote, how much of a difference that can make.
BASH: And Judy, the big problem for Republicans is that, when women do go vote, they overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.
You heard the Bush twins talk about "Sex and the City" last night. There are some congressional staffers trying to lure the "Sex and the City" vote, if you will, here at the Republican convention. Handing out t-shirts like this: "Carrie doesn't speak for me; neither does Kerry -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right. Thanks a lot, Dana Bash.
Well, as we continue to listen to, in the background, Brooks and Dunn, the great country music act -- they're going to be performing tonight. We're going to move on.
You know, the Bush family compound is in Kennebunkport, Maine. In spite of that, the state of Maine in the last election went for Gore, 49-44. Ralph Nader got six percent.
Let's talk about Maine politics today with a member of the Maine delegation. She is Jane Amero.
You're a former schoolteacher. You're a state Senator. What's it looking like this year?
JANE AMERO, MAINE DELEGATE: I think it's much closer this year. The two candidates both have a strong presence in Maine. They're working hard. I think it's going to be a lot closer. And I believe Bush is going to make in the end.
WOODRUFF: What gives you that belief?
AMERO: I think things have changed a lot in four years. And you know, Maine is a state with a long border with Canada and a lot of coastline, and homeland security is a big, big issue for Maine people.
WOODRUFF: What about the economy?
AMERO: And the economy is a very big issue. We're coming out of a recession. We're starting to see people getting jobs, and we're hopeful that we're moving ahead, and we're on the right track.
WOODRUFF: What about the view in Maine on the war in Iraq and whether it was the right thing to do?
AMERO: I think Maine people are divided on that issue, very divided. And I think all the Maine people that I know, anyway, are supporting our troops. And they want to see them come home as soon as possible. And we do feel that the world is safer now than it was.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly, Jane, when you go home, what are you going to do? How are you going to work for George Bush?
AMERO: I'm chairing, co-chairing his Bush educators in Maine. And we're working on trying to make sure no child in Maine does get left behind, and that we have high standards for education in our state, and that all of our children have the opportunities they need to move forward, as well. WOODRUFF: Jane Amero from the state of Maine. Thank you very much for talking to me.
AMERO: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: It's really good to talk to you. Thanks a lot.
AMERO: And Brooks and Dunn are great.
WOODRUFF: Absolutely. And we keep -- we keep listening to them.
Well, the Grand Old Party honors its symbol. We're going to show you how elephants are all the rage this week in New York City.
WOODRUFF: Back here on the floor of the Republican National Convention, you know, one of the GOP's most prominent symbols in the spotlight this week in New York City.
This morning, elephants at the Bronx Zoo were on display during a welcoming breakfast and tour for Republican delegates.
In fact, the Republican Party symbol is quite the rage here in New York. And I guess also with peanuts (ph). Check out this hat we spotted this on some of the delegates.
Well, that's it for this Wednesday edition of INSIDE POLITICS. I'll be back at 8 p.m. tonight, along with Wolf Blitzer and the entire CNN election team. We'll see you then.
Right now, we turn it over to "CROSSFIRE."
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