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Clinton Appears with Kerry in Philadelphia; Bush Attacks Kerry's Record; Chief Justice Rehnquist Undergoes Cancer Surgery; Polls Show Race Tightening in Key States; Election Day Concerns

Aired October 25, 2004 - 15:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: John Kerry and the Comeback Kid.

WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON (D), FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: In eight days, John Kerry's going to make America the comeback country.

ANNOUNCER: Bill Clinton rallies the base, while Kerry rails at Bush.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is one of the great blunders of Iraq, one of the great blunders of this administration.

ANNOUNCER: The president and the case of the missing explosives in Iraq. The Bush camp responds, and tries to turn the focus back on Kerry.

GEORGE W. BUSH (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On Iraq my opponent has a strategy of pessimism and retreat.

ANNOUNCER: An October surprise? Will the chief justice's health become an eleventh hour election issue?


Now, live from the CNN election express in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, JUDY WOODRUFF's INSIDE POLITICS.

JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us in the showdown state of Pennsylvania. Right here in Philadelphia, we saw a vivid reminder of this state's political importance less than two hours ago, when Bill Clinton made his first post-heart surgery appearance on the campaign trail. The former president is a big part of John Kerry's effort to fire up the Democratic base one week and one day before the elections.

Both campaigns are pulling out all the stops as the presidential race remains close right down to the wire.

Our just released CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup shows a slightly tighter race among likely voters nationwide than a week ago, with Bush leading Kerry by five points. There is virtually no change among registered voters, with Bush two points ahead. The president's approval rating is holding at 51 percent. Our Bill Schneider will take an in-depth look at our poll ahead on the program.

But right now, to the Kerry campaign, today's Philly photo-op with Bill Clinton, and the Democrats' latest lineup of attacks against the president. CNN's Frank Buckley is here in Philadelphia.

Frank, pretty big crowd. I was down there with you a few minutes ago.

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I saw you going through the bags (ph) here. It was an incredible crowd here in downtown Philadelphia on MLK Boulevard.

And it's probably fair to say, Judy, that the front page of a lot of newspapers tomorrow will have the image of former President Clinton side by side with Senator John Kerry. That's an image that the Kerry camp certainly welcomes.

The campaign hoping that this will energize Democrats, particularly the African-American community, and remind other voters of the prosperity of the 1990s. President Clinton has been recovering from quadruple bypass surgery.

But he's been calling the campaign with advice at least once a week, we're told. And he's been watching the campaign coverage from home, he said. But claims that the Bush campaign is trying to scare voters about John Kerry.


CLINTON: One of Clinton's laws of politics is this: if one candidate's trying to scare you, and the other one's trying to get you to think, if one candidate's appealing to your fears, and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope. That's the best.

My fellow Americans, we can do better. And in eight days we're going to do better with President John Kerry!


BUCKLEY: Now Senator Kerry's embrace of former President Clinton, obviously a departure from Al Gore's strategy in 2000, Mr. Gore keeping President Clinton at an arm's length. But Senator Kerry here today indicating that he very much welcomed former President Clinton on the campaign.


KERRY: Isn't it great to have Bill Clinton back on the trail?

I'll tell you, he led this nation to the strongest economy we've ever had. He expanded health care for millions of children in America. He helped bring our security and the security of the world to the level it ought to be. And he did this by always putting people first and fighting for the middle class.


BUCKLEY: While -- while the big picture event of the day was the event here in Philadelphia, Senator Kerry actually woke up in New Hampshire, where he seized on an item in the news about the 380 tons of powerful explosives going missing in Iraq. Here's what Senator Kerry had to say about that.


KERRY: In May of this year, this administration was warned that terrorists may be helping themselves to, quote, "the greatest explosives bonanza in history." And now we know that our country and our troops are less safe, because this president failed to do the basics. This is one of the great blunders of Iraq and one of the great blunders of this administration.


BUCKLEY: Senator Kerry continuing his campaign now, moving on to Michigan next and to Wisconsin. Tomorrow he'll be talking in Nevada and one of the -- he'll be delivering a speech about homeland security.

Meanwhile, former President Clinton, also on the campaign trail today and tomorrow, appearing at events in south Florida.

And Judy, I talked just a few moments ago on the phone with fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers, who said that the official crowd estimate here in downtown Philadelphia, somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000 people out here for this event -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: Thank you, Frank.

Got a look at President Clinton. He looked pretty good for somebody who's been through that surgery just a few weeks ago. Frank, thank you very much.

Well, John Kerry's also getting an assist today from Al Gore. For the second day, the 2000 Democratic nominee is campaigning for Kerry in Florida, offering himself up as living proof that every vote counts.

Gore added a zinger to his harsh critique of President Bush's handling of Iraq, saying America is mired in, quote, "another Vietnam."

The Bush camp is responding to the missing explosives story even as the president talks about terror out on the campaign trail.

Bush's first stop, Colorado, a state that he won handily four years ago. But now his aides see the Colorado polls as too close for comfort.

Our White House correspondent, Dana Bash, is traveling with the president.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With Rudy Giuliani by his side the president opened up his final week of campaigning by playing up what aides still believe is his biggest and most important political asset, and that is terrorism.

And the president gave what was a very blistering and sometimes mocking speech on Senator Kerry and what he says is his weakness with regard to the war on terrorism. And Mr. Bush also tried to turn Senator Kerry's words on Iraq back at him.

BUSH: My opponent has the wrong strategy, for the wrong country, at the wrong time.

BASH: The president ticked through what aides hope will be clear lines between himself and Senator Kerry, as somebody who has a September 10 mind-set, even appealing outright to Democrats, saying that Senator Kerry even is to the left and not as strong in terms of national security as a Democratic hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And he accused the senator of what he called the worse kind of Monday morning quarterbacking for saying that the president and his military botched a mission in Tora Bora to get Osama bin laden.

BUSH: The time Senator Kerry said about Tora Bora, "I think we've been smart. I think administration leadership has done well, and we are on the right track." End quote. All I can say is that I am George W. Bush, and I approve of that message.

BASH: All that was what the Bush campaign had hoped would be the headline of the day. But the White House is on the defensive about a story first reported in "The New York Times" that 380 tons of explosives are missing in Iraq.

And the Kerry campaign jumped on that. They said that that story and that issue undermines the president's central case that he has made Americans safer. They say that this is also a question of whether or not the White House covered the story up.

The Bush campaign and the White House both say that the president was informed about this by his national security adviser in the past week or so. But that they didn't want to talk about it publicly, because they didn't have the details, and because they didn't want to send a message to the terrorists.

But certainly privately Bush campaign aides say that this is not exactly the story they wanted going into the last week of the campaign.

Dana Bash, CNN, Colorado.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, Dana.

Well, the Bush camp begins airing a new ad tomorrow, portraying John Kerry as a risky choice when it comes to America's security, as well as taxes, health care, and Social Security.

A senior aide tells our Dana Bash that it will be the next to last Bush campaign ad. The final spot, she was told, will feature the president himself, talking about why he should be re-elected.

Back in Washington, it was disclosed today that U.S. Chief Justice William Rehnquist is undergoing treatment for thyroid cancer. The 80-year-old justice had a tracheotomy at Bethesda Naval Hospital in suburban Maryland on Saturday. He is expected to be back at work when the court hears arguments next week.

But this does raise questions about the health of the second oldest man to preside over the high court a little more than a week before election day.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.

Bill, first of all, we are just a week away, a week and a day. Could this be a factor in the vote?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it could be, Judy. It instantly ratchets up the stakes in this election, as if they could be ratcheted up any higher than they already are.

The new president will have a chance to reshape the United States Supreme Court for another generation, possibly with one or even more appointments, two or three or even four appointments.

This court has made many crucial decisions by the narrowest conceivable margin, 5-4, including the Bush v. Gore case of 2000 that made George Bush president.

You know, it's a curious fact, the Supreme Court is -- the nominations for the Supreme Court, the confirmations in the Senate are some of the bitterest and most contentious political events in this country. Conservatives have never forgotten the fight over Robert Bork in 1987, and liberals have never forgotten the fight over Clarence Thomas in 1991. They are angry. They are bitter. They are contentious.

George Bush has not made a Supreme Court appointment in this term. But, what's interesting, and what's curious is the Supreme Court is rarely on the voters' minds in an election. This time, with the announcement of Justice -- Chief Justice Rehnquist's operation, that could change.

WOODRUFF: And it will be interesting to see to what extent the candidates bring this up, if -- if they do, in the days to come. Bill, thank you very much.


WOODRUFF: On a day when John Kerry and Bill Clinton are on the stump together, we're going to talk with a man who has worked for them both: Kerry campaign senior adviser, Joe Lockhart.

And later we'll get the other side from a Bush camp representative.

Also ahead, getting out the vote. We'll get a taste of the door- knocking, phone-calling database tapping experience in Iowa.

Plus we're reaching for the stars when we talk to a Hollywood veteran about his work against Ralph Nader. With just eight days until the election, this is INSIDE POLITICS.


WOODRUFF: We have a fresh crop. Again we're reporting from Philadelphia from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a spectacular building right in the heart of this city.

Well, we do have a fresh crop of new polls to tell you about, beginning right here in Pennsylvania.

A new poll of likely Pennsylvania voters shows Kerry leading Bush, 48 percent to 44 percent, virtually unchanged from last week. My mistake, 46 percent to 44 percent.

In Florida, two new surveys of likely voters show a dead heat in the Sunshine State, including this Insider Advantage poll. A Research 2000 poll shows Kerry up by one point in Florida. And CNN will release its own Florida poll tonight at 7 p.m. Eastern.

Arkansas may not be an official showdown state, but it's sure looking like one right now. A new poll shows Bush and Kerry dead even among likely voters. It was thought that Bush was well ahead here.

On to Maine, where a new poll shows Kerry moving into the lead since last month. He's getting 50 percent to Bush's 39 percent among likely Maine voters.

And in Nevada, Bush is holding onto a two-point lead among likely voters.

Meanwhile, in Michigan a new survey shows Kerry leading Bush by six points. Other recent polls there were split on whether Kerry or Bush had the lead in Michigan.

Well, today's appearance by former President Bill Clinton certainly fired up Democrats here in Philadelphia, and the party is hoping the excitement carries on through election day.

Joe Lockhart is a Kerry campaign senior adviser. He served in the Clinton White House as press secretary. He's here with me now from Washington.

Joe Lockhart, first about the new CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup showing George Bush with a five-point lead, showing Mr. Bush with a 51 percent approval rating. Not exactly the numbers your camp was looking for.

JOE LOCKHART, SENIOR ADVISOR, KERRY CAMPAIGN: Well, not what we were looking for. We also don't think they're very accurate at this point. I think nationally we're in a dead heat. In the battlegrounds we have a small advantage. There's still eight days left, though, so we have a lot of work left to do. I think the polls have been all over the place.

We trust our own. We're going to follow our own as far as some of the strategic decisions we have to make, and we think we're in very good shape.

WOODRUFF: Well, let me ask you about using President Clinton right here in Pennsylvania. This is a state that everyone acknowledges John Kerry needs if he's going to win this election.

Shouldn't your candidate be comfortable enough in Pennsylvania right now that he wouldn't need to use Bill Clinton here? Why not use Bill Clinton in a state that's more of a -- more on the edge than this one?

LOCKHART: Well, listen, there are a couple reasons.

One is when we first -- when I first talked to President Clinton about coming out on the trail, Philadelphia was a perfect stop, because it wasn't very far from Chappaqua. We didn't know how, you know, he'd feel, and this was a pretty easy stop for him.

Clearly, because he's going to be going out and doing some other stops, he's feeling very good physically and wants to help.

Listen, I think this was a message to a national audience today, not just to the people of Philadelphia. There are Democrats that I think will be energized by seeing the former president, particularly seeing him looking and feeling so well. But also independents and swing voters.

I think what they're remembering now and what President Clinton reminds them of is it's just four years ago that we had an economy that grew 23 million jobs, that we had people coming out of poverty rather than going into poverty. We had a surplus rather than a deficit. We were at peace.

I think that is all a positive message for people making up their minds.

WOODRUFF: Joe Lockhart, let me read to you from a newspaper endorsement in John Kerry's home state of Massachusetts. This is a newspaper endorsing George Bush, "The Lowell Sun."

It said, "We in Massachusetts know John Kerry. In his 20 years in the Senate he hasn't risen about the rank of seaman for his uninspiring legislative record. He's been inconsistent on major issues from the first Gulf War to the recent war in Iraq." And so on and so on.

What's your -- how do you answer a newspaper, again from the state John Kerry's represented for almost two decades? LOCKHART: Well, we don't take it that seriously. I'd say go back and look at some of the things they've said about him over the past 20 years.

I guess my best answer is to look at the Crawford paper that endorsed George Bush, his hometown in 2000 and endorsed Kerry this time.

Listen, Iraq is the right issue, though, that "The Lowell Sun" raises. We find out today that this administration didn't guard 380 tons of high-grade explosives. And when asked about it, the White House actually said, "We had other priorities, like guarding the oil ministry and setting up a reconstruction office."

That kind of weapons in the hands of insurgents and terrorists endangers our troops, our country. And the president today, he didn't address it. He told jokes about the war on terrorism. I thought that was a really impressive performance by the president.

WOODRUFF: Well, one of the things the president said today, he cited John Kerry's criticism of George Bush's handling of the situation in Tora Bora and Afghanistan, and he went back and quoted John Kerry, at the time, as praising the administration and saying they were on the right track. In effect, he turned it into...

LOCKHART: Yes, but Judy, I think that this is just another in a pattern of a president who just can't tell the truth.

He just can't take a whole sentence. He takes bits of sentences from an interview with Larry King during the time. And there was a gentleman caller who said, "Shouldn't we use napalm and carpet bomb this area?"

And he was saying that the general approach was right. But then went on and had talked consistently about Tora Bora, how that was a missed opportunity.

The president knows what John Kerry thinks. The real question is, why can't he level with the American people?

On this news on Iraq today, he's known this news. Our government has known this news. He went through a debate and decided not to tell the American public what he knew. I think it's a real question for the president why he can't tell the truth.

WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there, Joe Lockhart, senior adviser to the John Kerry campaign. We're going to be talking to Jennifer Millerwise of the Bush campaign later on in the program.

Joe, thanks very much. We appreciate you taking the time. Thank you.

Well, Dick Cheney offers a political prediction. Up next, the vice president predicts that the percentages in the election outcome, but thinks twice about forecasting a World Series winner. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WOODRUFF: Here in Philadelphia this Monday, checking our headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."

The political action committee of the liberal group has launched a new ad campaign in the nation's showdown states. The MoveOn PAC is spending $2.2 million in several battlegrounds including Florida, Ohio, and here in Pennsylvania.

The spot features a clip of President Clinton joking about weapons of mass destruction at Washington's radio and TV correspondents' dinner. That clip is followed by critical comments from a woman who says her brother died in Iraq while searching for weapons of mass destruction.

As for the presidential running mates, Dick Cheney had a ready answer this morning when asked for an election-day prediction, while John Edwards criticized the Bush/Cheney ticket over the situation in Iraq.

Edwards wrapped up a two-day trip through Ohio today by commenting on those explosives now missing inside Iraq. Referring to the administration, Edwards said, quote, "After today it's hard to imagine that even they will be -- continue to believe things are going well."

The vice president is campaigning today in Minnesota and Ohio a short time ago. He criticized John Kerry's past writings on the fight against terrorism, featured in a book Kerry wrote a decade ago.

On NBC's "Today Show" this morning, Cheney was asked for an election-day prediction. His answer, 52-47 Bush.

When asked to predict the World Series winner, however, Cheney took a pass with a smile. He said quote, "that could affect votes."

Still to come on INSIDE POLITICS, we head to the nation's heartland for a look at how both parties are battling it out door-to- door and on the phones in these final days of the campaign.

And the Clinton factor. Will the former president's appearance on the campaign trail give a big boost to John Kerry? We'll hear what Bruce Morton has to say.



WOODRUFF: Former President Clinton returns to the campaign trail. He comes out swinging in his first appearance since heart surgery, vowing to help Bush -- help push John Kerry over the top on Election Day.

President Bush prepares to rally the faithful in the Iowa battleground. He's fighting back against Kerry's criticism of U.S. policies in Iraq.

Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff, today in Philadelphia.

Here in the state of Pennsylvania, and in all of the so-called battleground states, voter turnout is emerging as a wildcard in next Tuesday's election. In the first of a three-part series this week on "get out the vote" efforts by both campaigns, we head to Iowa for a look at the strategies and the political foot soldiers in the battle to get the voters to the polls.


(voice-over): If campaigns are waged on the air...

KERRY: I'm John Kerry and I approved this message.

WOODRUFF: ... they're won on the ground by soldiers like the Pattersons (ph), Brian (ph) and Tiffany (ph), and their cousin, 14- year-old Shawn Walsh (ph). Together, they knocked on 100 doors in Clyde, Iowa, this past Sunday.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi there. We're with the President Bush campaign.

WOODRUFF: The weekend before, the Bush brigades hit 37,000 Iowa homes. That's a lot of doors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not work. It's not work when you believe in someone. We really believe in him.

WOODRUFF: In a nondescript Des Moines warehouse, Pat Ray (ph) and her church friends are labeling literature for the final push for Bush. Ed Failor Jr., who's running the GOP's Iowa effort, will make sure the flyers find their way into receptive hands.

ED FAILOR JR., VICTORY IOWA: You're going to see a full-court press. You're going to see tens of thousands of Iowans, Republicans in Iowa going door-to-door, neighbor to neighbor.

WOODRUFF: And that's how the end game is played, as the parties and their allies try to tap a ballooning electorate in a year that has seen record voter registration. Their second receipt weapons? The two T's: targeting and technology.

At Democratic headquarters in Des Moines, state party chairman Gordon Fischer demonstrates his prized Web-based voter file.

GORDON FISCHER, IOWA DEMOCRATIC CHAIRMAN: Every single voter, Democrat, Republican, Independent, whatever, they're in here.

WOODRUFF: Thousands of bits of information he uses to identify specific groups of voters.

FISCHER: What I've done now is built a list of Democratic women who are interested in prescription drugs. You could turn this into a walking list, and say -- you know, and go to those doors and say, you know, "I'm the candidate who cares about the prescription drugs. Here's my plan."

WOODRUFF: Iowa Republicans have their own database, as do the national parties on a mega scale.

ALEC JOHNSON, ACT ORGANIZER: It helps us target our message more specifically to people to draw the clear and distinct difference between the two candidates.

WOODRUFF: But once that's done, it's back to more traditional methods.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, this is Connie (ph) with Democratic Party headquarters.

WOODRUFF: Across the country, Democrats have made more than 18 million phone calls on behalf of John Kerry, cajoling supporters to vote on Election Day, or well before.

DOUG PETERSON, KERRY-EDWARDS VOLUNTEER: And we're calling today to see if he's received his absentee ballot.

WOODRUFF: As the battlefield narrows, the parties are sending volunteers into a dwindling number of key states. Doug Peterson came here from Houston. He's living out of a suitcase in a nearby motel.

PETERSON: I felt drawn to come up here when I saw the polls showed Iowa at nearly 50-50. I thought that I could come up here and make even more of a difference.

WOODRUFF: The parties are just part of the puzzle. Republicans are relying on religious groups to help rally the faithful, while Democrats count on Independent left-leaning coalitions like ACT, America Coming Together, which trained 750 volunteers across Iowa on Sunday.

JOHNSON: Break up in twos. One of you is going to be the knocker, the other is going to be the knockee. OK?

WOODRUFF: Veteran canvasser Alec Johnson moves among the newbie activists, dispensing wisdom. Big...

JOHNSON: Make it exciting. Make it worth their while.

WOODRUFF: ... and small.

JOHNSON: I'd stand up a bit more.

WOODRUFF: After months of door-knocking, he considers himself heavily invested in the race.

JOHNSON: I'd like to think that I'm responsible for over 4,000 votes for John Kerry.

WOODRUFF: Add 144 votes to that number, and you've got Al Gore's margin of victory in Iowa last time around. Which is why this year, every exercise...

JOHNSON: Role play.

WOODRUFF: ... every phone call.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has not received it yet? OK.

WOODRUFF: ... and every knock...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just coming by today to encourage people to get out and vote.

WOODRUFF: ... is as precious as the votes they'll deliver.


(on camera): With me now from Washington to talk more about turnout on Election Day, and the potential problems that could come up, is Doug Chapin. He is the director of, a nonpartisan Web site covering election reform.

Doug Chapin, let's just back up and look at the 50 states. How well prepared are they across this country for Election Day?

DOUG CHAPIN, ELECTIONONLINE.ORG: It depends on what state you're talking about. We just recently released a report looking at states' readiness across the country, and we found that while some states had made lots of changes and voters would see a big difference on Election Day 2004, many other states hadn't made many changes. And so progress was not far along. So it really depends on where you are as to how well the system will work in 2004.

WOODRUFF: So among the battleground states, the states that this race is now pretty much narrowed down to, those 10 or so states, are any of those states among those that might still have problems?

CHAPIN: Certainly. And to a certain extent, some of the states that will have problems will have problems because they are battlegrounds and so many people are watching for problems to occur.

Two states that jump right at you are Ohio and Florida. Both key prizes in the presidential race, and both states which have really been in the election reform headlines for almost four years.

We've had voting technology problems. We've had controversies about provisional voting and voter identification. And it's -- if there are two states that could be a problem on Election Day, it could be Florida and Ohio.

WOODRUFF: Well, let's talk about what Republicans are saying is a potential problem. They're looking at -- at some of the same states that we're talking about, and they're talking about the -- looking at the potential for voter fraud. They're saying the Democrats have registered a number of people -- of people to vote who shouldn't be registered, who are ineligible. How big a problem is that? CHAPIN: You know, these kind of charges and countercharges seem to pre-date every election. We seem to have -- once the registration lists close, really the only thing the two parties have to argue about is who is on that list. And in the -- in the current environment, where everyone believes that a tiny number of votes can make a huge difference, who's on that list makes a big difference.

That fight, I think, takes the place of a larger disagreement between the parties in which Democrats tend to worry about access of voters to the ballot box and Republicans tend to worry about the integrity of the process. And so that battle is played out on the micro-level in the forms of fights about the registration list.

WOODRUFF: And, indeed, you do have Republicans -- or rather Democrats turning around and saying they're worried about Republicans suppressing the vote. They're pointing to something -- what is it, something like 100,000 new voters in Wisconsin that Republicans say they're going to challenge?

CHAPIN: That's right. Wisconsin, and then reports over the weekend that Republicans may have tens of thousands of voters challenged in that race.

Republicans tend to focus on making sure that people who don't belong on the list aren't on the list on Election Day. And Democrats tend to worry that people who do belong on that list get a chance to vote. And where those things are in opposition is where you have fertile ground for challenges and controversy on Election Day.

WOODRUFF: Doug Chapin, I hope we can talk to you again before this week is out. Very quickly, do you expect we're going to know the results on election night, or do you think there are going to be problems?

CHAPIN: You know, the focus on this election has been so intense, I would be surprised if we knew for certainty on election night. How much past election night I think will depend both on how close the race is and where the races are close on Election Day.

WOODRUFF: Doug Chapin with And I do hope we can speak with you again over the next few days. Thanks very much.

CHAPIN: My pleasure. Thank you, Judy.

WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you.

And now we want to check some of the latest newspaper endorsements for both George W. Bush and John Kerry. Bush has picked up the backing of Ohio's "Columbus Dispatch" and Colorado's "Denver Post," while Kerry was endorsed over the weekend by "The Washington Post," the "Chicago Sun Times," Iowa's "Des Moines Register," and "The Orlando Sentinel." Kerry also picked up the first endorsement ever by "The New Yorker" Magazine.

Straight ahead, the pitched battle for Pennsylvania, where we are today. I'll talk with two members of Congress from both parties for an inside look at the fight for this state's 21 electoral votes.


WOODRUFF: This was the scene just a short time ago, downtown Philadelphia, John Kerry getting a little help from former President Bill Clinton. The crowd pretty excited.

We were there in the middle of the crowd. We couldn't get much closer than this, as John Kerry shook some hands. All of this taking place in Love Park, right in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, in the showdown state of Pennsylvania, where we find ourselves this Monday.

As we've been saying, Pennsylvania and its 21 electoral votes could be crucial to both President Bush and Senator Kerry come Election Day. Al Gore narrowly won the state four years ago.

With me now to talk about the race here in Pennsylvania are two of the state's congressmen, Democrat Chaka Fattah and Republican Jim Greenwood.

Congressman Greenwood, to you first. Bill Clinton is here firing up Democrats. Does that worry you as a Republican that he's got these Democrats to the polls?

REP. JIM GREENWOOD (R), PENNSYLVANIA: It doesn't worry me. I think that the turnout's going to be high no matter what. So I don't think that -- both campaigns are going to be doing this. I don't think the Clinton visit is all that critical in and of itself. And I don't think popularity is transferable.

This is going to be a tight race, I think, where people are going to focus on ultimately the undecided is the war in Iraq. Do they think it's the right thing or the wrong thing?

WOODRUFF: Popularity not transferable, Congressman Fattah?

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Well, I think what President Clinton said today is that it's not his presence that he thinks is going to have people change his votes, it's his reasons. And he laid out a fairy compelling case, I think, to people who may not have made up their mind. And he was talking to people who have already obviously made up their mind.

We had just a great crowd, a great turnout. And this is part of the momentum you build going into an election. We have seen this state go for Clinton twice and for Gore, and we expect to put it in the Democratic column next Tuesday.

WOODRUFF: But the fact that John Kerry's here having to fight for it this close to the election, shouldn't you be in a more comfortable position this close to Election Day?

FATTAH: Well, no, not actually. You know, George Bush has been here 41 times. He's coming back two more times in the next couple of days in the Philadelphia area. I think both campaigns are fighting hard. And Bush has been here twice as much as Kerry.

So we think that we're in good position. But it's going to be a competitive race. And what the campaigns are focused on is having the -- the focus on getting out their voters. And I think Kerry's still reaching out to swing voters in the state, even though he's got a small lead. I think he wants to build on that.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Greenwood, I mean, given how many times President Bush has been in this state, what is it 41 times?


WOODRUFF: Why isn't he doing better here?

GREENWOOD: This is a tough state for Republicans, as Congressman Fattah said. It hasn't been won by a Republican for awhile.

The fact that the most recent polls show that Bush is down by one point, well within the margin of error, says this is a toss-up state. And I think the fact that Bill Clinton is here today, and not in Iowa or Florida or in other battleground states, shows how -- just how close it is. And everyone knows that if Bush wins Pennsylvania the election's over. So this is where it's at.

WOODRUFF: Is that right? If Bush wins this state it's over? I mean...

FATTAH: Well, I think what's going to happen is, is that Bush's term in office is going to be over when we count the votes in Pennsylvania. But I agree with Jim that it's an important state. Both campaigns are taking it seriously.

We've seen a massive increase in voter registration in our state. It's gotten attention from both candidates. And I think on Election Day it's going to help lead the country to a new direction.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Greenwood, is the economy in this state working against the president? You've lost something like 80,000 jobs net since George Bush took office. Unemployment is up, especially in the southwestern part of the state. How does the president overcome that economic reality?

GREENWOOD: First off, we've picked up 43,000 jobs in Pennsylvania in the last year. We had an economic recession.

If you believe that George Bush created this economic recession, I think you don't understand the history of it. It was -- every indication was it was a recession that began before his presidency. His policies helped us get out of the recession and get to recovery.

So I don't think that's going to hurt him at all. I think it's going to help him.

I think the issue is the war, and the issue is that there are people in this world who have decided to enforce their brutal, narrow version of jihad on the rest of the world. And you're either going to take it on or you're going to try to appease them. President Bush wants to take it on, head on, and that's what this election is going to be settled on.

WOODRUFF: So John Kerry's trying to appease the terrorists, Congressman Fattah?

FATTAH: Well, I think that in terms of the war it's going to be a deciding issue. And there are many, many people in our state, in fact the majority in the country, who believe that it was -- it was the wrong approach in terms of this war we've lost.

WOODRUFF: But what about his comment that John Kerry would appease the terrorists? I mean...

FATTAH: Well, we're not going to try to win Congressman Greenwood's vote on this Election Day. But for the public in this state, for the hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for jobs, for those who have lost their health insurance, for those who are in line for flu shots, for those who are concerned about our misadventures abroad and this distraction from chasing al Qaeda to focusing on Saddam, when we had him contained, I think for those who will vote for John Kerry, these are the reasons why they'll vote for him.

And, you know, Bush is going to win a few votes in this state. And, you know, that's fine. We just want to win one more vote than George Bush does in Pennsylvania.

WOODRUFF: Well let me ask you, what do you forecast is going to be the final percentage here?

GREENWOOD: I think the fact that the president is within one point in a state that Gore won is an indication that the momentum is in his direction. He's going to be back here a couple more times, and I think it will make the difference. And I think he'll carry the state.

WOODRUFF: By one point, is that what you're saying?

GREENWOOD: I don't care if it's one point or one tenth of a point. I think he's going to carry the state, win the 21 electoral votes.

WOODRUFF: And you said even if it's by one vote, Congressman Fattah?

FATTAH: We'll take one more vote than the Bush campaign.


WOODRUFF: Lowering expectations.

FATTAH: I think we're going to win this state by five or six points at the end of the day. WOODRUFF: We hear you.


WOODRUFF: Congressman Fattah, Congressman Greenwood, it's very good to see both of you.

GREENWOOD: My pleasure. Thank you.

FATTAH: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: We thank you for making the time. We appreciate it.

Well, the comeback kid returns from heart surgery to help John Kerry in the campaign's final days. When we come back we'll look at how much of an impact former President Clinton may have on this race.


WOODRUFF: Here in Philadelphia this Monday, one week and a day from the election.

When former President Clinton announced that he needed heart surgery last month some hearts sank in the Kerry camp, with supporters worried Senator Kerry wouldn't be able to take advantage of Clinton's popularity. Now that he's back, how much of a factor will he be?

Our Bruce Morton takes a look.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There he was, the Democrats' most popular recent president, their best campaigner on the stump now for John Kerry. With one week left, you roll out all the artillery you have.

CLINTON: I am very proud of John Kerry and the campaign he has run. He never gives up. He never gives up.


MORTON: And he's always been good at it. Remember him in New Hampshire in 1992?

CLINTON: If you give it to me, I won't be like George Bush. I'll never forget who gave me a second chance, and I'll be there for you till the last dog dies. And I want you to remember...

MORTON: He called himself the "comeback kid" then. He won. Won in 1996, too. Charismatic, as this year's candidate is not.

The country liked him. The country was doing well. He balanced the budget, shrunk the federal workforce, ran a surplus. Times were good.

Voters may have had reservations about his personal life. They gave him better marks as a president than as a person.

Al Gore, aware of those personal reservations, kept his distance from Clinton in the 2000 campaign, which may have been a mistake.

DAVID BRODER, "WASHINGTON POST": Former Governor Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire is convinced to this day that if the Gore campaign had simply allowed President Clinton to make one visit to New Hampshire in 2000, to remind people of what the economy was like when he was running the first time in 1992, that they would have carried New Hampshire for Gore.

MORTON: Which would, of course, have made him president. And this time, Clinton's been a hit here before, helped elect the city's black mayor, John Street. But can a politician really transfer his appeal, get people to vote for somebody else?

BRODER: Not directly. But I think in the case of President Clinton, with his personality and his history with urban constituencies, blacks particularly, there is a chance that he will really affect the race.

MORTON: A chance? John Kerry will take it, gladly.

Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: And by the way, we have learned that in addition to campaigning here in Pennsylvania today, and on in Florida, Bill Clinton will also be campaigning this week for John Kerry in New Mexico and Arkansas, as well as Nevada. Those three additional states added to Bill Clinton's itinerary.

Well, as you might imagine, Republicans are not particularly impressed by Bill Clinton's stumping for Kerry. We heard earlier from the Kerry camp. So we'll get the other side from a Bush campaign spokeswoman.

Plus, we'll go in the trenches for the ground war in Florida when INSIDE POLITICS continues.


WOODRUFF: As the markets get set to close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Lou Dobbs in New York for another installment of "The Dobbs Report."

Hello, Lou.


Investor confidence declining in October. For a fourth straight month, the survey by UBS shows rising energy costs and concerns about the job market the main reasons.

Nearly three out of five people in this survey say they're concerned about the outsourcing of jobs from the United States to other countries. And it could be a telling number. Forty-five percent say the economy is now either slowing down or entering a recession.

Another report shows wealthy Americans are becoming increasingly worried about the economy. According to a group that tracks these studies, the attitudes of affluent consumers' confidence in the overall economy has slipped significantly since July. Seventy-six percent of those surveyed say they're concerned about the direction of the economy. That is concerning because many of those surveyed are business owners, and they hold the power to create jobs, of course.

Oil prices today pulled back from record levels this session. Falling 63 cents to $54.54 a barrel. And on Wall Street, the major stock index is moving lower today.

As the final trades are now being counted, the Dow Jones Industrial's off just about seven points. The Nasdaq Composite is down one point. The dollar continues to decline, falling to the lowest level against the euro in eight months.

And coming up tonight here on CNN at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," we'll be reporting on new figures that show violent crime declining again. And the decline is related to three-strike sentencing. Yet, surprisingly, California is one of those states considering softening its tough three strikes law.

California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, is fighting Proposition 66, the initiative that would ease the three strikes law. And so is a father, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993.


MARC KLAAS, KLAASKIDS FOUNDATION: Could a law like three strikes have saved Polly's life? There's absolutely no question about that. The individual who had committed the crime against Polly was a habitual offender.


DOBBS: Also tonight, hundreds of tons of powerful explosives have disappeared south of Baghdad. Tonight on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," we investigate how this could happen and what now can be done about it. And in this, the final week of the presidential campaign, I'll be joined by former presidential speechwriter and columnist Peggy Noonan and Kerry campaign adviser Kiki McLean.

And with all 435 seats up for election in the House of Representatives, I'll be joined by both a leading Democratic and Republican Congressman responsible for getting the representatives of their parties elected.

Now back to Judy Woodruff -- Judy?

WOODRUFF: Lou, I'm here in Philadelphia, where Bill Clinton has emerged after heart surgery. He's going to be on the campaign trail for John Kerry. What's your sense on how much of an effect Clinton will have?

DOBBS: It's an interesting question, because obviously the Kerry campaign believes he will have considerable effect. The purpose of putting him out there is obviously to appeal, first and foremost, to the party's base and, specifically within that base, the African- American voter.

And concern, as you know, Judy, and as been documented concern about some of the polling numbers showing less than historic support by African-Americans for the nominee of the Democratic party, Senator Kerry.

Bill Clinton -- although thinner, obviously, following heart surgery seven weeks ago looks, for all the world, to be a man who's relishing the role. And it's anybody's guess as to how effective he will be in this.

WOODRUFF: We will maybe see over the next five or six days. Looks like he's going to be in about five states with John Kerry. All right. Lou Dobbs, we'll see you at 6:00 tonight Eastern. Thank you very much.

INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: Eight days and miles to go as Election Day draws near. How close are the presidential polls?

Reaching for the stars. Actor and activist Tim Robbins tells us what he's doing to influence the race for the White House.


Now, live from the CNN Election Express in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.

WOODRUFF: Welcome back from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where we have a spectacular view of this historic city in a state that will help tilt the presidential race one way or another.

We're here in large part because John Kerry brought out a big gun in Philadelphia today -- none other than William Jefferson Clinton, who had quadruple bypass surgery just last month.

Earlier, Kerry accused the Bush administration of committing one of its, quote, "greatest blunders," by not securing tons of powerful explosives now missing from Iraq. Kerry's next stop -- Michigan.

President Bush is in Iowa this hour for two events after an earlier campaign stop in Colorado. While his campaign downplayed the report of missing explosives in Iraq, Bush accused Kerry of having a dangerous wait-and-see approach to fighting the war on terror.

Let's listen in live now to the president in Council Bluffs, Iowa.


BUSH: He says that by fighting terrorists in the Middle East, America has, quote, "created terrorists where they did not exist." This is his argument, that terrorists are somehow less dangerous or fewer in number if America avoids provoking them.

But this represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the enemy. We're dealing with killers who have made the death of Americans the calling of their lives. If America were not fighting these killers west of Baghdad and in the mountains of Afghanistan and elsewhere, what does Senator Kerry think they would do?

Would they begin leading productive lives of service and charity? Would the terrorists who behead innocent people on camera just be quiet and peaceful citizens if we had not liberated Iraq? We are fighting the terrorists with our military in Afghanistan and Iraq and beyond so we do not have to face them in the streets of our cities.


America is not to blame for terrorists' hatred. And no retreat by America would appease them. We don't create terrorists by fighting them. We defeat the terrorists by fighting them.


Our second difference -- our second difference concerns Iraq. I believe victory in Iraq is essential to victory in the war on terror. And we have added a strategy to achieve that victory. The stakes in that country are high. If a terror regime were allowed to reemerge in Iraq, terrorists would again find a home, a source of funding, and vital support.

They would correctly conclude that free nations do not have the will to defend themselves. As Iraq succeeds as free society at the heart of the Middle East, an ally on the war on terror and a model for hopeful reform in a troubled region, the...

WOODRUFF: President Bush speaking to a crowd in Council Bluffs, Iowa. We're listening to just an excerpt of the president. Earlier today, we heard the president speaking to a crowd in Colorado. We want you to know that separately today, we've also listened briefly to John Kerry campaigning in New Hampshire and then a few hours ago John Kerry campaigning right here in Philadelphia along with former President Bill Clinton.

Well, with just eight days until the election, let's take a closer look at the latest snapshots of the Bush-Kerry race. Here, again, our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


KERRY: God bless you all. Thank you. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): It's getting closer. This weekend's CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll shows George W. Bush leading John Kerry by five points among likely voters nationwide, 51 to 46 percent. A week ago, Bush was leading by eight points. A five-point lead is within the margin of error for this poll.

Among all registered voters, the race is even closer -- Bush 49, Kerry 47. Today's CNN/USA Today"/Gallup poll comes after four others released this weekend. They show a narrow Bush lead among likely voters, ranging from one to five percent. The average: Bush 49 percent, Kerry 46.

Both campaigns are rallying the base. Democrats have brought out Bill Clinton, while Bush himself is playing to the GOP base.

BUSH: I'm a compassionate conservative, and proudly so.

SCHNEIDER: It's working. Seventy percent of voters strongly agree that the stakes in this election are higher than in previous years -- Democrats even more than Republicans. Back in 1996 in the race between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, only 32 percent felt that way.

Both campaigns are also going after swing voters. The Bush campaign by bringing out Rudy Giuliani and Arnold Schwarzenegger, while Kerry himself is playing to swing voters.

KERRY: This isn't about being a Democrat or a Republican. It's about bringing Democrats and Republicans together for a higher purpose.

SCHNEIDER: How many swing voters are still out there? The CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll shows seven percent of voters have not firmly made up their minds. They tend to have a more favorable personal opinion of Bush than of Kerry. But their top issue is the economy. Terrorism ranks low in their concerns. That's good news for Kerry.

So is this -- 62 percent of the remaining swing voters are women, most of them unmarried. What political figure is known to appeal to women particularly on economic issues?

CLINTON: On the economy, we have just lived through four years of the first job losses in 70 years.


SCHNEIDER: How divided is the country? The poll asked voters whether they felt President Bush is more of a uniter or a divider. The answer: 48 percent call Bush a united, 48 percent call him a divider. Americans are divided over whether Bush is dividing the country -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: You can't get more divided than that. All right. Bill Schneider, thank you very much. Coming up, we'll get the Bush camp's take on those polls and the state of this presidential race from spokeswoman Jennifer Miller. And when it comes to politics, actor Tim Robbins is known for speaking his mind. We expect he'll do just that when we joins us a little bit later.


WOODRUFF: Here we are live in Philadelphia this Monday. Earlier on INSIDE POLITICS we heard from Joe Lockhart, a senior adviser with the Kerry campaign. Now for the Republican take on how this election is looking, let's talk to, from Arlington, Virginia, Bush campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Millerwise. Jennifer, thank you for being with me.

Let's talk first about the disappearance of that 380 tons of explosive material in Iraq. It is not just Democrats but others who are pointing and saying this is a failure on the part of the administration to keep this kind of material safe and out of the hands of people who could use it in a dangerous way.

JENNIFER MILLERWISE, BUSH CAMPAIGN SPOKESWOMAN: You know, certainly John Kerry has been feeling the fire on this. This is something we have come to see from John Kerry. He's grasping at the latest headlines and trying to politicize it and I think that's what happens when you don't have a record you can talk about because it is so far out of the mainstream. You have no vision for the future when it comes to how to win and fight the war on terror.

So this latest development only further shows that John Kerry still has yet to take a position on whether or not this nation is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. These very same kinds of weapons, those same weapons that he was saying were not a threat to the United States when the United States was destroying weapons, now they are saying they are a threat. I think it just further confuses and further shows that John Kerry has yet to take a stance on the most critical issue facing us in this election.

WOODRUFF: Whose responsibility was it to keep track of and keep an eye on those weapons or that dangerous explosive material?

MILLERWISE: I certainly think the Pentagon is probably a better place for those sorts of questions. What I would think that we're focusing on is the choice the American people have in that who will keep this country safer. You have President Bush who has shown strong and decisive leadership and that's why you see him surging ahead in the polls and you have John Kerry whose record is even more of a problem for him than his constant flip-flopping when it comes to issues of national security.

WOODRUFF: Let me read to you -- I read to Joe Lockhart a newspaper endorsement of George Bush this morning -- this afternoon and I want to read to you from the "Tampa Tribune" which didn't endorse either candidate but the newspaper says, "we had fully expected to stand with Bush whom we endorsed in 2000 because his politics generally reflected ours" but it goes on to say, "we're unable to endorse President Bush for reelection because of his mishandling of the war in Iraq, his record deficit spending, his assault on open government and so forth, his failed promise to be a uniter not a divider." What do you say to this newspaper and the people in the Tampa area?

MILLERWISE: I tell the people in the Tampa area that this election as we've always said is going to be about a choice. They have got a candidate who has consistently been on the wrong side of trying to secure this nation. Whether it was when John Kerry wanted to gut some of our key weapons systems in the height of the first Cold War, his failure to support the first Gulf War, the fact that he tried to cut critical intelligence capabilities to the tune of $6 billion year after the first World Trade Center bombing and the fact that even today eight days out we do not know whether or not he thinks that was the right thing to do to go in and remove Saddam Hussein from power.

You have President Bush who says we need to go on the offense. We need to fight terrorists where they live, where they breathe and where they're training. John Kerry is still living in a pre-September 11 mind set and would take us back to the days where we tried to have, as his words, were terrorism that was nothing more than a nuisance. I think the American people saw the nuisance that John Kerry was referring and I don't think that's not a word they would use to describe the threat.

WOODRUFF: Let me also ask you about some economic figures coming out. We know the stock market was down at the end of last week to its lowest point I believe this year. Lou Dobbs was reporting a few minutes ago, consumer confidence is down. The price of gasoline is at a record high. Over $2 a gallon in this country. Is any of this going to hurt George Bush as he faces the voters on election day?

MILLERWISE: I think voters recognize what our economy has been through, recession, the World Trade Center attack, you know, corporate scandals and two wars. And despite that we have a 5.4 percent unemployment rate. Let's not forget this is the same unemployment rate -- we have Bill Clinton out there trying to prop John Kerry up in the state of Pennsylvania that Al Gore won by five percentage points which shows a lot about where the Kerry campaign right now. This is the same unemployment rate that Bill Clinton was running on in 1996 when he was running for reelection.

So if you look at what is the American dream? Something John Kerry clearly thinks is dead. It's s kids going to college. We have more going to college than ever before. Homeownership. More owning homes than ever before. More people are saving for their retirement and investing than ever before. We have the same unemployment rate that Bill Clinton was bragging about just a few years ago.

WOODRUFF: We'll have to leave it there. Thank you very much. We appreciate it.

All eyes are on the state of Florida among other places as this presidential campaign draws to a close. Just ahead the battle for votes is house to house and neighborhood to neighborhood in the Sunshine State. Our John King takes a closer look.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: Where is Carthage? These are some pictures that came to CNN just a few minutes ago. These are the parents of Senator John Edwards, the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Bobbie Edwards and her husband, Wallace Edwards. Again, John Edwards' parents voting in Carthage, North Carolina, their home town in the state of North Carolina.

We assume parents do vote for their child. Well, with just eight days to go, it's literally crunch time for the Bush and the Kerry campaigns. And perhaps nowhere is the push to get out the vote more important than in the state of Florida. As our John King reports, the Bush and Kerry teams are fanning out across the state in an effort to get every possible supporter to the polls.


JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ground zero in the fight for Florida, and Arthenia Joyner (ph) doesn't like to take no for an answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've got to do so many things.

KING: Joyner pushes this man to take advantage of early voting and promises to keep track.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I'm going come back and make sure.

KING: The ground war is waged one door, one voter at a time. Tell Joyner, a Democratic state representative, you have got company and she'll invite herself in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know that early voting is going on right now.

KING: Democrats are encouraged by early voting turnout in African-American neighborhoods in Tampa and elsewhere. They think it could be a difference here in Florida and credit an organizing push far superior to four years ago.

Volunteers with vans target registered Democrats with a poor history of turning out to vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys are making democracy happen here in Florida.

KING: Spanish speakers are in demand as volunteers sign up to work the phones and local Democrats still bitter at the contested election of four years ago welcome all the volunteer help pouring in from out of state for the final week push.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Enjoy the humidity. KING: In a state decided by just 537 votes last time, every vote and every volunteer matters. Team Bush promises not to be outworked on the ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm Harriet Ackerly (ph), I'm calling on behalf of President Bush.

KING: Barbecue was a reward for early voting in Pinellas County, the St. Petersburg-Clearwater area. This is GOP headquarters in Brandenton, just outside Tampa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So if you can go in groups of twos or threes. Inside each bag you'll find a clipboard. And it will give specific houses and addresses that you will go to.

KING: Computers crunch the names and numbers nowadays and the appeals are carefully targeted. This leaflet draws contrasts on abortion and gay marriage in English and Spanish for the area's growing population of Latino Catholics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be splitting up. There's about -- let's see, we have got 28 houses on this street.

KING: Alex Yucare (ph) is only 17, but an organizing veteran, plenty of stories about feisty dog encounter, this, his first effort to court the vote of a voice from above.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're just volunteers for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

KING: No one home means leaving some literature. This the type of stop that makes all the walking worth it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can I get a Bush sign?

KING: Twenty-eight houses on the list this day. Dozens more in the final week ahead. Democracy at its most basic and time is running short.

John King, CNN, Brandenton, Florida.


WOODRUFF: It is running short.

Well, he's an actor on a political mission. Straight ahead, Tim Robbins reaches out to supporters of Ralph Nader. We'll tell you what he wants them to do on Election Day.


WOODRUFF: Here in Philadelphia this Monday, well, some former Ralph Nader supporters who backed the consumer advocate four years ago are working hard now to lessen his effect on the race for the White House this time around. The so-called Unity Campaign is focused on getting Nader supporters to vote for John Kerry. Among the campaign's members, actor Tim Robbins. And he's with us now from New York.

Tim Robbins, thanks for talking with me. You were with Ralph Nader four years ago.

TIM ROBBINS, ACTOR: Yes, I was, I was a supporter four years ago.

WOODRUFF: And why not in 2004?

ROBBINS: Well, in 2000 Ralph was bringing up issues that weren't being talked about by either Bush or Gore. This year, beginning in the primary season with Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton and Carolyn Moseley Braun, they were all bringing up issues Ralph was talking about.

And those issues have worked their way into the national debate. Also, this year, unlike 2000, there are a tremendous amount of progressive organizations that have mobilized and organized voters across the nation from to America Coming Together to Howard Dean's organization. All of which are bringing up issues that Ralph was bringing up the last time.

I think Ralph said recently that -- I think he feels like a lone voice. But he no longer is a lone voice out there. His issues, his concerns are being addressed by the Democratic Party. And I don't see the relevance of his campaign this time.

WOODRUFF: But why sweat Ralph Nader. He's at 1 percent in many states, maybe 2 percent. What is the big worry about him?

ROBBINS: I think the worry is that in some states, New Mexico, for example, that 1 percent might be the difference between a Bush presidency and a Kerry presidency.

And I would like to urge progressives all across the country that I don't think we can survive a Bush presidency. Certainly there is no ear in a Bush White House to progressives' issues. There will be an ear in the Kerry White House because the progressives will have a lot to do with him getting elected.

WOODRUFF: But those people who are still supporting Ralph Nader through all that this country has been through over the last four years, you have got to believe they are a hardcore 1 or 2 percent, do you really believe you can change their minds?

ROBBINS: Well, we can try. That is why I'm here, to try to urge people that are inclined that way to know that there are organizations that are out there on the Internet that are dealing with issues that you are concerned with.

And believe me, everybody knows that the first day of a Kerry presidency those progressive organizations aren't going away. They're going to continue to work on the issues they care about and try to hope that some of the agenda will enter the Kerry presidency. But at least there will be an open ear in a Kerry presidency which we have clearly found out is not the case with Bush. WOODRUFF: So where are you going to be working? Where are you going to be out talking to people over the next eight days, Tim Robbins?

ROBBINS: Wherever I'm invited. I have been invited here today. I may go to a couple swing states later in the week. I have been out registering voters in swing states with the tour -- the rock tour, I went out with Pearl Jam and registered a lot of voters.

There are organizations that are mobilizing voters on Election Day and election monitors. And I think -- I would also like to say that it is very important that if you are a newly registered voter and you show up and you're not on the rolls, they have what they call provisional ballots this time and you can insist on voting even if you are not on the rolls and we'll let the lawyers sort that out after the election.

WOODRUFF: Very quickly, did you try to talk Nader out of running?

ROBBINS: I did. I was part of his exploratory committee. I along with about 50 other people all urged him not to run. And so he came out of the exploratory phase with everyone telling him not to run and ran anyway.

So that's Ralph.

WOODRUFF: And the rest is history. Tim Robbins, thanks very much, we appreciate you talking with us...

ROBBINS: My pleasure, thanks for having me.

WOODRUFF: Thanks very much. Well, that's it for this Monday edition of INSIDE POLITICS in Philadelphia. I'm Judy Woodruff. Be sure and join us again tomorrow. We are still in Pennsylvania, in Harrisburg, the capital of this swing state.

"CROSSFIRE" starts right now.


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