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Clinton Presidential Library Opens; Dems Question Kerry's Use of Campaign Funds; San Diego Write-In Candidate in Legal Battle Over Ballots

Aired November 18, 2004 - 15:30   ET



ANNOUNCER: Bill Clinton unveils his presidential library.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What it is to me is the symbol of not only what I tried to do, but what I want to do with the rest of my life. Building bridges from yesterday to tomorrow, building bridges across racial and religious and ethnic and income and political divides. Building bridges.

ANNOUNCER: We'll examine the legacy and future of the 42nd commander in chief.

Money in the bank. Did John Kerry play Scrooge with fellow Democratic candidates in this year's election, and will they demand payback?

Cowabunga, a former surfer is making a political splash in California. We'll check the current on the San Diego mayor's race.

Now, live from Washington, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.


JUDY WOODRUFF, HOST: Thank you for joining us.

He's been out of office for almost four years, but former President Bill Clinton returned to political center stage today in his home state of Arkansas.

President Bush and former presidents Bush and Carter joined Mr. Clinton for the official dedication of the Clinton presidential center. We have extensive coverage of today's events, beginning with CNN's Kelly Wallace.


KELLY WALLACE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While the skies did not cooperate, members of the presidential club did. Past presidents and the present one braving the elements to salute the new library of one of their own, William Jefferson Clinton.

JIMMY CARTER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At the end of a very difficult political year, more difficult for some of us than others, it is valuable for the world to see two Democrats and two Republicans assembled together, all honoring the great nation that has permitted us to serve. We are truly grateful to you.

WALLACE: The 39th president and then the 41st, the man who lost to the then Arkansas governor in 1992.

GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Bill Clinton was one of the most gifted American political figures in modern times. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

And here in Arkansas you might say he grew to become the Sam Walton of national retail politics. And seeing him out on the campaign trail, it was plain to see how he fed off the energy and hopes and aspirations of the American people. Simply put, he was a natural, and he made it look too easy, and oh, how I hated him for that.

WALLACE: And then President Bush recognizing the former politician and the current one.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: One day more than 30 years ago inside the Yale Law Library a fellow student walked over to Bill Clinton and said, "If you're going to keep staring at me and I'm going to keep staring back, we ought to at least know each other's name. Mine is Hillary Rodham. What is yours?"

WALLACE: Campaign '04 definitely in the air with John Kerry in the audience, and campaign '08 certainly the buzz, with talk of a possible Hillary run for the presidency.

But this was her husband's day, and she showed her practical side in light of the nonstop rains.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: Thank you for your forbearance and your extraordinary patience today as we celebrate the dedication of this extraordinary institution.

WALLACE: It was a star-studded event featuring performances by Bono...


WALLACE: ... a sign of how even as a former president he remains a rock star.

B. CLINTON: If my beloved mother were here, she would remind me that rain is liquid sunshine.

WALLACE: And even as Bill Clinton dedicates his presidential library and tries to build a legacy, he remains forever passionate about politics.

B. CLINTON: Our differences do matter, but our common humanity matters more. So, I tell you, we can continue building our bridge to tomorrow. It will require some red American line drawing and some blue American barrier breaking. But we can do it together.


WALLACE: And one anecdote to explain and show how knowledgeable Bill Clinton is about politics and how he played a hands-on role in the building of this presidential library.

Not too long ago, we're told, he was looking that exhibits, and he saw the 1992 Electoral College map. And he saw that Montana was in red. And he told an aide, "I won Montana."

And the aide said, "No, you didn't."

Well, they placed a bet and sure enough the former president was right. He won Montana, we're told, by about 10,300 votes. And so they quickly had to change that Electoral College map, Judy, to turn Montana into blue in time for the opening of this library.

WOODRUFF: I guess when you win, you remember every single state, if not every single number in the state.

WALLACE: I guess you do. You never forget it, that's right.

WOODRUFF: You never forget.

Kelly Wallace, thank you very much for that report from Little Rock.

Well, among those who saw the Clinton presidency from the inside is Rahm Emmanuel. He served Bill Clinton first as a campaign aide and later as a senior advisor in the White House. Today he is a Democratic congressman from the state of Illinois.

Rahm Emmanuel joins me now from Little Rock.

Congressman Emmanuel, two weeks ago the Democrats had a pretty bad drumming at the polls. Today the rain. Do you think somebody is trying to send Democrats a message?

REP. RAHM EMMANUEL (D), ILLINOIS: No, I think the Democrats got it. I think we're fine on that. I don't think there's a message here in the rain, but there is a message on election day. And I think we got to take stock of that and what it means and then build for 2006 and 2008 and beyond.

WOODRUFF: Some nostalgia for you today, Rom Emmanuel?

EMMANUEL: Say that again, Judy?

WOODRUFF: Some nostalgia for you?

EMMANUEL: Well, you know, during part of it, I must admit, while it was raining I cut inside the library and purposely went walking around, and you start listening to the State of the Union speeches that are on the video there. You see some of the stuff on the Middle East from welfare reform, from the crime Bill signing. And it's not only history, but something that you lived. And so it brings back all those memories of friendships, the arguments, the late-night discussions. And I also think that, you know, why all of us in some way or another got into public service, to make a difference and make a contribution. And we left our little -- our little thumbprint on America.

And so there's no doubt it's -- it's gut wrenching, as well as inspiring.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Rom Emmanuel, we're going to be forever discussing Bill Clinton's legacy, but you know people are already pointing out, well, whatever his legacy, the Democrats lost in 2000. They lost even worse in 2004. Was there really anything enduring about the Clinton political legacy?

EMMANUEL: Well, Judy, that's a good question, because I think that one of the questions is, this is true about any president who's a two-term president. Will Clintonism as a philosophy outlive Bill Clinton's presidency?

I think it does. I mean, my own election I ran on that, not only that agenda, that record. But I think as other -- as Senator Clinton has, as Governor Bill Richardson has and others have embraced it. I do think both his political operating philosophy, as well as his policies are ones that I think are the key for Democrats, whether they want to regain the White House and become a majority party.

Nobody will ever be able to do it with the zest and the flare that he did it, but I do think he has the combination to how Democrats become a Democratic -- become a majority party again.

WOODRUFF: But it sounds like you're saying that's not what John Kerry embraced in this campaign.

EMMANUEL: Well, I mean, that's a longer discussion, Judy. I do think he embraced parts of it. My own analysis is and my own feeling is that what was missing was a vision about how America and Americans can succeed -- can succeed in the 21st Century and how the 21st Century can remain an American century like that latter half of the 20th Century.

And I don't think it was all there. And had he done that, I think he'd be president of the United States. It's not a criticism so much as an observation.

And I think that he would acknowledge that you have a war going on, and it's hard to get to the rest of what you needed to say. That is that he talked about respected abroad and strong at home and I don't think all of strong at home got heard in the campaign.

WOODRUFF: Where do the Democrats go from here?

EMMANUEL: Well, I think we have, one, some soul searching. Two, we have to come up with an agenda about robust reform, about changing America so this is a country for all of Americans. And that means making sure -- I wrote a piece October 15, 2003, about tax reform and why that could be winning for Democrats. We have ideas about how to make the tax code simpler. Not only simpler that it doesn't raise taxes on the middle class while we reform it.

How to strengthen Social Security and not privatize it. You can personalize it but not privatize it.

And also how to ensure that, in this changing times, that everybody has a chance at an educational opportunity, and that is and go to college. Because with that, you, Judy, myself, we're successful because of the love of our parents and an ability to get a higher education. We need to make sure more Americans have that, not less.

That's an agenda and also a vision, and not just a tick list, but a vision of what tomorrow can be so Americans can make the 21st Century their century.

WOODRUFF: Congressman Rahm Emmanuel there, a veteran of the Clinton White House there on a rainy day in Little Rock to celebrate the opening of the Clinton presidential center.

Thank you very much, we appreciate it.

EMMANUEL: Judy, the rain doesn't -- the rain doesn't dampen your spirits.

WOODRUFF: That's pretty clear from watching all of you there. We appreciate it.

EMMANUEL: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: News about Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton's political future leads the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily."

New York Governor George Pataki has joined those who say native New Yorker Colin Powell would be a strong opponent for Senator Clinton in 2006. Powell, of course, has just announced he is leaving his post as secretary of state, and he's made no mention of running for any political office.

Yesterday, Pataki described Powell as a man of intelligence, character and dignity. Pataki himself has also been mentioned as a possible Clinton opponent.

After 16 days of counting, Republican Dino Rossi apparently has won the Washington state governor's race. But the contest is headed for a mandatory recount.

Rossi defeated Democrat Christine Gregoire by a razor thin 261 votes out of more than 2.8 million ballots cast. The Washington secretary of state has predicted that the machine recount could change the outcome by several hundred votes.

Rhode Island Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee says new Democratic Senate leader Henry Reid called him after the election and asked him to switch parties.

Chafee, a Republican moderate who was clashed with President Bush, was known to be considering a party switch, but he ultimately decided to stay in the GOP. He says Reid offered, quote, "no deal or anything like that."

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry is taking some heat from within his own party over his outreach to Hispanic voters. Simon Rosenberg, the leader of the centrist group, New Democrat Network, which spent about $6 million trying to win Hispanic votes for Kerry, says that Kerry, quote, "Did not compete adequately for Hispanic votes, period."

But a spokesman for the DNC says it had its most extensive outreach to Hispanics in history.

Well, some fellow Democrats are also unhappy with John Kerry over how he managed his campaign cash. Up next, reaction to word that Kerry had a lot of money left in the bank when the campaign ended, money that some Democrats say should have been put to use.

A surfer turned city council member shakes up San Diego. Bill Schneider introduces us to a woman whose write-in campaign could wipe out the political establishment.

And later, larger than life in both success and failure. We consider Bill Clinton's place in America's memory.

This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.


WOODRUFF: We have some breaking news we want to tell you about. The Associated Press is reporting that Arlen Specter now has won the support of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which ensures that he will be the chairman of that panel.

There had been some controversy since some remarks Senator Specter made right after election about the difficulty President Bush would have in getting a nominee confirmed to the Supreme Court if the nominee was -- had too strong a position against abortion rights.

And after days of talking with his Senate colleagues, the senator from the state of Pennsylvania has apparently persuaded all of them, the Republican members of the judiciary committee that he will move quickly and, as he says, move fairly to deal with any of the president's nominees, should a vacancy occur on the Supreme Court.

You just saw in there. He's been meeting with Senator Orrin Hatch, who is the chairman of that committee who is stepping down.

Well, some Democratic Party leaders are questioning why John Kerry finished the presidential campaign with more than $15 million in the bank. They say the money should have been spent, either to defeat President Bush or help Democrats in races across the country. Democrats lost seats, as we know, in both the Senate and the House, and the party was forced to borrow money in the closing days of the campaign in order to support its congressional candidates.

With me now, former Gore campaign manager, Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.

Donna, should John Kerry have turned that money over to the party, or did he do the right thing by holding onto it?

DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, first of all, it's indefensible. They should have turned that money over to the party. They turned over a very vast sum amount to the state party and to the national party. But, clearly, the congressional committees needed money in those closing days of the campaign.

And also the campaign made strategic decisions to pull out of states, and at the time many of us thought that they pulled out because they didn't have the resources, like 2000, to compete in those states. And I'm referring to states like, of course, Missouri.

But now that they had cash on hand, they could have stayed and fought a better fight and also gave money -- give money to state parties to help them with some of the down ballot races.

WOODRUFF: Would that have made a difference if they had?

BAY BUCHANAN, AMERICAN CAUSE: It sure could have. You just never know when you're playing a chess game that tight.

But there's one of two things that's happened here, Judy. Either Kerry, John Kerry didn't have a clue and the campaign was just so inept that they didn't have a clue as to what kind of money was going in and out and so that they made a major mistake, total chaos in the campaign.

Or Kerry knew about it. If Kerry knew about this and approved it, that says his heart was not in it, that he was not giving everything to this cause. And he should be run out of the party.

It is inexcusable that he would deliberately choose to have a nest egg when this was over and actually risk the possibility that he would lose as a result.

BRAZILE: There's no indication that he'd know. I can tell you four years ago Al Gore did not know how much money we had left over, but I assured him that we had enough to cover our bills, and anything left over would be, you know, turned over and given to the committee.

I don't know if John Kerry, you know, had any knowledge of it. But the fact is going forward that money should be put in an election lockbox, so to speak, to help party nominees in Virginia and New Jersey in 2005 and help Nancy Pelosi and Senator Reid in 2006.

BUCHANAN: I was the controller of several campaigns, including Ronald Reagan's presidential campaigns. You know where every dime is. That's your job is to know where every dime it ask and tell this candidate we have this much. We can move this money over here, put it over here, in order to help them win.

You have to know that. If you don't have somebody in charge like that, somebody had just done an absolutely awful job of running a presidential campaign.

WOODRUFF: All right. Let's talk about Bill Clinton. His library, presidential center was dedicated today in Little Rock.

Donna, a lot of talk about the meaning of the Clinton presidency. Here we are four years later, and the Democrats are facing some pretty grim election numbers. And people are worried about their future.

BRAZILE: Well, first of all, Judy, from my friends who attended -- I decided not to go. I wanted to stay here. But they really, truly enjoyed it. It was like a bipartisan love fest down there in Little Rock. I don't think Little Rock will ever be the same again.

Bill Clinton was one magical, masterful figure inside the Democratic Party. It's going to be very tough to fill those shoes. But I do believe going forward the Democratic Party has the talent and the skills to be able to win back the White House in 2008 and, hopefully, win a number of congressional gubernatorial races going forward.

BUCHANAN: You know, these are special -- special times at those libraries when you have all the presidents come together. I was there for the Reagan one. And it really is a time when you're an American and you look and you're just so pleased that all the presidents have showed up there.

I think it's a good day. It's one that honors Bill Clinton. But I have a hard time, you know -- the Democrats are going to have to do a lot of rewriting before they make him a great president, but he does deserve his day for his library opening.

BRAZILE: He will be remembered as a president who was a bridge builder, who brought us out of debt and who created, you know, 22 million jobs. And I think history will treat Bill Clinton very well.

BUCHANAN: Yes, well, he's got a lot of things to do. You know, we spent many, many years where he brought national disgrace onto the White House. And it was rough times.

WOODRUFF: Bay, Bill Clinton, quickly, said he wanted Republicans and independents to come see his library. Are you going to go visit?

BUCHANAN: Well, not any time soon, but if I'm down there, I might peek and look and see if I can see exactly what kind of spin this man has put in there.

BRAZILE: There's no question that Bay will go if she'll get a free ticket to Little Rock, and hopefully we'll find her a ticket soon.

BUCHANAN: We'll go together, Donna.

WOODRUFF: We'll get both of you down there to Little Rock. Bay Buchanan, Donna Brazile, thanks very much.

BRAZILE: Thank you.

WOODRUFF: And we'll see you next week.

"Surfer Girl," it was one of the Beach Boys' big hit songs. Now there's a surfer girl who's a political hit.


BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ACTIVIST: Cowabunga. California's latest political wave is crashing right here on the shore in San Diego.


WOODRUFF: Up next, the surfer activist who could hang her board in the mayor's office.


WOODRUFF: Only in California. A very proud surfer and grass roots politician turned San Diego on its head when she jumped into the mayoral race as a write-in candidate.

Her story now from our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): A wave of voter populism is threatening to engulf San Diego, of all places.

DONNA FRYE, MAYORAL CANDIDATE, SAN DIEGO: It's your government. It means it's your city. All you have to do is take it back.

SCHNEIDER: Donna Frye's roots are in San Diego's surfing community.

FRYE: And it's no different with surfing than it is in public service.

SCHNEIDER: Frye's theme song might well be the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl."


SCHNEIDER: Surfer populism? Well, yes. She and her husband, renowned surfer Skip Frye, own a surf shop in San Diego. That's where her political career started.

FRYE: So when the surfers would come in and say, you know, start complaining to me, "Someone needs to do something. And we're getting sick. And we need to do clean up the pollution." The first thing I would do is hand them a voter registration card.

SCHNEIDER: She got elected to the city council in 2001 and became an advocate for surfers and small business against the big developers who have always controlled the city's politics.

This year San Diego has been rocked by fiscal crisis. It's been called "Enron by the Sea." In the march primary, incumbent mayor Dick Murphy was forced into a run off against a conservative opponent. A lot of angry voters demanded a different choice, a new wave, so to speak.

FRYE: It's like a big old wave. You know, it just sort of -- just goes right over your head, and all of a sudden you realize you're right in the middle of it and you need to act.

SCHNEIDER: Just five days before election day, Frye entered the run off as a write-in candidate. Can you do that? Apparently, yes.

STEVE ERIC, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO: The election code says that a write-in candidate can be in any election, primary, general, runoff or whatever.

SCHNEIDER: Frye got over 150,000 write-in votes on November 2. She's now about 4,000 votes behind the incumbent. The issue now before the courts is whether to count ballots where voters wrote in Frye's name but neglected to fill in this little bubble next to it, as the law requires.

ERIC: And that may well be the margin of difference.

SCHNEIDER: Her critics are outraged.

ROGER HEDGECOCK, TALK SHOW HOST: She's filing a lawsuit saying, "Well, yes, those are the laws and those are the rules, but now I'm losing. And so some of those laws have got to be bent, because I'm supposed to win this election."

SCHNEIDER: The outcome, you might say, is on the bubble.

(on camera) Donna Frye could become San Diego's next mayor or the city's next opposition leader. Either way, surfer populism has arrived California's latest political wave, dude.

Bill Schneider, CNN, San Diego.


WOODRUFF: As he said, the outcome really is on the bubble.

Well, at first glance former President Clinton and President Bush don't appear to have much in common, but initial appearances can be deceiving. The story when we return.


WOODRUFF: It's 4 p.m. on the East Coast and as the markets get set to close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Lou Dobbs in New York for "The Dobbs Report."

Hello, Lou.

LOU DOBBS, HOST, "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT": Hi, Judy. An explosive Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill today about the arthritis drug Vioxx manufactured by Merck. Republican Senator Charles Grassley accused the FDA in that hearing of ignoring warnings from its own scientist. One of those FDA scientists, David Graham today testified that drugs other than Vioxx also need far more research. Among the drugs that he noted, the cholesterol drug Crestor, the painkiller Bextra and the acne drug Accutane. That same scientist said the FDA is incapable of protecting the American public.

On Wall Street today stocks edged higher as the final trades are now being counted. The Dow Jones Industrials are up almost 24 points. The Nasdaq up 4. On the economic front today first time jobless claims declined slightly last week. The four-week moving average however rose slightly.

And the Conference Board's index of leading economic indicators fell for a fifth straight month is October marking the longest ring of decline since 1995 and it could well suggest economic growth may be slowing. The dollar today sunk to a new low against the euro before recovering slightly. Worries about the U.S. trade deficit continue to drag down the value of the dollar.

Coming up tonight on CNN, at 6:00 p.m. we continue our special report on the immigration crisis. Tonight we look at a town in Florida, home to a large number of illegal aliens, now the town is considering using taxpayer dollars to build a labor center, one that would match willing workers with willing employers.


TIMOTHY STEIGENGA, CORN-MAYA ADVOCACY GROUP: The federal government is not enforcing immigration laws everywhere. And the local government has a the duty to make the situation safe, clean, and best for all residents of (UNINTELLIGIBLE) as it possibly can.


DOBBS: Also tonight, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California discusses what President Bush's second term means for the future of the Democratic party and a host of issues that face the nation.

And Jerry Falwell will also join me to discuss what he calls the evangelical revolution that helped President Bush win his second term in office. We'll also talk about what evangelicals expect from the Bush administration.

Also our panel, "Freedom Under Fire." We will look at reporters facing criminal charges for refusing to reveal their sources. Just today Rhode Island reporter Jim Teracone (ph) found guilty for it, and "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller faces the same fate as she protects her sources. She will be my guest as well as prominent first amendment attorney Floyd Abrams and "U.S. News & World Report's" editor in chief Mort Zuckerman. All of that at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on CNN. Now back to Judy.

WOODRUFF: A lot of news attention today focused on president Clinton, the opening of his presidential library in Arkansas. How do you assess his legacy?

DOBBS: His legacy -- it's much too early to tell what that legacy will be. It was interesting today as we listened to him, for him to talk about -- I love the question, am I the only one here who likes George W. Bush and John Kerry? He marked a true bipartisan tone in his comments today. And if that legacy can be built upon, it would be a positive one indeed.

WOODRUFF: It surely would. All right, thank you very much. We'll see you at 6:00.

DOBBS: Thank you.

INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.


ANNOUNCER: Pomp and pageantry in Little Rock. With a former president working to cement a legacy as his successor continues to build one.

A political rock star. On a never-ending tour. Four years out of power, Bill Clinton continues to captivate.

And from Little Rock to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) presidential libraries offer opportunity to reflect, remember and sometimes redeem. Bruce Morton explores.



WOODRUFF: Welcome back. From world leaders to regular citizens and so-called friends of Bill, thousands of people gathered in Arkansas to dedicate the Clinton Presidential Center. A driving rain fell throughout the ceremony, soaking the crowd of well-wishers, celebrities and Washington political figures. Former presidents Carter and Bush along with the current President Bush praised Clinton and his political legacy. Gerald Ford, now 91, sent his regards. When he addressed the crowd, Bill Clinton said he hoped his library would serve to inspire people young and old of all political persuasions.


BILL CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The thing I want most is for people to come to this library, whether they are Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, to see that public service is noble and important. That the choices and decisions leaders make effect the lives of millions of Americans and people all across the world. I want young people to want to see not only what I did with my life, but to see what they could do with their lives.


WOODRUFF: President Bush and former president Clinton were generous in their praise of one another at today's event. While their backgrounds and political views in many ways could not be more different, our John King reports the current president and his predecessor have much in common.


JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The man of the moment, a Democrat. His successor, a Republican. So different in ideology but more alike than a passing glance might suggest.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president is not the kind to give up a fight. His staffers were known to say if Clinton were the Titanic, the iceberg would sink.

KING: Successful big game politicians respect each other for starters.

CLINTON: I remember the first time I ever heard George W. Bush give a speech in Iowa, and I called a friend of mine and I said my god that guy can beat us. He's a good politician.

KING: But the similarities run deeper. Both ran for Congress in their first try at elected politics and lost. Southern governors, education a favorite issue. A down to earth way of speaking and more.

FRANK GREER, FMR. CLINTON ADVISER: Both with deep religious faith and they care about people. You can feel the warmth when they are around people. They get a lot of strength from crowds and are very enthusiastic campaigners.

KING: Success born of experience. A rose garden handshake with president Kennedy stoked young Bill Clinton's presidential dreams. The current president is the son of a president. Very different roots but this in common. Years of nuts and bolts campaign work before they put their own name on the ballot. Mr. Clinton's campaign work dates back to college dates, and when he unveiled the former president's White House portrait last year, Mr. Bush made note of how his predecessor spent much of 1972.

BUSH: After all you have to be optimistic to give six months of your life running the McGovern campaign in Texas.

KING: Like Mr. Clinton Mr. Bush's years of campaign work brought experience that he would later use as a candidate himself.

HUGH HEDLO, GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY: Polling, television advertising, high power professional consulting, all the apparatus of what it means to sell a candidate.

KING: Behind their backslapping styles and smiles, two men with downright fierce competitive streaks, two campaigners who preach bipartisanship but never shied away from partisan hardball. Both were first term presidents struggling for their footing when tragedy struck. For Mr. Clinton it was Oklahoma City. For Mr. Bush, 9/11. Mr. Clinton rebounded time and again from character crisis, resilience his trademark. Mr. Bush won reelection despite an iffy economy and rising doubts about his war in Iraq. Resolve is his label of choice.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FMR. W.H. CHIEF OF STAFF: You need to have that strength of character that always gives you the glass half full not half empty. Clinton was like that, Bush is like that.

KING: Two students and creatures of politics who for all their differences also share the ultimate success in their rough and tumble profession -- two-term presidencies. John King, CNN, Little Rock, Arkansas.


WOODRUFF: Important way to think about that. Bill Clinton's moment in the spotlight is a reminder of his influence on American politics and it conjures memories of his often dramatic successes and at times bitter disappointments during his time in Washington.


(voice-over): Tremendously inspiring.

CLINTON: It depends upon what the meaning of the word is.

WOODRUFF: Tremendously disappointing, too. A bonafide cultural icon.

CLINTON: Usually briefs.

WOODRUFF: Whose greatest hits still trip off the tongue.

CLINTON: I feel your pain.

I still believe in a place called hope.

I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

WOODRUFF: Like songs that stick in your head and you just can't shake. He brought us together while dividing us. Elevating characters on to the world stage. This woman.

CLINTON: Two for the price of one.

WOODRUFF: And that one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Monica, just stop and let us take a picture.

WOODRUFF: Bill Clinton is the quintessential American, supersized. Dreaming big. Flying sometimes too close to the sun. Falling hard and coming back strong.

CLINTON: From time to time I have been called the comeback kid. WOODRUFF: And so he's stuck around like those songs you'll never forget. Brilliant and captivating. Sometimes foolish and weak. Forever a promise not quite fulfilled. A legacy still to be determined.


WOODRUFF: We want to show you live pictures coming into to us from College Station, Texas. This is Texas A&M University. This is the anniversary of the bonfire we all remember that happened at Texas A&M a year ago, a deadly bonfire that led to the deaths of 12 students. 27 others were injured. I'm sorry, five years ago. The fifth anniversary of that bonfire that was built and ended in tragedy at Texas A&M. These are live pictures coming in from College Station, Texas.

Tying up loose ends from the Bush/Kerry battle for the White House. Media outlets decide to keep their early exit poll results under wraps the next time. We'll explain their decision straight ahead.

Remembering the Clinton presidency. I'll talk with Clinton biographer David Maraniss.

And later Bruce Morton considers the presidential library and its role in preserving White House history.


WOODRUFF: It's the sort of news that's sure to please President Bush. His overall job approval rating has received a post-election boost. According to the American Research Group, the president's approval rating is now 51 percent, up six points from last month. His highest since last December. When it comes to how the president is handling the economy, 50 percent say they disapprove. 45 percent say they approve.

News media organizations are taking steps to try to correct one of the problems which surfaced on election day. You may recall by mid afternoon some television commentators and web bloggers were hinting that it appeared John Kerry might win. That assessment was the result of leaked information from the very early exit polls, which was then posted on the Internet by some web bloggers. To prevent that from happening again, exit poll information we are told now won't be released to media organizations until later in the day.

16 days after the election, there's a final vote count in Iowa. According to the "Des Moines Register" President Bush defeated John Kerry in Iowa by 10,059 votes. That is less than 1 percent of the 1.5 million votes cast. The newspaper's count is based on a survey of 99 county auditors. The office of the Iowa secretary of state is expected to release its final results later today. INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: As we have been telling you, thousands of people turned out this day for the Clinton library dedication indicative perhaps of the captivation the former president still has over many Americans. Joining me now "Washington Post" associate editor David Maraniss. He won a Pulitzer Prize covering the Clinton presidency and is the author of "First In His Class," a biography of Bill Clinton. You watched much of the ceremony today. What did you think?

DAVID MARANISS, AUTHOR, "FIRST IN HIS CLASS": It struck me first of all that Bill Clinton looked ashen and a bit older. That's the first thing I was thinking about and feeling sorry for him being out there in the rain. The other thing that struck me was that this is the culmination of his career in so many ways. It was -- in my biography it was 25 years ago he was starting out in Little Rock on a day like today, a rainy, icy day talking about pride and hope. And here it is at the end, and he's been really the only Democratic president in that whole span.

WOODRUFF: There's so much talk and there will continue to be talk about what really truly is the Clinton legacy, what endures of Bill Clinton. Given the shape the Democrats are in right now in November 2004, what is his political legacy?

MARANISS: I'm glad you put it that way because his legacy at this point really is largely political. He figured out in a very difficult three decades when Republicans were rising and dominant how to win back the White House. He has not been able to transfer that to anyone else yet because of his enormous political skills. But that legacy of how to do it is still there.

WOODRUFF: Is he someone that other politicians will learn from? Or will they move on now that the Democrats think they've found themselves in a pickle, if you will?

MARANISS: You know, it's a difficult question because of his relationship with the senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton. I think in many ways, Bill Clinton could be a more valuable adviser to the whole Democratic party if he did not have in the backdrop the idea that his wife very well might run for the presidency herself.

WOODRUFF: I will quote something you wrote about him. You said if politics exacerbated his dark side, it also offered the best opportunity for him to use his uncommonly bright exterior to counteract it by doing something outside himself and larger than himself.

MARANISS: Absolutely. He really tried to live in politics. He is the most political animal I have ever seen. And it started out even today with the way he turned the rain around saying it was liquid sunshine.

WOODRUFF: Absolutely. Is this a library you want to spend some time in?

MARANISS: Definitely. It has 80 million documents, none of which I have seen. And I just hope that they hold to their word and make this an accessible institution because that is where the real legacy will be defined in those documents.

WOODRUFF: So you are planning to spend some time literally spend some time in Little Rock?

MARANISS: I once said I'd spent enough time in Little Rock for a lifetime. I'm sure I will be back in a few years for quite awhile.

WOODRUFF: All right. David, thank you very much. He's the author of the book all of us who have tried to understand Bill Clinton keep close at our side. It's titled "First in His Class, A Biography of Bill Clinton."

Now that the Clinton library is open, you can access just about anything you ever wanted to know about his eight years in office. But it does not stop with president Clinton. Coming up, the real treasure troves of presidents past which go far beyond buttons and ball gowns.


WOODRUFF: The Clinton Center in ArKansas, which opened today, becomes the latest in a long line of presidential libraries. But such facilities did not come into being until well into the 20th century. CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton looks at what has become a tradition of the office.


BRUCE MORTON, CNN NATL. CORRESPONDENT: Franklin Roosevelt started the modern system of presidential libraries, donating his personal and presidential papers to the government and providing a building to house them on his Hyde Park estate. Herbert Hoover the president before Roosevelt has one. And so do the presidents who followed. The tradition is that the president raises the money to build the library, and then the National Archives takes over sorting and maintaining the papers. Before they got lost or burned when the barn caught fire or whatever. Scholars like this system better.

ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It's a wonderful source of information for historians but also a wonderful thing for the country because if you did not have these presidential libraries, then who knows where these materials would be.

MORTON: Each library includes a museum which generally favors its president. John Kennedy's gives the failed Bay of Pigs invasion a little space. Only a little. Same with Monica Lewinsky in the Clinton library. But the papers the scholars say are the real point.

DALLEK: The archival part of it, the area that organizes and releases the papers, they're meant to offer up the truth about a presidential administration, to show an administration once and for all. That's what historians want to get at the truth, what is the truth about a particular administration.

MORTON: The one library that is different is Richard Nixon's. He resigned in disgrace and insisted his papers and the famous Watergate tapes were his to destroy if he wanted. Congress said, no, they belong to the government and they are stored in the National Archives just outside Washington. But the hope is they will be moved to the Nixon library in California, available to scholars, like those of other presidents.

DALLEK: One hopes that once the Nixon library becomes a regular presidential library, that you will have archivists, professional archivists, government employees and that they will allow scholars, journalists, historians, biographers to use the material without bias.

MORTON: You can argue some libraries are ugly or too big. But it's probably good to have places where you can store some of the truths about America. Where it's been and what it's done. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.


WOODRUFF: Thank you, Bruce. The weather did not cooperate but that did not stop the man from singing in the rain. Up next, U2's Bono doing his thing at the opening of the Clinton presidential library.


WOODRUFF: As Bill Clinton said at the opening of his presidential library it was a perfect day, except for one thing. A steady, hard rain. But the rain did not stop U2's Bono. He wasn't Gene Kelly but he sure did sing.

You saw President Bush standing over there to get a better look. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now. Thanks for joining us.


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