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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Shopping Frenzy; Ukraine Election; Top Turkeys: Leftovers
Aired November 26, 2004 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Mall madness. Are Americans voting with their pocket books as the holiday shopping season gets under way?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've just had it with consumerism.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Buy, buy, buy.
ANNOUNCER: The quiet Capitol. Reflections on Washington at rest but still at war.
Pass the leftovers.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Pull up a chair and get out your knife as we prepare to do what everybody does the day after Thanksgiving... pick the carcass clean.
ANNOUNCER: Bill Schneider dishes up an extra helping of political "Turkeys of the Year."
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington, JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us on this busy holiday shopping day.
It pays to remember that Americans who registered their political divisions on Election Day also were of mixed minds about the economy. Our exit polls showed 47 percent of voters around the country thought the national economy was in excellent or good shape. Fifty-two percent said, though, that it was not good, or in poor shape. More than three weeks later, they have another chance to demonstrate their economic confidence or pessimism at the stores.
CNN's Allan Chernoff is watching today's shopping frenzy in New York.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.
Well, I can say that we have a buy-partisan evident under way here in New York City. Constituents from blue states and red states are coming together to deliver plenty of green for retailers. We have one consumer with us right now. She is Valencia Fornby. And she's actually an employee of the New York Police Department.
Valencia, tell us -- first of all, show us your booty.
VALENCIA FORNBY, SHOPPER: Oh, no, that's not nice!
CHERNOFF: No, plenty of -- plenty of shopping bags, I can see.
FORNBY: Oh, yes.
CHERNOFF: From Macy's, from Victoria's Secret, and also from the Gap.
CHERNOFF: Now, tell us exactly what have you purchased today?
FORNBY: OK. I purchased -- from Victoria, I bought some night gowns, some underwear. And, oh, and I got like a free lipstick. I can probably give that away. And from the Gap, I bought like -- something for my nephew and my niece.
CHERNOFF: Valencia, also tell us, you've been shopping since when? When did you exactly begin today?
CHERNOFF: So it's been a long day for you, tough?
CHERNOFF: You're aware that there people were here at 6:00 in the morning?
FORNBY: No, I didn't know that. I didn't know you could get up that early.
CHERNOFF: Yes, in fact. Yes. So you were actually a late arrival here.
FORNBY: Yes, I was. Yes.
CHERNOFF: OK. Valencia Fornby, thank you very much.
FORNBY: You're welcome.
CHERNOFF: Judy, as you can see behind me, the streets are packed with shoppers. Macy's is saying that they're expecting modestly better sales this year compared to last. Overall, industry-wide, the nation's retail federation is predicting gains of 4.5 percent this year.
Judy, back to you.
WOODRUFF: Thanks, Allan. And we appreciate Valencia sharing with us her -- her shopping. Thanks a lot. And thanks to you.
Now to some international flash points. President Bush sent something of a warning to the Ukraine and possibly Russia today. He says the world is watching closely as Ukrainian leaders try to resolve the disputed presidential election and allegations of vote fraud.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's just a lot of allegations of vote fraud that place their elections, the validity of their elections in doubt. The international community is watching very carefully.
People are paying very close attention to this. And hopefully it will be resolved in a way that brings credit and confidence to the Ukrainian government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Mr. Bush spoke about some other developments overseas during a lunch stop in Crawford, Texas. We'll have a live report on his remarks a little later on INSIDE POLITICS.
In Ukraine, European officials have been meeting with all sides in the election controversy. They reportedly set up a working group for further talks, but reached no other agreement. CNN's Jill Dougherty reports from Kiev on efforts to resolve the standoff peacefully.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: A dramatic meeting here in Kiev between the two men who claim they legally should be the president of the Ukraine. That is the government-backed candidate, the prime minister Viktor Yanukovych, and the opposition leader, Victor Yushchenko.
Meeting at a roundtable at the Mariinsky Palace, along with the outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, and a variety of European representatives led by Xavier Solana of the EU, an attempt to bring them together for some type of negotiations, some way of resolving this peacefully. Because, after all, on the streets of Kiev, there are -- there are hundreds of thousands of people, supporters of the opposition candidate and supporters of Mr. Yanukovych. And they have been there for five days in a row.
So as that continues, the opposition is now releasing something that they say will be a bombshell. They say that it is proof that there actually were irregularities in how the vote here in Ukraine was carried out. That is, audiotapes that the -- the opposition say prove that the supporters of the government-backed candidate decided to try to increase their votes illegally.
They say that they are going to bring that to the courts and try to prove what they have been saying all along. So a high-stakes gamble here. No word as to whether these talks, roundtable talks will lead to anything. But it's a first step, at least to establish some type of dialogue.
Jill Dougherty, CNN, Kiev, Ukraine.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Jill.
All over -- also overseas today, new calls to delay elections in Iraq. Coming up, is President Bush listening?
Plus, finding Terry McAuliffe's replacement. Conflicts over choosing a new DNC chairman.
Up next, sometimes the leftovers can be as tasty as the political "Turkeys of the Year."
This is INSIDE POLITICS, the place for campaign news.
WOODRUFF: Checking the headlines in our "Campaign News Daily," we now have a clearer timetable for Senator Jon Corzine's expected run for governor of New Jersey. The "Newark Star-Ledger" reports that Corzine plans to announce his candidacy Wednesday or Thursday in northern New Jersey. Corzine would be the first Democrat to run with acting Governor Richard Codey's plan still unclear.
A new study shows the top-giving corporate political action committees favored Republicans over Democrats by a 10-1 margin. The nonpartisan campaign finance tracking service, political money -- I'm sorry, Political MoneyLine, says 268 corporate PACs each donated $100,000 or more to presidential and congressional candidates during the '04 election cycle.
Nearly all of those PACs, 245 of them, gave most of their money to Republican candidates. Only 23 of the PACs gave more than have of their contributions to Democratic candidates.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Even after a Thanksgiving feast, many of us still have a taste for the turkey and stuffing in or refrigerators right now. It turns out our Bill Schneider also has a hankering for leftovers a day after serving up his "Turkeys of the Year."
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Yesterday, turkeys. Today, leftovers. So pull up a chair and get out your knife as we prepare to do what everybody does the day after Thanksgiving... pick the carcass clean.
Will this year's leftovers be better than yesterday's turkeys? Let's see. (voice-over): Leftover no. 5: the Illinois Republican Party was something of a turkey farm this year. After Jack Ryan withdrew from the Senate race because of embarrassing revelations, Illinois Republicans managed to come up with a new embarrassment: Alan Keyes.
ALAN KEYES (R), FMR. ILLINOIS SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I am from Maryland.
SCHNEIDER: So why was Keyes running for Senate in Illinois?
KEYES: I must leave the land of my forebears in order to defend the land of my spirit and my conscience and my heart.
SCHNEIDER: During the campaign, Keyes managed to insult just about everybody.
KEYES: Hillary Clinton spent a long time kind of researching what state in America was going to be opportune for her to cherry pick as a vehicle of her ambition.
SCHNEIDER: And his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama.
KEYES: He's really an extremist who has even countenanced infanticide in the hospitals in Illinois.
SCHNEIDER: Keyes ended up getting 27 percent of the vote. What an embarrassment.
Leftover no. 4: Minnesota's Democratic Senator Mark Dayton, who made this startling announcement in mid-October.
SEN. MARK DAYTON (D), MINNESOTA: I decided to close my office in the Russell Senate Office Building until after the upcoming election.
SCHNEIDER: Dayton cited a top-secret intelligence report warning of a possible terrorist attack. Did it occur to the senator that he might be alarming his staff and visitors?
DAYTON: Well, I'm not getting into a terrorist threat, no, but I'm taking the necessary precautions to protect my staff.
SCHNEIDER: There's leadership for you. And here's craziness...
Leftover no. 3: At a Kerry fund-raiser in New York this summer, Hollywood entertainers took harsh jibes at President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Whoopi Goldberg went over the top by making raunchy jokes about the president. At the end of the evening, Kerry made this comment.
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), FMR. PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Again, every performer tonight in their own way, either verbally or through their music, through their lyrics, have conveyed to you the heart and soul of our country.
SCHNEIDER: Whoopi! said the Bush campaign, promptly adopting Kerry's remark as a tag line at campaign rallies all over the country. BUSH: The other day my opponent said that a bunch of entertainers from Hollywood conveyed the heart and soul of America.
BUSH: I believe the heart and soul of America is found in places like Duluth, Minnesota.
SCHNEIDER: Thank you, Whoopi. Of course, the Bush campaign had to cope with embarrassments of its own, like...
Leftover, no. 2: when his daughters addressed the Republican National Convention and made cringe-inducing jokes about their grandmother.
BARBARA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE W. BUSH: She thinks "Sex and the City" is something married people do but never talk about.
SCHNEIDER: And about their parents...
JENNA BUSH, DAUGHTER OF GEORGE W. BUSH: Our parents are actually pretty cool. They do know the difference between mono and Bono.
SCHNEIDER: What turkey had the idea of getting them to do that?
And finally, the moment that in the view of some analysts defined the entire election. Our leftover of the year.
You know how the polls showed moral values was the top issue of concern to voters? Well, it may have started at the Super Bowl last February when Janet Jackson flashed some values of her own to an unsuspecting national audience.
The result? A public furor, FCC fines, tougher decency standards, and quite possibly the beginnings of a voter backlash that materialized at the polls nine months later.
(on camera): The wardrobe malfunction that may have elected a president. No leftover turkey breast ever caused that big a stir.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: We'll leave it at that.
And during the campaign season, we saw Republicans and Democrats closing ranks within the parties in an effort to get their candidates elected. But now that November 2 has come and gone, some dissension is emerging in the party ranks. We'll talk about that after the break.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) WOODRUFF: It's been less than a month since the election, but already we are seeing some internal power struggles in both parties. I spoke earlier with three of our regular analysts: Jonah Goldberg, of "The National Review Online"; Liz Marlantes, of "The Christian Science Monitor"; and Peter Beinart, of "The New Republic."
I began by asking Jonah about the president's inability to persuade some Republican congressman to support the intelligence reform bill, and what that says about his influence in his own party.
JONAH GOLDBERG, "NATIONAL REVIEW ONLINE": Actually, I don't think it says much because I don't think the president is that for it. I think he is not only for it, I think he wants to see it passed as a public thing, but I don't think the White House has put much pressure on this. And in many ways, I don't think they should.
I think on the merits, it's -- it's actually not a very important piece of legislation. It's a lot of political posturing. A lot of the tough political decisions were left out of the bill, like stuff on immigration reform and whatnot. And so, instead, it's a lot of moving boxes around on an organizational chart.
Some of it I think would be a big step back in terms of what it does with defense intelligence and DCI and those sorts of things. And so I think in some ways, there's a real reluctance among the White House to put a lot of effort in this because they actually don't believe in it on the merits.
WOODRUFF: Peter Beinart, not a very important piece of legislation?
PETER BEINART, "THE NEW REPUBLIC": Not at all. But if they really oppose this, then they should be honest enough as Jonah is to say that, to do this bait and switch where they say publicly, because it's popular, because they don't want to oppose the 9/11 families who are for it, and then allow their own Joint Chiefs of Staff and ostensibly their own defense secretary to basically go out and lobby against it is outrageous. They need to be on one side or the other on this. And if they're for it, they have to put political capital behind it.
GOLDBERG: But Peter, you can't say allow their Joint Chiefs of Staff to do this, because actually by law, my understanding is he's required to say what he actually thinks in the letter. And he can't order him not to.
BEINART: Well, but this is an administration that has spoken so much about unity here, and now they seem perfectly fine with somebody completely going off the reservation on an issue of this importance?
WOODRUFF: What does this say?
LIZ MARLANTES, "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR": Well, I was going to say, actually, I think it has the potential to become, or has already become a political problem in some ways for the White House. I agree they've been sending mixed signals, and they started out sending mixed signals. But at the same time now, Bush has made it clear that he does want this.
He's made a phone call to Sensenbrenner, and it doesn't look good to have the White House now out there saying they want this and members of his own party are against it. And so I do think in a way this got mishandled politically.
Because politically it's symbolic and it's important. And you had Bush coming out after the election, saying he's going to use his capital, that he's got this mandate. And suddenly, the first two things that we see happen in Congress is the flap over Arlen Specter and the Judiciary Committee and this.
WOODRUFF: Well, wait a minute. Is it important or isn't it? You've got the 9/11 families saying there's going to be blood on the hands of these members of Congress if this legislation isn't passed.
GOLDBERG: Yes, which is just purely outrageous rhetoric. The idea that somehow 9/11 -- another 9/11 will happen if we don't make these changes is just fanciful. And I don't know any policy expert who agrees with that.
The reality is that the important reforms that came out of the 9/11 Commission, many of them were already put into place by the Bush administration. Just -- just this week we saw George Bush talking about hiring a lot more intelligence agents, which is a real reform and a necessary reform. But these box-shuffling things, it is outrageous political posturing by the so-called 9/11 families, to jury-rig popular sentiment.
BEINART: But it's not just box-shuffling to say that this director of Central Intelligence right now has 12 percent of the budget of the intelligence committee. That's ridiculous.
You would never set up an institution that way. If you're going to have someone who's going to be responsible for intelligence, they should have responsibility for the intelligence budget, with some provisions to make sure that the military can deal with on--the- battlefield things.
That's a very sensible reform, not that controversial. The president should get behind it.
WOODRUFF: How does it get resolved, Liz?
MARLANTES: I they -- I think they will have to come up with something. Whether or not it will happen before Christmas -- it may be in the next term. Because right now, there's a standoff.
And again, I think that's embarrassing for the White House at this point. I think this got out of hand for them. But I do think they're going to have to -- they're going to have to find a way to resolve it at some point. If not when they come back in December, then in the next term. GOLDBERG: I think that's right.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about the Democrats. They're looking for a chairman of the party. They don't vote until February, Peter, but does Howard Dean have a lock on this? Where do things stand?
BEINART: Right now he's the front-runner because Tom Vilsack, his main competitor, has dropped out. If Howard Dean gets it, I think it's a disaster.
It is a complete misreading of what happened in this election. The Democrats need someone who can, A, talk about national security; B, talk to people who are culturally conservative.
Howard Dean has a record of being able to do neither. The Democrats don't know who the opponent for Howard Dean is, but they have to coalesce behind an anti-Dean candidate, and fast.
MARLANTES: I think they will, actually. I think -- I think there is a lot of anti-Dean sentiment out there. And I think part of the problem is...
WOODRUFF: Behind whom?
MARLANTES: Well, they haven't come up with -- with a person yet. No, I mean, one of the things we saw this week is there are more people withdrawing their name from the list than people seeking to add their name to the list.
But I do think someone probably will emerge. There's -- you know -- I mean, the names out there right now, there's Wellington Webb, who is vice chair right now -- Wellington Webb.
WOODRUFF: Former mayor of Denver.
MARLANTES: Former mayor of Denver.
BEINART: Martin Frost...
MARLANTES: Martin Frost is an interesting name that has been -- that has been floated recently. And then, you know, there's -- there's a lot of talk still about dividing it, having a sort of public face of the DNC, and then a more COO type.
WOODRUFF: And there's some precedent for doing that.
MARLANTES: And there is precedent for doing that. And I think that might make sense, actually. I think you can look at the way the DNC was run this time and say, well, maybe they do need someone who is a politician to be the public face, but then -- but then have somebody behind the scenes who's really focusing on the fund-raising.
WOODRUFF: Jonah, from a Republican perspective, wouldn't the Republicans like to have Howard Dean in there? GOLDBERG: Well, I think the official position of the Republican Party is that Howard Dean should speak for all Democrats at all times at all venues whenever possible. I think Peter is exactly right, Howard Dean was a guy who was completely fine with his church being in favor of gay marriage and all these sorts of things, but left his church because his local church opposed the building of a bike path.
This is a guy who does not know how to talk about religious values. He's terrible on foreign policy, and would put forward exactly the wrong face, which is why I think a lot of Republicans just love the idea. Although, Howard Dean's success as a front-runner has not held up over time, so it's entirely possibly that he'll start screaming at somebody and lose it again.
WOODRUFF: What about a Martin Frost? Or, I mean, at one point, they were talking about the governor, former governor of Georgia, Roy Barnes? I mean, what other names...
BEINART: I think those are both good names. Look, if you split it up, as Liz mentioned, then you can have someone who even is in office, because they don't have as much of the day-to-day burden.
Then you could about Democrats from red states, someone like, you know, Janet Napolitano, the fairly successful governor of Arizona. If he -- unless he's planning on running for president, Evan Bayh, the senator from Indiana.
I wouldn't mind having -- although he wouldn't be popular among some Democrats, Joe Lieberman out there. Somebody who can speak to -- speak and convey the Democratic Party in a way that it wasn't able to and then allow the organizational stuff to be controlled by somebody else.
MARLANTES: The problem is, for an elected official, that's not always an appealing choice. We saw that with Tom Vilsack, whose name had been out there and then he ended up withdrawing.
WOODRUFF: In Iowa, there was a lot of negative reaction
MARLANTES: Exactly. There was a lot of negative reaction.
WOODRUFF: Does it really matter who is the head of the party, Jonah?
GOLDBERG: I think so. I mean, in this sort of 24-hour cable news environment, you do need someone who is going to go out there and get the message out. Someone who is going to sort of speak for the party at the uncomfortable moments and press the agenda, and raise the money.
And so I do think it matters. Do I think it's -- you know, do I think the fortunes of the Democratic Party weigh on this decision? Solely, no. But I think it matters.
MARLANTES: And in that sense, I do think, you know, there's been some -- some reflection now on Terry McAuliffe's tenure. WOODRUFF: That's what I was going to ask.
MARLANTES: And he was very successful in the fund-raising front. I think there's widespread agreement within the party about that. There's some, you know, dispute about how successful he was as a spokesman.
WOODRUFF: But he's not going to stay on, right? I mean, he's leaving, for sure?
BEINART: I think he's leaving. And I think the question is, the Democrats have organizational issues they have to deal with.
First of all, they outsourced a lot of the campaign to 527s. What are they going to do about that in the future? Are they going to continue that model, or are they going to try to bring some of that financial and organizational power inside the party?
The party is weak at the state level. It needs to be rebuilt at the state and local levels. There are very important organizational challenges. These things don't get a lot of attention, but they really need to be focused on if the party's going to be ready for 2008.
WOODRUFF: Peter Beinart, Liz Marlantes, Jonah Goldberg. We thank them, all three.
Well, here's a first when it comes to creative government fund- raising. The city of Chicago is using the online auction site eBay to help raise money for cultural programs.
Among the more unusual items up for bid, a vintage "Playboy" bunny costume, and the opportunity to host a dinner party prepared by Oprah Winfrey's personal chef. The city is asking residents to contribute items for auction and to place bids. eBay says it is the first time a city has used the site to raise funds for specifics programs.
Freshman year, all over again. Coming up, we'll talk with two pumped-up political rookies whose optimism is taking Capitol Hill by storm.
INSIDE POLITICS will be right back.
WOODRUFF: Time now for another edition of "The Dobbs Report." Let's go live to Kitty Pilgrim in New York.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Judy.
Well, we have a very festive mood set right at the open on Wall Street. SpongeBob SquarePants rang the opening bell. The popular cartoon character was selected for today's special audience. The Friday after Thanksgiving is the only day when children are allowed on the floor of the stock exchange.
Now, the market closed for business fairly early, about 1:00 p.m. Eastern. Stocks ended flat in today's short session. And the Dow industrials added less than two points. The Nasdaq slightly lower.
And this was the lightest trading day of the year. All the average -- all the major averages ended up slightly for the week.
Now, today was a big day for retailers. As you know, many stores opened their doors before dawn this morning. And they were opening to capture the bargain shopper. This is the time for retailers to catch the shoppers early, hoping to build momentum throughout the season.
The industry expects about 130 million consumers to hit the stores this weekend. And for the whole season, they expect the average person to spend about $700, slightly more than last year.
Sanctions are slapped on U.S. products. The World Trade Organization is allowing the European Union and Japan to put $150 million in trade sanctions on U.S. exporters.
Now the list of products includes U.S. apples, almonds, sweet corn, and U.S. produced metals and textiles. Tensions have been running high between the international trade group and the United States. And that's because the WTO says the U.S. has broken trade laws by favoring certain U.S. firms.
President Bush said earlier today that his administration will work with Congress to bring the United States into compliance.
Coming up at 6:00 Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT", insurgents killed more Westerners in Iraq's green zone. General David Grange will be our guest to talk about the resistance ahead of the scheduled elections in January.
Millions of Americans are hitting the stores extra early this year. And we'll have a report on why this black Friday craze is worse than ever.
And the nation's largest labor union is working to remind shoppers that buying products made in the U.S.A. is a way to keep jobs in this country. The very latest.
Back to you, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Kitty, thank you. Long live Sponge Bob. We'll see you later - we'll see you at 6:00. INSIDE POLITICS continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH: Had a great Thanksgiving...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president kicks back in Crawford, but global hot spots are not on holiday.
The Democrats' new year's dilemma -- when should they fight Republicans and when should they compromise?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not Democrats or Republicans first. We need to work together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A new take on Washington from Congressional newcomers.
Now, live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.
WOODRUFF: Welcome back. When you are president of the United States, even a casual day after Thanksgiving lunch can turn into a mini news conference. That held true for Mr. Bush today in Crawford, Texas, where reporters were eager to ask him questions about enter international developments.
Let's check in with our White House correspondent Suzanne Malveaux. Hello, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, hello, Judy. As President Bush occasionally likes to do during the holiday season, he stopped by Crawford's coffee station for a burger and to take a couple of reporters' questions.
Most notably on President Bush's plate, the future of Iraq. Now today more than a dozen Iraqi political leaders have been calling for a six-month delay for their presidential elections. Their elections scheduled for January. Well, the Bush administration sees the possible postponement as a big misstep, a big mistake. And they think that this would be a win for the Iraqi insurgents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: The Iraqi election commission has scheduled elections in January. And I would hope they would go forward in January.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: Now the president today also issued a warning to Iran. It has been working with the European Union, as well as IAEA to verify. They say they are going to actually freeze their nuclear program. But today, President Bush sounded a little bit skeptical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: I appreciate the nation's of Great Britain and Germany and France, who are working to try to convince Iran to honor their international treaty obligations. And the only good deal is one that's verifiable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MALVEAUX: And President Bush also today speaking about the situation in the Ukraine, saying that, of course, they need to move forward to come clean. The authorities there, they say, of course, that this election was a fraud. They want them to work together, both sides. They believe that this also could be a possible threat to democracy in that region as well.
WOODRUFF: Suzanne, thanks very much. We see the latest news out of Ukraine is the opposition leader saying that he may be prepared to call for a complete new election. So we'll be watching that story. Suzanne Malveaux, thank you very much.
The current holiday break is giving both Republicans and Democrats free time to ponder the politics of President Bush's second term. For Democrats, that may be a headache-inducing experience.
CNN political analyst Ron Brownstein with "The Los Angeles Times" is here with me now to talk about the Democrats' dilemma.
Ron, what position are the Democrats in? They got 48 percent of the vote, when you look at the presidential. But they lost the White House, they lost the Senate, they lost the House. Where are they?
RON BROWNSTEIN, "LOS ANGELES TIMES": Deeply, deeply frustrated. In the last two elections, they feel that the country was almost 50/50. And yet here they are entirely shut out of government. And shut out in a way that leaves them with a very difficult choice, because they have such really weak -- such little leverage over the actual policy making, the best way for Democrats to be noticed over the next few years will be a position of strong opposition to what President Bush wants to do.
But because the president showed so much strength in this election, in the red states, those 29 states that he's carried twice, Democrats from those states, I think, are going to have to think twice about whether they want to go along with a policy of scorched earth opposition.
WOODRUFF: So what is the wise thing for them to do? You have that quote the other day from Harry Reed, the new Democratic leader in the Senate, saying I know how to dance, I'd rather dance than fight, but I know how to fight when I need to. Which is the right path?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think a lot of it will depend on President Bush's decisions as well. I mean, President Bush clearly has an opportunity, I think, to peel off some Democrats if he structures his agenda in a way that gives them any opportunity to do so.
I mean, he - the Republicans won six Senate seats in this election in states that President Bush carried. If you're Bill Nelson or one of the other Democrats in a red state up in 2006, Ben Nelson in Nebraska, you're going to be looking for ways, I think, to cooperate with President Bush.
But if he devises an agenda in a way that Democrats can only sign on at the price of totally alienating their base, he may make it easier for Harry Reed and Nancy Pelosi to keep their caucus together.
WOODRUFF: But how do the Democrats both express what they believe in, which is often different from what the president wants, and at the same time, you know, help in seeing that there's some progress in getting decisions?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think for the bulk of the Democrats, Judy, the emphasis is going to be on the former, not the latter. Most Democrats probably won't be interested in finding on most issues ways to cooperate with the Republicans because of exactly what you said. I mean, if a deal is reached on some of these issues, and it's going to be an accomplishment for President Bush and for the Republican majority.
On some -- the problem the Democrats will have is whether they can hold all of their caucus to that position, given again the strength that the president has.
Where this -- one of the places where this will be most interesting will be Social Security reform. Probably going to come out before tax reform. And it's something that most Democrats oppose the way President Bush is approaching it.
The question is, can he peel away enough to get to those 60 votes that he needs in the Senate? Someone like Lindsey Graham was sponsoring a bill, is already focusing on that. The House Republicans much less. So it'll be interesting to see how they position that in the coming year.
WOODRUFF: And one would think potentially a lot of pressure on certain Democrats to cooperate, especially those who are up for re- election?
WOODRUFF: In the next year?
BROWNSTEIN: You know, the Republicans are saying that Tom Daschle's defeat shows the danger of a position of just total, you know, unbreaking opposition. And that may, in fact, have some influence on those Democrats who are going to be running in states where Bush is popular.
WOODRUFF: Well, figuring out how to be the opposition is not such an easy task.
BROWNSTEIN: Especially when you're in this weak a position in terms of the number of votes.
WOODRUFF: Ron Brownstein, good to see you on the day after Thanksgiving.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Judy. Happy holidays.
WOODRUFF: Thank you for coming in. Thank you.
Incoming members of Congress will be plunged into the political mix next year. Ahead, two notable members of the freshman class share their excitement about what lies ahead.
Plus, a time for awareness of the AIDS crisis. I'll talk with the president's point man on this global issue.
And later, the nation's capital at rest but not at peace.
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WOODRUFF: I don't know whether you can tell it behind me, but it is relatively quiet on Capitol Hill, as many lawmakers have gone home for the holidays and a little bit of rest.
But it is still a busy time for more than three dozen newly- elected members of Congress. For them, the end of this very busy political season is just the beginning.
WOODRUFF (voice-over): In the waning days of November, when much of Washington takes a collective post-election power nap, a pumped up rookie is on the move, doling out assignments, dashing from meeting to meeting, to interview to meeting.
REP. MELISSA BEAN (D), ILLINOIS: Well, of course you think you're going to take a little bit of breather before you get going, but no such luck, but it's...
WOODRUFF: Meet Melissa Bean of Illinois, one of 37 newly-elected members of Congress, a Democratic David in a class of GOP Goliaths, a bright spot for her party in a dark, dark year.
BEAN: It's been a really warm welcome, very exciting, inspiring, humbling all at the same time.
WOODRUFF: Bean made her mark by defeating Phil Crane, the longest serving Republican in the House, portraying him as an out of touch has been and herself as the ultimate soccer mom.
Why in the world do you want to be one of 435? And if you add the Senate, 535 people trying to make a difference?
BEAN: I'm sure like all the other new members and existing members, it's about fighting for your community. It's feeling that you can best reflect the issues, the challenges that your neighbors are facing, and feeling that you can bring a positive voice to the debate on their behalf. WOODRUFF: Right. But first, the former corporate consultant has to learn the ropes on Capitol Hill and survive freshman orientation, with its endless instruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the history of our great nation, there's only been 11,000 people elected to the U.S. House.
WOODRUFF: The dreaded office space lottery.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ms. Bean selected 32.
BEAN: I was one of the worst numbers. And being a Bean they alphabetically let you pick your number. So I was just second to pick. And I picked number 32 out of 37. So it's not going to get...
WOODRUFF: You don't have high expectations?
BEAN: ...office environment. No, but it doesn't matter. It'll work.
WOODRUFF: Bean says she'll stay grounded by remaining engaged with the constituents who put her here.
Meet Bobby Gindel of Louisiana. If Melissa Bean's the new girl in town, he's the seen it all before boy.
All right, you're back in Washington after having been an assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services in that building right there?
REP. BOBBY GINDEL (R), LOUSIANA: That's exactly right. Spent two years of my life. As we were saying, we're not the prettiest building in Washington, but a very important building in Washington.
WOODRUFF: Brimming with confidence after a blow-out win, Gindel started campaigning for president of the Republican freshman class as soon as the votes were counted. To no one's surprise, he won. The second Indian-American ever elected to Congress, he is at once humbled...
GINDEL: I'll be starting at the bottom. I'll be a very junior member of Congress.
WOODRUFF: And sure of himself.
GINDEL: I've been up here before. I've got some relationships in the Congress. So we've got a little bit of a headstart there.
WOODRUFF: Gindel's signature issue, healthcare. He is convinced partisan gridlock won't stand in his way.
GINDEL: I've heard over and over again from leaders, this may be the most important time they've served in Congress because I think they sense there's a real opportunity to get something done. I think they want to reach across that aisle, so we actually are able to achieve something lasting, something of significance. WOODRUFF: And that's where Bobby Gindel and Melissa Bean, Republican and Democrat, Washington veteran and D.C. newbie come together, exuding infectious optimism in an inherently cynical place.
WOODRUFF: And we thank them for talking with us. And we hope to stay in touch with both of them in the months to come.
The Bush administration has promised unprecedented funds to the global fight against AIDS. But those efforts have been criticized as well, with World AIDS Day approaching. I'll talk with the coordinator of the president's plan when INSIDE POLITICS returns.
WOODRUFF: Some fast-moving developments in the former Soviet Republic of Ukraine, which has a disputed still reeling from the results of a disputed election just days ago.
For the very latest, let's go to our Moscow bureau chief Jill Dougherty. She reports to us live from the capital of Kiev - Jill.
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, Judy, just a few minutes ago, we had a briefing from Javier Salana (ph) from the European Union. He has been, in effect, brokering a type of agreement -- at least a meeting between the two sides. That is, the candidates who officially won the Ukranian election and the man who says the election was stolen from him and that he should be the president.
This meeting was - it was a roundtable meeting, a dramatic first time that these men have come together. Both of them claiming that they should legally be the president.
Mr. Salana (ph) said that there were three good things that came out of it. Number one, the meeting took place. They started talking. And that is a big step, he said, because right up until the last minute, he was not quite sure whether this meeting would take place.
The second thing is that there is an important commitment to avoid violence. That's crucial because there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been on the streets of Kiev. And nobody wants this to turn into bloodshed.
And then finally, the concrete news here, a commitment to start talking. And both sides are going now to create working groups. These working groups will begin discussions. There's no set agenda. They can pretty much work in the direction that they want to. But one of the possibilities, Judy, that seems to be emerging here is that they could actually perhaps annul the results of the run-off election and then hold new elections. That's not definite, but that is a possibility -- Judy?
WOODRUFF: And Jill, we see that as what the opposition leader Yushenko is apparently calling for. DAUGHERTY: He would like that because he believes that this was such a flawed election that it really should be held again. And you have to note that international observers did find major fault with the election with the run-off.
And the other thing, Judy, that's important is, you know, you have these demonstrators on the streets for five full days. They have now -- the opposition has agreed that they will not shut down government buildings. That's what they were doing today, trying to keep government workers in going to work. And the commitment is now that they will have the right to demonstrate, that they won't be shutting down any buildings.
WOODRUFF: All right. CNN's Jill Daugherty, she is our Moscow bureau chief, but she's been reporting from Ukraine, the capital city of Kiev, trying to stay on top of these fast-moving developments.
Jill, thank you very much.
December 1st marks AIDS Awareness Day around the world with much of the focus this year on women and young girls. The coordinator of the president's emergency plan for AIDS relief is Ambassador Randall Tobias. I recently sat down with the ambassador and I began the interview by asking him why the focus on women and girls.
AMB. RANDALL TOBIAS, U.S. GLOBAL AIDS COORDINATOR: Well, I think most people, Judy, aren't aware of the magnitude of the problem facing women. About 50 percent of the infections in the world are women, but in Sub-Saharan Africa, it's about 57 percent.
Beyond that, the infection rates in young women, 15 to 19, is much higher than the boys of that same age. And there are lots of reasons for that, but I think it really deserves special attention.
WOODRUF: Is that the main challenge facing you and others who are trying to get your arms around this?
TOBIAS: Well, the main challenge is really, first of all, leadership, getting the national leadership in every country that's facing this issue to put the issue on the table, which in some cultures is difficult to do, and really make it a national priority.
Beyond that, it's really infrastructure. Mozambique, for example, has 18 million people and 500 doctors in the entire country. And that same story is repeated over much of, not only Africa, but much of the developing world. And so that's really the first place of attack.
WOODRUFF: I've seen that you've said that a lack of drug transport and a lack of medical personnel hinders these antiretroviral drug treatment programs around the world. But as the former head of a huge pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, do you believe that there's more the pharmaceutical companies could be doing to make these kinds of drugs available? TOBIAS: Well, the pharmaceutical companies have done a lot. And we need to ensure that they're encouraged to continue to spend the research dollars to keep new drugs coming out.
But in the meantime, we're trying to encourage every pharmaceutical company in the world, whether they're making generic drugs or copy drugs or brand name drugs, to apply through the process that's been created here for funding under our program, because as we get the infrastructure built up, we will need large, large supplies of these drugs.
WOODRUFF: We know that the United States has cut its donations to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS from $546 million in '04 to something like $200 million in '05. We also know that 75 percent of the 45 million infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.
I want to quickly quote the head of the Global AIDS Alliance who said, "President Bush seems to harbor an irrational hatred toward all things U.N.-related. Tragically, this sentiment is coming to affect AIDS policy." How do you respond?
TOBIAS: Well, nothing could be further from the truth. The Global Fund, which was launched by President Bush and Kofi Annan in the Rose Garden, is a very important part of our strategy. This year Congress, I think, will appropriate an amount of money that will be very close to what we were able to expend last year.
President Bush said recently that the world needs to recognize this is not the U.S. Fund. It's the world's global fund. And we need to get the rest of the world to step up to do the same kinds of things that the United States is doing.
WOODRUFF: At the same time, it was widely in noticed that when Vice President Cheney was asked during the vice presidential debate during the campaign about what more the U.S. could do about AIDS among black women, who are 13 times more likely to die of the disease than their counterparts, the vice president said, "I was not aware that they're in epidemic there because we have made progress in terms of the overall rate of AIDS infection."
I guess the question people have is, how much more education needs to be done of American leaders, political leaders?
TOBIAS: It's enormous. I think the American public in general just is totally unaware that 8,000 people die of AIDS every single day. That's -- that would be the equivalent of the passengers on 20 Boeing 747s.
Last year, three million people died in the world, but this year about five million new infections have taken place. So right now we're not winning this war. And part of it will be to get attention and to get through the rest of the world to match the kinds of contributions that the U.S. is making.
WOODRUFF: How do you describe your approach to this job, Randy Tobias? Is it hopeful? Is it realistic? What is it? TOBIAS: Well, it's hopeful. It's very daunting. The magnitude of the problems everywhere you look, there can be problems. But I think we also need to keep in mind that 8,000 people dying every day are one at a time. They all have names. They all have personalities. And we need to view them in that way.
WOODRUFF: President Bush's World AIDS coordinator Ambassador Randy Tobias.
Well, you could hear a pin drop around the Capitol building the last couple of days. Coming up, holidays in Washington, a sleeping giant, but with one eye open.
WOODRUFF: One of the quietest places in the country during the holidays is right here, Washington, D.C., with Congress not in session and government offices, most of them closed down.
Well, the nation's capital may be still for the moment, that stillness is tinged with uneasiness. Here now CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Washington breathes more quietly on holidays. The congressmen and women are gone now. Tour buses run, but they are empty. The river flows smoothly, not much traffic. The fall leaves stop the ground.
The business of this place is politics and government, but business is not done this day. Still, this is a wartime capital. No business is done, but we are watchful and we know how much our city has changed.
The White House? The president's away, of course, but the temporary barricades that bar cars from Pennsylvania Avenue in front of it are gone now. These barriers are permanent.
You can walk past the president's house, but you can't drive past it. And as you walk and watch, the police watch you. Same at the other end of the avenue, barriers are up. Some look permanent. Some are just ugly. Those white concrete obstacles are called jersey barriers and they probably would stop a tank.
Pedestrians walk. Police sometimes stop cars at checkpoints. Work goes on in an underground visitor center, which could also shelter congressmen from bombs.
The leaves are good this gentle fall, but walking around on Capitol Hill isn't as much fun as it used to be. Terror has changed the neighborhood. And it may never change back to what it used to be.
Some think this wartime holiday of those Americans who have died in wars. This is Arlington National Cemetery, of those who've died in past wars and in this one, and how many more this fight will claim.
People of faith will go to church. That's the National Cathedral in the distance. Others will see the river as a place to think about where we are and where we're headed.
And there are some things the terror hasn't changed, the decorations at the railroad station for one.
Still, it's a different time, a time for giving thanks perhaps from a son or daughter come safe home from battle, but a time for wondering, too, whom will we lose and what will happen next? Washington is at rest this holiday, but not at peace.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: And it's a city that a lot of us love. That's it for INSIDE POLITICS this day after Thanksgiving. I'm Judy Woodruff. Thanks for joining us and have a good weekend. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.
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