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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Bush Pushing Social Security Reform; Dan Bartlett on Bush Agenda; Deep Throat: Hero or Villain? Ben Bradlee Interview
Aired June 2, 2005 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: President Bush heads back on the trail to push his plans on Social Security. But is the president having a hard time selling his agenda?
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's just like water cutting through a rock. It's just a matter of time.
ANNOUNCER: We'll talk to one of the president's top advisers.
The story behind the story in the unmasking of "Deep Throat." Judy speaks one on one with Ben Bradlee, one of only four men who knew "Deep Throat's" identity.
A political earthquake in Europe. The Dutch follow the French in saying no to the European Union constitution. But what do this week's votes mean to us?
Now, live from Washington, Judy Woodruff's INSIDE POLITICS.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you for joining us. President Bush is on the road today aiming to jump start one of the top priorities of his second term in office. He's in Kentucky at this hour for the latest event designed to promote an overhaul of Social Security and his plans to make private accounts an option for younger workers.
The president's ideas continue to face an uphill climb in the polls as well as in the Congress. But Mr. Bush insists he is making headway in convincing Americans that Social Security is in need of reform and that his proposals are the best way to strengthen the program.
As the president makes the case on Social Security and other items on much to his agenda, he faces a public which is divided over his leadership. The most recent Gallup survey found that 48 percent of Americans approve of the way Mr. Bush is handle his job, 47 percent said they disapprove.
For more now on the president agenda, let's turn to a top presidential adviser, White House counselor Dan Bartlett.
Dan Bartlett, thanks very much for joining us. DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: Thanks for having me, Judy.
WOODRUFF: The president's approval ratings, under 50 percent, they've been that way for a couple of months. Discouraging to you?
BARTLETT: Not really. This is something we've dealt with in the past. There's always going to be bumps on the road when it comes to public opinion polls, they bounce around. But what's important, Judy, is the agenda. And President Bush is articulating a very bold agenda to help reform the Social Security system so it's there for future generations. We're talking about a comprehensive energy bill, one of those key concerns when it comes to long-term prosperity is to make sure we wane ourselves from other source of energy.
There are other big items, whether it -- the budget and other matters before the Congress that President Bush will welcome back members of Congress from their Memorial Day recess to get them to work on these big issues facing the American people.
So he's not really concerned about the polls. This isn't about him anymore. He's not running for office. It's about the ideas and the agenda we're not concerned about the polls, this isn't about him anymore, he's not rung for office it's about the ideas and the agenda. And that's where his focus will be.
WOODRUFF: But the polls do say something about what's getting across. And for example, on Social Security, the president is getting the lowest approval numbers of any other issue, something like 33 percent in our last poll from a couple of weeks ago. What does this say about either the argument the president is making, or the willingness of the American people to listen?
BARTLETT: Well, actually if you look at where the numbers have come from, and the basic -- the bottom baseline on this has been, at first people didn't know there was a problem with Social Security. Now we have a situation where 70 percent of the American people believe there is either a crisis or a very serious problem with Social Security which requires reform.
There's an education process that is under way as well, Judy, as you know. In which to clearly explain, particularly, to seniors that their checks will come. That they can be reassured by the fact that Social Security is there for them. It's the next generation that needs to be reassured that we are here in Washington tackling this issue for reform.
And that's the key question when we come back from the Memorial Day recess or the members of Congress that is. What ideas are they going to bring to the table, both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives to reform the system.
And I think the public has moved the debate to say okay we understand there's a problem, but what are we going to do about fixing it? As you know, President Bush has put ideas on the table, and we're willing to discuss those ideas with members of Congress. But now it's time for Congress to lead. It's time for Democrats and Republicans to come together and start working on legislation that will save this important program.
WOODRUFF: Well, they have been looking at it. And we know there has been skepticism, even on the part of Republicans. Very quick question, though, about Social Security. I understand the president today told reporters that the solvency problems with Social Security could be solved without his private accounts even though he favors those. Is this a new flexibility?
BARTLETT: Well, it's the same position the president has had. Actuarily, you can solve Social Security without voluntary personal savings accounts. But what President Bush argued to reporters yesterday, and something that he feels very strongly about, is that a reformed system needs to have personal savings accounts, because this will help not only make it a better deal for younger generation of workers, but it also allows for people to control their own taxpayer dollars so the government is not spending it on other programs.
And then they can keep it, build a nest egg which they own, and then can pass onto their own family members. And that's a critical part of this debate. It's an integral part of reform. And President Bush is standing very strongly by the idea of voluntary personal retirement accounts.
WOODRUFF: Very quickly a question on the economy. The president's approval rating on the economy, about 40 percent. But I just saw a new PEW Research poll which indicates when you ask people are there plenty of jobs available in your area, only 30 percent of the public is now saying there are plenty available, 60 percent saying they are hard to find. What does that say do you?
BARTLETT: Well, employers are hiring, Judy. I think there -- overall economic anxieties have been impacted by higher energy prices. The price at the pump has impacted people's mood about the economy. But the fundamentals of the economy are strong. Over the course of the last couple years, we had about 3.5 million jobs created in this economy.
But the public, obviously, concerned about, we're concerned about it, there are items which the United States Congress can act to make sure we have long-term security, promoting free trade, getting an energy bill, keeping taxes low. So, it's a concern of the presidents, the fundamentals are strong in the economy, jobs are being created. And we're going to continue to talk to this issue to convince the public that we're on the right track.
WOODRUFF: Finally, let me ask you about Iraq. The president is saying that he is pleased with the Iraqi police, military has made -- security forces, I'm sorry -- have made. The vice president has said the insurgency is in its last throes.
But look, today have you another terrible string of violent attacks. 17 people killed. The numbers are mind-boggling, something like 800 Iraqis killed this month. A total of 25,000 Iraqi civilians since the U.S. went into Iraq. Is what the president and the vice president are saying, does it square with reality? BARTLETT: Absolutely. And what President Bush talked about in his press conference earlier in this week, is that we are facing a very determined enemy, ruthless killers willing to kill innocent men, women and children. And that's what we're seeing, particularly by foreign fighters.
But what the point what President Bush and Vice President Cheney are making, is that in the broader context who of has the right ideas on their side, who are the Iraqi people rallying behind? And it's their new government. They demonstrated at the polls that they want to have democracy.
The terrorists know this, they don't want a democracy. It will spell the doom of their dark vision of the world. So, they're fighting very furiously to try to win over. But what the vice president is arguing because training Iraqi security force, they are take more control over their own destiny, that we are going to win.
They have the right vision and ideas that will speak to the aspiration of the Iraqi people, whereas the terrorists only know to kill and to harm. And unfortunately there's going to be more violence. We have to accept that.
But the strategy is the right one, the cause is right, the movement is a just in developing this new government and the security forces to make sure they can take on these terrorists and we're going to prevail.
WOODRUFF: We're going to have to leave it there. Dan Bartlett, he is counselor to President Bush. We thank you very much. It's good to see you.
BARTLETT: Honor to be on your program, Judy.
WOODRUFF: Thank you.
BARTLETT: Well, before he left Washington today, the president nominated Congressman Christopher Cox to be the next chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cox is a nine term Republican from California, a former corporate finance lawyer and a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan.
His congressional district is one of the most strongly Republican areas in California. It is expected to remain in GOP hands.
Cox would replace William Donaldson who was appointed to the post two years ago by President Bush. Donaldson announced yesterday that he would step down as SEC chairman at the end of the month.
Well, it's a story we can't stop talking about. Next up, is Watergate whistle-blower Mark Felt a hero or a villain? We'll get the take from the left and the right from Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan.
Plus, Tom DeLay supporters strike back with a t-shirt. It's the latest salvo in a battle over "Law and Order."
WOODRUFF: The man we now know was the Watergate source Deep Throat apparently is eager to capitalize on his new celebrity. As we told you, it was confirmed on Tuesday that Mark Felt was the "Washington Post"'s long secret source in the newspaper's coverage of Watergate scandal. Felt, a former top FBI official, is 91 years old. He's living in retirement in California. Yesterday, when asked how he is reacting to the publicity,, Felt said he is planning to write a book or something and, quote, "collect all the money I can," end quote.
With me, now former Gore Campaign Manager Donna Brazile and Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause.
All right, is Mark Felt -- Donna, is he a hero or is he something else?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think he's a hero, Judy. Look, the fact is, this guy brought truth to light. He was able to help these reporters confirm what they perhaps already knew, because they had multiple source. So I think he was a hero, ultimately.
BAY BUCHANAN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CAUSE: Well, his behavior is criminal. He's a disgrace, in my personal opinion. Because he had information at his fingertips about all Americans -- and you can't have people with that access being able to just leak whatever they want to the press. It's a rule of law and we'd have nothing but chaos.
BRAZILE: This was a corrupt administration.
BUCHANAN: He had two choices. He could have gone right to Pat Gray, laid it all out to him. But he was an embittered fellow, angry he didn't get Pat Gray's job, so he went to the press, in particular, press -- one that hated Nixon. He could have gone to Pat Gray, he could have gone to the White House. He could have quit, resigned and had a press conference. He had many options to bring this to light, and I think he should have.
BRAZILE: I don't think we should cast aspersion on his motives. His motive was clearly to bring out truth and to help. This reporter already had other sources. This reporter -- these reporters already had multiple sources. What he did was confirm, perhaps, what the reporters knew already. But I think he did a great job. I'm not going to cast any type of negativity on his motives.
BUCHANAN: Well, we know what his motives were. It's very clear that he wanted that top job. Everyone at the time said that's what he wanted and he did not get it...
BRAZILE: I'm sure he wanted to get to the top.
BUCHANAN: And he was a very angry, embittered man and he went and said payback, I'm going after the Nixon people.
BRAZILE: You know, but for 30 years, this guy has kept this secret.
BUCHANAN: Because he thought it was disgraceful, too. He violated the law.
BRAZILE: Oh, it was not disgraceful.
BUCHANAN: Excuse me, but you know, if we have FBI now start to leak what they want about us, they have your file, they have my file. They can't be leaking unless they...
BRAZILE: Well, Bay, there's nothing in our file.
BUCHANAN: Our? What do you mean our?
BRAZILE: It's so empty right now...
BUCHANAN: Speak for yourself!
BRAZILE: Well, there's nothing in my file.
BUCHANAN: There's nothing in my file, but can you see the danger here. This is a rule of law. We should prosecute and understand -- never honor somebody who would violate his responsibility.
BRAZILE: He did the right thing, Judy. He went forward, he tried to share information, he tried to bring down a corrupt government and he did. Thank God for him.
WOODRUFF: Let's talk about something completely different and that is today's -- the president in the year 2005, George W. Bush, his poll ratings have slipped. I just talked to Dan Bartlett, the president's counselor. He says it's because the president is tackling the tough issues, Bay. He says the fact that the president's got low approval ratings on the economy and Social Security is to be expected.
BUCHANAN: Well it -- there's a lull out there right now, and the economy, obviously, it's going to take time before it comes back. You have gas prices still high. And so I don't -- I think that we focus too much on these polls. I understand why you focus on a poll three months before an election, two months before an election.
But they go up and down and I think if he had success, for instance, on Social Security, getting that through, or a program that he could -- that he would will feel comfortable with, the polls would go up. So we've got a lot of time here between now and the end of the year when you start worrying about...
BRAZILE: Well, it's like a quarter of the earning report. What we're trying to see is assess what the president is doing well and what he should perhaps not do at all. And what the American people -- they're going weary of this agenda, they're growing weary of the congressional agenda. And I think it's time for the president to change course and to focus on things the American people care about. Their jobs, their healthcare. And, of course, they want the administration to figure out fix Iraq. They don't want the administration to be out there privatizing Social Security. And they don't want any more, you know, tort reform...
BUCHANAN: You know, I think...
BRAZILE: ... to benefit the special interests.
BUCHANAN: The Democrats have done a very good job, Judy, of, you know...
BRAZILE: We did a good job.
BUCHANAN: Out there campaigning, talking about the issues and saying the president shouldn't do this, beating up the president's agenda. They've done it now for months, and I think that's what the polls reflect. But if now the president has a chance to come back and really push some of this -- these agendas through, I think he'll be -- I think it will be very good. And also, if he fails, I think he'll have an opportunity to say forget it...
BRAZILE: (INAUDIBLE) run out of capital. Pretty soon he'll have to go to a loan shark to get him embezzled.
BUCHANAN: No, he's got a couple major issues. He's got Iraq. People are going to be tired of Iraq. He's got immigration. People are sick and tired of immigration and he pushes the guest worker program.
WOODRUFF: Social Security is the big one, still, now.
BUCHANAN: Well, that's for him, but not necessarily for the American people. I think Iraq is higher on the list...
WOODRUFF: So you think he ought to move on?
BUCHANAN: ... and I think immigration is higher up. I think he pushes it because he believes in it and if he can get it through, fine, but I don't think the polls are going to drop if he doesn't get them through. I think he'll -- he have fought for a...
BRAZILE: His polls will go up when wages come up and gas prices go down. That's when his polls will go up.
BUCHANAN: And troops come home.
BRAZILE: And troops come home. We agree on all that.
WOODRUFF: Last few words. This is the last chance I'm going to have to talk to you two brilliant women on INSIDE POLITICS, because tomorrow is my last day at CNN as an anchor. And I just want to say what a pleasure it has been for me to listen to the two of you...
BUCHANAN: Thank you.
WOODRUFF: ... go at each other, but mainly go with the issues.
BUCHANAN: Thank you. Judy, and I have a little gift for you, a little elephant. I thought you might not have many of these.
WOODRUFF: I am thrilled to have this. I don't have either donkeys or elephants on my desk. But this one is going to go on my desk at home.
WOODRUFF: And what am I going to get from Donna?
BRAZILE: Well, you know, from me, I'm not going to give you an elephant. I'm going to agree to come over one evening when you and Al are tired, and you know, after a long day, and I'm going to cook you a wonderful Cajun meal.
WOODRUFF: And speaking of cooking...
BUCHANAN: She's going to invite me.
WOODRUFF: One of my most fond memories is the time we were in Bay's kitchen with Donna's recipe.
BRAZILE: We made jambalaya that afternoon, that's right. Gonzales, Louisiana, is famous for jambalaya and this one of the greatest dishes, using homemade andouille sausage, shrimp and of course, all of the great -- what we call the holy trinity of seasoning, onions, green peppers and a little garlic.
WOODRUFF: Hair styles may change, but the recipes stay the same.
BRAZILE: No, they've gotten a little grayer, I can tell you that.
BUCHANAN: If you cook that again, Judy, I'm coming.
WOODRUFF: Well, you're both invited. Thank you so much.
BUCHANAN: It's been our pleasure.
BRAZILE: And my garden is looking well.
WOODRUFF: OK. Thank you both. Bay and Donna.
Well, another well-known Republican is headed to Iowa. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is going to the Hawkeye State, but he says he's not interested in running for president. Find out why he's going, next, in our "Political Bytes."
WOODRUFF: Two fund-raisers for Republican senators lead off our "Political Bytes."
President Bush leaves Kentucky this afternoon and travels to Missouri to headline a fund-raiser for Senator Jim Talent. Mr. Bush carried Missouri in last November's election. It will be the president's first event for a candidate who faces the voters in 2006.
Later this month, the president plans a trip to Pennsylvania to raise money for Senator Rick Santorum. "The Philadelphia Inquirer" reports that the June 14th event could raise up to a million dollars for Santorum, who is expected to face a tough challenge next year against Democrat Bob Casey.
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft is headed to Iowa later this month. Ashcroft will headline several local party fund-raisers during his visit. He tells the "Des Moines Register" he's not interested in running for president, but he does hope the 2008 GOP nominee has "the right values."
And supporters of Congressman Tom DeLay are fighting back against a recent episode of the TV show "Law and Order: Criminal Intent." The program featured a reference to a murder suspect one character theorized might be wearing a "Tom DeLay T-shirt." Well, today, DeLay allies at the Free Enterprise Fund handed out T-shirts with the question, Who's afraid of Dick Wolf? Well, Dick Wolf is the creator of the "Law and Order" TV series.
He was one of only four men who knew Deep Throat's identity.
Next up, I'll speak with Ben Bradlee who was executive editor of "The Washington Post" during the Watergate scandal.
Plus, another country says no to the European Union constitution, but what does that mean for those of us on this side of the Atlantic?
Our Bruce Morton takes a look.
WOODRUFF: It is just before 4:00 on the East Coast, and as the markets get set to close on Wall Street, I'm joined by Kitty Pilgrim in New York with "The Dobbs Report."
PILGRIM: Hi, Judy, thanks.
Stocks, fairly little changed. Right now we have the Dow Industrials up about 2 points and the NASDAQ is a third of 1 percent higher. There were a series of mixed reports on the economy and some caution ahead of tomorrow's unemployment report for last month.
Let's get to some other news, President Bush has nominated Congressman Christopher Cox as a new man in charge of regulating the financial markets. If approved by the Senate, he would replace William Donaldson as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cox is a Republican from California and a former corporate finance lawyer. He will continue the job the SEC began a few years ago to crack down on corporate fraud.
Jurors have begun deliberations in one of the most famous cases of corporate greed. It's the second trial of former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz. Now, the first trial, last year, ended in a mistrial and the two accused -- are accused of stealing $150 million from the company over four years.
Tropicana has settled charges with the Federal Trade Commission that the juice maker's health benefit claims were misleading. A Tropicana ad said that drinking orange juice could drastically lower blood pressure and bad cholesterol. Well, now the company must stop making those claims.
Coming up on CNN, 6:00 p.m. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," a school district in Maryland is taking heat for its sex-ed programs. It teaches that homosexuality is a genetic trait.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE TURNER, CITIZENS FOR RESPONSIBLE CURRICULUM: The kid who's in Sunday school on Sunday comes to class on Monday and the teacher is telling him that what he learned the day before is wrong; that his church, his faith and what he's been taught in his home is wrong. The school system can't do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: Also tonight we take a look at the agenda that Christopher Cox could bring to the SEC and how it might impact Wall Street, as well as immigration reform.
And when Los Angeles increased its minimum wage, critics warned that it would destroy jobs but after four years, the move is showing great benefits.
And the mayor of Fresno, California, is calling for a two-year suspension on immigration in his state. He joins us tonight, 6:00 Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT."
All that coming up at 6:00 but, for now, back to Judy Woodruff -- Judy?
WOODRUFF: Kitty, thanks very much, and we'll be watching.
Right now, back to INSIDE POLITICS.
Well, here it is just two days after Bob Woodward confirmed that Mark Felt was his Watergate source, the man known as Deep Throat. Now we have word that Woodward indeed has finished a book about one of the biggest secrets ever. Woodward, we have learned, has written a book that is going to be in the bookstores the first of July. It will describe how he first met Mark Felt and how Felt eventually became Deep Throat, and how his reporting -- how his confirmation led to the exposition exposing the Watergate scandal.
Woodward and Bernstein, by the way, are going to be together again on a two-hour special "LARRY KING LIVE." That's tonight starting at 9:00 Eastern.
Well, the man who played the key leadership role in the "Post" coverage of Watergate was Ben Bradlee, at the time the newspaper's executive editor. He was the only other person besides Woodward and Bernstein, and Felt himself, who knew Deep Throat's identity.
Ben Bradlee joins me right now, and thank you for being here.
BEN BRADLEE, FMR. "WASH. POST" EXEC. EDITOR: Delighted.
WOODRUFF: Are you glad to have this information out there?
BRADLEE: Well, it wasn't really -- I didn't feel burdened by knowing. I mean, I've known and it hasn't been important, really, for 30 years, so..
WOODRUFF: You didn't -- there wasn't a time or times when you felt, oh, I'm just itching to say this to somebody?
BRADLEE: No, it was kind of a joke. Younger kids, especially, felt compelled to ask me, who was Deep Throat. So, if I was in a college or something like that, they would always, in the question period...
WOODRUFF: I'm asking because I know you and I -- your friends are not incurious people. They're people who ask a lot of questions.
BRADLEE: That's true. Yes, well, none of them ever drew me aside and said, you know, I've got to know. Who is it?
WOODRUFF: Well, that's -- take us back to 1972 and 1973. You knew there was this high-ranking somebody at the FBI.
BRADLEE: I knew -- I knew this person -- I knew Felt as a high official in the Justice Department. I didn't know anything else, but I did know very soon the quality of his information, which was fantastic.
WOODRUFF: You didn't know his name.
BRADLEE: I didn't know his name.
WOODRUFF: Why didn't you ask?
BRADLEE: Because I -- some cylinder was missing in me. I didn't need to know him because he was right, and so his information wasn't even questioned. Never mind denied or never mind, you know, to prove wrong, so, you know, it was Woodward's friend.
WOODRUFF: Somebody we now -- we've learned today, from reading "The Post," he was somebody Bob Woodward knew for years.
BRADLEE: Yes, so, you know, we'd say ask your friend this or ask your friend that. And it would come back, and Woodward would say, you know, stay -- Woodward would say, he says stay off of that. His guidance was general in many respects. Concentrate -- go down that road. Stay off of this thing. It's not important.
WOODRUFF: Was it more -- it was more in the form of guidance? BRADLEE: Yes.
WOODRUFF: Than it was what we call...
BRADLEE: But I'm not -- there was plenty of specifics, but more generally it was guidance.
WOODRUFF: Would there have been...
BRADLEE: Especially about money. Follow the money.
WOODRUFF: Would there have been a Watergate story, an expose, without Mark Felt?
BRADLEE: Well, certainly not along -- on the same schedule. I think once they got -- once it got in the courts, once Judge Sirica got ahold of it, that's a pretty hard -- it's pretty hard to stop then. But it certainly -- it got their faster. And after it got there, you know, I think he was -- he helped ensure that there would be the Irvin committee and there would be hearings and all of that. And, once you were down that road, you were pretty near there.
WOODRUFF: Let me read you something that Chuck Colson said -- is saying. He was President Nixon's chief counsel. He says he doesn't think Deep Throat is just Mark Felt. He says, "I always thought there were others because there are things in the book" -- he's talking about "All the President's Men" -- that he says are credited to Deep Throat that he knows came from other sources. He is right about that?
BRADLEE: He's not right about that. I mean, why should I start believing Chuck Colson now? I mean he's -- the two great authorities seem to be Colson and Liddy and they are both comparatively recently out of jail. They were convicted for their involvement in the cover- up and so I don't think they have much credibility.
WOODRUFF: So there aren't any other anonymous sources out there who were crucial to this story?
BRADLEE: Not that I know of. I'm sure there are, you know, you know this town. There's always a...
WOODRUFF: Here's something else Chuck Colson is saying. He says he thinks it's very sad that Mark Felt broke the trust and the confidence of the president of the United States.
BRADLEE: Terribly sad. I mean I'm crying.
WOODRUFF: You mean that?
BRADLEE: Why is it sad? I don't get that. He said -- and, think for a minute, where would Felt have gone? He said he saw something wrong in the government, and what should he have done? He couldn't really go to his superior, who was L. Patrick Gray, who was busy throwing documents into the Potomac River from the bridge.
WOODRUFF: Well, let me... BRADLEE: He couldn't go to the attorney general who was on his way to jail himself.
WOODRUFF: Let me read to you what Colson -- he says, "If Felt wanted to talk. he should have revealed it to a grand jury or a prosecutor." He says he should have gone to the president himself. He said, "If the president thinks the FBI is going to investigate him he's going to act." He said the president couldn't have ignored this.
BRADLEE: You don't think he could? I mean, a president could have gone Nixon? I mean, give me a break.
WOODRUFF: You mean Felt -- Felt -- Felt could have gone directly.
BRADLEE: It is not realistic.
WOODRUFF: Anonymous sources -- a lesson from this about anonymous sources?
BRADLEE: Well, I think, you know, anonymous sources have been beaten to death all year, and -- quite recently -- and I think this proves that anonymous sources, if treated properly, are invaluable. I mean, they were. And they -- I mean, that is, well, that is one of the lessons of it.
WOODRUFF: The legacy of Watergate. Clearly, nobody disagrees that toppling a president, getting this government back on an even keel, critical outcome of this.
But the other -- there is a debate, a bit of a debate, that goes on among journalists about whether what Woodward and Bernstein did -- on the one hand, people say, yes, it led to good, vigorous investigative reporting, when others say, but it also led to people who just want to make a name for themselves. It led to people like, you know...
BRADLEE: It wasn't just Woodward and Bernstein. I mean, they did lion's share of the early work, but there was some great reporting done by other newspapers including "The Times," "The L.A. Times," "The Globe," and in Boston, so we are getting all the credit we need and there are other newspapers who did plenty of things. Second, I mean, the anonymous source was essential to it.
WOODRUFF: Watergate, the greatest story you ever were involved with?
BRADLEE: Oh, come on, yes, of course. I hate to think that I peaked at 00 in 1972, but it's probably true.
WOODRUFF: I don't think so. Ben Bradlee, what I think everybody I know agrees who I -- everybody I know agrees, is the greatest American newspaper editor of the last 50 years. Thank you for being on the program.
BRADLEE: You're wonderful. Thank you. You're embarrassing me. WOODRUFF: We appreciate it. Thank you.
Well, much more on Watergate straight ahead. The story has turned into big business for a lot of the people involved. Should Mark Felt benefit as well? Our Bill Schneider takes a look.
Dutch voters follow the French and deliver a body blow to hopes for an EU constitution. Our Bruce Morton on how the votes could affect the U.S.
And later, we go online to check the reaction to both of those stories. Our blog reporters sample opinion on Deep Throat and the EU constitution.
WOODRUFF: Here's some breaking news. The national spelling bee has just wrapped up. We have a winner. Here is how it ended.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMIR SUDHIR PATEL, 8TH GRAD, COLLEYVILLE, TEXAS: Roscian, R-o- s-s-i-a-n.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roscian is R-O-S-C-I-A-N.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Appoggiatura.
ANURAG KASHYAP, 8TH GRADE, POWAY, CA: Definition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An accessory, embellishing note or tone preceding an essentially melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size.
KASHYAP: Appoggiatura. Language of origin?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Latin to Italian.
KASHYAP: Appoggiatura. A-P-P-O-G-G-I-A-T-U-R-A.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anurag Kashyap, you are the winner of the 78 annual.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WOODRUFF: Where do they get the words? The young man who won, you see him there hugging his dad, we presume. He's 13 years old. His Anurag Kashyap, an 8th grader from Poway, California. Where do they get those words? Congratulations to Mr. Kashya.
Well, the story of the Watergate break in and the events that followed it have led to a cottage industry of sorts through the years. Many who have told their stories from that time have managed to make money from the incident. Our Bill Schneider has more on the profit making side of Watergate.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): On Wednesday, Mark Felt told reporters he plans to quote, "write a book or something and get all the money I can." Well, why not? Felt has been keeping quiet for 33 years, watching other people make fortunes off his story.
CARL BERNSTEIN, FRM. WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: I certainly would not begrudge him making some money, given that -- especially that the critics who are saying this, most of them have written their own works about Watergate after they go to jail.
SCHNEIDER: Go to Amazon.com and type in the word Watergate. You will get a list of 367 books with Watergate in the title, most on the subject by Nixon White House insiders and journalist and, yes, ex- cons. You can get Watergate videotapes, a boxed set. "Time" magazine Watergate covers framed. A mystery called "Murder at the Watergate." Even the Watergate fragrance for men. "All the President's Men."
PETER OSNOS, PUBLICAFFAIRS BOOKS: All the president's men, which was Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's book about reporting the story is an iconic work. For some people, it's like "Catcher in the Rye." It's their sort of growing up book.
SCHNEIDER: It became a hit movie, grossing more than $70 million. Most anybody that had any connection to Watergate seems to have cashed in except "Deep Throat." Now at 91, it's his turn.
The Felt family's agent is seeking book advances and rights to television and movie projects. What more is there to know from "Deep Throat?"
BERNSTEIN: We had no idea of his motivations. And even now some of his motivations are unclear.
SCHNEIDER: Felt will be competing with Bob Woodward who will be releasing his own book about his relationship with "Deep Throat" soon. We asked prominent New York publisher, Peter Osnos, why he thought people would want to read Felt's book?
OSNOS: To be able to see the other side, to know what it felt like to be Mark Felt -- know what it felt like to be Mark Felt.
SCHNEIDER: There are still questions out there.
OSNOS: What did Mark Felt think he was doing? If we could get the answer to that question, I think it would be one really interesting book.
SCHNEIDER: Woodward and Bernstein sold notes and memorabilia from the Watergate investigation to the University of Texas at Austin for $5 million, minus papers that would identify "Deep Throat." Now, those are being held at a secure undisclosed location.
WOODRUFF: But maybe it will be disclosed soon?
SCHNEIDER: Well, it might well be. You know, I live at the Watergate, maybe I could cash in.
WOODRUFF: I want to see you going around there with one of those detective hats and the little eyeglass. All right, Bill Schneider.
Speaking of Bob Woodward, we want you know that Mr. Woodward was spotted at the White House just a short time ago. Cameras caught the Watergate investigative reporter. Can't tell if he's coming or going in this picture. Looks like he's coming or going. Just a little while ago. And we're trying to find out what he was doing there.
Maybe he was looking for those papers, Bill. Secreted away.
Well this programming reminder, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein will be part of a two-hour "LARRY KING LIVE" special tonight. They will be on in the first hour. And in the second hour, former CBS anchor Dan Rather. It's a show you don't want to miss starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.
Two countries say no this week to a new constitution for the European Union. Why should Americans care? Our Bruce Morton tackles that question when INSIDE POLITICS continues.
WOODRUFF: European Union leaders are expressing shock over this week's rejection of a new constitution by French and by Dutch voters. The main issue now is whether the remainder of the 23 other EU members should vote on the constitution or scrap it altogether and try to draw up an alternative. Our Bruce Morton looks at whether Americans should be concerned.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two countries, France and the Netherlands have now voted against the new constitution. But what they were probably really voting against was bad conditions at home, high unemployment plus a desire to keep the welfare state benefits, long vacations and so on, they think may be threatened by the new, bigger EU.
MICHAEL CALINGAERT, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: What culminated in the vote, both in France, and then yesterday in the Netherlands, is a general unhappiness, malaise, or a whole range of issues, many of them economic. And unemployment is certainly a big factor as well as fear that that will be exacerbated, or is being exacerbated by the recent enlargement of the European Union.
MORTON: Cheap labor coming to France, say, from those new Eastern European member countries. The effects on America, well, a couple of leaders who have been most critical of President Bush, France's Chirac and Germany's Schroeder, have been hurt by the vote.
CALINGAERT: In fact, Schroeder may be on the way out. And Chirac is very much damaged. It's unfortunate that certainly on both sides they have made political capital or tried to gain political capital of portraying themselves as fighting the U.S. And that I think is changing. And there's a genuine effort on both sides to try to find ways in which we can come together. But it is, yes, it is difficult because of the weakened position the two governments have.
MORTON (on camera): It's easy to make fun of the European constitution. This is what it looks like. The U.S. constitution has seven articles, 20 some amendments. This one more than 400 articles. Hard to imagine reading it, let alone voting for it.
Still, most experts agree the United States really benefits from working with a strong Europe and that's probably not what the immediate future holds.
CALINGAERT: Certainly the Europeans are in for a period where there will be questioning as to what the EU is about and where it is going, and what it should be doing. And then you have really political weakness in all the major players in Europe. And that, again, makes it difficult to play a stronger role.
MORTON (voice-over): The U.S. is a super power, of course, China is, or is headed that way. Europe in pause mode, anti-Bush leaders in trouble but a shortage of strong American allies, too.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
WOODRUFF: Thank you, Bruce. "The Washington Post" long held secret exposed. Our blog reporters are standing by with a look at how people online review the revelation that a former top FBI official was the Watergate source known as "Deep Throat."
WOODRUFF: The revelation this week that former FBI official Mark Felt was the Watergate source known as "Deep Throat" is attracting a good deal of attention from the bloggers today. Let's check in now with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Judy.
More facts, more back story, and that leading to more opinions. Obviously, "The Washington Post" article by Bob Woodward telling all a popular link on the blogs today. But they are also talking about the money. And more specifically, did the Felt family come out for cold, hard cash? A lot of people saying yes. And that's really irking them.
We go over to Punditguy.com. This is Bill, a conservative in Washington State. And he says Mark Felt is 91 years of age and that his daughter will be cashing in for years to come. On the other side of the issue, "Bread for the Journey" not that critical. George24.blogspot.com. He says in looking on it that Woodward and Bernstein made millions off of this. And the family has got bills to pay and kids to put through college. And you never really know a man's motivations
ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: Another story that is really resonating out there that we have seen today. Interesting with U.S. political bloggers here is the vote in Europe on the EU constitution. The Dutch and French both voting no this week.
This story led to my required reading posted (ph) today. I really like this one. This is from Samizdata.net, this is a group blog, a British group blog that they have contributors from all over the world.
This one from David Carr in London. An obituary for the European constitution. "The European Constitution died earlier this evening following a short, but torrid illness." Goes on to say that "she was a puzzle draped in an enigma. Even those closest to her admitted that she was difficult to read and harder to interpret. And May have been a merciful providence that she found herself in a terminal condition in the euthanasia friendly Netherlands where she was emphatically put out of her misery."
Maybe jumping the gun a little bit from that post from David Carr, but certainly well worth a read.
SCHECHNER: A lot of U.S. bloggers and international bloggers talking about that one.
Something else we wanted to tell you about is that the Federal Elections Commission is looking into how to regulate political activity on the Internet, if they should, and how they would do it if they got there. And 4,000, or close to 4,000 bloggers came together, it's a bipartisan effort called the Online Coalition. Tomorrow is the deadline for comments to the FEC on what they should or shouldn't do. And they have now put their report, their comments online. This online coalition. You can find it at onlinecoalition.com.
They have a blog, but on the front site -- excuse me, the front page of the site, they have the opening to the letter. You can download the PDF and take a look at it. It is a hardy 12 pages.
But some of the points in the summary on the front page -- I wanted to tell you those quickly, was that public communication should include paid advertisements on the Internet. Another suggestion is that individuals and groups of individuals should be afforded the same protection as volunteers. The third point that they had is that certain online publications should be exempt under the media exemption rule.
Worth taking a look if you are interested in this cause. Good, hardy context.
TATTON: And another political blogging story that we found out there today. This one about former vice presidential candidate John Edwards. He seems to continue to be build a relationship with the liberal blogging community. Very smart, say some people.
Earlier this week, we talked about the fact that he is blogging -- guest blogging over at TPMCafe.com, the newly launched site over there.
Well, now some liberal bloggers are saying earlier this week the former senator invited them over to his house for a dinner. He is still trying to build this relationship.
And over here at "Tact," this is the blog of the American Prospect Magazine. They are saying that this is a very smart move. "Gaining the loyalty of bloggers could have implication for Edwards future fund raising and media strategies should he decide to run again for office."
So the former senator there really building this relationship.
SCHECHNER: They were also making comparison to Howard Dean, weren't they? And the impact the bloggers had.
TATTON: Saying that if Howard Dean's declining an '08, then there this vacuum that John Edwards could jump into there for the liberal bloggers.
SCHECHNER: So very interesting sort of political stuff we're picking up on.
No word what they served for dinner, Judy. But what we did want to take an opportunity to say thank you and wish you good luck. Abbi and I have both been very honored to be a part of your show. And we hope you will continue to check in with us on the future. And with the blogs themselves. We're all going to miss you very, very much.
TATTON: Judy, also, thank you so much. For me, it was so fun working with you out on the campaign trail. I enjoyed every minute of it. You're a pleasure to work with.
WOODRUFF: Well, you both are very generous. I'll tell you, for somebody who knew nothing about the blogs when we started working with you, you have taught me a lot. I still have a long way to go. Thank you both and I'll be watching you from out there. I appreciate it. Abbi and Jacki.
That's it for today's INSIDE POLITICS this Thursday. I'm Judy Woodruff. "CROSSFIRE" starts right now.
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