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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Janice Rogers Brown Nomination; Blair, Bush Meet; Mitch McConnell Interview
Aired June 7, 2005 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: A major meeting at the White House. This hour, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are behind closed doors. Next hour, we'll take their news conference live.
Two very different views of a judge in the spotlight.
SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D) ILLINOIS: Janice Rogers brown is one of President Bush's most ideological and extreme judicial nominees.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) ALABAMA: She is a restrained jurist, respected by her colleagues and the people before whom she practices.
ANNOUNCER: So, who's right? We'll take a closer look.
A bipartisan lawmaker?
SEN. HILLARY CLINTON, (D) NEW YORK: I know it's a bit of odd- fellow or odd-woman mix.
ANNOUNCER: Or a partisan politician?
CLINTON: There has never been an administration, I don't believe, in our history more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda than the current administration.
ANNOUNCER: Making the grade. Who was the better student back at Yale? A look at their report cards may surprise you.
ANNOUNCER: Now, live from Washington, CNN's INSIDE POLITICS.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. I'm John King.
President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair are meeting this hour inside the White House. Their agenda is expected to cover the usual items such as Iraq and the war on terror but they are also expected to discuss topics where common ground is much harder to come by, including global warming and aid to Africa. We'll hear directly from the two leaders at a news conference a little more than an hour from now. But first, for a look inside those talks and the strains in this so-called special relationship, we turn to our White House correspondent Dana Bash. Dana? DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, you know, it's hard to believe it's been almost four-and-a-half years since the two men bonded at Camp David. Remember, they bonded over sharing the same toothpaste, using the same kind of toothpaste, Colgate. That certainly was at a time when they were trying to get to know each other. Of course, now is a time when the two men have a lot they have gone through, but really the focus is on both of their legacies, and for President Bush, he, of course has been pushing internationally democracy and freedom.
Tony Blair, for his part -- he is very much focused on a kind of Marshal Plan for the continent of Africa. He's got a finance plan that he has been going around the world proposing, raising $25 billion to $50 billion a year by selling bonds on global markets. Now, the White House has said point blank "no" to that plan, simply the president saying that U.S. budget laws don't allow the White House to sign on to what Tony Blair is proposing.
And, you know, of course, the prime minister has taken a lot of grief back home in Great Britain for -- the perception being that he has been giving and giving to President Bush and not gotten very much in return. So what we are going to see later on today, in about an hour, is a side deal of sorts. President Bush trying to give Tony Blair something and that is going to be an announcement of $674 million for Africa to address hunger in African countries. That is something that Tony Blair and his government certainly will take as an opening promise and a thank you, but certainly they are going to try to push for more.
There is one other thing, John, that Tony Blair is not going to likely get and that is common ground with President Bush on the issue of global warming. Just earlier today, when asked about the Kyoto Treaty that of course President Bush has not signed on to, the White House spokesman simply said, it's a job killer.
KING: And, Dana, both leaders have troops in Iraq. They will obviously discuss that. This is the first time they are together and the first time they will go before reporters since a memo, a British strategy memo, was leaked in Great Britain suggesting that President Bush was set on military action in Iraq far more earlier than he has conceded to the American people. What do we make of that?
BASH: That's right, and just to give a little background, this is something that was published in "The Sunday Times" of London, right before Prime Minister Blair went to the polls, right before the election in Great Britain, and it's allegedly minutes from a meeting attended by Prime Minister Blair on July 23, 2002, eight months before the war started.
You see a quote up there. The operative quote referring to a British officials consultation in Washington, saying "Military action is now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military, action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy." Now, this memo, well before the administration began publicly making the case for war, is certainly causing a furor among some Democrats, saying that this, from their point of view, is proof that the administration always intended to go to war and perhaps manipulated intelligence to make that case.
The British government has not denied the authenticity of the memo as far as the White House goes. They are saying that the suggestion is flat wrong, that the president did initially always want to go -- I should say -- to war, essentially saying what we've heard many times, that they went to the United Nations, tried diplomatically as first. But, John, this is going to be the first opportunity to see what both men have to say about this. Unlikely that they are going to bring it up on their own.
KING: We will hope that it is brought up at the news conference. Dana Bash at the White House, thank you very much.
And, on that note a quick reminder: again, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair will hold the news conference a little more than an hour from now in the East Room of the White House. We plan live coverage starting around 4:45 Eastern. Stay with us.
And, over on Capitol Hill, the much-discussed Senate compromise remains intact and another of the president's judicial nominees is headed for a final vote. The president first nominated Janice Rogers Brown to a federal appeals court two years ago. The Democrat-led filibuster did not end without some tough talk from both sides. Our congressional correspondent Ed Henry is standing by with more. Ed?
ED HENRY, CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, John.
That's right -- a big victory for President Bush in his effort to reshape some of the most influential courts in the United States. In this case, as you mentioned, the Senate voted to end this two-year filibuster of Janice Rogers Brown. She got 65 votes, five more votes than she needed to cut off this filibuster.
There will be more debate on the nomination tonight and tomorrow, but passing this hurdle now paves the way for Brown to get a confirmation vote Wednesday at about 5:00 p.m. Then, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist hopes to move on to a procedural vote on William Prior, another one of the president's judicial nominees.
Now, Judge Brown will be confirmed to a seat on the U.S. court of appeals for the District of Columbia, a very powerful court, just one notch below the Supreme Court. The president is trying to tip the balance here in the so-called culture wars on hot button issues like same-sex marriage and abortion. That's why this is much more than just a fight over filibusters. There's a lot at stake across the country and that's why it was a very fiery debate. Here's the flavor of it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: What does Janice Rogers Brown want to be nominated for? Dictator? Or grand exalted ruler? Please. How can a conservative who believes we ought to follow the rule of law, who believes that there shouldn't be strict construction -- that there should be strict constructionism against activist judges, say I am disinclined -- support someone who says, I am disinclined to perpetuate dubious law for no better reason than it exists. What arrogance, what gall.
SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R) ALABAMA: And then she said -- he said this, Did she want to be a grand exalted ruler? Was that some reference to the Ku Klux Klan? This African-American from my home state of Alabama who left as a teenager, I'm sure one reason -- to go to California -- one reason she left, was for discrimination and segregation that existed in rural Alabama where she grew up at that time, the daughter of sharecroppers. To have it suggested that somehow her ideas are consistent with a Ku Klux Klan is really offensive to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Now, I mentioned at the top, this is a political victory for President Bush but Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is also feeling pretty good about this as you know, John. He took some lumps over being cut out of that filibuster deal, also, losing the initial vote on John Bolton's nomination to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. But, now that there's been progress on two of the president's key judicial nominations, a third one coming tomorrow as well in William Prior, Frist is feeling pretty good. John?
KING: And, we will see, Ed Henry, if that good mood lasts. Ed Henry on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
So, who is right in this fierce debate over Janice Rogers Brown? I'll take a closer look at her decisions and the controversy surrounding her when we return.
Plus, are some top Democrats going to far when it comes to slamming Republicans? I'll talk with two political veterans, Jack Valenti and Ed Rollins about the recent rhetoric.
Plus, he was a key player in George W. Bush's two presidential victories. So which candidate will Mark McKinnon back in the next race for the White House? Find out in our "Political Bytes."
KING: Supporters of Janice Rogers Brown are celebrating what they hope is the end of a long battle. As we reported earlier, the Senate appears set to vote tomorrow to confirm Brown's nomination to the Federal Appeals Court for the District of Columbia. In Brown, conservatives see a constitutional scholar and a possible future Supreme Court justice, while liberals see an activist who bends the law to match her conservative personal views.
KING (voice-over): Janice Rogers Brown, a college liberal turned courthouse conservative. A Shakespeare and poetry lover with a penchant for provocative words of her own. "These are perilous times for people of faith," she warned in a speech suggesting liberals want to divorce the country from its religious heritage. "It's not a shooting war," she said, "but it's a war."
JANICE ROGERS BROWN, CALIF. SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: The question for you will be whether the regime of freedom, which they founded, can survive the relentless enmity of the slave mentality.
KING: She calls the New Deal, which created Social Security and Medicare, our "socialist revolution," suggesting it created reliance on big government, a new slavery, contrary to the constitution's authors vision of limited government.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's so radical that she says with programs like Social Security and Medicare, seniors are cannibalizing their grandchildren.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hear ye, hear ye. The honorable Supreme Court...
KING: Perhaps her most noteworthy judicial decision? A sweeping attack on affirmative action, saying society should be colorblind and not allow entitlement based on group representation.
EVA PATERSON, EQUAL JUSTICE SOCIETY: As black woman, I'm here to say it doesn't matter what the color of her skin is, it matters how she's going to rule.
KING: Skin color very much mattered to young Janice Rogers in Luverne, Alabama. Whenever possible, her sharecropper father kept the family from establishments that had separate entrances and facilities for blacks.
STEVE MERSKAMER, LONGTIME BROWN FRIEND: I know they didn't have indoor plumbing. I know that it was a very, rough existence. I can only imagine what it must have been like growing up as a youngster in the segregated South.
KING: She was 6 when 50 miles away in Montgomery, Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus. Fred Gray was Parks' lawyer, an African-American and to young Janice, an inspiration. Rogers Brown graduated UCLA law school in 1977, making her dream of becoming an attorney a reality. Raising a son as a single mother made personal responsibility a guiding theme, and her political views trended more conservative.
BILL MOUNT, FMR. BROWN CHIEF OF STAFF: She believes the judiciary's single duty is to protect individuals from government overreaching.
KING: Critics see her provocative writings as evidence of ambition, including her 2000 ruling criticizing racial quotas or even goals as contrary to a society based on equal opportunity for all.
OWEN SELLSTROM, LAWYERS CMTE. FOR CIVIL RIGHTS: It was not a typical opinion that you would see of a judge looking at the facts and applying the law. It was much more something that appeared to be specifically drafted to catch the attention of ultra right-wing conservative groups. KING: Former chief of staff Bill Mount says it is not personal ambition, but instead a deliberate effort to stir debate on the evolving role of courts and government.
MOUNT: She believes that something of a wrong turn was taken maybe half a century ago when the welfare state grew. And I think she thinks that the national experience of African-Americans has been in some ways regrettable.
PATERSON: I think the Bush people are very brilliantly playing the race card.
KING: Eva Paterson's Equal Justice Society in San Francisco is one of an array of state and national civil rights organizations opposing the Brown nomination.
PATERSON: She is a sister and she has suffered many of the indignities that black women throughout history have suffered. And so that tends to make you want to just be quiet and not oppose her. But then, my sense of political chess make me realize that that's exactly what Karl Rove and President Bush want to have happen.
KING (on camera): Justice Rogers Brown is a regular here at the Church of Christ in Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento. Friends say her deep Christian faith is a critical part of both her personal and professional life, though some critics say that faith plays too much of a role in her judicial philosophy.
BROWN: What we ultimately pursue is a true vision of justice and ordered liberty respectful of human dignity and the authority of God.
KING: In a 1997 case, the state Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a law requiring parental consent before a minor could receive an abortion, but Justice Brown dissented, suggesting the majority's reasoning gave courts a green light to topple every cultural icon, to dismiss all societal values, to become the final arbiters of traditional morality.
Friend Steve Merksamer says they have never discussed abortion.
MERKSAMER: I don't know what her views would be. I think she views the constitution in a fairly strict constructionist sense, which is what the president says. He wants to appoint people like that. But I also think that she is -- I think it's a big mistake to try to pigeon-hole her.
KING: She is, for example, not always adverse to government power. "Sometimes beauty is fierce, love is tough and freedom is painful," she wrote in a ruling upholding drug testing for government job applicants. She also allowed cities to disperse suspected gang members without proof of illegal conduct.
MERKSAMER: Janice is an extremely private person. She's hard to -- you know, she won't open up to just anybody.
KING: Merksamer met with Brown recently to discuss her nomination. He says she prefers to talk about her latest intellectual pursuit.
MERKSAMER: I couldn't believe it when she said to me, you know, I really -- could you connect with somebody who can -- I want to learn Hebrew. And I mean, it just amazed me. I said, why? She says, because I want to read the Torah in the original Hebrew.
KING: Friends say two years of hearing herself labeled combative, temperamental, extremist, and worse have taken a toll, but Mount says Justice Brown isn't one to flinch from a fight.
MOUNT: She told me that she went to see the Ray Charles film and she loved the line when she said they're scandalizing my name. And that's exactly how she feels. I think she finds it brutal, just brutal. In another sense, I think she's in the eye of the storm and she's quite calm about it all.
KING: Now if she's confirmed as expected, Janice Rogers Brown will become only the second African-American woman to serve on the D.C. Court.
Two political veterans have been keeping a close watch on the battles that have raged over the president's nominees. Straight ahead, we'll get some insight from Jack Valenti and Ed Rollins.
KING: And joining us now here in Washington, Jack Valenti, former aide to President Lyndon Johnson. And in New York, veteran Republican strategist Ed Rollins.
Gentleman, want to begin with this peace on Earth moment we appear to be having over the president's judicial nominees. Priscilla Owen, confirmed as part of this deal. Janice Rogers Brown now on the verge of being confirmed in the Senate tomorrow.
Do we have peace on Earth, Jack, or do you expect this it to collapse, especially if we get a Supreme Court vacancy?
JACK VALENTI, FMR. AIDE TO PRES. JOHNSON: No, it's just Christmastime. After that comes New Years. But I think the real desolation was avoided when the 14 senators got together. What makes the Senate different from the House is unlimited speech. And if you ever deny that to the Senate, then it becomes just something, a clone of the House.
Sam Rayburn used to say the three most important words in the English language are "Wait a minute." And that's what the Senate is for, to be a wait a minute body. To deliberate, be thoughtful, and that's why unlimited speech is so important.
KING: Are we waiting a minute, Ed Rollins, or we just waiting for a bigger fight? Maybe if Justice Rehnquist resigns.
ED ROLLINS, GOP STRATEGIST: I think there's always going to be a big fight on the Supreme Court, whichever side was there, because it's so significant. I think the important thing here is that two outstanding women, two women who were on the top court in both of their states, California and Texas, have now basically moved up into the federal court system. I think that's very, important. And that's what the president promised he would do and obviously he's now got the opportunity to do that.
KING: Now, both of you are very good, shall I say, at political wordsmithing. We're in a moment where we have a leader of the Democratic party, former governor Howard Dean, saying that Republicans don't know what it's like to hold a job, essentially. I'm paraphrasing. And you have the leader in the Senate, the Democratic leader, saying -- has called the president both a loser and a liar. He says now he apologizes for loser, but not for liar. The right tone, Jack Valenti, for the opposition party?
VALENTI: Well, I come from an LBJ presidency. And he once said that when you get into a political fight, you always leave your opponent an exit way so he can retain his dignity and his integrity. Because your adversary today very well be your ally tomorrow. Never burn bridges. I think the way to win elections in a hopelessly divided and polarized country, which is what we have now, is to reach out to people that five or 6 or 10 percent undecided.
And you don't do that, in my judgment, by hurling curses as Howard Dean is doing. I find Howard Dean to be an engaging, bright, charming man. But if he asked my counsel, which he hasn't, I would say, I'd be talking about what I think is right and good about the Democratic party and how you want to lift the quality of life in this free and loving land and do away with the curses.
KING: Ed, I'm going to guess that neither Chairman Dean nor Senator Reid have asked your counsel.
ROLLINS: They haven't. And obviously I wouldn't necessarily give it to them. But at the end of the day, you know -- one of the unfortunate things for Howard Dean is that he didn't have to pay a price for losing and losing badly in the presidential race. He made some very significant mistakes and he never even won a primary and he gets rewarded by being the leader of the party without learning any lessons.
He's now back out talking to the radical element of the Democratic party and not the mainstream of the Democratic party or the country. A party chairman's job is to raise resources, to recruit candidates and to basically be able to articulate the message of the party. By going out and throwing the red meat and the speeches out that he's doing, you become very irrelevant and it's very irresponsible.
VALENTI: But I think, John, in the end, it's the candidate who sets the tone of what they are their party, Republican or Democrat, is all about. Whoever moves in after President Bush will have to be setting what the flavor and the complexion the Republican party is, and so will the Democratic candidates. I don't know of any chairman of either party who is the policy maker for the party.
ROLLINS: I agree with that. You know, I think your good friend Bob Strauss came in and played a very critical role in basically bringing the party back together at a very important time. You know, unfortunately for Mr. Dean, Democrats need someone to be out there trying to recruit candidates and raise resources.
And obviously, the Republicans are very effective at that today. And I don't think he's going to be very effective. He's already lost three major fundraisers, one in California and one in Texas. And obviously those are important states for Democrats to raise money in.
KING: Gentlemen, time is short today. We unfortunately need to leave it there. But we will continue on another day. Jack Valenti here in Washington, Ed Rollins in New York. Gentlemen, thank you both very much.
VALENTI: Thank you, John.
ROLLINS: Nice to be with you. Thank you.
KING: And a meeting of two strong allies right now at the White House. But, is British Prime Minister Tony Blair looking for payback as he gets together with President Bush? That story when we come back.
Plus, she had a famous, some would say infamous, role during the 2000 Florida recount. Now Katherine Harris hopes to make more news. We'll explain. Stay with us.
KING: The markets closed just moments ago on Wall Street, so as always, I'm joined by Christine Romans in New York, with the Dobbs Report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, THE DOBBS REPORT: Hi there, John.
Stocks mostly higher after an upbeat economic outlook from Fed chief Allan Greenspan, but they closed well off the best levels of the day. The final trades are still being counted. The Dow Jones Industrial Average up about 16 points. The NASDAQ is a third of one percent lower.
Greenspan said the economy would remain strong and that global long-term interest rates would remain low.
And oil prices fell for a second day in a row. They are now back below $54.00 a barrel.
General Motors will slash 25,000 jobs over the next three years; that's 17 percent of its U.S. workforce. G.M. hopes to save about $2.5 billion a year. Month after month, G.M. is losing market share to foreign competition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER MORICI, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: This company is in a great deal of trouble. It -- which far transcends its legacy costs or health care burden. This company is fundamentally uncompetitive. It doesn't make products people want to buy. It doesn't -- General Motors doesn't make cars that people want to drive. It doesn't make cars that it can sell at a price to cover its costs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: G.M. also rolled out a line of new cars and SUVs to replace poor selling models.
Coming up on CNN at 6:00 P.M. Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT," critics say Canada is trying to steal Hollywood by offering huge financial incentives. But U.S. producers say those incentives are in violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB UNDERWOOD, TV WRITER/PRODUCER: This is not outsourcing to India where people are getting a lot less money, this is outsourcing to Canada where people are getting the kind of salaries that Americans would be happy to have. But those salaries are being underwritten by the Canadian government with the express intent of destroying the job market or destroying a big piece of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Also tonight, thousands of foreign plants and animals that enter the U.S. end up destroying the ecosystem and costing the country billions of dollars. We have a special report on alien species.
Then, Texas State Senator Juan Hinojosa is trying to stop the Minutemen from patrolling the border. He'll explain why.
And theologian and author George Weigel joins to talk about his new book "The Cube and the Cathedral."
That and more 6:00 Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT."
Now back to John in Washington.
KING: Thank you, Christine. We'll be watching.
And now back to INSIDE POLITICS.
As President Bush and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair discuss a range of issues at the White House this hour, polls show the American people and their British counterparts remain focused on one topic above all others, the war in Iraq.
Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider has more on today's meeting and the issue that will define the legacies of both leaders. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): You could call it the lame duck summit. George W. Bush can't run again. British Prime Minister Tony Blair says he won't. You could also call it the summit of the survivors. Both leaders got reelected in spite of voter backlash against the war in Iraq.
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This meeting is an opportunity for the president to congratulate Prime Minister Blair in person on being reelected.
SCHNEIDER: Blair is also looking for a payback from Bush, specifically on an issue that has been high on the British prime minister's agenda.
TONY BLAIR, PRIME MINISTER OF GREAT BRITAIN: Before the last election, I said that Africa would be a big priority for the government in our second term. And I described Africa as a scar on the conscience of the world.
SCHNEIDER: President Bush insists that any commitment fit his own political agenda.
GEORGE BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Countries such as ours are not going to want to give aid to countries that are corrupt or don't hold true to Democratic principles.
SCHNEIDER: Blair would also like to see a U.S. proposal to deal with global warming. The Bush administration says:
MCCLELLAN: There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the science of climate change that we're still trying to understand.
SCHNEIDER: But Iraq is like the elephant in the room, sooner or later Bush and Blair are going to have to notice it's there.
MCCLELLAN: I'm sure that they will talk about the progress in Iraq to build a free and Democratic future -- and peaceful future.
SCHNEIDER: Not everyone shares that rosy scenario. Among them, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who said Sunday on ABC's "This Week: "
SENATOR JOE BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: It's a race for time. A lot of this is going on George, you know -- people lose confidence -- in Iraq.
SCHNEIDER: Yes, they do. In early February, just after the Iraqi election, Americans were divided over whether it was worth going to war in Iraq. By May, with the continuing insurgency and mounting U.S. casualties, public opinion had turned negative.
And in Britain, nearly two-to-one negative.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SCHNEIDER (on camera): Africa is important. Global warming is important, but what people in the U.S. and Britain really want to know is: how are you going to get us out of Iraq?
KING: And Bill, will we learn any more about how we got into Iraq?
Specifically the debate over this memo -- the British memo that says the president made his decision a long time before he has conceded to the American people and that quote, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
SCHNEIDER: I do expect to see a question raised with Blair and Bush standing side-by-side for the first time since Blair's reelection about that memo.
A British Intelligence official visited Washington and a foreign policy aide wrote to the British cabinet, "military action was now seen as inevitable."
Bush wanted to remove Saddam through military action justified by the conjunction of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But the intelligence and the facts were being fixed around the policy. A very controversial statement eight months before the war.
KING: Eight months. So we will perhaps hear about when we might come out and a little bit more about just how and when it was decided to get in.
Bill Schneider, thank you, very much.
And again, we will hear both from President Bush and Prime Minister Blair in just a little while.
CNN will bring that to you live. The two leaders plan a news conference later this hour. We expect it to begin around 4:45 Eastern.
Checking now our "Political Bytes," the 2006 Florida Senate race just got a lot more interesting.
Republican Congresswoman Katherine Harris is expected to meet this hour with House Speaker Dennis Hastert to tell the speaker she plans to run for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Bill Nelson.
Harris, of course, played a key role in the disputed 2000 presidential election when she served as Florida's secretary of state.
A close advisor to President Bush may advise Senator John McCain if the Arizona Republican chooses to run for president in 2008.
Mark McKinnon is a Texas-based GOP strategist who advised George W. Bush last year and in 2000 when Bush endured a tough primary battle with Senator McCain. McKinnon recently met with McCain but the Senator's office says McKinnon has not officially been hired. CNN has confirmed that three top Democratic Party fund raisers have resigned their posts in recent weeks. A published report says the resignations are related to Party Chairman Howard Dean's decision to focus on small donors and Internet fund raising. A party spokeswoman says Dean works to raise money from both large and small donors.
Former vice presidential candidate John Edwards says his weekend comments about Howard Dean's harsh criticism of Republicans have been blown out of proportion. On his "One America" blog, Edwards writes that he and Dean agree on most major issues.
In his words, "I said a lot of good things... but no one wrote about that. Instead the headlines blared that I disagreed with Howard and the flap arose: a chasm! a split! a revolt! Instead, how about: Nonsense!
Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton has appeared alongside top Republicans of late and she's also blasted the GOP with stinging public criticism. It's a dual role that has some wondering if the senator is trying to appeal to her base and a much wider field of potential voters, all at the same time.
CNN's Bruce Morton takes a look.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hillary Clinton, have you noticed, has been doing a lot of bi-partisan stuff in the Senate lately. Here's a recent press release about her and Republican leader Bill Frist cooperating on a health issue. There have been others, Clinton and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Sam Brownback of Kansas. In fact, her office has publicized cooperative efforts with at least 11 Republicans this year, including Lindsey Graham, who in the House, was one of the manager's of her husband's impeachment.
But now listen to the senator at a fund raising breakfast.
CLINTON: There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda than the current administration.
MORTON: That's pretty partisan.
CLINTON: So, thank you, Speaker Gingrich.
MORTON: Yes, but there was the famous picture with former Speaker Newt Gingrich, who once promised he'd run her husband, the president, out of town -- couldn't of course. Still, a bi-partisan photo -- but then, hear this:
CLINTON: It is very hard to stop people who have never been acquainted with the truth. It is very hard to tell people who are on the other side of the aisle that they must think about the country's future, not just their own partisan political advantage.
MORTON: Never been acquainted with the truth? That's as tough as Dean saying Republicans never made an honest living, and he got in all kinds of trouble over that. What's going on? Two Hillaries? Well, yes.
STUART ROTHENBERG, ROLL CALL: I think Senator Clinton understands that you have to be one kind of person to win a Democratic presidential nomination and a little different kind of person to win a general election, and she's trying to be two different people at the same time.
MORTON: OK, but can she make it work?
ROTHENBERG: It requires walking a fine line and in this day and age, when the news media is watching her every move and looking for contradictions and hypocrisy and changes of message, it's doubly hard. But if she can pull it off, it would be a terrific way for her to enter the 2008 presidential race.
MORTON: Two Senator Clintons. It won't be easy for them.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
KING: The battle over the president's judicial nominees is one of the hottest topics in Washington. Coming up, Senator Mitch McConnell will be with us to talk more about the often partisan bickering.
And, they're both Yale men, so who's got bragging right when it comes to grades at the Ivy League school, President Bush or Senator Kerry? We'll find out coming up.
KING: The bruising battles over President Bush's nominees have dominated the goings-on in Congress for a good part of Mr. Bush's second term. With me now from Capitol Hill, the Senate Republican whip, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Senator, thank you for joining us today.
Some progress, at least from the White House and the Republican perspective, some progress when it comes to confirming judges, but still no scheduled floor vote just yet on John Bolton, the president's choice to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. When will see that come back to the floor?
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY WHIP: Well, we've had a very productive -- we're in the process of having a very productive week. By the end of the week, we will have confirmed -- either this week or the week before last -- five circuit court appointments by the president, one of whom had been held up four years, the other two, at least a couple of years.
So we're getting a lot of judges confirmed and having a pretty good level of cooperation from the Democratic side. Senator Biden said on a Sunday show and Senator Dodd said on your Sunday show that I was also on, that he expected Mr. Bolton to get an up or down vote, and we anticipate that will happen. It could happen as early as this week. If not, we expect it'll happen next week.
KING: Senator Dodd also said though that he'd like to see some records that John Bolton wanted to see when he was at the State Department, still at the State Department. Some Republicans have said that the White House is drawing too harsh of a line there, that they should at least share some of that information or try to find a compromise. The White House says no. What do you say to that, Senator?
MCCONNELL: Gosh, I mean, there's been a lot of material handed over. I mean, he's had eight hours of testimony, 800 pages of documents have been turned over. All reasonable requests have been honored. Surely, over this issue, we won't fail to give Bolton an up or down vote.
I mean, look, I hope they're not going to fall back into the old mode of operation in the Senate, obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. I think we've sort of worked our way past that, and as Senator Biden and Senator Dodd both said on Sunday, they anticipate Bolton getting an up or down vote and if he does, he'll be confirmed, whether or not all of these requests are honored.
KING: Senator, the progress, as you've put it, on the judges came because of a deal, seven Republican senators met with seven Democrats. They brokered a deal to end the threat of filibusters at least in the short term. Some chatter in Washington after that that the leader, your leader, Senator Frist, had lost control of Republicans in the Senate. What do you think of that?
MCCONNELL: I think what you need to focus on is the fact we will have gotten five and probably going to get six circuit judges here shortly after that agreement between the 14 senators, and then we're still where we were only we've gotten more judges confirmed. If filibusters are used, the majority leader will exercise the constitutional option and I believe if we ever have to exercise the constitutional option, we'll have the 50 or 51 votes that we need.
In the meantime, we're kind of enjoying the cease-fire and reaping the benefits of it by getting all of these judges confirmed.
KING: Amid the cease-fire, there's a controversy about the leader of the other party in the Senate, Senator Harry Reid who has been quoted as calling the president of the United States a liar and a loser. He said he apologized for calling him a loser but not for a liar. What does that tell us about the partisan atmosphere in this town right now?
MCCONNELL: Gee, I don't know. You'd have to ask Senator Reid about his comments about the president. We are trying to get along and to move the agenda forward, and I think Senator Reid will have to answer for his own observations about the president. Obviously, I think they're off-base.
KING: Off-base, Senator Mitch McConnell being very gracious, a chance to fire back at the Democrats. You obviously hope for the cease-fire to continue. Sir, we thank you for joining us today.
MCCONNELL: Thank you.
KING: Take care, Senator.
It was an issue during last year's presidential campaign. Now, John Kerry has released his military and medical records. Straight ahead, we'll go "Inside the Blogs" to find out what's being said about the senator's decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: CNN, congratulations on your 25th.
KELLY PRESTON, ACTRESS: Happy birthday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: After at least two years of refusal, Senator John Kerry has waived privacy restrictions and released his military and medical records. They were provided to "The Boston Globe" and include numerous commendations from commanding officers who later criticized Kerry's service in Vietnam. The release is a hot topic among bloggers, so we check in with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporter. Jacki?
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG REPORTER: Hi John.
It is all about the Johns today. First, we start with John Kerry. Now, we talked about those records that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, among others, wanted to be released during the 2004 presidential campaign. Finally, on May 20th, Kerry signed over those records, and what's in it? What's the big shocking revelation? Not much other than some really good things to say about Kerry.
So, we start at BullMooseBlog.com, pointing out this is now the end of the GOP smear campaign. The right should apologize. Don't hold your breath for that. They say the records prove that John Kerry was a decorated war hero. Somebody should be apologizing.
ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: But, are you finding them apologizing? Not so much on the right. Some of the rightwing bloggers at the end of the campaign last year were really pushing this issue and some of them aren't satisfied. Is that all there is? That seems to be one of the popular refrains out there, that from Powerlineblog.com.
Go over to PoliPundit.com that was really pushing on this issue as well, last year. They even had a clock up there making sure at some point he would release all the documents. They say there's some more stuff in the records that Kerry doesn't want out there. That's why he didn't release the records before. He's been trying to suppress information that's in the record. They think that there are more things out there. A spokesman from the Kerry campaign said this is absolutely everything, but Polipundit's still pushing on this one. They've even got a little poll out there with a picture of the senator, just saying why did John Kerry take so long to release his military records?
SCHECHNER: A lot of the bloggers making the joke that that photo was the reason why he didn't want it to be related, but that wasn't actually in the records. It just accompanied "The Boston Globe" article.
Another thing they're pointing out is that it did have John Kerry's college grades in it, and they were remarkably similar to those of President Bush.
TATTON: And that is one of the questions that is being asked on the left or right. Why did he not release these sooner? Perhaps it's because of these grades. Was that the issue? That's over there at the LeftCoast.com (ph), wondering if it's vanity that was the issue. So, for the sake of not wanting to be seen just as much as a slacker as W., Kerry failed to use a club that could have undercut the Swifties during the critical month of August last year.
SCHECHNER: The same point being made on the left and the right regarding this -- was this really a good political move back during the campaign? And, everybody's saying no, it was really bad.
Over at Ericericson.org (ph) -- he is a political consultant and attorney in Macon, Georgia, also on the board of RedState.org, saying you don't have to be brilliant political strategist to know that this was a really bad idea. If people are clamoring for records, unless there's something utterly horrible in them, you release the records.
Another story we want to bring you, the third John today, is John Edwards and the fact that Howard Dean made some comments on Thursday about Republicans not earning -- knowing how to earn a decent living or an honest living, rather and how John Edwards responded to that. Seeingtheforest.com, one of the sites that is following this back and forth, and the latest news today has to do with John Edwards specifically.
TATTON: Yes, the former senator has been blogging a response. We've talked in the last week about how the senator -- Senator John Edwards, former senator, is really trying to engage the liberal blogosphere and seems to be succeeding pretty well. He's been video blogging. He's been inviting liberal bloggers over to his house. Last night he posted on his site -- This is One America Committee.com. He's saying that this latest flap between Dean is in fact nonsense.
What's interesting is the comment section has enabled there a real conversation going on with some of his supporters, not so much some of his supporters. You know, not everyone's coming out for him. So, it's a conversation that's on-going. He's really engaging some of the supporters out there, John.
KING: Thank you, ladies.
As you noted, also released by John Kerry and reported by "The Boston Globe," Kerry's grades from Yale. Last year's presidentially election pitted Kerry against George Bush, two Yale men facing off for the nation's highest elected position. Too late to affect your votes, but how did each handle their Ivy League education? The grades are in.
(voice-over): He was derided as an elitist snob who sniffed down on everyone.
SEN. JOHN F. KERRY (D-MA), FMR. PRES. CANDIDATE: We've got to have better common sense in this country today.
KING: He was denounced as a simple hayseed who couldn't pronounce words.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRES. U.S.A.: That if the terriers embarrass -- everywhere (ph)...
KING: But at the heart, John Kerry and George W. Bush are both Yale men and now we know they were mediocre Yale men at that. Kerry recently released his college report cards, which revealed a GPA of 76, a solid C, one point below the president's 77.
Not only that, but Kerry got four D's his freshman year, including one for political science. Go figure. Kerry says he told his dad that D stood for distinction.
BUSH: I've seen how things can work out pretty well for a C student.
KING: Bush suffered only one D in college in astronomy. His highest grade was in the B range, an 88, in anthropology, history and philosophy.
Both students improved as the years went on, pulling their grades up by their senior year. Kerry even acquitted himself in poli sci, scoring an 89 in one class. Still a B, but his highest mark ever.
KING: Hillary Clinton takes on the Republicans in what some people think could be a practice run for a White House campaign. Coming up, our political strategists will get Hillary on the attack, and how the 2008 race is shaping up, when INSIDE POLITICS returns. Stay with us.
KING: More INSIDE POLITICS in just a moment.
But first, a developing story. The search and the investigation underway in Aruba for a missing Alabama student.
Karl Penhaul has new developments. He joins us now on the phone from Palm Beach, Aruba.
KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, a spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office has just held a press conference. In that she has said that the two men were arrested over the weekend on suspicion of having a connection with the disappearance of Natalee Holloway will be held in custody for a further eight days.
They had to appear before a public prosecutor today. She had to present evidence as to why she needed to continue to hold them. There had been some speculation that if their evidence wasn't sufficient -- that they had anything to do with Natalee's disappearance -- that they could have been released today.
We also, this morning, talked to the attorney for those two suspects. He says his clients have now been formally accused of murder, homicide and kidnapping leading to homicide -- John?
KING: Karl, as the prosecutor made the case to hold the men longer, was any of the evidence released to the public or just in a court session?
PENHAUL: Just in a court session. So far there has been no public declaration of the types of evidence available against these two suspects. Although, again, talking to their defense attorney this morning, he says that he does not believe that the prosecutors have any real evidence against his clients.
And he says his two clients are nervous that they're being accused of these crimes, but he says they are maintaining complete innocence in this matter -- John.
KING: Karl Penhaul with the latest developments on that investigation from Palm Beach, Aruba.
Thank you, Karl.
It's time for our "Strategy Session" on the day's hot political topics. Joining us, CNN political analyst James Carville and Republican strategist Joe Watkins.
Today Hillary on the attack. The New York Senator take aim at the GOP. Eye on '08: Looking at the growing number of possible White House contenders heading to New Hampshire and elsewhere.
And Bush and Blair. The British prime minister comes calling on the president.
Hillary Clinton took on the Republicans at a fund raising event for her senate reelection campaign yesterday. The senator had some harsh criticism for the Republicans in control of Congress as well as choice words for the current occupants of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLINTON: There has never been an administration, I don't believe in our history, more intent upon consolidating and abusing power to further their own agenda than the current administration.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: James Carville, you know her quite well.
What's that all about?
JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all, you know, it's a fund raising breakfast; it's a Democratic event and it' kind of on the stuff.
The second thing is, John, the president's numbers are, you know, low according to ABC poll -- at an all-time low and I've been around Washington long enough to know sometimes when their numbers go down, the attacks go up. I mean there's a kind of a ratio here.
So, I suspect that it is a little bit about both. But, you know, these are people that paid $1,000 to go to breakfast and they wanted some red meat with scrambled eggs.
KING: But Joe, those people who paid $1,000 and wanted some read meat with their scrambled eggs, they're going to vote Democrat when it comes to the next election.
If she's the Democratic nominee, words like that when she's trying to win in southern Illinois, southern Ohio, places like that...
WATKINS: Well of course. You see, there are two campaigns. There's the primary campaign where Democrats, of course, want to appeal to their own.
In so doing, they often times use language that's pretty inflammatory. This Howard Dean, who is not now a candidate but is the DNC chair, his language -- and Harry Reid, the Senate majority -- minority leader in the Senate, the Democrat.
But in general elections if Hillary was ever to materialize as a candidate -- as a nominee -- as her party's nominee, then she'd have to build bridges, and, of course, you see that language quickly change.
And even witness now the way some of the language is changing and, likewise, some of the bridges she is building by virtue of the memos that she's doing in conjunction with Republican members of the Senate. This is all, I think, indicative of what probably would happen if she was the nominee.
KING: You helped the last Clinton who became president of the United States -- who had the same sort of issue trying to prove he was a different kind of Democrat -- sister-soldier moment, things like that.
How does Hillary Clinton, who I think is perceived to be more liberal than her husband, how does she have to walk that fine line?
CARVILLE: Well, first of all, I don't know if it's necessarily to kind of walk a fine line. If she's got a voting record -- she's got any number of -- I've got a Republican stack of Republicans that have had nice things to say about her.
I don't know that ideologically she'll have to do that, but you know what, she's got a job to do. Who knows if she's going to run for president. Right now, she sure can't run for president unless she gets reelected in New York. I'd say the chances look good. But, you know, in politics, you can't win the second one you until you win the first one.
And clearly she's going to have to stay focused and if you recall, this was a fund raising breakfast for her campaign for reelection to the United States Senate from the state of New York
KING: So have you met a Republican, who knows the state of New York, who thinks she can be beat?
WATKINS: Well, obviously, all the numbers are very, very good for her Hillary Clinton right now. I mean, overwhelming numbers.
There is nobody really materialized that wants to run against her because the numbers are so strong, and obviously they'd have lots of money to be a credible candidate against Hillary Clinton.
So, a lot of obstacles for Republicans in the state of New York.
KING: That is '06, let's move ahead to '08. No one, including Hillary Clinton of course, says they're running for president in 2008 yet.
But several politicians have already found their way to those places, you know, Iowa, New Hampshire -- pretty long list of names of people who just might have an eye on '08.
So, still too soon to have a sense who's out front? I assume you both would concede that if Hillary Clinton sought the Democratic nomination, she'd be the front runner.
WATKINS: It seems to me -- you can't rule out John Kerry. I mean John Kerry is certainly going to keep himself in the middle of things, and you just cant rule him out. He had a credible run for the presidency '04 and this last cycle. So he's going to be formidable.
And the other ones aren't going to lay down for Hillary either. They're not going to just make easy for her. But clearly she's got the jump on everybody else, in my opinion.
CARVILLE: Yes. I think it's going to be a big field. I mean, if she runs, I think a lot of people will still run -- I have a theory that running for president is an itch that doesn't go away with one scratch.
So if somebody ran before, and they didn't win, they're thinking about a way to get back in. And so -- and there are a lot of people in '04 who felt like they should have run.
That they could have gotten a nomination, and they could have done a better job than Kerry. And they thought that Bush, you know, and still -- they thought he could have been beat. I think the numbers, right now, show it could have been a possibility.
And, you don't get a situation in politics where you have a completely open situation in both parties like you have coming up in '08. So, I suspect it will be pretty -- they'll be a lot of people going to post here on both of them.
KING: You keep saying if she'll run. What will be the single- most determinative factor to Hillary Rodham Clinton when she sits down? She can raise the money. So, I assume it's the polling data on: Can she win some red states.
CARVILLE: No. That -- '08 is a long way in politics. And there's a lot of things that happen. I'm not -- we could sit here -- I don't mind --I'd like to speculate with the next person, and there are a lot of people out there who may be running.
But I think in her mind, and I think in the mind of people around her is, you know, the most important thing we can do, no matter what we do in '08, we've got to win in '06.
And if you start running for the next office, and that's one way you could lose in '06 is have a sense that you're running for the next one.
So I think everybody around the senator understands that whatever options we've in the future, they're not going to be very viable if we don't run a good campaign.
Reelection -- now look, she's got a 67 percent reelect number in New York state. Obviously, she is in a commanding position to be reelected from New York state. I wouldn't deny that.
KING: Joe, let's talk about the Republicans a bit. We, of course, hear about McCain. He ran before.
He's at least looking hard at it.
Senator Frist has been out and been busy.
Who's the sleeper. Who is maybe the...
WATKINS: George Allen, former governor of Virginia, U.S. Senator now from the state of Virginia; very attractive as a candidate, very comfortable with people.
Conservative; so he has the right credentials.
Great speaker on the stump. So he's somebody that folks ought to be looking at pretty closely.
CARVILLE: Brownback -- you know, he had a big George Will column. He and Allen would probably be, kind of, sipping from the same cup there.
The governor of Massachusetts, I understand --
WATKINS: Mitt Romney.
CARVILLE: --- yes, is making phone calls; pretty active getting out there.
KING: I saw him in New Hampshire pretty recently.
CARVILLE: Yes. So, you know, they've got a lot of Republican governors, hex-Republican governors.
There's a lot of people that are going to look around and say, you know, "if I'm 50, 60-years-old, you know, 60 -- this is my shot."
You know -- McCain -- and they're not going to back -- everybody figures this is an open time. If you don't -- there's a way if you let -- this window opens for you. If you don't fly through it in a year like '08, it's going to shut on you. Now, a lot of people know that in politics.
KING: All right, we're going to move on now to the meeting underway at the White House. The British Prime Minister Tony Blair is here, of course, meeting with President Bush. His first visit, the prime minister, since winning a third term as prime minister.
The two men will hold a news conference.
We expect that -- six or seven minutes away and you'll see it right here live, but first more Carville and Watkins.
KING: We're waiting for this news conference. There is a perception -- and the prime minister has been criticized in Great Britain for being toady -- the nasty language -- some would say, of George W. Bush. James, he does seem to give in this relationship more than he gets.
CARVILLE: Right. You've got to understand something fundamental about the difference between our politics and British politics. He is the leader of the Labor Party. He had a bad election, all right? It's not a given that he would stay for his up-to-five-year term under their system. I think it's important for the prime minister's internal politics in the Labor Party as well as in Great Britain itself that he come out of this meeting seeming to have pushed Bush along on aid to developing nations, particularly in Africa and to have pushed Bush along on the question of global warming.
But his problem right now is to solidify his hold as the leader of the Labor Party because there are MPs that would turn to someone like a Gordon Brown, who's the chancellor of the Exchequer, their equivalent of the secretary of Treasury.
So, I think it is important that when he walked out of the meeting, that the stories are reporting Britain, that he was successful in getting President Bush to do some things he doesn't want, because there is this thought that he's a toady or lapdog or whatever it is in the British press.
The truth is, is -- I won't speculate on -- but it is the perception there and his -- under their system, he's really got to use this to solidify his role as the head of the Labor Party, which in fact makes him prime minister.
KING: And in simple, raw politics, doesn't President Bush owe him?
WATKINS: Well, you can say that, but the president is not going to move but so far, especially on Kyoto. With regards to aid to Africa, I think the president is going to be provide some aid. There will be some aid given to these countries to deal with the issue of starvation so people have something to eat. That's important, of course.
But Tony Blair is not going to get what he wants. He would like to see massive amounts of money coming not only from the United States but from the other G8 nations to deal with some of these issues, and there's going to be some money forthcoming, but not as much as he wants.
KING: This is legacy time for both of these men. You say the prime minister doesn't even know if he's going to get the whole five years of his term. The president knows he's in his last four years. Two men who have worked together now appear to be, maybe not cross- purposes -- that might be a bit too much -- but at odds, especially on the money you mentioned. Do they become more selfish, at this point, looking out for themselves?
WATKINS: Well, at the end of the day, I think you have to consider your legacy and your country, the country you were elected to lead -- or, the party you were elected to lead -- as in the case of Prime Minister Blair. And, clearly the president has to guard -- he's called to uphold the Constitution of the United States and to uphold the best interests of American people, so he's got to do that. And, I know that he has a warm and productive relationship with Tony Blair, but at the end of the day, that comes first.
CARVILLE: I think both of their legacies are tied up in the same place, and its neither Britain or American. By and large it's tied up in what happens in Iraq. I mean, if this thing turns out to be a big success, probably the legacy will be enhanced. If it turns out -- if it continues in a direction it's going, it's going to be pretty tough going for both leaders of Britain and the United States for the remainder of their terms. That's something we have no way of knowing what's going to happen.
KING: You're both well aware of this memo published during the British election that suggested, anyway, that the intelligence and facts were, quote, "being fixed," to fit the policy of regime change. That may come up at this news conference.
From your perspective, is it still important that these two guys talk about how and when they made the decisions to go to war, or is it more important they start talking about when they start to bring the kids home?
WATKINS: Got to look forward. Got to look forward.
CARVILLE: Yes, I -- the problem is, they can talk about it. There must be 10 books out there of people digging deep into this.
Look, I've worked for a president, and you can talk about what you want, but somehow or another, you know, they don't -- somebody's journalist, and these diggers and stuff like that, they're going to focus on what they want to focus on.
I suspect that -- look, if we start bringing some people home, we have some successes, then these things won't seem as big. If the situation in Iraq doesn't get any better or deteriorates, then a -- stories come out about the decision to go to war and what people were told when, -- they will have been (ph) bigger and you can't control that.
Both -- we have a free system and there's a free system in Britain. Very aggressive press on both sides of the Atlantic here.
KING: And, we are a little more than a minute away from this news conference in the East Room. Our White House correspondent Dana Bash is there and standing by with a bit of a preview.
BASH: John, you and your colleagues there have certainly been talking about all of the issues that Prime Minister Blair and President Bush certainly are talking about, and they really run the gamut. Almost every major issue on the agenda here, from Iraq and what's going to happen there, how the training of the military is going, to Iran, and the talks between the E-3 and Iranians and, of course, Middle East.
But at this particular talk and these particular meetings, much of the focus has been on Africa, and you were also talking about whether or not the prime minister is going to get as much as he gives. We are going to hear announcement of the president saying he will give direct aid to Africa. That is something that the White House understands will be enormously helpful to Prime Minister Blair because he has made Africa and dealing with Africa as the host and the president of the G-8 and also as his time in office comes to an end, a top priority and a top of his agenda.
KING: And, Dana, we will watch the cross hall. You can take a seat as we continue to talk to you. Always was my favorite moment, standing in front of 100 of your hundred friends in the East Room.
The White House has been going out of its way, Dana, to paper over the differences, but, in terms of the math, the money available, significant when it comes to what the prime minister would like to get when it comes to Africa and what he will get in a few seconds.
BASH: A big difference, John and the prime minister is essentially shopping as he goes around is a plan to give at least $25 billion in an additional money a year to Africa and what he's going to get from the president is a lot less. ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States, and the prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
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