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JUDY WOODRUFF'S INSIDE POLITICS
Religion and Politics; Leaving Iraq; Labor Strife; Guantanamo Controversy
Aired June 16, 2005 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Bloodshed in Iraq takes its toll in Washington...
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D) OHIO I think this is the proposal that will be the basis for the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq.
ANNOUNCER: Some house Democrats and Republicans push for a troop pullout. Is the president getting the message?
America's verdict on the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices don't seem to have many fans out there. Is the discontent strongest on the left or on the right?
That old time religion: Can faith be a uniter, not a divider in politics?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have faith in anybody now except the Lord. You know, I mean it's a mess, really.
Move over Hal Holbrooke, Tom Hanks could be the next actor to play "Deep Throat" on the big screen.
Now, live from Washington, CNN's INSIDE POLITICS.
TOM FOREMAN, HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Thank you for joining us. I'm Tom Foreman. President Bush today came under a pointed and direct attack over the status of the war in Iraq. A bipartisan group of representatives has launched an effort to force him to set a date for bringing American troops home. It comes at a tough time over there, and for military families here.
Insurgents killed five more Iraqis today, six more U.S. trooped died in combat yesterday, bringing the total number of dead U.S. servicemen and women to 1,713.
So here in Washington, some House Republicans have joined with Democrats to call on President Bush to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by October 1 of next year. GOP Congressman Walter Jones who voted for the war is a driving force behind this first bipartisan resolution, demanding an exit strategy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. WALTER JONES, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: Now, each of my friends here today brings a different perspective to the table. We all have reached the same conclusion on this importance of this resolution. What we all agree on is that it is time for a public discussion of our goals and the future of our military involvement in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: House Democrat and former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is also a sponsor of this bill. I will talk with him later on, on INSIDE POLITICS.
Now, given this growing anxiety among lawmakers and really the public, the White House says President Bush plans to sharpen his focus on explaining his strategy in Iraq. Let's bring in our White House correspondent Dana Bash. Is this big news over there today, Dana?
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It depends how you look at it, Tom. You know, essentially what we are seeing here is it's no secret that the president's overall approval ratings are not quite where the White House wants it, to say the least.
There is the issue of his agenda: Social Security on Capitol Hill is not going very far right now. He has got other agenda items that aren't, either. He's got a nominee, John Bolton, who is stuck right now in Congress. And as you have's just said, you have Republicans in Congress, his fellow Republicans, saying that they are anxious about what is going on in Iraq, the fact that their constituents are seeing it looking bloodier, not better when it comes to Iraq.
So the White House communications team is telling reporters today that they have a new message, and essentially it is the president is going to say he gets it. They understand. And they are going to focus, at least, have the president step up his public remarks on two major issues, and that is Iraq and also on the economy.
When it comes to Iraq, first of all the White House is going to use the year anniversary of the handover of power, that is at the end of June, June 28, to talk more about what is going on in Iraq for the president to cut through it use the bully pulpit. Here's what Scott McClellan, the press secretary, said today on this particular subject.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president recognizes that this is a concern that's on the minds of the American people. And that's why he's going to sharpen his focus, spending more time talking about the progress that's being made on the ground. There is significant progress that has made in a short period of time. The dangers that remain and that lie ahead, as well as our strategy for victory in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, of course, we have heard from Democrats, even some Republicans saying publicly they are concerned that the talk out of the White House recently has been too rosy when it comes to Iraq. There you heard Scott McClellan essentially trying to change the tune saying the president understands there are concerns.
As one senior official who was just briefing us said that Americans don't necessarily see all of the details, everything that is going on in Iraq and that it's the president's responsibility, and it's time for him to actually get that message out.
Now on the economy, the White House understands that they're hearing from Republicans on Capitol Hill. Gas prices are high, that job loss is not as -- or job growth is not as good as it should be and also the White House feels that there isn't enough talk about perhaps some of the better things on the economy, about housing, about interest rates. That is another thing that the White House says the president is going to focus on.
Of course, Tom, the president has been talking mostly over the past several months about Social Security. He's had 35 events on that. Let's take look at a poll that could probably enlighten you and our viewers about why the White House, perhaps, is shifting a little bit in terms of topics. Look at where the American people say their priority is: on the economy, on Iraq. Social Security is down 13 percent, it's down pretty low when it comes to where they see their issues and priorities. So that is perhaps what the White House is seeing and understanding better, perhaps also because they are hearing that from Republicans in Congress.
But one key thing to keep in mind, here, this is a communications strategy, even telling reporters that they are going to do that is part of that strategy. They are not, as we understand, going to announce any new policy any new shift in strategy when it comes to the meat on the bones, if you will, when it comes to the substance both on Iraq and the economy -- Tom.
FOREMAN: Dana, don't they have any worries about that? Because it seems like the public, certainly the congressional people, are asking for meat on the bones. They are saying enough of the talk, tell us a plan.
BASH: When it comes to Iraq, that is something that some of us were just pressing a senior official here on, is the American people have been hearing about the progress that the White House says is going on in Iraq for some time. And that, as we are hearing from Capitol Hill, perhaps some Americans want to hear a date certain for an exit strategy. They say that is simply going to happen. And the president simply feels that he simply feels that he has to at least explain better what is going on on the ground. And they think that could help.
FOREMAN: Thank you very much, Dana Bash at the White House. October 1 next year, that's what some in Congress want. So, keep that date in mind and see what happens with it.
The White House and Congress are bracing for what could be a very long, hot summer of fighting over this new addition to the Supreme Court. For all the partisan sparring on that subject, Americans apparently agree on this much -- they are not exactly crazy about this court. Here's our senior political analyst Bill Schneider.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): The Supreme Court is losing friends right and left just at a time when a court could move to center stage in American politics, if a retirement gives President Bush the opportunity to nominate his first Supreme Court justice.
A new PEW Research Center poll shows favorability toward the Supreme Court declining, for more than two-thirds favorable in January 2001, just after the court resolved the 2000 election in Bush's favor, down to 57 percent favorable now, the lowest rating for the court in at least 20 years. What happened?
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM REHNQUIST, SUPREME COURT: We'll here argument now on number 009-49, George W. Bush and Richard Cheney versus Albert Gore et al...
SCHNEIDER: That decision alienated Democrats.
REV. JESSE JACKSON, RAINBOW/PUSH COALITION: It is a great, supreme legal court, not always the supreme moral court.
SCHNEIDER: In January 2001, favorable opinion of the court was sharply down among Democrats. And since then, support among Democrats for the conservative dominated court has eroded a further 10 points to a bare majority.
Are Republicans happy with the court? They were in January 2001, 80 percent favorable. But positive opinion of the court among Republicans has dropped 16 points.
The Supreme Court has struck down laws against sodomy and the death penalty for juveniles. The court refused to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case, even after Congress passed a law giving the federal courts jurisdiction.
REP. TOM DELAY (R) MAJORITY LEADER: We will look at an arrogant, out of control, unaccountable judiciary that thumb their nose at Congress.
SCHNEIDER: And refused to rule on same sex marriages.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will defend the institution of marriage from being redefined forever by activist judges.
SCHNEIDER: Many conservatives are frustrated. Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress, seven of the nine Supreme Court justices were named by Republican presidents, and the court still won't do what they want.
Among white evangelical Protestants, opinion of the Supreme Court has deteriorated 22 points since 2001. Evangelicals hold the same opinion of the court now as Democrats do, barely favorable. (END VIDEOTAPE)
SCHNEIDER: With its decisions in the 2000 election and on hot button social issues, the Supreme Court has alienated Americans left and right. And lost a lot of standing with public opinion.
FOREMAN: Bill, very quickly here, how much of this can be just the fact that Americans are fed up with everything in politics. They don't like congress no, they're not that fond of the president, they don't like the courts...
SCHNEIDER: Yes, well, usually the courts have been insulated from quote, "politics," but of course, Supreme Court has been in the middle of politics for many years now. It's almost 20 years since the Bork confirmation hearings. So the Supreme Court is right in the middle of politics and it's the voice of the constitution. That could be a problem.
FOREMAN: We're going to hear so much more. Bill Schneider, thank you.
In the political arena, colored red and blue and often dominated by left and right, religion is and has been a powerful and divisive force. Now does it have to be that way? Up next, I'll talk with two religious leaders who are trying to find a middle ground.
Also ahead, the AFL/CIO's new splinter group. This is big news. I'll ask Service Workers' Union president Andy Stern whether he and his allies are enhancing the political clout or killing it off all together.
And later, Hillary teams up with Bill -- another Bill. Find out what bought these two potential 2008 rivals together. Clinton and Frist, when we come back.
FOREMAN: The big guns in religious politics are taking aim at the 2008 presidential election. They've announced plans to personally interview candidates on their political and moral views, with an eye toward possibly endorsing one of them for the White House.
Largely what we're talking about here are the same evangelical groups who organized that stop the filibuster Sunday two months ago. They say their top priority is electing a president who will give them conservative Supreme Court justices to tackle issues like abortion, gay marriage and stem cell research.
This could, however, cut both ways. There are signs within religious communities that a militant middle of sorts is rising, folks who say the divisiveness of such politics is creating unnecessary destructive conflict that serves nobody, really.
The Reverend Rob Schenck is with Faith and Action, a conservative Christian group. And Rabbi David Saperstein is with Religious Action Center, a liberal Jewish group. Welcome to the show here today. REV. ROB SCHENCK, FAITH AND ACTION: Thank you.
FOREMAN: Let me ask a question. Is this severe enough that you guys, who have often been on opposite sides of things like gay marriage, abortion rights, all this, truly can and should work together?
SCHENCK: Well, I can speak as an evangelical Christian that reconciliation and relationship are extremely important to us on a theological level, as well as on a social level. So within our own religious communities, we ought to be working towards that, too. And I think even though we my start out from very different points of origin, theologically, morally, socially, we can find that we can share a common patch of road on our way, even if it is to separate destinations. And I think we can both be enriched by that.
FOREMAN: Rabbi, in practical terms, how will you do that? What are you concretely going to do to show people on the right that they don't have to fear your group and can work with you? And what do you want from them?
RABBI DAVID SAPERSTEIN, RELIGIOUS ACTION CENTER: Even while we have key differences, different visions of the role of religion in America, American public and political life. There are two ways we can do that. The first is when we differ, to model what it means to talk respectfully about our differences. And the second is to look for areas where there are common grounds.
An extraordinary coalition of groups, including the far left and right, have joined together over the last few years around Sudan and Darfur and sex trafficking and prison rape and debt relief and combating AIDS in sub-saharan Africa. These are new issues for some of the folks on the left, new issues for some of the folks on the right. But we've been successful in passing legislation and making a real difference.
FOREMAN: What about these really hot issues? For example, I understand you're connected to a movement to try to say look, we still support abortion rights on the left, but that doesn't mean we can't move to reduce the number of abortions.
SAPERSTEIN: That's correct. I know no one who, like me, is an abiding supporter on have a woman's right to choose in Roe v. Wade that doesn't want to cut the number of abortions. I think where we can find common ground is to say there are a number of things that can be done in America to cut the number of abortions in half, more than that in America. Abortions fell during the Clinton administration by over 11 percent in America. They're going back up now and there ought to be some lessons that we learned in our efforts to find common ground.
FOREMAN: Reverend -- I want both of you to look at this, but Reverend in particular, I want you to look at this. We were in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, just a month or so ago. And I was talking to a lot of people there about these kinds of issues. A lot of people in this town, which is highly conservative -- many people say they're born-again -- we went to a church there, the First Baptist Church and many of them said, we are evangelical Christians, but when Washington talks about us, we don't know who they're talking about, because that's not what believe. Listen to these folks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This isn't a discussion that we sit down and this is what we're talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're concerned with the here and the now that we're dealing with every day, our life struggles in the community, probably moreso than the broader sense.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The voice that you hear from our church and probably many other churches doesn't ring home in Washington, D.C. I don't think the way they are reading concerns what they believe to be conservative America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Reverend, do you see that? I mean, there are big groups out here, Focus on the Family, Heritage, these folks. They're making a big stir and saying we speak for the religious right. Do you think they speak for the whole religious right?
SCHENCK: I think if you look at the average evangelical in the pew, they are concerned about every day affairs -- family life, community life their schools, their children. Even with myself, I'm mostly quoted on abortion or homosexuality when, in fact, a large part of my life was spent building a Christian humanitarian relief organization.
FOREMAN: Do you think evangelical Christians in this country are too often being misrepresented by people in Washington who say they speak for them.
SCHENCK: Well, I'm going to say, the media has a lot to do with that, because we know what makes good sound bytes.
FOREMAN: It's not our fault.
SCHENCK: We know what makes for a good audience and we know controversy makes for good television. And yet, when you sit and talk with people, they talk very politely, very civilly. I would imagine I'd have a very enjoyable meal with my rabbi friend here and we'd have a delightful conversation. And that's the average evangelical in this country. They get along very well with their neighbors, they care about their schools and their communities. So yes, I think...
FOREMAN: If you were to get that message out more, how much do you think on the liberal side do you have to get out less of the message of these crazy Christians are running away with the country. Because that's what you hear a lot of, onto the liberal side.
SAPERSTEIN: It's a paradoxical issue (ph), but on the other hand, liberals also stress the fact of the diversity of evangelicals in America and the fact that they're found across the political spectrum, that neither conservatives or liberals have any lock on authentic religion. We can learn from each other in this, find common ground in where we differ. Let's battle that out in the free marketplace of ideas with respect.
FOREMAN: We'll find out if there's enough of a militant middle to support all that. Thank you both for coming.
Signs of disunity among American unions. Coming up, what has triggered the biggest rift within organized labor in 70 years? I'll go one-on-one with leader of one of the nation's largest unions. Stick around.
FOREMAN: We're turning our attention now to the changing face of organized labor. Five major unions, members of the AFL-CIO, yesterday announced formation of their own coalition dubbed "Change to Win." This deepens a rift that some fear could lead to the collapse of that much larger organization. The splinter group says AFL-CIO chief John Sweeney has spent too much time on politics, not enough on rebuilding union ranks.
The five unions threatening to leave the federation represent about five million of its 13 million members. One of them is the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Andrew Stern is president of SEIU and he joins us now. Thanks for coming over.
Listen, labor is in big trouble. You can't win elections. You can't keep members. You can't seem to defend the working man in this country. Why split up now and get even smaller?
ANDREW STERN, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INT'L UNION: Well, first of all, Tom, as you and I sit here, there's a woman somewhere going to work at Wal-Mart. She's going to work seven hard hours, make $6.80, have no health care and then comes home. What are her choices? Do I pay my bills, or do I pay for food and god forbid I get sick. Yesterday, five unions said, we want to value and reward her work and the only way we can do that is by growing stronger, not smaller, and that's what we want to do.
FOREMAN: How are you going to convince her or anybody else to join you, though, considering how impotent labor has become? You guys were a giant powerhouse; now, people pay no attention.
STERN: Well, first of all that's not true across the board, and I think -- here's the good news. Yesterday at the press conference was Angenita Tanner (ph). She's a child care worker, works every day taking care of our kids. She and 49,000 other child care workers last month voted to have a union. In Michigan last month, 41,000 home care workers voted to join a union.
People want to join organizations, but the problem is we have to change too. The world has changed. The economy has changed. Our employers have changed and the labor movement is the only people trying to stay the same. That's not going to work in a global economy.
FOREMAN: What do you have to offer these people? Give me the top three reasons, quickly, why somebody should join you, because, you know, frankly, you know, business professionals are saying, hey, get new skills. That'll get you a job. The union can't protect you.
STERN: Well, the truth is, union workers are twice as likely to have health care than non-union workers. Union workers, if you're African-American, make $10,000 more a year than non-union workers who are African-American. Union workers have a much greater chance of having retirement security.
There are real economic reasons, but we have to reach out to people. They're just not going to come to our door. Employers have had a vicious assault. The economy has changed, but we have to reward work by reaching out and growing stronger.
FOREMAN: Why do I a meet so many workers around this country who would have been traditional union supporters who now say, unions are part of the problem, bunch of fat cats who don't really have our interests at heart. They're just like the bosses.
STERN: Well, I think that's part of the discussion at the AFL- CIO. What we need -- unity -- is where it matters, which is at workplaces. We don't need unity in Washington, D.C. We don't need politicians to save us. We need to talk to American workers, to reach out our hands.
And, here's the good news, what we do in our union, we've grown by 900,000 members in the last nine years. This is not impossible but you have to change. You have to have unions that are strong enough with the resources and the focus and that are new and modern and dynamic and understand the new workforce. We have to change to win, which is why we formed this new organization.
FOREMAN: So, are you just going to try to not do any real political action until you get the power out there, and save your money and then hit it, three years, five years from now?
STERN: No, I think this is about an integrated strategy. It's about having unions, first of all, that have the focus and the resources and the strength to do the job. That means trying to get members of communities and elected officials to help us. Governor Bilovich (ph) was instrumental in helping those child care workers join a union. Other elected officials, Democrats and Republicans, have been on workers' side, so we needs a strategy that integrates all of it, not think we can do just one or the other.
FOREMAN: Yes or no here: you have been at this your whole life. I think you're betting your whole career on this. If this works, and you succeed; it doesn't, you go away.
STERN: The risk I'm taking is nothing compared to the problems that a United worker faces who now wonders how he's not going to have pension, a health care worker who worries about how they're going to take care of their patient. The risk for me is minimal. I'm trying to be a voice for a lot of people that are voiceless.
FOREMAN: A year from now, come back, we'll find out what the risk was. Thanks for coming by.
STERN: Thanks, very much. Appreciate it.
FOREMAN: The Pentagon says deadlines just don't work but a group of Democrats and Republicans are calling for just that, a timetable to start withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Coming up, I'll talk with one of the congressmen pushing for that withdrawal plan.
Plus, why is the Paris Air Show bringing Capitol Hill to a halt? Can you imagine? Bob Novak will be joining us with the answers. Stay with us.
FOREMAN: Markets have closed on Wall Street. They're sweeping up the debris. I'm joined by Kitty Pilgrim in New York with the "Dobbs Report." Kitty, what's happening.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not so bad today, Tom. Stocks are modestly higher. So, let's take a look.
Dow Jones Industrial is up 12 points. NASDAQ two-thirds percent higher. Oil -- we always keep our eye on oil -- and oil prices surged more than a dollar a barrel.
Now, identity theft has been in the spotlight lately. Today, one company has to pay for not protecting your information. The FTC says it reached a settlement with BJ's Wholesale Club. It failed to properly secure customer credit numbers and thieves stole thousands of numbers, charged up millions of dollars.
At the same time, another security breach to tell you about. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, you know it as FDIC, had to send letters to thousands of current and former employees saying they're information was compromised leading to a number of fraud cases.
The Senate is also looking at this today -- with the hearing to draw up laws on identity theft. Big issue.
Also, the nation's largest cell phone provider doesn't want anyone using the phones on planes. Now, Cingular tells the Federal Aviation Administration that it supports the cell phone ban on airplanes. And the company says there's a time and a place for talking on a phone. It's not during a flight.
Well, coming up on CNN, 6:00 pm Eastern on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" we have a special report on a disturbing trend, many U.S. companies are helping China control the Internet and track down dissidents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN PALFREY, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: China has dozens of laws that require people who are offering Internet access to practice censorship. And if you don't do it, you're kicked out of the country. That's absolutely plain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PILGRIM: Also tonight, auto theft is rampant in Arizona. And now U.S. officials say there's evidence linking it to terrorism. We're going to take a look at that.
Also, the House weighs in on the 2005 United Nations Reform Act and Congressman Dana Rohrbacher joins us to discuss today's vote.
Also Congresswoman Candice Miller says illegal aliens should not have congressional representation. She joins us. That and more 6:00 Eastern on LOU DOBBS TONIGHT.
But for now, back to Tom Foreman in Washington -- Tom.
FOREMAN: Many thanks, Kitty. I know your pulling your cell phone out for your next flight already.
Now back to INSIDE POLITICS.
You know, if you needed more evidence that Iraq is likely to be a big issue in next year's congressional election, here it is just when you thought it was safe to turn on your TV again, the first ad of the 2006 campaign is out today. And guess what House Democrat and Senate candidate Harold Ford is talking about. Yes, bringing the troops home. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD FORD JR., (D-TN) SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: This 4th of July, I hope all of us will take a moment to remember those brave Americans fighting to make the world freer and our country safer. Let's work hard to bring them home soon and with honor. Make them as proud of us as we are of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: That spot is airing in Ford's home state of Tennessee. It reflects a growing concern on the Hill about an exit strategy in Iraq. As we reported earlier, some House Republicans and Democrats teamed up today to introduce the first bipartisan resolution calling on President Bush to set a timetable to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. They want October 1 of next year. Keep that in mind. See what happens.
Former Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich is one of those sponsors. He's voting right now in the House of Representatives, and we'll join us in a few minutes. We'll talk about that just a little bit more.
You know, exit strategies in war have always proven elusive. And political and military leaders supposedly learned lessons from that, or the question I suppose is, did they. Our national correspondent Bruce Morton has some thoughts on getting into war and getting out.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Getting into war is easy. Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, the U.S. invades Iraq, whatever. Getting out is much harder.
World War II was straightforward. The allies said Nazi Germany and Japan had to surrender unconditionally. And they did. The last time it was that simple.
The Korean War never ended with a formal peace treaty. The United Nations forces and the North Koreans and their Chinese allies arranged an armistice, a truce still in effect more than half a century later.
In Vietnam, Congress was split over the war just as this Congress is split over Iraq. Two senators, Republican John Sherman Cooker of Kentucky and Democrat Frank Church of Idaho offered up an amendment cutting off funds for the war. That failed. Troops were there, after all. But it showed how divide the Congress and country were.
One wise old Republican George Aiken of Vermont said, the U.S. should declare victory and leave. The trouble was, everyone was pretty sure that if the U.S. left, the communist north would win. Lyndon Johnson didn't want to be the first president to lose a war, neither did Richard Nixon.
Nixon did negotiate a settlement, the U.S. troops came home. And by the time the North Vietnamese captured Saigon and won the war, Gerald Ford was president.
Iraq is a little like that. Everyone is pretty sure that if the U.S. leaves we won't like what happens next, probably a civil war. The insurgency is alive and well, it killed 80 U.S. troops and more than 700 Iraqis last month. And the "New York Times" reports today the difficulty our soldiers have. "We have a finite number of troops," one officer says. "You can pacify an area, but if you leave, the insurgents come right back." The U.S. doesn't have enough troops to keep order everywhere.
So in a sense, we're stuck. Most Americans polls say would like to leave but how? Can we train enough Iraqi troops to keep the peace? Maybe. Some day. But that certainly hasn't happened yet.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
FOREMAN: Coming up, Bill and Hillary, no, not the ones you're thinking of. The other Bill and Hillary. Take a look. Why are the Senate majority leader and the former first lady teaming up? That answer when we come back.
Plus, the battle over John Bolton. The Republicans may be waving the white flag in the fight to confirm him as the U.S. ambassador to the U.N. And later, we're going to go inside the blogs to gauge the buzz over the White House vote to curb parts of the Patriot Act. There are Abbi and Jacki standing by. That's coming up. Stick with us.
FOREMAN: We've been talking all day about this plan over on the Hill today to force the president to come up with a date for when troops are going to come out of Iraq. Bipartisan effort over there. Dennis Kucinich, former presidential candidate is part of it. He joins us now. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us in the middle of a lot of voting going on here.
Look, do you think this thing can work? Can you make this happen?
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH, (D) OHIO: Well, today with this resolution, it's the beginning of the end of the war in Iraq. Of course, we can make it work because it's a bipartisan resolution. The only way we can effect the beginning of the end of the war is to work with people on both sides of the aisle. That's what this has done. It's -- you know, our troops have done everything that they can. It's time to thank them and ask them to come home.
FOREMAN: Look, many people out there, military families I know their immediate response is going to be this is exactly what happened in Vietnam. The politicians got involved, they took the control out of the hand of the general and it was disastrous.
KUCINICH: Well, the occupation is counterproductive. Our troops are being caught in the middle right now. I think that we owe it to them to thank them for their service to our country and to bring them home.
I think most of the American people today would agree that it's time for the troops to come home. But what we've done is to put in place a plan that is actually in alignment with some of the metrics the administration established. This plan would say that you'd have to start beginning to bring them home no later than October 1st, 2006. It's a plan that provides -- it's a workable plan. It's bipartisan and it recognizes that the occupation at this point is counterproductive.
FOREMAN: But we don't have the faintest idea when this country is going to stabilize, and almost everybody says that. If that's the plan, why not just say, let's bring them home now?
KUCINICH: Well, you know, it's not stabilizing with our presence despite the troops' best efforts.
FOREMAN: Well, that's what I'm saying. Why not say, just bring them home now?
KUCINICH: It's not going to be stabilized one way or another. I mean, I would say, that would be my position, except that what we're trying to do here is to get the broadest coalition of members of Congress. This is the first time a binding resolution has been submitted by the Congress where the Congress takes its responsibility under Article 1, Section 8 and basically says to the administration, look, come up with a plan.
The significance of this is that we're not casting blame. We're not finger-pointing. We need to remember the words of Lincoln, "with malice towards none, with charity for all." You know, we have to bind up our nation's wounds and care for those who have borne the battle, bring our troops home.
FOREMAN: Well, let me ask you this. Do you think this thing can really work? Because, look, all the political analysts I was talking with today said, this is a good way to get the conversation going. This legislation cannot survive.
KUCINICH: Actually, it's the only thing that can work, because this plan actually has a set of goals. This plan as a way to work in alignment with some of the administration's objectives of seeing that Iraq has a government in place, seeing that they have security forces in place, and also, setting some dates, some target dates. That's the only way you can make it happen. So, this plan can work, of course.
Sooner or later we're going to leave Iraq. It's important that we start the planning now to leave and the people of the United States now know that a plan exists to bring our troops home and we're ready to put it in place and I predict that it will gather more and more support as the people of the United States continue to insist that we bring our troops home.
FOREMAN: Representative Dennis Kucinich, thank you for joining us.
KUCINICH: Thank you.
FOREMAN: Good luck with your legislation.
KUCINICH: Always a pleasure.
FOREMAN: We'll have some more INSIDE POLITICS when we come back in 90 seconds.
FOREMAN: The latest in a series of political odd couples tops today's "Political Bytes." Senator Hillary Clinton and Majority Leader Bill Frist could find themselves running against one another for president in 2008. Good chance of that, but today, they teamed up to unveil legislation on a subject near and dear to both of their hearts, health care. They say the Medical Records Bill is needed to prevent life-threatening mistakes.
Senator Clinton comes out ahead in what's billed as the first straw poll of the 2008 Democratic presidential race. Can you even imagine there is such a thing? She got 44 votes from more than 100 Democrats in Richland county, South Carolina, a bellwether if I've ever seen one, a 10-vote lead over South Carolina native John Edwards. Virginia governor Mark Warner got 32 votes. You can take that for what it's worth, which is probably not much at this point.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin still is refusing to apologize for comparing the Guantanamo Bay prison to Soviet gulags and U.S. interrogators to Nazis. The White House is blasting this Illinois Democrat for his remarks on the Senate floor yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECY.: I think the senator's remarks are reprehensible. It's a real disservice to our men and women in uniform who adhere to high standards and uphold our values and our laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Durbin, meanwhile, issued a statement saying the Bush administration should apologize for, quote, "authorizing torture techniques."
Bob Novak joins us now with some inside buzz. Bob, I understand you have new information on the Republican effort to get John Bolton confirmed as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
ROBERT NOVAK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Tom, the people I've talked to on the Republican side are just about throwing in the towel. They don't think they can get the 60 votes to stop the filibuster. The Democrats keep raising the ante on how much documents they want. They're going to have a vote on Monday, on cloture again. They won't be able to get it, and the question now, the ball is in the president's corner -- is he going to have a recess appointment which would be a temporary appointment, sending Mr. Bolton to the U.N. There's a divided opinion on -- among the Republicans whether he should do it. I think he'll probably give him a recess appointment.
FOREMAN: They've been fighting on this for awhile. I mean, this is a pretty big loss, isn't it? To have to give it up?
FOREMAN: What about the Democratic National Committee, looking into trips by their Republican counterparts?
NOVAK: Yes, this is very interesting. Democrats, of course, have been on the back of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, also Congressman Bob Ney of Ohio, for trips that were paid for for him. But they think there's a lot of gold in them thar hills and the DNC is looking at anybody, anybody, who takes a lot of trips and plays a lot of golf.
Two guys who meet that characterization are John Boehner and Michael Oxley, both committee chairman from Ohio and they are on a fishing expedition with those fellows to see if any of those trips are going to bear fruit. This is a nasty time in Washington, Tom.
FOREMAN: It is getting really ugly around here. Retiring House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, upset with one of the Republican who's wants to replace him. What is this about?
NOVAK: Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana was the favorite to replace Mr. Hyde when he retires. Last week, on June 9th, they had a key vote and Mr. Burton missed it. He was at the congressional country club outside Washington playing in the Pro-AM tournament, for the Booz Allen Classic, as he's done every year for 20 years.
He says he told the staff, if there was an important vote to call him on his cellphone. It was on vibrate. They never called him but Mr. Hyde is mad and that has hurt Danny Burton's chances. You know, sometimes politics and golf just don't mix.
FOREMAN: That seems strange because they seem so happy most of the time.
Hey, look, here's my favorite story of the entire day. I understand much of Congress is leaving town.
NOVAK: There are no votes tomorrow. There's plenty of things to do. They got the energy bill off in the Senate, all things going on, lots of votes could come up in the House, but they're leaving. Why? When you ask them, they say the air show. They're all going to Le Bourget Airfield in Paris for one of the great social events in Europe. I'm sure you've been there many times, Tom, for the Paris Air Show. It is wonderful, champagne and airplanes and fun.
One thing Congressmen, members of the House and Senate, know how to do is have a good time. They don't get much done but they enjoy themselves.
FOREMAN: You know what? I think I missed the part earlier this week where they authorized a vacation for the rest of us tomorrow. You know what we should do? We should make them bring back T-shirts for the entire nation.
NOVAK: I've never been to the Paris Air Show, and maybe they'll take me along sometime, but I'm not holding my breath.
FOREMAN: I'll be working tomorrow, as I'm sure you will be, too. Bob Novak, thank you very much.
Results from the Terri Schiavo autopsy have hardly set the matter of her last days to rest around here. In fact, they seem to have fired up this bitter debate all over again. Coming up, we'll check out what the bloggers are firing off about this highly charged issue.
FOREMAN: New efforts to limit powers under the Patriot Act are gaining some momentum here in Washington and they're fueling fresh debate over privacy versus security in the land of blogs. We check in now with CNN producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporters. Jacki, what's the skinny.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Tom. You make it sound magical out there in the land of blogs.
Well, the House of Representatives yesterday voted to deny the FBI the opportunity to snoop into library and bookstore records. And that's gaining momentum in chatter on the blogs. A lot of people saying that it's a victory, albeit a small one out there.
Over at Daily Kos, Kos saying it's a good way to chip away at the Patriot Act. And what they'll do is do that little by little and then make it a campaign issue in '06 and '08. Something he's always looking forward to.
Over at the Liberal Goblins Layer they say somewhere Ben Franklin is smiling, referring to the Ben Franklin quote that people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both, saying that this is a statement and an important one no matter what happens now in the Senate, and what's done by President Bush.
ABBI TATTON, CNN POLITICAL PRODUCER: And is this an important statement, or is it the silliest congressional action this week. That's what the folks over at PowerlineBlog.com will have you believe. One of the big conservative sites. They're pointing out that this is a provisions that's never even been used. And that people are going on and getting excited about the wrong issues here.
That's the point being made by James Joyner over at Outsidethebeltway.com. He's saying that there are many measures that have been enacted since 9/11 and some of them he's been up in arms about, but this isn't one of them.
What does he get angry about? Well, something like we have pulley trained federal agents routinely searching little, old ladies who have raised no suspicion whatsoever, simply because they've purchased an airline ticket, saying people are focusing on the wrong thing.
SCHECHNER: Now, something else we talked about a little bit yesterday was the aftermath of the results of Terri Schiavo's autopsy. And what kind of conversation that was generating, big issue out in the world and also on the blogs.
TATTON: Yeah. We looked at that yesterday afternoon. And we were noting that the right side of the blogosphere seemed slower to respond on the results of the autopsy saying that Schiavo had irreversible brain damage and that the left seemed quicker to respond with responses to that autopsy.
When we look back at the right, we see that the responses do come in. MichelleMalkin.com pointing out that she actually took the trouble of reading all 39 pages of the report before commenting. LaShawn Barber was another conservative who had written extensively on the issue. She says that this wasn't the issue, that she was severely brain damaged. What was appalling was that the doctor induced starvation, the fact that she -- it was her husband's credibility was extremely low. She's saying that the focus is on the wrong thing here, that this still was appalling.
SCHECHNER: Now, others are taking the conversation to the next level and addressing the politicians who waged a very public war over Terri Schiavo's case, specifically Senator Frist.
Now, John Day over at Dayontorts.com. This is a 48-year-old lawyer in Tennessee. He makes the case that because Frist has spent so much time talking about he is a doctor, that when he said what he said, it did sound like a diagnosis. Now he's saying, Frist is saying he didn't make a diagnosis, but everybody's saying that's certainly what it sounded like to the rest of us.
TATTON: And we wanted to point out here, the political humor site TomBurker.com, they're having a little bit of fun with the fact that they think that Senator Frist can make diagnosis based purely on Web results, looking at videos. So, they have these joke e-mails, people e-mailing in their ailments and the Senate majority leader giving them a diagnosis right there on spot.
SCHECNER: One thing we wanted to mention really quickly -- oh, we're going to run out of time, though. It's Baseballcrank.com. And this is a guy who has spent his time putting together an entire compilation of the possible candidates for 2008 and their Vietnam War record. We'll try to get into that in the next block and show you a little bit more of that if we can. But the site is Baseballcrank.com. And something we always like to do here, is look ahead to '08 if possible. And give you as much information in preparation for the election -- Tom.
FOREMAN: You know, Jacki, I think it is a magical place, the blogosphere. We'll be back there in a little while.
A group of house lawmakers demanding that President Bush set a timetable to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. This is important. And in today's "Strategy Session," we'll look at the war in Iraq. Is battle fatigue setting in on the home fronts? Stick with us.
FOREMAN: Take a look at this. This is that suspect out in that car chase -- carjacking apparently on the 101 freeway in Los Angeles. There he is in cuffs being led away at this very moment. A good ending to a potentially dangerous situation.
Look at the pictures earlier on. They were chasing his car down the road. He had four hostages in there: two women, two children. Apparently the police managed to get him pulled over, stormed the vehicle, got him out. Everybody's safe, although presumably he's in for a lot of legal trouble.
Welcome back to INSIDE POLITICS and our "Strategy Session" on today's hottest political topics. With us today, Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause and Donna Brazile, always here as Democratic strategist. Good to have you here.
Today's topics, political war. A bipartisan group of lawmakers calls on President Bush to set a timetable to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. Schiavo politics: Some Washington lawmakers having second thoughts about federal intervention in that case. And deep pockets: Mark Felt and his family cut a book and movie deal for his life as "Deep Throat." A lot of good stuff to talk about.
The war has run into fierce opposition on the ground. Now, President Bush is facing organized resistance at home, as well. As we've been telling you, today a group of legislators including members of the president's own party introduced a resolution that calls on President Bush to start bringing us troops home by October of next year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. WALTER JONES (R) NORTH CAROLINA: Clearly, we are giving the Iraqis every reasonable chance for democracy, but at some time in the near future, the ultimate fight of Iraq will and should rest in the hands of the Iraqis. We will continue to support them in their efforts, but they cannot forever be dependent upon America as the primary defense force in Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Donna and Bay -- look, Dennis Kucinich saying dead serious. This is the start, this is how it's going to end. Do you buy it or not?
BAY BUCHANAN, DAILY CAUSE: Well, I think what they're saying -- it's a loosely written resolution. And so it does give the president a lot of room. But the key is that it even exists. The president has a problem when you have Congress, especially -- not Dennis Kucinich, we know he's always been against the war -- but when you have someone like Walter Jones a good Republican who supported the war saying it's time, it's time to call it a day here, Mr. President. So that's where the president's problem is. There's no question he's going to have to get the American people back and have them support this war or he will not be able to continue it.
FOREMAN: Do you feel the same way?
DONNA BRAZILE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the president's problem is not just with those members of Congress, but also the broader public: 58 percent disapprove of his handling on the war in Iraq, 73 percent believe that it's not worth the number of casualties. So, I think the president really must address what the members did today. And also address what the members in a bipartisan way did several months ago on the supplemental bill regarding Iraq. They want to know what's the exit strategy, what's the timetable, what are the options. And I think it's time the administration stops stonewalling congress and the American people and lay out their strategy. BUCHANAN: But Donna, the key is, this resolution calls for a timetable. We will not see a timetable. That cannot happen. It's very, very bad militarily. You never send such a message like that to the insurgents, because it just encourages them to wait a couple a couple months, a year of so and they'll be back. And we know that this is a very patient people.
FOREMAN: Because we're talking about American lives here, and Iraqi lives -- but we're talking about America's young men and women over there fighting, why can't meetings like this happen very quietly where a bipartisan group says to the White House, let's talk about something here. Let's not make it public so we don't endanger our troops, we don't send send the wrong message, but let's really work on this?
BRAZILE: Well, look, you can make public in fact that the Iraqi citizens who are being trained to take over some of the security operations, they're going forward. That timetable has been set. You could make public the reconstruction effort. There are certain things you can make public.
But look, to tell the American people we're going to begin bringing home our brave men and women starting on a certain date, that's good thing. We have other important objectives out here in the world. We have got North Korea, we still have other issues -- Iran. But we should bring it out there.
FOREMAN: Instead of doing this publicly where one way or the other it becomes a slapdown to the president or slapdown to the members of Congress, why can't they go about the business of this country in a way that protects young men and women without either side getting political capital out of it?
BUCHANAN: Tom, this is Washington, that's why. And elected officials will not be on CNN if they don't say something publicly. But your point is a good one. You don't want to do anything that suggests these troops over there that they don't have the support of the people back here. And whereas this resolution says, oh, we know they've done a great job and we do have to have some kind of an exit strategy, and I think they're actually being responsive to where the American people are today, to be quite honest, I think your point is a good one.
Too bad that the Republicans couldn't say listen fellows, we agree with what we're hearing from our Democratic counterparts and we don't want to come on publicly, but we want you to know, you've got to take some steps here. I think that would be very advised. Because what they're suggesting is bad military strategy. So of course, the president can't respond and say OK I have a timetable. He can not agree...
BRAZILE: The president has a speech on June 28. And I hope he outlines to the American people we will do have some sort of strategy right now to quell some of the insurgency and to begin to pull out at some point in the near future. FOREMAN: Do you worry on the Democratic side that Democrats who oppose this war, who didn't want this to happen, that if anything starts going wrong with the pullout, and they're pushing too much for it, that once again it swings against them? People say there you went, you said you were supporting our troops, but you didn't.
BRAZILE: Look, everyone knows that Democrats and Republicans support these troops. They are brave men and women. We call them warriors, because of the sacrifice. But it wasn't Democrats who sent them to war under false pretenses, it wasn't the Democratic party who sent them there without the proper equipment and it's not the Democrats who failed to put forward an exit strategy. And I think that's what...
You know, I don't think this is as partisan as you make it, because look, today you had a bipartisan group, liberal and conservative, standing up saying, it's time to begin to withdraw. And I think that's the message that the White House will start hearing from across the country.
FOREMAN: I don't think Americans care if it's bipartisan or partisan or otherwise. What they care is can American men and women come home safely. If we can't determine what's going to happen over there, if we can't have some assurance that it's going to be stabilized, here's a question, why not right now just say let's bring them all home?
BUCHANAN: Because you can't. We've made a commitment to the Iraqi people that we're going to give them an opportunity to firm up a government so that they will really have a chance for self- determination.
FOREMAN: Some say they've had the opportunity so far. If they can't make it work, they're not going to make it any better ten months from now.
BUCHANAN: The key is this, as I understand it, we would hope to start pulling out at the end of this year, maybe early next year. And now the military is saying that the Iraqi military is not ready. They are really good on their special forces, but the rest of the military, they have high rates of desertion and, et cetera. And so we can't pull out yet.
But the key is for the president of the United States to make it real clear to the Iraqi government, look, you're going to write that constitution, you better do it in the timetable we've given you. We need elections this year. And then fellows, you better start being tough with your military. They can't deserting, because if they are deserting, you're not going to be ready. And we aren't hanging around for you guys to get ready.
BRAZILE: And Democrats are not calling for the administration to cut and run. They're saying prepare, prepare, prepare and then pull out.
FOREMAN: Do you have any faith that preparation can work? It hasn't been doing good yet.
BRAZILE: Well, that's because we haven't had the right strategy from day one.
FOREMAN: All right.
The Terri Schiavo autopsy report still causing stirs here in Washington. Senate majority leader Bill Frist helped lead the effort to reinsert Schiavo's feeding tube. We'll tell you what he's saying now. That is coming up. So, stick around on "Strategy Session."
FOREMAN: Our "Strategy Session" continues on INSIDE POLITICS. Still with us, U.S. -- CNN contributors Bay Buchanan and Donna Brazile. I said U.S. like we have foreign contributors on this.
BUCHANAN: I'm glad you clarified.
FOREMAN: Yes, exactly.
Terri Schiavo's parents says they are not swayed by their daughter's autopsy report, but in Washington, the reaction is more muted. Senator Mel Martinez of Florida says he's having second thoughts about the federal government getting involved with this. As for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, he says the autopsy brings a very sad chapter to a close.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BILL FRIST (R-TN), MAJORITY LEADER: We tried to handle the case respectfully in the United States Senate. Would I do it over again? Yes, I would do it over again. The courts acted. It was brought to resolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FOREMAN: Why are people still talking about this? I think for most of America, this is yesterday's news.
BRAZILE: No, it was a turning point this year. Now, look, Congress responded in an emergency fashion to this woman who clearly was in a persistent vegetative state. The American people reacted angrily toward Congress intervening in this case and that's why you see so much noise still going on about this.
BUCHANAN: I don't agree. I don't think the American people were angry. I think, of course, there was a huge story in the paper and on television, and so people took sides. It was three, four weeks that we watched as she died. And, so, of course, now we hear the autopsy results, you get the response.
But, Tom, you talk about the politics of it. These gentlemen and ladies who really pushed to save this woman's life are not hurt politically one bit, none whatsoever, especially Frist who wants to -- has intentions possibly to run for president. In the Republican primary, this is something that will just make him that much more attractive, and I don't think it ever hurts when you fight to keep a disabled person alive.
FOREMAN: Hold on a second, because, I want to go back to what we're talking about earlier in the show, about sort of the militant middle in this country, the people who really are put off by this kind of thing. They believe very much in life for people, caring for people, but they say in this case, look, the government went over the line. They had no business doing this. There were too many important things in this country that affected a great many lives that should have been given that attention.
BRAZILE: Well, luckily...
BUCHANAN: The militant middle doesn't vote in the Republican primary.
BRAZILE: Thank god. Well, hopefully they'll vote in the Democratic primary.
Look, luckily, Senator Mel Martinez of Florida once again is coming out saying that, you know, perhaps in the future, we should give this type of case to the states where they can, you know, make the appropriate judgment. You know, look, Senator Frist is now in trouble for making a TV diagnosis of this case, and people are laughing at him because he made this diagnosis, not on the basis of going down there and visiting as a physician, but by looking at a video. So, I think this will have an impact on the 2008 presidential race, where Mr. Frist is likely to be one of the candidates.
BUCHANAN: Not at all, and this autopsy doesn't show anything we didn't already know. I mean, she's severely disabled. Is that news to anyone, that she died of dehydration? We knew it was lack of nourishment, one sort or another. And so -- we also knew that she had a very caring family, a loving family who wanted to take care of her, and so you have Americans who stepped toward and said we don't want to see her killed. She had a...
BRAZILE: But there people who said that she was abused, including your side.
FOREMAN: Let's not go over all that. We already went over that part.
FOREMAN: Look, aren't you worried at all -- aren't you worried at all about the Republicans continuing to get even deeper into bed with the far right, when yes, you can say the far right was important for their win, but a big part of the middle was also important to their win and they got that middle and I think a lot of those middles could have gone the other way if the Republicans lean that far to the right. BUCHANAN: Tom, what you have to realize is in Republican -- in presidential politics, there's only one or two real issues, and when it comes down to the social issues or an issue such as life, that's a certain percentage of the vote and basically, they'll -- two of the pro-choice votes, you'll get three pro-life ones. That's already established.
The big issues are going to be jobs and immigration. It's going to be the war. These are the issues you vote on. So, you talk about this middle -- they're going to respond to Republicans, Democrats, according to the top issues. Those who think life is the key issue will beat the Democrats or will beat the pro-choicers every single time nationally.
BRAZILE: This is going to have an impact on 2008, because once again the American people will determine that the Republicans are out of step with their values. They're not taking care of their business, taking care of the American people business, and clearly, the Republican priorities are to take care of the special interests and to cater to the ultraright-wing of their base and not to cater to the middle class, people who care about pocketbook issues.
BUCHANAN: If the special interest is disabled, I'll be glad to be standing there.
FOREMAN: What about the way that polls that have indicated this growing frustration with both sides in this process? Frankly, what I keep seeing is their -- and seeing, by traveling around this country -- is there are lots and lots of normal people, who may be liberal, may be conservative, may lean Democrat or Republican, but the truth is, they mainly want to get along with their neighbor. If they have a disagreement over something, they don't want to burn their house down, and they are really put off by extremists on left...
BUCHANAN: You know, Tom...
FOREMAN: ...and extremists on the right and think the political process has been hijacked.
BRAZILE: I've got to say something.
BUCHANAN: This extremist nonsense -- these are just words.
FOREMAN: Well, you guys are part of it.
BUCHANAN: You know, no, I'm considered extremist...
BRAZILE: There are a lot of normal people in Washington, D.C., but we're just not in charge of anything anymore.
BUCHANAN: You know, these are just -- these extremists -- these are just names that people are called because you don't like you opposition. I mean, I was with Ronald Reagan. I had the same position as he did. Now, people -- he's beloved. I was with him for a good 10 yeas, 15 years, and so, now he's beloved. Well, if he was an extremist, then I'm an extremist, because he and I share the same values.
BRAZILE: And I worked for Bill Clinton and Al Gore and they're beloved and had the right positions for the country as well.
BUCHANAN: Tom, you're the one we're worried about (ph).
FOREMAN: Yes, of course, and you ought to be worried about me.
In a moment, is it going to be deep pockets for Deep Throat? Mark Felt and his family have inked a book deal and a movie deal, and who might get the lead role? Well, it's not me. More ahead on our "Strategy Session."
WOLF BLITZER, HOST "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
Coming up at the top of the hour, a raging fire. Could it happen in your garage? Around the country, some Ford vehicles are bursting into flames when nobody's around. An exclusive CNN investigation looks at the mystery and what it means for you.
Nancy Grace has received applause and sharp criticism for her tough talk on the Michael Jackson case and other legal issues. She's got a hot new bestseller. She'll join us live.
And hundreds of thousands of impoverished Zimbabwe citizen driven brutally from their homes by government forces, an amazing tragedy unfolding right now. All those stories, much more, only minutes away on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." Now, back to INSIDE POLITICS.
FOREMAN: The "Strategy Session" continues here on INSIDE POLITICS.
Still here, Bay Buchanan, president of American Cause, and Democratic strategist Donna Brazile, bringing great insights into all we do here.
On to Deep Throat. When 91-year-old Mark Felt came forward as Deep Throat, his family admitted it was partly about the money. Well, now we learn that they've signed a book and movie deal with actor Tom Hanks possibly in the starring role. This is going to be interesting. He's come a long way since "Bachelor Party," I must say.
BUCHANAN: Oh, yes.
FOREMAN: What do you think? Is this good, bad, people going to jump all over this? What's the deal?
BUCHANAN: It's obvious there was something -- something was going to happen. Here we've got a corrupt cop who broke the laws to please his corrupt boss, then he broke the laws to -- because he was bitter and wanted to get back at the guy that didn't give him a promotion. Then, he kept quiet for 30 years because he was ashamed by it, and now, he's an old man and his kids who obviously didn't fall very far from that tree are into cash in before the old man dies.
FOREMAN: We just gave you a complete free shot. Go ahead, Donna.
BRAZILE: I don't assume Mr. Hanks will be reaching out to you for any parts in the movie, Bay.
Look, he did the right thing. He did the right thing 35 years ago. He -- and I hope his story comes out. Maybe it will inspire some young kid or somebody...
BUCHANAN: To break the law.
BRAZILE: ...in public service to go ahead and tell the truth to stop injustice from happening. So, I'm glad he's able to cash out, get a little money for his retirement age.
BUCHANAN: Yes, he's only 91.
FOREMAN: Bay, you know, you're jumping all over this guy.
BRAZILE: That's pretty young for a lot of people...
BUCHANAN: He broke the law, and we should not in any way glorify that. He had many ways to very courageously break this story, take it to the right people. If not, go right to the press publicly. And he chose..
FOREMAN: You buy that?
BRAZILE: He told the truth and held this admin -- that administration accountable.
BUCHANAN: He released information.
BRAZILE: Bay, that was the only way to get the information.
FOREMAN: You guys were getting along so nicely early, and now, look what's happening.
BUCHANAN: You know, at first he does this -- this is day one, but before day one, what did he do? They were...
BRAZILE: Bay, he did the right thing.
BUCHANAN: ...leaking information...
BRAZILE: He's a hero. He's a hero.
BUCHANAN: ...breaking the law on Martin Luther King. It's OK to do it for Martin Luther King, too. What they did to him? They broke the law, so they're actually wrong in both cases. BRAZILE: Absolutely wrong, but he took down administration, thank god for that.
FOREMAN: Well, we're going to get coffee and scones after this, and talk it over.
BRAZILE: Hold on. The movie and the book will be out next year.
FOREMAN: It's always terrific, Donna Brazile.
BRAZILE: Bay's getting a Christmas present from me now.
FOREMAN: Bay Buchanan. You two go cool off for a while.
BUCHANAN: Right to the fireplace.
FOREMAN: We'll see you next time. Thanks for coming in. Good stuff.
A Pakistani woman, an extraordinary story, gang-raped as punishment and denied freedom to travel to the U.S. Her plight has the blogs burning all over the place. We'll hear about the outrage and the outcome after this break. Don't you go away.
FOREMAN: A Pakistani woman who was brutally raped three years ago by order of her own village council is finally being allowed to come to the U.S. The government of Pakistan had barred her from traveling here to speak but public attention, much of it from bloggers, forced officials to rescind their order, so let's check in with CNN political producer Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner, our blog reporters. Tell us about this thing.
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN BLOG REPORTER: Hi, Tom.
It really is an incredible story and not quite celebrating just yet. We'll tell you why. The story is of a woman named Mukhtaran Mai and she was ordered gang-raped in 2002 as punishment for a crime that her brother committed. Now, she managed to turn her tragic story into one of incredible heroism. The men who were involved were brought to justice and she used the compensation she received to build schools.
Now, she was invited to the United States to speak come speak here on human rights, but Pakistan -- Pakistani authorities, rather -- allegedly imprisoned her earlier this week and due to a "New York Times" columnist and a lot of bloggers, her story is now gaining more and more attention.
ABBI TATTON: Yes, Mukhtaran Mai has since been released after -- and been allowed to travel after protests by the Bush administration, but bloggers are still pushing to make sure she gets here.
TomWatson.typepad.com blogged about this last year and also this week after that "New York Times" column. He says that he wanted other bloggers to take up this cause immediately. This issue demands attention, he blogged a couple days ago. This means you, listed a whole lot of bloggers who he felt should be writing about this. "Blogs to the Rescue" was the post next day as it got more attention after that "New York Times" column: 50 bloggers were signing on in just the first 24 hours.
SCHECHNER: Now, one of the bloggers who picked it up was Ezra Cline (ph). This is EzraCline.typepad.com. He's one of the big political bloggers, and he has copied over from Watson's site a list of the Pakistani officials and diplomats that you can e-mail to take action to express your frustration or your anger over this story.
TATTON: So, why are bloggers still pushing if Mai has been allowed to travel, if these travel restrictions have been released? But, what was interesting that Tom Watson told us is, after posting about this, after posting, she is now allowed to travel. He started to get more and more e-mails from Pakistan, saying not so fast. There've been reports that maybe her passport has been confiscated, those corroborated by human rights groups and also news reports. So, these blogs are trying to push until she gets on the plane and makes it here to the United States. Tom?
FOREMAN: Abbi, Jacki, thank you very much.
Some breaking news out of L.A. right now. An earthquake has just hit downtown L.A., 5.3. Shook things up a bit. We don't know much about the extent of any injuries or damage at this point, but I'm sure my colleague Wolf Blitzer will. Right now, that's it for INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Tom Foreman, and "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS" starts right now.
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