The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
JIM LEHRER: Good evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. On the NewsHour tonight: Our summary of the news; then, a Newsmaker interview with the president's national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice; the latest in the Democratic nomination race, with analysis by Mark Shields and David Brooks; excerpts from hearings today on regulating broadcast decency; and an update on the work of the 9/11 commission from its top leaders, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton.
JIM LEHRER: A suicide attacker exploded a car bomb in Baghdad today, killing at least 47 Iraqis; wounding more than 50. It happen at an army recruiting station just a day after another bomber struck a police station south of the city. We have a report from Mark Easton of Independent Television News.
MARK EASTON: They had no chance. Barbed wire and sandbags protected the army building, but the queue of young Iraqi men who'd answered the coalition's call for recruits were totally exposed. Dozens were killed, many more injured in an area of Baghdad less than a mile from the high security area where the U.S. Administration is based. "We were standing in the street. We were a group of nearly 200 young Iraqi people and the Americans were inside the recruiting center." Only yesterday, a huge truck bomb exploded outside a police station in Iskandariya, killing 53 people and wounding scores more. Many of those too were applying for jobs. Ten days ago in the North two suicide bombers blew themselves up in the offices of Kurdish political parties; over 100 people were killed. There are already questions as to why all wasn't being done to protect Iraqis, who were clearly targets.
LARRY KAPLO, Cox Newspapers: Some of the wounded today said they were very days pointed that they were made to stand outside the protective barriers.
MARK EASTON: This afternoon the spokesman was asked whether the U.S. Valued American lives ahead of Iraqis.
BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMETT: There are some prudent measures that can be take tomorrow reduce the risk of the personnel cuing up in front of a set of barriers, and I think most of the commanders on the ground will take a look at that for the future.
MARK EASTON: It's probably no accident that this latest wave after tacks coincides with a visit to Baghdad by a United Nations team who must decide whether the country is safe enough for direct connections to be held in advance of the day at the end of June.
JIM LEHRER: No immediate word on who was behind these latest attacks, but the U.S. Military doubled the bounty an the suspect to $10 million. He allegedly wrote a captured document that calls for attacks on Iraqis to touch off civil war. Today in Baghdad, U.S. Army Major General Charles Swannack said the bombings fit that pattern.
MAJ. GEN. CHARLES SWANNACK, JR.: I think it's the only way the terrorists in this country might have an opportunity to maybe create a seam or some kind of wedge between coalition forces and Iraqi security forces. I don't think they'll be successful, but that's what I think their strategy is right now.
JIM LEHRER: More than 260 Iraqi civilians have been killed in suicide attacks or car bombings since Jan. 1. The U.S. Government has formally opened $6 billion in prime contracts in Iraq to all countries. A posting on a federal web site today said the contracts are for equipment, training, and other services. Actual construction projects are still limited to nations that supported the war. President Bush today called for tougher global action to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In a Washington speech he cited a black market network led by Pakistan's top nuclear scientist. He said it passed secrets to Iran and North Korea.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: We must act on every lead. We will find the middle men, the suppliers, and the buyers. Our message to pro live airports must be consistent and it must be clear. We will find you, and we're not going to rest until you are stopped.
JIM LEHRER: We'll talk to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about the president's speech and other issues right after this News Summary. Israeli troops raided Gaza today, killing at least 15 Palestinians and wounding dozens. The army said a gun battle erupted as tanks and troops searched for militants who fired rockets at Jewish settlements. The Israelis also raided a refugee camp, searching for arms-smuggling tunnels. Later, the militant group Hamas urged all its cells to carry out new suicide bombings in retaliation. The Democratic presidential field lost another one today, as Wesley Clark officially ended his campaign. He made his decision after losses in Tennessee and Virginia yesterday. The front-runner, John Kerry, won both those states. John Edwards and Howard Dean will challenge him in the next major test: The Wisconsin primary on Tuesday. We'll have a piece of Clark's withdrawal speech and more on the Democrats later in the program. The state legislature in Massachusetts began debate today on amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage. A compromise would allow gays to join in civil unions. The state supreme court has ruled that option is not sufficient under current law. In Washington today a white house spokesman said President Bush had not yet than endorsed the national amendment to ban gay marriage. The head of the Federal Communications Commission warned today of increased fines to stop indecency on the public airwaves. Chairman Michael Powell appeared at congressional hearings amid the furor about the super bowl halftime show. He urged broadcasters to stop what he called "the race to the bottom." We'll have more on today's hearings later in the program tonight. The cable television company Comcast launched a takeover bid today for the Walt Disney Company. It would create the world's largest communications company. Comcast said the offer was worth $66 billion. That would include $54 billion in stock. Comcast would also assume nearly $12 billion in debt. The company said Disney chief Michael Eisner refused to hold merger talks. The Disney Board issued a statement promising to review the offer. The U.S. Economy has made impressive gains since last summer, but new jobs have been hard to come by. The chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, made that testimony to congress today. He told a House hearing that productivity gains have blocked job growth, but he held out hope.
ALAN GREENSPAN: To a surprising degree, firms seem to be able to continue identifying and implementing new efficiencies in their production processes. And thus have found it possible so far to meet increasing orders without stepping up hiring. In all likelihood employment will begin to grow more quickly before long, as output continues to expand.
JIM LEHRER: Greenspan warned that eventually soaring budget deficits could threaten the economy. He also pledged again the Fed would work to keep interest rates at a 45-year low. The testimony was well-received on Wall Street. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained more than 123 points to close above 10737. The NASDAQ rose 14 points to close above 2089. That's it for the News Summary tonight. Now it's on to National Security Advisor Rice, the Democratic race, Shields and Brooks, cleaning up the airwaves, and the 9/11 commission.
JIM LEHRER: Ray Suarez has our interview with Security Adviser Rice.
RAY SUAREZ: In his speech today at the National Defense University, President Bush offered proposals for cracking down on the international black market in nuclear weapons technology. The president called on countries with civilian or military nuclear enrichment and processing technology to stop selling it to non-nuclear nations. He also called for strengthening the International Atomic Energy Agency.
To discuss the president's plan and other issues, we are joined by his National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice.
Welcome back to the program.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Thank you.
RAY SUAREZ: Well, in the plan offered this afternoon, what is contemplated to be the enforcement power? How is this going to work?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, the plan as offered today that we hope that others will take up and discuss and add ideas to is really a plan to try and get serious about the problems of weapons proliferation. And of course, the nonproliferation treaty provides... the nuclear nonproliferation treaty provides the framework for doing that. And what the president talked about today were ways to close loopholes in the NNT; ways to strengthen the IAEA -- for instance, saying it should have a special committee; that it's really capable of looking at verification and compliance issues; that there should be a U. N. Security Council resolution, which the United States is working very hard to have passed at the United Nations, which would criminalize in individual countries the trafficking in weapons of mass destruction technologies; and ultimately, that the world just has to be very serious about holding states to compliance with their international obligations. I will say that after 12 years of Iraq defying the international community, refusing to carry out its obligations that were entered into after Iraq lost a war of aggression, we did lose some of the credibility that the international community had for enforcement of its resolutions. Now, after the action in Iraq which enforced the will of Resolution 1441, which told Iraq that if it did not disarm it would face serious consequences, now that Iraq has faced those serious consequences, I think we're on stronger ground in terms of other states recognizing that the continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction will bring only isolation and unpleasant consequences, not great power status in international politics. And we're seeing, Ray, some very good effects of that for instance, in Libya, where Colonel Qaddafi has made the right choice to voluntarily give up his weapons of mass destruction.
RAY SUAREZ: What are the inducements for nations that may either be on the selling end or in the market place looking for either the materials or the technology, the inducements to comply?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, the inducements are several. First of all, for states that are seriously simply trying to acquire civilian, peaceful, civilian nuclear power, the president's proposed that there be a source of fuel for them at a reasonable cost so that they do not have to enrich and reprocess fuels, which is the... by which one can build a nuclear weapon. It's also the case that full enjoyment of membership in the international community and all of the benefits that come with that really should be for states that are in compliance and that are not dealing in these terrible weapons and trying to acquire them. I think that when we see a state like Libya that is trying to make amends-- it has said that it wants to voluntarily give up its weapons-- we will see that states like that do find an open door to better relations with the United States and others. So it really is both a carrot and a stick. On the stick side, if you are not living up to your obligations, if you are trading in these terrible technologies or if you are under the guise of civilian nuclear uses pursuing weapons of mass destruction, then you should be an international outlaw, outcast, and the international system should not deal with you. If, on the other hand, you are prepared to play by the rules, and in the case of a state like Libya, willing to try and reverse decades of bad behavior, then there ought to be an open door to better relations.
RAY SUAREZ: Will you contemplate what you just called an "outcast" status for a country like Iran, which insists its program is peaceful, dedicated to the generation of electricity and also says it doesn't want international interference in its affairs?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, clearly, Iran is object number one, state number one that needs to be dealt with in this regard. The Iranians have said that they will try and get in line with their international obligation, signing the additional protocol, but they've not promised to give up their enrichment and reprocessing activities. And they need no to do that, because if they want civilian nuclear power, they don't need to reprocess and enrich uranium. And absolutely, if Iran does not live up to its obligations, if it does not carry out the promises that it made to France and Great Britain and to Germany, if it does not carry out the obligations it's undertaken with the IAEA, then, indeed, it should be put in a category of states that are not complying and should suffer the consequences of that.
RAY SUAREZ: Over the past couple of weeks, we found out that one of the greatest proliferators of recent times is probably Pakistan. Is the American administration confident at this point that Pakistan's military arsenal and its technology are both under lock and key in a way that they can't find their way into hostile hands?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Well, what we found is that there was a network operating out of Pakistan that represents a different path than a rogue state simply acquiring this technology on their own. But this A.Q. Khan network is... it's a kind of underworld, nuclear underworld-- entrepreneurs in the world's most dangerous technologies-- and operating out of Pakistan. But one has to understand that Pakistan has had a complete reorientation of its foreign policy under President Musharaff since Sept. 11, a reorientation that has made Pakistan a valuable extremely important ally in the war on terror. It is, after all, how we caught Kalid Shaikh Mohammad, one of the most important of al-Qaida's field generals. It is a state that is moving to try and repair relations with India and to move to dialogue with India. It's a state where President Musharaff has given really remarkable statements about the importance of Pakistan refusing to be involved with extremism. It has withdrawn its support for the Taliban and we're clear that Pakistan is trying to be on the right side of this issue. And in this case of weapons of mass destruction and the Khan network, it is with Pakistan's very strong engagement that we have been able to now damage and hopefully put out of business the Khan network. Pakistan has given its assurances as recent as this weekend to Secretary Powell that it intends to cooperate fully and to give us access to all the information made available out of the interviews and investigations that it is doing of the Khan network. The goal now has to be to break up this network, to learn who its customers were, to know where its tentacles are and were, and to make certain that this doesn't happen again. And in that, we have a very good partner in Pakistan.
RAY SUAREZ: Turning now to Iraq, in the past two days, there have been two extremely bloody, very deadly car bomb attacks with a death toll of around 100. And they were targeting elements of Iraqi society that were cooperating with the American administration and starting to set up Iraqi institutions. If those kind of attacks continue, could that put the hand-over and the calendar for the hand-over in jeopardy?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The Iraqis are making good progress toward the June 30 deadline, the June 30 transfer of sovereignty. It's an important date from the point of view of the Iraqis because it's the first step on the road to political development toward democracy. The people who are trying to stop that are clearly worried that when Iraq becomes prosperous and democratic and stable, that their grand designs to try and harm civilization, to try and roll back the clock to a day when freedom could not exist in this part of the world, they're clearly worried that their designs are going to be very much harmed by an Iraq that is stable. And that's what's happening. And we have every reason to believe that these are principally foreign terrorists, that these are people associated with al-Qaida. We saw recently the release of the memorandum about al-Zarqawi, a man who, by the way, was operating in Iraq before the war. Al-Zarqawi was operating... his network operating in Baghdad, ordering, probably, the assassination of Mr. Foley, the U.S. aid worker in Jordan. This was the network that was planning poison attacks throughout Europe. He's known Iraq before. He's been there before. He's operated there before. And he and people like him have come back because this now is the central front in the war on terrorism, and when we succeed in Iraq, we will deal a very big blow to the designs of these terrorists.
RAY SUAREZ: But in the case of some of these recent attacks, attacking police recruits, army trainees, if there is an attempt to keep the Iraqi populace from joining those institutions which would represent the new regime, could that endanger American plans in that region?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I believe the Iraqi people are tougher than that. I believe that the Iraqi people want a better future, that they understand that they are going to have to win their own freedom. They are going to have to win their own stability and their own prosperity. They are signing up and serving in the civil defense forces, signing up and serving in the police. Yes, they're taking enormous risks, and when we talk about the security situation we have to realize that Iraqis are taking tremendous risks for their own future. But they are aware that they are taking risks for a far better future. And I think you're going to continue to see the Iraqis sign up for those posts, continue to see the Iraqis try to make a better future for themselves and their children. But these are foreign terrorists. There are Iraqi Baathist, ex-Saddam loyalists who are still trying to do what they did to their fellow citizens for a long time, and that is oppress them and preserve their own privileges. But the entry of these foreign terrorists into Iraq means that they understand that this is the central front on the war on terror. And I can assure you that if they were not fighting the violent Jihad in Iraq, they would be fighting it someplace else. They're going to be defeated and we have every reason to believe that the Iraqi people are tough. And we will stay with them and by their side as they fight to achieve a free and democratic and prosperous Iraq.
RAY SUAREZ: National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, thanks for being with us.
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Thank you, good to be with you.
JIM LEHRER: Still to come on the NewsHour tonight: The Democrats; Shields and Brooks; indecency hearings; and a 9/11 commission update.
UPDATE - CAMPAIGN 2004
JIM LEHRER: Kwame Holman has our campaign wrap-up.
SPOKESMAN: John Kerry!
KWAME HOLMAN: Massachusetts Senator John Kerry took a break from campaigning today, after adding two southern primaries to his win column last night.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: Thank you. Thank you, Virginia. Thank you, Tennessee. ( Cheers and applause ) Together, together across the South you have shown that mainstream values that we share, fairness, love of country, a belief in hope and in hard work, are more important than boundaries or birthplace.
KWAME HOLMAN: Kerry now has won 12 of the 14 Democratic contests thus far, and increasingly aims his victory speeches not at his remaining party rivals, but at president bush.
SEN. JOHN KERRY: George Bush, who speaks of strength, has made America weaker, weaker economically, weaker in health care and education. And the truth is that he has made us weaker militarily by overextending our forces, and driving away our allies.
KWAME HOLMAN: After a second day off tomorrow, Kerry will campaign for upcoming contests in Nevada and Wisconsin. Meanwhile, his competitors had differing reactions to Kerry's surging candidacy-- one forged ahead with a typical campaign day, one attacked the runner, and one dropped out of the race. Retired General Wesley Clark ended his campaign after losing to Kerry and Edwards in both of yesterday's primaries. Clark has won in only one state.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK, (Ret.): Five months ago just a few miles from here, we began our journey. This was a journey for the presidency. It began it began with what I call "the four no's": No money; no staff; no position papers; and a candidate with no political experience. And today, after traveling across the country,after visiting with so many people, we have decided we're going to end this phase of this journey even more full of hope and even more committed to building a better America.
KWAME HOLMAN: Clark had banked on doing well in Tennessee and Virginia, given his southern roots in Arkansas.
GEN. WESLEY CLARK: I wasn't a politician, and in the end, I'm still a solider, not a politician.
KWAME HOLMAN: Meanwhile, John Edwards still hopes to position himself as the potential alternative to John Kerry. Edwards talked trade and jobs in Lacrosse, Wisconsin, today.
SEN. JOHN EDWARDS: I picked up my newspaper in Milwaukee this morning, and on the front page: "500 jobs leaving Milwaukee, going to Mexico." Here we go again. Part of the same old pattern. You know, this administrations' trade policies, their tax policies that are leading to thousands of thousands of... actually across America millions of jobs, particularly manufacturing jobs, leaving this country.
KWAME HOLMAN: Edwards plans to campaign in Wisconsin for the next several days. Aides say he will remain positive, and not criticize the front-runner. However, at a stop in Milwaukee today, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean launched a pointed attack on John Kerry.
HOWARD DEAN: What I see here is a candidate who is not standing up for ordinary middle-class people, a candidate who is not interested in changing the political culture in Washington, a candidate who has a great deal of rhetoric but very little record to support that.
KWAME HOLMAN: Dean also criticized Kerry for working with a campaign group run by former New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli. The group ran anti-dean television ads earlier in the campaign.
HOWARD DEAN: One of Senator's Kerry's fund-raisers, Senator Torricelli, who had to step aside from a race because of his own ethically challenged behavior, is now raising money for Senator Kerry and for this secret political action committee. This is exactly what we don't need in Washington.
KWAME HOLMAN: Dean finished in the single digits in last night's primaries, and has failed to win any contest. He is counting on a strong finish on Tuesday in Wisconsin to revive his candidacy. Meanwhile, Congressman Dennis Kucinich met with supporters in his home state of Ohio today.
REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: My campaign for the presidency arises from a condition where unemployment is growing in this country, where the movement of wages is not going up, it's going down, where many workers are experiencing a level of insecurity they never had before.
KWAME HOLMAN: Both Kucinich and the Reverend Al Sharpton continue to say they will press on in the primaries regardless of their showing.
FOCUS - SHIELDS & BROOKS
JIM LEHRER: And to the analysis of Shields and Brooks, syndicated columnist mark shields and "New York Times" columnist David Brooks.
Wesley Clark, Mark, how would you describe the race he ran?
MARK SHIELDS: Wesley Clark was an ideal candidate, Jim. You think about it -- outside of Washington, unmatched credentials in national security, personal courage. No voting record to defend or anything of the sort. Southern base -- to run against Howard Dean. If Howard Dean, when the results came in from Iowa it wasn't just Dick Gephardt who lost and it wasn't just Howard Dean who lost, Wesley Clark lost, because he lost his chance to be the last best chance to stop the Dean express as it rode away. And he was robbed of his military national security credentials by the emergence of John Kerry, he was robbed of his southern base by the emergence of John Edwards. And the Dean meltdown on the Iowa election night and he was deprived of any oxygen, he had no coverage that whole week up there and he saw his hopes really end in New Hampshire.
JIM LEHRER: What would you add to that, David?
DAVID BROOKS: I basically agree, I think he was the natural alternative when John Kerry seemed to be tanking, and once John Kerry lifted himself up off the floor had was no need for Wes Clark. It was an interesting campaign because he got a lot better as the campaign went on, he was a poor speaker, rambled and by the end he was a pretty good campaigner to me the oddest part about the campaign was he was a guy with credentials that were reasonably moderate and conservative, he was further left than John Kerry, he was really in Howard Dean territory with Michael Moore on his podium and things like that, that was the oddity of the campaign. That's why I objected to him, but I'm not sure that's why democrats objected to him. He just was unnecessary. And there was one other final thing which people really do want to experience. They say they don't, but people do want experience in Washington.
JIM LEHRER: All right. Speaking of that, John Edwards, why is he hanging in there? He's been in the Senate, he has no experience except for his first term in the Senate.
MARK SHIELDS: John Edwards is an intriguing position right now. The question last night was whether a Massachusetts liberal could reach below the Mason Dixon line, and the answer was, yes, Virginia, yes Tennessee there is a John Kerry and he won both of them. In doing so he deprived John Edwards of one of his great applause lines that we've heard probably 35 times, which was I'll beat George W. Bush in the East, the West, I'll beat him in the Midwest and talking like this I'll beat until the South. Well, he couldn't bee John Kerry in the South. So he's got to make a choice right now. It's a good story for Democrats, if each week John Kerry wins another race, he's in the headlines, he's getting coverage. They make their case against the incumbent administration. But John Edwards runs the risk of becoming the political equivalent of the Washington Generals of basketball. The Washington Generals were the team that traveled with the Harlem Globe Trotters and they played them 18,622 times.
JIM LEHRER: And they always lost.
MARK SHIELDS: And they always lost; they won three out of eighteen thousand sixteen hundred twenty-two. And he doesn't need that. He doesn't need to be just a very upbeat positive articulate punching bag, so he's got to figure out after next week.
JIM LEHRER: David, you've been keen on Edwards as is a campaigner and what he was saying and all of that what do you think is going on with him now?
DAVID BROOKS: Well I think everybody uses the phrase buyers remorse and John Kerry really hasn't faced some of the scrutiny George Bush had at this point. He'd already been to Bob Jones University at this point. Bill Clinton - Gennifer Flowers had come and gone in this -
MARK SHIELDS: Or Howard Dean.
DAVID BROOKS: So I don't think it's totally stupid hang around. Maybe something will come up and people will get tired of Kerry, it would take a major earthquake for that to happen. There's also one soft spot that Kerry has in his race, his support - and it was especially true this week in Tennessee and Virginia -- grows less and less as you get more moderate and less and less as you get younger. So he's very good among older liberals, less good among, and Edwards beats him against younger moderates. So he could plausibly, hey, say you want electability, we got to win moderates, I do that better than Kerry. It's a long shot, but it's worth hanging around for.
JIM LEHRER: What about Howard Dean, what's his situation now?
DAVID BROOKS: He send out these e-mails every morning which a lot of reporters get and I love them, because he rips John Kerry to shreds. And they're all pretty effective my point of view. The point is that no one listens to him any more, reporters are being pulled off his campaign, he seems sour, he seems like a menacing figure. Actually a lot of the traits I have objected to in Howard Dean are coming to the fore -- a sense of just too much negativity.
JIM LEHRER: Well, today, Mark, we didn't have it in our clip just now, but Howard Dean also said about John Kerry that he was part of a corrupt political culture in Washington because of the fact that, as Dean was talking about, that he was -- that the Torricelli people had done some campaign ads for and he said that Kerry is the lesser of two evils, compared with President Bush.
MARK SHIELDS: You don't list that as an endorsement ( Laughter) -
JIM LEHRER: The evil of two lessers. What's he up to?
MARK SHIELDS: His style is a lot more subdued, you'll notice, it's not nearly as fiery, but the rhetoric is. Make no mistake about it, getting close to Bob Torricelli on John Kerry's part is a mistake of proportions if you're going to run a campaign that the white house is a wash of money, that it's the captive of special interests and it's Halliburton and everything else going on and Billy Townsend is going downtown to take a two million dollar job. Torricelli is a guy you want to keep, at least 18 miles off shore and observe only through heavy powered binoculars. Howard dean keeps moving the goal post.
JIM LEHRER: You think he's going to make a legitimate point?
MARK SHIELDS: I think it's a legitimate point, but Kerry met with Torricelli last week, I don't think Kerry had anything with those ads. These were anti-dean ads and they were people supporting Kerry, supporting Gephardt in Iowa, who ran those ads and they were and they got a pretty severe backlash and were pulled. But just in one point that David made, about Kerry, I'll say this, I was on the Hill today and Ed Markey, the Democratic congressman from Massachusetts who had been one of John Kerry's longest and strongest supporters even when John Kerry was being called dead man walking as he was in November, by many in the press, and Markey was there, he said George W. Bush always said he wanted to be a uniter rather than a divider and he has united the Democratic Party. I have never seen the Democratic Party as united as it is, they're discovering virtues in John Kerry that his mother never knew existed.
JIM LEHRER: The polls show a big lead in Wisconsin, he's only been there once.
DAVID BROOKS: The question is how much do people know about him. Terry McAuliffe who is the chairman of the Democratic Party got what he wanted, he wanted a front loaded system so the senior member of the field would win quickly without too much fighting, that's basically what they got and hats off to him. The problem is he hasn't been tested the way I think every other primary candidate has been tested. Howard Dean is testing him, but nobody's listening. But the Republicans are going to do it.
JIM LEHRER: Speaking of Terry McAuliffe, he the one who started this issue about President Bush's National Guard Service during the Vietnam War, the White House yesterday issued some papers related to the president's service, does that put it to rest?
DAVID BROOKS: I think it's an aviatic issue. When somebody is running for president, you want to know what their service was in the military, how they behaved. But when somebody has railroad been president, you know how he behaves, we know how George Bush behaves under pressure. Something that happen 30d years ago I don't think is relevant, I don't think it's important. He's a different man than who he was before September 11, and I think it's an inane issue.
JIM LEHRER: An inane issue, Mark?
MARK SHIELDS: I don't think it is an inane issue. I didn't think it was inane issue in Bill Clinton. We went through three elections where the man who did not have military service beat the man who did. In 2000 Al Gore who wore the uniform torment Vietnam lost to George Bush who had a spotty record in the Texas air national guard. One of the great ironies of this campaign is that John Kerry, a remote frequently remote occasionally wooden person, turns into a live vibrant human being in the company of those he served and it's real, they've been a great credential to him.
JIM LEHRER: They're with him everywhere he goes.
MARK SHIELDS: He's a so much better candidate when they are with him. The best efforts of the white House and Karl Rove have not been able to turn up one person who served with President Bush. I agree with David that he's a different man than he was when he was 20 years old, but up until 1966, three out of four college graduates served in the military, three out of four high school graduates. It was only then that the sons of elite and educated figured out ways to avoid serving, and Kerry was an exception to Bush -- go ahead.
JIM LEHRER: I was just going to ask David, the issue that Kerry said that's not the issue, Kerry says the issue is anybody, he honors people that served in the National Guard, the only issue to him is did in fact Bush serve.
DAVID BROOKS: What they released suggests they did some sort of service. You know, I really think he was not a responsible, he was not the sort of person he wishes he would be and I wish one would be in that circumstance. But it was 30 years ago.
JIM LEHRER: So you concede the point but just not --
DAVID BROOKS: I don't see the relevance. Kerry gave a speech when the issue was raised against Clinton which was a long time ago, this is just not a legitimate issue, I think he was right then, wrong now.
MARK SHIELDS: It's interesting because Dave is right in the sense that the press, many of whom defended Clinton or whatever, because many in the press, let's be frank about it's, are a pretty elite group and they are rationalizing their own behavior because they were unrepresented in the military as well. If you look at what George Bush did in uniform, he's the Sergeant York of this administration, no Cheney, no Lott, no Hastert, no Delay, none of them ever served.
JIM LEHRER: We will pick over something similar to this on Friday night. Thank you both.
FOCUS - INDECENCY ON AIR
JIM LEHRER: Today's post-Super Bowl hearings on broadcast decency. Tom Bearden narrates our report.
TOM BEARDEN: How to tackle public indecency on broadcast television was the question before Capitol Hill lawmakers today, as FCC Commissioners and the heads of the NFL and CBS testified. FCC Chairman Michael Powell says some 200,000 Americans contacted complained about the Janet Jackson Super Bowl controversy, and that has helped prompt the commission to start issuing fines per incident, rather than per program. It may also start revoking broadcast licenses for repeat offenders.
MICHAEL POWELL: The now infamous display not only was it outrages and offending to children, I think it's important to note it's enormously degrading to women to suggest that was proper behavior. But it is just the latest example on what we have noted as a growing list of deplorable incident on the nation's air waves.
TOM BEARDEN: Appearing before the Senate Commerce and later a House Telecommunications Subcommittee, the chief regulator of the nation's airwaves was joined by the four other FCC Commissioners in calling for together penalties against broadcasters who violate indecency laws, raising the current FCC fine cap from $27,500 to $275,000 per transgression. Many lawmakers said they are skeptical in the wake of the Super Bowl display that a monetary fine will prevent future episodes, and had tough questions for those in charge of the show.
REP. HEATHER WILSON: I should not have to use the NFL halftime show to teach my children. And there are lot of other parents who feel the same way. As a lawmaker, I want to know how something like this made it onto the show in a very scripted rehearsed for weeks performance. And in the same way that Enron highlighted unacceptable corporate behavior from a financial point of view, and ethics in our corporate boardrooms, Viacom's support of shock jocks and allowing tasteless Super Bowl programming is a nationwide entertainment industry scandal. You knew what you were doing. You knew what kind of entertainment you're selling, and you wanted us all to be a abuzz, here in this room and on the playground and my kids school, because it improves your ratings. It improves your market share. And it lines your pockets.
TOM BEARDEN: Mel Karmazin is president of Viacom, Inc.-- Owner of both CBS, which aired the halftime show, and MTV, which produced it.
MEL KARMAZIN: Let me say, Congressmen, you're just wrong. Let me just say that everyone at Viacom and everyone at CBS and everyone at MTV was shocked and appalled and embarrassed by what transpired. Miss Jackson unrehearsed and unapproved' display went far beyond what is acceptable standards for our broadcast network. We apologized immediately to our audience, and I apologize here again to all of you.
TOM BEARDEN: As a result of the Super Bowl CBS used a five-minute delay on the Grammy Awards this past Sunday night. He said the network is also looking for other ways to prevent a repeat performance.
MEL KARMAZIN: The problem, we believe, is the current vagueness of how indecency is defined, and it's exasperated by the lack of clear policy direction from the F. C. C.. is the standard in Las Vegas the same standard that's appropriate in Salt Lake City?
TOM BEARDEN: As for the NFL's role, Commissioner Tagliabue said there was plenty of blame to share.
PAUL TAGLIABUE: I don't think we in the NFL did enough, and we didn't work closely enough with CBS to avoid the half time show that went on the air. I think with the benefit of behind sight we all agree with that. We did not want to have this kind of a show. And we will not have it again.
TOM BEARDEN: Karmazin says he thinks the broadcast channels do rise to a different standard than cable channels.
MEL KARMAZIN: I think Aaron has the ultimate ability to take any channels that somebody finds them object an and say I don't want them in my home. All you need to do is tell your cable company or satellite provider, I don't want that channel.
TOM BEARDEN: Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain, in a hearing on the same subject, agreed consumers must be prepared to turn off any offensive channels.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN: Congress should require cable and satellite operators to offer a la carte programming. Let people pick and pay for only those channels they want in order to save consumers money and empower those who are offended by some of today's program offerings.
TOM BEARDEN: FCC Chairman Powell cautioned that the standards are different and further study is needed.
FOCUS - 9/11 PROBE
JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, an update on the 9/11 Commission, and to Gwen Ifill.
GWEN IFILL: The national commission on terrorist attacks upon the United States was created by Congress in November of 2002. Its mission: To determine why the government was so unprepared for the events of Sept. 11, 2001. But since its inception, the 9/11 commission has had several run-ins with the White House, from how long the panel has to complete its work to its ability to get hold of classified presidential briefing papers. Yesterday, a threatened legal showdown between the commission and the Bush administration was averted when the panel agreed to accept a summary of those documents instead. Here to bring us up to date on the commission's work are: Its chairman, Thomas Kean, former Republican governor of new jersey and now president of Drew University; and its vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, former Democratic congressman from Indiana and now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Welcome, gentlemen.
Governor Kean, the commission threatened this week to subpoena White House records if they couldn't get full access to them and that was turned around yesterday, there was an agreement reached. What was the agreement and why was it reached?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: Well, a subpoena is always an option, we have that tool but we'd rather not use it unless we have to. The agreement that was reached was first of all a member of the staff and a member of the commission have seen every one of these most sensitive documents. Secondly, they did a summary, that they could take back to the commission as a whole, and we went over that summary in great detail and learned from it the details that we needed to know in order to do the report.
GWEN IFILL: Congressman Hamilton are those details enough to be able to do the work you need to do, the answer the questions you need to answer?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: Yes, they are, they give us considerable detail about presidential daily briefings, which are among the most highly secret documents the government has. It's unprecedented that any group outside a very close circle of the president has access to these documents. I think we would obviously prefer if our position would be that all ten commissioners could see all of the PB's that are relevant to our mandate.
GWEN IFILL: As it is, only four commissioner are seeing them are not four, three commissioners, either have or will see them all - and one member of the staff. And the agreement we worked out with the White House is the governor indicated a moment ago, was about three months ago, was that this review team would look at the presidential daily briefings and then would share the summaries with all of the commissioners and that's what we did yesterday.
GWEN IFILL: Governor, because -- as Congressman Hamilton was pointing out these are such secret documents, obviously you can't tell us what's contained in them, but you were quoted yesterday as saying there's no smoking gun. Could you explain what you meant by that?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: I will, that phrase may have been unfortunate, because smoking gun conjures up images of Watergate and everything else. What I meant was that, was there anything in this whole detail of information which suddenly jumped out at you and might even change the whole tenor of your investigation because that one item is so different and so important, and the answer is no. We learned a lot from what we looked at in those particular documents, a number of the items we looked at raised questions, those questions have got to be answered. A number of the witnesses that we have already seen may have to be re-interviewed, because of the information we found in those documents. But was there any one wow moment, no.
GWEN IFILL: One of your commission members said he was concerned that these documents needed to answer the question of whether the administration had any prewarning. From the documents that you've been able to review so far, do you know whether it begins to answer that question?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: Well, it does answer a lot of questions both for the Bush briefings and the Clinton briefings, but I think it would be wrong and perhaps even illegal to given the nature of those documents to tell you exactly with a was in them.
GWEN IFILL: That's fair enough. Congressman Hamilton, some of the families feel that the commission in making this agreement has caved in to the White House and isn't being as aggressive as it could be, what do you say to the families of 9/11 victims?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON:I think we have a mandate to fulfill, and the mandate is to get all the information we can, which will help us do our job, to tell the story of 9/11 and to make recommendations to the American people so that they're safer. I think we have adequate information from these presidential briefings, and from thousands, millions of other documents, and 900 interviews conducted thus far, with probably several hundred to go. When you put all of this together, we're going to be able to fulfill our mandate and tell the story of 9/11. The families have every right to be deeply concerned about it.
GWEN IFILL: How involved are they in this process?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: They've been marvelous, they've been helpful to us. Some of these members know an awful lot about the events of 9/11. They've submitted to us a long list of questions. We're doing our very best to answer those questions. But I think their input has been constructive and helpful, and I fully understand why they might be critical of the commission from time to time.
GWEN IFILL: Governor Kean, last week the president agreed to stepped the deadline for you to complete your work by two months, which would have you delivering it some say problematically some Republicans have said right in the middle of an election campaign. What is it you need to do that you need that extra time, first of all?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: Well, we took with us staff, we've had some delays in getting information, we had a delay in getting started because both Lee Hamilton and I had predecessors appointed before we were appointed, there have been a number of delays for a number of reasons. Our staff has told us they cannot by May 30 give the kind of report that the American people deserve. Will we give a decent report? Yes. Will it be the best report we can do? No. We then ask the staff, what do you need to do that top notch report. They said we need another 60 days minimum. So we simply have to get that.
GWEN IFILL: Were any of those delays caused by the reluctance or the lack of cooperation by the White House itself?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: We now have over a million documents. We've had to get them from a whole plethora of agencies from the government and outside the federal government and some of those were delayed and that did delay us. There were other factors as well. But the important point is we need extra time to do the report that's requested, that's required. We have not in spite of a White House agreement gotten agreement in Congress yet to give us the additional time, and we frankly simply have to have it in order to do our job.
GWEN IFILL: In fact, Congressman Hamilton, the House speaker Dennis Hastert has said he opposes giving you that extra time, even though some other members of Congress like John McCain have said give them until next January. What works for you?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: I don't know how it plays out in the Congress. We looked at all of the political considerations, some say put it off until December or January, others said stay with the May date, the original date in the statute. We finally put aside the political considerations and said, as Governor Kean indicated, how much time do we need to do the best job we can do. We'll request that and the Congress and president will have to sort that out. The president has made up his mind -- 60 additional days will be sufficient. Congress will have to review it and at the end of the day -- we accept the word of the Congress and the president.
GWEN IFILL: Do you worry at all that the political discussions a between Congress and the White House and you as a third partner in this might in any way hobble your investigation?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: I don't think it will. I think at the end of the day we're going to be judged on the merits of our recommendations and the quality of our report. We will need the support of republicans and democrats to implement that report. This commission under Governor Kean's leadership has been remarkably united and remarkably bipartisan. And we understand that this report of ours is just not going to be accepted unless it has the support broadly across the political spectrum.
GWEN IFILL: Governor Kean the president was interviewed this weekend on Meet the Press and he was asked by Tim Russert whether he would agree to testify before the 9/11 commission, and his answer was perhaps. Do you know whether you plan to call the president to testify?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: We are going to be asking the president to meet with us and testify. We're going to also be asking the former president and the former vice president and the present vice president. They all have important pieces to tell us and important questions to answer, so they will all be getting an invitation and we're in contact already with their staffs in every case.
GWEN IFILL: Is perhaps the answer you were looking for?
FORMER GOV. THOMAS KEAN: Is the answer I was looking for?
GWEN IFILL: Is perhaps the answer you were looking for?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON: My hope in the end that the president will agree that to meet with us and answer whatever questions we have.
GWEN IFILL: How about you, Congressman Hamilton, were you encouraged by that response or discouraged?
REP. LEE HAMILTON: I'm encouraged where we are now in our contacts with all of the previous leaders and the present leaders. And they're inconclusive at the moment, they're still under way. But we've initiated the contacts, we've had no nose given to us, we have indications that the contacts will bear fruit.
GWEN IFILL: Lee Hamilton and Tom Keans thank you both very much for joining us.
JIM LEHRER: Again, the other major developments of the day: A suicide bombing in Baghdad killed at least 47 Iraqis and wounding more than 50. It came a day after another deadly bombing that targeted Iraqis. On the NewsHour tonight, National Security Advisor Rice said there's every reason that people linked to al-Qaida are behind those attacks. President Bush called for tougher global action to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And Wesley Clark officially dropped out of the Democratic presidential race.
JIM LEHRER: And again, to our honor roll of American service personnel killed in Iraq. We add them as their deaths are made official and photographs become available. Here, in silence, are five more. We'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. I'm Jim Lehrer. Thank you and good night.
- The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
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- This episode's headline: Newsmaker; Shields & Brooks; Campaign 2004; Indecency on Air; 9/11 Probe. ANCHOR: JIM LEHRER; GUESTS: CONDOLEEZZA RICE; MARK SHIELDS; DAVID BROOKS; FORMER GOV. THOMAS; FORMER REP. LEE; CORRESPONDENTS: KWAME HOLMAN; RAY SUAREZ; SPENCER MICHELS; MARGARET WARNER; GWEN IFILL; TERENCE SMITH; KWAME HOLMAN
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- APA: The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-507-086348h01v