FTN - 10/26/03

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BOB SCHIEFFER, Chief Washington Correspondent: Today on Face The Nation, there has been an attack on the Iraq hotel where Deputy Defense
Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was staying. Early Sunday morning multiple rockets struck the Al-Rasheed Hotel in Baghdad. One American soldier was killed, 15 other people were wounded. How will this and the recent increase in the number of other attacks affect the reconstruction effort?

We'll go to Baghdad for a live report and we'll ask Ambassador Paul Bremer, who is heading up the rebuilding, about it. Mr. Bremer is here in Washington.

Then we'll talk to Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman about Iraq and his run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tom Friedman, foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times, will join us. And I'll have a final word on the caliber of our newsmakers.

But first, the situation in Iraq on Face The Nation.

ANNOUNCER: Face The Nation, with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

And now, from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.

SCHIEFFER: Good morning again.

There has been another serious attack on Americans in Baghdad. Enemy forces this morning unleashed a multirocket attack on the hotel where Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was staying. Wolfowitz was not injured, but it's our understanding that at least one American has been killed and perhaps as many as a dozen have been wounded.

We're going first to Baghdad to get the latest from Kimberly Dozier, our CBS News Correspondent there. Kimberly.

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CBS News: Good morning, Bob.

Well, a volley of about 20 rockets hit the Al-Rasheed Hotel. This is the nerve center of the U.S. coalition operations in Baghdad. Many high-ranking officials staying there, many civilian contractors.

What the Iraqi guerrillas had done was to pull a rocket launcher next to the hotel in an open area, a road that just goes past the hotel, launched a volley, up to 20 -- only about 10 or 12 actually hit the building and went off. Now this was just as the deputy Defense secretary had come to Iraq to trumpet some of the triumphs of the U.S. administration. This is not the message he wanted to send out.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, Deputy Defense Secretary: There are a few who refuse to accept the reality of the new and free Iraq. We will be unrelenting in our pursuit of them. As the president has said, 'we're taking this fight to the enemy.'

DOZIER: So Mr. Wolfowitz is trying to take back the message from the guerrillas and say he will take the fight to them. But at every point along his journey in the past couple of days, they have dogged him with violence: an attack against a Black Hawk helicopter in Tikrit yesterday and a civilian convoy on Fallujah.

SCHIEFFER: Kimberly, it seems to me that the number of these attacks is going up.

DOZIER: U.S. officials have admitted to that. General Sanchez here, the chief of operations, says that there have been as many as 43 a day. There were 43 attacks last Sunday. The pace is continuing, and the number of American troops dying each day is continuing. At this point, they haven't turned the corner on that.

SCHIEFFER: Kimberly Dozier in Baghdad. Thank you very much, Kimberly.

And joining us now in our studios in Washington, Ambassador Paul Bremer, who, of course, is the ranking official in Baghdad. He is back in Washington for consultations this weekend.

Also here, Tom Friedman, foreign affairs columnist at The New York Times.

Mr. Ambassador, I know you've been on the phone with the people back in Baghdad. Do you have anything to add to what we've just heard?

AMB. PAUL BREMER, Presidential Envoy to Iraq: Well, I think we'll have to see.

I've asked for a full investigation, obviously, both by General Dempsey, in whose area this takes place -- I understand he will give at least a preliminary report to the press later in the day -- and, of course, by our security people to see what else we need to do to secure this place for our people, many of hundreds of whom stay in that hotel.

SCHIEFFER: Well, clearly this would be considered one of the safest places in Baghdad, I would assume, since that's where you had a ranking official of the administration staying here.

BREMER: Well, you have a problem here with these terrorists have these standoff weapons.

They have rocket-propelled grenades, which were used in an attack against this hotel about a month ago, and now these multiple launch rockets of some kind. We have to find out exactly what this was about. But we will take all the precautions necessary to protect our people, obviously.

SCHIEFFER: Tom.

THOMAS FRIEDMAN, The New York Times: Ambassador Bremer, we've captured -- American troops have captured some of these guys now, and there are various ...(unintelligible) around the country. Who are these guys? Are they Syrians, Saudis, terrorists? Are they Iraqis, disgruntled soldiers, Ba'athists? Who are they?

BREMER: All of the above, plus, of course, common criminals. We've got three kinds of people that are a concern to us.

First are the ex-Saddam killers, the killers of the Fedayeen Saddam and the intelligence agency. We've captured and killed quite a few of them.

Secondly, we've got common criminals. As you know, Saddam let a lot of these guys go, and they're convicted murderers and rapists and torturers. And we've captured a number of them.

And thirdly, we have terrorists, foreign terrorists.

FRIEDMAN: Any specific countries that have really popped up -- any number?

BREMER: Well, most of the -- if you look at the non-Iraqi people we are detaining, most of them are Syrian. We also have a number of Sudanese and some Saudis and Yemenis, and these are the foreign fighters and terrorists who are still infiltrating into Iraq.

FRIEDMAN: You say they're crossing the Syrian border.

BREMER: Most of them seem to be coming across the Syrian border, but the Ansar al-Islam, which is another al Qaeda related group, they appear to have come across the Iranian border starting in about July.

FRIEDMAN: Do we need to reinvade the Sunni Triangle? It's clear 80 percent of the attacks are coming from that Fallujah-Tikrit part of Baghdad area.

BREMER: Right.

FRIEDMAN: You said that two divisions of Republican Guards just melted into that area.

BREMER: That's right.

FRIEDMAN: Do we need to reinvade that area?

BREMER: Oh, I don't -- I think we don't want to get back into reinvading. I think we need to be vigorous in attacking where we know we have people who are opposing us. And we need to also be looking for ways to do reconstruction in the same areas to show the Iraqi people we're not after the Iraqi people, we're after the -- Saddam's killers. And, as you said, one of the ironies is we didn't ever fight over this area in the war. Basically the two divisions just disappeared. And we're going to have to impose security there and we will gradually do that.

SCHIEFFER: Well, Mr. Ambassador, we keep hearing from the people in the Pentagon, and I think your commanders on the ground say, we don't need anymore troops here. We've got enough troops, but yet when something like this happens, clearly the security is not even good enough to protect the Americans there.

BREMER: Yes, but it -- security is not a question of the number of boots on the ground. I've talked to all of our commanders and I've talked to General Abizaid and the commanders do say they have enough troops on the ground.

You know, 9/11 happened here. It wasn't a question of not having enough troops on the ground. These are terrorists and we're going to have to find ways to get better intelligence to go out and get them before they come and get us. We are on the front line of the war on terrorism in Iraq. It's not a comfortable place to be, but that's where we are.

SCHIEFFER: Well is this a guerrilla force? Obviously, these people -- or it seems to me, that these people are getting -- that these attacks are somewhat coordinated and you just heard Kimberly Dozier say that the number of attacks on Americans is now up to -- did she say 43 attacks a day?

BREMER: As I said earlier in my answer to Mr. Friedman, you've got three different kinds of criminals here that we're dealing with: terrorists, straight old criminals and old Saddam guys. Most of the attacks are against American coalition forces are by the Saddam people or the terrorists, and those are two people we're going to have to deal with. We're going to have to deal with them by...

SCHIEFFER: But you -- if I may -- just interrupt you.

BREMER: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: It seems to me they're getting stronger rather than weaker. We're getting more attacks, rather than fewer attacks.

BREMER: No, I think what's happening is they're getting more sophisticated, as General Sanchez pointed out. What we're seeing is -- as we did today with this rocket attack -- a more sophisticated use of technology. In particular, they're using these improvised explosive devices very carefully placed along roads and then triggered by remote-controlled -- by garage openers -- cell phones. It's a rather sophisticated operation, some of which probably that technology came to them from professional terrorists. There's some cross-fertilization going on here.

FRIEDMAN: Ambassador Bremer, could I ask you an important political question?

BREMER: Sure.

FRIEDMAN: We need, in order for the political situation to stabilize, Iraqis to draw up their own constitution.

BREMER: Yes.

FRIEDMAN: That's the only way there will be an elected government and the only way ultimately America can turn over Iraq to the Iraqis.

BREMER: Right.

FRIEDMAN: Where does that constitutional process stand now?

BREMER: Well, fortunately, as part of the UN Security Council resolution, two weeks ago, the Iraqi Governing Council was told you have a deadline of December 15th to tell the Security Council what your plan is. They have already begun to work on that.

I've met two or three times with the Governing Council since then to encourage them to move fast. We see no reason why a constitutional conference cannot be convened in a couple of months. They then have to sit down and write the constitution.

FRIEDMAN: Right. But will people be elected to this conference or will they be appointed?

BREMER: Well, that, of course, is the holdup. There are pressures, as you know, from some parts of the Iraqi society that consist that these -- that this should be elected conference. If that happens, it will delay the entire process by a year to 15 months.

FRIEDMAN: So we don't favor that.

BREMER: No, we certainly don't. And we've made that clear to the Governing Council.

FRIEDMAN: How are they going to overcome it?

BREMER: I think they will find a way around it. I believe they will -- I believe they recognize, as we do, that it's in the interest of the Governing Council to show the Iraqi people this process is moving forward. They don't want to wait a year and a half.

SCHIEFFER: May I ask you, where do you think these rockets came from? We keep hearing these reports of all these Iraqi ammo dumps around the country that no one has guarded.

BREMER: Well, we have already found -- it's an astonishing number. I had to go back and double-check. It's 650,000 tons of ammunition in Iraq, and we believe that there's probably a total of a million. So we've probably only found 60 percent of what there is.

SCHIEFFER: And is it true that many of those dumps are not being guarded?

BREMER: Yes, it's true. And what the military is doing and it's really more their area than mine, they are now getting contractors in to start destroying the stuff as quickly as we can.

It's obviously very dangerous to destroy. And we're starting to put Iraqi forces on guarding these dumps wherever we can. We're trying to get more and more Iraqis involved in security at this point.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much. I wish we had more time but I'm sorry we don't.

BREMER: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: Thanks for coming by and good luck to you.

Back in a minute and we'll talk to Joe Lieberman when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Now we turn to the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

We welcome one of the candidates, Senator Joe Lieberman.

Senator Lieberman, the news from Baghdad seems to be even worse this morning.

SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, D-CT, Democratic Presidential Candidate: It does, indeed. I mean, the fact that the opposition, the terrorists, the insurgents fired rockets at the hotel where Paul Wolfowitz was and got away with it is just shocking. I mean, why aren't we protecting the perimeter -- where did they get those sophisticated rockets?

I -- my guess is they got them because we were not adequately policing the areas where Saddam was keeping this enormous inventory of conventional weapons. I mean, thank God, more people were not injured. I happen to have had my military legislative assistant, retired Army Colonel Fred Downey, was in that hotel last night, and we were notified today that he's fine, thank God. But this has got to stop.

SCHIEFFER: Does this suggest to you that we need more troops? The administration keeps saying, `We don't need more troops,' but if you can't protect, as you say, the hotel where ranking U.S. officials are housed when they come there, it suggests to me that that's not a very good plan.

LIEBERMAN: You're absolutely right. Look, the administration keeps talking -- Ambassador Bremer, President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld, `Everything's going great in Iraq.' We know everything is not going great in Iraq, even those of us who feel that what we did in Iraq was right, that the world is safer with Saddam Hussein gone feel even more intensely that the administration has really messed this up by its one-sided foreign policy which has kept other countries away from helping us and by its failure to have any kind of plan to secure post-Saddam Iraq.

Remember General Eric Shinseki, the head of the Army, earlier this year, said that we would need more than 200,000 troops, not just to win the war but more to secure the peace. He was right.

Secretary Rumsfeld, the administration, all -- they disagreed with him. They, in some senses, demeaned him. The fact is that if the administration had a more multilateral, open, cooperative policy, we'd have foreign troops in there helping American troops to keep the peace. We'd have foreign countries paying more of the cost of rebuilding Iraq than they were willing to pledge the other day in Madrid.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think this means that perhaps the president ought to change secretaries of Defense?

LIEBERMAN: Well, look, ultimately the buck stops at the president's desk. He's the commander in chief. He has to take accountability if things don't work well. I'll tell you this -- that Secretary Rumsfeld told the truth in that private memo, that they haven't been as trusting of the American people to tell us the truth about the fact that we're not doing as well as they -- that we should be doing in the war on terrorism and the war in Iraq. And the worst thing about Don Rumsfeld's time at the Pentagon, the uniform military feel deeply that he doesn't respect them, doesn't listen to them. That's not the kind of relationship that we need between a secretary of Defense and the military.

Judgment about whether he stays or not is up to President Bush, but if I were president, I'd get a new secretary of Defense.

SCHIEFFER: You would?

LIEBERMAN: I would.

SCHIEFFER: All right, let's shift to politics. With us this morning is Amy Walter of The Cook Report

AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: How are you?

SCHIEFFER: ...which, as all of us who follow politics knows, is kind of a bible of the political community. Amy?

WALTER: Thank you very much. Let's open it up and talk a little about the campaign, and there was a recent poll inThe Boston Globe this morning that showed in the New Hampshire primary that you were actually dropping in support among Democratic voters. Do you think that perhaps your support of the war could be leading to this drop?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I don't know. I guess I'd say that, you know, the polls come and go. In some, I'm doing well, in others, not as well as I'd like. Of course I only cite the ones in which I'm doing well.

The fact is that the public is just tuning in to this campaign, frankly as they're catching on to George Bush, and the important thing to say is that this isn't start until January. I just made a decision to focus on New Hampshire and the states a week later on February 3rd, South Carolina, Delaware, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico.

But there's also an ideas primary that's just beginning, and I think my idea is show a clarity of judgment and a willingness to stick with a position, including my support of the war, even if it's not politically easy, and ultimately that's what the public wants in a president.

I've put forward some big new ideas like tax reform. I'm the only Democratic candidate who's gotten beyond the debate we were having before among Democrats about whether we should repeal all or only some of the Bush tax cuts. I've proposed tax cuts for 98 percent of America's taxpayers, just about all the middle class, and I'm going to pay for it by raising taxes on people making over a quarter of a million dollars a year. That's a big new idea that I think when the votes in New Hampshire get hold of it, they're going to like they hear.

WALTER: Let's talk about the ideas primary for a moment. Since 1992, the nominee for the Democratic presidential nomination has come from the DLC, the more moderate wing of the party...

LIEBERMAN: Yeah.

WALTER: ...where you've come from. This year, the buzz is about Governor Dean, who's gotten the most money, he's getting the most support, he's seen as the front-runner. Is there a suggestion, then, that among Democratic primary voters that maybe they're looking for a different kind of Democrat?

LIEBERMAN: Well, we'll see. I mean, that's the great debate going on. I've been arguing that in the positions I've been taking for fiscal responsibility, strong on defense, middle-class tax cuts, but also very socially progressive, a fighter for social justice -- a real alternative to President Bush who I don't think has led with integrity, and I will, that I'm building on the Clinton-Gore record, not moving away from it.

I think some of the other candidates, including Howard Dean but some of the others in proposing fiscally irresponsible programs, sending a message of weakness on defense, and in Howard Dean's case, wanting to repeal all the Bush tax cuts which would raise taxes on the middle class, that they are not building on the Clinton-Gore record, and that's going to be very much on the line in the primaries coming up.

We're also not going to defeat George Bush, which all of us want to do, and give America a fresh start, if we go too far over to the left, and if we're just an angry party -- America wants leadership that has more than anger. They want strength. They want conviction and they want hope and optimism, and that's my campaign.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think Howard Dean is too far to the left and too angry to be elected?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I give Howard this credit. He's brought some -- because of the anger that we all feel toward the breaking of promises by George Bush, the deception of the American people, the yielding to ideological extremists and special interests -- he's tapped into some of that and brought people into the party, but that's not enough to win the election.

You've got to have a program that really does build from the center out and gives people more than anger, but gives them hope of strong leadership that will say what's right for the future of America and have the guts stick with it, including when it's not politically easy. That's been my record throughout my campaign.

SCHIEFFER: You were -- the other day on our friend Don Imus' radio show, you said that if elected, you would make John McCain secretary of Defense. Were you really serious about that?

LIEBERMAN: Well, you know, I'm a candidate, so it's not exactly the time to be naming my Cabinet, but...

SCHIEFFER: But I mean, is that a serious consideration?

LIEBERMAN: Oh, look, as president, I can't think of a better person, a person that I'd rather have as secretary of Defense than John McCain. Why? I trust him. Talk about the relationship with the military, this man's a hero. The American military would love to serve under him. And not only that, John McCain and I agree on so much about our national security and defense policy.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you this. The question that was kind of left on the table in that interview was, would you consider him as a running mate?

LIEBERMAN: He's supporting George Bush, so that's...

SCHIEFFER: If he became available?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there's a -- we're a long way from that. But I do think it's important to say particularly on matters of security and defense, that if you got somebody great like John McCain, who I agree with on a lot of these questions -- then you're not going to exclude him because he's from the other party. And remember, Bill Clinton chose Bill Cohen, a Republican, to be his secretary of Defense and he did a great job.

WALTER: Let's just move on to the primary just for one more moment. We didn't bring up the fact that you've decided not to play in Iowa and to concentrate on New Hampshire and the other states after New Hampshire. Are there any states in particular that you think that you need to run strong in in order to break through?

LIEBERMAN: Well, look, this decision to move beyond Iowa was a decision of resources and strategy. I love the people of Iowa. We left an office there. I hope to come back as the nominee and win that state in November. But there are nine primaries in the first two weeks. The calendar has really changed. And obviously it's important to make a good showing in New Hampshire. But on February 3rd, I'm gonna win some states. I've gotta win some states. And what's the mix? South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona, Delaware, New Mexico, Missouri, North Dakota. We're gonna win some that day and then go on to the nomination.

WALTER: Is there one in particular that you think -- we've been hearing so much about Gephardt needs to run strong in Iowa, Kerry and Dean in New Hampshire, Edwards in South Carolina. Where is this thing for you?

LIEBERMAN: Well, I think the reason we say that they have to run strong in one of those states is that they live right next door, or in John Edwards' case, he was actually born in South Carolina. I don't have either that advantage or that expectation. So I'm just gonna say that I'm gonna run better than expected in New Hampshire, and then on February 3rd I'm gonna win more than one of the states that we've talked about.

SCHIEFFER: Senator Lieberman, always a pleasure to have you.

LIEBERMAN: Thanks, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Thank you.

LIEBERMAN: Good to be with you. Thanks, Amy.

SCHIEFFER: Back in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Finally today on less important matters, maybe I'm just getting old, but I think what the world needs is a better class of people making the news.

Too many of these people who get attention these days just seem ridiculous. Yet they're the ones who make the papers and the TV. Like that guy who had himself suspended for months in a glass box over London Bridge. Was I supposed to care? Well, now it can be told; I didn't.

And that other guy who went over Niagara Falls without a barrel. Now that's quite a feat. A 180-foot drop straight down through to a churning river with rocks all around. He said it was something he just always wanted to do.

But here is my question. Should we have been upset if he had been killed? I suppose so. But to be honest--Well, never mind.

And then there was that multimillion dollar lawsuit that Liza Minnelli's estranged husband filed against her because he said she beat him up all the time. Something about she's strong as a bull when she's drinking vodka or some such. And can't you just imagine? It got big play in all the papers, and, yes, I was shocked to know that a wedding that had featured Michael Jackson as the best man and Liz Taylor as the matron of honor could end up going so bad. But, so far, I have had no trouble remaining unmoved. I know this is a character flaw, and I'm trying to work through it.

But here's the part that worries me. If people like this keep getting all the attention, I may wind up sounding like Andy Rooney.

Well, that's it for us. We'll see you here next week right here on Face The Nation.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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