Making The Case For War

Colin Powell Saddam Hussein CBS

Anne McAndrews is on the run. She runs a family, a business and is running for local office. But Colin Powell's presentation at the United Nations stopped her dead in her tracks, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"I thought it was a very, very impressive case that he put forth," she said.

For the third time in nine days CBS News asked Anne McAndrews her thoughts on war with Iraq.

On the day of the State of the Union, she said, "I don't see the absolute necessity at this stage. I don't see the evidence."

On the day after it she said, "I'm not convinced. I have to be shown these things."

And now that Powell has offered up evidence, she said, "I thought he did a superb job. I thought it was quite a compelling argument that he made."

But for McAndrews, a mother of five whose oldest child flies navy radar busters, the secretary's presentation still hasn't moved her to unqualified support.

"He made the case that Saddam is a very bad guy who is moving very bad things all around his country," she said.

But did he make the case enough," asked Axelrod, "so that you support a United States invasion of Iraq?

"Only if we're shoulder to shoulder with other countries," she replied.

The question for the White House is to determine how much Anne McAndrews reflects prevailing political winds. Early polling after Mr. Powell's presentation shows a bit of a bump in favor of sending troops, but still no clear majority in favor of that.

In the President's home state of Texas, Mr. Powell told everyone CBS asked, everything they needed to know.

"It definitely fulfills my need for proof, said one Texan.

Said another, "The French, the Germans, they're saying 'wait for the smoking gun.' Did we see the smoking gun go off on 9/11??"

But, as you might imagine in the capital of liberal America -- San Francisco -- it's a different story.

"I don't think Bush is evil. I just think he's wrong," said one man.. "After his speech, I do not believe I changed my opinion."

Anne McAndrews lies somewhere in between.

"Without the Security Council, I don't think America should go in alone," she said. "If however, we're in with a group of allies -- particularly from the Middle East -- then that is fulfilling the United Nations charter for the preservation of world peace."

Mr. Powell may have been aiming more at persuading the American people than world leaders Wednesday. But for now, Anne McAndrews is focused on the issue in the exact opposite order.

  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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