CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Analysts Discuss Iraq in Election
Aired November 5, 2002 - 12:45 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Iraq, of course, could become a much bigger issue in the next major campaign, when a president seeking reelection might have to convince the American public that he did the right thing right now.
Let's bring back our two analysts, the former Democratic Congressman Tom Downey and the Republican strategist Ed Rogers.
Why isn't Iraq a bigger issue, apparently, Tom, in this election?
TOM DOWNEY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Well, I think your clip pointed out one of the reasons why you have a lot Democrats who have decided to side with the president taking of the table. And still Americans still worry about issues that relate to their lives directly: jobs, retirement, security, health care, and those are reflected in your polls, as well. That's what people are worried about, that's what the candidates want to talk about. In fact, that's what will determine some of these races on a state and state, state basis.
BLITZER: Is Iraq going to be a decisive issue, as far as you can tell, in any of these key races.
ED ROGERS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, probably not decisive, but when you combine Iraq in the with them, overall security question and the war on terrorism, then it is a vital issue and people are going to critique the different candidate's positions on the national security issues generally, so in that sense it is a big issue, and to the degree to which people do care about it, it tends to favor Republicans.
BLIZTER: Ed we got, we have an e-mail for you from Pat in Ohio. "I have not heard any politician talk about the mass casualties that will result if Iraq uses chemical or biological weapons to repulse an American ground attack." Are they skirting the issue because of the elections?"
ROGERS: Well, I wouldn't think they're skirting it. But having said that I'm not a defense specialist or a national, national defense specialist, but having said that, there was a lot of talk when I was in the Bush White House before about the American casualties that would be in the tens of thousands in the event of a ground war, and the fact is President Bush 41, left it to the military planners, left it to the national security specialists, and there was an overwhelming victory in Iraq before. And I would anticipate the same type of planning will go into whatever military operations we pursue in the future. BLITZER: And of course served in the first Bush White House under President Bush.
Tom, this is from Linda in Utah. "Will all the campaigning President Bush has done on behalf of the Republicans and all the attention he has drawn to the Iraq issue hurt Democrats at the polls?"
DOWNEY: I don't think it will, Wolf. I think Doug Sosnik said it best: Presidential visit is a lot like Chinese food, you know it fills you up right away and a couple hours later, you wind up being hungry. I think that what happens it energizes both sides. Republicans are energized by a presidential and the Democrats are energized by a presidential visit. So I don't think it will make a whole lot of difference.
BLITZER: And for our viewers, who don't know Doug Sosnik, he is a former deputy chief of staff under President Clinton over at the White House and a very funny guy.
BLITZER: Thanks Tom Downey, Ed Rogers. Thanks the both of you for joining us.
Quickly, you're very close to Al Gore: Is he going to run.
DOWNEY: I don't know that he knows yet.
BLITZER: He really hasn't made up his mind.
DOWNEY: He hasn't shared that with me, but my guess is he's still contemplating.
BLITZER: We'll be watching Al Gore in the immediate days ahead to see what he does.
Thanks a very much.
DOWNEY: Thanks a lot.
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