CNN PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Profiles of Tony Blair, Donald Rumsfeld
Aired March 15, 2003 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, he's become a staunch U.S. ally in the conflict with Iraq.
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GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: America has no truer friend than Great Britain.
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ANNOUNCER: He came from a middle class background and had earlier dreams of being a rock star.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's incredibly enthusiastic. He sat there and did this kind of Mick Jagger impression.
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ANNOUNCER: He would become the youngest British prime minister in over a century. Now, his support for the U.S. could put his political future in danger.
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TONY BENN, FORMER LABOUR PARLIAMENT MEMBER: If the war begins, then I think Mr. Blair's support will just evaporate.
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ANNOUNCER: A look at British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Then, he's the unlikely star in his encore role as defense secretary. A standout wrestler in his youth, he came to Washington with his eyes on pinning the old guard.
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FRANK CARLUCCI, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: He wanted to change the establishment. He's always been a change agent.
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ANNOUNCER: He first served as defense secretary under President Ford. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I knew Don was a great person of integrity.
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ANNOUNCER: He once met Saddam Hussein face to face.
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RUMSFELD: He runs a very repressive, vicious regime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're taking fire. Get down.
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ANNOUNCER: Now, with a new war on the horizon, he's been getting praise and criticism for his tough guy stance.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In foreign policy terms, Mr. Rumsfeld has not done well.
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ANNOUNCER: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Their stories now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
PAUL ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is America's strongest ally in the showdown with Iraq, but his passionate support is threatening to cost him dearly. Mr. Blair's aggressive stance on disarming Saddam Hussein has placed his political future in question. He faces growing skepticism at home and serious dissent within his own ruling party. It's a dilemma few would have imagined for Tony Blair, a moderate, long famous for sticking to the middle of the road. Here's Jonathan Mann.
JONATHAN MANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the U.S. prepares for the possibility of war with Iraq the Bush administration has struggled to gain international support from a world wary of being dragged into conflict. Lining up behind the U.S., as President Bush's strongest ally, a somewhat surprising voice, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Sometimes, and in particular dealing with a dictator, the only chance of peace is a readiness for war.
MANN: Since September 11, the leader of the left-wing Labour Party and soul mate of Bill Clinton has emerged as one of the most vocal supporters of President Bush's war on terror. BLAIR: This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world. And we, the democracies of the world, must come together to defeat it and eradicate it.
MANN: But Mr. Blair's support for Bush's stance on Iraq has made him the target of criticism from Britons, even entertainers like George Michael in his video for the song, "Shoot The Dog." They worry his tie to President Bush and the U.S. has become a leash.
BENN: Most people in Britain do not understand where a man we elected as prime minister of Britain should be going around as a sort of unpaid ambassador for President Bush.
MANN: As opposition to military intervention grows from the rest of Europe, the British public and from within his own Labour Party, Tony Blair seems prepared to risk everything to preserve Britain's alliance with the U.S.
BLAIR: My vision of Britain is not as the 51st state of anywhere, but I believe in this alliance and I will fight long and hard to maintain it because it's in the interest of this country.
MANN: Ever since he became leader of Britain's pro-union socialist Labour Party and renamed it New Labour, Tony Blair has won votes by appealing to people from across the political spectrum. But could a war with Iraq force the prime minister from the middle road?
Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on May 6, 1953. His father, Leo, was an active communist until he joined the army in 1942. But when he became an officer, he turned to conservative politics.
BLAIR: In a sense, they're not really conservatives. They're right wing radicals and they have come to see the state is too powerful and the creation of the sort of great collective institutions of the first part of this century as occasionally becoming overbearing.
MANN: Leo Blair began studying law at Edinburgh University. In 1954, he was offered a position teaching law in Australia. He took his wife, Hazel, their eldest son, Bill, and Tony to Adelaide.
Three years later, the Blairs moved to Durham, back in northern England. Leo Blair was doing well enough to send the boys to the Chorister School, where Tony excelled academically, skipping a grade.
BLAIR: We had a possibly good average middle class standard of living. I was very lucky in my background; very lucky indeed, that that's something I have cause to be fortunate for because not only did I have a strong family I got a decent education. That's one of the reasons why I think education is so important.
MANN: At the age of 40, Tony's father, Leo Blair, was nearing his dream of landing a conservative parliamentary seat but his career came to a sudden end on July 4, 1964, when he had a stroke. Eleven- year-old Tony was devastated. BLAIR: One morning I woke to be told that he'd had a stroke in the middle of the night and might not live the day and my whole world then fell apart.
MANN: Leo Blair lost his ability to speak for three years. It was during this period that Tony was sent to Fettes College, an elite boarding school in Scotland. But he didn't like being away from home and rebelled against some of the traditions that were still being upheld in British schools.
JOHN RENTOUL, BIOGRAPHER: He got into trouble with the authorities at school a lot. That posture of being a sort of rebel drove him to the left in politics, I think.
MANN: Tony was not a straight A student, but he did well enough to be accepted as a law student at St. Johns College in Oxford. He decided to take a year off before starting school and move to London where he managed rock bands. This eventually landed him a gig as singer in a group called Ugly Rumors. Band mate, Mark Ellen (ph), remembers Tony's audition.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He sat there and did this kind of Mick Jagger impression actually sitting in an armchair, you know, sticking the old chin out, stabbing the finger in the air, and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) into a microphone, which was plugged into a record player. And we thought if this guy can dance so well sitting done, he's going to be sensational standing up, so get him in, you know, this is our man.
MANN: Oxford was still recovering from the politically charged student revolts that had swept across Europe and U.S. when Blair arrived there in 1972.
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, JOURNALIST: When I was there, which was between 1967 and 1970, the atmosphere was one of revolutionary ferment and there was a certain amount, as I recall, of sexual intercourse and narcotics and rock 'n' roll as well. By the time Mr. Blair got there, all of that would have been taken for granted in a way.
MANN: But as a student, Blair wasn't active in politics. Instead he chose a spiritual path.
RENTOUL: He met this renegade priest called Thompson, who sort of had these chats about putting the world to rights in his room late into the night and that sort of got the young Tony Blair going on sort of a crusade to change the world.
BLAIR: The basic motivation, the belief in social justice, the notion that a fair and more decent society helps the individual, to me, that is a Christian as well as a socialist idea or ideal. But I don't -- I don't preach God at people and I don't like politicians that do. And it's something I -- you know, it's a part of me and it's important.
MANN: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Tony Blair decides to pursue a career in politics. And the free-willing rock 'n' roller falls in love. (END VIDEOTAPE)
ANNOUNCER: Also ahead, he's the stand-up defense secretary who's stand-up routine is gaining some fans.
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BUSH: I always love being introduced by a matinee television idol.
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ANNOUNCER: Serious subjects with sometimes serious entertainment, the story of Donald Rumsfeld, later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
MANN (voice-over): Tony Blair had just graduated from Oxford in June of 1975, when his mother, Hazel, died of throat cancer at the age of 52. Later that summer, he joined the Labour Party, a party formed by trade unions to fight for workers' rights.
BENN: Its great achievement was at the end of the war, building the welfare state for employment, trading union rights, the welfare state, the greatest achievement of all in actual health sense. Everybody in Britain, rich and poor, has absolutely equal right to a full range of medical treatment. Astonishing achievement.
MANN: Despite its successes, the Labour Party has ruled Britain for only about a quarter of the time since its formation in 1900. In the 1970s, even though Labour was in power, it was losing its grip.
BLAIR: I joined the Labour Party at a time when there was huge cynicism even within the Labour Party about the Labour Party. But nonetheless, it always seemed to me that its basic principles were correct. It was on the side of those that didn't get the chances in life.
MANN: It was the same year that the conservative Tory Party elected a new leader. Her name was Margaret Thatcher and when she was elected prime minister in 1979, Labour was sent into a tailspin for years to come.
BENN: When Mrs. Thatcher came to power, she made a major attack on the trade union movement. The public services were run down. The health services run down. The funding wasn't there. Taxes were cut, so the wealthy got much better off and the generality of the public suffered a relatively annuitant of their income. MANN: In the fall of 1975, Tony Blair started preparing for his bar exam. While applying for a scholarship to sponsor his long residency program, he found himself alphabetically seated next to another contender named Cherie Booth.
RENTOUL: I don't think she had much time for him to start off with because she thought he was too posh. And she didn't have a lot of time for, you know, white middle-class men who had been to elite universities. But he's got charm.
MANN: Cherie Booth's background was very different. Her father, Tony Booth, was one of the stars of the 1970's BBC series, "Till Death Us Do Part." He walked out on his family when Cherie was a child. Cherie and her father have since reconciled.
RENTOUL: She was abandoned as quite a young child, had a very tough early life but was brilliant at school and became one of the best law students in London. And so she was up against, you know, the chap with the silver spoon in his mouth, the chap with all of the privileges in life.
MANN: Tony and Cherie were married in Oxford on March 29 1980. Then, in 1983, at the age of 30, Tony became the youngest member of Labour in parliament.
PETER MANDELSON, LABOUR PARTY: The party was in a state of civil war. We were tearing ourselves apart and heading for many successive electoral disasters. And into that situation, Tony Blair was elected to parliament and started his assent up the political, greasy poll.
MARGARET THATCHER, FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: We decided to set up an office for free elections...
MANN: Blair's climb up the greasy poll coincided with a conservative government that lasted 18 years. During this time, Blair held a variety of posts in the opposition or shadow government. In 1992, he was appointed shadow home secretary, the minister in charge of Britain's domestic affairs. Following the example of newly elected U.S. president, Bill Clinton, Blair caught attention for being a liberal who was tough on crime. The two Oxford grads soon became close allies.
MANDELSON: I think there are a number of reasons why Clinton and Blair became so close. One was a generational thing, similar ages, similar outlook. They were very much children for their age, politicians of this era. Secondly, they were innovators and they were radical spirits within their own party.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I, therefore, declare that Tony Blair is elected leader of the Labour Party.
MANN: In 1994, Tony Blair was elected leader of Britain's Labour Party by promising to modernize, another idea borrowed from Bill Clinton. He renamed the party New Labour. HITCHENS: The oldest trick in the world is to put the word "new." I mean nothing is older than the idea of the new, but the new Democrat and New Labour and people really thought, well, gosh, they've rebranded their parties.
MANN: Blair tried to distance himself from many of Labour's traditional, socialist symbols. When he replaced the part of Labour's Constitution that called for public ownership of industry many felt that the party was being compromised.
BENN: They actually returned to the window to satisfy. Big businesses didn't like it. He said, "Look, I've got myself off of the unions. I'm getting rid of socialism. You can trust me to follow the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) policy." And that's roughly what he's done.
BLAIR: One of the things that has always irritated me is this notion of modernizing means taking the Labour Party away from its traditional or working-class support. Rubbish. It's actually about reconnecting it with it. And the Labour Party came into being because it looked at British society and wanted to change it. And if it wants to change British society, it's got to have the courage and guts to change itself.
MANN: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Blair sets his sights on becoming prime minister and confronts critics from his own party.
ANNOUNCER: Now back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BLAIR: Yes, thank you.
MANN (voice-over): On the campaign trail in the spring of 1997, Blair was riding high on the wave of a new generation of young and trendy pop groups, fashion designers and restaurants. The press called it Cool Britannia and Blair's youthful image fit right in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is beginning to sound as though there may be an election.
MANN: A sluggish economy and the repeated discovery of corruption among senior ministers left Tory prime minister, John Major, on shaky ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How very nice to see you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thanks for coming.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you happy?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very happy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good, I thought so.
MANN: Blair took to the offensive.
BLAIR: Isn't it extraordinary that the prime minister of our country can't even urge his party to support his own position? Yes, weak, weak, weak!
MANN: Eighteen years of conservative rule in Britain ended with a whimper on May 1, 1997. Britons looking elsewhere for leadership voted overwhelming in favor of Tony Blair. At 43, he became the youngest prime minister since 1812.
BLAIR: A new dawn has broken, has it not?
MANN: But his platform of low taxes and privatization had many referring to New Labour as Tory like.
BENN: I mean the Conservative Party is dead because their policies have been adopted by Blair.
MANN: But Blair claimed that they were offering a third way.
MANDALSON: Blair washed all of that away and said, "No, we can be both in favor of, you know, civil liberties and being tough on crime. We can be in favor of social justice and an efficiently, competently run market economy. We can, in other words, replace the politics of all with the politics of and."
MANN: Family values was always something that Blair both practiced and preached.
BLAIR: Hit it now. Good goal.
If you don't make the time for your family, then I think your politics actually becomes much less effective.
MANN: Tony and Cherie had three children when he became prime minister but moving into 10 Downing Street didn't seem to disrupt his personal life as much as one would expect. On May 20, 2000, Leo Blair was born, making Tony Blair the first British prime minister to have a child in office in more than 150 years.
MANN: The economic boom that occurred in the U.S. when Blair's friend, Bill Clinton, was in office was also being felt in the U.K. The two leaders collaborated on and influenced each other on many issues, most notably in Kosovo and Northern Ireland where after more than 100 years of bloodshed, a settlement was reached in April of 1998.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There has been a lot said about how different you are...
MANN: When George Bush became president in 2001, there seemed to be little common ground between the two leaders.
BUSH: Well, we both use Colgate toothpaste. I don't know if you found any common ground or not.
BLAIR: I think that's enough to be going on with.
MANN: Bush's plans to pull out of the Kyoto Environmental Treaty and withdraw troops from the Balkans made many doubt the future of the special relationship between the U.S. and Britain.
MANDALSON: When President Bush was elected, and to our mind, turned his back on many of American's international commitments, we felt that suddenly we had a president -- looking across the pond at somebody in the White House who didn't want to know us anymore. And it was shocking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Commander, right there, Liberty.
MANN: But September 11 changed all of that.
BLAIR: Your loss we count as our loss and your struggle, we take as our struggle.
BUSH: America has no truer friend than Great Britain.
BUSH: Thank you for coming, friend.
MANN: Now, more than a year late, his support for Bush's stance on Iraq is threatening to erode his popularity at home.
Last month when he met with peace activists in his residence at No. 10 Downing Street, Blair found himself increasingly on the defensive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that you were really keen to go down the U.N. route because you think it's really important and to get consensus. But quite clearly, you don't give a start. We're going to go to war anyway.
BLAIR: Why did I go to the United Nations last year?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know. A figure leaf, perhaps.
BENN: I don't think that on the war Mr. Blair has more than the minority's support. And if the war begins and the consequences are, as many people anticipate, a widening of the battle into Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East, and so on, then I think Mr. Blair's support will just evaporate.
BLAIR: Let Saddam comply with the will of the U.N. If he doesn't comply, then consider. If at this moment having found the collective will to recognize the danger, we lose our collective will to deal with it, then we will destroy not the authority of America or of Britain, but all of the United Nations itself. MANN: Blair, now in his second term in office, faces little challenge from the Tories who still haven't recovered from their 1997 defeat. But his critics come from both outside and inside the Labour Party.
BENN: I've defined divided people into the same place. You point the way you should go and the weathercock who haven't gotten opinions until they studied the polls and discussed it with a focus group and the spin-doctors. And I think Mr. Blair is a weathercock trying to pretend he's assigned post, pointing, as he says, but actually without any roots of deep conviction to guide him, I think.
MANDALSON: He would always be a breath of fresh air. He would always be -- he would always represent something new and different. He's a fresh, new force that can blow in a different direction in the future.
MANN: Whatever the future holds in the situation with Iraq a force certain to be reckoned with.
ZAHN: A new British poll suggests that many in Great Britain now see President Bush as the bigger threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein. At the same time, however, a majority of those polled agree that something must be done about Saddam Hussein and they suspect that he is hiding weapons of mass destruction.
ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, his second go- around as defense secretary started out bumpy.
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JEFFREY KRAMES, AUTHOR, "THE RUMSFELD WAY": Even in "The Washington Post" on September 7 was painting Rumsfeld as an out of touch relic, a dinosaur of the past.
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ANNOUNCER: How the perception of Donald Rumsfeld changed in an instant when we return.
ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. He has the final word at the pentagon and the architect of America's battle plan to disarm Saddam Hussein. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is confident, outspoken and by many accounts, the last person you'd ever want to cross. Rumsfeld's style of bravado that won him raves and resentment. More now from Jamie McIntyre.
JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's been a fixture on TV since the attacks of September 11.
QUESTION: Can I just get your reaction to the "Post" story?
RUMSFELD: It was a world-class thumb-sucker.
That's inflammatory language, isn't it?
You're beginning with an illogical premise and proceeding perfectly logically to an illogical conclusion.
MCINTYRE: Now as American forces build up in the Persian Gulf, viewers tune in to a defense chief who's more than happy to voice his opinions on policy.
RUMSFELD: If the international community once again shows a lack of resolve, there is no chance that Saddam Hussein will disarm voluntarily or flee.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Some people think of him as decisive. Others consider him arrogant.
BUSH: I always love being introduced by a matinee television idol.
MCINTYRE: Though his television presence may sometimes evoke laughter, Secretary Rumsfeld is well versed in the gravity of his job, a job he first held under President Ford. He returned with the new Bush administration, and come next week, the 70-year-old will hold the distinction of being both history's oldest and youngest U.S. defense secretary.
O'HANLON: Rumsfeld is certainly the one of the more controversial secretaries of defense we've had in quite a while.
MCINTYRE: Donald Rumsfeld has always come on strong. As an honor student at Chicago's Nutrier (ph) High School, he played halfback on the football team and dominated the wrestling mat.
CARLUCCI: He had come out of Nutrier (ph) High School. He was a very good wrestler.
MCINTYRE: Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci was a teammate of Rumsfeld's at Princeton.
CARLUCCI: Princeton is not an easy university, and he did well at Princeton. He's serious-minded person. He sets goals and strives toward those goals.
MCINTYRE: A political science major on academic scholarship, he picked up extra cash doing one-armed push-ups for money. Upon graduation in 1954, he served three years as a Navy pilot, and won the All-Navy wrestling title. During this time, he also married his high school sweetheart, Joyce Peerson (ph). But it was his first job after the Navy, a two-year stint as a congressional aide that set the stage for his biggest competition yet. He built powerful connections, then moved home to Chicago to work as a stockbroker, and run for Congress.
FORD: I was tremendously impressed. He was about 29 years of age, attractive, obviously, dedicated, so I was real pleased to see him be a candidate, and I was more pleased when he won the election.
MCINTYRE: In Congress, Rumsfeld maintained a conservative voting record, but made a name for himself with his no-nonsense style and his progressive instincts.
CARLUCCI: He wanted to change the establishment. He's always been a change agent. He wants to improve things, bring about a different status.
MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld joined the Young Turks, a feisty band of Republican congressmen rallying to replace their old guard minority leader. Their choice, Michigan Republican Gerald Ford.
FORD: They came to me as a group, and Don was one of the leaders, urging me to be a candidate against Congressman Charlie Hallic (ph), and I won by the landslide margin of 73-67.
MCINTYRE: In 1969, midway through Rumsfeld's fourth term, President Nixon tapped the congressman to head the Office of Economic Opportunity, an expansive anti-poverty program.
CARLUCCI: It had been the favorite program of the Democrats, but it was also a bit out of control. I remember when I went in, when you'd see pictures on Che Guevara on the walls.
MCINTYRE: The former congressman quickly reined in the agency, downsizing and asserting his newfound management style.
KEN ADELMAN, FORMER RUMSFELD AIDE: He holds people very accountable for what they do. You know you're doing a wonderful job with Rumsfeld not when he tells you you're doing a wonderful job, because that'll never happen. You know when you're doing a wonderful job with Rumsfeld when he gives you more things to do.
MCINTYRE: Among the people he brought over from the Capitol, a basketball star interning in the off-season.
BILL BRADLEY, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I was a Democrat at the time, but I liked him personally, and I thought it would be an interesting thing to do. And what I learned from him was just to be direct, make your best call and then move on, don't look back, but move on.
MCINTYRE: After two years, Rumsfeld left the bureau, taking an economic adviser post in Nixon's cabinet. He left behind a loyal staff impressed with his quick mind and according to one speechwriter, frustrated with his red pen.
ADELMAN: I had a quote from Pericles right in the middle of the speech, and he went and he marked that up as well. And he says, "Let me see that." So I fling it over to him in a kind of angry way, and he takes that, and he scratches it, and he says, "That'll solve it." I said, "Solve it? What do you mean?" So I take that draft from him and I look at the introduction, and he says, "As Pericles should have said."
MCINTYRE: When we come back, Rumsfeld's political star rises in the face of scandal.
KRAMES: He has the rare distinction of being in the right place at the right time and avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time.
ANNOUNCER: We now return to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): By 1971, Donald Rumsfeld was in Richard Nixon's inner circle. He was an economic adviser, a member of the cabinet, and yet he felt uneasy.
KRAMES: He had sort of bumped heads, if you will, with people in the Nixon administration, and he wanted to put some distance, I believe, between himself and the administration.
MCINTYRE: With discord on the job and a withering economy, Rumsfeld put in for a new position.
KRAMES: He actively sought that NATO ambassadorship, and fortunately, he has the, you know, rare distinction of being in the right place at the right time and avoiding the wrong place at the wrong time, because of course when the first hint of Watergate surfaced, he was, of course, in Brussels with his family, you know, serving as a NATO ambassador.
RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.
MCINTYRE: Rumsfeld was well removed from the scandal that toppled President Nixon.
Shortly before his swearing in, Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, was asked who he wanted as chief of staff. He wrote down one name -- Rumsfeld.
FORD: I picked him because I knew Don was a great person of integrity, who was a well organized, highly disciplined person.
DAVID HUME KENNERLY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHOTOGRAPHER: What President Ford realized, he needed somebody to not only guard the gate but to be a personal adviser and someone who he trusted 100 percent, and their relationship was and is excellent. KRAMES: Rumsfeld was the person that Ford saw first in the morning and last before he went to sleep at night, and I believe that won the ire of many of other cabinet members.
MCINTYRE: The chief of staff controlled access to the president. Many resented his power. Until 1975, George Bush Sr. was enjoying his own stellar career in the GOP. He blamed Rumsfeld, a potential rival, for his appointment to CIA chief, then considered a political dead- end.
KENNERLY: I think there was a characterization of Rumsfeld as having performed some Machiavellian maneuver to put Bush over there, to get him out of the political way. And from everything I know, which is quite a bit, I don't think that's true.
MCINTYRE: At the same time, President Ford transferred Rumsfeld to a first term as secretary of defense. The 43-year-old secretary was hawkish. He pushed for updated weapons systems. But with only 14 months on the job, little changed at the Pentagon.
JIMMY CATER, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.
MCINTYRE: With President Ford's defeat in '76, Rumsfeld was out of a job.
That quickly changed when troubled drug company, GD Searle, took a chance.
KRAMES: Here you have $1 billion-plus company, and you hire on a man who has never, besides being a stockbroker many years earlier, who had zero experience in the business world. And he wasn't coming in, you know, sort of as a mid-manager, he was coming in CEO.
MCINTYRE: In government, Rumsfeld developed a brazen management style, one he readily unleashed in the private sector.
CARLUCCI: He's willing to take a tough stance and that's been a consistent hallmark of the career.
MCINTYRE: The new CEO slashed jobs and restructured the leadership. It was a painful process, but the company began to turn around. Rumsfeld was making a name as a manager.
KRAMES: In 1980, "Fortune" magazine named him as one of the 10 toughest bosses in America, saying he "will demolish anyone not in complete control of the facts." That was the quote.
KENNERLY: He hates people not being prepared. That's probably the number one bad sin. It's like going into to see your professor and you don't have your paper ready. I would be afraid, very afraid.
MCINTYRE: He laid off nearly 60 percent of the corporate staff, sold off unprofitable business units, and sued the FDA to approve the Searle product NutraSweet. KRAMES: And then in 1985, he helps sell the company to Monsanto, netting Rumsfeld his first personal fortune, if you will, of over $10 million.
MCINTYRE: All the while, Rumsfeld stayed involved in government. He traveled throughout the Middle East as a special envoy for President Reagan, even meeting Saddam Hussein in 1983.
RUMSFELD: One of the pieces of it was to go to Iraq. They were engaged in a conflict with Iran, and our interest was in having them be more of a balance in the -- with respect to the Middle East situation.
MCINTYRE: In the mid '80s, Rumsfeld briefly set his sights on the '88 presidential race.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don, welcome.
MCINTYRE: Despite his government and corporate reputations, Don Rumsfeld was not a household name.
RUMSFELD: As someone who Jimmy the Greek has at 50-1 odds, you know, you really can't be picky anyway.
BRADLEY: I think he wanted to be president, but I think he also was realistic at that time about what it took. Money was one of the things, and I don't think that he had raised the money to do that.
MCINTYRE: He returned to the business world in 1990, taking the helm of electronics firm, General Instrument. He also participated in Bob Dole's '96 presidential run, serving as policy adviser and exerting his influence with an iron fist.
KRAMES: One of his assistants didn't do a very good job at something, so he calls him into his office and he says, "Listen, when I'm CEO of a pharmaceutical company and I'm imprecise, people will die. And when I'm CEO of the Pentagon and I'm imprecise, people will die."
MCINTYRE: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, the old hawk returns to the Pentagon and battles criticism of his hard-line approach.
O'HANLON: There are many times where he is, in fact, ahead of the president, trying to take the president to a place that he wants to go but the president himself has not yet chosen to go.
ANNOUNCER: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.
BOB DOLE (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I also want to thank all of the media that traveled with me on the plane. And all of my friends -- no, no, no, come on.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): The '96 presidential race marked the end of Bob Dole's career.
DOLE: God bless America!
MCINTYRE: But his policy adviser stayed engaged in White House politics, even helping an old friend in the 2000 race.
BRADLEY: He was also a supporter of mine in the presidential race, and he wrote me a nice letter. He and his wife came to our fund-raiser in Chicago and they wrote the check. And he wrote me a letter and said, "You know, we're for you in the primary. But don't count us -- don't count on us in the general election." All understood.
MCINTYRE: George W. Bush ultimately won that election. His running mate, Dick Cheney, was a Rumsfeld protege. Bush's choice for defense secretary, his father's formal rival.
O'HANLON: I am surprised that George Bush, the son, could forgive the sleights at his father's expense from Rumsfeld a quarter of a century ago.
Perhaps this was a way that George W. Bush felt he could distinguish himself from his father, something he thought was politically important, as well as consistent with his own beliefs.
FORD: President Bush knew of Don's background and his capabilities, and decided he wanted someone with Don's experience running the Pentagon.
MCINTYRE: For the second time in his life, Don Rumsfeld took the oath of office as defense chief, but this run would be a far cry from his previous Cold War term.
CARLUCCI: It's a much more complex job than it was then and the management has gotten no easier.
MCINTYRE: The management part of the job got particularly hard when President Bush asked Rumsfeld, a traditional hawk, to cut defense spending.
KENNERLY: Everybody was after him, from people on the Hill whose constituents were going to lose bases in their hometown to contractors who were not getting as much money as they thought they would get. But Rumsfeld didn't care. The president told him to cut back and he was going to cut back.
MCINTYRE: The cutbacks put him at odds with the uniformed military. Rumsfeld kept counsel with his own inner circle, and his popularity dwindled. Newspapers predicted an early departure for the secretary.
KRAMES: Even "The Washington Post" on September 7 was painting Rumsfeld as a dinosaur of the past. And even in that "The Washington Post" piece, he was naming successors for the secretary.
MCINTYRE: Four days after that "Washington Post" piece, on September 11, the Pentagon and the whole country were jolted into a new reality.
KENNERLY: The day that the plane ran into his building, he was right out the door helping pull people out of the burning rubble. That's who he is. I mean that's not an act.
MCINTYRE: After helping on the scene, the secretary returned to his office to prepare a military response. Don Rumsfeld, crisis manager, was in his element.
O'HANLON: Rumsfeld is a very good secretary of war. Maybe that's a different job from a peacetime secretary of defense.
MCINTYRE (on camera): I'm told that you point this out to people a lot when they're in your office.
RUMSFELD: I always liked it, and I think Theodore Roosevelt is enormously interesting American figure, but it says there, "aggressive fighting for the right is the noblest sport the world affords," and indeed that's true.
MCINTYRE (voice-over): And he has been aggressive in pushing a hard line against Iraq, but that position now has Rumsfeld at odds with key leaders across the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... and I don't believe in that.
O'HANLON: The current standoff with many European allies over Iraq is largely because he and Mr. Cheney are not fully trusted by Europeans.
RUMSFELD: You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't. I think that's old Europe.
O'HANLON: The name-calling didn't do much good. So I think in foreign policy terms, Mr. Rumsfeld has not done well and has not been a positive force in recent months for this administration.
ADELMAN: He believes there are enemies in the world; he believes that America does things slower than it should, does things more deliberately than it should.
MCINTYRE: For now, Rumsfeld is hard at work, pushing his tough stance on Saddam Hussein, a man he's met face to face.
RUMSFELD: He's tough and runs a very repressive, vicious regime.
MCINTYRE: And however the U.S. decides to deal with that regime, one thing is certain -- this hard-nosed manager will stand front and center.
RUMSFELD: And that's the last question. We're through.
ZAHN: Despite the ongoing divisions at the U.N., Secretary Rumsfeld remains as confident as ever. This week, he even predicted that if it does come to war in Iraq, there will be more countries lined up behind the United States than there were in 1991. That's it for this edition, our 100th edition of PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. We hope you'll join us for No. 101, an in-depth look at Vice President Dick Cheney. Until then, I'm Paula Zahn. Have a great week.
ANNOUNCER: For more people shaping our world, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.
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