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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 25, 2000

Aired January 25, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET


ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: It's just me today. Glad you're here though. We have lots on the agenda.

In "Today's News": Iowans pick their party's presidential nominee.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In politics, months and months of work has culminated in the last couple of days.


HAYNES: And our Andy Jordan explains the importance of the early days in a presidential campaign.


ANDY JORDAN, CO-HOST: Welcome to caucus and primary season. Come November, it will be party versus party. Right now, it's Democrat versus Democrat, and Republican versus Republican.


HAYNES: As always, Tuesday's "Daily Desk" delves into your health.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shall we count them?


HAYNES: They're chicken pox and they make people miserable. Why isn't the word getting out that there's a vaccine out there to prevent them?

We also talk medicine in "Worldview." We explore the mind- boggling advances making people live longer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking to the most natural source of medicine which comes from within.


HAYNES: Then, "Chronicle" returns to the U.S. campaign trail to find out what matters most to voters when considering a presidential candidate.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What they seem to be voting on is personality, character, the kind of leadership the candidates would provide.


HAYNES: In today's top story, the first numbers in the 2000 U.S. presidential election. In the U.S. election chain of events, Iowa ranks as the first important domino to fall. Texas Governor George W. Bush came out on top for the Republicans, Vice President Al Gore scoring a victory for the Democrats. In all, there were eight candidates hoping to represent their political party in November's general election.

Party members gathered at meetings yesterday in Alaska and Iowa to jump-start the voting process. It's a very preliminary look at support for each candidate. Iowa is where we head for the first caucus of the political season. The first primary takes place next week in New Hampshire.

NEWSROOM's Andy Jordan explains how they compare and where they fit in the U.S. election scheme.


JORDAN (voice-over): In the alphabet of U.S. presidential elections, both "C" and "P" come before "E," and it all happens on a Tuesday. The first votes of the election year came yesterday in Iowa.

Welcome to caucus and primary season. Come November, it will be party versus party. Right now, it's Democrat versus Democrat, and Republican versus Republican.

In the past, some candidates have used a strong showing in the Iowa caucus to build momentum towards a nomination.

PROF. ALAN ABRAMOWITZ, EMORY UNIVERSITY: In 1976, Jimmy Carter was very successful with that strategy. He came in first in Iowa, used the publicity from that to gain additional support in New Hampshire to increase his fundraising, and then was able to come in first in New Hampshire.

JORDAN: New Hampshire holds the election year's first primary and this year happens February 1. The vocabulary resurrected every couple of years starts with a caucus, where political party members meet to name candidates or take a position on policy. Both primaries and caucuses are early barometers of support for each candidate.

ABRAMOWITZ: A primary is like any other election, where anyone who is registered can just turn out and vote any time during the day. On the other hand, a caucus is like a meeting. It means you have to show up at a specific time and place. If you get there late, you can't get in.

JORDAN: Like a primary, a caucus is used to select delegates. The Iowa caucus starts a five-month delegate selection process. A delegate is a representative who will be responsible for choosing presidential and vice-presidential nominees at party conventions. Delegates are a link between voter and candidate, and promise to vote in accordance with their electors.

While a caucus generally refers to a meeting where party members nominate a candidate, both parties have their own rules about how they operate, and the openness of a primary varies from state to state. More generally, a caucus can refer to an informal group of people who share an interest in the same policy issue.

The Congressional Black Caucus has this sort of function in U.S. Congress. The members of each party in Congress traditionally hold a caucus to decide on candidates for speaker of the House.

Until 1824, candidates for president and vice president were chosen by a caucus of the political parties in Congress. In early U.S. history, voters of each party met in a local caucus to choose delegates who would go to a caucus and pick the party candidate the voters endorse. But after a while, gathering all of the voters became impractical, and so a small group of people sometimes got control of the caucus and used it for their own purposes.

Enter direct primaries. Voters select candidates to represent their party in the general election like in a caucus, but where a caucus is public, a primary is private.

ABRAMOWITZ: Caucus, basically, is much more demanding, involves a greater commitment of time and effort on the part of the person attending, as well as a public demonstration of support for a candidate, where voting in a primary, of course, is by secret ballot.

JORDAN: March 7 is the Yankee primary, where states like California, Georgia, and New York vote for the candidate they want to represent their party. It's the first major primary day of the presidential election process. A number of states like Idaho, North Dakota and Washington also hold caucuses on this day.

March 14 is another big primary day, called "Super Tuesday," when a number of large states conduct their own primaries. The outcome of a primary reveals to party leaders, the media and the public the chance each candidate has to become president.


HAYNES: Now, we should note, the past three U.S. presidents have suffered a defeat in the Iowa caucuses. So what's the significance?

For Republicans, Iowa will send 25 delegates to the GOP National Convention. A Republican hopeful will need to win 1,034 delegate votes to win the nomination. On the Democratic side, Iowa will send 56 delegates to that party's convention. A Democratic nominee will need to garner 2,169 delegate votes to win the nomination.

Now, more on the results from Iowa.

Al Gore won most of the delegate votes from the Democratic Party in that state. In fact, he beat challenger Bill Bradley by a nearly two-to-one margin. About two percent of the delegates were uncommitted.


VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Going into the final week in New Hampshire, I make the same pledge to the people in New Hampshire that I have made to the people in Iowa: I want to fight for you, for your family, for your community, for your future.

BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, I have a little more humility, but no less confidence that I can win and do the job.


HAYNES: On the Republican side, a more tightly contested race with six candidates in the running. Texas Governor George W. Bush led with about 40 percent of the vote. He was followed by Steve Forbes, who picked up about 30 percent. Alan Keyes made a strong showing with more than 10 percent. Trailing the list were Gary Bauer and Senator John McCain, who did not campaign in Iowa, and Senator Orrin Hatch.


GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am humbled, and I am honored by your outpouring of support. Tonight marks the first election night of the new millennium. And tonight also marks the beginning of the end of the Clinton era.

STEVE FORBES (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We broke the political rules, we put out the positive and bold ideas based on those principles motivated by Lincoln's words at Gettysburg, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom.


HAYNES: Our "Democracy in America" coverage continues in today's "Chronicle." We'll separate image from issue in this year's election and find out which factors are influencing the voting.

Well, we move from politics to your health now. Chicken pox is a highly contagious disease. The rash forms between 250 to 500 itchy blisters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are about four million cases each year. Most people get chicken pox by the time they're adults. In the United States, more than 95 percent of grown-ups have had chicken pox.

But help and relief is at hand. Thank God. Pat Etheridge has our report.


PAT ETHERIDGE, CNN PARENTING CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was, until recently, considered a childhood rite of passage.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should we count them?

ETHERIDGE: But the chicken pox can be far more serious than that.

DR. CODY MEISSNER, PEDIATRICIAN: Whereas most children will have a relatively-mild case of chicken pox, as many as one child out of 200 will be hospitalized with complications due to chicken pox, and as many as 100 children a year will die from complications.

ETHERIDGE: The varicella vaccine to prevent chicken pox has been available in the United States for five years, but many children have not yet received the shot.

MEISSNER: Perhaps only a third of children between a year-and-a- half and three years of age are receiving the vaccine on an overall basis.

ETHERIDGE (on camera): Because the vaccine is fairly new in this country, many parents are confused, concerned or simply not aware it exists.

(voice-over): That's prompted a new awareness campaign by the American Academy of Pediatrics and a call to make the vaccine mandatory for children entering school or preschool. Washington, D.C. and seven states already require the shot, and several others will soon follow suit.

Chicken pox is highly contagious and can immobilize entire families for weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She'll miss school, ballet, graduation from preschool, T-ball and then, of course, if this one gets them, this one gets them, so there kind of goes four weeks out of our lives.

ETHERIDGE: Children with chicken pox are at risk for serious complications, including group a streptococcal disease. While few adults get chicken pox, those who do have a much higher risk of death and complications.

In controlled trials, the varicella vaccine has proven to be almost 100 percent effective in preventing severe cases of chicken pox and about 85 percent effective in warding off mild cases. Reactions are usually mild, and there are no known serious side effects.

MEISSNER: There is no question that the benefits of the chicken pox vaccine far exceed the risks.

ETHERIDGE: Studies are still under way to determine whether the vaccine provides a lifetime immunity from the chicken pox or whether a booster dose may be needed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's it. It's all done.

ETHERIDGE: Pat Etheridge, CNN, Atlanta.


ANNOUNCER: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM, seen in schools around the world, because learning never stops, and neither does the news.

HAYNES: In "Worldview" today, a peek at the amazing future of medicine around the world. We'll check out the medical trail-blazers of the new millennium. And a word of warning to the squeamish: Some of the video is of doctors at work on human organs.

JORDAN: We're all about medical miracles in today's "Worldview." The fifth century Greek physician Hippocrates formulated the oath that governs much of the medical field today. In part, it says: "I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients."

Some doctors go out of their way to live up to the Hippocratic Oath. A cat may get the proverbial nine lives, but humans rarely get a second chance at life-- at least until modern times. Emerging technology and new revelations about the human body are offering second chances to people around the world.

Eileen O'Connor has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, Dr. Michael Debakey.


EILEEN O'CONNOR, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michael Debakey is the force behind many of medicines' major breakthroughs this past century, which have given millions a second chance at life. Using sewing skills he learned as a child watching his mother, a seamstress, he developed the first Dacron artificial graft to replace diseased arteries.

He was a pioneer in coronary bypass surgery. Advice from his old college roommate, an engineering major, led him to develop the roller pump that is still used in the heart-lung machine that keeps people alive through open heart surgery. Debakey is ranked among the best medical minds of this millennium.

DR. MICHAEL DEBAKEY, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: It's very nice. I mean, it's very nice to be in the same painting with Pasteur, for example, and Lister and Hippocrates.

O'CONNOR: At 90, at the start of a new millennium, he is again at the forefront of medical innovation at the Baylor College of Medicine. Using technology originally developed at NASA to pump rocket fuel, Debakey has designed a device giving heart patients who were without hope, a second chance. It's called the ventricular assist device, or VAD.

DEBAKEY: In the United States alone, there are five million Americans in heart failure. The great majority of these patients, of course, will die of heart failure, and usually within three years of the occurrence of the heart failure. But with this pump, you know, if their organs otherwise are in good condition -- reasonably good condition, they should be able to lead a reasonably normal life.

O'CONNOR: For patients with heart failure, the only solution is a transplant. But waiting for the donor heart carries great risk. Debakey hopes the VAD can serve as a kind of bridge to a transplant. It's already being tested in patients in Germany. It works like this: The diseased heart cannot pump enough blood, so the VAD, a tiny miniaturized pump, is attached to the ventricle, helping the diseased heart by pumping in excess of 10 liters of blood per minute.

The test results are so encouraging that Debakey hopes this pump will be able to operate long term, enabling patients to forego a transplant altogether.

Its not just Debakey. Scientists, engineers and doctors like him are revolutionizing medicine, giving even more people second chances through the development of smaller and smaller microchips that can replace our broken parts, restoring function. At Johns Hopkins University, this technology is literally helping the blind to see.

HAROLD CHURCHEY, RETINAL IMPLANT PATIENT: My wife, my son, my grandson. He's 11 years old, and he's almost as tall as I am, and that's what I want to see first.

O'CONNOR: Harold Churchey is 72 years old. He's been completely blind in his right eye since birth from retinitis pigmentosis. The rest of his sight was lost gradually.

CHURCHEY: This thing didn't, bang, just like that, it was gone. It just gradually, gradually, like you take a light bulb or a light that's going out, dim, you know, getting dimmer and dimmer. That's how it happened, and it happened over a number of years.

O'CONNOR: Churchey agreed to help doctors at Duke and Johns Hopkins University's Wilmer Eye Institute test a new device they have developed called an intraocular retinal prosthesis. In layman's terms: a man-made retina. It works by using a tiny camera mounted on an eyeglass frame. The camera locks onto an image and converts what it sees into an electric signal. The signal is transmitted to a chip implanted in the retina, which in turn deciphers the signals for the brain.

Patients like Churchey have only had the chip placed there so far, not implanted. The results: partially restored vision. That is nothing short of miraculous for Harold Churchey.

Technology and man-made devices are just one way doctors are giving patients damaged by disease a second chance. But what if doctors could harness the body's own natural powers of healing?

Ten years ago, doctors first utilized that power when they discovered they could use partial liver transplants to save children with liver disease. Just 25 percent of the liver taken from a living adult donor could be put into a child where it would regenerate itself, growing as the child did into a full-grown liver. Doctors noted the donor's liver grew back to normal as well. That gave surgeons another idea. A new vibrating scalpel that cuts risky blood loss meant doctors could try a similar surgery on adults.

In the past year, 400 recipients have received a partial liver transplant; 60 percent of the liver comes from a living donor. In four to six weeks, the recipient's new liver grew to full size. The donor's grew back in six to 12 weeks. Such success has prompted the transplant community to approve another life-saving liver transplant. In split liver transplant, a child and an adult receive pieces of the same liver, this time from a cadaver. One liver saves two lives.

DR. JAMES WOLF, UNITED NETWORK FOR ORGAN SHARING: Seventy-five percent of the livers that would be obtained could be split, and then, of course, more children could receive their transplants.

O'CONNOR: In 1997, only one third of people waiting for a liver transplant received one. These new surgeries mean more people will likely get that second chance a transplant offers.

Even so, there are still not enough livers to go around. If only doctors could figure out how our bodies formed a liver in the first place, in utero. To do that, doctors are studying the power behind our very essence, our genetic make-up, our DNA.

Our DNA is composed of chemicals; the most important make up genes. They tell our cells what to be, what to do, like grow into a blood vessel, or a skin cell. Some new drugs being developed using those genes are actually boosting the body's own ability to heal itself by showing it where to grow new vessels.

But the use of genetically engineered drugs is still in the early stage, and there are risks associated with such uncharted territory. Another approach that is also showing preliminary promise in giving patients a second chance uses these tiny cells called stem cells.

Found in embryos, stem cells are so-called blank slates, capable of becoming any type of cell in the human body. Scientists believe eventually they will be able to replace diseased cells in the body with healthy ones grown from these stem cells, and possibly cure diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, and Lou Gehrig's Disease.

John Gearhart, one of the top experts in stem cell research, believes stem cells can help doctors with the ultimate angle on self- repair, giving patients another chance at replacing just about any damaged part, but this time naturally, by growing body parts from scratch. Scientists are calling this tissue engineering.

JOHN GEARHART, JOHN HOPKINS MEDICAL INST.: We may be more of gardeners than carpenters, which means that we would take stem cells of different populations that would form an organ and grow these stem cells on the lattices, or whatever, to actually form, then, the components of organs that would then be used in transplantation.

O'CONNOR: Dr. Charles Vacanti and his colleagues at the University of Massachusetts are among the masters of this new craft of building body parts, like this cow trachea.

DR. CHARLES VACANTI, UNIV. OF MASSACHUSETTS: This is actually a tissue-engineered trachea or windpipe.

O'CONNOR: Vacanti creates a body part by building a scaffold using coral or a naturally dissolving plastic. This is molded into the shape of the desired tissue, in this case an ear, then seeding the mold with stem cells and a growth factor to help them grow.

VACANTI: And over a period of time it maintains the shape, but the cells grow new tissue and the plastic disappears. So what you have with time...

O'CONNOR (on camera): So this is -- so it's springy just like tissue?

VACANTI: Yes, it's just like your ear.

O'CONNOR (voice-over): The use of plastic body parts, like artificial legs, may become a thing of the past. Vacanti has grown bone. Vacanti says, in 10 to 20 years, any organ that's been damaged will probably be repairable with tissue engineering.

VACANTI: It may be the heart, it may be the brain, it may be the spinal cord, the liver. But if it's prematurely injured, using the patient's own cells on some type of scaffolding, we will be able to reengineer a new tissue or organ.

O'CONNOR: They've already had success with spinal cord, as Vacanti reported at a British tissue engineering meeting recently.

VACANTI: We've been able to grow spinal cord that attaches to the spinal cord above the resected segment and below the resected segment and returned fairly good function to the animals, so the ability to walk and have normal sensation again.

O'CONNOR: Christopher Reeve and others like him with traumatic, life-changing injuries are counting on this type of research for their second chance.

CHRISTOPHER REEVE, ACTOR: The future of a cure for spinal cord injuries, as well as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and stroke, is going to be stem cells.

O'CONNOR: While making organs through tissue engineering may mean there will never be a need for a waiting list for donated ones, stem cell research raises questions even more fundamental to human existence. Even its pioneers worry if man can generate organs and virtually every body tissue, what is to stop us from creating life? And whether it's tissue engineering, medical devices, gene therapy or stem cells, this newfound power to treat diseases that used to kill us raises another set of questions for society. As in, just how many second chances, and what kind of second chances, should each of us be given?

ARTHUR CAPLAN, CTR. FOR BIOETHICS, UNIV. OF PENNSYLVANIA: But it can be misused if we start using it for purposes of vanity, purposes of trying to improve our appearance or improve the way we age.

O'CONNOR: Michael Debakey, the man who has extended so many lives that were thought beyond hope, believes these types of questions are inevitably raised by the use of any new science.

DEBAKEY: I remember reading an article about when glasses were first developed many, many years ago; people would be able to see better. There were those who criticized that, saying God didn't prepare us for that, that we, you know, weren't supposed to wear glasses because if he had done that he'd -- we would have been born with glasses, you know. So, I mean, it's a ridiculous example of an issue, but you see, there it is. I think in time you learn how to deal with the issue, or the society does.

O'CONNOR: Eileen O'Connor, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: Well, as we talked about earlier in our top story, the Iowa caucuses are the first high-profile to kick off the nomination process. Iowa Democrats have been the first Democrats in the United States to hold caucuses each election year since 1972; the Republicans since 1976.

In this election, the image of each candidate has been at the forefront, as Frank Sesno explains.


FRANK SESNO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With no single bumper-sticker issue and Clinton scandals as backdrop this election year, voters appear to be looking at the caliber of the candidates as much as the heft of their policies.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: What they seem to be voting on is personality, character, the kind of leadership the candidates would provide.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome, Governor Bush.

SESNO: Even before they knew where he stood on the issues, voters seemed inclined to make George W. Bush the favorite. His image as a Washington outsider, a solid family man with a famous name surely helped. Whether it goes beyond political flavor of the month still unclear. VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With your help, I will take my own values of faith and family to the presidency.

SESNO: For Vice President Al Gore, a deeper dilemma: His future is connected to Bill Clinton's past, so he stays close to the president's policies -- polls show they're popular -- while distancing himself from the scandals.

SCHNEIDER: When voters are asked how things are going in the country, 80 percent say things are going well. That's the highest figure recorded in at least 25 years. You would think that would reelect the incumbent party in control of the White House. But still, Al Gore is losing to George Bush.

SESNO: The leading challengers face the same calculus, so Arizona Senator John McCain runs on his record as a decorated war hero and maverick reformer.

Bill Bradley plays up is his basketball career, his "tell it like it is" strategy. Bradley and McCain campaign as outsiders, but both have long Senate careers and deep Washington roots.

Make no mistake, even in turbulent times, character, personality, that intangible thing called leadership, matter.

SCHNEIDER: After eight years of Eisenhower, they wanted youth, dynamism, vigor -- that was John F. Kennedy. After the Democrats were in, Kennedy and Johnson, the country was torn apart, they wanted order. Nixon promised to bring us together. After Watergate, they wanted morality -- that was Carter. After Carter, they wanted leadership -- that was Reagan. After George Bush, they wanted empathy, someone who could feel your pain -- that was Clinton.

SESNO (on camera): This year, amid peace and prosperity, following scandal and impeachment, there is a unique landscape confronting candidates and voters alike.

Frank Sesno, CNN, Washington.


HAYNES: Well, amidst all the campaigning going on in the U.S. presidential race, there's still business to attend to in Washington. President Clinton will fulfill his constitutional duty and deliver his State of the Union Address on Thursday. CNN, of course, will provide special coverage beginning at 8:00 p.m. Eastern; that's 0100 GMT.

But we'll see you back here tomorrow, guys. Take care.


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