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McCain, Bush to Meet in Pittsburgh; Appeals Court Could Decide Fate of Elian GonzalezAired May 7, 2000 - 12:00 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, HOST: It's noon in Washington, 9:00 a.m. in Los Angeles, 5:00 p.m. in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and 6:00 p.m. in Rome. Wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks for joining us for this 90-minute LATE EDITION.
We'll get to our guests shortly, but first the hour's top stories.
BLITZER: On Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush will meet with Senator McCain. They are meeting in Pittsburgh. It will be the first time since their contentious battle for the GOP nomination ended in March.
And joining us now to talk about what's expected from that meeting are two Republican senators. In Louisville, Kentucky, is Mitch McConnell, a Bush supporter and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. And in Omaha, Nebraska, is Chuck Hagel. He supported Senator McCain's presidential bid. He's now a Bush supporter.
Senators, welcome back to LATE EDITION. Good to have both of you on our program.
And I want to get to that McCain-Bush meeting in just a moment, but we heard John King talk about the Social Security debate that is heating up and is going to be a big issue between Gore and Bush in the presidential contest.
Are you concerned, Senator McConnell, that the vice president is going to be able to score points on this very important issue because Governor Bush says, for the time being at least, he's not going to reveal the details of his Social Security plan. He's only going to wait until after he takes office, if he's elected.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Well, as you know, Wolf, and the setup indicated, there are a number of Democrats, the most prominent among them being Chuck's colleague from Nebraska, Bob Kerrey, who think that it makes a lot of sense to allow Americans to put aside a small portion of their Social Security payroll tax, so they can be better off when they retire. What is risky, frankly, is what the vice president is proposing, which is to do nothing. That guarantees that within 10 or 12 years, you're going to have a huge benefit cut for a very large number of elderly Americans or a whopping tax increase on the next generation. So I think you can pretty persuasively argue what Al Gore is proposing is risky.
BLITZER: But by not revealing all the details, doesn't that give Al Gore an opportunity to score points by saying it's secret, he's not telling the American people what he has in mind? Would you advise Governor Bush to lay it all out in a the coming weeks?
MCCONNELL: Well, Wolf, very seldom in a campaign do you write a bill and discuss it. I'm sure the governor, when he gets to the point of making this announcement, is going to talk conceptually, much as Al Gore has been talking conceptually about the status quo, and doing nothing and not updating or preserving Social Security at all.
BLITZER: Senator Hagel, you remember four years ago, President Clinton scored points on the Social Security issue by saying that the then Republican candidate, Bob Dole, was going to be squandering opportunities and is going to be in favor of big tax cuts at the expense of programs like Social Security. Is Governor Bush falling into that same trap, as some political pundits are suggesting?
SEN. CHUCK HAGEL (R), NEBRASKA: Wolf, let's remember that campaigns should be about ideas. They should be about elevating the debate, about the great challenges of our time. That is the responsibility of a candidate, that is that what a campaign should be about.
And by the way, the news media has a very big responsibility here. It is not to get sucked into the wind tunnel of this constant raw meat, bottom common denominator of the nonsense that we've seen from the vice president the last week. Of course, the details of any program, as Mitch said, conceptualization of a program direction, philosophy, points, will play out. But I think Governor Bush and the people around him and all of us who are united in this -- and by the way, John McCain came out with our friends Pat Moynihan and Bob Kerrey last week to also frame up this issue, let's open our minds, let's think straightly and clearly about doing it better.
So, no -- sure, there's always risk, but, no, Wolf, I don't think that Governor Bush is going to be penalized for talking about the great challenges of our time but, more importantly, putting forth answers, putting forth solutions to fix the problem.
BLITZER: So both of you obviously are in support of the Bush proposals as amorphous, as vague, as they are right now, you both support what Governor Bush has in mind? Correct?
HAGEL: I do, yes.
MCCONNELL: Wolf, I think it's important to make the point that we don't support having a huge benefit cut for the baby boomers when they begin to retire or a massive tax increase on the next generation coming along, and that is what you get with the status quo proposal of Al Gore to do nothing.
BLITZER: And Senator Hagel, what happens if the stock market should take a big turn for the worse? Those middle-class and poor Americans who rely on Social Security and have put some of that money into the stock market and the stock market goes down -- and it's theoretically very possible, even though it's been going up over these past several years -- those people are going to still turn to the federal government for assistance if they're retired and they can't afford to make ends meet. When Vice President Gore says that this is the risk that these people are going to be taking, how do you respond to that?
HAGEL: Well, first of all, let's get serious here, Wolf, about this issue and others. This administration the last eight years has done nothing but defer the tough issues. We don't live in a risk-free society, Wolf. Of course there's risk. But the fact is, we surely, with all the great talent in this nation of 270 people, can craft a system to protect against exactly what you're talking about.
Now, I don't think Governor Bush or certainly I couldn't, I don't think Senator McCain could give you today every finite section and sub-section of how we do that. But surely we can.
We do know, just as Mitch said, Wolf, that we have to fix this problem. And it does this society no good, and our future generations no good, to continually to defer it and scare people with this kind of heated rhetoric. We can fix this problem, and your question is a relevant question. How we do that, that's what we will work out, but we can do it.
BLITZER: OK, let's move on.
And, Senator McConnell, let's talk a little bit about the big meeting this Tuesday in Pittsburgh between Senator McCain and Governor Bush. You, of course, have exchanged disagreements with Senator McCain over the years on campaign finance reform. It's a big issue. Senator McCain says that is the core, he wants to hear from Governor Bush that this issue of campaign finance reform will be at the center of his campaign. I take it that Senator McCain on this point is likely to be disappointed.
MCCONNELL: Well, Senator McCain himself has said that he's not going into the meeting making demands, and he's known as a straight talker and I'm sure he means what he says. I had a chance to see Governor Bush at the Kentucky Derby yesterday. He's certainly looking forward to the meeting and hoping to have Senator McCain's support at the appropriate time.
My suspicion is that both of these folks are going to emphasize the areas of agreement during the meeting. Certainly, there will be some areas of disagreement, and I expect campaign finance is one of the areas of disagreement.
BLITZER: Senator Hagel, last Sunday on LATE EDITION, Vice President Gore was one of our guests and Senator McCain was another one of our guests. We did the interview from the Naval Observatory near the vice president's residence. And, you know, it's interesting that it's now been two months since Super Tuesday when Governor Bush locked up effectively the Republican nomination, they still have not met; they're scheduled to meet this week. But they did -- but McCain did meet with Gore last Sunday informally just before our program. We have a picture of that meeting on the front porch of the vice president's residence.
What does that say to you that it's taken so long for these two Republicans finally to get together?
HAGEL: Well, Wolf, I would say first, both of these leaders, and they are the two defined leaders of our party, each has earned that role to be a leader. And these two people, Governor Bush and Senator McCain, individually and together, have a heavy burden, have a high responsibility to bring the Republican Party together so that we can win in November. I think Governor Bush and Senator McCain understand that. They will come together and start to bolt some of that framework up on Tuesday.
Of course, as Mitch said, they're going to be differences. There will always be differences, all of us have some differences. But the fact is the common denominator, strong dynamics of who these two people are, who will put their country first, who will do the right thing, that's what will make this come together.
You can't expect, Mitch knows this, that two people who have worked so hard as Senator McCain and Governor Bush, to work their way through this presidential process, that the next day or even the next month, to slap things back together and say, well, gee, we were kind of just kidding the last year, we'll just make this all happen.
Of course it's going to happen, but there's got to be some consistency and some credibility to it, Wolf, so that the supporters on both sides know that these two men are genuine, they're real, they stand for things. And it will come together and it will begin coming together, I think, very clearly on Tuesday.
BLITZER: You know, Senator McConnell, there were some nasty words exchanged between these two candidates during the course of the Republican presidential campaign. Listen, for example, we've got a couple examples of some of the things they said about each other in the course of the past several months.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I need to do is make it clear and not let Senator McCain get away with this Washington double-talk. I am not going to let him define himself as the Washington outsider and me the insider.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: In five years as governor of the state of Texas, Governor Bush never made one proposal in a state where unlimited contributions are the order of the day. If Governor Bush is a reformer, I'm an astronaut. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: I remember he also called Governor Bush a Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell Republican, and he predicted that Governor Bush could not beat Al Gore. Those are tough statements that these two candidates are going to have to try to resolve beginning on Tuesday.
MCCONNELL: Well, Wolf, you know, I think all of those comments pale in comparison to what was said between Gore and Bradley during their primary.
In terms of the governor's electability, as you know, he now has a 17-point lead among men, he's breaking even among women, carrying the Midwest, and has been consistently ahead in the polls for the last four weeks.
Senator McCain knows that. Senator McCain does not want Al Gore -- I mean, look at Al Gore over the last 10 days. He's been the attack dog. I mean, he's been James Carville with more hair and less charm.
I mean, that is the unifying factor for Senator McCain and for George Bush, and for that matter, for all Republicans.
BLITZER: All right, Senators, we have to take a quick break.
Up next, Senators McConnell and Hagel will weigh in on a lot more, including the Elian Gonzalez case. They'll also be taking your phone calls.
LATE EDITION continues right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: I intend to do what I can, working with my congressional colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, to help bring about the changes to the practices and institutions of our democracy that they want and deserve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Arizona Republican Senator John McCain, vowing to keep pushing for campaign finance reform.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're continuing our conversation with Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, and Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel.
Let's take a quick caller from Orlando, Florida, please go ahead with your question for our senators.
CALLER: Hi, my question is for Senator McConnell. How does the Republican Party, and specifically Governor Bush, plan to promote and clearly explain why Social Security reform is needed to younger generations, who will be financially responsible for backing the program through their taxes?
MCCONNELL: Very good question. I think the first point to make is if you do nothing, 10 or 12 years from now there's going to be a whopping tax increase on younger Americans who are trying to raise their families and realize the American dream, or a huge benefit cut for the very large number of, at that point, aged baby boomers who are going to live a very long time, thanks to the remarkable success of American medicine. That's an unacceptable choice. That's the risky path to do nothing.
On the other hand, if we give all these younger Americans an opportunity to put aside a small portion of the payroll tax that they're going to have to pay anyway -- and by the way you can make it optional, so that somebody who doesn't want to do it, doesn't have to do it -- they can put the magic of the market to work for them over the course of their lives. It's not very risky.
Let me tell you, you can take out the last six years of the market, the most successful times, leave in the great depression, take it back 100 years and you've got an annual market growth of about 8.5 percent. That's not very risky. That's a way for Americans to be better off when they retire.
BLITZER: Senator Hagel, we've heard a lot of speculation about the possibility, as remote as it may be, and despite all of Senator McCain's protestations that he's not interested, that he could be a vice presidential running make for Governor Bush. Pat Robertson was on Meet the Press earlier today. I want you to hear what he said about that albeit remote possibility.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT ROBERTSON, PRESIDENT, CHRISTIAN COALITION: If Bush would like to have somebody screaming curses at him about three times a week at the other end of the White House, then McCain is his man.
Can you imagine dealing with our foreign powers, and you get mad and you fly off the handle, it could be very dangerous. I'm serious, it would be very dangerous. And I think we should have balanced leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Very strong words from Pat Robertson on the possibility of Senator McCain being the running mate. What do you say about that?
HAGEL: Well, that's consistent with what Pat has said all along about John McCain. I think most of that is a result of John McCain's campaign finance reform effort. And obviously Pat Robertson can speak for himself, as he did, about that.
But the fact is, John McCain is one of the most accomplished, respected United States senators, national leaders, in our country. He is a leader, he understands the world, he is experienced, he is based on that kind of experience of reality.
And I have said publicly, Wolf, I think as you know, that I think the strongest ticket would be a Bush-McCain ticket. Now, that obviously is up to the Governor Bush and to John McCain. But I would be very comfortable with John McCain in that role, because I think not only would he present a strong Republican ticket, help present that in November, but I think he would be a very effective and secure an experienced vice president.
BLITZER: That's a nightmare for you, Senator McConnell, isn't it?
MCCONNELL: Oh, no....
BLITZER: A Bush-McCain ticket? No?
MCCONNELL: No, I don't think so at all. I know John well. He has said his whole campaign was about being a straight-talker. And John has said he doesn't want to be vice president. I take him at his word.
On the other hand, if he wants to be considered, my view is he ought to be on the short list of possibilities. I think in many ways it would be a very strong ticket.
BLITZER: All right, let's take another caller from Arlington, Virginia. Please go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Good afternoon, Wolf.
I'd like to ask your guests whether either of them see the scheduled meeting between Governor George W. and Senator McCain as proving either problematic or promising for penciling Governor Tom Ridge, in as much that Pittsburgh's the scene of the meeting, while he is often discussed as a possible vice presidential candidate.
BLITZER: And on that point, Senator McConnell, Pat Robertson did say he personally could live with Tom Ridge as a vice presidential running mate, despite the fact Tom Ridge favors a woman's right to have an abortion, although he thought it would divide the evangelical wing of the Republican Party, as he's called it. What do you say of that possibility of Tom Ridge being Governor Bush's running mate?
MCCONNELL: Well, Tom Ridge is also against partial birth abortion and he's in favor of parental notification. So even though he's pro-choice, he's not a radical pro-choice. He's really more of a moderate on the issue.
I think Tom Ridge is clearly an impressive governor, from a very important state. I hear that Governor Bush likes him. I think there's an excellent chance that Tom Ridge will be on the short list as well.
BLITZER: What do you say about that, Senator Hagel? HAGEL: Wolf, I would agree with everything Mitch said. As to the question the caller raised about the location of the meeting on Tuesday in Pittsburgh, I suspect that has little to do with Tom's vice presidential prospects.
But I would say that I think Tom Ridge is one of the most impressive leaders in our party, and surely will be and should be on that short list.
BLITZER: OK. Let's take another caller from Nashville, Tennessee.
CALLER: Yes, could I please ask you about the Republican's position on teachers' unions? It's almost impossible to get rid of a bad teacher. And I know the teachers' unions are supporting the Democrats, and education is supposed to be a big deal. How do we get rid of a bad teacher if the unions don't let us do it?
BLITZER: Senator McConnell?
MCCONNELL: Well, Republicans are not against unions. Republicans are in favor of education reform. And your point implies, of course, that teachers' unions have been an obstacle in many respects to things like merit pay for teachers and block granting federal funds down to the local districts so that there can be a wide array of flexibility and options.
So there have been some differences, unquestionably, on the issue of education reform between the teachers' unions and Republicans, but we have to continue to work for these reforms anyway.
BLITZER: Senator Hagel, excuse me for a second. You wrote an article in the New York Times saying there's no need really for Congressional hearings on the way the administration, Janet Reno, got Elian Gonzalez to be reunited with his father. Are you convinced that at least on the Senate side the prospect of hearings has disappeared?
HAGEL: I'm not in the leadership, so I'm the wrong one to ask that. You probably should address that to Mr. McConnell, who is in the leadership. But I said in that piece, Wolf, that my goodness, let's back off, let's let this young 6-year-old boy have some time with his father. I happen to believe that the law is very clear here.
If we in fact are a nation of laws, who we believe we are and we say we are, if we in fact are a nation of family values, then it's pretty clear to me what needs to be done. This young boy needs to be with his father, and he needs to be sent home.
And, I think, disgraceful, disgraceful conduct of how this country has handled this situation the last five months really requires some hard thought. So let's back off. Let's keep the Congress out of it. My goodness, we don't need the Congress in this. Are we turning ourselves into a custody court now? This is just not an appropriate issue. Let's let the courts decide. Let's the laws decide.
And one thing should always be foremost in whatever the outcome is, and that is that what's best for this 6-year-old boy.
BLITZER: All right. Senator McConnell, we only have a few seconds. You're in the leadership. Tell us if the prospect of hearings has gone away.
MCCONNELL: There may be one day of hearings, something to that effect, with regard to the assault on the house that morning.
But I think Chuck is essentially right. It's probably over and time to move on.
BLITZER: OK. Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Hagel, always good to have both of you on LATE EDITION. Thank you so much for joining us.
MCCONNELL: Thank you.
HAGEL: Thank you.
BLITZER: Just ahead, the next phase in the Elian Gonzalez case.
As lawyers for the boy's father and Miami relatives prepare to make their case in federal court this coming week, we'll talk about where the controversial custody case is headed. Joining us will be Miami Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former INS General Counsel David Martin.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
On Thursday, attorneys representing both sides of the Elian Gonzalez custody fight will deliver arguments before a federal appeals court in Atlanta. The court's decision could determine whether Elian will remain in the United States or return to Cuba.
Joining us now from Miami is Florida Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart. He wants Elian to remain in the United States.
And joining us from Charlottesville, Virginia, is David Martin. He's a law professor at the University of Virginia and a former general counsel of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
We welcome both of you to LATE EDITION.
And I'll begin with Congressman Diaz-Balart.
Last night Elian and his father were in Georgetown at a home of some prominent Democratic fund-raisers, Elizabeth Bagley -- Smith Bagley. We saw some brief pictures of Elian walking out of the house with U.S. Marshals, the guards who have been surrounding him of course since he was reunited with his father. Now we see these pictures on our screen. A lot of Americans are now asking, Congressman, why -- I mean, if you believe this to be the case, why do you believe after what we have seen over these past couple weeks -- the brief snippets, the still photos of Elian with his father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez -- why do you believe the son -- if you believe the son should be taken away from his father if the father wants to go back to Cuba?
REP. LINCOLN DIAZ-BALART (R), FLORIDA: Well, first of all, what we've always believed is that the courts of law should determine matters of custody. And we are obviously very firm on that because we think that, number one, there's never been a child custody decided in the history of the 41 years of the Castro dictatorship, not by Florida family court in the case of children in the state of Florida.
With regard to Elian, since he was taken by force, what's most concerning is that even though the Justice Department had agreed with Elian's family here in South Florida that under any possible scenario -- every possible scenario there should be a transition period where both sides of the family would be together and Elian would have a period to be both with his surrogate mother and relatives here and bonding with his father, though that had been agreed upon ever since Elian was taken by force, the family here has not been allowed to literally even meet with or see Elian. And as a matter of fact, neither has any member of -- any independent journalist been able to go in and see how Elian is.
All we've seen are controlled images, photographs, from the U.S. government. And what we do know is that the only people who have had access, unlimited access to Elian, have been Castro's so-called diplomats and teachers sent from Cuba. They do have access to Elian. So that's what's most concerning.
Think of that. They had agreed, the Justice Department, to let the relatives be, during a period of transition, together with Elian, which was what all independent psychiatrists said should happen, and yet he has not been -- the child has not been able to see relatives even for five minutes.
BLITZER: Is that appropriate, David Martin, that the father, Juan Miguel Gonzalez, is now calling the shots, presumably as far as what Elian can or cannot do? Is that appropriate to bar those Miami relatives from meeting with Elian?
DAVID MARTIN, FORMER INS GENERAL COUNSEL: Well, it's important to put this in context. The Justice Department did want to work out a peaceful and careful transition involving some contact with both sides, and they negotiated for several months over that. They met with very little accommodation on behalf of the Miami relatives, and it's most unfortunate that they were unwilling to agree to that. There were many different possibilities for that at earlier points in the negotiations.
It didn't work out. Unfortunately, they had to resort to recovering Elian by custody -- by force, which unfortunately the uncle at one point seemed to say, well, INS is going to have to come and take him by force. After he's been reunited with his father, it is appropriate for the father to make the decisions about where he will be and who it is that he will see, within the context of the court order that keeps him in this country until the court proceedings.
DIAZ-BALART: If I may, Wolf, Mr. Martin should remember that both sides agreed in writing on one thing in common, and that is that both sides of the family should have access during a transition period -- this is in writing agreed by both sides.
Mr. Martin talks about months of negotiations; there are written documents where both sides agreed to a transition period where both sides of the family would be with Elian. Why can't the family here, including the surrogate mother, the cousin, Marisleysis, see the child? Why is the child so -- why is it made impossible by the Clinton administration for -- and why, though, do Castro's diplomats, agents, have unlimited access? I mean this is a terrorist state.
MARTIN: I'm aware...
DIAZ-BALART: This is a terrorist state, one of a handful of terrorist states, and yet those so-called diplomats have unlimited access to this boy and yet the family members, they do not have access to him.
MARTIN: I'm aware of the documents you're talking about. Those were preliminary stages in negotiations, and I think it still is a better process if some sort of visitation can be arranged.
But it is appropriate for there to be some cooling off period. And if that is the kind of arrangement that the Miami relatives want, it's appropriate for them to go quietly and try to work something out with the father rather than the kind of appearance that they had there on the scene.
With regard to the Cuban diplomats, we have to think about this. It simply wouldn't be right for the United States government to bar contact with diplomats. I'm aware of Cuba's human rights record. It's a point of some genuine concern; I make no case for them in that respect. But if we had one of our citizens who was in another country in the middle of a dispute over custody of the child, we would find it outrageous for that government to bar contact with our diplomats. That's really the context where we have to...
DIAZ-BALART: No, the context that you want to portray is the moral equivalency, when this is a terrorist state that has been well- known to engage...
MARTIN: No, you misunderstood me. This is not moral equivalency.
DIAZ-BALART: Well, yes, you did, because you said we would be outraged if our diplomats, who are genuinely diplomats, would be barred from an American citizen. Here is a terrorist state, well- known to perpetuate -- to have engaged in psychological torture as a means of control and brainwashing. Those so-called diplomats have unlimited access to a 6-year-old boy, and yet independent journalists, members of the media, as well as family members here, cannot even see the child. I think that's outrageous.
And for you to say that those so-called diplomats are in any way similar to our diplomats, I think is a matter of moral equivalency which I find outrageous.
BLITZER: I'll give you a brief chance to respond, David Martin, then we have to take a commercial break. Go ahead.
MARTIN: There is no moral equivalency here. The access is done at the choice of the father, and it's not just Cuban diplomats who are there to see him. There is an arrangement that has been made with the blessing of the court to proceed with regular visits by a psychologist, a neutral psychologist and social worker, and they are making reports to the court. Again, I'd be happy for the families to meet and...
DIAZ-BALART: Well, I'm glad...
DIAZ-BALART: I wish you would advocate it and not us just be happy. They agreed to it. And it's outrageous that you say you would be happy and not be demanding that the family here have access. Just like during the five months that he was with the family here, the family had its arms open asking that the father come see the child here.
BLITZER: We're going to continue this. Congressman Diaz-Balart, we're going to continue on this specific point, but we have to take a quick break.
Up next, in addition to everything else, your phone calls for Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and David Martin.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We're talking about what's ahead in the Elian Gonzalez case, with Florida Republican Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart and former INS general counsel David Martin.
We're going to continue our conversation in a second, but let's take a quick caller from Brattleborough, Vermont.
Please go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Hi, this is for representative from Florida. I really want to ask him if he thinks it is a good thing for Elian, a healthy thing for him, to be exposed to the news media like he was before he was rescued from the Miami relative's home, whether it's healthy for him to be exposed to the Miami relatives, who always seem histrionic, who've lied about his father, who've manipulated and exploited him. I just don't see how anybody who is a parent would find that a healthy thing for Elian.
DIAZ-BALART: Yes, I think again, perhaps you don't have the information, the caller doesn't have the information, on the fact that in Castro's Cuba, psychological torture mechanisms, including psychotropic drugs, have been used to brainwash dissidents, opponents.
In this case, remember that this child has become a poster child, in a way, for Castro's regime, in the sense it has been the most -- the largest publicity event for Castro in decades. So the fact that Castro's diplomats have access, so-called diplomats, and doctors have access to that boy, and that the father is in total -- under the total control of those diplomats, and that the family or media -- and I'm not saying that there should be a lot of media, how about one pool person, pool media person, being able to see how the child in effect is.
If those diplomats, what they are doing to him, those Castro agents, what is being done, is that something that based on -- I understand that the viewer may not know exactly what's going on inside Castro's Cuba, but it is very relevant the practice and history of what goes on inside Castro's Cuba and by Castro's agents, including so-called diplomats, to the analysis of this situation.
BLITZER: David Martin, should that be a factor in determining whether Elian should go back to Cuba, if his father wants to go back to Cuba? What might happen to Elian if he were forced to go back to Cuba with his father?
MARTIN: I want to be clear: Castro's Cuba does have a very serious record of human rights abuses, and so that doesn't make it a happy option to go back. But people don't lose their parental rights just because they live in a country with a bad government.
So it seems to me that's one thing for Juan Miguel Gonzalez to factor in. He is still in a position where he could make a decision to remain in this country.
And I think it's quite important to focus on that. He is here, he is here with his entire nuclear family. He is in a position where he can be -- can make those decisions free of control, as the congressman said, by the Castro diplomats. He is entitled to choose. And I think that's the way it should be.
Also I think it's quite welcome for the last couple of weeks that we have seen really no media coverage, almost no media coverage, of the child directly. I think that was damaging and it's been welcome that that media presence has not been there.
BLITZER: Unfortunately, Congressmen and Mr. Martin, we are all out of time for this segment. We'll all be waiting and listening to the arguments on Thursday when the lawyers go before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. Thank you so much for joining us. MARTIN: Thank you.
BLITZER: And up next, a new in-depth account of Ken Starr's investigation of President Clinton has hit bookstores. We'll talk about the book "Truth at Any Cost" with its co-author Michael Weisskopf and with a critic, former Clinton White House special counsel Lanny Davis.
LATE EDITION will continue right after this.
BLITZER: Just ahead, author Michael Weisskopf and former White House special counsel Lanny Davis face off over a new book about the investigation of President Clinton.
LATE EDITION will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER, 1998)
KENNETH STARR, INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: We are professionals, and we were trying to get the relevant facts, the full story, to the House of Representatives. That was our task and that is what we did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Former independent counsel Ken Starr back in November 1998, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee about his investigation of the president.
Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
A new book details how that investigation unfolded, as well as the actions taken by President Clinton and his key supporters to keep his presidency intact.
Joining us now is Michael Weisskopf. He's the senior correspondent for "Time" magazine and he's the co-author of the book: "Truth At Any Cost: Ken Starr and the Unmaking of Bill Clinton."
We're also joined by Lanny Davis, former White House special counsel for President Clinton.
Gentlemen, welcome to LATE EDITION.
And I'll begin with Michael.
The general thrust of your book portrays Ken Starr, his staff, as basically decent, well-intentioned, hard-working prosecutors simply pursuing justice in this particular case. And some of the criticism from President Clinton's supporters is that it's too favorable, you paint too rosy a picture. What do you say about that?
MICHAEL WEISSKOPF, AUTHOR, "TRUTH AT ANY COST": Well, Wolf, this is really a warts-and-all account of Starr. Anyone who could say that this is a valentine hasn't read the book. We point out how he set a course of self-destructive choices, how he failed to recognize in a crippling kind of way the extent to which the authority of his investigation was connected directly to public support, and how he failed dramatically in that way.
What we try to do is take apart the cartoon of Ken Starr and put it back -- put back together a more realistic picture, and find that he was not an ideologue and that politics did not motivate this investigation.
BLITZER: Yet, Lanny Davis, you think politics was primarily behind this investigation.
LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: Well, I never tried to question Mr. Starr's motives or integrity. Indeed, I think he acted, in his own mind, sincerely.
What this book conveys -- and it is a fantastic job of reporting the inside story, and I learned an awful lot in reading it -- is the title of the book, "Truth at Any Cost."
DAVIS: I think Ken Starr's primary fatal defect was a loss of perspective and proportionality, and that there was literally no limit on what ultimately was a sexual relationship investigation, and there was no limit, including calling a mother, including calling someone from the White House to ask what he was saying to the press about his fellow prosecutors. He lost perspective, and I think that's what's significant about the title of the book.
BLITZER: Did he lose perspective? Did he go too far in pursuing this case?
WEISSKOPF: Starr admits that he made some bone-headed choices, including calling the Monica Lewinsky's mother, that a man who was reputed to be so engaged in first amendment causes would make a mistake like that. But his idea of truth at any cost was that the system is based on rule of law and that until we get to the facts of the case, rule of law is not vindicated.
BLITZER: I thought one of the most interesting aspects of the book, Lanny, was when for the first time -- I didn't know this, I learned it in the book myself, is when the president met with Tony Campollo (ph), who's one of his ministerS, a spiritual adviser, that he had in February, within weeks, a few days really, after we learned about this Monica Lewinsky matter, let me read an excerpt from the book. "He did it. The president confessed to me completely," Campollo is quoted as saying. "Hillary and the rest of the White House are in complete denial." Now, you were the rest of the White House. You were one of those in complete denial.
DAVIS: Well, I was, and I think the president was wrestling with an issue that there's a universal understanding, you're in an embarrassing sexual relationship, you don't want to admit to it. And in the case of a minister or somebody who seems to be that type of person, which is what Campollo was at that moment, a confession may seem understandable. At the same time, there's denial to everybody else.
Look, I think the important thing about this book is that it conveys Ken Starr as more passive than I ever understood. The people driving this investigation were not the people that had the perspective that Ken Starr should have had.
There's some scenes there, Michael, that I was just shocked that the independent counsel chooses not to discuss directly with Mr. Ginsburg when he comes in for the key negotiation on immunity. He delegates that.
BLITZER: That was Bill Ginsburg, who was Monica Lewinsky's first lawyer. Let me ask Michael about this, because it's a difference between your book and Jeffrey Toobin's book. Jeffrey Toobin basically argues in his book that Ken Starr had a moment there, if he would have given that immunity agreement to Bill Ginsburg within the first few days when this scandal erupted, Bill Clinton would not be president of the United States right now. And that was a fatal mistake as they waited till August, six months or so, giving Lanny Davis and his friends an opportunity to besmirch Ken Starr's entire investigation. Is Jeffrey Toobin on line in that?
WEISSKOPF: This is a arguable point, Wolf. Susan Schmidt, my co- author, and I spent a lot of time debating this point. Starr's people believe, and I think in a convincing way, that Lewinsky would not have been the witness she was in August, July-August period, when she finally did come in. And most importantly, the smoking gun in the case, the dress, may not have been transferred to Starr.
Don't forget, at the time, the FBI did find a dress in Lewinsky's apartment. It was sent out to the FBI for analysis, and it came back as negative for DNA or for any type of semen sample.
Mr. Ginsburg and his co-counsel were saying that was the dress; if it wasn't that one, there is no dress. At the same time, Lewinsky was still quite smitten with the president. The question is -- how good of a witness would she have been. Were those seven or eight months between that early period in which she finally come in, was that enough to have alienated her, to have made her realize that her own self-interest was dictated by honesty?
DAVIS: Look, with all due respect, ...
BLITZER: We only have a few seconds. Go ahead.
DAVIS: That's absolutely a no-brainer here. Monica Lewinsky said the same thing in the fall in front of the Senate as she said at the time of her proffer; she never changed her story. She was never a good witness for Starr, because she insisted that she was never told to lie and that there was no sexual relationship other than the definition that she and the president had chosen to use.
BLITZER: All right, we're going to get back to that. Unfortunately we have to take another quick break.
For our international viewers, world news is next. For our North American audience, stay tuned for another 30 minutes of LATE EDITION. We'll check the hour's top stories with Gene Randall, then take your phone calls for Michael Weisskopf and Lanny Davis.
Plus, our LATE EDITION roundtable and Bruce Morton's "Last Word." It's all ahead, when LATE EDITION continues.
BLITZER: Welcome back to LATE EDITION.
We'll get to your phone calls for Michael Weisskopf and Lanny Davis in just a moment, but first let's go to Gene Randall for a check of the hour's headlines.
BLITZER: Now back to our conversation about a new book detailing the investigation of President Clinton with co-author and "Time" magazine senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf and former Clinton White House special counsel Lanny Davis.
Before we continue our Q&A, let's take a caller from Santa Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Please go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Thank you. Congratulations to the author. Just finished reading the book -- excellent. As an official who works with foreign governments in strengthening their rule of law, my question is: Given the polls, why has the U.S. public apparently failed to understand the importance of absolute respect for rule of law in sustainment of democracies?
WEISSKOPF: One of Starr's great failures was failing to get that kind of public support and allowing the White House to define him and this as an issue. He was driven by polls. And as pollsters quickly pointed out, that while the public had no question that he may have had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, they considered that to be a private matter. This allowed Clinton to shift the issue away from any kind of obstruction of justice or perjury to that of a private issue. And I think it stuck.
BLITZER: All right. Let's take another caller from Largo, Maryland.
Please go ahead with your question.
CALLER: Yes, my question is for -- in fact, we want to know what lessons the public has learned from the graphic details that was exposed to children and the public and the world at large.
BLITZER: All right, let's ask Lanny Davis that question. Was it necessary for Ken Starr, in order to make his case -- and you're a lawyer -- to go through all those graphic details that we all recall? DAVIS: Of course, it wasn't. And it goes back to my central problem with Ken Starr's judgment, and that is a loss of perspective. I don't agree with Michael entirely that -- I heard Ken Starr once say to me that my problem is I didn't have somebody out there like you arguing my case. And my answer is it never would have changed the fact you were engaging in a criminal investigation of an essentially private sexual relationship. The American people were never going to change their minds about that.
And the details that he chose to put in his report, he would justify as he needed to. But that was part of the loss of perspective; the American people got that from day one about Ken Starr.
BLITZER: But Ken Starr never conceded to you, did he, the he went too far in putting the details in the report, the referral to Congress?
WEISSKOPF: No, indeed. He was asking the Congress -- or suggesting to the Congress that this president be impeached. He had to present all the facts. He was led in his background by a friend who had worked on the Warren Commission and felt that that rush to judgment was a serious problem. He had to submit all of the facts in this case.
What he realizes, though, is he should have properly tipped off Congress, told Congress, this is not fit for revelation to the public.
He had a chance because his own staff told him to do that. But here his own hubris, his own kind of arrogance, in how to handle this matter prevailed.
BLITZER: OK, let's take another caller from Sterling Heights, Michigan.
Go ahead with your question, please.
CALLER: My question is, in the interest of fairness, did Mr. Weisskopf mention that Ken Starr had defended the cigarette companies as they all stood and raised their right hand committing perjury as to whether or not cigarette smoking is addictive or some of the other causes that he's pursued?
WEISSKOPF: Indeed, and it was another area where Starr failed to understand perceptions and their importance. He retained his relationship with his law firm, where he represented many clients at loggerheads with this administration. Even though his friends had recommended he get off of that -- of those cases and sever his relationship with his law firm, he just bulled his way through.
BLITZER: We know from your book that Ken Starr had already prepared an indictment of the president even before he left the independent counsel office.
WEISSKOPF: Indeed. BLITZER: But Robert Ray, his successor, is thinking about indicting the president after he leaves office. Do you really believe he's going to do that?
WEISSKOPF: It's hard to know what to believe about Robert Ray. I don't know him. We had little view of him. He did, however, get a sample indictment drawn up and debated as late as October of '99 with four charges, including perjury and obstruction of justice.
At the time, the room was divided. Some of the prosecutors believed the president had suffered enough: He had been held in contempt of court by an Arkansas judge; he had paid a hefty settlement to Paula Jones. Others felt that the political process had short- circuited the rule of law, that the only way to vindicate the rule was law was to indict him. Robert Ray was at that meeting. He kept his counsel.
BLITZER: A yes or no, because we only have a second, Lanny Davis. Do you think we're going to have to live through this again, with an indictment of the president after he leaves office?
DAVIS: I certainly hope not, and I come back to my word, finally again, perspective and balance and discretion. If Mr. Ray has those three characteristics, he will not go forward. He will let this matter rest.
BLITZER: All right. "Truth at Any Cost," that's the book. "Ken Starr and the Unmaking of Bill Clinton,"
Michael Weisskopf, always good to have you on LATE EDITION. Lanny Davis, of course, always good to have you as well.
DAVIS: Thank you.
BLITZER: And up next, the upcoming Bush-McCain meeting: Can the two Republican rivals join together to win the White House in November?
We'll go round the table with Roberts, Page and Carlson, when LATE EDITION continues.
BLITZER: Time now for our LATE EDITION roundtable.
Joining me, Susan Page, White House bureau chief for "USA Today"; Steve Roberts, contributing editor for "U.S. News & World Report"; and Tucker Carlson, political writer for "The Weekly Standard."
All right, the Bush-McCain meeting Tuesday: Are we raising too many expectations, Steve, about this summit?
STEVE ROBERTS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, it's something to talk about. I think in some ways, yes.
Look, I think that George Bush does not want John McCain as his running mate. I think that he realizes there's too much tension between the two of them, that McCain could overshadow him. But he has to appear to be generous to McCain because he wants to court the McCain voters.
John McCain does not want to be the running mate. In many ways, I think John McCain wants to run for president, not vice president, and it's in his interest that George Bush lose, from a certain perspective.
But John McCain has another incentive. He cannot appear to be the undoing of George Bush. Remember, he wants to run in four years, he was the guy -- he lost a nomination this time because of his weakness with Republicans. So he has to appear to be supportive.
So there's going to be this dance going on. But in the end, I think he's not going on the ticket because I don't think either one of them want him on the ticket.
BLITZER: Will we hear an endorsement from John McCain of George W. Bush at the conclusion of this meeting on Tuesday, Tucker?
TUCKER CARLSON, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, with McCain, you never know. I mean, decisions were made at the very last minute. But I spoke to one of his advisers on Thursday who said don't look for anything beyond a sort of tepid "here's my pal, George."
I mean, they'll get up there and pretend to like each other.
McCain is irritated that the Bush people have been pretending to float his name on the short list of vice presidents. I agree with Steve, you would be crazy to make John McCain vice president. He's pick a fight with Bush, you know, within days of being chosen.
So obviously that's not going to happen. But it made McCain mad, so McCain has said: I don't want to talk about being vice president, and I don't want to talk to campaign finance reform.
So then of course the question is: What are they going to talk about? I don't know. I'm going to go and see if I can find out. Probably not a lot.
BLITZER: We all will be watching, you know.
Susan, Pat Robertson was on Meet the Press today, and he was asked the question about whether Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, who favors a woman's right to have an abortion, would be an acceptable vice presidential running mate.
Listen to how he responded to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: I personally could probably accept it. I don't think the evangelicals and many of the conservatives and the pro-life people in the Republican Party would be happy with that, and Bush might lose support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: But he personally could accept that. That's significant.
SUSAN PAGE, CNN COMMENTATOR: Well, I think that's interesting. We've seen I think a kind of testing of the waters on behalf of Tom Ridge. He make a lot of sense in a lot of ways. He's the governor of a very key state, Pennsylvania, key battleground state. He's a Catholic; that's a characteristic that could do George W. Bush some good. He's experienced politically. The same kind of governor George W. Bush has been.
And while his position on abortion could create problems with some elements of the Republican Party, it could also be some outreach across party lines to independent voters and to women.
I think there are some reasons I think Tom Ridge would be a very strong vice presidential candidate, and we're seeing an effort on the part of some Bush people to see exactly how much trouble they'd have if that's who ended up being on the ticket.
ROBERTS: Remember also, Tom Ridge is a certified war hero, a Vietnam combat veteran, which also -- and disabled, as a matter of fact. He's got a loss of hearing, as a result of his war injuries.
The other thing is, I thought Mitch McConnell, in answer to your question, was very interesting, because he distinguished Tom Ridge's pro-abortion right-stand from others. He said, for instance, that he's against partial birth abortion, which is sort of the red flag for a lot of anti-abortionists, and he's for parental notification, which is an issue that resonates with a lot of voters.
So he was defining him as a moderate pro-abortion rights, whereas Christine Whitman, to take another example, is for partial birth abortion and much more extreme.
So I think there's an attempt by Pat Robertson, by Mitch McConnell, to define Ridge as acceptable as a moderate on this issue.
And I think Susan is right, they're testing the waters.
BLITZER: And Pennsylvania is, of course, a critical state. But you wanted to add something.
CARLSON: Well, I just think it's just -- this has to be the most nauseating news clip of the decade: Pat Robertson, who spent the entire primaries painting John McCain as some of Godless Communist, saying he didn't that pass all sorts of litmus tests as a legitimate Republican, is up here saying that it's OK that George W. Bush pick a pro-choice running mate. Does anybody else find this remarkable?
And I don't think it's OK. There will be, I think, a mutiny in the Republican Party if Bush is to pick a pro-choice running mate. PAGE: I don't think so. I think Pat Robertson tells us there won't be a mutiny, because Republicans very much want to win the White House back. That isn't a lead pipe cinch. We're having -- it looks like we're going to have a very competitive race.
And what he's saying is, if this is what it takes to win the White House, you're not going to hear a lot of protest from me.
CARLSON: But he's saying, "It's OK with me." So, I mean, here's the guy who is supposed to be the arbiter of what's, you know, OK and what's not as a Republican. I mean, it's odd.
BLITZER: All right. We have to take a quick break. But this discussion is obviously not going to go away.
Just ahead: Clinton versus Giuliani: First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launches her first New York Senate campaign TV ad, and guess who she doesn't mention?
We'll ask the roundtable about her strategy when LATE EDITION continues.
BLITZER: Welcome back to our roundtable.
Susan, Social Security is emerging as an issue in the campaign between Bush and Gore. Listen, for example, as to what Vice President Gore had to say this past week on Governor Bush's Social Security plan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AL GORE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How does the Bush plan propose to deal with the bankruptcy of Social Security that his privatization scheme would cause? He just smiles and goes on with a smug assumption that there's no need to share with you the details.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Is this going to work for him, to hammer Bush on Social Security?
PAGE: It sounds pretty scary, doesn't it, when Al Gore talks about it? You know, I think it's very aggressive. There's some hypocrisy here, because Clinton administration proposed some experimentation with investment in the stock market with some Social Security funds. But, yes, I think it worked in the primaries against Bill Bradley. And I think George W. Bush is at risk of making the mistake that Bill Bradley made, which is not responding to this criticism with a very specific response defending his plan and ideas.
We've seen George W. Bush postpone his speech on Social Security because of the Cardinal O'Connor's funeral on Monday. But when he gives that speech, I think that if he does not describe with some detail and specificity what it is he has in mind, that Al Gore will hammer on this and it will take a toll.
ROBERTS: You know, Chuck Hagel was right when he said to you that the Democrats for eight years have failed to make hard choices and failed to propose the realistic cuts that need to be made. He's absolutely right about that. And it's also true that the Democrats, given any possible chance to demagogue Social Security, will take that chance every time.
On the other hand, you asked Chuck Hagel what are the specifics of George Bush's plan, and he gave you nothing. The fact is, George Bush, I bet, is going to give you nothing when he makes his speech because no politician wants to be the first one to deliver the bad news, because there's only bad ways to deal with this.
CARLSON: Not during the election anyway. I think there are probably legitimate arguments to be made against investing portions of the money in the market. But Gore of course isn't making them. It's all this risky scheme business and telling, you know, trying to whip old people into a frenzy. And, you know, raising the retirement age by a year means that the elderly will sleep in the snow. I mean, it really is the lowest kind of demagoguery.
BLITZER: All right. Let's turn to the New York Senate race. Ads this week released by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rudy Giuliani.
Let's look at a snippet of both.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN AD)
ANNOUNCER: More than a first lady. For 30 years she's fought for children and families. As New York senator, she'll fight for better schools and health care for children. Hillary, put her to work for all of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, RUDY GIULIANI CAMPAIGN AD)
MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK CITY: I want to be a senator because I was born in this state. I want to be a Senator because I serve this state. You won't have to guess what I'm going to do when I'm sitting in Washington a year or two years from now or three years from now. You're going to be able to figure out what I'm going to do from what I've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Tucker, which is the better ad?
CARLSON: I don't know. I think Mrs. Clinton's ad is pretty good. The idea of it is a little weird, though, I mean, this idea that she's had this long career that we weren't aware of until this point. I mean, she was a part-time lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas. I mean, no wonder it's only a 30-second ad. There's not a great deal to talk about. It doesn't mean she shouldn't be senator, but I think it uses whatever experience she has to pretty good effect. PAGE: Pretty sharp Giuliani ad, though. They're hitting her where it hurts. He says, I was born in this state. I have a 30-year history of public service. He also talks about it being real and authentic. That's one of his criticisms of her, that she is excessively scripted.
ROBERTS: You know, the other thing, she never mentions Bill Clinton and she never mentions Rudy Giuliani. But that makes sense because her biggest weakness is people don't know who she is. They have not connected with her. She has got to introduce herself to New York voters. She has got to convince them that she has a record, that she does understand their problems. She doesn't have to run as Bill Clinton's wife. And she certainly shouldn't be attacking Rudy now. Her biggest problem is herself and coming across to voters.
BLITZER: All right. We unfortunately have to go. Steve Roberts, Tucker Carlson, Susan Page, always great to have Tucker Carlson on our show. We'll get into that another time.
When we return, we'll reveal what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines.
Plus, Bruce Morton's "Last Word."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORREPONDENT (voice-over): He knew many church doctrines were controversial, but like Pope John Paul II, who appointed him, he believed they came from God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Remembering Cardinal John O'Connor.
BLITZER: You're looking at a live picture of St. Patrick's Cathedral, where mass is being celebrated for New York Cardinal John O'Connor. He died Thursday afternoon -- Thursday evening, that is -- battling brain cancer.
Bruce Morton has some thoughts about the late Catholic leader.
MORTON (voice-over): He was a Navy chaplain for 27 years, under fire with the Marines in Vietnam, retired as a rear admiral.
He was the hawk on a panel of U.S. bishops studying nuclear arms policy, but voted for a policy statement which condemned just about all possible uses of nuclear arms.
He compared widespread abortions in the United States to the Nazi's slaughter of the Jews. When vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro said there was a "diversity of opinion" among Catholics on abortion, he said she was wrong. There was no diversity; abortion was simply wrong. He criticized fellow Catholic Mario Cuomo on that issue, too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARDINAL JOHN O'CONNOR, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: They have decided, apparently, that they can still function as Catholics and receive the sacraments, and yet, support a pro-choice position. I don't read the papal encyclical on human life that way myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: One thing about Cardinal John O'Connor: You knew where he stood. He said homosexuality was wrong, opposed AIDS education programs that involved condoms. And yet:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'COLLINS: Particularly in his early days, to go out visiting people who were dying of AIDS, he would slip out in the evening to see them. And he was a great friend of theirs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: He fought anti-Semitism, hated racism, blessed the mother of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African shot dead by New York city police.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'CONNOR: We have gone mad with violence. It greets us at every turn in a thousand different ways. To deny that African-Americans, blacks, have suffered inhuman discrimination in our country would be the height of hypocrisy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: He knew many church doctrines were controversial. But, like Pope John Paul II, who appointed him, he believed they came from God.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'CONNOR: People get mad at the church for many things. People get mad at the church for contraceptives, for its stand on abortion, for all sorts of things. But it wouldn't be the church if we simply changed it, right?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: For years, he held press conferences every week after Sunday morning mass. And he had a sense of humor, joking about the hair he lost during radiation treatments for a brain tumor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'CONNOR: Maybe I'll stick with the Yul Brenner look. And I'll auction off my comb for the missions. However, our Lord never said that hair had anything to do with getting to heaven.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORTON: Cardinal O'Connor, like his pope, was no cafeteria Catholic, picking and choosing among beliefs. He was strong in his faith, all of his faith, whether it was popular with anybody else or not.
I'm Bruce Morton.
BLITZER: Thanks, Bruce.
Time now for a look at what's on the cover of this week's major news magazines. "Time" magazine has been infected with the computer virus, the love bug. How it works, and how to protect yourself, on the cover.
The Dinosaur is on the cover of "Newsweek," high tech and high stakes, Disney's $200 million gamble.
And on the cover of "U.S. News & World Report," the new CEO's. Women are starting companies much faster than men, and there's no letup in sight.
That's your LATE EDITION for Sunday, May 7. Be sure to catch us again next Sunday and every Sunday at noon Eastern for the last word in Sunday talk.
And I'll be back tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 5:00 Pacific on "THE WORLD TODAY."
For now thanks very much for watching. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington.
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