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NEWSROOM for November 7, 2000Aired November 7, 2000 - 4:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: Seen in classrooms the world over, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: Welcome. I'm Rudi Bakhtiar here with your Election Day NEWSROOM.
TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: That's right, a day much anticipated across the United States. I'm Tom Haynes. Thanks for joining us. We've got a lot to cover today and here's the game plan.
BAKHTIAR: Topping the news, today's the day Americans cast their ballots. Find out how the candidates spend their last day of campaigning.
HAYNES: We've got some more heart-racing news for you in our "Health Desk" today.
BAKHTIAR: "Worldview" takes a dip in the Gulf of Mexico to check out an invasion of jellyfish.
HAYNES: Finally, we continue to "Chronicle" "Democracy in America" on this Election Day.
BAKHTIAR: It's November 7, 2000, Election Day, and people around the United States are heading for the polls. We're down to the final hours in one of the tightest presidential races in history.
With the finish line in sight Monday, Texas Gov. George W. bush and Vice President Al Gore took their fight to key battleground states. Gore went to Iowa, Michigan, Missouri and Florida, where he made a final attempt to win support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRES. AL GORE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want you to use your head to persuade the undecided voters. Tell them Missouri is the state that may very well make the deciding difference in this election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BAKHTIAR: Gore is winding down his campaign in his home state, Tennessee, where he'll cast his ballot and watch the results. Bush made stops in Tennessee, Wisconsin, Iowa and Arkansas before returning home to Texas, where he'll vote and remain until the results are known. The Texas governor, like Gore, is urging supporters to turn out at the polls.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GEORGE W. BUSH (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're coming down the stretch. I feel so optimistic. I like what I feel. I like what I feel, but we can take nothing for granted. We've got to make sure we work hard to turn out that vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYNES: All 435 House and 34 Senate seats are also up for grabs today. The outcome of those races could tip the balance of power in Congress. Democrats need a net gain of five seats to claim control of the Senate, a net gain of seven seats to take control in the House.
Kate Snow will have more on that in just a second. First, we hear from Patty Davis on the House races.
PATTY DAVIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Patty Davis reporting.
Ric Keller, Anne Northup, James Rogan, they may not be household names, but they are crucial to the Republican's Party's effort to keep its razor-thin majority to the House of Representatives.
REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), HOUSE SPEAKER: We're going to pick up some, we're probably going to lose a few. But I think when you put the mash together, I think we're in pretty good shape, and we'll stay even or maybe even pick up a seat.
DAVIS: Despite his public confidence, House Speaker Dennis Hastert has a big job to do: protect his 26 open seats while shoring up some vulnerable incumbents...
REP. ANNE NORTHUP (R), KENTUCKY: We have today the speaker of the House joining us. Please give him a warm welcome.
DAVIS: ... like Anne Northup in Kentucky's third district who's struggling to hang on; and Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania, welcoming popular Arizona Sen. John McCain to bolster his chances in a tough reelection. The GOP's top worry in James Rogan in California's 27th, whose role as an impeachment manager has been controversial.
REP. TOM DAVIS, CHMN., NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CMTE.: This is basically an incumbent's year. This is not a year when you're going to see a lot of them turned out of office, and we recognize that. The open seats are where most of the action is.
DAVIS: Republicans say only six open GOP seats are truly competitive. Analysts say those seats include Florida's 8th, where Ric Keller is making his first foray into politics, and Utah's 2nd, where Internet businessman Derek Smith faces the son of the state's popular former governor. And Republicans have their eyes on some vulnerable Democratic incumbents, including New Jersey's Rush Holt and the veteran Connecticut lawmaker Sam Gejdenson.
CHARLES COOK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: If I had to bet, it would be that the Republicans hold on to the House very narrowly. I think in mid-September, third week of September, Democrats seemed to have a half-step advantage over Republicans. But I think they lost that advantage.
DAVIS: Republicans, though, are taking nothing for granted.
(on camera): In the last 10 days, the House Republican Campaign Committee is spending $10 million to reach voters with direct mail and phone calls and is running TV ads in expensive markets, such as Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, firepower where races are tight.
(voice-over): In the end, the speaker and party strategists don't expect any sweeping gains or losses by either side. They are confident Republicans will keep their majority in the House.
Patty Davis, CNN, Chicago.
KATE SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If all goes well for the Democrats Tuesday night, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt could become Speaker of the House.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), MINORITY LEADER: Well, it has a good ring to it, but I don't count anything until it's done. And I don't assume anything.
SNOW: Gephardt is hoping his party can pick up the seven seats they need to regain a majority in the House of Representatives. Technically, all 435 House seats are up for grabs, but only a handful are truly competitive. The battle for the majority could come down to what happens in places like Lexington, Kentucky; New Castle, Pennsylvania; and Waterbury, Connecticut.
GEPHARDT: We've done everything we could do. We've recruited good candidates, we've got the right issues out there, they're running good campaigns. We may or may not win, and that's just the way it always is.
SNOW: Gephardt has traveled the country stumping for Democrats in tough races; one in West Virginia, where trial lawyer Jim Humphreys poured more than $5 million of his own money into his race. But that's just a drop in the bucket. Nationally, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised more than $90 million to wrest control of the House from the GOP.
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI), CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN CMTE.: We are not going to let them outspend us like we did in past elections, and as a result I think we're going to be more competitive than we ever have before.
SNOW: The Democrats' strategy: protect their incumbents and take back Republican open seats. Twenty-six Republican House members this year have retired or left to run for higher office. That's almost triple the number of open Democratic seats. Democrats seized on those openings.
In Chicago's northern suburbs, Democrat Lauren Beth Gash could pick up what's been a safe Republican seat. And Rick Lazio's run for Senate in New York has left his old Long Island seat vulnerable.
Beyond open seats, as many as 12 Republican incumbents could be in trouble, like representatives James Rogan and Steve Kuykendall in California. President Clinton campaigned Thursday with Kuykendall's opponent, Jane Harman.
Democrats think they might pick up three or four seats in the Golden State, maybe some in Florida, Pennsylvania or New Jersey.
(on camera): But it all comes down to the math, and those gains may not be enough to offset Republican wins. Democrats are less confident than they once were, and they admit even if they win the House, it will be by a small margin.
Kate Snow, CNN, Capitol Hill.
BAKHTIAR: In "Health Desk," we look at your heart. According to the American Heart Association, in 1997, heart disease was the second leading cause of death among kids up to age 14 and the third leading cause of death among people age 15 to 24.
Today we look at HCM, or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart disease that often goes undetected in routine sports physicals. HCM is an overgrowth of heart muscle that impedes blood flow into and out of the heart. Some symptoms include shortness of breath after exertion, particularly after eating; chest pain or pressure during exercise; extreme dizziness; and sometimes palpitations, or irregular heart beats.
Today we look at the case of a teenager who died from the problem a year ago, but whose experience could be saving the lives of his teammates and improving awareness of this threatening condition.
Anne McDermott has the story.
ANNE MCDERMOTT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Number 75 was a big, happy kid who played for the Fountain Valley Barons in Southern California until last November. There was a practice like this one and Scotty Lang seemed fine, and then...
BERNARD FANO, FOUNTAIN VALLEY FOOTBALL TEAM: We were running warmups, and all of a sudden he just drops to the ground.
MCDERMOTT: And dies of an undetected heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, which is a thickening of the heart muscle, something his teammates are being tested for with echocardiograms.
Most don't think they have anything to worry about, but then neither did Scotty Lang's mother.
CINDY LANG, SCOTTY LANG'S MOTHER: I really worried more for who he was hitting than who was hitting him, because there really -- I don't think he ever came across anybody that was bigger than him.
MCDERMOTT: Or healthier, or so it seemed from all his physicals. But echocardiograms aren't part of a regular physical because HCM is rare and expensive to test for, from about $800 to $1,200.
But while it is rare, it can be very dangerous, especially for an athlete, because it's believed the extra-strenuous exercise they engage in puts an extra burden on an abnormal heart.
But these players won't have to worry about that because they're getting free testing, thanks to Scotty Lang's parents, a local hospital, and other community members who coordinated this testing.
STEVEN LANG, SCOTTY LANG'S FATHER: We lost our son, and we -- any good or benefit that can come of it is our desire.
MCDERMOTT: It's not that anybody here is going to forget Scotty Lang.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day, he's in my mind.
MCDERMOTT: And in the minds of the parents of these players. As one mother said, she will never forget Number 75 because of the testing, the final gift to his teammates.
Anne McDermott, CNN, Los Angeles.
HAYNES: In "Worldview," the focus is science and culture. Find out how the Internet is making a big difference in the way a Chinese woman balances her life and jobs. And wait till you see some slimy sea creatures lurking off the southeastern United States. We'll also travel to a country that stretches from Europe to Asia to learn about an unusual method of singing.
Our next story takes us to Russia. But before we get there, a few facts about Genghis Khan, a Mongol conqueror who defeated the Russians in 1223.
Genghis Khan established the largest land empire in history, an area that spanned Central Asia, from the Caspian Sea to the Sea of Japan. Khan was a political and military genius, uniting Mongol and other nomadic tribes into a disciplined team of fighters that effectively overpowered several neighboring territories.
Donna Liu (ph) introduces us to some modern-day culture in a land once linked to this emperor.
DONNA LIU, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Throat singing is the traditional vocal music of Tuva, a Russian republic where Turkic inhabitants were once allied with Genghis Khan. A throat singer can hit up to four notes at the same time. The result: deep melodic growls and high-pitched whistles. Tuvans say throat singing originated from attempts to duplicate sounds of nature.
Blind blues musician Paul Pena was instantly captivated by throat singing when he heard it on Russian radio. He started mixing this vocal style into his own songs. In 1993, a group of Tuvans led by throat singing superstar Kongar-ol Ondar performed in America. It's at this point that Pena's life changed dramatically.
PAUL PENA, BLUES MUSICIAN: This guy -- I'm blind so to see an autograph wouldn't do you much good. But if you got up near the guy and just cut loose like you did outside, maybe you might get more out of that.
KONGAR-OL ONDAR (through translator): When we finished the concert, the man came up to me. He seemed very excited. He began singing a very famous Tuvan melody, "Arte Sayir."
PENA: I went up to where he was and when he wasn't paying attention to somebody else, I just...
... which is a song that they hadn't done in their program yet. They would later, but they hadn't yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This impressed Kongar-ol so much that he told Paul that, every three years in Tuva, they'd hold a contest of throat singing and Paul should come to Tuva.
LIU: Filmmakers Adrian and Roko Belic heard about Pena and wanted to document his journey to Tuva.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so we called one of the people in the documentary and said we wanted to go to Tuva, you know, what is there? And he told us about yurts and yaks and shamans about throat singing, but we -- he told us about this blind blues guy, Paul Pena; told us about how he heard this on shortwave radio and taught himself how to do this multi-harmonic singing and wanted to learn the language and was going to Tuva. And we thought then and there that this was the most extraordinary story we'd ever heard, fiction or otherwise, and just knew that we had to do it.
LIU: And so began an exciting journey that took Pena and the Belic brothers to Tuva, where Pena finally had the chance to compete with other singers. "Genghis Blues" won international awards and was nominated for best documentary category at this year's Academy Awards.
Donna Liu, CNN.
HAYNES: It sounds like something out of a horror movie, but giant jellyfish are invading the gulf off the southeastern United States. Jellyfish are invertebrate animals, which means they don't have backbones.
Many jellyfish which swim in the ocean live for only a few weeks, but some are known to live a year or longer. If you've ever walked down the beach, you may have seen a jelly or two drifting along the shoreline. Most jellyfish feed on small animals they can catch in their tentacles, which have stinging cells on the end of them. And if you happen to get stung by one, ouch, you'll know it because it can really hurt.
Mary Pflum has more on jellyfish and their impact on the Gulf Coast.
MARY PFLUM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Scientists call them phyllorhiza punctata; fishermen call them "the terminators."
CHRIS CAMARDELLE, SHRIMPER: I guarantee that's a 20-pound jellyfish.
MIKO ROUSSEL, SHRIMPER: It's a big piece of jelly, like Jell-O, like a big bowl of Jell-O.
PFLUM: Call them what you will, they are an army of brainless, boneless jellyfish making waves in the northern Gulf of Mexico off the U.S. states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Marine biologists say swimmers shouldn't worry about these jellyfish. Their toxicity levels are low, which means their stings don't pack a punch.
But shrimpers and fishermen are losing money, as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars.
CAMARDELLE: When you catch them jellyfish, it smothered everything. I mean, it's like a -- putting a plastic bag over you.
PFLUM: The terminators are clogging nets, breaking equipment and suffocating catch. The jellyfish may also be eating fish eggs and shrimp larvae.
Gulf Coast states are accustomed to jellyfish, like the cannonball and four-eyed varieties, but the terminators took biologists by surprise when they surfaced by the hundreds of thousands this summer, half a world away from their native habitat.
PROFESSOR JIM COWAN, MARINE SCIENTIST, UNIV. OF SOUTHERN ALABAMA: It apparently is native to the Indo-Pacific/Australia. We think that it probably was introduced to the Caribbean some years ago, probably either via ship ballast waters or via a cessal (ph) polyp stage on the hulls of ships that come through the Panama Canal.
PFLUM: It's thought that a loop current system brought the jellyfish from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico, and that drought conditions enabled the species to thrive.
(on camera): Scientists say the onset of winter may well be the solution of the Gulf Coast states' jellyfish problems. But they admit it will be at least a year before they know for certain whether the terminator-like creatures are in the U.S. to stay.
Mary Pflum, CNN, Grand Isle, Louisiana.
SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's no secret that computers are changing the way we live. Nowadays, you can do just about everything on the Web. There are sites that let you buy and trade stocks online; sites that help you do your grocery shopping; you can even pursue a college degree on the Web. Have a little money to spare? There are even online auction sites where you can bid sky-high on impulse items.
Computer technology is especially changing the way some women in China do business.
Lisa Barron has the story.
LISA BARRON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Thirty-five-year- old Grace Rante set up her own import/export business in her Hong Kong home last year. When the Philippine-born Rante started working here seven years ago, that wouldn`t have been nearly as easy. Now she can source and sell Far Eastern merchandising handicrafts by e-mailing electronic images to clients in Europe and suppliers in China. Technology, she says, has changed her life.
GRACE RANTE, FAR EAST MERCHANDISING: That`s also one of the best things about having a technology -- I mean, yes, new technology: I can use it. If you have your own, like, personal computer and by having that, just one, then you can use it to communicate outside and also having this, like, faxes or fax machines and photocopy. That`s all you need, basically, to have your own business inside your house.
BARRON: That`s rapidly transforming the lives of women around Asia as the number of Net users grows in leaps and bounds. In one year, for example, the percentage of women online in China has risen from 15 percent to 25 percent of 60 million users. In Japan, the number has risen from 33 percent to 38 percent over the last year in a population of 22 million users.
Allowing women to work from home more easily is just one of the benefits of technology. LESLIE KENNY, CEO, DOT MEDIA STUDIOS: You can actually take care of your kids, not be isolated socially, as you might have been previously, and actually bring in some pin money on the side.
BARRON: For women like Kenny, who started Asia`s leading online relationship Web site and needs to be in the office, the Internet allows them to buy everything from groceries to towels while sitting at their desk.
KENNY: Women who normally were expected to do both household chores as well as professional tasks in a career can now do both more effectively.
BARRON: And for many women, work is the household. But in industrialized countries at least, women who are homebound still have opportunities to make their job easier and more efficient.
JENNIFER LIU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PP.COM: A lot of women in Asia, it`s still, you know, seen as their sort of daily work; cooking through the Internet, you know, buying stocks through the Internet, placing an order for the newest fashion item, you know, keeping in touch with the world.
BARRON: Liu`s online property site even posts developments featuring smart homes which are fully wired to give residents instant access to the outside world. But in many developing countries, the number of women online lags well behind the number of men.
KENNY: Men tend to make the purchase decision of a home computer. And if you`re in a poor country, you don`t have that choice. You're probably going to a Net cafe, so the computer`s not there for your wife or your girlfriend to access.
BARRON (on camera): Still, Internet analysts predict that by 2001, 40 percent of all Asian Net users will be women, and that could change not only the way they work, but how they view traditional social values as well.
Lisa Barron, CNN Financial News, Hong Kong.
BAKHTIAR: History will be made in more ways than one this election day. A handful of Americans outside of the United States are being allowed to cast their ballots online. It will be the first time online votes have officially counted in a general election.
But this federally funded experiment is not expected to revolutionize the way Americans choose their leaders.
David George explains.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go up to No. 3 here. DAVID GEORGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democrats in Arizona voted via Internet in their primary this spring, but there's never been an online vote cast in a general election. That changes the moment this computer in Dallas, Texas, and identical ones in Utah, South Carolina and Florida, record the votes of about 200 U.S. service personnel stationed in Turkey and other hot spots scattered around the world.
But most Americans still vote the traditional ways, by machine, or punch card, or paper ballot. And even in places where ballots are tabulated electronically...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It takes about 10 minutes to do each precinct.
GEORGE: ... key parts of the system remain fragmented and inefficient.
DOUG LEWIS, EXEC. DIR., ELECTION CENTER: The system was designed to be inefficient on purpose. If it doesn't have a strong centralized area to count all the ballots, then it takes a lot of people to steal an election.
GEORGE: Doug Lewis heads the non-profit Election Center, an organization that studies elections and advises governments on how to conduct them. He says fears that Internet voting could be disrupted or manipulated by hackers will keep the Internet from becoming a widely used election tool at least for the near future.
That's why the federal absentee ballot experiment isn't really voting by Internet at all, it's voting by intranet, on a dedicated system where access is tightly controlled.
Still, there are some technological innovations this year. Seven-hundred precincts in Riverside, California used touch screens when absentee voters were allowed to vote early in October. In Colorado, electronic devices will enable blind voters to cast ballots in private without assistance.
And Doug Lewis predicts there will eventually be Internet voting for everybody, but in a manner that most people won't think of as Internet voting.
LEWIS: And that is controlled access, where you go to a polling site and use a machine that is controlled by government election officials and will then transmit votes across the Internet.
GEORGE: So, not on our laptops, not yet.
David George, CNN, Atlanta.
HAYNES: Well, Election Day is finally here. It seems like ages ago when this presidential campaign actually started. It began more than a year ago. As voters head to the polls today, Bruce Morton reflects on how the campaign got off the ground, its highs and its not-so-highs, and what it all finally comes down to.
BRUCE MORTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When did it start? It seems so long ago. Hell, it was so long ago. Bush declared his candidacy atop a hay bale in Iowa in June 1999, 17 months ago. Gore announced that month, too. So many months, so many memories.
Elizabeth Dole, dancing with members of her old sorority. Gary Bauer, flipping over a flap jack.
Funny moments, yes: Bill Bradley did chat with a mannequin while seeking votes in Nashua, New Hampshire.
BILL BRADLEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you want to shake hands or not?
MORTON: You need a little humor in the snow. The real star of New Hampshire was John McCain, of course: the bus, the town meetings, the stunning upset. Months later, when he released his delegates at the Philadelphia convention, they wouldn't stop cheering him.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will never be able -- I will never be able to thank...
MORTON: Other candidates glowed briefly. Pat Buchanan captured the Reform Party and its federal money and then vanished from the polls. Ralph Nader didn't vanish and may be a spoiler in some states. But it was at the conventions that Americans could first say, OK, it's down to these two.
BUSH: And I will lead...
GORE: I stand here tonight as my own man.
MORTON: We've had all the jokes. Did Al Gore really pay a consultant to tell him: wear Earth tones? Does George Bush really not know Social Security is a government program? You decide.
We've had the debates, we've had the blizzard, $3 billion, one think tank says, that candidates and lobbyists and special interests and parties spent to get you to vote their way. And now it's over.
Now, for all the things -- money, mainly -- that foul the system, it really is up to you, up to as many of you as will take the trouble to vote.
Adlai Stevenson, a defeated presidential candidate almost half a century ago, had some words for the nonvoters, the bored and apathetic. "Whose fault is it?" he asked, "that the honor and nobility of politics at most levels are empty phrases? It is the fault of you, the people. Your public servants serve you right. Indeed, often, they serve you better than your apathy and indifference deserve." (on camera): If you do vote, you can do what Washington and Jefferson had in mind: make your democracy work the way you want it to. Government of the people, by the people, Abraham Lincoln called it. And for all its failings, it may be the best system anybody's come up with yet.
Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.
BAKHTIAR: OK, Tom, I have some quick trivia for you.
HAYNES: All right.
BAKHTIAR: Let's say the Senate gets divided equally between Democrats and Republicans.
BAKHTIAR: Who becomes the majority leader?
HAYNES: I don't know.
BAKHTIAR: Well, as it turns out, the vice president of the United States at the time, he is actually the president of the Senate, so he will choose the majority leader.
HAYNES: Interesting stuff.
BAKHTIAR: Interesting to know.
HAYNES: And appropriate, too...
HAYNES: ... during this election season.
Listen, we're going to see you tomorrow. CNN's going to be with the election all day long.
BAKHTIAR: Stay tuned for that. And there's a live edition of CNN NEWSROOM tomorrow, so be sure to catch that, too.
HAYNES: That's right. We'll see you then.
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