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Newsroom/World View

NEWSROOM for January 16, 2001

Aired January 16, 2001 - 4:30 a.m. ET


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

SHELLEY WALCOTT, CO-HOST: It's Tuesday and this is CNN NEWSROOM. Glad you're here. I'm Shelley Walcott.

RUDI BAKHTIAR, CO-HOST: And I'm Rudi Bakhtiar. Here's what's coming up.

WALCOTT: In today's news, echoes of a dream. Americans honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

BAKHTIAR: Then, in "Health Desk," the latest technique to whittle your waist. Could talk therapy and emotional support be the keys to toning up?

WALCOTT: From the food on your plate to the next U.S. secretary of state, "Worldview" profiles Colin Powell.

BAKHTIAR: Another profile rounds out "Chronicle." We'll look at how history might judge outgoing U.S. President bill Clinton.

WALCOTT: People around the United States commemorate the life and legacy of the slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Marches, church services and other ceremonies were held Monday to celebrate what would have been his birthday.

U.S. President Clinton and President-elect George W. Bush echoed Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, "to serve in pursuit of a higher cause." Bush marked the King holiday at a Houston, Texas, school, where he told students Americans still have much work to do. He said many Americans face prejudice, poverty and unequal opportunity in schools.

At a church service in Atlanta, civil rights leader Andrew Young urged Americans to put the divisive presidential election behind them.


ANDREW YOUNG, FORMER KING AIDE: It's time for us to realize that George Walker Bush is our president, or will be our president next week. And it's necessary for us to recognize that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WALCOTT: Coretta Scott King is urging Americans to continue her husband's work.


CORETTA SCOTT KING, WIDOW OF MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: We call you to commemorate Martin's global vision of the world house; a world house whose people and nations had triumphed over poverty, racism, war and violence.


WALCOTT: Martin Luther King would have been 72 Monday.

BAKHTIAR: The Martin Luther King holiday gave some people the opportunity to consider how race affects politics. For decades, the issue of race and equality has had a considerable influence on politicians and their campaigns.

Now Jeff Greenfield looks at that.


JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): More than half a century ago at the 1948 Democratic convention, race split the party. The strong civil rights plank drove the South out. And that year, four Southern states voted for the third party states' rights candidate, then-Governor of South Carolina Strom Thurmond.

Sixteen years later in 1964, the strong civil rights stand of President Lyndon Johnson triggered a white backlash. Republican nominee Barry Goldwater, an opponent of the proposed civil rights law, carried five Southern states that year as he lost to Johnson in a landslide.

But it was the spread of racial unrest in the North with a series of summer riots that began to churn racial politics in the North. Richard Nixon's law and order message in 1968 was successfully aimed at many white working-class Democrats. So was the message of Alabama Gov. George Wallace, who won 13 percent of the vote in '68 as a third- party candidate, and was running strongly in the Democratic primaries in 1972 before he was shot in Maryland and paralyzed.

In fact, all through the 1970s and '80s, a series of issues split the traditional Democratic coalition: welfare, crime, school busing, affirmative action -- all containing a strong element of race at the core.

Those same issues that affected some white voters also drew black voters more and more into the Democratic camp, to the point that nearly nine out of 10 African Americans now regularly vote Democratic.

It was Bill Clinton who showed Democrats how to bridge the racial divide in 1992. He was tough on crime, pro-death penalty, pro-welfare reform, he even publicly assailed a prominent rap artist, Sister Souljah, for her provocative lyrics. But he also demonstrated clear empathy with African Americans in his style, his agenda, his appointments. And no group was more loyal during his times of trial than black Americans.


WALCOTT: In "Health Desk" today, we're talking diets. Dieting is defined as regulating one's food intake to improve one's physical condition, especially for the purpose of reducing what's conceived of as excess body fat. And the diet choices are endless. From Weight Watchers to Lean Cuisine to various exercise programs, television is constantly bombarding us with commercials for different ways to get rid of a few extra pounds.

Now there's a new and interesting technique to add to your list: talk a lot. No, talking won't burn off the calories, it's more like a kind of diet therapy.

Elizabeth Cohen explains.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gently close your eyes, find that comfortable position and begin to breathe deeply and naturally.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It hardly seems at all like a weight-loss program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have some feelings of anger and fear, and lots of happiness, and I feel loved.

COHEN: In fact, it seems more like group therapy. There's no special diet or exercise plan, no foods to buy, no pills to take. The theory: overeating is all about emotions.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many people eat when they're lonely?

COHEN: So you have to figure out why you eat so much.

LAUREL MELLIN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO: The way we do it is gently, to go inside of ourselves and practice these skills of self-nurturing and effective limits until those drives to overeat are gone.

COHEN: Participants keep journals and call each other when they're tempted to binge. There are 150 groups in the United States that use this program, called "The Solution." They meet every week with a psychologist and dietitian. It's recommended patients stay with the program for a year, which costs about $2,300. It's not usually covered by insurance.

The program is announcing some promising results. In the study, 19 people were in the program for about four months. They lost weight, but what some experts find particularly impressive is that they kept it off. Six years later, participants were 17 pounds lighter than before they'd entered the program. (on camera): Some diet experts are wary. They say the study is small and preliminary and the results sound more anecdotal than scientific. But others are impressed.

BARBARA MOORE, SHAPE UP AMERICA: Six-year data is very unusual in this field. And I think that Laurel Mellin is breaking new ground in that respect.

COHEN (voice-over): Robert's been on the program for five months. He lost 17 pounds and has gained back only a few, far better than he's done on other programs.

ROBERT, "SOLUTION" PROGRAM PARTICIPANT: Over the years I've gotten a lot of head knowledge about how to eat, but somehow in my gut I've kind of been emotionally unable just to carry through with what I knew.

COHEN: Part of the reason for the success, patients say, is simply the support. They say it's easier to lose weight when you know you're not alone.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, if you made one community connection, please stand.



COHEN: Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, Atlanta.


BAKHTIAR: Americans spend more than $100 billion a year at fast food chains. Now, fast food is quick and cheap, but some say not good for your health. It's also hard to avoid for those short on time.

Brian Palmer talks to the author of a new book about how fast food hasn't just changed the American diet, but the whole fabric of society.


BRIAN PALMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): America is a fast food nation. For Eric Schlosser, author of a book called "Fast Food Nation," it's about more than burgers.

(on camera): What made you write this book?

ERIC SCHLOSSER, AUTHOR, "FAST FOOD NATION": Well, fast food seemed a good way of looking at the changes that have taken place in America over the last 30 years. And fast food affects how we eat, how we work and where we live.

PALMER (voice-over): One change: the standardization of our diet. So that burgers taste the same in Brooklyn as in Beijing, the chains use canned, frozen, or highly processed packaged foods from a handful of giant companies. This processed-food diet, say medical experts, has too much fat and salt and too few nutrients.

DR. NEAL BARNARD, PHYSICIANS COMMITTEE FOR RESPONSIBLE MEDICINE: We are eating more fatty foods than ever before, and it's going to spell not only weight problems, heart attacks, ever-increasing cancer rates. There's no sign that it's stopping.

PALMER: Twenty-seven percent of blacks, 21 percent of Latinos and 17 percent of whites are obese, says the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And as many as 15 percent of American children are seriously overweight.

SCHLOSSER: The fast food industry is spending billions of dollars a year marketing their food, and they're marketing very high- fat, unhealthy food to children.

PALMER: In a statement from the world's biggest fast food chain: "All of our menu items fit within a balanced diet. Individual choice continues to be the key, which is why McDonald's has, for many years, provided full nutritional information at all of our restaurants so our customers can make their choices based on the facts."

Fast food has its fans, who say it can be part of a healthy diet.

EDITH HOGAN, AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: Children love fast food. They like the convenience of it. If they have a fast food sandwich, make sure that they have a piece of fruit and a glass of milk with it.

PALMER: Schlosser says some chains are changing with the times.

SCHLOSSER: The market for fast food is so saturated right now that I think they're very vulnerable to their consumers' demands, and I think it's a very good thing. And there's a lot of potential for changing the menus and changing what they serve.

PALMER: Just as a changing society created fast food 50 years ago, today's culture may just be changing fast food.

Brian Palmer, CNN, New York.


WALCOTT: In "Worldview" today, we head to the United States, where a new president is getting set to take office. He's choosing a new Cabinet, too, and we look at his nominee for secretary of state, retired Gen. Colin Powell. The hearings on Powell get under way tomorrow on the heels of a national holiday.

TOM HAYNES, CO-HOST: Yesterday marked Martin Luther King Day in the United States. King, of course, was the main leader of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and was perhaps one of the most universally respected African Americans of his day. His message of change through nonviolent demonstrations won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Today, another widely respected African American is back in the limelight. Retired Gen. Colin Powell has been tapped by President- elect George W. Bush to be his secretary of state. Powell first gained wide recognition as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1989 to 1993. He was President Bush's main adviser during the Persian Gulf War.

In 1997, President Clinton appointed him chairman of a campaign to encourage volunteers to work with children, a cause that, despite his new responsibilities, will always remain close to his heart.

Jan Smith has the story.


GEN. COLIN POWELL, FRM. JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: No, man. Come on. Let me shake. Let me beat him. Let me beat him. Let me beat him.

JAN SMITH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Of course he's competitive. Gen. Colin Powell plays to win. And he wants to make sure the youngest in America's rank will too. So he has been taking his message to the front line.

POWELL: You're all too far away. Come closer. Everybody come closer. Yes, scooch up. Scooch up. Quick. Quick. Quick. Come on.

SMITH: What Powell wants kids to see is their own potential.

POWELL: This is a very thick book, isn't it? This is book I wrote. I wrote every word in this book, and this book is the story of my life.

SMITH: At age 52, Powell became the youngest ever and first black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That's a long way from his days as a C average student in the Bronx.

POWELL: The point I want to make to you is that all of you are now writing a book, and the question is what kind of book are you writing?

SMITH (on camera): Why are you here? Why do you care?

POWELL: Because I have seen so many kids who are doing so well in America. My own children did extreme well. My grandchildren will do well. But I've seen so many kids that are not doing well, who are in homes that are broken. I have seen kids who really don't believe that anybody cares about them. And those of us who have been privileged to thrive in this society, I think, have a obligation to try to do something about it.

SMITH (voice-over): Powell has been leading America's Promise, a group with a five-part mentoring plan to build better lives for children.

POWELL: We'll do everything to make sure that no youngster in Colorado is growing up without having responsible, loving, caring adults in their life, or a safe place in which to learn and to grow, or a healthy start in life, or getting the skills they need, or being given an opportunity to give back to the community, to the country which has given them so much.

SMITH: It is a message Powell likes to deliver personally, whenever, wherever he can. At a school assembly in Denver:

POWELL: It takes an army because it is a war we're in -- a war for the lives of our children.

SMITH: Or on a visit to a San Francisco boys and girls club.

POWELL: At ease! No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. When I say "at ease," you all be quiet.

SMITH: After he retired from the Army and wrote his memoirs, Powell was asked to head America's Promise, an off-shoot of 1997's presidential summit on volunteerism.

(on camera): Do think this mission is as important as being chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

POWELL: Oh, yes. Yes, I think this is just as important, if not more important.

SMITH (voice-over): So far, Powell's group says it has signed up almost 500 national organizations -- groups that agree to enlist new volunteers to help kids.

POWELL: Hello, Dr. Hoffman (ph). How are you? We've got to make you a university of Promise.


SMITH: Powell has also been getting state governments on board.

POWELL: I'd like to present him with his own little red wagon.

SMITH: Colorado's governor is one of eight who has made the Promise pledge so far.

GOV. BILL OWENS, COLORADO: What Gen. Powell has suggested we do is that we focus on mentoring and other things. We had thought about it, we had planned to do it, but because of America's Promise, we now have a goal of 35,000 mentors at Colorado school.


POWELL: OK, I'm watching.

SMITH: Many of the Promise partners say that Powell's presence has already had an impact.

REV WILLIAM WINTERROWD, EPISCOPAL BISHOP, COLORADO: I think what Gen. Powell brings and what America's Promise brings is a cohesion, bringing, you know, big brothers and big sisters into churches -- and the governor and the Broncos and the Rockies, you know, suddenly it becomes exciting.

POWELL: We took this picture of me. And what do I look like on the cover of that book?


POWELL: An Army soldier, good.


POWELL: A general. Now everybody look at that picture. Am I a general here?



POWELL: What am I? I'm a kid.

SMITH: Powell was not born into a world of privilege, a fact he makes a point of sharing with his young audiences.

POWELL: And this little boy was just a little black kid living in New York City at a time when little black kids weren't considered that valuable in this country. We were considered 10th-class citizens. My parents were poor. They had come to this country on banana boats and they worked in low-wage jobs in the garment industry. But they had a lot of hopes and dreams that they brought to this country and they put them on me.

There is nothing you can't be. You can be a general, you can be a doctor, lawyer, anything. But you're the one who has to do it. You have to reach up.

SMITH: There have been questions about whether the link of America's Promise to national organizations overshadows local charities in greater need, and whether America's Promise exaggerated its success with the release of a Price Waterhouse study that concluded America's Promise and its partners provided 10 million children with services valued at more than $295 million.

BILL TREANOR, PUBLISHER, "YOUTH TODAY": They had a million numbers that they were throwing around. The million mentors was another one. So they were trying to quantify it. Then, of course, they discovered that you couldn't quantify it.

POWELL: I said, fellows, we have to be very careful. This really seems over the top. But, PWC, Price Waterhouse Coopers, was quite satisfied with the analysis they used.

Ready, get set, go!

SMITH: Still, the general admits that the success of America's Promise is hard to measure.

POWELL: I don't know how many communities in America are using my red wagon and how many organizations are doing things. The day I determine that we've done as much as we can or that there is not a sufficient return on the investment I'm making with this, I'll close it.

SMITH: As part of his crusade, Powell has been campaigning for the proposed Younger Americans Act. It would eventually give $2 billion a year directly to state and local youth programs that use the five promises as guidelines.

POWELL: Show you my Web site.

It's the framework that has taken hold that is perhaps our greatest success.

Let me show you how we did it in the Bronx.

SMITH: Though Powell has enjoyed success leading America's Promise, some wish years ago he had chosen another line of work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why didn't you run for president?

POWELL: Why didn't I run for president? Next question. No, No, No.

SMITH (on camera): Do you ever regret not running for president.


SMITH: Never?

POWELL: Never. I made the right decision. And when you make the right decision for the right reasons, there's nothing to regret.

SMITH (voice-over): Powell's new responsibilities will affect his involvement with America's Promise.

(on camera): Will you continue with America's Promise?

POWELL: I will do everything to continue with America's Promise. How much time I could devote to it or how active I could be is another issue.

SMITH (voice-over): Powell's partners expect him to keep a commitment to the next generation because he does get results. Watch how this young listener was ready for his marching orders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where do you find the library at?

POWELL: Where do you find the library? That's a good question. I'm not sure where the library is here, but I'm sure someone will show you. But this boy is headed in the right direction. I've got one convert. Thank you.

SMITH: Jan Smith for CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ANNOUNCER: Teachers, make the most of CNN NEWSROOM with our free daily classroom guide to the program. There you'll find a rundown of each day's show so you choose just the program segments that fit your lesson plan. Plus, there are discussion questions and activities, and the guide highlights key people, places and news terms. Each day, find hot links to other online resources and previews of upcoming desk segments. It's all at this Web address, where you can also sign up to have the guide automatically e-mailed directly to you each day. It's easy, it's free, it's your curriculum connection to the news. After all, the news never stops, and neither does learning.

BAKHTIAR: The clock is ticking on the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States. This week we'll have several reports looking back at the Clinton presidency. The big question now is how Mr. Clinton will be judged once he leaves the Oval Office.

As John King tells us, the answer depends upon whom you ask.


WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hi, how are you? What's your name?

JOHN KING, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He always seemed more at peace, more comfortable out here with the people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like what you're doing for education.

CLINTON: Thank you. Hi, hello.

KING: One legacy of any president is his place in public opinion. And Mr. Clinton leaves office with reason to smile. Two- thirds of Americans approve of his performance on the job.

But like so much about this president and early efforts to assess his legacy, it is so much more complicated than that. Nearly six in 10 say Mr. Clinton is not honest or trustworthy. Nearly seven in 10 say he will be remembered more for scandal than any accomplishments.

KEN DUBERSTEIN, FORMER REAGAN CHIEF OF STAFF: I think Bill Clinton tried an awful lot. I think in some ways he succeeded. But I wouldn't put him anywhere near the top of the heap when it came to presidents. But he is a likable rogue.

KING: From the very beginning, a polarizing figure.


CLINTON: I, William Jefferson Clinton...


KING: Elected and reelected, but never with a majority of the vote; always with vocal opposition. Repudiated two years into office: the Republican rout of 1994.


CLINTON: I think that I have some responsibility for it. I am the president. I am the leader of the efforts that we have made in the last two years. And to whatever extent that we didn't do what the people wanted us to do or they were not aware of what we had done, I must certainly bear my share of responsibility. And I accept that.


KING: In 1995, one of many revivals, a president who found his voice in two very different crises. April: horror in Oklahoma City, and Mr. Clinton voices the grief of a nation.


CLINTON: Those who are lost now belong to God. Some day we will be with them. But until that happens, their legacy must be our lives.


KING: Then December: a nemesis and a showdown.


CLINTON: Now the Republicans in Congress are not only refusing to talk, once again they are threatening to shut the government down if I do not accept their deep cuts in health care, education, the environment, and their tax increases on working families. I would not give in to such a threat last month, and I will not give in today.


KING: Mr. Clinton would carry the day and public opinion about the government shutdown. One senior Republican involved in the talks back then put it this way: We have no one like him -- not even close.

JAMES CARVILLE, FORMER CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: They didn't respect him, they didn't do this, they didn't do that, OK. But they were scared to death of him, and that's why he beat them every time.

KING: Welfare reform and a balanced budget: a Democratic president on traditionally Republican turf. One Clinton legacy is a fierce public debate over whether he led public opinion or shamelessly followed it.

DUBERSTEIN: Now we're talking about the eight years of Bill Clinton being overnight tracking results, polling virtually around the clock so that every little tick of public opinion could be registered.

JOHN PODESTA, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: He enjoys politics, he, you know, he looks at where the American people are. But I think he does that largely because he uses that as a way of helping him really explain what he's trying to do. He knows that having the support of the American people is enormously important. KING: One constant in eight years of tumult: overwhelming support from African Americans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, these are your people. Give him a great big hand.


KING: Memphis, November 1993, in the church where Martin Luther King preached his last sermon 25 years before.


CLINTON: He would say, I did not live and die to see the American family destroyed.


I did not live and die to see 13-year-old boys get automatic weapons and gun down 9-year-olds just for the kick of it.


KING: No one questioned his intelligence or his skills as a communicator, but many questioned his sincerity and judgment. He was the president who shared our pain; shared some things we didn't need to know.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, the world's dying to know: Is it boxers or briefs.


CLINTON: Usually briefs.


KING: Eight roller coaster years, some of it impossible to forget, some of it still hard to comprehend. Through it all, he said most of all he wanted to be remembered as the president who fought for ordinary Americans.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: I think he's going to be remembered in history, in a very odd way, just like his mentor or his favorite president, Jack Kennedy. And as Kennedy was always better remembered by the people than he was by the historians, Kennedy, to this day, remains a popular figure in the minds of the public. Kennedy, to this day, is not a high-ranking figure among historians. I think Bill Clinton is going to rank well among the populus. Many people at the lower end of the spectrum did well during the Clinton years, and they respect him for that and they like him for it. But the historians, I think, will be more unforgiving. KING: He campaigned to the very end, eager to shake a few more hands; eager, if possible, to shape history's judgment.

John King, CNN, the White House.


BAKHTIAR: And here's a bit of trivia for you: Bill Clinton was actually born William Jefferson Blythe IV. Clinton was his stepfather's name, and he took it when he turned 16.

WALCOTT: That's a little known Clinton fact.

Hey, before we go, we want to remind you of a special program planned for tomorrow. NEWSROOM presents "To Serve a Nation." Our very own Tom Haynes take us inside the United States military.


HAYNES: In this class, young Air Force recruits learn the importance of driving a satellite once it reaches orbit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I always wanted to do something productive with my life. And being at this age and doing something this big, it makes me feel really good.


WALCOTT: Don't miss "To Serve a Nation" tomorrow on NEWSROOM.

BAKHTIAR: We'll see you then.



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