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Iraq, Oil and Money; New Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theory Emerges; Leon Panetta Discusses Senator Clinton's Chance Of Entering Presidential Race

Aired September 19, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: new explosions and more chaos in Iraq, with no end in sight. Can $87 billion ever be enough? Does the Bush administration have a clear strategy? And will Iraq be able to stand on its own?
A chilling new conspiracy theory: Was Lyndon Johnson behind the murder of President Kennedy?

And the inspiring story of the ultimate sports comeback. A young athlete overcomes the loss of his leg and returns to the game he loves.

Good evening and welcome. Thanks for helping us wrap up the week here on this Friday night.

Also ahead: Hillary for president? Just this week, Bill Clinton dropped another not-so-subtle hint that his wife might jump into the race. We'll turn to his former chief of staff to read the political tea leaves.

And from one of the world's most dangerous places, we wrap up our weeklong exclusive series on the Korea's demilitarized zone to show you the surprising benefit of 50 years of Cold War tension.

And science that debunks the dumb taxi driver myth.

Now, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now. A federal appeals court has agreed to review a ruling postponing California's October 7 recall election. Recall proponents have vowed to take their case the Supreme Court if they lose the appeal.

Hurricane Isabel is gone, but it left behind a huge path of destruction. The storm is blamed for at least 17 deaths. Some areas along the East Coast are under as much as nine feet of water.

U.S. troops are investigating two separate explosions in Baghdad tonight, one of which left a hole in the road. No serious injuries were reported this time.

And a routine letter from President Bush to Congress outlines the global extent of U.S. troop deployments in the war on terror. Along with the deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mr. Bush also notes, the U.S. troops are working in the Philippines, the Republic of Georgia, and in Africa. Tonight, U.S. policy in Iraq and the cost of war and reconstruction is in focus. First, a question that has been troubling Washington for months and just won't seem to go away: How much will it cost to rebuild Iraq? Where will that money come from? And where is the money going? The answers may surprise you.

Last spring, administration officials were suggesting that a lot of the money would come from Iraqi oil revenues. Well, today, that seems less clear.

Chris Plante has our report.


CHRIS PLANTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The cost of the war was being debated even if its opening days. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said oil revenues would fund the rebuilding.

PAUL WOLFOWITZ, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're dealing with a country that can really refinance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.

PLANTE: That was in March. But now?

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Oil revenue is not the only answer.

PLANTE: Last September, the White House downplayed its own cost estimate from economic adviser Larry Lindsey.

SEN. CARL LEVIN (D), MICHIGAN: It is ironic to note that administration officials denounced Mr. Lindsey's estimate that the cost of the war before it was launched would be in the range of $100 billion to $200 billion.

PLANTE: With $79 billion appropriated and a request for $87 billion more, Lindsey's estimate appears close to the mark.

(on camera): Critics accuse the admiration of creating a false impression. For its part, the admiration says that its critics have misinterpreted the specific language used.

Chris Plante, CNN, the Pentagon.


ZAHN: And as the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Representative David Obey keeps a close eye on the federal budget. He joins us from Washington to discuss the impact of Iraq.

Welcome, sir. Thank you for joining us tonight.

REP. DAVID OBEY (D), WISCONSIN: Glad to be here.

ZAHN: According to your staff on the Appropriations Committee, President Bush is asking for $255 per Iraqi citizen for power, when, stateside, we spend just about 71 cents per citizen. Can you rationalize this to the American public?

OBEY: I don't think you can.

That doesn't mean that the public can't be brought around to supporting what the president is doing in Iraq. But I think we have to remember that Harry Truman was able to sell the Marshall Plan in the United States a long time ago because people thought he was taking care of his knitting at home and because Harry Truman paid his bills. He was the last president to balance the budget over the full length of his term.

The problem with this time around is that we have these huge expenditures on a per capita basis in Iraq in comparison to what's being spent on our own country in sewer and water, what's being spent on housing, what's being spent on rehabilitating the power grid. When you see that, for hospitals and critics, for instance, $38 is going to spent in Iraq for $3 at home, I don't think the public is going to sustain that kind of disparity very long. When you see, for instance, that this package is twice as large as the entire federal education budget, and when you see that it's 16 times as much as the amount we're asking the president to add for education, I think you see the disparities.


ZAHN: Sir, if you would, I would love you to move along to some other statistics that I would like to have you help us crunch tonight.

Administrator Bremer said that repairing Iraq's water system would cost some $16 billion. Now, the president asked for only $3.7 billion. Mr. Bremer asked for $13 billion for the electrical system. The White House asked for only $5.7 billion. Why the discrepancy here in these numbers?

OBEY: Well, I think you have to ask the White House.

I think what's happening is that the public is being given the facts on the installment plan. I saw public support for what we were doing in Vietnam erode because Lyndon Johnson, frankly, lied through his teeth to the American people. And I think this time around, we're getting the truth on the installment plan. We're getting information a little bit at a time. If you go into a war, you have a right to know what people's expectations are ahead of time.

And, certainly, the public has a right now to have an adequate understanding of how much this is probably going to cost us over the long haul. We're just seeing the tip of the iceberg, I'm afraid.

ZAHN: But, sir, in spite of some of the -- what you say discrepancies that you're pointing out tonight on what will be spent in Iraq and what will be spent here in the United States, why then will you end up voting for the president's package?

OBEY: I didn't say I would.

ZAHN: Oh, I was told that you were leaning in that direction. OBEY: No, I've told people that I think Congress in the end will do whatever is necessary to support the troops.

But I believe that, before we decide that, before we cast our votes, we need to ask the right questions about where the money has gone so far, where the money is going in the future. And we also need to know how we're going to pay for this. I think it's absolutely irresponsible at a time of war for the federal government to be telling somebody who makes $1 million a year that we have to give them an $88,000 tax cut. We don't have that kind of money to throw around if we're going to meet the commitments that the president says we should meet in Iraq.

ZAHN: I just want to set the record straight here. We were told in advance of this interview, your press secretary, that you would end up voting for this package. Just set the record straight. You are not in a position, then, to make this decision? You want more discussion on this before you will say yea or nay?

OBEY: As I've said earlier, I will vote for whatever is necessary to protect the troops. But I think that, before we vote on this entire package, we need to ask the questions that I just described.

ZAHN: Congressman Obey, thank you for dropping by.

OBEY: Thank you.

ZAHN: At the end of a very long week.

Is the administration changing its plans for Iraq on the fly? And, if so, is that an admission that it was wrong to begin with? We have two guests to discuss those questions and more. Frank Gaffney was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration and now is the president of the Center For Security Policy. He joins us from Washington tonight. And Sandra Mackey is the author of " The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein." She joins us from CNN Center in Atlanta tonight.

Welcome to both of you.


ZAHN: Mr. Gaffney, do you believe the White House is in a state of panic, with poll numbers down and accusations that there's no clear strategy now?

GAFFNEY: I don't think there's one White House. I think there's actually sort of two component parts to it.

I think the national security part of the White House, I hope and believe, is seeing the upside, seeing the positive dimensions of what's going on in Iraq, recognizing that the trend is in fact, despite a lot of reporting to the contrary and some unhappy news, no question about it, the trend is moving in the right direction. I will say I think that there's another part of the White House, the political side of the White House, if you will, that has certainly sent signals that it's in a bit of a panic. It's anxious to have what I've called no more war in '04 be sort of the leitmotif of this president's campaign. I hope that it's understood by the president, who obviously has to run the White House, that the political advice he's getting would not be sound or responsible and the national security advice he's getting I think is what he's heeding. And it is, I believe, sound and responsible.

ZAHN: Ms. Mackey, what do you say to those who say, look, the administration had a sense of how messy things could get, but it wasn't until you got in there after the war that you could really begin to analyze how much Saddam Hussein depleted resources and all of that, and this is just the price you have to pay for security? Do you buy that argument?


We could have predicted, going into Iraq, what the problems were going to be after the fighting was over. In fact, a number of us warned about this for months and months, that, don't -- beware of the peace. And we're certainly seeing, all the internal conflicts in Iraq are not only presenting themselves, but we're finding out how complex those divisions are.

When you talk about the Shia, the Sunnis and the Kurds, that's almost simplistic, because, within each of these groups, you have conflicts that are particular to that own group -- that particular group. And so, all of this now is beginning to play itself out on a day-to-day basis, and putting the United States in an extremely difficult position, for which there is no quick or easy exit.

ZAHN: Mr. Gaffney, how much patience do you think the American public has as we head into an election cycle?

GAFFNEY: I think this is a question of leadership, as well as the sentiments of the public.

Look, I think that they're very susceptible to the sort of, frankly, demagoguery that we heard just a moment ago about, we're spending more in Iraq than we're spending here in the United States. In actual aggregate terms, I don't think that's true, per capital terms, perhaps. But here's the point.

I think most Americans understand, as the president does, we're making an investment. And it's an investment we've paid considerably already for in both lives and national treasure and we're going to continue to make, I believe, in the future properly, because it's a way of avoiding a far larger cost in terms of our investment here at home and our infrastructure and quality of life and so on, by prevailing in what I think is an important front in the war on terror.

And if we do that, I think there will in fact be very profound dividends paid to Americans, to our interests in this region and to the wider world beyond. ZAHN: And, Ms. Mackey, you're not suggesting that U.S. troops pull out now, are you?

MACKEY: Oh, no, I think this is the problem.

And I would argue with your previous guest in saying that the American people are, by far, less than happy about this situation. And I think it goes back to the fact that the administration did not level with the people. They didn't tell them how difficult this was going to be.

In fact, I would hold that the people who planned this war themselves were painting a very rosy scenario that we would simply invade Iraq, topple Saddam Hussein, establish Ahmad Chalabi in the Iraqi National Congress and that everything then would fall in place. And, of course, it hasn't.

ZAHN: We've got to leave it there this evening. Sandra Mackey, thank you for dropping by. Frank Gaffney, appreciate your time as well.

GAFFNEY: Thank you, Paula. Nice to be with you.

ZAHN: We're going to take a short break here. Coming up: a bizarre new twist in the Kobe Bryant case. What does it have to do with a Swiss bodybuilder, with an alleged plot?

And a little bit later on: Was LBJ behind the assassination of JFK? A new book says he was.

Plus: dozens of operation and three years of painful rehab, followed by 30 seconds of pure joy. The inspirational comeback story when we come back.


ZAHN: There is yet another bizarre twist in the Kobe Bryant case. Investigators say they have foiled a plot to kill the woman accusing Bryant of sexual assault.

Charles Feldman is standing by in Los Angeles tonight. He has been working on this story all day long.

Good evening, Charles.

What can you tell us about the suspect, Patrick Graber, and the events that led to his arrest?


Well, what a bizarre case, huh? Patrick Graber, 31 years old, he's from Switzerland. Police say he is in the U.S. illegally. His visa expired. He works as a bodybuilder here in southern California. According to police, a few weeks ago, he sends a letter to Kobe Bryant's people, saying: Hey, for $3 million, I could get rid of the problem, the problem being the young woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by Kobe Bryant.

So Kobe Bryant's security people contact the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. The FBI is brought in. A sting operation comes about. There's videotape. There's audiotape. Yesterday, Graber goes to the parking lot of a supermarket. He thinks he's picking up his $1 million down payment. Instead, he's met by 35 law enforcement agents, who bust him.

Now, he claimed in the letter that he had ties to the Russia mafia. Police think that was just macho talk. But they're still looking for possibly some other suspects. Why? Because he claimed that he was going to hire other people with the $3 million to actually do the hit. So, just in case he was telling the truth, they're going to try to track those people down. But they think -- they think, Paula -- that this was just one guy who came up with a scheme to make a lot of money, and it didn't work -- Paula.

ZAHN: Well, now I know why you've been up since 3:00 in the morning investigating this story, a lot of threads to follow here. Charles Feldman, thanks.


ZAHN: We're going to bring in legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin now to talk more about the Bryant case, as well as another big case out of California, the decision by a federal appeals court to review a ruling aimed at delaying the October 7 recall vote.

Jeffrey, back to the Kobe Bryant case. Do you think Kobe Bryant had anything to do with this guy that was arrested?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely not. He was the victim of this guy. He had nothing to do with doing anything wrong.


ZAHN: It doesn't help him, though.

TOOBIN: It doesn't help him. And it may generate sympathy for his accuser, because, after all, it seems there are people out there planning or alleged to be planning her murder. It just shows that, when you raise your head up in a case like this, bad things can happen to you.

ZAHN: What does this do to a jury pool, potentially?

TOOBIN: Again, you don't know how long this story will last. There are a lot of complicated jury issues here.

I don't think it really has anything to do with the change of venue, because this is out of Los Angeles. It has nothing to do with Eagle County in particular. So I think it's just another question lawyers are going to have to inquire about when they do jury selection. It's going to be really tough.

ZAHN: Now, you get to really read the tea leaves for us. TOOBIN: OK.

ZAHN: The 9th Circuit is going to review this election recall case. Do you think we will see the California recall fall on October 7?

TOOBIN: I think the appeals court decision today to take this case up so quickly suggests they are very likely to move the recall back to October 7. I think the March decision of last Monday is very likely to be overturned. So I think they will probably be another ruling maybe as early as the middle of next week reestablishing it for October 7.

ZAHN: We can just imagine which candidates are groaning about that this evening.

TOOBIN: That's right.

ZAHN: Jeffrey Toobin, have a great weekend.

When people talk about Korea's demilitarized zone, they usually talk about the Cold War, armed troops, and long-running tensions. When we come, as our exclusive series continues, we'll show you a side of the DMZ you probably haven't seen.

Also, Hillary Clinton says she will not run for president, but her husband, the former president, keeps dropping not-so-subtle hints that she might. What exactly are they up to, if anything? We're going to ask a former Clinton chief of staff.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

All week long, our Martin Savidge has provided us with exclusive reports from the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas. And this evening, he has a story about an unexpected consequence. The 150-mile buffer created as a shield against war has turned into a sanctuary for nature.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): You are watching what few civilians have ever seen, white Chinese cranes drifting in the evening sky over the DMZ, carried on the same gentle breeze that brings North Korean propaganda music south. The birds move freely. The music blares from a land where freedom is almost unknown.

The DMZ is a land of contradictions. It is one of the world's most dangerous places that also has become one of the world's safest havens for nature.

KWI-GON KIM, SEOUL NATIONAL UNIVERSITY: I was so amazed by nature which was not disturbed by human beings.

SAVIDGE: Professor Kwi-Gon Kim was the first naturalist ever allowed into the South Korean side of the DMZ in 1996. He documented over 1,000 species of animals, plants, and insects, many of which could be rarely found anywhere else. In the seven years of study since, that number has grown.

KIM: Almost the 2,800 species of animals and plant which live in this area.

SAVIDGE (on camera): That's an amazing number.

KIM: Yes, an amazing number.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): The work hasn't been easy. He's had to overcome military bureaucracy and avoid the DMZ's inherent dangers.

KIM: Particularly right after raining, I feel very dangerous.

SAVIDGE (on camera): Why?

KIM: Because the land mines.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But what he sees is worth the risk. Nearly 1,000 square miles make up the DMZ and the military area around it. It is the largest swathe of undeveloped land in all of South Korea. For half a century, it has been almost entirely off-limits to human and modern intervention.

Professor Kim believes it is a treasure, not just for Korea, but the world. And, in another contradiction, he fears peace could be its greatest threat. Like most South Koreans, he yearns for the day north and south are reunited.

KIM: But there is some worries about keeping the ecosystem as it is.

SAVIDGE: He is concerned economic pressures will force the land to change. Farms and factories could lay siege to nature. Instead, he dreams of the DMZ becoming a nature preserve, dedicated to peace, a place where everyone, not just soldiers, can watch the white Chinese cranes fly free.

Martin Savidge, CNN, in the DMZ.


ZAHN: And Martin will be anchoring a special on Korea's demilitarized zone over the weekend. It's called "Dangerous Divide." You can catch it Sunday night at 6:00 p.m. Eastern, 3:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

There is a provocative new book out about the Kennedy assassination. Was Lyndon Johnson responsible for the president's death? We'll be talking with the author and with a critic of his book.

And a little bit later on, we'll tell you why driving a London taxicab takes one rather large brain, literally. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ZAHN: Here are some of the stories you need to know at this hour.

Authorities now blame Hurricane Isabel for the deaths of at least 25 people. But property destruction could have been a whole lot worse. The insurance industry predicts it will pay about $1 billion worth of damage claims in contrast. In contrast, Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused $20 billion in losses.

A more immediate concern than rebuilding is restoring electricity, an estimated 2.5 million people still in the dark tonight.

And a letter from one-time radical Kathy Boudin says she is overwhelmed by the change in her life. She was released from prison this week. After doing 20 years for a fatal robbery, Boudin says she just wants her privacy and is not interested in any media publicity.

This November is the 40th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy's assassination and an upcoming book proposes a provocative new conspiracy theory. The author is Barr McClellan who just happens to be the father of White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. And the theory that Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was behind it, that Johnson's legal adviser plotted it and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the fall guy. We're going to debate that theory now.

With me in New York is Barr McClellan, the author of "Blood, Money & Power: How LBJ Killed JFK." and in South Bend Indiana is Notre Dame law professor G. Robert Blakey. He is the former chief counsel to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations. Welcome, gentlemen. Good to see both of you.

Mr. Mcclellan, I would like to start with you this evening. Is there anyone alive who could be convicted because of the charges you raise in this explosive book?

BARR MCCLELLAN, AUTHOR: The key conspirators are dead. There may be people involved in the cover-up that might have to answer for what happened, but I don't know of anyone right off, no ma'am.

ZAHN: Why did you wait so long to go public with your theory?

MCCLELLAN: It wasn't a long wait. This was really brought out in 1984. We had after that, a lot of research that had to be done getting prints together, finding some of the key exhibits, and just preparing the book itself.

The main point came in 1998 when we had the fingerprints together and some of the other key evidence that we could present to the assassination records review board. After that, it takes time to complete a book, the fact-checking that has to go into it, and assembling -- the whole matter does take times. It was out there before, and it's now coming out. ZAHN: But Mr. Mcclellan, once you assembled this evidence, you took it to the FBI and they didn't buy what you were saying. Isn't that a problem for you?

MCCLELAN: No, because we took it to the Assassination Review Board and presented it to them in the first instance. It also went to the Dallas police department and the FBI. They took a look at the fingerprint match and disagreed, but never gave any explanation of why they didn't find the same match our expert did.

We did take it to two other experts and got their opinions, which is a match, 14-point match. The key thing here is the assassination is such an emotional thing for so many people, especially in law enforcement, that you have to approach it the way we did, take it to a noted expert, give it to him blind, and ask him to see if there was a match.

ZAHN: Professor Blakey, I know you have not read the book, you have seen excerpts of the book. First of all, your reaction for Mr. Mcclellan's theory that somehow LBJ was involved in the assassination of the president?

G. ROBERT BLAKEY, LAW PROFESSOR: I find it fundamentally flawed as a matter of law and as a matter of evidence. Let me read for a second, Paula, one of his statements. "Legally, once a plot is proven, conspiracy law mandates that the conspirators show there was no crime. At this stage, the burden is on the apologist for Johnson to show he did not participate in the assassination."

Nonsense. The burden of proof is always on the proponent for the existence of the conspiracy and the connection to a possible conspirator to it. That's his fundamental legal problem. His evidentiary problem is that he confuses character assassination with evidence of the assassination. Just because Johnson was a terribly bad man it doesn't mean that he committed the assassination.

ZAHN: Mr. Mcclellan, you heard what Professor Blakey had to say, you're jumping to outrageous conclusions here and making outrageous assumptions.

MCCLELLAN: If he would have any familiarity with the law of evidence in Texas back in 1963, he would understand how conspirators do have a duty to come forward. As far as Lyndon Johnson being a very bad man, he was, and then tried to excuse him and say, well, he did everything but the assassination. You can't stop short there.

If you look at the rest of the evidence presented, and there is a good bit of it, on indictment of Johnson for a murder of a U.S. DA investigator in 1961, which was the beginning of the motivation for the assassination itself. You can go back and see the working agreements that he had with his key lawyer, Ed Clark, who was the only man he trusted, where Clark agrees to take care of one man for good, and Johnson writes back, saying we know the risk you're taking and we'll see that you are protected. This is all new evidence coming out. ZAHN: All right, professor, I can only give you about 30 seconds to respond to that. We have now seen in public, thousands of hours of tapes done by LBJ, even acknowledged he was a dark man. He was not a well-liked man. Is it even plausible that he could be motivated to do something like this?

BLAKEY: Paula, listen. He not only has to establish the plausibility of his theory, he has to establish the implausibility of the most plausible alternative theories. He doesn't do that. The book only focuses on his theory and only marshal's evidence in favor of it.

The book is simply implausible. No sane man, and Johnson was a sane man, calls down on a motorcade of which he is a part fire. He risked his own life. It just is not plausible.

ZAHN: Mr. Mcclellan, I can only give you about ten seconds to respond to that.

MCCLELLAN: My thing is read the book. It will be clear to anyone who takes an unbiased look that LBJ killed JFK.

ZAHN: We've got to leave it there, and I guess everybody will have their interests piqued on reading this book to come to their own conclusions. Barr McClellan and G. Robert Blakey, thank you both for joins us this evening.

We're going to take a short break. Still ahead, can you name any of the Democratic presidential candidates? We bet you can name the Democrat best known, a noncandidate. In a minute we'll have Bill Clinton's former chief of staff if Hillary Clinton will end up in the race. We'll be right back.


ZAHN: Well, forget years of intensive study at Oxfords or Cambridge in England. May be all it takes to shake the British mind is to tool around behind the wheel of a London black cab. Richard Quest takes us from point A to point B.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is the heart of the British capital. Being a cabby here means using special cells in the center of the brain. So do London cab drivers have a better sense of direction than you or me? Let's put it to the test. Going from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London. Meet Jamie, our cab driver. Jamie, using brainpower alone, get us there the quickest way, the cheapest price.

Two famous landmarks and plenty more on the way. That statue is Eros, in Piccadilly Circus. The study in the "Journal Nature" says cabbies' brains tune into these beacons to help navigate from A to B. To the rest of us it's left to right and getting lost.

If Jamie follows my directions, we're deemed to go round and round. We'll never get there. I need to know if Jamie's brain is working at full strength, so a detour on our way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to leave Buchingham Palace right now. There's a lot of traffic, so we're going to check...

QUEST: Here at the Brain Theme Park, Jamie's now describing the route he's taking to the tower. The computer shows his gray matter is truly charged -- this is brain power at work -- so back on the road and Jamie's got the bit between the teeth, as we say.

He studied for three years to become a black cabdriver. It's a test called "The Knowledge" so he's a bit suspicious that the secret is nature, not nurture.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think it's a lot of rubbish, but I think if you train to be a cabdriver and you did "The Knowledge" you would acquire it like I have acquired it.

QUEST: Tower in sight, not a wrong turn on the way. And Jamie hasn't even broken out into a sweat.


QUEST: And the question, of course becomes whether it was skill, knowledge, or indeed whether the brain finally did the trick, Paula.

ZAHN: I suspect the brain had something to do with it, Richard?

QUEST: Indeed, the point about it, Paula is that here in London, cabbies are well-known, not just because they know their way around the city, but because they talk a lot and will give their opinion on everything from politics, religion. And you know they're also very famous for saying who they had in the back of the cab. One even said I had that Paula Zahn in the back of my cab one day.

ZAHN: Oh, I bet he did, Richard.

On a very different note, let's talk about David Blaine. I heard there were sausage gangs out there today trying to get him out of his box. They were pelting him again.

QUEST: Paula, they have been pelting him all week. Sausages, eggs, the usual rotten potatoes and tomatoes, but Sir Paul McCartney also got into a fracas down at David Blaine's box. He had a punch up with a newspaper photographer when he went to have a quick look late last night. And in the next 24 hours, don't ask me why we know that it's a gay group, it was on the Web site, but a gay group is planning to go and pelt poor David Blaine with Chipotle sausages. Now look Paula, I can't sit and tarry the meter, oh, lord, the meter is up to 20 pounds.

ZAHN: You know what? I'll bet you your home company will pick up the tab for you tonight. Have fun. I can hardly wait to see where you might be going tonight at this hour in the morning. Richard Quest, thanks so much. Travel safely.

Somehow I think Paul McCartney might have a song inspired by what happened to him as he watched those guys throw sausages at David Blaine.

Coming up next, Hillary Clinton says she will not run for president. So why all the hints from her husband that she will? We'll ask his former chief of staff.

And a little bit later on a story of a football player with heart and determination and his remarkable comeback on a prosthetic foot.


ZAHN: Whether it's him or her, Clinton watching is still a national obsession. Today's "New York Times" says, General Wesley Clark joined the presidential race after he got a push from both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

The big question tonight is whether Senator Clinton herself run? Well President Clinton fueled -- that would be former president -- fueled further speculation about his wife's plans with his comments he made earlier this week. Maybe Leon Panetta knows what the future may hold. He was President Bill Clinton's chief of staff and joins us from Monterey, California tonight. Always good to see you, sir. Welcome.


ZAHN: Well, you're the one that kind of started all this. You were in Monterey And you asked the president if you thought in the end Mrs. Clinton might run, and here's what the president told you, quote, "that is really a decision for her to make." What do you think his aim was in making this provocative comment to you?

PANETTA: Well, I think that's exactly what he believes, it is her decision, and it really is something that he believes she ultimately has to make. I think he began it actually by saying he was a retired politician and that the active politician is the one who has to make that decision.

ZAHN: Oh, right. Retired politician, former president Clinton? You don't thing we're going to buy that, do you?

PANETTA: I doubt it. He's -- you know, considering the fact that 2,000 people showed up for our forum here in Monterey, it tells you a lot that he's pretty active and popular out here.

ZAHN: Let's go to what Bill Clinton's press spokesman Jim Kennedy had to say. He issued a 1 line statement. It is simple. Here's what it reads, it said, "He said, it was her decision and she has decided." Leon, what's that supposed to mean?

PANETTA: Well, you know, I -- knowing both the president and his wife, she's someone, if she makes a decision, she sticks to it, and I believe she's made a decision and a commitment here that she's going to remain a Senator in New York. I suspect she's going to stick to that decision, she's that kind of person. ZAHN: How much do you think she's loving the speculation? Because almost everybody who has seen any of those emails on her Web site that have become public have said, "come on, she's fueling all this?"

PANETTA: I think both the former president and Hillary are enjoying kind of a renaissance right now. She's gotten this book out and have got tremendous reaction to it. He's getting received by large numbers of people wherever he goes. He's in Bosnia right now as we speak, for the work he did there. I think there's a renaissance, as the president's polls go down people start thinking the Clintons may not have been so bad for this country.

ZAHN: So in the end, is that what this is about, just the Clintons?

PANETTA: I think there's a lot to that. It obviously goes to the record. People are, you know, when you're in a down economy, when you are losing jobs, when there's trouble over in Iraq, there tends to be a reaction that takes you back to the past administration.

So that's part of it. Part of it is the Clintons themselves. They enjoy a lot of popularity, particularly among Democrats. We certainly see that in California.

ZAHN: We had some fun searching Mrs. Clinton's Web site today, and couldn't find any references to people urging her to run for president, although earlier this week, we did. Do you read anything into that at all?

PANETTA: As the president said, they went to a fair in upper New York and there were a lot of people coming up to her saying they were willing to forgive her commitment to stay as Senator, and they would love to see her run for president. I'm sure she's getting that a lot throughout the country. As I said, she is a woman of her word, and I take her at her word and she's decided she's going to stay a Senator. I suspect that is the case.

ZAHN: Mr. Panetta, I can only give you about 15 seconds to answer this question. Where are you going to be on October 7? You think you're going to find yourself at a voting both voting for or against a recall, giving the federal pealate (ph) court action today?

PANETTA: I still -- yes, I still think that the vote is going to go forward, and it should. This has been a terrible embarrassment from California. It's something we shouldn't do. And the sooner we get it over, the better off we'll all be.

ZAHN: And you're voting against the recall?

PANETTA: Absolutely. As a Californian, I think it's a terrible precedent and it's bad for California, bad for our economy, and very frankly, it's bad for our politics.

ZAHN: Always good to see you. Leo Panetta, again, good of you to drop by as you head into your weekend there. Pleasure. Still ahead, a story of hope, perseverance and determination. How one college athlete refused to give up in the face of enormous odds. Please still with us.


ZAHN: San Jose State football player Neil Parry is not at the top of anyone's list of Heisman hopeful. He's not even the best player on the team. But his story may be even more inspiring than that of any superstar athlete.


ZAHN (voice-over): Neil Parry always had to fight for his dreams. Without a football scholarship, he was an underdog trying out for a spot with the San Jose State Spartans. And he did what few do -- he made the team.

But shortly after that, at this game, Parry broke his leg in two places. Bones pierced the skin. Neil developed serious infections in his leg and, incredibly, nine days later had it to be amputated. Just hours after the surgery, Parry vowed to play football again.

But could he? It would take 25 surgeries, 15 prosthetic legs, and untold hours of painful rehabilitation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've watched him work out in the weight rooms. I've watched him not miss a workout. I've watched him put the leg on and off because he wanted to play. And I mean, he's what America is all about.

ZAHN: And no one is letting up on Neil.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not taking any slack off of him whatsoever. If anything, they're hitting him harder than other players, because he's hitting them harder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody in the family is way excited for him. Just totally excited for him. They've watched what he's had to go through for three years, and what he's -- how hard he has worked, and they think he's due.

ZAHN: Due for a standing ovation. Last night, Parry took to the field for his first game in three years. And while San Jose State lost, Neil proved to everyone that despite a life-changing injury, he will always be a football player chasing that victory on the field and off.


ZAHN: And the story doesn't end there. I'm joined now by Neil Parry. He joins us from San Jose.

Welcome and congratulations.

NEIL PARRY, COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Thank you. Thanks for having me on, Paula.

ZAHN: Neil, tell us a little bit about the feeling once you got out there on the field for the very first time in three years.

PARRY: Well, just being out there, being out there with the team warming up, you know, it's just a different feeling than going out and just watching the game. So I was excited to be with the team again, you know, just knowing I was going to get in the game was -- it was overwhelming.

ZAHN: I've got to tell you, I'm looking at these pictures and I'm looking at your speed and I'm looking at your agility, and it seems almost like a miracle you can do what you're doing today.

PARRY: Well it's -- you know, it's a good thing for technology -- the technology of prosthetics. You know, it's come a long way in 10 years, and that's what's allowed me to get back on the football field.

ZAHN: I'm trying to imagine what it must have been like when you were sitting in the hospital wondering whether you would ever be able to walk around, let alone play football again. And you made a vow so early on after this very serious injury, you would go back to doing this again. Was there any point during this horrible rehab period where you second-guessed yourself about making that vow?

PARRY: Oh, yes, there was. You know, there were points when something would go wrong and I would think to myself, Can this be done? But, you know, I just called my brother and talked to him. And he'd would get any through it and I would just go work out again and, you know, everything would work out.

You know, but there was -- you know, I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't think I could do it, you know? There were always points where I was down, and -- you know, but I always picked myself back up because -- I mean, being down, you know, that's not going to get me anywhere and that's get me what I want. So I just tried to stay positive.

ZAHN: I understand as you look far down the road, you might want to coach football someday. This football thread has been a very important thing in your life, hasn't it? What has it meant to you?


Well, football -- it means so much more to me than just -- it's not just a game to me or my brother. You know, we started playing together when we were in fourth grade, so -- and then football is the only reason I came to San Jose State. You know, I probably wouldn't even have gone to school if it wasn't for football. You know, I was never that kind of -- I wasn't really into the studies. You know, I went to work full time when I got out of high school.

And then my brother talked me into coming to San Jose State and playing football with him. And, you know, I walked on, as you said in the piece, and ended up playing my first two years and -- you know, that's when I got hurt in my second year. And they gave me a scholarship. So, you know, I'm going to finish school and graduate because of football, and I just hope I can stay in football, you know, whether it be coaching or in administration or something.

ZAHN: Somehow I think that might be in the cards.

Just a final thought on what the rest of us can learn from your story.

PARRY: Well, I don't know. I guess if you just want something bad enough, just keep going for it, you know, no matter what goes wrong, you know? It took me three years to finally get on the field, but hey,you know, I did it.

ZAHN: Well, we're going to continue to root for you. Neil Parry, thank you for sharing with us tonight. Have a great weekend and great season.

PARRY: Thank you, Paula. Thanks for having me on.

ZAHN: Take care.

And we want to thank you all for joining us as we wrap up the week here.

Monday on this program, the authors of the explosive new book on the murder of two Ivy League professors by two seemingly normal teenagers. And we got a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) more than that. We'll continue to follow what's going on in Iraq and the debate in Washington over what it might ultimately cost to rebuild.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Again, thanks for dropping by tonight. We hope you have a real good weekend. Good night.



Theory Emerges; Leon Panetta Discusses Senator Clinton's Chance Of Entering Presidential Race>

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