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President Bush Asks United Nations For Help; No Freedom of Press in Iraq?

Aired September 23, 2003 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The president takes his agenda back to the body he scorned, this time asking for help. Can he get the assistance he wants, while defending the U.S. invasion of Iraq?
Iraq's governing council bans the two largest independent Arab TV networks. Can a new democracy exist without freedom of the press?

And are you lost in the digital world of gadgets and gizmos? There's new hope for the technically challenged. Geeks to the rescue.

Good evening. Welcome. Glad to have you with us tonight.

Also ahead: the California recall ruling. A federal appeals court gives the election a green light. Our debate tonight: In a nation overwhelmingly Christian, are Christians being persecuted for their beliefs?

Also, humorist Dave Barry stops by to tell us why he wants to run for president.

And the bedside manner test: what all potential doctors will soon have to pass.

Now, here are some of the other headlines you need to know right now.

Pentagon officials say a U.S. airman who worked at the Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is now charged with espionage. They say Senior Airman Ahmad al-Halabi was arrested in July holding classified information about suspected al Qaeda detainees. An Army chaplain is also in custody for similar reasons.

A Maryland chiropractor says he saw John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sitting in a car near a middle school just an hour before a sniper shot a 13-year-old student. The testimony came during Muhammad's pretrial hearing. It's the first time anyone has testified to seeing either sniper suspect at any of the shooting scenes.

People in New Jersey cleaning up after tornadoes today. They were part of a storm system that dealt a setback to much of the East Coast's recovery from Hurricane Isabel.

Of course, President Bush today went before the United Nations to defend the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and to ask for help in rebuilding it. Mr. Bush said Iraq needs U.N. assistance to establish a democratic government. But he warned that the shift to Iraqi self- rule should not be rushed by the wishes of others.

"In Focus" tonight: How is that message playing around the world? Well, we start in key capitals involved. We are joined now by Jim Bittermann in Paris, where the French government has led opposition to the U.S. war effort. And I'm also joined from Baghdad by senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers.

Good to see both of you.

Walt, I would love to start with you this evening.

Tell us how many Iraqis you think actually caught the president's speech.

WALTER RODGERS, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they certainly had access to it, Paula.

The Arabian television channels Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya certainly available here. So if the Iraqis wanted to see it, it was available on TV. It does take a while for the impact of the president's speech to distill into the public consciousness here. So, a broader reading is probably not available.

Now, there's one other element in this part of the world. Arabs in general tend to be fatalists, so, no matter what the president said, they're going to be resigned to it, because that's just part of their mental makeup -- Paula.

ZAHN: So share with us some of the very specific reaction you've heard from Iraqis you've spoken with this evening.

RODGERS: It ranged the full gamut.

One of the more interesting ones was an Iraqi who said nobody can do it better than the Americans, that is, to say the United Nations is not up to the task at this point. And that's probably the case, because the Americans have troops on the ground. There were other Iraqis, more nationalists, if you will, who said, quite simply, it's time for the Americans to go. And many Iraqis would clearly like to end the military occupation, see their own police officers on the street.

Others were even more severe in their criticism of the Americans. They said that the only reason the Americans are here are for the Iraqi national treasures, read that, oil -- Paula.

ZAHN: Finally, tonight, Walt, the president made it clear in his speech that he feels that Iraqis' lives have been improved by their liberty. Do they see it that way?

RODGERS: Well, Paula, you can't eat liberty, no matter what the president says. And, remember, when the president talks about liberty, he's talking about a Western, European intellectual concept that started at least during the French enlightenment several hundred years ago. And there was no enlightenment in this part of the world, in the sense that liberty means for Iraqis what it means for Americans and others. I think what's most important in all of this is that the Americans are here trying to impregnate Iraqi society with the concept of democracy. Every soldier that I have seen in this part of the world, the Americans -- and we're talking about officers and enlisted men -- say that is going to be a very hard sell -- Paula.

ZAHN: Walt, please stand by while I bring in your colleague, Jim Bittermann.

Jim, how is the president's speech likely to play in Wednesday morning papers there?

JIM BITTERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very interesting, Paula.

I don't think there was anywhere near the attention paid to the speech as there was in the United States, paid to the speech here in France. We were -- the CNN crews were out this evening at "Figaro" newspaper as the speeches were being made, talking to the man who's going to be in charge of writing the editorial tomorrow.

And, basically, he was focusing more on what President Bush had to say than anything President Chirac had to say. After all, this is a country where five out of six people essentially support President Chirac. They may disagree with him on a lot of other matters. But on the question of Iraq, five out of six people here basically say they support the way that Chirac has handled the issue.

So there wasn't a whole lot of interest in what Chirac had to say. The French basically know he was going to say. It was more a focus on Bush. And at that, the chief editorial writer said that he was interested in what Bush has learned, as he saw it, from coming to the United Nations, that he had learned that even the most powerful man, the most powerful country in the world still needed friends and allies -- Paula.

ZAHN: I would love to play a small part of the speech now that many interpret as a not-so-subtle reference to the French. Let's listen together.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The primary goal of our coalition in Iraq is self-government for the people of Iraq, reached by orderly and democratic processes. This process must unfold according to the needs of Iraqis, neither hurried, nor delayed by the wishes of other parties.


ZAHN: There is no other way to interpret that, is there, Jim, than a direct reference to the French, particularly when it comes to a timetable?

BITTERMANN: No, I think you're absolutely right, Paula.

In fact, the French have been saying that what they want to see is a much faster turnover of sovereignty and of real power to the Iraqi Governing Council.

One of the things, by the way, in that is a tacit admission by the French that they're willing to go along with this governing council. After all, that was a handpicked council, handpicked by the United States. The French would have rather seen the United Nations do it. But they've kind of backed off on that. So it's one sort of small area of compromise.

I would think what they would say is what the Bush strategy has been doing so far has not proved to be very successful. I think that they would also say -- the diplomats here would say that the Bush administration's analysis of the way things work in Iraq has not been correct. After all, soldiers were not greeted with open arms, as the administration said they would be. Weapons of mass destruction were not immediately found, as they said they would be.

So any analysis now by the Bush administration about how Iraqis will react, I think is viewed here somewhat with skepticism. There hasn't been a whole lot of real value there in the kinds of assessments that have been made up until now by the administration -- Paula.

ZAHN: Jim Bittermann, thanks so much.

Walt Rodgers, you as well. I know you normally work long days, but a particular long day because of our early morning coverage that got under way, as we faced the president's speech.

We've heard how the president's speech played in Paris and Baghdad. How will it play here?

I'm joined now from Washington by Democratic Senator Jon Corzine of New Jersey. I'm also joined from the nation's capital by Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine.

Good to see both of you. Welcome.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: Thank you, Paula.

REP. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Senator Snow, what do you think the president set out to accomplish today?

SNOWE: I think first and foremost was the fact that, through his presentation as president at the United Nations, that, obviously, he is extending an olive branch, making the case that this is a new phase for Iraqi liberation and obviously engaging the United Nations in the reconstruction of Iraq.

And, certainly, it is a moral imperative for the international community and the practicality, I think, of the U.N.'s track record in the past in rebuilding and establishing vital institutions in various countries, and how important it would be to ensure that they will play a very important role in this process. And the secretary-general is obviously indicating -- he expressed a desire to make sure that the United Nations becomes more relevant and that what better way than to establish a free and secure and democratic Iraq.

ZAHN: Senator Corzine, does one extra soldier, or does any extra money come out of this appearance that the president made before the General Assembly today?

CORZINE: I think it was good the president engaged the U.N. in the way he did today and asked for help.

I don't think the arguments that accompanied that request for engagement were particularly enticing to some of those who had differences of views about how we got there and how we are proceeding in the post-conflict period. I think there's going to be a lot of work to be done behind closed doors, real diplomacy brought to bring back a consensus in this war on terrorism. And I think the president opened the door a little bit today by his request, but I would suspect the French and others would not find the framing of it particularly convincing.

ZAHN: Let's talk, Senator Snowe, in a political sense, what this speech might mean. The president came into the speech with the lowest poll ratings of his presidency. Do you see this speech in any way lifting his declining poll numbers?

SNOWE: Well, I think most importantly, Paula, is pursuing the right policy.

And I think the president's taking the right approach. And going to the United Nations, I think, was an important admission on his part that the United States needs their support, both financially and obviously through peacekeeping support that the U.N. members could provide. But, more importantly, it is their obligation. And I think the American people would concur with the president on this matter.

This is a critical phase at this point in Iraq. Are they saying that the end result of what occurred as our result of our military intervention is wrong? I don't think so. So I would hope that we could set aside the disagreements in terms of the method and timing now and agree that a secure Iraq is in the interests of the entire global community.

ZAHN: But, if you would, please answer the question -- I know what you're saying. You believe those issues are far more important than the political equation here. But, certainly, the president's aides have conceded that they are very concerned about what's happening with these poll numbers. Do you think there was anything in the speech that was particularly reassuring to Americans when it comes to the very specific thoughts about the postwar effort?

SNOWE: Well, I think they would agree with the fact that the president went to the United Nations. I think that's a very positive move. And I think that, yes, that would resonate with the American people.

I think, in the end, what matters is how Iraq turns out. And I think that, ultimately, will be the most important issue to the American people. And having a free Iraq fights the war on terrorism. It opposes proliferation. It promotes stability in the Middle East. And if all that is the result of what has happened in Iraq, then that would obviously rebound to the president of the United States.

ZAHN: Senator Corzine, can the president be reelected if Iraq is not stabilized by the election in 2004?

CORZINE: Well, I think the kind of deterioration in the support that the president has had basically since 9/11, has seen the erosion of that, I think is a direct result of the American people sensing that certainly the post-conflict planning, with regard to stabilization and reconstruction, just wasn't in place, not in any way, shape or form in a way that they could expect.

And I think they expect a plan. They expect benchmarks. And I think, if the president doesn't lay those down and if there isn't real progress, measurable progress, in the American people's minds, there are going to be even greater questions, which will make it, I think, much harder for the president in the fall of 2004.

ZAHN: Senators Snowe and Corzine, thank you for both of your perspectives this evening.

SNOWE: Thank you.

CORZINE: Thank you.

ZAHN: Appreciate your dropping by.

Coming up: The California recall election is back on. It is just two weeks away. We're going to look at who has the upper hand.

Also: Is freedom of the press under attack in Iraq? We're going to learn more about the ban in Baghdad on two Arabic TV networks.

Also ahead: Are U.S. Christians the victims of persecution? That's our debate tonight.


ZAHN: California's election to recall Governor Gray Davis is back on as originally scheduled. The American Civil Liberties Union says it will not contest today's decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to go ahead with the election on October 7.

Joining us now to talk about the recall and President Bush's speech to the U.N. are two of our regular contributors, brand new contributors, I might add, "TIME" magazine's Joe Klein here in New York, former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke from Washington.

Good evening to both of you.


ZAHN: We're going to get started with the president's speech first, Joe.

We know that, in our coverage -- and we were all a part of it today -- that Bill Schneider, one of our political analysts, said that, after the president's last major speech, you could almost see the public skepticism go up. What do you think will be the end result of this speech?

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, probably, it won't have that -- as dramatic effect, because, in that first speech, in the September 7 speech, the president said: We have a problem. We're going to have to spend a lot of money taking care of it.

Today, he made no concessions at all. And I think that the interesting back story here is the disappointment that people in the State Department and also many of the people at the U.N. are feeling about the rest of the world's unwillingness to help us, to send more troops, to pay more money, especially the Europeans. I've heard it estimated that only 2,000 European troops would be available.

The European Union has only offered maybe a couple hundred million dollars, which is chump change in this sort of thing. So, given those facts, why should the president make concessions? And so he gave a pretty tough speech that was guaranteed to play well with his base supporters in the Republican Party, who don't like him making nice to the U.N.

ZAHN: So is that going to do anything to drive up his numbers? We mentioned in our last segment the president now going into this speech with some of the lowest poll numbers of his presidency.


VICTORIA CLARKE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: With all due respect to Bill Schneider and political pundits -- and some of my best friends are political pundits -- this topic, it is too important to talk about instant polls and snap judgments about this speech.

It was not designed to drive up numbers. It was designed to remind the international community why a large coalition of countries went into Iraq. It was designed to remind people how hard this is and the way forward will require the help and participation of a lot of people and, I think, did it very effectively.

I think something worth addressing is something that Joe mentioned. And it continues this myth that somehow the United States is going it alone. Right now, there are 27 nations from around the world that have forces in Iraq helping. That is very significant. And there will be more. And we'll have the numbers we need. But I think every time somebody tries to say the United States is going it alone, it should be corrected, because it is factually incorrect.

ZAHN: But, Joe, I see you roll your eyes every time you hear that statistic, because you say the participation is very thin. (CROSSTALK)

KLEIN: Oh, yes, and we're paying for them to participate. I don't think that -- it's wonderful, God bless the Poles and all the other countries that are helping out.

But, as Torie said, this is really serious business. It's too serious for snap polls, as she said. But it is also too serious for spin. We went into this unilaterally, although bilaterally with the Brits. The reason why the world doesn't want to help us now, the main reason, is because we went into it arrogantly and without their consent. And that's what we're going to have to live with.

And we're facing the most serious foreign policy situation we've faced in this country since Vietnam. And we're going to have to do it on our own, with the help, I hope, of the Iraqis.

ZAHN: Well, let me ask you this, Torie. Do you think the speech will deliver more foreign troops to Iraq from the U.N. base? Do you think you'll see more financial aid as a result of this speech?

CLARKE: I think, as the result of a long and continuous effort to have a broad coalition of partners from around the world involved in this, you will see more participation going forward.

And it will be in the form of troops, which are significant, even though the numbers may be small. It will be in the form of money. It will be in the form of lots of things. Again, it's significant that the governing coalition, the governing council, has already instituted some reforms to encourage foreign investment. That will make a difference. Things aren't going to happen overnight, but the steady progress will continue.

ZAHN: On to the California recall. October 7, it is, Joe Klein.

KLEIN: Thank God.

ZAHN: What does it mean to all these candidates? You're stick of talking about it, aren't you?


KLEIN: This is one of the stupidest elections I have ever seen. I imagine there's a fair amount of relief.

Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn't want to be exposed to the public all the way until next March. Gray Davis I think feels that he is gaining some steam. But this is another case where numbers, all these poll numbers, don't mean anything, because we don't know who's going to come out to vote in this case. We don't know who the electorate is going to be. It's going to be a very, very hot couple of weeks between now and October 7.

It's all going to happen during that time. And to make any kind of predictions at this point would be to be really stupid.


ZAHN: All right, Torie, so I'm not going to ask you for an exact prediction of who is going to win, but who does this decision help today? Joe just mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger having a shortened campaign, as opposed to this thing going off in March.


CLARKE: The decision today helps the people of California. And this doesn't make me popular with all my Republican friends, but I thought this recall was goofy. It shouldn't be that easy to get rid of a sitting governor. It shouldn't be that easy for every Tom, Dick and Harry and porn star to get on the ballot.

People out there deserve better. So I think the system is wacky. I think the recall is wacky. But, thank God. I'm with Joe. Let's move on, so they can have real leadership and they can move forward and try to turn that state around.

ZAHN: Mark this moment, folks. This may be one of the rare occasions that Torie Clarke and Joe Klein actually agree with each other on a topic.

KLEIN: I hope not. I hope not. We both agree that it's really important to get the job done correctly in Iraq.

CLARKE: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Well, that is true. Point well taken. Thank you both for dropping by.

CLARKE: Thank you.

ZAHN: Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya became household names during the war in Iraq. Now they are cut off. Coming up, we're going to find out what that might mean for freedom of the press in Iraq.

And then, a little bit later on:


DAVE BARRY, HUMORIST: I have a 3 1/2-year-old daughter. And at that age, they believe that the responsibility for the removal of the booger is the parents'.


ZAHN: All right, we'll be shifting some gears for some not-so- high-minded talk with humorist Dave Barry.


ZAHN: Welcome back.

The TV networks that bring news to 44 million Arabic-speaking viewers are for now banned from covering the new government in Baghdad. Iraq's governing council says, for the time being, it's clamping down on Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya, networks that made a name for themselves during the war in Iraq.

Octavia Nasr gives us some background.


OCTAVIA NASR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Start with the oldest, Al-Jazeera, still only about seven years old and likely the only name the world knew before the war in Iraq, known in the U.S. mostly for broadcasting statements from Osama bin Laden. Al-Jazeera offers the flashiest graphics and the most dramatic, some would say disturbing, pictures.

U.S. officials accuse Al-Jazeera of a sort of passive propaganda, because it gains access by agreeing to restrictions. Al-Arabiya went on air only a couple of weeks before the Iraq war. Lately, the network has obtained exclusive pictures and messages from Saddam Hussein. Al-Arabiya is not quite as tabloid as Al-Jazeera, but it has angered U.S. officials with they charge is sensational news reporting.

For the next two weeks, Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya reporters are banned from covering official Iraqi business. On Tuesday, the Iraqi Governing Council took the measure against the networks as a warning and temporary step. In its statement, the council said the networks' coverage was irresponsible and incites political violence. The response from both networks, "Both the truth and press freedom are victims of the decision."

Octavia Nasr, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: So what kind of impact will the temporary ban have?

I'm joined by two people who should know. Both Rym Brahimi and Baghdad bureau chief Jane Arraf report for CNN from Iraq.

Welcome, I guess, sort of home to both of you. Glad to have you with us tonight.


ZAHN: What does this really mean? Does this mean that this new governing council is trying to stifle democracy?

JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF: Well, I think it's scrambling.

The Iraqis, like the Americans, believe they're still in a state of war. And this seems to be a response. Now, what it does essentially is, it shuts them down for two weeks, not a very long period of time, but in quite an odd way, because it means that the reporters for both networks cannot cover government ministries, the government coalition ministries, which seems a little bit counterproductive. Now, obviously, there's messages going out they don't like. They feel they're putting the coalition members in danger, the Americans in danger, and they just want to get a bit more control. And that seems to be what's happening.

ZAHN: So where will the tapes of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein be dropped off and shopped?

RYM BRAHIMI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's a good question.

Obviously, among the newly emerging Arabic satellite networks, there are a few others on the scene, Middle East Broadcast. There's Abu Dhabi TV. And so far, none of them have actually ever broadcast tapes, or received directly, let's say, tapes from either Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, purportedly Saddam Hussein.

Lebanese Broadcast is a different matter. They haven't received tapes directly from Saddam Hussein or whoever claims to be him. But they have aired pictures of militants or people who claim to be militants who have issued threats. And they have aired that. And that seems to be one of the issues here at stake which would have triggered, according to the people I spoke to at Al-Jazeera, this reaction from the governing council.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about the challenges of correspondents over there today. Jane, do you feel like you're in more danger today in this postwar part of the process than you were in the period leading up to the war and during the war?

ARRAF: I think everyone feels that.

And one of the key things is that Iraqis who made the decision to stay during the war -- these are Iraqis who could have left -- are now trying to leave the country. It's just dangerously, in many people's minds, unstable with the kind of crime that Iraqis were not used to. One of the ironic things about Iraq was, it was under such control that, really, unless the government wanted to get you, it was the safest place perhaps in the world. There was almost no common crime.

And for Iraqis and for us, I have to say, it's really a dramatic difference for those of us who covered it beforehand.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about the broad indictment of some of the coverage during the war and even now. You often hear the criticism that reporters aren't showing enough of the good stories coming out of Iraq and there is a perceived anti-American bias in those reports.

BRAHIMI: We've heard that.

And, to be very honest, I think there's probably a little bit of everything is true, in the sense that, yes, there are the few success stories. There are the stories that are tragedies. And, yes, one would want to really be able to put everything across. But the fact of the matter, Paula, is, you know, we do try to be as balanced as we can, and I think we are relatively successful. But every single time that I, for instance, have tried to do a story on U.S. soldiers building a school or having built a clinic -- well, there's a bomb that goes off somewhere, and I mean, what do you do? You can't not cover that.

ZAHN: I hear that theory that part of the reason that journalists haven't been attacked, is the so-called perceived enemy views you all as aiding and abetting -- not you two -- but journalists in general of, you know, they're project that they have under way because you're telling their stories. You're reporting where the bombs go off.

ARRAF: I don't think it goes down to that level of understanding, frankly, because a lot of times Rym and I and all the people we work with, are out there on the streets. We're surrounding by people who are really angry and they're not thinking to themselves, Are they sending our message or not? We're just a focal point, like many foreigners, like even Arab TV stations are these days of this intense anger, because things are not going quite as expected in Iraq, and that's bound to spill over.

ZAHN: Well, I must say that we watched many hours of both of you on the air, and I know you were up against some very challenging circumstances. And we appreciate you sharing some of your stories with us tonight.

ARRAF: Thank you so much.


ZAHN: Welcome back.


ZAHN: Still ahead tonight, in our debate, are Christians in the U.S. under attack facing discrimination for their beliefs?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of the doctors have no bedside manner and they don't understand how it affects their practice in the long run.


ZAHN: Physicians in training learn a new lesson. It takes more than medicine to be a good doctor.


ZAHN: Now, some of the things you need to know.

A U.S. Air Force translator who had contact with suspected terrorists is charged with espionage and aiding the enemy. Senior airman Ahmad Al Halabi worked as a translator at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where the U.S. is currently holding hundreds of suspected al Qaeda or Taliban members. It is not clear where this case is connected with similar allegations against a U.S. Army chaplain at Guantanamo.

Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly today, President Bush asked for international help in rebuilding Iraq. He also had a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac, who is pressing for a speedy restoration of Iraqi self rule.

A striking claim in a new book recently caught our eye -- that Christians in the United States are under siege and are victims of discrimination. The book is called "Persecution: How Liberals are Waging War Against Christianity."

The author is David Limbaugh, and if the name sounds familiar, it's no coincidence -- the brother of radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh. And David Limbaugh is here and his claim is the subject of our debate.

Also joining us with the other side of the argument is Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, who's latest book is called "The Case for Israel."

Dueling books here this evening. Welcome, gentlemen. Glad to see both of you.

David, more than 75 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Do you really feel you're persecuted as a Christian?

DAVID LIMBAUGH, AUTHOR, "PERSECUTION": I don't personally feel persecuted, but I feel that Christians are discriminated against. They're not exhibited the same amount of tolerance as other groups. Politically correct dogma is that it's fair game to criticize and demean and impugn all other -- I mean, no other groups but Christians in this country, and I think our religious freedoms are being suppressed by an overzealous interpretation of the Establishment Clause. Or, to take it out of legalese, overzealous reading of this separation of church and state thing.

ZAHN: Alan, react to that.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, ATTORNEY: Well, nobody should be discriminated against or persecuted, but the idea that Christians in this country are being persecuted reminds me of this young woman who wanted to start a Caucasian-only club, because white people are being persecuted in America.

Let's look at this realistically. If you're a Christian in America you are in the mainstream, and people support Christianity in every way. Every candidate running for office proclaims his Christianity or his Judeo-Christianity. If you have to think of every group in America that has a problem, you know, I would put Christians and whites fairly close to the bottom of that list.

ZAHN: Now, give us some specific examples, David, of where you have seen this kind of persecution in evidence.

LIMBAUGH: That's the point I want to make. Let's look at the evidence.

High school has an Easter can drive and the administration makes them change it to the spring can drive, because they're afraid that it's going to offend someone. We're just talking about religious freedom here. We're not establishment, not talking about a state endorsement of religion. This is a voluntary action to help a women's shelter. They wouldn't let them do it.


ZAHN: All right. Stop there. Alan, you react to that. Do you understand why some people might find that offensive?

DERSHOWTIZ: I think it's silly. Let me go ahead with their Easter stamp or Easter -- you know, just because a few school systems make silly mistakes, because they are overreacting to the over- Christianization of some efforts in the schools to bring Bibles in -- remember, in America, three times as many people believe in the virgin birth as believe in evolution. Our problem is not too much religion. Our problem is too little science.

ZAHN: Go back to that point Alan just made, the idea of over- Christianization. I don't think I've ever heard that term before, Alan. Did you just coin that yourself?


LIMBAUGH: Absolutely not the mainstream culture. I guarantee you the major media, you poll them and find out how many of them would say they're Christians. And they have the strong voice, and they condemn -- they ridicule Christians. They hold them up to scorn. They do it in the media. They do it -- I mean, in the movies. In Hollywood, they make Christians look like morons.

And -- but on the other side of it, in the school system and in the public square, the state affirmatively endorses secular and humanistic values which are quasi-religious if not religious, and nobody objects. The ACLU doesn't object. They promote Islamic simulation materials accompanying a text book, where students are graded on their participation and actually simulating the Islamic faith. Not just studying about it, but actually participating in it.

ZAHN: You acknowledge that, Alan?

DERSHOWITZ: But nobody can your that secular humanism is going to become the established religion of America or that Islam is going to become the established religion. You always worry more about the majority religion. If we were living in Saudi Arabia and we were civil libertarians, we wouldn't be concerned that a Christian was allowed to -- we would want to promote Christianity. We'd want to promote Judaism. We wouldn't want to make sure that the state promoted Islam.

When states promote the majority religion as they do in the Middle East, one gets extremism in religion. It's good that we have checks and balances. It's good we have a lot of Christians being checked by a somewhat cynical media. Better the media be cynical about the majority than about minority.


ZAHN: But you're saying you're not just saying the media. You say you see this as a broader movement.

LIMBAUGH: That's right. From a Constitutional viewpoint -- Professor Dershowitz is a brilliant Constitutional lawyer -- he should be consistent on that and not allow the state to endorse any religion.



LIMBAUGH: So from a Constitutional standpoint, that's troublesome.

But also, secular humanism is being established in the mainstream, in our schools. How else do you explain these crazy theories that two plus two equals five?

DERSHOWITZ: I never heard that. I've been teaching 40 years. Nobody ever told me two plus two equals five.

LIMBAUGH: They wouldn't do that in Harvard or law school.

DERSHOWITZ: I have heard of about evolution, that actually is taught in the school, what do you think about that?

LIMBAUGH: What do I think of evolution being taught in the school? I have no problem with it. I think the other side ought be suppressed. If somebody wants to teach creationism, they ought to be.

DERSHOWITZ: What other side. There so many other sides. Science has proved evolution is correct and creationism is not a science...

ZAHN: You ask some very interesting questions, but I'm the one that gets to ask the questions. I have to move and ask one last question.

Do you think the title of your book has gone overboard?

I mean are you totally comfortable with a title about persecution. Is that what you came up with or did publisher?

LIMBAUGH: I'm not going to answer that, fifth amendment...

ZAHN: Why is that. No, answer that question.

LIMBAUGH: But I will tell -- who came up with (UNINTELLIGIBLE) they'll shoot me and they are helping me. But I think I document in the book, Paula, hundreds and hundreds of cases. In fact, it was 50 percent longer than it was. The toughest thing about writing this book was cutting stuff out, of case after case, not just isolated cases, where Christians are demonized, not shown tolerance like other people are.

ZAHN: Why are you so quick to write some of these cases of as being frivolous or silly.

DERSHOWITZ: I a lot of these cases he's right about, but for every case he cites, I can cite a thousand cases where kids who are atheists or agnostics are made to feel like second-class citizens. Joe Lieberman running for president says that if you're not religious, you can't be moral, and then he has to take that back. George Bush senior says, that if you are an atheist, your not consistent with America. That's what we have to worry about, the minority being oppressed. The majority can take care of itself. You and your brother can defend the majority very well on talk radio and in your columns, I worry much more about the religious minority.

ZAHN: You get the last (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Ten seconds we really have to go.

LIMBAUGH: I urge you to read the book. There is strong evidence. I'm not just making this up. I was compelled to write it, because of the evidence I saw, it's a call to arms to Christians to fight back. It's about religious freedom, not dominance of our culture or religion.

ZAHN: All right, all you readers out there you have a couple good choices out there this evening. David Limbaugh, Allen Dershowitz, thank you for dropping by.

If your VCR still flashes 12:00, we have got some guys that can help you out. Coming up, how they turned one family into technophobic to techno-savvy.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's important that a doctor talks to you, and listens to you, and explains different things to you.


ZAHN: Your doctors better get cracking on improving their bedside manner. We are going to tell you why right out of the break.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've had instances where doctors I think went for the safest, almost paint by numbers approach to treating me.


ZAHN: Well, not all doctors are known for their bedside manner, but next summer that will have to change. Four year med students will have to past a test that says they can communicate clearly and sensitively with patients. The exam covers everything from creating a rapport with the patients to recording accurate notes. In plain English tonight, how to get doctors to treat patients more nicely.

I'm joined by a very congenial doctor, Dr. Nancy Snyderman. She is the vice-president at Johnson & Johnson, and has 18 years as a medical journalist still does surgery until this day.

DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN, V.P., JOHNSON & JOHNSON: And a so-so bedside manner.

ZAHN: I hope it's better than that. Some of the best doctors in the world maid not be the best communicators. Is it fair to force them through this test?

SNYDERMAN: What's not fair is expecting them at the end of the process. To suddenly say to a fourth-year medical student if don't have great bedside manner, we're not going to give you your boards and you won't pass is a little too late. If you were really worried about bedside manner, it should start as we select people in the medical school and then train them along the way. Someone won't be warm and fuzzy, and then you can help them. My concern is if suddenly your personality matters at the end, are we going to take brainy people who may not be warm and fuzzy and push them aside? I think that's a terrible mistake.

ZAHN: You raise an interesting question about the relevancy for the timeline of study here, but how about the relevancy of this test, particularly for doctors who, for the most part, will be working in managed care and have a very specific window of time they can spend with a patient.

SNYDERMAN: You can be nice in 15 minutes or be a jerk in 15 minutes. So, at some point you have to have a rapport with someone. But let's say you don't do that, you're brilliant, but it's not your thing. Well, maybe that student should be channeled into radiology, pathology, science, research, but to say to someone you don't pass our personality test, our you're not great at interviewing a patient, it's cutting off a portion of medical students who may be qualified for something else. I went to the University of Nebraska. When we were first-year medical students, we were immediately introduced to patients, so as we learned our stuff in the classroom, we were forced to touch people and talk to them, and it's scary for medical students to make that leap. So integrate the process along the way, and then when you have fourth-year medical students and they're ready to get their M.D., they already have those basic skills.

ZAHN: Let's talk about what the AMA has to say about this.

We're going to put on the screen what Dr. Nancy Nielsen has said, who is the speaker of the house of delegates of the AMA, "The cost is so great, and it's a logistical nightmare. This responsibility should be delegated to medical schools, where kids can get remediation if they need help. SNYDERMAN: I think she's right. Start day one. This test is going to cost $1,000. It's going to be in five centers so medical students will have to on top of the thousand dollars...


SNYDERMAN: Students are now graduating sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. To add one more thing so late doesn't make sense. If there's a call to action and people think doctors need better interpersonal skills and obviously people on the street believe that's the case, then we should look at how we're educating young scientists and young doctors and say, hey, look, it matters more now than ever, we're going to give you the skill sets. And patients and doctors who have been doing this for years are the best teachers. Young medical students learn by observing. So perhaps it's a call to arms for those of us in our 40s, 50s and 60s to straighten up.

ZAHN: You're in your 40s, Nancy?

SNYDERMAN: Oh, 60s. And maybe it's a call for patients to say to young doctors I'm going to tell you a better way to do this. And there's a give-and-take in all of this.

ZAHN: Finally, there are those who believe, when it comes to diagnosing diseases directly linked to behavioral issues.

SNYDERMAN: Alcoholism, smoking...

ZAHN: This kind of awareness would greatly enhance diagnosis and the ability of a doctor to turn to a patient and say, look, if you keep on smoking, this is what I think is going happen here.

SNYDERMAN: I think you're right. I think that down to earth way of talking is very important, but it still takes us back to the point if you're a fourth-year medical student and are suddenly being told these environmental things matter, it's a little too late. Start integrating all this as first-year medical students and let's ask our doctors to be better in the long run, not just this fast, knee-jerk reaction. It's just not the right timing.

ZAHN: Should we give up viewing you all as gods?

SNYDERMAN: Demi gods.

ZAHN: Dr. Nancy Snyderman, thank you for coming by this evening.

Coming up, instead of queer eye, it is geek eye. After the break, we'll talk to someone who can rescue you from your technophobic world.

And tomorrow, just a day before the next Democratic debate we'll take a personal look at presidential candidate, Wesley Clark. Please say with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ZAHN: For those of you who think that high fidelity means record albums, that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) means to call someone else, and that a pop-up toaster is high tech, we have some help for you tonight. We want to tell you about the fab three featured in the upcoming issue of "Fortune." Think critical care for the gadget-impaired. These guys can create a media environment for the most challenged of all consumers.

Joining us live from Washington are home owners Jennie and Mike Burke, here with us in New York a member of the fab three team, Dean Heistad. Welcome to you all.


ZAHN: So you have to be very honest when you describe the scene that awaited you when you went to their home.

HEISTAD: Well, no offense, but it was, I think, a disaster. It was a technological disaster, I should say.

ZAHN: How?

HEISTAD: There was -- the kids and toys everywhere, a typical home I think in America, in rural America, and there was a cable strung from the computer to the kitchen outlet to get on the Internet; very few what I would consider high-tech gadgets.

ZAHN: Jenny, you brought with you what you would say shows just how far behind the times you were. What is that?

JENNY BURKE, HOME OWNER: It's a little sign I have on my doorbell that says "doorbell does not always work."

ZAHN: Now, is that a function, Mike, of being a technophobe, or the fact that you all just don't have time to figure this stuff out on your own?

MIKE BURKE, HOME OWNER: Well, I would say it's mostly lack of time. I think we have a lot of interest, but it's not always as easy as the commercials might lead you to believe. So time is definitely needed.

ZAHN: So, Dean, what was the biggest challenge in trying to create an audiovisual dream for this lovely couple?

HEISTAD: The biggest challenge was integrating all the equipment that we had. We had a very good idea of what we wanted after we talked to the Burkes and decided we wanted a comprehensive makeover for them, but to integrate it all, to make it all work so that they didn't have to think about how it all worked, that was the biggest challenge.

ZAHN: All right, Jenny and Mike, come clean, can you really operate your home entertainment system on your own?

M. BURKE: Well, we can operate it. We probably can't move any of the cables.

J. BURKE: It's never going to move. We're getting pretty good at it, actually. Some of it's quite intuitive. Other things we've had to break out the manual for after our guru Dean left. But Mike's already addicted to TiVo.

M. BURKE: That's right, TiVo is my life.

ZAHN: And some of us are scared of that concept, because I am looking at the changing time coming up here in the fall, and I'm thinking how many months am I going to have to live with the blinking 12:00 on the microwave and just about every other electrical appliance in the house.

HEISTAD: You're in the majority. Well, I think we're at a technological revolution, and I hope that manufacturers start making things a lot easier.

ZAHN: Truly, as you worked on this for "Fortune" magazine, did you find that Americans by and large were intimidated by this stuff...

HEISTAD: Oh, absolutely.

ZAHN: ... or is it just that those of us that lead busy lives and don't have time to read the manuals?

HEISTAD: No, I think Americans are intimidated by putting it all together. Maybe they'll buy one thing a year, maybe two things they'll get a gift, but to do it all at once is overwhelming to most.

ZAHN: Do you make any other house calls?


ZAHN: You're going to get so many calls tonight. Come rescue us, Dean, Dean. Jenny and Mike, thank you, and I'm glad you know how to listen to your CD player now.

Good luck.

M. BURKE: Thank you, Paula.

HEISTAD: Thanks, Paula.

ZAHN: We're going to be back after a short break. Please stay with us.


ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here this evening. Thanks so much for being with us. Humorist Dave Barry joins us tomorrow. We ran a bit short on time tonight. Tomorrow night, we will be taking an in-depth look at Wesley Clark, a night before he heads into his first political debate. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next, celebrating what would have been the 50th wedding anniversary of John and Jackie Kennedy. Have a good night. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT

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