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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Did Halliburton Overcharge U.S. Government?; New Sexual Revolution?
Aired December 12, 2003 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Did Halliburton gouge the U.S. government on gas prices in Iraq? President Bush wants answers and now Congress may investigate.
Plus: a morning-after contraceptive pill considered for over-the- counter sale. We'll look at whether it could mean a new sexual revolution with novelist Erica Jong and sex expert Dr. Drew Pinsky.
And a nicotine cocktail, tornado in a can, and a car that reads your mood, breakthroughs of 2003, as we bring you the year in ideas.
Good evening. Welcome. Thanks for wrapping up the week with us here.
Also ahead tonight, a report from Iraq on how American troops are putting Saddam Hussein's millions to good use rebuilding the country.
And some people thought John Kerry was a shoo-in for the Democratic presidential nomination. We're going to tell you why his campaign is now struggling to survive.
Plus, from a Ten Commandments monument in Alabama to public schools in France, the debate over allowing religious symbols in public places.
Also, the Scott Peterson case. We're going to ask an expert at picking juries whether a change of venue will help the defense.
First, though, here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.
This year's flu outbreak will soon be a national epidemic widespread in all 50 states. That is the forecast from a doctor who advises the government's Centers For Disease Control. Right now, influenza is considered widespread in about half of the country.
Canada's new prime minister says he wants to improve relations with the U.S. Paul Martin was sworn in today, replacing Jean Chretien, who had disputes with President Bush over Iraq and trade.
Today, President Bush nominated Alphonso Jackson as the new housing secretary. Jackson had been was deputy secretary of the Housing and Urban Development department since 2001. He replaces Mel Martinez, who resigned this week.
Now on to the money trail and the war on terror. Congressional investigators say the U.S. is failing to cut off al Qaeda's money pipeline. A GAO report out just today says the government is nearly a year behind in making plans for attacking money-laundering by terrorists.
That is "In Focus" tonight. And I'm joined by Washington by Michael Isikoff, investigative correspondent for "Newsweek." His latest piece looks at the new face of international terrorism.
Always good to see you, Michael. Welcome.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, "NEWSWEEK": Good to be with you.
ZAHN: How alarmed should anyone be by the findings of this report?
ISIKOFF: Well, not all that surprising, really.
What it really underscores is just how faulty our intelligence still is or how spotty our intelligence still is about many aspects of the terrorist enemy here. The money trail has been exceedingly elusive, hard to pin down. From the beginning, the government has tried to seize as many assets it can tie to terrorist organizations as it can.
It succeeded to some degree in groups that have been affiliated with Hamas and Hezbollah, some of the -- some terrorist groups. But al Qaeda, not as successful at all. It is still very unclear whether we've gotten to the crux of the money flow to al Qaeda. There's been all sorts of suspicions about various charities, most of them based in Saudi Arabia, as being a key pipeline to al Qaeda.
But the intelligence is very murky. And, as the Saudis keep reminding us, the evidence that the U.S. government has presented to them is not at all conclusive about how the money gets from a charitable organization into the hands of terrorists.
ZAHN: So, you cite faulty intelligence. Isn't it also a problem getting these nations to cooperate, giving them incentives to cooperate, and changing laws to make it easier for U.S. investigators to track down this money trail?
ISIKOFF: Some of that. There's some of that, but I think the primary problem is the intelligence.
Look, when the U.S. government has firm, hard intelligence about a particular bank account or a particular business being used to finance operations of al Qaeda, it hasn't had any trouble in shutting those -- it hasn't had too much trouble in shutting those down. The real problem is getting that hard intelligence. And it's still not there.
ZAHN: Let's move on to what you wrote about extensively this week in this week's "Newsweek." And that is the issue of al Qaeda changing some of is tactics. Can you elaborate on that for us tonight? ISIKOFF: Well, what I was really writing about there -- and this is a piece in our online edition this week -- is about the further investigation into the bombing in Turkey last month.
You remember the bombings of the two synagogues, followed a few days later by the bombing of the British Consulate and the British bank, a lot of questions about whether that was a coordinated attack by al Qaeda or not. Investigations by Turkish authorities, as cited in this piece, clearly seem to point the finger. Some 21 suspects have been charged. Many of them, it turns out, had been to training camps in Afghanistan.
And they had -- were possessing tapes and other evidence linking them to al Qaeda. Probably most alarming, one of the key suspects who was captured as he was trying to flee the border into Iran said the two ringleaders of the group that organized those attacks had met on several occasions with Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man who has been just as elusive as bin Laden himself, a clear sign that, for all the relentless pressure from U.S. intelligence agencies, that al Qaeda, its essential structure is still functioning.
ZAHN: Alarming piece of information in that story.
Michael Isikoff, always a pleasure to see you. Thank you.
ISIKOFF: Any time.
ZAHN: Now, since the end of major combat in Iraq back in May, U.S. troops have seized millions of dollars in Iraqi assets. Saddam Hussein's regime had been hoarding some of it. Well, now the U.S. is pouring that money back into Iraqi communities, helping the country along the path to recovery.
Jane Arraf reports.
JANE ARRAF, CNN BAGHDAD BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): This is how the U.S. military in northern Iraq goes shopping. Captain Harper Cook and his team are in the market of Erbil, trying to outfit new Iraqi police in Mosul.
CAPT. HARPER COOK, U.S. ARMY: Like $4, $4 or $5 apiece.
ARRAF: If they waited for money from the interior ministry or the U.S. government, they'd be waiting a long time. Instead they're using cash from seized Iraqi assets put directly back into the community.
COOK: For a 45 man SWAT team we're setting up from the police and just black. Just everything all black.
ARRAF: There's usually a bit of bargaining involved.
COOK: Twenty-five dollars for a flashlight?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's better if you get them from the...
COOK: We can do better than that, see?
ARRAF: The cash itself is carried in an ordinary black backpack, up to $300,000 at a time. You try not to draw attention to yourself, says the captain carrying it.
COOK: So you're going to pay for them when you pick them up?
ARRAF: On this day, the supplies aren't ready yet, so they pay middleman Sidhi Han (ph) a $1,200 bill, including a 20 percent commission. So far, the 101st Airborne Division says it has spent more than $30 million of what's known as the commander's emergency response fund. In this city, which was looted and burned after the war, it's paid government salaries, fixed roads and helped start small businesses.
(on camera): A lot of military officials agree if there's one thing that will improve security in this area, it's reviving the economy. And in this economy every job counts.
(voice-over): One of the projects has revived a trade school for the mentally and physically challenged which was completely looted after the war. But with $22,000 of repairs, dozens of men and women who otherwise probably couldn't make a living are getting a salary. For the Army as well as the community, that's money well spent.
Jane Arraf, CNN, Mosul, Iraq.
ZAHN: U.S. officials say they hope to hand over self-rule to Iraq by next June. But at least one expert says elections will not solve Iraq's problem. And he is proposing something quite radical. He suggests carving Iraq into three separate states, one each for Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis.
Leslie Gelb is the president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and the man behind the proposal.
LESLIE GELB, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Paula.
ZAHN: Why do you think your plan would work?
GELB: Well, I'm not sure it will work, but I'm quite confident it will work better than the three things that all of us spend all of our time talking about.
ZAHN: So you're essentially talking about using this idea as a bargaining chip to get the Sunnis to do what?
GELB: Well, I'm talking about it as compared to what, Paula, because, day after day for the last two months, we've talked about three things, in effect, the president's -- draw down U.S. troops to about 100,000, hold Democratic elections. I hardly know anybody in the administration who thinks that is going to work. Even they believe the situation will be worse a year from now.
Others are talking about sending more troops there. There's no chance we're going to send more troops. We're decreasing the number of troops. And our military isn't calling for more troops. And they're afraid, if we send troops from other parts of the world, we'll be too thin in other areas of potential crises. The third option is, internationalize the war through the U.N.
ZAHN: Well, there's not going to be able any great appetite for that.
GELB: Exactly. Kofi Annan even said publicly the other day, that isn't going to happen.
So, basically, what I did is try to look for another way to gain leverage on the situation. And the idea is to move toward three states. I wouldn't actually have the three states, but move toward them as bargaining leverage. And let me explain how in a moment.
The core of the problem for us in Iraq is the insurgency, mainly in the center of that country, the Sunni center.
ZAHN: Right, where there are no oil reserves.
GELB: No oil reserves. They're basically Sunnis who are used to running the whole country for the last 80 years. They want to continue to keep it that way. They figure, if they can beat us in this insurgency, they can regain control.
ZAHN: What are you going to do with the Sunni Baathists, then?
GELB: Well, essentially, what I would want to do is take most of our troops out of that Sunni center, out of that insurgency, redeploy most of them north to a Kurdish regional autonomous area, south to a Shiite regional autonomous area, and then let the Sunnis think about it.
It gets the monkey off our backs. We don't have to make the tough decisions about fighting the insurgency. And it puts the monkey on the back of the Sunnis. They have to decide between continuing to fight both their neighbors in the north and their neighbors in the south and ourselves and moderating their behavior.
ZAHN: But, as you know, the violence hasn't been contained in that one area.
GELB: No, but it's mainly there. And even when it's elsewhere, it's Sunni. And we have a much better chance of dealing with this insurgency north and south than we do in the center.
ZAHN: What are the chances that anybody would attempt this plan?
GELB: Well, right now, they're all stuck on alternatives they themselves don't think will work.
Quite frankly, I think the only way out of this in the long run is some form of confederation, where the Sunnis have to cooperate, have to stop the insurgency, in order to be part of that confederation, because, otherwise, they have no money, no arms. And, in the long run, they become the poor center.
If they're smart, they would take this as an opportunity to reestablish Baghdad as the center of a new "Triraq," three states like the original states in the United States in one confederal union. That's, I think, the only way I can imagine our extracting ourselves.
ZAHN: Well, we will stay in touch with you as this continues to be debated. It's worth adding another voice into the debate there.
Les Gelb, thank you for spending some time with us tonight.
GELB: Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: The trouble mounts for Halliburton. As President Bush reacts to the overcharging controversy, one senator says it's time for Congress to step in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: When the president of the United States says, we do think -- and I think, in his words -- that there's overcharging, and, if there was, that we expect them to repay it, well, that's a fairly significant statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Plus, symbols of religion worn by people everywhere, but one of our closest allies wants to ban them in public schools. We'll tell you why and whether it could happen here.
And soaring like an eagle. A set of wings gives one man a flight to remember. It's among the brightest ideas of 2003 we're going to share with you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Their investigation will lay the facts out for everybody to see. And if there's an overcharge, like we think there is, we expect that money to be repaid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: President Bush today responding to the controversy over Halliburton, the company hired to rebuild Iraq.
A Pentagon audit says a subsidiary of Halliburton may have overcharged the government $61 million for oil for Iraq. And, as the president gets involved, so too may Congress.
Senator Frank Lautenberg is asking for a congressional investigation into Halliburton. He joins us now from Washington.
LAUTENBERG: Thank you. Nice to be here.
ZAHN: Thank you.
First off, did the president go far enough?
LAUTENBERG: Well, I think the president went pretty far.
For him to effectively disassociate himself from Halliburton says that there's a controversy that has to be looked into. Here, Vice President Cheney has the financial interest -- and you know that we raised that question some months ago -- in Halliburton. It continues because he draws compensation, salary and stock options.
And I don't know why he doesn't disassociate himself altogether. That's the first thing. Secondly is that Halliburton has had a no- compete contract that's just exploded. It started out at $50 million. It's over $2 billion now and could go as high as $15 billion. And we were promised that all future contracts would be bid for. But there has been bidding, but there's been no awards.
ZAHN: I want to come back to the last point you just made, because, first off, there is no allegation at this point, is there, sir, that Halliburton unduly profited from this situation?
LAUTENBERG: Well, when the Pentagon -- the Pentagon, now -- says that they've been overcharged, that's a pretty significant statement. And to me, it sounds like profiteering.
When you're talking about a wartime situation -- and we are in a wartime situation -- and they're accused of overcharging, when they have an exclusive hold on the thing, I think it's outrageous. And this will be the third time I have asked my committee chairman to please hold hearings on this in the Government Operations Committee.
ZAHN: Well, let me read what Halliburton is saying tonight. They are saying there is no price-gouging, that they only make a few cents on the dollar for these fuel deliveries. And they also say, it was the U.S. Corps of Engineers, the Army Corps of Engineers, that directed the company to buy and deliver fuel from Kuwait.
And Halliburton claims it got bids from four different suppliers. At least, that's what the company's statement said. And one was chosen that met the core specifications.
LAUTENBERG: But they deliver fuel at much cheaper rates to the United States and to our military.
So why is it that they can't deal with this thing in a way that says that -- this is what the cost is; this is what we're charging? The Pentagon doesn't make casual assertions like this. And I'm surprised that Halliburton continues along its course, just having a field day over there with all kinds of things, including a $67 million overcharge for the feeding and laundry and that kind of thing.
They've been accused of this before. It's time they came straight with the American public.
ZAHN: And I want to go back to a point you made at the very top of the interview about the compensation the current vice president receives from Halliburton. To be perfectly fair, don't we think -- don't you think we need to put a perspective that this is deferred compensation that he earned from many, many years ago, when he ran the company?
LAUTENBERG: Yes, but why he couldn't have just taken the compensation -- it was available -- we're talking about multimillions of dollars worth of separation pay. We're talking, Paula, about 433,000 shares on options that extend to 2008.
Isn't there something unholy about that the vice president is looking at the price of stock options while this company is profiteering, while they have got an exclusive on contracts in Iraq? I think there's something wrong there. And the Congressional Research Service agreed with me.
ZAHN: Finally, Senator, based on what you know this evening, do you think anything illegal has gone down here?
LAUTENBERG: I don't want to make that kind of an assumption, but I'd like the chance to make sure that we all look at the record, that we're all seeing the same things in front of us. And then we can go ahead and declare either that this thing was appropriate, as it should have been, or that there was something terribly wrong here. And I'd like to find out.
ZAHN: Senator Frank Lautenberg, thank you very much for talking with us tonight.
LAUTENBERG: Thank you.
ZAHN: Now, we spoke with Vice President Cheney's press secretary, who told us Mr. Cheney stands by the comments President Bush made today and that the vice president has no connection to Halliburton or any role in this current process.
Democrat John Kerry's race to the White House. He's behind, but don't count him out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TERESA HEINZ KERRY, WIFE OF SENATOR JOHN KERRY: John has always done very well when he's under fire. He kind of focuses and he gets very calm. And watch out when he's calm.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Also, the morning-after pill. The days of getting a prescription for plan B may soon be over.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Isn't it kind of difficult to ignore a poll, or several polls, in New Hampshire that show Howard Dean outrunning you 3-1 there, in your own state's backyard?
SEN. JOHN KERRY (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's wrong. That's just dead wrong. Yesterday, there was a Pew poll that showed us having closed the gap by 12 points. Look, if you guys want to end the race tonight, go ahead and do it. I'm going to be out here campaigning for the next months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Part of my conversation with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry after Tuesday's debate.
Not too long ago, a lot of people thought the Massachusetts senator was in the driver's seat for the Democratic nomination. So what happened?
Well, senior political correspondent Candy Crowley reports on Kerry's slide.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SR. POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Story time at little frogs and pollywogs.
J. KERRY: OK. Overwhelming choice.
CROWLEY: Once upon a time, he was seen as the front-runner.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name?
J. KERRY: My name is John.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, John.
CROWLEY: Now, as John Kerry tours the day care centers and firehouses of New Hampshire, he gets asked whether his campaign can survive a loss here.
J. KERRY: I'm running a national campaign and I intend to take my campaign nationally. CROWLEY: Pause, pause.
J. KERRY: I intend to win, too.
CROWLEY: How is it that what once seemed likely now has the hint of bravado? How is it that the well-heeled, well-hired power campaign has urgent written on it?
J. KERRY: Thanks very much. Well, I need your help. I need your help.
CROWLEY: John Kerry is idling in Iowa polls and getting smoked in New Hampshire.
CHARLIE HATCH, NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTER: The difference between him and the other candidates is basically that he hasn't gotten his message through.
CROWLEY: It may be that the defining moment of John Kerry's presidential campaign came 15 months before the primary season. It may boil down to a single word.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kerry, aye.
CROWLEY: Kerry has spent a year trying to explain why he voted aye for the resolution approving the use of force against Iraq. He thought it would leverage Saddam Hussein into cooperating with inspectors. He thought the president would give diplomacy more time.
J. KERRY: There were diplomatic initiatives on the table at the time that the president decided to go to war.
CROWLEY: He's seen either as a candidate trying to have it both ways or a nuanced thinker in a bumper-sticker world. Either way, the frustration sometimes seeps through.
J. KERRY: If anybody out there believes that, if John Kerry were president of the United States, we'd be at war with Iraq today, then I don't want them -- they wouldn't vote for me, and they shouldn't.
CROWLEY: Kerry says he doesn't care about the polls, but he does concede the point.
J. KERRY: The analogy I have used sometimes is, we're sort of going up the river here. It's time to fight back. Clearly, I have to, I understand that. I'm in a fight, but I'm a fighter.
So, am I in the running for you?
CROWLEY: You can hear it in his tone and his deliberate choice of words. John Kerry is in combat mode. It suits a campaign based on his resume. It suits him.
T. KERRY: John has always done very well when he's under fire. He kind of focuses and he gets very calm. And watch out when he's calm. He really becomes very focused and he goes for it. So I think he's now said, OK, it's time to get calm.
CROWLEY: As Kerry's numbers fell over the summer and into his fall, his campaign feuded over strategy: stay presidential or take it to Dean? There was a messy firing, some indignant resignations. Time, not much left, and circumstance, he's behind, have settled the question.
J. KERRY: Howard Dean's running around the country saying, "I'm the anti-war guy." He had the same judgment we did. He's trying to cover the bases.
CROWLEY: He's going to take it to Dean.
J. KERRY: I believe I showed leadership and clarity. And I think Howard Dean has, frankly, tried to fudge it.
CROWLEY: He would not be the first comeback kid in New Hampshire, though it may be too little and too late. Still, John Kerry, veteran of all types, won't go down without a fight.
J. KERRY: OK, real-deal warriors, I want to thank you all very much.
CROWLEY: Candy Crowley, CNN, Nashua, New Hampshire.
ZAHN: Head scarves for Muslim women, one of just many religious symbols that may soon be banned from public schools in France. Could it happen here?
Also, all the publicity surrounding Scott Peterson, can he get a fair trial in Modesto? We're going to ask a jury selection expert, as Peterson's lawyers prepare to ask for a change of venue.
And then, on Monday, an interview with Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, as the former general testifies at a U.N. war crimes trial in The Hague.
ZAHN: Here are some of the headlines you need to know at the bottom of the hour.
It looks like would-be presidential assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., wouldn't be going home for Christmas by himself. A judge has yet to rule on Hinckley's request for unescorted trips to home, but the judge has promised to give the Secret Service at least two weeks' notice if the visits are allowed.
Prosecutors in the Scott Peterson murder case say they'd like to buy his truck rather than return it to the suspected killer. They believe Peterson used the truck to carry the bodies of his wife and unborn child. We're going to have more on the case just ahead and on the defense plans to ask to move the trial out of Modesto. But Mick Jagger wasn't crying when he was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace today, Jagger's father and two daughters standing by. Cheerio there, Mick. Mick Jagger is 60 years old.
Now, imagine a ban on children wearing large Christian crosses, yarmulkas or Muslim head scarves in public schools. The French government is now considering that move to sharpen the separation of church and state. Good idea? And would that ever work here in the U.S.? That's our debate tonight.
Joining us now is Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, a group dedicated to promoting religious tolerance, Tom Flynn of the Council for Secular Humanism, a group that sees too much religious influence in America. Welcome, gentlemen.
First off, Dr. Gaddy, what is wrong with banning all conspicuous religious symbols?
REV. DR. C. WELTON GADDY, PRES., THE INTERFAITH ALLIANCE: I think if you ban all religious symbols that you compromise freedom. In the environment of a public school, you also compromise the educational process. And you outright deny a reality that is a part of life, and that is the diversity of religious bodies in a nation and the contributions that those bodies can make to the nation.
ZAHN: Mr. Flynn, what about that, compromising religious freedom and educational freedom?
TOM FLYNN, COUNCIL FOR SECULAR HUMANISM: I would have to disagree with that. I think one of the other freedoms we have to look at is the freedom of individual students to be free of conspicuous proselytization or feelings of exclusion or by pressured by peers. And of course, the government is in a unique situation in France, as it is here, in that students are compelled by law to attend the schools. I think if there's reason to believe that students attending schools who belong to a minority religions, might feel undue pressure that would be communicated through the garb our the symbols shown by others, or if there's a potential for religious identifications to begin to function like gang colors and become a magnet for disorder in the schools, that it's reasonable to establish some limits on displays of religious paraphernalia and symbols, as long as it's imposed evenly.
And what I mean by that particularly is if there is to be a restriction like this, it must be imposed on the majority Christian students in exactly the same way as it is on minority religions in order to be fair.
ZAHN: Well, that's the tough part of this whole plan. Dr. Gaddy, what about the issue of intimidation? Do you buy that?
GADDY: Paula, I don't think that wearing a symbol of a religion can automatically be associated with proselytization by that religion. It seems to me that an important part of the educational process is helping students learn to live with the radical diversity which is a part of the reality of our world. If you start trying to disband all potential cliques, all potential groups, then you're looking not only at religious affiliations, you're looking at racial, you're looking at social-political affiliations. I think it's far better to not correct an abuse of freedom by destroying freedom, but correct the abuse. Help kids learn to live with the pluralism with which they have to cope with as adults.
ZAHN: Mr. Flynn, do you ever see a time where this would be a realistic prospect or be considered a realistic chance of happening in the United States?
FLYNN: I think we may see a situation, perhaps 10 years down the road, where we're forced to take a move somewhat in this direction. In the United States today, we have unprecedented religious diversity representation from just about every faith community on earth. And how do we treat all of these groups fairly? Certainly if you look at the experience of the Jewish community in the United States, we haven't had a spotless record in the way that Jewish students are treated at this holiday time of year, for example.
And now we're multiplying that. We have a sizable Muslim minority. We have Hindu and Buddhist minorities. We have record numbers of Americans who live without religion. And I can't help thinking that one way to deal with this in an evenhanded way, in a practical way, is to go back a little bit more to the ideal of a small religion-free zone, a buffer in the schools, where students could come and encounter one another as individuals and be confident that religious questions would not become magnets for division among them.
By the way, I'd like to...
ZAHN: Just a quick final thought here.
ZAHN: Dr. Gaddy, go ahead.
GADDY: Well, I was just going to say, I think we have, in the brilliance of our founding documents, a provision to do just what's being suggested. We have an establishment cause to the Constitution which says that government cannot mandate religion, can't push religion on anyone. The other side of that is a free exercise clause, which says that every individual can practice his or her religion, as long as that exercise doesn't compromise someone else's freedom of religion. It seems to me that is a brilliant way to address this. And...
ZAHN: Well, you both have given us some really interesting things to think about tonight. Tom Flynn of the Council for Secular Humanism -- we go to leave it there -- and Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance. Thank you both.
And a morning-after pill that prevents pregnancy may be sold over the counter. Could it set off a new sexual revolution? And what about those who think it's tantamount to abortion? Plus, if you can't smoke a cigarette in a bar, drink it -- the Nicotini, one of the most intriguing ideas of 2003. We'll show them to you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ZAHN: Early next week, the Food and Drug Administration will consider whether to allow the so-called morning-after pill to be sold over the counter. If so, are we looking at a potential new sexual revolution? Let's send in the truth squad. Frequent contributor and addiction specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky joins us from Los Angeles tonight. And here in New York, I'm joined by Erica Jong. She's the author of "Fear of Flying." Welcome to both of you.
ERICA JONG, AUTHOR, "FEAR OF FLYING": Thank you.
DR. DREW PINSKY, ADDICTIONS EXPERT: Thank you.
ZAHN: First off, Dr. Pinsky, does the use of this -- or is the use of this pill tantamount to abortion?
PINSKY: No, it absolutely is not. In fact, that's one of the confusions about this pill. We are not talking about RU-486 here. We're really not even talking about the morning-after pill. We're talking about emergency contraception, birth control pills, just like the ones you take every day, taken after sexual intercourse, after unprotected sexual encounter, where you haven't been protected. This allows you the opportunity of about an 80 percent possibility of reducing the risk of pregnancy.
ZAHN: All right...
PINSKY: This confusion...
ZAHN: But Dr. Pinsky, you've seen the argument, undoubtedly, about the number of people who believe this pill is just that, an...
PINSKY: That it's an abortion pill.
ZAHN: ... abortion aid.
PINSKY: That is a misconception. People do not -- they've got to read the science. There is a -- there is an issue in how the pill works that people get very confused about. There is a finite possibility that it may impair an implantation. That's not its primary mode of action, but just like every birth control pill, and just like many anti-inflammatory agents, the so-called Cox-2 inhibitors, they may impair implantation. So if you're going to say that a good product needs to be eliminated because of its theoretic potential for interfering with implantation, we have to get rid of all birth control pills and many anti-inflammatories.
ZAHN: Erica, you are well known for writing about women and their sexuality. What do you say to folks who believe that this kind of pill will actually increase irresponsible acts of sex, particularly among teenage girls?
JONG: Whenever women's rights have been constricted, as they are being constantly in this country under the Bush administration, it's always for the good of the women, so they won't be irresponsible. I feel that medical decisions should be made between women and their doctors. I don't believe that political positions have any place in the bedrooms of America.
Last week or the week before last, President Bush signed the so- called "partial birth abortion" bill.
ZAHN: All right, let's...
JONG: It is the same bill -- no, but this is the same subject because that is a bill that has already been declared unconstitutional in many states and declared unconstitutional by Justice Souter of the Supreme Court.
JONG: The secret agenda behind...
ZAHN: All right...
JONG: ... what the right is doing is to take away all forms of birth control except abstinence, by nitpicking and saying...
ZAHN: Dr. Pinsky...
JONG: ... this is really abortion.
ZAHN: ... you are against abortion.
ZAHN: Is there a contradiction...
PINSKY: Me, myself?
ZAHN: Right. As I understand it. I've been told that.
PINSKY: Yes, I am.
ZAHN: Is there a contradiction in your position here, in that you think this pill's a good idea?
PINSKY: It's not an abortion bill. It's not RU-486. It is a contraceptive measure. It prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. There's never any issue of abortion or not abortion.
JONG: Wouldn't you agree, Dr. Pinsky, as a doctor, that medical decisions for women should be made by women and doctors...
ZAHN: All right...
JONG: ... not by governmental...
PINSKY: Absolutely. And listen...
JONG: ... apparatchiks?
PINSKY: ... in the case of this product, the American Medical Women's Association -- we're actually talking about taking this away from doctors and patients and giving it just to the patients. And the American Medical Women's Association has taken the position for at least the last five or six years that every woman of childbearing age should have this product in their medicine cabinet, just the way you would take a fire extinguisher and keep it in the kitchen. And not because...
ZAHN: I got a question, Doctor, a very important medical question here, Dr. Pinsky, and that is the issue of the fact that no long-term studies have been done on the pill -- on this particular pill.
PINSKY: No -- no long-term...
ZAHN: Do you have a problem with that?
PINSKY: No, I don't, because there have been tens and tens of millions of prescriptions of this worldwide, and there's never been a single adverse event. You can't even say that for aspirin or Tylenol. What people arguing is that if people use it repetitively, there have never been any long-term studies. Yes, people should not be using this repetitively, just the way you shouldn't be setting your kitchen on fire and using the fire extinguisher repetitively.
ZAHN: I got a question for -- I get to ask you the questions here. This is a final question to you. Some people say this will be so widely available, if it's approved, it's like going out and buying aspirin. How do you see women using it, if it is approved?
JONG: I see them using it as an emergency measure when they need it. I am old enough to remember, Paula, when people said that because the birth control pill had been invented, nobody would ever have babies again, women would be child-free forever. All of that stuff is nonsense and alarmism. Most women do not interfere with a pregnancy lightly. Most women do not like abortion. But they do want the right to limit the number of children they have. They do want the right to be in control of their bodies. And I think that that is a really key right...
ZAHN: Dr. Pinsky...
JONG: ... without which we have nothing.
ZAHN: ... you get the last word. It's got to be a brief one, at that.
PINSKY: I agree with Erica.
ZAHN: Hey, that was pretty swift! Dr. Drew Pinsky, Erica Jong, thank you for both spending some time with us this evening.
A car that can read your mind and cheer you up when you're feeling down? It's one of the breakthrough ideas of 2003. We'll show you the best. And Scott Peterson's lawyer says Peterson can't get a fair trial in Modesto. Will he succeed in getting the trial moved?
ZAHN: That Norah Jones song a big hit, and a new computer program actually predicted it would be. That's just one of the many amazing new inventions and breakthroughs rounded up in "The New York Times Magazine's" third annual "Year in Ideas" issue coming out this Sunday. Wait until you see some of these others, from Paul Tough, features editor of "The New York Times Magazine."
PAUL TOUGH, FEATURES ED., "NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE": Thank you.
ZAHN: Let's get straight to it. The human with wings -- how does this work?
TOUGH: Yes. The sky-ray (ph). This is something that a guy named Felix Baumgartner (ph) flew this summer. He started on the English side of the English Channel, jumped out of a plane and glided all the way to the French side at 200 miles an hour.
ZAHN: At 200 miles an hour?
TOUGH: Yes. No engine, no...
ZAHN: ... G forces, I'm sure his body wasn't in great shape when he landed there.
ZAHN: On the transportation theme here -- that actually looked like fun.
ZAHN: The car of the future isn't about speed so much, but about mood. What does that mean?
TOUGH: It's the pod car. This is something that Toyota is starting to invent. It's called the personal mobility car. And it's like a mood ring of cars. There's actually a light on the outside that can sense your mood. And if you're feeling mellow, it's blue, if you're feeling anxious, it's red. Tells everyone else on the road just what you're up to.
ZAHN: In New York, the cars would be bright red, all of them.
(LAUGHTER) TOUGH: Exactly.
ZAHN: Thank you very much! Then this thing that we just talked about with Norah Jones. It's an invention that allows people to pretty accurately predict what might be a big hit musically?
TOUGH: It's called Hit Song Science. It's a computer program that a Barcelona company has invented. And you play it a song, and it tells you whether it's going to be a hit. It can figure out mathematically -- they've got a database with every hit song ever, and it can figure out mathematically what's going to be a hit and what's not.
ZAHN: Is the music industry using it?
TOUGH: They're starting to. They're actually starting to use it in the studio, where a producer will, you know, run one cut of a song, decide whether to put that on an album.
ZAHN: Still, you have no guarantees.
TOUGH: Well, they're getting close, apparently. Yes.
ZAHN: Yes, it's an area where it's really -- really hard to make really accurate predictions. The other thing that caught my eye was this idea of a tornado in a can. What is this?
TOUGH: This is one of my favorite inventions because it was invented not by a professor or a scientist but by a farmer in Kansas. And he figured out that you can use wind to destroy garbage, to turn it into powder. And he's got this gigantic machine that basically whips...
ZAHN: How does it work?
TOUGH: It whips -- wind whips around and it shreds garbage. But what's interesting about it is that no one knows how it works, including him.
ZAHN: He has no clue.
TOUGH: Exactly. And...
ZAHN: So who will ultimately use this product? Anyone?
TOUGH: All sorts of waste-disposal places. Yes, it can get rid of garbage. It can get rid of...
ZAHN: But you still have to get rid of the dust that is left by the garbage you've...
TOUGH: Exactly. But it's -- it's a little easier.
ZAHN: ... twirled around in there.
TOUGH: Yes. ZAHN: With the force of a tornado. F-5? F-4? We don't know.
TOUGH: We don't know.
ZAHN: Because he doesn't even know how it works!
ZAHN: Moving on to some of the other ideas -- you talked about text messaging...
ZAHN: ... and how, ultimately, we're all going to be extremely thumb-compromised.
TOUGH: Exactly. This is the down side to text messaging, the way everyone's sending messages with cell phones and Blackberries. Now they're starting to discover that there's a repetitive motion disorder called -- that we're calling text messengers thumb. The official name is tenosynovitis (ph). And it's starting to show up...
ZAHN: Oh, how fancy!
TOUGH: It's starting to show up even in kids. You know, so people -- kids who haven't yet been in a workplace have work workplace-related injuries because they're using their thumbs to send messages all the time.
ZAHN: Is there therapy to correct that?
TOUGH: Yes, there's a thing called a thumb brace that you can get to -- to sort of heal the pain once you get it.
ZAHN: Give up the phone and the Blackberry.
TOUGH: Yes, that's another way to do it.
ZAHN: What's the Nicotini?
TOUGH: The Nicotini is a really strange drink that a bartender in Ft. Lauderdale invented this year. And just like in New York, you can't smoke in bars in Ft. Lauderdale anymore, and so because he didn't want his smokers to keep leaving the bar, he invented a drink that has nicotine right in it. So you can get your smoker's fix at the same time as you're getting your drinker's fix.
ZAHN: So how much of a buzz do users get off of it?
TOUGH: Well, I haven't tried it yet, but apparently enough.
ZAHN: But wait. You talked to some of these guys. They like it.
TOUGH: They love it, yes.
ZAHN: Do they say it was the sensation of how they felt after they smoked?
TOUGH: Exactly. There's one -- if you mix it with Kahlua, it's called a Black Lung.
ZAHN: How perfect!
TOUGH: It is.
ZAHN: Paul Tough, thank you for sharing this Sunday's magazine story with us. Look forward to reading it all.
TOUGH: Well, thank you.
ZAHN: Later on in the weekend.
Scott Peterson wants to have his murder trial moved. Is it about getting a fair and impartial jury, or is it a delay tactic?
ZAHN: Welcome back. Scott Peterson's defense team says it will seek a change of venue for his murder trial. His attorney, Mark Geragos, is expected to make the request Monday in court in Modesto, California. But considering how much press this case has gotten so far, is it possible to get a fair trial anywhere?
To help answer that question, I'm joined by jury consultant Carolyn Robbins Manley. Welcome. Good to see you.
CAROLYN ROBBINS MANLEY, JURY CONSULTANT: Thank you.
ZAHN: First of all, let's talk about Modesto. Is the area too emotionally charged to give Scott Peterson a fair trial?
MANLEY: Well, I think the defense does have an argument to be heard. It's been very emotionally charged there. Right after she was reported missing, there was a widespread search, as you well know. And it's -- you know, it's not always about finding people that are completely ignorant, but that are -- can be fair and impartial. And in that jurisdiction, well, you'd have to do what I do, which is pretrial research to find out how much of the pretrial publicity has affected these people, and if it does need to be moved.
ZAHN: But I think you probably have to acknowledge it would be very difficult for someone even living outside of Modesto to miss some of the coverage on this trial. Even if you get a change of venue, don't you still stand the chance of having a tainted jury pool?
MANLEY: Well, again, it's not -- you're not looking for people who are completely ignorant of the story. You're looking for people who are able to say that they could be fair and impartial, meaning that they may know about things, they may have heard things about the case, but are they able to set that aside during the trial and reserve any judgment until it's all said and done in the courtroom? And we have to remember, the funny thing is, years ago, when we started juries -- for a little history, the 10 seconds of history, anyway -- we actually looked for people in this country in communities that knew the defendant. It was 180 degrees in the other direction. It was looking for people that could judge because they knew the person. And now we go the other way and we try very hard to have tabula rasa, blank slates, people who know nothing about anything. And of course, whether in Modesto or anywhere where you've got a TV, there -- people are going to have heard about this. But again, it's about finding people who are fair and impartial, understanding what their life experience is, would they be able to set aside certain things they've gone through to be fair. That's what I'd be looking for.
ZAHN: Well, the defense is certainly spending an awful lot of time and money to figure that out. In your judgment, what would be a dream juror for the defense?
MANLEY: Well, it's got to be somebody who -- this is a heart- wrenching case, emotionally draining. It's got to be somebody who is rational and logical in their thoughts and is able to put that aside and say, Yes, I may have heard about this, and I'm going to live through this, but I will give the defendant the benefit of the doubt, someone who might be skeptical about evidence, about investigations and police, and who may not, you know, just accept everything at face value but really wants to see it beyond a reasonable doubt and can, of course, assume that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty.
ZAHN: Finally, tonight, if there's a change of venue granted, it certainly will cause some kind of a delay. Who will that benefit? Which side?
MANLEY: Oh, I imagine it would benefit the defendant, to some extent. But I don't really know how prepared the other side is. When people need more time, either side usually is grateful for some sort of delay. But usually, I would think the prosecution is ready to go.
ZAHN: Well, we very much appreciate your insights tonight. Carolyn Robbins Manley, thank you.
MANLEY: You're quite welcome.
ZAHN: And that wraps it up for all of us here this evening. We appreciate your being with us throughout the week. Monday, from the campaign trail to The Hague -- presidential candidate and former NATO commander Wesley Clark will be joining us as he testifies at a war crimes trial. He'll be joining us from Holland.
Again, thank you for joining us tonight. We'll be back on Monday night. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Have a great weekend.
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