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Democratic Political Landscape Changing?; Interview With George Will

Aired January 9, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us tonight. I'm Paul Zahn.
The world, the news, the names, the faces, and where we go from here on Friday, January 9, 2004.

Imagine getting banned from a flight, suspected of terrorism because of what you're wearing. In an exclusive interview, this woman tells her harrowing tale.


HOWARD DEAN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you look at the caucuses system, they are dominated by the special interests on both sides in both parties.


ZAHN: The Dean tapes, a Clark surge. With the Iowa caucuses just around the corner, is the political landscape shifting?

With Pete Rose's mea culpa now public, I'll ask George Will if Rose can really convince people he's sorry he bet on baseball.

And our interview with a woman whose jacket set off international terror alarms and more stories straight ahead.

But first, here's what you need to know right now at the top of the hour.

Late word tonight that Saddam Hussein has been declared a prisoner of war. That legal status entitles him to protections under the Geneva Convention. Meanwhile, the International Committee For the Red Cross is said to be negotiating terms for a visit with the former Iraqi dictator.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case of an American-born man accused of fighting for the Taliban. Yaser Esam Hamdi has been held as an enemy combatant without access to a lawyer since his capture in Afghanistan more than two years ago.

And the nation's terror color-coded terror threat level has been lowered from orange to yellow. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says the dangerous conditions that came with the holidays have now passed. Certain sectors, including aviation ports and nuclear plants, will stay on high alert. Now on to the campaign of Howard Dean. That is "In Focus" tonight, as Dean gets a major endorsement in Iowa and, at the same time, tries to deflect fallout from, once again, something he said in the past.

Judy Woodruff reports.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the day Howard Dean needed him most, Tom Harkin delivered.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: As we Iowans say, Howard Dean has his head screwed on right.

WOODRUFF: The senator's endorsement couldn't have come at a better time. Dean is in damage-control mode after NBC News broadcast tapes of him disparaging the Iowa caucuses on Canadian television four years ago.

DEAN: I can't stand there listening to everybody else's opinion for eight hours about how to fix the world.

WOODRUFF: Dean's chief rival in the Hawkeye State saw an opening.

REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't understand it. To me, it's a cynical attempt to participate in the Iowa caucuses, if that's the way he feels about it.

WOODRUFF: And by day's end, the Democratic front-runner was sounding contrite.

DEAN: Had I known now what I knew then about the -- or had I known then what I know now about the Iowa caucus, of course I wouldn't have said that.

WOODRUFF: The mea culpa comes as a new poll shows the race in Iowa tightening. The Research 2000 survey has Dean and Gephardt locked in a dogfight, with 29 percent of likely voters in Dean's camp and 25 percent in Gephardt's, and in a not-too-distant third place, John Kerry at 18 percent and picking up steam, with the first-in-the- nation caucuses just over a week away.

Judy Woodruff, CNN, reporting.


ZAHN: So, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says he likes Dean because he's outspoken, like Harry Truman. But that outspokenness also gets Dean into trouble.

Joining us now from Burlington, Vermont, is Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi.

Welcome back,sir. JOE TRIPPI, HOWARD DEAN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Great to be here.

ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about what you think the impact is of these previous comments Governor Dean made about the Iowa caucus process. Don't you think that hurts his credibility with the very voters he's trying to elicit support from?

TRIPPI: Not at all.

I mean, today, most of Iowa woke up to their morning newspapers and read that 12 Iowans, soldiers in Iraq, were wounded yesterday. And here we are talking about -- instead of talking about that, talking about the war and why we got there and Governor Dean's opposition and many of the other candidates supporting that war, we're talking about something the governor said on Canadian television four years ago about whether he liked the Iowa caucuses or not.

It's kind of ridiculous. He's spent two years there. Unlike any of the other candidates, he's campaigned in all 99 states and is going through again right now thousands and thousands of supporters in the state, hundreds more going to the state to campaign on his behalf.


TRIPPI: And Senator Harkin endorsing him today. So we feel good about where we are in Iowa.

ZAHN: You may feel good, but, in spite of what you're saying, there certainly are some Iowa voters we have talked to -- we have been interviewing them all day long -- who just thinks this represents how, they say, is cynicism on Governor Dean's part, denigrating a system that now that, now that he needs that, very much is stoking.

TRIPPI: He said clearly that, four years ago, he didn't know as much about the Iowa caucus system. By the way, he wasn't talking about Iowa, if you go get the transcript from the NBC report.

They neatly forgot to talk about that. He was talking about caucuses vs. primaries. And he also said that he's since gone to Iowa, spent considerable time there, realizes now that it's a process that we need to have in this country, so that unknown candidates who don't have a lot of money have the opportunity to make their case. And he said clearly that it's that very -- that Iowa exists is the reason -- Iowa and New Hampshire exists is the reason he exists as a candidate.

And, by the way, when we're at it, let's look at the special interest money that's being spent in Iowa right now. You have Club For Growth, the Republican conservative extreme group, spending lots of money trying to affect the caucuses. You have a 527, a committee that's established to spend money against the candidate, they're spending it against Howard Dean.

No one can tell you who's sponsored the committee, who funds it. There are still things that are wrong and special interest influence that are going on. But, in the end, the governor said clearly that we -- that he's learned a lot in the last two years campaigning in Iowa.

ZAHN: Well, let me ask you. There was a report this week in "The New York Times" that suggests that your campaign is going to try to limit his informal access to reporters because of fears of what he might say off the cuff. Is that true?


What we've done is, we've started to take -- like today, he did a lot of talking directly to Iowa television stations, because, in the last 10 days, it shouldn't be strange to anybody that a campaign and a candidacy to try to talk directly to reporters and viewers in Iowa and New Hampshire. We're in this final stage here where, frankly, we've needed the national coverage. That's also how we got to where we are today.

But now we need to get and make sure that our message of standing up to Bush, of opposing this war, of repealing the tax cuts, of providing health care coverage and a plan to get health care for every American is out there. And that message, we need to make sure is in the homes and with some door knocking and press in Iowa and New Hampshire, not on the national scene.

ZAHN: Final question for you, sir. Your candidate, Governor Dean, has made several references to -- about President Bush having alleged advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks from the Saudis. Should someone who wants to be president be trading on rumors?

TRIPPI: That's not what the governor said at all. In fact, you're trading on rumors when you keep saying that.


ZAHN: I haven't said it yet. I'm just repeating what...

TRIPPI: Yes, you're repeating the rumor.

Yes, what happened was the governor said that, when the president and the administration mislead people in the war and the American people start asking questions, there's these rumors out there and that we need to talk about them to shut them down, because he didn't believe it. And he said that on the air in the interview.


ZAHN: But there was another interview on NPR that has gotten a lot of attention, where he basically said, you know, whether this can be proven or not, he suggested that the president had had advance knowledge of what might unfold on 9/11.


No, the governor said he didn't believe that and that it was part of the problem. We have this right now with black-box voting. You'll find across the country that there are people all over this nation who believe these paperless computer voting machines are a way that the Bush administration will steal the election, OK? What's not important here is whether that's a rumor or not.

What's important here is that we shut that down, that we prove to people that there's no way that anybody -- that these paperless machines are going to rob people of their vote.

ZAHN: All right.

TRIPPI: Repeating that is not repeating that you believe it. I don't necessarily believe that those machines do that or not.

But if we're going to have a democracy, we have to say so and air it out.

ZAHN: Let me just repeat exactly what came off the transcript of the NPR radio show. And this is Governor Dean's remark -- quote -- "The most interesting theory that I have heard so far," he responded -- quote -- "is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis."

TRIPPI: And then can you keep reading, please?

ZAHN: Well, I could go on for the next five minutes for the interview, but you were saying that he didn't say that. I've got it right here.


TRIPPI: No, no, no. I said that -- if you keep reading, you'll say he said he didn't believe that.

ZAHN: Yes, there is a point at which -- but you were denying that he had suggested...


TRIPPI: You're forgetting that part, Paula.

ZAHN: No, I'm not forgetting it.


TRIPPI: Keep reading there.

ZAHN: I just wanted to clarify that he had, in fact, repeated something. And he did say later on...

TRIPPI: Could you keep reading the interview and you'll get to the part where he says he did not believe it.

ZAHN: No, I am not denying that, but I wanted to challenge


TRIPPI: OK, well, that's not how you started the interview.

ZAHN: Well, I think our audience has a pretty good sense now of what was said and what wasn't said. And, Joe Trippi, thank you for your time.

We're going to turn now to some of our political pundits, who also have their own takes on all this, Joe Klein of "TIME" magazine, and then Peter Beinart.

All right, what part of that did we get right or wrong? I have the transcript right here from the NPR.

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think the fact that I'm a pundit is a rumor.


ZAHN: What are you, Joe, anyway?

KLEIN: I'm a commentator and a reporter.


ZAHN: In all fairness, he makes a valid point.

KLEIN: But here's the deal. He doesn't make a valid point.


ZAHN: But he did make a point that that, later on, he said, I don't know whether this is true or not. I did not misrepresent that.

KLEIN: Listen, that's like saying, in 1988, during the 1998 campaign, it was said that Michael Dukakis had gone to a psychiatrist, and that was a rumor that was being spread.

To even spread something like that, if it isn't true, is irresponsible. Most of the stuff that's been thrown at Howard Dean about his gaffes has been ridiculous. Most of his gaffes have been harmless. What he said about the Iowa caucuses has the virtue of being absolutely true. The caucus process really isn't very democratic. And he was right.

In this case, though, on a matter of -- on a crucial foreign policy matter, which is our relationship with the Saudis, Dean was trafficking a rumor, was spreading a rumor, even if he said he didn't believe it, he had -- it is irresponsible to spread rumors when you're running for the presidency.

ZAHN: Do you interpret that the same way?


He did knock it down, but the truth is, he has an unfortunate tendency, from a political point of view, to speak -- to have his thought process come out in words. And I think that's partly a reflection of him not having a lot of experience on the national stage. It's part of his appeal, too, because he comes across like John McCain, as someone who speaks his mind, someone who is blunt. But the problem is, as, if you remember, that got John McCain in a lot of trouble. The problem is, it tends to be very endearing at first. And then, after a while, people can start to say, wow, this is a little disturbing to me to hear this guy say things that sound off the wall.

I think he is going to have to improve on this. You can't go trafficking in things and then saying they're wrong.


ZAHN: To completely clarify this, that, in fact, he repeated the rumor. And even though, once again what you said, even though he shot it down, said it may or may not be true, that's not enough, in your judgment?


KLEIN: He said it was the most interesting theory he had heard, and then, wink, wink, I don't think it's true. It's an outrageous thing to accuse the president of.

We do have a commission investigating the Saudi role in September 11. The president has kept 28 pages of that commission, mostly dealing with the Saudis, off the record. Those should be on the record. And if Howard Dean had been saying that precise thing, he would have been well within the bounds. What he did was outside the bounds.

ZAHN: Let's come back to an ad now that's being run by an outside group in Iowa. And you tell me whether you think this has much resonance with voters there. Let's listen.


NARRATOR: What do you think of Howard Dean's plans to raise taxes on families by $1,900 a year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do I think? Well, I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, "New York Times"-reading.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont.


ZAHN: All right, this was the very ad Howard Dean's campaign manager made reference to in our interview.

BEINART: It's an interesting ad, because what it tries to do is tie the tax issue to Dean being culturally out of the mainstream. And I think that's an interesting move that you would see the Bush administration probably do a lot, trying to suggest, not just on taxes per se, but to say, Vermont's really not like the rest of America. This guy represents a fringe group.

And that will really be a test for Howard Dean. How well can he relate to people in less liberal parts of the country? He's been trying to talk about religion more. He's against gun control. But so far, he hasn't had to do that, because Iowa and New Hampshire are dominated by liberals. We don't know.

ZAHN: Let's move on to New Hampshire.

KLEIN: There's an interesting rumor out there about this.

ZAHN: Oh, there you go trafficking in rumors again.

KLEIN: About this ad.

The Club For Growth is composed of people who apparently believe that no one should pay any tax at any time in the future. And there's a feeling that, by attacking -- by having an extreme group that is as well-known as the Club For Growth attacking Howard Dean, it's going to redound to Dean's advantage with his base, with Democrats, who are incredibly angry at just these sorts of tactics and will support Dean as a result.

And, therefore, President Bush will get the opponent he wants. Now, there's a great conspiracy theory.

ZAHN: In closing, New Hampshire -- we're going to put a graph up that will give people an idea of the kind of movement we're seeing there -- Wesley Clark way up there. People can just read this themselves.

What do you see here?

BEINART: Clark is moving. And the irony is that, as Joe said, Dean was absolutely right about the Iowa caucuses. And the Iowa caucuses are much more vulnerable institutionally than people realize.

Had McCain gone on to win that nomination, the Iowa caucuses might have been finished in American politics. If Wesley Clark wins -- and it looks like avoiding Iowa is a very smart move for him now, because he's staying above the fray of all the mud that's being thrown there -- if he wins and beats Howard Dean, what Howard Dean actually said four years ago comes true and Iowa is gone, I think it would be a good thing.

KLEIN: The most important statistic in both Iowa and New Hampshire is 13 percent undecided in Iowa, which is probably understating the case, 16 percent undecided in New Hampshire. Those, I do not think are Dean voters. Both of these elections are way up for grabs right now. And, at this point, this week, Howard Dean is -- has plateaued and he may be losing a little ground.

ZAHN: OK, gentlemen, we'll wrap it there, as we head into the weekend. Have a great weekend. I'm sure both of you are working anyway. But thanks for your time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that they ever felt that I was not a threat. And even the next day, when they found that I was clear of everything, even the next day, when I boarded the plane, I still think that they felt that I was a threat.


ZAHN: An exclusive interview with the woman whose coat set off a trans-Atlantic security alert. She's going to tell us what it's like to be tagged as a possible terrorist.

Also, the ups and downs of the plea bargain for a former Enron money manager. A deadline passed today. Talks may still be on. What will it mean for prosecutors in the big corporate collapse?

And George Will pitches high and inside to Pete Rose. Wait until you hear what he thinks of Rose's about-face on betting.


GEORGE WILL, COLUMNIST: Pete Rose, part of his appeal was that he was 99.44 testosterone, a man's man. But he comes on as a fugitive from "The Oprah Winfrey Show."



ZAHN: Welcome back.

Pete Rose's media mea culpa is now in print and on the airwaves.


PETE ROSE, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: When I look you in the eye and tell you that that phase of my life is gone and will never come back, I mean that with all sincerity in the world. That's why, if the commissioner would ever give me a second chance, there's no way I could let him down. I owe baseball.


ZAHN: In his new autobiography, he admits betting on the Cincinnati Reds while he managed the team. Rose hopes the admission, nearly 15 years after being banned from baseball, will lead to reinstatement and the Hall of Fame.

We took the issue to commentator and baseball fan George Will, who has been a director of the Baltimore Orioles and the San Diego Padres.


ZAHN: George will joins us now.

Always good to see you. Welcome.

WILL: Glad to be with you.

ZAHN: So what do you think of Pete Rose's strategy? Is this going to work?

WILL: I think he's actually set back his own case. T.S. Eliot once said that success is what we can make of a mess we have made of our things. I think his book makes it worse.

ZAHN: Why?

WILL: For several reasons.

Well, first, there's an obvious grudging, surly, almost flagrantly synthetic aspect to his apology. He says, I'm just not built to act -- curious verb -- to act sorry or guilty. Second, Pete Rose, part of his appeal was that he was 99.44 testosterone, a man's man, but he comes on as a fugitive from "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

He comes on saying, I was a victim, that I was a victim of an addiction to gambling. I was a victim of baseball's indifference to my addiction. Now, that may be part of the ethos of a therapeutic society. It's not what we tend to associate, A, with professional athletes, and least with Pete Rose.

ZAHN: There are some pretty poignant passages in the book where he deals with his being sorry. You don't buy any of that?

WILL: I do buy that.

First of all, as he said, he's sorry he got caught. He said that was what he regretted. That was the mistake he made. He said -- when asked what he was thinking when he started gambling, in spite of the fact that, for 20 some years, he had walked by a bulletin board in every major clubhouse that has the rule against gambling and its threat of permanent ban from baseball posted there, why did you do it? He said, I didn't think I would get caught. So, obviously, there's sorrow there.

Look, Pete Rose is a human being. His whole life is baseball. He's made an awful mess of this. And this is a human, personal tragedy. That's for sure. But this is not just about Pete Rose and how to make Pete Rose whole. It is about how baseball preserves its integrity. Baseball, like any other sports enterprise, offers its patrons one thing. And that is competition that the fans can trust the integrity of.

And that's what gambling threatens. And it threatens it in baseball more than any other, because baseball's great trauma, its great memory, dark memory is the Black Sox scandal, the throwing of the 1919 World Series.

ZAHN: Well, let me ask you this, George. If Bud Selig reinstates him, is he selling out the game?

WILL: That's a complicated question. Bud Selig is going to have to answer that.

I would be amazed if Pete Rose were ever again back in baseball in uniform as manager or coach of a team. That's one question. The second and severable question is, should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame? The argument that Pete's advocates here say, is the Hall of Fame is not a moralizing institution. It's not about character. It is simply about the numbers you put up. And he certainly put up Hall of Fame numbers.

Against that is an inconvenient fact. And the fact is that, in the rules governing the selection of people to the Hall of Fame, by both the writers and then by the Veterans Committee, there is, if you will, a morals clause. It says, among the things we shall consider is not just athletic attainment, but character, sportsmanship, etcetera.

Now, Pete Rose is not the only person on the permanently ineligible list. I think there are 13 or 14 other players. The question then becomes, if Pete Rose is an exception, why is he an exception? What about the others? And what then becomes of the message the national pastime is sending to the nation when baseball says, well, come to think about it, we're going to repeal the morals clause, the clause about character and sportsmanship and integrity and all the rest?

Is that what baseball wants to send to the country, that message?

ZAHN: Well, what do you think? If he's reinstated, what does that say about the integrity of the game?

WILL: If he's reinstated, first of all, it says we now believe Pete Rose. And there's a question here.

Given the fact that he aggressively, for 14 years, at every conceivable moment into every open microphone in front of every available camera lied about this, we have to say, why can we be confident that now he is telling the truth? There is a great question hanging out there. Did he ever bet against the Reds? Now, he says today he didn't.

ZAHN: So do you believe him?

WILL: I don't know. I want to believe him. I'm inclined to believe him. But we can't know. Now, baseball, by reinstating him, would be saying, we know. We trust him.

And I'm not sure he's trustworthy.

ZAHN: Will Rose ultimately be remembered for egregiously breaking gambling rules or for being the phenomenal athlete that he was?

WILL: Both.

He'll be remembered, first of all, as a man who did astonishing things in baseball, a man who probably got more out of less natural talent than anyone else in baseball history. I mean, he did it by his zeal, by his energy. That's why the fans loved him. He walked 1,566 times, as I recall, and never walked to first base. He sprinted to first base. And he dove head first into the other bases, and fans loved it, and should have loved it. It was part of that form of respecting the game that -- they loved him for that.

And an equal part of his legacy -- it doesn't erase the other, but it's equal to it -- is an astonishing reckless disrespect for the game.

ZAHN: We very much appreciate your perspective this evening. George Will, thanks for spending some time with us.

WILL: Thank you.


ZAHN: And we hope you will join us on Monday for my interview with Pete Rose.

Among the tens of thousands of survivors of the earthquake in Bam, Iran, 1,800 children who are now orphans. We're finding out what's being done to help them.

And new medical research that could prove people that do suppress memories of traumatic events.


ZAHN: More help is on the way to the 100,000 survivors of the earthquake in Bam, Iran. The U.N. World Food Program says it is launching a three-month program to ship nearly $3 million worth of food to Bam. Among the survivors are hundreds of children who are now orphans.

Kasra Naji has their story.


KASRA NAJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Mehdi (ph). He was born a short time after his pregnant mother was pulled from under the rubble, barely alive, his father already dead,. Mother died later. Tehman (ph) is more lucky. His father showed up. He's alive. He will take Tehman once he has set up a tent in Bam.

The devastating earthquake has cost the lives of some 30,000 people and orphaned at least 1,800 children. They've been transferred to nursing homes like this, 200 kilometers away. This little girl has a broken arm, this boy, broken leg. So did Bahai ph), who's 13, and prefers to stay under the blanket. She wants to go home. She hasn't quite accepted that there is no home.

(on camera): People in charge here say they have received so far some 6,000 calls from Iranians from throughout the country and also from a host of countries abroad, mostly from Iranians who want to know how they can adopt these children.

(voice-over): These two, mother and daughter, Iranian-Americans, have come all the way from California to help and perhaps to adopt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, we would love to and a lot of the families in California would love to. But we realize, the way the way that the laws are, it's very difficult. There are a lot of families who want to adopt in Iran.

NAJI: Iranian law requires prospective parents to be under 30, childless, and able to prove medically that they cannot have children.

She says the government wants to keep the children in nursery homes for six months, in the hope that some of their parents will be found. Some 80 percent of the children will probably go to immediate relatives.

These women from the Iranian capital, Tehran, have traveled here with bags of new clothes for the children. "You have to keep the kids going," they told me.

Kasra Naji, CNN, Kerman, Southern Iran.


ZAHN: The on-and-off again plea deal for a former Enron exec may still happen. We're going to ask a whistle-blower who uncovered the gigantic fraud what she thinks of a possible deal for Lea Fastow.


SHERRON WATKINS, ENRON WHISTLE-BLOWER: Five months is a long time to be away from your children, but it's a lot better than a couple years or several years.


ZAHN: And an international terror alert over a coat. We're going to meet the woman kicked off a trans-Atlantic flight when security got suspicious over her self-heating jacket.

Also, 30 years after the last men left the moon, we'll look at the new plan to return.


ZAHN: Welcome back. For airline passengers around the world, the inconveniences of threat level orange have ranged from mildly annoying to down right infuriating. Then there was the Jordanian woman who was kicked off the flight from Paris to Cincinnati because of her self-heating jacket. We're going to hear from her in an exclusive interview in this half hour.


SUHA ATIYEH, REMOVED FROM DELTA FLT. 43, HELD BY FRENCH SECURITY: She probably thought she was looking at some type of wiring device that might explode. It just looked different, so it looked like it could be a threat. Anything that you don't know, you obviously fear it.

In such a situation in the U.S. right now like at the time that I was going through there, I didn't think that it would be a problem because I was -- I wore this jacket in November, domestically in the U.S. and flew in and out, and it wasn't a problem.


ZAHN: Well, this time, it certainly was. It canceled the flight and she was never able to get on. That exclusive interview is coming up.

First though, here's what you need to know right now at the bottom of the hour. President Bush is just days away from announcing a new plan to send people to the moon and beyond. CNN space correspondent Miles O'Brien explains.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We have heard it before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe that this nation should commit itself...

O'BRIEN: With some amazing results.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's one small step for man.

O'BRIEN: And some missteps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My commitment today to forge ahead with a sustained, manned exploration program.

O'BRIEN: When the senior George Bush pledged to send Americans to Mars in 1989, the idea never got off the ground. Stymied by NASA's gold-plated dreaming and a congressional reality check. So which scenario will it be when this president reaches for Mars? No different, says space critic Bob Park.

PROF. BOB PARK, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: We simply could not afford it. And we still can't. It hasn't gotten any cheaper.

O'BRIEN: But this time NASA is thinking cheaper. The current plan -- fly the shuttles until 2010, then mothball them the moment the international space station is complete. The replacement, a smaller spacecraft nimble enough to carry crews to low earth orbit, the moon, or Mars.

KEITH DOWING, EDITOR, WWW.NASAWATCH.COM: It's going to be (UNINTELLIGIBLE). You add one piece here, another piece there. You want to go to this place, take two of those or one of those. O'BRIEN: NASA would build a lunar outpost to learn what it's like to live extraterrestrially and as a pit stop to the red planet. But why go, when robots can do our bidding so well as one is right now.

PARK: This is the way, I think, we'll explore the universe. We won't explore it by sending human beings out there.

O'BRIEN: Pshaw, say the space enthusiast. There are some things robots can't do.

ANDREW CHAIKIN: I think the excitement factor is crucial. I think that we desperately need inspiration, and we desperately need an investment in our long-term future.

O'BRIEN: Ah, yes, the investment. How much would it cost? Well, there's talk of an $800 million down payment next year and then 5 percent increases to NASA's annual $15 billion budget in the years to follow. It's no small change, but exploration has a way of paying off in ways that are hard to predict. Miles O'Brien, CNN, Atlanta.


ZAHN: On to another important story. A noon deadline set by a Houston judge came and went today, and Lea Fastow, married to former Enron CFO Andrew Fastow did not accept a plea bargain. She may end up going to trial. Talks, we're told, are continuing. The deal may not be dead after all.

Her plea could trigger a similar guilty plea from her husband. Prosecutors had hoped his cooperation might help them get the goods on others in one of the world's largest corporate fraud scandals. We turn to Houston and Sherron Watkins, a former Enron's vice president, who blew the whistle on Enron's phony bookkeeping.


ZAHN: Yesterday, it looked like some kind of plea deal was in the works. That hasn't happened. Are you disappointed?

SHERRON WATKINS, FORMER ENRON VP, ENRON WHISTLEBLOWER: Well, a plea deal looked like a big win-win for the prosecution. First off, they'd have Andy Fastow agreeing to go to prison for ten years. They'd have his testimony against higher ups at Enron, most notably Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay, but also -- and I think almost equally as important -- they would avoid two very time-consuming trials coming up this spring for both Lea and Andy.

ZAHN: So you think this dilutes the prosecutorial effort?

WATKINS: Well, I think it does. They played a card this week. They were going to arraign Rick Causey, Enron's chief accounting officer, and they delayed that, awaiting the outcome of the Fastows' plea agreement. That says they're stretched thin and they don't want to have another indictment or indict more executives while they've got these trials coming up. ZAHN: Why do you think Mrs. Fastow turned down this deal?

WATKINS Well, her attorneys are pretty adamant that she only serve five months in prison, and this judge would not agree to that length of prison term.

ZAHN: Knowing what you know about the case, would you take that crap shoot, if you were Lea Fastow?

WATKINS: Oh, I think you would. Five months is a long time to be away from your children, but it's a lot better than a couple years or several years, and the evidence doesn't look that great. She did help conspire with her husband on a number of Enron's fraudulent vehicles.

ZAHN: So are you saying she deserves to go to prison, if that's what it comes to?

WATKINS: Well, you know, there's a lot of women who murdered abusive spouses, and they're probably no danger to society at large, but they're in time -- in prison serving time. I mean, she committed a crime.

ZAHN: And let's talk a little bit about what all this means for Andy Fastow. So you really see sort of a twin track, two trials going on at the same time, that her decision leads to his going to trial as well?

WATKINS: The prosecution has a lot of cards to play. If they want to, they can drop all charges against Lea, or they can drop them down to one charge so that five months looks like a reasonable time to spend in prison.

ZAHN: If these cases end up going to trial and they drag on, is it less likely then that you think the prosecutors will get to the other key players in this company?

WATKINS: Well, that's a very important point because they need to move on, and it looked like they were ready to arrest Rick Causey, that leads further up the chain to Jeff Skilling. Remember, these fraudulent structures were hatched in '99, 2000, and 2001. That means, when they were first hatched, that's already four-year-old meetings, four-year-old evidence. If they wait too much longer, they're going to be in court with witnesses testifying about things that happened six or seven years ago.

ZAHN: You, obviously, feel very strongly about the kind of fraud that was committed at this company, but we also should make it clear you had a personal relationship with Andy Fastow. He hired you. You knew his wife. You attended parties at his home. Is there any sadness in this at all for you?

WATKINS: When you just -- I'm a mother of a 4 1/2-year-old, to be away from her for five months would be something I can't even imagine. If you just look at them personally and you -- of course, I don't think they ever had any ill will towards others, but they did commit crimes. It's going to ruin their lives forever.


ZAHN: That was my interview with Enron whistle blower Sherron Watkins. What's likely to happen next? Let's see what senior political analyst Jeffrey Toobin has to stay.

I have a feeling you might say it ain't over till it's over.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: The poor dear, I was talking a while ago with a woman who's in the Reserves, and she's going over to Iraq, and her husband's in the Reserves too, and he's going to Iraq too, and they have to deal with their kids.

These people should have thought about this before they started committing felonies. So what they're going to be away from their kids? I mean, I'm sorry, I have no sympathy for these people at all.

ZAHN: Talking like the true prosecutor you once were.

TOOBIN: What happens in these cases, general, most of the time, is that when plea deals come this close, they wind up getting pled out anyway. People wind up pleading.

ZAHN: Before the trial gets under way, you see this happening?

TOOBIN: It's hard emotionally to get ready to plea, to get ready to do a plea bargain, you're going to do it. You're a day away. And then to gin up for a trial, it almost never happens. Both of them are going to wind up pleading guilty, I think.

ZAHN: And what does the prosecution get out of that?

TOOBIN: They get a lot.

ZAHN: Do they get access to the guys all the way at the top?

TOOBIN: Absolutely.

ZAHN: Do those guys go down?

TOOBIN: They're separate questions.

ZAHN: I know, but I want an answer to both of them.

ZAHN: One at a time, Paula. This is the only way to get to Skilling and Lay is getting Fastow as a witness. It's impossible without him. It may be impossible with him, but it is certainly impossible without him.

ZAHN: Why do you say it's impossible with him perhaps? Because you're just not sure what kind of cooperation you're going to get?

TOOBIN: And also, we don't know if they committed crimes. Andrew Fastow made millions of dollars off these partnerships, which were the core of the problem at Enron. Skilling and Lay did not. That's very important to remember. They are in a different position. So even if he cooperates, it's not a slam dunk by any means that Skilling and Lay will even be indicted, much less convicted.

ZAHN: I knew we could get you to answer both of those questions.

TOOBIN: I try.

ZAHN: Have a good weekend.

TOOBIN: Have a good weekend. You too.

ZAHN: Enron's slide wiped out the savings of Enron employees, some of whom bought as much stock as they could. Charles Prestwood says he lost more than $1 million. He is part of a class action suit against Enron. He joins us from outside the federal courthouse in Houston. Good to see you, Mr. Prestwood. Welcome.

CHARLES PRESTWOOD, ENRON RETIREE: Thank you, ma'am. It's an honor to be here. I'm very pleased to be on your show.

ZAHN: Well, it's a pleasure to have you with us tonight. I know it's very painful for you to talk all about your life savings being wiped out, but given the kind of damage this did to you financially, what do you think should happen to Mr. and Mrs. Fastow?

PRESTWOOD: Well, all these plea deals and stuff like that, first of all, I don't believe in a plea deal unless you've got a tremendous amount of information or something to lay on the table. If you don't have anything to lay on the table, I just don't believe in them, you know. I don't think it should happen. If you commit a felony, if you commit a crime -- ma'am, I didn't hear you.

ZAHN: That's fine. I'm sorry, there's a little bit of a delay. I'm sorry to have cut you off there. In the end, do you think justice will be served in this case?

PRESTWOOD: Ma'am, I don't know. I have no idea. But I don't think so. You know, I don't think that he will even get his deal through. I just don't know.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the impact this has had on you personally. Even though you're part of this class action suit, it might not even be until this thing goes to trial until 2005, so you can try to recoup some of your losses. How has this changed your life?

PRESTWOOD: Ma'am, it has changed my life. It's just like I stated up in Congress. I went from rags to riches back to rags. And it has made 180-degree turn on my life. When I retired on October the 1st of 2000, I had everything programmed in my mind, I thought for the rest of my life, you know. Especially my bills. But it didn't take me long to figure that out, to find out that all I got to try to -- all I'm doing is just surviving. I'm not living, you know. Pay it with my Social Security and my little old bitty pension check. And believe me, it's a complete 180-degree turn of what I was used to.

ZAHN: Are you biter?

PRESTWOOD: Well, yes, ma'am, I am. I am very -- you know what I mean? I hope and pray that I can keep smiling, you know, but it's hard to smile when you've got problems like that eating away in your stomach.

ZAHN: Well, we know this is a very rough time for you and your family. You worked so hard your whole life. We wish you, sir, the best of luck. Thank you for sharing your story with us tonight.

PRESTWOOD: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

ZAHN: And just days after the late George Harrison's family files a lawsuit, a New York doctor leaves his job. Does that have anything to do with allegations that he forced the dying Beatle to autograph a guitar?

And a woman accused in Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case declared unfit to stand trial. She says God and the devil are involved. We have the latest on that for you.


ZAHN: A shake-up is under way at the New York hospital where ex- Beatle George Harrison was treated for cancer. The doctor who supposedly coerced Harrison into autographing a guitar while on his deathbed is now being replaced. Harrison's survivor sued the facility only a few days ago, but a hospital spokesman says that move has nothing to do with the lawsuit. They claim they were looking for a change.

Our frequent contributor, Dr. Drew Pinsky, is joining us live from Los Angeles with his take on all this. Hi, Dr. Drew. How are you doing tonight?


ZAHN: Let's talk a little bit about the confidentiality agreement this doctor purportedly signed, and, obviously, ignored. How do you protect the privacy of a high profile patient?

PINSKY: It's a very dicey question, and one that perhaps we do not address explicitly frequently enough in our society. I run a large chemical dependency program, and we frequently treat celebrities. And what we teach our staff is they need to treat everyone the same. We encourage our staff to get education about how to do that, how to maintain boundaries, and to understand that these people -- the quality of their care is dependent on their ability to maintain privacy. It's an extremely important issue and one we really don't talk about enough.

ZAHN: All right, but if these charges are true, what does it suggest to you about this doctor?

PINSKY: Well, it suggests that, you know, put aside the outrageousness of the conduct, that it was supposedly on his dying bed and he brought his kids in with him, just the fact that he went down the path of violating the basic boundaries of the power position between patient and physician, that he is there to care for the patient, and that is it. In fact, in England, they take these things very seriously. They're not just ethical issues in England, they're laws. And he may have even violated some laws. And I think there should be reaction.

ZAHN: Let's switch gears completely and talk about a new piece of research that is published in the journal "Science," and has to do the suppression of very bad memories. What should this teach all of us?

PINSKY: Well, this is a study that showed that, in fact, there is a specific area of the brain that has now been clearly shown to be active in the suppression or repression of memories. They had people memorize a couple of words and then try to forget one. And they showed that the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, shown in this picture here, tends to light up, and the hippocampus become deactivated when people willfully, volitionally try to suppress a memory. And this is sort of -- you know, I think we all sort of intuitively know that this is the case, that we can kind of forget things if we want to. It's an important thing.

ZAHN: So we can intuitively block bad stuff out of our memory? Do you have to have much talent to do that?

PINSKY: Well, it's not so much bad stuff. I think we all have -- think about the fact that we can all try to forget things. We can do that. That is something we intuitively know we can do. What people are trying to extrapolate from this study is whether or not people can repress traumatic memories or not remember things that were awful in their life. And this really study does not quite do that. It's an activation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which we know can suppress the activity of the hippocampus, which is responsible for discreet memories.

It turns out autobiographical memories and affect or emotionally laden material may be different. But this is the first step in understanding how we can use our volition to change memory. It may have treatment implications down the line.

ZAHN: I need to make an admission tonight. I think by Friday nights our prefrontal cortexes aren't always firing up the way we should.

PINSKY: We'll have to get it checked out.

ZAHN: Thank you, Dr. Drew. Have a good weekend.

PINSKY: Thank you. Appreciate it.

ZAHN: One of Elizabeth Smart's accused kidnappers may never stand trial. We're going to tell you why a judge sent her to a mental hospital.

And an exclusive interview with the Jordanian student who set off a security alert that rippled across the Atlantic this week, all because of her coat.


ZAHN: The woman accused of taking part in the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping will not go on trial, at least not now. A judge in Utah has ruled that Wanda Barzee is unfit to stand trial and has committed her to a psychiatric hospital. Lee Benson is a columnist with "The Deseret News" in Utah. He joins us now from Salt Lake City. Welcome, sir.


ZAHN: Were you surprised by this decision?

BENSON: No, I wasn't surprised. I think that what's surprising is that it's taken so long to get to this point.

ZAHN: It's clear the family, has supported this idea. Here is what Ed Smart had to say on the hearing. Quote: "We are looking forward to having Mitchell also found incompetent. I would just as soon see them both committed, because down the road it would be easier for Elizabeth to deal with." Do you think that might happen?

BENSON: I think that it's very possible, because what Wanda did, as far as her kind of agreeing that she -- with the court's decision, they're sticking to their story, that they are prophets of God. That's why I say it's surprising that it's taken so long, because looking at the history of these people, it's not that surprising at all to think that they would stick real strongly to that story. So if he sticks to the same story that his wife did, Brian David Mitchell, then it would only stand to reason that he would also go the same route she's gone.

ZAHN: Because the kidnapping prong of the story just can't be reconciled. Is that what you're saying? Because in pursuing this fundamentalist Mormon lifestyle, where does the kidnapping fit in?

BENSON: And that's true -- it's true that you couldn't reconcile the kidnapping without this defense, but it also is the very reason why they explain all of their actions. And if they're to say that they're anything other than what they've been claiming that they are, they're kind of in between a box and a hard place, because they can't say they're incompetent. The courts are going to have to do that. But they're going to have to stick to their story that they're emissaries of God.

ZAHN: Yet another fascinating twist and turn in the story. Lee Benson, thanks for your time tonight.

BENSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: A self-heating coat sends a chill through airline security. In an exclusive interview, a Middle Eastern woman tells us about her ordeal trying to convince security that her jacket was just a jacket and not some kind of a weapon.


ZAHN: On Tuesday, a passenger trying to board a Delta Airlines flight from Paris to Cincinnati was seized after French security spotted wires inside her jacket. The woman who carried a Jordanian passport was detained, but the wires turned out to be just part of a heating device, kind of like an electric blanket. The flight took off without her. But even after landing safely in Cincinnati, some Middle Eastern passengers were held for questioning there, and officials say they even considered shadowing the plane with jet fighters.

The woman with the jacket was not charged, but she has incredible insight about what it must be like to be considered a potential terrorist. Suha Atiyeh joins us now from Atlanta, wearing the very same jacket that alarmed airline security. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.


ZAHN: You must be relieved to be home.

ATIYEH: Yes, I am.

ZAHN: What happened in Paris?

ATIYEH: Well, I went to board the plane, and as you board the plane, they do the random searches, and they randomly checked me, and I was wearing this jacket. So they told me to take it off. And inside here, the wires ran through here and through this part right here, and it was attached to a plastic part right here, and the battery compartment was in here. So they pulled it aside because they found it very suspicious. And then they told me that I wasn't allowed to board the plane, and they had me sit in the side of the airport while they were trying to decide what was going to be done.

ZAHN: Let's come back to the wires for a second. How did they even spot them to begin with? Was it something they saw on one of the X-ray machines?

ATIYEH: No, it passed through all the X-ray machines fine. It was just when I took it off. The woman was just doing a hand search, like touching the jacket like this, and she noticed it in the pocket right here.

ZAHN: You know, if you pass through all those X-ray machines, what is it, do you think, that one particular guard thought she was looking at?

ATIYEH: She probably thought she was looking at some type of wiring device that might explode or just might -- it just looked different, so it looked like it could be a threat.

ZAHN: Do you think you were targeted because you're of Arab descent?

ATIYEH: I definitely think that being an Arab was a determining factor in holding me for so long and doing more serious background checks than they would have done for anyone else.

ZAHN: What kinds of questions were asked of you?

ATIYEH: They just asked me where I was born and why I was flying through Paris and why I was heading to the U.S. and things like that.

ZAHN: Did they ask you about your politics at all?

ATIYEH: Yes, they did briefly. They didn't dwell into it very much, but they asked me if I was politically active back home or anything like that.

ZAHN: Is it true they asked you a question about whether you had any friends in the Palestinian world?

ATIYEH: Yes, they did.

ZAHN: Where were they going with that question, do you think?

ATIYEH: I'm not really sure. I think that they were just trying to -- like you said earlier, figure out if I was politically active, and if they found that I had maybe politically active friends, they maybe would have taken it in a different, more serious route than they would have that they hadn't found it. Yeah.

ZAHN: Was any of it inappropriate?

ATIYEH: The questions, I felt, were procedure, but the way they handled it or went about asking the questions was rather aggressive. And it was just inappropriate the way they handled things. And they were very disorganized in general.

ZAHN: Could you tell at what point in the process they were pretty certain you had nothing to do with terrorism?

ATIYEH: I don't think that they ever felt that I was not a threat, and even the next day, when they found that I was clear of everything, even the next day when I boarded the plane, I still think that they felt that I was a threat.

ZAHN: Are you resentful of that?

ATIYEH: It's slightly bothersome at this point right now.

ZAHN: For those of us who travel and have had to adjust to a whole series of changes, what would you like fellow travelers to learn about what you were subjected to?

ATIYEH: For people to learn that, yes it's OK to take safety precautions and yes, it's OK to check people that you're suspicious of. But when it's taken to another level, where things are being dealt with inappropriately, that's not right.

ZAHN: Suha Atiyeh, thank you for being with us tonight.

ATIYEH: Thank you. ZAHN: And by the way, Suha has been a student here on a student visa for the last six years, and that is the latest from her.

We want to thank you all for being with us tonight. We appreciate you joining us. Monday, my interview with Pete Rose, tough questions, new confessions, and when it was all done, this is what he had to say to me.


PETE ROSE: If she had been a guy, I would have knocked her on her (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


ZAHN: All right. Pete Rose speaks out right here on Monday. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next. Again, thanks for joining us tonight. Have a great weekend, and until Monday night, have a good night.


George Will>

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