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Bush Administration Strikes Back Against Critics; No Smoking on the Beach?

Aired March 22, 2004 - 20:00   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. I'm Paula Zahn.
It is Monday, March 22, 2004.


ZAHN (voice-over): "In Focus" tonight, the White House strikes back. The Bush administration says politics are behind the latest allegations that it ignored warnings about terrorism and used 9/11 as an excuse to invade Iraq.

Also, in Denver, a new system that would tie teachers' pay to students' test scores. What's to stop teachers from pushing grades up, up, up? We'll debate it.

And the growing movement to ban smoking in the fresh air on the beach. If the world's largest ashtrays are off limits, what's next?


ZAHN: And here are some of the headlines you need to know right now.

In Gaza, tens of thousands of Palestinians are vowing to avenge the death of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin. Yassin was killed by an Israeli airstrike shortly after morning prayers. Many world leaders have condemned the attack. Israel defends it, saying Yassin was the godfather of suicide bombers who have attacked Israel.

There will be an arraignment tomorrow in the murder of a multimillionaire New York financier. Electrician Danny Pelosi has long been suspected in the killing of Ted Ammon because of his relationship with Ammon's estranged wife. Pelosi has been indicted, but those charges remain sealed until he tomorrow, when he turns himself in.

And the federal government says antidepressant users should be closely monitored for warning signs of suicide. The Food and Drug Administration want stronger caution labels put on popular medications such as Prozac and Paxil. However, the FDA has not yet concluded whether there is a link between the drugs and suicide.

"In Focus" tonight, the White House fighting back against the allegations of a former antiterrorism official. Richard Clarke claims the White House ignored strong warnings about al Qaeda before 9/11 and then shifted the focus to Iraq afterwards. And there is more to come tomorrow as the commission investigating 9/11 opens a hearing where top Cabinet officials will testify.

Standing by in Washington is national security correspondent David Ensor.

Hi, David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Paula, as you say, it is a scorching critique from a man who was George Bush's first counterterrorism chief at the White House and in that job also under Clinton.

Richard Clarke now says in a new book that Mr. Bush ignored his advice and that of the Clinton administration to go after al Qaeda hard in the early months of his presidency. Clarke says Bush and his team were not interested in tackling al Qaeda, that they saw China as the real threat to national security and national missile defense as the real priority, not terrorism.

RICHARD CLARKE, FORMER COUNTERTERRORISM ADVISER: I find it outrageous that the president is running for reelection on the grounds that he's done such great things about terrorism. He ignored it. He ignored terrorism for months when maybe we could have done something to stop 9/11, maybe. We'll never know.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: His assertion that there was something we could have done to prevent the September 11 attacks from happening is deeply irresponsible. It's offensive. And it's flat-out false.


ENSOR: Clarke also says the president and his advisers seemed bent on attacking Iraq, even though there was no evidence it had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks, again, something that administration officials say is just not true.

Mr. Clarke, in his book land on the nation at the start of a presidential election campaign that's likely to be brutal and where national security issues, the president's stewardship of them are likely to be a major question for the voters. So the administration is responding quickly and forcefully to his charges. But Clarke's former insider status is making that somewhat more difficult.

And tomorrow, the 9/11 Commission will grill current and past secretaries of state and defense on what they did prior to 9/11, what lessons should be learned from the failure to stop those attacks. So it's going to be quite a week, Paula.

ZAHN: And we'll be watching closely from here.

David Ensor, thanks so much.

Let's get the latest White House answers to some of the questions raised by Richard Clarke's allegations.

Jim Wilkinson is deputy national security adviser for communications at the White House. He joins us now.

Welcome, sir.


ZAHN: Let's talk about the scorching charges made by Mr. Clarke.

And David just touched on them, but basically saying the Bush administration all but ignored what it was told by the Clinton administration by the threat posed by al Qaeda. What was the top concern of the Bush administration when it took office?

WILKINSON: Well, the top concern of the Bush administration, as someone who works at the National Security Council, is protecting this country against threats.

This is a president who had Condoleezza Rice and others ask for a strategy. Dick Clarke, when he first came and briefed, presented several ideas, all of which frankly were overseas. He had the idea to increase help for Uzbekistan, which we did. He had the idea to help increase the counterterrorism budget, which we did. These were all ideas, but they were over there.

I want to make a very point here, that all of his ideas he presented were not a strategy. This is a president who wanted a comprehensive strategy to go after al Qaeda where it lives, where it hides, where it plots, where it raises money. All the ideas that -- except for one -- that Dick Clarke submitted, this administration did. This is the president who expedited the arming of the Predator, an unmanned aerial vehicle, so that we could go after these terrorists like we've done in other places.

ZAHN: Then let's come back to what Sandy Berger told you during the transition between the Clinton administration and the Bush administration, that al Qaeda represented the largest threat to the United States. Is it true that, on the top of Condoleezza Rice's list, was China as enemy No. 1 and Russia No. 2? We have been told that by several people on the 9/11 Commission.

WILKINSON: Well, Sandy Berger is the one who is on record saying that no plan, strategic plan, for going after al Qaeda was submitted to this administration. The top agenda item on the president's agenda and Dr. Rice's agenda and everyone who works at the National Security Council is protecting this country from all threats.

ZAHN: Let me ask you about this. Richard Clarke also claims that the White House was looking for an excuse to go into Iraq, and 9/11 gave the administration that excuse. Up on the screen now, a reported exchange taking place between Mr. Clarke, as he sees it, and the president.

He says -- quote -- has president saying: "Go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this." Mr. Clarke saying, "But Mr. President, al Qaeda did this." The president: "I know, I know, but see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred."

WILKINSON: Well, I think your viewers tonight would be a little alarmed if the president didn't ask about Iraq. This is a nation that was shooting at our pilots, shooting at our pilots hundreds of times a day in the southern no-fly zone, a nation that had used WMD against its neighbors. And I think your viewers tonight would be a little alarmed if the president didn't ask about any connection from anybody on any part of the globe, frankly.

The president wanted to know who did it and who was responsible. Dick Clarke, on another interview he gave to PBS "Frontline," said that, right after 9/11, all his options were open. He wasn't sure who did it. So, again, we see Mr. Clarke on three sides of a two-sided issue. What the American people need to know is that their government is working diligently to go after al Qaeda where it lives, where it plots, where it raises money, and where it does threats or tries to do us harm here.

ZAHN: But what do you say to critics of the administration who argue that, in going to Iraq, you reduce the resources, the much- needed resources you need to have to cut off Osama bin Laden and his followers, who have festered all over the world?

WILKINSON: I would say that, since this president's been here, two-thirds of al Qaeda have been captured or killed. I would say, I would remind you that Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the African embassies were bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy when the USS Cole was bombed. Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism policy in the time preceding 9/11 when the threat was growing.

And in June of 2001, when the FBI said 16 of the 19 hijackers were already in the United States, Dick Clarke was in charge of counterterrorism. I think you contrast that directly with this president's record of freezing millions of dollars in terrorist assets, rounding up more than two-thirds of the members of al Qaeda. It's a clear distinction.

ZAHN: Let's move on to the hearings getting under way, the bipartisan commission on 9/11. Among those testifying, Colin Powell, Condoleezza -- excuse me, Madeleine Albright, Donald Rumsfeld. And yet Condoleezza Rice will not testify. We saw her all over morning television this morning. We saw a very specific rebuttal in "The Washington Post" to Mr. Clarke's charges. Why won't she appear before this commission?

WILKINSON: Well, Dr. Rice has already spent more than four hours with the commission. This administration has turned over thousands and thousands of pages of documents, 800 tapes of flight data, radar data information. We continue to cooperate.

Dr. Rice is precluded from doing so, not by personal choice, but by the constitutional separation of powers issues. And so -- but she continues to spend -- or will meet with the commission any time they ask. She's spent more than four hours with them.


ZAHN: A number of senators are asking the president to compel her to testify. Do you see any reversal in the decision down the road?

WILKINSON: Again, it's not a matter of choice for Dr. Rice. She spent more than four hours with the commission answering their questions, and she's ready to talk them any time they want to. This is an important issue.

ZAHN: If the president asked her to go before the commission, would she do it?

WILKINSON: Well, I'm not going to get into hypotheticals with you.

What I'll say is that this administration believes that, when 3,000 Americans have died, it's important to cooperate fully and give every bit of assistance we can, because this 9/11 commission wants to get to the bottom of it.

I will point out the commission has now stated today that they were a little surprised at the timing of this Dick Clarke book. We found out today that the book was originally scheduled to come out in April. It has now been moved up to coincide with Dick Clarke's on- camera testimony this week before the 9/11 Commission, which raises a lot of questions.

ZAHN: We're going to have to leave it there this evening. Jim Wilkinson, thank you for your time tonight.



TOM RIDGE, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Now we are adding several new layers of security that we believe will help reduce vulnerabilities to our systems and make commuters and transit riders more secure aboard our nation's trains and subways.


ZAHN: That was Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge today, as he announced new measures to beef up U.S. train security. It comes in response to this month's terrorist attacks in Madrid, Spain, although Ridge says there's no known threat against U.S. trains.

While America's rail system is getting some help, there are questions tonight about how much federal support is going to state emergency programs. A new story in this week's issue of "TIME" magazine is tonight's "Truth Squad" report. It says the states most at risk are not getting the most funding per capita.

"TIME" writer Amanda Ripley joins us now. Welcome.

AMANDA RIPLEY, "TIME": Thank you. ZAHN: Title of your article, "How We Got Homeland Security Wrong." Let's take a look at some of your findings right now, first, a map of the states at highest risk for terrorist attack, New York, Illinois, California.

Then we're going to take a look at a map that shows us where the money is going, with Washington at the highest at -- this would be D.C. -- $172.85 per person. The lowest, in fact, going to Georgia, $12.92 per person. What is going on here?

RIPLEY: It's almost inversely proportionate. The more risk you face as a state, the less money you're getting. It was something that happened very quickly after 9/11. It was written into the Patriot Act. Nobody even really read this formula for funding for the states.

The problem is they've had at least two chances to fix it and no one will do it.

ZAHN: So I guess one, in looking at that, might be surprised at the numbers allocated for Wyoming, where one might argue that the likelihood of a terrorist attack is much less than in a more populated area. Why do they need so much more money per person there?

RIPLEY: Look, I don't think they do need it for terrorism.

I think the fact is, when I went out to Wyoming, I was looking to see if they were wasting the money and doing foolish things with it. They weren't. They were doing things that will save lives for them. I don't think they will hopefully be in the context of a terrorist attack. But states everywhere are strapped. Policemen, firemen everywhere could use more money and more equipment always.

Wyoming didn't particularly lobby for this money, but what happens is every state has two senators. And so rural states and small states get more money from the government per capita.


RIPLEY: And the Department of Homeland Security has never taken the discretion that it has, that Congress gave it, to distribute more of the money or a majority of the money based on risk.

ZAHN: Why, because of the politics involved?

RIPLEY: I think there are two things. I think it's old- fashioned pork barrel politics, that you don't want to anger senators from small states and rural states. But I think it's more than that. There's a certain, almost a political correctness around terrorism, which is crazy, because we need to talk rationally and honestly about terror risk or else we're essentially letting the terrorists win, right? If we get too emotional and we think everyone is equally at risk, then I don't think we're going to be ahead in this particular battle.

ZAHN: Prospective terrorists out there -- and I don't mean this cynically -- must look at that list and wonder what the heck we're thinking here. You contacted the Homeland Security Department. What did they tell you about what you see in this piece as glaring discrepancies?

RIPLEY: I think they know. I think they know that they need to move to a more risk-based system, and they argue that they have done that. And it's true that last year they introduced a new fund for high risk cities. And the first iteration of that list, the top seven cities were also the top most at-risk places according to the terrorism insurance folks that we contacted. So that was great.

And everybody thought, oh, they're going to fix this problem. Then the list kept growing. And it became 30 cities and now 50 cities. The pot of money is shrinking. So New York and L.A. and Chicago keep getting smaller percentages of that money. So they want Congress to fix it. Congress isn't built to think about the nation. Congress is built to think about states.

ZAHN: And constituents, of course.

RIPLEY: Exactly.

ZAHN: Amanda Ripley, thank you for bringing this to our attention.

RIPLEY: My pleasure.

ZAHN: The Kerry campaign could have a potent weapon in questions about the handling of 9/11. Will the campaign try to use it?

And for teachers in Denver, the yearly bonus might depend on their students' grades. But will that mean smarter kids or great inflation or out-and-out bribery?

And tomorrow, he may be charged with the mysterious murder of a New York millionaire. You're going to hear Danny Pelosi answer those suspicions right here tonight.


ZAHN: The new allegations about how the president handled terrorism before and after 9/11 would seem like a tempting target for John Kerry.

Joining us now to look at what this might mean for Kerry's campaign strategy, in Tampa, Florida, Senator Bob Graham, a former Democratic presidential candidate. Also with us is regular contributor and "TIME" columnist Joe Klein. And in Washington, another regular, former Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke.

Welcome to you all.


ZAHN: So, Senator, the White House has shot back immediately to some of the excerpts from this book, basically saying that, if Mr. Clarke had grave concerns, why didn't he speak out earlier? Why didn't he?

SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D), FLORIDA: I think he did speak out earlier. Apparently, according to the book, he was speaking out almost from the day that George W. Bush became president about the fact that we had to keep the focus on the real terrorists in Afghanistan and not be distracted over to the cobweb terrorist ins Iraq.

ZAHN: Do you believe the administration ignored the threat completely?

GRAHAM: I think that they allowed their focus on taking on Saddam Hussein by whatever pretense to overcome their good strategic judgment that our No. 1 adversary were the international terrorists, particularly al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and that's where we should stay focused until we had crushed those two organizations, which represented a real threat to the American people.

ZAHN: Senator, are you suggesting tonight, in ignoring this threat, that perhaps that inaction caused 9/11?

GRAHAM: Oh, no, I'm not saying that it caused 9/11. But it contributed to 9/11. There were a number of steps during the buildup to 9/11 which, had we been more nimble, had we been more focused, had we been more committed to winning the war on terror, we could have interdicted the plot and avoided 9/11.

ZAHN: What about that, Torie Clarke? Why didn't that happen?

V. CLARKE: If you go back and look at what actually happened and everyone can see it, you get a little bit better sense of things. Prior to 9/11, the president directed a very, very different approach to the very real threat of al Qaeda. And he said, instead of just responding to their attacks, we're going to have a comprehensive plan that will include military, diplomatic, legal, and economic elements to go after them in a fundamental fashion and wipe them out in a fundamental fashion.

That was pre-9/11. Right after 9/11, he and the national security team, as they should at a time like that, thought as broadly as possible, weighed all the factors under consideration, and then decided that the near-term focus of what was clearly going to be a very, very long global war on terror should be going into Afghanistan and wiping out what had become a safe haven and a central training, terrorist training camp haven for the al Qaeda.


ZAHN: Joe?

JOE KLEIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: The first week of January in 2000, Sandy Berger and Dick Clarke -- that's Clinton's national security adviser and this gentleman, Richard Clarke -- briefed Condoleezza Rice and the national security team on the threat from al Qaeda.


V. CLARKE: In 2001, not 2000.

KLEIN: In 2001.

President Clinton, who certainly plenty of blame goes in his direction here, had, after the attack on the United States Cole, decided finally that al Qaeda was a major threat to the country, needed to be addressed. Clarke, in December of 2000, came up with a plan for military action that included many of the steps that were taken after September 11.

What's at issue here is that the Bush administration ignored that plan, that briefing for a long time. It wasn't until September 4, 2001, before the Bush administration had come up with some kind of terrorist strategy that wasn't nearly aggressive as the one that Berger and Clarke were suggesting before.

ZAHN: Senator Graham, if you were giving John Kerry advice tonight, how would you tell him to use these latest accusations?

GRAHAM: I would tell Senator Kerry to speak from the facts. There's another key fact, if you want to judge by deeds, rather than words.

In February of 2002, less than six months after the bombing campaign started in Afghanistan, we were already shipping intelligence and military personnel and equipment out of Afghanistan to get ready for the war in Iraq. What was the consequence of that? Osama bin Laden escaped into the tribal areas of Pakistan. Al Qaeda, which was on the verge of being crushed, was able to regenerate, reorganize itself in a much more decentralized, effective, and violent pattern.

And now we've paid the price in country after country, including two weeks ago in Spain.

ZAHN: Torie and Joe, you get 15 seconds apiece here.

Torie, fire away.

V. CLARKE: Sure.

With all due respect to the senator, what he said represents a fundamental misunderstanding of what was going on in Afghanistan at the time. And sending in 100,000 U.S. troops not only wouldn't have done the job he talks about at the time. It would have had the exact opposite effect. There would have been a rejection by the Afghan people. There would have been turmoil in Pakistan the likes of which we've never seen. So it just reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what was going on then.


GRAHAM: Paula, I never said we should send 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. We had 25,000 who were almost ready to finish the job. We dropped that now over a period of months.

(CROSSTALK) V. CLARKE: We never got over about 10,000 or 11,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

GRAHAM: We had 25,000 there at the peak.

KLEIN: Could I just go back to the September 11 question? This charge from his own national security adviser, a 30-year nonpartisan, a registered Republican, is going to be very important in this campaign.

ZAHN: All right, trio, we're going to have to leave it there. Senator Graham, Joe Klein, Victoria Clarke, thank you for all your perspectives tonight.


ZAHN: The assassination of the founder of Hamas unleashes a flood of Arab fury, bracing for the threat of terror against Israeli and U.S. targets.

And the anti-tobacco movement moves outdoors. Now you can't light up on some California beaches. Are smokers getting sand kicked in their faces?


ZAHN: Militants say Israel's killing of Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin has opened the gates to hell. Yassin died early today in an Israeli missile strike shortly after morning prayer as he was leaving a mosque in Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians are now vowing revenge.

CNN's Chris Burns joins us from Gaza. He joins us now with the very latest -- hi, Chris.

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, the very latest.

Just a few seconds ago, we heard another boom in the sky. There have been rocket and mortar attacks by the Hamas militants as their first responses to the killing of Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of the Hamas militant movement, the founder of the militant movement. He was a 66-year-old quadriplegic in a wheelchair who was rocketed by an Israeli helicopter as he was leaving a mosque for morning prayers.

The outrage in the streets, tens of thousands, perhaps more than 100,000 or 200,000 people, taking to the streets here in Gaza to express their outrage. A leaflet by Hamas called for an earthquake of reprisal to shake Israel. The Palestinian Authority condemning this attack as something that was cowardly, that was dangerous, that could cause more chaos in the region. The Israelis arguing that this was what they had to do. This man had inspired so many suicide attacks that killed hundreds of Israelis -- Paula.

ZAHN: Chris Burns, thanks for the live update.

Israel's consul general is now saying to the U.S. that Sheik Ahmed Yassin has masterminded terrorism and deserved his fate.

But how did Yassin get to be such a prominent enemy of Israel?

CNN's Paula Hancocks has more on the life of the Hamas founder.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weak in body, but strong and dangerous in mind, according to Israeli officials. Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the found and leader of Hamas, was public enemy No. 1 for Israel, a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair for most of his life, but holding the respect and loyalty of tens of thousands of Hamas supporters.

SHAUL MOFAZ, ISRAELI DEFENSE MINISTER (through translator): He is the Palestinian bin Laden. His hands are soaked with the blood of the children of Israel.

HANCOCKS: Israel claims Yassin was responsible for planning and directing numerous suicide attacks, attacks that have killed nearly a thousand Israelis since the start of the intifada in September 2000.

In 1948, when the state of Israel was created, Yassin and his family were moved from their middle-class farming village to a refugee camp in Gaza, which many consider critical in creating his ideology, his refusal to recognize the state of Israel and fight for the reestablishment of pre-1948 Palestine.

SHEIK AHMED YASSIN, HAMAS SPIRITUAL LEADER (through translator): We are a jihad and martyrdom movement. And we are not ready to give up our rights in front of the United States or others. We are ready to die. And those who are ready to die, nobody can defeat them.

HANCOCKS: Yassin survived a previous Israeli attempt on his life in September of last year. A missile struck the building he was in with several other Hamas leaders -- the spiritual leader of Hamas, whose killing, some believe, could see his influence broaden among more moderate Palestinians.

HANAN ASHRAWI, PALESTINIAN LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL: All Palestinians feel that this is an assault on their cause, on their identity. Ahmed Yassin is no longer representing one faction or one religion. He represents the Palestinian cause.

HANCOCK: A risk Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon was willing to take as he praised his forces Monday for killing what he called an arch terrorist. Paula Hancock, CNN, Jerusalem.


ZAHN: Well, these kids had better study hard. Their teacher's paycheck may actually depend on it. We'll look at Denver's move to tie teachers' pay to their students' test scores.

He is the electrician who married the heiress who's multimillion- dollar millionaire husband was murdered. Now Danny Pelosi is about to be indicted. We'll hear what he has to say.

For CEOs like Michael Eisner, it seems like good times and bad, their pay just seems to go higher and higher. We're going to compare some CEO paychecks with company profits tomorrow.


ZAHN: Here's some of the headlines you need to know right now. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won't have to testify in a libel suit filed against him. Rhonda Miller has sued Schwarzenegger claiming his campaign had sent an e-mail painting her as a felon after she accused him of sexual harassment last fall. The judge in the case says the e-mail's author and not the governor will be required to testify.

Well, for the first time ever in the United States, teachers may get paid according to how well their students do on standardized tests and other tests. Public school teachers in Denver have voted in favor of this plan. The next step will be for city residents to approve it. Is this a surefire way to get results or an invitation to cheating by teachers?

Tonight we pit the man who designed Denver's proposed pay system versus an outspoken critic of standardized testing. Joining us from Denver, Brad Jupp of the Denver Teachers Union and in Waterton (ph), Massachusetts tonight, Alfie Kohn. He is the author of "What does it mean to be well educated." Welcome, gentlemen, glad to have both of you with us tonight. Alfie, why shouldn't we reward teachers on the basis of how their students perform?

ALFIE KOHN, TESTING OPPONENT: It proves counterproductive and divisive. It sets teachers against one another. It seems like a good idea until you look at the reasons it fails. Almost every time some version of this kind of scheme is tried. It's based on a very simplistic notion of motivation that says, if you dangle goodies like money in front of people, they'll do a better job. But do we really want our children's teachers deciding what to do in the classroom on the basis of how their pocketbook benefits? And is it possible to break down the art of teaching to its component parts and then turn each of those into numbers? It's based on a number of flawed assumptions.

ZAHN: Let's talk about the one assumption you just brought up with Brad. What about that? Why do you need to dangle additional cash in front of teachers' noses, Brad?

BRAD JUPP, DENVER TEACHERS UNION: The most important thing we've learned is that teachers need to be paid more and to build a viable way to increase teacher pay by raising taxes. We have to look at the broad range of duties that teachers do including the work they do with kids. We studied Dr. Kohn's work as we went into designing this and took it into account. One of the things we tried to do is avoid the mistakes he taught us to avoid. We're very proud of the fact that we studied his work and think that we have solved many of the problems that he just described.

ZAHN: So you don't think this as bribery in any form, Brad.

JUPP: Not at all. This is a way to recognize teachers for what they already do. Develop their skills and knowledge as teachers, perform well in the classroom, working hard to serve on staff assignments, and ultimately to meet expectations with their kids.

ZAHN: Alfie, come back to what Brad just said. Can we all agree on one point tonight? That teachers are grossly underpaid, and this might be a creative way to get them additional income that they deserve?

KOHN: I have mixed feelings about this. Yes, most teachers deserve to be paid a lot better than they are, especially when you compare their pay to those of other occupations. But the main reason -- and study after study has found this -- that teachers grow disenchanted and sometimes leave isn't because they're underpaid. It tends to be more likely to be the fact that they're mistreated. That they're turned into test prep technicians. That they just have to follow orders instead of being treated as professionals. And a plan that makes test scores even a partial basis for determining compensation will make that situation even worse.

ZAHN: Now, Brad, you said you learned...

KOHN: Test scores are about the worst criteria.

ZAHN: You said you learned from Alfie's research and some of the pitfalls of what he's advising you about, if this passes in Denver, won't you have situations where teachers will teach to the test?

JUPP: We believe the teachers need to teach to the test when the test measures what children are supposed to learn. Now, we know that teaching is much more than teaching to the test, and we know that learning is much more than what can be measured on a test. We know that it's a complex professional activity. We know that being able to use authentic assessments to measure student growth is something we want to incorporate into our plan, and teachers are going to be expected to use diagnostic authentic assessments to measure student growth when they set their annual growth expectations.

ZAHN: Gentlemen, we have to leave the debate there this evening. Brad Jupp and Alfie Kohn, thank you so much for your time tonight.

Maybe the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) should not be just what the doctor ordered. New ideas about what works to prevent heart attacks.

And some California beaches are now no-smoking zones. Have we gotten too tough on smokers?


ZAHN: There is a big change happening in how doctors deal with the number one killer of Americans, coronary heart disease. It turns out that widely used treatments to clear blocked arteries may not be the best tactic. So what should you do to avoid heart disease and heart attacks? We're giving that "The High Five" treatment tonight, five quick questions, five direct answers, straight and to the point.

Joining us now from Cleveland, Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. Welcome, doctor.


ZAHN: So what does this mean? That heart attacks are not caused by blocked arteries?

NISSEN: Well, that's right. Blocked arteries tend to cause chest pain or angina, the pain that people get with exertion. But most heart attacks are caused by the rupture of a plaque at a spot in the artery that's not very narrow. Because it turns out that most plaques don't grow into the flow channel; they actually grow out into the wall of the artery.

ZAHN: So is that the most common cause of heart attacks?

NISSEN: We now know that about 85 percent of all heart attack occur when a plaque that doesn't narrow the flow channel very much ruptures, and it causes a blood clot to form. That blood clot then slows down the flow or stops the flow in the artery and causes the heart attack.

ZAHN: Does this new thinking mean that there are millions of unnecessary procedures done every year?

NISSEN: I don't think so. Stents are a very good way to relieve the chest pain that people get with exertion, and they're very effective, and many of them are being done for the right reasons. But don't expect a stent to reduce the risk of heart attack. To do that, you've got to treat the systemic disease that's causing the build-up of the plaque in the wall of the artery.

ZAHN: But isn't leaving an artery blocked in the heart dangerous?

NISSEN: Well, a narrowing in and of itself is not what is dangerous. What is dangerous is what can happen to plaques. Remember that for every plaque that narrows the artery, there may be 10 or 20 or even 100 of them that don't narrow the artery. And so you've got to worry about all the plaques. Leaving one narrowed artery or one narrowed plaque, if it's not causing a lot of chest pain, is not in and of itself inherently dangerous.

ZAHN: On to our final question, question number five. What should we do to prevent heart attacks?

NISSEN: The message has always been the same. We know what the risk factors are. Smoking, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. And almost all of them are treatable. Patients can get on an exercise program. They can lose weight. They can, if they have diabetes, treat their diabetes well. They can lower their blood pressure. And one of the most dramatic things they can do is lower their cholesterol. And so for people at high risk, use of cholesterol-lowering drugs is a vital step in treating the whole artery, and that's what's going to prevent heart attacks.

ZAHN: Thanks for your insights and advice. Dr. Steven Nissen.

NISSEN: My pleasure.

ZAHN: Well, some smokers will be waiting to exhale if they go to the beach in California. But will a ban on smoking at the beach really do any good at all?

And the electrician who is suspected of killing a millionaire. Danny Pelosi will turn himself in tomorrow to face charges. Tonight, we'll hear what he has to say.


ZAHN: Why do so many people think you look guilty?



ZAHN: The ban on smoking is spreading to the great outdoors. California towns were among the first to make public places, like restaurants, smoke-free. Well, now the towns of Solana Beach and San Clemente are putting the beaches off limits to smokers. And other cities may soon follow suit.

Has the anti-tobacco movement gone too far? Joining us now to debate that, San Clemente Mayor Pro-Tem Joe Anderson. He was against the beach ban. And Stephanie Barger is executive director of the Earth Resource Foundation. She supported the ban on beach smoking. Welcome to both of you.

So Stephanie, by banning smoking in public places like at the beach, aren't you robbing people of their personal right, their personal freedom to smoke?

STEPHANIE BARGER, EARTH RESOURCE FOUNDATION, ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA: What I say to that is what about the rights of our children who go to the beach to breathe fresh air? What about people that have asthma that cannot go to our beaches because people are smoking? So I think we need to look at whose rights were taken away.

ZAHN: Joe, what about that?


ZAHN: You know, let's talk about -- let's ask Joe about that very specific charge you're making. In a one-hour cleanup at a mile and a half long stretch of beach in Solana Beach, some 6,300 butts were picked up off the ground. Why isn't this a health issue for the children Stephanie's talking about? And adults who don't want to breathe secondhand smoke?

JOE ANDERSON, MAYOR PRO-TEM OF SAN CLEMENTE, CALIFORNIA: Paula, you've hit on the central issue involved in this, and the issue that I believe our community can have the most impact on. And that is keeping our water clean and keeping our beaches clean. But the fact is that the vast majority of the cigarette butts and cigarette filters that end up on our beaches do not originate from smokers on our beaches. Most of them are deposited on our sidewalks, on streets, and other areas in the community, and they wash down into the ocean, where they end up on the beach.

ZAHN: What about the smoke, though?

ANDERSON: We all agree -- I have a hard time equating the health issue with smoking on the beach. We have over four and a half miles of beaches in San Clemente. There's generally a breeze blowing, and given that amount of space and the fact that there's always a breeze blowing, or virtually always a breeze blowing, I have a hard time imagining that there's not room for both smokers and non-smokers alike on our beaches.

ZAHN: Stephanie, you're saying there is not room for both?

BARGER: Understand that south coast area in Southern California has the worst air pollution in the nation. And we need to do all we can to keep our air clean. Also, if you're walking down the pier, you're basically in an enclosed area. It's very hard to get away from smokers if you're walking down the pier.

When we did our cleanup in San Clemente, smokers came and stood next to our 10-year-olds and innocently blew smoke in their face. So we saw it firsthand of what smokers do to children.

ZAHN: Do you think this ban will be enforced, Jim? Excuse me, Joe.

ANDERSON: Joe. No, I don't. And that's another issue I have with it. Actually, the ordinance that was passed by the council was passed with the intention of not, I'll say, aggressively enforcing it. But I do not believe we should pass laws that we do not enforce. Secondly, I really do not believe that our lifeguards and our police should be distracted for even a moment to be looking for people that are smoking. We've got a wonderful record of life-saving in San Clemente. Our lifeguards have not lost a life on a patrolled beach for a long, long time. I believe over 15 years. And I would hate to see them distracted at all in a search for smokers on the beach.

ZAHN: Stephanie, final thought?

We now know you can't smoke at restaurants, bars, or any indoor facilities, now not on the beaches of Solana Beach. What's next, where do you stop this?

Will it be illegal to smoke on a sidewalk?

BARGER: We have a long way to go. I think the thing is 80 percent of smokers say they want to quit. And cigarettes are the most deadly product we sell in America. So we need to keep that, that we're not talking about ice cream, we're talking about cigarettes here. And we need to do something for our youth. They want a smoke- free world, and we're here to help them get that.

Stephanie Barger, Joe Anderson, thank you for both of your opinions.

ANDERSON: Thank you.

ZAHN: In a matter of hours, he may face charges in the murder of a New York financier. We're going to fill you in on that murder case next.


ZAHN: A state wastewater inspector has been picked as an eligible juror in the Scott Peterson murder trial. He is the first of what eventually will be a group of 80 potential jurors. Meanwhile, the judge in the case ruled today that statements made by Peterson to the media after his wife disappeared will be admissible in his trial.

Joining us now from Miami is criminal defense attorney Jayne Weintraub.

Hi, Jayne, how are you doing tonight?


ZAHN: Why is this such a big deal for the prosecution?

WEINTRAUB: For the prosecutor, it begins to give them the leeway to show the consciousness of guilt. Prosecutors will maintain the inconsistent statements that Peterson gave show an evidence his guilt, his lies, his ability to lie with a straight face.

ZAHN: All right, let's talk about one of those lies. In one TV interview Scott admitted he had an affair.

The prosecution hopes to use that against him, how so?

WEINTRAUB: What they're going to use against him really is the fact he lied about having the affair. It isn't so much the affair although they'll use that as the motive in the case. The prosecutors maintain that he wanted to kill his wife so he and Amber could go run away and be happy. And prosecutors will maintain it's the lies most of all.

In the same interview Peterson talked about how hard it was for him to go into the baby's empty nursery. Here's what he said. Can't go in there. The door is closed until there is someone to put in there. Now, how could that hurt him?

WEINTRAUB: Well, I think what hurt him is the fact that they go in there a month later, and according to the prosecutors, when they're doing one of the searches, it's being used as a storage room. Again, they're going to say how contrived and how phony he was when he was lying with such a straight face, so convincingly in front of this jury. And they're going to see this man on the screen that the prosecutors will show lying, and of course, the defense is going to maintain at the same time that this is not evidence of a murder. It is this is evidence of an adulterer. This is somebody who lied about having an affair. Who would admit it. That has nothing to do with the fact there's no cause of death, no eye witness, no physical evidence and the heart of the murder.

ZAHN: So if you were on the defense team tonight, how worried would you be about this ruling?

WEINTRAUB: I wouldn't be worried. I wouldn't be happy. I'm never happy when there's a ruling against me. It's certainly nothing that's not insurmountable, and it's nothing that Mark Geragos did not expect to happen. This is certainly a predictable ruling by the court.

ZAHN: How will it affect his strategy then.

WEINTRAUB: I think the strategy will be and will come down to one of a last minute decision whether or not Scott will testify. Again, all these statements will come in, especially if he testifies. They'll be used to cross-examine him, and it would be very difficult to get around all the different statements under cross-examination.

ZAHN: Quick yes or no. If you were advising Scott Peterson, would you want him to testify?

WEINTRAUB: Don't know enough about the case.

ZAHN: Oh, you got off that one nicely, Payne.

WEINTRAUB: Probably not.

ZAHN: Jane Weintraub, thank you very much.

WEINTRAUB: Thank you, Paula. Good night.

ZAHN: Good night.

A man long suspected in the murder of a New York millionaire will be arraigned tomorrow. Grand jury has indicted electrician Danny Pelosi in connection with the brutal killing of financier Ted Ammon. The charges against him remain sealed until tomorrow. Ammon was killed in October of 2001. Now, at the time, we were told he had a fortune of at least $50 million. Pelosi has been a suspect because of his romance with Ammon's estranged wife. Last November I talked with Pelosi and asked him directly if he was involved in the murder.


DANNY PELOSI: For the record, I did not murder Ted Ammon, nor did I have any involvement in what happened to Ted Ammon.

ZAHN: Did your ex-wife Genarosa have anything to do with the murder of Ted Ammon?

PELOSI: Not that I know of. Come on, it's a perfect movie. It's a perfect movie. Columbo has a scene on this. From the outside, look in. I mean, I look in. At first, yes.

ZAHN: You have to admit it looks pretty bad, doesn't it?

PELOSI: It looks bad. Here's the regular guy out of long island. Hooks up with a rich woman who's getting a divorce, the husband dies. I ain't the only guy out there that's ever hooked up with a rich woman. There's 10,000 guys out there in this world that have hooked up with rich women, where their husbands don't die.

ZAHN: What did you think of Ted Ammon?

Did you hate him?

PELOSI: Honestly, I had no resentment to Ted Ammon whatsoever. I mean, the guy never did anything wrong to me.

ZAHN: How hurtful is it for you to be at the center of this investigation?

PELOSI: How hurtful?

It's totally destroyed my life. It's totally destroyed my life. I go to sleep wondering if I'm going to wake up tomorrow and have to go to jail because anybody can be indicted.


ZAHN: More from that interview and the latest on the case tomorrow night. That wraps it up for all of us here this evening. Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

"LARRY KING LIVE" is next. We hope you have a real good night, and you'll be back with us same time same place tomorrow night. Good bye.


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