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Rice Offering Through White House Counsel to Testify Under Oath in Public Before 9/11 Commission

Aired March 30, 2004 - 10:00   ET


DARYN KAGAN, HOST: Good morning, everyone. From CNN headquarters in Atlanta, I'm Daryn Kagan. And we're going to begin with a check of the headlines at this hour.
Police in London are gathering evidence in an investigation of a possible terrorist attack. Earlier, police displayed a bag, which they say contained more than a half-ton of ammonium nitrate. Also, some several hundred British police swept the city arresting eight men earlier this morning. Spain says one of the eight may be linked to the Madrid bombings earlier this month. Just ahead, we'll go live to London for the latest.

Veteran British broadcaster Alistair Cooke is dead. He died yesterday at his home in New York City. Cooke was best known in the U.S. as the host of PBS's "Masterpiece Theater." He was also the host of the long running British program, "Letters from America." Cooke retired just a few weeks ago because of heart disease. He was 95 years old.

About 20 minutes from now, President Bush will head to Wisconsin. He is talking taxes and jobs today. The president's trip to Appleton is being billed as an official visit. Wisconsin has lost some 80,000 manufacturing jobs since Bush took office; and the state is likely to be a political battleground this election year.

And about those huddled masses, more will be able to read the message on the Statue of Liberty, when the monument re-opens in New York this summer. The U.S. interior secretary made the announcement this morning amid concerns that it could be a draw for terrorists. The secretary said new security measures will be in place.

The first hour of CNN LIVE TODAY begins right now.

All right. We're going to begin with some breaking news now, concerning Condoleezza Rice and her plans, possibly, to testify in public.

Our Dana Bash standing by at the White House with more on that -- Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. A major development in this story this morning. A senior administration official telling CNN that Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, is now offering through the White House counsel, to testify under oath in public before the 9/11 Commission. This is something that she has obviously resisted so far. But what they are saying in a letter to the chair and vice chair of the commission is that they will only do so if they get a written promise that this would not be precedent setting. That this would not mean that in the future other national security advisers, other aides to the president, as it were, would also have to do so. This is something that they are going to say they understand is a special case, 9/11 is a special case and now they are saying they will testify in public.

One more thing, the senior official tells us they are also saying that the president and vice president have also agreed to sit down with all 10 members of the 9/11 Commission in private. Now, there has been a controversy over that as well. The White House has simply said they wanted to sit down with the chair and vice chair, and only for one hour. Now they are saying that the president and vice president will sit down with the entire commission.

So, two major developments; but obviously the biggest is here on Condoleezza Rice, now saying she will testify publicly before the 9/11 Commission. Just to be clear, we are still waiting for the chair and vice chair to go through with all the other eight members of the commission to make sure that they think that this is OK; that they would sign this letter saying no precedent would be set here -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Dana, any word on when this might happen?

BASH: No. Again, what they are saying here at the White House is that they are sending the letter momentarily, officially to the commission. They have talked about it, discussed with Tom Kane, the chairman of the commission and Lee Hamilton the vice chair. They have to now take it back and discuss with the rest of the commission. You'll remember, they all voted in private, unanimously to call Condoleezza Rice to testify publicly. That is essentially what they're getting here.

So, what the senior official is telling CNN is that they simply want to get a letter promising that this would not be setting a precedent. That they hope will get around the legal bind that they have been in to not sending Condoleezza Rice up there.

Well, they have been certainly under this enormous, political pressure to do so because Democrats and others have said that they don't want to -- this perhaps might be showing she has something to hide, and also questioning why she will go out on television shows and not go under oath and testify publicly. So they're still trying to work out the details of this. But the significance here is that they are bowing to pressure, if you will, allowing her to testify if everybody agrees to the fine print, if you will.

KAGAN: All right. Dana, it seems like there's two significant developments here; not just the announcement on Condoleezza Rice. But also, it seems like expanded access to the president and vice president by this commission. But I think something interesting came out in hearing earlier how Condoleezza Rice met with the commission. Not only was it in private, it was not under oath previously. It makes me wonder now that when the president -- the current president now and then President Clinton, when they go before this commission, even though it's in private, will they be under oath when they talk with the commission?

BASH: That's a good question. What we have been hearing up until now is that they would not likely be under oath. That it would simply be an interview. But because all of these issues have been under negotiation as they come up, it's unclear what would happen in the end. And clearly, this is something that they are still trying to work out.

But the fact that the White House has agreed to allow 10 commission members to be at the meeting with both the president and vice president is certainly a new offer; quite different from what we heard before when they were really sticking to their guns on just having the two members of the commission be present for that meeting.

KAGAN: Dana Bash at the White House. Dana, thank you.

Once again with the breaking news that Condoleezza Rice is working on a deal where she will testify in public. The date is to be still set; but she will go under oath and testify in public before the 9/11 Commission.

Let's bring in our senior political analyst Bill Schneider, standing by in Washington, D.C.

This is a huge turn around from this White House, Bill.

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It is. It's a huge turn around. It's surprising, because the White House said it had taken a stand on principle. They are trying to save that principle by essentially asking for an agreement this would not set a precedent. Which frankly I don't think makes a great deal.

She is going to testify. At least, she's offering to testify on the record in public because every poll indicated the criticism was rising. The polls indicated that people thought it meant she had something to hide. Why was she going all over the television tubes? Why was she talking to CBS "60 Minutes?" Why was she offering to talk to the families' victims and she wouldn't talk to the commission in public? So I think this is a major concession.

KAGAN: Yes, and the precedent, like you said, they were so concerned about, even the way it's going around this time, seems kind of interesting. Perhaps this commission won't then call on any other presidential aides. but this commission can't make promises for future congressional commissions not to call on members of the administration.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. I think that agreement that it won't set a precedent, that's kind of silly. I mean it will be sited as a precedent in a case of a national emergency. Which is what 9/11 is all about. So I think that's a face saving compromise really. What the administration is doing really is giving in and saying OK; we've taken too many hits on this. We're going to have to allow her to testify in public.

KAGAN: As you mentioned, though, a huge political pressure for them to do this change and agree to have Condoleezza Rice do this. Interesting that it's coming at a time that actually poll numbers are showing that President Bush is actually gaining on Senator John Kerry.

Let's look at some of those numbers, the latest CNN/"USA Today"/Gallup poll -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Well, that's right. Here's the choice for president. You see just three weeks ago, Kerry was about eight points ahead of George Bush. Now Bush has moved ahead of John Kerry. Does that mean that there's been a backlash in favor of President Bush because of the controversy with Richard Clarke? Well, no. That controversy actually has not been helping the president. There's no indication of that.

What has been helping the president is his preemptive strikes against John Kerry. The ads that he's been running have done significant damage to Kerry's image. We're finding rising negative opinion of Kerry, rising view that Kerry is too liberal to be president. That he flip-flops on the issues. That he would raise your taxes. All those charges are having an impact and they're helping President Bush aside from the controversy over Clarke's testimony.

KAGAN: A couple more polls to show that looks like the Republicans are doing a good job defining John Kerry for the American public. You were mentioning the flip-flop issue. The Republicans and President Bush painting John Kerry as someone who changes his mind. Let's look at these numbers -- Bill.

SCHNEIDER: Changes his mind for political seasons. That's almost 60 percent of Americans believe that. You remember what Kerry did when they went to West Virginia? He made a statement, which the Bush administration immediately threw into a political ad. The statement was, "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it." He said that in West Virginia because he was trying to argue his defense policy and the administration, within hours, had that in an ad saying look at this guy. He flip-flops even in the same sentence. Well, apparently from those poll numbers that ad created a perception that's grown around the country that he's wavering and inconsistent.

KAGAN: Right. Also fair to Senator Kerry, I think the point he was trying to make was when he voted for it, it was a different bill than the one that ultimately passed.


KAGAN: Also, trying to define interesting issue that's very important to a lot of Americans, are rising gas prices. Republicans apparently making some headway and blaming Senator Kerry for this as well, basically giving the idea that things are going to be even worse if you elect him as president.

SCHNEIDER: That's right. You know the doctrine of preemptive action that the administration applies in Iraq? Well, they're now applying it in political warfare. This administration, Bush/Cheney, Texas oilmen, they ought to be extraordinarily vulnerable on the issue of rising gas prices. So what are they doing? They're striking first with an ad that says John Kerry, at some point in the past, voted to increase gas taxes. And that this would be very damaging for Americans.

In fact they just issued a press release saying that John Kerry supported 50-cent per gallon tax increase, which would cost the average American family $657 a year. And get this, they have a website which will tell you, the average American voter, how much John Kerry's gas tax would cost your family. The press release says, "Planning a trip? Our gas tax calculator will give you directions and then let you know how much more you would be paying if you add in Kerry's tax."

So how about that? You can say, I'm going to drive from Indianapolis to Chicago and they'll tell you how much more it will cost you if Kerry became president. That's pretty preemptive.

KAGAN: That would be preemptive. Bill Schneider in Washington thank you, especially for covering our -- helping us get analysis on the breaking story.

And the breaking news, of course, that the White House is reversing its position, now offering up National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, saying that she will agree to testify in public under oath before the 9/11 Commission. More details of that deal still being worked out, including a date on when that possibly will happen. We'll much more on that just ahead.

We are also, though, following a developing story that is out of London this hour. That is where hundreds of police officers cast a massive dragnet this morning. They hauled in eight terror suspects and half ton of explosives. Police sources are telling CNN that the men are linked to possible Islamist terror.

CNN international correspondent Sheila MacVicar has the latest from Britain.


SHEILA MCVICAR, CNN SENIOR INT'L CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. (AUDIO GAP) About -- seized about 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is, of course, known as a fertilizer, has legitimate uses in gardening and agricultural. It can also, when combined with other substances, become a very powerful explosive. The kind of explosive that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing and the kind of explosive that was used in Bali.

Now, police say they have arrested eight men. They say they are all British subjects, age 17 to 32. They say that they do not believe there are any links to here Irish Republican terrorism or indeed, to the Madrid bomb. That may be in contrast to what some Spanish authorities are currently saying. But they are saying they may be linked to possible Islamist terror -- Daryn. KAGAN: And what are the status of these men at this point?

MCVICAR: At this point, they are held under the Britain's Terrorist Act 2000. Under the act, with the approval of a judge, they could be held 14 days without trial -- or without charges being filed, rather. After that point, the police would indeed have to file charges. It's important to note, Daryn, since 9/11, more than 500 people have been arrested in this country under the terms of that act. Very few of them have been charged and even fewer have been convicted.

So although we have this massive operation this morning, we're told more than 700 police officers from five different forces, British intelligence, British security involved. A long-term operation, something that has gone on for months, bringing in these eight men and obviously the seizure of the ammonia nitrate. We will probably have to wait for some days to see what precisely they are charged with -- Daryn.

KAGAN: Sheila MacVicar, live from London. We apologize for those audio problems with that live report. We'll get Sheila back in just a little bit.

There are other new developments to report in the deadly bombings of those four commuter trains in Madrid. It happened about three weeks ago. Spain's interior minister has named the Moroccan terrorist group, GICM as the principle focus of the probe. The group is believed to have, at least, an ideological tie to al Qaeda. And a Spanish courthouse formally accused a Syrian man as a fourth person linked to those attacks. A witness claims to have seen the suspect on one of the targeted trains just before the explosions. Those attacks killed 191 people and wounded 1900.

The fight over same-sex marriage has the state of Massachusetts battling itself. Details on that war of words straight ahead.

Later, she says she wants to talk about something else but David Letterman will have none of that. Janet Jackson's flash back.



As you can see, I am not a rich white male. And this is precisely why I would make a great American candidate.


KAGAN: How many people have said, well, "If I were president?" Yes, that's the subject in a new reality show. We'll tell you how you can apply just ahead.


KAGAN: You're seeing a live picture right now, Andrews Air Force Base. President Bush aboard Marine 1; he'll be getting on Air Force 1. He is heading to Wisconsin today. Of course, the big news, the breaking news that we brought to you just at the top of the hour, a reversal in White House policy. It has decided to offer up National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, saying she will offer to testify in public under oath before the 9/11 Commission. Previously they had talked about executive privilege and said that, that would not be possible. But a deal being worked out that not only will Condoleezza Rice testify in public before the commission, but President Bush and Vice President Cheney will answer questions in front of all 10 commission members. That is a larger number than was originally agreed to. Much more on that, just ahead.

Also, we are getting reaction now from the other side, from the Democrats. Senator Charles Schumer giving reaction to the change of policy for the White House. Let's listen to that.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: John McCain, Chuck Hagel, Republicans have testified, have talked about Dick Clarke's character. I've known Dick Clarke for a long time. He's a principled man. He's been a registered Republican. Whenever he met me, and I met him under the Clinton administration, he said he was a Republican.

His one passion was to make America safe. And when all the information he had, and all the work he and his staff had done were ignored, he became more and more frustrated. Dick Clarke's book is not aimed at political retribution. Dick Clarke's book is aimed at the truth. And like everywhere else the scriptures are right, the truth will set us free. And so I hope that Condoleezza Rice fully testifies, testifies truthfully. The commission's goal is not to point fingers of blame. The commission's goal is to find out what went wrong so we don't do it again.

Well, you heard Senator Schumer there of New York talking about the truth. Richard Clarke testifying before the 9/11 Commission and his book offering one version of the truth. But the White House has been frustrated, saying it has a different version of the events that led up to 9/11 and afterward as well. And so now a reversal.

There you see President Bush live. He's about to get on board Air Force 1. He's heading to Wisconsin where he will be campaigning. And no doubt he'll be talking about this change of policy, reversal of position from the White House now offering up National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. We don't have an exact date on when this will take place. However, President Bush agreeing that his national security adviser will go in public under oath and go before the 9/11 Commission.

Both offers, by the way, not only that, but the president and vice president will appear before the entire 10-member 9/11 Commission, is made so that this will not set a precedent. The White House previously talking about huge concerns that this was crossing over separation of powers between the legislative body and the executive branch. But those fears apparently being set aside today. Condoleezza Rice will be testifying in front of the 9/11 Commission.

Other news this morning, lawmakers in Massachusetts have set up a showdown over same-sex marriage. The state legislature has approved a constitutional amendment that carries more symbolism than substance. The bigger battle now moves to the courts, and the capitol, and the neighborhood-polling place.

Our Dan Lothian has more on that story.


DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As people on both sides of the highly charged gay marriage debate in Massachusetts shout in the hallways of the State House...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let the people vote!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let the people vote!

LOTHIAN: ... and on the sidewalks outside, state lawmakers take the final and most crucial vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred and five votes in the affirmative, 92 in the negative.

LOTHIAN: Approving and sending to next year's legislature a constitutional amendment that bans gay marriages but legalizes civil unions minus federal benefits. For those fighting to protect traditional marriages, it is a partial victory.

RON CREWS, PRES., MASSACHUSETTS FAMILY INSTITUTE: At least we have the legislature on record now as preserving marriage as one man and woman.

LOTHIAN: But for same-sex couples fighting to hold on to their court mandated marriage rights, there is shock.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's clearly disappointing.

LOTHIAN: And defiance.

MARY BONAUTO, GAY LEGAL ADVOCATE: We do believe in liberty and justice for all here. We are not going to take these rights away from people.

LOTHIAN: State lawmakers have debated in three separate conventions since the since the state's high court ruled in favor of gay marriage in November. In the final hours, amidst strategic maneuvers, confusing language and frequent interruptions...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will follow me immediately to this microphone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The gentleman...

LOTHIAN: Passionate pleas are heard on both sides.

MARIE ST. FLEUR, MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE: My God does not judge on differences. My God taught me to treat everyone as a human being. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not step back and apologize from anyone because I stand for traditional marriage.

LOTHIAN: The vote has no bearing on the May 17 date, when the high court says same-sex couples can legally marry. But armed with this amendment, the Governor Mitt Romney vows to put up the first roadblock.

GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R), MASSACHUSETTS: I will seek a stay of the court's decision until the constitutional amendment process has run its course.

LOTHIAN (on camera): The governor says he will deliver the documents to his attorney general on Tuesday. As for the amendment, lawmakers will take the vote in 2005. If they approve it, it will be put before the voters in 2006.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


KAGAN: A celebrity in trouble with the law? No, kidding. Well, this actor got a quick lesson in don't mess with Texas.

And new album, new appearance, new day. Ah, not quite. David Letterman painfully revisits Janet's night of infamy.


KAGAN: In Austin, Texas actor Jason Patrick is free. He was arrested for public intoxication and resisting arrest yesterday. Thinking this was the tape that was shot from the police cruiser. Patrick is the star of the upcoming film "The Alamo." Police say they approached him around 3:00 a.m. He took, what they're calling "an aggressive stance" against them. The 37-year-old film star was released from jail hours later.

Well, speaking of arresting images, look who is back in the spotlight. Janet Jackson is promoting her new album that's called "Damita Jo." She made an appearance on the David Letterman show last night. The singer and host went tit for that, you might say, on the bare facts of Jackson Jackson's Super Bowl show.


DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST "THE LATE SHOW": You knew it was going happen, right? You did know it was going to happen.


LETTERMAN: You didn't know it was going to happen?

JACKSON: No, I didn't.

LETTERMAN: So it came to a complete surprise to you?




JACKSON: It was really an accident. It was not a stunt.

LETTERMAN: It was not a stunt.


LETTERMAN: It was not premeditated.


LETTERMAN: It was nothing you had rehearsed?



LETTERMAN: Yes. So how did it happen? What exactly transpired?

JACKSON: Dave, you're going to make me relive this. I want to put all of that behind me. I truly do.

LETTERMAN: Well, not me.




KAGAN: She had to know, Jacqui. You go on The David Letterman Show, come on. In a dress like that.

JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I know! If I had abs like that...

KAGAN: Did you see that dress? That was showing more than the Super Bowl dress.


KAGAN: She looks good though.

JERAS: It does, on her anyway.

KAGAN: Yes, good luck.

But we are going to get back to the breaking news story that we started the hour with. And that is a reversal of the position from the White House. Condoleezza Rice will, in fact, testify in public under oath before the 9/11 Commission. Much more on that story just ahead. Right now a quick break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAGAN: I'm Daryn Kagan. Let's take a look at the top stories this hour.

A senior official with the Bush administration says the White House has reversed course and will allow public testimony from National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice. She will testify under oath for the commission investigating the September 11 attacks.

Rice had earlier testified in private and not under oath before the commission. But the administration faced mounting criticism even from some Republicans for not allowing the public testimony.

British police have arrested eight people in the terror sweep and seized half ton of ammonium nitrate from this London storage facility. The suspects are described as British citizens between the ages of 17 and 32. Police sources tell CNN all are believed linked to Islamist terror.

There's a new mystery involving Terri Schiavo. She is the severely brain damaged woman who has been at the center of the right to die court battle. An attorney for the woman's husband, who wants her taken off life support, says she's been hospitalized after hospital workers found puncture wounds on her arms. She said it may have been caused by a hypodermic needle.

OPEC oil ministers appear split on whether to reduce production as they prepare to meet tomorrow and set output policies for the second quarter. Saudi Arabia's oil minister says markets are well supplied and OPEC will reduce output as planned. Others say the move could be delayed by the soaring prices around the world including record prices here in the U.S.

With the mighty swing and the roar of the crowd, Major League Baseball opened a new season. They did it, though, on the other side of the world, 55,000 fans cramming into Tokyo dome to see if the American League East champs could carry their power to the Far East. Turns out they couldn't. Yankees lost the season opener to Tampa Bay 8-3.

We go back to our breaking news story coming out of the White House. A reversal of position from the White House concerning Condoleezza Rice and her agreement now to testify in public under oath before the 9/11 Commission. Let's go back to Dana Bash for more on that decision. Good morning again.

BASH: Good morning again, Daryn. A major development and a turn around here at the Bush White House on this story and this issue. What the White House is saying now in the form of the letter from the White House counsel Alberto Gonzalez to the chair and vice chair of the 9/11 commission is that they will now allow Condoleezza Rice to testify in public under oath,

Something they have been resisting doing for weeks now. They say that the reason they're doing this is because they understand that 9/11 is a special incident and something that they need to address even though it goes against the ideas of executive privilege. They are doing this on two major conditions.

First is that they get a letter from members of the commission saying they understand that this is not precedent setting. For example, as one official said, people will understand 10, 20 years from now if another issue comes up where a senior adviser to the president is asked to testify on a matter of policy, they will understand this particular issue was unique because September 11 was unique.

They've gotten assurances from senior members of Congress that they understand that this would not be a precedent setting event. The other condition is that Dr. Condoleezza Rice would be the only White House official to testify. If they agreed to let her come up under these conditions, no other senior aide to the president would be asked to testify in public under oath

Now, we are told a little bit of the back story here that the President was discussing this issue, thinking about this issue while he was in Crawford over the weekend

And it was yesterday that he made the decision according to one of his senior advisers that he didn't want process to get in the way of the substance. He was well aware of the storm around this, the political storm in particular and the fact that the story has become why wouldn't Dr. Condoleezza Rice testify. They say he wants to get to the bottom of the substance and wants the commission to do their work.

So he was essentially saying the whole process of her testifying has gotten in the way of that. One more development, Daryn. The President and Vice President are also offering to meet in private with all ten members of the 9/11 commission. That is different from what they offered before. Before they were saying they would meet with the chair and vice chair.

KAGAN: I want to ask you about the change in agreement concerning the president and vice president. They're going to go before all ten members instead of the smaller group there. From what I'm reading, though, it says they will speak jointly. Does that mean they'll go together at the same time?

BASH: Unclear. It is possible they would go together. Those details still have to be worked out. This is an offer from the White House to the commission. Lot of these issues as we're talking about right now has been the subject of negotiation.

That will probably have to be worked out. It's also important to note that the President and Vice President when they speak to the members of the commission, it will not be in public. It will be in private. It will be an interview, just like Condoleezza Rice had in February here at the White House.

KAGAN: That was my other question. Will they be under oath? Thanks for answering that even before I could get it out. Dana Bash, thank you. It's an offer and the negotiations going on between the White House and 9/11 commission. Well have more on that just ahead.

Right now we go to New York. The trial must go on. That is according to the judge. Jurors have started their ninth day of deliberations in the trial of two former Tyco executives accused of plundering $600 million from the company. Michael Obus rejected a request for a mistrial and dismissed the behavior of one juror who is becoming a lightning rod of the concerns. Allan Chernoff is outside the courthouse following all of these developments. Good morning.

ALAN CHERNOFF, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Daryn. The defense, once again this morning, renewed its call for mistrial. Once again citing tremendous pressure on juror number four to change her mind. She is the apparent holdout for a conviction of Dennis Kozlowski and Mark Schwartz the former top two executives of Tyco.

And the defense is pointing to media coverage here, saying that New York Post and "Wall Street Journal" by publicly identifying juror number four, they are adding to the pressure on this juror to change her mind. This morning Charles Stillman citing Internet chat rooms.

Stillman said it is staggering to understand the venom and outrageous statements being made about this juror on the Internet. Now, yesterday the judge did deny a request for a mistrial. He spoke privately to the juror and she assured the judge that she can continue to deliberate in good faith. Certainly has been a lightning rod for controversy. Back on Friday, when this juror walked into the court room, she made an okay signal and then brushed her hair like that to try to sort of cover it up according to those who saw it.

Well, this morning when the juror walked in to the court room, she looked at the judge and brushed her hair just like this repeatedly and then smiled. So, clearly she's continuing to draw quite a bit of attention to herself. Daryn?

KAGAN: Strange sense of fun from juror number four. I would say. Allan, you're inside this court room. Is this a judge who is losing control or a judge who has amazing control over a group of people who really are not very much in control of themselves?

CHERNOFF: Well, the judge is getting high marks from attorneys and also from former justices. I spoke yesterday to Justice Leslie Snyder. She had served for 20 years in this court. She said Judge Obus is doing exactly the right thing. He interviewed the juror, checked with her and then announced to the court that she believes she can go on in good faith.

Even though the defense is saying this is clear grounds for an appeal, clear grounds for a mistrial and clear grounds for an overturn, Judge Snyder said to me, she believes that Obus is doing exactly the right thing and that, in fact, it would be quite difficult to get an overturn if, in fact, the defense were to be convicted here.

KAGAN: Allan Chernoff covering the three ring circus also known as the Tyco trial. Thanks for that.

Juggling work, family and sleep. The health implications of a sleep deficit for you and your kids. That is just ahead.


KAGAN: Here's a study that could have you tossing and turning tonight. Researchers say losing sleep may also put you at risk for serious health problems. Same concerns loom for those tykes that you tuck in each and every night. Christie Feig has details on sleep.


GWEN HICKS, SLEEP-DEPRIVED MOTHER: I don't think he wants this right now.

CHRISTIE FEIG, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Gwyn Hicks, juggling three-year-old Maggie and six-month-old Hunter with work means sleep gets sacrificed. She says she only gets between 5 and 6 hours a night often interrupted by the kids.

HICKS: I could probably fall asleep; at least I think I could fall asleep, pretty much anywhere any time.

FEIG: But for many Americans that could be doing more than making you tired. Research shows it can increase your risk of certain diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and even obesity.

DR. THOMAS LO RUSSO, SLEEP DIAGNOSTIC CENTER: When you don't sleep well, you may have a diminished metabolism and, therefore, you don't burn the calories that perhaps someone with good eight hours of sleep may do.

FEIG: It's not just adults getting too little rest. A new study from the national sleep foundation said increasingly children aren't sleeping enough. Toddlers need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep a day. Preschoolers 11 to 13. And school age children 10 to 11.

On average the study says kids sleep about 30 minutes to an hour a night less. It might not sound like much, but it adds up and can mean problems with attention and school work. Experts say getting to bed and up at the same time every day, limiting caffeine and keeping TVs out of the bedroom can all help you get some extra Z's.

In Washington, I'm Christie Feig.


KAGAN: Well speaking of sleeping and dreaming have you ever dreamed of becoming president of the U.S.?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My presidency will be built on the promises of liberty and equality guaranteed for all. My presidency...


KAGAN: It is the latest show in reality television. How the average Joe or Jane can make the run for the White House. That's still ahead.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can see, I am not a rich white male. And this is precisely why I would make a great American candidate.


KAGAN: She wants to be Madam President. She's one of the many saying she wants to become leader of the free world, or at least the winner of a new reality show called "American Candidate." It airs this summer on Showtime.

If you've got Oval Office ambitions, it's not too late to campaign. Here to tell us is the executive producer of the show. R.J. Cutler. R.J., good morning.


KAGAN: I'm doing great. First question we ask all the reality show folks, do we need another reality show on television?

CUTLER: Well, whether we need them or not, they're coming at you fast and furious. This, of course, is a show that's different than the other shows.

It's a program that lives in the real world and is a giant simulation of the presidential process, the election process for men and women across the country. People with vision and talent and passion who have always thought to themselves that they'd like to see what it's like to run for president, or if they have a chance to run for president they know they can make a difference.

KAGAN: So all those shows with sex are the candy, you are the vegetables of the reality show world.

CUTLER: Entertaining. Listen, nothing's more dramatic than presidential campaigning. It's the original vote off the island.

KAGAN: The original "survivor." Tell us about the types of people who have been applying.

CUTLER: We've gotten thousands of applications from people all over the country but the deadline isn't until next Friday. People who are interested in applying can go to Yahoo, Yahoo is our partner in this project it's very exciting to be working with them. Go to and download an application. Or call 1-877- RUN-2004.

And really, we're looking for people with vision and talent and passion. People with ideas who feel they could emerge as leaders in this country. We are always saying that the right people, the people who really could be great leaders are turned off from politics. Whether it's the money or they think they have to have gone to Yale or their fathers had to have been president, or they have to be worth $250 million.

KAGAN: Where would they get that?

CUTLER: I don't know. But somehow they get the idea and they're turned off to the process. This is opening the process up to people. We expect to really introduce some remarkable talent to the political world.

KAGAN: Let me take a look at one of the entries. You are getting all different types. Let's look at one of those.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Zach is 8 and 1/2 and he's my pop culture guru, my guide to all things hip and of the moment. So as such, Zach is going to be my musical coordinator for my campaign. I want my campaign to be one of hope and promise. I'm looking for something more upbeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got it. I got the perfect thing. "Hey ya."


KAGAN: So is Zach running for president or is his buddy? That's what I want to know.


CUTLER: His dad is running for president. You have to be over 18. Zach's got good musical taste and maybe Outkast will get his father some votes.

KAGAN: So what exactly happens you're going to have 12 candidates or 12 contestants?

CUTLER: Twelve candidates to the American people August 1. The show's going to run for 2 1/2 months, every Sunday night on Showtime starting August 1. The candidates will be crisscrossing the country, engaged in the very things that real candidates are engaged in. They'll be debating, strategizing, planning their political approach and we're talking to the people. They'll be making advertisements raising funds.

KAGAN: Does the winner get a war chest worth hundreds of millions of dollars?

CUTLER: No. Although the winner will have been on national television for a few months and will have a great platform. The winner will win $200,000 but also will be introduced in a televised special to the American people as the people's candidate. Listen, maybe the person won't run for president, but we hope they will return to their community, run for city council, for congressman, mayor, eventual eventually maybe even for senator and might be able to make a difference. We think all of the people applying will be able to use this show as a platform to launch their political careers.

KAGAN: All right we will have to work out a deal where you include this show as part of the process.

CUTLER: We'd love to have our candidates on.

KAGAN: We'll book them. Consider them booked.

CUTLER: That would be great.

KAGAN: R.J. thank you so much. R.J. Cutler. "American Candidate" beginning in August is on Showtime. Go online now

CUTLER: Download an application and give it a try.

KAGAN: Good luck with the show.

CUTLER: Thank you very much.

KAGAN: We have news from California, speaking of thinking someone wouldn't have a political career, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger unveiling the state's new quarter yesterday, along with his wife, Maria Shriver.

The 25 cent piece features conservationist John Muir and Yosemite National Park Mountain on the back. Two dozen of the coins will be put into circulation early next year. It's part of a program where each of the 50 states gets to design a quarter to mark their entry into the U.S.

Speaking of quarters, might want to visit to see who made millions at the box office. That's where you'll find a listing of the top movies as well as the latest in television and books. That is We are back in a moment.



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